Protests over the past couple of weeks have called for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza.
What most of those demands don’t seem to realize (or don’t care to acknowledge) is that there was a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, mediated by Egypt and agreed upon in May 2023.
Hamas decided to unilaterally violate that ceasefire on October 7, 2023 with the wanton targeting and murder of Israeli civilians, along with hostage-taking on a large scale.
Any call for a ceasefire not contingent on Hamas releasing all hostages and handing over the architects of the October 7 terrorist attack is little more than a call for a unilateral surrender by Israel.
Numerous professors at Columbia University signed off on an open letter in defense of “robust debate about the history and meaning of the war in Israel/Gaza.” Among other things, the letter defends a student statement about the war,
In our view, the student statement aims to recontextualize the events of October 7, 2023, pointing out that military operations and state violence did not begin that day, but rather it represented a military response by a people who had endured crushing and unrelenting state violence from an occupying power over many years. One could regard the events of October 7th as just one salvo in an ongoing war between an occupying state and the people it occupies, or as an occupied people exercising a right to resist violent and illegal occupation, something anticipated by international humanitarian law in the Second Geneva Protocol. In either case armed resistance by an occupied people must conform to the laws of war, which include a prohibition against the intentional targeting of civilians. The statement reflects and endorses this legal framework, including a condemnation of the killing of civilians.
The statement concludes with a demand that Columbia University reverse a decision to create curricular and research programs in Israel, a demand also made by over 100 Columbia faculty last year, and that the university cease issuing statements that favor the suffering and death of Israelis or Jews over the suffering and death of Palestinians, and/or that fail to recognize how challenging this time has been for all students, not just some.
It is worth noting that not all of us agree with every one of the claims made in the students’ statement, but we do agree that making such claims cannot and should not be considered anti-Semitic. Their merits are being debated by governmental and non-governmental agencies at the highest level, and constitute a terrain of completely legitimate political and legal debate.
So, the intentional targeting and slaughter of civilians at a music festival and infants in their beds is to be “recontextualized” as “military action.”
To be honest, it’s hard to be mad. Ivy League professors providing cover for anti-semitism is the most Ivy League thing ever.
Today I learned that Wikipedia has an entry devoted to nothing but animal-related conspiracy theories centering around Israel.
For example, the entry notes that in 2010 a series of shark attacks off the coast of the South Sinai were alleged to be Israeli acts of aggression,
Following the attacks, in an interview on Tawfik Okasha’s popular but controversial Egypt Today television show, a Captain Mustafa Ismail, introduced as “a famous diver,” alleged that the GPS tracking device found on one of the sharks was in fact a “guiding device” planted by Israeli agents. Prompted in a television interview for comments, the governor of South Sinai, Mohammad Abdul Fadhil Shousha, initially said: “What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question. But it needs time to confirm.” The Israeli foreign ministry, in response, suggested that Shousha had seen “Jaws one time too many.” The governor later dismissed the event as being connected to Israel.
Okay, some crazy guy with a TV show spouts conspiracy theories. In America, we call that Glenn Beck. But in 2008, the official Palestinian news agency accused Israel of employing “supernatural rats” to drive Arab residents from the Old City of Jerusalem,
In July 2008, the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, accused Israel of using “supernatural rats” that “can even chase away Arab cats” to encourage Arab residents of the Old City of Jerusalem to flee in panic. “Over the past two months, dozens of settlers come to the alleyways and streets of the Old City carrying iron cages full of rats,” Wafa claimed. “They release the rats, which find shelter in open sewage systems.” Jerusalem Municipality spokesman Gidi Schmerling rejected the report as “pure fiction.”
Okay, then. In America we would never believe this sort of nonsense. Rather, in this country it is Bill Belichick who uses the supernatural rats to spy on visiting teams.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting has a thorough explanation from 2002 of how this quote was created and perpetuated (a Google search today turns it up mostly on the usual suspects of anti-Semitic blogs).