Israel's Security Fence and the SJP Protesters
Introduction by Richard Baehr:
Kenyon College, a small liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio, is the undergraduate alma mater of both Thomas Lifson, American Thinker’s publisher and me. Professor Fred Baumann has taught political science at the college for over 30 years, and is one of its most distinguished professors in a department that has had many fine teachers through the years.
In the last two years, Kenyon has been infected with the arrival and formation of the anti-Israel hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine. Last year, SJP erected an “apartheid wall” to “celebrate” the beginning of Passover in the College’s main dining hall. SJP is a big fan of in-your-face activism, and at some colleges (e.g. Temple University), this has meant slugging pro-Israel students in the face. This year, the group set up their wall at Kenyon right after Holocaust Remembrance Day (coincidental I am sure).
I spoke at Kenyon about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in February, and one SJP member, who did not attend my talk, nevertheless wrote a defamatory piece for the college newspaper, claiming I was an Islamophobe, prejudiced, and a fool, and calling for greater campus-wide action against me, whatever that means. All of this condemnation was based on hearsay about a talk he did not attend (likely from another unbiased SJP member of course), and a few articles in American Thinker that I did not write. Anyone who wants evidence of the meaning of guilt by association, would have found this article of interest.
Needless to say, the student never withdrew his article, nor apologized, though a few subsequent letters to the college paper revealed how off base, ignorant and malicious he was.
In response to the second annual presentation of the "apartheid wall" at Kenyon, Professor Baumann has written an open letter to the Kenyon community on why a wall was constructed by Israel after the second intifada. Of course the wall is not a wall, but a low fence for almost all of its length, and a wall only in areas where there was a lot of sniper fire aimed at Israeli villages from elevated Palestinian communities during the second intifada. Baumann lays out the truth: Palestinians hate the wall, because it has made it much harder to kill Jews in Israel.
Dear members of the Kenyon community:
Kenyon Students for Justice in Palestine have erected their "Wall" for the second year in a row. It is meant to arouse your sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian Arabs who live behind it and whose entry into Israel is impeded by it. It is meant, correspondingly, to arouse your indignation at Israel, which so apparently heartlessly erected it. In their explanatory message they repeat the lie that Israel engages in apartheid. Ask Israel's deputy ambassador to Norway about that one; he is an Arab. Or listen to him on YouTube.
Oh, and by the way, how are Jews and for that matter Christians treated in Arab countries? Let's not talk about that, right?
So, in the spirit of the promotion of rational debate, I want to let the Kenyon community know why that fence (it's only a wall in a few places where it discourages sniping) was put up in the first place.
During the so-called Second Intifada (not a spontaneous uprising at all, but ordered by Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian chief), the more or less open access Palestinians had to Israel resulted in a series of horrific massacres. Checkpoints on the West Bank were widely, and rightly, seen as both harassing the innocent and ineffective against the guilty. I would urge all of you to Google the following on the Internet to see what those massacres accomplished. If your need to understand requires gruesome pictures of dead bodies, they are right there at the top of the list of links. If you would be satisfied by head shots of the victims, they are available too. If you just want to read about what happened, there is plenty of information on that as well. Specifically, I would urge you to Google "Sbarro's pizzeria bombing," "Dolphinarium bombing," and "Netanya Passover Seder bombing."
In the wake of these catastrophes, public opinion in Israel gradually moved in the direction of calling for a fence of separation. Interestingly, the pressure came primarily from the Israeli Left; the Right was afraid that building such a fence would amount to giving up claims to the West Bank. Eventually, the fence was built and the number of terrorist events declined rapidly. That meant it again was possible for a bunch of teen age Russian immigrant girls to go to a disco without the likelihood of being slaughtered, as had happened at the Dolphinarium. (Here's the barebones Wikipedia description of what happened there, by the way:
"Suicide bomber Saeed Hotari was standing in line on a Friday night in front of the Dolphinarium, when the area was packed with youngsters (most of them Russian new arrivals) waiting for admission. Survivors of the attack later described how the young Palestinian bomber appeared to taunt his victims before the explosion, wandering among them dressed in clothes that led some to mistake him for an orthodox Jew from Asia, and banging a drum packed with explosives and ball bearings, while repeating the words in Hebrew: "Something's going to happen". At 23:27, he detonated his explosive device. It was the second attack in five months on the same target. Witnesses claimed that body parts lay all over the area, and that bodies were piled one above another on the sidewalk before being collected. Many civiliansin the vicinity of the bombing rushed to assist emergency services."
True, terrorism continues. Thus see yesterday's Jerusalem Post for the story of a plan to bomb a shopping mall that was detected by the police. Still, when it comes to the fence of separation, few things have been done in the history of human conflict that have produced more good for one people at such a low cost to the other. A fence is the single most passive form of self-defense there is. It keeps the killers away without retaliation, preemption or anything else.
As for the grievous harm SJP and all the other haters of Israel claim it does the Palestinians, I would strongly urge each of you to go to YouTube and watch the reflections of a Palestinian woman whose house is in fact overshadowed by the wall at its highest, in Bethlehem. She is a Christian and you will perhaps not be surprised, after you have watched it and heard her story, that she got death threats for having told the truth.
So far I have tried to convey information for the purpose of taking the debate past gestures and political theater. But here is a question I would like to ask KSJP. I know it is a harsh one, but still I believe it necessary to ask it: what is it KSJP and all the other SJPs and BDSers in this country and the world, really want in protesting the fence? Are they most concerned with the difficulties Palestinians suffer in living their lives? If so, why aren't they vociferously protesting the recent massacre of Palestinians in Yarmouk
by ISIS? Or are they really just concerned that the fence makes it so hard for terrorists to murder Jews? When KSJP invited Steven Salaita to speak at Kenyon, a man who rejoices in the murder of Jewish children, they gave us every reason to think that their anger is really directed at the fence's frustration of new Sbarro's Pizza, new Dophinarium, new Passover Seder massacres. Perhaps this suspicion is incorrect. But if so, one wonders why SJP, which claims to speak out of humanitarian compassion, doesn't feel responsible for explaining how, if the fence comes down, they will assure that the mass murder of Jews doesn't start again.