How Anti-Semitism Took over the Left at Oxford

March 17 2016

The co-chair of the Oxford University Labor Club (OULC), Alex Chalmers, recently drew attention to left-wing anti-Semitism in Britain by resigning from his position rather than joining the club’s endorsement of “Israel Apartheid Week.” He writes:

During my year-and-a-half as an active member of the OULC, I found that [anti-Semitic] attitudes were prevalent. The word “Zio” was part of the club’s lexicon, despite its [clearly anti-Semitic] connotations eventually becoming widely known, the song “Rockets over Tel Aviv” was a favorite among a certain faction of the club, and the concerns of Jewish students over issues such as Israel Apartheid Week were ridiculed. . . .

What prompted me to resign in such a public fashion was witnessing just how passionate, over the top, and catch-all “anti-Zionism” was. I am no stranger to bad-tempered meetings or sharp debate, but the sheer hatred people felt was visible in their eyes. The motion [regarding Apartheid Week] was written deliberately to make me feel uncomfortable: [it] mandated that the co-chairs condemn “Israeli Apartheid” when asked to do so. In the meeting, members of the club were shouted down by a small clique, Jewish students were laughed at, and there was an attempt to deny paid-up members of the club who opposed the motion the right to vote.

Added to this, I was denounced as a Zionist stooge, and while I was counting the votes, someone stood over me suggesting that my Zionist sympathies meant that I might try to rig the ballot. . . .

In a way, the anti-Semitic incidents I witnessed in OULC are less troubling than the culture which allowed such behavior to become normalized. It is common to encounter anti-Semitic individuals in all walks of life, but the mass turning-of-a-blind-eye that has come to characterize vast parts of the left is chilling. As anti-Semites can double up as vocal critics of Israel, there is a marked tendency on the left to view them as fellow travelers whose hearts are in the right place—so their rhetoric passes the test of social acceptability.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Leftism, Oxford, United Kingdom, University

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy