Op-Ed: Dartmouth Professor Strikes Back
It is customary for faculty to refrain from commenting on students writing in their college newspapers because the young writers are expected to make mistakes and errors in judgment as they develop their journalistic skills. That tolerance for inexperience does not, however, extend to campaigns of lies serving to demonize entire countries with anti-Semitic slurs.
The first instance of demonization occurred in the December 3 issue of the Torch under the title 'Discussion of racism and human rights to be held' relating to an outside speaker brought to campus by Students for Justice in the Middle East. The 'discussion' reports a series of falsehoods regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict as part of
campaign to rewrite history to portray the Palestinians as innocent victims of an Israeli conspiracy to impose apartheid on a peace loving people. The Torch apparently made no attempt to vet the distorted history by seeking
Allow me to document these statements and correct the lies.
outside sources capable of providing balance and an accurate recounting of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Torch was used to promote an anti-Israeli political agenda based on lies. Rabbi Jacqueline Satlow of the Center for Jewish Culture at UMASS Dartmouth did attempt to set the record straight in her Soul Sightings piece of January 28, 2010. One might interpret a lone article such as this as resulting from naive students, ignorant of history
and ill trained in journalistic practice regarding background sourcing, being duped by politically motivated organizations and their outside speaker.
However, on February 25, 2010's Editorial page, Platform Editor Julianne Henry ignores all that she should have learned from the previous exchange and launches into what can only be interpreted as an anti-Semitic attack on the state and people of Israel in her piece 'Country exhibits hypocrisy on a national scale'. She attempts to cast Israel as an apartheid state on the model of South Africa, continuing the line of demonization from the December 3 piece. Allow me to document these statements and correct the lies.
'Ä country starts to pride itself on its racial identity. Portions of the population that are considered racially inferior are segregated from the rest of society, faced with widespread job discrimination, living in poverty and fear.'
Ms. Henry's statements are an accurate reflection of South Africa under apartheid. They are also an accurate description of the treatment of the black Christian and animist minorities in the Arab dominated Islamic state of Sudan and of African-Americans in the United States under Jim Crow in the 1920's. Israel is the state of the Jewish people open to Jews of any racial background from all over the world. 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Christian and Muslim Arabs. The Israeli government has airlifted black Ethiopian Jews to Israel and given them
Outright genocide is being practiced against the inferior minorities by the Islamic government of Sudan
citizenship in the same way it has been a haven to Jews oppressed throughout the Middle East and Africa.
There is no pattern of systemic discrimination or segregation against the Ethiopian Jewish immigrants though clearly new unskilled immigrants from poor countries do take time to assimilate any time they enter a more developed society.
'Blood donations from the undesired population are routinely discarded. The women of the 'inferior' population are given dangerous forms of contraceptives to sterilize them and keep them from 'tainting' the racial purity of the nation.'
Separating blood supplies and manipulation of contraception and abortion to suppress births in 'inferior' populations were certainly true of apartheid South Africa. Outright genocide is being practiced against the inferior minorities by the Islamic government of Sudan. America under Jim Crow also practiced segregation of this type. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood in the 1920's, along with many of her fellow Progressives, strongly
supported selective abortion and sterilization to eliminate undesirable populations, especially African-Americans.
There is no basis for any such claims for the state of Israel. Indeed, Israel continues to provide medical services to the Palestinians despite their being at war with it. The Palestinian birthrate is many times that of Israel's Jewish population' so the absence of any attempt at reducing this population makes Henry's statement highly suspect in regards to any population that might beconsidered problematic to Israel.
Ms. Henry then spends several paragraphs accusing Israel of using the drug Depo Provera selectively on its Ethiopian Jewish population, as South Africa did under apartheid, as a means to slowly eliminate this component of its population. She sites The National, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates as her source for the information about Israel. The United Arab Emirates is one of the Arab countries, which refuses to recognize the state of Israel or acknowledge its right to exist. Like most Arab countries, it expelled its indigenous Jewish population when Israel was created in a blatant act of ethnic cleansing. Should we expect such a newspaper to be completely unbiased and accurate about reporting any story, which might reflect badly on Israel?
I suspect that UAE's The National is not high on the list of reading sources for UMASS Dartmouth students, just as the state of Ethiopian Jews doesn't exactly seem like it would make a list of top 100 issues interesting Dartmouth students. So where did Henry's interest in this subject and the clear effort it must have taken to find such an obscure source come from? [Israeli hospitals and clinics are staffed with scores of Ethiopian technicians and nurses trained in Israel who would hardly let that go by. Hospitals have a fair share of newborns of Ethiopian extraction, the IDF would hardly pass up more of the excellent, highly motivated soldiers and officers their elder brothers have become, ed.]
Ms. Henry could be generally opposed to the use of 'Depo Provera' but it remains sanctioned by the World Health
The Palestinian birthrate is many times that of Israel's Jewish population.
Organization for use with many populations 'not just Ethiopian Jews' and Henry never calls for banning it. Perhaps, with Black History month just past, Ms. Henry is concerned about discrimination against black populations
through reproductive manipulation. That would be a worthy cause. If so'wouldn't the millions facing ethnic cleansing in Sudan's Darfur region be a more significant and well known population for concern than the fate of a few 10's of thousands of Israeli Ethiopian Jews? Of course'that would mean being critical of an Islamic government', an ally of the UAE, most Arab states and Israel's Palestinian adversaries.
What about looking at Planned Parenthood's eugenic past, particularly given the current argument in Congress about whether to include billions of dollars for Planned Parenthood's abortion programs as part of national health care? Challenging an icon of the pro-choice movement as a student in Massachusetts is probably not a good career move, but it IS OK to attack the Jewish state of Israel.
Ms. Henry spends her last few paragraphs in outright comparison of the Jewish state to the Nazi's and calling it an 'undeniably racist' state. Really? Why would a racist Israeli state go the effort to airlift Ethiopian Jews, clearly black and unable to stroll across the border without help, to Israel in the 1990's'and only THEN attempt to exterminate them with Depo Provera?
Ms. Henry's falsely states Israel was founded by Jewish survivors of the European holocaust. That is inaccurate. Jews have lived in the area that is now Israel and the Palestinian territories for millennia with immigration of Jews to the region in large numbers in the decades BEFORE the rise of the Nazis. Indeed, many of the so-called Palestinians only moved in to the region from other Arab countries AFTER the Jewish immigrants had reclaimed barren agricultural lands and strengthened the economy to the point where there were jobs for them. Yes 'many of the Jews who survived the Holocaust did move to Israel after World War II' but the influx of 900,000 Jews from other Middle Eastern countries arrived after Israel's war of independence when THEY were expelled from the Arab countries. That is approximately the same as the number of Palestinians who were displaced from the territory that is now Israel after the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors lost their war of EXTERMINATION against the Jews rather than share the territory in 2 separate states as called for by the United Nations. Ms. Henry leaves out so MANY inconvenient facts from her narrative. Why? We find the answer in the ending Ms. Henry uses.
'The more one learns about this situation, the harder it gets to support Israel in all its myriad endeavors. For reasons I don't quite understand, America is behind Israel one hundred and ten percent. But right now, knowing what I know about how they treat their own, I don't think I can support Israel at all. And I'm not sure my country should, either.'
Interesting'-a fabricated problem purported to affect 2% of Israel' population is now cause for not supporting Israel in ANY of its endeavors? By this standard what country would pass Ms. Henry’s test of perfection? Why is only the Jewish state of Israel targeted for such denouncement? Ms. Henry seeks to use lies and distortion to demonize the state of Israel to delegitimize it and withdraw its American support. She does this, not in the context of human rights for the Ethiopian Jews or people in general but ONLY in the context of Israel as a Jewish state. That's classical anti-semitism.
We mustn't be TOO hard on Ms. Henry. While her 'humble opinion' is clearly an anti-Semitic hit piece her clear lack of historical knowledge does make one wonder how she even came upon the issue to HAVE an opinion on, let alone be motivated, to write such an article. Who might support, or benefit, from demonizing the state of Israel?
It should be noted at this point that the faculty advisor to Students for Justice in the Middle East left UMASS Dartmouth at the end of the last semester to take a job in the UAE, source of Ms. Henry's information.
Some of the greatest support for Germany's Nazi party in the 1930's came from the universities, with staunch believers serving as guiding lights to millions of misguided but passionate young students, who marched off in support of ideologies they did not fully comprehend until it was far too late. The faculty filled the minds of the
students with hateful half-truths and falsehoods about the evils of the Jews and their plots to control the world. As Ms. Henry points out, history is indeed ironic, for she has used her role as editor in her campus paper to repeat this pattern in her "humble opinion".
Across the western world there is a campaign today on university campuses to paint Israel as an apartheid state. It is part of the war for the hearts and minds of those whose support is needed to maintain the power balance between tiny Israel with its 6 million citizens and the hundreds of millions of Muslim Arabs intent on its destruction. In some places it is called Israel Apartheid Week. Its hateful anti-Semitic campaign has been brought to UMASS Dartmouth through the students at the Torch' though clearly other forces have been involved in guiding this effort. University faculty members are uniquely privileged to work with impressionable students eagerly seeking the capstone of their educational experience. With that privilege comes the responsibility to insure that students' enthusiasm for building a more just world is not misused to support propaganda for causes their naivete leaves them unprepared to understand. Our job is to build that understanding in the light of truth, however inconvenient that may be for some ideologies. May we all remember this first, highest duty.