When Academic Organizations Condemn Israel, They Send an Unambiguous Message to Potential Jewish Members

At the annual conference of the American Historical Association—the major professional organization for academic historians—two resolutions condemning Israel were defeated. This is the fourth time since 2015 that the same group of historians has put forward such resolutions. While the resolutions have always lost, the voting margin shrank somewhat this year. Jeffrey Herf comments on the unreality of the propaganda put forward by supporters:

When one reads the documents [submitted by supporters of the anti-Israel resolutions] one would have no idea that Israel has any security problems at all. These texts read as if, for reasons having to do presumably with the original sin of its founding, Israel inexplicably violates human rights, arbitrarily restricts student travel in Gaza, and willfully violates the academic freedom of Palestinians. . . . The [resolutions] fail to mention any actions taken by Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, not to mention Hizballah and the government of Iran, that would cause concern for the government of Israel. Theirs is a Middle East conflict in which there is no Arab terrorism, no suicide bombers, no rocket attacks on schools and farms, and no knife attacks in Jerusalem.

Equally troubling, to Herf, are the effects these resolutions would have if passed:

I would not be surprised if young Jews who are thinking of pursuing careers as historians will now think long and hard about doing so. Young Jews already in the profession, or others who may have a good word to say for Israel, will be likely to suppress their views in order not to offend. The resolutions could reintroduce an era of open discrimination against Jews, made all the more difficult to counter as it would drape itself in the language of human rights, intersectionality, and anti-racism.

Read more at American Interest

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security