[Freemanlist2] CAROLINE GLICK -Convenient Moral Blindness
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THERE IS NO MAGIC CURE FOR CONFLICT
OBAMA THINKS THERE IS, IF YOU SACRIFICE ISRAEL
Our World: Convenient moral blindness
By CAROLINE GLICK
The Jerusalem Post 03/05/2010 21:28
The fact of the matter is that defending Israel against its enemies – on
campuses, in the media – isn’t a freedom of speech issue.
Moral blindness in the face of evil is depravity. But in the upside-down
moral universe of our world, moral blindness has become a badge of honor. If
you refuse to call evil by its name, then you are a moderate. And if you
stand up to evil, you are an extremist.
The embrace of moral blindness as an emblem of sophistication is nowhere
more apparent than among American Jews. Take recent events on US college
campuses. This week the Washington Times reported that a large and vocal
group of Brandeis University students are organizing to protest the
university’s decision to invite Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to give this
year’s commencement address.
In a Facebook initiative led by a student named Jonathan Sussman, several
hundred students have joined the demand to disinvite Oren. Sussman claims
that by inviting him, Brandeis is siding with “a rogue state apologist, a
defender of (among other things) the war crimes and human rights abuses of
the war on Gaza.”
Sussman gained notoriety earlier this year when he sought to organize
students to disrupt former UN ambassador Dore Gold in a debate the
university hosted between him and Richard Goldstone. Sussman, a
self-proclaimed communist, is a member of the anti-American Students for
For their part, pro-Israel students have defended the administration’s
decision to invite Oren on technical grounds. In a dedicated Facebook page,
Brandeis student Nathan Mizrachi wrote that protesting Oren is a “waste of
While allowing that Oren is controversial, Mizrachi argued against
protesting his speech by claiming, “anyone who is consistently contributing
to our worldview in a dignified, widely respected manner – instead of idiots
like Michael Moore or Fox News – is someone who merits our attention.”
Mizrachi couldn’t bring himself to argue that Brandeis was right to invite
Oren. He couldn’t be bothered to note that everything Sussman wrote is a
lie. The most ringing endorsement of Oren’s appearance that Mizrachi could
muster in response to Sussman’s latest attack was to say that it was a waste
of time to protest his appearance and that it “would truly be a disgrace to
our university” if protesters were to shout Oren down at commencement.
No offense to Mizrachi, but his Facebook counteroffensive is not exactly
what most people would call a particularly heroic defense of Oren, Brandeis
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS is more often than not what passes as a pro-Israel
message in the US Jewish circles these days. Following the example
communicated by the US Jewish leadership, supporters of Israel often act as
if shouting down Israel advocates is wrong only because doing so is an
assault on freedom of speech. It isn’t that Israel is in the right and the
Palestinians are in the wrong. It isn’t that Israel is a just and moral
society. It isn’t that the IDF fights justly and morally and only in
self-defense. It isn’t that the Palestinians have taken all the lands Israel
has given them and transformed them into terrorist enclaves or that they
democratically elected Hamas – a genocidal terrorist organization – to lead
them. It isn’t that there is not now and never was a Palestinian leadership
willing to accept Israel’s right to exist.
It’s just that it isn’t right to silence Israel advocates. It’s against the
First Amendment. Zionists have a right to express themselves too. But then,
not all Zionists. And not too many of them.
Take The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh for example. Abu Toameh was
scheduled to speak at Tufts University last month. His talk, sponsored by
Honest Reporting and CAMERA, was supposed to be held under the auspices of
Tufts Friends of Israel. At the last minute, Friends of Israel cancelled his
Abu Toameh was informed that the pro-Israel student group cancelled his talk
as a preemptive move to avoid criticism from campus Arab groups. Tufts
Hillel director Rabbi Jeffrey Summit later wrote him claiming that the talk
was cancelled due to an overabundance of pro-Israel speakers on campus.
The situation at Tufts and Brandeis, where pro-Israel students can’t figure
out why Israel should be defended and don’t want to overload themselves with
too many speakers defending Israel is downright wonderful in comparison to
the situation at Berkeley. There Jewish students and faculty were
galvanizing forces behind the divestment from Israel drive that passed
overwhelmingly in the Berkeley student senate in March.
The divestment initiative, which called on the university administration to
divest from General Electric and United Technologies for their joint
projects with the IDF, was vetoed by the senate president. His veto was
narrowly sustained in a later vote last week. In the meantime, the
divestment drive has expanded to the University of California at San Diego.
In an article published last month on the American Thinker Web site, UC
Santa Cruz and UCLA professors Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith
wrote that the divestment campaigns and the overwhelmingly anti-Israel
atmosphere on campuses has made life extremely difficult and often
frightening for Jewish students.
AND YET, there has been no divestment of major Jewish donors from these
institutions. There has been no demand that Hillel replace ineffective or
anti-Israel administrators. There has been no demand that campuses fire
professors like Berkeley Hebrew Prof. Ruth Adler or Talmud Prof. Daniel
Boyarin, who force their students to undergo anti-Zionist indoctrination in
Again and again, the official Jewish community’s and pro-Israel students’
response to anti-Israel campaigns and often violent onslaughts is to mumble
out a protest against their infringement on the freedom of expression. For
many US Jewish leaders and Jewish campus activists, the biggest problem with
the red-green alliance of leftists and Muslims is that it denies pro-Israel
students and speakers the right to express themselves.
The mendacity of the red-green alliance’s claims against Israel, the bigotry
of its increasingly open calls for Israel’s destruction, its denial of the
Jewish people’s right to self-determination or even our right to define
ourselves as a people all go unopposed.
This is not a sustainable line of defense. This is not even the beginning of
a defense – of Israel or of the rights of American Jews. But this state of
affairs does explain very well why according to recent polling data, half of
American Jews under 35 would be okay with a world without Israel.
Some argue that what happens on the campuses is not important. What really
matters is what happens in the grown-up world. Unfortunately, we see that
the depraved moral blindness of the classroom has brought about a situation
where political leaders cannot recognize the moral depravity of the
international community. And sophisticated grown-ups – particularly American
Jewish grown-ups – cannot or will not make their leaders pay a price for
their depraved support for evil.
TAKE IRANIAN President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to travel to New York
this week to participate in the UN’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review
Conference. It is clear that Ahmadinejad’s purpose is to ensure that the
conference is a circus. Ahmadinejad means to make certain that to the extent
a distinction is made between Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Israel’s
purported nuclear arsenal, the distinction will claim that whereas Israel’s
alleged nuclear arsenal needs to be destroyed, Iran’s interest in nuclear
weapons is a justified response to Israeli badness.
Apparently anticipating his move, according to The Wall Street Journal US
President Barack Obama has been discussing Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal
with Egypt. According to the newspaper’s account, the US is discussing Egypt’s
demand that the Middle East become a nuclear-free zone. A senior US official
claimed, “We’ve made a proposal to them [Egypt] that goes beyond what the US
has been willing to do before.” Some US Jewish groups have called for a
protest of Ahmadinejad outside the UN building. Others have called on state
delegations to stage a mass walkout during his speech.
But none have attacked the administration for agreeing to the false moral
equivalence between Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s nuclear program.
None have condemned Obama for discussing Israel’s purported nuclear program
at a time when Iran, which has declared its intention to destroy Israel, is
racing toward the nuclear finish line.
Then too, the American Jewish community is silent as Obama strong-arms
Israel into indirect, administration-mediated talks with the Palestinians.
It is silent even as it is widely reported that Obama has threatened Israel
that if it builds homes for Jews in Jerusalem or refuses to accept a
Palestinian state by next year, he will impose his own “peace plan.”
The American Jewish community is all but mute as Obama does to Israel what
Berkeley is doing to Israel.
The fact of the matter is that defending Israel against its enemies isn’t a
freedom of speech issue. It is an issue of right vs. wrong. Israel is the
state of the Jewish people. It is a great ally of the US. Judea and Samaria
and Jerusalem were legally allocated to the Jewish people by the League of
Nations Mandate in 1922 and that allocation has never been cancelled or
superseded. Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and neighborhoods in
united Jerusalem are not illegal. The IDF did not commit war crimes in Gaza
or anywhere else. Arabs are full citizens in Israel. When Israel fights, it
fights to defend itself from aggression.
The aggression launched against Israel is conducted by societies and states
that refuse to recognize its right to exist. It is launched by societies and
states that ignore the laws of war, that refuse to respect even the most
basic human rights of their own citizens, let alone of Israelis. The
Palestinians have yet to find even one leader who is willing to accept
Israel’s right to exist or the Jewish people’s right to self-determination
in our land.
This is the truth. This is where the defense of Israel begins. And it is the
absence of this truth and this defense from the lexicon of Jewish American
students and community leaders in recent years that has brought about a
situation where the only reason not to attack Israel is because it is “a
waste of time.”
It is the absence of this truth and this defense that has enabled a
situation where the president of the United States can maintain the support
of the American Jewish community while allowing others to equate Israel’s
alleged nuclear arsenal with Iran’s nuclear program, and while treating
Israel as if it were the root of all the pathologies of the Arab world.
And if the truth about Israel continues to be ignored by American Jews, not
only will it be imperiled. The sustainability of their own community, which
has embraced moral blindness in the name of moderation and sophistication,
will be called into question.
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