Little Trunk has brought to my attention this remarkable account by Natan Sharansky of his recent tour of American college campuses. Sharansky has a larger point to make about the campaign to delegitimize Israel that has made such great inroads on the campuses, but his first-person account of his visit to Rutgers introduces the piece: “When I got to Rutgers University in New Jersey last month, I almost forgot I was on a college campus. The atmosphere was far from the cool, button-down academic reserve typical of such institutions. It was more reminiscent of a battlefield.
“My arrival was greeted by a noisy demonstration of Palestinian and Jewish students holding signs reading ‘Racist Israel’ and ‘War Criminals,’ together with black-coated Neturei Karta members calling for the destruction of the blasphemous Zionist entity. Faculty members, predictably led by a former Israeli professor, had sent out e-mails protesting the granting of a platform to a representative of the ‘Nazi, war-criminal’ state. Of course, there was the famous pie incident in which a member of a campus Jewish anti-occupation group made his way past my security guards and plastered me in the face with a cream pie while shouting ‘End the Occupation.'”
Sharansky also notes the absurdity of the campaign against Israel in the name of human rights: “[T]he Palestinians have learned, unlike the Israelis, to appreciate the importance of the university as the shaper of the next generation, and to concentrate their efforts there. Articulate, effective speakers have been dispatched to campuses to mobilize the idealistic students for their own political interests.
“They have been sent to explain that despite the fact that in the Arab nations, as in the autonomous areas of the Palestinian Authority, there are no rights for women, minorities, gays or nearly anyone else, that despite all this they are the true bearers of the banner of human rights; that all true seekers of justice should act on their behalf, and against Israel’s.
“The absurdity cries out to the heavens, but no one seems to notice. The banner of human rights, once identified to a great degree with Jews, has become a weapon against them. Liberal and democratic discourse on human rights serves mainly as a vehicle for attacks against Israel, and increasingly against Jews.” (Courtesy of Yale Diva.)
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