Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Palestinians and the Arabs - Robert Vincent

by Robert Vincent

How things have changed.

This past Friday, April 13th, I attended a small gathering at the University of Toledo campus, entitled, “Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State?,” sponsored by the local chapter of the notorious Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The guest speaker was Josh Ruebner, Policy Director for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. It proved to be an educational experience for me.

The audience of around 30 people included primarily SJP members, with a few other curious, if sympathetic, students and non-students. Also present was Mike Galbraith, who is running as a Democrat for the 5th Congressional District (my district). when I arrived before the meeting began, Mr. Galbraith was engaged in a very friendly and animated discussion with Mr. Ruebner. 

The talk initially centered on recent events in Gaza. Mr. Ruebner went on in great detail about gross violations of human rights allegedly carried out by Israeli forces in response to the ‘march of return’ currently being organized by Hamas, and Israeli oppression and discrimination against Palestinians in general. I have only once before experienced such an unending stream of undiluted vitriol directed at Israel, and that was during the UT student government BDS vote meeting I attended there two years ago. 

One striking aspect of Mr. Ruebner diatribe was that he never made a single reference to any Palestinian leadership organization. The Palestinians were simply referred to as just that, a seemingly hapless collection of victims being targeted by Israel, with no leadership or representation of any kind; simply persecuted and deprived of their rights. 

There was no reference made to the PA, the PLO, and certainly not to Hamas (I could not even get him to say the word; more on this in a moment). Of course, he also did not make any reference to the severe denial of Palestinian rights in other neighboring countries, at least until I forced him to address this during the Q&A portion; which brings us to the most revealing part of the event.

Most of the questions were sympathetic, as one would expect, given the composition of the audience. One woman, for example, asked how one could deal with the common perception that being critical of Israel was synonymous with being anti-Semitic. Here I saw a major opening, when it was my turn to participate.

I pointed out that Gaza is not simply bordered by Israel, but also by Egypt in the west. I described how Egypt had very tightly sealed the border there, and that even if all of his claims of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians were true – and I disputed these - how is it that only Israel is held responsible? I asked why he only wants to boycott Israel. 

He replied that he would also like to boycott Egypt, so I laid out his real agenda, telling him and those gathered that he didn’t even mention Egypt until I brought it up, that his focus on only the Jewish state – of two states “oppressing” the Palestinians in Gaza – is a perfect example of how people like him are in fact promoting Jew hatred with their activities. 

I also pointed out that 95% of the Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories are in fact under Palestinian administration; courts, schools, police, etc. Consequently, isn’t it the Palestinian leaders who are denying the human rights of their subjects? He replied to the effect that while he condemns the treatment of Palestinians by the PA, he accused them of simply “doing Israel’s dirty work”. 

Then I brought up Gaza. I asked him point blank, who is ruling Gaza? He did not answer me directly; instead he went into a treatise on how even though Israeli forces are no longer physically in Gaza, it is “occupied” nonetheless because of Israeli control of their airspace, access by sea, and so on. 

So I insisted: “Who is governing them? What is Hamas? A bunch of potted plants?” He did not reply except with the snide, condescending remark, “Some people simply refuse to be educated”, to which I shot back, “I could easily accuse you of the same thing!”

However, the best was yet to come. 

Another gentleman - a Kuwaiti student on the other side of the room - also made some comments. He related how Kuwait, before the first Gulf War, had given “everything” to the Palestinians. They had invited hundreds of thousands of them into the country, giving them jobs, medical care, and money for their cause against Israel. Palestinians made up a very large portion of their immediate pre-war population. Then, came the invasion by Saddam, and the Palestinians sold out their hosts to the invading forces. 

He said that in Kuwait today, there is not a single family that did not lose two, three, four people due to the treachery of the Palestinians. He described how even now, in Palestinian-controlled areas, there are statues honoring Saddam Hussein. 

He concluded by comparing the Palestinians to the Israelis, saying, in effect, that ‘even if Israel has done some bad things, whatever they have done, the Palestinians are ten times worse’! 

This truly got the audience squirming, and clearly had the speaker uncomfortable. The latter tried to fob off the Kuwaiti’s comments by admitting that the Palestinians had done some “stupid things”, that he condemned the killing of innocents anywhere, and that he “disputed” some of what the Kuwaiti had claimed (without being specific).

After the event, I spoke with the Kuwaiti student. Some of his observations and revelations were quite an eye-opening. 

First, he said that he agreed with everything I had said, except for one thing. He was “heart broke,” he said, any time I used the phrase “Palestinian Arab”. He was very insistent that they were NOT “Arabs.” He gave the example of the United States: “Just because you all speak English here; does that make you English people?” He described the real Arabs as those being from the Gulf States, and that the other peoples of the region, while they may speak Arabic, were from other tribes representing other peoples and cultures. 

He also was very encouraged and enthusiastic about the growing cooperation between the Gulf Arabs and Israel against Iran. 

Finally, and most fascinating was his discussion of the Moslem Brotherhood, whom he claimed (accurately) was the primary source of material support for the Palestinian movement as represented by groups such as SJP. 

He stated that they had largely been kicked out of the Arab Middle East; that most of the countries there were no longer providing them money and were in fact closely monitoring cash transactions to ensure that they didn’t get any, and that the Moslem Brotherhood’s main source of financial support was now the United States and the United Kingdom, along with other European countries.

I pulled up an e-mail from a friend on SJP. It contained a direct quote from the founder and president of SJP at Wayne State University, Summer Baraka, that
“…We want a revolution that protects our nation and erases Israel”.
I confronted a member of the audience, a college professor, with this, as to whether or not she also thought that Israel should be “erased”. At first she was evasive, but ultimately declared that Israel was a “racist, supremacist” state that as such, really ought not exist. When I told her quite definitively that with such attitudes, peace is not possible at all, this did not phase her a bit. I also made sure that the visiting Congressional candidate saw that quote, just so he would be aware of precisely what he was supporting with his presence and his amity towards the speaker.

The unspoken subtext of this entire program was that Israel was simply beyond redemption, and did not deserve to exist at all. 

On the one hand, the event reassured me that in the main, Israel is “winning” her war of the Palestinian movement against her. The crowd was small and not particularly diverse; except for my two friends, myself, and the Kuwaiti fellow.

The visiting speaker was preaching to the hard-core choir, and not exactly making new “converts”. Despite the likes of Josh Ruebner crowing about BDS, Israel’s economy is stronger than ever. Outside of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, no one else is in a position to seriously challenge Israel on the battlefield. 

And while the polarization of American attitudes towards Israel is a matter of real concern, broadly speaking, American public support of Israel is as great or greater than it has ever been. Israel’s erstwhile local mortal adversaries – apart from Iran, Syria, and the PA/PLO/Hamas/Hezb’allah nexus – are now becoming de-facto partners against common enemies, and have largely abandoned the Palestinian insurgent movement. 

I am unsettled by this sobering fact: It is undeniable that a significant portion of what now passes for our mainstream political cultural landscape is aligning with constituencies who are perfectly fine with the dismantling or destruction of the world’s one and only Jewish state, by any means possible. 

Robert Vincent

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/04/palestinians_and_the_arabs.html

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