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Backgrounder: Mazin Qumsiyeh
Posted: March 8, 2007


Group and Affiliations

In His Own Words
Mazin Qumsiyeh, who served on the genetics faculty of both Duke and Yale Universities, has a long record of propagating a distinctly biased view of Israel through his speaking engagements and writings. Qumsiyeh, born near Bethlehem, currently works for a medical diagnostics center in New Jersey.

Qumsiyeh, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle, often equates Israel interchangeably with apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany and his arguments frequently focus on “Zionist” control of American foreign policy. Qumsiyeh fundamentally rejects a two-state solution, and is a major proponent of divestment from Israel as a means to achieving his long-term objective of securing Palestinian right of return.

In addition to his articles and op-eds, Qumsiyeh promotes his unbalanced views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during visits to high schools and college campuses.  He is a frequent speaker with the anti-Israel Wheels of Justice Bus Tour, which has traveled across the country since July 2003.

As a major proponent of divestment from Israel, Qumsiyeh regularly writes on the subject and keeps an up-to-date list of divestment and boycott campaigns on his Web site, linking to the organizations and institutions behind them.

In January 2006, Qumsiyeh’s article “Boycott Israel” appeared in Global Agenda, the official magazine of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.  In the article, Qumsiyeh implored countries to divest from Israel and impose a boycott. He made false statements about Israel, Zionism and Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, as well as anti-Semitic insinuations of Jewish control of the media and American and international policymaking. WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab later denounced the article’s content, blaming a failure in the magazine’s editorial production process for its inclusion.

In October 2004, Qumsiyeh spoke at the fourth National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) at Duke University in North Carolina.  During his speech, Qumsiyeh called Zionism “a disease” and claimed that the violence in the Middle East started with “the idea that the land belongs to the Jewish people.” He also asked audience members, “If apartheid was a problem in South Africa, why do we consider it a solution in Palestine and Israel?”

Qumsiyeh co-founded the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign, which promotes divestment from Israel and the boycotting of Israeli products and leisure tourism in the hopes of forcing Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories to allow for the return of displaced Palestinians.  Qumsiyeh also initiated a petition campaign demanding a moratorium on U.S. funding of and collaboration with Israeli universities, which he claims to have generated more than 500 signatures by US and other academicians and researchers.

Qumsiyeh also co-founded Academics for Justice (AFJ), an activist group that claims its purpose is to “defend academic freedom of speech and association,” in the name of promoting peace, justice and human rights. Yet through its Call for Boycott campaign, AFJ actively promotes for censorship of Israeli academics through boycotting Israeli institutions and their programs.

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2007 Anti-Defamation League