As the academic year at University of California Santa Cruz was about to end in June, 2013, pro-Palestinian students initiated a resolution that called on the university to divest from companies profiting from the “Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” The resolution was defeated, yet the non-binding resolution that would have no effect on university policy is not as disconcerting as the atmosphere on campus that the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish students and professional provocateurs behind them seek to foster. They are bent on creating a climate that legitimizes and engenders anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish hostility.
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) movement has assembled a rather strange sort of bedfellows. It is led by Arab-Muslim professional propagandists who seek Israel’s destruction, along with leftist students and faculty members seeking a ‘cause,’ and non-better than one “to stick it to the Jews.” Among them, one could find naïve students with little understanding of the history of the Middle East or the Arab-Israeli conflict. It matters not that their cause is unjust, and transparently anti-Semitic, or that the Arab world unlike Israel’s open democracy is homophobic, enslaves women, is utterly intolerant of Christians and Jews, or that its schools breed hatred and misanthropy.
Those BDS champions on campuses throughout America and Europe do not want to be confused by facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their minds are made up. They hate Israel because it is a success story and tolerant, and because it provides religious freedom, and human rights to its citizens in spite of Palestinian terrorism. They despise Israel because Arab-Muslim students on Israeli campuses can display their hatred of the Jewish state with impunity. Deep in their mashed heads they should know that similar demonstrations on Palestinian or Arab campuses against an Arab regime, or any pro-Israel and pro-Jewish display, would be met with violence and death. The terrorist alerts Israeli school children and college students face is something that the privileged students of the UC Santa Cruz’s of this world would never have to endure. They hate Israel mostly because it is willing to defend its citizens from Palestinian terrorists, and if it means checkpoints, and a barrier fence that inconveniences Palestinians, so be it.
On May 11, YNet News reported that the Irish BDS movement placed yellow stickers on Israeli products reading ‘for justice in Palestine – Boycott Israel’. Israeli Foreign Ministry said that “the phenomenon is severe and it is not by chance that the BDS organization chose to express its protest with a yellow sticker – which is reminiscent of dark days of racism and incitement,” a reference to the Nazi Holocaust in Europe.
Derek Hopper, a native of Ireland, where he studied history at the National University of Ireland, had this to say in a Times of Israel article, October 9, 2013: “Israelis may or may not be aware that Ireland is one of the most outspoken critics of Israel. I have written about why this is so before, and the reasons are too complex to address…but for whatever reason most Irish see Palestine as the plucky underdog in the Middle East and not Israel, a country that produces genius after genius while being surrounded by millions of people who despise its very existence.”
Hopper continued, “Given our own experiences with Britain, we tend to see in any weaker power a kindred spirit. It doesn’t matter that we share many values with Israel and far fewer with Arabs, who, if they’ve heard of us, see us as drink-sodden libertines. Never mind that we should want to draw parallels with Israel, the true underdog in the region who against all the odds created a prosperous democracy in a desert. In this battle many Irish have sided with the Palestinians and that’s just how it is.”
Hopper explained that, “Irish and global opposition to Israel in recent times has manifested itself in several ways. The most well-known of these is the BDS movement, which seeks to isolate Israel, ‘in order to force change in Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians which opponents claim is discriminatory or oppressive.’ The Irony that the movement is one spearheaded by many Palestinians attending Israeli universities is apparently lost on its supporters. Comparisons with the odious apartheid regime in South Africa continue unabated despite a million Israeli Arab citizens enjoying more rights in Israel than anywhere in the Arab world.”
Student senates should question why so much time is being spent on critiquing one country – Israel, where democracy prevails, while excluding nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, China, Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, where no democracy exists and human rights of citizens are grossly violated, religious freedom is denied to Christians, and where ethnic minorities are being persecuted. The BDS movement denies charges of anti-Semitism but they appear rather hypocritical. To any even-handed observer the movement’s singling out of the world’s only Jewish nations appears suspect if not downright anti-Semitic.
The mantra often heard during BDS demonstrations is “end the occupation of Palestine.” This canard has no basis in history since there was never a recognized state named Palestine. The 1947 UN vote on partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states was rejected by the Arab-Palestinians. Subsequently, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) while the Egyptians occupied Gaza. During the Jordanian occupation Jews were not allowed into the area, while Palestinian terrorists attacked and killed Israeli civilians within the Green Line.
UN Resolution 242 called for return of “territories,” not all the territories Israel captured in the Six Day War of June, 1967 and only in return for full peace. While the BDS movement condemns Israeli occupation and settlements, the Hamas founding charter does not mention occupation or settlements. It simply called for the complete destruction of the Jewish state.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas noted in its founding charter, written in 1964 (and not yet amended), three years before the Six Day War, while Jordan was in control of the West Bank, that (article 24) “This organization does not exercise sovereignty over the West Bank,” calling instead for a “liberation of its homeland” meaning all of Israel within the Green Line.
It is safe to say that terror and violence perpetrated on Israelis has little to do with “occupation and settlements.” The myth that the occupation breeds violence was shredded when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Israel was assured by the International community that if it withdrew from Gaza, peace would flourish and violence would end. This proved to be deadly wrong, as millions of Israelis have been subjected to incessant missile attacks from Gaza. The conflict Israel has with the Palestinians is not about “occupation” of the West Bank, but about the very existence of a Jewish state in the midst of a triumphalist Arab-Islamic ideology, which is intolerant of any non-Islamic independent political entities.
The BDS ignorance of Middle East realities can be seen in the inclusion of Gaza as part of Israeli occupation. The BDS movement is not only ignorant of facts it is guilty of hate peddling which has no room on campuses dedicated to learning and exploration of truth. It is high time for the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that bars hateful incitement and false propaganda by the purveyors of anti-Semitism, and their “useful idiots.” It is also time for campus officials to forbid the harassment and intimidation of pro-Israel students. The hypocrisy of the BDS movement is open to be seen and it is now time to act.