Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Anti-Semitism masquerading as social justice: The New York Times' Thomas Friedman takes on the liberal college-driven divestiture campaign against Israel and calls it what it is -- hypocrisy and anti-Semitism.
Memo to professors and students leading the divestiture campaign: Your campaign for divestiture from Israel is deeply dishonest and hypocritical, and any university that goes along with it does not deserve the title of institution of higher learning.
You are dishonest because to single out Israel as the only party to blame for the current impasse is to perpetrate a lie. Historians can debate whether the Camp David and Clinton peace proposals for a Palestinian state were for 85, 90, or 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. But what is not debatable is what the proper Palestinian response should have been. It should have been to tell Israel and America that their peace proposals were the first fair offer they had ever put forth, and although they still fell short of what Palestinians feel is a just two-state solution, Palestinians were now prepared to work with Israel and America to achieve that end. The proper response was not a Palestinian intifada and 100 suicide bombers, which are what brought Ariel Sharon to power.
Friedman also warns supporters of Israel, like myself (not specifically, just generally), of some dangers that Israel faces and why that nation is undeserving of our unequivocal backing.
Memo to Israel's supporters: Just because there are anti-Semites who blame Israel for everything that is wrong does not mean that whatever Israel does is right, or in its self-interest, or just. The settlement policy Israel has been pursuing is going to lead to the demise of the Jewish state. No, settlements are not the reason for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to think they do not exacerbate it, and are not locking Israel into a permanent occupation, is also dishonest.
If the settlers get their way, Israel will de facto or de jure annex the West Bank and Gaza. And if current Palestinian birth rates continue, by around the year 2010 there will be more Palestinians than Jews living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza combined. When that happens, the demand of the college anti-Israel movements will change.
They won't bother anymore with divestiture. They will simply demand: "One Man, One Vote. Since Israel has de facto annexed the territories, and there is now just one political entity between Jordan and the Mediterranean, we want majority rule." If you think it is hard to defend Israel on campus today, imagine doing it in 2010, when the colonial settlers have so locked Israel into the territories it can rule them only by apartheid-like policies.
I disagree. I doubt Israel will ever completely annex the West Bank and Gaza. It may annex portions of it, but not the whole thing.
But, even if it does, so what? Friedman assumes that Israel would let these "refugee" camps stay where they are. I think the Israelis could just expel them all -- much like Jews were expelled from Arab countries shortly after Israel was created.
Is it fair? Nope. But life isn't fair.
Who is to blame for the Palestinians' plight over the last 50+ years? The Arab nations. As Jews were expelled from Arab countries throughout the Middle East they came to Israel and were integrated into the society.
The Arabs that were expelled from Israel have spent the subsequent years in U.N.-run camps -- with their brother Muslims refusing to take them in, instead using them as a tool against Israel.
Some would contend that the international community would not allow Muslims to be expelled from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The U.N. would pass resolution after resolution condemning Israel.
So what's new?
It's unfortunate what's happened to Palestinians over the past 50+ years -- but they have only themselves, and their fellow Muslims, to blame.