By Tatiana Rose-Becker
This article has been republished in The Algemeiner.
Today, among other things, I was told by a Palestinian student visiting at FSU, that the 67 innocent Jews murdered in Hebron in 1929 were actually not Jews, they were Arabs. I was also told I am less of a person than Hitler because at least Hitler had the chutzpah to declare his genocide on the Jewish people and that I am masquerading as though I want peace. I was told I am a racist and a Nazi and an imperialist who needs to check my white privilege. I was told that Israel is not a state but an occupying force directly responsible for the plight of the Palestinian people. I was told by the students that the Palestinians are not interested in peace and coexistence but that they will take back the land that is rightfully theirs. I was told that Hamas and Fatah are in no way responsible for what is happening to the people in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. I read a sign “Israel = terrorist.”
And I think for the first time in my adult life, I truly understand what it means to stare racism straight in the face. Today, I had a show down with our campus chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Students for a Democratic Society both of whom fervently protest Israel on a regular basis. The conversation circled around misinformation displayed by the Palestinian supporters on our campus green in front of the library. I asked them for their material and asked them what their views were.
“We support the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of the occupying force of Israel.”
I asked them if they had any interest in coexistence with the Jewish state.
“We have no desire for peace. Leave our lands. You never belonged here in the first place.”
I questioned, “Jews have no claim of control over Jerusalem?”
“Absolutely zero. None.”
“You are aware that the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock were built physically on top of the Jews holiest site on Earth, correct?” I asked.
“You have no way of proving that. Give me proof. You can’t. You have none.”
“What about the archaeological evidence that shows that Jews have lived in Jerusalem since Jerusalem came into being?” I questioned.
“That is falsified evidence and is planted by the Israeli government to make it appear legitimate. Israel is not legitimate. You have no historical claim to these lands.”
“Jews in Israel do not have a right to defend themselves?” I inquired.
“No, Israel is an occupying force and we are going to remove them.
Viva Viva Palestina. End the Occupation. We have the Right of Return. Tear Down The Wall.”
We have no claim to Israel. We have no historical ties to Jerusalem. People existed peacefully together before Israel happened out of the sky in 1948. The UN supports Israel because it is economically convenient for them. No Jew was ever persecuted or forced out of an Arab state.
These statements and countless others are made on my campus and other campuses every single day. I have attempted to see their rational logic, have them explain to me their views, and asked those who in groups like SJP whether or not they would ever want a state alongside a Jewish one. The answer is always no.
The answer is such because I have surmised that Jews are, according to those currently speaking out for Palestinian liberation, not entitled to self-determination and we are the only people on Earth not entitled to do so. We are a people who are meant to stay in a diaspora and keep our noses in the ground. Why? Because we are Jews. To deny Jewish history in the state of Israel is simply denying fact. But today someone looked me in the eye and told me my people have absolutely no claim to the city of Jerusalem.
My thought, my hope and my prayer is always “next year in Jerusalem”. The claim for sovereignty over the state of Israel is threatened by those who deny our history. And my reaction comes in the form of a question: with the blind hatred that I faced today, where my friends were called terrorists and I am called a Nazi, can there ever be peace? In conflict where the leadership of Palestinians murder those who protest against them and they fail to provide functional security for their people and the Jews are reprimanded and punished by the world over for defending themselves against terrorism, what kind of an outcome is this going to produce? The Jews are Goliath. The Palestinians are David. This is their story- but what about our story? The story of rich cultural history of the Jewish people that has survived over 3000 years of persecution and near annihilation who has finally come home?
If the supporters of the Palestinian movement for statehood believe these intrinsic lies that have far less to do with Israel and far more to do with the illegitimacy of the Jewish people, how can we move forward? Their school books rewrite history, their religious leaders call for the extermination of the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is on the rise like never before all over the Western world. So what’s next? We are called the Goliath. Perhaps no one has considered that we are David. A David that has grown strong enough to defend itself against its countless enemies and survive in impossible conditions.
The only thing to do is keep informing people of how grossly wrong these lies are, because the idea and the hope and the plan is that fact and history will win out over violence, racism, and divine hatred. Because as these voices grow louder, people begin the question the legitimacy of the Jewish people. And if we do not respond back with the voices of our history, what reason do we give the world not to?
Tatiana Becker is President of CCAP-supported organization at Florida State University, Noles for Israel. The article was originally written on November 13, 2014.