Meet Within Our Lifetime - United for Palestine (WOL), the anti-Israel group that hasn’t been afraid to call for the death of Jews. 

WOL has openly expressed its support for the Hamas’ terror attack in Israel on October 7, 2023, saying it supports Palestinian resistance “in all its forms. By any means necessary. With no exceptions.”  Since October 7, WOL has organized rallies across New York City, calling for people to “flood” a given location, echoing Hamas’ naming of the 10/7 attack on Israel, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.

The group also claims to support the pursuit of self-determination by all people of all nationalities. It has only one exception: Jews.

What is WOL?

Within Our Lifetime – United for Palestine (WOL) is an anti-Israel organization primarily active in New York City. Since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, the group has choreographed and scripted most of the anti-Israel protests across the city and New York college campuses. It has also posted maps on its social media platforms detailing the locations of Jewish organizations in New York City, claiming they have “blood on their hands,” endangering the lives of American Jews. 

Its vile and violent antisemitic rhetoric is based on its four pillars. The elimination of Israel and the formation of a Palestinian state on the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea; the false premise that Zionism is a white supremacist ideology; the right of Palestinians to resist Jewish self-determination by any means necessary and beyond what international law allows; and internationalism, which they see as the responsibility to resist U.S. imperialism at home and abroad, often including law enforcement.

How is WOL committing or inciting violence against Israelis and Jews? 

At a WOL demonstration in April 2022 during violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, WOL activist Saadah Masoud attacked a Jewish man wearing an Israeli flag. According to court papers, when he was taken into custody, he asked the case detective: “All this for one Jew?”

He later pleaded guilty to a federal hate crimes conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for that attack and two others against Jews.

Being Jewish is all it takes to attract WOL’s ire. Last fall, the group posted maps on Instagram online pinpointing the locations of Jewish organizations in New York City that the group accused of having “blood on their hands.” Kiswani posted the map on social media with the message “Genocide supporters have been working amongst us.”

The blatant antisemitism drew so much condemnation that the group, and others who shared the posts, took them down. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called the posts “dangerous and reprehensible.”

In an April protest, one of the group's organizers, Abdullah Akl, led a chant encouraging Hamas' military spokesperson Abu Obaida to "strike Tel Aviv."

And in June, masked activists on the way to the WOL protest at the Nova exhibit swarmed subway cars, demanding “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist. This is your chance to get off the train.”  

Who founded WOL?

The organization was founded in 2015 and is currently led by 29-year-old Palestinian-American Nerdeen Kiswani, the former Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) president at the City University of New York Law School. In a now infamous 2022 hate-filled law school commencement address, Kiswani called for the abolishment of the “illegitimate” state of Israel.

The following year, CUNY law graduate Fatima Mohammed echoed many of Kiswani’s antisemitic talking points in another commencement address that drew condemnation from CUNY’s chancellor and elected officials who sought to defund CUNY. The law school subsequently discontinued the practice of featuring student graduation speakers.

But even without a podium, Kiswani had a platform at CUNY, New York University, and Columbia University this past spring. In the spring, at Columbia’s protest encampment, she urged followers to gather and to resist “by any means necessary.” 

Who supports WOL?

WOL works on campus initiatives and protests with collegiate chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and other campus groups that have jumped on the anti-Zionist bandwagon without any understanding of Zionism, Israel, or Hamas.

Though it began as primarily Palestinian and Muslim, WOL has attracted a diverse following, including Jews from the fringe Haredi Jewish group Neturei Karta that believes the Messiah must arrive before Israel is re-established and has been vocally anti-Israel, as well as a variety of people carrying flags at protests representing Hezbollah, Vatican City, LGBTQ Pride, and Middle Eastern and North African countries such as Lebanon and Algeria.

While SJP and its campus chapters have led the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign at many universities, urging schools to divest from and sever relationships with Israeli corporations and entities, WOL has said that doesn’t go far enough, encouraging more aggressive activism.

Who funds WOL?

Within Our Lifetime does not have public tax filings. Its fiscal sponsor, which collects and processes donations, is a progressive nonprofit group based in New York called Westchester People’s Action Coalition Foundation, or WESPAC. When approached by a news organization, the board chair of WESPAC declined to share the financial filings for the organizations it sponsors. 

WOL also has partnered with Samidoun, a Canadian-registered nonprofit group that the Israeli government and several European think tanks say is led by current and former members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S. designated terror group. Germany has banned Samidoun after it publicly praised Hamas for the October 7 attacks.

What are WOL’s talking points?  

WOL’s talking points are essentially Hamas’ talking points. They call for a Palestinian ‘Right of Return,’ a euphemism for having millions of descendants of Palestinians take over Israel and end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

They proudly state their fundamental rejection and call for the “abolition of Zionism.” They unequivocally stand against any dialogue and have a “strict policy of anti-normalization.”  

They also put forth without any doubt that Palestinian resistance is justified “by any means necessary.” 

Demonstrators chant support for terrorist organizations, burning the American flag and calling for Hamas to attack again. “Never forget the 7th of October,” they shouted at Jewish students on Columbia’s campus. “That will happen...10,000 more times!”

WOL’s reverence for unsavory characters doesn’t stop with Hamas. In 2022, WOL was temporarily blocked from Instagram after it posted a collage on International Women’s Day featuring Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian terrorist convicted in the 1969 terror attack on a Jerusalem supermarket, and Leila Khaled, who hijacked TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Instagram permanently disabled Kiswani’s and Within Our Lifetime’s accounts in February, though co-called unaffiliated accounts have already sprung up in its place. Instead, the group communicates through its X and Telegram accounts. 

The group’s name is also echoed in one of its chants: "We will free Palestine, within our lifetime.” Rhyming is the group’s favorite literary tool to express its radical disregard for a two-state solution. “It is right to rebel! Israel go to hell!” or “We don’t want two states! We want ‘48!”

What are WOL’s tactics?

Nothing is off-limits for this group. In fact, inflicting additional pain on people who have already suffered seems to be their hallmark.

During a rally called “Flood Manhattan for Gaza: MLK Day March for Healthcare,” children watched from the windows as protesters demonstrated outside the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, accusing the hospital of supporting genocide. 

Meanwhile, outside an exhibit in New York City commemorating the 300 victims massacred at the Nova Music Festival, WOL activists lit flares, opened smoke canisters, and chanted ”long live the intifada." Palestinian terror attacks during the Second Intifada killed an estimated 1,000 Israelis.

Who has condemned WOL?

The group differs from other pro-Palestinian groups, such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Democratic Socialists for America, in that it does not wish to work with Democrats, even the progressive critics of Israel. The feeling is largely mutual. 

“The callousness, dehumanization and targeting of Jews on display at last night's protest outside the Nova Festival exhibit was atrocious antisemitism - plain and simple,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) posted on social media the next day. “Antisemitism has no place in our city nor any broader movement that centers human dignity and liberation.” 

"You do not call for peace and wave flags of Hamas. You do not call for peace and then come to a memorial site. That's like you are desecrating the graves," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has called their behavior protesting the Nova exhibit “vile and disgusting”

"These abhorrent acts of antisemitism have no place in America but particularly not in the state of New York,” she said. 

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries called the group’s protests outside the Nova exhibit “unconscionable and un-American.”

“The egregious behavior on display designed to justify the killing of Jews has no place in a civilized society. We will not tolerate it,” he said.

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