Middle Eastern peace relies on moderate views
The letter titled "Ideology poses as scholarship at Brandeis U.," in Monday's The Daily Targum is another poorly constructed and illogical smear campaign on support of Palestinians in colleges across the nation. However, the author's attack on "social justice" campaigns throughout America comes off as decidedly racist in origin. The letter highlighted Brandeis University's week to recognize Israeli's occupation of Palestine, and he argues the recent willingness of today's youth to partake in "social justice" is either open or thinly veiled anti-Semitism. This position is further highlighted by the title of the Boston University professor's recent book "Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad against Israel & Jews."
This notion, along with the rest of the letter, is entirely absurd. The fact of the matter is that social justice — I do not know why the author uses quotations around this phrase — is a complete necessity. The indigenous Palestinians are facing systematic discrimination from Israeli expansion; it manifests in settlements of Palestinian land in the name of protectionism, unfair road blocks and search procedures, as well as the blockade against Gaza. Many Jews and Israelis are able to freely admit there is a crisis in Gaza and humanitarian aid is necessary. One such person is Noam Chomsky, whom the writer caricaturizes as one of the "galaxy of notorious anti-Israel Jew-haters." Chomsky was raised Jewish but became an atheist. He is also renowned for his revolutionary ideas in the fields of linguistics, political science and philosophy.
Also, according to The Jewish Week: "As Jewish and pro-Israel groups on college campuses oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, New Voices looks into one of the most perplexing aspects of the whole debate: Many of the student proponents of BDS are Jewish." How can the writer argue the roots of this "social justice" campaign are rooted in anti-Semitism when a Jewish newspaper acknowledges the fact that many of the movement's proponents are themselves Jewish?
The next point the professor argues is that the Israeli occupation, if he could agree with me to call it that, is not an occupation because the Palestinians were a people without society, sovereignty and a strong state. In fact, he argues that because of those reasons, they can hardly even be considered a nation of people. Without delving too far into the differences of nations and states, as are taught in any intro political science course, there obviously exists a people who consider themselves "Palestinian." This is what constitutes a nation.
Not to mention, the Palestinian Mandate was provided by the League of Nations — to which the United States was not a party — and provided a two-people state with equal representation in government for Palestine. This was changed by the Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot Treaty, which granted Jews a home in Palestine and then fractured the identities of the Middle East. The European backing of Israel in the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 and the Palestine War in 1948 decimated the Palestinians' national support, identity and resources to build up. The main underlying theme is that for some reason, legitimacy only seems to be lent to the Israeli mandate when backed by white or European governments. The plights of the brown people again fall to the wayside.
Finally, the letter's author contends that since the Palestinian people had no sovereign representation or strong central government, they are better off under Israeli rule. This logic is dangerous and incendiary. This was also the argument given by Southern slave owners in the United States prior to the Civil War, and a similar one was presented by whites in apartheid South Africa. America has fallen victim to this logic often and the fact remains the same: Just because a group of people do not govern their society in the way you do, does not mean they cannot be an effective society.
The ultimate problem is the fact that most people with opinions on the topic readily define themselves in polar terms: pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. True love of a country or of a people cannot be painted with a bland brush. Understanding and real conversation about solutions in the Middle East rely on moderate views, not blindly backing the side you're on.
Cody Gorman is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. He is also a columnist for The Daily Targum.
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