Belal Muhammad Says Criticism Of Israeli Regime Isn’t Anti-Semitic
Ahead of his welterweight bout with Demian Maia at UFC 263, Belal Muhammad has opened up on the ongoing crisis between Israel and Palestine.
The most recent Israel-Palestine crisis was triggered on May 6th, when Palestinians began protesting over an anticipated decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to evict six Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, to make way for Jewish settlers.
As a result of the violence that erupted in May, 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed, and more than 1900 people were injured by Israel’s ground offence and air raids, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported. Israeli authorities also reported that 13 people, including two children, were killed and more than 200 people were injured in rocket attacks by Hamas. The two parties reached a ceasefire agreement on May 21st, but tensions remain high.
Nothing To Do With Religion
Speaking to MMA Mania, Muhammad, an American of Palestinian descent, said that criticism of the Israeli regime isn’t anti-Semitic, because the Israel-Palestine issue has nothing to do with religion.
“Jared Gordon is literally one of my best friends and he’s a Jewish guy. We literally lived together for two years. I do my podcast with Jason Anik, Jon Anik is a really good friend. I don’t want people to think that it’s a religious thing,” Muhammad said. “What I also tell people all the time is the population of Palestine has a huge Christian population. It’s not it’s like they’re just killing Muslims. There are Christians that are getting killed and getting kicked out of their homes as well. I don’t want people to think that it’s a religious thing. Palestinians are Semitic, so we can’t be anti-Semitic because it’s about the language you are speaking.
“I literally love Jewish people. Our religions are close when you speak about our religion. When people say you’re anti-Jewish or anti-this, bro, my best friend is Jared Gordon and I’m going to be standing up at his wedding. People are nuts. It literally has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with humanity. People are literally dying and people are losing their homes.”
No Justification For Killing Innocent People
Muhammad also condemned those using Hamas as a justification for killing innocent Palestinians.
“You show a picture of kids dying and I get so many comments like, ‘What about Hamas?’ Bro, you think this 3-year-old kid that just got bombed and killed is Hamas? People look for keywords, trigger words that will get other trolls that just comment on your thing to get a rise out of you.”
While both sides reported casualties in May, the numbers were much higher on the Palestinian side, something Muhammad believes the world should know.
“What would you think if I said, ‘Yo, Group A has over 300 kids died, 1,000 people displaced from their homes, and Group B has 10 deaths and one of the biggest armies and all these weapons and all this money?’ Which side are you going to take?” Muhammad asked.
‘People Are Misinformed’
In a telephonic conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Joe Biden said Tel Aviv has the right to defend itself, which doesn’t sit well with Muhammad, who said that such narratives are a testament to how misinformed the West is about the issue.
“They need somebody to really step up and put an end to this. You can’t have the President of the United States saying, ‘Well, they (Israel) have a right to defend themselves from Hamas.’ When you say stuff like that, it puts it out there to the regular Joe Schmo that doesn’t really know what’s going on. I think the biggest thing with people is that they’re misinformed,” Muhammad said. “Not a lot of people know what’s really going on there. You don’t have the mainstream media really pushing the story of what’s happening and the history of it.”