[Freemanlist2] CAROLINE GLICK -Convenient Moral Blindness

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Wed May 5 10:51:37 CDT 2010



FREEMAN CENTER BROADCAST- May 5, 2010 
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Our World: Convenient moral blindness
By CAROLINE GLICK 
The Jerusalem Post 03/05/2010 21:28
www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=174593

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 
Democratic Society.

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 
time.”

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 
or Israel.

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 
lecture.

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 
their classrooms.

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.

www.carolineglick.com 

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