Antisemitism promotion week

This annual event is commonly referred to as “Israel Apartheid Week,” but a more apt name would be “Antisemitism Promotion Week.”

Hate Stops Here - WZO holds international day of protests against antisemitism (photo credit: screenshot)
Hate Stops Here - WZO holds international day of protests against antisemitism
(photo credit: screenshot)
For a few days last week, bigotry was allowed to run free on college campuses. Allegedly, “pro-Palestine” students intimidated Jewish students with chants supporting the destruction of Israel through “intifada” or violent uprising. Walking through campus, Jewish students endured being accused of Satanism, infanticide, and even spying for the Mossad. Flyers and posters around campuses demonized Israel, and depicted Jews as grotesque monsters.
This annual event is commonly referred to as “Israel Apartheid Week,” but a more apt name would be “Antisemitism Promotion Week.”
Although the organizers of this event claim to fight for freedom, justice and equality, an examination of their claims reveals an absence of such noble causes from their real goals. Here, I will sum up a few of the most prominent statements made by these organizers, and show what is wrong with them.
• Statement 1: Israel is an “apartheid state.”
What’s wrong: “Apartheid” refers to a legal system of segregation based on race. Jews and Arabs do not see themselves as racial groups, but national ones; the Israel-Palestine conflict is a national conflict over land which both the Palestinian and Jewish peoples claim. Moreover, all citizens of Israel, be they Jewish, Arab or other, are guaranteed equal rights before the law, including the right to vote. While many Arab Israelis express grievances relating to discrimination, economic status, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and marginalization, they address these problems through Israel’s democratic system and political activism, as minority groups with grievances do in other democratic countries.
• Statement 2: “Resistance” is the only way to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
What’s wrong: The words “resistance” and “occupation” might be used to create a constructive dialogue on the Israel-Palestine conflict, but they are more often used to demonize Jews and the State of Israel. While the Israeli military is occupying the West Bank – which Palestinians claim as part of a future state – apartheid pushers claim that what today is Israel, should also be part of a future Palestine. Hence, they say, the entire land – Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – are under occupation.
This means that the entire State of Israel should be destroyed through violent resistance. However, Israel is not under a military occupation, and it withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Most Jews do, in fact, oppose the occupation of the West Bank, and there are serious debates on how to end it and create a Palestinian state there. But to say that the entire land should be a Palestinian state implies destroying Israel, and violent resistance against the mere presence of Jews entails deliberately killing civilians.
• Statement 3: Israel does not allow Palestinians to enter al-Aqsa Mosque.
What’s wrong: Despite having, in 1967, captured the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism, and the place where al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosques today stand – Israel has transferred it to the administration of the Wakf Islamic religious trust. The Wakf forbids Jews from praying on the Temple Mount (they can be arrested for that), and allows non-Muslims to visit only at certain times. Muslims may enter at any time. Most Palestinians are Muslim. Hence, most Palestinians may enter al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock virtually anytime they want. Jews and other non-Muslims are the ones who face restrictions.
• Statement 4: BDS Israel
What’s wrong: BDS stands for “Boycott, Divest, Sanction,” and BDS activists support boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning Israel, with the aim of dismantling Israel and replacing it with a non-Jewish state. The leaders of the BDS movement have called for “uprisings” against Jews around the world, and touted classic antisemitic canards, such as claiming that Jews “harvest the organs” of Palestinian children.
The founder of BDS started the movement while studying for his PhD at Tel Aviv University. While BDS activists call for opposing Israel for alleged violations of human rights, they do not call out truly egregious human-rights violators, like China or Russia. BDS sometimes directly hurts Palestinians, as in 2015, when pressure from the movement contributed to forcing a SodaStream plant in the West Bank to shut down, putting 500 Palestinians out of work.
ONE MUST ask, if these claims are outright false (like statements 1 and 3), or just Jew-hatred dressed up in the language of human rights and justice (like statements 2 and 4), then why do people keep supporting them? Well, some people just don’t know, and are fooled by the deceptive language used by the apartheid pushers. Others oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and turn a blind eye to bigotry if it can help them attack Israel. Others still just hate Jews.
During Antisemitism Promotion Week, hatred is given a free pass on college campuses. The best way to combat this is to be well-informed on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This means reading up on the subject, talking to Israelis and Palestinians, and traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Peace will elude us as long as antisemitism and hatred mar the conversation about the conflict.
The writer is a master of public policy candidate at Georgetown University, and editor at Georgetown Public Policy Review. He received his BA in government from IDC Herzliya. Find him on Twitter @IdoLevy5.