San Diego — December 8, 2010 — The state of Israel has the right to exist and defend itself. As a nation that has played refuge to the Jewish people—as with Christians and Muslims—Israel is an important place for religious worship and civic life. Sorry Helen Thomas, but calls to remove Jews from Israel are ludicrous.
No matter how many deliberate attacks Palestinians, Arabs and their supporters make against this sovereign state, Israel will not surrender to bullying. In 1948, the United Nations declared the state of Israel born—noting the 3,000-year-long history of Jewish existence there. Therefore, its legitimacy was established and should be observed. Yet, this decision has been met with unrest from Palestinians and Arabs in the region who fail to recognize it. Instead, they dismiss Israel as an “occupier.” A two-state solution has been offered in the past, but was rejected by Palestinians. As a result, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is heated, wherein Israel’s legitimacy is constantly under fire.
Why Israel and why divestment, one might ask?
The issue of divestment from Israel altogether—whether through the boycott of products, aid, services, business ventures, and the like—is a blatant call for Israel’s destruction. This measure is a response to the construction of the West Bank Barrier in the respective area. Immediately after the Second Intifada of 2000, Israel faced increased terrorist threats and suicide bomb attacks from terrorist groups—confirming the need to mitigate attacks from Hamas, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority.
Contrary to popular belief, the West Bank Barrier ensures the safety of Israeli citizens and territories. Blood was shed, lives were lost, and victory killings were rampant before the West Bank Barrier was erected. The following question should be posed: If Israel is evil, then why does it need to defend itself against attacks from terrorist aggressors like Hamas?
Palestinians see this barrier as separation, often providing an illusory correlation to South African apartheid. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was born on July 9th, 2005, after the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found the West Bank Barrier to be “illegal.” From there, boycott drives and divestment initiatives have popped up in the United States and other nations as a call to undermine Israel’s legitimacy.
Through the BDS campaign, proponents argue the necessity to boycott Israeli goods and companies that support the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Palestinians and their supporters cite the IDF’s actions to defend Israel as “human rights violations.” It is lovely how some Palestinians victimize themselves, only to get away with preaching death to Western ideals, America, and Israel. When will Americans realize who the real perpetrators of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are?
Sadly, American college students sympathetic to the Palestinian cause see it fit to draft referendums that condemn Israel as a “human rights’ violator” and “oppressive state.” They draft legislation in the form of “divestment,” calling for their university to cut funding to companies linked to Israel. If these campaigns were successful, universities would lose their financial support from Jewish donors—who serve as their great benefactors.
Boycott referendums recently surfaced at Princeton University and DePaul University regarding Sabra hummus, but were met with defeat. Students continually reject BDS campaigns because they are pointless, divisive, and irrelevant. Hummus, a delicious dip subject to attack by BDS proponents, is enjoyed by both Israelis and Palestinians. What is boycotting hummus going to achieve? It will only make one a laughing stock.
Nevertheless, student governments at universities have no right meddling in international crises. Student governments are supposed to represent the interests of all students. They should leave the deliberating to diplomats and other professionals. If universities and their student governments really wanted to make a difference, they should condemn Hamas—not hummus.
Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu notes, “Peace in which Israel is brought under attack is not a true peace.” If the Palestinians fail to recognize the state of Israel—which they continue to do—no peace will be achieved.
Whether one likes it or not, Israel will remain a force to be reckoned with. Time will tell if the Palestinians will accept this fact and come to their senses.
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