Friday, May 03, 2024

Protesting God's Chosen People: What's Happening on America's College Campuses?

Originally I had intended to write about the protests taking place on several college and university campuses in America, however, I realized that there was much more going on here. The protests appear to be about  a number of issues such as college investments in the defense industry, at least partly, by disinvesting  of anything which supports Israel. 

They want  their school to disinvest of anything which supports Israel. They are also protesting Israel ending its so-called "genocide" of Gaza and occupation of Palestine. What's more is that the protesters have started shouting down Jewish students on campus and blocking them from class. In short, these are anti-Israeli protests, which is a rarity here in America. They have become anti-Semitic protests. 

In addition, the protestors would like to see a change in U.S. foreign policy towards Israel. Specifically cutting back or eliminating all military support and ending what some call America's "blanket approval" of supporting nearly everything Israel does, especially towards the Palestine.  

There's big money in war and no doubt the various institutions are making good money on their investments in the defense industry. Keeping the U.S. a war footing  is a great way to stimulate an otherwise lackluster economy. Also many of these colleges have 6+ figure contracts with the DoD and defense contractors to conduct research for them and don't forget, college campuses are stocked with potential recruits like fish in a pay lake!

While the students would like to see a change in U.S. foreign policy toward Israel, the exchange of goods aren't the primary concern of the students. Their focus is on what the U.S. provides Israel in terms of military aid. That figure is around $15 billion dollars. 

Of that, the majority of the money---$5 billion---goes towards Israel's "Iron Dome" which is used to protect Israel from missile attacks, primarily launched by Hezbollah and Hamas (and more recently, ISIS and Al Qaeda operating in Syria). In addition, the U.S. military, with President Biden's authorization, has agreed to replenish all of Israel's ammunition used in their war with Hamas.

The protestors are also calling for Israel to end its reprisal against Hamas because of all the deaths and injuries of civilians in Gaza. In listening to some of these protestors (many of whom are wearing a Palestinian "keffiyeh" or headscarf made famous by the terrorist group "Black September" when they murdered the Israel Olympic team in 1976), they seem to think that the war is Israel's fault.

The truth is that Hamas, a terrorist organization which hijacked the government in Gaza, attacked Israelis at a open concert on October 7th, murdering 1,139 individuals (695 civilians, 373 members of the security force, and 71 foreign nationals), not including the dozens who were beaten and raped, nor does it include the hostages taken by Hamas.

Israel, which had been enduring dozens of missile attacks by Hamas on a regular basis, made the decision to put an end to Hamas, and who could blame them? How many times do you have to keep getting hit by rocks before you decide to fight back? No other nation (the U.S., China, and Russia included) would have tolerated this, and Israel won't either.

As an aside, Russia has repeatedly responded to terrorist attacks by Georgian separatists and groups like ISIS-K with at least equal ferocity. Meanwhile, while not facing large scale terror attack, China has had a number of smaller scale terror, but nevertheless responded with equal zeal and intensity.

It should also be pointed out that while Hamas is "officially" the government of Gaza following the overthrow of the previous government, it is a terrorist organization first and foremost. It has regularly used civilians as shields. It routinely fires missile batteries hidden in schools or next to hospitals and mosques. Homeowners are forced at gunpoint to allow Hamas to store weapons and ammo in their homes. It intercepts humanitarian aid and sells it on the global black market to buy more weapons.

The people of Gaza see only a fraction of the aid sent to them. Recently, there was a report of dozens of UN and other trucks packed with food, fresh water, medical supplies, and clothes, however, they were hung up on the Israeli side of the border. Do you think that's out of spite by Israel?

No. It's because Israel was await for a safe opportunity to release the vehicles out of concern that Hamas will hijack the shipment and either sell it or store it for its own use. The other problem was that if Israel escorted the convoy in, there would be a strong chance the convoy could be ambushed, killing Israeli soldiers, aid workers, and Gaza residents. 

Other issues being promoted by the protestors is their claims that Israel is engaged in genocide and/or is an apartheid nation along the lines of South Africa (if you want to accuse anyone of genocide, look no further than here and our treatment of Native Americans). Israel is home to Christians, Jews, and Arabs. In fact, ethnic Jews comprise about 73.6% of the population while 21% are Arabs. While the majority of these a Muslim, there is a sizable population of Druze and Arab Christians. 

Roughly 45% of Jews living in Israel are "Mizrahi" or Oriental Jews, meaning they come from North Africa or Asia. 31.8% are Ashkenazi or European Jews. Many descend from survivors of the Holocaust (originally, most of the founders and settlers of Israel were Ashkenazi). 12.4% came from Soviet Russia or one of the Soviet Bloc nations. 3% are "Beta" Jews from Ethiopia (meaning they're also racially black Africans). Finally, about 7.9% are a mix.

About 21% of Israel's population is Arab. Most are Sunni Muslim, although there are some affiliated with the Shiite "Alawites". 18% are either Druze or Christian Arabs. Palestinians account for about 20% of Israel's population. It should be pointed out that the Palestinians in the West Bank also operate their own government (the same government had been ousted by Hamas in Gaza).

As an aside, while the overall population of Jews are shrinking in Israel, the population of Muslims are growing and will likely outnumber Jews within the next few generations. In addition, Israel is home to Christian Copts, Assyrian Christians, nomadic Bedouins, Samaritans, Armenians, and Circassians.

So, in looking at the demographics as noted above, it would appear these college protesters would have a hard time trying to justify their claim that Israel is actually a apartheid state in the sense that there are many diverse populations living in this small nation. 

I would be amiss in pointing out that Israel has repeatedly given up land in exchange for peace, ranging from the Sinai to the West Bank to parts of southern Lebanon and Western Syria.  In practically every occasion, the peace has been broken (and not by Israel), leaving the region in much the same position as it had been.

However, I don't want to make it appear that Israel has entirely clean hands and everything is the fault of the Palestinians, which is hardly the case. Israel's greatest flaw in dealing with the Palestinians has to do with the small but extremely influential Jewish hardliners. One such group is the "Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement". 

Their notoriety stems from their occupation of the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem and demands to allow Jews to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (the third holiest mosque in Islam). Of course, behind their "demands" is a deep seated belief that the Temple Mount is historically theirs and the mosque needs to be removed so that a Third Temple can be built there. 

It's worth noting that there are many fundamentalist Christians who believe the same thing, albeit for slightly different reasons. They believe that the Third Temple was be built on the Temple Mount in order to facilitate the Second Coming of Jesus. 

Obviously, that doesn't set well with either Palestinians, moderate Jews., or with Muslims everywhere. Nevertheless, while it seems that all sides are aware of what would likely happen should anything happened to the mosque, the hard core extremists don't seem to care since, from their perspective, God will intervene on their behalf.

Groups like the "Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful" believe in the old boundaries of the Jewish Kingdom which allegedly stretched from Egypt's border to the Euphrates River in Iran and encompassing parts of Syria and Lebanon. They also believe that only Jews should live in Israel. That means forcing out anyone who doesn't belong there, especially the Palestinians.

As a result, these ultra conservative groups regularly establish illegal settlements (some seem to rise literally overnight). Often they force Palestinians out of their homes overnight, barely giving them time to pack. They routinely defy police and even the military sent in to stop them. While these Palestinians can and do file complaints with the Israeli government or try to resist, the government is typically reluctant to do anything. and the settlers usually prevail.

Currently there are over 279 illegal settlements, comprised of  around 3500 housing units in the West Bank which include approximately 700,000 settlers living there. There are around 200,000 illegal settlers living in East Jerusalem.  

But while these extreme Orthodox settlers are responsible for much of the land grab of Palestinian land, they aren't the only ones. The Israeli government is known to show up occasionally (complete with bulldozers) and just announce they are taking possession of the land.

In March of 2024, the government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced they were seizing some 2000 acres in the Palestinian West Bank, which is suppose to belong solely to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian government. 

The ultra conservative finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, who lives in an illegal settlement, said there was "no room for half measures" and added that Israel has a historical right to Judea and Samaria (modern West Bank). U.N Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk called the move a "international war crime".  

So, what does all this tell us about the college protesters and their demands? Colleges aren't going to disinvest their interests in defense industry stocks any more than they're going to turn down multimillion dollar research contracts from the DoD or military contractors. It just ain't going to happen. Israel was the one who was brutally attacked on October 7th, but then too, they had been under regular missile attacks by Hamas. The October 7th attack (massacre would be a more accurate term) begged for a quick and severe response, which Israel delivered.

It's true that the situation in Gaza is beyond critical. It is quickly approaching a human catastrophe on an epic scale, yet Israel is prepared to render immediate aid. Nevertheless, Hamas continues to see the people of Gaza only as pawns and human shields. What happens to them matters less than making Israel look bad in the world's eyes, which it has done.

Hamas has the added advantage of winning the propaganda war with American college students who have swallowed Hama's "BS" hook, line, and sinker. As an aside, it also shows how little American college students know about the Middle East and how lazy they've become in doing their due diligence when it comes to proper research before staging protests.  

Lastly, Israel is not technically an apartheid state. It has a wide and diverse population with the largest minority---the Arabs---likely to dominate the nation within the next 100 years if not sooner. However, where the students are correct is the treatment of Palestinians.

Despite the Israeli government's rhetoric about equality, it's clear that the Palestinians are treated no better than second class best. They remind me of Native Americans during the "Great Westward Migration". Any lie and by any means will do as long as they're gone. Somehow, the people of Israel must do what the government is to afraid to do, and that's to say "no" to the extremist.

One more thing about the protestors. Something has been happening on these college and university campuses which I didn't think was possible in America. It's not the brazen defying of administration (that's pretty cool actually) although there will be consequences. No, what we've started seeing is the rise of anti-Semitism among some of the students and its tolerance by others. Anti-Semitism is an evil as vile as any. It should be snuffed out wherever it's found.

The Israeli people must link arms with the Palestinians. They must see and accept them as neighbors. Israelis need to remember Rabbi Hillel's famous quote "what is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor". Until this happens, the situation will continue to worsen until something unforgivable happens. When that occurs there will be no more Palestinians and no more Israel. Only tears.


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Israel Policy Forum: West Bank Settlements

Who are the Israeli settlers and why do they live onPalestinian lands?

The hardline Israelis stoking violence in East Jerusalem

Demographics of Israel

Uyghur Genocide: Why Most Muslim Countries Remain Silent


1 comment:

Martha said...

So, I think it needs to be noted that these "protests" are not the same kind of protests from the '70s and not the usual protests that happen almost daily in DC. These protests are bordering on riots. For one thing, when interviewed on the news about half of the protesters do not even know what they are protesting, not really.. They are giggling 20 year olds who are just out there because their professor told them if they join the protests they get an A in the class. Then there are the "professional" protesters. They go from city to city stirring up a mess with anyone who will listen. They started the George Floyd riots and several others. When asked by the media, the young college students said they really were not sure what they were protesting but looked like they were having fun. Everyone has the right to protest but NO ONE has the right to trespass on private property - Columbia and some of the other colleges are private colleges - and they do not have the right to chant hate speech, and they do not have the right to bar anyone, student or adult from going to classes. They most likely feel they have won because they have taken away graduation ceremonies from the exact same students that lost their High School graduations because of the lies shouted around about Covid. I am hearing that some of the colleges are "bargaining" with these students. They are in the Blue States. The Red states are calling in police at the beginning and having them cut these people off the college property. These are not the protests that are typical in this country and it is a shame they are being allowed to tear down our culture and way of life.