Ariel Beery
Dedicated to solving problems facing humanity with sustainable and scalable solutions

What isn’t being said at Columbia

Johannah King-Slutsky speaks to reporters outside Columbia University's Hamilton Hall on April 30, 2024. (Screen capture/X)

Why the double standard applied to Israel is inherently antisemitic

Not to get too academic here, but what is the criteria by which one decides to go out and protest the support of one’s government of another? If we are to accept the protestors at Columbia and campuses across the world at their word, they are motivated by purely humanistic calculations. The mass death in Gaza is simply too much for them to bear, and they hold Israel solely responsible. From their perspective, their protest is a legitimate outcry against their government’s support for a country killing so many innocent people.

I share their concern for the safety of innocents. While I recognize the fact that Israel has done more to protect civilians in urban warfare than any other army in history, I believe the government of Israel has pursued a ruinous strategy that has managed to fail on all fronts. Too many innocents have suffered the price of that failure. That is why I have joined the weekly protests here in Israel in support of the hostages and calling for the immediate resignation of our failed political leadership. Yet my protest and the protests of my fellow Israelis are different than the protests on campus in that we are Israeli, served our country, and are directly impacted by its policies.

The students and faculty protesting, on the other hand, have a clear choice. They could protest their country’s lack of action to end the on-going actual genocide in Sudan, or the slow genocide in the Congo, or the genocidal and slave-owning regime in Yemen. Or Turkey or Iran’s repression of the Kurds. They could foreswear their iPhones and Chinese-manufactured items in protest of the government’s internment of the Uyghurs and ethnic cleansing of Tibetans. They could protest the Chinese support for devastation and wanton violence against the Rohingya and Hmong and myriad other peoples across the countries they are literally colonizing. Incidentally, Chinese arms and money and Russian training and mercenaries are behind nearly all of these ethnic cleansings and wars.

Or if the protesters are simply racists who do not care about Africans or Asians or non-Arab Middle Easterners, how about the war the US is most actively supporting with its guns and treasure? In Ukraine, as of 22 February 2024, “30,457 civilians were killed and wounded, including 10,582 civilians killed in the conflict, including 587 children,” and “31,000 soldiers had been killed since 2022” which is probably an underestimation. The British estimate that “approximately 450,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded,” with Ukraine estimating 180,000 of those dead. If we are humanists and move behind a Rawlsian Veil, and accept the claim that the students and their professors only want their government to stop human suffering, one would imagine they would pick any of these conflicts first on a dollars-for-blood calculation of return on investment.

All of which is to say that the choice of a conflict to protest says as much about the protestors as it does about the conflict they are protesting. When the only cause you care about is the destruction of the Jewish State, you accept the historic mantle of antisemitism. When the only blood worthy of your time is the blood spilled by Jews, you perpetuate the blood libel. When you live and breathe and eat from a Western colony that continues to colonize and denigrate a people from wanting to live freely in their ancient home, you are the heir to the empires who exiled the Jews time after time.

The well-meaning people justifying the protests on campus are, too, implicated in this bias. A Left that does not value all blood equally, a Left that doesn’t stand against antisemitic intentions and actions, a Left that accepts silence when it comes to the violence in Africa or Asia or Europe and even champions the perpetrators is no Left at all. It is a racist, anti-humanitarian movement obsessed with the alleged crimes of the Jews. Those who perpetuate the claim that the protestors are antiwar when they loudly proclaim they are for annihilation of Israel are fellow travelers and apologists who should know better.

What is not being said at Columbia or in the coverage of Columbia is that if these protesters really wanted a ceasefire they would first and foremost call for Hamas to release all of the hostages. Every last one of them. Without regards to the color of their skin or the origins of their DNA. Then, my fellow citizens in Israel would finally be able to take down this government and end this poorly executed war. Until those who presume to be anti-war identify the true evil that sparked this round of violence and stand in solidarity with the innocents bleeding on all sides, there will be no peace, only antisemitic spasms of political violence.

About the Author
Ariel Beery is a strategist and institution builder dedicated to building a better future for Israel, the Jewish People, and humanity. His geopolitical writings - with deeper dives into the topics addressed in singular columns - can be found on his substack, A Lighthouse.
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