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Condemnations from Wall to Wall: The protesters mostly hurt themselves

Over the past two weeks, university campuses across the United States have been flooded with unprecedented student protests against Israel and for the Palestinian cause. In fact, to present the demonstrations as “pro-Palestinian” would be a certain distortion – since from the views reflected on campuses, of pro-Hamas and anti-Semitic manifestations, including active actions against Jews studying in universities, the demonstrations can be seen as the worst anti-Semitic outburst in American history.

These days, most of the demonstrations are suppressed by police officers and National Guard personnel in various states (after being called by university administrations), usually by violence and arrests, and in a way that brings to the demonstrations a great deal of media attention. This is the main damage done to Israel from the demonstrations – the great attention drawn by the demonstrators, and turning the question of Israeli policy into an issue in American politics. But apart from this damage, the events carry a few advantages and promises for Israel.

First, the protests are condemned by most of the American political spectrum — strongly within the Republican Party, and slightly weaklier in the Democratic Party — when President Biden spoke about them yesterday he claimed that “there is no place for hatred in America.” For Biden and the adults among us, there is no doubt that these demonstrations echo the demonstrations that swept the American campuses in 1968 against the Vietnam War; the result of those demonstrations was a victory for the ‘silent majority’ in the elections, and the extension of the actual war. Biden is also concerned that the radicalization of his left flank will lead to potential loss in the election.

Second, the anti-Semitism in the demonstrations pushes American Jews back into the arms of support for Israel. Since the beginning of the war, many liberal Jews in the United States have been wrestling with the proper attitude towards the war and Israel; the protesters’ conduct should make it quite clear to them, which side they prefer to stand on.

And third, a hidden issue is becoming more evident in the demonstrations: Many of the protesters do not understand the issue of the current war at all, and use it as a means of demonstrating against the United States, its policy, and its values; this is evident in a disrespectful attitude toward American symbols – the flag, the statues of the Founding Fathers, etc. The American public sees these insults and begins to recognize the Palestinian interest as contrary to the American one.

In summary, the views we see from the great democracy in the West are indeed difficult and raise concern – but they also have the potential to change for Israel’s benefit in this war.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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