Nicholas Kristof has another New York Times column on the conflict: “Who’s Right and Wrong in the Middle East?”
It’s easy to miss, but he makes the following statement in paragraph six:
“Hamas sometimes seems to have more support on certain college campuses in America or Europe than within Gaza.”
There are three links in this sentence. “On certain college campuses in America” leads to:
“U.S. academic group votes to boycott Israeli universities” — a Washington Post story on the vote last December by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli schools.
“or Europe” leads to:
“Stephen Hawking Joins Boycott Against Israel,” a New York Times story on the scientist’s decision to boycott an Israeli scientific conference on advice of Palestinian colleagues.
Hamas, really? All these folks acted because of human-rights abuses in Palestine.
Donald Johnson offers this open letter to the columnist:
You mean well, and what you say contains some valid points–in particular, that innocent people on both sides are hurt by the malicious acts or violence of people on the other side. And for once, and this is rare in American punditry, you mention the blockade and its harmful effects on Palestinians.
Unfortunately, all of your explicit condemnations are aimed at people on the Palestinian side–for instance, you take a swat at the stereotypical target of college students and don’t say one word about AIPAC or how there is nearly unanimous bipartisan support in Congress for everything Netanyahu does–he received 29 standing ovations when he spoke there. As for our President, he empathizes with victims of Hamas rocket fire and says nothing in condemnation of Israeli violence. Neither do you.
You condemn rock throwing more than Israeli killing of civilians, and claim that Israel tries not to hurt civilians. You mention the killing of civilians, but only as part of Israel unfortunately choosing to “defend itself” against aggression, though the reality in many cases, such as the 1982 invasion, is that Israel was the aggressor. Israel apologists commonly claim Israel can’t be targeting civilians, because if they were they could be killing everyone in Gaza (1.5 million) or tens of thousands (which they actually did in 1982 Lebanon), but the same could be said of most repressive regimes. Israel shoots protesters, it shoot farmers and fishermen during ceasefires, and obviously some of the current killing looks remarkably like deliberate killing of civilians, though with Israel’s refusal to do honest investigations there is no way to tell.
What happens in the American press, including this column, is that the slate is wiped clean as soon as an Israeli is murdered–and acts of violence against Palestinians that occurred immediately before go down the memory hole. So the shooting of unarmed non-rock-throwing Palestinians in May was reported, but it has gone down the memory hole. Why is that, Mr. Kristof? Why can you so clearly see the sins of people on college campuses (some of whom know far more about the situation than you seem to) and are blind to your own?
Finally, you endorse the blockade on Gazans–the lifting of the embargo is conditional on control being returned to the PA. So would you suggest doing the same to Israel until the illegal occupation ends? No, you wouldn’t. It would never occur to you to hurt Israeli civilians with a draconian blockade.