You are going to hear a lot in the coming weeks. You are going to hear that Israel is an apartheid state, and you will likely hear it accused of genocide. These accusations are part of the message of Apartheid Week, a university-based movement that “seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” We, the members of Wesleyan United with Israel, are fully prepared to acknowledge Israel’s faults, but we must take care when selecting our terminology. The words ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’ carry a lot of weight. In the case of Israel, they grossly misrepresent the situation, and thus inhibit meaningful discourse on our campus.

Apartheid refers to a “system or practice that separates people according to color, ethnicity, etc.” Apartheid policies involve “economically and politically oppressing an entire population” (dictionary.com). The most famous example occurred in South Africa. In Israel, there have been 69 Arab members of Parliament. Each citizen has an equal opportunity to vote. In the West Bank and Gaza, the local populations elect their own governments. Israel supports the West Bank and Gaza by helping to supply power and other necessities daily. Jews and Muslims serve side by side in the Israeli army. These few examples alone demonstrate how Israel is easily distinguishable from an apartheid state.  

Genocide refers to the “deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation” (dictionary.com). Two of the most famous examples are the Holocaust and Armenian genocide. In Israel, there are no policies in place that come close to deserving the word ‘genocide.’ The Israeli government is not trying to eliminate the Palestinian population, nor would it have any incentive to do so. On the contrary, it engages in consistent efforts for peace talks with Palestinian leadership, and even goes to unprecedented lengths to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians. For example, before the counterterrorist Operation Protective Edge this summer, hundreds of Israeli Arabic-speaking technicians recorded phone messages that were dialed into the phones of more than 160,000 Arabs in the Gaza Strip, warning them to evacuate.  The IDF willingly surrendered the element of surprise as it warned Hamas of the precise timing and location of the operation. In addition, Israel delivers truckloads of aid to the citizens of Gaza, even during wartime, when there is a risk of the aid ending up in the hands of Hamas.

Israel does not have an untainted military record, but neither does any country that is forced to deal with violent borders and cultural clashes. Nonetheless, the Israeli government continues to reexamine and investigate controversial military action in an effort to maintain a moral, accountable army.  Israel is a flawed state, but it is a state that is actively seeking to better itself and to protect human life. Referring to Israel as an apartheid state delegitimizes the struggle of blacks against the Apartheid South African government and undermines the plight of other groups that have faced genuine apartheid policies. It is one thing to try to shed light on injustices, but it is another to fabricate them. What’s happening in the West Bank is an occupation, but it is a far cry from apartheid and genocide. Using such extreme terminology to describe Israel also distracts from real, present day problems in the Middle East. In the face of true human rights abuses, such as those involving the Syrian government and ISIS, it is both contradictory and counterproductive to direct our energy against Israel, a country whose human rights abuses are grossly exaggerated.

Furthermore, open and baseless hostility towards Israel decreases the possibility of peace. No country that feels threatened, both by its allies and its enemies, will willingly make concessions at the expense of its own security. Since any ceded land could potentially fall into the hands of terrorist organizations like Hamas, we must recognize that Israel will only make territorial concessions when it feels its allies, particularly the United States, would support it under attack. In fact, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nearly reached a peace deal in 2008, American-Israeli relations were at an all time high. Blindly condemning Israel and engaging in practices like boycott and divestment makes Israel feel threatened and thereby inhibits peace.

We believe that our words should be used to have a healthy, balanced Israel dialogue on campus, and this is especially important during Apartheid Week. We encourage criticism of existing policies and institutions in the Middle East–Israel included.  However, the reactions to our Facebook event for Free Israeli Late Night demonstrates how problematic the Israel dialogue can be on this campus. Something is wrong when students are attacked for celebrating simply the food and culture of a vibrant democracy.  We implore you to keep your words grounded in facts rather than unfounded, sensationalized information. It is this rationale of truth that will ultimately bring about the social change we all wish to see.

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  • YES thank you for writing this!

  • Laura E.

    As a Wesleyan alum, I have been increasingly dismayed by the anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism there, and chose not to donate money this year because of the BDS vote and other related events. I’m glad there are still some students not afraid to speak out against hypocrisy. I hope you stay safe.

  • watsa46

    For the antisemites, apartheid is anything that Israel does and does displease the antisemites. Genocide is the killing of Palestinian terrorists. As a EU MP said recently, we need to impose a double standard on Israel. Two thousand years of Western and 13 centuries of Islamic double standard are not sufficient. By virtue of a lack of Ethics and Morality in the West and the Islamic world, IL is already far ahead of these worlds by default.
    The corrupted academia & JFP heavily financed by SA and other petro$ countries do not want a honest dialogue.
    The congress must defund schools professing, supporting and condoning racism (= antisemitism).

    • KittyKate
      • watsa46

        What about the 8,000 rockets fired by Hamas against IL civilians since Gaza fell in the hands of the fanatics? You probably take the side of the Nazi for the destruction of Dresden by the US.

      • hey

        Maybe if the Palestinians used the resources that israel donates for building up infrastructure for actually that purpose instead of for building underground tunnels to invade Israel, then 1) maybe their homes wouldn’t be so easily destroyed, and 2) maybe israel wouldn’t feel the need to invade

  • Noam Chomsky

    The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.

    Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.

    When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.”

    • Anonymous

      Israel vacated the Gaza strip in 2005, no Israeli or Jew lives in the Gaza area at all. Yet Hamas continuously fires rockets at Israel, about 15000 up to now. Hamas has started all the conflicts in the last few years with Israel including last July. Well, if they start the conflict, they must bear the consequences. They start wars, lose them, and then cry foul.

    • Anonymous

      – So Gazans can and did continuously fire rockets at Israel and innocent Israelis (not “settlers” in the West Bank) but Israelis should not be allowed to fire back or otherwise defend themselves militarily? Face it, Noam, you’re just trolling here…

    • Anonymous

      Noam, riddle me this, OK?

      ++

      Why is it Muslims are free to violently conquer lands anywhere and everywhere without a word of protest from American Muslims, or any Muslims or any liberals like you?

      But if Jews have a legally established homeland Muslims and Liberals and their ilk will never stop protesting against it? Why is this do you suppose? What explanation can be given other than as the Qur’an states
      repeatedly that Islam’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate in which all non-Muslims are subjugated.

      For instance, Mohammed was born around 571 AD thousands and thousands of years after Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism existed. But within a few centuries of Mohammed’s birth Islam had violently conquered vast sections of Asia, all of North Africa and smaller sections of Southern Europe.

      Now Muslims tell us that all this land belongs to them even though, for instance, in Afghanistan they killed every last Buddhist who once lived there. According to Muslim logic per Israel shouldn’t this land belong to
      the Buddhists?

      Or in North Africa all the Berbers have been forcibly converted to Islam or have been killed and now we’re told all this vast landmass belongs to Islam. That’s interesting, if not completely hypocritical.

      And what about Southern Thailand. Did anyone know that in the last several years something like 5,000 Buddhists have been killed by Muslims because, or so we’re told, the land the Buddhists are on belongs to
      Islam.

      And Southern Russia? Muslims are relentlessly waging a slow reign of terror in Russia because, you guessed it, Russians are treating Muslims poorly and they should give up the Southern section of that country to Muslims since Islam deserves all lands.

      Or, let’s take Sudan as another example. How many millions have been killed in Sudan? How many babies and children have starved in Sudan while Islamists steal the food from aid compounds? How many women have Muslims gang-raped in Sudan all because that land belongs to Muslims and only Muslims. All other people can go somewhere else to live, I guess. They can go to South Sudan, but wait a minute, now Muslims are killing the people of South Sudan too.

      And Kashmir? The same. Despite Hindus having lived there for 3,000 years – something like 2,000+ years before Mohammed was born – Muslims tell us Kashmir belongs to them. Amazing logic isn’t it? Muslim logic, I guess.

      And that brings us to Israel. Israel also belongs to Islam too. Did you know that? It’s true. Just ask a Muslim or a liberal if you prefer. Even though it’s no bigger than a small pimple on the caliphate’s as it is still their land and they will fight to the death to prove their point.

      Doesn’t the logic here make a lot of sense. Isn’t it as clear as day? Of course it does. The world belongs to Islam and we’re mere players on their stage.

      • Dennis White

        I’m a liberal, and i believe Israel has a right to exist. You can’t just assign everyone who has an opposing view as “liberal”

  • Noor

    The words we choose to describe these issues are important, I agree with that sentiment. But it is also important to understand that words like “apartheid” are not as easily translatable as one may like to believe. I assure you that Desmond Tutu, a man who actually lived through apartheid, understands what that word means better than dictionary.com http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.578872

    • Mike

      I’m afraid that this argument is faulty: a definition is a definition, it is – voluntarily – binding on everyone who wishes to understand and be understood. Anyone who does not feel so bound – and that, apparently, includes Desmond Tutu – voluntarily excludes himself from an intelligent discourse. Mathematics uses axioms; languages use dictionaries.
      This is not to say that dictionaries are immutable, they clearly are not. Yet, until amended, they ARE binding

      • Noor

        However, apartheid is not an English word. In the effort to translate this word, we inherently change it’s meaning. The definition used in this article is the working English definition of apartheid, however that does not mean this definition is without fault. Desmond Tutu understands the implications of this word both through his experience and his knowledge of the language in a way that, if we accept your premise, unbinds him from the linguistic contract that is a dictionary.

      • J_April

        Nonsense. “Apartheid” is as much an English word as “etymology” and “definition”.

        Desmond Tutu has lived through South African apartheid, but that doesn’t make him infallible. If he thinks Israel is an apartheid state, then either he is completely ignorant of the actual situation in Israel or he has a very warped definition of the word apartheid despite his personal experiences with it.

        Simple as that!

      • Noor

        The first uses of the word “etymology” in English date as early as 1398. The first uses of the word “definition” in English date as early as 1382. Please take a look at the history of “apartheid” in the English language: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/9032?redirectedFrom=apartheid#eid This word has not been in English use for very long, and up till this point, has only been used in reference to the South African experience. It is still, essentially, a word in Afrikaans. To say that you understand the meaning of this word better than Desmond Tutu is a massive and reckless claim, that I hope you are willing to reconsider

      • Anonymous

        You want apartheid? Try this.

        The top ten countries for persecuting Christians over the last year were ranked: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen, according to Open Doors USA, an organization that monitors and exposes Christian persecution around the globe. Particularly, the “2014 World Watch List”, a rather nuanced report, has highlighted these nations based on deep structures of persecution.

        Take note that nine out of ten of these countries are Islamic.

        Looks like Muslim countries are on par with North Korea.
        Meanwhile Israel’s Muslim population is 16% and growing. But let us ignore reality and instead pick on Jews instead for we are really either stupid, misinformed or Brown Shirts.

      • Anonymous

        How about we use the standard of justice and critique any who are discriminatory irrespective of background? Bigotry is a human failing.

        Check out this link where Arafat feigns his support for the article and the author’s important salient point. Critiquing Israeli or Arab governments’ policies is not antisemitic.

        http://tuftsdaily.com/opinion/2015/02/23/go-moses/

        Arafat once again conflates Jews with Israeli policy and promotes hate. This guy is straight out of 1930s Germany in his approach toward Muslim people and it’s sick. You don’t serve Israel or humanity with your hate and bigotry.

        For a preview of what will follow:

        1) Arafat will insult those who refute his narrative by invoking that they are “tards”, “liberals”, “apologists” and the like
        2) Arafat will state his narrative as “fact” and all others as “opinion”
        3) Arafat will randomly toss in derogatory remarks, quotes and snippits about Islam that show his level of understanding and interpretation is the same as extremists, which is to say, simply ignorant and invalid
        4) Arafat will quote random historical figures who malign Muslims and Islam, as a “proof”, while failing to recognize many figures have said hateful things about people throughout history, including Jews, blacks, gays, Hispanics, Catholics, etc, etc
        5) Arafat will dodge every discussion point by posting tangential responses
        6) Arafat fails to adhere to honest dialogue and is an ideologue promoting a hateful narrative
        7) Arafat will employ false equivalency and retreat after having sufficiently warped a Disqus threat to allow him to post his hate
        8) Arafat will accuse opponents of the tactics he demonstrates repeatedly

      • Mike

        Well, as an ex-Russian Jew, I also know a thing or three about apartheid. That is beside the point, though: we discourse in English (not Russian, nor indeed Afrikaans) and are, therefore, bound by its rules, usages and conventions.

        The word ‘apartheid’ exists in English; Merriam-Webster, for instance, defines it thus:

        1. racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa
        2. separation, segregation

        It is demonstrable (and has been demonstrated elsewhere) that neither one applies to Israel; therefore, it is wrong to use it here. Words, as you say, are important.

        By doing so, Archbishop Tutu voluntarily recused himself from a rational debate, in favour of an emotional appeal. That is fair enough: being a preacher, emotional appeals are his stock-in-trade. The onus is on us, however, to listen and reach our own conclusions. Personally, I think that the debate is far too emotional already; we could all do with a fair dose of rationality.

        It would’ve been wrong to reach such a conclusion on the basis of this conversation alone. I happen to think, though, that the totality of Archbishop Tutu’s writings amply justifies it. He chose to indulge himself by honouring old alliances and ignoring the new reality. That is his right; however, it rendered his opinion irrelevant for such as myself. A pity, but there we are.

      • J_April

        Read again! I’ve given an alternative: if his definition of apartheid is correct, than he is completely misinformed about the situation in Israel and Palestine.

      • no

        Or you’re just someone whose sympathies lie with Israel and thus have vested interests in denying Palestinians a vocabulary with which to articulate their condition.

        Simple as that!

      • J_April

        If the Palestinians want to articulate their condition, they have all the words of the respective discourse language at their disposal.

        There is absolutely no need, to try to redefine and twist the meaning of the word “apartheid” trying to make it fit the Palestinians’ situation. Its use in this context implies that the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel/Palestine is the same as between Blacks and Whites in pre-Mandela South Africa, which means spreading falsehoods about Palestine/Israel as well as South Africa.

        No person with good intention would insist on using a word, that he knows, will mislead others in getting a false picture for what he describes.

      • Anonymous

        No, it is Palestinian society which mirrors the apartheid regime of South Africa. It is official Palestinian Authority policy that no Jew can live in any territory it administers. isn’t that apartheid?

        As for Hamas run Gaza, their policy, as stated in the freely available charter, is to kill every last Jew on earth in a mass genocide.

        Your hypocrisy is evident.

    • Anonymous

      Haaretz ia an unreliable, Jew-hating source.
      +++
      Tutu has a right to his opinions; he doesn’t have the right to his own facts. Anyone who studied
      apartheid in South Africa should easily see that Israel bears no resemblance to South Africa. Israeli citizens vote, hold any public office (an Arab even sits on the Supreme Court), enter any profession, use the same facilities and hospitals. The Israeli Constitution guarantees everyone the same rights. South Africa’s laws specifically denied equal rights to Blacks. Perhaps Tutu should visit Israel. For all we know, his knowledge of Israel is based on the propaganda he reads on his computer.

      If you want to act against anti-Palestinian apartheid in the Middle East, start with the fact that every Arab country except Jordan denies Palestinians citizenship. They cannot enter certain professions. Their land ownership is widely restricted. They cannot hold public office, even if they have lived in those Arab countries for generations. Palestinians may not complain so much publicly about this, because it is not politically or financially expedient for them to do so. But they will privately admit that they hate how they are treated by their brother Arabs.

      • Travis Davis

        That is a faulty argument. Israel pushed over a million Palestinians out of their homes into neighboring countries, who then became the unwilling hosts to a new population, which drains millions of dollars out of their economies yearly(and people wonder why all of Israel’s neighbors hate them? This is largely made out on American media to insinuate that Arabs are just prejudiced). These countries are also acutely aware that if they gave citizenship and voting rights to the Palestinians, who want to be able to return to their homes, that these new citizens would most certainly drag them into more unwanted wars. In my opinion, it makes perfect sense for these countries to NOT grant citizenship under these circumstances.

      • Anonymous

        Yours is a faulty argument. Israel is the only Middle Eastern country who has embraced Palestinians – at least so far as in affording them voting rights, full access to education, individual freedoms, etc…
        In sharp contrast Israel’s sadistic neighbors have forced them to live in refugee camps for generations without any property rights or any other rights. Israel’s sadistic neighbors pick the scab and turn the knife.
        Meanwhile Israel’s sadistic neighbors hate everyone. If they are not threatening war against Israel they are killing one another instead. They (Israel’s Muslim neighbors) could not welcome their own brothers and sisters into their homes – not for all the tea in China – that is how filled with hatred they are.

      • P. Nile Schwartz

        You’re fabricating nonsense that even Arab leaders concede is BS. And you’re doing it with the intent of inciting a hatred of Jewish civil rights. Why?

  • Student

    “Using such extreme terminology to describe Israel also distracts from real, present day problems in the Middle East. In the face of true human rights abuses, such as those involving the Syrian government and ISIS, it is both contradictory and counterproductive to direct our energy against Israel, a country whose human rights abuses are grossly exaggerated. . .” These lines made me uncomfortable. I don’t think we should justify unethical actions by comparing them to worse actions. There are “true human rights abuses” happening in Israel/Palestine, and trying to justify them by saying they aren’t as bad as the human rights abuses of another group delegitimizes the victims.

    • OP

      Thank you. Please consider the phrase “true human rights abuses” to have been officially changed to “systematic mass, murderous human rights abuses.”

      • Anonymous

        These activists are “stuck” on Israel. Neither logic, reasoning, or factual evidence will penetrate their
        mindsets, so determined are they to vilify Israel. Sarcasm though just might work—especially if there are any among them who still have the capability to feel shame.

        Usually when they are questioned as to why they avoid the much bigger problems evidenced by Israel’s neighbors, the answer is usually to say that they are concerned with all human rights abuses everywhere in the world, but their focus today just happens to be Israel. What they don’t say is that
        their focus is permanently stuck there—and their actions show that they have no interest in
        any other country, just Israel, Israel, Israel.

    • WesStudent

      No one’s trying to justify Israel’s acts. What I believe they’re trying to say is that way more attention is paid to Israel’s abuses than to considerably more severe abuses by other middle eastern countries, which constitutes an unfair double standard against Israel.

      • watsa46

        IL ONLY responded to attacks from Hamas and other fanatics. No evidence of abuses by IL yet, but PLENTY by Hamas, PA (Abbas volunteered that they fired rockets from Gaza towards IL) and other fanatics.

  • SV

    SO proud of you all for saying this.

  • Anonymous

    I think we should help Abbas and his dear friends and allies Hamas create a Palestinian state. Since Hamas is more popular than Abbas let’s call it Hamasistan. It could be based on all the other Islamist states. Women would have zero rights. Gays would be hung. Jews would be verboten. Non-Muslims would be killed unless they convert to Islam or pay a crippling tax that is designed just for them. Certainly this would be better than Israel, right?

    I think this makes a lot of sense and is something college punks should march for, shout about, and pretend they care about. The world needs another Islamist state. What will we do without another one?

    In Hamasistan criminals will be punished by being tied to the back of jeeps and skinned to death on dirt roads until they die. The lucky criminals will simply be pushed off rooftops, and if they’re really lucky the rooftop will be very high for this is and has been what Hamas does to cower its civilians into subjugation.

    In Hamasistan they will blame all their problems on Israel that way the politicians can line their Swiss Vaults with endless international aid money and not be held accountable. For Hamas is always the victim despite the sea of victims they have tortured and killed.

    In Hamasistan they will shoot rockets into Israel during rush hour and when schools get out.
    That’s the way they do things in Hamasistan. Then they will blame Israel for making them do this too. In the Islamic world the fault is always Israel’s, or the colonialists or the imperialists. Just ask a liberal professor and he will tell you that when an Islamist beheads a journalist it was Israel who made him do it.

    Yes, this will solve all the problems just ask any leftist, liberal, dreaming moron and he/they will scream it at you as if there is no doubt about it.

  • Basha Kline

    Most of the “students” who call Israel an apartheid state neither knows the meaning of the word nor has any idea of how Israel contributes to the muslim populous in so many areas, medicine, both muslim and jew share hospital rooms, not the done thing in Africa, sharing the bus (and it is very doubtful that a Jew/Israeli would put a bomb on board but highly likely that a muslim would). Israel gives muslims work on the farms, hospitals or any other areas suitable for both parties so those who insist on BDS are depriving the very people they think they are helping out of sheer ignorance and basically it is the hatred of Jews/Israel which overrides any rationale….! If the Gazans hadn’t started with the rockets, time after time, then the war would not have been exercised. Look at 9/ll – this one episode brought on a full blown war, or am I wrong – You students of Weslyan don’t make it obvious that you are either ill-informed nor stupid not to know exactly where the problems in the middle east stem from.

  • Two words for anybody who accuses Israel of apartheid: Kenneth Meshoe.

  • Anonymous

    Two words on Israel: Nelson Mandela. If anyone doubts the climate in Israeli society is not being polluted by right-wing zealots bent on bringing about Armageddon and that there isn’t an apartheid dynamic in place, go there and pretend to be a Palestinian, or even an Israeli dissenter and see what happens.

    If there’s to be an honest dialogue, then there should be an honest dialogue. No racism, no racial/religious/ethnic supremacist framework. Anything less is dishonest.

    Our nation was founded the same way Israel was – usurpation and a policy of extrication of the indigenous population. We still have not reconciled with that past, let alone, the effect and treatment of African Americans in light of the history of slavery and Jim Crow.

    South Africa went through Truth and Reconciliation to face up to the reality of one people subjugating another. Israelis and Palestinians need to do the same thing.

    There’s no such thing as a democracy for one group of people to the exclusion of the other and that is predicated on maintaining supremacy of one people over another. Israel can be a beacon in the Middle East against a backdrop of despotic corrupt regimes.

    To do that means to do right by Palestinians and earn them as being their defenders rather than chattel and collateral damage.

    • Anonymous

      Gopher Patriot is a Muslim apologist. He cares not one whit that every single day Muslims kill Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews in the name of Islam. He, as a Muslim, is only interested in lying about Islam, white-washing Islam and spreading Islam at any cost.

      • Anonymous

        You will never hear Gopher Patriot (an American traitor write anything about the following.
        On Feb 24th 20 police officers were killed by Muslims in Logar, Afghanistan.
        ++
        On Feb 24 seventeen bus passengers were killed by Muslims in Potiskum. Nigeria.
        ++
        Also on Feb 24 a female liberation activist and her daughter are shot by suspected activists in Tripoli, Libya.
        ++
        On Feb 23 six people are killed in Damascus, Syria by twin suicide bombers.
        ++
        On Feb 22 a child suicide bomber kills seven at an outdoor market in Potiskum, Nigeria.
        ++
        Please notice how Postiskum, Nigeria is the latest front in Islam’s jihad against infidels. Hardly a day goes by when Muslim jihadists do not burn to death, kidnap young girls or torture and murder Christians in this town. Mush like Sudan 15 years ago this is the hotbed of Muslim jihdaists as they expand their caliphate further south in Africa.

      • Anonymous

        Buddy, your posts and mine are plain for anyone to read. You’re just getting exposed and it’s sticking in your craw.

        I condemn any sick people who stereotype, malign, or harm others because of who they are irrespective of their background. But I’m not a bigot or antisemitic like you in your posts generalizing about a whole group of people.

        Bigotry like yours deserves to be called out. And thanks for validating my post by your actions.

      • Anonymous

        Never said I was Muslim and you clearly can’t read. Keep spreading your hate.

    • J_April

      That’s the root of the mistake: Israel wasn’t founded on “usurpation and a policy of extrication”. While most Jews in Israel are recent (19th and 20th centuries) immigrants and their descendants the same is true for the Palestinian Arabs. Before Israeli independence, under late 19th century/early 20th century and under the British Mandate there was strong Arab immigration into mandatory Palestine.

      The Israeli-Arab conflict is not a (post-)colonial liberation struggle. It has been framed as such by certain politicians for political reasons, but not only is it a false narrative but one, that has prolongued the conflict by letting people to believe that the same solutions applied during decolonization elsewhere could work for the Jews and the Arabs. Failure to understand the nature of the conflict therefore means failure to realize that other solutions are needed to solve it.

      • Anonymous

        J_April,

        I agree that failure to understand the nature of the conflict is fundamental to this issue. The land has been fought over by empires and peoples for well over three to four millennia. It has geopolitical and religious significance for multiple populations. It has been Canaan, Judea, and Palestine. Israel was founded in 1948. The narrative that it was ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’ reinforces a myopic perspective that is false. In that sense, it is similar to our ideology of ‘manifest destiny’ and expansion westward with the extrication of the indigenous Native American population. Whether by asymmetric economic or military means, the dispossession of the Native Americans is an apt analogy for the treatment of Palestinians. Gaza and the West Bank enclaves encircled by blocked roads and the separation wall are effectively reservations.

        Palestinians (i.e., the indigenous population) was not defined exclusively, but rather, inclusive of multiple sects of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. While it was not a nirvana of social equality, people of multiple backgrounds and faiths lived and were a part of each others’ lives for hundreds of years. It was Europe, the birthplace of repugnant antisemitism and colonialism, that took land from the population as a whole, and carved out a portion to give to a specific group.

        If the UN decreed that Mexico should get Texas to give to Mexicans (who had the land immediately before America) to the exclusion of American Texans and that those Texans can simply relocate to Oklahoma (since they’re all “Americans”, nevermind that you’re not gonna get a Longhorn to root for a Sooner), it would be as what happened with European powers over Mandate Palestine.

        No one of sensible mind disputes the importance and connectivity of multiple peoples to that land. However, the conflict today in the territories is clearly occupier-occupied. The military, economic, and political control is wholly in favor of one side (Israel). A democracy cannot be a democracy for one people to the exclusion of another based on identity. That was what we had in this country in how we treated women (denial of suffrage), and how we treated blacks (slavery, Jim Crow).

        How to solve the conflict? It requires honestly confronting the root causes and perspectives that contribute to it (religious, cultural, geopolitical, historical, etc). It requires recognition that all have a legitimate claim and that all the nations of the Middle East (including Israel) were the result of colonial powers machinations and exploration of the aspiration of peoples for self-determination (including Arabs and Jews).

        My beef, is with people like Arafat those like him are that they employ a reductive logic to the issue, or worse, use the issue as an opportunity to promote hate of a group of people (in this case, Muslims, Arabs, etc). People like Arafat who conflate the actions of the Israeli government as representative of all Jews and attempt to silence legitimate critique as being antisemitism is wrong, solves nothing, and worse, undervalues the recognition of true antisemitism wherein bigots ascribe horrible things to Jews/Judaism en mass. Ironically, these same people employ antisemitic tendencies in generalizing against Muslims and Arabs and ascribe evil acts by individuals and groups as being intrinsically motivated rather than the result of a confluence of external factors. They want to create a climate of hate and fear toward all Muslims, the same as was created in Europe toward Jews.

        Sorry for the length. I want to see a just peace, not only for the sake of both people, but for the sake of our own country which has been dragged into this morass. Toeing the right-wing, settler-driven party line which increasingly is poisoning Israeli society does nothing for peace and nothing for the future of Israel.

      • J_April

        No, the dispossession of the Native Americans is not an apt analogy. Before Columbus there were no Whites in North America and the indigenous status of Native Americans is without doubt.

        However, there have been Jews living in the are between the Jordan and the Mediterranean for thousands of years and many Palestinian Arabs have immigrated to the area less than a century ago. The narrative, that the Palestinian Arabs are the native population of Israel/Palestine is exactly this myth. The Palestinian Arabs are no more indigenous to this land the Jews of Israel.

        Unless one realizes the falseness of this narrative, one will be unable to see why any ‘solutions’ based on this premise can never work. The main obstacle to peace is not the ‘dispossession of the native Palestinian’ but that Arabs all throughout the region, inside and outside Palestine, have been brought up to hate the Jews and to believe that Arabs have an exclusive right to the land of Israel/Palestine.

        Like in Nazi Germany Jew hatred was intentionally propagated by Arab dictators in order to have a convenient scapegoat for everything that went wrong in their countries, from massive human rights abuses to an economy wrecked by nepotism and corruption.

        While there are undisputedly radical Elements in Israel who are anti-Arab for most Israelis their opposition to any concessions stems from a deep fear of being surrounded by hostile countries, in many of which people can still be jailed for simply advocating normal relations with Israel.

        The only way, there will ever be an end to the conflict is, when the Arab side accepts that Israel is there to stay and that Jews have a right to live in this land too. Therefore, while Israel is of course far from a perfect country and should not be exempt from legitimate criticism, excessively demonizing it (“Apartheid”, boycotts, etc.) only prolongues the conflict, because it deligitimizes the Jewish state in the eyes of Arabs, giving them a false hope that they can still succeed to completely destroy the state of Israel and therefore an incentive to hold out in the hope for a final victory instead of compromising in the face of reality.

      • Anonymous

        The land has been in the possession of successive people throughout history, the Israelites only being one of several. The most recent inhabitants before 1948 and extending back well over a millennium were the Palestinian people, which I defined as a mix of people of Jewish and Arab heritage. Predominantly, the land was Arab before it became Israel. The subsequent policies, Land trust, economic and military campaigns have been to effect the complete removal of the Palestinian/Arab Christian and Muslim element from what is referred to as Judea and Samaria in order to create a land that places one people as superior over the other.

        That’s the problem. Now, to argue Israel’s record in comparison to its neighbors and absolve it of injustices is moot. The standard of justice is objective. And why lower to the example of corrupt governments just because they are in the neighborhood? Israel exists but at the active expense of Palestine which existed before it and the remnant Native American like reservations that have been created. Ignoring that and attempting to silence Western media highlighting this is the problem.

        Both people have claim and both have to reconcile the past. The land cannot be exclusively for one people at the expense of the other nor placing advantage for one people over the other. A just Israel/Palestine is the goal.

  • concerned ’92
    • Anonymous

      The scenes depicted in this film could be any Muslim nation in the world. These men allude to this reality.

      ++

      William Eaton on Islam

      “Considered as a nation, they are deplorably wretched, because they have no property in the soil to inspire an ambition to cultivate it. They are abject slaves to the despotism of their government, and they are humiliated by tyranny, the worst of all tyrannies, the despotism of priestcraft. They live in more solemn fear of the frowns of a bigot who has been dead and rotten above a thousand years, than of the living despot whose frown would cost them their lives. The ignorance, superstitious tradition and civil and religious tyranny, which depress the human mind here, exclude improvement of every kind.”

      ++

      Winston Churchill On Islam

      “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”

      • Anonymous

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yezdGcymABM
        Israeli authorities abusing orthodox Jews. Who represents Judaism in that scene? Or is your bigotry only compounded by hypocrisy? You generalize against one people and that shows your intellectual dishonesty and intent to spread a narrative of hate. You clearly hope some nutjob will be convinced of your narrative that all Muslims and their religion are a “threat” and take the next step. You’re no different than peddlers of antisemitism about the inherent “threat” of Jews and nutjobs who act out on that “truth” they have been convinced to believe. It’s sick.

        Hate and militancy is a human failing.

  • Tired of stupid people

    I am extremely disgusted with the comments of this article. Although I do not agree with the stance of this article, I appreciate how the content of it focused on Israelis and Palestinians, not Muslims and Jews. When this issue is discussed it is very important to remember to not generalize and think carefully about the terminology used. Just because the writers of this article took a stance supporting Israel, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily anti-Arab and taking a stance supporting Palestine doesn’t mean I’m anti-semitic. Palestinians have literally been shat on since even before Nakba Day and this is inhumane and it is also horrible to see what ISIS has done to the region. Religion and race should play a role in how you view this issue. This is a basic issue of human rights and if you do not see this, I highly recommend you get a fucking MRI.

    Commenters also started listing how Islam gained a large population and that’s so pointless and a waist of time. There is no religious group that used just methods to convert civilians and Muslims are always viewed the most guilty of this even though that is how Christianity became the most popular faith in the world. How about you decide to focus in on contemporary issues and why this is occurring instead of backtracking and interpreting history through your own racist bias?

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