Sawsan Jaber: Propagandist and Educational Leader

Introduction

Dr. Sawsan Jaber, who has served in a number of leadership positions within the field of education, abuses her position of prominence by disseminating virulent antisemitic and anti-Israel messages in her professional work and on social media. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English (NCTE CARBTE), founder of the Arab American Education Network and of Education Unfiltered Consulting, and has served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standards Committee.

In educational contexts and on social media, Dr. Jaber has

  • Utilized antisemitic tropes, suggesting the Jewish state seeks to dominate the world, insinuating that Jews exert control over powerful politicians by leveraging their power to advance insidious aims, spreading blood libels, and demonizing Jews.
  • Denied Jewish indigeneity to the Land of Israel.
  • Falsely accused Israel of engaging in ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
  • Inaccurately identified the entirety of Israel as “occupied territory.”
  • Encouraged teachers to use books making false and defamatory claims about Israel and Jews in their instructional capacities.

Propagating Antisemitic Ideas

Jewish World Domination

The false claim that Jews are plotting to take over the world became popularized and widely disseminated with the publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document fabricated by Tsarist antisemites alleging a Jewish plan to take over the world that became a mainstay of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda.  Dr. Jaber echoes this antisemitic lie in a social media post depicting the world with Israeli flags planted in various countries around the planet accompanied by the words “Israel is involved in oppression all around the world not just in Palestine…” (captured on 10/9/23).

Similar intimations of a hidden and malevolent plot of Jewish control appear in a tweet by Khaled Beydoun that Dr. Jaber promoted on her social media in which he states:

Keep them stupid and distracted with football, Drake, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift.

Then, mobilise the lulled masses with propaganda that portrays those with power as the oppressed, and those trapped in open-air prisons as terrorists, all of them—deserving of incessant and indiscriminate bombing.

Those awakened from their stupor—although not able to locate Israel or Gaza on a map—will do your bidding and wholeheartedly support Ethnic Cleansing (captured on 10/11/23).

Jews Using Money to Exert Control Over Politicians to Advance Insidious Aim

Throughout history, the association of Jews with money has often been inflected by antisemitism, with Jews being accused of being capitalist exploiters, socialist agitators, or some combination of these two accusations into an international conspiratorial conception of Jewish bankers and Jewish Bolsheviks working together to eliminate and subjugate others.[1]

This international conspiratorial conception of Jews aiming to dominate others with their money and political influence is echoed in a cartoon shared by Dr. Jaber depicting President Biden (“Genocide Joe”) raining missiles with Stars of David with “U.S. Taxpayers Money” on “Gaza” (captured on 10/29/23).

Blood Libels

In the medieval period, Jews were falsely accused of the ritual murder of Christian children and the use of the victims’ blood in baking matzah around the Easter/Passover season.  These false accusations became known as blood libels and were instrumental in justifying Christian persecution of Jews.  Similarly false charges leveled against the State of Israel accusing the state of organ harvesting and engaging in genocide echo such blood libels.

The scholar Jeffrey L. Rubenstein[2] has argued that psychological mechanisms, like guilt, doubt, and hatred, have driven both traditional blood libels and contemporary genocide libels.  In terms of the organ-harvesting charge, Dr. Jaber has promoted social media posts leveling such an accusation against the State of Israel, as when Dr. Jaber promoted a post suggesting that the State of Israel has “harvest[ed] organs of Palestinians for decades in an Israeli organ bank” (captured on 11/11/23).

Genocide Inversion

The false accusation that the State of Israel is committing genocide was made in both the NCTE’s CARBTE released statement and was expressed by Dr. Jaber.  While NCTE leadership insisted that the statement issued by CARBTE “was unauthorized by NCTE leadership,” NCTE still allowed Dr. Jaber’s presentations to happen despite her false and antisemitic claims about Israel.

In at least one NCTE presentation, Dr. Jaber falsely described Gaza as “an open-air concentration camp” and falsely claimed that Palestinians have been experiencing “a human genocide.”

On social media, Dr. Jaber has made or promoted the following comparably false claims of Israeli genocide:

War is tragic on all sides.  But we cannot fault Palestinians, especially Gazans living in a modern day concentration camp for over a decade, for fighting for their humanity.  That doesn’t make them terrorists.  It makes them human (10/11/23).

For all my friends who consider themselves equity advocates, if you are in support of the genocide of my people, if you’re for the murdering of innocent babies and entire families, please unfriend me.  If you don’t know, you have an obligation to learn (10/11/23).

The same people today that endorse the mass genocide of Palestinians in Gaza are the same stock of people that would endorse the massacre of Native Americans in the US, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, apartheid in South Africa, and the ethnic cleansing of Uighurs in China (Youssef Kromah, captured on 10/13/23).

Let’s call it out for what it is…….. Year 75 of Palestine’s ongoing holocaust […] Gaza is nothing short of a concentration camp (captured on 10/11/23).

There is a mass genocide unfolding in Gaza right now.  The US government has given Israel the green light to commit this genocide with our tax dollars […] Entire families have been wiped out, from the elders to babies as young as three weeks old.  Families have lost their histories and their future generations in one fell swoop […] (captured on 10/17/23)

Rather than our government officials calling for a ceasefire and an end to this cycle of violence, they are sending more weapons to Israel and fully supporting this genocide.  This is despite Israeli officials already openly stating their intent to open “the gates of hell” on Gaza, and referring to the 2 million Palestinian men, women, and children trapped inside as “human animals” […] (captured on 10/17/23)

[…] Millions of people have liked and shared these pieces, including famous celebrities and artists.  Many of these same artists are showing their hypocrisy now by expressing their unwavering support for Israel […] They’re participating in the dehumanization of Palestinians and helping manufacture public consent for genocide (captured on 10/17/23).

[…] This is genocide […] (captured on 10/29/23)

(Click on each image below to enlarge.)

The claim that Israel is committing genocide is false for a number of reasons:

  • The idea that Palestinians have been experiencing a holocaust for the past 75 years, as Dr. Jaber has stated, is belied by demographic evidence indicating a Palestinian population that is growing rather than declining:
    • The Palestinian Central Bureau has indicated that as of 2013, the Palestinian population has increased more than eightfold since the establishment of the State of Israel.
    • The United States Census Bureau International Database has shown that the population of the Gaza Strip has grown 600 percent since 1960.
  • The idea that Palestinians are currently experiencing a genocide perpetrated by Israel is likewise belied by the evidence:
    • Israeli governmental authorities have repeatedly stated that the Israeli military campaign is directed at the terrorist organization Hamas, not the Palestinian people as a whole.
    • Israeli activities, like providing humanitarian corridors for Palestinian civilians to evacuate from areas where the Israeli military is operating and facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, underscore that Israel’s campaign is targeting Hamas, not Palestinian civilians (For more details on measures that Israel has taken to avoid harming Palestinian civilians, see “Ethnic Cleansing Smear” below.).

Comparing Israeli behavior to Nazi genocide is a form of “genocide inversion,” which is considered a form of antisemitism according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism.  American historian and U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, describes “genocide inversion” as “turning the victims of genocide into perpetrators.”[3]  Also, the U.S. State Department considers “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” to be an example of antisemitism.[4]

Dr. Jaber obscures the actual number of Palestinian civilians killed by the IDF in its war with the internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas by relying in a social media post (captured on 10/14/23) on the “Palestinian Health Ministry,” which is an entity of Hamas.

The number of dead Palestinians provided by the “Palestinian Health Ministry” includes both Palestinian terrorists and civilians killed by the IDF.  Hamas has, in the past, issued directives[5] to call all casualties “innocent civilians” and has been known to inflate the number of Palestinian deaths,[6] casting doubt on the reliability of the number provided by the “Palestinian Health Ministry.”

While Dr. Jaber promotes the false charge that the State of Israel is committing genocide, she denies the eliminationist aims of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish state and is responsible for the murder of countless Jews, as exemplified on Oct. 7, 2023 and as indicated in Hamas leaders’ subsequent statements.[7]  In her post (captured on 11/8/23), Dr. Jaber whitewashes and justifies these goals, stating, “the other [Palestinian side] is asking for freedom and somehow they put those asking for freedom at fault.”

Omitted from Dr. Jaber’s post is any mention of the fact that Hamas’ charter expresses a yearning for the killing of Jews: “The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!’”[8]  Moreover, the PLO’s Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences has sponsored and the Palestinian Authority has funded a Palestinian youth magazine, Zayzafuna, which has presented Hitler as a figure worthy of admiration, as when “Hitler tells a Palestinian girl in her dream: ‘I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.’”[9]

Demonization of Jews

The demonization of Jews has been evidenced not only in medieval Christians’ associations of Jews with Satan, but also in modern times with Hitler’s identification of the Jews as “the men of Satan”[10] and radical Islamists identifying Jews as “his [Satan’s] best friends,”[11] viewing Jews as instruments of Satan.  Dr. Jaber echoes this antisemitic trope in a social media post of a cartoon purportedly depicting the human costs in Gaza of Israeli military action accompanied by the words “Another Home in Gaza is shelled by Israhell…” (captured on 10/14/23), explicitly linking the name of the Jewish state, “Israel,” with the name of a demonic domain, “hell.”

Denial of Jewish Indigeneity

Dr. Jaber shared a post on social media (captured on 10/10/23) identifying “[Gaza’s Palestinians]” as “the indigenous people” of the land, suggesting Jews are not indigenous to the land of Israel.

The implication that Jews are not indigenous to the land of Israel is false.  There is ample archaeological evidence of Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel.[12]  Genetic studies have also demonstrated Jewish and Palestinian roots in the area.[13]  If the claim to Palestinian indigeneity is to be affirmed, how much more so should the claim of Jewish indigeneity be affirmed given that “the Palestinian claim really only dates to the 1800s, while the Jewish claim dates back 3,000 years.”[14]

Ethnic Cleansing Smear

Dr. Jaber propagates the false claim that the State of Israel is committing ethnic cleansing in the following social media posts:

[This] has been about a country stolen & its native people being ethnically cleansed to create a new country for the colonizers on Palestinian carcasses (10/11/23).

[…] I will not tolerate or associate with anyone who is supportive of the ethnic cleansing and international crimes being committed against the Palestinian people […] (captured on 10/14/23).

 

The historical record indicates otherwise.  Many of those Arabs who fled Israel actually did so despite British and Jewish pleas for them to stay.  As Israeli historian Benny Morris points out,

Under British mediation, the [Israeli leadership agreed to a ceasefire], offering what the British regarded as generous terms. But then, when faced with Moslem pressure, the largely Christian leadership got cold feet; a ceasefire meant surrender and implied readiness to live under Jewish rule. They would be open to charges of collaboration and treachery. So, to the astonishment of the British and the Jewish military and political leaders gathered on the afternoon of 22 April at the Haifa town hall, the Arab delegation announced that its community would evacuate the city.

The Jewish mayor, Shabtai Levy, and the British commander, Major-General Hugh Stockwell, pleaded with the Arabs to reconsider … but the Arabs were unmoved … (Morris, 1948 and After, p 20).[15]

The Israeli labor union, Histadrut, issued a similar appeal to Arab residents of Haifa a few days following this episode:

Do not destroy your homes … and lose your sources of income and bring upon yourselves disaster by evacuation. The Haifa Workers Council and the Histadrut advise you for your own good to stay and return to your regular work (Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, 2004; p 206).[16]

In terms of the current war initiated by Hamas and other associated Palestinian terrorists against the State of Israel, the Israeli government and military is not engaging in ethnic cleansing, but rather urging Palestinian civilians to leave areas in Gaza where Hamas terrorists are embedded in order to make it less likely that Gazan civilians are killed while Israel attempts to neutralize terrorists hiding behind human shields.  The evidence of Hamas terrorists embedding themselves in and beneath civilian infrastructure is well-documented.  For example, IDF troops found approximately 35 tunnel shafts utilized by Hamas members in the area of al-Rimal and discovered many military posts and weapons in residential areas.  Other tunnels utilized by Hamas have been discovered near residential buildings, commercial buildings, and a school for deaf children in al-Rimal, while US intelligence assesses that Hamas has located its command center in Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital.  This reality—that the State of Israel’s urging is motivated by a desire to protect civilian lives while Hamas terrorists deliberately hide behind Palestinian civilians while targeting Israeli civilians—is obscured by Dr. Jaber’s omission of this crucial context.  Indeed, John Spencer, who is Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, assesses that “Israel has taken more measures to avoid needless civilian harm than virtually any other nation that’s fought an urban war.”  These measures include Israel’s use of precision guided munitions (PGMs) as well as technologies and tactics that increase the accuracy of non-PGMs, including satellite imagery to ascertain civilian presence and scans of cell phone presence, and warning civilians to evacuate urban areas before Israeli military activities there commence.  Israel has also allowed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.  Dr. Jaber inverts this reality by promoting the idea that Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilians while Palestinians are merely engaged in “resistance.”

All of Israel as “Occupied Territories”

Dr. Jaber falsely claims in a social media post (captured on 10/9/23) that Palestinians have been “under occupation” for 75 years, referring to 1948 when the State of Israel was established. In other words, she tries to delegitimize the creation of a Jewish state by falsely claiming that Jews were occupying Palestinians’ land.

Apartheid Charge

Dr. Jaber falsely accuses the State of Israel of engaging in apartheid.  In a social media post on October 9, 2023, Dr. Jaber stated:

I’m struggling to post anything on Palestine… I always get absolute silence even from those who claim to be all about justice… my heart hurts as my people get demonized and massacres [sic] again and again… over 75 years of apartheid #FreePalestine (10/9/23).

Dr. Jaber has also promoted the posts of others leveling the same charge against the State of Israel, like the following:

Amazing what political will can do.  Sanctions on all Palestinians overnight but none yet against an apartheid regime- is it that apartheid is normal or that Palestinian subjugation is bc there business continues as usual (captured on 10/9/23).

The accusation of apartheid is routinely bandied about by anti-Zionist activists, but is false.  In fact, Arab Israeli citizens are accorded equal rights under the law, vote in Israeli elections, teach at Israeli universities, and serve in Israeli governmental positions.

Biased Books Recommendations

In a presentation at NCTE and on social media, Dr. Jaber has recommended biased books for teachers to use in their classrooms.  These biased books include the following (the titles are linked to reviews by the CAMERA Education Institute):

One of the books that Dr. Jaber chose to include was by Ahed Tamimi, who was convicted of the crimes of incitement, obstructing a soldier, and aiding the attack of a soldier.  Dr. Jaber chose to include a book by this author despite the fact that Tamimi had issued the following threat to Jews:

“[W]e will slaughter you[,] and you will say that what Hitler did to you was a joke […] [W]e will drink your blood and eat your skull.  Come on, we’re waiting for you.”[17]

Dr. Jaber’s promotion of such a virulent anti-Semite’s writing demonstrates poor judgement, at best.

Conclusion

Dr. Jaber employs antisemitic tropes, denies Jewish indigeneity to the Land of Israel, falsely charges Israel with ethnic cleansing and apartheid, inaccurately identifies “occupied territories,” and promotes false and biased educational resources for teachers to utilize in their classrooms.

She does not deserve a prominent role in educational organizations like NCTE and others that command respect from educators nationwide. Her continued role in these organizations sullies their reputations.

The many problems with Jaber’s public statements and social media posts underscore the need for vigilance in combating the indoctrination of students with biased anti-Israel and antisemitic ideas.  If teachers, students, and parents fail to combat such indoctrination, the integrity of our educational institutions will be further imperiled.

[1] Marvin Perry and Frederick M. Schweitzer, Antisemitic Myths: A Historical and Contemporary Anthology (Indiana University Press, 2008), p. 75.

[2] Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, “From Blood Libel to Genocide Libel,” The Times of Israel, 14 February 2024, https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/blood-libel-and-genocide-libel/.

[3] Deborah Lipstadt, Antisemitism: Here and Now (Scribe Publications, 2019), p. 147.

[4] “Defining Antisemitism,” U.S. Department of State, https://www.state.gov/defining-antisemitism/.

[5] “Hamas Interior Ministry To Social Media Activists: Always Call The Dead ‘Innocent Civilians’; Don’t Post Photos of Rockets Being Fired From Civilian Population Centers,” Middle East Media Research Institute, 17 July 2014, https://www.memri.org/reports/hamas-interior-ministry-social-media-activists-always-call-dead-innocent-civilians-dont-post.

[6] David Litman, “Gaza Casualties: Journalists Must Exercise Care And Be Honest With Audience,” Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, 23 October 2023, https://www.camera.org/article/gaza-casualties-journalists-must-exercise-care-and-be-honest-with-audience/.

[7] “Everything We Do Is Justified,” Middle East Media Research Institute, 1 November 2023, https://www.memri.org/reports/hamas-official-ghazi-hamad-we-will-repeat-october-7-attack-time-and-again-until-israel.

[8] “The Covenant Of The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas,” Middle East Media Research Institute, 14 February 2006, https://www.memri.org/reports/covenant-islamic-resistance-movement-%E2%80%93-hamas.

[9] Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Deception: Betraying the Peace Process (Palestinian Media Watch, 2011), p. 231.

[10] Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession, p. 20.

[11] Ibid. p. 48.

[12] William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know & When Did They Know it?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), p. 99.

[13] Cary Nelson, Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, & The Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State (Indiana University Press, 2019), p. 122.

[14] Ibid. p. 123.

[15] Alex Safian, “Deconstructing ‘Israeli Apartheid,’” Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, 1 March 2012, https://www.camera.org/article/deconstructing-israeli-apartheid/.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Joanie Margulies, “Tamimi: ‘We Will Drink Your Blood; What Hitler Did To You Was a Joke,’” The Jerusalem Post, 1 November 2023, https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/article-771102.

Comments are closed.