Shadi Hamid Profile picture
Dec 6 8 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Harvard President Claudine Gay's response to Elise Stefanik was embarrassing but not for the reasons people claim. It was embarrassing because she accepted Stefanik's premise that saying "intifada" is equivalent to a call for genocide, which is ridiculous.
The problem with these college presidents is that they're spineless technocrats who don't have the courage of their convictions. GOP officials are popularizing the idea that pro-Palestine sentiment = pro-Hamas sentiment. This should be rejected out of hand.
As for @EliseStefanik, she doesn't speak Arabic and has not the slightest idea what intifada means, or that the first intifada (when the word became popularized) had nothing to do with calling for genocide and included large-scale civilian action, such as general strikes and economic boycotts. Are we really arguing that Palestinians don't even have the right to *nonviolent* resistance against occupation?
Republicans are trying to criminalize pro-Palestine speech by equating it with antisemitism. I've been on the receiving end of this silliness with @tedcruz accusing me of being a Hamas "shill" simply b/c I said Israel isn't prioritizing precision in Gaza.
"From the river to the sea" is a stupid slogan to use but to assume that college students mouthing it support genocide against Jews is the mirror image of assuming that Israelis support genocide against Palestinians merely because they back their government's war in Gaza.
Yes, a random student saying "from the river to the sea" might be offensive but it's protected speech. Words aren't violence. Actual violence is violence. College isn't a place where you should expect to be protected from offensive things.
Islamophobic sentiments are protected speech too, and I'd counsel Muslim students to not complain to DEI departments and instead toughen up and learn how to argue effectively and respond to bigots as part of any free, contentious debate. This isn't rocket science.
But the bottom line is that Republicans are increasingly becoming a party of snowflakes who want *more* cancel culture on campus and want to criminalize free speech that they disagree with. That's what all of this comes down to.

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More from @shadihamid

Nov 15
I finally got to reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Why I am now a Christian." Is it really possible to convert to Christianity and not mention Christ even once? Apparently it is. There's not the slightest sign of sincere belief. It's completely instrumental.…
As Ayaan herself explains it, her main reason for being Christian isn't belief in Christianity. It's because of what she thinks Christianity means politically. She believes Christianity is the best available tool against the unholy trinity of China, Islam, and wokeness.
In my piece for @TheFP earlier this year, I discussed the rise of the "political convert." Andrew Tate converted to Islam because he thought that Islam aligned with his politics. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is just the latest in a growing trend.…
Read 8 tweets
Nov 9
I do want to say a few words about @NoahPollak's smear of me as a "supporter of terrorism" because I think it's indicative of where the public conversation is going unfortunately. 1/
It's open season on Muslim-Americans and Arab-Americans in public life. It reminds me very much of the post-9/11 climate, which was stifling and constrained in a way that I think is really hard to capture for people who weren't around. This was the original "cancel culture." 2/
Fortunately, it's not as bad in the US as it is in Europe. So, I thank the lord that I'm American and don't have to constantly prove my loyalty. Yesterday, Germany's president announced that all Arab citizens are suspect, and that they need to show that they oppose terrorism. 3/
Read 8 tweets
Oct 26
1. Finally read @Yair_Rosenberg's piece on 'What Hamas Wants.' Worth a read for a very different perspective than the one @dmarusic offered recently and which I much prefer:

I respect Yair a lot but take issue with a few things 🧵……
2. My biggest critique is the assumption in @Yair_Rosenberg's piece that evil acts are inherently "irrational" and therefore Hamas is best understood as an irrational actor. There's no room for contingency, agency, or individuals in this account.
3. There's also an "inevitability bias" problem here: Because Hamas' massacre happened, we can now conclude that it was always going to happen regardless of anything else.
Read 13 tweets
Oct 8
1. It should be possible to do things simultaneously. We can condemn Hamas' assault and its heinous acts against Israeli civilians while also not forgetting Israel has been a perpetrator of an often brutal occupation against the Palestinian people.
2. Yes, it's fair to describe what happened in Israel as its 9/11. But what that analogy tells us is that Israel should *not* replicate the mistakes, the zeal for war, the civil rights abuses, and utter destruction that the US exacted in the Middle East in its response.
3. I get that people are angry but I don't get people who go on Twitter right after a tragedy and talk about the Palestinians as animals, as lacking basic morality, without any knowledge of anything about a conflict they couldn't be bothered to care about until now.
Read 7 tweets
Mar 28
Oriana Fallaci's 1979 interview with Khomeini is absolute chaos. And darkly funny.

"I'm sorry to hear that"… Image
This is probably the 5th time I've read the Khomeini interview and it never gets old. There are so many howlers. You almost get a Trumpian vibe from Khomeini in these moments, a kind of post-modern playfulness and looseness with observed reality. Image
Like, at this point, Khomeini is just messing with us. It's performance art of the highest level. Image
Read 4 tweets
Mar 28
The U.S. can stop Tunisia's descent into full-blown dictatorship. Here's how. The practical steps I lay out in this @ForeignAffairs article are actually things the Biden administration can do. But it has to do them now.…
Often people mention Tunisia's still-pending IMF bailout in passing, but no one has really laid out in detail how using the loan as leverage might actually work. There are risks, which I acknowledge in the piece. But on balance this is the best (and likely last) option available.
Yes it's unlikely. But institutions are made up of individuals who have agency. And it's possible that enough people in the State Department and the White House might wake up and at least consider putting brakes on the IMF deal. It's doable.
Read 6 tweets

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