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Harvard Conference is a guise to delegitimize Israel

Henry Kopel  |
Harvard's shameful and biased "one state" conference joins the call to destroy Israel

In the intellectuals’ war against Israel, there is no truth in labelling. To paraphrase Orwell, War is Peace, Ignorance is Enrichment, and Genocide is Liberal Democracy.
by Henry Kopel

The campaign among western intellectuals to delegitimize Israel’s existence scored a major symbolic victory this month, with the announcement that Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government will host on March 3-4, a conference advocating a “One State Solution” for Israel and the Palestinians.

“One State Solution” is the latest fashion among Israel’s enemies. If implemented, Israel would be merged into a single country with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and both Jews and Palestinians living elsewhere would have a “right of return.”

Conveniently unmentioned in the Harvard conference brochure is that an influx of millions of Palestinians would create a majority vote for dismantling Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian-Arab state.

Palestinians may call this “One State,” but for Israeli Jews, the more accurate caption for this “solution” would seem to be “Final.”

That Harvard’s conferees have no intention of presenting a fair and honest debate on the implications of “One State” is made clear by the speakers list, which consists mostly of militant Palestinian advocates, plus a few left-wing Jewish extremists who question the validity of Israel’s existence. Such as:

– Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian-American Executive Director of the anti-Israel website “Electronic Intifadah,” who campaigns for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” against Israel, and claims that Palestinian terrorism is all caused by Israel’s alleged “ongoing orgy of violence.”

– Sa'ed Atshan, a Harvard graduate student and pro-Palestinian activist, who condemns the United States as “the most anti-Palestinian country in the world after Israel," and claims that Israel is an “apartheid state" comparable to the former South Africa.

– Diana Buttu, a Canadian lawyer of Palestinian descent, who has served as Mahmoud Abbas’s legal advisor, and has falsely claimed, among other things, that Israel “ethnically cleansed” millions of Palestinians in 1948, that no Israelis died from Palestinian suicide bombers in the late 1990's, and that the thousands of Palestinian rockets launched into Israel contain no explosives.

Given the flowery rhetoric of rights and reconciliation deployed by “One Staters,” the more brutal realities behind the One State proposal warrant scrutiny. Two especially decisive realities are culture and demographics.

It is a tragic fact that Palestinian and Israeli cultures are, at present, fundamentally irreconcilable, because in the sixty-four years since Israel’s founding, the two peoples have been educated and assimilated into virtually opposite belief systems by their respective leaders and institutions.

In Israel, the schools, media, and civic institutions have raised each new generation in the ethics of equal and impartial justice, respect for different cultures and faiths, and condemnation of violence and degradation towards non-Jews.

In stark contrast, the leaders of Palestinian society – including the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority (“PA”) that rules the West Bank – have raised each new generation in a genocidal ideology and Jew-hatred.

As abundantly documented by the non-profit Palestine Media Watch, government controlled schools and media regularly glorify terrorists who murder Jews, encourage children to become suicide bombers, deny the right of Israel to exist, and spread anti-Semitic falsehoods that rival the propaganda of Nazi Germany.

Palestinians are repeatedly told, for instance, that Israelis kill Palestinians to harvest their organs for transplants; that Israel poisons the wells from which Palestinians draw their water; and that martyring onself in the act of killing Jews is a guaranteed ticket to paradise.

Lest there be any doubt, the charters of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas remain pledged to the destruction of Israel.

Each society reaps what their leaders have sown. Out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israelis have created a diverse, vibrant, western, liberal culture, whereas Palestinians, motivated principally by rage at Israel’s founding – which they call the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” – have built a closed, corrupt, pre-modern vengeance culture.

Hence in Israel, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and atheists – men and women, straight and gay – all share equal legal standing, and participate in democratic elections. Both Arabs and Jews occupy major roles in the government and judicial system. And Israel’s economy is one of the high-tech wonders of the world.

By contrast, in the Palestinian territories, armed gangs monopolize political power; the sale of land to a Jew is punishable by death; dozens of women are murdered each year in “honor killings”; and gays often face torture or death if ‘outed.’ The economy barely keeps afloat, despite the world’s largest per capita infusion of foreign aid.

Merging those two, opposite cultures into one nation would be a death sentence for Israel’s liberal, ecumenical, Jewish democracy. The demographic numbers assure this result.

Taken together, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are home to about 5.7 million Jews, and 5 million Palestinian Arabs. Of the latter, 1.3 million Arabs are citizens of Israel, whereas 3.7 million live in the Palestinian territories, raised in the culture of genocidal Jew-hatred.

A further 2.9 million Palestinians living outside the borders of “One State” would have a right of return. Immigration of less than a third would give Palestinian Arabs a solid voting majority in One State, consigning all of its Jews to minority status.

No Arabic country in human history has extended equal rights to a non-Arab minority. There is scant reason to believe that the Palestinian majority governing One State would be the first to break through this barrier, particularly with its millions of Palestinian citizens raised from birth to hate Jews and Israel.

In sum, advocacy of “One State” is nothing but a euphemism for a call to destroy Israel and replace it by another Arabic dictatorship.

Of course, none of this reality will be acknowledged at the One State conference, which innocently claims in its brochure to be “enrich[ing] academic discussions about possible solutions” and to be seeking “a framework in which Israelis and Palestinians can share a liberal democratic state.”

And this is perhaps the most important lesson of events like Harvard’s One State conference: in the intellectuals’ war against Israel, there is no truth in labelling. To paraphrase George Orwell’s 1984, War is Peace, Ignorance is Enrichment, and Genocide is Liberal Democracy.