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Why the Charleston massacre isn’t terrorism, and Palestinian resistance always will be

on 95 Comments

In the wake of Dylann Roof’s murder of nine African American churchgoers engaged in Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, many have suggested that his massacre should be labeled a terrorist attack.

After all, Roof did what we did, in his words, to ignite a “race war.”  He authored a racist manifesto and saw his killing spree as a proactive measure to prevent black people from taking over America.  According to witness testimony, he purposefully left one person alive so she could report what had happened to others as a warning.

According to the FBI, “domestic terrorism” includes any illegal activity occurring within the territorial U.S. that endangers human life and is intended to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population” or the government.  So it seems like the shoe fits.

Determining whether or not Roof is a terrorist, however, is more than an empirical question.  It is also an ideological and political one.

For example, even before he knew the full facts of the case, FBI Director James Comey declared that Roof’s actions were not terrorism because they were not a “political act.”

Comey’s statement dumbfounds in its willful disregard of not only the facts of this case, but also his own bureau’s legal definition.

Including Roof in the category of “terrorism,” then, seems like a useful reprimand of Comey’s indifference.  As well, given the enhanced post-9/11 racist scapegoating of Arabs and Muslims as terrorist by nature, classifying Roof as a terrorist seems to strike a blow against state racism and gross state hypocrisy.

Yet the problem with this strategy is actually exemplified by Comey’s evasions insofar as it mistakes “terrorism” for an objective category of political violence, rather than a political and ideological determination regarding the enemies of US global power.

This tension is evident at the simple level of definition.  For example, although the FBI definition allows that civilians can be legitimate targets of domestic terrorism, this is never taken to mean that state actions constitute domestic terrorism.

Atrocious as Dylann Roof’s actions surely were, they were no less racist, vicious, or lawless than the brutal attacks on black lives waged daily by police officers across the country.  Among the more notorious include Freddie Gray, immobilized and killed by police officers who severed his spine; Eric Garner, choked to death in broad daylight; Rekia Boyd, shot dead standing on the sidewalk with friends in front of her house; John Crawford, shot dead in a WalMart; Akai Gurley, shot dead in the stairwell of his home; a handcuffed Oscar Grant, lying face down on a train station platform, shot in the back and killed by police; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, shot dead while playing in a public park.

Indeed, there is a veritable epidemic of police violence against black people in the United States, and yet no one has suggested that cops are terrorists, or that black people, neighborhoods, or communities are the victims of domestic terrorism.  And this is so even if the point of killing black people may very well be to “intimidate or coerce” black populations – and really, what other “point” to such wanton violence could there possibly be?

Second, the FBI’s own practices make clear the effective meaning of “terrorism.”  According to counterterrorism analyst Daryl Johnson, the threat of rightwing domestic terror is neither new nor diminishing, yet the FBI has little to no interest in tracking it.  Former domestic counterterrorism agent Mike German notes that the FBI doesn’t even keep accurate statistics on right-wing domestic terrorism, leaving that to private organizations, who count the incidents differently depending on definitional and methodological approach.

Why would the US government openly ignore terrorist threats to its citizenry, foolishly leaving the public vulnerable and unprotected?

Simple:  right-wingers and white supremacists aren’t Muslims.

As obscene or ridiculous as that may sound, it does not make it less true.  While any number of analysts and agencies are busy investigating “Islamic terror,” next to none pay any attention to the kind of attacks like those perpetrated by Dylann Roof in Charleston or Scott Roeder in Kansas in 2009 (who killed late-term abortion doctor George Tiller – also, incidentally, in a church).

As Johnson and German emphasize, the FBI just isn’t interested in domestic terrorism unless it is linked to Islam.

Perhaps it is unnecessary to add that there is remarkably little data on deaths from police shootings?

This exceedingly narrow and ideological view of terrorism did not begin with 9/11, even if its most recently famous incarnation was George W. Bush’s embarrassing and frequently ungrammatical condemnations of what he once called “Islamo-fascism.”

The fake notion of “Islamo-fascism,” though, is actually a clue regarding the history of terrorism and terrorism discourse in the United States, which has its roots in post-WWII condemnations of totalitarianism and, later, the Soviet Union, both of which were characterized as monstrous threats to “civilization” and modern, Western democracy. Conflating the Nazis with Stalin, “totalitarianism” became a convenient catchword for all that stood opposed to the nobility and greatness of the American way.  Later, as Reagan made famous, the Soviet Union’s “Evil Empire” was the enemy to be conquered.

The breakup of the Soviet bloc and the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, left the US without an evil enemy to vanquish.  This is when “terrorism” really comes into its own.  Thanks in large part to agitation from Israeli powerbrokers (Netanyahu in particular), a new international evil enemy was forged:  the Muslim terrorist.  Concomitant with the advent of plane hijacking as a political stunt to gain attention for the Palestinian liberation struggle, the US and Israel found an ideological lever by which to manufacture their alliance as a civilization under attack:  the backward savagery of Muslim terrorism.

Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that the figure of the terrorist is not only irretrievably Arab and Muslim in US discourse, but also originally Palestinian.  Indeed, the Palestinian hijacker/suicide bomber is the figure of terrorism par excellence in the US (and Israeli) imaginary.  Left unremarked, of course, is the state’s political violence once again:  Israeli colonization, dispossession, massacre, geographical confinement, unlawful administrative detention and mass incarceration, humiliation, and slow starvation, much less the vast American funding of these atrocities.

Of course, these are not considered acts of terrorism, despite their targeting of civilians with the express intention to “intimidate or coerce” the Palestinian people.

And this is also why Dylann Roof is not a terrorist, regardless of what the FBI definition “officially” says.

Dylann Roof is not a terrorist because he didn’t attack civilized people or, in other words, take any lives that matter.  Rather, he killed black people, whose lives, in painful counterpoint to the profound resistance struggle of the Black Lives Matter movement, don’t really matter, or not much anyway, to the FBI.  This is as true about Dylann Roof’s actions as it is of those of U.S. police officers, IDF forces in the Occupied Territories, or the US armed forces in its drone strikes, occupations, and proxy wars.  Because these target black people, Palestinians, and Muslim people and populations around the world (among others), their actions are not terrorism but rather security and self-defense.

In other words, political violence committed against the enemies of America is not terrorism but law and order.  Political violence committed by enemies of America, on the other hand, is terrorism.  (In the case of African Americans, it is thuggery – and placing the “thug” side by side with the “terrorist” makes clear the racialized population control that is the real purpose of the US criminal legal system.)

Rather than an empirical category of demarcatable political violence, then, “terrorism” in US (and Israeli) usage is better understood as a name for the violence committed by those who are more properly understood as its objects.  This is why Comey cannot see Roof as a terrorist and why there can never be any legitimate form of Palestinian resistance.  According to the moralized dictates of US imperial discourse, African Americans and Palestinians are thugs and terrorists, savage and violent by nature, those against whom violence is always justifiable, if not vital, to the survival of “civilization.”

Let’s not be fooled, then, by the FBI’s “official” definition of terrorism, much Comey’s failure to consistently apply it.

Even more than this, though, let’s not become complicit with America’s racialized criminology by seeking to expand the domain of terrorism so as to include white supremacists like Roof within it.

“Terrorism” is a keyword of empire that demarcates Islamicized enemies of US imperial policy, whether foreign or domestic, just as “thug” demarcates racialized Black enemies of the US domestic order.  Dylann Roof is neither a terrorist nor a thug on this definition, and it is in nobody’s interest to enlist ourselves in America’s imperial project in order to make him into either.

Let’s call Dylann Roof what he is – a white supremacist who, in murdering African American people in broad daylight simply because they were African American, effectively upheld the founding principles of the US state and advanced them.  In seeking to, in his words, “take” his country “back,” Dylann Roof enacted what we must openly admit is not simply an American tradition best relegated to a Confederate past, but in actual fact the American way, past and present:  white supremacy, colonization, genocide, and empire.

If Black lives do, indeed, matter, then attacks on them do not constitute terrorism, but rather longstanding practice and official US policy.  Let’s decline, then, to affirm our commitment to the American way by branding Roof a terrorist this 4th of July.  Instead, let’s commit ourselves to dismantling America’s ongoing domestic and global assault on liberation, equality, and self-determination.

A version of this piece was first published by Ma’an this week.


Heike Schotten
About Heike Schotten

Heike Schotten is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of, among others, “Reading Nietzsche in the Wake of the 2008-09 War on Gaza.

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95 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen on July 11, 2015, 10:44 am

    Sorry, it’s more complicated than what you say.

  2. Princess
    Princess on July 11, 2015, 11:31 am

    Dear Mondoweiss Editors,

    I am a Palestinian-American and I truly applaud the work that you do. You support a position that non-violent protest on the part of Palestinians is the only way to peace and I wholeheartedly agree. However, in situations where Palestinians do engage in violent protest, (i.e.when Hamas shoots missiles into Israel, or when Palestinian protesters in the West Bank hurl stones) you do not condemn these actions as destructive to the movement. I understand that Israel is in the wrong in the first place for enforcing a siege on Gaza and for occupying the West Bank, but violence will never win. I think your coverage should include an admonishment of such violent protest as it ultimately kills the non-violent movement. Please take heed to this perspective, it is not pro-Israel, it is simply anti-violence. Thank you for your time.

    • just
      just on July 11, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Welcome to MW, Princess. I always appreciate finding new visitors to this place.

      I want to refer you to Kate’s place. Here’s today’s compilation:

      “After settlers attack Palestinian family on road to Bethlehem, wife suffers miscarriage and husband is arrested” – See more at:

      Her many articles can be accessed at the bottom of the main page under “Today in Palestine”.

      Israel ‘demonizes’ the completely peaceful BDS movement. Peaceful Palestinian protests are not ‘allowed’ by Israel:

      “Palestinian teen shot, injured by Israeli forces QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager Friday as demonstrators were dispersed during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum village near Qalqiliya in the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces reportedly fired live and rubber-coated-steel bullets injuring Amjad Farouq Abu Khalid, 17, with a live bullet to the leg, the coordinator for the popular resistance committee in the village Murad Shtewei told Ma‘an. Khalid was taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. Shtewei said dozens of Israeli soldiers raided homes in the village and used them as shooting posts, in addition to firing tear gas and skunk water, a foul-smelling liquid has been used by the Israeli military as a form of non-lethal crowd control that can leave individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks. Israeli forces had declared the village a closed military zone at dawn and prevented journalists and international activists from entering, a regular practice by Israeli forces in attempt to prevent the weekly march from taking place.” – See more at:

      I’m afraid that “stone- throwing” is also done by illegal settlers who go unpunished~ in fact they are protected by the IOF!

      I think that the Israelis need to listen to your plea for non- violence, not the imprisoned, and Occupied Palestinian people who valiantly go on in spite of the omnipresent terror dealt by Israel since the Nakba began until today. Thanks for posting. (btw, I am not a MW editor :)

      • Princess
        Princess on July 11, 2015, 12:28 pm

        Hi just,
        I see what you are saying. Israeli Forces generally respond to non-violent Palestinian protests with violence. Therefore, all Palestinian non-violent protesters are not only putting their lives at risk, but are frequently injured or killed in the process. However, this still does not justify violence as a rational form of protest. Violent protest on the part of Palestinians is met with even more violent aggression from the IDF. If I were putting my life on the line for Palestinians, I would rather do so in a non-violent way. If groups like Hamas used civil disobedience to protest the Israeli siege of Gaza, certainly many of them would be killed. But they would be killed anyway if they protested violently. Civil disobedience is a more powerful form of protest and has more lasting results. This is a more just use of one’s life.

        I am simply endorsing civil disobedience as a form of protest for Palestinians instead of violent protests, in the rare instances that violent protest occurs.

      • can of worms
        can of worms on July 11, 2015, 1:57 pm

        Dear Princess, I am a Zionist and I truly applaud what you preach. You support a position where discourse is a violence that we do to things. You also support a position where sheer stupidity is a weapon of offense. The important thing is to try to create a dichotomy between violence and nonviolence, and also to repeat “violence” in order to forestall, as much as possible, the heroic Palestinian struggle from continuing to capture the world’s imagination.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on July 11, 2015, 3:58 pm

        Civil disobedience is a more powerful form of protest and has more lasting results. This is a more just use of one’s life


      • annie
        annie on July 11, 2015, 7:57 pm

        why so much “protest” lingo sans one iota of “resistance” terminology princess?

    • annie
      annie on July 11, 2015, 2:40 pm

      princess, you think it’s the job of mondoweiss (or important for us) to “condemn” rock throwing? thanks for sharing.

      I think your coverage should include an admonishment of such violent protest as it ultimately kills the non-violent movement.

      thus far, after many years as an editor at mondoweiss, i have yet to encounter a submission for publication from a palestinian admonishing palestinians for throwing rocks. if you think we should include it in our coverage, write it yourself, and send it to us [email protected] including your bio (iow, not anonymously).

      • can of worms
        can of worms on July 11, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Thanks Annie.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick on July 11, 2015, 3:00 pm

        “I think your coverage should include an admonishment of such violent protest as it ultimately kills the non-violent movement.”

        Someone should tell her that what is killing the non-violent movement are IDF bullets. Perhaps Princess could educate us on what non-violent measures she uses to protest.

        Annie, am I a bad person for wondering why a Palestinian posting here for the first time insists on statements regarding Palestinian violence?

      • annie
        annie on July 11, 2015, 3:22 pm

        hm, not sure how to answer that abchick since i’m not convinced princess is palestinian. any anonymous person can claim to be palestinian. but who knows, maybe princess will identify herself and elaborate more on her ideas through a submission. there’s a first for everything.

      • just
        just on July 11, 2015, 3:04 pm

        Thanks, Annie. I was hoping that you’d be the editor to show up.

        (Another interesting entrance to MW…

        And though tangentially related, it’s more than a little O/T to this article.)

      • annie
        annie on July 11, 2015, 3:53 pm

        more than a little O/T to this article

        you noticed eh. plus, there’s the lingo; “hurl stones”. just google “palestinians hurl stones” and see who else uses that terminology…

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail on July 11, 2015, 3:58 pm

        Princess, perhaps you would like to think about the differences between resistance, which is legitimate, and protest. You seem to be mixing them up.

        As far as non-violent protest goes, please look up the case of Rachel Corrie, and see how Israel deals with non-violent protest. And then consider how far you can get with such undoubtedly noble actions. See also the flotillas.

        Why should Mondoweiss or EI tell Palestinians what to do, or admonish them? They do a great job in reporting and analysing information. That alone, in an intimidated, manufactured news environment is invaluable. You, like the readers, can make up your own mind and take whatever action in support of a just cause you find appropriate.

        You are implying that MW somehow damages the Palestinian cause – a claim consistent with hasbara, and as far from the truth as you are likely to get. Why are you focussed solely on the consequences of israeli unremitting violence and not their cause? What do you think Palestinians conclude from this daily brutal violence towards them – that violence doesn’t work? It works for Israel.

      • just
        just on July 11, 2015, 4:15 pm

        It was kinda hard to miss.

        Well, I’ll be! (I just did the google thang) Thanks, Annie.

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick on July 11, 2015, 4:27 pm

        Why does a Palestinian American need Mondowiess to communicate with her own community?Isn’t that what Facebook’s for?

        My BS meter keeps going off but I’m trying to ignore it.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on July 11, 2015, 5:32 pm

        Maybe I shall have to join you in the sin bin, abc. The change in the direction of the discussion from the politically loaded use of ‘terrorism’ (Heike’s theme) to stone-throwing looks a bit like a thread-jack: on the other hand, Princess’s other comments don’t engender suspicion.
        I am one who, from a safe distance, would commend to the Palestinians, in all the circumstances as best I understand them, a pacifist method of resistance as morally the best. Advice given in that tone does not really lead to ‘condemnation’, rather than to regret, when the advice is ignored, at least in such minor degrees as Princess mentions. I well know the limitations of my so-called understanding of circumstances; I well know, as does everyone here for their own part, what I would feel were I subjected to the awful things visited on the Palestinians so relentlessly.
        As for terrorism under the definition of which Heike does well to remind us, the Palestinians are a civil population and they are put in fear and coerced by great violence every day of their lives.

      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra on July 12, 2015, 1:44 pm


        I seriously doubt she is a Palestinian. Just look at her language, and how she always talks about Palestinians as separate from herself (isn’t she one of us too?).

        Her language oozes of wishy washy nonsense, she just needed to add in a few mentions of “dialogue” and that she’s “pro peace” and I would have mistaken her for a J-streeter.

      • annie
        annie on July 12, 2015, 1:51 pm

        how she always talks about Palestinians as separate from herself

        i know, of course i noticed this.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus on July 12, 2015, 3:58 pm


        J-streeters are propaganda soldiers just as much as Z-streeters. Look at those we got here already. So no surprise.

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 12:18 pm

        Thanks Annie! You said it as it is! No beat around the bushes. Straight to the heart of the subject.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick on July 11, 2015, 3:03 pm

      “You support a position that non-violent protest on the part of Palestinians is the only way to peace and I wholeheartedly agree.”

      You should be all for BDS then.

    • Keith
      Keith on July 11, 2015, 4:15 pm

      PRINCESS- “I am a Palestinian-American….”

      A Palestinian American Princess (PAP)? Interesting.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on July 11, 2015, 4:19 pm

      but violence will never win

      It always does. It will in this case, too, if the Zionist entity is allowed to complete the genocide of Palestinians.
      Non-violent action is also useful, if you are the weaker party.
      Unlike many here, I believe it when you say that you are a Palestinian born and schooled in the US, and that’s what makes it intolerable.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on July 11, 2015, 7:46 pm

      “You support a position that non-violent protest on the part of Palestinians is the only way to peace and I wholeheartedly agree.”

      Read the “about” page. There’s a tab at the top of the page.

    • pjdude
      pjdude on July 12, 2015, 12:13 am

      some times violence is the answer. it should be avoided whenever possible and always be the last resort. but when an oppressor doesn’t listen and kills those who peacefully speak out i would say it is time for the sword to leave its sheath. being peaceful is a laudable thing but pacifism for the sake of pacifism is just stupid.

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra on July 12, 2015, 3:48 am

      Greetings Princness,
      ….violence never wins……

      A few examples:

      Rome won for 800 yrs.
      The Nazis won for 12 yrs.
      Zionism has won for the last 60.
      White So. Africa had won for 300.
      The UK had won in asia for hundreds.
      The US has been winning since 1776.

      The Palestinians are not fighting to win,
      they are de facto resisting oppression.
      They have been beaten throughly & have
      no fighting chance in an open fight.
      PS Europe used Christianity to sooth the
      pain of the Americas, Australia, NZ, So.Africa
      & other Colonies, any who took on this
      ‘turn the other cheek’ was annihilated by other
      different enemies. Use Resistance & Rebellion
      when enslaved.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra on July 12, 2015, 1:40 pm

      I’m sorry, but that’s such a detached wishy-washy privileged position to hold. An occupied population has the right to resist in any way it sees fit.

      When it comes to resistance, I share Mandela’s attitude: If violent resistance is more effective, then so be it. If peaceful resistance is deemed more effective, then we’d switch to that. But there is no moral issue about violently resisting a military force that occupies you violently. Only the question of strategy and measuring what is more beneficial.

      Secondly, physical violence is not the only type of violence that exists. But Palestinians are subject to every kind of violence under Israel.

      Your message, and the reply to “Just” down there is insulting, condescending and so detached from the realities on the ground.

      Do you think that what you bring is new? Have you heard of the first Intifada? The example par excellence of non-violent civil resistance? What has that brought us? More settlements, more occupation. You think you’re the first person to think like this?

      I’m sorry if I sound harsh right now but you calling people who resist with weapons irrational and declaring one life more just than the other. How dare you. I seriously question if you’re an actual Palestinian, and if you are then you are truly lost. You sound like a liberal Zionist that’s more obsessed with how they are perceived rather than the actual injustice on the ground.

      Shame on you.

      • just
        just on July 12, 2015, 2:11 pm

        +1, diasp0ra!!

        Thanks so much for all of your valuable input and insights, diasp0ra.

        I tried to give her/him the benefit of the doubt by responding to the first bizarre O/T post (addressed to MW editors, of all things!!!), but it only aroused more suspicions with each successive post. I really don’t like it when someone threadjacks, but it aggrieves me that someone has the gall to impersonate a Palestinian in such a way~ it’s shameful and insulting, if true.

        Not to long ago, we met another visitor who threadjacked from their very first post, too. It’s too bad that Heike’s fine article has not gotten deserved attention.

  3. just
    just on July 11, 2015, 11:38 am

    An amazing, important, and welcome piece that encompasses so much~ and it’s about one of my pet peeves!

    I think that Breivik was a terrorist (btw, his own father called him that), I think that many who have committed mass murder in the US are terrorists. When I read that:

    “Why would the US government openly ignore terrorist threats to its citizenry, foolishly leaving the public vulnerable and unprotected?

    Simple: right-wingers and white supremacists aren’t Muslims.”

    All I could whisper was “bingo”! And then I read on and am so impressed with your astute analysis.

    Thank you, Heike.

    • Princess
      Princess on July 11, 2015, 11:53 am

      To add to my initial comment, websites like Electronic Intifada seem to be confused in their position. They should not propagate methods of violent protest. They should explicitly denounce it. Yet articles such as the following do the opposite:

      This is clearly destructive to the non-violent Palestinian resistance movement.

      • Bumblebye
        Bumblebye on July 11, 2015, 2:28 pm

        EI and MW publish a wide variety of voices in their articles, including those advocating non-violence.
        Why are you, who claim to be Palestinian-American, *only* complaining about (minimal) violence on the Palestinian side (which has the *right* of resistance to occupation and all the theft and violence that entails) – and nary a squeak about the appalling levels of violence inflicted by the Israeli overlords?

      • Kris
        Kris on July 11, 2015, 2:36 pm


        You link to an Electronic Intifada article about Mahmoud Jorani, a member of the Palestinian Resistance, Hamas, and father of five children, who was assassinated by Israel while on his way to pray at a mosque, and you say that the EI should denounce “violent methods” of resistance.

        Non-violent resistance works ONLY when the oppressors can be affected by the suffering of their victims; clearly not the case with Zionist Jews, who are unmoved by, and even enjoy, Palestinian suffering.

        Should the Resistance fighters in WWII have held peace marches instead of carrying out their guerrilla strikes on the Nazis? Should Nelson Mandela and the African resistance movement have stood around holding protest signs, waiting to be shot by the Afrikaner troops?

        For years the idealistic Palestinians in Balin have held weekly nonviolent protests, to absolutely no effect, except that the Jewish soldiers have been able to kill and maim so many of these easy targets, at no risk to themselves.

      • just
        just on July 11, 2015, 2:45 pm

        Thanks for your replies, Princess. I am still taken aback by them.
        My guess is that you don’t live in Occupied Palestine…? Have you ever? I’m keen to know more about your own experience as a Palestinian- American~ I must say, it’s quite ‘unique’… I appreciate non- violent resistance as much as anyone, but it clearly doesn’t work against Israel aggression as I’ve already pointed out. What happened in last summer’s massacre was engineered and instigated by Israel.

        Anyway, +1, Bumblebye and Kris~ thank you both!

      • Princess
        Princess on July 11, 2015, 2:46 pm

        I really am Palestinian. I am only “complaining” because every time Israel massacres Gaza, (as they did last summer), it is the result of Hamas shooting missiles. You say that MW and EI publish a “wide variety of voices”. I do not think that MW or EI should publish any people who propagate violence, as does the author of the EI article linked in my previous comment. They should develop platforms that strictly condemn violent protest as it further harms Palestinians and overshadows the image of the non-violent movement. It gives fuel to the racist fire that “all Palestinians are violent”. I realize that this site is devoted to exposing Israel’s violations of human rights and such. I am simply offering a perspective that is not addressed much on this site.

      • just
        just on July 11, 2015, 7:41 pm

        “I am only “complaining” because every time Israel massacres Gaza, (as they did last summer), it is the result of Hamas shooting missiles.”

        That’s entirely untrue! Please Princess, you really need to check into the start of the latest massacre. Israel started the bloody thing with Israeli- style pogroms and hunting of Palestinians, and even wiki will inform you that:

        “From December 2012 to late June/early July 2014, Hamas did not fire rockets into Israel.”

        There’s TONS of history/ information available on this site. If you only avail yourself of MSM junk, you’ll remain terribly misinformed!

        Read the testimonies from the Russell Tribunal @

        Check out Max Blumenthal and his books. I could go on, but I hope that you get the picture.

      • annie
        annie on July 11, 2015, 8:06 pm

        “I am only “complaining” because every time Israel massacres Gaza, (as they did last summer), it is the result of Hamas shooting missiles.”

        threadjack alert.

        princess chose this thread to send mondoweiss editors a message. i’d advise commenting on Heike Schotten’s excellent article. thus far there’s simply no evidence princess even recognizes palestinian resistance, nor addressed it once.

      • Cliff
        Cliff on July 12, 2015, 8:36 am

        You sound like a sock-puppet account, ‘princess.’

  4. Citizen
    Citizen on July 11, 2015, 12:16 pm

    It’s simple, no Americqn voter has a hand in deciding who is, is not, a terrorist, and ditto re “state sponsor of terrorism.” Follow the (Zionist) money.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on July 11, 2015, 5:20 pm

      @ Princess ,

      Methinks Princess is very , very young …or how shall I say it …. never been behind a barricade being shot at , or seeing her loved ones tormented , imprisoned without charge or even stuffed to stifling like an animal within a metal corridor at a checkpoint for hours waiting for the pleasure of the teen soldier to raise her/his head and degradingly talk down at her.

      Maybe Princess should try that sometime.

      • just
        just on July 11, 2015, 5:27 pm

        Well said, bintbiba. Perhaps her family left before the Nakba…


      • diasp0ra
        diasp0ra on July 12, 2015, 1:47 pm

        I think it’s the condescension that gets me the most. The way she talks down to those who choose to pick up weapons after living a life of trauma and misery under MILITARY occupation and violence.

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 8:16 pm

        The troll who called her princess is more than likely lives in an illegal Jewish settlement on the Israeli Occupied West Bank. She have shown no mercy or fraction of compassion when she talked about the killing n suffering of Palestinian, especially in Gaza, where .18 million living under illegal and inhumane siege imposed by both ISISreal and the Government of Gen. SISI,

        Princess’s heart is an empty whole!

  5. ckg
    ckg on July 11, 2015, 2:27 pm

    ‘Terror’ and ‘Terrorism’ are words that are commonly used to bolster and even inflame conflict against Muslims and Arabs. I don’t believe the best solution is to correctly reason that other crimes meet the definition, but instead we should retire these politically charged words from our language. When people use the word ‘terror’ they aren’t thinking of a definition. Rather, they are thinking of a paradigm. That paradigm is usually a Muslim Arab committing a politically charged crime against Israel or its supporters.

    Arguing correctly that McVeigh, Breivik, or Roof are terrorists by definition is about as effective as arguing that tomatoes are not vegetables but fruits and that peanuts are not nuts but legumes. Even rational listeners will nod their head in agreement and then revert to their old paradigms.

    • just
      just on July 11, 2015, 2:38 pm

      +1, ckg!

      • ckg
        ckg on July 11, 2015, 4:58 pm

        Unfortunately, more people think like Plato than Aristotle.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on July 11, 2015, 11:09 pm

        Most people don’t think at all.

        But, for me, “terrorist” first conjures up the Mau Mau, then EOKA, then the Viet Cong, and then the IRA, since those are the first terrorists I heard of, in that order.

      • bryan
        bryan on July 12, 2015, 4:30 am

        Roha: “But, for me, “terrorist” first conjures up the Mau Mau, then EOKA, then the Viet Cong, and then the IRA, since those are the first terrorists I heard of, in that order.”

        Surely Roha, you heard of the original terrorist group, the Sicarii, and their modern successors, the Stern |Gang and Irgun, with their assassinations (e.g. Lord Moyne, Count Folke Bernadotte), their massacres (e.g. Deir Yassin), their truck bombs, their attacks on trains, their letter bombs (e.g. directed at Bevin, Attlee, Churchill, Eden, and possibly Truman), their death threats (e.g. to Hugh Trevor-Roper). Your comment may be making the point that only the opponents of Britain and America get labelled as “terrorists”, but the Israeli pre-state terrorists like the Stern gang were also enemies of Britain and are equally worthy of labeling as terrorists.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on July 12, 2015, 9:00 pm

        Yes, but I only heard of those groups later. The Mau Mau* and EOKA were active when I was a boy, and the IRA seems to have always been around.

        My point was that I don’t automatically think “Arab” when I hear the word “terrorist”.

        (*I think John Ciardi is the only American who has heard of the Mau Mau.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra on July 13, 2015, 4:50 am

      This is very true. Words have associations, and some have come to be racialized, similar to the word “Thug” in the American context that is used to dehumanize mainly Black Americans.

  6. Princess
    Princess on July 11, 2015, 2:51 pm

    Hi just,
    I actually have been to the Occupied Territories (East Jerusalem), it was atrocious, I probably will never go back. I guess I sound conservative because I spent some time at a pretty politically conservative college, (Middlebury College in Vermont).

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on July 11, 2015, 5:32 pm

      Next time try and make the effort to go visit the ‘folks’ in Bil’in , Ni’lin ,or even Nabi Saleh…
      Will fulsomely compliment your “Pretty conservative college” education.

      Seriously, I wish you well ,Princess… I just find it quite odd that you didn’t get any real information at home about the way things are in Palestine !

      Keep on keeping on at Casa MondoWeiss…. an education in itself.!!

    • just
      just on July 11, 2015, 5:47 pm

      I never knew Middlebury College to be a “politically conservative college” at all.

      I know some alumni and they are anything but! As a matter of fact this site assigns it as moderate:

      It’s a very fine school in a very liberal state. I didn’t think that you sounded conservative at all, Princess. Advocating for anti- violence is hardly “conservative”. What I am thinking is that it is nutsy for an Occupied people to not resist or act in self- defense against the grotesque violence that is constantly meted out by the Israelis, and for concerned activists not to act against that via BDS and petitioning their governments, etc.

  7. Princess
    Princess on July 11, 2015, 2:59 pm

    @canofworms, are you being sarcastic? I am anti-Zionist.

    • can of worms
      can of worms on July 11, 2015, 3:43 pm

      Are you? (just between you and me: The killing of Palestinians leaves one quite cold. “Dit laat my koud” . Eh? )

      • Princess
        Princess on July 11, 2015, 3:48 pm

        What does “Dit laat my koud” mean?

      • annie
        annie on July 11, 2015, 8:28 pm

        google is your friend

    • Mooser
      Mooser on July 11, 2015, 6:10 pm

      “@canofworms, are you being sarcastic? I am anti-Zionist.”

      How so?

    • Citizen
      Citizen on July 11, 2015, 10:47 pm

      @ Princess

      “I am only “complaining” because every time Israel massacres Gaza, (as they did last summer), it is the result of Hamas shooting missiles. ”

      I see Middlebury College didn’t teach you to value facts. It is Israel, not HAMAS, who has a factual pattern of breaking ceasefire rules, of instigating to provoke so Israel can, once again, “mow the lawn.” “Who started (or restarted) it” is always HAMAS according to Israel and the US main media and congressional whores. Because you so glibly parrot this hasbara, I think you are not Palestinian; you many not even be an American.

    • can of worms
      can of worms on July 12, 2015, 1:27 am

      @ “What does ‘Dit laat my koud’ mean?”

      It means you’re a zio troll.

      I’m just reminding you of the extra-judicial killing of anti-apartheidist Steve Biko in 1977 by South African police forces. Jimmy Kruger, the Minister for Justice, commented on Biko’s death, “Dit laat my koud” (It leaves me cold).

      @”If Hamas used civil disobedience to protest…Gaza, certainly many of them would be killed. But….this is a more just use of one’s life. ” Ha.

      • annie
        annie on July 12, 2015, 1:40 am

        me thinks ms princess can consider her lame cover busted.

      • can of worms
        can of worms on July 13, 2015, 2:37 am

        Another Israeli cointelpro internet drone has just crashed in the waters off Mondoweiss, releasing debris. The body of the drone landed largely intact with a clearly visible Star of David and Hebrew writing on it.

  8. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on July 11, 2015, 3:11 pm

    I do think it worthwhile to point out that we adopt definitions which are applied politically to far fewer people than those to whom they apply logically. There can’t be too much logical thinking or speaking.
    If one word, like ‘terrorist’, fell out of use another word, which would be subject to the same illogical manipulation, would take its place.

  9. amigo
    amigo on July 11, 2015, 7:36 pm

    Israel now contemplating loosening laws governing the use of the death penalty for so called Terrorists.It is gaining support from the usual suspects , ie Bennett and other right wing wackos.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus on July 11, 2015, 7:48 pm

      Since when did they need laws to murder anyone (or right-wing wackos)?

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick on July 12, 2015, 4:28 pm

        Exactly, their policy for summary executions works fine and is a lot cheaper than a trial.

        And in what other country can you have a policy of shooting kids and still be thought “moral”?

  10. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo on July 12, 2015, 8:35 am

    “However, in situations where Palestinians do engage in violent protest, (i.e.when Hamas shoots missiles into Israel, or when Palestinian protesters in the West Bank hurl stones) you do not condemn these actions as destructive to the movement”

    There is one possibility that Princess could indeed be a Palestinian. She may have been mixed up in the maternity ward and instead of being taken home to her Palestinian parents accidentally got taken home by a Jewish Zionist couple. That might explain it

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on July 12, 2015, 9:23 am

      The smell of ‘something fishy’ was high in the air, yesterday, Bornajoo !!

      At first I couldn’t figure her out… just something very irritating was buzzing around my head… and the name !!! Princess !!! Like adding insult to injury .

      Annie and Just sussed her out all right. So did can of worms.

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 8:33 pm

        @ bintbiba , Take it from this veteran Palestinian writer, Princess’s comments add insult, subtract pleasure, multiply ignorance and divide attention.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick on July 12, 2015, 9:50 am

      She sounded fake to me too and she never mentioned BDS.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on July 12, 2015, 6:34 pm

        Gosh, she seemed completely ingenuous to me, a regular ingenue.

  11. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo on July 12, 2015, 10:05 am

    “But, for me, “terrorist” first conjures up the Mau Mau, then EOKA, then the Viet Cong, and then the IRA, since those are the first terrorists I heard of, in that order”

    For me it was Palestinian and IRA “terrorists” roughly at the same time due to my background (Jewish) and where I grew up (London)

    There is no doubt that slowly and steadily there has been an ongoing conflation between “terrorism” and islam/Arab and only acts by that group appear to be branded as terrorism. This very much serves the clash of civilisations theme and useful to the neocon/zionist agenda

    We either label all such acts, regardless of who commits them as “terrorism” or we drop the term completely. But I can’t see either happening anytime soon

    I believe the author is making a valuable analysis and many thanks for your article Heike Schotten

  12. brokebook
    brokebook on July 12, 2015, 11:26 pm

    The victims in Charleston cannot be victims of terrorism according to the establishment because they’re Christian and even blackness can’t absolve them of that.

  13. amigo
    amigo on July 13, 2015, 5:41 am

    I should point out that the IRA were not the only terrorist group in Northern Ireland.The Unionist side was not short of terrorists.They had the UVF (Ulster volunteer force) , the UDA (Ulster defence association) both of whom were responsible for placing bombs in the Republic of Ireland and killed and maimed many people.

    When so called Arab terrorism is trotted out , as it so often is , Jewish / Zionist terrorism should be given equal time.It is only fair.

  14. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 11:36 am

    Excellent piece of investigative journalism by Heike Schotten. Very insightful and well argued. I truly enjoyed reading it.

  15. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 11:42 am

    @ princess, If I was not fasting and fear to lose my good deeds and pick your bad one, I would have called you with more appropriate names. Palestinians have tendency not to use fake name and aliases when they speak out. Unless you have a legitimate reason to protect your safety and those of your loved one, such as Palestine Defense Minister “Abu Obeida”.

    Blaming Hamas for Israel war crime and genocide in Gaza last year is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist in the face.

    • annie
      annie on July 13, 2015, 1:41 pm

      i think princess has moved on elsewhere.

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 5:49 pm

        I am all for free speech no matter how bigoted the views are. No one like being stabbed in the back. Instead being grateful to be a none Muslim writer for defending Islam and Muslims, princes Disgrace chose to insult the author and spit at her face. This is beyond me! Anyway, bad rubbish good ridden!

    • Heike Schotten
      Heike Schotten on July 13, 2015, 4:10 pm

      Hello friend,

      Glad you liked the article. Given your final sentence, you might be interested in another piece I wrote on the metaphor of Gaza as a woman and aggression against Gaza as sexual violence:

      All the best,

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick on July 13, 2015, 4:33 pm

        Your article in Maan was very interesting for me as I was quite alarmed by the level of sexualized violence some Israeli Jews exhibited towards Gaza. I saw too much of it on Twitter. Do you know if these same sort of sexual images exist in the Arab media towards Israel?

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 5:38 pm

        Heike, thanks for tip about your other article on It is another home run.

        When it comes to Bill Maher view on Islam, Palestinians or women, Maher adds insult, subtracts pleasure divides attention and multiplies ignorance. Keep up the good work.

  16. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 12:01 pm

    Hey princess Disgrace, I am Palestinian too living in the Zionist Occupied United States of America!

    Speaking of non violent resistance, I feel you comment is an insult to the memories and sacrifices of Rachel Corrie, Tistan Anderson, Furkan Dogan, Tom HUrndall and Amy Henochowiczy who were either shot in cold blood by IOF and or maimed for life as in the case of Amy Henochowicz who lost one of her eyes during a peaceful protest in Jerusalem against Israel’s naval raid on Gaza-bound Turkish Flotilla in 2010. A war crime and a massacre in which 10 peace activist lost their lives , including a 19 yrs. old American citizen Furkan Dogan.

    You strike me as a troll who is getting paid by the Israeli Foreign Ministry for the sole purpose of sabotaging sites like this and to act as a mouth piece for the Israeli propaganda machine.

  17. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 12:11 pm

    While reading Princess’s comment, another princes name sprang in mind. That is princess Mariam of Bahrain royal family. She was a princess who fell in love with a US Marine stationed in Bahrain in 1999. He managed to sneak her out of the country illegally on a fake military document.

    They get married in the US after she applied for political asylum. She claimed her life will be in danger if she returned home to her family. Two weeks after 9/11 attack, they split and she returned home. Luckily their short marriage did not produce any children. Their divorce was final in Los Vegas exactly on their Fifth wedding anniversary.

    Last time I checked, Princess Mariam who disgraced her family and country and embarrassed the US Department of Defense was not murdered in so called honor killing upon her return, nor was she beheaded.

    Commenter Princess gave aid and comfort to ISISrael. Plain and simple.

  18. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Princess is a Palestinian as much as Jonathon Pollard is a loyal and patriotic American!

  19. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 12:37 pm

    I agree whole heartedly with the author. Three years ago, I personally received a death threat over the phone hours after an article of mine published. It was titled, ” attack Israel, not iran”.
    The call spoke with heavy British accent and made a direct threat on my life. I was able to record the 10 minutes phone call. Immediately called the police and reported to the local fbi office in my city. I did a search on the caller my self and found out he lives in Spokane, Washington and he has also threatened two other US citizens who were editors of pro Palestinianonline magazines. In addition, the editor of USS Liberty radio talk show was threatened by the same person in a Californian hotel in person. More could be read on subject by googling ” adl death threat”. The point I wanted to make is, when I contacted the fbi office again for an update, I was told don’t call us , we will call you. As far as Department of Homeland Security which I also contacted, send me a note that they forwarded my info and complaint to Spokane District Attorney. This is nearly three years ago, and I have not get a call, or a message from any law enforcement agency I contacted. Forget I was a 20 year old retired veteran of the USAF. That made no difference. Israel and the Jewish lobby is holding our government by the throat. When it comes to Israel, all US public official from the president all the way down have not guts and they get jelly bean legs. Even SpongBob have more guts than them.

    • just
      just on July 13, 2015, 6:11 pm

      I’m very much enjoying your comments, Mahmoud.

      I hope you stay around! ;-)

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo on July 13, 2015, 7:18 pm

        “I’m very much enjoying your comments, Mahmoud.”

        Same here

        “I hope you stay around! ;-)”

        me too!

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 7:57 pm

        Thank you Just and Bornajoo! For a while, I thought I was talking to myself and felt like I was a branch cut off a tree. I will not turn a request down from anyone who stands for peace and justice and supports free and independent Palestine. I think the only person on this page that I know is Miss Anne Ronbbins. Anne and I once lived in the same city and 2) I exchanged email with her regarding Rachel Corrie several years ago. I have to add this site is more pro Palestinians and more pro Muslims than all Arab news organizations combined.

      • annie
        annie on July 13, 2015, 10:08 pm

        we did? oh i am so sorry i forgot mahmoud. yes by all means stick around..please!

      • just
        just on July 13, 2015, 10:32 pm

        I came back to Heike’s excellent article (and unfortunately hijacked thread) hoping to find good discussion and discovered you Mahmoud, and couldn’t believe my good fortune and delight.

        Your clever sense of humor blended with your thoughts is great. Looking forward to having you around and about. ;-)

  20. Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Back to the original article by Heike Schotten, I will never forget when Andrew Adler, “Atlanta Jewish Times” publisher and editor when he authored an article suggesting the need to “order a hit” on President Obama on Jan. 2012. He argued that the VP will take over and will allow Israel to wipe off her enemies. The day after, I called the US Secret Service, if Mr. Adler is arrested or and being investigated over his death threat on the President’s life? The man on the phone, said in response, ” Sir, this matter takes time!” End of the conversation. How many US citizens (Christians & Muslims) are serving time behind bars for making a phony threat on the president’s life? Ask google! Heike Shcotten made a very valid argument about the hypocraciy and double standards that existed through our government when it comes to crimes and terrorism committed on US soil. This is beyond comprehension.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on July 13, 2015, 8:01 pm

      @ Just
      @ Bornajoo

      ” [“I’m very much enjoying your comments, Mahmoud.”

      Same here

      “I hope you stay around! ;-)”

      me too! ]”

      ……… Double ditto …. And that makes three of us,

      • Mahmoud El-Yousseph
        Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 13, 2015, 8:47 pm

        @ bintbiba, I guess today is my lucky day. I was planning to write an article today about America’s # 1 Islamopheob, US Rep. Peter King, but ended spending the whole day with you on this message board. I did enjoy reading two of Heike Schotten articles today as well.

      • annie
        annie on July 13, 2015, 10:05 pm


      • annie
        annie on July 13, 2015, 10:06 pm

        my math is all wrong. make that quadrupled ;)

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