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April 28, 2022 10:57 am
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UMass Student Newspaper Spreads Lies About Israel and Defends Terrorism

avatar by Adam Gordon

Opinion

Baker Hall at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

Anti-Israel activists often draw unreasonable and overly simplistic comparisons between the Arab-Israeli conflict and other causes, from police brutality to climate justice. Such conflations are often misleading and intellectually dishonest.

A recent column in UMass Amherst’s The Daily Collegian — titled “Palestinian Perspectives: The double standards of war,by Ruya Hazeyen — proved no exception.

In her screed, Hazeyen argues that the West’s condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and the imposition of sanctions, is evidence of a double standard because boycott and divestment measures have not been employed against the State of Israel.

Hazeyen hopes that readers will accept her attempt to synonymize Russia, an autocratic state leading an aggressive war against a peaceful neighbor, with the State of Israel, a democratic state that has sought peace with its Arab neighbors and defends its citizens from genocidal terrorist organizations.

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Ukrainians do not deny Russia’s right to exist, nor are they targeting Russian civilians in terrorist attacks. There are no Ukrainian-led bombings of train stations in Moscow, or rocket attacks on kindergartens in St. Petersburg.

Palestinian “resistance,” as defined by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and many others, is hunting down Israeli civilians in bars, at bus stops, and in night clubs and targeting them for death.

The Palestinians also participate in pay-for-slay, a Palestinian Authority (PA) program that rewards Palestinian terrorists or their families for murdering Israeli civilians, including children. The PA and Hamas also name schools for terrorists, and venerate them in society.

When Ukrainian civilians enter Russia, massacre children, and then are celebrated by their government, perhaps comparisons between Ukraine and the Palestinians can apply. Until then, the comparison is ludicrous.

The ultimate goal of Palestinian terrorism is the destruction of Israel. But don’t take my word for it, take it from Fathi Hamad, a leader of Hamas’ politburo and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who in 2019 said, “We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them.”

I would like to know how murdering innocent civilians in cold blood is “resistance.”

Is the murder of Shalhevet Pass resistance? Shalhevet was a 10-month-old baby who was deliberately killed by a Palestinian terrorist using a sniper rifle, targeting her while in her stroller.

Is the murder of Hallal Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old girl stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in her bedroom while she was asleep, an act of resistance?

What about the recent terror wave in Israel that killed 14 people? Was the Palestinian who shot to death two Ukrainian nationals and several Israeli civilians in Bnei Brak carrying out an act of resistance?

Was Hamas’ firing of more than 4,000 rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians last May resistance?

The UMass author goes further, making a confusing comparison of Israel’s security barrier to the Berlin Wall, without mentioning that Israel’s security barrier was erected in response to the Palestinian terrorism of the Second Intifada, where Israeli civilians were murdered by suicide bombings, shootings, and stabbings perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists. Ultimately, the security barrier has decreased these acts of violence by 90%.

Hazeyen also misleads her audience by implying the existence of a pre-existing Palestinian state. She claims that Israel was conceptualized on “occupied Palestinian land.” In reality, a Palestinian state has never existed. Before 1948, Jews and Arabs lived under British rule and various foreign powers beforehand.

Thus Jews are not “settlers” or “colonialists”; they are indigenous people who have had a continuing presence in the land for centuries.

It should further be noted that during and after Israel’s creation, Arab states launched an ethnic cleansing campaign, forcing over 850,000 Jews to seek refuge in Israel.

The sordid history of anti-Jewish violence and the oppression of Jewish communities in Arab lands is conveniently left out, because it stands to challenge Hazeyen’s characterization of Jews as powerful, foreign invaders.

Sanctions against Russia seek to act as a pressure point for the Russians to pull back their military invasion of Ukraine, while BDS seeks to employ economic and propagandistic means to destroy the State of Israel, while supporting Palestinian terror. The BDS movement denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination and Israel’s right to exist. The author even points out that many US states seek to bar BDS for these reasons, and many have already done so.

These comparisons are counterproductive and only seek to incite hatred. It is especially egregious to use such a comparison to pass off terrorism as “resistance.” With such a defense, one wonders if the author is looking for a peaceful resolution to the conflict at all.

Adam Gordon is a Campus Advisor at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA). He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in political science. 

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