Georgetown professor and son of terror conspirator compares Israel to ISIL

Militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) removing part of the soil barrier on the Iraq-Syria borders and moving through it
Militants from the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) removing part of the soil barrier on the Iraq-Syria borders and moving through it / AP
August 21, 2014

A Georgetown University professor whose father pled guilty to terrorism charges is facing criticism for comparing Israel to the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) on Twitter.

Georgetown University History Professor Abdullah Al-Arian, the son of Sami Al-Arian, a controversial Israel critic who pled guilty to conspiring with a terror group, tweeted out his take on a common nursery rhyme by comparing Israel to the terror group ISIL, which recently beheaded an American journalist on film.

Al-Arian quickly deleted the tweet, but not before a screenshot was taken and retweeted by the Washington Free Beacon. Critics immediately deemed the tweet offensive, inaccurate, and over the line for a professor at Georgetown, which itself has come under fire for hosting a 9/11 Truther and a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party.

Al-Arian, a critic of Israel who also was a vocal advocate for his father during his terrorism trial, did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment on the tweet and his reason for conflating Israel with ISIL.

Multiple Georgetown University spokesmen also did not respond to calls and emails asking if the university approves of Al-Arian’s rhetoric and would be addressing it with the professor in any way.

Al-Arian—a frequent contributor to Al Jazeera, where his sister, Laila, works as a producer in the Washington, D.C. office—teaches history at the university’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, a country that serves as the terror group Hamas’ top financier.

Longtime pro-Israel advocate and CEO of the Israel Project Josh Block called the tweets "shocking and disgusting."

"It is shocking and disgusting to see a Georgetown University professor or faculty member making comparisons between ISIS and Israel—let alone that Georgetown would pay someone like that to teach young people about the Middle East," Block said. "When you realize that the person is the son of master terrorist Sami Al-Arian, it is both even more troubling to see Georgetown affiliated and less surprising that he would hold such views."

The younger Al-Arian recently portrayed Hamas’ terror assault on Israel as "exceeding all expectations."

"There were low expectations in terms of its performance against the recent round of Israeli incursions. It’s been exceeding all expectations," Al-Arian was quoted as telling the New York Times, which itself has come under intense scrutiny for its recent efforts to delegitimize Israel.

"And it’s [Hamas] likely to come out in a far better position than in the last three years, and maybe the last decade," Al-Arian added.

Al-Arian also implied that Israel forced Hamas into the most recent conflict by working to undermine the terror group’s political alliance with the more moderate Fatah party that governs the West Bank.

"If we really take a very close look at the chronology of events that have led to this latest Israeli offensive against Gaza, we would find that actually Hamas has not chosen the option of a military or violent confrontation with Israel," Al-Arian told CNN in July.

"It was Israel and to a certain extent even the United States that undermined that unity government," Al-Arian said. "And it was only after Israel broke the ceasefire, and of course we know all about the reports of the different killings and bombings that Hamas then chose the second option or was confronted essentially with an attempt by Israel to destroy it and Gaza to destroy its presence there."

Hamas is not really a threat to Israel even though it is committed to exterminating all Jews, Al-Arian said.

"Hamas is not in any condition or situation whatsoever to actually be able to carry out these threats against Israel's existence. But in fact the opposite is quite true," he said. "And I think the real emphasis here has to be on the humanitarian crisis against the people of Gaza."

Al-Arian describes himself as an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, a topic he has often written about.

During his time at Duke University, Al-Arian frequently wrote articles for the Duke Chronicle.

One 2002 piece, for instance, urges Palestinian to revolt against "Israeli occupation," comparing the situation to Jewish uprisings against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.

"In a battlefield that is all but even, the Intifada is the ‘uprising’ against one of the most brutal occupations in history," he wrote.

Many other articles focus on similar topics and take aim at Israel.

In 2003, Al-Arian’s father Sami was charged by the U.S. government with racketeering on behalf of Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist organization responsible for many attacks.

Al-Arian was taken to task by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for making a series of statements deemed as anti-Israel.

"Jihad is our path. Victory to Islam. Death to Israel. Revolution. Revolution until victory. Rolling to Jerusalem," O’Reilly quoted the elder Al-Arian as saying in 1998.

Sami Al-Arian ultimately pled guilty to conspiring to aid the PIJ and was sentenced by a judge to serve just under five years in prison.

The Justice Department in a statement at the time said that Al-Arian is a prime example of individuals in America attempting to "provide assistance" to terrorists.

"We have a responsibility not to allow our Nation to be a safe haven for those who provide assistance to the activity of terrorists," former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at the time. "Sami Al-Arian has already spent significant time behind bars and will now lose the right to live in the country he calls home as a result of his confessed criminal conduct on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is the same conduct he steadfastly denied in public statements over the last decade."

"Al-Arian has now admitted providing assistance to help the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—a specially designated terrorist organization with deadly goals—as the government has alleged from the start," added former Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division.