Time for Moral Clarity, Mr. Ryan

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends!

It is particularly ironic on the first night of the “Festival of Lights” that I feel compelled to address the rampant antisemitism existing at our American college campuses. I am writing this email expressing my personal views, not necessarily speaking for all of our Board since this was not reviewed by them.

Jim Bacon has already chronicled the “Students for Justice in Palestine” horrific October 8 statement and their marches on the Lawn afterwards. For those of you who missed it, please take a moment to read the articles and view the video links I provide below of the congressional testimony from the Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania presidents this past Tuesday. Each one of them steadfastly refused to unequivocally condemn the Hamas genocide or their students’ protests praising the “intifada” while chanting “from the river to the sea.” That is the terrorist Islamist euphemism for the eradication of Israel and Jews worldwide.

Recall that the Penn president is Liz Magill, former UVA EVP and Provost. As you will see below, she is now facing mounting pressure to resign over her comments last Tuesday, as are the presidents of Harvard and MIT. All have attempted to walk back their statements given alumni blowback, but the damage is done.

Here are pertinent article on the three presidents’ congressional testimony:

Congresswoman Stefanik questioning Harvard president Gay.

Penn president, former UVA EVP and Provost Magill getting pressure to resign.

President Ryan issued two statements after October 7. See the links below:

October 11 on the invasion.

November 6 update on student safety given threats.

President Ryan was not grilled by Congress as were his Harvard, Penn and MIT counterparts. However, note his statements above generically call for peace and an end to violence in the Middle East. He also warns that “the turmoil in the Middle East and the increase in demonstrations on our Grounds have inspired real concerns for members of our community about Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other potential threats to their safety and well-being.” I believe that this conveys an inherent moral equivalency with the October 7 abhorrent genocide perpetrated by Hamas and the justifiable Israeli IDF response since then. He also implies that there is rampant Islamophobia at UVA. If there has been, President Ryan needs to cite specific incidents, since I’ve never seen any evidence of it. There is antisemitism, validated by SJP and other radical student groups.

Here is my problem with President Ryan’s statements. UVA SJP members and the other student groups who signed their October 8 proclamation have posted in social media and chanted the same slogans — “intifada….from the river to the sea” — as the Harvard, Penn and MIT students. Like his president counterparts, President Ryan has not condemned them for promoting genocide. By his silence, he is allowing Jewish students, faculty and administrators to feel threatened. What other conclusion could they make?

The Hamas invasion was indefensible genocide. Anyone — faculty or student — who condemns the Israeli response to eradicate the Hamas terrorists is by definition supporting genocide. It is time for President Ryan to unequivocally state this, supporting Israel and the Jewish people. This is not “Islamophobic.” Jewish students are not rallying to kill Palestinians or eradicate Gaza.

This is a time for moral clarity. I am asking President Ryan to speak out and do the right thing. I hope that he does.

We are in trying moral times. Those of us who concur must stand up and be heard. I encourage you to email President Ryan and convey your opinions directly: https://president.virginia.edu/.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotations from Sir Edmund Burke. His words were never truer than they are now:

I wish you all a great holiday season with your families.

Best,

Tom Neale
President and Co-Founder
The Jefferson Council

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UVA Student (:
UVA Student (:
6 months ago

Stop conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Calling for a binational state for Palestinians and Jews in historic Palestine , which is what the chant represents for Palestinians, is NOT anti-Semitic.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. Free from apartheid, free from occupation, and free from occupation.

Wahoo74
Wahoo74
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student (:

Kid, you’re wrong, and have NO idea what you’re talking about. From the river to the sea means extermination of Jews. Period. If you had any clue about history you’d know that.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  Wahoo74

I’m not going to throw back your insult. However, If you want to understand our perspective, please consider reading The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. It might give you a new perspective on the conflict. I also humbly recommend the documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, which has been screened at many universities. (It’s available for free on YouTube. Understanding the roots of the conflict is important.) thanks, please let’s all get out of our bubbles.

JAMES BACON JR
JAMES BACON JR
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

Hey, UVa Student, if we could arrange a formal, debate between you and an Israeli student, would you be willing to take part? While I may not share your perspective, you strike me as intelligent, well informed and willing to engage in a civil exchange of ideas. We have good relations with the Center for Politics and might be able to arrange a debate in a neutral setting with a neutral format. Any interest?

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  James Bacon

Jefferson Council, if you believe in free speech, please post my comment. I’m not very optimistic, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Bacon, the Palestinian position since the late 1960s, well before Hamas was founded, was in support of a binational democratic state. In 1988, the PLO compromised and agreed to accept a state on 1967 borders and recognized the state of Israel. Since Oslo, however, Israel has only increased the number of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank (there are now 700,000). I certainly do NOT support Hamas, but I believe that Hamas is a symptom of occupation and the failure of the peace process.

Just to give you some context about the reality of the occupation, since 1967, Israel has arrested approximately 1 million Palestinians in the occupied territories. In fact, 40% of the adult Palestinian male population in the occupied West Bank have been arrested since 1967. In addition to the thousands of Palestinians currently under administrative detention, Israel also holds the bodies of hundreds of dead Palestinians “captive” as a form of psychological torture for their families. Palestinians are constantly humiliated in the West Bank, where they are subjected to military checkpoints, have towering walls running deep into their territory, and are slowly being dispossessed of their land. Israel has also bulldozed 55,000 Palestinian homes and uprooted 800,000 olive trees.

The situation in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where unlike Israeli settlers, Palestinians are subjected to military courts with 99% conviction rates, can’t use the major roads in their territory or risk a 6 month prison sentence, and can use significantly less water than an Israeli settler is extremely unjust. Due to the reality on the ground, the HRW has described the situation as apartheid, where you have two systems of justice and laws for peoples living under the same entity in the same land: https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution.

For an example of how Palestinian children under occupation are treated by Israeli soldiers, in this case for picking wild greens in a field on Palestinian land that was “too close” to an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank: https://youtu.be/O-Gpjh2VXI4?si=qmbyfSBbsLRe7hRv. (Video documented by BTselem, an Israeli human rights organization.)

In terms of Gaza, after Israel withdrew, it instituted a brutal blockade and cut off Gaza from the West Bank, while refusing to negotiate with Hamas, which , at one point, supported a two state solution on 1967 borders. At the same time, as the peace process has failed, fanatic religious groups like Hamas, which didn’t exist before the late 1980s, gained prominence. To quote the UN Secretary-General, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

This doesn’t justify what Hamas did, including killing 33 children and taking the hostages. But, I believe Israel’s actions, which have been to position this as a fight against Nazis and the Amaleks, make the Gaza Strip almost uninhabitable by destroying about half of the civilian infrastructure there, and killing through its indiscriminate bombardment close to 20,000 people, including over 7,000 children. As I’m sure you’re aware, children make up about half the population of the Gaza Strip, and about 80% of the population are refugees from cities in historic Palestine such as Lydda (Gthe Lydda Death March), Ramla, Beersheba, and modern day Ashkelon, as well as many of the over 500 Palestinian towns and villages destroyed and depopulated in 1948 .

Thank you for considering my perspectives. We need more dialogue and less accusations. I am not anti-Semitic and I don’t support Hamas, but I recognize it as a symptom of a much greater disease. (For instance, do you know that the civilian to civilian causality ratio in the past two decades before this conflict without even counting the wars in Gaza was around 1 Israeli civilian to 43 Palestinian civilians?)

Wendy Wolock
Wendy Wolock
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

History aside, we are here today. If the Israeli government has engaged in illegal settlements, there is an appropriate response. And while non- violence may take time (historically this has been the case with successful outcomes,) the evil and violent actions of October 7 demand immediate condemnation and response from the world. This conflict has turned into an opportunity for antisemitism to flourish as it has throughout the ages. Can you outline what you would like to see as these entities move forward? Do you see the destruction of Israel as the only acceptable position? Do you agree that the Jews have been forced out of their homes over the centuries from many countries? Refugees all over the world have undertaken to start a new life, make the most of circumstances and thrive

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  James Bacon

Jefferson Council, if you believe in free speech, please post my comment. I’m not very optimistic, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Palestinians aren’t inherently more violent than any other group of people. I know this because I’m Palestinian. We are peace-loving people. Mr. Bacon, the Palestinian position since the late 1960s, well before Hamas was founded, was in support of a binational democratic state. In 1988, the PLO compromised and agreed to accept a state on 1967 borders and recognized the state of Israel. Since Oslo, however, Israel has only increased the number of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank (there are now 700,000). I certainly do NOT support Hamas, but I believe that Hamas is a symptom of occupation and the failure of the peace process.

Just to give you some context about the reality of the occupation, since 1967, Israel has arrested approximately 1 million Palestinians in the occupied territories. In fact, 40% of the adult Palestinian male population in the occupied West Bank have been arrested since 1967. In addition to the thousands of Palestinians currently under administrative detention, Israel also holds the bodies of hundreds of dead Palestinians “captive” as a form of psychological torture for their families. Palestinians are constantly humiliated in the West Bank, where they are subjected to military checkpoints, have towering walls running deep into their territory, and are slowly being dispossessed of their land. Israel has also bulldozed 55,000 Palestinian homes and uprooted 800,000 olive trees.

The situation in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where unlike Israeli settlers, Palestinians are subjected to military courts with 99% conviction rates, can’t use the major roads in their territory or risk a 6 month prison sentence, and can use significantly less water than an Israeli settler is extremely unjust. Due to the reality on the ground, the HRW has described the situation as apartheid, where you have two systems of justice and laws for peoples living under the same entity in the same land: https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution.

For an example of how Palestinian children under occupation are treated by Israeli soldiers, in this case for picking wild greens in a field on Palestinian land that was “too close” to an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank: https://youtu.be/O-Gpjh2VXI4?si=qmbyfSBbsLRe7hRv. (Video documented by BTselem, an Israeli human rights organization.)

In terms of Gaza, after Israel withdrew, it instituted a brutal blockade and cut off Gaza from the West Bank, while refusing to negotiate with Hamas, which , at one point, supported a two state solution on 1967 borders. At the same time, as the peace process has failed, fanatic religious groups like Hamas, which didn’t exist before the late 1980s, gained prominence. To quote the UN Secretary-General, “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

This doesn’t justify what Hamas did, including killing 33 children and taking the hostages. But, I believe Israel’s actions, which have been to position this as a fight against Nazis and the Amaleks, make the Gaza Strip almost uninhabitable by destroying about half of the civilian infrastructure there, and killing through its indiscriminate bombardment close to 20,000 people, including over 7,000 children are a form of collective punishment and are not going to bring about peace or safety for Israel. As I’m sure you’re aware, children make up about half the population of the Gaza Strip, and about 80% of the population are refugees from cities in historic Palestine such as Lydda (Gthe Lydda Death March), Ramla, Beersheba, and modern day Ashkelon, as well as many of the over 500 Palestinian towns and villages destroyed and depopulated in 1948 .

Thank you for considering my perspectives. We need more dialogue and less accusations. I am not anti-Semitic and I don’t support Hamas, but I recognize it as a symptom of a much greater disease. (For instance, do you know that the civilian to civilian causality ratio in the past two decades before this conflict without even counting the wars in Gaza was around 1 Israeli civilian to 43 Palestinian civilians?)

I have a lot more to say, but I don’t have the time. If you care about free speech, I hope you’ll find ways to open up spaces for dialogue and stop equating support for Palestinian liberation with support for Hamas. I, as well as all Palestinians I know, recognize that the only future is a shared one and want peace and justice. What Palestinians will NOT accept, however, is a “second Nakba,” or ethnic cleansing, as has been proposed by members of the current Israeli government. This, to us, is unacceptable.

If you want to understand our perspective, consider reading The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. It might give you a new perspective on the conflict.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  James Bacon

Also, Palestinians were not responsible for the horrific anti-Semitic European crimes, or the influx of Jewish Arab refugees from North African and Middle Eastern countries after the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. I don’t know anyone who wants to expel Jews from Palestine/Israel. What we want is the recognition that we deserve to live in our homeland, where we have lived for millennia, in dignity and equality.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

Please name all the Kings of Palestine, predating the Jews.
Why did the “Palestinians” choose for their “homeland” name a beginning letter foreign to Arabic?
When was the land first called Palestine and why?
What is your position on baking babies?
Is rape bad in all circumstances, or is there an exception for raping “occupiers?”
Why won’t the other Arabic countries take in the “innocent” Palestinians?
Is it true that 75% of the “innocent” Palestinians approve of the October 7 brutality?
Please define what Palestine being “free” means in reality.
What do jihad and intifada mean?
What is the “Palestinian” position on gay rights? How is the “women’s movement” in “Palestine?”
What does first the Saturday people, then the Sunday people mean?
The problem, so long ignored, is that one side represents civilization, and one barbarism.
The problem with all of the Leftism infecting the first world is that the beliefs are a first world luxury that arose from the Judeo Christian Western Civ ethos and the Leftist policies that do not work are destroying the freedom and prosperity that allowed it.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  walter smith

It was a region that was continuously inhabited for millennia. So when the Balfour Declaration supported the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1917, everyone knew what land was being referred to.

Palestinians want to live in their homeland, not neighboring Arab countries.

Palestinians, who deserve to live in their land in equality, are “are an ethnonational group descending from peoples who have inhabited the region of Palestine over the millennia, and who are today culturally and linguistically Arab.”

As a Palestinian I support LGBT equality and rights. Many others do. Many Palestinians are Christian. We are not a monolith. The Christians in Palestine in Bethlehem are the oldest Christian population in the world.

Facts and history matter. Talking points and accusations don’t get us anywhere.

Know that occupation, dispossession, and ethnic cleaning will never bring about peace.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

So how about the Jews? Did they inhabit the area historically?
I notice no answer to the kings of the Palestinians, nor to the naming and when and why.
And as a Palestinian, then you denounce the gay killings? How long would you last in “Palestine” if you tried to stop a gay from being thrown off of a roof?
Facts and history do matter. What is your position on jihad? Are you engaging in taqqiyah right now?

Was the October 7 massacre wrong, or not?
Not a hard question.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  walter smith

Babies were quite literally burned in ovens during Deir Yassin in 1948, one of the over 50 massacres against Palestinians that year.

Letter signed by Einstein, 1948 (Begin, then the leader of the Irgun, a Zionist terrorist group, would go on to form the Likud Party, the current ruling party):

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party. Within the Jewish community, they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  James Bacon

Palestinians aren’t inherently more violent than any other group of people. I know this because I’m Palestinian. We are peace-loving people who were expelled from our land and subjected to the longest and one of the most brutal military occupations in modern history.

In Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, in the late 19th century, there was a substantial Jewish minority, while the rest were Arab Christian (10%) and Muslim (85%).

Palestinians rejected the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and later the UN partition because, before the partition, they owned almost all of the land and made up 68% of the population at the time, while Jews, most of whom were recent immigrants fleeing persecution in Europe and Russia, owned just 6% of the land and made up 32% of the population. The UN very unjustly divided Palestine into a Jewish stateencompassing 56% of the land, including the arable coastline, and a Palestinian state covering only 44% of the land. Palestinians rejected this unfair partition, favoring one state for Palestinians and Jews. They knew that the formation of a Jewish majority state in Palestine would mean the expulsion of 100,000s of Palestinians, and they were right.

I have a lot more to say, but I don’t have the time. If you care about free speech, I hope you’ll find ways to open up spaces for dialogue and stop equating support for Palestinian liberation with support for Hamas. I, as well as all Palestinians I know, recognize that the only future is a shared one and want peace and justice. What Palestinians will NOT accept, however, is a “second Nakba,” or ethnic cleansing, as has been proposed by members of the current Israeli government. This, to us, is unacceptable.

If you want to understand our perspective, please consider reading The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017 by Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. It might give you a new perspective on the conflict. I also humbly recommend the documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, which has been screened at many universities. (It’s available for free on YouTube. Understanding the roots of the conflict is important.)

Please consider a different perspective without immediately dismissing it. Thank you.

John Buckley
John Buckley
6 months ago

Tom, behind you 100%.

Wahoo74
Wahoo74
6 months ago

UVA student, one last response. Whatever you, your sympathetic professors or radical student groups think, “from the river to the sea” is and has been the rallying slogan for Middle East Islamic terrorists groups for decades. The PLO, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah….all of them.

You blithely shrug off Walter Smith’s documented counterpoints below of the animalistic butchery perpetrated by Hamas on October 7. You say it is “understandable” given Israeli actions. UWe will shortly also hear of the torture of the Israeli hostages after the freed ones are able to talk. They are receiving psychiatric help now, no doubt traumatized for life.

Your “facts” of purported Israeli colonial abuse have never been revealed by reputable 3rd party agencies such as the UN or Human Rights Watch. Given Israel is a free press democracy, unlike the surrounding Islamic theocracies, if true there’s no way such abuses would not have been plastered on the front pages of the NYT, WAPO or London Times.

I’ll trust the source below. Call me parochial.

https://www.ajc.org/translatehate/From-the-River-to-the-Sea

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  Wahoo74

HRW: https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

UN: https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/defenceless-impact-israeli-military-detention-palestinian-children

Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2022/02/israels-system-of-apartheid/

I made it VERY clear that I am completely opposed to Hamas’s horrific actions on 10/7.

A recent Save the Children report on Palestinian child prisoners in the occupied West Bank, many of whom are detained by Israel without charge, found that “60% of children experienced solitary confinement with the length of time varying from one 1 day to as long as 48 days.” Additionally, “The majority of children experienced appalling levels of physical and emotional abuse, including being beaten (86%), being threatened with harm (70%), and hit with sticks or guns (60%). Finally, “Some children reported violence and abuse of a sexual nature, including being hit or touched on the genitals and 69% reported being strip searched.”

An example of how Palestinian children under occupation are treated by Israeli soldiers, in this case for picking wild greens in a field on Palestinian land that was “too close” to an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank: https://www.btselem.org/video/20210325_soldiers_arrest_five_children_aged_in_south_hebron_hills

Is this something that you are opposed to?

Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland, including my family. Palestinians deserve to live in their homeland as equals, alongside Jewish Israelis, in a binational democracy.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

Then quit killing people. Quit saying from the river to the sea. Accept the many proposals…oh, that’s right – always rejected and we are supposed to ignore from the river to the sea, or the celebrations of the massacre.
Physician heal thyself. Then maybe a civilized conversation can be held..but not with barbarians.

UVA Student
UVA Student
6 months ago
Reply to  walter smith

I don’t know anyone who celebrated, and when the horrific civilian toll of Hamas’s attack was revealed, including the slaughter of 33 children, everyone I know was horrified. Frankly, it is extremely insulting that you tell me to stop killing people and refer to the Palestinians as barbarians. I am not responsible for the actions of others. However, you should note that Hamas wasn’t founded until the late 1980s and didn’t gain prominence until it was clear that the peace process had failed. It is a symptom of the disease of occupation and ethnic cleaning, rather than the disease itself, in my view. (The vast majority of Gaza’s population are refugees or descendants of refugees from other places in historic Palestine such as Beersheba, Ramle, Lydda [Google Lydda death march], and some of the over 500 Palestinian towns and villages destroyed and depopulated in 1948.) In the past decades, the number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israel in the occupied territories has far far exceeded the number of Israeli civilians killed (Google Israel Palestine historic civilian conflict related deaths). Already, since October 7th Israel has killed more children in just the occupied West Bank (62) than Hamas did on October 7th (33). The number of children killed in Gaza is over 7,000, likely an underestimate due to the fact that thousands are buried under the rubble as 60% of housing units have been destroyed. Israel is making the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, with half the civilian infrastructure destroyed, including 300 schools. This is not an acceptable way to fight a war. In fact, Israel appears to be intent on genocide and ethnic cleaning, with talk of the forced permanent expulsion of Gazans to the Sinai. But, despite Israel’s actions, I would never refer to Jewish Israelis as “barbarians.” The Palestinians have been under the longest and one of the most brutal military occupations in modern history. Resistance (including unfortunately violent resistance against civilians, which, to be clear, is not acceptable or justifiable) is to be expected. So, I’d appreciate it if you would stop referring to Palestinians in that insulting way.

Any solution to this conflict must be based on equality of human, personal, civil, and national rights for two peoples with competing claims to the land. There also needs to be a recognition of the colonial nature of Israel’s founding, as well as a just solution for Palestinian refugees. I believe that a just solution to this conflict is one guarantees equal rights to all—Jews, Muslim, Christian—in a binational democratic state. But, Palestinians have compromised and accepted a state on 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine) with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and a connected West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have also recognized the state of Israel, and they have even accepted having a demilitarized state, as long as it’s sovereign. It is Israel and the Netanyahu government that have done everything in their power to make the two state solution an impossibility by expanding illegal settlements (700,000 settlers today) militarizing and building walls deep into the West Bank, and imposing a terrible blockade on the Gaza Strip. Please know that we will NOT accept a “state” of ghettos and Bantustans surrounded by settlements, or a state without sovereignty. Palestinians will NOT accept a life of subjugation in our own homeland. And, finally, we will NOT accept another Nakba, or ethnic cleansing. If Israel continues to block a Palestinian state on 1967 borders and continues its take-over of the occupied territories, Palestinians will NOT simply sit down and be slaves to oppression and apartheid. If Israel wants a one state reality, as is currently the case, and continues to prevent Palestinians from having a sovereign independent state of 1967 borders, then Palestinians will resist and demand equality and work toward a binational, secular, democratic state, which has been something that the PLO has supported since the late 1960s.

For full disclosure, I truly dislike the Jefferson Council, and I find you, Walter, especially patronizing. Overall, I believe that this organization comes across as pretentious and unwilling to engage in dialogue. It seems that you are in your own Fox News bubble. You also seem to shut down speech that you don’t like. But, I am extremely concerned about your conflation of criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, which is why I took the time to find your website and respond to this article. (Would it be Islamophobic to criticize Saudi Arabia, which I do very often?) Calling for a democratic binational state for Jews and Palestinians in historic Palestine, from the “river to the sea” may be idealistic, but it’s not anti-Semitic. And it certainly isn’t a call for the eradication of Jews. (This was actually the Palestinian position before the partition, and the position of the PLO since the late 60s until they agreed to compromise and accept a state on 1967 borders, making up 22% of historic Palestine.) So please stop labeling people and please watch a documentary (I also encourage you to check out BTselems, an Israeli human rights group that reports on the situation in the occupied territories) or read an academic book on the history of the conflict. The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine by Dr, Rashid Khalidi is what I’d suggest, as it seems to me that you’ve never considered a Palestinian perspective and simply view us as barbarians.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago
Reply to  UVA Student

You don’t know anyone who celebrated? I don’t know any white supremacists, and there are far far less of them than there are “Palestinians” who celebrated the massacre. They are on tape. They broadcast it, but you and I don’t “know” any of them.

Please explain to me how I have been patronizing, or cut off debate. I live in the real world. Facts matter. Truth matters. Human nature matters. Evil is…evil.

And as a student, presumably you are pretty young. You might be an “adult” legally, but life causes a lot more growing up. I once thought I knew all. I was wrong. The good thing about getting old is gaining wisdom. It would be really great to have youth AND wisdom, but that just isn’t the way it goes.

Wahoo74
Wahoo74
6 months ago
Reply to  walter smith

Walter, there are times when moral clarity trumps conciliatory debate. This is one of them. You and I are 100% right. Homicidal butchery is wrong.

80%+ of Gaza Palestinians voted for Hamas and Fatah in 2007. Both terrorist organizations exist to eradicate Israel and Jews globally. Palestinians are therefore culpable, including “UVA student’s” parents if they voted for either Hamas or Fatah.

The contiguous Palestinian state is DOA. Period. Actions have consequences. There’s no way in hell Israel will or should allow festering terrorists to live next to them. Butchered babies, raped women, murdered Israeli adults from October 7 validate that point from heaven. Think about and deal with this reality Virginia student.

Walter, you and I grew up with parents who fought the Axis powers in WWII. We get it. Palestinian UVA student does not.

Discussion over.

Reese Coa
Reese Coa
6 months ago

Your statement is troubling, “The Hamas invasion was indefensible genocide. Anyone — faculty or student — who condemns the Israeli response to eradicate the Hamas terrorists is by definition supporting genocide.” The Oct. 7 Hamas invasion was horrific and indefensible and should be condemned. But it seems inaccurate to call it genocide.

The excessive response by Israel could definitely be called genocide by your definition.

Let us condemn both and support both Jews and Palestinians while condemning Hamas and killing civilians with impunity.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Reese Coa

Please let me know when you will call for the stopping of “genocide” in Syria and Ukraine and the Dem-controlled inner cities. Only the fake country “Palestinians” matter?
When you engage in terrorism on a decades long basis, at some point the cause of the terrorism needs to be addressed. “Palestinians” have a morality problem – 75% support baby baking, rape (of men and women, while executing gays?), defilement of the dead and other inhumane acts. If “Palestinians” want peace, they would take care of Hamas themselves…
But, having supported the perpetrators of cowardly, terrorist war, I am not fooled by the cries for civility AFTER the barbarism.