Recent actions by activists at the UCR campus draw attention to a serious problem. Unfortunately, they misled the entire campus by their portrayal of Israeli checkpoints in the disputed territories. Israel created checkpoints in order to foil the infiltration of human bombs into Israeli buses, cafes, malls, disco clubs, and restaurants. Israelis detest these checkpoints, however, they are a necessary preventative measure.
Just as the United States created a system to screen passengers and luggage to prevent another 9/11, so too Israel checks pedestrians, cars, trucks, buses, and even donkey carts, for bombs and other weapons. Checkpoints were only created in the wake of hundreds of suicide bombers that have been unleashed by Islamic fundamentalists. Israel has little choice but to check everyone who passes on roads in and around cities. This is the truth behind the checkpoints.
However, instead of decrying terrorism, these activists chose to disparage young people their own age who are on the front-line against suicide bombers. Instead of building bridges of understanding, they built valleys of distrust, showing their callous disregard for the lives of innocent Israelis and Palestinians. Instead of showing compassion for the children of Christians, Jews, and Muslims destroyed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, Al Qeda, and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, they ignored the plight of children used by those organizations as human bombs to kill Jewish and Christian children.
Meanwhile in the middle east, thousands of miles from Riverside, Israelâs elected and democratic government is making heavy concessions to restore autonomy for Palestinian Arabs. The world is pressing Israel to relinquish control over disputed territory, while Hamas missiles continue to rain down on Jewish villages. Christians are being harassed and forced to leave Bethlehem. Homosexual Palestinians are being lynched. Young women accused of pre-marital relations are being killed by their own parents. Children are being indoctrinated to hate. Teenagers are being brainwashed to blowup themselves in crowds of mothers and babies for an afterlife with 70 virgins.
The ânew and improvedâ? Palestinian Authority continues to broadcast hate-filled and venomous sermons that speak of a two-stage strategy to Israelâs destruction. Saudi Arabia and Syria still harbor and support groups that aim for Israelâs destruction. Iran is building nukes with the publicized aim of annihilation of the Jewish state. Life in the Middle East is controlled by dictators and Imams with little regard for human rights, democracy, or freedom of religion.
Not all Palestinians or religious Muslims seek to destroy Israel or America. However, those Palestinian Arabs that genuinely want to live at peace at peace with their Israeli neighbors are targeted by thugs and militiamen for harassment and abuse. Not a week goes by without another person being lynched by masked gunmen for being a âcollaborator.â? Moderate Imams, Sufis and Christian Palestinian Arabs that seek to work Israelis to help build trust and bridges are being forced from practice. The Palestinian Authority directs and permits the systematic silencing of those that genuinely seek rapprochement, dialogue, and co-existence.
Besides silencing opposition, the PA and Arab regimes have launched a massive, multi-million dollar propaganda campaign that is in full swing. American college students are the targets. Donât fall for it. Donât buy it. Recently two cases of supposed Israeli atrocity turned out to be âPalywoodâ? propaganda productions, proven to fakes by French investigators. It is easy to fabricate state propaganda, when there is no independent media in the Palestinian Authority. The entire media apparatus is controlled by the government, and for their ends. Even supposed âdocumentary filmsâ? such as âJenin, Jenin,â? and âOccupation 101â? are staged propaganda films.
One wonders why the activists didnât mention the strategy and aims of the Palestinian terrorists when they demonstrated here at UCR? The reason these activists presented a contorted view of reality was to make Americans question their support for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. They want American college students to feel guilty, that somehow American tax dollars are being used to oppress the Palestinians.
American support for Israel only strengthens the chances that there will be a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is something that the rest of the Arab world fears. Because this would create a Palestinian State that grants freedom to its citizens. Without American involvement and support, a new Palestinian Arab state will become another Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Iran. In that scenario, women, intellectuals, and Christians will have no future, as Islamic Shariya law will destroy any non-Islamic cultural and educational institutions. The Talibanization of Palestinian Arabs is already evident, with Hamas winning all local elections in Gaza.
The ultimate aim of Arab pressure on Americans to stop supporting Israel has a much deeper purpose. It goes beyond mutual values of democracy and freedom. It goes to the very root and essence of America, which has with G-dâs blessing become the most free and powerful country on Earth. Islamicists know that as long as America supports Israel, God will bless America. As Denis Prager writes:
It is the United States that has, since its inception, most blessed the Jews and that does so almost alone today — in its support of the Jewish State against those who wish to exterminate it. By almost any reckoning, America has been, and remains, the most blessed of countries.
As it says in Genesis (12:3), God, “Will bless those who bless the Jews and curse whoever curses the Jews.”
Next time these anti-Israel activists come to condemn American support for Israel, ask them where they would be if America were not their home. I doubt very much that student demonstrations and activists have a long life in the Middle East. Unless, of course, they live in Israel.
Rabbi Yonah is a Campus Rabbi