Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

The tide is turning…

Posted by lchaimlover on April 30, 2007

91t819yq.jpg

Picture from the Spartan Daily

So last week, my favorite group at SJSU, Students for Change, decided to sponsor Israeli Style Checkpoints on Campus. So my boyfriend donned a shirt that said “If I were a suicide bomber, you would be dead by now,” and headed to campus “cross the border”. He ended up in a shouting match with students who were sponsoring the checkpoints. At Foothill College, Hillel of Silicon Valley helped to sponsor a concert of Israeli rappers. An AEPi brother and a student claiming to be a Palestinian almost came to blows as anti-Israeli students came to boo the performers and cause general havoc at the event. There are rumors of a wall, supposedly explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict, going up at Santa Clara University. What is going on?

Campuses once plagued by apathy are now seeing an alarming rise in anti-Israel (and sometimes anti-Semitic) events. As students at SJSU tried to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, the campus newspaper The Spartan Daily published an article on Thursday about the “apartheid wall” of Israel. Students who walked away from the checkpoint are now under the impression that Israeli soldiers routinely brutalize, blindfold, hand cuff, and detain citizens who cross checkpoints. And the goal of all of this? Supposedly to spark “intellectual debate on campus”. I must wonder how shouting matches and near fist fights are intellectual debates? I must wonder how propaganda will truly help the people of Palestine.

When my boyfriend was telling me about crossing the checkpoint, he said he shouldn’t have responded when students began to argue with him. “I should’ve stood silently.” He said. “What suicide bomber actually argues with soldiers about pulling the trigger?”

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19 Responses to “The tide is turning…”

  1. Squeedle said

    I can appreciate your boyfriend’s idea (and chutzpah), but I hope he didn’t expect not to raise hackles. I’m absolutely not excusing nasty behavior, but if you’re going to be provocative, be ready to deal with the provoked.

    This raises an important issue: we can be in favor of peace without being against Israel or for terrorists. In my opinion Jews have been too lax (or perhaps just ineffective) in their response to the growing tide of anti-Israel sentiment. It doesn’t help that Israel’s PR is pretty terrible.

    We have start by understanding this response: America loves an underdog. Israel is no longer seen as one, even though they are the only non-Muslim state in the entire area. Secondly, Israel is seen as a cause of Conservatives, and an unthinking Liberal’s kneejerk reaction (as opposed to a thinking, skeptical one) is to be against anything that Conservatives support. There are other reasons for this sentiment, but these are major contributing factors, IMO.

    All of the things that Israel does right need to be highlighted to bring balance back to this difficult and complex issue. Non-Jews also need to understand *why* Israel needs to be, and they need to understand how the situation came about in the first place. The amount of ignorance about the Israel-Palestinian conflict is monumental and saddening. This needs desperately to be remedied.

  2. Oyster said

    Squeedle:

    Knowing LchaimLover’s awesome bf, I can definitely say that he very well knew what he was getting himself into. He was just introspective regarding how best to compose himself for maximum effect. A quiet presence would have infuriated his opponents even more (okay, okay, an occasional “BOOM!” would be alright) than his engaging in debate (or a shouting match). But, alas, the pro-Pali knuckleheads at SJSU know the Jews’ weakness: we cannot resist a good argument! 🙂

    LchaimLover:

    This reminds me of a tactic that Jonathan Kessler used to use at Cal (I might be getting my uber-Hasbarah’niks mixed up here…):

    He heard that some radical anti-Israel speaker was going to be on Sproul Plaza one fine day, and he didn’t have time to organize a counter-protest. So he got a huge white sheet, splattered blood-red paint over it, cut out eye-holes, and wore it at the back of the crowd. He held a huge sign saying, “Victims of Palestinian terror”, or something like that. Even without him saying a word, he distracted and unnerved the speaker enought that he couldn’t finish his speech.

  3. Oyster said

    Okay, I just re-read that article.

    Wow, where to begin? The journalistic neutrality of the piece is violated when the writer describes the border as the “Apartheid Wall”. Wow, that’s not rhetoric at all! In honor of their well-honed journalistic integrity, I will now refer to all Palestinian militants as “Osama-clone Puppy-Kickers”.

    Also, I believe this is bull-shit:
    Jakoush, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, lived in Egypt and said he saw inhumane treatment from Israelis soldiers to Palestinians who wanted to cross borders.

    Uhhh… no Egyptians, aside from some army personnel and Bedouin nomads, live on the Egyptian side of the border. Most Egyptians don’t live further than 10 miles from the Nile. Sorry Jakoush, TV doesn’t count!

    And on to the one good thing in the article:

    Alumnus Haneen Hammad has family living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordon and said the living conditions are unbelievable. She said stairs to get into the camp are miles long. Houses the sizes of closets are stacked on top of each other with no access to clean water.

    That’s right, everybody! Its Israel’s fault that the Jordanians, after 59 years, still can’t provide housing for Palestinian refugees. Europe solved its post-WWII refugee problem in a mere 5-10 years , but there’s something special about Palestinians that turns them into Eternal Refugees ™. That’s right. Trademarked victims. Don’t even try to copy them. Chomsky will sue yo’ ass.

  4. Squeedle said

    So as I am wont to do, I was imagining how one might best handle such comments as “Stupid Jews.”
    We should not let any of this go unanswered. However, angry confrontation does not change minds – it just causes an instant defensive reaction. This sort of thing needs to be challenged in a non-confrontational, peaceful way using the best, most effective communication and conflict resolution techniques.

    Did SJSU allow a section of the tunnel of oppression highlighting how Jews have been oppressed, overrun, and kicked out of their own lands for most of their entire existence? Did someone ask for one? What if Hillel were to host a talk with guest speakers representing both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian issue? If we can’t even peacefully discuss this here in the “free” USA, where none of our lives are at stake, what hope is there over there?

  5. lchaimlover said

    Oyster: “Osama-clone Puppy-Kickers”. As Borat would say: nice, very nice. someone really is going to come get us now.

    Squeedle: Last year the SJSU did allow a room about anti-semitism. This year’s event was followed up by a week of events hosted by Hillel about genocide and the holocaust.

  6. Oyster said

    Squeedle:

    From LchaimLover’s account, the ‘stupid Jews’ comment was made by an individual, and wasn’t presented as material by the Palestinian tear-jerker road-show. IMNSHO, you have to confront people immediately when you overhear stuff like this. This is especially paramount when there are others who hear this, because you have to raise your voice and let it be known that such comments are offensive and not acceptable. Otherwise, third-parties will get the impression that comments like that are tolerable and won’t be challenged. This is a moot point for me, because with my kipah, Antisemites at least have the common courtesy to wait until I’m out of earshot before expressing their wish to finish Hitler’s job, and make me into a nice throw-rug / soap.

  7. hed said

    Students who walked away from the checkpoint are now under the impression that Israeli soldiers routinely brutalize, blindfold, hand cuff, and detain citizens who cross checkpoints.

    Yes, because that’s precisely what happens at checkpoints, on better days.

    Tell me, have you actually seen the occupation with your own eyes, or did you just get your Zionism at summer camp?

  8. Jackie Cappiello said

    I have been in Israel and have seen the checkpoints. I have also been stoned by Arabs while trying to pray at the Western Wall. And I was at the UN when partition was voted on. (Sorry to be so old) I have no illusions about Arabs as peaceful and willing to accept Jews living in the Middle East. Did anyone mention that almost a million Jews were driven from their homes in Arab states in the Middle East. Most of them came to Israel

  9. hed said

    I have no illusions about Arabs as peaceful and willing to accept Jews living in the Middle East.

    But you do apparently have illusions about the permissibility of racism in defense of the Jewish state.

  10. lchaimlover said

    HED:

    Alas, I did not go to summer camp.

    But I’d like to turn the question around, have you seen the “occupation” or been through a check point? If so, I’d like to hear about your experience, as it is not worth sparring with someone who has not seen these things, but got their anti-Israel sentiment from biased and unfounded sources.

  11. hed said

    Lchaimlover,
    Yes, I have seen the occupation (no need to put it in quotes, as no one seriously, or rather no one serious, denies that it is, in fact, an occupation), and yes, I have been through numerous checkpoints and personally observed IDF thugs routinely harassing, brutalizing, and humiliating Palestinian men, women, and children.

    I am not anti-Israel, though of course I am routinely accused of being so by apologists for Israeli brutality. I am anti-occupation, anti-racist, and anti-colonization. Why aren’t you?

  12. Oyster said

    HED:

    Tell me, have you actually seen the occupation with your own
    eyes

    Oh, I love it! The ole’ “I’m anonymous on the Internet, but I’m still
    gonna wave the mighty Stick of Extreme Authority around” routine. HED,
    you could be anyone. You could be a Mongolian herdsman, a
    sophisticated computer program, or a really lucky cat walking across a
    keyboard. So instead of the ad hominem attacks and the anonymous
    self-referential praise of your supreme expertise, why don’t you argue
    the facts?

    I am anti-occupation, anti-racist, and anti-colonization. Why
    aren’t you?

    Wait, if your anti-colonization, does that mean that you’ve had your
    colon removed, or that you eschew certain forms of punctuation? j/k I
    think you meant ‘anti-Colonialism’. Just one problem: there’s no
    colony, because there’s no mother country.

    I think I’ll side with Alan Dershowitz here, being opposed to the
    civilian occupation of parts of the disputed territories, and fully in
    support of the military occupation of all of the disputed territories.

    As for “racism”, I’m not quite clear what you’re referring to. Instead
    of your shotgun Tourette’s-style spraying of catch-phrases and rhetoric,
    how about a few words strung together in some semblance of a reasoned
    argument?

  13. hed said

    Wait, if your anti-colonization, does that mean that you’ve had your
    colon removed, or that you eschew certain forms of punctuation? j/k I
    think you meant ‘anti-Colonialism’. Just one problem: there’s no
    colony, because there’s no mother country.

    Yes, Oyster, you do obtuse very well. Obviously, the mother country is Israel, and the colonies are the illegal settlements which the occupation exists to facilitate. (As for Israel itself, Israel’s founders certainly recognized Zionism as a colonialist enterprise, even if subsequent leaders and propagandists have tried to erase this incovenient fact, but we don’t need to get into that.)

    I think I’ll side with Alan Dershowitz here, being opposed to the
    civilian occupation of parts of the disputed territories, and fully in
    support of the military occupation of all of the disputed territories.

    Calling the occupied territories “disputed,” did they teach you that in hasbara class? Rightwing Israel supprters consider the occupied Palestinian territories “disputed” in the same sense that Hamas considers all of Palestine “disputed,” but serious people do not “dispute” their status as occupied Palestinian land.

    Alan Dershowitz? I suppose next you’ll be quoting Joan Peters to me?

    As for “racism”, I’m not quite clear what you’re referring to. Instead
    of your shotgun Tourette’s-style spraying of catch-phrases and rhetoric,
    how about a few words strung together in some semblance of a reasoned
    argument?

    Can non-Jews live in the settlements? No. That is racism. Do Jews enjoy legal privileges and status in Israel that non-Jews do not? Yes. That is racism. Are Palestinian water resources being disproportionately directed toward illegal Jewish settlements in the territories? Yes, that is racism. Is that reasoned enough for you, or perhaps you have your own special definition of “racism,” which necessarily exonerates Israel?

  14. Oyster said

    Notorious H-E-D:

    Tsk, tsk, seems like you can’t raise a contrary point without throwing
    in an ad hominem attack. Back when you were senior advisor to Yasser
    Arafat in checkpoint-land, didn’t the revered King and Queen of
    Palestine (who had ruled the land for thousands of years) teach you
    how to argue in a civil manner?

    There’s a little problem with your ‘theory’ about the settlements in
    the disputed territories being colonies of Israel. The problem is that
    many of these settlements were originally founded under the British
    Mandatory Palestine government, where unlimited Jewish settlement was
    legal (as per the League of Nations charter). The Mandate covered
    present-day Israel, Jordan, and the disputed territories (minus the
    Golan Heights), so those settlements were and still are legal.

    As for settlements built after 1967 that weren’t reconstructions of
    previous Jewish settlements destroyed in 1948 (i.e., Gush Etzion): per
    international law, an occupied land must be governed by the laws
    of the last internationally-recognized government. In this case, that
    would be the laws of British Mandatory Palestine, which placed no
    restriction on Jewish (or anyone elses) settlement.

    Israel’s founders didn’t consider Zionism as a colonialist enterprise
    (colony of what country?!), they considered it a return home.

    As for my use of the term “disputed territories”. They are called that
    because they are just that, disputed. Neither the Israelis or the
    Palestinians agree on the exact territory in question. Case-&-point,
    the Old City of Jerusalem. I don’t deny that the land is occupied
    militarily, but I reject any claim that the Green Line is some
    internationally-recognized mutually-agreeable permanent border between
    Israel and the future Palestinian state. The Green Line is nothing
    more than the armistice (cease-fire) line from the end of the 1948
    war. There was no treaty making it an official international border.

    Can non-Jews live in the settlements? No. That is racism.

    Can Jews live in Ramallah? Nablus? Qalkilya? Nope. That is racism,
    too, by your flexible definition. Funny how you only have glasses that
    allow you to see ‘racism’ when it suits your argument.

    Do Jews enjoy legal privileges and status in Israel that non-Jews do not?

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Is there a particular incident
    that you are thinking of?

    The use of the term racism here doesn’t make sense, because based on
    one having an ‘ethnic appearance’, there is more ethnic diversity in
    Israel than in Palestinian society. How many Asians live in Ramallah?
    How many Africans live in Gaza City? Probably not that many, but there
    are thousands of them living in Israel. The majority of Jews in Israel
    are ‘Mizrahi’ Jews, those from India, Persia, the Maghreb, and
    Arabia. European Jews are actually in the minority.

    Perhaps you mean nationality-based bias or bigotry?

    Man,
    I feel like I’m repeating myself.

  15. hed said

    You’re really not doing yourself proud here, Oyster. Your tortured and frankly rather preposterous justifications for the illegal settlements notwithstanding, they are in fact recognized as illegal by overwhleming international consensus, clear violations of the 4th Geneva Convention. The argument you make about “an occupied land must be governed by the laws of the last internationally-recognized government,” while I appreciate your creativity, is not a serious one.

    Can Jews live in Ramallah? Nablus? Qalkilya? Nope. That is racism,
    too, by your flexible definition. Funny how you only have glasses that
    allow you to see ‘racism’ when it suits your argument.

    Of course, I don’t deny that racism exists in Palestinian society. Ideally, I’d love for Jews and Arabs to live wherever they want in Israel/Palestine, but the fact remains that Israeli law is racist in regards to prohibiting non-Jews from living in certain areas. Or, I guess, it’s called racism when other governments do it. In Israel it’s just called “Zionism.”

    Israel’s founders didn’t consider Zionism as a colonialist enterprise
    (colony of what country?!), they considered it a return home.

    Oy, how embarrasing for you, you don’t even know the history of your own ideology. Try reading Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion for starters, they were much more honest and informed about the ZIonist enterprise than you apparently are.

  16. lchaimlover said

    HED:

    “I am anti-occupation, anti-racist, and anti-colonization. Why aren’t you?”

    Ah, if I were a liberal, how this would offend me, how I would sputter and shout and say “well, what I mean is…” But alas, I am not a liberal and therefore not so easily offended. Of course I am against all these things, who isn’t. I am also against suicide bombings, the unwarranted death of innocent children and civilians for a cause that can be settled by the “leaders” of the warring countries.

    But I am no fool, I do not believe that either Israel or Palestine is completely innocent of wrong-doings. But I do not live in a fantasy world that the country I defend is a fairy land that only needs a chance to show that it could be Paradise on earth.

    “Israel’s founders didn’t consider Zionism as a colonialist enterprise
    (colony of what country?!), they considered it a return home.”

    Read Golda Meir, she did in fact view it as a return home, and she viewed Israel as the rightful home of Jews. Ben Gurion, by many accounts, was a little crazy and power hungry so let’s not look to him as the rightful source of all things Jewish.

    Thank you so much for your points, but as this is a site that is openly Jewish and openly pro-Israel, and from viewing your points, I can only assume that you came here to spew and argue because you had nothing better to do with your time.

    This argument won’t be settled on a blog, but by voicing our opinions to the leaders of the countries who take control of the situation and be willing to stand up and put an end to a war that does nothing but make more terrorists richer and countless mothers weep.

  17. Oyster said

    HED:

    they are in fact recognized as illegal by overwhleming
    international consensus

    Yes, and a majority of the Islamic world doesn’t believe in
    Evolution. And at a point in history, the majority of humanity
    believed the Earth to be flat. Any other logical fallacies that you’d
    like to derive?

    Dear, dear, HED. It’s really not so difficult! You see, international
    law is based on something more systematic and reasoned than the
    average fare you’ll find on Electronic Intifada.

    clear violations of the 4th Geneva Convention

    For example, let’s take your cherished 4th Geneva Convention, shall
    we? And instead of just waving the phrase around like an anti-Israel
    cudgel, let’s read some of its clauses, and, you know, actually reason
    about what it says. For example, let’s take a gander at Part I,
    Article 2
    :


    Art. 2. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in
    peace-time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of
    declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between
    two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war
    is not recognized by one of them.
    The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total
    occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the
    said occupation meets with no armed resistance.
    Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the
    present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain
    bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound
    by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts
    and applies the provisions thereof.

    As the Geneva Conventions (and much of international law) is
    structured, only parties that have adopted the laws as binding upon
    themselves are bound by them.

    Hmmm… little problem. “Palestine” is not a High Contracting Party of
    the Geneva Conventions. I guess wearing uniforms and not fighting
    within civilian areas would cramp their style too much. No?

    I don’t deny that racism exists in Palestinian society

    Yes, and you also conveniently don’t mention it, either.

    Israeli law is racist in regards to prohibiting non-Jews from
    living in certain areas

    Wow, I never have seen someone specify their argument while making it
    ambiguous at the same time. You make your argument more specific,
    because now we’re dealing with Israel, proper. And not the
    territories. Yet you are equally nebulous about what exactly you’re
    referring to.

    Israel has Vietnamese, Fillipino, Romanian, and Russian foreign
    workers living all over the country. We have several Israeli-Arab
    towns. Bedouin settlements are being created in the Negev. Perhaps you
    want to refine your claim even further, until we’re discussing a
    particular dunam?

    Whereas, if you’re in the territories, and you’re not a family aligned
    with Fatah or Hamas (i.e., Arab and Muslim), you’re on your
    own. That’s why record numbers of Palestinian Christians are leaving,
    and soon Bethlehem will cease to have a Christian majority for the
    first time in centuries.

    you don’t even know the history of your own ideology.

    I might not be able to quote Ben Gurion verbatim, but I know that he
    had no plans to “colonize” British Mandatory Palestine for some
    as-yet-to-be-specified European country. Hey Monty, is the name of the
    mother country that you’re thinking of behind Door #3? Please share
    with the class.

    And while we’re scrutinizing the past, perhaps you’d like to discuss the true roots of
    Palestinian nationalist ideology
    ?

  18. hed said

    I might not be able to quote Ben Gurion verbatim, but I know that he
    had no plans to “colonize” British Mandatory Palestine for some
    as-yet-to-be-specified European country. Hey Monty, is the name of the
    mother country that you’re thinking of behind Door #3? Please share
    with the class.

    Judging from the children’s birthday party version of Zionism on display here, I’d guess that you’re probably not able to quote Ben Gurion at all.

    Notwithstanding your special, very tendentious definition of colonialism, the fact remains that Jabotinsky and Ben Gurion, among others, were well aware of the overtly colonialist nature of Zionism, even if subsequent generations have tried to obscure this. I suppose you’re only doing your good little hasbarist duty to play dumb.

    And while we’re scrutinizing the past, perhaps you’d like to discuss the true roots of Palestinian nationalist ideology?

    Just when i think you couldn’t possibly make an even bigger clown of yourself…I can’t believe you’re peddling the Palestinian-Nazi bushwa. This blog is apparently the place where dumb, discredited hasbarist myths go to live forever. How sad that you can’t celebrate Israel without indulging in vile, racist mythology.

  19. Oyster said

    Hed:

    Notwithstanding your special, very tendentious definition of
    colonialism

    Uhhh… I think you’re the one whipping out a very tenuous definition
    of colonialism. Every colony in history was an outpost for some other
    country, whether it was England, France, Holland, or Russia. Sorry,
    but Israel doesn’t fit the bill. No mother country. If your definition
    of colonialism works, then can you name another “colony” that would
    fit the definition that you impose on Israel? Something tells me that
    you tailor-fitted your definition just for the purpose of attacking
    Israel.

    doing your good little hasbarist duty to play dumb

    I suppose you want me to give you tea and crumpets too? If you can’t
    bring the goods to the conversation, then don’t kvetch about it.

    How sad that you can’t celebrate Israel without indulging in
    vile, racist mythology.

    Here you go again, resorting to ad hominem attacks and spewing out
    one-liners full of rhetoric but devoid of reasoned argument. I’m sorry
    that you can’t handle discussing the fact that the father of
    Palestinian nationalism was a friend of Hitler’s and found guilty at
    the Nuremberg Trials. But that’s no excuse for your weak dodge.

    Speaking of dodges, why the silence over diversity in Israel, and the
    Geneva Conventions? Should I suppose that you are conceding those two
    points? You see Hed, while you rely on unsubstantiated general
    accusations and ad hominem attacks for your argument, I went out and
    cited sources and quoted the relevant sections for discussion. And you
    just blithely ignore them! It is apparent to all who might be
    following this conversation that you really have no reasoned argument
    to make.

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