Antisemitism: Rational or Irrational?

Antisemitism has been at times likened to a disease or a mutating virus.israel apartheid dry bones

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate and Auschwitz survivor, made the remark, “The world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only antisemitism has remained … The only disease that has not found its cure is antisemitism.” (1)

Where does antisemitism come from and why? Is antisemitism rational or  irrational. This is the sixty four million dollar question and the answer is: – “it is both rational and irrational”.

The Goals and Purpose of Antisemitism

To the propagators  of antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, antisemitism is understood to be a powerful psychological weapon in the interest of national policy.This is very rational and goal directed. Both Hitler and the current day jihadists/Palestinians, understand this very well. Hermann Rauschning, who claimed to be Hitler’s ‘confidant’, said in the mid-1930s:

“Anti-Semitism … was beyond question the most important weapon in [Hitler’s] propagandist arsenal, and almost everywhere it was of deadly efficiency. That was why he had allowed Streicher, for example, a free hand. The man’s stuff, too, was amusing, and very cleverly done. Wherever, he wondered, did Streicher get his constant supply of new material? He, Hitler, was simply on thorns to see each new issue of the Stürmer. It was the one periodical that he always read with pleasure, from the first page to the last”.[10]

 

And now here is the deceptive and irrational part exemplified by deceptive books and newspapers, such as the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Hitlers’ Mein Kampf (which was largely based on the previous book and Der Sturmer, the antisemitic German newspaper which began its publication in Germany in 1924. I quote from wikipedia: 

“Beginning in 1924, Streicher used Der Stürmer as a mouthpiece not only for general antisemitic attacks, but for calculated smear campaigns against specific Jews…Streicher orchestrated his early campaigns against Jews to make the most extreme possible claims, short of violating a law that might get the paper shut down. He insisted in the pages of his newspaper that the Jews had caused the worldwide Depression, and were responsible for the crippling unemployment and inflation which afflicted Germany during the 1920s. He claimed that Jews were white-slavers and were responsible for over 90 percent of the prostitutes in the country. Real unsolved killings in Germany, especially of children or women, were often confidently explained in the pages of Der Stürmer as cases of “Jewish ritual murder.”

One of Streicher’s constant themes was the sexual violation of ethnically German women by Jews, a subject which served as an excuse to publish semi-pornographic tracts and images detailing degrading sexual acts. These “essays” proved an especially appealing feature of the paper for young men. With the help of his notorious cartoonist, Phillip “Fips” Rupprecht, Streicher published image after image of Jewish stereotypes and sexually-charged encounters. His portrayal of Jews as subhuman and evil is widely considered to have played a critical role in the dehumanization and marginalization of the Jewish minority in the eyes of common Germans – creating the necessary conditions for the later perpetration of the Holocaust.”

Although Julius Streicher was able to escape the consequences of his writing during Nazi times. (He was frequently sued for libel but manged to evade guilty verdicts): in 1945 he was one of the nine Nazis tried and found guilty by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Julius Streicher was one of the nine Nazis who were convicted  for “Crimes against Humanity.” and died on the gallows.

Joshua Muravchik in his book “Making David into Goliath” documents the pro-Palestinian leanings of the EU. Is this political stance rational or irrational? Joshua Muravchik points to the policy of appeasement of Palestinian hijackers by European states in the wake of Palestinian terror attacks such as the plane hijackings which were so ubiquitous in the 1960’s and the Munich Olympics terror attack in 1973.

In an interview based on his book Joshua Muravchik  notes:

We know that several European governments made quiet deals with the Palestinians to keep the violence off their soil. One barometer of this was that in virtually every case – and there were dozens – where the perpetrators were taken into custody after a hijacking or terror act, they were soon released. This was sometimes in exchange for other hostages who had been seized by the terrorists and sometimes as part of some other diplomatic deal. This was a measure of how much governments, particularly European governments, didn’t want to be embroiled in a conflict with these groups and were inclined to make concessions to keep things quiet.

Thus for policy reasons, European nations have turned a blind eye towards the anti-Israel terrorism on their own soil and on Israeli soil. Of course, this policy has come back to bite them big time. As many have noted “antisemitism may begin with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews.”

These are the Rational Purposes of Antisemitism: What about the Irrational Aspects? What about those ideas prevalent since the middle ages and into the present time, that Jews use human blood to create matza (unleavened bread) for Passover. Can any rational person believe this? And then there are the even more outlandish internet videos on youtube that spew lies about Jews and Israel the following is just a very abbreviated list:•  

 ARE THE JEWS ALIEN LIZARDS ? I thought it was a crazy idea until I studied it by Neo triestowarnyou 124,198 views 
 1:20:59

•    Where have the Rothschilds disappeared to? by The Bilzerian Report 1,373,332 views 
 21:03

•    Michael Collins Piper vs Eric Jon Phelps – The Great Debate: Zionists or Jesuits? by Reasonable Doubtt 28,625 views 
 1:26:06

•    Should the British stop tolerating intolerance? (The Big Questions, 15/6/14) by Islam & Islamicate 58:50

(By the way I have not watched all of these but any brief look  at the titles will advise you of the nature of the content.)

And then there are the conspiracy theory antisemites highlighted inthese kinds of videos.

•    The Protocols Of The Learned Elders Of Zion by ZeroSixtyFive 40,721 views 
 3:21:38

•    Evidence that The Protocols of Zion are Genuine, 1of4 by TheRapeOfJustice 10,258 views 
 14:57

But we have not yet talked about the most significant driver of antisemitism, the emotional psychological driver. It is well known that emotional arguments suffused with fear and anxiety have a powerful hold on individuals both children and adults and take precedence over critical thinking. The best example of this is the claim that “Jews murdered Jesus”. This calumny is what motivated Christian antisemitic pogroms as it was promoted by the Christian church to the masses who then felt justified in hating and murdering Jews through many centuries of Christian church influence.

 

Benny Morris at McGill

Benny Morris, the Israeli historian of the 1948 war in Israel, recently spoke at the first  meeting of this year’s series of lectures sponsored by ISGAP, The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism

Benny Morris flyerBenny Morris, an Israeli historian, was the darling of the anti-Israel left for supporting the Arab narrative about ht

In addition to describing both sides of the war, the players and their motivations, He asked the question: “Was the war by the Arabs against the establishment of the State of Israel (1947-1948) in the area that was called Palestine during the governance of the English Mandate, an Islamic Jihadi war?” He has uncovered evidence that it was. He has uncovered broadcasts from the Allimah of Al-Azhar University, one of the the highest Islamic authorities, calling for a Jihad against the Jews immediately after the partition announcement in the United Nations.

At the same time, he pointed out how the armies that were unleashed against the nascent State of Israel, in addition to their Muslim anti-Jewish motivations, also had their particular agendas. Israel alone was fighting for survival. And this is why she had the absolute motivation to win at all cost, and did win. And the

This lecture brought out the largest audience ISGAP has ever had at Mcgill. Hecklers showed up prior to the lecture objecting to Prof. Morris giving his talk. They shouted loudly and we were not sure whether he would be able to speak, but finally they were persuaded to leave.

After the talk there was a lively question period. One question that I found very interesting was a question from someone, who could have been a professor, asking Why ISGAP, the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism invited Benny Morris, a professor of Israeli history. Unfortunately Israel’s history then and now is filtered through the lens of Jew-hatred. Even though critics of Israel love to proclaim that “criticism of Israel is not antisemitism”. The BDS movement’s focus on destroying the Jewish State is very close to it. And this person’s objection to hearing the scholarly talk of a historian speaks for itself.

And by the way, Benny Morris has been vilified by both sides for his historical analysis and it is a credit to the Institute that they invited him to speak.

I am writing this a day after the Horrific Paris attacks. As I listen to the CBC and BBC all still appear to be confused by the attacks. Israel has been dealing with this kind of terrorism since its inception and even today the mainstream media is not reporting the hundreds of attacks perpetrated in Israel by the Palestinians, inspired by their Jew baiting, Israel baiting Imams. Over 609 attacks have been documented in Israel during the months of September and October of this year and even today we received news of a murder of a father and a son attacked in their van.

This article says it best How Many More Wake-Up Calls.

And here is a post if you needed any more confirmation about the antisemitic, anti-Israel incitement that goes on everyday over the internet.

Fortunately we now have organizations like PAL WATCH – Palestinian Media Watch who are there to document and expose these purveyors of hatred towards Israel and Jews everywhere.

And here is the video recording of the talk by Benny Morris at McGill University, Montreal, November 2015

https://vimeo.com/147348120

 

Exposing IAW and BDS on campus

bdsI have been attending the IAW Israel/apartheid week and BDS  lectures and and observing their behavior in Montreal for at least five years.

The Palestinian Mafia on campus systematically takes over student union positions, something not too difficult to do since most students are totally uninterested in student government issues, preferring to focus on study and grades and getting that degree. The student union fees are automatically deducted from students’ fees.
The “student union” in Montreal is not part of the university and does not come under the jurisdiction of the university. It comes under the labor law and the jurisdiction of labor unions. They become therefor untouchable unless students wake up to where their funds are going.

I know this because of personal experience.
In Montreal, and I can see that IAW and BDS uses the same tactic everywhere.  On campuses all over North America the same speakers and programs are offered. It is clear that they are a well organized franchise having very little to do with student leadership.

Their most recent pretty boy is Steven Salaita, the professor who was declined for a tenure position at the University of Illinois for his poor scholarship and egregious tweets regarding the recent war in Gaza.
I attended his talk here in Montreal last week and recorded it.
 The hall was full of those and only those who are already convinced of the “cause”. They tried to dissuade me from attending. They wanted to know “why I was there”. I was the only one in the room not clapping and not adulating the speaker.

The other modus operandi of BDS and IAW is to infiltrate left wing student organizations, and student media. Check out the student run media In Montreal, CUTV, a tv lab run by student union funds, and the student run radio station, CKUT 90.3fm, that is totally infiltrated by professional Palestinian activist students. In addition the students infiltrate left wing student causes and organizations, convincing them that they are in the same boat as the Palestinians. They prey on underdog issues, aboriginal causes, feminism, queer issues, sexual harrassment, infiltrating these student organizations and comparing Israel and the Palestine issues to South Africa and its apartheid era. (Any scholar can differentiate between these two but these people thrive on the innocence and ignorance of students seducing them to these “social justice” causes by false information and a false narrative: ie, that the Israelis are Jewish “colonizers” who have stolen Arab lands. That the Israelis are committing “genocide” vis a vis the Palestinians. The BDS mafia has no respect for history or numbers. Very few students are in a position to check them. In addition to bringing false information about the Israel/Palestine situation, by bringing rogue Israeli soldiers and “professors” Jewish, and otherwise, in this way they wage a psychological campaign for the hearts and minds of college students.
And sadly I have seen even legitimate tenured college professors supporting them. Because the left wing rhetoric can be compelling. I used to have an uncle who while not being a leftie himself was wont to pronounce, “the world is veering to the left”…that was before the fall of Communism.

Students and the public are beginning to understand this situation. This year 2014/2015, the McGill student union brought two motions for the university to boycott and divest from Israeli enterprises. They were defeated in the autumn term because students made a concerted effort to invite students who never attend student GA’s to come out and vote “No”. The student leaders then put it on the agenda again in the spring term close to exams. This time in addition to student mobilization, Justin Trudeau himself, an alum of McGill showed up to denounce the motion and it was defeated 267 – 217.
Ryan Bellrose, a Metis from Calgary, has personally waged a one man campaign to show how the aboriginal situation in Canada is more like the Israeli position than the Palestinian position.

But how many people can involve themselves in a serious way in this ugly battle.
In addition to the blogs that I have published on my own site (www.askabigailProductions.com)  and the blogs that Ryan Bellrose has published (http://www.cuwi.ca/ryan-bellerose.html), I am aware of several organizations that have stepped up to the plate to expose this situation. SPME, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East), CIJR (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research), ISGAP (Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism).

I would love to hear from you on this issue.

Abigail Hirsch, CSW
CEO askabigail Productions
March 18, 2015

What is the Israel/apartheid, BDS movement all about?

workers party europeWhat is the Israel/apartheid movement all about? It is a  radical left wing, communist workers party, focusing on Israel as the “bad guy capitalist” and “colonial” entity. They will tell you that they don’t focus only on Israel and its true. They also are anti-Canada and anti-US. They court aboriginals with incitement that Canada has “stolen lands from the aboriginal Indians”, and claim to support feminist and “queer” issues, and all anarchic environmental and political issues. Their current flag waving is about the prospect of raised student fees. Certainly any serious academic can punch giant holes in all their arguments but they are convinced of their self righteous political correctness, of being on the side of “justice” and “human rights”.

So why have they made a name for themselves with the Israeli issue? Because they think they can. Why did the Nazis target the Jews? Because they were a distinct and demonized minority, easy to push around. We now realize that this is antisemitism.  As Prof.Wistrich pointed out “there are some things that only an intellectual would be stupid enough to believe…Intellectuals invented modern antisemitism”

The BDS Israel/apartheid movement is doing the same thing. It is attracting students with the call for “social justice” by using spurious academic arguments regarding Israel as a colonial entity who has “stolen” Arab land and is committing genocide vis a vis the palestinians. They call it “apartheid” and call for Justice for Palestinians. The Nazis also had their academic supporters. They too were spurious.

Anyone who believes this is not a sophisticated organizing labor/union party is fooling themselves. And by the way, apparently student unions in Quebec fall under the legal law of labor unions. I learned this the hard way, via an experience of discrimination by a Concordia student union enterprise: CUTV. When I complained to the university authorities, they told me their hands were tied because the student union comes under the labor union law and is a defacto union, supported by student fees.

They call themselves a grass roots movement similar to the unionizing movement of another era.  They adopt the tactics of Saul Alinsky, the social worker of the early twentieth century who supported the unionizing of farm workers in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. And they infiltrate victim-associated student groups in order to get them to align themselves with their subverted Palestinian narrative. For example one of the titles of their talks is

from Turtle Bay to Palestine”

Turtle bay is a Canadian Aboriginal community

I quote from a recent article published by SPME, Schlars for Peace in the Middle East:

Academic freedom” is invoked today by the BDS movemetn largely to criticize two Satans – America and Israel.  Only sexual harassment appears exempt from this blanket protection. Gradually the entire campus has become an “academic freedom” zone where protests often filled with anti-Israel speech that demonize the Jewish State qualify as academic “speech.”  Universities have enacted “speech codes” and imposed restrictions on “hate speech” in an attempt to curtail speech that academics find uncongenial. But these codes and restrictions do a pitiful job protecting against the falsehoods waged against Israel. Clearly, academic freedom is a one-way street; only those having the “correct” opinions may claim it.

In conclusion, the IAW/BDS movement propogates a false and delegitimizing narrative vis-a-vis Israel under the banner of “social justice”.

And this is why, I, who am not an academic, feel compelled to share with you my experience and understanding of the IAW and BDS campus movements. IAW and BDS is subverting the minds of our students with false narratives and they need to be “called out”.

But don’t take my word for it, Here is a very detailed and well researched article on BDS its supporters and funding.

Unmasking BDS: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends

 

Is Israel a colonial or post colonial enterprise?

French_Colonial_administrator_Congo_1905Is Israel a “colonial” or a “post colonial” enterprise? Why am I asking this question? The charge that Israel is a “colonial” enterprise in the sense that England or France or other European powers were colonial enterprises in the nineteenth century and leading up to the present, is a keystone of the the anti-Israel propaganda yearly foisted on North American students by the pro-Palestinian propaganda machine that promotes the claim that Israel is an apartheid state as was South Africa and therefore is worthy of “boycott divestment and sanctions”. Boycott Divestment and Sanctions by the international community is generally considered to be the force that lead to the release of Nelson Mandela and the liberation of South African Blacks from the oppressive “apartheid laws” formulated by the South African government regarding permissible connections between whites and blacks in South Africa in the twentieth century. This was a clearly colonial enterprise of the Dutch, the white people who colonized an area in Africa and created the state of South Africa.

I am not a scholar in this area but this question of whether Israel is a colonizer state has apparently been been on the minds of scholars and I bring you here the scholarly struggle to define this term vis-a-vis Israel, the modern Jewish state born in 1948 out of the ashes of the European colonial enterprise in the Middle East: (approx. 1917 – 1948)
http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~ikalmar/illustex/penslarzionism.htm

Israel: A Colonial or Post-Colonial State?
Copyright c 2003 by Derek Jonathan Penslar
Zionism certainly contained Orientalist elements, yet it differed from colonial movements in its assertion of familial propinquity, however distant, with the Arabs.  As opposed to Joseph Conrad’s nightmarish vision of the corruption of the white man who journeys into the heart of African darkness, Conrad’s contemporary, the Hebrew writer Moshe Smilansky, presented Jewish contact with the Beduin and Druze of Palestine as literally an ennobling experience.  For Smilansky, celebration of the Arab was less similar to Western romanticization of the utterly alien noble savage than Russian depictions of the semi-Asiatic Caucasian Muslim as intrinsically Russian.[4]  Moreover, whereas the topos of the Arab as sexual object figured prominently in Orientalist fantasy (the object was usually female but at times male, as in Andre Gide’s novel The Immoralist), the sexualized Arab rarely figured as an object of Zionist desire.[5]   Thus we see in Zionism an apparently contradictory search for connection with and isolation from the Arab, a contradiction that can be resolved if we look beyond the obvious similarities between Zionism and colonialism and turn our gaze to the Jews’ historic status as a colonized people and Zionism as an anti-colonial movement.  …

Moreover, although the officers of the ZO had few qualms about linking their enterprise with European colonialism, they were not wont to conceive of the Arab as an enemy to be expelled or a body to be enslaved for profit.  …

It is no surprise, then, that aspects of Zionism resemble  anti-colonial national movements, although there were spectacular differences as well...

Much of the recent literature on the colonial encounter probes the complex reaction of the colonized intelligentsia to the blandishments of the West, the inability to achieve full acceptance, and the simultaneous desire to preserve and transform indigenous cultures.  Throughout Asia and Africa, intellectuals compensated for their economic and military inferiority vis a vis the west by asserting the moral and spiritual superiority of the colonized nation versus the powerful, but allegedly spiritually bankrupt, European powers.  For example, in India, Vivekananda’s Ramakrishna mission, founded in 1897, re-fashioned Hinduism into a bulwark against the west, which allegedly inculcated spiritual discipline into its adherents through yoga and meditation, and stimulated national solidarity by preaching the necessity of social action.[7]  Here, as well as in such diverse lands as Thailand (Siam), Meiji Japan and late Ottoman Egypt, the locus of collective identity was presented by intellectuals as found in the realms of culture, religion, and historical commemoration, which could lead to a purification of contemporary ways of thinking and a return to lost glory…

An essential component of early Indian and Jewish nationalism was a defensive, secular historiography that posited the continuous existence of a united people (what Benedict Anderson calls a bound seriality[12]), whose fall from ancient glory was the result of random chance and human action, not divine will.  Traditional Hindu historiography, like the historical consciousness of biblical and rabbinic Judaism, interpreted the course of human events as the result of divine providence, which rewarded and punished the leaders of the faith and people according to their observance of the divine way, be it dharma or halakhah.  Although Jewish historical thinking began to secularize in the sixteenth century, in the wake of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Hindu scholars were accounting for the Muslim and British conquests of India within this sacred-historical framework as late as the mid 1800’s.  But in the 1870s, Hindu historiography adopted modern Western conceptual norms, with the result being a body of writing in many ways parallel to the great works of Jewish historical writing of the age. Heinrich Graetz’s magisterial History of the Jews, like  Tarnicharan Chattopadhyay’s History of India, blended staggering erudition with proto-nationalist apologetics.   Both authors molded history by compartmentalizing it into distinct periods, separated by particular events that became synecdoches for the nation as a whole.  History moved from the periphery to the center of consciousness; the nationalist project was presented as an act of restoration as much as one of revolutionary transformation.[13]

The comparisons I am offering between the Jewish and Asian intelligentsia might appear forced because, prior to the rise of Zionism, the former rarely thought of themselves as colonized, but rather as members of a religious minority, deeply rooted within its lands of residence, most of which became increasingly open to Jews, socially and politically, over the course of the nineteenth century.  Emancipation transformed Jews into enfranchised citizens, and capitalism made them into prosperous burghers.   In such an environment, one could argue, Jewish intellectuals did not engage in colonial mimicry, rather, they were no more or less European than their Christian fellow-countrymen.  There was, however, a clearly apologetic, defensive component in the Haskalah and Wissenschaft movements that differentiate them from their general European counterparts, the Enlightenment and historicism.   The popularization of scientific discourse in the Jewish press was far more than an instrument of mass education through the dissemination of useful knowledge; it was seen as a vehicle for the collective transformation of a people psychically stunted by talmudism.  Jewish intellectuals in nineteenth-century Europe may have felt that time was on their side, but they were nonetheless engaged in a vigorous campaign to refashion Judaism, not merely to be accepted into European society, but also to protect Jewish life from the blandishments of both Christianity and secularism, to engage in a carefully thought out process of imitation in order to prevent assimilation.  The material conditions of life for European Jews and Asians differed greatly, as did the relations of power with the European hegemon, but the thought processes of Jewish and Asian intellectuals were similar, including those that led to the development of nationalist ideologies.  It is no surprise, then, that aspects of Zionism resemble  anti-colonial national movements, although there were spectacular differences as well...

(The politics of female emancipation in the context of colonial theory: (heading mine)

Consider the case of women’s suffrage, which was the subject of almost two centuries of debate in the West, and which only came to France and Switzerland after the second World War.  Yet as Sylvia Walby has noted, post-colonial states have granted women the franchise at the time of the states’ establishment. Political citizenship is granted to all adults at the time of state creation as an expression of a populist sentiment and a legitimization of the overthrow of nonrepresentative colonial rule.  As Chatterjee writes of India, nationalists asserted that the entire people had been nationalized, that is, vested with a distinct and unifying Indianness. The entire nation, having been feminized by the colonial power, was to be emancipated in one fell swoop.[14]  This conceptual framework is of benefit for the study of Zionism, for it helps account for the World Zionist Organization’s early granting of voting rights to women (for the second Zionist Congress of 1898, at a time when only New Zealand had national female suffrage) and the passion with which all but ultra-Orthodox members of the Yishuv advocated women’s suffrage after the first World War.”

As you can see, use of the term “colonial” vis-a-vis Israel is totally spurious from an academic point of view and yet it is blandished by all of the BDS literature and mentioned casually by all of the BDS speakers.

Thank you for having the courage to inform yourself regarding these issues as I have.

Abigail Hirsch, CSW,

An observor and student of the BDS/Israel apartheid movement in Montreal, Canada

 

I am adding another perspective on the Israel/colonial issue by Metis activist and proud Zionist Ryan Bellerose.

I look forward to hearing from you and your comments.

 

 

Views of a liberal feminist, environmentalist, queer ally, student activist re Israel BDS and Zionism

bds bigotry double standards -bigotryI support Israel because I am a liberal.

At McGill I was a pretty typical hippie. I ate kale salads, bought local and organic where possible, listened to obscure alt/rock indie bands, and supported and participated in initiatives that sought to help the environment, promote aboriginal rights, reduce the influence of multinational corporations on government policy, and increase the minimum wage. I went to protests and gay pride parades, and even participated in a drag show and a feminist working group. I’m staunchly pro-choice and supportive of many social welfare policies and equal rights for gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals, many of whom I include among my closest friends.

In other words, I lean left. Quite left, in fact. That’s why I support Israel.

Yes, you read that right. I support Israel because I am a liberal.

I’m a feminist, environmentalist, queer ally, activist, and Zionist. Those terms are not mutually exclusive – in fact, they complement each other and are the very antithesis of hypocritical.

I support oppressed peoples around the world. I believe that every human being has the right to live in peace and dignity, however they choose – whether bikini or burqa. By that token, I do not support governments that legally oppress marginalized groups such as immigrants, gays, women, indigenous peoples, transgendered people, and those of a different religion from the ruling class. I also don’t blindly support groups just because they are oppressed, especially if their oppression is the result of their democratically elected leadership. I choose my support carefully, and support the groups whose values most align with mine.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is rife with black and white generalizations and anger on both sides. Some who take Marxist and Post-Colonialist ideology way further than was initially intended see the Palestinian Arabs as little more than poor, oppressed “people of color,” who have no choice but to resist the powerful, rich, “white” Israelis. Many ironically claim their movement is nonviolent, which cannot be further from the truth, as stabbings, suicide bombings, rocket launches, and myriad other methods have succeeded at killing thousands of Israeli civilians as intended. Even at so-called “nonviolent” demonstrations, pro-Israel counter-protestors are frequently subject to violence.

The anti-Israel movement is also marred with the “racism of low expectations,” which excuses violence from peoples they deem “oppressed” while decrying actions far less severe from those they deem “oppressors.” They use death tallies and alliances to determine guilt and innocence. Those officially allied with the “world superpowers” – such as NATO, or more specifically the U.S. – are automatically considered guilty and undeserving of any sympathy, whereas those allied with the “less-powerful” third world, the communist bloc, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are cut more slack. Also, the ability to protect their own people with devices such as the Iron Dome, resulting in a lower death toll apparently makes the Israeli side more guilty, and the increased death toll, despite the fact that it’s the result of the use of Human Shields by the Palestinian side, confirms innocence. It appears to me that more Israelis need to die in order for us to be absolved from our alleged guilt, which to me sounds totally ridiculous, and highlights how little sense these metrics make.

I’m done taking sides. I chose to align myself with the humanitarian side, the side that would make a better life for Israelis and Palestinians alike. I choose to align with Israel, as that is the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian way to go.

Israeli Arabs have full equal rights and live better in Israel than in any Arab countries. My values – supposedly leftist, liberal values – of protecting the environment and social welfare systems, fostering education and scientific progress and ensuring equality for all genders, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and abilities – align with Israel’s and are the opposite of the Palestinian Authority’s.

I support Israel because I am an environmentalist. Israel has always been at the forefront of water-saving technologies, as well as improved recycling, alternative fuel sources, and other green technology as a result of the need to make the most of what little natural resources the country has. Israel injects billions of dollars into these initiatives and startups, andcontributes even more to research and development (R&D) in its universities and think tanks, while the Palestinian Authority hasn’t contributed a cent.

I support Israel because I am a queer ally. Queers in Israel have more rights than queers in any other country in the Middle East, meaning they actually have rights. Queers in Israel are allowed to have civil unions that give them the same legal rights and benefits as straight married couples, and Israel recognizes gay marriages practiced outside. Queers in Israel are also allowed to go all out and be themselves, as is evidenced by the thriving scene, with loads of gay bars, drag shows, and pride parades.

I support Israel because I’m a feminist. Women serve alongside men in the IDF, enroll in university at higher rates than men, and hold some of the highest positions in the land. One of the most revered Israeli Prime Ministers of all time was a woman. Israel surpasses its neighbors by a mile at this metric, by virtue that woman are legally considered equal to men.

I’m not “pinkwashing” or “greenwashing” or whatever kind of “washing” everyone is using these days to silence pro-Israel attitudes among progressives. In fact, I am surprised more people aren’t realizing how nonsensical these terms are, and how little water they actually hold when subject to scrutiny.

I support multiculturalism and minority rights. So does Israel. Despite being called a “Jewish State,” Israel is only about 70% Jewish. The rest includes 1.4 million Muslim Arabs who are legally equal to Jews. They don’t only have equal rights, they have more rights, as non-Jews have a right Jews do not, the right to refuse to do military service. I’m not going to downplay the racism and discrimination they sometimes experience in many facets of Israeli society, but the government condones none of it. Israelis, especially if they are in IDF uniform, get punished severely by Israeli law for committing any kind of hate crime or discriminatory act against an Israeli minority. In contrast, the Palestinian Authority rewards those and the families of those who commit crimes against Israelis, from throwing rocks to suicide bombings, with money, fame, and prestige. Take a walk around any Palestinian Authority city and you’ll find streets, parks, monuments, and museums dedicated to suicide bombers for the sole reason of them sacrificing their lives in their quest to destroy Israel. Given that 40% of Palestinians think suicide bombings can be justified according to a recent Pew poll, these views are not unpopular. Most especially, all the Palestinian territories are strictly judenrein –meaning no Jews are allowed to live there. Somehow though, people call Israel an apartheid state, when the Palestinian Authority isn’t just apartheid, it’s genocidal. Just take a look at the Hamas Charter and see for yourself.

If the anti-Zionists got what they wanted, that is the kind of regressive society that would take over. The fact that any progressives would support it over an open and free Israel totally boggles my mind.

I support Israel because I support indigenous rights. A common myth that many people believe is that Palestinians, not Jews, are indigenous to Israel. For starters, there has only ever been a Jewish state in Israel: Judea. During all other periods of history, it was part of a larger colonial power – first it was a Roman colony, then it was a Muslim caliphate, then it was a part of the Ottoman Empire, then it was handed over to the British after the Ottoman Empire fell in 1917, and finally, the British handed it back to the Jews with the blessing of the UN, and it became a state for the first time in nearly two millennia. Genetic testing seems to confirm that “Palestinians” and their Arab brethren are genetically indistinguishable, and are the descendants of colonialists from the Arabian Peninsula. Jews, however, are originally from the Levant. In other words, Jews are indigenous to the State of Israel. Not only that, but Jews have always been in Israel despite numerous expulsions by their colonial rulers, and Jerusalem, the holiest city in Judaism, always had a Jewish majority.

Finally, I believe that Big Oil should not intervene with social policy, as any environmentally-conscious left-winger should. That’s why I recognize that Big Oil – in other words, oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar – spend billions of dollars on the anti-Israel lobby, as well as funding institutions that foster their anti-Israel and judeophobic worldview and even terrorist groups in both the U.S. and abroad. Right wing corporate lobbying by Big Oil in the U.S. is unacceptable but Islamist lobbying by Big Oil from the Gulf States is okay? To me this kind of selective allowance seems hypocritical and counter to the progressive liberal values I hold dear, especially since the brand of conservatism the Gulf states espouse makes the Tea Party look like a far-left hippie commune.

The “White ain’t Right, Strong is Wrong” mentality has infected my fellow lefties like a virus, and has stifled all critical thinking, probing, and intellectual curiosity. This mentality, along with its Marxist and postcolonialist progenitors, is a mental shortcut that is used to categorize and simplify the world in a way that is palatable to the human mind, but so dangerous that it causes people to completely ignore complexity, nuance and exceptions. These types of shortcuts – the very shortcuts that lead to racism by putting people into categories and assuming guilt or innocence based on superficial parameters – are antithetical to liberal progressive thought as they create unnecessary constraints on free thought and render the mind a prison to certain ideologies.

Although Jews have consistently, without a doubt, been through the ultimate proverbial meat-grinder, with entire civilizations trying to wipe us out at every turn, we should define ourselves by our successes and our triumphs. And, due to the above reasons, I see Israel as the greatest triumph of all.

That’s why, as a progressive and a liberal, I wholeheartedly support Israel.

Alexandra Markus is a freelance writer who lives in New York City and works as a producer for AskAbigail Productions. While attending McGill University, she was a student reporter intern at the Israel on Campus Coalition. She is passionate about debunking anti-Israel falsehoods wherever she may find them. She also remains active in other progressive causes.

Calling all Students: PIRG, Tadamon, BDS, SPHR: Are they related?

israel apartheid dry bonesHave you ever heard of a PIRG? Have you ever heard of QPIRG or McGill PIRG? What about Tadamon? BDS? SPHR?

If you are a student, you no doubt have been recently challenged by a vote by the student councils of both McGill and Concordia University promoting a pro-Palestinian vote on BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel which have both been shelved for the present.

The PIRG movement was originally proposed in the book Action for a Change by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross, and materialized in the early 1970’s on U.S. college campuses starting with University of Minnesota. By the 1980’s, the PIRG movement caught fire in North America. Today, there are more than 200 PIRGs in the US and 20 in Canada.
However, the Canadian PIRG model has diverged sharply from its U.S. counterpart.
While most US PIRGs are state-based lobby and community action groups, Canadian PIRGs are almost entirely run on university campuses. US PIRGs focus primarily on issues related to environmental protection, child health and obesity prevention, closing corporate tax loopholes, increasing energy efficiency, health care reform, consumer protection, and public transit reform. However in Canada, this public interest research idea has become a cover for the most virulent anti-Israel demonization campaign on campuses throughout Canada otherwise known as Israel/apartheid week, a week dedicated to promoting the  BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) demonization of Israel on campus.

Sixteen of Canada’s 21 PIRGs are involved in funding, planning and/or executing Israel Apartheid Week on their campuses. “Wherever there is an anti-Israel event on campus, it is likely run by a so-called ‘Public Interest Research Group,’ or ‘PIRG,’ financed by students who have no idea how anti-Israel they are,” said Dr. Roy Eappen, assistant professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal. In fact, every Israel Apartheid Week held in Canada, except for Winnipeg’s and New Brunswick’s, received funding from a PIRG last year.

All Canadian PIRGs provide discretionary funding to dozens of working groups and events that speak out against Israel. QPIRG McGill and Concordia’s most up-to-date list includes a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Conference which took place in October 2010 in Montreal, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-Concordia, a “Remember Gaza” event, and many others. They will tell you that they also fund other worthy causes. I will get back to this later.

University of Regina’s PIRG, actively supports BDS, describing itself as a group of students “committed to showing support to the people of Palestine by answering the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society call for Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel”. The PIRG at the University of Lethbridge, in Western Canada, recently screened documentaries by Concordia film professor Mary Ellen Davis that denounced “the occupation” and hosted an event with the author of Building Apartheid, a book described by LPIRG as “a critical primer about Canada’s ties to Israel that suggests Canadian complicity in the 20th and 21st century colonialism, dispossession, and war crimes.”

Tadamon is another Pro-Palestinian Montreal group connected with Concordia and funded by QPIRG, Tadamon claims in its mission statement that they “recognize that the colonization of Palestine has, from its inception, been connected to Western European aspirations to dominate the entire ‘Middle East,’ and oppose the apartheid policies of Israel and endorse the July 2005 call by Palestinian civil society organizations for an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. According to QPIRG’s (Quebec PIRG) annual report, Tadamon, receives the maximum allocation a PIRG is allowed to give to a working group ($2000.) This sum does not include the money QPIRG spent organizing Israel Apartheid Week at McGill last year. Those sums are listed under discretionary expenses and allocations to other supposedly worthy causes, such as LGBT, aboriginal issues, feminism. However if you analyze the platforms of these groups you will notice that they too are focused and  committed to BDS/QPIRG/Tadamon issues.

Tadamon, for example which supports the removal of Hezbollah from the Canadian government’s list of terror organizations, also supports  artists against apartheid campaign, as well as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and of course Tadamon is a co-host  of Montreal’s Israel Apartheid Week in conjunction with QPIRG McGill and QPIRG Concordia.

Tadamon’s letter of thanks to QPIRG reads:“Because of QPIRG McGill, we have been able to actively work with students and student groups at McGill, such as SPHR (Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights) and the Political Action Working Group of Queer McGill.”

This begins to explain why queer organizations in Montreal and Toronto consistently parade against Israel, caliming that Israel is an “apartheid state” even while Israel is the only country in the Middle East that protects gay rights.

Now here is the dope on student funding of PIRGs. Canadian university-based PIRGs are funded by a fee  of $1-$5 per semester that is imposed on all students, meaning that some PIRGs get up to $300,000 per year. While at some universities, students can opt out of the fee, some PIRGs make it very difficult and guilt-inducing, requiring students to visit their headquarters where they are made to feel that if they opt out, that they don’t care about social and environmental justice,” said Jess Weiser, a 2011 McGill graduate who led the university’s QPIRG Opt-Out campaign. The McGill administration changed the system in 2007 to enable students to opt out of the fee anonymously and online.

McGill is not the only university that has acted to create an opt-out option.Opt-out committees, such as “StopNSPIRG.org” in Nova Scotia and “NOPIRG” in Ontario, encourage students to opt-out of these organizations because they fail to support the views of the majority, opting only to advocate for “marginalized” “leftist” causes like “anticolonialism”. OPIRG Queen’s in Kingston, Ontario, lost its fee of $4.36 per student after 62 per cent of voters in a February referendum voted for its removal. The organization is now defunct; its website has not been updated since the end of the Winter 2012 semester. (It is interesting to note that there was no Israel Apartheid Week 2012 held in Kingston, after having been held there in previous years). University of Western Ontario’s PIRG was shut down in 2008 due to its controversial positions on many issues. It had been the official sponsor of a number of pro-Palestinian speakers on campus. At McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the use of the term “Israeli Apartheid” was banned, which caused an uproar from the OPIRG McMaster offices and the cessation of activities related to the delegitimization of Israel from that PIRG.

As noted above, These PIRG’s support advocacy for an anarchist, socialist political system, as is evident by the many events and organizations they sponsor: For example they compare the aboriginal issues in Canada with the Israel Palestine conflict, claiming that Canada too is an apartheid state that has “stolen aboriginal lands” in the same way that supposedly “Israel has stolen Palestinian land”. Although these ideas are totally bizarre and intellectually bankrupt, they manage to attract young students eager to be on the right side of traditional left wing liberal causes.

Fortunately students are getting wise to this scam. The McGill PIRG has been feeling the bite and has gone to the extent of writing the following article in the McGill Daily: The Anti-PIRG Campus Conservative Conspiracy.

The next struggle will be to educate the Concordia campus to institute an opt-out option.

Written by Abigail Hirsch, an educated observer of the campus scene

Researched by Alexandra Markus, a recent graduate of McGill University and second year medical student.

For anyone interested in pursuing these issues I am listing some relevant recent events connected to BDS.

British Architects Reverse Israel Boycott Motion, in Severe Blow to BDS Movement http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/12/05/british-architects-reverse-israel-boycott-motion-in-severe-blow-to-bds-movement/
Hating Jews at Berkeley http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/12/05/hating-jews-at-berkeley/

Crushing Labor Unions, and Other Harbingers of a Palestinian Dictatorshiphttp://www.algemeiner.com/2014/12/05/crushing-labor-unions-and-other-harbingers-of-a-palestinian-dictatorship/

This is an article from the Dean of a University: Martin Kramer
When the Middle East Studies Association Boycotts Israel:http://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2014/12/when-the-middle-east-studies-association-boycotts-israel/

And for anyone who doubts that the left is ant-semitic, I suggest this article by Robert Wistrich, the foremost scholar in the field

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/judeophobia-and-marxism/