The proposal to divest from Caterpillar Corp. was tabled until next year, and it probably won’t pass then either, that is if the Blue Block – the zombie army wearing “We Stand with Israel” T-shirts – keeps up its tactics of intimidating MSA representatives. At the meeting about which MSA Representative Brad Sugar and alumnus Fadi Kiblawi are publicly bickering, the scariest detail mentioned has been completely ignored.

Incoming American Movement for Israel Co-chair Jonathan Goldberg has summed up the main point some of the leaders of the Blue Block made in defense of Caterpillar’s sale of bulldozers for the use of home demolitions by saying, “Caterpillar is a free company; they’re allowed to trade with whoever they want.”

Really? Let’s set the stage for a different era: World War II. A human rights’ group at the University has just put forth an MSA proposal to divest from Mercedes-Benz and various U.S. motor companies for manufacturing goods for sale to the Nazi regime, using such products for the advancement of their conquest of Europe and genocide. Had Goldberg been around for that MSA meeting, would he have used the same defense for these companies, even though they were producing goods supporting the mass murder of his very own people? I would sure hope not, and I bet he would have been an ardent supporter of that divestment, seeing as the welfare of his people would have been the issue at hand. But flash forward a half-century later, and Goldberg is on the other side of the human right’s fence. To make matters worse, the Blue Block went on to say that condemning Israel’s human right’s violations is not only anti-Israel, but is often times, anti-Semitic.

So let’s go back to our make-believe MSA meeting during World War II. If I had publicly called for the divestment of these participants in the Holocaust, under Goldberg’s logic, that would have meant that my concern for universal human rights was rooted in my hatred for all German people. That is lunacy. I had the pleasure of meeting with Goldberg’s predecessor, David Livshiz. I asked him to justify why a Jew from New York should have the right to Israeli citizenship when someone whose family had lived there for centuries was forced into exile. His justification was that “England was conquered by the Saxons.” Therefore, because England was a legitimate state, so was Israel.

Great, so if one day the Syrian army invaded Israel and proclaimed it as the next province of Syria, that would be kosher by Livshiz’ standard because that has happened to other states in the past. Of course he wouldn’t support that, because the welfare of his people would be at stake. And while it is natural for one to look after one’s own people, holding such blatant double standards is the kind of ethnic supremacy inherent in Zionism, or any form of nationalist rhetoric, that breeds a very real and devastating racist fervor.

The intransigence of the Blue Block to admit that Israel shares much of the blame in the Middle East conflict is the central obstacle to ameliorating both the condition of the Palestinian people and the fearful prospects of terrorist acts in Israel. It is this kind of half-baked logic such as Livshiz’ that gives rise to extremism. And more and more people are thoughtlessly signing on. How do I know? I hear they’re ordering more T-shirts.


Paul is an LSA senior and a member of the Daily’s editorial board.

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