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FP: While the proponents of lawfare don’t want to talk about Islam and Islamic terrorism, they do want to talk about Israel. For instance, American college campuses now routinely host so-called BDS conferences that target “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel and that seek to demonize Israel as an “apartheid” state. You yourself will be speaking out in opposition to these movements at the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Philadelphia. What will you be talking about?
BG: First I want to express my thanks to the David Horowitz Center for inviting me and for giving people a platform to speak the truth on campuses. I’ll be talking about the true gender and sexual apartheid that is happening in the Islamist world and about the massive human rights violations occurring against innocent Muslim women and children that are being ignored by the hypocritical BDS movement and by the human rights, political and legal community.
FP: What do you think these movements are trying to accomplish?
BG: What they’re trying to accomplish is to take legal terms like apartheid, genocide, terrorism – each of which have very specific meanings and applications (which can be looked up in a dictionary)– and misinterpret and misapply them to sow confusion in the general public. In that way, they want to make it harder for us to distinguish between the real human-rights violators and those who, like Israel, are working to protect the human rights of their citizens. They want to blur the distinction between terrorists that target and hide behind civilians, and those that fight to protect civilians. They want to reinvent the laws of armed conflict so as to deny democracies the rights to defend themselves and exert sovereign control over their territory. In short, they want to compliment terrorism and asymetric warfare with flawed, politicized and quasi-legal arguments under the guise of “human rights” rhetoric.
If they were really interested in human rights, they would highlight the real perpetrators of injustice in the Middle East. They would work to expose the real obstacle to peace: the illegal, state-sponsored indoctrination and recruitment of innocent Muslim children to hate and violence.
The only way for there to be peace in the Middle East, and peace in the world, is if the Islamists stop teaching their children to aspire to violent jihad while killing themselves. No peace agreements or handshakes or territory swaps or boycotts or books by former presidents on Apartheid are going to bring tranquility when millions of Muslim children are being taught through their schools, textbooks, by their radio, television and print media, by their religious clerics and political leaders to commit violent homicide-suicide in the name of religion. By turning a blind eye to these crimes, the BDS and anti-Israel “Apartheid” movements send the green light to terrorists that they can continue killing Muslim children with impunity, because they don’t care. That, they say, is not their focus. They are too preoccupied with their own rewriting of human rights law and the laws of armed conflict, and how they can apply it to Israel to give legal patina to their claims.
FP: Many of these groups claim that schools should host their anti-Israel conferences and “Israel apartheid” events in the interest of academic freedom. What do you make of that argument?
BG: It doesn’t make any sense. That’s like saying, “Lets call the sky purple in the interest of academic freedom.” Just because you say academic freedom doesn’t mean you should say something that is illogical and irrational. It puts a stain on academia when our professors are propagating notions that make no sense. As I said earlier, you can look up the term apartheid in the dictionary and its simple and clear that no apartheid is going on in Israel. Palestinians, Christians and Arabs enjoy equal rights, equal protection, they serve in the government, one could go on and on. Black Student organizations in this country recently ran a powerful ad in campus newspapers demanding that these groups stop referring to Israel as an apartheid state because it denigrates the actual history of apartheid in South Africa. Even President Jimmy Carter, who published a book referring to Israel as an “apartheid” state, has recanted that accusation.
FP: What do you think of the self-styled pro-Palestinian groups who stage these conferences?
BG: They call themselves pro-Palestinian but they’re really anti-Palestinian groups. That’s because they’re not focusing on who the real human-rights violators are against the Palestinian people. They’re diverting attention away from the fact that the Palestinian Authority airs cartoons and music videos that teach children to kill themselves as suicide-homicide bombers. They’re diverting attention from the fact that UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, is aiding and abetting the murder of Palestinian children by teaching from hate-filled textbooks and by hiring off the Hamas payroll. They’re diverting attention away from the fact that Hamas is engaged in the systematic murder of anyone they deem un-Islamic, that it violates women’s and children’s rights, and that it targets civilians, including Palestinians, for assassinations and executions. If you describe your movement as pro-Palestinian yet you use it to purposefully divert attention away from these obvious human-rights abuses, and refuse to address them in context, then you are exposing your movement for what it is, anti-human rights, and anti-Palestinian.
FP: You’ve noted that these assaults on Israel, whether they come from Palestinian campus groups or from international organizations like the UN or from terrorist groups like Hamas, have important implications for American security as well. How so?
BG: Any attack on the legitimacy of Israel’s right to self defense, whether it be violent or non-violent, has shared implications for all other democracies. For example, when the International Court of Justice declares Israel’s border fence a “crime against humanity” while pointedly ignoring the fact that the fence contributed to a sharp decline in the loss of human lives, and refusing to hear testimony from the victims of terror, what kind of precedent is that going to set for the United States when it wants to build a border fence with Mexico? If Israeli officials are being charged with war crimes for fighting terrorists – the same terrorists our soldiers are fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan and who use the same tactics – what are the legal implications for coalition forces? People are going after Israel because it’s the easy target. Its the legal testing ground for lawfare actions aimed at rewriting the laws of armed conflict to benefit terrorists. They are setting precedents in national and international law so that they can be used against American and against coalition forces. It would be a shame to dismiss something like the Goldstone Report, which is a highly politicized and flawed legal document that attempts to take away the right of a nation to defend itself against its citizens, as only a threat to Israel. Those same legal principles can be used against any other nation fighting terrorism. That’s the point of lawfare and that’s how legal precedents work.
FP: How can those who share your goals and your opposition to lawfare get involved with your work?
BG: We have a wonderful internship and student fellowship program. It gives students an opportunity to get out of the rubric of a law school’s ruminations on what human-rights law is and should be, and to work on real-life case examples. We’re currently accepting applications for our summer internship program. We also have an academic fellowship program and a professional fellowship program, in which you can engage in research, writing and advocacy related to human rights law and counter-lawfare. Those interested can contact me at Brooke@thelawfareproject.org.
And of course, given that we are a nonprofit, we survive from the generosity of our donors.
FP: Thank you, Brooke Goldstein, for joining FrontPage Interview.
BG: Thank you for having me and giving these issues exposure.
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