On May 18, Mount Royal University in Calgary will be presenting the “Calgary Peace Prize 2023” to Mohammed El-Kurd, which according to the university’s official flyer, will recognize El-Kurd “for his exemplary contribution toward peace and justice in the struggle for a more humane, dignified, and free life for oppressed people in Palestine and beyond.”
If Mount Royal University wants to honour an activist for their efforts in making a more humane and dignified life for anyone, Mohammed El-Kurd is hardly the candidate for such an award.
In recent years, Mohammed El-Kurd, the “Palestine correspondent” for The Nation, has become a fixture of the anti-Israel cause.
The 24-year-old resident of eastern Jerusalem describes himself on his official website as an “internationally touring and award-winning poet, writer, journalist, and organizer from Jerusalem, occupied Palestine.”
Alongside his twin sister Mona, Mohammed El-Kurd is regularly interviewed by news media outlets and boasts more than 700,000 followers on Instagram and more than 250,000 on Twitter. In 2021, the El-Kurd siblings were featured by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential people of the year.
But El-Kurd is no human rights activist, nor is he an objective journalist. He has been accused of spreading hateful anti-Israel propaganda, of publishing antisemitic tropes and inciting violence on social media.
El-Kurd’s comments are more than just anti-Israel; they have been criticized for being unapologetically antisemitic in nature. In a Twitter post in May, 2021, El-Kurd shared a video of Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, alongside a caption “While the occupation forces empties out a mosque that was built in 705 CE out of its Muslim worshippers, Israeli Jews ready themselves to invade it.”
Denying the Jewish People’s three thousand year connection with Israel, their ancestral homeland, is not only an egregious assault on the truth and all historical record, but it’s an unabashed attempt to erase Jewish history to suit his personal needs.
El-Kurd’s disinformation can be religious in nature, by denying and erasing Jewish history, but he has also taken a page out of Nazi propaganda.
In July, 2022, El-Kurd shared a drawing on his Instagram account, which portrayed Palestinian Authority (PA) Civil Affairs leader Hussein al-Sheikh shaking hands with a soldier wearing a Star of David armband. While al-Sheikh is portrayed as a human, the Israeli soldier has purple skin, yellow eyes, sharp teeth, a long nose and a demonic face. The drawing was created by Palestinian artist Azeez Azeez, whose portfolio features an extensive collection of what we regard as hateful anti-Jewish imagery.
It’s hardly surprising that given this wholesale attempt to delegitimize the Jewish People’s connection to their homeland, El-Kurd’s social media accounts have also included encouraging comments for Palestinian terrorists and terrorism.
He has written that “when we mourn, we mourn all of our martyrs, not just our children,” as well as posts extolling the virtues of violence against Israelis, such as “power to stones in the face of artillery,” and has posted fawning images of Palestinian terrorists.
On April 30, Mohammed El-Kurd did an interview on Novara Media on “How the Media Lies About Palestine” where El-Kurd uttered the antisemitic blood libel that Israel harvests organs of dead Palestinians.
“Let me tell you a story, I don’t know how much you know about poetry, but when I was writing my book, there was a line in my poem that referenced a well-documented Israeli policy in which they confiscate the organs of dead Palestinians, among others, and they do it without the family’s knowledge or consent. This is something that has been admitted by Israeli doctors, something that has been reported on the ABC, on CNN, NBC, this is something that was well-documented in the 90’s…”
Lest one mistakenly believe that El-Kurd’s supportive words for Palestinian violence against Israel are merely rhetoric in nature, he has been more specific in his praise for terrorism, writing in a September 2021 Twitter post: “Today marks 21 years since the start of the Second Intifada. Glory to those who resisted and sacrificed. Glory to the martyrs, the women and men whose makeshift weapons confronted artilleries, the children whose stones intimidated tanks. The struggle continues, until liberation.”
Calgary Peace Prize to go to Mohammed El-Kurd “for his exemplary contribution toward peace and justice.” El-Kurd calls for the murder of Israelis, supports terrorism & spreads in antisemitism. Explain @mountroyal4u how that contributes to peace & justice.https://t.co/faC6VHGsq1 https://t.co/zHhWgWMlfU pic.twitter.com/CdaK2O0eUu
— Canary Mission (@canarymission) April 27, 2023
The Second Intifada (Arabic for uprising) was launched in the fall of 2000, and was a multi-year campaign of incessant and horrific violence against innocent Israeli civilians.
From 2000 until 2005, more than one thousand Israelis were murdered at the hands of Palestinian terrorism, including victims of the 2002 “Passover massacre,” when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a Passover seder for elderly Israelis in the city of Netanya, murdering 30 people, and the 2001 Dolphinarium discotheque massacre, when 21 Israelis, mostly teenagers, were butchered by a Palestinian terrorist who blew himself up while the victims were dancing.
Mohammed El-Kurd stands accused of being an unrepentant, outspoken advocate of murderous Palestinian violence and of hateful anti-Jewish propaganda.
According to Mount Royal University’s website, the official contact for the “Calgary Peace Prize” is none other than Mark Muhannad Ayyash, a professor at the university. Ayyash has been the subject of multiple HonestReporting Canada alerts for making multiple unfounded anti-Israel claims, including in his capacity as a columnist for Al Jazeera.
It is unconscionable that Mohammed El-Kurd, who has made no secret of his support for Palestinian terrorism against Israelis and who has been condemned for engaging in antisemitism, would be given any platform by a Canadian educational institution at all, let alone being honoured with a “Peace Prize” by Mount Royal University. In our view, a rethink by Mount Royal University, is certainly in order.