How Palestinian Propaganda Took Over College Campuses

Mandel mentions Qatari funding as one possible reason for the predominance of anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses. Gary Wexler, drawing on his own experience, identifies another piece of the puzzle. In the 1990s, when the peace process spurred hopes of Jews and Palestinians beating their swords into plowshares, the Ford Foundation—one of the world’s wealthiest private charities, founded by the notorious anti-Semite Henry Ford and his son Edsel—began doling out money to various Israeli and Palestinian organizations, and hired Wexler to help these groups with marketing. He describes what he saw:

When we interviewed the Jewish organizations, the atmosphere was almost giddy with hope, possibility, and belief in Shimon Peres’s new Middle East. . . . But when we interviewed the Arab organizations, the word “peace” never passed their lips. They spoke of independence, dignity, self-rule, a state. One person even told me she would never use the word du-kiyum (co-existence). “There is no such thing as co-existence,” she stressed. “We are just the tenants living on the property that the Jews now own. That’s not a balanced co-existence.”

Wexler began asking tougher questions of his Arab interlocutors, and didn’t get answers, but was referred time and again to one Ameer Makhoul, who ran a Haifa-based civil-rights organization. Makhoul, well informed about Wexler by previous interviewees, bullied him and then told him the following:

Just like you were a Zionist campus activist, we will create, over the next years, Palestinian campus activists in America and all over the world. Bigger and better than any Zionist activists. Just like you spent your summers on the kibbutz, we will bring college students to spend their summers in refugee camps and work with our people. Just like you have been part of creating global pro-Israel organizations, we will create global pro-Palestinian organizations. Just like you today help create PR campaigns and events for Israel, so will we, but we will get more coverage than you ever have.

Funding for the project, Makhoul explained, would come from Arab countries and the EU. Makhoul then called the Ford Foundation to complain, mendaciously, about Wexler’s behavior. Not long thereafter, Ford ended its relationship with Wexler. Israeli officials arrested Makhoul several years later for spying for Syria. To Wexler, the enormous success of the anti-Israel movement in capturing the minds of young Americans is the fruit of Makhoul’s efforts, which indeed have been amply funded by the EU. So too the campaign in 2000 to paint the IDF as the brutal killers of a Palestinian child named Muhammad al-Dura—a story that turned out to be a hoax.

As for the Ford Foundation, it stopped all activity in Israel in 2011, but continues to be a major donor to the obsessively anti-Israel Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, as well as to the Tides Foundation, which in turn supports If Not Now and Jewish Voice Peace, both dedicated to stirring up hatred of the Jewish state. Tablet has provided a brief overview here.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Israel on campus, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, NGO, Philanthropy


Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship