Pose as a practitioner of social justice, promote discrimination
If the current anti-Israel approach on campus could be summed up in one tagline, this slogan would suffice: “Pose as a Practitioner of Social Justice—Promote discrimination.” Many groups who subscribe to the current anti-Israel movement use deception as their main weapon of choice. Yet, a closer look at these strategies—and the organizations that run them—helps shed light on the real motivations behind the animus running rampant on college campuses today. Their task is deadly, yet simple: Malign Israel, and bring about her destruction.
Many of the accusations against Israel have been repeated throughout academia ad nauseam: “Israelis are colonialist occupiers; creators of an apartheid state; land thieves; child murderers; worst place on earth.” And so on.
Students arriving on campus naturally seek to work towards noble causes. Thus, claims that one can help stem the tide of injustice vis-á-vis Israel’s alleged cruel mistreatment of Palestinians are both intellectually simple and emotionally compelling. Yet, they are also deliberately dishonest and utterly baseless.
In truth, Israel is a beacon of democracy. Israeli citizens — both Jews and non-Jews alike — enjoy human, political, and civil rights such as enfranchisement and participation in the political process. Given recent events that have unfolded in the Middle East — including the rise of ISIS and the intransigence of Iran — Israel is quickly becoming one of the only safe places in the region for Jews and Arabs to call home.
Yet anti-Israel organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have mastered the art and craft of fiction. In fabricating stories and manufacturing lies about the state of Israel, they seek to “… transform the ideology of hundreds…[and] revolutionize national foreign policy in regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict …”
For example, Hatem Bazian — SJP’s founder and chairman of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) — has no compunction when sharing his views on how little he thinks of the Hebrew nation: “…’The Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight the Jews,’” Bazian stated in 1999, speaking at an American Muslim Alliance Conference. He was quoting the Hadith, an Islamic text, to support his anti-Jewish position. “‘They are on the west side of the river, which is the Jordan River, and you’re on the east side until the trees and stones will say, oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!’ And that’s in the hadith about this, this is a future battle before the Day of Judgment.” His foot soldiers have followed him in lockstep.
SJP periodically stages “die-ins,” which slander Israeli soldiers and portray Jews as cruel and inhumane individuals conspiring to murder innocent Palestinians. They promote, and indeed celebrate, terrorists who have murdered Jewish civilians in cold blood. Like the Nazis who claimed their measures were acts of “self-defense,” SJP also portrays those who callously murder Jews as “freedom fighters” engaging in a legitimate struggle for justice.
To make matters worse, SJP is also a supporter of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement which encourages institutions to sever financial ties with the state of Israel and any companies therein. Much like in 1933, when the Nazi government instituted a boycott of Jewish businesses and professionals, proponents of BDS follow suit. SJP ostensibly pursues rights for Palestinians, while denying those same rights to Jews. The organization denies the indigenous status of the Hebrew nation as well as its natural rights to sovereignty in the land of Israel. In spite of the abundance of evidence that categorically demonstrates Jewish aboriginal ties to the region, SJP insists that Jews are foreigners and occupiers.
Given the long history of the Hebrew liberation movement—wherein Jews have fought to obtain independence from the British, Romans, and Greeks, to name a few—SJP’s accusation is not only false; it’s insulting.
To be sure, one should never be dissuaded from legitimately critiquing Israel, or any other country. The Jewish state is composed of human beings who will, inevitably, make mistakes.
Indeed, democracy thrives when statesmen and citizens alike engage in reflection and work to rectify past mistakes so as to lead the way towards a brighter future. Yet, in this case, SJP’s arguments are so familiar, so thinly veiled, and so sinister, it echoes an old European desire to persecute Jews. Such arguments are neither reasonable nor well-intentioned; they are anti-Semitic. Thus, we must fight them.
Chloe Valdary is a noted Zionist student activist, who appears in the new film, Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus.