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Miss Universe judge receives death threats after debating anti-Israel activist

Emily Austin speaking at Stronger Together Las Vegas in November 2023
Emily Austin speaking at Stronger Together Las Vegas in November 2023 | Shutterstock

November 25, 2023 12:41pm

Updated: November 27, 2023 9:13am

A young Jewish journalist turned Miss Universe judge says she has received death threats after debating a Palestinian activist on air about the war in Gaza.

Emily Austin, who participates in pro-Israel, initially expressed her pro-Israel views “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Oct. 24 to discuss the Middle Eastern conflict.

The British journalist’s segment got heated when Austin confronted anti-Israel activist Nerdeen Kiswani who dismissed intelligence reporting that an Islamic Jihad’s failed rocket launch, not Israel was responsible for the rocket attack on al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City.

In a further challenge to Kiswani, Austin asked if she opposed al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11 attacks, a sensitive subject topic that provoked the Palestinian activist who called her opponent’s question “ridiculous.”

During the sparring, Kiswani repeatedly turned to Piers Morgan, asking the former CNN host why Austin was asking the questions.

Kiswani then called Austin a “genocide denier,” a moniker that the Miss Universe judge denied and dismissed as “child’s play.”

Austin also accused Kiswani of inciting online harassment against her by publishing her photo with a red triangle over her head, a suggestion that there was a price on the journalist’s head.

“I really tried to keep it fact-based, unemotional, like this is what this is. She was yelling. She was talking over me, threatening me on Instagram with, like, a red arrow over my head, telling people how funny it was to put a bounty on my head. That’s not so funny,” Austin told Fox News Digital.

Kiswani is the leader of Within Our Lifetime-United for Palestine (WOL), a New York-based organization that supports violence against Israel, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

She has called for the dissolution of Israel and vilified “Zionists,” demanding they be denied access from certain public spaces.

The Palestinian activist’s profile rose after she delivered a May 2022 commencement speech for City University of New York Law School in which she condemned “normalizing” trips to Israel and Zionists.

Austin fired back by saying said she was “embarrassed” for Kiswani and was so dismayed at her conduct, she could not believe she was an attorney.

Lawyers are held to certain standards that require them to comport with the law and cannot even engage in the mere appearance of impropriety. Attorneys have been reported to the bar and sanctioned for engaging in threats and inciting violence against others.

“As officers of the court, all attorneys are obligated to maintain the highest ethical standards. In furtherance of this obligation, attorneys are guided by a code of conduct, the NY Rules of Professional Conduct, as adopted by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court,” says the New York State Bar Association in a guide for lawyers.

“Attorneys who violate the law or fail to abide by this code of conduct are subject to discipline, which may include admonishment, reprimand, censure, suspension or loss of his or her license to practice law.

Following the Piers Morgan show, Austin suddenly began receiving direct messages (DMs) on social media that threatened her life and demeaned Jews as property to be sold.

“I will find you and sell you. A Jew like you in Gaza will be expensive $$$,” one user wrote.

“I’ll kill you f—ing wh–e. I will hunt you down like we did to Israeli people,” another said, implying they were part of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks.

Others ridiculed her with names such as “stupid Jewish bitch” and “f—ing lying piece of s--t.”

One account said she hoped Austin would be raped and murdered while another said she “deserved” a bullet between her eyes. Other messages were more specific.

“You will be killed in the next days,” one account wrote in a DM while others said, “I’m gonna get you.”

Austin said her mother was also threatened with text messages to her phone.

“People are now violating my privacy, searching for my house address online and posting it or telling me I’m going to dox you if you don’t do X, Y, Z. And it’s like I don’t succumb to fear, that that’s not who I am. Like, you can threaten me all you want,” Austin said.

After receiving messages from members of Congress and the New York City Council who are combating  online harassment, Austin contacted the FBI.

“They’re investigating every single DM, every single post. And I’m really thankful they’re so hands-on and one phone call away 24/7,” Austin added.

The New York born journalist has since hired private security as a result of the online threats.

Fox News Digital reported that at the time of publication, Kiswani did not return it’s request for comment.

Austin was born in 2001 in New York to Israeli born parents. She initially wanted to study medicine, but phased into journalism after she began interviewing athletes on Instagram during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She eventually landed her a job with MTV’s “Music Lives On” and worked for Sports Illustrated narrating NFL games. She has written for Newsweek and hosted the Miss Universe contest in 2022.