In his viewpoint (A Palestinian-Israeli approach, 02/03/2011) Hamdan Azhar wrote: “‘Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools and access to roads. The situation within the Jewish state, of which around 20 percent of citizens are Muslim, is even worse.”
Allegations of widespread “systematic discrimination” are false: If Palestinians face discrimination in the Jewish state, where else are they being deprived “electricity, water, schools and access to roads … because of their race, ethnicity and national origin?” Perhaps the perpetrators are the Islamic theocracies of Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Oman? Perhaps they’re the discriminatory parties referred to? Oh wait, that’s not true at all. On the other side, I’m Jewish and NOT ONLY would I be denied electricity and road access in every single one of those countries; I can’t even get into those countries. As a Jew, I can’t travel anywhere in the Middle East — except Israel — any way short of joining the army.
And as for the alleged anti-Palestinian discrimination in Israel? Dr. Tashbih Sayyed, a Shiite Pakistani-American scholar, journalist and author, denied that Muslim Arab citizens of Israel don’t have equal rights and said that Arabs are protected by Israel’s democratic principles and afforded all the rights and privileges of Israeli citizenship. According to Freedom House, “Currently, 14 of the 120 members of the Israeli Parliament are Arab citizens, most representing Arab political parties and one of Israel’s Supreme Court judges is a Palestinian Arab.”
So according to Azhar, if the University partners with an institution in the Jewish state of Israel, that would be “inadvertently endorsing segregation and de facto discrimination.” It’s sad that Azhar has such low concern for his personal and academic integrity. It’s doubly sad that this is being made into an issue at all. But the saddest thing is that Azhar is too much of a coward to call his anti-Semitism for what it is. Rather, he has “anti-Jewish prejudice.”