You know that moment when you realize your sister gets away with sneaking out on a Saturday night while you are punished for the same actions? Your parents scold you for the same petty acts that your sister gets away with simply because you are the oldest — which naturally means that everyone pays attention to your actions more closely and that you are supposed to be a perfect role model for everyone else.
Believe it or not, the same applies with Israel.
Now, imagine that you are Israel and Egypt is your little sister, who gets away from the scrutinizing media even though “she” carries out much harsher actions.
Egypt has recently begun working on the expansion of its Gaza buffer zone; it will now expand up to two kilometers in an effort to protect Egyptian citizens from terrorism within the Sinai Peninsula. With this expansion comes the displacement of hundreds of Gazan families in Rafah. These families were each given short notice before which they were to evacuate their homes in order to make room for this border expansion. It should be noted that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said that along with potentially building a new city, the families will receive some sort of compensation for their homes, yet the exact amount has yet to be decided.
Why the need for this expansion? The same reason for the Israeli-Gaza border: to help protect the Egyptians from terrorism stemming from Gaza. In this scenario, the Egyptians are facing a war against the fundamentalist Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group — a new addition to the Islamic State. The Egyptian intelligence services had discovered that Sinai terrorists have been receiving weapons from the Gaza Strip to then use against Egyptians. In fact, a 1,200-meter tunnel connecting Gaza with Sinai was discovered, through which smugglers have crossed; this tunnel was created by Hamas terrorists.
Egypt is trying to protect its citizens from the wave of terrorism across the Sinai, which has reportedly been fueled by Gaza. This is an effort that will subtly creep across the media unnoticed. However, when Israel tries to protect its citizens from the suicide bombings and war sprung upon them from Gaza, it’s scrutinized in the media for months. In fact, anti-Israel activists both exaggerate the composure of the barrier by saying that it is entirely cement and claim that the barrier is proof that Israel is an apartheid state. Little recognition is given to the fact that this barrier is directly correlated with a decrease in suicide bombers who entered Israel, and that Israel is never the one to start rocket fire into Gaza.
Just as tunnels were found between Egypt and Gaza that were used for weapon smuggling, tunnels were found connecting Israel with Gaza – only these tunnels were used with the intent of abducting Israelis. Hamas had planned a massive murderous assault during which it would send 200 fighters dressed as IDF soldiers into Israel to both capture and kill innocent Israelis. These tunnels were complete with a complex and intricate maze-like design through which hundreds of Gazans could freely and slyly enter Israel. These tunnels threatened the entirety of Israel’s security even more so than the rockets, as they added a means for several Gazan soldiers to enter into Israel in a surprise attack, murdering two IDF soldiers. Yet, when Israel began to destroy these tunnels and target the terrorists who entered the land with goals of demolishing Israelis, it was scrutinized in the media for its actions in Gaza. In fact, because Hamas hides among its people, innocent Gazan lives were lost during this time of the war.
Just as Egypt was protecting its people against the smuggling of weapons, so too Israel was protecting its people against the bombing and ground threats rooted in Gaza. The difference is that Israel is always the older sister: scorned for actions taken to defend itself even though other countries are doing the same. The measures that both countries have now taken should be appreciated for bearing the interests of the greater good of their nations. Yet Israel goes to great lengths to avoid harming innocent people and civilian lives — can the same be said for Egypt? The media needs to gain a little perspective.
It annoys every older sibling when they take the heat for matters their younger siblings get away with. Don’t let Israel take the fall for trying to protect its people when every other country is doing the same.
Lindsay Hurwitz is an LSA sophomore.
In late October, our Emet for Israel organization, Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Indiana University, held an event titled Inside the Mind of a Terrorist. The student group invited Anat Berko, author of The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, to speak about her personal conversations with women and children who have attempted to become suicide bombers.
According to our Emet for Israel representative from SSI, Amit Boukai, “the event was interesting because Berko discussed how her research about the involvement of women in terrorism applies to Israel as well as the rest of the world, as we are seeing a rise in Islamic extremism from ISIS and other terrorist organizations.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently marched with world leaders in Paris in a gesture of unity; just days after Islamic extremists slaughtered 17 people. While much of the Western world agrees that Hamas is a terrorist organization, Abbas has been hailed by many as being a brave and moderate figure for seeking peace with Israel. Such characterizations fail to take key facts about Abbas into consideration, making his participation in the anti-terror march rather inappropriate.
In 1982, Abbas completed his doctoral thesis titled “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement.” Abbas wrote that the estimated number of Jews killed during the Second World War, was “less than one million.” He also claims that the Zionist leadership collaborated with the Nazi regime to “facilitate the wide-spread destruction” of Jews. Abbas’ thesis later took the form of a book, which was printed in 1984 by a publisher based in Amman, Jordan. In the introduction to his book, he asserted again that the number of Jews killed was less than one million. Abbas also claimed that there were doubts regarding the existence of gas chambers.
It is rather ironic that Abbas constructs a supposed Nazi conspiracy, considering the very real connection between Adolf Hitler and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was considered by many to be one of the major founders of Palestinian Arab nationalism. During the Second World War, he collaborated with Nazi Germany and helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS, many of whom later fought against the nascent State of Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. Al-Husseini also sought Hitler’s help in extending his anti-Jewish program from Europe to Arab lands, in a personal meeting which took place in 1941.
Abbas’ belief in a conspiracy between Nazis and Zionists are not only at odds with reality, it also serves as precedent to a very disturbing practice. Under his presidency the Palestinian Authority has continued to make it illegal for Palestinians to sell land to Jews, making it a capital offense. In one high profile case, former Palestinian intelligence officer Muhammad Abu Shahala, was sentenced to death after it was revealed that he sold his home in Hebron to a Jewish man. Under Palestinian law, the death sentence can be executed if approved by the president of the Palestinian Authority.
According to Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post, “scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.” Such laws, enforced by Abbas, have dangerous commonalities with the Third Reich ban on social and economic relations with Jews. Palestinian Authority officials and media have continuously engaged in incitement against Israel, under Abbas’ watch. A recent example is just last year, when Abbas called upon all Palestinians to prevent Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount ‘by all means.’
Apart from his Holocaust denial and enforcement of antisemitic legislation, Mahmoud Abbas’ past history of financing terrorism has yet to be addressed. In a Sports Illustrated article from 2002, the mastermind behind the Munich Massacre Abu Daoud with the help of German Neo-Nazis, revealed that it was Abbas who financed the operation. Black September, the terrorist group which carried out the attack, led to the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and one German police officer during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Daoud recalled how Arafat and Abbas wished him luck and kissed him, when he set about organizing the attack.
Not only does Abbas refuse to renounce this massacre, he actively praises Black September and other terrorists to this day. When Daoud died in 2010 of kidney failure, Abbas sent a telegram of condolence calling him “a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn fighter.” In late 2014, when Muataz Hijazi attempted to murder Yehuda Glick, Abbas expressed condolences to Hijazi’s family, while condemning the “heinous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army.”
In order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must negotiate with moderate Palestinian leadership. There must be willingness on the part of Palestinians to renounce terrorism and not pursue antisemitic policies.
-  http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1414
-  https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/mufti2.html
-  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134245/Former-Palestinian-intelligence-officer-sentenced-death-selling-home-Jews.html
-  Ibid.
-  http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/11/19/a-list-of-recent-palestinian-incitement-attacks-glorification/
-  http://news.yahoo.com/abbas-urges-palestinians-protect-al-aqsa-means-191742798.html
-  http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_article=2877&x_context=2&x_outlet=35
-  http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/files-show-neo-nazis-helped-palestinian-terrorists-in-munich-1972-massacre-a-839467.html
-  http://elderofziyon.blogspot.ca/2012/07/mahmoud-abbas-connections-to-munich.html#.VMqZbSzZF2A
-  http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.624200
Owls For Israel, the Emet for Israel pro-Israel student group at Florida Atlantic University, organized a student leadership dinner to kick off the year in a strong way. Student leaders united for the event to hear from Congressman Ted Deutch about the importance of the US-Israel relationship.
CCAP representative, Zachary Pastor, explained that the “event was very effective as it provided a way to reach out to many other student groups on campus to help them realize how Israel pertains to their specific causes.” The successful event attracted members of over 30 different student groups and the speaker provided new insight into the importance of the strong political alliance.
Later in the semester, Owls for Israel organized an event entitled “Lunch & Learn” with Izzy Ezagui. During the “L&L,” he shared his positive experience as an IDF soldier with a disability, and how he overcame the often associated adversity. The event attracted and engaged over 25 students from various interests and backgrounds.
Owls For Israel hosted multiple successful events over the past fall semester. We look forward to hearing about their upcoming pro-Israel events this spring!
This piece was originally published in The Stanford Daily on February 9, 2015 by Stanford student Sophie Schulman. It is reproduced in full below.
“Don’t come back,” was the last thing I heard as I walked out of Stanford SJP’s (Students for Justice in Palestine) “Tears of Gaza” screening recently. The reason for this enmity directed at me? I asked two questions.
I did not phrase my questions antagonistically. I did not criticize the director. During the Q&A, I asked the director: (1) Did she document footage of Hamas exploiting Palestinian citizens’ suffering as a tool to bolster international hatred against Israel? (2) Did she observe the actions by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to save Palestinian lives throughout the ongoing war?
The film neglects to show Hamas’s use of Palestinians as human shields to protect terrorists from rocket fire in civilian centers. It also fails to show that before each of its air raids, the IDF dropped leaflets in Gaza to warn Palestinians of impending danger, and urged them to move away from targeted areas. Nor did it show some of the180,000 Palestinian citizens – 30 percent of whom are children – that have received care from Israeli hospitals, and the programs created by Israeli physicians to train Palestinian doctors. The audience does not learn that Hamas hijacks the humanitarian aid meant to be distributed to the Palestinian population for its own organization, namely for the production of terror tunnels and ammunition instead of the construction of infrastructures like schools, mosques and hospitals.
Some people in the film characterize the “economic blockade” as a deliberate tactic by Israel to inflict widespread suffering and collective punishment on the Palestinian citizenry. In reality, the blockade was and remains a security mechanism to defend the Israeli people against both the acquisition of firearms by Hamas and suicide bombers who find refuge in Gaza.
Moreover, by not mentioning Hamas, the terrorist organization that simultaneously serves as the government in Gaza, “Tears of Gaza” portrays the war as Israel versus the Palestinian people. If a movie described WWII as the U.S. versus the German people, and neglected to mention the Nazis, I would also stand up and question why the context was ignored. By the same token, when SJP and SOOP alienate Israel, they disregard that the war in Gaza is not a war against a people, but a war against a terrorist government, Hamas, that inflicts equal – if not worse – harm on its own citizens.
When one understands that Israel is fighting a terrorist regime, and not the Palestinian people, it is clear why Israel goes above and beyond to save Palestinian lives, even during the course of its war against Hamas. A former British Armed Forces Commander reported to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council that, “During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
When I tried to bring context to the conflict as portrayed by “Tears of Gaza,” I was stared down by SJP supporters, peers and faculty members in attendance, and told, “don’t come back.” I was ostracized and made to feel highly uncomfortable.
I am discouraged to know that I am not the only student who has felt silenced and marginalized by SJP; as a result, many students are afraid to speak up about similar personal interactions. The stories that I have heard and continue to hear concerning the divisiveness of SJP and SOOP events hosted in the wake of the ASSU divestment bill vote illustrate the strident climate and vitriol on campus that it breeds. Sadly, this has been the experience of students on other college campuses as well.
When students decide that their mission is so blindly committed to a cause that they do not make an attempt to present Israel’s rationale, they are the creators and propagators of harmful one-sided rhetoric. As perpetrators of this hurtful propaganda, they are not the vanguard of the solution, but rather an integral part of the problem. And when they go so far as to create and condone an environment that is hostile to and suppressive of intellectual inquiry and debate, they are violating Stanford’s mission to facilitate the free exchange of ideas and respect for diversity.
Ultimately, information without context is the root cause of the polarization between the two camps of beliefs on this campus, those against divestment and those for it. Information is malleable; when treated like a narrative, it changes the kinds of questions that you ask and the kinds of conclusions that you extrapolate. A one-sided narrative prescribes you to judgments that are highly misguided and offensive to many among our Stanford community.
Sophie Schulman ’15
This piece was contributed by our Emet for Israel Liaison at the University of Windsor, Trevor Sher! We are so proud of UWJSA and Trevor!
CAMERA Fellow at the University of Florida, Naor Amir, just published an article in The Alligator refuting false claims made by SJP student Amanda Nelson. In her piece, Nelson advocated the boycott of companies that do business with Israel. Naor contradicted her claims and advocated, instead, for a more comprehensive understanding of the conflicts in the Middle East.
Naor’s piece is reproduced in full below.
Response to previous letter urging UF to cut ties with anti-Palestinian groups
On the very day that political cartoonists in France were murdered by Islamic radicals simply for exercising their right to freedom of speech, Students for Justice in Palestine member Amanda Nelson wrote an opinion piece urging the boycott of the only free country, according to Freedom House’s rankings, in the Middle East: Israel. Aside from her absolute lack of empirical evidence for any of the allegations she hurls at Israel, she provides no proof whatsoever that boycotting companies such as Elbit Systems or Caterpillar will have any sort of tangible, positive effect on even one Palestinian-Arab.
On the contrary, boycotting companies such as SodaStream will lead to and has led to
hundreds of Palestinians losing their only opportunity to an honest, well-paid living working for Israeli companies. While extremism and war spread throughout the Middle East like wildfire, SJP would have UF boycott the only country in the region with academic institutions where Jews and Arabs peacefully live and study together in coexistence.
Nelson’s column last week made specific mention of the plight of Palestinian refugees — many of whom have resettled in the West. Of those who haven’t, many are kept in festering refugee camps by other Arab governments. SJP would have you believe that there is, in essence, no conflict, just a one-sided struggle in which Israel bears all fault. Mention of the Palestinian terrorist groups that repeatedly blew up innocent civilians across Israel is entirely absent. Checkpoints and walls seem unnecessary when the ruthless attacks against Israeli civilians that left thousands dead are conveniently brushed aside.
Nelson shows no understanding of Israel’s unique situation as the only democratic nation surrounded on all sides by the likes of the Islamic State group, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (a nasty, Sinai-based terror cell) and the list goes on. No mention was made of the fact that the Palestinian refugee problem is a direct consequence of the Arab rejection of a two-state partition peace plan in 1947 and the Arab state’s refusal to incorporate Palestinians into their host countries as equal citizens.
Additionally, the column made no mention of the almost 1 million Jewish refugees, including members of my own family, who were robbed and exiled from Arab countries simply for being Jews after 1948. According to the author, “the plight of the Palestinians is one of the greatest human rights tragedies in modern history.” With all respect to the hardships of the Palestinians, the United Nations 2014 Human Development Report ranks Palestine number 107 out of 187 countries in human development. Palestine is ranked above countries such as Egypt, South Africa and India, and it is considered above the average for Arab states in the Middle East. However, we have yet to see any articles from SJP addressing these human rights concerns.
When will we see them mention the 9 million and counting Syrian refugees and displaced families fleeing the civil war? Or the Yazidis and Kurds facing genocide at the hands of the Islamic State group? What about the occupation of territory by Russia, China and Turkey? As tends to always be the case with SJP, the narrow focus on a distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict is an injustice to the millions of victims of tyranny across the globe.
With the Middle East in shambles, it is clear where the future of the region lies: becoming more like Israel, not less. This university should continue to work alongside Israel to further the technological and scientific advancements that will make our world better.
Eagles For Israel, the Emet for Israel student group at Boston College, organized a successful event where Anat Berko, author of The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, was invited to speak about her personal conversations with women and children who have attempted to become suicide bombers.
Berko was able to connect with a diverse audience of about 40 students by discussing the sociological and psychological issues associated with terrorism. CCAP representative, Sonia Iosim, stated that “Dr. Berko gave a very interesting presentation on the psychological and cultural influences on women and children who become suicide bombers. There was a great turnout and I think that everyone who attended was able to learn something new and shocking about the inner workings of terrorism.”
The student group managed to establish connections with other groups on campus as well as provide an evening of insightful conversation for all those who attended.
Later in the semester, the student group organized a Krav Maga event to teach students the Israeli martial art and attract a broad audience. Great job, Eagles For Israel!
This post was contributed by LUJSA Emet for Israel Liaison Sidney Shapiro.
For the second year in a row, LUJSA (the Laurentian University Jewish Students Association), with support from CAMERA, held our Chanukah donut giveaway. From 9am to 7pm, we held an early Chanukah greeting event, and helped students feel a little less stressed out about the end of term and their upcoming exams. The event was held in a new venue this year; the Laurentian Student Center proved to be a great location for interacting with students, faculty and administration. Over the course of the day we handed out over 1,000 assorted donuts and about 800 cups of coffee, along with swag, postcards about Chanukah and the event, and talked with the many people who stopped by.
We enjoyed doing the event, and it’s a great way for people to lean about what Chanukah is like in Israel, teach the underlying message behind the story of the holiday, and de-mystify the state of Israel. We had visits from students from across campus, including an entire chemistry class that brought donuts for their professor (he emailed us a thank you afterwards), and students from dozens of programs. It was great to meet new people and tell them about our events, and since, we have seen an increase in interest in the events we run both on and off campus. Overall, students had a very positive experience, and it was great interacting with the over one thousand people that stopped by our table.
BDS With a Twist: Campus Divestment Target More Than Israel
This piece, regarding recent divestment resolutions at Stanford University and the University of California system, quotes our Editor-in-Chief. It was originally published at JNS.com, and is excerpted below. For more, read the full piece, here.
While two recent student resolutions initiated by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement advocates in California ultimately had different fates, the episodes share a common twist: lumping additional nations and political entities with Israel as divestment targets…Samantha Mandeles, editor-in-chief of CAMERAonCampus.org for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting media watchdog group, took issue with the UCSA grouping the U.S. and Israel “with some of the worst human rights abusers in the world,” calling the move “merely a smokescreen, meant to hide the true anti-Israel bigotries and aims of its proponents.”
“This amendment is an attempt to hide from legitimate critique of BDS as unfairly focused on the one Jewish state in the world—which, in large part, it is. The inclusion of several abusive governments as part of a system of worldwide human rights abuses does not excuse the counter-factual castigation of Israel,” Mandeles said.