It’s Israel Apartheid Week and the Israeli veterans and student activists of Reservists on Duty are reporting to campuses across America. Their mission is fighting back against the lies and the hate.
The annual anti-Israel campus events have become notorious for anti-Semitism and assaults on Jewish students. Posterboard walls rise on quads depicting Israel as a racist apartheid state. Fake checkpoints manned by anti-Israel activists dressed in the uniforms of Israeli soldiers pop up around the country.
Meanwhile Jewish students tuck their Stars of David into their shirts. Distinctive Jewish clothing is put away. Most Jewish students just try to keep their heads down until the ugliness of the week passes.
It’s a tough time to be pro-Israel. But the Shillman Fellows of Reservists on Duty are used to challenges.
Reservists on Duty was co-founded by Amit Deri. A major in the Israeli Defense Forces, Deri hadn’t paid much attention to politics during his decade in the military. While in the IDF, he didn’t know “what was happening outside the military”. And once he did, he was determined to fight back with the truth.
Deri had lost one of his best friends in the fight against terrorism. And he and other IDF vets founded and staffed Reservists on Duty to ensure that those sacrifices in the War on Terror would not be in vain.
On American college campuses, Deri saw for the first time just how ugly the lies were.
At the University of Houston, a school that Deri describes as one of the worst, alongside UC-Berkeley and UC-Irvine, a girl told him, “You’re taking organs from Palestinians and putting them into Israelis”.
Like American soldiers during the Vietnam War, Israeli soldiers are demonized and spat on. There is no bizarre atrocity and no impossible horror, too implausible or unlikely to attribute to the men in green.
Reservists on Duty challenges the prejudices and lies by bringing actual Israeli veterans to campus.
Every Israeli Apartheid Week, they call up the ‘reservists’ who jump into action.
“We’re sending our guys there during Apartheid Week to engage with students exposed to these carnivals of hate,” Deri says.
In 3 weeks, they’ve hit over 30 campuses. The University of San Diego is one of them.
The University of San Diego isn’t holding an Apartheid Week, but Jonathan Elkhoury showed up anyway to tell his story. The Arab Christian refugee was only nine years old when he came to Israel. Like many of Israel’s Jewish refugees, his family came to Israel fleeing Islamic violence and built a new life in Israel.
Now, while working on his degree, Jonathan Elkhoury is challenging lies and preconceptions by telling his story. On campuses where no ugly smear or conspiracy theory about Israel is too extreme, he brings his own experience of both sides to bridge the gap and tell the truth about Israel and its people.
It’s not easy.
He’s been called an Uncle Tom and was spat on at George Mason University for waving an Israeli flag.
At UC Irvine, he was told that Haifa is an apartheid city with a separate transportation system for Jews and Arabs. Elkhoury, who had lived in Haifa laughed and replied that it was the most diverse city in Israel. As a child, he had grown up attending a school with students of different of religions and backgrounds. He knows better than anyone else that the apartheid myth is really a big lie.
And now, at the University of San Diego, Elkhoury had achieved a breakthrough.
It was an “amazing moment,” Elkhoury told me. Usually the anti-Israel activists heckle, yell and refuse to participate. But this time, he had convinced a Muslim student from the West Bank to hold a dialogue. As their conversation evolved, the student agreed that the ‘Palestinian’ leadership was the problem.
The amazing moment was just another day for an amazing organization and its Shillman Fellows.
Deri, along with Elkhoury, had been spat on at George Mason University. Elkhoury has been at UC Berkeley. At UC Irvine, one of the women with Reservists on Duty was pushed and another spat on.
But some of the activists have seen worse in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. It’ll take a lot more than spitting and shoving to stop them. Instead, the members of Reservists on Duty go on the offensive.
When anti-Israel activists hold a ‘die-in’ at Berkeley to protest Israel, Reservists on Duty show up in IDF medic shirts with medical equipment, and announce, “We are IDF medics, there’s been a Hamas terror attack, and we are here to treat wounded regardless of their race or religion.”
The creative disruption is part of what Deri calls a ‘chutzpah’ strategy.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.