Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Pro-Hamas PLO Spokesman Hired by DHS to Handle Asylum Claims

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The Extremism Roundup

Promoting Civil Discourse and Marginalizing the Extremes
A weekly compilation of the most important developments in the struggle against radical ideologies

Islamist Extremism

Dozens of New York Police block pro-Palestinian demonstrators from approaching the Consulate General of Israel building during an “International Day of Action for Palestine” –  Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
New York Protesters Praise Hamas

  • Anti-Israel protesters in New York cheered a speaker who praised Hamas terrorists taking festival attendees hostage in Gaza, and one video showed this individual talking about the incident and garnering cheers from the crowd.
  • The speaker expressed satisfaction with the resistance’s actions against Israelis, mentioning that they broke through the fence, disrupted a party, and reclaimed equipment, to the applause of the crowd.
  • A female speaker from “The Palestinian Youth Movement” praised the resistance, celebrated their victory, and emphasized the unity and revolutionary spirit of their people in their struggle.  Read More

Was American Intelligence Also Blindsided by Hamas Attack?

  • Israeli intelligence completely missed detecting the planning for the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Did the extensive U.S. signal and human intelligence networks focused on Israel, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon completely miss this as well? Read More

Pro-Hamas PLO Spokesman Hired by US Homeland Security to Handle Asylum Claims

  • The U.S. immigration enforcement agency hired a former spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and put her in a position to determine who gets to come into the country as an immigrant or “asylum seeker.”
  • Nejwa Ali formerly worked for the PLO office in Washington DC that was closed under the Trump administration.
  • Since the Hamas massacre, she has repeatedly posted pictures of Hamas terrorists parachuting into Israel with guns and writing, “F*** Israel and any Jew who supports Israel.” Read More

Violence at San Francisco “All-Out for Palestine” Rally

  • Violent clashes erupted between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters during an “All Out for Palestine” rally in San Francisco, which was co-sponsored by groups including San Francisco’s Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and Jewish Voice for Peace.
  • The rallies, organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, took place in multiple North American cities, coinciding with increased violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
  • Demonstrators on both sides engaged in heated confrontations, with pro-Palestinian protesters praising attackers as “martyrs” and “resisters,” while pro-Israel demonstrators waved Israeli flags.
  • Some engaged in verbal and physical clashes, with police separating the groups. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East fueled tensions at the rally.  Read More

Mother Beats Daughter for Not Wearing Hijab

  • A Kingswood, Texas mother, Sittarh Mazhar Khan, is facing felony charges for allegedly assaulting her 14-year-old daughter over wearing a hijab and overcooking pita bread.
  • Khan is accused of beating, choking, and burning her daughter, which resulted in injuries and the child losing consciousness.
  • The girl is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.  Read More

Militant-Right & Militant-Left Extremism

Neo-Nazis protest outside Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey’s home – via CBS News Boston screenshot
Neo-Nazis Show Up at Home of Massachusetts Governor

  • The neo-Nazi group NSC-131 staged a protest outside the home of Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, causing fear and concern among neighbors.
  • The group chanted provocative slogans, including, “New England is ours, the rest must go,” which was seen as a reference to the ongoing arrival of migrants in Massachusetts.
  • Neighbors expressed their apprehension about the demonstration outside a private residence, highlighting that while public protests are acceptable, intimidating actions outside someone’s home are not in line with respectful behavior.  Read More

BLM Chapters Publicly Support Hamas

  • Black Lives Matter Chicago publicly expressed support for Palestine amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict, sharing a photo of a Palestinian flag attached to a paraglider on Twitter.
  • BLM Chicago’s social media posts on Facebook also included statements in support of Palestine, citing “conversation piecers” regarding the Israel-Hamas war. The posts faced backlash from some social media users.
  • Other Black Lives Matter groups, like Black Lives Matter Grassroots, similarly expressed solidarity with Palestine, emphasizing the need to understand Palestinian resistance as an act of self-defense against decades of apartheid and violence.  Read More

 Pro-Palestine Rally at UCLA Includes Call for Intifada

  • Pro-Hamas students at UCLA chanted “intifada” during a rally on the university campus, as captured in a video shared by a UCLA lecturer. The term “intifada” refers to Palestinian militant and terrorist attacks against Israelis, with historical associations of violence against Israelis and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
  • The chant occurred during a rally that involved hundreds of students marching on the campus, raising concerns about the atmosphere and discourse on the UCLA campus.  Read More

  Hate Crime

Damage to Jewish student’s dorm room door at Drexel University – via Campus Reform screenshot
Jewish Student’s Dorm Room Door Set on Fire

  • Drexel University in Philadelphia is investigating whether a Jewish student was the victim of a hate crime following an intentional fire set to decorations on the student’s dorm room door.
  • The university’s president, John Fry, expressed support for students’ right to debate and express their opinions peacefully but strongly condemned violence and acts of discrimination or hate.
  • Drexel University is dealing with another incident of alleged antisemitism, where antisemitic graffiti was found in a women’s bathroom on campus, further highlighting the need to address such incidents and maintain a safe and respectful environment.  Read More

Illinois Man Charged With Stabbing 6-Year-Old

  • An Illinois man, Joseph Czuba, was charged with stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy to death and seriously injuring his mother in what authorities describe as a hate crime linked to the Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and Israel.
  • The Justice Department opened a federal hate crimes investigation into the incident, which President Joe Biden condemned as a “horrific act of hate” that has no place in America.
  • The victims, 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother Hanaan Shahin, were found with multiple stab wounds. Czuba faces charges including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crimes, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Czuba did not provide a statement regarding the attack.  Read More

Stanford Professor Suspended for Harassing Jewish Students

  • A Stanford University lecturer is under investigation for reportedly targeting Jewish and Israeli students during two compulsory undergraduate course lessons, making controversial statements in connection with Hamas’s attack on Israel.
  • According to reports from Jewish student leaders, the lecturer called out Jewish and Israeli students in class, asking them to identify themselves based on their backgrounds and identities. Some students allege they were labeled as “colonizers” during the discussion.
  • The incident has raised concerns about the atmosphere on college campuses amid tensions related to the conflict in Israel, and the lecturer has been removed from teaching duties pending the investigation. The incident has sparked a broader debate about free speech, academic freedom, and the line between controversial speech and illegal categories like threats or harassment.  Read More

  School Threats

Wendover Middle School, Hempfield Township, Penn. – via KDKA CBS News Pittsburgh screenshot
Middle School Student Arrested Following Social Media Threats

  • A suspect, an 11-year-old middle school student from Wendover Middle School in the Hempfield Area School District in Pennsylvania, has been taken into custody following threats made on Snapchat.
  • The student sent threatening messages to classmates, including threats to bring a gun and a bomb to school. This incident follows a separate incident where three students from Hempfield Area High School were charged with bringing guns to school.  Read More

North Carolina Teen Arrested in Connection to Social Media Threats

  • A 14-year-old student from Lexington Senior High School in Lexington, N.C., has been charged with making a school threat that resulted in a delay of school start time.
  • Authorities are actively investigating several other school threats posted on social media over the past week that led to early dismissal for students at the school.  Read More

Two Tennessee Teens Arrested

  • Two individuals were arrested in Maury County, Tenn., after making a school threat on Snapchat.
  • The Maury County Sheriff’s Department was able to quickly identify and locate the individuals responsible for the social media threat.  Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

 Petty Officer Zhao, who faces 20 years in prison – Michael Lopez/U.S. Navy photo via New York Post screenshot
Navy Service Member Pleads Guilty to Transmitting Military Information to China

  • A U.S. Navy service member, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, pleaded guilty to federal felony offenses for transmitting sensitive U.S. military information to a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for bribes. Zhao admitted to participating in a corrupt scheme in violation of his official duties.
  • The information transmitted included details about U.S. Navy operational security, military training and exercises, critical infrastructure, plans for a large-scale maritime training exercise in the Pacific, operational orders, and electrical diagrams and blueprints for a radar system in Okinawa, Japan.
  • Zhao faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, with sentencing scheduled for January 8, 2024.  Read More

Pro-Hamas Disinformation Network Uncovered on Twitter (X) 

  • Researchers have identified a network of 67 accounts on the social platform X (formerly Twitter) engaged in a propaganda campaign spreading false and inflammatory content related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
  • These accounts, which previously focused on unrelated topics like professional basketball or life in Japan, began posting similar misleading content over the weekend as news of the conflict broke.
  • The misleading content included two videos that superimposed inaccurate English subtitles onto clips of Russian officials, making it appear as if they were threatening the U.S. with military support for the Palestinians.  Read More

EU Opens Investigation Into X

  • The European Union (EU) is investigating X (formerly Twitter) over concerns of spreading terrorist and violent content, hate speech, and disinformation in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel.
  • X claims to have removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts from its platform and taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content since the attack.
  • The investigation, which is the first under the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), aims to ensure tech platforms comply with the law designed to protect users and holds the power to impose fines on non-compliant companies, which could be as high as 6 percent of a firm’s global turnover or even suspension of services.  Read More

Research and Trends in Extremism

Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Meta Taking Steps to Remove Support for Hamas

  • Meta (formerly Facebook) is taking measures to remove praise and support for Hamas from its platforms after receiving reprimands from the European Union over disinformation regarding the recent Hamas attack on Israel.
  • In the three days following the attack, Meta removed or marked as disturbing over 795,000 pieces of content in Hebrew or Arabic related to the incident.
  • The company is also temporarily expanding its violence and incitement policy, focusing on content that identifies hostages taken by Hamas. Content with blurred images of victims is still allowed, but priority will be given to the safety and privacy of kidnapping victims.  Read More

New FBI Data Reveals Significant Increase in Hate Crime Incidents

  • FBI data reveals a significant increase in reported hate crime incidents in 2022, reaching 11,634 incidents, the highest ever recorded since data collection began in 1991.
  • Anti-Jewish hate crimes in the U.S. surged by over 37 percent, with 1,122 reported incidents in 2022, marking the highest number in nearly three decades and the second-highest ever recorded.
  • The FBI data also showed that anti-Black hate crimes comprised a significant portion of all reported hate crimes, accounting for the majority of race, ethnicity, or national origin-based incidents. Reported hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity also increased in 2022.  Read More

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– Benjamin Franklin

NOTE TO OUR READERS: We have pulled out the salient points of the articles in this newsletter to keep you informed and focused on the most relevant, important and timely news in national security and extremism. While our national security experts stand behind the summary bullets and deem them trustworthy, Clarion Project does not endorse all the views expressed in the articles linked.

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