In an interview with Teheran Times two weeks ago, Norman Finklestein, the notorious Hizbullah and Hamas supporter and all-purpose anti-Semite, called Israel a "vandal state," and "insane state," a "terrorist state," and a "satanic state."
Last week Finklestein was the keynote speaker at both Emory University and Fordham University during their weeklong annual anti-Israel hate festivals. Speaking to a cheering crowd at a packed auditorium on Emory's Atlanta campus, Finklestein claimed that Israel conducted its recent Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for two reasons. These did not include Hamas's deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians, Hamas's alliance with Iran, its charter that calls for the physical eradication of the Jewish people, its illegal imprisonment of Israeli hostage Gilad Schalit, or its decision to renew its attacks against Israel after a six month period of relative restraint.
In Finklestein's view, the first reason Israel launched Operation Cast Lead was because Hamas had begun expressing interest in peace. In his words, "Hamas were being too moderate, too reasonable. They wanted a diplomatic settlement to the conflict. To Israel, this is a recurring nightmare."
The second reason that Finklestein alleged that Israel launched its offensive was because, well, Israel is just plain mean. As he put it, the operation was Israel's way of "reminding the Arabs who were [sic.] in charge." It was an attempt to "restore the Arab world's fear of Israel."
Finklestein cited an unnamed "chief military analyst" to support his claim that Israel conducted a "massacre" in Gaza and did so with malice of forethought.
According to Emory's student paper, for his libelous, wholly fallacious remarks, Finklestein received a prolonged standing ovation.
In 40 university campuses throughout the US and Canada as well as in Europe and South America, last week students marked what Palestinian terror apologists have dubbed "Israel Apartheid Week." This was the seventh such week in the US, and the fifth in Canada.
In the lead up to this annual Israel vilification week, pro-Israel students were physically assaulted at San Francisco State University and at York University in Canada by their anti-Israel counterparts. In both cases, university officials opened disciplinary proceedings against the pro-Israel students.
At SFSU, two students were arrested by police for assaulting college Republicans who held an anti-Hamas rally. The two – from the campus's Palestinian student club and its Socialist union – now insist not only that the charges against them be dropped, but that the university re-educate its students to ensure that they understand that criticizing Hamas and other genocidal terror groups is a form of prohibited hate-speech.
THE LIBELOUS assertion that Israel – the only free, pluralistic, liberal democracy in the Middle East – is analogous to apartheid South Africa first took hold at the 2001 UN-sponsored anti-Jewish diplomatic pogrom at Durban, South Africa. In the action plan approved by the various non-governmental organizations that participated in the conference, activists were called on to bring about the international demonization of Israel as a racist state, and of Zionism – the Jewish national liberation movement – as a form of racism.
When Israel Apartheid Week was launched the next year, many local Jewish student and community activists in the US and Canada demanded that university authorities ban the clearly bigoted event from their campuses. To their chagrin, university presidents and administrators would do no such thing. Claiming that doing so would restrict academic freedom, the propaganda war against the Jewish state went forward and grew. And, in its wake, the freedom of pro-Israel students on college campuses throughout the West has become increasingly constricted and threatened.
Both through formal speech codes barring criticism of anti-Israel propaganda and violence, and through academic and physical intimidation of pro-Israel students by an increasingly vocal and aggressive coalition of pro-Palestinian professors, Muslim and leftist students, Israel's supporters on university campuses find themselves under assault. Today, seven years after the Durban Conference, Israel Apartheid Week has become a mainstay on the academic calendar, nearly as taken for granted as Homecoming Week and mid-terms.
The use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israel was a deliberate move on the part of Israel's enemies. It was aimed at neutralizing the capacity of Israel's supporters to defend the Jewish state and attack its enemies. Case in point is the campus debate which preceded Israel Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto. The student paper published two topical opinion pieces on the upcoming events. One asserted that Israel is an apartheid regime. The other argued that Israel isn't an apartheid regime.
On the surface, this seems fair enough. But it is nothing of the sort. Israel is the only free country and free society in the region. Pinning its defenders down by confining discussion of the region to the pros and cons of a complete lie serves to only obfuscate the depravity of Israel's enemies, not to enlighten the public about Israel.
While Israel provides the full rights of citizenship to its Arab minority, Jews are denied the rights of citizenship in every Arab League member state, and the Palestinians' fundamental demand is that no Jew be permitted to live in a future Palestinian state.
Then too, while Israeli women enjoy full equality under the law, women and girls in the Arab and Muslim world are systematically subjugated and enslaved. Muslim men who wantonly murder their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters can expect to receive little to no punishment for their crimes. The same holds for men who abuse their female relations. For their part, women in the Muslim world have either no legal rights to citizenship and civil rights or those rights are severely limited.
Gays, blacks, migrant workers, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists are systematically persecuted for their sexual preferences, their skin color and their religious beliefs. Even dogs feel the wrath of these societies where, since they are considered "unclean," children and adults alike routinely engage in their torture and killing.
But under the full protection of self-described liberal university professors, administrators and presidents, and due to the indifference of groups like the World Council of Churches, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization of Women, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, anti-Israel propagandists have been allowed to co-opt the language of liberty to advance the political fortunes of terrorists who aim to destroy liberty.
THE ACTIVE and passive support conferred on anti-Israel leftists and Muslims by these officials and groups has provided them with the ideological cover to take their activism to the next level: anti-Jewish violence aimed at intimidating states, universities, businesses and private organizations into cutting off all ties to Israel. Evidence of the success of this campaign is rife throughout Europe today.
In just one notable instance, for the past week Israeli tennis players, Amir Haddad and Andy Ram have been suffering the consequences of the Left's collusion with these anti-Jewish groups in Sweden. Haddad and Ram competed in the Davis Cup tennis championships in Malmo, Sweden.
In an article in Yediot Ahronot on Sunday, Ram wrote, "In my entire athletic career, I have never before experienced such hatred and such a mixing of sports with politics."
In spite of repeated entreaties by Israel, Swedish authorities refused to move the games from Malmo to Stockholm. With its enormous Muslim population, in recent years
Malmo has been the site of some of the worst Islamic violence against non-Muslims – and particularly Jews, women and girls – in the Western world.
Due to threats of violence against Ram and Haddad, Swedish authorities barred fans from attending their tennis matches. As they played their opening match in an empty stadium on Saturday, thousands of violent Muslims and leftists rioted against police and attempted to break down the barriers protecting the stadium with the stated aim of killing Ram and Haddad.
The protesters claim that their desire to murder Israeli tennis players is due to Operation Cast Lead. But this is pure propaganda. Their desire to murder Ram and Haddad stems not from Israel's military actions to defend its citizens from murder, but from the protesters' hatred of the Jewish state. And that hatred stems from the same source as their misogyny, their hatred of the US and their support for the likes of Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
A 2005 Swedish government report indicated that in 2004, incidents of rape had increased 50 percent throughout the country. A Malmo police report noted that 68 percent of the rapists were minorities. As Islamic scholar Robert Spencer has noted, Islamic teaching views rape as a legitimate act against women and girls who behave in "non-Islamic" ways. In much of Scandinavia as well as in Muslim neighborhoods in France, women have begun wearing veils in order to protect themselves against roving gangs of Muslim young men.
The defilement of women and girls, like gay bashing, has nothing to do with IDF operations in Gaza. It has to do with the pathological nature of the cultures that condone and encourage the violence, and the Western governments and intellectuals who make excuses for it.
ALL OF THIS is hidden away from the public thanks to Western liberals' willingness to accept the legitimacy of events like Israel Apartheid Week. Due to the complicity of leftist authorities, the international discourse about the Arab and Islamic world and the cultures they have produced is diverted to false allegations against Israel.
Any attempt to point out that Hamas is genocidal; that Iran stones women to death, and systematically executes homosexuals; that Saudi Arabia is the most repressive society on the planet; that Egypt permits and indeed encourages female genital mutilation; that Jordan does not prosecute fathers, sons, husbands and uncles who murder their female relatives; is attacked and delegitimized. Those who raise these issues are accused of hating Muslims and of being secret Zionist agents.
So too, Islamic violence in the West is swept under the rug. For example, to date, no mainstream US media organ has reported that in Buffalo, New York Muzzamil Hassan decapitated his wife Aasiya on February 12 after he stabbed her to death. Just a few years earlier that same mainstream media had embraced this murderer as a paragon of Islamic moderation after he established Bridges TV network, which was supposed to show the American public how moderate Islam is.
For some reason, the same media don't consider it noteworthy that their moderate Muslim poster boy chopped off his wife's head a week after she filed for divorce. Certainly, no connection can be drawn between her ritual slaughter and Islam.
Sunday was International Women's Day. Throughout the West, feminists spent the day congratulating themselves for their great sacrifices for women's rights.
Last Wednesday Saudi authorities arrested a woman for driving. Her arrest drew no protest from her Western sisters. Obviously, they were too busy defending Finklestein's freedom to disseminate lies about Israeli women to ignorant college kids to care.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.