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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

The Big Lie: ‘Israel Apartheid’

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Campuses across Canada engaged in Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events last week amid justified rebukes by the federal government. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney linked IAW to anti-Semitism and accused organizers of using “the cover of academic freedom to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel” and paint it as racist. In pointing to Israel being the only liberal democracy in the Middle East and singled out for condemnation, Kenney also stated that organizers of IAW ignore the brutal slaughter of the Al-Assad regime of its own people and the suppression of basic human rights throughout many countries in the Middle East. Israel Apartheid Week began in Toronto in 2005 after Palestinian organizations called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. The groups erroneously compared Israel ‘s treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of South African blacks, when powerful campus movements had lobbied for divestments and boycotts against South Africa for black liberation. In 1983, the UN levied its condemnation of the practice of apartheid at the World Conference against Racism, where over two dozen countries took part in trade sanctions against South Africa. At the 2001 Durban I Anti-Racism Conference, the agenda was hijacked by Israeli antagonists, led by Iran and then Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat. Israel was singled out as a racist regime and a similar course followed as in the South African anti-apartheid movements, only it was a demonization of Israel that was unjustified. Adding fuel was that South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu spuriously compared the conditions of which the Palestinians live to those of South Africa under apartheid.

The goal of Israel Apartheid Week is to erode Zionism and delegitimize the state of Israel. The strategy is a protraction of the Arab nationalist movement and that of Palestinian Radicalism which strives to work against Israel and the Jewish people, evidenced in the collaboration between Adolph Hitler, Adolph Eichmann and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during World War II. In an open letter, Palestinian students urge fellow students worldwide to unite for Israel Apartheid Week in widespread harassment, bullying and intimidation of Jewish students. Organizers also call for BDS. Nowhere is the mention of the Palestinian call for Israel’s destruction as outlined in both the PA and Hamas Charters.

Even before the state of Israel was established, Israel was sensitive to human rights, and Jewish leaders sought to avoid any situation similar to South Africa, as David Ben-Gurion expressed to Palestinian nationalist Musa Alami in 1934. Today, this commitment can be clearly seen in Israel where Arabs are full citizens with the right to vote, the right to establish their own political parties, the right to hold top positions, as they do in Israel’s supreme court, its diplomatic corps, all of Israel’s hospitals and universities, and even as members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Under apartheid, black South Africans were not even allowed to hold citizenship or vote in the very country in which they held the demographic majority. The Palestinian experience in the territories along the separation fence and in the so-called “occupied territories” is a result of the determination of Palestinians – both in the PLO and Hamas to destroy Israel – as could be seen before the fence was built by the bombings of hotels, discotheques, cafes, and buses. The territories under dispute were taken by Israel in wars in 1947 and 1967, in which Israel – the size of Vancouver Island – was forced to defend itself: both times, five neighboring countries invaded Israel in efforts to destroy it. Israel still needs to defend itself, not only from rocket-fire and other attacks, but most recently from continued threats of genocide by Iran, especially should it acquire nuclear capability.

Even after the South African Judge, Richard Goldstone, later retracted his own, UN-sponsored Goldstone report, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said that Israel, like any country, would defend its citizens against Gaza attacks. This is a very different situation than under South African apartheid. Egypt too erected a wall of separation from the Gaza Strip; the barrier was dubbed the Wall of Shame by Arab writers and leaders for isolating 1.5 million Palestinians, yet Egypt has not been branded “apartheid” by their Muslim “brothers.”

While the propaganda of Israel Apartheid Week spreads, the economic growth in the West Bank stands at 4%, compared to 3% in the US, and an astronomical 28% in Gaza. The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, Major General Eitan Dangot noted that every day, Israel transfers luxuries into Gaza, including LCD screens, Mercedes and Hyundai jeeps, modern refrigerators, and whirlpool bathtubs. He added that Israel has invested over 50 million shekels, or over USD $10 million, in renovating and expanding the Kerem Shalom crossing through which most of the goods enter Gaza. Any segregation of the Palestinians is based entirely on Israeli security needs, not on racism.

Award Winning Documentary Exposes Anti-Israel Incitement Heading for US Campuses

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

(NEW YORK – February 16, 2012) JerusalemOnlineU.com’s ‘STEP UP FOR ISRAEL’ initiative is countering the activities designed to vilify Israel on college campuses during the 8th annual “Israel Apartheid Week” (Feb. 27-March 3) with an educational campaign to strengthen parents’ and students’ support for Israel. As part of this effort, Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus, a powerful, award-winning film, will be available free for a limited time at http://www.stepupforisrael.com/ctl/.

“Israel Apartheid Week” is a well-organized political assault designed to delegitimize and demonize Israel by falsely portraying it as an apartheid state and applying double standards of moral conduct. During this week, events will be held on dozens of college campuses and in cities around the world in an attempt to build support for the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Crossing the Line details shocking hate-filled acts by Apartheid Week activists and identifies actions and resources students can utilize to counter these disturbing anti-Semitic activities.

“Parents assume the universities they send their children to, provide enlightened educational environments that promote honest and open debate,” says Amy Holtz, President of JerusalemOnlineU.com. “Yet students are often confronted with a biased one-sided and hateful perspective on Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

STEP UP FOR ISRAEL is an international, grassroots campaign that connects individuals and communities to Israel by providing a strong foundation in Israel education and activist opportunities. The campaign is chaired by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold.

“Parents and students alike must first recognize and understand the nature of this disturbing anti-Israel trend, if we are to strengthen our resolve and ‘Step Up for Israel.’ “We urge individuals, schools, synagogues and communities to watch Crossing the Line, and to engage in the Israel educational initiatives offered by StepUpForIsrael.com.” Holtz added.

“Films like Crossing the Line play a critical role in the information process by spotlighting basic truths about the Arab-Israeli conflict that are often ignored,” says Professor Dershowitz. “When students hear false allegations of apartheid or human rights disasters that don’t exist, they will now have the resources to respond in an informed and effective manner.”

“Propaganda against Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state has become the norm on many college campuses, not the exception,” says Eric Schorr from Columbia University and President of LionPAC. “If students don’t have the resources to defend against such hateful rhetoric before they first arrive on campus, the battle for the truth is extremely difficult to win.”

“When applying to schools and choosing a university, the farthest thing from my mind was the idea that I’d constantly have to be on the defensive to stand up for my beliefs and values, Israel among them,” said Barbara Efraim, a UCLA senior. “It’s frustrating to have to sit through class and watch videos calling Israel an apartheid state. JerusalemOnlineU.com has provided me with the information I need to better educate myself and counter the propaganda presented in the classroom.”

 

Israel Apartheid Week: Coming Soon To a Campus Near You

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Anti-Israel hatred on campus crests each year during an event called “Israel Apartheid Week.” With this ominous name and programs that thrive on ignorance and blind disregard for the facts, tens of thousands of college students are urged to rise up against Israel – painfully evoking the types of racist characterizations of the Jewish people which defined attitudes once heard in Europe in the middle of the last century. Warning: this year’s display will come to a campus near you before the end of February.

These campus initiatives were incubated in 2001 at the first Durban Conference, proclaiming “no apartheid South Africa in the 20th century and no apartheid Israel in the 21st.” This battle cry sparked the BDS movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish Israel, and it all evolved into an invective-loaded campaign that found a degree of favor on campuses coast to coast, not to mention among some labor unions, churches, media and cultural institutions. But it is based on a lie.

Typically, those hurling these charges against Israel hope that their audiences are ignorant of the facts. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were not allowed to use white hospitals, they could not attend white universities and they could not participate in the South African parliament. Visit Hadassah Hospital today, or any other health facility in Israel, and see Jewish and Arab doctors caring for Jewish and Arab patients. Witness for yourself at Hebrew University or any institution of higher learning as Jewish and Arab professors teach students of different backgrounds. Go to the Knesset, and observe the debates involving both Jewish and Arab parliamentarians.

Given this reality, Justice Richard Goldstone, a former judge on the South African Supreme Court wrote in the New YorkTimes on October 31, 2011: “The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.” Goldstone, it should be remembered did not have a problem criticizing Israeli policies in the aftermath of its 2008-2009 military operation in the Gaza Strip. But when it came to calling Israel and apartheid state like the old South Africa, with which he was intimately familiar, he firmly rejected the charge which was completely divorced from the reality of Modern Israel.

No nation has fought racism more consistently than the Jewish people, whether through the anti-apartheid activists in the South African Jewish community or through those American Jews who joined the civil rights movement and locked arms with Martin Luther King, Jr. The Jewish state was founded on the very same moral outlook, reflecting the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world, which is deeply held across the Jewish religious spectrum. When Israeli medical teams rushed to international disaster zones in Turkey (1999), Kosovo (1999), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2008), and Haiti (2010), helping the afflicted regardless of their race or creed, they were driven by the very same core Jewish value.

Moreover, no group cherishes or champions freedom of speech more than the Jewish people. But, the systematic dissemination of hate-based lies is not what freedom is about. This crosses the line. No one has a license to lie, manipulate or manufacture falsehoods. Make no mistake, the primary characteristics of Israel Apartheid Week programming are terrible, unjustified charges expressly aimed at demonizing Israel. Unsubstantiated allegations, constantly repeated, take a toll on American opinion, despite bedrock gut support for Israel which, thankfully, exists as a strong counter-force to this mass exercise in propaganda. Studies confirm that when accurate information about Israeli policies, society and values is provided, the false arguments are uniformly rejected.

Our most critical challenge is to educate the young and to begin this process during high school years or earlier–long before they arrive on college campuses. Our students feel confident and empowered when they know the facts and can challenge group-think favoring Israel’s isolation, dismantlement or destruction. We are duty-bound to engage students in creative, effective ways, through the media they best relate to: Facebook, Twitter and other Internet communication. We must knock down the posturing of the IAW agitators, who could not care less about promoting peace or helping people in the Mideast. Encouraged by foreign governments that do NOT share Israel’s commitment to democracy and human rights, they are the purveyors of hatred, akin to many others who have preceded them.

Here’s the good news. Friends of Israel are not backing off or ignoring the challenge. Important new initiatives are already working hard to roll back the hatred. We must spare no effort to protect full legal rights and freedom of speech for pro-Israel students on campus. Visual communications which have the power to speak the truth immediately and graphically are one super-critical tool required for this process.

Specifically, I conclude with a vitally important call to action, as easy to do as it is effective: I invite you to watch a film of monumental importance called Crossing the Line. This powerful 30-minute documentary exposes the growing anti-Israel sentiment taking root on college campuses across North America. Once you understand the problem, I hope you will join me in my quest to make sure all Jewish students are educated and empowered with the facts about Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/israel-apartheid-week-coming-soon-to-a-campus-near-you/2012/02/19/

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