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Destroying Hamas Is Not Genocide; It Is Self-Preservation

Hamas leader and Oct. 7 pogrom mastermind Yahya Sinwar addressing a rally in Gaza. Photo: Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa

The Arab term for catastrophe is Nakba. The Hebrew word for catastrophe is Shoah — which is also used to refer to the Holocaust.

Since 1948, Israel has been nourished and sustained by the Jews who were violently evicted from Arab countries, by the Jews who fought for the right to leave the open-air prison called the Soviet Union, by the Jews of Ethiopia and more recently, by Ukrainians seeking shelter from Putin’s onslaught. Melting pots are complex. Israel is complex, but it is not an apartheid or racist country. It is not a “white settler-colonial state” that is engaged in the “genocide of Palestinians.”  These are all accusations that compose the modern blood libel used to delegitimize and then destroy Israel.

The initial Palestinian catastrophe was self-inflicted when the decision was made to destroy Israel in 1948, and has been continually compounded by the catastrophic decisions of Palestinian leaders in 1967, 1973, by their rejection of the Clinton Parameters in 2000, by their green light for the Second Intifada between 2000 to 2005, and by their decision to invade, rape, and pillage Israel on October 7. The Palestinian leadership must stop making catastrophic decisions that keep Israelis and Palestinians locked in a dance of death.

Israel’s resistance to Palestinian and Arab violence has saved millions of Jews from death — from another Holocaust. This is the gas and violence that antisemites today are hysterically chanting for and salivating over (shouts to “gas Jews” ). After October 7, there were tears of joy and excitement from around the world that Hamas had delivered a blow that rocked Israel, and would force it to make concessions that would further weaken its ability to survive and thrive.

Israel resists to avoid the next catastrophe, and their resistance is called genocide.

On December 11, 2023, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) stated:  “We didn’t turn out in huge numbers to elect President Biden to have him supply the bombs for a genocide.”

Israel is now defending itself in the International Court of Justice from South Africa’s accusation of genocide. The accusation states: “Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide,” and that “Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide ratified by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 states that the following acts constitutes genocide. (UN Genocide Prevention):

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its

physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Why isn’t Hamas being charged with genocide? Which of these five acts has Hamas not committed, and is not now committing? Hamas kills Israeli civilians, they mentally and physically torture women and children, they viciously murder women, children and the elderly, and Hamas’ brutal rape and torture of Israeli women is a way of preventing these women from having children. Their kidnapping of Israeli children is a forcible transfer. Hamas advocates for the genocide of Israelis between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It is their raison d’être (See the Hamas Charter).

Every time that Hamas or Hezbollah launches barrages of missiles at Israel, they are in violation of the law of genocide that Israel is accused of violating. When more than 200,000 Israelis are forced to evacuate their villages to escape Hezbollah missiles, it is Hezbollah that is violating the United Nations law on genocide. The objective of the blame, shame, defame movement is to delegitimize Israel and starve it of the resources it needs to resist annihilation.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) voted “present” not “nay” to fund Israel’s Iron Dome defense system when the “Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022” was introduced to Congress, but she let everyone know that she should have voted no. If every one of the Hamas and Hezbollah and Houthi missiles hit Israel — instead of being knocked out of the sky by Iron Dome — would Hamas then be brought before the International Court of Justice?

Would those who hate Israel accuse Hamas of committing genocide? I doubt it.

Israel’s resistance saves lives. When the IDF destroys Hamas and Hezbollah missile launchers, it saves lives. Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ missiles deliver death and destruction to the Muslims, Christians, Jews and Druze of Israel — and even to Palestinians when the rockets misfire. The weapons of Hamas and Hezbollah kill and wound and destroy a racially and religiously diverse population. But Israel is slandered as a racist and apartheid country.

Robert Frost in his poem “Mending Wall” asks the question, “Why do Fences Make Good Neighbors.” To answer this question, Frost advises us to reflect on “what is being walled in and what is being walled out.” The context of Frost’s poem is two orchards in the pristine New England countryside, not Gaza or the West Bank. October 7 has made it crystal clear what and who is being walled in and out.

Israel’s war on Hamas is not genocide it is terrorcide. Israel should not have to apologize for wanting to live apart from terrorists. Creating a space so that you can live apart from terror is not apartheid it is self-preservation.

Charles A. Stone is a Professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaking to legislators during the State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024 at South Dakota State Captiol in Pierre. Photo: Samantha Laurey and Argus Leader via REUTERS CONNECT

South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.

“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”

CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.

Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.

Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.

Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.

“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”

“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.

The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.

“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.

The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.

Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.

“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution

Graphic posted by University of California, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine on February 21, 2024 to celebrate the student government’s passing an resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.

The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.

Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.

“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”

Other council members  voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.

Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.

“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”

University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.

“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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