Israel's recent election was a clarifying moment. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appeal to Israelis' worst racist instincts worked. Between Netanyahu's declarations during the last week on the campaign trail that he has no interest in a peace agreement with Palestinians, and his horror at the act of Palestinian citizens of Israel voting, his political platform could not be more clear: It is anti-peace and based on Jewish nationalism at the expense of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Despite Netanyahu's attempt to walk back his comments after he won, there is little doubt that Israel's policies of expanding settlements, an ongoing siege of Gaza, periodic warfare and systematic discrimination will continue.
The last several days have been devastating. The weeks leading up to it have been horrifying. Since the beginning of the Israel’s Operation Protective Edge on July 8, 2014 upwards of 80 Palestinians have been killed and approximately 500 wounded by Israeli missiles and 2 Israelis have been wounded from rockets fired from Gaza. We have watched with sadness and anger as the deaths of children have mounted, racist mobs have rampaged, the fears of people throughout both Israel and Palestine have reached unbearable levels, and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people has intensified.
Rumors have been circulating for some time that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was banned by the University of St Thomas in Minnesota because of statements he made that some consider anti-Semitic. Now it's official: winning the Nobel Peace Prize doesn't protect you from charges of anti-Semitism if you criticize Israeli human rights practices. Neither, apparently, does being one of the most compelling voices for social justice in the world today, or even getting an honorary degree from and giving the commencement address at Brandeis.
Minneapolis/St.Paul's City Pages just reported that members of the St Thomas Justice and Peace Studies program were thrilled when Bishop Tutu agreed to speak at the University" but administrators did a scientific survey of the Jews of Minneapolis, which included querying exactly one spokesperson for Minnesota's Jewish Community Relations Council and several rabbis who taught in a University program" and concluded that Tutu is bad for the Jews and should therefore be barred from campus.