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The Egyptian-born anti-Islamic activist Nonie Darwish, whose life story and outspoken views on Israel and the Arab world make her someone Jews should support, was unfairly tarred in Tablet

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Protesters in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Despite the complicated history of Jewish defectors, the Jewish right has embraced Muslim apostates like Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born Christian convert who voices anti-Islamic rhetoric

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Tablet Magazine has published a bizarre attack by Jeremy Seth Davis on an incredibly brave Arab defender of Israel and the Jews. Nonie Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian general who was chief of intelligence for Gamel Abdel Nasser when Gaza was part of Egypt and the West Bank had been annexed by Jordan and nobody referred to Arabs as “Palestinians.” Darwish’s family lived in Gaza, and her father created the Fedayeen, the first terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state. Her father was responsible for the murder of numerous Israeli civilians before he was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces in a targeted assassination. At the time, Nonie was 8 years old.

In her memoir Now They Call Me Infidel, Darwish describes how she was brought up in a Muslim Arab culture of hate, which was directed against Jews, and how she gradually freed herself from this culture and came to understand that it was the very hatred she had been taught, which was unjustly directed against the Jews, that had killed her father. A particularly compelling incident she relates concerns her brother’s decision to check himself into an Israeli hospital to be treated for a burst appendix rather than go to a Arab hospital in Gaza, where they lived. Even though he was the son of a terrorist whom the Israelis had killed, her brother trusted his life with the Jews rather than with his fellow Arabs. This decision taught his younger sister that the demonic image of the Jews that had been instilled in her as a small child was false—a travesty of the reality. This is what led her to turn against the Muslim/Arab culture of hate and to found an organization she called Arabs for Israel, dedicated to defending the Jews from the genocidal campaign that her own people were waging.

For this sin, Jeremy Seth Davis has attacked her as a renegade and an “apostate” comparable to those Jews in the Middle Ages who converted to Christianity to join in the attack on their fellow Jews. Merely to state Davis’ thesis is to refute it. The Jews of the Middle Ages were tiny minorities, forced to live in hostile Christian societies that regarded them as God-killers. They were burned at the stake for refusing to convert to Christianity, and entire communities were expelled from countries they had resided in for centuries on the grounds they were a poisonous presence who could no longer be tolerated. There are a million and a half Arabs who are Israeli citizens with more rights as Israelis than Arabs enjoy in 22 Arab states. There are 300 million Arabs living in those states, and 1.5 billion Muslims living in 57 Muslim states in the world today. Jews are a tiny minority occupying .02 percent of the land mass of the Middle East. They are among the most isolated and persecuted peoples on the face of the earth. Even in America the number of official hate crimes against Jews is nearly 10 times greater than hate crimes against Muslims.

In the Middle East, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran has called for the extermination of the Jews, a sentiment met with no noticeable dissent by the leaders of any other Muslim state. In Gaza, the leader of Hamas has warned Jews “you are headed for annihilation,” and in Lebanon, the leader of Hezbollah has expressed his hope that Jews will all gather in Israel so he won’t have to hunt them down globally. On its official TV programs and in its public schools, the Palestinian Authority lionizes terrorists who have murdered innocent women and children merely because they are Jews. Leaders of the Palestinian Authority—not to mention Hamas—publicly call for the “liberation” of Palestine “from the river to the sea”—which is today’s code for the original Arab war cry: “Push the Jews into the sea.”

In the context of this genocidal campaign to solve the Jewish problem by getting rid of the Jews, Nonie Darwish travels to college campuses to defend the Jews and to warn others about the dangers of Muslim and Arab Jew-hatred. When she arrives she is verbally attacked and physically threatened by members of the campus left and most venomously by members of the Muslim Students Association, which is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood and the sponsor of campus outrages that libel Israel as an “apartheid state” that has allegedly “stolen” the land of a (fictional) Palestinian state. (Like Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, Israel was created on land that had belonged to the Turks, who are not Arabs let alone Palestinians, for 400 years before the creation of the Jewish state.)

Davis finds admirable these assaults on a middle-aged Arab woman for having the temerity to defend the Jews. In his rendering they are an understandable response to her “apostasy”—as though she were a religious heretic when in fact she is merely someone who has the decency and the courage to be outraged by the fanatical Jew hatred publicly expressed by her Muslim and Arab compatriots.

If Davis wants a parallel to the Jewish defenders of Jew-hating Christians in the Middle Ages, it is those Jews who have joined the genocidal coalition of Arabs and Muslims intent on destroying the Jewish state. These are the Jews who have joined the flotilla to Gaza organized by the Muslim Brotherhood to break the blockade against arms shipments to the Hamas terrorists who have sworn to “obliterate” Israel and to “annihilate” the Jews. These are the Jews who join the Muslim Brotherhood organizations on college campuses in obstructing the speeches and threatening the safety of speakers like Darwish, who are defenders of the Jewish state. They are also, it happens, opponents of the oppression of women and gays and other minorities in Islamic states, which is why writers like Davis refer to them as “anti-Muslim.”

Jeremy Seth Davis writes as though it was a negative commentary on Nonie that she is supported by conservatives or that her defense of free speech, women’s rights, gay rights, and Jews in the face of Muslim attacks mirrors comments made by conservatives. A better question to ask is why aren’t liberals and progressives supporting Nonie, and defending these victims of Muslim attacks?

Correction: This article has been amended to remove an inaccurate reference to 1956 Egypt.

David Horowitz, the president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is the author, most recently, of A Cracking of the Heart.

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Congrats, David, for this response and thank you Tablet Magazine for publishing it.

Here’s another response published a few days ago to the Jeremy Davis attack on Nonie Darwish and “Right-Wing” Jews which appeared elsewhere. Here’s Virtual Jerusalem’s version… “Of Heretics and Head-In-The-Sand Hebrews”

Please check it out…

John 1947 says:

Egypt did not attack Israel in 1956. Israel attacked Gaza and Sinai. The Israeli invaders and their imperialist allies were removed by US policy and world opinion in an era where the Zionist were not enabled to violate international law by the US. Mr. Horowitz is without shame, he accuses Tablet of a lie with a lie of his own.

Egypt had been sponsoring fedayeen attacks from its territory and Gaza in the years leading up to the ’56 Sinai Campaign–similar to what Israel has had to deal with in more recent times with other Arab players.

As Israel tolerated thousands of rockets and mortars and such before going after Hamas a few years back in Gaza, it did the same prior to 1956.

In addition to the attacks, Israel was also blockaded at the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba (casus belli)–like would occur again in 1967.

Nasser’s moves on the Suez Canal prompted others to jump into the action as well, but Israel’s response was a direct act of self-defense long in the coming. What other nation would be expected to simply tolerate attacks on its civilians without responding?

By the way, I’ve done extensive doctoral studies in this field and my own new book, The Quest For Justice In The Middle East…The Arab-Israeli Conflict In Greater Perspective, gets into key issues and indeed provides a perspective missing in too many other places. It made its debut at Profs. Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami’s ASMEA Conference in Wash., DC a while back.

eli says:

Thank you, Tablet, for allowing this cogent response by Horowitz to J.S.Davis’ biased and distorted attack on Darwish.

Barry says:

“Why aren’t liberals and progressives supporting Nonie, and defending these victims of Muslim attacks?”

Are you kidding? The “Progressive” left has fully thrown its lot in with the satanic Muslims. Every time yet another American Muslim is caught trying to commit genocide, rather than defend the victims, the left starts moaning about potential ‘backlash’. When was the last time progressives responded to an attempted terror attack by pledging to act as human shields for the target synagogues?

Progressives really believed in their own values, they would be LEADING the fight against Islam, and at the forefront of dismantling the American Muslim colonies.

Noam says:

It’s not only Hamas. The Fatah is also part of it.

when it cames to Fatah, it’s all about understand where it comes from:
Fatah founder Yasser Arafat is the cousin of the Mufti of Jerusalem – Haj Amin el Husseini.
Arafat, like Saddam Hussein, took the teachings of Al – Husseini.
Haj Amin al-Husseini was a friend of Hitler and helped him with the “final solution” AKA the total annihilation of all Jews.

Richard says:

Dear David Horowitz, Thanks for responding to Jeremy Seth Davis. Here is my homage to American Jews like Jeremy Davis:

“Thank you for helping me understand why most of my family burned in ovens while American Jews like yourself stood by doing nothing.”

paula levin says:

Thank you Tablet for redeeming yourselves. In all my life I don’t think I’ve ever read such idiocy as JSD’s piece on Darwish. Bizarre is exactly the right word.

Caroline says:

Why don’t we teach our kids about what Noam just wrote.

My answer for Jeremy is: I refuss to return into the gas chambers! me and every sane Jew understand that Arabs (once again) want to exterminate the Jews of Israel.

And if we tolerate this then our children will be next!

Why is Tablet publishing garbage like Davis’ article?

Nice self-redemption, guys. Seriously.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

By publishing the JST vs. DH exchange, Tablet mag has provided quite a public service in demonstrating once again the fundamental law of nature that political correctness is inversely proportional to factual & historical correctness, while directly proportional to useful idiocy.

JST has shown himself to be nothing if not politically correct…. VERY politically correct.


Jerusalem / Efrata

Bruce says:

Jews who had nominally converted to Christainity and were found to be secretly practicing Jewish rites were murdered by the Catholic Inquisition. At least that’s the statement made by the Catholic Church which says that only Christians were burnt at the stake, not Jews. The fact that Jews were forced to convert or be killed, tortured, or expelled from their homes is conveniently left unsaid. John 1947 has a skewed view of the world as Israel has only defended itself by attacking those who attacked first by direct army incursions, political pressure that broke international treaties (1956), or by continuous terror missile attacks and terrorist bombings. Also, France and Britain were also involved in the 1956 military incursions into Sinai and Gaza. It was not a unilatral Israeli decision to invade. Get your facts straight. The problem with John1947 and the majority of anti-Israel sheep is their so-called political beliefs are a front for their true feelings of hatred of Jews. I don’t use the term ‘anti-semtism” because it is farcically demeaned when Arabs contend that they are semites, so the term should apply to them as well. German Jew-haters coined the phrase “anti-semitism” in the late 1800’s to express their particular brand of racism. Noam Chomsky can kiss my ass.

Elizabeth Hurwitz says:

Thank you very much for publishing David Horowitz’s response to Jeremy Seth Thomas. Mr. Horowitz is spot-on, IMHO.

Thank you David. You have redeemed Tablet. I almost threw it into the dust bin with the rest of the nonsense and self-hatred dribble being written.

Beatrix says:

Jews were burned at the stake during the plague.

This is a well researched, well thought out article, well written article. Hope we see more from you.

these comments present more clearly that we are doomed.

Corey says:

I’m curious about the apparent hijacking of Tablet by the dangerously hate-based paranoia represented by all the comments I’ve read on this Darwish thread. Have those with a more moderate viewpoint been just too dispirited by the amped-up aggression and cynical use of Shoah imagery that characterize much of this non-discussion to respond? I was reluctant to post here myself, imagining the same old exchange of “is not!” “is so!” that these threads almost always devolve too. But in the end, I’ve come to the thought that regardless of the futility of trying to change anyone’s mind in this venue, it’s important to at least register the fact that not all Tablet readers are in lock-step with the one-dimensional, bellicose views of Horowitz and his back-up group.

Gene says:

To John 1947. In 1956 Naser closed the strait of Tiran (which doesn’t belong to Egypt) to Israeli ships and ships headed for Israel. He imposed on Israel a naval blockade. According to the intentional law it is an act of war, attack on the sovereignty of the other state. It means that not Horovitz but you are the liar.

Stan says:

Horowitz twists the point as usual. The issue isn’t one of a simple attack on Darwish, the point is to consider the problems associated with converts who attack their religion of origin. They are former insiders with possible insights, but they are also people who as converts have a strong incentive to demonize the faith they have rejected and they sometimes stray rather far from the truth in doing so. Davis used medieval Jewish converts to Christianity as examples of where that could lead and suggests we should be wary of uncritically accepting the testimony of their modern counterparts who have left Islam. I don#t know anything about the particular case of Darwish and he could be on or off base in her regard, but he is spot on in principle.

Bryna Weiss says:

I agree with Corey that some of these comments are disturbing and extreme, but I also agree that Horowitz’ response is measured and necessary. I thought that Davis’ article was hateful and completely wrong-headed. More than that, it was surprising that even a far left Jew would not recognize the courage and intelligence of Nonie Darwish.

It is after all, true, true, true, that we Jews have been subject to the most intense persecution of any people in the History of the world. We are still subject to the same hatred and calls for our destruction as in the middle ages.

Ms. Darwish’ organization is called Arabs for Israel- that’s plural, more than one!

And in response to some of the others, I am a left-leaning Liberal and I totally support Israel and applaud people like Ms. Darwish. All Liberals are not extreme just as those on the Right are not all extreme. Let’s stop the name-calling. There is so much right about Israel, that our responses need only point out those things to the haters.

Gene says:

To Stan. You are wrong: the article was direct attack on Darwish and the mention of the Jewish converts was just used to support that attack, to bring sort of “legitimacy” to the author’s claims. However, the author, Seth Davis, made a flawed comparison when he compared Tufts University audience to pope Gregory IX in order to show what kind of impact such revelations of apostates could make.

Kirillov says:

In general, the fanaticism of the convert tends to be of the worst and most dangerous kind. This goes for Darwish as much as for Horowitz.

ruchama says:

Personally, I don’t see anything “measured” about characterizing leftist Jews who aren’t towing the AIPAC line as “having joined the genocidal coalition of Arabs and Muslims intent on destroying the Jewish state.” In Horowitz’s view, you are either pro-Israel or wish to destroy it (and are a self-hating Jew to boot); there is no nuance, no shades of grey. It alienates and demonizes large swaths of Jews, who love Israel but don’t love everything Israel or its purported allies do.

Let us not forget, either, that Horowitz’s “think tank,” the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (now named the David Horowitz Freedom Center), was noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a racist group aiming to legitimize explicitly racist and discredited beliefs. His ethnocentric bigotry does not extend solely to Muslims.

John 1947 is correct about 1956, a date which I confused with 1967. However, it relates to nothing since Nasser had in effect declared war on Israel by calling for its destruction and launching terrorist attacks against. The point I was making was that these attacks were launched when Gaza had been annexed by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan to no protests by anyone. The Palestinian cause is a malevolent fiction created for one purpose — so that Muslim and Arab fanatics can justify their genocidal agendas against the Jewish state. The problem of the Middle East is and has always been Arab and Muslim Jew hatred.

Barry says:


Mohammed-worship is not an ethnicity. It is not a race. It is a political belief system equivalent to Nazism. It’s perfectly legitimate to hate Nazis and work for the destruction of Nazism. It’s perfectly legitimate to hate Muslims and work for the destruction of Islam.

Corey says:

Yeah Barry, about as legitimate as hating Jews, Black people, redheads or republicans.

ruchama says:

Barry, you are correct. Islam is neither an ethnicity nor a race; rather, it is a major world religion, is considered one of the three monotheistic Abrahamic faiths, and has over one billion adherents worldwide — the vast majority of which do NOT reside in the Middle East and are not Arab. The country with the largest population of Muslims in the world is Indonesia, and it isn’t exactly a terrorist hotbed. To take Islam as being a “political belief system” rather than a legitimate religion, and to classify all Muslims as being extremists who should be despised and destroyed, is beyond ethnocentric and bigoted. It is lazy, intellectually dishonest, and simply incorrect.

Barry says:

One does not choose to be black. One does not choose to be red.

Yes, its legitimate to hate Republicans. Hell, Republicans hate Republicans (ever heard of the term RINO).

Jews is trickier. Nothing wrong with hating Zionism. Nothing wrong with hating Chareidi Orthodoxy. Nothing wrong with hating Reform Judaism. Hating Jews per se, is a little trickier, because even if they convert to a different religion they still remain Jews. (See, e.g., the extraordinary violence that Mohammed displayed toward his Jewish sex slave, Rihanna). So I’d put it – to the extent that someone hates Jews because of their ethnicity – illegitimate. To the extent that they hate a particular “Jewish” belief system the person holds – legitimate.

That help you Corey?

Barry says:

The country with the largest population of Muslims in the world is Indonesia, and it isn’t exactly a terrorist hotbed.

Um, ever heard of the Bali bombers? Or the Jemayat Islamiyya? What do you think Obama was learning in his Madrasa which led him to later follow Rev. Wright?

“To classify all Muslims as being extremists” –> I think there are very few Muslim extremists out there. Ibn Warraq is one; Zuhdi Jasser comes to mind. Sadly, such extremists who reject the mainstream genocidal teachings of Islam are very very rare.

TheMonkeyMan says:

There is too much hate in the world already, Barry you should try to embrace love for your fellow humans.

donyel ben aharon says:

John 1947:
Egypt closed the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, a blatant violation of international law and the ’48 armistice it signed after Israel’s War of Independence against six invading Arab armies (including Egypt) and local irregulars who attacked unprovoked. The ’56 closure of Suez was clearly an act of war, which is why France and Great Britain joined in the attack. Gaza, which was to be part of Arab Palestine, was occupied by Egypt in 1948, and was held until the Six Day War in 1967. In ’56 it was given back to Egypt, which continued its abusive occupation of Gaza, holding the residents in subhuman conditions.

Do indeed get your facts straigjht.

Carrie says:

Thank you David Horowitz. Tablet would attract more readers if they would employ some more centrist and center right columnists.

YetWave says:

To read Horowitz’s response to the screed on Nonie Darwish is to understand the courage of her convictions and her stance in the face of hostility. It is difficult to fathom whether Davis’ antipathy toward her is a result of her apostasy, at which it is incomprehensible that he be offended, or her ‘privileged upbringing’.
It’s understandable that Darwish is ‘routinely shouted down by arab students when she speaks on college campuses. That adds to her cred far more than it does to detract from it. At what talk, seminar, speech or occasion on an American college campus where anyone whose opinion differs from arab attendees, is the speaker not shouted down or the subject of jeering and rudeness?
That the author chose the comment of a non-muslim attendee at a Darwish talk at Princeton who ‘cringed’ at her comments speaks volumes about the peer pressure of political correctness at such elite institutions. Maybe if Darwish had exercised the privilege of her upbringing to attend university with those privileged with whom Davis apparently feels more comfortable, he’d have been able to excuse at least one of the major infractions to which he takes Nonie Darwish to task.

Gene says:

Mr. Horowitz, you don’t need to apologize to John 1947 – you are right and he is wrong. Egypt started the war of 1956 by imposing naval blockade of straits of Tiran. You may look everywhere. For example Encyclopedia Britannica defines blockade as “an act of war by which a belligerent prevents access to or departure from a defined part of the enemy’s coasts”
In other words Egypt first “attacked” Israel, not the opposite.
By the way, American action in regard to Suez crisis in 1956 was not only a complete diplomatic blinder but also a disgusting betrayal of allies when the administration of Eisenhower allied itself with its enemy – Soviet Union against friendly western democracies: UK and France. In their place I would never forgive that treason.

Yes, but I used the verb “invaded”– which is technically correct since the Fedayeen were invaders — but not what I meant. In any case the point of that sentence was to expose the blather about the “Palestinian” cause as a struggle for determination when in fact it is and has always been a genocidal campaign to push the Jews into the sea.

Doc says:

Thank you for articulating that thought, Corey. DITTO!! The comments on these two threads are racist, stupid and so anathema to me as a Jew, as a thinking person and as someone who knows that the safety and security of the Jewish people depend on tolerance of minorities. Only a truly self hating Jew would encourage bigotry of any sort, bc we know that once that genie is let out of the bottle, it ALWAYS comes back to haunt us. Nonie Darwish and David Horowitz are intellectually lazy, but are making a killing as the superstars of the Muslim hating Jewish world and it is time that more people like you and I told them to stop creating divisions in our communities.

Barry says:


How many times do we have to say that. Race is genetic. You cannot choose to be white or black. To have red hair or black hair. That is why it is racist and wrong to discriminate against people because of their skin color, because of their ethnicity or because of their background.

But you can choose to be a Nazi. You can choose to be a Muslim. If someone chooses to be a Nazi or Muslim, then it is completely reasonable that the victims of Nazism and Islam will hate ‘em. ALL PEOPLE of good will hate Nazis and Muslims. That’s the way life works, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The only “genie” out of the bottle is the campaign of violent anti-semitism by subhuman Muslim Americans. Jews are 10X more likely to be subject to a hate crime than the Muslims. In Europe its closer to 100:1. The only hate and racism of real significance comes from the American Muslim community. THe only hate and racism that should be a concern is in Mein Kampf/the Koran.

Gene says:

Hello, Doc. Barry is right: neo-nazis are also in minority in this country as well as white supremacists, followers of Jim Jones and corrupted politicians. Are you saying that the safety and security of the Jewish people depend on tolerance of every minority, of neo-nazis, for example? Not every minority deserve toleration. How about Islam? Well, if you think that woman must be treated as a subhuman, if you don’t mind cruel punishments for minor offences or if you agree that those parts of American Constitution that contradict laws of Sharia should be replaced … then you definitely can tolerate Islam in it present form. However, if you think that Islam needs to be changed to be in a harmony with the western values of 21 century then you are on a side of Nonie Darwish and other advocates (named “racists” by the “progressive” part of population) of such change.

As an Egyptian Jew, Egypt in 1956 illegaly nationalized the Suez canalo sent Fedayeen murderers to kill Israelis in Kibbutses and towns and.closed the Straights of Tiran for Israeli shipping These are casus belli under international.
As for Nonie Darwich, I knew her personally when, together we gave speeches around California on the ethnic cleansing of 80,000 Jews from Egypt (and another 850,000 from 8 other Arab/Muslim countries.) She is an honest and courageous women and deserves praise not the bull crap in Tablet I was als o distressed to read at the ignorance portrayed by several commentaters..

Henri Stein says:

I founf this article very interesting. Thank you for responding.
It is sad that so-called writers like Jeremy Seth Davis, do not learn the facts prior to writing.
There are too many ignorant writers today – we need articles written by knowledgeable people, and responsible organizations to educate their readers with the facts.


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The Egyptian-born anti-Islamic activist Nonie Darwish, whose life story and outspoken views on Israel and the Arab world make her someone Jews should support, was unfairly tarred in Tablet

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