The week of hate-filled anti-Semitic slanders known as “Israel Apartheid Week” has begun on college campuses around the US, and right on cue, the New York Times has jumped in to give its imprimatur to the BDS lies.
Columnist Nicholas Kristof‘s personal contribution to hate-week begins with a transparent attempt to make himself appear balanced by acknowledging that “the nation in which Arab citizens have the most meaningful vote is, yes, Israel.” From there, however, he descends into the same wholesale regurgitation of anti-Israel propaganda that we have become accustomed to from New York Times reporters and columnists alike.
Kristof’s first error is his credulous acceptance of the assumption that it is completely fair and appropriate that there should be areas in which Jews are not permitted to live, simply because they are Jews. He writes:
Israeli settlements here on the West Bank mar the elections, and the future of the country itself. The 350,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank — not even counting those in Arab East Jerusalem — impede any Middle East peace and stain Israel’s image . . . . It’s a land grab.
The US abolished housing discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity in 1948. Yet Kristof would have the Israeli government dictate to its Jewish citizens that there are areas in which they are not permitted to live, solely based on the fact that they are Jews. While college students will spend the next week debating the fictitious issue of whether Palestinian Arabs are victims of Israeli apartheid, if Kristof had his way, it would be Jews, not Palestinians, that would be subjected to this key component of the actual apartheid system. Such a notion ought to be repulsive, but instead, it is embraced by the American left.
Kristof is, of course, hardly unique in advocating for discrimination against Jews. His next error, however, is far more egregious. He credulously repeats the stories of Mahmood Ahmed, who claims that “settlers” cut down his olive tress, and Abed al-Majeed, whose flock of sheep has reduced from 300 to 100 because “settlers” won’t allow him to graze them. How does Kristof know that, unlike the Gaza residents who completely fabricated claims that Israel intentionally flooded Gaza, these two individuals are telling him the truth? B’Tselem told him so!
B’Tselem is an NGO which gets its funding from the EU and from American and European NGO’s such as New Israel Fund and the Ford Foundation. It’s website says that it “has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity.” The group was recently at the center of a scandal, however, when it was revealed that it was relying on information from a Holocaust denier. Going back to 2011, it was revealed that B’Tselem’s then-Executive Director Jessica Montell had made it clear that her goal was to manipulate world opinion in order to prevent the IDF from being able to effectively defend Israel from attacks. That Kristof grants this group any credibility at all says more about him than it does about his subject.
There is no country on earth in which 100% of citizens abide the law at all times, and Israel is not exceptional in this respect. Although the vast majority of Jewish property ownership in the West Bank was acquired legally, there is a small minority that use illegal means to try to remove lawful Palestinian owners. In such cases, however, as Kristof himself acknowledges in passing, aggrieved owners have redress available to them in Israel’s independent judiciary. This is hardly a basis for using such a vile epithet as “human stain” on an entire group.
If, as Kristof claims, his issue is with the continuing Israeli presence in the disputed territories of the West Bank, he would do better to ask why the Palestinian Authority has passed up no less than three opportunities to end it. As Dennis Ross has suggested right in the pages of Kristof’s own publication, it’s time to stop giving the Palestinians a pass for their recalcitrant behavior.
Next, Kristof is again back to feigning balance:
The violence, of course, cuts both ways, and some Israeli settlers have been murdered by Palestinians. I just as easily could have talked to settler children traumatized by Palestinian violence.
Yes, he could have. Except, he didn’t. He spoke only to Palestinians, who were likely cherry-picked by Kristof’s handler at B’Tselem. And it is not only “settler” children who are traumatized by violence. Terrorism emanating from the West Bank affects all Israelis, including those in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Kristof concludes with the disingenuous claim that the reason that the so-called occupation of the West Bank is more offensive to him than the egregious human rights abuses happening in Egypt and Saudi Arabia is that Israel is our ally and a recipient of US aid. This excuse doesn’t hold water. The US allocated $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt in 2014, and Saudi Arabia, from which the US imports over a million barrels of oil each day, or approximately $40 billion in 2014 sales, is similarly considered an important regional ally. Kristof must find another explanation for the double standard to which he admits that he holds Israel. Should we give him a hint?