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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Afterthoughts on Israeli Apartheid Week

Published: March 9, 2012
Section: Opinions

Last week, several clubs and organizations at Brandeis University, of all places, organized and hosted Israeli Apartheid week.
Firstly, the apartheid accusation has been proven time and time again to be false. There are Israeli Arab Knesset members, Supreme Court justices, professors, lawyers, doctors, etc. Arabs are afforded equal status and civil rights to Jews under the law. Arabic and Hebrew are the official languages of Israel. Also, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Government but of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, respectively, which are autonomous bodies responsible for their own territories.
Are there ethnic tensions, economic inequality and other social problems affecting Israel? Yes, and the Israeli government is working to ameliorate these issues. But this is a far cry from the institutionalized racism and discrimination that characterized Apartheid South Africa.
Secondly, the organizers of this event, in my view, don’t truly view human rights concerns as the most important issue—contrary to their rhetoric. The brutal massacres in Syria, the civil war in the Congo, the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, the plight of the Kurds, the repression in places such as Iran, Tibet and Saudi Arabia are all far worthier causes in which many more lives are at stake but which are completely neglected.
Even within the Israeli-Arab context, what about the human rights of Israeli Jews? Do the organizers of Apartheid Week realize that thousands of Jews have died in the last decade at the hands of Arab terrorists? Do they take into consideration the fact that hundreds of rockets and missiles continue to be shot at school buses, kindergartens, hospitals and homes in Southern Israel? Judging by the one-sided nature of this event, I wouldn’t be so sure.Thirdly, the supposedly brilliant idea of the week not only at Brandeis but also at Harvard is the “one-state solution.” What the individuals who propagate this notion, including Ali Abunimah, the founder of the virulently anti-Semitic website The Electronic Intifada, will not tell you is that if such a plan were to be implemented, it would lead to the destruction of the Jewish state. Like it or not, Israel’s identity is dependent upon having a Jewish majority. Israel will no longer be able to serve its role as a safe haven for the Jewish people if it is flooded by hostile Palestinians who will transform Israel into another corrupt, dysfunctional, conflict-ridden Middle Eastern country as opposed to the prosperous liberal democracy it currently is.Fourthly, I simply find the timing of this entire event to be obscene. Iran, the worldwide leading sponsor of terrorism whose rulers are determined to wipe Israel off the map, is reportedly only months away from developing a nuclear weapon. The world—which includes college students, Jewish or otherwise, left-wings or right-wings—should be united against the fanatical, twisted Iranian regime instead of Israel.Finally, if you truly do care about the Palestinian cause, you should work to pressure Fatah and Hamas to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis without preconditions to implement a two-state solution. The Palestinian leadership’s intransigence, refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, glorification of terrorism and armed struggle, insistence on the refugee return and unwillingness to make concessions are the real obstacles to peace and not anything Israel has done.
Organizers of last week’s event need to quit demonizing Israel and get their heads straight.