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An antisemitic letter, posted by the Latina/Latino Studies Department at the University of Illinois, accuses Israel of “genocide.” The funniest line, however, in this anti-Israel screed, was this: “we know a free Palestine is only possible through queer, racial, gender, reproductive, and environmental justice.”
The people who wrote this are apparently unaware that in Palestinian society, as in many Muslim Arab societies, there is no “queer justice.” Homosexuals are persecuted and murdered — shot, hung from cranes, pushed from rooftops. The only place in the Middle East where homosexuals are safe is Israel. As to “gender justice,” Muslim societies are misogynistic, with honor killings of females who are said to have “dishonored the family” (by everything from not wearing a hijab properly to having a Christian boyfriend). Muslim women are inferior to men in every way. Their testimonies are worth half those of men; daughters inherit half of what sons inherit. A Muslim man can take up to four wives but a woman is limited to one husband; finally, a Muslim husband can divorce a wife merely by reciting the triple talaq, while a wife seeking a divorce must go through an expensive court procedure.
As for “racial justice,” Arab societies remain deeply racist. A hadith (Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi, Qadi ‘Iyad, p.375) says that “if anyone calls Muhammad a black man, kill him.” Muhammad himself bought and sold slaves. The Arabs conducted the longest-lasting, and largest, of all the African slave trades, with tens of millions of victims, a trade that was only stopped by the British. Arabs continued to hold black slaves until well into the 20th century: Saudi Arabia finally outlawed slavery, under tremendous international pressure, in 1962; Oman and Yemen outlawed slavery only in 1970. Even today, hundreds of thousands of black slaves are held by Arab owners in the Sudan, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. The Arabs feel keenly their superiority to blacks. Yet here are some faculty members sitting in Champaign, Illinois, who presume to tell us that Palestine “will be free” when there is “racial justice.” There won’t ever be “racial justice” in Muslim lands.
And as a last desideratum, which will help to bring about the goal expressed as “From the river to the sea/Palestine will be free” — which means the destruction of the only Jewish state and its replacement by a twenty-third Arab state — these academics add “environmental justice.” How exactly would “environmental justice” help to bring about a “free Palestine” that is Judenrein “from the river to the sea”?
Indeed, there is no connection between this laundry list of modish desiderata that are described as making possible “justice in Palestine” — but let it stand as a monument to the malign idiocy of its authors in the Latina-Latino Studies Department at the University of Illinois: “we know a free Palestine is only possible through queer, racial, gender, reproductive, and environmental justice.” For more on this, see here: “University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Academic Department Deletes Letter to Students Accusing Israel of ‘Genocide,’” by Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner, January 5, 2024:
The letter, which was addressed to the departments’ students, has since been taken down from the university website.
The letter was taken down by the Latina/Latino Studies Department, at the direction of the Administration, because the UIUC administrators were no longer willing to tolerate such anti-Israel nonsense, with such charges as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” They were well aware of what happened to Presidents Gay of Harvard and Magill of UPenn.
This is not the first time that academic departments at UIUC have waded into politics. Amid the 2021 conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, four departments at the school — Gender and Women’s Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Asian American Studies, and History — issued statements pledging “solidarity” with Palestinians and variously accused Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler colonialism. After over 40 faculty members lodged a complaint about the statements, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) administrators said that the school would not ask academic departments to abstain from political advocacy….
In other words, the UIUC administrators in 2021 rebuffed the faculty members who complained about the anti-Israel statement put out that year by four departments, in which Israel was accused of “apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler colonialism.” Why should academic departments be allowed to publish their public statements — to go on the record — with deeply divisive, not to mention meretricious, remarks about people and events that have nothing to do with their academic duties? In taking a public stand as a department, its members will certainly intimidate students, and untenured faculty, from expressing views if they differ from those expressed by the department. Politics should be left at the classroom door.
And besides, the accusations made by four departments, Gender and Women’s Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Asian American Studies, and History, in letters expressing “solidarity” with Palestinians and against Israel, were preposterous —that the Jewish state was guilty of “apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler colonialism.” There is no apartheid in Israel. Arabs sit on the Supreme Court, sit in the Knesset, go abroad as ambassadors. The chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs work in the same offices and factories, are treated by the same medical personnel — consisting of both Jews and Arabs, play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras, own businesses together, everything from restaurants to high-tech start-ups. Israeli Arabs have every civil right that Israeli Jews have. In only one respect do they differ: Jews must, while Arabs may, serve in the military.