Members of an Israeli-Arab delegation set to meet students in the United States have received threats from Arab media after The Jerusalem Post published plans of their public diplomacy mission.
The Reservists on Duty organization has scheduled members of six Arab minority groups in Israel to travel to college campuses in the US. The trip has been designed to answer the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel and to defend its policies toward Arab-speaking minorities, mainly within the Green Line.
The story, published by the Post on Wednesday, was widely translated into Arabic on media such as the Al-Quds website, the Al-Hayat newspaper and on social media. One delegation member, a young woman named Dima Tumma from Kafr Manda, told the Post that she was harassed, insulted and that people cursed at her and her family.
“I am not intimidated, but this is brainwashing from some of the media,” Tumma said. “I’m paying a high price…
It is [offensive] and it’s unpleasant. One website wrote that the State of Israel had recruited me and paid me to participate in the delegation, which is a lie.”
Another delegation member, Khazem Khaliliyah, an Arab Muslim from Iksal in the North, told Yediot Aharonot that he had to leave his hometown and move to Tel Aviv. Khaliliyah said people with large followings on Facebook have called him out and that he received threats to be “burned alive.”
The campaign will cross the Atlantic next week, this time with a small delegation of citizens who wish to become the next thing in “Israeli hasbara” (public diplomacy).
Jonathan Elkhoury, an Israeli-Christian resident of Haifa, took part in a turbulent event at the University of California, Irvine, during “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus last May as part of a delegation of the Reservists on Duty that was defending Israel’s reputation.