Watch: Pro-Palestinian Activist Refuses to Condemn ‘Death to America’ Chants – ‘Just a Phrase’

Many American citizens have run out of patience with an establishment-dominated U.S. government that enriches itself through endless foreign wars.

But those same American citizens have also reached the limits of indulgence when it comes to tribalistic protesters who direct hatred and threats of violence toward America and then, when called to account for it, hide behind the unique constitutional guarantees that only America offers them.

Tuesday on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” New York activist Nerdeen Kiswani casually dismissed her fellow pro-Palestinian protesters’ ubiquitous “Death to America” chant as “just a phrase.”

Appearing on a panel that included Jewish conservative commentator Debra Lea, comedian and commentator Dave Smith and Iranian-British-American attorney Elica Le Bon, Kiswani exhibited the single-minded arrogance of an activist who attends only to the rights and interests of the specific group of people for whom she advocates.

In fact, in a tedious-yet-revealing exchange, host Piers Morgan asked Kiswani seven times to address the “Death to America” chant. Each time, she refused to condemn it.


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The segment began when Morgan asked Lea what she thought about “the scenes we’ve been seeing in America the last 48 hours,” including “people in Michigan chanting ‘Death to America’” and various “pro-Hamas slogans.”

Lea denounced the blocking of traffic and other pro-Palestinian protests directed against ordinary Americans as “disgusting” and counterproductive.

Morgan then turned to Kiswani and described as “unnerving” the “hatred for America from people living here.”

Kiswani responded by defending the protesters as peaceful. But Morgan interrupted and pressed her to address the specific “Death to America” chant.

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“I think that that’s just a phrase maybe said by an individual,” she replied.

When told that the chant broke out in an entire crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters, Kiswani pleaded ignorance. Then, when Morgan asked if she would condemn the chant, Kiswani changed the subject.

“I’m here to talk about the entire Israeli-U.S. government — ” she said, before Morgan again interrupted her.

“You’re here to answer my questions, actually,” the host said. He then asked her again if she would condemn the chant.

“I think we should condemn Palestinians actually being killed,” the single-minded activist replied.


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“OK. That’s not the question I’m asking you,” an increasingly exasperated Morgan interjected. For a fifth time, he asked about the chant.

“I don’t condemn how people choose to express their rage verbally. I don’t condemn that, because at the end of the day the reason they’re saying that is because the U.S. is sending the tax dollars and the weapons that are actually creating death — ” Kiswani said before another interruption.

Now that the activist had finally admitted that she did not condemn the chant, Morgan asked if she supported it.

“I don’t chant that myself, so I don’t know why you’re trying to trap me in this type of argument,” she replied.

“I’m asking you to condemn it. You don’t want to. So I’m asking, I’m asking do you, therefore — should I assume you support them chanting?” Morgan said.

“Those aren’t the chants that I would personally do myself, no,” Kiswani replied.

When Morgan insisted that she must either condemn or support the chant, the activist disagreed.

“You’re neutral on ‘Death to America’? That’s terrifying,” Lea interjected.

Having failed in presenting Kiswani with what most decent people would regard as a simple, binary choice, Morgan then tried a different approach. He asked how a person might fare if he or she went to Gaza and chanted “Death to Palestine, with Hamas terrorists nearby.”

“I don’t understand these hypotheticals. There’s actual death being carried out on Gaza,” she said, missing the point entirely.

“They are doing this in a country where they’re very fortunate, where freedom of speech is not just tolerated, but encouraged,” Morgan said.

“Exactly,” Kiswani agreed.

“If you tried to do ‘Death to Palestine” as a chant with a crowd in the middle of Gaza, with Hamas people nearby, I suspect you would be killed pretty quickly,” Morgan correctly added.

Then came the most astonishing and revealing reply of all from Kiswani.

“Are you saying the people who chant ‘Death to America’ should be killed in the U.S., or should they be able to express their freedom of speech, First Amendment right?” the activist said.

The answer, of course, is no, those protesters should not be killed, and yes, they do enjoy freedom of speech.

But Kiswani revealed that she does not understand the ultimate source of those protections and rights.

American exceptionalism stems from Americans’ centuries-old insistence that their rights come from God, not from human authorities. That means that those rights apply equally and universally. They are not the special inheritance of some ethnic or religious group.

Kiswani showed that she understands the language of the First Amendment, but she understands it primarily as she sees that it applies to the particular group of people with whom she identifies and whose interests she defends.

In other words, she would say that “Palestinians have rights,” not that all people share those same rights. That is why she can defend pro-Palestinian protesters’ right to free speech while simultaneously glossing over what she knows to be the tyrannical barbarism of Hamas that would deny that same right to others. In her mind, it made perfect sense.

Even Smith, who regularly criticizes Israel over the war in Gaza and thus acted as Kiswani’s nominal ally on the panel, denounced both the chant and the people who have refused to condemn it.

“Everybody’s always running away from it,” Smith said of the opportunity to condemn such an odious chant. “And I think it just makes their argument so much weaker.”

“Stop chanting ‘Death to America,’ stop blocking streets, stop referring to Hamas as ‘freedom fighters,’” the comedian added. “You are doing such a disservice to the people you are trying to advocate for.”

Moments later, Kiswani agreed to condemn the phrase, albeit in a tone of mild condescension that signaled her contempt for others’ claims on her consideration.

“OK, would it make you all happy for me to distance myself from slogans like that? I’m happy to do that,” she said, rudely interrupting Le Bon, who finally had a chance to speak.

The British-Iranian attorney then denounced the ‘Death to America’ chant as wishing death on a nation of immigrants who fled tyranny to enjoy rights protected by the Constitution.

Readers may view the entire episode in the video below. The segment in question began around the 22:08 mark. And Kiswani’s relevant comments began at 21:58. The general discussion of “Death to America” chants continued until 28:45.

In sum, Kiswami appeared determined to defend the rights and interests of Palestinians alone. It did not occur to her that Americans might look unfavorably upon protesters chanting “Death to America,” or that Americans would have good reason to hold that unfavorable view. After all, in her mind, Palestinians enjoy freedom of speech.

That tribal outlook will not easily win the sympathies of Americans who abandoned it centuries ago.


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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.

Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.

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