Ronn Torossian
Ronn TorossianCorutesy

We live in truly incredible times. Terror organization supporters in the US are not hiding anymore. As Hamas filmed their attacks on our people, so too in the streets and boardrooms of the United States our enemies are brazen, clear and open.

Take the New York City based respected and successful lawyer Kathleen Peratis of Outten Golden who has visited the Hamas deadly terror tunnels multiple times, praised Hamas leaders, openly opposes a Jewish state and supports BDS. She is a leader of numerous organizations, including serving as a trustee emerita of Human Rights Watch, founding Chair of its Women’s Rights Division, and co-chair of the Advisory Committee of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division. She is a board member of the New Israel Fund.

While she is a leader on the fight against rape and sexual harassment, as far as I have seen, Ms. Peratis has been silent on the mass rape of Israeli women and silent on the issue of calling for the release of Israeli hostages.

In a 2011 op-ed describing her tours of the Hamas terror tunnels, Gaza’s ‘Tunnel Economy’ Is Booming, Ms. Peratis describes her Gaza visit “…as a fun-filled joy fest spent with friends. She quotes one Hamas leader saying:”Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians.” …

She adds: “Nearly everyone I spoke to – mostly Hamas officials, but also others – seemed to feel a great sense of pride in what he or she had survived, and confidence in the future. They all believe that Hamas triumphed in the prisoner-exchange deal with Israel, that despite international condemnation and punishment they are thriving, and that cutting all ties with Israel has been to Gaza’s benefit. Many seem to think that reconciliation with Fatah is probable, and with it, national elections. They see the Americans engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and think that Hamas – and its further prosperity and legitimacy – may not be far behind. As one Gazan put it, ‘Time is on our side.'

She describes her Hamas mates as people “…who…could not have been friendlier” and as she walked through the tunnels she describes a mood which was “….almost convivial.”

In another article she penned in 2011, she describes Gaza as “..exotic,” and admiringly describes a discussion she having, with “the star of the conversation was Dr. Ghazi Hamad, Hamas’s deputy foreign minister, a veterinarian, born in Jaffa, who lived for many years in a Rafah refugee camp. Hamad is a fluent Hebrew speaker (a common byproduct of spending time in Israeli prisons), extraordinarily well-spoken in English and, by Hamas standards, a moderate–except when it comes to Fatah, for which he has no use whatsoever. In August 2006, at a time when Hamas wanted to consolidate its recent electoral victory with peace and quiet, and law and order, he was quoted on the Israeli website Ynet criticizing Palestinian (Fatah) violence and rocket fire launched into Israel: “When we speak about a truce, there is always someone who fires another rocket…. The land is full with corruption, thuggery and gang killings. Isn’t building the homeland part of the resistance?”

She says, “…face to face, he pretty nearly convinced me that he has a vision for peace,” and describes her visit with him as “comfortable and chutzpadik.”

Mr. Hamed, however, has since praised the October 7th attacks, noting “Hamas was prepared to repeat its Oct. 7 operation “a second, a third, a fourth” time.” Her friend reiterated that Israel should be destroyed, and stated that Hamas should repeat the attacks on 7 October 2023, quoting "We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do it twice and three times. The al-Aqsa Deluge is just the first time." He added that “…, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7, October 10, October one-millionth, everything we do is justified."

Ms. Peratis has expressed her reservations as a liberal Jew about supporting the continued existence of a Jewish state and now supports BDS.

As she notes, “…Few things focus the attention of the Israeli government on the issue of occupation like BDS, even the parve BDS of a limited boycott of settlement products.”Peratis supports full BDS, noting “….But maybe it is time now, maybe past time, to embrace a broader BDS tool for our own goal of ending the occupation—time for us to embrace the wake-up call that occurs when a rock group won't perform in Tel Aviv, when the E.U. refuses to fund Israeli projects that have any presence over the Green Line, when the Presbyterian Church threatens divestment in companies that profit from the occupation.”

She notes that “….BDS means to isolate Israel and therefore shrinks its commerce and intellectual intercourse. That is true, but that is precisely what the boycott tool is meant to do: disrupt the status quo until justice is restored.”

In a 2019 podcast she noted, giving only one side of the reasons for the situation in Gaza at that time, that Egypt provides a window and a door for Gazans (did she realize she is negating the "open air prison" lie?) and did not realize what the smuggling from Egypt and the tunnel web purported for Israel's safety. She states that Palestinian Arabs from Gaza are the same as those in Judea and Samaria, perhaps not realizing that that means for Israeli policy after the October 7 massacre.

She says: "The idea of a state that is not nationalism but is an racism...but we have a blind spot when it comes to Israel. But many young people are not seduced by what seduced their parents..." She wants the 7 million Palestinian Arabs (a wildly innacurate number) she states as living in Gaza and Judea and Samaria to have citizenship in Israel.

And more shocking, this tweet:

It seems that Israeli young people across the political board do not agree. Since October 7, they are all risking their lives for the Jewish State.

Ms. Kathleen Peratis is a leader of a New York City law firm, a leader of Human Rights Watch.

Since October 1997, the US Department of Treasury has designated Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Additionally, these groups have been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) since October 2001.

J Street objected to the meetings and she left her position on its Executive Committee. Should further steps be taken, even though she claimed to have visited as a journalist?

In the current environment where the Jewish people have been massacred, raped and kidnapped, and considering her friend Hamed's reaction to that, have her self-assured, and to use her words "intellectual liberal" views changed at all?

Repeated requests for comment to Ms. Peratis and her firm Outten Golden have not been returned.

Scary times ahead.

Ronn Torossian is an American-Israeli entrepreneur, author and philanthropist.