Monday, August 4, 2014

Ripping the Campus Apologists

Chloe Valdary tears into the campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine for seeking to conflate the Palestinian struggle with the American civil rights campaign. She writes a blistering open letter to the group chastising them for what she sees as a deeply flawed and tendentious analogy. Here's how she starts:
SJP is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.
  • If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation—you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”
  • If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”
  • If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate—you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.
  • If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive—whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition—you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.
  • If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.
  • You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.
  • You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, traveling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews—and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities—and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.
There's much more to her letter. Particularly potent is her listing of black leaders who she claims were Zionists, including Martin Luther King.

I read a piece last evening about the massive groundswell of opposition to the Israelis in Europe, even in England. Roger Cohen, a British ex-patriot, writes in a New York Times op-ed:
To cross the Atlantic to America, as I did recently from London, is to move from one moral universe to its opposite in relation to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. Fury over Palestinian civilian casualties has risen to a fever pitch in Europe, moving beyond anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism (often a flimsy distinction). Attacks on Jews and synagogues are the work of a rabid fringe, but anger toward an Israel portrayed as indiscriminate in its brutality is widespread. For a growing number of Europeans, not having a negative opinion of Israel is tantamount to not having a conscience. The deaths of hundreds of children in any war, as one editorial in The Guardian put it, is “a special kind of obscenity.”
This is interesting because far more children died in Germany at the hands of British bomber pilots during WWII than have died at the hands of the Israelis since 1948. Moreover, the German children were deliberately targeted by the RAF as they carpet bombed German cities. Americans did the same thing in Germany and, of course, Japan. Children killed by the Israelis are killed either accidentally or because Hamas is deliberately launching rockets at Israel from schools and hospitals so that any Israeli retaliation will kill civilians whose deaths can then be used in the propaganda war to outrage gullible Westerners.

If the editors of The Guardian wish to say that when the Israelis kill children inadvertently it's a "special kind of obscenity," what do they say about the British bombing campaign against German civilians? What's the difference?

The deaths of children and other innocents is always tragic, but just as the deaths in WWII should be laid at the feet of the German and Japanese governments, so too, should the far fewer deaths of children in Gaza be laid at the feet of Hamas. And just as it would've been foolish to declare a cease-fire with Hitler because civilians were dying in the war, it would also be foolish to allow Hamas to survive to terrorize Israel again a year or two from now.

Speaking of tragedies, why is it that the Obama administration consistently refuses to comment on any of its many scandals on the grounds that investigations are still ongoing and we need to wait until all the facts are in before we draw conclusions, but every time a Palestinian school or hospital is hit by rockets the State Dept. issues a statement implicitly condemning the Israelis and the media reflexively leaps to the conclusion that Israel is targeting innocent civilians?

I'll close with another question, a rhetorical question the answer to which is pretty much a no-brainer for everyone except maybe the folks at SJP: Numerous Arabs are citizens of Israel with full rights of citizenship. What rights would be given to Jews who sought to live in Gaza or any Arab country, for that matter?