Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Speaking truth to anti-Israel stupidity

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Clearly piqued by the incessant anti-Israel bigotry, Dr. Denis MacEoin, a former lecturer in Islamic studies, has come out in a passionate defence of the Jewish state in a letter to the Edinburgh University Student's Association committee and separately to the leader of the British Greens party over their support for BDS.

First up, MacEoin, who is not Jewish, expressed his outrage that his alma mater had passed a motion to boycott Israeli goods, services and people on the grounds that Israel is an apartheid regime.

Currently a senior editor at the Middle East Quarterly, MacEoin makes the case that Israel is not a perfect state but to compare it to Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa is not true "even as a metaphor".

I'm speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out.

Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a "Nazi" state.

In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor?

Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The Einzatzgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final Solution?

None of these things or anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel...It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere).

Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves.

...Likewise apartheid.

For apartheid to exist there would have to be a situation that closely resembled things in South Africa under the Apartheid regime.

Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is.

MacEoin points out an impressive list of facts and figures to show how Israel does not meet the criteria for apartheid, including:

Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians;

Baha'is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world centre; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law.

Arabs in Israel form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population).

In Iran, the Baha'is (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities:

why aren't your members boycotting Iran?

Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in Apartheid South Africa.

...Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank.

On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.

In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no Gender-apartheid.

Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home.

...Intelligent students thinking it's better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East hat rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?

In a scarifying conclusion, MacEoin shames the current crop of students that voted for the boycott motion:

University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain.

To think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others.

If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak.

Meanwhile, in a similar but more formal vein, MacEoin's letter to British Greens party leader Caroline Lucas parses her recent interview with the Jewish Chronicle over her party's support for BDS.

It is a quite lengthy piece but reflects upon the historical record of Israel and the Middle East over the last 70 years and makes the case that no rational person could seriously judge Israel as a worse human rights offender than "Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran" et al. If you know someone susceptible to extreme idiocy, get them to read MacEoin.

Allon Lee

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