There are countless dark corners, twists and turns on the perilous journey up the mountain of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Jew hatred. One of those dark corners is called Israel Apartheid Week ( IAW) held on university campuses throughout the world in February and March.
Currently ending its eleventh year, Israel Apartheid Week is an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist campaign, the avowed purpose of which is to advance the cause of the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) crusade against Israel. IAW events appear on college campuses in cities from Los Angeles to Cape Town. One of the first of these was in Gaza in February. Others take place on every continent in places as remote as Kuala Lampur. The official web site of IAW publishes very few details of their planned campus activities. Neither do they reveal who they are. Their website states this:
“Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.”
Those who join in the IAW hate-fest events are members of many and varied extremist political anti-Israel activist groups including but not limited to Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Associations. Additional affiliates include leftists and rightists, liberal Jewish factions, Christians in a variety of flavors, and other tag a longs whose otherwise philosophical differences merge into an alliance of sorts for Israel Apartheid Week and the purpose of demonizing Israel.
At the University of Delaware, for the second year, the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine sponsored IAW activities. The program included screenings of Anti-Israel films, speakers and a display of “The Apartheid Wall.” At UCLA, reports suggested that there was a growing trend of anti-Semitism with reports from fearful Jewish students of anti-Semitic aggression. Ironically, many Jewish students even support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement. At UC Berkeley, students sent eviction notices to Jewish students’ rooms. At NYU the Marxists are promoting activities for IAW.
Actually, 2015 activities on American campuses have been relatively quiet, but in the recent past they were marked by boisterous and sometimes even violent activities. While the overt aim is to bring understanding of Israel’s sins against the Palestinians, the covert aim is to undermine and ultimately destroy Israel and Zionism.
Extremist rhetoric and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” are frequent marks of IAW. To make their point, the organizers use literature and films fraught with lies and inversions of historical facts, followed by accusations against Israel and Jews— all designed to bring fear into the hearts of the Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus. On one South African campus, students shouted for expulsion of pro-Israel Jews.
Israel Apartheid Week is nothing short of a contemporary blood libel. This is why some the keenest contemporary columnists, have puzzled over how to explain all the hatred fomenting against Israel when Israel’s human rights record is relatively unsullied compared to say Iran, Saudi Arabia or Sudan or any of her many accusers. IAW activities come attached to twisted slogans, lies and hate-phrases used to gin up anti-Zionist energy among college students. The disinformation campaign against Israel begins with accusations against Israel’s very right to exist and mingles with calls to send Jews “back to the ovens”.
One award- winning journalist, Max Blumenthal, lays claim to being a Progressive Jew and a beneficiary of the free Taglit Birthright Trip to Israel as a teen. At that time, he asked himself
“Where are the Palestinians” which drove him to research. He gives this “testimony” as a reporter in Gaza after the recent war with Israel. Touched by people suffering in the devastated towns in Gaza, Blumenthal’s heart turned toward the Palestinian cause. Blumenthal’s recent talk at the University of Glasgow, makes a convincing case for his transformative experience toward the Palestinian cause. “Convincing”— that is, if you ignore some inconvenient historical facts.
Of course, according to Blumenthal, the war in Gaza was altogether Israel’s fault. The Palestinians did nothing to deserve this: They did not send 10,000 missiles into southern Israel; they did not build kidnapping attack tunnels into kibbutzim; they did not kidnap and kill Israel citizens; they did not smuggle weapons through Egypt; they did not store weapons in schools and hospitals. His pro-Palestinian sympathies stand on the bodies of dead Palestinian children but his covert message calls for the death of Israel.
What is the difference between a “legitimate criticism” of Israel and anti-Semitism?
Natan Sharansky gave the most succinct description of the difference. He describes three elements that distinguish between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism: 1.demonization, 2.double standards and 3.de-legitimization. Critics like Blumenthal frequently engage in the double standard argument:
Double Standard– When Israel is held strictly accountable for acts or conditions that are openly tolerated or ignored in numerous other countries. By this fact, The United Nations is the most noted anti-Semitic agency in the world. Israel is the brunt of a hugely disproportionate number of UN resolutions while countries still practicing slavery, genocide, intolerance of religious and women’s rights are the subject of nearly none.
Blumenthal supports The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement. He supports Israel Apartheid Week, and is totally clueless about why “right wingers” have called him an anti-Semite for making what he calls “legitimate criticisms” against the “colonialist” and “imperialist” Zionist regime against the “innocent, suffering” Palestinians.
Today, Israel Apartheid Week students and their agitator friends are working together to keep decades of lies and trumped-up charges against the Jews and Israel alive. Some of these students are simple dupes of more sinister forces. Perhaps these innocent and crazed groupies really don’t know the facts or the history. Many of them are probably followers of anti-Israel, pro-Islamic professors infected by the very Marxists who trained Arafat. The speculations are as endless as is the evil web that drives it all.
At the root of Israel Apartheid Week is anti-Semitism. When you take a good look at the activities embraced by its advocates, you will see a ferocity which looks a bit strange on a college campus which may have heretofore been rather placid or even passive.
One wonders how the “suffering” Palestinian Arabs, who never really existed as a people group until Arafat invented them in the 1960’s, get special permission to demand their rights over, say, Iranians, Saudis or Sudanese.
The tangled net of Islamic interests, Marxist agendas, and twisted Christian theologies that merge to energize Israel Apartheid Week on college campuses are harbingers of what our next generation of American politics and business is probably going to look like.
Susan Warner is co-founder of Olive Tree Ministries which is a pro-Israel Christian group in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. She has been writing and teaching about the Bible, Israel, the Middle East and Christian anti-Semitism for over 15 years.