Conflicts on Campus

The New York Times is a world renowned news organizing that has been reporting on a wide range of topics since its founding in 1851.  Recently, Linda K. Wertheimer wrote about how the conflict in the Middle East effects students on college campuses.  Even I have seen the type of protest on our campus that Linda refers too in her piece. The article “Students and the Middle East Conflict”, goes into detail about an incident that took place at the Tufts University “Tastes of Israel” gathering and how this small episode speaks to the larger issue.

At the gathering, Israeli food had small toothpicks with the Israeli flag on them, this was seen by some as appropriation. This of course was on a small scale but speaks to the increasingly uneasy and hostile attitude towards Israel on college campuses. Jews and people who support Israel find it hard to speak up in support because of the negative feedback they receive. 57% or the majority of Americans say that they stand with Israel its struggles although rise in the support for Palestine has risen among millennials.

Many pro Palestine and anti-Israel groups have formed with the primary mission of boycotting Israel and delegitimizing the state. One of these groups is called Students for Justice in Palestine, who openly say that they react violently to anything that they do not accept as pro Palestine. Because of the rise of these groups and other factors, anti- Semitism has grown on campuses and students feel unsafe to stand with Israel. Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University conducted a survey with the results that a quarter of participates had been directly blamed for actions of Israel and at least one fourth had experienced anti- Semitism in the past year. Many other surveys reviled similarly shocking statistics. The article does not take the stance of shutting down all protests but rather says that they all must be peaceful and informative rather than attacking people’s views.

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Two States Or Not

Haaretz is a realizable Israeli news platform, known for leaning slightly to the left that has a podcast component. In the Podcast I listened to called, “The Promised Podcast, Shriveling Settlements”, reporters Allison, Noah and Don explore topics regarding the shrinking of the settlements.  The reporters acknowledge what seems to be the truth about the settlements and how, shocking as it is, that settlements are shrinking.

Allison says that the territories are so packed with settlements full of religious Jews that there is no moving them, these people take the term “be fruitful and multiply quite seriously”.

3434256120.jpgIn terms of a two state solution, when it comes to talking about that as a possible peace solution many sight the settlements as a number one issue for why that is not a possibility. Technically yes, the Israelis living in settlement are living in occupied territories but there are thousands of Arabs living within the walls on Jerusalem without issue or protest. This contradiction is interesting in terms of a two state solution because both sides seem to have an issue when seemingly the only issue they are willing to point at is the settlements.

Maps as Stories

The Global Policy Forum is a reliable and independent organization that repots on the United Nations. It is a reliable news source and has been regarded as such for years. In the article regarding land settlement and ownership, The Global Policy Forum gives data in the form of maps from as far back as 1967 during the war. One of the main reasons that the conflict in the middle east exists is because of the lack of agreement over land ownership.

Both Palestinians and Israelis view the holy land of Israel as sacred to their religion. Israel is home to the Alaska Mosque, an extremely holy site to the Palestinian people while it is also home to what is left of the first temple known as the Western wall, one of the most religious sites for the Jewish people.

One of the first official agreements of land distribution was The Oslo Accords in 1933.  This agreement gave the Palestinian authority more than half of the control over the Gaza strip while it stated that Palestinians were not allowed to enter the settlement or use main roads though Israel.  Today, while peace talks are ongoing we feel the reproductions, positive and negative of the Oslo accords.  A map of Israel’s territory from 2008 shows that because of the Oslo Accords around 500,000 Palestinians face hardships getting to work every day. Peace deals are in the works but many issues on both sides must be resolved before moving forward.

The Start of Something New

Startup Nation by Dan Senor is a book that highlights the Israeli Technology sector as the driving force behind Israeli societal progress. Senor traces this idea from Israel’s foundation- at which point the land was empty, barren, and dry- until today. If I learned but one thing from Senor’s book it is that economic integration and prosperity are the most effective paths toward peace and the most successful bridges between different worlds. In conjunction with my recent trip to The United Arab Emirates and The Sultanate of Oman, this book helped me see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an entirely new light.

If financial incentives can unite all types of Israelis- Jew with Muslim, orthodox with secular, J-street with Likud- this principle should apply to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Recently, the Israeli Government began construction on a business park on the border crossing between Israel and Gaza. These offices will house Arabs from Gaza, many of whom have never met a Jew who wasn’t a soldier, and Jews from Israel. After realizing thatimgres.pngthough distinct, both cultures can coexist in an office setting, the voices of peace and unity will outlast those of division and fear. In another example, since Hamas, the elected Government in Gaza, fails to provide basic services to its residents, many Palestinians are without running water or power for hours on end. Israel just finished building a power-plant that will provide a megawatt of energy to Gaza.
When people have power they read, learn, create, and build. They acquire a liking for peace, not hate. The reason I, a Jew who has countless stamps from Israel in my passport, was allowed to enter UAE or Oman is because a tolerant and open position towards Israel has proven economically fruitful for Gulf Nations. In conversations with many people, I learned that citizens of those countries are not anti-Israel. In fact, they see Israel as a major trade partner, strategic ally, and fellow endorser of peace.

However, peace between Israel and Palestine will be unattainable so long as Palestinians reject Israel’s right to exist. If denying the legitimacy of a Jewish state is more important to Palestinians than acquiring their own state, peace will never come. And only though economic stability, integration, and prosperity will Palestinians and Israelis start to see each other as people, and begin to catalyze a meaningful process towards reconciliation.

Just Another Setback

United Nations resolution

The source that I read– and analyzed- is the United Nations resolution condemning Israel and alleging no historical ties between the Jewish religion and the Jewish capital city of Jerusalem. . To me, and Jews and Zionists the world over, this serves as but one more example of the United Nations’ and the international community’s complacency, and perhaps even willing participation, in the isolation and delegitimization of Israel. Many supporters of the resolution argue that it is the role of the United Nations to step up when its values are compromised, and Israel is compromising its values through occupation of The West Bank and of East Jerusalem, which includes the Kotel and other historically and religiously significant sites.

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However, The United Nations General Assembly alone, in 2016, adopted 20 resolutions condemning Israel. The same body issued 4 condemnations to the rest of the world, combined. In other words, in the eyes of the United Nations, Israeli actions to settle on lands it won in a defensive war and refute the attempted secession by a group of Israeli citizens and Jordanian refugees who call themselves “Palestinians” is five times as atrocious as Syria’s human rights violations, ISIL’s terror attacks, North Korea’s repressive dictatorship, and every other negative event in the world. Israel does not deserve this disproportionate reprimanding. The credibility of the source is clear as it is a primary source taken directly from the United Nations.

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