Shutting Down Debate about Israel at Princeton

Nov. 14 2017

Last week Princeton University’s Center for Jewish Life canceled a planned speech by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely—a member of the Likud party and an ally of Benjamin Netanyahu—in response to objections from anti-Zionist groups. (It later apologized for its action.) Jonathan Tobin comments:

One of the [frequently heard] complaints about the organized Jewish community is that it is silencing criticism of Israel. Left-wingers paint a dismal picture of a Jewish community in denial about Israel’s sins and determined to squelch debate about the peace process or controversial issues like settlements. . . .

[But it was the] Alliance for Jewish Progressives—a campus left-wing group—[that] ginned up an indictment of [Hotovely] as some sort of extremist because she had dared to call out the Palestinian Authority for its attempt to erase Jewish history and ties to Jerusalem. They claim anyone who supports the Jewish presence across the Green Line or in parts of Jerusalem is, by definition, a racist. They were also upset that the [Center for Jewish Life] had refused to sponsor appearances by anti-Zionists or those whose presentation consisted of slanders of the IDF for its efforts to halt Palestinian terror. . . .

The lesson here is that the conventional wisdom about the plight of critics of Zionism is a myth. On campuses, it is those who speak up for the Jewish state who are often the ones being shut up. The atmosphere at many, if not most institutions of higher learning is one of intense hostility to pro-Israel advocates. . . .

Instead of crying crocodile tears about Israel-haters being silenced, it’s time for Jews to face up to the way the rising tide of anti-Semitism sweeping across the globe has spread to our shores. That is a grim reality about which we dare not be silent.

Read more at Jewish News Service

More about: American Jewry, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Princeton


Why a Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Is Unlikely

Feb. 16 2018

High-ranking figures in the IDF, along with some Israeli and foreign officials, have been warning that economic troubles combined with severely deficient public works could lead to an outbreak of starvation or epidemic in the Gaza Strip; their warnings have been taken up and amplified in sensationalist stories in Western media. Hillel Frisch is skeptical:

The most important factor behind real humanitarian crises—mass hunger and contagious disease—is first and foremost the breakdown of law and order, and violence between warring militias and gangs. This is what occurred in Darfur, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. In such situations, the first to leave are the relief agencies. Then local medical staffs evacuate, along with local government officials and anyone professional who can make it out of the bedlam. The destitute are left to fend for themselves. Hospitals, dispensaries, schools, and local government offices are soon abandoned or become scenes of grisly shootouts and reprisals.

Nothing could be farther from such a reality than Gaza. Hamas, which is the main source of [misleading reports] of an imminent humanitarian crisis, rules Gaza with an iron fist. Few developed democracies in the world can boast the low homicide rates prevailing in the Strip. Nor have there been reports of any closings of hospitals, municipal governments, schools, universities, colleges, or dispensaries. . . .

Nor have there been news items announcing the departure of any foreign relief agencies or the closure of any human-rights organizations in the area. Nor is there any evidence that the World Health Organization (WHO), which rigorously monitors the world to prevent the outbreak of contagious disease, is seriously looking at Gaza. And that is for good reason. The WHO knows, as do hundreds of medical personnel in Israeli hospitals who liaise with their colleagues in Gaza, that the hospital system in Gaza is of a high caliber, certainly by the standards of the developing world. . . .

Hamas, [of course], wants more trucks entering Gaza to increase tax revenues to pay for its 30,000-strong militia and public security force, and to increase the prospects of smuggling arms for the benefit of its missile stockpiles and tunnel-building efforts. How Israel should react is equally obvious. You want more humanitarian aid? . . . Free the two mentally disabled Israelis who found their way into Gaza and are imprisoned by Hamas.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian economy