Israel Denies its Victims an Education: Politicide at Work

America’s favorite friend in the Middle East, funded to the tune of $6 billion a year, has an established record of ethnic cleansing. Outside of some universities, this history is largely ignored here for political reasons. But Israel’s own historians have painstakingly combed through national and military archives and exposed Israel’s expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 war.

The results of that dispossession are still on display today. Four million Palestinians live and die in controlled and caged ghettoes on less than one-fifth of the land that belonged to them, now occupied by Israel. Meanwhile, Israel allows Jews born anywhere in the world to settle this expropriated land.

But it’s one thing to prevent people from reclaiming their stolen property. It’s another to prevent them from leaving their cages altogether.

Yet that’s exactly what happened last week, as Israel denied Palestinian Fulbright scholars from getting to America, despite unprecedented civil disobedience by an American diplomat.

The chosen would-be scholars are from Gaza, a concentration camp of 1.5 million people, which Israel has subjected to collective punishment ever since Hamas won elections. Few supplies are allowed in except in the event of “emergencies,” meaning that children go malnourished, chronic diseases go untreated, and poverty and anger festers.

Israel allowed only about 60 out of 600 Gaza students accepted by foreign universities to study abroad this year. Seven Fulbright scholars were among those barred.

America tried to intervene, with Condoleezza Rice opining, “If you cannot engage young people and give them a complete horizon to their expectations and to their dreams, then I don’t know that there would be any future for Palestine.”

The Israelis made noises about expediting the process but still threw up barriers. One US diplomat, fed up with delays and excuses as he tried to get two students out, sat in the middle of the Israel-Jordan border crossing in protest.

Can one imagine a similar scene unfolding in any other country “allied” to the United States? In a pristine display of the “special relationship,” America’s officials are reduced to staging acts of civil disobedience to get their way.

It didn’t work. The two students had their visas revoked after making the crossing. One of them had already reached Washington, DC, before being shipped back to Jordan.

The Israelis fumed over the incident, with a senior Foreign Ministry figure bellowing, “It’s a disgrace. If I had behaved that way at an American border crossing, I’d either be in jail or no longer in the U.S. ”

Such is the extent of Israeli narcissism: denying the wretched of the earth an education is national policy; protesting against it is a “disgrace.”

It’s a revealing episode. Israelis rant about “Palestinian hate” and the evils of Hamas’ ideology — and then lock young Palestinians in a box with Hamas and throw away the key.

As one of the dejected students said, “If I’m sitting here jobless, with no chance for education and employment, I might as well grow a beard and join the others.”

But there is a method to the madness. As one of the Palestinians students who got through said, Israel’s strangulation “splits the society” as some Palestinians with connections get out and others seethe in resentment.

It is the great hope of Israeli policy, aptly termed “politicide” by the late Israeli historian Baruch Kimmerling, that the Palestinians crack apart and collapse under the accumulated weight of interminable indignities.

As the IDF chief of staff boasted to the Knesset 25 years ago, “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

It has not happened — yet.

M. Junaid Levesque-Alam blogs about America and Islam at Crossing the Crescent and writes about American Muslim identity for WireTap magazine. Co-founder of Left Hook, a youth journal that ran from Nov. 2003 to March 2006, he works as a communications coordinator for an anti-domestic violence agency in the NYC area. He can be reached at: junaidalam1 AT Read other articles by M. Junaid, or visit M. Junaid's website.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on September 2nd, 2008 at 9:25am #

    one of the evilest books ever written is to me the torah. read it, anf find out about it. it elucidates why so many euroasians with judaic faith behave so bestially. than k u

  2. Hugh said on September 2nd, 2008 at 12:33pm #

    OK, Israel’s evil and so are all the Jews and let’s drop a bomb on all of them anyway, and I hate to rain on somebody’s parade, but the reason those Palestinian students were sent home is because the USA found out about their Hamas connections, so that’s why they were refused visas.

    Being as Hamas is recognized as a terror regime pretty much everywhere except for Iran, chances are a little slim that they’d get visas for the UK, France, Italy, Tonga, etc. as well.

  3. bozhidar balkas said on September 2nd, 2008 at 2:31pm #

    hey, even i have connection to hamas. shld i be allowed to live in canada or travel to US? all israel has to do is to accuse and that’s it.
    as for dropping a bomb on israel, none of us on dv had ever advised it be done..
    so, why put your words in other people’s mouths?
    thank u

  4. hugh said on September 2nd, 2008 at 7:50pm #

    If you aren’t a full citizen of Canada or US and the authorities have reasonable proof that you’re with Hamas or anything like them, then you can expect arrest and deportation at any time.

    However if they think you may be mentally ill as well, you might be hospitalized first.

    Hamas and Hezbollah are the only two political regimes in recent times to define their organizations as existing primarily to commit major genocide.

  5. Andres Kargar said on September 3rd, 2008 at 12:14am #

    The Zionists who collaborated with the Nazis are now being bribed by the West to blame the Holocaust on Palestinians, Iranians, and Arabs in general.

    And speaking of Hamas, the West has proven to the people of the world that it has no understanding of or respect for the concept of democracy to which they often pay so much lip service. Why else would they be using every trick in the book to harm and destroy the Palestinian people’s democratically-elected government?

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 3rd, 2008 at 3:51am #

    The extent of Israeli racism is only matched by their fiendish cruelty towards the Palestinians and contempt for the rest of humanity. We must never forget that this is a state fueled by a ‘religion’, one of whose leading figures of recent years, Rabbi Kook the Elder, candidly stated, ‘There is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and the soul of a non-Jew…than there is between the soul of a non-Jew and the soul of an animal’. With racist and openly fascist forces gaining greater political power in Israel, allied to religious fundamentalists as wicked or worse than the fundamentalists of Islam and Christianity, one must truly dread the future. The Israeli Right has never, for a second, recognised the humanity of the Palestinians who happen to live in Israel’s God-ordained lebensraum in Palestine. What with hundreds of nuclear weapons, including neutron bombs, designed for mass murder but the sparing of property, and religious maniacs who portray the Palestinians, if not Arabs as a whole, as the Amalekites, whose total extermination God has decreed, it is plain that Israel, with its complete control through money power of the global hegemon, is the greatest threat to peace in the world.