‘It’s problematic’, Salman Rushdie slams US students for supporting Hamas, warns, ‘a Palestinian state would be…’ - Hindustan Times
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‘It’s problematic’, Salman Rushdie slams US students for supporting Hamas, warns, ‘a Palestinian state would be…’

May 21, 2024 01:54 PM IST

Salman Rushdie, who has argued for a Palestinian state for most of his life spoke against student protests supporting Hamas.

Renowned novelist and New York University professor Salman Rushdie has strongly criticised US campus protesters advocating for a free Palestine. In a candid discussion on the Orte und Worte (“Places and Words”) podcast hosted by German broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Rushdie expressed concerns about the political leanings of progressive student movements.

Salman Rushdie, who has argued for a Palestinian state for most of his life against student protests supporting Hamas.(AFP)
Salman Rushdie, who has argued for a Palestinian state for most of his life against student protests supporting Hamas.(AFP)

A video clip of Rushdie’s comments was shared widely on social media, including by the official X account for Israel and Israeli diplomat David Saranga.

Salman Rushdie compares Hamas with Taliban

Rushdie, who has long supported the idea of a Palestinian state, explained his current apprehensions. “I've argued for a Palestinian state for most of my life – since the 1980s, probably,” he said. “Right now, if there was a Palestinian state, it would be run by Hamas, and that would make it a Taliban-like state, and it would be a client state of Iran.”

He questioned whether progressive movements in the West truly wish to establish another regime akin to the Taliban or Ayatollahs in the Middle East, particularly one adjacent to Israel.

The novelist did not hold back in his assessment of the campus protests. “The fact is that I think any human being right now has to be distressed by what is happening in Gaza because of the quantity of innocent death,” Rushdie remarked. “I would just like some of the protests to mention Hamas. Because that’s where this started, and Hamas is a terrorist organization. It’s very strange for young, progressive student politics to kind of support a fascist terrorist group.”

Expressing his dismay at the nature of the protests at US campuses, Rushdie said, “I feel that there’s not a lot of deep thought happening. There’s an emotional reaction to the death in Gaza, and that’s absolutely right. But when it slides over towards antisemitism and sometimes to actual support of Hamas, then it’s very problematic.”

Rushdie’s remarks have sparked a debate, particularly regarding the alignment of student protests with broader geopolitical implications. “Cultural elites like Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith need to defend the Western liberal hegemonic world order even if it includes a literal genocide because this is the system that rewards them. They are part of the structure of imperialist dominance,” remarked an X user.

"Salman Rushdie has exposed the great lie of a ‘Free Palestine’ "Hamas is a scourge and that a Hamas-ruled Palestine would be a disaster, and that Israel should not have to live next door to such a monstrosity. We should listen." (But is anyone listening?," another user argued.

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