A few weeks ago I spent a few days holiday in Edinburgh and whilst there- the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was taking place. My wife and I went for a short walk we were approached by a young man who had two tickets to give away from a show and was trying to tempt us to take them- The thing was that the show was about to start immediately. We looked at the tickets – worth £15 each. I was tempted. But we turned it down for the following reasons
The venue was in a church-
The subject matter of the play was not suitable:- something about love
We had seven children to look after (which I think could have been the main reason) and
I read on the small print that this event was in aid of Palestine and on fighting the racist apartheid Zionist state.
This was not the only time that I noticed that there was this anti Israel, excuse me.. anti semitic slant. Indeed I was almost tempted into an arts and crafts fair but once again I was turned off because it was in aid of a fund supporting Palestine.
You only have to read the goings on from last week:- a student from St Andrews was found guilty by the procurator fiscal of racial abuse after he had attacked a young Jewish man in his lodgings and desecrated the Israeli flag-- to know that there are problems that our Jewish students are facing in the Universities. A University Chaplain told me this past Wednesday that many of his Jewish students feel very intimidated because of the massive anti Israel and anti semitic bias on campus.
But you only have to see the media to see this going on. Two weeks ago we saw the terrorist attacks near Eilat when eight Israelis were murdered. The IDF immediately counter attacked. The BBC focussed in not on the initial terrorist attack but on Israel’s counter attack and how there were demonstrations in Egypt because seven Egyptian police officers had been killed mistakenly by the Israelis- The Israelis had apologised for the mistake and at the very end of the BBC report by the way this had happened because of a terrorist attack in Israel.
And we judge Israel by a double standard. Israel has to defend its borders and the security of its people, especially when they are attacked by missiles from without-but what about Turkey who have been in the news a lot recently with their condemnation of Israel and in their breaking off of diplomatic relations -but hey has anybody told them …. have they got a justification to oppress the Kurds who live in their borders?
Does anybody do anything about that?
Or the people of Darfur. A crisis nobody in the west seems to know anything about. But if you look into the history of the conflict-look it up on Wikipedia it’s about Arab Muslims against black Muslims- it’s simply a race issue and the world shuts up-Yet when Israel needs to do things for its own security the whole world is in uproar.
Listen to this letter that was forwarded to me by my chairman; Mike Topper just before Shabbat- it says it all…
A Scottish professor responds to campus boycott. The Edinburgh
Student's Association made a motion to
boycott all things Israeli since they claim Israel is under an
apartheid regime. Dr. Denis Maceoin (a non-Jew) is an expert in Middle
Eastern affairs. Here is his letter to those students. AN
Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly,
addresses The Committee of the Edinburgh University Student Association.
Received by e-mail from the author, Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor
of the Middle East Quarterly,
TO: The Committee Edinburgh University Student Association.
May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an
Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic
History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence
Elwell Sutton, two of Britain's great Middle East experts in their
day. I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and
Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. Naturally, I am the author of
several books and hundreds of articles in this field. I say all that to
show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for
that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote.
I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a
system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact
that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he
or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves. Let me spell this
out, since I have the impression that those members of EUSA who voted
for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel,
and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased
propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby.
Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I'm not talking
about ordinary criticism of Israel. 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 einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final
Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them
exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on
earth, understand what Nazism stood for.
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. But calling Jews Nazis and
saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert
historical fact as anything I can think of.
Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a
situation that closely resembled how things were 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.
That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on
it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious
focus for apartheid would be the country's 20% Arab population. 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 center; 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 form 20% of
the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the
general population). In Iran, the Bahai's (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.
They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming
pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews -
something no blacks were able to do in South Africa.
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.
I do not object to well-documented criticism of Israel. I do object
when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above
states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We
are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th
and 8th centuries, and it's clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling
against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own
citizens. Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though
they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no
demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi
Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against
one of the world's freest countries, the only country in the Middle
East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle
East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the
Middle East that protects the Bahai's.... Need I go on?
The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who
voted for this boycott. I ask you to show some common sense. Get
information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to
more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a
fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and
that is to protect them from one-sided argument.
They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly
not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country
among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only
Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930's
(which, sadly, there was not), don't you think Adolf Hitler would have
decided to boycott it?
Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of
anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there
are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have
a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense
of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense. I have given you
some of the evidence. It's up to you to find out more.
Yours sincerely, Denis MacEoin
So What do we need to do as Jews?
First –we need to stand with Israel – if we do not stand with Israel who will?
Second: -We need to know the facts- not the fabrications fed to us constantly by the media – there’s a book: The case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz.
But the message is:- We all need to become ambassadors for Israel.