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IfNotNow Rep Declines to Comment on Hamas in Video

Aaron Bandler is an investigative journalist for the Jewish Journal. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

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Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is an investigative journalist for the Jewish Journal. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

A representative for the progressive Jewish group IfNotNow declined to comment about Hamas when asked on camera.

Conservative filmmaker Ami Horowitz published a video on Oct. 7 in which he interviewed Becca Lubow from IfNotNow. Lubow told Horowitz that she became a leader with IfNotNow after she becoming involved with IfNotNow’s campaign against Birthright trips to Israel. Horowitz then asked Lubow, “Is it racist for the United States to have Hamas on its terror list, but not IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers?”

“I don’t want to answer that,” Lubow replied.

“Do you not want to talk about Hamas at all?” Horowitz asked.

Lubow then shook her head and said, “I have to be careful because I’m cognizant of consequences for certain things I could say.”

The video also stated that IfNotNow partners “with the most aggressive anti-Israel organizations,” such as Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Horowitz then claims that AMP has provided IfNotNow members and leadership with training.

In the video, Horowitz proceeds to interview AMP Director of Community and Outreach Taher Herzallah, who has led some of the training sessions between AMP and IfNotNow.

Screenshot of Taher Herzallah from Ami Horowitz’s YouTube video

“We’ve done some direct action projects with [IfNotNow],” Herzallah said. “We participated in direct action against the nomination of David Friedman to become the U.S. ambassador to Israel. We’ve done a lot of localized actions nationwide. Those are just some of the things that we’ve worked on.”

Horowitz then asked if American Jewish organizations like Birthright “essentially engage in ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

“This is absolutely ethnic cleansing,” Herzallah replied.

Horowitz then asked Herzallah if there are any moral differences between the Nazis and the Israeli government.

“Putting people in concentration camps, besieging people, wholesale execution of people, these are all very common trends between what Nazi Germany did and what Israel is doing today,” Herzallah said. “I think it needs to be noted that the vast majority of Israelis on the ground support the State of Israel’s moves. You look at all the polling numbers, especially when you go back to the devastating war on Gaza in 2014.”

Horowitz asked Herzallah if violent resistance is justified.

“When there is a violent occupation, violent resistance is justified,” Herzallah said, adding, “When the reality of Israel’s brutality hits home… then people are more inclined to think about alternative solutions.”

Horowitz concluded by stating he had taken a video of Black Lives Matter protesters defacing a synagogue in Kenosha, Wisconsin with “Free Palestine” graffiti. IfNotNow initially condemned the vandalism but then later withdrew it.

IfNotNow’s Communications Director Yonah Lieberman told the Journal, “To get an interview with Becca, a senior in college at the time, [Horowitz] messaged her from a fake Twitter account, pretending to be a Jordanian Palestinian who recently discovered Jewish ancestry and wanted to tell stories about American Jewish anti-occupation activists. He never said there would be cameras at the interview and Becca, sensing that something was off, left shortly after the interview began. No serious person should see any of his work as credible.”

Horowitz disputed Lieberman’s statement, telling the Journal in an email, “Notice that they did not deny or dispute a single fact in the film. Becca Lubow, a representative of IfNotNow, was perfectly aware that this was an on-camera interview, as I explained in my text to her.  She spent over 50 minutes with me on camera discussing a variety of topics from the political scene, Israel and IfNotNow. I think the IfNotNow primary sources seen in the film speak for themselves.”

Lieberman told the Journal that Lubow “misremembered the moment she was surprised that the interview would be on camera, which was over text before the interview, not when she walked into the room. She does not remember the interview with perfect clarity after more than seven months. She spent most of it feeling very uncomfortable with the leading questions he was asking her, trying to stay calm and surprised that someone who said he was an accountant who was making a documentary for the first time would have such a professional camera setup.

“Ami Horowitz,” Lieberman continued, “lied about his identity and intentions in order to try to get a female college student to say something that he could use to smear a social justice organization. He is a shady, far-right provocateur, not a journalist to be taken seriously.”

Horowitz told the Journal that it’s “a legitimate tool for journalists to misrepresent who they are in order to get somebody on camera.”

AMP did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

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