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Review Category : Israel

Defending Israel in the Era of “Apartheid Walls”

When my father was a little boy growing up in Poland, there were signs that read, “Jews: Get out of Europe. Go back to Palestine.” On today’s college campuses there are shouts of “Jews: Out of Palestine. Go back to Europe.”

These past two weeks have been difficult ones for American Jewish college students. It  has been Israel Apartheid Week, and across many American college campuses, most of our Jewish students are confronted with “mock die ins”, with student actors dressed as menacing Israel soldiers “brutalizing” other student actors dressed as hapless, “innocent” Palestinian civilians, and  “apartheid walls”.  Jewish students at Emory University have had “mock eviction notices” placed in residence halls, that say “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state’s ongoing attempt to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants”. At Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine created a poster of an IDF soldier with horns. At Harvard University, one of the speakers for Israel Apartheid Week, Omar Barghouti, supports the “euthanasia of Zionism.”

Many Jewish students do not have the knowledge to be able to respond to these horrific distortions. The few who have both the knowledge and the backbone to fight back, do. However, most put their heads down in shame. It is no wonder that Natan Sharansky has called American Jewish college students, “The new Jews of silence”.

The problem is that many university professors have used their desks for one-sided political propaganda rather than giving them a solid education about the region. A tenured professor at Columbia, Hamid Dabishi, for example has tweeted that “Every dirty, treacherous, ugly and pernicious act happening in the world just wait a few days and the ugly name Israel will pup.” (sic). Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor at Temple University in Philadelphia called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”  Unfortunately, these statements are no longer the outliers, but have become very much the norm in many classrooms that study the Middle East.

I long to equip our students with some basic facts, if I could only teach them for one semester. I would teach them about how the Palestinian Liberation Organization, whose membership is the same as the Palestinian Authority,(PA) was established in 1964, 3 full years before the 1967 War, and before there was any “occupation” to resist. I would teach them about the Oslo Accords, and how Yitzchak Rabin had reluctantly agreed to negotiate with Yassir Arafat on the one condition that he give up terrorism. I would tell them that after the Accords were signed there was a sharp rise in Israeli civilian victims of Palestinian terrorism, which is now over 1,000 fatalities.

I would tell them how Israel withdrew from all the major Palestinian population centers, putting 90% of the Palestinian population under the PA’s control. I would tell them about the enormous offer Prime Minister Ehud Barak had made to Chairman Arafat in July of 2000, which would eventually have given the Palestinians 91% of the West Bank, Gaza and shared sovereignty of Jerusalem, yet Arafat walked away from the offer and launched an intifada. I would tell them that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, an even more generous offer in November 2008, including making all of Jerusalem an internationally controlled city. And yet again, this Palestinian interlocutor walked away from the negotiating table, launching a renewed intifada.

I would tell them about the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, and how the Israelis trained their soldiers not to feel pain as they uprooted Jewish residents from their homes. And about how Israelis had left the greenhouses to give the nascent Palestinian state some sort of economic infrastructure, and the synagogues to be turned into mosques. And how these greenhouses and synagogues, along with every remnant of a Jewish life had been destroyed in a frenzied atmosphere of chaos and hatred. I would tell them how now Gaza has become a simmering sea of hatred which is unleashed every Friday when mobs try to penetrate the fence and kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. 

I would tell them about the innocent looking balloon bouquets and kites, meant to attract young Israeli children, launched with incendiary devices attached to them, that have destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli agricultural land near Gaza and have created an ecological disaster. I would tell them that over 1,000 missiles have been launched from Gaza, giving neighboring Israeli men women and children just 15 seconds to run for shelter.

Before anyone casts blame on the democratically elected government of Israel, I would ask them to walk a mile in their shoes. 

I know they will not, however. Because anti-Zionism is just the 21stcentury form of ant-Semitism. And as Jean Paul Sartre had said, “The anti-Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.” Anti-Semitism is hatred, and hatred is an emotion, and one, unfortunately cannot reason with an emotion.

A version of this recently appeared in the Washington Jewish Week.

Photo: Uriel Heilman

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Blog Post: The Duplicitous Double Standard of the United Nations Regarding the Golan Heights

By Sarah N. Stern

“There are 194 nations in the world. Out of those, precisely 193 acquired their territory through the use of military force. That is how borders have traditionally been drawn. Most of these campaigns were offensive. I have asked many military experts, historians and scholars about this, and they have, to a person, told me that there is only one nation in the world who gained territory through the use of force that has been sued, time and time again to relinquish that territory. You guessed it: the state of Israel.”

Read the full post here.

Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

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Phone Seminar: “The Thin Line Between Legitimate Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism”

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Anti-Semitism on our nation’s college campuses, in the international arena, and even within the halls of the US Congress is on the rise. While criticism of Israeli policies is completely legitimate, it is important to note when such criticism crosses the line and becomes anti-Semitic. The definition of anti-Semitism used by the U.S. State Department includes examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regards to the State of Israel, including: the demonization of Israel, applying a double standard on Israel, and the delegitimization of Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which demonizes and delegitimizes Israel, and opposes Israel’s right to exist, is essentially an anti-Semitic movement that masks itself under the guise of anti-Zionism. BDS activity on college campuses, including anti-Israel divestment resolutions, and painting Israel as a “Nazi-like” State, is also contributing to the rise of anti-Semitic activity on campuses, reports show. The radical student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has more than 100 chapters across the U.S., is the most active voice in support of the BDS movement on campuses. SJP regularly introduces resolutions within student governments that call for a divestment from companies that “profit from” the “apartheid” State of Israel. In 2016, Congressional Testimony detailed SJP’s and the BDS movement’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas.

What tools can be employed to identify when criticism of Israel has crossed the line into anti-Semitism? What can Universities and student groups do to combat the radical SJP movement and BDS activity? And what should the US Congress do to combat the BDS movement? Listen in as Dan Diker from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, explores these questions, and discusses his new policy book, “Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked.”

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Press Release: EMET Applauds President Trump’s Recognition Of Israeli Sovereignty Over The Golan

EMET Applauds President Trump’s Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan

(Washington, DC, March 21, 2019) – Today is an historic day.  President Trump just tweeted “After 52 years, it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance for the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”

This is a game changer. For years, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) has been on Capitol Hill and in the White House talking about the vital necessity of American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which we see as the dividing line between a civilized Western democracy and the radical forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This is even more important now that Syria is a failed state, and has been open to all the most pernicious forces of the region, including Hezbollah, which has been encroaching closer and closer to the border of Israel.

This announcement could not possibly come at a better time. Israeli intelligence recently revealed that Hezbollah Commander, Ali Musa Daqduq, is building a Hezbollah front that can attack Israel from Syria.

For the last 52 years, the Golan Heights, an area of approximately 690 square miles, has been in Israeli hands. This area was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in its defensive war of 1967, and was successfully retained by the IDF in its defensive war of 1973.

The Golan Heights has served as a unique topographical buffer between Israel, Syria and Lebanon. It has long been said that whoever controls the Golan Heights, controls the area. That is because it is the high ground offering a unique geographical vantage point from which intelligence and defense forces can peer directly into Damascus and Beirut. Israeli General (Res.) Giora Eiland has famously said that “there is no solution for Israel’s survival without control of the Golan Heights.”

For far too many years, many within the international community have used the term “Occupied” to describe the Golan Heights. That has been a tragic misuse of terms. By using such terminology, a very pernicious connotation had been sent to Israel’s enemies that this area is “in play,” when every Israeli citizen, right, left and center, knows the strategic value of the Golan Heights, and would never trade that land away.

The Iranian General Aziz Nasirzadeh recently said the Iranian air force’s “young generation are impatient and ready for a fight against the Zionist regime to wipe it off the earth.”

Today, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, when we celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from a Persian enemy who swore to obliterate us, we celebrate nothing short of a modern-day Purim miracle, when modern Persia, Iran, almost daily swears that it will obliterate Israel, the United States’ one reliable democratic ally in the Middle East.

EMET is profoundly grateful to President Trump for this bold and courageous move, which we believe is nothing short of “reality therapy.”

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About the Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

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VIDEO: “Trump’s Palestinian-Israeli Peace Plan: What’s in It, What It Means”

On February 7th, EMET held a seminar on Capitol Hill as part of our monthly Capitol Hill Seminar series with Dr. Daniel Pipes of MEF, and Jeff Ballabon. The seminar focused on President Trump’s long awaited “Ultimate Deal” to finally bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and whether or not it is likely that the Palestinians will once again walk away from the table, only to be met with a renewed round of violence.

The seminar can be viewed on EMET’s Facebook page.

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THE URGENT NEED TO REMOVE REP. OMAR FROM THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

THE URGENT NEED TO REMOVE REP. OMAR FROM THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

FEBRUARY 12, 2019

The Endowment for Middle East Truth applauds House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership for their condemnation of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s ugly views about Jews.  We especially wish to single out the comments by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.  Rep. Nadler’s denunciation of Omar is important as he sits on a committee designed to protect the civil rights of Americans.  We believe he recognized Omar’s anti-Semitic comments constitute a deplorable civil rights violation against all people of the Jewish faith.

However, words alone will not suffice.  Speaker Pelosi and House Foreign Affairs chairman Rep. Eliot L. Engel must immediately remove Rep. Omar from the foreign affairs committee.  This committee is one of the most prestigious and coveted seats in all of the House.

There are 235 House Democrats.  Only about one in ten House Members — 25 — are awarded the privilege to sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Rep. Omar cannot be one of those 25 sitting Members.

Committee Members on this key committee must display fairness and objectivity in foreign affairs. They also should be committed to the long-standing U.S. foreign policy of staunchly supporting the state of Israel.

Israel came into being when Harry Truman, a great Democratic President, was one of the first world leaders to officially recognize the state of Israel.  Successive American Presidents have pledged their commitment to a free, pluralistic, democratic and safe homeland for the Jewish people.

Through its free elections, the rule of law through its court system and with a free press, Israel protects and all its citizens, including Christians, Arabs, Druze, Bedouin and other minorities. Israel is the only democratic state in all of the Middle East and it needs continued U.S. support.

Rep. Omar has shown that she lacks a sense of fairness and objectivity when it comes to Israel.  She has called Israel “evil,” and repeated many anti-Semitic tropes, including her description in recent days that Jews are ugly, “hook nosed” people, and that Members of Congress support Israel only for money. She does not deserve to have a coveted seat on the foreign affairs committee.

We hope Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Engel will immediately remove Rep. Omar from the committee.

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Phone Seminar: “The Syrian Withdrawal and the Rapidly Shifting Sands in the Middle East”

January 23, 2019

On December 19, 2018, President Donald Trump announced by tweet that he was withdrawing most of the American troops currently in Syria. The President wrote, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” Trump also promised in a video message on Twitter that “Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back and they’re coming back now. We won.”

There are about 2200 U.S. soldiers in Syria. 2000 of these troops are in the northeast, where they direct the air and land war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), in coordination with the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF). The remaining 200 are at al-Tanf, a crucial base at the Syrian-Iraqi border which blocks Iran from completing its land bridge to Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. In both areas, the U.S. troops have very rarely been exposed to combat situations. Four Americans were killed on Wednesday in an attack by ISIS in Syria, and six U.S. soldiers have died in combat since 2014.

Since his initial announcement, the President and his aides have somewhat walked back these tweets. Although some U.S. troops have begun to leave, it is unclear exactly how long it will take, and whether the 200 troops in al-Tanf are to be included.

What are the ramifications of a U.S. withdrawal from Syria? And what are the national security interests that favor the U.S. staying the course there? To explore these questions and more, EMET is honored to host Professor Efraim Inbar from Jerusalem for a phone seminar.

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REGISTER FOR OUR RAYS OF LIGHT DINNER NOW!

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC

The Rays of Light in the Darkness ​awards Dinner is the nation's premier event that strengthens leaders who speak the truth about Israel and the Middle East, despite the political cost they face every day.

You can help us honor these fearless leaders with prestigious Speakers of Truth awards as you celebrate EMET's 13th-anniversary dinner.