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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Op-Ed: A response to the faculty of the School of International Service’s call for a ‘ceasefire’

SIS staff seem to advocate for more war

The following piece is an opinion and does not reflect the views of The Eagle and its staff. All opinions are edited for grammar, style and argument structure and fact-checked, but the opinions are the writer’s own.

Antisemitism is humanity’s most insidious failure. It runs rampant when we fail to hold ourselves accountable for our own failures. This was the case of the “stab in the back” myth — a conspiracy theory that Jewish people and communists subverted the German war effort — that the Nazis crafted to rationalize the German defeat in World War I. It spreads like wildfire when we fail to solve problems logically. 

This current form of antisemitism that we see almost exclusively among young extremists in universities is much more subtle and, therefore, more effective. In a poll from Harvard University's Center for American Political Studies and Harris Insights and Analytics, 60 percent of those aged 18 to 24 agreed that the killing and kidnapping of Israelis carried out on Oct. 7 by Hamas is justified by Palestinian grievances. 

Upon closer inspection, calls for Israel to engage in a one-sided ceasefire are antisemitic, as no other country or military faction is receiving incessant calls for a ceasefire. 

At the core of American University’s School of International Service faculty’s disgraceful letter, which called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as well as a suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel, is a classic case of holding Israel to an excessively high level of accountability that no human-run nation can accommodate.

The double standard is glaring. Try to find other self-indulgent proclamations by the signatories of the letter in question. Hint: there are none. To date, SIS faculty have not formally condemned China’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims nor Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As the recently-popular expression goes, “No Jews, no news.” If the faculty of SIS who signed the letter were truly concerned with the welfare of Muslims across the planet, as I am, they would have addressed the former two at the very least. However, the ongoing conflict in Israel has allowed antisemitic people to target Jews while disingenuously condemning the hatred of Muslims, which is a real phenomenon that we must never tolerate. We must take decisive action against it. 

The general flaws of the letter are countless, but I will list two egregious ones. The incendiary statement “Israeli forces have killed over 14,000 Palestinians…” draws a false equivalence with Hamas’ murder of 1,200 Israelis. The only official source for a Palestinian death toll in Gaza, according to the Associated Press, is the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is an agency in the government controlled by Hamas. The borders of Gaza have also been sealed by Israel to foreign journalists, preventing other estimates of the death toll. Secondly, while it is clear that many Palestinians have been killed, the letter neglects to mention how Hamas, according to the IDF, has directly led to many of those deaths by blocking evacuation routes. Without evidence, the letter implies that Israel is intentionally targeting civilians. 

The available evidence points to the contrary. Steve Ganyard, a former Marine pilot and State Department member, suggested Israel is using “a historically high level of precision weapons” to avoid civilian casualties, while eliminating Hamas terrorists, per a U.S. intelligence report. While “dumb bombs” are being used as well, an official from the Department of Defense has noted that Israel is using tactics such as dive bombing to further reduce civilian casualties. U.S. officials also said that intelligence confirms Hamas has built command and control infrastructure in a civilian hospital. 

The most repulsive “error” is the refusal to mention that Hamas started the current war. Oct. 7, the day in which the most Jews have been killed since any given day of the Holocaust, is not mentioned once. We can only ask why. 

Lastly, the entire notion of a ceasefire with a terrorist organization is laughable. While many are well-intentioned in calling for a ceasefire, so as to stop the bloodshed of Palestinian civilians especially, a ceasefire will only make the problem worse. As long as Hamas stays in power, their willingness to jeopardize the lives of Gazans will never go away. Therefore, the only rational response is for Israel to eliminate the group. This is the first step in enabling Israel and Gaza to coexist peacefully as neighbors. 

American University is a school that openly accepts funds from reactionary Middle Eastern dictatorships. AU cannot seem to keep its own students safe, as seen in the failure of its blue light towers. Jewish students, now contending with a hostile environment, have borne the brunt of this issue of safety. This caused some of them to issue a civil rights complaint against the school. An AU student was recorded saying that Israelis aren’t “real people.” A note with a horrific call to exterminate the Palestinian people was found in a staff member’s Kerwin Hall office. At AU, hate and violence flourish. Unfortunately, the signatories, refusing to bear the responsibility of keeping their house in order and of self-reflection, would rather obsess over Israel. It is time to stand with the majority of patriotic Americans who support Israel. It is time to stand with Gazans who are risking their very lives to confront Hamas. And it is time to stand with Israel as well as the Jewish people.

Gabriel Teitelbaum is a senior in the School of International Service.

This article was edited by Alana Parker, Zoe Bell, Jelinda Montes and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Charlie Mennuti. 

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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