Nur Arafeh’s commentary “Baltimore, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem” (May 6, 2015) is riddled with distortions, omissions, and suspect citations that prevent readers from obtaining anything but a one-sided story.

Arafeh, a policy member at the Palestinian Policy Network and university lecturer at Al Quds University stretches her bid to tie Baltimore’s recent riots over alleged police brutality with Israeli-Palestinian developments beyond the breaking point. She claims that little attention has been paid to protests surrounding the “killing of teenager Ali Abu Ghannam by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint to the east of Jerusalem.” However, she omits that Ghannam was trying to attack border guards with a knife, after previously attacking another guard post with a cleaver, when he was killed. Readers might wonder why Arafeh saw fit to leave out this important detail.  

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Hamas, a U.S. listed terrorist organization currently ruling the Gaza Strip, did pay attention, calling Ghannam’s failed assault and other concurrent attempts unmentioned by Arafeh – such as the stabbing of a border guard in Hebron and an attempted firebombing in Jerusalem – “unique [acts of] heroism and courage that deserve everyone’s appreciation and respect.” 

Not particularly good with facts, Arafeh argues that Israel has been seeking to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem. This is an odd argument as Jerusalem historically has been a Jewish city. She claims that this “Judaization” has been ongoing since 1967 when Israel “illegally annexed East Jerusalem.” Yet she fails to mention that Jordan seized eastern Jerusalem in 1948 during a war of aggression in which Jewish residents were driven out and synagogues and other Jewish property destroyed.  

Arafeh claims “in order to achieve a ratio of 30 percent Palestinians and 70 percent Jews within the Jerusalem municipality, Israel has been carrying out discriminatory urban and zoning policies.” However, the professor fails to provide proper evidence to substantiate this attack; the source that she lists says no such thing. In any case, the proportion of Arabs to Jews in Jerusalem since 1967 has gone from 1:3 to 1:2 even as the numbers of both have increased greatly.

The author continues with mendacious omissions by claiming that textbooks in Jerusalem are “censored.” She provides no evidence for this claim, nor does she note that the Palestinian Authority itself—in violation of the Oslo accords of 1993—broke its promise to educate for peace by restoring anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli propaganda to pre-’67 Jordanian textbooks after Israeli authorities had removed such antisemitic and anti-Zionist incitement.  

Arafeh omits that her employer, Al Quds University, has an Abu Jihad Museum that honors Khalil Al-Wazir (also known as Abu Jihad), responsible for murdering 124 Israelis, including 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and for the 1978 Coastal Road massacre that killed 38 civilians, 11 of them schoolchildren. Al-Wazir also took part in a terrorist attack that murdered two American diplomats in 1973 Sudan. Nor does she note that a fellow policy member at her Palestinian Policy Network is convicted spy Ameer Makhoul, a member of the U.S.-listed terrorist group Hezbollah. 

By presenting unsubstantiated claims as facts and omitting essential details, Arafeh seeks to capitalize on the Freddie Gray/Baltimore tragedy and sell a spurious Israeli-Palestinian story as the truth. It is anything but.

Durns is media assistant at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.