News Brief

"Strange That Progressive Students Support Hamas": Salman Rushdie On Free Palestine Movement By US Campus Protesters

Nishtha Anushree

May 21, 2024, 03:05 PM | Updated 03:05 PM IST

Author Salman Rushdie.
Author Salman Rushdie.

Video clips from Salman Rushdie's recent podcast with German broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, have been going viral, where he criticises US campus protests supporting the Free Palestine movement.

A clip was even shared by Israeli Ambassador, David Saranga, who quoted Rushdie as saying, "If there was a Palestinian state, it would be run by Hamas, and that would make it a Taliban-like state."

In the video clip, Rushdie expressed distress over innocent lives lost in Gaza and urged the protesters on the US campuses to mention Hamas, "because that's where this started."

Asserting that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, he exclaimed, "It is very strange for a young progressive student politics to kind of support a fascist terrorist group."

Rushdie highlighted that he himself has argued for a Palestinian state since 1980s, but seeing that Hamas rules over Palestine now, he worries that a free Palestinian state would be a client state of Iran.

"Is that what the progressive movement of the Western Left wish to create? To have another Taliban, another Ayatollah-like state in the Middle East, right next to the Israel?" he questioned.

He claimed that there is no deep thought but just an emotional reaction to deaths in Gaza and expressed concern when it "slides over to anti-semtism and sometimes actual support of Hamas."

Rushdie is known to be a vocal critic of Islam and even lost his one eye after an attack in August 2022 over charges of blasphemy.

His novel The Satanic Verses’, published in 1988, was declared “blasphemous” by the Muslim world. After a ban on this book, he left India.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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