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So too with the other objections, such as the greater risk of profiling for Muslim American students. Once again, the letter does not confront the reasons for such scrutiny in Israel: the existence of a critical mass of Palestinians who do not accept Israel’s existence, and have adopted terrorism as the means to force Israel into suicidal concessions. And this brings us to the real reason for the letter: not the pretexts of safety, or restrictions on travel, or extra security screening, or all the other security procedures Israel is compelled to employ because for 60 years too many Palestinians want to kill Israelis more than they want their own state. Rather, the letter represents yet another attempt to delegitimize Israel and weaken support for the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Hence the despicable libel with which the letter ends: that Israel is an “apartheid” state, and hence “CSU participation with the government of Israel in the proposed study abroad program could be interpreted as an endorsement of the international crime of apartheid.”
No charge more reveals the moral and intellectual dishonesty of Israel Derangement Syndrome. The answer to this lie was recently written by South African Richard Goldstone, a critic of Israel. This is the same person who had to retract his U.N. report on Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-9 Israeli invasion of Gaza to stop the rain of missiles aimed at Israeli civilians, because evidence refuted his earlier charge that Israel had deliberately targeted non-combatants. As Goldstone points out, “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: ‘Inhumane acts . . . committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.’ Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.” What separation and controls that do occur in the West Bank, Goldstone points out, are made necessary by terrorist attacks that endanger Israeli citizens. In short, as Goldstone concludes, “The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.”
That this lie is promulgated in this letter reveals its true intent: to demonize Israel with a question-begging smear. As such, the letter reminds me of something George Orwell says in 1984 about Big Brother’s distortion of history: “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death . . . And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” Hatred of Israel is predicated on a vast distortion of history in which the 3000-year Jewish presence in that region is turned into a manifestation of “colonialism,” “racism,” and “imperialism,” while the violent attacks by the descendants of conquerors, occupiers, colonists, and immigrants are justified as understandable “resistance” on the part of the indigenous. That such a betrayal of historical truth, critical thinking, and moral clarity––which comprise the core of the university’s mission––should be found in a university is another appalling sign of the collapse of American higher education.
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