June 3, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11370

Saudi Journalist: Behind U.S. Student Protests Stands The Muslim Brotherhood, Which Does Not Have The Palestinians' Interests At Heart

June 3, 2024
Saudi Arabia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11370

Writing in his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, journalist Abdallah bin Bjad Al-Otaibi states that behind the pro-Palestinian student protests taking place in campuses across the U.S. stands a years-long alliance between the American liberal left and movements of political Islam, chief of them the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which do not have the Palestinians' interests at heart.

The MB, says Al-Otaibi, has gained a foothold in the U.S. since the mid-20th century with the help of a certain Arab country – hinting at Qatar – that has funded it and helped it gain influence with Congress members and other key figures. This, he argues, shows that "the waving of Hamas and Hizbullah flags at the American student protests is not purely a display of support for the oppressed or of human empathy free of politics."  This alliance between political Islam and the liberal left, Al-Otaibi adds, was clearly exposed during the Arab Spring, when then-U.S. president Barack Obama "consciously strove to undermine Arab regimes and deliver them into the hands of the MB and other movements of political Islam." He concludes by saying that, just as the Arab Spring slogans calling for democracy, human rights and free speech turned out to be a false façade for religious dictatorship and terrorist violence, the slogans now chanted in the U.S. in favor of the Palestinian cause and Palestinian rights are a front for the agendas of movements that are not really interested in Palestine's welfare.

Abdallah bin Bjad Al-Otaibi (Image:  

The following are translated excerpts from his column:[1]

"It is obvious that the left, with its various orientations, and especially the liberal left, is becoming very widespread in the universities and colleges, just as it dominates the Democratic Party as well as many other fields, such as art and drama, and Hollywood is just one example [of this]. It has far more influence than the new movements such as the Me Too women's movement and Black Lives Matter… Another fact is that the global left is naturally antagonistic, and nobody denies that it has been focusing [its antagonism] on certain regimes for decades. The global left includes the Western left and in particular the American left. Its positions have not drastically changed, although they have developed in secondary directions. [For example,] it has supported the Palestinian cause  against Israel for decades; that too is nothing new.

"The peoples of the Arab world must now understand that [support] for the Palestinian cause does not give one license to do as one pleases and does not exonerate every enemy and rival of guilt – otherwise it is possible to justify the acts of murder and occupation committed by the Iranian regime against the Arab peoples as long as they are carried out in the name of the Palestinian cause.

"No reasonable person denies the power of the American left, which years ago took over many circles and many public and private institutions, and today constitutes the strongest current in the Democratic Party. But what is the connection between the Islamists, or the movements of political Islam and their leaders, and the U.S.?... [Even] if they have influence and presence in the West, what is their connection to the liberal left? These are questions that need to be asked, and the answers can lead us to rethink current events and to understand the policy of [former U.S. president] Obama in the region and the policy of [the current U.S. president], Biden, and his administration and of the movements that are behind all of this.

"Starting in the 1940s and 1950s, Sa'id Ramadan[2] started traveling around Europe in order to establish branches of the MB there. Later he came to the U.S. and formed ties with some Muslims in the country. In the 1960s, immigration of MB members to the U.S. increased, and in the 1970s their [numbers] and organizational presence grew, and they had leaders like Muhammad Fathi Osman,[3] Hassan Hathout,[4] Sayyed Dasouqi[5] and many others. They founded many communities, organizations and movements in [America's] active and developed environment that offered unlimited constitutional freedoms, made many achievements and, in various periods and places, acquired support from various Arab countries for various elements within them. Their affiliated mosques and social and cultural centers played many roles. The distinction between 'Islamic' and 'Islamist,' which became hard [to make] in our Arab world, became even harder [to make] in the U.S…. 

"Without going into too many details and dates, suffice it to note several modern figures that are still fresh in our memory, such as the ties between [president] Obama and the famous leftist [literary] critic Edward Sa'id [1935-2003] or with Rashid Al-Khalidi [b. 1948, a Palestinian-American historian and philosopher] who occupies the Edward Sa'id Chair at Columbia University in New York, or Huma Abedin, [b. 1976], who served on Hillary Clinton's staff when the latter was secretary of state… The second and third generation of the MB managed to infiltrate the offices of U.S. Congress members and influence active U.S. figures, and much of the funds provided by a certain Arab country [i.e., Qatar] in order to influence prominent figures in Congress and important ministers in the various U.S. administrations was used to plant and empower MB [members]. All this… proves that the waving of Hamas and Hizbullah flags at the student protests in U.S. campuses was not spontaneous and is not just a display of support for the oppressed or of human empathy free of politics.

"During the black Arab Spring, just over a decade ago, the scope of the alliance between the movements of political Islam and the American liberal left was exposed, along with [the fact that] then-U.S. president Barack Obama  consciously strove to undermine the Arab regimes and deliver them into the hands of the MB and other movements of political Islam. This great event is still vivid in our memory, regardless of the long-term historical scrutiny of the ties between the movements of political Islam and the leftist movements in general – whether on the level of concepts and ideas and of formulating solid ideologies, or the level of coming up with inflammatory slogans and discourse to mobilize [supporters], or the level of founding organizations and recruitment mechanisms with many branching details. 

"Every voice that supports the Palestinian cause in the East or West is an achievement for this cause, as long as it does not serve other goals but focuses on the affairs and aspirations of the Palestinian people themselves… On the Palestinian level, this is embodied by the Palestinian Authority, which represents the PLO. On the Arab level it is embodied by the Arab Initiative, which enjoys a general Arab consensus and is considered a continuation of the existing peace agreements between the Arabs and Israel, while the Islamic states stand with the Arab ones, except those whose plans are geared at exploiting the Palestinian cause for goals that have nothing to do with Palestine and its people.

"During the cursed Arab Spring the slogans focused on democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and the like. Later everyone discovered that these were deceptive slogans of murderous fundamentalists [who actually advocated] tyrannical theocracy  and terrorist violence. The slogans brandished today in favor of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians' rights are justified, but behind them hide the agendas of currents and approaches that are not well-disposed towards Palestine or towards its great supporters in the Arab countries. 

"Saudi Arabia has stood firmly with the Palestinian people of Gaza since the outbreak of the October [2023] events, and it continues to insist on its principled position and make important achievements in its long-term negotiations with the U.S. administration. The Palestinian cause continued to be part of this exhausting negotiations.

"Finally, the cure for ignorance is knowledge… Some members of the public are in great need of knowledge, awareness and consciousness."


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 5, 2024.

[2] Sa'id Ramadan (1926-1995) was one of the first leaders of the MB in Europe and initiated the movement's activity there, especially in Germany.

[3] Muhammad Fathi Osman (1928-2010) was an Egyptian academic and thinker who joined the MB in the 1940s and left it in the 1950s in favor of a more progressive brand of Islam. He spent 30 years in exile (he died in Los Angeles) and worked in Arab and American universities.

[4] Hassan Hathout (1924-2009) was an Egyptian physician who was invited into the MB in 1941 by the movement's founder and leader at the time Hassan Al-Banna. Subsequently he left Egypt and lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Britain and Southeast Asia, and spent the last two decades of his life in the U.S.  

[5] Muhammad Al-Sayyed Dasouqi (b. 1934), a prominent authority on modern Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence in Egypt, teaches Shari'a at the University of Cairo and other Islamic universities.



Share this Report: