Justice in Palestine week at UCSD

Ron Evans

Updated January 2013; May 2011 version published at SPME


Justice in Palestine week treats the UCSD community each May to a stunning display of Israel-bashing. It goes so far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel that it satisfies Natan Sharansky's three criteria for the "new antisemitism". Sharansky described these criteria in 2004 as follows [1] :

Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, "new anti-Semitism" is aimed at the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is more difficult to expose. Making the task even harder is that this hatred is advanced in the name of values most of us would consider unimpeachable, such as human rights.

Nevertheless, we must be clear and outspoken in exposing the new anti-Semitism. I believe that we can apply a simple test - I call it the "3D" test - to help us distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism.

The first "D" is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz - this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.

The second "D" is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross - this is anti-Semitism.

The third "D" is the test of delegitimization: when Israel's fundamental right to exist is denied - alone among all peoples in the world - this too is anti-Semitism.
Two of Sharansky's three D's were anticipated in 2002 by Thomas Friedman, author and journalist for the New York Times. Friedman, a staunch opponent of Israel's settlement policy, wrote, "Criticizing Israel is not antisemitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction -- out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East -- is antisemitic, and not saying so is dishonest." [2]

We now provide examples to show how Justice in Palestine exhibitions satisfy the three D's.


Delegitimization

The illegitimacy of Israel is a precept of Hamas, the elected party that has governed Gaza since 2007. Hamas does not accept Israel's right to exist, and has vowed to continue jihad until ALL of Israel is turned into the Islamic State of Palestine. See the 2010 speeches by the top three Hamas leaders: Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh [3] [4] ; Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar [5] ; and Political Bureau chief Khaled Meshaal [6].

Update: The top Palestinian leaders continue to insist that all of Israel belongs to Arabs and Muslims. See the December 2012 speech of Political Bureau chief Khaled Meshaal [6A] as well as the 2011-2012 speeches of Prime Minister Haniyeh [6B][6C], and the speech of Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad [6D].

Below is a photo of a 2010 Justice in Palestine exhibit prominently displayed on Library Walk. The exhibit fits right in with the Hamas credo. It labels the ENTIRE state of Israel as "Occupied Palestine", showing a map of Israel completely draped in the colors of the Palestinian flag. This supports the idea of destroying the Jewish state and replacing it with yet another Islamic state in the Middle East. That's classic delegitimization.




Update: Essentially the same display (shown below) was featured west of the UCSD Price Center on April 18, 2012 by Students for Justice in Palestine at their Mock Israeli Checkpoint.




Demonization

An effective method for demonizing Israel is to conceal crucial information. For example, exhibits suggest that Israeli checkpoints and barriers are motivated by racism [7, Photo 7], while revealing nothing about the suicide attacks that have been averted; see [8] and the dramatic video [9].

A display panel [10, Photo 14] demonizes Israel and Jews by presenting a purported Sharon quote that conveys the age-old antisemitic message that Jews control America. There is evidence that this unsubstantiated quote was fabricated by a pro-Hamas group [11], [12].

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "Zionism" as
"an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel" [13].
A Justice in Palestine exhibit in 2011 demonizes today's Zionism by associating it with Jewish exclusivity and ethnic cleansing in the form of expulsion and transfer [14, Photo 7]. This reflects the "Zionism is racism" message of the defunct 1975 UN Resolution 3379. (That resolution was overturned in 1991, the only resolution ever revoked by the UN.) The exhibit disregards the fact that a quarter of the population of Israel is non-Jewish, and more than 20% are Arab. Exclusivity? Ethnic cleansing? Israel, called "the Zionist entity" by many who deny its right to exist, is far less exclusive than Hamas or any other Arab government in the Middle East. This leads nicely to the final criterion: double standard.


Double Standard

A 2011 Justice in Palestine exhibit charges Israel with MURDER (in capital red letters) [15, Photo 2]. Palestinians intent on destroying Israel have launched over 12000 rockets into civilian populations within Israel [16], while dispatching dozens of suicide bombers to blow up Israeli civilians [17]. The exhibits do not take issue with that. But when Palestinian civilians are killed, it's called MURDER. That's a double standard, and demonization as well.

Palestinian militants demonstrate a shocking unconcern for children. In April 2011, Hamas fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus [18]. Palestinians send their children into Israel strapped with explosive belts [19], [20]. As was noted at a US Senate Hearing [21], they teach their children from a very young age to yearn to die as martyrs [22]. Knowing that Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties, Palestinian militants intentionally put their children at risk by firing missiles at Israel from populated areas [23], [24], [25], [26], [27]. The Justice in Palestine exhibits completely ignore this abuse of children, while bemoaning the way Palestinian children are treated by Israel [28, Photo 4].

Exhibits accuses Israel of racism [29, Photo 6], while disregarding Hamas's venomous antisemitism [30], [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], [36], [37].

A display panel [38, Photo 6] demands the right of return for displaced Palestinians. The display pays no heed to displaced Jews, despite its lofty pronouncement of "solidarity with all oppressed peoples of the world" [39, Photo 6]. Many Israelis are descendents of the 850,000 Jews forced out of Arab countries [40].


Concluding Remarks

The "right of return" is often used as code for Islamization of Israel [41]. Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged that absorbing a large number of refugees "would mean the end of Israel" [42, page 3]. Osama Hamdan, head of the Hamas Foreign Liaisons, dispels any doubt about how Hamas interprets the right of return. In a May 2011 televised interview [43], he said,
"When we talk about the liberation of Palestine, we are talking about the notion of return: the return of the refugees to their homeland, and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came."
Hamdan's plan may need some tweaking: nearly half of the 5.8 million Jews in Israel are descendants of refugees from Arab countries (which are now essentially Judenrein) [44], [45].

Update: Cf. Helen Thomas's pronouncement that Israelis should "go home", which cost Helen her job in the White House press corps [46].

Justice in Palestine week's "historically informed" narrative [47, Photo 6] is designed chiefly to portray Palestinians as perennial victims of Israel. There is nothing in the narrative, for example, about the human rights abuses of the Palestinian government [48], about the Black September slaughter of Palestinians in Jordan [49], about the Tel al-Zaatar massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon [50], or about Kuwait's expulsion of over 400,000 Palestinians after the PLO supported the Iraqi invasion [51].

Some UCSD professors have dignified Justice in Palestine week with praise such as "exceptional laboratory of learning", "amazing intellectual forum", "superior educational experience" [52]. Yet the exhibits appear to be no more instructive than say an Afghan narrative on US aggression which neglects to mention the Taliban or September 11.

We can't expect much to change in the ensuing years. Justice in Palestine exhibitions on Library Walk will no doubt continue to vilify Israel alone. Some professors will continue to applaud, and others will continue to point out the hypocrisy.





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