Using the Legal System to Combat Anti-Semitism

While the U.S., unlike European countries, does not have laws against “hate speech” or what France calls “community violence incitement,” Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and other provisions often give victims of anti-Semitism recourse to bring their complaints to court. Phyllis Chesler examines ten lawsuits brought to this end, and what they accomplished:

The grounds for the lawsuits were diverse: students being expelled or refused membership in student groups based on their pro-Israel and/or Zionist viewpoints. Exclusion from campus events. Social-media posts that read “all Zionists [need] to die,” leading to the closure of the campus Jewish center. Physical injuries to Jewish students and desecration of Jewish centers. Professors and students espousing, cheering, and clapping for pro-Palestinian views that falsely label Israel a “white supremacist” nation that engages in “ethnic cleansing.” Hijacking a Zoom class background by posting Palestinian flags. The vandalism of a Jewish student’s campaign posters.

The proposed legal remedies have ranged from revising current anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies (at New York University and University of Vermont, to name two) to taking (unknown) disciplinary action against students and faculty who have participated in anti-Semitism (such as the professor at Hunter College who participated in the Zoom “hijacking”). Most suggested remedies focus on revising current policies and training to include anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism among its prohibited forms of discrimination.

Crucial to the success of such efforts, note several activists involved in this litigation, is the adoption by governments and institutions of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which makes it difficult to conceal anti-Semitism as “anti-Zionism.” Chesler also stresses that educational remedies must be properly implemented:

Such educational initiatives cannot remain in the hands of an already biased and indoctrinated American professoriate and administration. They are neither equipped nor inclined to teach that anti-Zionism is part of the new anti-Semitism, that Israel is not an “apartheid” state, [and] that Jew-hatred existed among Muslims in the Middle East and Central Asia long before Israel became a sovereign nation.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, IHRA, Israel on campus

What Israel Can Achieve in Gaza, the Fate of the Hostages, and Planning for the Day After

In a comprehensive analysis, Azar Gat concludes that Israel’s prosecution of the war has so far been successful, and preferable to the alternatives proposed by some knowledgeable critics. (For a different view, see this article by Lazar Berman.) But even if the IDF is coming closer to destroying Hamas, is it any closer to freeing the remaining hostages? Gat writes:

Hamas’s basic demand in return for the release of all the hostages—made clear well before it was declared publicly—is an end to the war and not a ceasefire. This includes the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip, restoration of Hamas’s control over it (including international guarantees), and a prisoner exchange on the basis of “all for all.”

Some will say that there must be a middle ground between Hamas’s demands and what Israel can accept. However, Hamas’s main interest is to ensure its survival and continued rule, and it will not let go of its key bargaining chip. Some say that without the return of the hostages—“at any price”—no victory is possible. While this sentiment is understandable, the alternative would be a resounding national defeat. The utmost efforts must be made to rescue as many hostages as possible, and Israel should be ready to pay a heavy price for this goal; but Israel’s capitulation is not an option.

Beyond the great cost in human life that Israel will pay over time for such a deal, Hamas will return to rule the Gaza Strip, repairing its infrastructure of tunnels and rockets, filling its ranks with new recruits, and restoring its defensive and offensive arrays. This poses a critical question for those suggesting that it will be possible to restart the war at a later stage: have they fully considered the human toll should the IDF attempt to reoccupy the areas it would have vacated in the Gaza Strip?

Although Gat is sanguine about the prospects of the current campaign, he throws some cold water on those who hope for an absolute victory:

Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas’s command, military units, and infrastructure as a semi-regular military organization. . . . After their destruction in high-intensity fighting, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. As in the West Bank, this project will take years. . . . What the IDF is unlikely to achieve is the elimination of Hamas as a guerrilla force.

Lastly, Gat has some wise words about what will happen to Gaza after the war ends, a subject that has been getting renewed attention since Benjamin Netanyahu presented an outline of a plan to the war cabinet on Thursday. Gat argues that, contrary to the view of the American and European foreign-policy elite, there is no political solution for Gaza. After all, Gaza is in the Middle East, where “there are no solutions, . . . only bad options and options that are much worse.”

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

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