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Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 10:09 AM
BDS and the poisonous effect on campus climate
Supporters of the effort to isolate Israel have tried to argue that their BDS—boycott, divest, and sanction—campaign is aimed only at the State of Israel and not Jews. But just as the demonstrations throughout Europe protesting Israel’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas terrorism were conducted in a manner that is indistinguishable from traditional anti-Semitic incitement so, too, have the pro-BDS crowd at universities and colleges often quickly descended into expressions of Jew-hatred. This unfortunate truth was demonstrated again last week at the University of California, Davis when a debate about a BDS resolution led to anti-Semitic activity.
On January 29, the UC Davis student government voted to recommend the school’s Board of Regents divest from companies that “aid in the illegal occupation of Palestine,” which is to say, by the Palestinians’ own definition, all of Israel. This prejudicial measure, aimed at seeking the destruction of the one Jewish state on the planet, passed by an 8-2 vote.
It is to be hoped that the school’s board will reject this specious argument as almost every other major institution of higher learning in the country already has done. But the really significant aspect of this event was what happened during the debate prior to the vote.
As the Washington Free Beacon reported, when pro-Israel students tried to speak, pro-Palestinian and Arab students did their best to shout them down. As a tape of the event shows, the anti-Israel mob chanted “Allahu Akbar” when divestment opponents had the floor. No action was taken by the school to prevent this incitement or to allow speakers to be heard.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. Days later, students at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity awoke the following Saturday to discover that swastikas had been spray painted on their house.
Taken together these incidents illustrated that the campaign for divestment had created what can only be described as a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus. A place where students cannot speak up in defense of Israel without fear of being heckled and shouted down by Islamist chants or of having anti-Semitic vandalism committed is not a place where Jews can feel safe to study or to live.
Nor is this an isolated incident. A study of the problem issued by the Israeli government last month showed a marked rise in anti-Semitic activity on American campuses in the past year. This was particularly true during Israel’s most recent war with Hamas as terrorist missiles rained down on the Jewish state’s cities. During this period there was a 400-percent increase in anti-Semitic activity over the previous year. In the majority of those cases where violence was reported, the perpetrators were identified as being of Muslim or Arab descent.
The point here is not to silence those critical of Israel or to outlaw BDS. Those who seek to wage rhetorical war on Israel in the United States have the same rights of free speech as its defenders. But when, as invariably happens, their actions cross over from criticism of Israeli policies to overt acts of anti-Semitism, the pretense that their anti-Zionist agitation is not an act of prejudice against Jews cannot be sustained.
Those who would deny to the Jews the same rights of sovereignty and self-defense that are never questioned anywhere else on earth are not merely engaged in politics. Treating Israel in a way that no other country is treated and ignoring real human-rights abuses elsewhere shows they are engaged in an act of bias. Bias against Jews is called anti-Semitism and it is long past time for all decent persons, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, to call BDS by its right name: hate speech.
The line that supposedly exists between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is an imaginary one. As events at UC Davis proved, this debate has ceased to be theoretical. Those who claim to oppose anti-Semitism must no longer treat BDS as merely an issue on which reasonable persons can agree to disagree. Those who are neutral about BDS or who treat it as a merely a difference of opinion are not promoting a fair debate about a topical issue. They are aiding and abetting hate.
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 32 posted about this article.
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|reframe, reframe, reframe!
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 11:47 AM
|You can't reframe the truth
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 2:29 PM
|BDS and Nazi graffiti strikes UC Davis
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 6:22 PM
|UC Davis Senator Azka Fayyaz
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 6:40 PM
| Hamas On Campus
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 6:45 PM
||those poor widdle Zionists
||Friday, Feb. 06, 2015 at 10:22 PM
|drown out the voices you don't like
||Gabi Kirk is right
||Saturday, Feb. 07, 2015 at 7:13 PM
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 7:30 AM
|Jews are indegenous
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 9:00 AM
|' Jews have lived in this land for 3500 years'
||cut the BS
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 7:44 PM
|Palestinians are a recent invention
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 10:35 PM
|Palestinians are a recent invention
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 10:37 PM
||Sunday, Feb. 08, 2015 at 11:05 PM
|usual psycho-babble from the invaders
||cut the BS
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 6:53 AM
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 7:21 AM
||cut the BS
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 10:28 AM
|Palestinians are recent migrants
||again you are wrong.
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 3:18 PM
|Demographics of Israel
||Demographics of Israel
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 9:39 PM
|again with the menu of lies
||cut the BS
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 10:20 PM
|Most palestinians are recent immigrants
||Most palestinians are recent immigrants
||Monday, Feb. 09, 2015 at 10:30 PM
|One more for the collection
||one more time
||Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 at 12:25 AM
|in the know
||in the know idVer:aa3b082286db45209ed2b6ec7d4
||Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 at 8:24 AM
||hate Zionists hate
||Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 10:58 AM
|UN = UNFair and UNjust
||Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 1:28 PM
|so tell me
||cut the BS
||Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 1:40 PM
|Sheepdog - Nazi poo
||Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 6:00 PM
||Tuesday, Mar. 03, 2015 at 2:22 PM
|The Arabs are the invaders
||Just so you know
||Thursday, Mar. 05, 2015 at 8:20 PM
||so tell me
||Monday, Mar. 09, 2015 at 4:59 PM
|except for one thing
||Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2015 at 4:08 PM
||Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 at 6:06 PM
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