Monday, April 29, 2024

Protestors: The Enemy Is Not Israel

As a veteran of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s-1970s, I don’t begrudge college students and other activists demonstrating against Israel’s aggressive response to the October 7 butchery by Hamas of Israelis who were among their nation’s most left wing peace advocates with Palestinians. 

But what exactly are they protesting for? Yes, they want the killing to stop. But with what entity do they want to entrust Gaza and beyond? 

Surely they cannot seriously believe Hamas is an option. The same Hamas that has systematically killed anyone who has vocally and publicly disagreed with it? The same Hamas that denied Gazans sanctuary in its tunnel network from aerial and artillery bombardments, giving shelter just to its terrorist forces? The same Hamas that has killed relief aid workers and taken for itself food and fuel intended for all Gazans? The same Hamas that imbedded itself in hospitals, mosques and schools, insuring that Gazans would be killed by Israel shooting at terrorists? The same Hamas that does not tolerate the LGBTQ+ community? The same Hamas that planned and executed an assault that killed more than 1,200 mostly defenseless civilians and wounded more than 3,300 including the elderly and children as young as less than a year old, that assaulted and raped women, that in violation of international law has taken hostages now held for more than six months? The same Hamas that for nearly 20 years has indiscriminately fired rockets and mortars on civilian Israeli communities without regard to who or how many might be killed or wounded? The same Hamas that has refused to hold elections since 2006?  

I don’t like it but they are within their rights to demonstrate against Israel. Even against American support for Israel. But when, as Palestinians and their fellow protestors in Dearborn, Mich., did a few weeks ago, they chant “Death to America,” that crosses the line. It was offensive and, if determined not to be within free expression protections, should be prosecuted. They are no different than the January 6 Capitol rioters whose objective was the overthrow of our legitimate government. Similarly, cries to kill and to intimidate Jews is not acceptable behavior.

Unfortunately, the protestors lack context and accuracy in their belligerence. Israel is not an apartheid state. It is not practicing genocide against Palestinians. It is not conducting an anti-humanitarian war against Hamas. 

Nowhere else in the Middle East—especially not in Hamas-controlled Gaza—are Palestinians able to protest without fear of retribution. On the other hand, Palestinians who are citizens of Israel are permitted to vote and protest against their elected government. Neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has held an election for more than a decade. 

Unlike Hamas, Israel does not restrict the rights of women and LGBTQ+ members. 

Sixty years ago we sought an end to the Vietnam War. North Vietnam and the Viet Cong were not ideal enemies, not without evil actions. But they were not dedicated to America’s destruction. Today, Vietnam is a strong commercial partner with us. Some see it as a bulwark against Chinese regional hegemony. 

Hamas does not recognize Israel’s existence. It is dedicated to Israel’s annihilation and the killing of Jews. Until Hamas and its allies accept Israel’s reality conflict will continue.

The death and injury of thousands of innocents in Gaza is tragic, but not unusual in any conflict. Keep in mind, Israel did not initiate the war with Hamas. It is difficult to not conclude criticism of Israel’s defense of its sovereignty and effort to liberate hostages taken by Hamas is not anti-semitic when critics, especially college/university students, have been largely silent about, among other worldwide hot spots, the horrific treatment by China of its Moslem Uyghur citizens, Assad’s brutal actions in the Syrian civil war, Modi’s plans to strip rights from India’s Moslem population, Myamar’s persecution of its Rohingya minority, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with attacks on civilians and their infrastructure.

The pro Palestinian faction demonizes all associated with Israel. According to The New York Times, “Student demands (at Columbia University) include that the university divest from any financial interests connected to Israel and amnesty for all activists for their protest actions.”

So here’s a thought—perhaps those urging a boycott and divestment from Israel should practice boycott and divestment on a personal level. I wonder, just how far these zealots are willing to go? Would they, in fact, be willing to live their lives without the conveniences and health-oriented tools they currently enjoy that originated in Israel?

Here’s a partial list of Israel’s contribution over the last 75 years to raising the world’s standard of living:

  • Israel contributed to the development of Microsoft Windows, Intel computer chips, instant messaging, the cellular telephone including the iPhone
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Waze, the GPS-navigation software app
  • Sabon cosmetics and bath products
  • Wix website-building company
  • Jaffa Oranges
  • SodaStream
  • AHAVA cosmetics
  • Max Brenner chocolates
  • Bamba peanut-butter-flavored snack useful in developing in infants tolerance to peanuts
  • Drip irrigation
  • Epilady 
  • Firewall computer network security system
  • NIR heart stent
  • Voice over Internet Protocol, PC-to-phone software solution
  • PillCam

The list can go on and on (

By comparison, while the world owes a debt to the Islamic community of 700 to the late 19th century for preserving ancient teachings and giving us the foundation of modern society (, aside from expanding the crime of airplane hijacking and killing passengers as well as exporting radical Islam, I can find no comparable list of inventions and benefits from Palestinians and other Moslems over the last 75 years.