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  • March 11, 2013

    The Shame of Israel Apartheid Week

    By Matthew M. Hausman 

    The blood libel seems to have gained respectability in the halls of academia now that Israel Apartheid Week has become an annual rite on college campuses across North America.  Characterized by hate-speech promoted as political discourse, Israel Apartheid Week (“IAW”) proclaims its goal “is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement.”  Its architects contend they are not antisemitic.  However, Israel is not an apartheid state under any definition of the term, and to argue otherwise requires the repetition of odious lies and the denial of historical facts.  Because the claim of Israeli apartheid is a malicious fiction, the antisemitic motivations underlying Israel Apartheid Week cannot be minimized or ignored.

    The International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute of 2002 defines “apartheid” as a crime consisting of acts similar to crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”  Though the term evokes images of South Africa under Afrikaner rule, it just as easily could describe any country in which racial and ethnic minorities are systematically segregated and discriminated against by operation of law.  An argument could be made that Sharia states qualify insofar as they subjugate and isolate “infidels” in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic doctrine.  The past confinement of Jews in the mellah in Morocco or in ghettos and separate towns in Iran offer apt examples.

    In contrast, Israel is a democracy in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights under the law.  The Arab-Muslim world and its left-wing allies accuse Israel of apartheid despite the absence of any Israeli laws or policies creating such a system.  Israeli Jews and Arabs generally live where they choose and benefit from the same health, welfare and infrastructure policies and programs.  The only difference is that Israeli Arabs are exempt from military service, whereas all other Israelis, including Jews, Druze and Circassians, are not.  Thus, Arab citizens receive the same governmental benefits as other Israelis without being required to bear any of the national cost.  Although the promoters of IAW contend that Israeli Arabs are second-class citizens, they in fact enjoy the highest standard of living, highest rates of longevity and literacy, and lowest rate of infant mortality of any Arab-Muslim population in the Mideast.

    Israel also has an open political system in which Arabs vote, run for office, and serve in government.  Moreover, they have freedom of speech to a degree not tolerated in the Arab-Muslim world – as demonstrated by those Arab Knesset members who openly identify with Israel’s enemies and engage in seditious conduct that would not be countenanced in other countries.  Whereas American law requires all who serve in Congress to swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, Israel presently requires no similar pledge of loyalty.  Clearly, Israel does not practice apartheid, and in fact does not even employ the same kinds of safeguards against sedition and treason that are taken for granted in the United States and other western democracies.

    When the canard of Israeli apartheid is deconstructed, it clearly resembles the “Big Lie” preached and perfected by the Nazis, who believed that the constant repetition of audacious lies would promote their acceptance by the public and facilitate the spread of propaganda.  The Nazis believed that the most brazen lies would resonate most deeply because of the common perception that unbelievable stories would not be repeated if they weren’t true.  Thus it is with the slander of Israeli apartheid, for which there would seem to be no greater proof than the endorsement of academia.  Given the leftist orientation and pro-Islamist bias of many university faculties, college campuses have become natural staging grounds for anti-Israel agitprop.

    Brooklyn College in New York was the site of IAW activity this year with a program entitled, “BDS (Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions) Movement against Israel,” which was co-sponsored by the political science department.  Despite public criticism against allowing the event on campus, and though the college administration disclaimed any official endorsement, it would not bar the program or condemn it in any meaningful way.  The program featured speakers who denied Israel’s right to exist, praised Islamist terrorists who attack civilians, and called for the blacklisting of Israeli academics.

    The college took the position that co-sponsorship by one of its departments did not imply institutional support for the program, but the hollowness of this explanation was exposed by the failure to provide equal time to opponents wishing to voice their opposition.  Supporters denied antisemitic bias and claimed that the event implicated free speech.  However, the program featured speakers who advocated conduct, i.e., the blacklisting of Israeli professors, that is intended specifically to discourage free and open discourse.  If Brooklyn College truly cared about speech rights, it would have provided a forum for those wishing to address the event’s factual distortions and expose it as propaganda.  The failure to do so indicates only a fair-weather commitment to freedom of expression, and raises the question of whether the college in fact endorsed the program through its conduct despite its disclaimers.

    Furthermore, allowing such a blatantly provocative program on campus seems inconsistent with the institution’s own “Commitment to Pluralism and Diversity,” which provides:

      Brooklyn College is committed to values and policies that enhance respect for individuals and their cultures. In fact, the college’s cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity-our pluralism-is one of our distinguishing characteristics. Our student body and our workforce are notably composed of people of color, of women, of immigrants, of older adults, and of persons with disabilities. Students at the college can trace their ancestry to more than 120 different countries. To reap the rewards of diversity, the college has developed and will continue to develop programs that combat bigotry and other biases in all their forms and will build on the strengths offered by our multicultural, multiracial, and multigenerational campus.

    (http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/offices/diversity/commit.php.)  It is difficult to see how providing a forum for anti-Israel and antisemitic speech, while denying equal time to opposing viewpoints, shows a commitment “to values and policies that enhance respect for individuals and their cultures” or is consistent with the college’s pledge to “develop programs that combat bigotry and other biases in all their forms…”  Indeed, Brooklyn College’s failure to acknowledge the program as hate-speech suggests that its diversity statement is applied only selectively.

    The malicious intent of Israel Apartheid Week is clear considering its connection to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.  The conceit of BDS is that it feigns kinship to the movement that helped bring about the end of apartheid in South Africa through coordinated efforts to turn that country into a pariah state.  It uses terms like “occupation” and “colonialism” to perpetuate the falsehood that Israel is a colonial state and that the Palestinians are an ancestral people whose country was dismantled by foreign Jewish interlopers.  In so doing, the BDS movement disparages Jewish national claims that are a matter of historical record and not based, as are Palestinian claims, on myth, polemic and doctrinal hatred.

    In truth, the Jews are indigenous and have the longest record of habitation in their homeland.  At no time was there ever a sovereign nation called Palestine or an ancient Palestinian society that created any touchstones of nationality or unique culture in the Jewish homeland.  As the late Zahir Muhsein famously stated in the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, “[t]he ‘Palestinian People’ does not exist.  The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel.”  Arafat made similar admissions in his autobiography.  Thus, in pretending that Israel is a colonial creation and that Jews are strangers to the Mideast, the BDS movement engages in the same deceit and dishonesty.

    If BDS partisans were truly concerned about forcing change in repressive regimes, one must wonder why they ignore Saudi Arabia, where women are suppressed, freedom of religion is unknown, and money flows to support terrorism abroad; or Iran, where religious minorities are harassed and discriminated against, Jews fear for their lives and gays are put to death.  Why are they not concerned about Egypt, where Copts are slaughtered and their churches desecrated, or Sudan, where Arab Muslims engage in genocide against African Christians?  The BDS movement’s pernicious intent is exposed by its pathological focus on Israel, which has the only open society in the Mideast where all citizens are free to live where they choose, speak as they will and worship as they please.  By claiming Israel to be what she clearly is not, the movement perpetuates a colossal fabrication evocative of the Big Lie.  And by actively promoting the BDS farce, those who sponsor, support or enable Israel Apartheid Week do the same.

    Reasonable minds can disagree over specific policies of any government, including Israel’s.  However, those who deny her right to exist and accuse her of apartheid when she actually has the only democratic society in the Mideast are not engaging in neutral criticism.  They are promoting antisemitism.  The singular focus on Israel for imagined offenses such as ethnic cleansing and apartheid, coupled with the refusal to target countries where such atrocities actually occur, constitutes antisemitism purely and simply.  Not surprisingly, the demonization of Israel has become de rigueur on the political left.  Unfortunately, it has also found an audience among members of progressive Jewish groups, such as J Street and the New Israel Fund, whose commitment to left-wing ideals causes them to rationalize, support or provide forums for those who impugn the Jewish State.

    There is also a disturbing trend on college campuses of progressive student groups protesting mainstream Jewish organizations that oppose the BDS agenda.  The Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, for example, recently organized a protest against the campus Hillel’s ban on partnering with organizations that support BDS programs.  Ironically, although progressives and their supporters typically invoke free speech principles to shield Israel bashers, they are quick to brand dissenting opinions as hate-speech in order to silence those with whom they disagree.  Likewise, they jump to label any critical discussion of political Islam as “Islamophobia,” but remain silent regarding the doctrinal antisemitism that is so prevalent in the Muslim community.

    Ironically, Gentile supporters are often quicker and more willing to come to Israel’s defense, as they have done in Canada with Israel Truth Week, a conference dedicated to combating the dissimulation of Israel Apartheid Week.  Israel Truth Week has become an annual event in Hamilton, Ontario, drawing speakers, academics and legal experts from Canada, the United States and Israel.  Though the event was created by a dedicated group of Jews and non-Jews working together, it would not have grown so quickly without the commitment of Gentiles who support the Jewish State for reasons of history, justice and equity.

    The inspiration for this conference came from Mark Vandermaas, a Canadian whose family history made him acutely aware of the horrors of antisemitism.  Vandermaas was adopted and raised by Dutch parents who lived through the German occupation of the Netherlands, where they saw their Jewish neighbors deported for slaughter and where his father was interred in a Nazi work camp from which he escaped.  Vandermaas was motivated to act upon hearing of unrestrained antisemitism roiling the campus of the University of Western Ontario, where Jewish students were physically abused and harassed, and his indignation gave rise to Israel Truth Week.  What started as a grassroots program has grown and begun attracting the attention of major Jewish organizations in Canada.

     

    Although Israel Apartheid Week is now in its ninth year, mainstream Jewish organizations have yet to formulate a unified, systematic response.  Some organizations have issued strong denunciations while others have resolved not to work with progressive groups that support the BDS movement.  Still others have displayed timidity in choosing to ignore it.  But ignoring it lends credence through silence.  Instead, Israel Apartheid Week should be answered with thoughtful, coordinated counterprograms.  Though Israel Truth Week is only in its second year and has not yet ventured beyond the borders of Ontario, the breadth of its agenda and the diversity of its speakers should provide a model for Jewish organizations to follow.  If some Gentiles can be so assertive in advocating on behalf of Israel, there is no reason why Jews cannot do the same.

    #  #  #

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 10:19 pm | 10 Comments »
  • 10 Comments to The Shame of Israel Apartheid Week

    1. Bill Narvey says:

      Like many others who have presented lengthy treatises to make the incontrovertible fact based case that Israel is not an apartheid state, Hausman posits that: Because the claim of Israeli apartheid is a malicious fiction, the antisemitic motivations underlying Israel Apartheid Week cannot be minimized or ignored.

      While Hausman is indisputably correct, the other indisputable fact is that university administraters enable this malicious event to occur on their campuses.

      David Solway in his article Israel Apartheid Week: A Tale of Two Brothers refers to the explanation for allowing Israel Apartheid Week at University of Toronto, where that event got its start in 2005, from U of T’s President David Naylor. See:

      When questioned by the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies about his university’s compliance with so evidently corrupt and defamatory a spectacle, Naylor declared that “We do, in fact, recognize that the term Israeli Apartheid is upsetting to many people, [but] we also recognize that, in every society, universities have a unique role to provide a safe venue for highly charged discourse.” Naylor’s recognition that the term is “upsetting” is entirely frivolous, unbefitting a university president. The fact is that the term is totally false—a given that appears to have escaped Naylor’s attention rather conveniently, thus sparing him the moral duty to confront so spurious a conviction. Further, universities are not always—or even primarily—known for furnishing such “safe venues,” especially when the speakers are unpopular conservative figures.

      http://frontpagemag.com/2013/david-solway/israel-apartheid-week-a-tale-of-two-brothers/

      Naylor’s limp besides the point disingenuous explanation is pretty much standard fare when university presidents who are pressed for an explanation deign to provide one.

      In the U.S., where freedom of speeech has been placed on a pedestal, freedom to hate is part and parcel of that right.

      The fact is that the Hausmans of the world who bring us truth in the form of all relevant facts and reasoned conclusions thereon are shouted down by the Jew and Israel haters with their bare faced propaganda.

    2. Dean says:

      Year after year I have monitored the unending presentations of hate on a local campus around IAW. This year I have decided not to because I do not want to be bombarded by hate and vitriol with no viable means to respond and no organized response on campus from Jewish or other groups to rally around. The students are too filled with fear and have been coached to be lovey-dovey, non-confrontational and they frown upon hard questions been asked or any kind of necessary direct action taken when speakers have the stage. In all these years groups with money to conduct big self-congratulatory, back-slapping shmooze-fests; groups with big buildings with employees earning even bigger salaries – they have avoided any strategy to mobilize the community against these events. In fact, they inform us that IAW is insignificant and dwindling to save themselves the bother of having to do something meaningful. The rabbis do not even expose themselves to these brutal hate-fests and so they see no evil, hear no evil. The reform rabbi actually thinks that those who speak up are as bad as the presenters and has refused to give moral support. At best there is a handful of Jewish people engaged in the fight. The new president at the university is having his own office sponsor a militant leftist Angela Davis and so with that kind of leftism on campus it is impossible to convince such people that IAW is an abomination with no validity in an academic or any other setting. Free speech and academic freedom would be an acceptable excuse provided by the university were it also applicable to the other side but the other side is too worried about the next honorary black tie only dinner to test their own free speech boundaries with regard to this event. So it goes on and gathers steam with nobody to directly confront the problem. Valiant attempts to match it with positive speakers and events about Israel capture small audiences of the already converted and do not strike real and necessary blows to the foundations of IAW.

    3. Keelie says:

      The overall problem is that right now there are no consequences for the actions of either the universities and colleges or the participants therein.

      We have to be creative in finding consequences that will make them all very uncomfortable.

    4. NormanF says:

      The problem is the world has never come to see the Jews as a “normal” people.

      Theodor Herzl and the early Zionists believed once the Jews had a state of their own, anti-Semitism would disappear.

      In fact, the Jews are more hated than ever precisely because they have their own country. No matter what they do or they don’t do, they stand condemned.

      IAW reminds us the world’s longest hatred is not ever going to go away and there will always be those who will never accept the Jew in the family of nations.

      Its never easy to stand up for the truth in these troubled times. But fighting the torrents of slanders and falsehood against the Jewish people require them to be of good courage, stop being afraid of their enemies and hearken to the Only One in whom they can find true sanctuary, the G-d Of Israel.

    5. steven l says:

      Muslims have taken over the Nazi mantra (lack of creativity shows that their majority has been intellectually castrated): Judenrein, Christian-rein and every non-Muslim-rein! Who are the racists? U tell me. Even the secular West has been castrated.
      The destruction of the Palestinian refugee hoax is the way to go. Enough of Western and Muslim propaganda. The big lie will be unraveled.

    6. Canuck Frank says:

      steven l Said:

      Enough of Western and Muslim propaganda. The big lie will be unraveled.

      I agree with everything you say, except that the big lie will be unraveled. When and by who? The calumny about the Jews is millenia old and has not been unraveled and I am not optimistic it ever will be. That’s why I would like Israel to ignore what may be loosely termed as “world opinion” and pursue a policy of pure self-interest.

    7. steven l says:

      @ Canuck Frank:
      Patience is a dish that is eaten cold. Some people are working on this.

    8. Canuck Frank says:

      steven l Said:

      Patience is a dish that is eaten cold. Some people are working on this.

      At my age, I am short of both time and patience. Still, I hope the future will prove you right.

    9. Canadian Otter says:

      PAMELA GELLER’s improved poster campaign – Her new poster-ads quote from Muslims themselves.

      “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah,” reads one of the ads, containing words attributed to the Hamas terrorist organization. – “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers,” reads another, echoing the words of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/166183

      Geller’s previous campaign calling Muslims names (“savages”) backfired by making her – instead of Islam – the focus of controversy, and forcing her to use precious interview time to justify her choice of words instead of discussing Islam. HER NEXT source for quotes should be the koran itself. The public needs to be properly informed about the ideological source of this cult. And from then her informational campaign should expose the true history of Islam. Millions have been slaughtered in the name of Islam, and many more have been forcibly converted, oppressed, and enslaved.
      Pamela’s website is Atlas Shrugs.

    10. Canadian Otter says:

      MY COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION

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