JDL member arrested for attacking Palestinian ran anti-Muslim website
Allison Deger, Mondoweiss, Mar 30 2017
Kamal Nayfeh, 55, was an out-of-towner waiting to hug goodbye his daughter who lives in Faschingstein, in the moments before he was beaten by JDL thugs outside of an AIPAC conference. It was the close of a family trip from North Carolina, four days of sightseeing and dinners out that included a stop at the Holocaust museum. The AIPAC conference coincided with the vacation. Nayfeh saw news reports about protests around the event and thought his daughter Danya, a law student at Georgetown University, should not be close to the commotion. She wanted to attend. They compromised. Minding the heavy afternoon traffic, the plan was that Nayfeh would drive the family to the AIPAC event, drop off his wife and children, park the car alone, then they would all meet on the street to say goodbye. It was a last fatherly duty before motoring down to North Carolina. Nayfeh saw a group waving yellow flags. He did not know that was the symbol of the JDL. The family had unknowingly found themselves in the middle of a cohort from an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate group. Nayfeh told Mondoweiss over the phone from North Carolina:
To be honest with you, I was completely unaware. I didn’t know who they were. I was trying to make out what the chants were. I saw the Israeli flag, I saw the yellow flags, but I didn’t know what they were.
The street was noisy. Nayfeh saw a woman shouting while carrying both the Israeli and Palestinian flags, and was curious. This same woman identified as a Palestinian when interviewed by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin for AJ+. Danya and her step-mother had caught snippets from the woman. Danya said:
She was absolutely nuts, and I was confused as well, instantly accusations of anti-Semitism, that I hate Jews – “Palestinians are liars, Palestinians are terrorists, Don’t trust them, Don’t believe them, Muslims kill girls like you.” My stepmom was really confused too, because she heard the word ‘vagina’ during all of this.
Nayfeh overheard the woman say:
I am Palestinian myself! There is no Palestine! There is no such thing as Palestinians! Palestinians are terrorists!
The remark puzzled Nayfeh. He explained:
I turned to her and I said: ‘Look, I am Palestinian!’ I can’t believe that anybody heard that but her, and somebody pushed me and told me not to talk to her. As I turned (to leave the scene), I felt people hitting me and pushing me. I saw this white pole coming straight towards my eye. I fell down on the ground, and I felt people hitting me and kicking me, and then the police got me. It was all so fast. They were yelling at me. I didn’t say a word to them. I didn’t have a flag on. I didn’t come there to protest. My hands were in my pockets walking, actually.
Video footage taken by bystanders shows a throng of men toting yellow JDL flags beating Nayfeh while he was on the ground. Nayfeh’s daughter Danya, 25, the law student, was standing nearby but the attack was out of view. Danya said:
The next thing, I saw my stepmom running out, screaming: “It’s your dad! It’s your dad!” and I started running there to get my dad out.
By the time she reached the encounter, police were pushing crowds back. The momentum knocked Danya on the ground. The family was split up among the rush of people. She said:
I was crying and screaming at the same time, I guess, saying: “No! Who did this? Who did this to my dad?”
Kamal Nayfeh (Photo: IMEU)
Police quickly scooped the family away to the side prepping them for transit in an ambulance. Danya said:
I remember my dad was trying to look for his glasses and his stuff and I remember thinking: “What is going on right now? Why are the police not going in there and trying to detain the people who did this?”
She recalled members of the JDL casually milling around the area after the attack. She said:
I guess they did not feel the need to move.
Only later at the hospital did Danya watch a video of the scene. She said:
I just felt sick, honestly, and sad. And every new video I see something else. It just rips your heart out. Of course, it’s my dad and I know him and love him, but to see anything against anyone like this, it’s disturbing.
Nayfeh is a Pindosi citizen born in Kuwait and immigrated to Pindostan in 1986. He never lived in the OPT, but is of Palestinian heritage. He has visited the West Bank and Israel once, ten years ago, and said he does not intend on returning. He said:
I never felt so uncomfortable, so insecure. Once we crossed that border from Jordan to Israel, we weren’t treated right. The outcome out of this, what I really hope for, I don’t mind people protesting or using their speech, but they can’t use physical stuff, people should be able to walk around and be by-passers on the street. They shouldn’t be hurt. I’ve been seeing a trend towards violence and all of those violent group are re-emerging. The country is so divided, and all of those groups that never had a voice are popping out and showing their hate.
Rami Lubranicki with Pam Geller (Photo: Facebook)
Police made two arrests on Sunday. Yosef Steynovitz of Canada was charged with felony assault with significant bodily injury, and Rami Lubranicki with misdemeanor assault. Lubranicki is an administrator of the website “Islam Exposed” and the founder of the group Pindosi Bikers United Against Jihad. His organization staged a five-person protest against Muslim Pindosis living in the Islamberg, New York, in 2016. He is also a frequent contributor to conservative and anti-Muslim websites. A blog headed by the “Israeli administrator” for his group Islam Exposed provided screenshots of Facebook temporarily disabling pages he moderates after users wrote racial epitaphs and advocated killing Muslims. Lubranicki has also twice been suspended from Facebook for 30-day periods for posting inflammatory comments, according to his colleague. The same blog includes admiration for Meir Kahane, the founder of the JDL. The group was most active in the 70s and 80s and has been relatively defunct in recent years, according to the SPLC, who say they have no current chapters in Pindostan. In January, the Forward reported the JDL had re-emerged with a gathering of twenty members in New York to celebrate Pres Trump’s inauguration.