by Michael Curtis
Present day academics in American universities seem ignorant of, or dismiss as irrelevant, the existing menace to world civilization by Islamist terrorists.
On this seventieth anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi criminals, it is well to remember the words of Robert H. Jackson, the chief American prosecutor, on November 21, 1945. He spoke of the wrongs that have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. He urged prosecution of those Nazi leaders who had possessed great power, who used it to set evils in motion, and who terrified the world.
Some mainstream religious groups, the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, are not as willing as was Jackson to label and name those responsible, those gangsters and militarists, in the modern world for racial hatreds, terrorism and violence, arrogance and cruelty of power.
The two religious groups have issued statements on the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. Both of those statements, well-meaning in their usual fashion, suffer from refusal, hypocritical or not, to tell the whole truth. They do not identify the people and the ideology that committed evil.
The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches on November 14, 2015 stated in English, French, and Arabic that “the people of Paris again confronted terror, violence and death, following attacks that left more 120 people dead and hundreds more injured.” The WCC articulated that its hearts and minds were with the victims, but was silent about who were the murderers. Surely the WCC does not really believe that aliens from outer space were responsible for the evil act of terror in Paris. Or does it, since the name of the Islamist terrorism by the Islamic State, ISIS, or that of any other group, is never mentioned?
Similarly, Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, condemned the November 13 attacks. He urged, “these acts of horrific violence not be mistaken as part of a war between Christianity and Islam.” Mr. Winkler not only has forgotten the name of the perpetrators in Paris but also the events of history. The last Christian Crusade to defend Holy Places against Muslims ended in 1291 when the last city controlled by the Crusaders, the town of Acre, was captured by Muslim forces.
In this respect it is unfortunate that President Barack Obama on February 5, 2015 made an ill-advised moral comparison when speaking of “the terrible deeds in the name of Christ” committed during the Crusades and the Inquisition. Of course, Christians have committed terrible deeds in the past, but Obama’s emphasis on the atrocities of Christians can be seen as an example of moral equivalence between Christians and Muslims. The non-Muslim world has not declared war on Islam, but only on Islamist terrorism which has declared war on the civilized world, terrorism which the WCC and the NCC have difficulty in specifically condemning.
It is symptomatic of the political correctness, shameful ignorance and unsatisfactory nature of present day academics in American universities that they seem ignorant of, or dismiss as irrelevant, the existing menace to world civilization by Islamist terrorists and those responsible for the evils committed in Paris, Brussels, Beirut, and Mali, to take only the most recent. Instead, whether out of prejudice or bias, or as a result of weakly succumbing to unremitting Palestinian pressure organizations, some academics register indignation and urge action against what they see as the one, and only, violator of human rights in the universe, the State of Israel.
Apart from a lunatic Arab fringe element, no political or religious group has attributed the massacre of 130 people in Paris to instructions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to citizens of the State of Israel or in particular to the ubiquitous Mossad that the fringe element regards as engrossed in plots of world conspiracy.
Certainly members of the American Anthropological Association do not believe this, or at least have not started it publicly. But they did, after three years of Palestinian organization and pressure, on November 20, 2015 at a meeting in Denver of 1,400 of its members, pass a resolution by 1040 to 36 calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. A final vote on this resolution will be taken by all AAA 10,000 members at its annual meeting in April 2016.
The brutality and criminality of ISIS actions should be denounced by everyone, especially those genuinely concerned with the maintenance of human rights. The actions have gone far beyond any moral parameters of human behavior. All true humanitarians are mourning the deaths and injuries of hundreds in Paris and should urge that the evil ISIS perpetrators be brought to justice.
Even admitting that real problems exist in Israeli-Palestinian relations and must be solved, it appears weird if not pathological for supposed scholars, few of whom in the AAA have any real expertise in the complexities of Middle East affairs, to focus on what it calls Israel’s systematic maintenance of the occupation and denial of basic rights to Palestinians. Instead of stressing compassion and comfort for the victims of ISIS terrorism, and calling for a response to it, the AAA fritters away its time and calls for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions until these institutions end their (unstated) complicity in violating (unstated) Palestinian rights.
The AAA resolution is the result of prejudice against the Jewish State, and is counterproductive in excusing and even abetting the Palestinian unwillingness to come to the bargaining table to make peace. But like the statements of the WCC and the NCC that of the AAA is hypocritical. Indeed, it gives hypocrisy a bad name. The AAA resolves that the boycott, part of the broader BDS movement, pertains only to Israeli academic institutions and not to individual scholars. One is left wondering who remains in the academic institutions who are not individual scholars. The answer can only be the janitors and cleaners of the building.
Those janitors should complain to the International Criminal Court that their basic human rights are being violated by the leaders of the American Anthropological Association, and those leaders should stand judgment at a modern version of Nuremberg, not for abstract speculation of which scholars are fond, but for practical harm they are causing to innocent and hard-working Israeli people.
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