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October 20, 2015 11:17 am

Moral Dementia at Stanford and Berkeley

avatar by Richard Cravatts

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The campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In a display of moral narcissism that British columnist Melanie Phillips has characterized as a “dialogue of the demented,” Stanford students staged a public protest on October 19th to once again denounce Israel — and, presumably, to honor the slain homicidal Palestinians who have so far claimed 11 Israeli lives in a recent spate of violence in Jerusalem and parts of Judea and Samaria.

The protest, organized by the vitriolic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), followed in style and substance an equally debased display of moral self-righteousness at Berkeley, where a similar gathering on October 13th saw protesters enthusiastically chanting “long live the intifada” and “we support the intifada;” in other words, they were extolling the current homicidal rampage in Israel in which youthful terrorists have used knives, guns, stones and vehicles to randomly murder Jewish civilians.

In fact, the use of the word “intifada” is a grotesque and murderous reference to the Second Intifada that began in 2000, during which Arab terrorists murdered some 1,000 Israelis and wounded more than 14,000 others.

Students for Justice in Palestine was founded by Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, who in 2004 called for an intifada in the United States. Since then, SJP has become a disruptive, corrosive presence on many campuses with its disruptive, mendacious anti-Israel activism. The Stanford chapter, like others, says its stated mission is to work “toward justice and the recognition of universal rights for all current and displaced residents of historic Palestine,” meaning only the Palestinians at the expense of, and to the detriment of, Israelis. This notion of “justice” has only one beneficiary in a zero sum game where justice is achieved not by having two states living side by side in peace, but through the creation of a new Palestinian state in the place of Israel.

“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination, justice and equality,” the mission statement continues, intentionally ignoring the current existence of a sovereign Jewish state and allowing that self-determination is only acceptable for Palestinian Arabs and not, it seems, for Jews.

In reality, the pro-Palestinian SJP seem to care very little about the actual self-determination and state building of the hapless Palestinians. As is frequently the case when speaking about the Israeli-Arab conflict, the discussion often glosses over the real problems of Palestinian culture, politics and society (including its cult of death and martyrdom), and targets all criticism on the perceived defects of Israel, Zionism and Jewish power. All of the blame for the conflict is placed on the so-called occupation, the “apartheid wall,” the oppression and militarism of the Zionist regime, and the brutal humiliation and collective punishment Israel is said to mete out on a daily basis upon the wholly innocent Palestinians.

The chronic truculence of the Palestinians in having rejected opportunities for statehood on multiple occasions, of course, is never mentioned, and other causes that have led to Palestinian suffering are pointed to.  One of the placards at the Stanford rally, for instance, read “Settler colonialism has killed 7 Israelis and 32 Palestinians this month,” naively assigning blame for the recent carnage, not where it belongs—with the homicidal young teenagers and others who barbarically murdered or tried to murder Jewish parents in front of their children, or riding at buses, or standing on street corners—but with the disingenuous and factually defective charge of “settler colonialism.”

That pro-Palestinian student activists, those who purport to be motivated by a desire to bring “justice” to the Middle East and who, presumably, care about all human lives, could publicly call for the renewed slaughter of Jews in the name of Palestinian self-determination demonstrates quite clearly how ideologically debased the human rights movement has become. Activists on the Stanford and Berkeley campuses, who never have to face a physical threat more serious than getting jostled while waiting in line for a latte at Starbucks, are quick to denounce Israel’s very real existential threats and the necessity of the Jewish state to take counter measures to thwart terrorism against its civilian population. And quick to label the killing of terrorists by the IDF as “extra-judicial” killings, these well-meaning but morally-blind individuals see no contradiction in their calls for the renewed murder of Jews for their own sanctimonious cause.

At Berkeley, protestors were shouting out the oft-heard slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” That phrase suggests the same situation that a rekindled intifada would help bring about, namely, that if the fictive nation of “Palestine” is “liberated” — i.e. is free — there will be, of course, no Israel between the Jordan River and Mediterranean — and no Jews either.

Those students who lend their moral support to terrorism, and who continually see the existence of “grievance-based violence” as a justifiable tool of the oppressed, have helped introduce a sick moral relativism into discussions about radical Islam and Palestinianism, not to mention Israel’s right to protect its citizens from being slaughtered.

That those students purporting to care about attaining social justice for the downtrodden are willing to let another group of people be murdered as part of that well-meaning campaign demonstrates quite clearly that a moral dementia has enveloped the anti-Israel crowd in a way that is both frightening and tragic — and we should see it for what it really is.

Richard L. Cravatts, president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews.

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  • Jeremy Zeid

    An appropriate poem written by me this year.


    Do you remember the wall across Berlin
    Kept freedom out, sealed oppression in
    The Students of Nothing, marched banners unfurled
    For the Iron Curtain that split a paranoid world
    When Three Leaders of Stature, Britain, Russia, US
    Demolished the wall and the whole evil mess
    The Students of Nothing still waved their Red Flags
    Fools, deaf, dumb and blind to the hellish gulags
    How we cheered when we saw the fall of the wall
    While most stood united at the awe of it all
    That symbol of oppression, suspicion and hate
    Streamed from dark into light through the Brandenburg gate
    As the old Soviet order crumbled to dust
    The tanks, guns and missiles started to rust
    Then the World stood together at the UN
    Declared, no divided cities, Never Again
    But behind the false Hope, there are those who teach Hate
    And a culture of death that numbers can’t sate
    The Students of Nothing in search of a fad
    Now wear the keffiyah of death and jihad
    Their Marxist lecturers hard left in their fields
    Use the Students of Nothing as their human shields
    With good taught as evil and evil as good
    An inverted world and a future of blood
    Pygmy World leaders, abase themselves and excuse
    The monsters who’d destroy the Land of the Jews
    Beguiling money and oil, from the men of the sands
    Who’d as much offer them tea as cut off their hands
    Despite lofty announcements of No City Divided
    The EU the UN and US have decided
    To sacrifice Judah the brave Lions of Zion
    The one steadfast ally that they can rely on
    The Students of Nothing join zealots’ shouts
    To lock freedom in, and let oppression spread out
    With the hope and the light reverting to dark
    Malignant forces on campuses fanning the spark
    The Students of Nothing spew bile and phlegm
    And demand the division of Jerusalem

    ©Copyright, Jeremy Zeid 01/04/15

  • David Goshen

    The fact that there is a huge humanitarian crisis in Gaza where no rebuilding is taken place because of the “war” between Hamas and Fatah is obviously of no concern of these Berkeley anti Israel demonstrators.The Secetary General of the UN Bank E Moon appointed Abu Mazem of the PA to supervise the rebuilding but Abu Mazem is not allowed by Hamas to enter Gaza or to carry out his task.A second winter
    is approaching Building masterials shippd into Gaza each week by Israel are being all purchased by Hamas in the black market and used to build more tunnels .No donor money has been sent and obviously this humanitarian crisis with tens of thousands of Gazans with no roof over their head is of no concern.Israel is certainly not responsible for this inter Arab War!!!

  • Ruth gilmour

    Thanks for this article
    It’s comforting to hear reasonable sensible voice
    Please continue with the quest for real justice

  • Doesn’t surprise me that Hate ’em leads this sort of thing … but from safe, far-away USA. I like the writer’s description of ‘moral dementia’: is that the virus that makes one unaware of cognitive dissonance?

  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    The majority of academics and UN officials denouncing Israel are muslims with a few anti-Semites and Jewish self haters to give the farce credibility .

  • Sabra Sabarit

    What can I say? The deplorable lack of understanding or even caring about the truth, on the part of the mostly radicalised leftist university students being bred on campuses these days, leads one to despair about the future generation of politicians that will emerge from this cesspit, to rule America in its battle against radical Islam. Israel of course, at the front line in that battle, will be fed to the sharks (or in this case, ISIS, HAMAS or whichever evil is in power at the time) while the USA goes on its merry way of total oblivion to the truth, the history, or the facts, fed mainly by the left-leaning, biased media – after all, how can they believe the truth when they don’t know the truth? Fed nothing but lies from the media with its own political agenda – could that be based on anti-Semitism? Oh hush my mouth.

  • ART

    The storm troopers of islam and their stupid hateful lackeys have usurped the dialogue and the campus itself aided by cowardly “pc” administrators. Jews must stand together to confront this evil, our future is at stake.

  • steven L

    Without the liberal Jews, this would not happen.

  • Jneen

    A new realization for me….

    Inherent in the writings of the Koran is the elimination of Jews.
    They cannot sign a treaty of a two-state solution (even going back to 1967 borders) and be “good” Muslims. This conflict is not directly related to the land. It is instigated and empowered at the cultural/spiritual direction and level of a religion/government. If following their own religious writings they cannot seek or bring “peace to the middle east”. Now I see why their leader backed away when President Clinton “achieved” a treaty giving them 95%? of what they wanted. He couldn’t give them the blessing of “Allah”.

  • John Train

    The Palestinian “cause”—which is essentially to conquer Israel—has been pushed out of the headlines and global attention by other, more pressing issues in the Middle East, such as barbarous conquests by the Islamic State, slaughter of Syrians by their leader Bashar Assad and by other disastrous fallout from the “Arab Spring.” To regain the spotlight, Palestinian leadership is now inciting the Arab street to acts of terrorism—blaming Israel with lies and anti-Semitic slander. Unfortunately, too many Western media, including the New York Times, are buying it! Now, more than ever, we need clarity on this issue. No more lies. No more fake narratives of Palestinian victimhood.

    Articles, such as this one should be circulated to your friends and associates.

    In addition, some in the Jewish community still do not understand this message. Thus, you may want to forward these articles to :
    professor David Myers at UCLA
    former representative Mel Levine
    representative Adam Schiff (through his staff member, Jeff Lowenstein)
    Robert Eshman