Columns

Zacks ’15: An open letter to Brown Students for Israel

By
Guest Columnist
Sunday, December 4, 2011

“With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

The name of Operation Cast Lead is taken from a popular Hanukkah song. When your friends tear thousands of lives to pieces in less than a month, committing unspeakable atrocities in the hell on earth that is the Gaza Strip and proceed to name it after a famous children’s song, you do not invite a retired British colonel to admire the technological prowess of their military force, impressive though it may be. That is not friendship, and in the face of the increasingly outrageous and indefensible actions of the Israeli government, it is certainly not the friendship a country like Israel requires.

We need to be slapped awake. It is not anti-Semitic to criticize 44 years of occupation. It is not disproportionately biased to condemn the ever-expanding legal and illegal settlements in territories that were never rightfully ours. And it is not pro-Israel — truly pro-Israel — to let us get away with anything, time and time again.

Israel needs friends. She needs friends that will tell her that nothing corrupts the human heart like the oppression of another. Friends that will point out to her that the terrible dehumanization that is the inevitable product of a brutal occupation has made her Jewish citizens utterly insentient to the suffering of others. Uncomfortable though it may make her, Israel needs friends who will remind her that the Nazi beast is not intrinsically German but intrinsically human.

My Israel, the one I grew up in, the one I love and hate with passion, has forgotten these things. When we think of the Holocaust, we tell ourselves with vengeance, never again. If by these words we mean “never again to Jewish people,” then we have missed the universal lesson of that great tragedy. The kind of Israel I would like to live in should say, “Never again to anyone, never again by anyone.” Yes, historically we have been victims, but in 1967, the tide shifted. Israel in 2011 is not a victim, and those who claim otherwise are kidding themselves.

Want to help us? By all means, do so. Change your name to Brown Students for Justice in Israel. Justice that extends its benefits not only to the members of a certain religion or ethnicity, justice that does not automatically revert to cheap “nobody loves me, everybody hates me” rhetoric that, let’s face it, barely converts even the members of the choir. Most importantly, justice that recognizes that the real wrong lies not in the negative media attention that Israel receives and will continue to receive, but in the reasons for it, in years of oppression and discrimination in and out of Israel’s legitimate borders.

If you wish to end the war of words, start by fighting the war of actions. Work to remedy a reality in which, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, there are roads only Jewish settlers can use, different curfews for settlers and for the indigenous population and internal checkpoints, miles away from the border with Israel, in which children wait for hours to get to school and the sick and injured are detained on their way to hospitals.

Put pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cronies to evacuate all settlements, to make real concessions, to recognize the wrongs that have been done and that continue to be done to the Palestinians. Give President Obama the backing he needs to confront the Israeli regime about the illegal settlement construction in East Jerusalem. Stop blindly pouring American taxpayers’ money into the industry of war and occupation.

Speak up when the Israeli government outlaws boycotting products from the settlements or when extremists in the Knesset propose to prohibit the commemoration of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, two examples in an ongoing series of measures curtailing freedom of expression in Israel.

Until you do, I will continue to take offense with your name. To me, bringing Colonel Richard Kemp to tell us all the unfortunate truth that other war crimes receive little to no media attention as means of legitimizing Israel’s thoroughly illegitimate conduct is to do us all a grave disservice. This is the work of Brown Students for the Justification of the Israeli Government, which mercifully is not yet synonymous with Israel, and I am writing to you to ask that you do your part to make sure the two do not become one.

Mika Zacks ’15 is from Israel.

  • Arafat

    Could Zack explain this conundrum for me?

    Why is it Muslims are free to violently conquer lands anywhere and everywhere without a word of protest from American Muslims, or any Muslims for that matter, but if Jews have a legally established homeland Muslims will never stop protesting against it? Why is this do you suppose? What explanation can be given other than as the Qur’an states repeatedly that Islam’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate in which all non-Muslims are subjugated.

    For instance, Mohammed was born around 571 AD thousands and thousands of years after Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism existed. But within a few centuries of Mohammed’s birth Islam had violently conquered vast sections of Asia, all of North Africa and smaller sections of Southern Europe.

    Now Muslims tell us that all this land belongs to them even though, for instance, in Afghanistan they killed every last Buddhist who once lived there. According to Muslim logic per Israel shouldn’t this land belong to the Buddhists?

    Or in North Africa all the Berbers have been forcibly converted to Islam or have been killed and now we’re told all this vast landmass belongs to Islam. That’s interesting, if not completely hypocritical. And what about Southern Thailand. Did anyone know that in the last several years something like 5,000 Buddhists have been killed by Muslims because, or so we’re told, the land the Buddhists are on belongs to Islam. And Southern Russia? Muslims are relentlessly waging a slow reign of terror in Russia because, you guessed it, Russians are treating Muslims poorly and they should give up the Southern section of that country to Muslims.

    Or, let’s take Sudan as another example. How many millions have been killed in Sudan? How many babies and children have starved in Sudan while Islamists steal the food from aid compounds? How many women have Muslims gang-raped in Sudan all because that land belongs to Muslims and only Muslims. All other people can go somewhere else to live, I guess.

    And Kashmir? The same. Despite Hindus having lived there for 5,000 years – something like 4,000+ years before Mohammed was born – Muslims tell us Kashmir belongs to them. Amazing logic isn’t it?

    And that brings us to Israel. Israel also belongs to Islam. Did you know that? It’s true. Even though it’s no bigger than a small pimple on the caliphate’s ass it is still their land and they will fight to the death to prove their point.

    Doesn’t the logic here make a lot of sense. Isn’t it as clear as day? Of course it is. The world belongs to Islam and we’re mere players on their stage.

  • Arafat

    The brilliant Jew, Sigmund Freud, coined the term “projection” in which an individual or group of people project their own personality defects and irrational beliefs onto other people.

    It’s obvious this is a common neurosis or psychosis for Muslims, as they commonly project their own irrational prejudices and paranoia onto Jews and others. While Muslims accuse Jews of apartheid the Muslim population in Israel is soaring and in Muslim lands no Jews are allowed. Meanwhile throughout the Muslim world Christians are being slaughtered and the same thing is happening to Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, Zoroastrians, etc… All the while Muslims accuse “Zionists” of ethnically cleansing Muslims from Israel. Of course Sudan is the most glaring example of Muslims ethnically cleansing people from what THEY claim is their land as 2.6 million people have been brutally and sadistically slaughtered at the hands of Muslims. This is sadly real and not a tragic play.

    One day, maybe not too far in the distant future, we can only hope Muslims wake up from their land of slumber, delusion and pathological behavior and realize that everything they are accusing others of doing is actually things they are doing. If and when this happens and only if and when this happens, then we can finally imagine peace in the Middle East; but until then it will be like an ugly play filled with actors blurting out lines that have no bearing on the real world. A play that repeats itself over and over and over again. And most unfortunately the Western world has become a pathological player in this play as we have become psychological enablers of this disgusting Islamic drama which makes hope for a better time a distant, possibly unreachable happy ending.

  • Anonymous

    You should be put on the Israeli watch list for terrorism. There has to be more to your story….like you live there because your parents are working “against” Israel from the inside. Please move, with your family out of Israel. Maybe move to an Arab country….oh…wait….they don’t recognize you as a Jew or even as a human!