A number of columnists in the United States with diverse political opinions – from conservative Charles Krauthammer to liberal Richard Cohen – have called on all fair-minded people to reject an ill-conceived – and what some believe to be an anti-Semitic – boycott of Israeli universities by an obscure group called The American Studies Association.
Like many uneducated and ignorant celebrities in Hollywood and entertainment, this American Studies Association has decided to heed “the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”
Bravo. How courageous and cutting-edge of them. That said, it seems that this righteous group of “academics” doesn’t bother to keep up on current events. If they did, they – as Krauthammer so rightly pointed out – might have also taken note of the actual atrocities being practiced by the governments of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, or North Korea, to name but a few. Countries where you are routinely persecuted, tortured, or executed for being female, gay, Christian, the wrong kind of Muslim, or just a relative suddenly out of favor.
When I was at the Pentagon, I spent three years working with the Israel Defense Forces and fully understand and embrace the very special relationship we have with one of our best allies in the world. That said, as a human being and as someone who grew up in poverty, I want the children and the innocents of the world – be they Palestinian or elsewhere – to live in peace, health, and freedom.
Unlike those associate with the ASA however, I know such a wish will never be realized if the truth is ignored in favor of a dishonest and dishonorable agenda. The unassailable truth in this matter being that the vast majority of children and adults now being persecuted, tortured, driven from their homes, or executed around the world, are the victims of the “leadership” of their own nations.
Stand with Israel against this bigoted boycott? Absolutely.
More than that, we should also stand firmly with Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon who recently said: “Secretary of State John Kerry came here very determined and operates based upon an unfathomable obsession and Messianic feeling.... Throughout the recent months, there is no negotiation between us and the Palestinians, but rather, between us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save’ us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel peace prize and leave us alone.”
Now, just because the Obama White House and State Department forced Yaalon to apologize does not lessen the truth of his words. While he was not diplomatic – nor subservient – in his choice of words, Yaalon framed the issue perfectly.
Many people who know John Kerry would certainly subscribe to the theory that he may be a glory-hound in search of titles, trophies and acclaim. It can be rightfully argued that Kerry knows that the Nobel Prize committee is made up of far-left members and only awards its now-tarnished prize to like-minded liberals. For evidence of that, look no further than the prize given to Al Gore, which helped him accumulate his $100 million-plus fortune, and, in the most telling and embarrassing moment for the committee, the prize given to President Barack Obama for... nothing.
Said former Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa when Obama’s prize was announced: “So soon? ...He has no contribution so far.”
With Kerry’s self-induced multiple trips to the region to “broker a peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” there can also be no doubt that the US is trying to weaken the position of Israel or that, as Yaalon honestly pointed out, the US is only “negotiating” with Israel.
For those in the ASA or our own State Department who might have forgotten, Israel is surrounded by nations who want to exterminate its people and wipe the country from the face of the earth.
Thanks to President Obama’s lack of understanding or interest in the area, Egypt, Libya and Syria are falling under the rule of Islamic extremists who especially wish to destroy Israel and... the United States.
So... stand with Israel against this ridiculous boycott and with Yaalon in his assessment of John Kerry? For our own sake, we better.
The author is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the memoir Rolling Pennies In The Dark, (Simon & Schuster, 2012).