UC Irvine Cancels Nonie Darwish Speech

Front Page Magazine reports the following:

On the heels of Brandeis University’s controversial decision to rescind an honorary degree to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, organizers of a week-long pro-Israel event called iFest, which is currently underway at the University of California, Irvine, say they have been forced to cancel a scheduled speech by Nonie Darwish, a prominent pro-Israel speaker. Lead iFest organizer Daniel Narvy, president of the campus group Anteaters for Israel (AFI), who will be joining the Israeli Defense Forces this summer, says Orange County Hillel was primarily responsible for the cancellation and that the incident is another example of Hillel’s marginalization of Narvy due to his conservative and traditional views.

Nonie Darwish is the founder and president of FormerMuslimsUnited, an advocacy group for Islamic apostates, and Arabs for Israel, an organization that promotes a positive outlook among Arabs toward the Jewish State and advocates for peace in the region. Darwish was born and raised in Egypt during the most tumultuous period of the Arab-Israeli conflict and is the daughter of Col. Mustafa Hafez, former head of Egyptian intelligence in the Sinai and Gaza, who led multiple operations against Israel during the 1950s. Due to his activities, Darwish’s father was killed by the Israeli military in 1956 by a mail bomb when she was 8 years old, which greatly impacted her negative views toward the Jewish State.

Nonie Darwish is among the prominent anti-Jihadists writing today and should therefore be supported.

Progressive western Jews must get beyond the cowardly fear of being called “racist” or “Islamophobic” if they oppose the movement of political Islam.  Islam is Islam and so long as it does not seek to impose itself upon the rest of us then I have no grievance, but when Islam is the heart of a political movement – which it most certainly is – then it becomes a problem for all of us who are not both Muslim and male.

This is why Barack Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood is such a betrayal of his own alleged values, not to mention a betrayal of the United States, itself, given the fact that the Brotherhood is also the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda.

The late, great Barry Rubin certainly understood this.

What I think is that western Jews need, like Israeli Jews, to learn how to stand up in favor of our own best interests.  Western Jews seem to favor everyone but themselves and their people.  That is, progressive-left western Jews are profoundly in favor of women’s rights and Gay rights and the rights of all minority groups, except their own.

I am suddenly put to mind of Milton Himmelfarb’s famous aphorism that “Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans.”

It is not very politically-correct terminology these days, but it is still very apt.

What I see – and I know, of course, that many Jewish progressives would vehemently disagree – is a western Jewish community in the process of dividing itself along political lines around the State of Israel.  On the one hand we have the left-leaning Jewish western majority which tends to blame Israel for the conflict.  That is, the left-leaning western majority of Jews tends to think that the real problem is that Israel is occupying the “Palestinians” and until such a time as the Jews of the Middle East cease this “Occupation” then it will continue to receive the world’s reproach and the rebuke of the BDS movement.

In my view, the real problem is one of perception.  Progressive-left western Jews tend to believe that the Jews of the Middle East are persecuting the local Arabs and that this represents a very significant infringement upon human rights and it is an infringement that the world-wide Jewish community is largely responsible for because we allow it to continue.

Among those of us who participated in progressive-left western politics, this is the message pounded into our skulls on a daily basis by our supposed allies and colleagues.  Ultimately our friends on the left either condemn us for persecuting the innocent, “indigenous Palestinians” or are entirely indifferent to the struggles of the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East, which is generally the case.

Among western intellectuals and political people, considering Israel is not the same as considering Japan or, say, France.   Among western opinionaters Israel is considered something of a shabby demon and many within the western progressive-left would not be the least bit sorry to see the country either destroyed in a brutally violent confrontation with the hostile Arab majority or simply dismantled into yet another non-Jewish, anti-American, anti-Western, majority Arab state.

What I think is that Jews throughout the world should stand up unequivocally behind our brothers and sisters in Israel because if we do not, no one else will.  That much is certain.

This does not mean that we should be uncritical.  I am, in fact, highly critical of Israel and am absolutely horrified that a Likud government under Benjamin Netanyahu actually released the murderers of Jews from Israeli prisons.  My disgust with this behavior is so profound that I considered giving up pro-Israel advocacy, entirely.  Why should any of us stand up for the Jews in the Middle East when their own government will not stand up for themselves?

That is a question that, perhaps, Netanyahu, himself, should ponder.


Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives and a regular contributor to Jews Down Under and the Times of Israel.

Check Also

Since Netanyahu won the election the world has come forward to acknowledge the result. Opinion: Nov 2022.

This most recent Israeli election, the fifth in the current cycle, proved to be quite …


  1. “Why should any of us stand up for the Jews in the Middle East when their own government will not stand up for themselves?”
    You said it yourself: “What I think is that Jews throughout the world should stand up unequivocally behind our brothers and sisters in Israel because if we do not, no one else will.”

    Besides, people are getting fed up. The final batch of 26 prisoners was not released, and perhaps that is a sign of a new attitude. Israelis are tired of the US trying to push them around, and the Hamas-Fatah deal really seemed to be the last straw.

    I agree with you on leftist Western Jews. They are standing up for everyone except their own people, and there are even Jews who are Muslim apologists, despite Islam’s teachings to kill Jews and its followers doing their best to carry out that order.

    We are compassionate people and want to stand up for the underdog. The trouble is, those who are on the left are confused about who that underdog is.

    The old, familiar scapegoating is returning, even here in the West, and people are becoming more comfortable in expressing their anti-Semitism. As a result, more people are flocking to the Jewish State for security, and we must show solidarity.

    But I disagree that the majority of leftist Western Jews are in effect, anti-Israel. Many are ill-informed, that’s true, however, from what I’ve seen, even those who are liberal in their viewpoints are still very pro-Israel. Most do believe in a two-state solution but not at any cost.

    And that is the problem with Obama. He wants a Palestinian State at any cost to Israel. The PA can do whatever it wants, but Israel must give away everything. How any American Jew could continue to support Obama now that he’s shown his true colors is just beyond me!

    People need to wake up to the fact that nowadays, a part of liberalism is BDS and Israel-bashing, which are nothing more than anti-Semitism under the guise of political movements. This alone should be enough for Jewish liberals to jump ship. I hope they do because nothing disgusts me more than displays of self-hatred.

  2. Mike, Rachel is a friend of mine and has posted a number of articles.