LETTER: Mason Supports Anti-Israel Propaganda?

By IT & English major Aram Zucker-Scharff

The GMU Law School hosted an event called “Separate is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid from South Africa to Palestine” last week. The very title of the event speaks volumes as to the falsehood of its premise, and the guests for the event were an unfortunate selection.

The first speaker at the event was Eddie Makue, a prominent South African reverend, called the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence “six decades of catastrophe.” The second speaker was Diana Buttu, former spokesperson for the paramilitary Palestine Liberation Organization, “the richest of all terrorist organizations” according to UK law enforcement. In 2002, while in the Palestine Liberation Organization, Buttu likened the state of Israel and its negotiators to rapists. These two are hardly the most reputable choices to address Mason's Arlington campus.

Of course, the two speakers neglected to mention that, unlike any sensible definition of apartheid, Palestinians can travel from one side of the wall to another, and are free to enter, work and pray in Israel. They must have forgotten that there are Arab members of Israel's governing body, the Knesset. They forgot the clause in UN Resolution 242 that guaranteed Israel the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” They forgot to mention how the freedom of press and economic competition in Israel which is internationally recognized.

The list of lies perpetrated by these two speakers is extensive and it appears that their understanding of history is non-existent. They forget why it is that Israel came into being and why it not only deserves to, but must, exist.

In 1939, nearly 1,000 Jews fled Germany on the boat the St. Louis. They had paid to disembark in Cuba, and eventually were to make their way into the United States just a year before the Nazis had burned down every synagogue in Germany, shattered the windows of every Jewish business and hauled away 25,000 innocent people to concentration camps. Then, the Nazis forced the remaining Jewish population to pay 1,000,000,000 Marks for the damage.

Unfortunately, most Jews were met by a hostile American public, 83 percent of which opposed aiding Jewish refugees by modifying immigration law. Many met the fate of the Jews aboard the St. Louis in 1939, whose arrival had been anticipated by a 40,000 member anti-Semitic mob that came to hear a former Cuban president declare that they should “fight the Jews until the last one is driven out.”

Of almost 1000 Jewish passengers, 22 were allowed to disembark. The St. Louis was turned around and the U.S. Coast Guard pinned the ship with spotlights to ensure that no Jew would attempt to swim to America’s shore. The boat eventually docked in Belgium. Most of the passengers would be sent to Nazi concentration camps when World War II began less than three months later.

In the period leading up to World War II, no one would take in the Jewish refugees. The US population fell in line with the anti-Semitic sentiment that was popular at the time: Charles Lindbergh, a popular non-interventionist, said “we must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence,” and was often heard preaching Aryan. Henry Ford published a well known anti-Semitic newspaper. In 1939, the US government rejected the Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have admitted 20,000 Jewish immigrants under 18 from Nazi Germany.

Effectively, Congress turned many children to their deaths.
In 1942, three years before the end of World War II, the U.S. State Department suppressed a message that confirmed the Nazis' plans for the “total destruction of Europe's Jews.”

In 1945, approximately one million Jews were expelled from Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa. They were divested of their property, denationalized, and forced out of their generations-old homes. During their departure they left behind assets worth billions of dollars.

In 1948 the war ended and Europe was faced with a huge population of Jewish refugees that no one wanted to take in. Then the UN set armistice lines as temporary definitions of Israel's borders. Over a million Jews had found a home.

At that time, 630,000 Palestinians voluntarily left Israel when Arab leaders in the surrounding nations promised that the Jewish presence would be cleaned by Jihad. These Arabs initiated a planned departure and left little of value behind. The day the British left, the newborn state was attacked by Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia simultaneously. That war, which started on the moment of Israel's birth and established its existence as a state, lasted over a year and is known by the Jewish people as the War of Israeli Independence.

The Palestinians call it “al Nakba” or “the Catastrophe.” At the end of the war, Israel granted those Arabs within its borders citizenship.

How dare Buttu and Makue accuse Israel of attempting ethnic cleansing and apartheid? The facts are before you. Take a look in the dictionary at the definition of apartheid. Israel has no structured legal framework to provide racial separation.

No, there is only Israel, a single Jewish country surrounded by Arab nations. Buttu and Makue are at best uninformed, at worst anti-Semites. Mason needs to ask itself, should students be exposed to their lies? This event was inappropriate in the extreme.

With a never–ending stream of accusations and attempts to delegitimize Israel as a state, I want to know: how much more blood must the Jews pay to gain the natural born rights of life, liberty and happiness?

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