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David S. Levine

Oppressed or Oppressor?

It is important to note that people who hope to encourage extremism depend upon the political ignorance of their audiences. Many pro-Hamas/pro-Palestinian demonstrators say that their activism is rooted in a deeply held conviction that the world is divided between the oppressed and their oppressors. And they firmly believe that Israel is the oppressor.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “From Which River to Which Sea?” Professor Ron E. Hassner points out that college students don’t understand, yet agree with the slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” However, Professor Hassner hired a survey firm to poll students from a variety of backgrounds across the US. Once they learned a handful of basic facts about the Middle East geography, history, or demography, nearly seventy percent of those students went from supporting “from the river to sea” to rejecting it.

Many of the demonstrators, who are, or identify as, liberals, women, gay, trans, atheists, Jews, Christians, etc., who were raised in an open democratic society, are actually supporting the opposite. In repeating whatever hateful chants the speaker shouts out, without verifying what they are claiming, participants in these anti-Israel demonstrations are proving that they are uninformed, indoctrinated, and easily led.

What happened to the overreaching educational goal “learn how to think, not what to think?”

The youth from the 1950’s through the early 1970’s, loudly and forcibly demonstrated for anti-war, civil rights, and to free Soviet Jews. They did not demonstrate in support of killing/ raping/ beheading of anybody. And they could easily articulate and factually support their point of view. However, watching street interviews of demonstrators today, it appears they cannot.

Perhaps these demonstrators should take this challenge: Who are the oppressed and who are the oppressors? Perhaps they should ask themselves: What facts support the claims? Are their slogans, chants, and signs “free speech” or “incitement to violence?”

Let’s look at some claims and ask some questions. But don’t take this author’s word for it. It is imperative for each of us to educate ourselves and to answer the various manipulative claims of the anti-Israel camp. Verify everything by researching a variety of sources including original documents and websites, and news sources of differing political points of view. To paraphrase the late comic Richard Pryor, “who ya gonna believe, your own research or their lies?”

  • Israel is a colonial nation. In fact, Israel threw out the colonial British and were given their own country in 1948. Immediately after its re-birth, Israel was attacked by five Arab nations intent on Israel’s destruction rather than rallying to support the Arab/Jewish partition plan. [As for who is a colonialist, research Muslim and the jihadist Islamic conquest of the region throughout history.]
  • Palestine refugees. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) states that there were 710,000 original Arab refugees from Israel during and after the 1948 war. Yet, by 2019, there were 5.6 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. During that same period of the 1948 war and into the 1950’s, Jews whose families had lived in various Arab countries for over 1,000 years, were forcibly evicted, creating 850,000 thousand Jewish refugees. They mostly fled to Israel. In addition, also during that time, hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken, European Jewish refugees from the Holocaust either emigrated to Israel or, like every other (non-Arab) refugee in the world, fell under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and were duly settled in other counties. Today, there is not one Jewish or WW2 refugee. Why are there four generations of Palestinian refugees?
  • Palestinians should have their own state. Actually, they (Arab refugees, who then later adopted the name “Palestinians”) have been offered a state many times and have consistently refused every offer. They don’t want their own state. They want to replace and wipe out Israel. Rather than focus on the betterment of their own people, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have spent decades educating their citizens, including children, to hate Jews and Israel, and they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on building terror tunnels. They have misdirected foreign governmental charity funds to create a huge military army, complete with rockets, missiles, and portable rocket launchers. During this same time, Israel has spent its time nation building. [Historic Research Assignment: Examine the origin of the word ‘Palestine.’]
  • Israel is an apartheid state. The definition of apartheid is “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination” based on race, religion, gender, etc. Yet a core concept of Israel’s Declaration of Independence is “…[it] will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace …; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions…”. It seems many demonstrators don’t know that there has always been an Arab political party in Israel. Every Israeli citizen has the right vote, go to school, get medical care, and more. Arabs have served in the Israeli army, police, supreme court, Knesset, medical profession, and more. [Question: Do you think the anti-Israel demonstrators have read the Hamas or PA Charters?]
  • Israel is occupying the land in violation of international law. Please name or quote which specific international laws Israel is violating.
  • Israel is committing genocide. Against whom? Where? Yet the openly stated goal of Hamas and others is the extermination (read: genocide or extinction) of the Jews; and their actions have demonstrated just that.
  • Israel is killing innocent civilians and violating international law. It is a sad fact that in any war, civilian casualties take place. However, these claims are baseless. Israel exceeds in its care for enemy civilians by providing advance warnings and enough time for civilians to get out of harm’s way. That’s something no other military in the world does or has done. A point of comparison is the “urban warfare” Battle of Mosul (2016), where ISIS fought Iraqi and US led coalition forces. The civilian casualty rate was 1 combatant to 4.8 civilians. Compare that with the first two months of the current Hamas-Israel war where the rate is 1 combatant to about 2 civilians. That low rate is maintained by the IDF despite Hamas purposely building its military facilities in civilian areas and forcing their civilians to be human shields, which is clearly against international law. Hamas has the ultimate responsibility for the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. [Question: Have mainstream journalists or demonstrators actually read the Geneva Conventions and/or researched the phrase “rules of war?”]
  • America is a racist country [another related protest chant]: After George Floyd died, many cities experienced numerous riots, incited by Black Lives Matter and other groups. In many of these cities, the mayor and/or the police chief was Black, or a woman, or both. Furthermore, as a result of these “peaceful” demonstrations, many of the communities’ small businesses that were destroyed were minority owned. [Where was the white oppression?]

So, who really are the oppressed? Is it the Jews – who have been subjected to antisemitism, pogroms, ostracization, and executions since ancient times until today?

Or is it Hamas and their “innocent” Palestinian followers who culminated their decades of terrorism by butchering, burning, dismembering, and raping innocents, from babies to elderly, on October 7? The same Hamas who announced that they will do it again and again until they complete the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews. And the same Hamas, who daily sends rockets into civilian areas where schools, hospitals, and homes are located? (Just over the past 2 months, over 10,500 missiles have been lobbed at Israeli civilians.

Perhaps if they the demonstrators took this challenge, they wouldn’t continue to be the intellectually vacant who blindly support antisemitic hatred while actually decrying democratic values? Be aware and informed. Seek the truth. Verify it.

Author’s note: There are deliberately no links to sources. It is up to the reader to do the research.

About the Author
David is a former NYC advertising agency, corporate-side marketing executive, and consultant. Prior to his career in advertising David spent 5 years in the financial arena. David holds a BS and MBA (both in Marketing & Finance) from New York University. He has been an officer/board member/speaker of industry, educational, and community organizations, as well as several new business startups. David is a US Patent Holder and published author (Hey Israel – You’re Perfect. Now Change (free) and How to Run the Business of YOU). See his website for more information and other writings. David is a retired instructor from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. He lives in Ashkelon, Israel with his wife.
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