PART II: Muslim Leadership Initiative and Understanding BDS, Zionism and Israel
By Dr. Hatem Bazian
Originally published on AltMuslim
In a May 22, 2015 article published in The Huffington Post, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, the only Palestinian participant in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), officially and publically disengaged from the program. Abu Shamsieh’s disassociation concluded, “As the third cohort of the Muslim Leadership Initiative gets underway, it has become impossible for MLI to meet with any credible Palestinian. Without a Palestinian narrative, MLI risks becoming a Hasbara program, Israeli-propaganda.”
The announcement is a very significant development and brings the debate back into center stage.
In late March, both Abu Shamsieh and Imam Abdullah Antepli visited Berkeley, Calif., to discuss with me and others the MLI program and issues emerging from the intense debate and also to open channels of communication moving forward. The discussion was long and spirited, but the differences and gulf between us remained the same. At the time, I agreed to write an article to express my own opposition to the MLI program and also to highlight the political nature of disagreement.