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Israeli Apartheid Week Is A Hate-Mongering Sham

It is incredible the lengths to which those filled with hate will work to spread and justify their irrational behavior. Two particularly nasty examples come to mind: the ongoing Fifth Annual (has it been five years already?) Israel Apartheid Week. … Read More

By / March 5, 2009

It is incredible the lengths to which those filled with hate will work to spread and justify their irrational behavior. Two particularly nasty examples come to mind: the ongoing Fifth Annual (has it been five years already?) Israel Apartheid Week. Actually, the title is misleading: though it appears to celebrate apartheid (brilliant planning, no?) this is actually an event that claims to be pro-human rights by focusing rage on the sole democracy of the entire Middle East. The other active anti-Israel event that is continuing is the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Like its no-holds-barred brother-in-action, the Israel Apartheid Week website also directs inquiries to be sent to a number of different email addresses, depending on region, including a number of email addresses through the free Gmail server, including apartheidweeknyc@gmail.com for New York residents. This anti-Semitic and anti-Israel "celebration" masquerades as an anti-apartheid, pro-human rights week. Started in Toronto five years ago, this sham of an awareness week officially takes place in only a small number of large U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Boston and Berkeley. It’s going on right now, from March 1 – March 8, 2009. The invitation to join is startlingly jolly: "Mark your calendars – the 5th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week will take place across the globe from March 1-8, 2009!" The IAW is further described, with a congratulatory pat on the back, as "one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. Last year, more than 25 cities around the world participated." The goal of this week is to commemorate the false "expulsion of the Palestinian people from their homes and land in 1947-1948." This is a widely accepted falsehood, and belies the organizer’s ignorace of history. During Israel’s fight for independence, some residents of what is now referred to as Palestine, were encouraged by Arab brethren to briefly leave their homes, as upon the hoped-for defeat of the Jews, they expected to pillage the Jewish homes and belongings. There was never a forced exodus, and this is backed up by the fact that some non-Jewish residents of the same territories, did not leave, and never saw themselves as Palestinians. The same people who left on the expectation of the Jews’ defeat, generally chose not to return. The true apartheid and discrimination that is ignored, is that the neighboring nations, including Egypt, refused to settle any of those leaving the newly-created state of Israel. These people were kept as "refugees" by the huge, neighboring nations, in a sick display of untenable vengeance.

The official mission of this weeklong "week of awareness" is based on some sort of drug-induced false reality: 

"Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. [Note: only about 40 cities actually recognize this silly event.] The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement… This year, IAW happens in the wake of Israel’s barbaric assault on the people of Gaza. Lectures, films, and actions will make the point that these latest massacres further confirm the true nature of Israeli Apartheid. IAW 2009 will continue to build and strengthen the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at a global level."

This ridiculous description does provide a window into the minds of the organizers, however: like the  U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, its mission is to encourage the isolation, anandonment and failure of Israel, via divestment. The organizers must realize, to some degree, that if Western nations stop supporting Israel, it will face the wrath of its heartened neighbors/enemies, who are quite vocal about their feelings for the Jewish state: they want it to disappear. Iran, Libya, Syria, and so on and so forth: each is very clear in its official goal to wipe away the blight in their midst, the one Jewish locale, the one truly free locale in the entire Middle East. If the organizers of the Israel Apartheid Week exercises were honest in their desire to eradicate abuses, they would offer solutions, not abandonment. Interestingly, if you peruse the event’s website, there is not one solid example of Israeli-sponsored discrimination or apartheid, other than generalized and vague statements. If the organizers of this event were truly interested in ending real human rights abuses, they would be after Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Burma and even China, among many other nations where the populaces suffer to no end. It is interesting that not one of the officially Arab states, most of which (including Saudi Arabia) discriminate against Jews, is mentioned as an abusive, human rights-abusing, apartheid-loving culprit. One can’t help but think of the U.N., and its inability to act against true abusers, but its plethora of citations against the tiny nation of Israel. Israel Apartheid Week is in the minor leagues, as only 40 or so cities even bother to recognize it for the fifth year running.

The second anti-Israel "event" of sorts is the ongoing U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. Also organized and supported by professed academics, this shameful group calls for complete divestment of Israel… which is the most prolific nation in the Middle East, when it comes to innovation and academic advancement. Reading the history of this venture, one gets the feeling that it was started as a way to jump on the bandwagon, having no clear perception of where that wagon was really going. Here is the mission statement of this anarchic group: "Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, we are a U.S. campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). Ah, there we go. The irony is rather delicious: the "academics" signing on to the U.S. version, could not even come up with an original charter, or original reason to join, other than that the Palestinians said it was right. Does this not fly in the face of the academic ideal, that original ideas must be created? 

Looking at the list of "fellow academics" supporting the measure, it is easy to see exactly who is mostly supporting this move. Just some of the names include Khaled Abou El Fald (UCLA Law), Feres Abou-Galala (UCR), Elmaz Abinader (Mills College), Hamid Algar (UCB), Naser Alsharif (Creighton University), Hamid Dabashi (Columbia), Salah Hassan (Michigan State University), Sondra Hale (UCLA, also an organizer), Manzar Foroohar (California Polytechnic State University, also an organizer), David Klein (CSUN, and also an organizer), David Lloyd (USC, also an organizer) and many others. Interestingly, most of these organizers are from California schools. What is going on in that state? And of course, this is only the list of those who support this anti-Israel movement and agreed to have their names shared publicly. One can only hope that there are not as many who are supporting it anonymously. Add in a number of narrow-minded "experts" of one narrow discipline, and you’ve got a list of 234 professors, who are not only supportive of a total divestment of Israel for an unrealistic reason, but you’ve got 234 people who feel so passionately about it, that they would sign their names to a public list of those who protect and stand for everything this idea represents. If you have any questions or comments about this illogical anti-Israel boycott, feel free to send an email to uscom4acbi@gmail.com. Yes, this is such a strong cause that they are using a free Gmail account to field questions. The Israeli Apartheid Week is also supported by StopTheWall.org, which is a self-described "Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign." Despite the fact that the wall has been generally recognized as the most powerful anti-suicide tool of the last years, or perhaps because of that fact, it, too, has been villainized, much as the Israeli people it is in place to protect.

Good people need to stand up to injustices and free-flowing hate speech targetted at the perceived week. If one truly feels that there is injustice, the only way to combat it is with positive change, not vague and defamatory accusations made in blind rage. Celebrating anti-Israel behavior and anti-Semitism is sick, and so are these two campaigns.

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