Richard L. Cravatts

The Genocidal Nature of Anti-Israel Radicalism Reveals Itself at UC Davis

In a morally coherent world, the chilling statement, “Hamas & Sharia law have taken over UC Davis,” would not have been spoken publicly, and certainly not by an elected student leader at an American public university.

But in California, the veritable epicenter of academic anti-Israelism and its attendant stealth jihad, this statement, spoken last week by student leader Azka Fayyaz during a divestment resolution debate at the University of California, Davis, is par for the course, and indicative of how debased the conversation about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has actually become.

Thus, while members of the UC Davis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and others who supported this noxious vote purport to care solely about the malevolence of Israel and punishing the Jewish state for its political misbehavior and human rights abuses, at least some part of that campaign is clearly to embrace terrorism, as well as the rigid, oppressive precepts of a seventh-century theology comprising the tenets of Islam.

Are those absurd pronouncements by Ms. Fayyaz—that Sharia law and the invidious ideology of Hamas now define, and represent—notions that this American campus now widely embraces? What does Sharia law even have to do with UC Davis in the first place, or for that matter a resolution urging the school to divest from companies that contribute to the defense of Israel?  Does being a supporter of Palestinian self-determination mean that the genocidal Islamist group Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States and other nations, is now considered an appropriate group worthy of support and adulation?

What this vote, and Ms. Fayyaz’s perverse utterances, do make clear is that the cognitive war against Israel, both on campuses and in the streets of Europe and the United States, is not just a campaign targeting the Jewish state; it is, in fact, as many observers have been warning about for some time, a broader assault to dismantle Western-style values in the name of a creeping ideological jihad, a cognitive war—with Israel the primary smokescreen with which the human rights activists and others in the hate-Israel movement mask their fundamental revulsion for everything that Western democracies hold dear.

So when pro-Palestinian activists and critics of Israel repeat the claim that Palestinians somehow have an internationally-recognized legal “right” to resist occupation through violent means, Hamas’s very reason for being, they are both legitimizing that terror and helping to insure that its lethal use by Israel’s enemies will continue unabated. Those who lend their moral support to terrorism, and who continually see the existence of “grievance-based violence” as a justifiable tool of the oppressed, have helped introduce a sick moral relativism into discussions about radical Islam and Palestinianism, not to mention Israel’s right to protect its citizens from being slaughtered.

The fact that so many activists feel comfortable with openly supporting a terrorist group with the single purpose of murdering Jews, that they publicly wish for and proclaim, as Ms. Fayyaz just did, that “Israel shall fall inshaAllah,” indicates quite dramatically how acceptable genocidal Jew-hatred has become, both in the streets and on campuses in America and Europe. This is clearly not, as it is frequently and disinegenuously asserted, merely “criticism” of the Israeli government’s policies; this is what many define as a new permutation of anti-Semitism—an irrational, seething animus against the Jew of nations, Israel, the wish for Jews to be murdered as part of “resistance,” and for Israel itself to be destroyed, all muddled in a disingenuous brew of human rights rhetoric and Western self-hatred.

The fact that a student leader can proudly and publicly proclaim allegiance to and alignment with the aspirations of Hamas, a thugocracy of genocidal murderers who could care less about a distinct Palestinian state, let alone an Arab sovereign entity living “side by side in peace” with Israel, is frightening.  Evidently, there has been a profound moral blindness on the part of pro-Palestinian activists in not recognizing that the foundational document by which Hamas was established—the 1988 Hamas Charter—is animated with genocidal Jew-hatred, replete with a global strategy to extirpate Israel and murder Jews, wherever they may live, based on millennial dreams of apocalyptic jihad.

While Israel’s campus enemies at UC Davis and elsewhere feel free to speak against it in the most destructive and venomous way possible, as occurred last week, at the same time, pro-Israel, anti-terrorism voices are marginalized, disregarded, shouted down, or denounced as hate speech, unworthy of being part of an ongoing, vigorous debate, and deserving only of being punished and silenced by those who want only one side of the debate to be heard in what should be a vigorous, thoughtful debate in the ‘marketplace of ideas.’

That clearly was the very motivation for the 2013 resolution passed by the ASUCD Senate, Senate Resolution 21, which sought to condemn and identify what supporters term “Islamophobic” speech at UC Davis. The resolution, which was passed after a controversial Ayn Rand Society event on radical Islam, “Islamists Rising,” was held, defined Islamophobia as “the irrational fear of Islam, Muslims or anything related to the Islamic or Arab cultures and traditions.” The authors of the resolution wished to use the resolution to suppress speech by critics of radical Islam, and were successful in categorizing any view about Islam with which they did not agree to be outside the bounds of acceptable speech; in fact, it was henceforth categorized as “hate speech” and unwelcomed on campus. Presumably, criticizing the genocidal charter of Islamic Hamas, or condemning the group’s unending attacks on Israeli civilians for the purpose of murdering Jews, could thereby be considered a type of hate speech, Islamophobic, or contrary to the accepted values of the UC Davis campus.

Obviously, last week’s successful resolution vote signaled to many pro-Palestinian students that not only did they no longer have to apologize for Islamic terror, they could proudly, and publicly, swear allegiance to Hamas while screaming “Allah Akbar” at Jewish students during the divestment vote (a phrase which, among others, the 9/11 hijackers screamed moments before their jets crashed into the twin towers).

The toxic situation at UC Davis has been simmering for some time now, with anti-Israel activists increasingly taking steps to promote their own noxious agenda while simultaneously attempting to suppress or neutralize the speech of other pro-Israel individuals on campus.  During a 2012 event at UC Davis, for example, two Israelis –a Jewish man and a Druze woman—were scheduled to speak but their appearance was effectively shut down by members of Students for Justice in Palestine and others who had decided, in advance, that “Events like these are not welcome on our campus anymore.”

What type of events would no longer be allowed? Presumably, any event which offered a platform for defending Israel or offers an alternative view of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict offered by pro-Palestinian activists. And, clearly, this 2012 event did not pass the ideological litmus test: during the presentation, a protestor used the “heckler’s veto” to silence the speakers, standing up and screaming to the podium that Israel has “turned the land of Pales­tine into a land of pros­ti­tutes and rapists and child moles­ters,” and ask­ing the speaker, “How many women have you raped? How many chil­dren have you raped? You are a child moles­ter.”

And pro-Palestinian activists on the Davis campus obviously were not concerned about civility when three Jewish students tried to speak on behalf of Israel at UC Davis at a November 2012 protest against Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. The Jewish students were first shouted down with chants of “Leave our space!” “Shame on you!” “F**k Israel,” and “Long live the Intifada!” and then forced against a wall of windows while angry protestors threatened them with closed fists and physical aggression. When pro-Palestinian activists shout “Long live the intifada,” it is, of course, a grotesque and murderous reference to the Second Intifada, during which Arab terrorists murdered some 1000 Israelis and wounded more than 14,000 others, so the fact that this is what passes as intellectual debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict on campus is clear evidence that any hope of rational discourse or productive discussion has vanished. Civility has devolved into acrimony, and one can reasonably wonder, based on their language, what the true intentions are of those who defame, demean, and libel Israel in their effort to promote Palestinian self-affirmation.

There is no other explanation for why educated and well-intentioned individuals, experiencing paroxysms of moral self-righteousness in which they are compelled to speak out for the perennial victim, can loudly and publicly advocate for the murder of Jews—who already have created and live in a viable sovereign state—on behalf a group of genocidal enemies of Israel whose tragic condition may well be their own doing, and, at any rate, is the not the sole fault of Israel’s. That these activists are willing, and ready, to sacrifice the Jewish state, and Jewish lives, in the name of social justice and a specious campaign of self-determination by Palestinian Arabs, shows how morally corrupt and deadly the conversation about human rights has become—both on campuses and outside the ivy walls.

The whole problem with the world,” observed philosopher Bertrand Russell, “is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”  On the UC Davis campus, fools and fanatics may have prevailed in the current vote, but, in doing so, seem to have revealed the true nature of their genocidal, anti-Semitic hatred.

And its lethal nature and intent should frighten us all.

About the Author
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of the forthcoming book, The Slow Death of the University: How Radicalism, Israel Hatred, and Race Obsession are Destroying Academia.