CAMERA 2013-14 Fellow Ben Kravis recently published a letter to the editor in his campus paper, the Tulane Hullabaloo. Read Ben’s letter here or scroll below.
Ben Kravis writes that one can be both Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian. This is a strong argument, as there is no reason one cannot support both people. Unfortunately, many campus groups that have a single agenda of demonizing Israel masquerade as being a pro-Palestinian group. These groups focus all their events on attacking Israel, with very little attention focused on the Palestinian suffering due to other Arab countries (Palestinians Being Slaughtered, Displaced/ Where are the “Pro-Palestinians”?), the Fatah dictatorship in the West Bank, or the Hamas theocracy in the Gaza Strip. For more check out the In Focus blog post Dealing with a Pro-Palestinian activist? Are you sure?
Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian journalist and recipient of the Emet Award by CAMERA, recently wrote about Egypt’s blockade of Gaza, which receives very little coverage: Egypt Blockades Gaza; and about the lack of a free press in the Arab world: Where Muslims Can Speak Freely in the Middle East.
Letter to the Editor by Ben Kravis:
Kevin Young’s article published on Aug 23rd, “Students for Justice in Palestine attempts to bring equal presence to campus,” unfavorably portrays pro-Israel groups on campus and makes SJP seem immaculate, which misrepresents both sides. This article champions Tulane’s SJP as the underdog that hasn’t had a chance to prove itself and pro-Israel groups as overbearing favorites that control the whole system.
We must examine if an active SJP on campus would lead to an equal presence of each side. Nationally, SJP has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, which stated that SJP has “consistently demonized Israel.” On our campus, meanwhile, SJP has defamed Israel by falsely accusing it of being an apartheid state. If Tulane’s SJP supports and continues slander while the pro-Israel groups provide facts, would this lead to an unbiased presence leading to dialogue between the two sides?
Additionally, Young’s argument makes it seem as if being pro-Israel and pro-Palestine are mutually
exclusive. One can be a passionate pro-Israel activist and believe in the Palestinians’ right to peaceful self-determination, just as one can be pro-Palestine and recognize Israel’s sovereignty and right to exist. This assumption deepens the schism between the two sides and is not conducive to SJP lessening its smear campaign. Tulane University for Israel, for example, is pro-Israel and pro-Palestine.
TUFI is an advocate for the Israeli policies that promote peace and equal rights to its citizens, regardless of race or religion—which includes Palestinians and non-Jews. Instead, SJP spreads the lie that the only democracy in the Middle East is “racist.” Lying about a country that dreams of peace only exacerbates the conflict and shoves that goal further away. Lying about a country and ignoring the actual crimes against Palestinians, such as the ruling government of Gaza using children as human shields and locating rocket launchers in schools and hospitals, hurts Palestinians.