Smashing the anti-Israel movement

Ending the haters’ impunity might just deliver us from evil.

Hamas supporters protest in New York, May 15, 2021. Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.
Hamas supporters protest in New York, May 15, 2021. Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.
Benjamin Kerstein
Benjamin Kerstein is a writer and editor living in Tel Aviv. Read more of his work on Substack at No Delusions, No Despair. Purchase his books here.

Recent events have rendered a moral verdict on a movement that goes by various names—“pro-Palestinian,” “Palestine Solidarity,” “anti-Israel,” etc.—but has a single obsession and a single goal: destroying the State of Israel and replacing it with a Muslim supremacist state.

The verdict is a damning one: The anti-Israel movement is fundamentally illegitimate.

This verdict is based on copious evidence. By the testimony of its own members, this movement is pro-terrorism, pro-genocide, antisemitic, racist, violent and opposed to the most basic values of the societies it has infected. Nothing like it has been seen in Europe since the rise of fascism and Nazism, nor in the U.S. since the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century.

It is clear, in other words, that the anti-Israel movement has no place in the public square of any decent society. It must be marginalized, canceled and smashed by any legal means necessary. If it is not, all liberal democratic societies are in danger.

For the United States, the situation is particularly ominous. At its best, the republic has sought to ensure that, as George Washington wrote to the Jews of Rhode Island, it “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” The anti-Israel movement not only violates this compact, it actively seeks to annihilate it. If the movement succeeds, it will deal a mortal blow to the republic itself.

There is, of course, an obvious argument against taking action to counter this existential threat, which is that doing so would violate two sacred rights: Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Both of these rights are of the utmost importance, but it is very unlikely that they apply to the anti-Israel movement. First, it is not a political movement; it is a weapon. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups quite consciously use their fifth column in the West to foment antisemitic incitement and violence, knowing that it will both intimidate supporters of Israel and serve as a deterrent to Israel itself, which naturally does not want to place Diaspora Jewry at risk.

A weapon, of course, has no constitutional rights. Indeed, any decent society has not only a right but a duty to neutralize such a weapon, if only to safeguard the lives of its citizens.

Of equal importance is the movement’s ideology. The claim that the anti-Israel movement merely advocates Palestinian self-determination is an obvious lie. It makes no secret of its genocidal intentions. Indeed, it proclaims them at every opportunity.

In other words, the movement is not about speech but about incitement. Indeed, its entire essence is incitement. Incitement is all it does. Direct incitement to genocide by naming the intended victims—every non-Arab citizen of Israel—and calling for their imminent annihilation is definitely not protected under international law and almost certainly not under U.S. law. At the very least, the issue should be tested in U.S. courts.

The anti-Israel movement, then, is fair game. So, what should be done?

First, all those involved in the movement need to be publicly named, shamed and canceled. This includes the thugs in the streets and on campus, the organizations and NGOs that enable them, the intellectuals who provide the theoretical justifications for hate, the religious institutions where genocidal admonitions are sounded, and the politicians who seek to legitimize and empower the movement.

There are also the people who are paying for all this. No movement can bring thousands onto the streets, form numerous activist groups across the country, take over entire institutions of higher learning, and elect powerful politicians without someone pouring millions if not billions of dollars into its coffers. The anti-Israel movement is not just a movement, it is also an industry, and somebody owns it.

Few of these financiers have been publicly exposed and subjected to appropriate scrutiny and criticism. That should change.

At the governmental level, federal investigations should be launched into the movement’s foreign and domestic funding, involvement in incitement and violence, possible terror connections, and violations of civil rights. If such transgressions are discovered, and they will be, prosecutions should result.

Moreover, criminal charges of the utmost severity must be brought against any members of the movement involved in acts of violence. A good place to start would be the case of California academic Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, who has been charged with the involuntary manslaughter of pro-Israel counter-protester Paul Kessler. Federal murder and hate crimes charges must be brought against Alnaji and, if he is found guilty, he should face the death penalty.

Lawsuits are also an important tool. The Southern Poverty Law Center pioneered the use of punitive lawsuits against hate groups, effectively destroying the Ku Klux Klan. This strategy should be adopted against the anti-Israel movement.

Finally, the head of the snake must be struck off. The dark beating heart of the movement is the dictatorship of the professoriate that the far-left constructed decades ago after it seized absolute power over institutions of higher learning. The professoriate regime has codified the movement’s ideology of hate, legitimized it in the public sphere, imposed it on innumerable students and colleagues, decreed the exile of all dissenters, and molded the popular culture in its image. If the anti-Israel movement is to be stopped, this regime must be smashed into a million pieces.

Fortunately, the professoriate regime has written its death warrant. It only exists and perpetuates itself through administrative corruption and the systemic violation of the codes of conduct it has itself imposed. If the regime is held accountable for this, it will strangle on its own rope.

Indeed, the watchword of the struggle against the anti-Israel movement must be accountability. The social, cultural and legal means to smash the movement already exist. They simply need to be properly enforced against people who have enjoyed near absolute impunity for decades. It is long past time for the haters to be held to the same standards as everybody else. This would be a new experience for them, but edifying for the rest of us, and perhaps our deliverance from evil.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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