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January 20, 2014 2:29 pm

What the ASA Should Really Focus On: Th”Že Palestinian Reaction to Ariel Sharon’s Death

avatar by Joshua Nass

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Ariel Sharon's sons and various dignitaries at their father's funeral. Photo: Knesset.

Following my recent interview with Stuart Varney on the Fox Business Network, I was attacked for calling for the firing of all academics that supported the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott of Israel. In the wake of those remarks, I was shocked by the flood of negative feedback I received. People asked why I called for such a harsh response to the ASA’s decision.

The reason for my statement is simple. When asked why the ASA decided to boycott Israel, Curtis Marez, the organization’s president, stated that “one has to start somewhere.” Unfortunately, as Jews, that phrase is all too familiar to us.

As Charles Krauthamer stated in The Washington Post, singling out Israel and applying an unfair double standard is simply another form of anti-Semitism. This double standard is further evinced in the ASA’s decision to ignore the hatred of Israel and Jews that is taught in Palestinian schools, which could be seen in the reaction of Palestinian youth to the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.”Ž

Discriminating against Israel because it “practices apartheid” or “violates human rights” is simply erroneous. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Its Arab constituents enjoy more rights and freedom than they would in any of its neighboring Arab countries. Arabs in Israel have the right to vote. There are twelve Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, and one Arab justice on Israel’s Supreme Court. The valedictorian of the most recent graduating class at the Technion (Israel’s MIT) was Mais Ali-Saleh, a Muslim woman.

Israeli Arabs maintain their own religious courts and their own, state-funded, Arabic-language schools. Arabic is one of Israel’s official languages. In Syria, Palestinians are not allowed to vote or become citizens. In Lebanon, Palestinians cannot own property or work is many professions. The ASA has not commented on the discriminatory practices of these regimes, and instead decided to focus on the one country in the region that does not engage in such actions.

In my view, those academics who voted to boycott Israeli institutions do not belong in the classroom, educating the next generation of Americans, if they don’t understand the mission of academia. Academia is meant to serve as the hub of enlightenment, a place that allows for the free flow of information based on facts. An academic boycott runs precisely counter to what education is all about. How can you justify boycotting these institutions because of “apartheid” when in fact Arab students study and even greatly succeed at those very same establishments? Narrow-mindedness has no place in academia, and neither do those who engage in it. Thus, I firmly believe that those who deny the spreading of information and enlightenment due to their own prejudices should not be in the position to educate and inform others.”Ž

“ŽLast Saturday, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon passed away. Sharon was a fierce defender of Israel who fought valiantly and led Israel to victory in the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, and the Lebanon War, among others. He was a man who was willing to make incredibly significant land concessions for peace and was willing engage with the other side, no matter how hostile it was at times. He was willing to evict 10,000 of his own people from the Gaza Strip in order to try to establish peace. And how did the Palestinian community, especially the youth, respond to news of his passing? They celebrated by handing out candy and dancing in the streets.

The American Studies Association should step back for a second and scrutinize the reaction of the Palestinian youth to the death of an Israeli leader who desired peace like no other. More importantly, the ASA should examine what the Palestinian children’s behavior stems from, which is what they are being taught in their classrooms. Since exiting the womb, Palestinian children are indoctrinated and incited to hate Israel and the Jews. They are taught that Jews are the descendants of apes and swine. They are encouraged to be “martyrs” in order to receive a great reward in the world to come.

Buildings in Al-Quds University are named after some of the worst terrorists in Israeli history. These messages are found everywhere from PA assemblies to Palestinian children’s television shows. Instead of boycotting Israeli institutions, where students of all backgrounds and ethnicities are given equal rights and engage in academic discussions, the ASA ought to go ahead and subject Palestinian institutions, which exude hatred, bias, and a serious lack of academic freedom, to examination.

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