Continues from Part 1
The main presentation began with the featured speakers.
The first one to talk was the British scholar Dr. Andrew Roberts from the Friends of Israel Initiative.
In his opinion, the boycott of Israel by various British universities borders on racism and we should not keep silent about that. An important step in that direction is the Friends of Israel Initiative, in which people like John Bolton (former US Ambassador to the UN), Jose Maria Aznar (former Prime Minister of Spain) and others are involved. The participants in that initiative just want to discuss the issues in the open, which now is not possible in most academic institutions. Israel should be treated like any other country.
An example of the worrisome situation is the ease with which Muslim extremist preachers, who state they want to kill Jews and mistreat women, are allowed at the universities. There are anti-Jewish sentiments in the universities of Britain, which may influence people to become radicals and act upon those ideas – the “underwear bomber” who tried to blow up an airplane last year is one of them.
There is also an increase in harassment and hate speech, hostility and demonization of Israel and the Jews in general. The British unions regularly boycott Israeli events. This year Channel 4 even asked Iran’s Ahmadinejad to deliver a Christmas message and he is not a Christian. There was recently a case of a postgraduate student from Israel who was denied British university scholarship for having served in the IDF.
In 2009 the Edinburgh film festival refused to sponsor a young Israeli filmmaker because it was threatened with a leftist boycott. There is also Muslim propaganda in schools where Islam is taught – there are textbooks, which explain in detail how to cut feet and hands, how to do stoning, etc. according to the sharia law. Those “educational” texts also picture the Jews as pigs.
The Holocaust denial is rampant both in the Islamic and academic circles.
Another disturbing issue is the revisionism of the whole Israeli history. The Palestinians claim that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem never existed. Israel had recently a confrontation with UNESCO about the case of Rachael’s Tomb, a Jewish holy place, which was classified by the organization as a mosque (more here). The question is: should you believe the real stones, which you can see even today or the made up Palestinian stories? It’s not a coincidence that Arafat started the temple denial issue; changing history became an important tool of the Arab extremism. That is outrageous.
If the Islam is reformed, the Arabs could return on the side of progress. Today we see the forces of ignorance rising again through boycotts and stopping discourse. Israel is on the forefront of that struggle against ignorance and that struggle is very important if we want to save our civilization.
Next was the presentation of Prof. Richard Cravatts from the Boston University.
He began with explaining why the issue of anti-Semitism on campus is so important – the universities are gatekeepers of knowledge. However, in the current situation, the discourse has been hijacked by anti-Semitism. The narrative is reversed where Arab aggressors are presented as victims. The distortion of truth is a disgrace for the universities.
He made a comparison with branding in marketing (his field of expertise) – currently we have a case of a “branding hijack”, a situation where the owner of the brand sees the brand changed or perceived in ways different than intended. The Israeli brand has been hijacked by the Palestinians in very effective ways. It changed the image of Israel, especially on campus.
Another marketing concept that can be applied here is “positioning”, how the product is seen compared to that of the competitors. The things in the conflict have been turned upside down – the West Bank Palestinians can kill everybody who sells land to Jews and at the same time make an issue out of the apartment buildings built in Jerusalem.
How did that happen?
The scheme operates like that – the perpetrators claim that they don’t criticize Jews, they criticize the Israeli policies. That is anti-Semitism hidden under the guise of anti-Zionism.
Israel’s task is to change that image. Prof. Cravatts shows pictures to illustrate that – MAXIM’s Israel issue shows a picture of a girl in bikini, who is an IDF soldier. That’s changing of the perception, while the dominant image of Israel is that of a militarist state.
The Palestinians are represented as victims, who can’t do anything else than to throw stones. That’s a carefully crafted image, that Israel is guilty, not the neighbouring Arab countries, which keep the Palestinians homeless in camps.
The anti-Nazi terminology and imagery is used against Israel and that definitely is anti-Semitism.
The academic social justice campaigns are concerned only with justice for the “weak”, the Palestinians, not for Israel. All they care about are the Palestinians. All that’s what is preached by the Left – even if Israel is destroyed, that’s fine, as long as the refugees’ descendants return.
An additional aggravating factor is the campus bias against conservative values. In real life the Conservative-Liberal ratio expressed in elections, is 50/50, while on campus it’s 30/1 especially concerning the teachers involved in liberal arts. It means that conservative scholars are deliberately denied access to academic positions. If the situation is like that, what can you expect?
That’s why the campus is a fertile ground for bias and extremism – especially the departments of sociology, anthropology, etc. The dominant idea now is that only non-Western people can understand the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That caused those departments to be hijacked by anti-Jewish forces. And all of them are government-funded. They are also funded by the Gulf states – for example King Fahd donated $20 million and some Saudi Sheikhs gave $5 million to the University of California at Berkeley.
Then Prof. Cravatts showed a short documentary about the anti-Jewish activities on campus. It covered extensively the atrocities of the Muslim students at Concordia University when Netanyahu was scheduled to talk there. It also showed rabid Muslim speakers allowed on campus, as well as self-hating Jews like Norman Finkelstein.
The extreme Muslim speakers are not denied the right to speak by the university administration. Can you imagine what would happen if someone like David Duke tries to do the same thing?
Jews are not considered to be victims unlike gays, black and other groups. Jews, heterosexuals and conservatives are open to abuse.
At many universities the Jewish students are reluctant to display any signs of their religion, they are afraid of persecution.
The extremists even use the term “Holocaust” to describe the events in the Middle East and revive old myths with the purpose to discredit Jews, like the “blood libel”.
Palestinians have never been resettled, because they are used like pawns by the Arab states against Israel. Even supposedly respected scholars are playing that game. For example the book “The Israel Lobby” is almost a rewrite of the Protocols. The old idea that Jews have that secret society, which controls everything, that’s what is part of their propaganda. Another book – “Facts on the Ground” – misrepresents the history of Jerusalem from an archaeological point of view trying to diminish the Jewish history. The author is a Palestinian activist.
Even the concept of apartheid is wrongly applied. There is no apartheid in Israel – the Arabs and the Christians have firmly established rights. Yet even Carter did use the term.
The stakes are very high to leave the things the way they are now. You can’t think seriously that Israel is the cause of all of the world’s troubles. Changing the perceptions is a task that we all need to work on.
Elliot Chodoff, a military and anti-terrorist expert, a Major from the IDF, was the next speaker.
He talked about the war and the perspectives of peace.
We heard the previous speaker talk about all the bad things done on campus. That is just tactics, the real goal is to destroy Israel. Those ant-Jewish forces tried everything since 1948. Israel wins, because she has the support of Canada and the USA.
This is not a symmetrical conflict – they want to make it impossible for Israel to defend herself. A good example of that were the UN’s discussions about the wall built to prevent the entrance of terrorists from the West Bank – they asked the International Court of Justice to issue a judgment against it. They requested that the section in the international law about having right to defend itself not be applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Muslim Brotherhood is misrepresented by the left as a humanitarian organization. It has existed since the 1920’s – its founder has been open Nazi supporter. They proclaimed that their goal is a global jihad and they influenced Arafat, Khomeini, Hamas and other people and organizations.
The current changes in the Arab world could be compared to the changes that took place in Iran after 1979 – the terror started after Khomeini took all the power. The secularists did most of the initial work of overthrowing the Shah’s regime. When Khomeini came back from Paris, he conducted the real Islamic revolution. He said that the Shia don’t need to wait for the messiah (the 12th imam), they can create an Islamic state now. Iran sees itself as the heir of the Persian Empire, which was very powerful. Now the main enemy is the USA.
Iran and Hamas are at least honest in their hatred, while PLO is hypocritical. Hezbollah was the first organization created by Iran, which introduced the suicide bombings and drove the USA out of the Middle East. That was noticed by the Muslims. In Afghanistan the West supported the mujahedeen against the Russians , which gave them the idea that they can overpower the West.
What is the situation with regard to Israel? There are several worst case scenarios.
If Iran develops nuclear weapons, Israel cannot survive a nuclear hit, those weapons can reach even Europe. Other threats are Hezbollah, Hamas, potentially Egypt.
The 2006 war was executed badly by the Israeli army commanders, but they have learned from their mistakes, because the next confrontation is coming.
The Gaza battle – it was conducted under the conditions of terrible urban warfare, which is very difficult to handle. Israel is really concerned about the potential civilian casualties, the army practiced in a mock area resembling Gaza before the operation. The whole issue was initiated by Hamas, which fired missiles despite the seize fire agreement. The army training worked and it reduced the casualties, but Israel still was accused of atrocities. In Iraq and Afghanistan the ratio of civil casualties against militants is 30/1, while in Gaza, even by the standards of the hostile sides, the argument was if it is 1/1 or 2/1.
Now the situation is troubling, because in Lebanon they import rockets on ships. They are smuggling weapons into Gaza as well and that’s difficult to stop. If in Egypt an Islamic government takes over, the situation will become much worse.
So there are three possible options for getting Israel into war:
First – that’s the worst case. Rockets start coming from Gaza and Lebanon. If a kindergarten is hit and children are killed, Israel will be at war. That can happen at any moment.
Second – some high Hezbollah functionary is killed and Israel is accused. They will try a bombing attack and if they succeed, Israel is at war.
Third – the Egyptian option. The country will be taken over by the Brotherhood or hybrid powers. Even today they are trying to cut the gas supply to Israel, then it will be much worse. The key to the Egypt-Israel treaty is the demilitarization of Sinai – what will happen to that if there are changes in the government? If they move tanks there, what would Israel and the world do?
There is a joke about the two sole options for peace in the Middle East – natural and supernatural. We should remember that 70 years ago the situation of the Jews was catastrophic, and they survived, now it is much different, so they will be able to handle it.
Continues in Part 3