Mark Davidson and Ron Shive try to drown us in 800 words regarding what they see as evils in the continued U.S. support of the one shining beacon of democracy in the unstable Middle East, namely Israel (“Blind support of Israel erodes American liberties,” The Herald-Sun, 08/25). They use a propaganda technique called intersectionality to inappropriately compare the situation in Israel to apartheid, and modestly compare themselves to the ancient biblical prophet Elijah, in the hope that we’ll be so impressed at the volume and tone of their words that we won’t bother to note all the incorrect and “alternative” facts. Let’s take a look at some of the real facts.
As with any boycott, the purpose of boycotting Israel is to tear down and replace the society and its institutions. Given the tribal organization of the inhabitants of much of the Middle East including Gaza and the West Bank, the likely result would be similar to the tragic civil wars we’ve seen in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Just look at the number of groups taking credit in recent years for terrorist incitements and actions against Israel: the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaida, Al Aqsa, Al Nusra, and ISIS all would vie to take over after the Jewish state is destroyed.
Furthermore, the Israel Anti-Boycott Law (HB 161) would not in the slightest harm Davidson and Shive’s constitutional right to advance a foolish and destructive boycott of Israel. The law simply states that if they do, North Carolina’s government and taxpayers won’t support their effort by doing business with them.
The notion promoted by Davidson and Shive that “Palestinian citizens” living in Israel are discriminated against is absurd on multiple levels, not the least in that there are no such thing as Palestinian citizens. All citizens of Israel are Israeli citizens, and all have the same constitutional freedoms to practice their religion, live and work where they please, and serve as representatives in the congress (Knesset) of Israel. An Israeli Arab sits on the Israeli Supreme Court.
The inhabitants of Gaza elected the terrorist group Hamas to be their leaders, have been ruling themselves for 10 years, and have been living with the consequences of their actions. What Davidson and Shive refer to as “the humanitarian disaster in Gaza” is sadly real, a direct result of the firing of thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel and other terrorist acts such as shootings, stabbings, bombings, use of vehicles to run down pedestrians, etc. As Davidson and Shive sit on their ivory thrones in the Piedmont, would they really begrudge Israel the right to defend itself?
Regarding Israelis living in the West Bank, I’m sure these two bible scholars are aware that Jews have a more than 3,000-year unbroken history of living in this region, known as Judea and Samaria in the bible. The Jews are not “occupiers” or “settlers” of the West Bank; they have lived there for millenia. They were slaughtered in the West Bank town of Hebron early in the 20th century during one of the periodic pogroms they’ve lived with over the years. In sharp contrast, many of the people whom Davidson refers to as “Palestinian citizens” of Israel moved in for job opportunities and to live a better life than in their homelands of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, after the Jews started irrigating and cultivating the region in the 20th century.
Support for the Jewish democratic state of Israel is hardly “blind.” We support Israel with the expectation that the support is mutually beneficial. As one example, Israel shares their advances in defense and cybersecurity technology with us, thereby protecting Davidson, Shire, and all Americans from most of the terrors experienced daily in Israel.
Josh Ravitch lives in Chapel Hill.