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The Crusade vs. Israel on campuses

The campus riots in the West persist and descend into violence and arrests. Those partaking in them have a sense of historical purpose, perceiving themselves as the current embodiment of the campaign against the Vietnam War or the movement to combat apartheid. Opposition to Israel has become fashionable, fueled by profound ignorance and anti-establishment sentiments: a surefire recipe for the formation of a fanatical and blind mass movement.


How is it that after October 7, this crowd 'glorify' the murderous Hamas? How did Israel find itself on the wrong side of the prevailing spirit of the times, the zeitgeist?


The Left's Inversion on Israel: From Kibbutz to Kibbush (Occupation)


The State of Israel has always been a country that has garnered disproportionate interest from international media, not always negative. This was certainly the case until 1967, when the global left viewed Israel through the lens of the kibbutz.


However, in a gradual process marked by Israel's wars, Israel's image in the world has slowly shifted from victim to oppressor, from David to Goliath, from kibbutz to Kibbush (occupation).


Campus Anti Israel protest

Anti-Zionism and Delegitimization


Israel became the prime target of the remnants of the anti-apartheid campaign after the regime's fall. A pivotal moment was the 2001 Durban Conference. Afterwards, activities began in London, San Francisco, Johannesburg, and elsewhere, shaping the delegitimization campaign as we know it today, appropriating the terminology of human rights, anti-colonial struggles, and employing boycotts. The global phenomenon of a connection between the radical left and Islamist bodies in the West gradually became the driving force behind activities like those witnessed on American campuses.


The Plot Twist: Identity Politics


The twist in the narrative regarding American universities is the rise of identity politics. According to the accepted framing in the US binary discourse, Jews are categorized as white and privileged, and as creators of the existing social power structure against which the left protests. And if Jews are white, then the Jewish state is white and colonial. The academy, whose largest funder in the US is Qatar, has significantly contributed to the amplification of this discourse.


All this was merely the backdrop. As soon as the harrowing images from Gaza emerge, and against the backdrop of fake news and radicalization on social media, Israel and Jews seemingly find themselves on the wrong side of history.


How Much Depends on Us?


The connection between Israel's actions and what we see on campuses is only indirect. It is more about global phenomena over which Israel has no control, internal struggles against the social power structure, and global struggles against the world order. All of these have created an intellectual ring of fire against Israel and the Jewish world, which feedback loops with the Iranian-Hamas’ ring of fire.


Israel is the scapegoat, and any Israeli government would have experienced similar attacks. And yet, the government can adopt a smarter approach, that even if it affects only ten percent of this dynamic, it will still make a difference.


More importantly, it is crucial not to become confused. In a world where 'human rights' organizations cheer for Hamas and accuse Israel of an imagined genocide, the problem is not us. Ultimately, antisemitism comes in many forms, but it is first and foremost a disease of antisemites.


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