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Taher Herzallah

Overview

Taher Herzallah has expressed support for violence against Israeli Jews, was arrested twice for anti-Israel disruptions and spread an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Herzallah has called [01:12:46] for the destruction of Zionism, promoted [00:04:04] religious hatred of Israel, excused religious anti-Semitism and spread incitement. He has also posted pro-terrorist imagery to social media and demonized Israel, as well as a Jewish heritage trip [00:11:24] to Israel.

As of July 2019, Herzallah was the Associate Director of Outreach & Grassroots Organizing of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), working to expand AMP activism.

Herzallah is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

He attended the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) conferences in 2017 and 2015.

Herzallah also engaged in activism with IfNotNow (INN) in 2017 and 2018.

As of July 2019, Herzallah’s LinkedIn page said he had worked as AMP’s West Coast Regional Director & National Campus Coordinator between September 2010 and September 2016. He was president of Muslim Students Association (MSA) West (MSA West) from July 2009 to July 2010 and interned for the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the summer of 2009.

Herzallah graduated from the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) in 2011, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations.

Supporting Violence

On November 27-29, 2014, Herzallah appeared [00:41:55] in a Youtube video speaking at the seventh annual AMP conference.

In the video, Herzallah idolized [00:47:27] violent revolutionaries as models for change and rhetorically asked [00:49:06]: “What if, as Muslims we wanted to establish an Islamic state? Is that wrong? What if, as Muslims, we wanted to use violent means to resist occupation? Is that wrong?"

As of December 2018, NGO Monitor attributed to Herzallah an undated quotation appearing on Facebook. The quote said: “in order for them [Israeli society] to feel any compulsion or urge to end the occupation, they need to feel that they are in an abnormal situation. In that regard, Hamas’ rockets are effective even though they don’t kill anyone…Hamas’ rockets are an oppressed people’s audible cry for help."

Israel commenced Operations Cast Lead (OCL), Pillar of Defense (OPD) and Protective Edge (OPE) in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014 respectively, in order to stop Hamas rocket fire from Gaza targeting Israeli civilians.

Also as of December 2018, NGO Monitor attributed to Herzallah a Facebook post showing a photo of a tank on fire and another photo of wounded and bloodied Israeli soldiers. Herzallah wrote: “The most beautiful site in my eyes."

Arrests and Disruptions

On February 16, 2017, Herzallah joined AMP official Kareem El-Hosseiny, along with three INN activists and a CODEPINK activist to disrupt a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on David Friedman's nomination to be the United States Ambassador to Israel.

Herzallah and El Hosseiny were arrested and charged with unlawful conduct and disrupting the U.S. Congress. INN and AMP co-hosted a rally titled: “#DropTheCharges" to “make noise to pressure the US Attorney into dropping" the criminal charges against the pair.

On January 29, 2015, Herzallah appeared [00:00:12] in a Youtube video where he and other AMP activists shouted down Israeli soldiers who were invited to speak on the Cal Poly Pomona campus about their personal experiences fighting terrorism.

Herzallah shouted [00:00:43] “You’re not welcome on our campus!" Others activists shouted [00:00:25]: “There are two war criminals in this building!"

In February 2010, Herzallah was one of the "Irvine 11," a group of mostly University of California, Irvine (UCI) students, who were arrested and prosecuted for their role in disrupting a speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, at UCI.

During Oren’s speech, Herzallah stood up [00:05:48], shouted at Oren that he was a “mass murderer" and was then escorted out by police. Other students did the same thing, including one who accused [00:06:48] Oren of being “an accomplice to genocide."

In September 2011, 10 of the 11 students, including Herzallah, were reportedly convicted of “two misdemeanors to conspire and then disrupt" Oren’s speech. They were all sentenced to community service.

Spreading an Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory

In the November 2017, Herzallah wrote [p.54] an article in a magazine published by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), claiming that Israeli policy in Jerusalem could lead the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be “lost forever".

Herzallah alleged [p.54] that the threat to Al-Aqsa was happening “In the context of the city’s [Jerusalem] ongoing Judaisation (i.e. forcibly removing Palestinians and imposing Jewish authority), not to mention the constant allegedly archaeological digs that undermine the mosque’s foundations … "

The allegation that Jews “threaten" to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been a traditional pretext for Arab attacks on Jews long before the existence of the modern Jewish state.

Such propaganda served as the excuse for an upsurge in Palestinian violence that flared in the fall of 2015 and incited Palestinians to attempt mass casualty attacks on Israeli civilians in July 2016. .

Herzallah added [p.54]: “In a world where Zionism is slowly eating away at the crippled Muslim world, the Palestinians have essentially become our last line of defense. If Israel were to take over the entire compound or possibly even destroy al-Aqsa, it would be the death knell of the Muslim world …"

Calling for the Destruction of Zionism

On January 18, 2015, Herzallah declared [01:12:04] his objection to the State of Israel within any borders and said [01:12:46]: “...we cannot envisage a future, a beautiful bright future for the Palestinian people as long as Zionism exists... the only language that the State of Israel understands is that of resistance."

Zionism is the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination in their own national home, and the right to develop their national culture.

Promoting Religious Hatred of Israel

On July 29, 2014, Herzallah spoke [00:01:19] at an anti-Israel protest in Westwood, California, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge (OPE) against Hamas.

Herzallah, in his speech, suggested [00:04:04] that Muslims alone should control Israel, saying: “those should be custodians of this land, those who should fight for this land, those who should care for this land should be the people of Mohammad."

Israel commenced Operation Protective Edge (OPE) in July 2014, to stop rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians and to destroy Hamas attack tunnels.

Excusing Religious Anti-Semitism

On August 3, 2017, Herzallah on Facebook excused anti-Semitic statements [00:00:13] by Imam Ammar Shahin and criticized Muslim leaders for apologizing for Shahin’s remarks.

During a July 21, 2017 sermon in California, a week after after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers stationed outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Shahin quoted an ancient Hadith about the end of days when Muslims would murder Jews.

Shahin also recited [00:01:28] a public prayer in response to Israel’s installation of metal detectors outside the Temple Mount after the terror attack, saying: “Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the yahood [Jews]… Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them."

Herzallah’s Facebook post defended Shahin’s prayer, claiming: “when palestinians refer to zionists as ‘yahood’ it's in the context of occupation and oppression."

Herzallah went on to write: “The muslim community doesn't go into synagogues and regulate the speech of rabbis. I wonder what would happen if we went into America's synagogues and recorded their speeches. I wonder just how much islamophobia and anti muslim racism we would hear."

Spreading Incitement

On July 19, 2017, Herzallah twice shared an AMP link on Facebook that showed a photo of the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the hashtag “#SaveAlAqsa."

Terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14, 2017, outside the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel responded by installing metal detectors and security checks at the entrance to the holy site.

The terrorists reportedly feared that “Al Aqsa is in danger," which has long been a pretext for Arab attacks on Jews long before the State of Israel’s existence. Following rioting and further violence, the Israeli government removed the metal detectors on July 25, 2017.

Sharing Pro-Terrorist Imagery

On May 22, 2017, Herzallah posted a photo of himself to Facebook, with the caption: “I Support #DignityStrike."

The phrase “Dignity Strike" referred to a hunger strike initiated on April 16, 2017, by Marwan Barghouti — who financed the guitar-case bomb used in the Sbarro Cafe bombing.

Barghouti also headed the Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorist Tanzim force and founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Barghouti’s organizations carried out a large number of deadly attacks, killing scores of Israelis and wounding hundreds.

Barghouti was sentenced to five consecutive life terms by an Israeli civilian court for some of his crimes. While in Israeli prison, Barghouti completed his doctorate in Political Science.

More than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners participated in the hunger strike — most of whom were also convicted for acts of terrorism.

On October 10, 2015, Herzallah updated his Facebook cover photo to an image of a keffiyeh-masked woman handing rocks to masked men, wearing Hamas headbands.

October 2015 saw an upsurge in violence across Israel incited by Palestinian political and religious leaders. The wave of stabbings — known as the “Knife Intifada" — saw young Palestinians throughout the country stabbing and attempting to stab Israeli civilians.

Demonizing Israel

On May 1, 2018, Herzallah alleged on Facebook that Israel was carrying out “genocide" by spraying herbicides near its border fence.

On April 19, 2018, Herzallah posted a photo on Instagram from an anti-Israel rally at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and wrote: “#apartheid #zionismwillfall #GazaUnlocked."

On the same day, Herzallah posted another photo from the rally, commenting: “Speak the truth no matter how much your voice shakes. #freepalestine #greatreturnmarch."

On March 30, 2018, some 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza approached Israel’s border to take part in “Land Day Protests" or the “March of Return." The March of Return was organized and funded by Hamas as a campaign of violent protests along Israel’s border to spotlight the demand of Palestinians to “return" to Israel.

The “right of return" is a Palestinian demand discredited as a means to eliminate Israel.

March participants sent scores of kites bearing explosive devices across Israel’s border to burn Israeli crops and homes. Participants also attempted to breach the border fence, which caused the Israeli Defense Forces to respond with live fire.

Agitators threw Molotov cocktails, firebombs, shot firearms and threw rocks under the cover of smoke from burning tires.

On July 26, 2016, Herzallah shared a link on Facebook with a photo of protesters holding a sign that read: “STOP FUNDING ISRAEL TERROR."

On February 8, 2015, Herzallah tweeted: “Zionists chanting ‘singling out this nation, is discrimination’. Well israel singles itself out committing genocide #UCSADivest"

On October 14, 2014, Herzallah tweeted: “israel was always racist. Racism is the foundation of the state of israel."

On September 29, 2014, Herzallah tweeted: “Israel and ISIS causing massive refugee crisis in Arab world #JSIL #JSILisISIL."

That same day, Herzallah tweeted: “both Israel and ISIS occupy Arab land illegally #JSILisISIL #JSIL #ICC4Israel."

The hashtag “#JSIL" means “Jewish State in the Levant" and is used as a way of comparing Israel to the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL).

On May 9, 2014, Herzallah tweeted: “[Syrian Prime Minister Bashar] Assad trying to compete with Israel in creating the modern worlds greatest human catastrophe #Nakba #BloodElections."

Nakba is generally translated as “catastrophe" in Arabic, referring to the outcome of the 1948 War. It is a term often used to delegitimize the creation of the State of Israel by defining it as a catastrophe.

Demonizing a Jewish Heritage Trip

On February 25, 2019, Herzallah appeared on Al Jazeera’s Youtube program The Stream. He said [00:11:14]: “When young Jews participate in Birthright...and do not demand the right to return for Palestinians, they are effectively engaged in the process of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people."

Birthright Israel is a heritage trip to Israel for Jewish young adults from across the world.

The “right of return" is a Palestinian demand discredited as a means to eliminate Israel. International law mandates no absolute right of return and UN Resolution 194, which defined principles for “returning Palestine refugees to their homes," was unanimously rejected by Arab nations following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Activism with INN

On May 20, 2018, during the violent March of Return riots on Israel’s Gaza border, Herzallah co-led an INN training event in Washington, D.C.

INN described the training session as an effort to “learn more about the history of Gaza, Palestinian non-violent resistance and how our community can take action to oppose the Israeli Military's recent actions."

On April 16, 2018, Herzallah partnered [00:06:06] with INN activists to stage a disruption in the office of Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to protest Cardin’s proposed anti-BDS legislation.

Addressing the INN activists after invading Cardin’s offices, Herzallah denounced [00:06:06] the legislation, Senate Bill 720, characterizing [00:06:29] it as “ludicrous" and claiming that America was built on “boycott, essentially."

Herzallah also claimed [00:05:35] the response from “Israeli society" to the “March of Return" was to “stand on the… towers to watch as the Israeli soldiers pick off Palestinian protesters like it’s open season in the woods of Maryland."

Following the arrest of some INN activists who occupied senator Cardin’s office, Herzallah was interviewed [00:44:31] and said that he was at the disruption “with all the great folks of INN D.C."

He went on to say [00:44:45]: “we have the right to return to our native and indigenous homeland" and pledged: “we will continue to stand every Friday, ‘til we return, continue on the Great March."

On March 27, 2017, Herzallah led 55 INN members in a session about “how the right-wing uses Islamophobia to justify and further entrench the occupation," according to an INN article from May 4, 2017 on Medium.

INN said that Herzallah and the participants discussed how “various Jewish institutions that perpetuate Islamophobia support the occupation," as well as “the ways Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism are intertwined, and how it relates to oppression of Arab-Jews."

According to the article, the training also focused on “the ways Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism, and Ashkenazi dominance in our community are connected." The participants reportedly left the training “committed to seeing these connections and working to end these forms of oppression."

Attending the 2017 National SJP Conference

On October 27-29, 2017, Herzallah attended the 2017 National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) conference, held in Houston, TX.

The conference was themed “A Reimagined World: Dismantling Walls from Palestine to the Rio Grande." Per the National Students for SJP 2017 Conference website, the conference aimed to strengthen “collaborative efforts within all regions to pass BDS" and envision “pathways to achieving sanctions in the future."

AMP

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) was founded by UC Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian as a vehicle to generate mainstream support in the United States for the Palestinian national cause.

On its website, the organization lists Bazian as the chairman of its national board and describes itself as “a national education and grassroots-based organization, dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused AMP of promoting “extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans" about Palestinians. The ADL further stated that AMP is directly involved in campus-based anti-Israel activity through Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Prior to founding the AMP in 2006, Dr. Bazian created SJP together with fellow UC Berkeley Professor Snehal Shingavi in 2001. The close working relationship between AMP and SJP has been documented several times over the years by several organizations, including NGO Monitor and StandWithUs.

In addition to providing financial, public relations and legal assistance to SJP, AMP has also been accused of having connections to Hamas. The AMP national board includes former members of both the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP) and Holy Land Foundation (HLF), both of which were found liable for aiding and abetting Hamas. The IAP was founded by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a senior member of Hamas.

BDS

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was founded by Omar Barghouti in 2005 as an allegedly “Palestinian-led movement" to challenge “international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism."

In 2015, Barghouti was quoted saying that “BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights."

The dominant organization in the BDS Movement is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), founded by Barghouti in 2007, during the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel.

The movement has been linked to numerous terrorist organizations and received a public endorsement from Hamas.

BDS initiatives include calling on institutions and individuals to divest from Israeli-affiliated companies, promoting academic and cultural boycotts of Israel and anti-Israel rallies and protests.

The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions." In these cases, student governments, backed by anti-Israel affiliates, have proposed resolutions on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities.

These boycott resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.

BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace.

SJP

SJP was co-founded in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) by Professors Hatem Bazian and Snehal Shingavi. Bazian served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) while studying at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and headed the Muslim Students Association (MSA) while earning his M.A. at UC Berkeley. In 2004, while the second intifada was already winding down in Israel, he called for an intifada in the United States.

Shingavi, an activist tied to the International Socialist Organization (ISO), has been criticized for using his literature course as a vehicle for promoting anti-Israel propaganda. SJP has grown to become the primary student movement advancing the Palestinian national agenda on North American campuses and is the primary force behind BDS campaigns at most schools.

SJP activists frequently intimidate and harass Jewish and pro-Israel students. SJP members have physically assaulted Jewish students, aggressively disrupted pro-Israel events and possibly vandalized communal property. SJP rallies regularly include hate-speech and chants such as “Long Live The Intifada" and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free" — calls for violence and for the destruction of the Jewish state.

SJP chapters frequently run inflammatory campaigns against Israel, including BDS resolutions, rallies, Israel-Apartheid initiatives, propaganda comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, mock checkpoints and “die-ins."

SJP chapters regularly host individuals linked to terrorist activity and speakers who use language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department.

IfNotNow (INN)

IfNotNow (INN) is an anti-Israel organization founded in 2014, in response to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge (OPE) against Hamas.

INN claims to be “young Jews angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions" to OPE. INN presents three demands on its website: “Stop the War on Gaza, End the Occupation, and Freedom and Dignity for All."

INN defines “the Occupation as the military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza," which is land Israel has controlled for nearly 50 years since the 1967 Six-Day War. However, INN leaders have made [00:34:32] the claim [00:13:49] at protests that the occupation is 70 years long, referring to Israel’s founding in 1948.

INN actions have aimed to demonize [00:38:13] Israel, harass [00:05:44] mainstream American Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and decrease support for Israel among American Jews.

INN has used “public action and imaginative ritual" to achieve its goals, including disruptions where activists were arrested.

One of the high-profile arrests occurred at a May 2018 disruption at a U.S. Senator’s office in Washington, D.C. to protest legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

At the same incident, INN used [00:07:17] the Jewish ritual of the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer to mourn [00:09:10] protesters who were killed during the Hamas-organized and funded Great March of Return riots on the Israel-Gaza border.

INN activists have also staged and promoted walk-offs from Birthright Israel trips, a heritage trip to Israel for young Jewish adults from across the world.

INN claims to take no position on the BDS movement and that it is “open to any who seek to shift the American Jewish public away from the status quo that upholds the Occupation." However, INN organizes with pro-BDS, anti-Israel organizations including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

MSA

The MSA was established by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in January 1963 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with the goal of "spreading Islam as students in North America." A 2004 FBI investigation uncovered an internal Muslim Brotherhood document in which a brotherhood leader identified the MSA as "one of our organizations."

The MSA reportedly has “nearly 600 chapters" located in the United States and Canada, and is “the most visible and influential Islamic student organization in North America," boasting conferences, special events, publications, websites and other activities.

The organization includes a number of previous chapter presidents with explicit links to terrorist groups. Included are al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (Colorado State University), Somali al-Shabaab militant leader Omar Shafik Hammami (University of South Alabama) and Pakistani Taliban recruiter Ramy Zamzam of the MSA's Washington, D.C. council.

CAIR

CAIR describes itself as a “grassroots civil rights and advocacy group" and “America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, with regional offices nationwide." Its official mission is “enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims."

CAIR reportedly has “significant ties" to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Hamas. A number of former CAIR employees have been convicted on fraud and terrorism-related charges that resulted monetary fines, jail terms and, sometimes, deportation.

CAIR was founded in 1994 and opened its first office in Washington, DC, with the help of a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity founded by Mousa Abu Marzook.

Marzook, who was listed as a "Specially Designated Terrorist" by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1995, is reportedly a senior member of Hamas.

In May 2007, CAIR was listed as an “unindicted co-conspirator" in a U.S.-filed action against the HLF for providing funds to Hamas.

CAIR was also listed as a terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates, in 2014.

Social Media and Web Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/578285874

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaherHerzallah

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taherherzallah/ [Private]

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/taher-herzallah-10896316

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/taherherzallah

Occupation:
Professional

University:
UCR

Organizations(s):
AMP,
BDS,
CAIR,
INN,
MSA,
SJP

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Last Modified:
02/18/2020

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Infamous Quotes

“What if, as Muslims we wanted to establish an Islamic State? What if as Muslims we wanted to use violent means to resist occupation? Is that wrong?”
“In a world where Zionism is slowly eating away at the crippled Muslim world, the Palestinians have essentially become our last line of defense. If Israel were to take over the entire compound or possibly even destroy al-Aqsa, it would be the death knell of the Muslim world …”
“In the context of the city’s [Jerusalem] ongoing Judaisation (i.e. forcibly removing Palestinians and imposing Jewish authority), not to mention the constant allegedly archaeological digs that undermine the mosque’s foundations … ”
“... when palestinians refer to zionists as ‘yahood’ [Jews] it's in the context of occupation and oppression … The muslim community doesn't go into synagogues and regulate the speech of rabbis. I wonder what would happen if we went into America's synagogues and recorded their speeches. I wonder just how much islamophobia and anti muslim racism we would hear.”
“...we cannot envisage a future, a beautiful bright future for the Palestinian people as long as Zionism exists... the only language that the State of Israel understands is that of resistance.”

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