By strange coincidence both during and just after his trip, an internationally held event, Israeli Apartheid Week, will take place – including in parts of the Palestinian territories. The president’s trip itself ought not to be mere optics, or an obligatory visit to engage politicians. This is a timely opportunity for America’s head statesman to condemn a global event that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel.
According to the Israeli Apartheid Week website, more than 220 cities around the world participate – just a few years after the inaugural week in Toronto, Canada - in this one-sided Israel-bashing fest.
It’s a stark reminder again that Israel’s enemies thrive on the propaganda front.
Unfortunately, students are being fed a steady diet of sheer lies: that Israel is a bloodthirsty terrorist state, Gaza is a concentration camp, and the security fence is just like the Berlin Wall.
They are taught that only free and democratic Israel - apparently the worst human rights abuser on the planet - is worthy of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Students aren’t taught that, as a fact of life, anti-Semitic teaching has been incorporated in Palestinian school textbooks, media and literature. Holocaust denial is typical fare in the Arab press. In the Palestinian territories, many streets are named after suicide bombers. Rockets rain down on Israelis daily.
Students have no idea that the Palestine Centre for Public Opinion - an Arab-led body – year to year shows that a huge swath of Palestinians are still in favour of suicide bombings.
This, evidently, is all supposed to magically end if the Israelis give up the “occupation” of the West Bank, says the “Israeli Apartheid” position.
It’s a position never challenged at this conference.
Standing up for Israel is often met with scoffing – for instance, the epithet of “Israel-firster,” the pejorative term which is code for “you must believe, quite blindly, that Israel can never do wrong” or “you belong to the Israel lobby.” Name-calling neatly replaces dialog. On the pro-Israel side, you never see the same level of disrespect, such as abruptly dismissing someone as an “Israel-worster,” or those who believe Israel only does wrong.
Revealing the ignorance and biases of these hardline leftists isn’t difficult.
Ask them to name a Jewish terrorist, and they dutifully roll off a dozen Israeli politicians or Baruch Goldstein. Ask them to name an Arab terrorist — and they’re dumbfounded.
Ask them to name Islam’s third holiest site, and they unblinkingly say the Dome of the Rock or al-Asa. Ask them to name Judaism’s third holiest site, and they can’t (it’s either Rachel’s Tomb or Ma’arat HaMachpeleh).
Ask them what the West Bank was called in Biblical times. Again, they’re stumped (Judea and Samaria).