Anti-Israel hatred on campus crests each year during an event called “Israel
Apartheid Week.” With this ominous name and programs that thrive on ignorance
and blind disregard for the facts, tens of thousands of college students are
urged to rise up against Israel
– Dore Gold, February 23, 2012
completely outclassed and outmaneuvered on a battleground it doesn’t even
understand it is on
– Melanie Phillips, January 9, 2011
Israel Apartheid Week
(IAW) is once again upon us. Described on its official website as “an annual
international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe,”
its aim is “to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system
and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a
growing global BDS movement.”
Traditionally, IAW includes events
(lectures, films, rallies, poetry readings, art exhibitions and so on) spanning
anything from 60 to 90 cities from Albuquerque to Zurich.
however, a new condiment has been added to spice up the noxious brew of deceit,
distortion, and disinformation on the IAW menu.Harvard’s harbinger
This weekend a conference will be held at Harvard University,
organized by a slew of pro-Palestinians student organizations, to discuss
prospects for the implementation of a one-state solution for the resolution of
the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In the words of the organizers, “our
conference will help to expand the range of academic debate” in which to date
“the only Israel/Palestine solution that has received a fair rehearsal in
mainstream forums has been the two-state solution.”
conference is not officially part of IAW activities, there is little daylight
between the two, as demonstrated by an IAW poster which prominently features
it under the heading of “Other Palestinian Events” taking place in Boston under
The goals of the conference are “to educate ourselves and
others about the possible contours of a one-state solution and the challenges
that stand in the way of its realization.”
The two-day program includes
six sessions with a list of about 20 speakers, almost all with distinctly anti-Zionist/anti-Israel credentials.
A cursory glance at the sessions reveals
the thrust of the conference.
The first panel, titled “What happened to
the two-state solution?” is slated to “trace the Oslo process’s trajectory to
explain why ‘two-states for two peoples’ is no longer a viable option for
Israel/Palestine,” while the final panel – titled “A History of Violence: Truth
and Reconciliation” – poses the following loaded questions: As in other conflict
zones, the Palestinians and Israelis will one day need to share the same land
and resources in one country. Yet, a great deal of violence has isolated the two
peoples from one another.
And individuals who may have committed war
crimes may remain at large.
How can the open wounds of the past be
healed? How can justice for the victims of racism or violence be achieved? South
Africa as template
Doesn’t get much clearer than that. An international drive
has begun to annul Jewish sovereignty, to fuse all the territory between the
Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea into one, ostensibly polyethnic,
political unit and to apply the South African model of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission to reinforce the perception of the Zionist regime’s
apartheid practices, mimicking the South African precedent in dealing with
“individuals who may have committed war crimes” (IDF soldiers and Israeli
security personnel) to “achieve justice for the victims of racism” (the
The planned conference has provoked vehement protest from
numerous prominent pro-Israeli figures – including the American Jewish
Committee’s David Harris, Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz and The Jerusalem Post’s
Caroline Glick – who pointed out, quite correctly, that the event is a thinly
veiled call for the abolition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish
The strong condemnation of the conference was clearly justified.
For behind the sanitized academic phraseology about “helping to expand the range
of the debate” and “educating ourselves and others about the possible contours
and challenges of a one-state solution,” lies venomous political intent: To
create an international climate in which it will be impossible for the Jews not
only to sustain their national sovereignty, but even to sustain the very notion
that they have a right to do so.
And that is precisely where IAW and the
One-State Conference dovetail. They both endeavor to co-opt the symbolism and
imagery associated with the struggle against the genuine racism of
apartheid-regime South Africa and use it against the Zionist regime in
Israel/Palestine by creating a false parallel between the two.
implication that this misleading analogy engenders is equally misplaced: Just as
apartheid was abolished so must Zionism – and the Jewish nation-state – be,
replaced by the illusion of an egalitarian state-of-all-its-citizens
incorporating all the land from the river to the sea.Chickens home to
In an article titled “Fighting campus hatred,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli
ambassador to the UN, comments: “These campus initiatives were incubated in 2001
at the first Durban Conference, proclaiming ‘no apartheid South Africa in the
20th century and no apartheid Israel in the 21st.’ This battle cry sparked the
BDS movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish Israel,
and evolved into an invective-loaded campaign on campuses coast to coast among
some labor unions, churches, media and cultural institutions.
Gold rightly observes, “it is based on a lie.... Those hurling these charges
against Israel hope that their audiences are ignorant of the facts.”
cautions, however, that, “unsubstantiated allegations, constantly repeated, take
a toll on American opinion, despite bedrock gut support for Israel which,
thankfully, exists as a strong counter-force to this mass exercise in
A recent report by The David Project indicates that support for Israel is lower among college students than the rest of the American
population. It warned that bipartisan American support for the Jewish state
could be threatened if large segments of the public comprising the future
leadership spend their formative years in an environment dominated by negative
attitudes toward Israel.
Yet none of this is, or was,
Significantly, Gold points out: “Studies confirm that when
accurate information about Israeli policies, society and values is provided, the
false [anti-Israel] arguments are uniformly rejected.”
He goes on to urge
that “our most critical challenge is to educate the young. Our students feel
confident and empowered when they know the facts and can challenge group-think
favoring Israel’s isolation, dismantlement or destruction. We are duty-bound to
And there you have it in a nutshell. The current situation
reflecting the accumulated effect of over a decade of a well-orchestrated assault
on Israel’s legitimacy is the most damning indictment of Israel’s public
diplomacy and of those charged with its conduct.
For despite all the
well-placed diagnoses of sources of virulent Judeophobic sentiment across the
world, much of the blame must be allotted to ineffectual Israeli response to the
clearly gathering storm clouds.Indolence, impotence, ignorance
we may at the falsehoods propagated by our enemies, this will have little impact
in addressing what in many ways is emerging as the most ominous strategic danger
facing the country.
Of course, Israel will be subjected to diplomatic
attack by its adversaries. That is what adversaries do. As Melanie Phillips
observes, “The Arabs, the Palestinians, Muslims have organized for years. They
have put money and thought and intelligence and shrewdness behind this
But, far more than the actions of its foes, it has been the
inaction of Israel in retaliating that has precipitated the current abysmal
I have written previously on the pitiful levels of resources
that are devoted to Israel’s public diplomacy. We are now harvesting the bitter
fruits of the misguided miserliness.
For when Dore Gold and others
complain that pro-Israeli students lack the basic knowledge to rebut the
baseless accusations of their well-funded anti- Zionist rivals, who should be
held responsible for leaving them so unprepared for battle? Why has there been
no commensurate Israeli investment of “money, thought, intelligence and
shrewdness” in repudiating this insidious offensive of unfounded invective? Why
has the Israeli leadership allowed a motley collection of clearly fabricated and
easily refuted falsehoods to balloon out of control and become what is now a
threat of strategic proportions? Prisoner of process
The answer is relatively
simple – although many will find it difficult to accept. By entering the
Oslowian “peace process,” and recognizing the legitimacy the Palestinian Arabs’
claim to statehood, Israel virtually ensured its current diplomatic
The reasons for this are twofold:
• By acknowledging the
Palestinians as worthy “partners for peace,” Israel has precluded any
possibility of conveying to the world the true nature of its adversaries and
hence precluded any chance of acquiring international understanding for the
measures it requires to ensure its national security and the physical safety of
• The establishment of a Palestinian state west of the
Jordan would – except under wildly optimistic, and hence irresponsible,
assumptions – make the maintenance of day-to-day security within the Green Line
untenable. Thus by acknowledging the legitimacy of the Palestinian claims for
statehood in Judea and Samaria, Israel has locked itself into a situation in
which it can only ensure the security of its population by denying the
fulfillment of claims it itself acknowledges as legitimate.
As long as
Israel remains committed to the “peace process,” its diplomatic strategy will
remain imprisoned by the exigencies of maintaining that process – or at least
the appearance thereof.
Accordingly, Israel will not be able to present
Palestinian society as the brutal, backward, bloodthirsty society it really is
without exposing itself to accusations of willfully derailing peace efforts. As
long as this restriction persists, Israeli reticence in bowing to Palestinian
demands will be seen as unreasonable and inexplicable obstructionism. Likewise,
Israel’s inability to accurately convey the dangers involved in a Palestinian
state inevitably portray Israel as arbitrarily denying the rights of
Palestinians it itself professes to perceive as valid.
this creates a position which is increasingly incomprehensible and
indefensible.Inevitable one-state debate
It is impossible to
overestimate the potential longer-term significance of what is to take place at
Harvard this weekend, whatever the immediate impact might be. It is the initial
step in a process enormously dangerous for Israel – a process it dare not
disregard. It may turn out to be its “Pearl Harbor.”
In this respect,
well-meaning pro-Israel advocates such as Alan Dershowitz and David Harris are
gravely mistaken in their endorsement of the two-state paradigm.
with a firm grasp of the geographical, topographical and hydrological parameters
of the area, together with a knowledge of the socio-cultural and religious
characteristics of the relevant populations and an appreciation of the dismal
events of the past quarter century, will recognize that it is an unrealistic pipe
dream. Clinging to it plays into the hands of the enemy.
For even under
the wildly implausible assumption that the Palestinians genuinely desire a state
for themselves, the bargain that needs to be struck is unattainable.
maximum Israel can offer without irresponsibly compromising its security is less
than the minimum Palestinians can be reasonably expected to accept in satisfying
their national aspirations.
Conversely, the minimum that the Palestinians
can be expected to accept for a tenable state exceeds the maximum that Israel
can offer without rendering its security untenable.
Israel necessarily puts off agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian
state, the two-state principle will appear less and less viable. Inevitably this
will be perceived as unjustified Israeli intransigence. This is precisely why
paying lip service to an unattainable two-state solution plays into the hands of
the enemy – for it creates situations that invariably cast Israel in a negative,
Thus adhering to it is not the key to Israel’s
legitimacy. Quite the opposite. It is increasingly the source of its
de-legitimization.Urgent strategic imperative
Unavoidably, as frustration
with the two-state principle increases, the quest for alternatives will begin.
This was precisely the “hook” for the Harvard event.
Unless a serious
effort to formulate a logically consistent, operationally viable,
Zionist-compliant alternative is undertaken with great urgency (see my
“Palestine: What Sherlock Holmes would say”), the Harvard-formulated one-state
paradigm will gain increasing ascendancy in the public discourse.
with this rapidly emerging menace is Israel’s most pressing
Failing to do so would indeed invite a new “Pearl
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