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December 1, 2014 8:19 am

The Fierce Battle for Israel on Western College Campuses

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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"Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual anti-Israel initiative, in May 2010 on the University of California, Los Angeles campus. Photo: AMCHA Initiative.

The Jewish State is fighting wars for its very survival against barbarous, genocidal foes like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. But far outside the Middle East, ferocious battles are being fought on the campuses of the world’s great universities – this time for Israel’s reputation and good name. The consequences of failure are too horrible to contemplate, including the destruction of Israel’s economic lifeline through economic boycotts that germinate on campus and pass into the mainstream.

I became an Israel campus warrior in 1988 when the Lubavitcher Rebbe first sent me as Rabbi to Oxford University. A steady stream of attacks on Israel were launched by the likes of Hanan Ashrawi, Saeb Erekat, and Yasser Arafat himself. Many of these speeches took place at the world-famous Oxford Union. Our Oxford University L’Chaim Society responded with five Israeli Prime Ministers, including Benjamin Netanyahu, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Yitzchak Shamir, and Ehud Olmert. We partnered with the Union for most of the speeches including mesmerizing defenses of the Jewish state delivered by a young and hyper-charismatic Bibi Netanyahu.

Since those days the battles have become ever more ferocious with the much more timid pro-Israel groups at America and Europe’s leading universities being clobbered by Students for Justice in Palestine, Israel Apartheid Week, and BDS.

At NYU, in the heart of a city with 2.5 million Jews, SJP regularly stages die-ins that feign murder at the hands of the IDF, mounts an Israeli apartheid wall, and serves “IDF Eviction Notices” on students to convey the brutality of the Israeli regime. In September, Mahmoud Abbas received 20 standing ovations from NYU students three days before he accused Israel of genocide at the UN. Aside from my son Mendy who is an NYU undergraduate, there was not a single protest. The formal pro-Israel group on campus would later tell the New York Observer that they did not protest Abbas lest they legitimize BDS, as if there is some comparison between holding a banner outside a lecture theater and calling for the economic destruction of an innocent nation.

Last week I traveled back to Oxford with my close friend Dennis Prager for a debate on Israel versus Hamas that was easily the most hard-fought debate on Israel I have ever participated in. In an aggressive and merciless contest, our opponents in the debate threw monstrous charges that Israel is an apartheid regime, that it murders Palestinians with impunity, that Israel is a quasi-Nazi government, that Israel seeks the theft of Palestinian land and the eradication of the Palestinian people, and that Hamas is a legitimate resistance movement whose terrorism is an inevitable and organic response to Israeli colonial rule. As for America, it is like ISIS. The Islamic State beheads only a few prisoners but America annihilates innocents in Pakistan each and every day with drone strikes. There is no real difference.

Rising to speak, I looked at the huge assembled crowd of students and felt a righteous indignation bubbling up within me. My people were under attack. Whatever the odds arrayed against us, I had an opportunity to strike a blow at one of the most influential speaking platforms on earth.

Islam is a great world religion, I said, that took my people in from the Catholic expulsions of Spain and Portugal. Islam pioneered the just treatment of prisoners of under the greatest of all Muslim warriors, Sultan Saladin, who invited the Jews back to Jerusalem after his conquest in 1187. Ninety years earlier they had been slaughtered to the last woman and child after Crusader conquest. We Jews dare never forget Muslim kindness.

But Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Tonight we hear world-renowned academics justifying terrorist mass murder in Allah’s name because Palestinians feel aggrieved at Israel’s existence. When the Jews of Germany were turned into ash, soap, and lampshades under Nazi rule they did not respond by blowing up German nurseries and buses. There is no excuse for terrorism. Not now. Not ever.

Islam is disgraced not only by those who murder in its name but by educated and lost souls who dignify terror with grievance.

The Dalai Lama has been under brutal Chinese occupation since 1950 and he has never become a monster.

As to the charges that the Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, the West Bank was illegally occupied by Jordan in 1948 yet no one ever complained of an occupation. Israel has tried since its creation to make peace with Arab states and has endangered its security with repeated territorial concessions that were met with nothing but terror attacks.

What we learned from Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 is that should Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria – which is not occupied but disputed – it would lead immediately to the creation of another terrorist state run by Hamas. Israel would be sandwiched between two terror launching pads intent on its total destruction.

Hamas is a genocidal organization that proudly touts its charter calling for the annihilation of Jews everywhere. It is a greater menace to Palestinians than Jews. It aids and abets honor killings of Palestinian women. It murders gay Palestinians, shoots Palestinians who dare protest its rule, ruthlessly crushes any form of criticism, and ululates when British and American civilians are murdered in Islamist terror attacks. It has ended any semblance of democratic rule in Gaza. When I arrived in Oxford, I did not see air force and army bases built in the heart of the college campus. No civilized nation would ever consider using students as human shields. But Hamas builds its military installations under hospitals and nurseries so that children can serve as bulletproof vests for cowardly terrorists.

Israel is a just and righteous democracy that affords 1.5 million Muslims-Israeli citizens – almost the same number that live in Britain – greater freedoms and human rights than any Muslim country on earth.

The world Jewish community and Israel’s non-Jewish allies need to wake up. Israel is under vicious attack at European, American, South African, Australian, and Canadian universities. It’s a battle we can win if we step up our game on campus and begin to courageously fight back.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America” served as Rabbi to Oxford University for 11 years. The international best-selling author of 30 books, he is also the winner of the London Times Preacher of the Year competition. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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  • Robert Davis

    Excellent article indeed! arabs are not aggrieved by “frustration” and such absurdities,they are aggrieved byIsrael’s existence and they are confirmed and helped by those who want a weak Israel. Peace can only be the result of a STRONG ISRAEL arabs will FEAR and assimilate fake “palestinians” in arab states! The weak Israel policy CANNOT LEAD TO PEACE BUT TO 3rd WW! And all those LIES regarding fantasy “intrnational law” arguments and tear shedding over “poor arab gaza terrorists” can only help lead the world to 3rd ww.The ONLY international law that appears in this conflic are San Remo and Sevres Treaties,nowhere else.The rest is propaganda and LIES!

  • Morty Mooose

    So here we go again!
    While the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and anti-Jew orgies take place in US and EU campuses, Israel has made significant gains in China and India. China and India comprise 40% of the world’s population and have significant volatile Muslim populations which they know how to keep in check and threaten externally as well.
    Have we seen any anti-China, anti-India Muslim demonstrations on the streets of Europe and America?
    Now these two giants have teamed up with one of the world’s smallest but dynamic country. Imagine that trio- The two biggest with the smallest!
    The future for Israel is in the far east – India and China. The Jew-bashing that’s happening on US and EU campuses is the Palestinian its swan song. So it gets louder and more violent to attract attention. The world is watching ISIS in Syria and Iraq – not Gaza!
    In the meantime Israel makes giant technological, scientific and medical strides attracting the attention of the two ancient but forward facing countries that will soon hold world wide economic dominance.
    The US and the EU will be left behind smothered by Islamic influence and Jew-hatred.
    Jews and Israel – look to the east!

    • Robert Davis

      Moose :you gave excellent examples! The only way to avoid 3rd ww is to keep arabs and muslims IN CHECK not to give in to their orders and demands as europe does.To keep arabs IN CHECK ISRAEL NEEDS TO BE STRONG. Those antisemits and cowards who want a weak Israel will get dishonour AND WAR as Churchill said.


    The spread of anti Semitism and hatred of Israel, is fanned by the world’s Christian communities, with such haters as Archbishop Tutu who has spread the most viscious lies about Jews and Israel.
    The Anglican and Catholic priests spread lies and hatred from their pulpits.

    The big problem is that of the world population of say, 3 billion, how many have ever been to Israel to experience the truth?
    Maybe a few hundred million.
    But the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are given the most vile hate sermons by their Imams and Sheiks.
    They have called Jews, sons of pigs and apes. But they forget that they are also sons of Abraham.
    These preachers have called for the murder of every Jew in the world. So how can there be peace?

    Hanan Ashrawi and Erekat are such big liars and haters, that they have spread hatred of Jews and Israel.


    The Christians world which is so full of hatred of Jews and Israel, and protects the Muslims, have forgotten.
    The Christian world is supporting their own deaths

    • tara schaller

      please do not generalize…nor speak for all Christians…nor speak for a person who tries to focus on the reality of Jesus Christ…Moshiach…who will be back…(my dearest jewish brethen are waiting for Him…as am i)….you surely do not speak my heart…at ALL!!!
      we have ONE God….period. and if you are focused on Him, then you understand that to call yourself any organized religion, you fall into groupings…and those groupings have do all humans!
      so call yourself who it is you focus your life on…and that is GOD…HIMSELF…HASHEM…the ONE who created all…all of us…and all of everything….
      then let’s talk!
      God help us….and He will!!! soon!

    • Robert Davis

      KRISTIAN : I totally agree with you excepet on one point : Israel does have the population and means for a counter-propaganda but they do not have the WILL otherwise they would at least HAVE TRIED! WE are doing their job,Israel is only helping Israel bashing!!!I think they are IGNORANT and cowards unfortunately : did youever hear them say THAT INTERNATIONAL LAW APPEARS ONLY IN THE TREATIES OF SAN REMO AND SEVRES WHICH GAVE SOVEREIGNTY OVER PALESTINE TO JEWS? I wonder whether are eveznaware of that very very important fact since our enemies keep harping Israel violates…international law when in fact it is ARABS WHO VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW. If Israel kept saying that probably many Israel bashers would understand they are wrong but israelis prefer eat falafels,laugh and brag!

  • Evelyn

    Great article

  • steven L

    The US congress needs to look into the anti American political activities in the hubs of disinformation: academia.
    Where does the money come from?
    The most vicious are the left/far left antisemitic Jews.

  • to fear the reproach & revilings of the unrighteous for they shall be destroyed. We have seen Him protect and defend us when the enemy rises up. The prediction is that
    God wins every time. We need to remember a]the six day war. The enemy was shocked and greatly humiliated.I believe that Israel’s deliverane was experienceed by the enemy as a
    miraculous which it was then and will be now and forever.

  • One mistake…islam began with the sociopath Muhammad personally decapitating 600 – 900 unarmed Jews in Medina. He then kidnapped and sexually enslaved approximately one thousand Jewish girls and women. There is nothing great about that. That is the foundation of Islam: The genocide of the Jews of Medina.Nothing has changed for 1400 years.


  • Thank You R. Shmuly

    Its very tough on students who get terrorized every day by BDS etc. The faculty should do a lot more to stop the Harassment of their own Jewish Students with continuous lies of Islamic innocent victims.

    Just about every Jewish student has a taste of this religious hate by Islamic or black students.

    Thank you for sticking up and giving us some points of ammunition. One time a shliach always a shliach. Please keep up the good work!

  • Paul Cerar

    Most members of the Jew-hatred movement are “Generic Fascists”, persons who are by nature fascist and given the opportunity would engage in fascism against anyone, on behalf of any cause.

    The Palestine War is merely their excuse to engage in fascism in their own countries, against their own citizens.

    It is not hypocritical for left-wing fascist Communists to collaborate with right-wing fascist Islamists. Hell calls to Hell.

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

  • Read these:

    Islam is Evil. What part of Evil do people not understand? Islam enslaves your mind, your body and your soul. It must be destroyed.

    They use “Takiah” the Islamic law to lie in order to advance Islam.

    The 1400-year Islam Cultural War is taking over Europe for the Third Time and Now Threatening America.

    Only knowledge and working together will win this battle.
    They use “Takiah” the Islamic law to lie in order to advance Islam.

    The Third Choice by Mark Durie: One choice become Islamic, second a slave, third death. Add one choice if you act now, Freedom.

    Culture and Conflict, by P. Salzman: Shows we are in an Islamic Cultural war.

    The Arab Mind by R. Patai: US military uses this book training their soldiers and officers.

    Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali: good for young women.

    Lifting the Veil by I.Q. Ali Rassooli: a translation of the major religious books. On the web at

    The Prince by Machiavelli; the methods use by Feudalistic kings are the same methods Islam uses today.

    Books of Islam Culture War Against Israel

    BattleGround, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine by S. Katz

    From Time Immemorial J. Peters, Commissioned by Arafat to show Palestinians were in Israel from the beginning of time but ended up showing Jews were in Israel from the beginning of time. Source MI6 secret documents.

  • Israel and the Jews are losing the war on Campus due to lack of Courage and knowledge. Here is some help:

    Our Anti Islamic Warrior
    The Glazov Gang-Bosch Fawstin on “The Infidel, Featuring Pigman.”