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A Tale of Two Palestinians By: Jerry Gordon
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mazin Qumsiyeh and Samir Qumsiyeh are Palestinian Christian cousins from Beit Sahour in the Palestinian territories. Mazin is an American academic and the virulent leader of several anti-American and anti-Israeli groups and a self-proclaimed Palestinian nationalist who routinely calls Israelis "Zionazis." In contrast, his cousin, Samir, is trying to save the remnant of the once vibrant Palestinian Christian community from what he has called "Islamic thugs" abusing his people and stealing their lands.  The Qumsiyeh cousins are a world apart; one is an extremist who would deliver his own people into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, while the other is a fierce opponent of them.

On Wednesday evening, September 14th, the Universalist Unitarian Society in Manchester, Connecticut will sponsor a potluck dinner followed by a panel of anti-Iraq war and anti-Israel speakers. Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, sometime head of the genetics lab at Yale Medical School, but in actual fact the full-time executive director of an anti-Israel advocacy group named "Al Awda-The Palestine Right of Return Coalition," will be one of the speakers on this panel of self-styled "anti-imperialist" extremists.

In April, 2003, I photographed Dr. Qumsiyeh at a protest of an honor given to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Qumsiyeh was waving a banner saying "End 55 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands."  When I caught up with the indefatigable Dr. Qumsiyeh at a panel on Genocide and Terrorism being held at Yale's Whitney Humanities Center later that month, I asked him as an acknowledged Palestinian Christian whether he was a Dhimmi (a subjugated non-believer under Muslim sharia law).  He scoffed and said no, although he was a Lutheran he said that he was first and foremost a Palestinian nationalist.

In May of 2003, Dr. Qumsiyeh was embroiled in an unauthorized abuse of the email system at Yale with overtones of anti-Semitism that roiled the campus for months.[1]  In November, 2004, Qumsiyeh was a prominent speaker at a memorial held in New Haven in honor of the late Palestinian terrorist leader and renowned murderer, Yasser Arafat.[2]. Last October at Duke University during a controversial Palestinian Solidarity Movement conference held there, investigative journalist Lee Kaplan heard Dr. Qumsiyeh say that "Zionism is a disease."[3] Qumsiyeh, according to Kaplan's account, "denounced the Jewish state's existence and cited texts that he claimed proved "Nazi-Zionist collaboration existed during the Holocaust."  He also stated that all Jews must leave the land of Israel while claiming to abhor nationalism of any kind.

Now, courtesy of the Sunday Telegraph in London,
comes a story about another Qumsiyeh -- a cousin from the same clan, Samir Qumsiyeh.[4]  Lebanese Maronite Christian Brigitte Gabriel, who fled PLO persecution in southern Lebanon to live in Israel, says she considers all Arabs regardless of religion as basically "tribes with flags." Ex-PLO Terrorist Walid Shoebat, who has spoken frequently in Connecticut over the past two years has identified all the Qumsiyehs as being from the same clan in the West Bank from the village of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem. In fact, Samir's cousin Mazin has spoken longingly of his families' olive groves in Beit Sahour and of Israeli allegedly "taking" from them for the building of the security fence to keep out terrorists from Israel. Shoebat also knows that Mazin as a youth was an active supporter of the PFLP, a known terrorist group, and may have participated in an attack on an Israeli soldier who was nearly lynched[5].

Samir Qumsiyeh, Mazin's cousin, is also a Palestinian
nationalist but with a different view and now living with a free pass in Orange, Connecticut as a naturalized American citizen under the protection of our constitution. He has a different picture to paint of the plight of Palestinian Christians.  He says they are disappearing fast -- their continued presence in the West Bank is threatened by what Samir Qumsiyeh calls the "Islamic Fundamentalist mafia. Who are taking our lands." He isn't blaming the Jews.  Samir has a dossier of 93 incidents of anti-Christian abuse and over 140 illegal land grabs by the "Islamic mafia gangs." Samir Qumsiyeh has tried to get the attention of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about this but to no avail.

The latest incident reported by the Associated Press
about such persecution is bizarre[6]:  A star crossed love affair between a 30 year-old Muslim woman and a Christian man from the village of Taybeh near Ramallah ended in the unfortunate young woman's family murdering her by forced poisoning in an "honor killing," followed by Muslims rampaging through the Christian village and burning 14 homes, including that of the alleged Christian lover.  Samir Qumsiyeh noted in the Sunday Telegraph article that the number of Christians in the Palestinian territories has plummeted from 20% of the population in 1948 to less than 2% today and is still shrinking fast.  More Palestinian Christians live abroad in a Diaspora in countries like Chile where ex-PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat has told me he found more than 250,000 of them during a lecture tour he did there in 2004. They were living prosperously without threat to their life and property.

So the question for the assembled anti-American and anti-Israel rejectionists in Manchester, Connecticut this Wednesday, September 14th,  is who is the real Palestinian Christian, Mazin Qumsiyeh, the rabid Palestinian Nationalist, or his cousin Samir Qumsieh, the concerned Palestinian Christian fighting Islamic fundamentalist "thugs" to save his people from annihilation?

Those of us who will attend to voice our opposition to Mazen Qumsiyeh's presentation to the Universalist Unitarian Society think we know the answer. And will those gathered in Manchester, Connecticut, be able to answer the same question?

No doubt "cousin" Mazen Qumsiyeh hopes they won't.

Mr. Gordon, a former Military Intelligence officer, is a  writer and activist who resides in Connecticut.


[1] "Qumsiyeh defends against charges of anti-Semitism, The Yale Herald,
November 17, 2003

[2] " Groups Host Memorial for Arafat," Yale Daily News, November 17, 2004.

[3]  Lee Kaplan,  "Inside Duke's Hate Fest," FrontPageMagazine, October 29, 2004.

[4] See:  'Islamic mafia' accused of persecuting Holy Land Christians
By Harry de Quetteville in Bethlehem, Sunday Telegraph, September 11, 2005

[5] Alyssa Lappen and Jerry Gordon: "Former Terrorist Speaks,"
FrontPageMagazine, April 2, 2004

[6] 'Honor killing' feud shows Arab divide," Associated Press, September 5, 2005

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