ISSN 2330-717X

White Tears From Israel – OpEd

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The McGill Daily reported a serious problem. “White tears” have increased sharply on campus “by 40% just in September this year”. It’s not tears from tear gas or shootings, as happens every day in the occupied territories, the result of routine Israeli acts of terrorism. No, heaven forbid. It is the tears of anti-BDS students who complaint about BDS activists, who see red when they see kippah wearing students with pro-Israel, anti-BDS buttons and posters.

It’s a satire. An effective one. Good on you, Phlar Daboub. It hit home.

The anti-BDS activists are in a tizzy. Political science student Jordan Devon, the former president of Israel on Campus, said the satire mocks students who opposed BDS.“Our concerns about anti-Semitism are real,” he said. “This says that Jewish concerns are a joke. Yet Jews are the No. 1 victims of hate crimes in North America.”

Boo, hoo. Someone calling you names? Wake up, Jordan. Jews have never had it so good. Canada embraces Jews, they are at the top of the pecking order. They/you get spurious legislation supporting Israel passed in the twinkling of an eye. Grow up. This is not high school. Learn how to behave in public and you will not be called names.

Jordan quotes a 2015 Brandeis survey ( that shows ‘alarmingly’ that:

*One-quarter of undergraduate respondents describe hostility toward Israel on campus by their peers as a “fairly” or “very” big problem and nearly 15% perceive this same level of hostility toward Jews.

*Nearly one-quarter of respondents report having been blamed during the past year for the actions of Israel because they were Jewish.

*About one-third of college undergraduate respondents report having been verbally harassed during the past year because they were Jewish.

*Despite a significant number perceiving their campus environment to be hostile to Israel and Jews, students report high levels of connection to Israel. These levels of connection are higher than those found among similar individuals in 2014, before the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The study reaches the no-brainer conclusion: Connection to Israel is the strongest predictor of perceiving a hostile environment toward Israel and Jews on campus and, to a lesser extent, of personal experiences of antisemitic verbal harassment. It is likely that those who are highly connected to Israel become a target of antisemitic or anti-Israel sentiment because they make their support for Israel known.

Wow. Imagine that. You’ve never felt an anti-Jewish sentiment all your cosseted life, then you join the ‘Love Israel’ club at McGill, and suddenly you see hostile faces. Your article extolling the Jewish state is rejected by the student paper. The editor Ben Ger says he prefers the writings of the anti-Zionist Jewish group Teyf (non-kosher).

Our Jordans want the university to muzzle their foes, to force them to print pro-Israeli hasbarah (propaganda), lies defending a pariah state, which murders its captives willfully, denies normal freedoms to its Arab citizens that we Canadians take for granted.

The BDS activists are fed up with university rejection of their rightful demands to boycott Israel in McGill’s investment decisions. To them ‘freedom of speech’ is sacred. It means speaking truth to power, especially when the truth is unpopular. That means, in Jewish-friendly Canada, protesting Israeli atrocities, which our government and McGill are too cowardly to do. They are angry that our government passes spurious laws to support Israeli hasbarah (propaganda) and denounce Canadians speaking out for justice.

If Jordan wants to know about real racism, he should speak with Muslim or black or Indian (our First Nation or east Indian) students, as Phlar suggests in his satire. If you wants to avoid hearing slurs connecting you via your kippah with a racist state, join the BDS movement. You will be welcomed warmly, people will be happy to wear kippahs in solidarity. You will never hear a bad word about Jews.

You’ll hear a lot of bad words about Israel, because, as the Brandeis survey tells us, it’s Israel that is the cause of anti-Jewish prejudice. It’s because you identify with a pariah state that people don’t like you. As Woody Allen told his Zionist brother-in-law: I may be self-hating, but it’s not because I’m a Jew.

Jordan’ friend Jeff Bicher, executive director of Hillel Montreal, also whined: the BDS situation has made Jewish students feel “it’s us versus them.” “It makes a specific group uncomfortable and has poisoned the atmosphere on campus,” said Eden Moalem, an exercise science student at Concordia.

“It’s a situation that’s exploding on campuses everywhere, but seems particularly pronounced in Canada.” Yes, Eden. Life is no paradise for Palestinians, though it is for Jews in Canada, if they are good Canadian citizens. Not flitting off to Israel, planting trees on flattened Palestinian villages, joining the IDF, and shooting people.

And be proud that Canadian students are so empathetic to the world’s underdog, oppressed by people who have kidnapped the name ‘Jew’ for nefarious ends.

Jeff is right. It’s us versus them. Which side are you on? And be prepared to stand up when you are pilloried. Or, if you must support Israel, just hold your breath til you graduate. The mainstream media welcomes hasbarah, and you will fit right in.

About the Author

Eric Walberg
Eric Walberg
Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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