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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 18, 2002

The truly extremist side of divestment

James Kirchick has sent us this article he and Daniel Fichter have written for Yale's Daily News:

The Israel divestment campaign, which Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has called "grotesque and offensive," is one of the anti-Israel movement's most specious efforts in recent memory. Constantly distorting the complex nature of the Middle East conflict, divestment advocates are trying to persuade members of the Yale community that the Jewish state is a pariah that deserves nothing less than our utmost condemnation. With this heated debate erupting on college campuses across the nation, an assessment of the rationale behind the movement to induce Yale's divestment of its financial holdings in Israel is in order.

What should be of concern to those without any personal attachment to the Middle East conflict is that the national divestment movement has embraced terrorist elements. Just last month, a leader of Yale's very own divestment crusade attended the movement's national conference held at the University of Michigan. Among the organizations sponsoring the conference was the Islamic Association for Palestine, which has solicited money for the families of suicide bombers. A keynote speaker at the conference was the notorious Sami Al-Arian, currently being investigated by the federal government for his alleged work on behalf of Islamic Jihad and who has publicly stated that Jews are "the sons and daughters of monkeys and pigs." According to a student at the event, a group of activists chanted "Death to the Jews" in Arabic.

Members of the Yale divestment campaign have yet to denounce publicly the hate rhetoric that epitomizes the national movement, which has officially condoned terrorism. The fifth "guiding principle" of the National Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement states, "As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation." In addition, the Yale divestment campaign has ranked the Jewish state with Nazi Germany by daringly alleging that Israel is "very possibly" guilty of "crimes of genocide." Before deigning to sign the divestment petition, one should seriously consider whose company he will be keeping.