On April 13, Anna Baltzer, a notorious anti-Israel activist, spoke about life in the “occupied” Palestinian territories. She presented many outrageous allegations that we wish to address.
First of all, she compared Israel to the South African apartheid. There is no basis for this comparison. Black people who protested against the South African government were killed and could not vote.
However, the Arab minorities in Israel are represented in government, have served in the Knesset and are full citizens with equal rights.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. They allow freedom of assembly, movement and speech. In other Middle Eastern nations it is difficult to criticize the government.
Baltzer also implies Zionism is a racist movement. Zionism only means Jews should have their own homeland. “In The Case for Israel,” Alan Dershowitz says Israel is a “secular state with religious and racial pluralism and freedom of religion for all. Meanwhile, every other state surrounding them has Islam as its official religion and they discriminate against Jews.”
Another claim she made is that checkpoints between Palestinian villages encourage segregation. The reality is that this is a security measure that has significantly decreased acts of terrorism.
Baltzer’s presentation aimed to make an emotional appeal through propaganda. Showing pictures of Palestinian children playing and reading names of Palestinian civilian deaths is only one-sided. We do not deny there have been many Palestinian deaths, but Baltzer must know there are two sides.
Baltzer did not recommend peace talks – she suggested boycotting Israel-affiliated companies and uniting the community to protest. This is a very negative, immature approach.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America says “she gives Palestinians unrealistic hopes and promotes resentment.”
Furthermore, Baltzer dodged questions about terrorism acts of Hamas, anti-Jewish propaganda and anti-Semitism while demeaning our views.
While we acknowledge the fact that even though the majority of Palestinians are not involved in terrorism, there is a significant terrorist threat from Hamas – even if they were “democratically elected.”
In 2005, Israel evacuated its citizens from the Gaza Strip because it gave the land to Palestinians hoping for coexistence. Instead radical Palestinians shot more than 2,400 Qassam rockets from that land.
In a letter to the editor, Rawan Musaitif made the false conclusion that Americans who support Israel are ignorant about the situation. Claiming that someone is not educated because they have different beliefs is preposterous.
The authors of this article have been to Israel, and one of us even visited bomb shelters and saw rockets. In Sderot, Israelis only have 15 seconds to respond to a high-explosive rocket. This is real terror that Israelis experience every day and some cities have bomb shelters on every block.
Residents of this area are depressed and many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Baltzer is just one example of biased individuals permeating the media. Currently, there are numerous misconceptions about Israel.
If you would like to follow the Israeli-Palestinian issue in more depth, check out camera.org, jpost.com or nytimes.com.
Molly Bloom, sophomore organizational communication major
Todd Jelken, sophomore math major
Sarah Brooks, senior political science major