Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is China Israel’s last, best hope?


This past semester about 150 students at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government participated in a student-organized trip called the “Palestine Trek.” The trip, led by Palestinian students at the school, was planned as a tour of the land’s “1948 borders.”  The organizers’ apparent goal was to expose participants to the Palestinian perspective on the conflict, if not persuade them of its moral righteousness. Of course, many of those who participated needed no convincing and were already hostile to Israel, while many others who may have begun the journey ambivalent, returned skeptical, if not distrusting, of the Jewish state.  Participants heard from a multitude of Palestinian speakers offering a range of views sympathetic to their side of the conflict. The usual anti-Israel arguments were on display. One participant said that they heard almost every day and from every speaker that Israel is an apartheid state. But there were also some less common arguments voiced: a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement speaker charged Israelis with “milking the Holocaust.”  The sole Israeli the students heard from was on the far Right – convenient for painting all Israelis as damnably hostile to Palestinians.