By Ted Belman
David Shafir, a Toronto student, wrote to me of his despair.
I’m a student at York University in your hometown of Toronto. The number of arab youth on campus is staggering and growing by day. As you well know, they are not passive folks. They are VERY active in EVERY possible charitable and political cause on campus, and of course, in every anti-Israel event too. They are voted in as leaders of many if not most organizations on campus. Nonmuslim folks are young, impressionable,impulsive, with tons of energy and passion for doing good. They don’t have time and patience to investigate all aspects of Isr-Pal issues. They jump on the bandwagon bcs they are emphatically told by anti-israel folks what’s going on.
Ted, i can’t describe to you how widespread the anti-israelism is becoming on a daily basis. The issues are so complicated and convoluted that no one has patience and will to figure them out. All they see is “poor oppressed palestinians” and “israeli ruthless oppression” . THIS IS A DISASTER. JEWS, HILLEL, etc, ARE 100% HELPLESS AGAINST THIS, pathetically helpless. As long as israeli government doesn’t talk straight, honestly, about their plans for palistinians, things will be going downhill only. Folks here consider israeli gov an embodiment of the antisemitic stereotype of crafty, cunning, selfish, immoral jew. As long as israeli government continues building in areas that are deemed illegal by US and EU, the things will go from bad to worse. Those youth are future voters, their kids will be voters.
I can’t believe that israeli gov and diaspora leaders is so oblivious of what’s going on among gentile youth. Hillel is pathetic in dealing with this, bcs what can they do if israeli gov constantly violates the agreements made with eu and even US? Hillel have appeal only to christian students whose number on campus you can count on your fingers. Organized religion is disappearing from the youth anyway, so even this appeal is disappearing. Even many jewish youth are angry that they have to defend the indefensible, so they join the anti-israel crowd bcs the anti-israel activists are very clear about what’s going on.
Today’s youth are cynical, skeptical, impulsive, not having any respect for any authority. They immediately take on the cause of pal’s bcs it’s so similar to other oppressions, such as native americans, south africans, etc etc etc. I can’t describe to you how pathetic hillel actions look against the powerful anti-israel sentiment here.
How can i defend israel if israeli gov continues shamelessly lying to the international community and doing things deemed illegal by US and EU? It’s mission impossible! We are totally helpless; when will jewish establishment wake up? Not to mention that the number of jews is rapidly decreasing due to assimilation. Will jewish leaders wake up only when jews will be pogrom’ed here? This oblivion is beyond me!
You obviously know a lot about what is going on on campus but little about what is going on in the conflict.
But first, I was intrigued and surprised by this sentence.
“They are VERY active in EVERY possible charitable and political cause on campus,”
I do not believe that their activity is motivated by their desire to do good or be progressive. If it was, why don’t they take on their own religion which is the biggest violator of human rights.
Instead its done in pursuance of directives from above to ingratiate themselves to and to infiltrate into the progressive communities so that they can work to get their communities to join with them in their anti Israel activities.
You are right about this,
“All they see is “poor oppressed palestinians” and “israeli ruthless oppression”
but these images are not a reflection of reality but of incessant propaganda and repetition of “the big lie”.
Folks here consider Israeli gov an embodiment of the antisemitic stereotype of crafty, cunning, selfish, immoral jew”
reflects lies and propaganda and not reality. The same was the case in the thirties leading up to the holocaust.
You have been affected by this propaganda and so has Hillel. Both of you refuse to take a pro Israel stand and prefer to be fair minded and progressive. You are open to opinions on both sides especially Hillel. When you do this you are not advocates but judges, judges that are ideologically progressive and ignorant.
“As long as israeli government doesn’t talk straight, honestly, about their plans for palistinians, things will be going downhill only. Folks here consider israeli gov an embodiment of the antisemitic stereotype of crafty, cunning, selfish, immoral Jew.
You wouldn’t say this if you didn’t think it was true.
I too have complaints about what the Israeli government is saying and doing but totally disagree with what you have written. How would it help Israel to be candid in a world that couldn’t care less about facts and law, that is ready to pounce no matter what Israel does, short of capitulating. The deck is stacked against Israel and they are facing a lynch mob.
The vast majority of non Arab Israelis are against the two state solution based on the ’67 lines plus swaps or dividing Jerusalem or leaving the Jordan valley. So rather than say “no” to the international demands that they negotiate on this basis, it prefers to say “yes, but” which is a time honoured diplomatic tradition.
Israel’s basic position is “make me a better offer”. From a negotiating point of view. Israel has no obligation to make a counter offer. In fact it would be a big mistake to do so.
As long as israeli government continues building in areas that are deemed illegal by US and EU, the things will go from bad to worse.
So what if they are deemed illegal by the US, or illegal by the EU and the UN. That does not make it so. Whenever these bodies say that what Israel is doing is contrary to international law or a war crime, they are wrong. Its all about deligitimating and demonizing Israel.
Israel has every right to build in the settlements and in Jerusalem. There is no law or agreement signed by Israel that proscribes such building. It would be a big mistake to stop building because that is the only thing that puts pressure on the Arabs to compromise. Otherwise the Arabs will simply continue to live off the international teat and continue their violence and resistance for ever. By building we make time on our side.
Furthermore we have every right to build. So why shouldn’t we.
The Arabs will never agree to the existence of Israel. They want us destroyed. How would you deal with this reality?
Judea and Samaria are not “occupied Palestinian land” (OPL) no matter how many times this mantra is repeated. Not only is the land not “occupied”, it is not Palestinian and never was.
I find it easy to defend Israel because Israel is in the right. I believe that with all of my being but you don’t.
Israel must fight for their rights rather than abandon them because the international community demands it.“
Hillel is pathetic in dealing with this, bcs what can they do if israeli gov constantly violates the agreements made with eu and even US?”
Yes Hillel is pathetic but you are totally wrong about Israel being a violator or agreements. The converse is the truth but it would take a full article to show you the ways in which the great powers have violated Israel and their commitments to her.
“Even many jewish youth are angry that they have to defend the indefesible, so they join the antisrael crowd bcs the antiisrael activists are very clear about what’s going on.”
The problem is that they think Israel’s policies are “indefensible”. They and you are wrong in this. Totally wrong. You, and they, come to such conclusion because you prefer to go along to get along. You give the Arabs the benefit of the doubt. You cannot believe that the Arabs are totally in the wrong. You reflect the consensus rather than think independently. You have been brainwashed to be progressive and universal rather than conservative and particular.
“How can i defend israel if israeli gov continues shamelessly lying to the international community “.
You can’t but who says that the “Israeli government continues shamelessly lying”. Once again you have accepted the lie as the truth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And remember, “things deemed illegal by US and EU?” are not necessarily illegal. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty.
Where the Government of Israel has failed, is to win over the youth to their cause. Your letter amply shows this. The answer lies in changing the perception rather than yielding to it as you suggest.
Thank you for taking the time to write. You obviously care about Israel but are too ready to believe the worst about Israel.