Demonstrators shut down the Spring Garden Street Bridge during a Pro-Palestinian rally on Thursday in Philadelphia. More than 200 people gathered to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

Demonstrators shut down the Spring Garden Street Bridge during a Pro-Palestinian rally on Thursday in Philadelphia. More than 200 people gathered to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

My Turn: Israel has always been the homeland of the Jewish people

Pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic protests in our country are shocking. But it also has been predictable: The same protests have been occurring in Europe for years, as Muslims have increased their presence in European countries as “refugees” from Muslim countries only to become violent within short times and reluctant to assimilate with the host country. European politicians have stood by, watched and let it continue to happen. Certainly, rather than learning from the European mistakes, the U.S. has followed suit and welcomed, indiscriminately, radicalized Muslims to this country, too.

It’s no surprise in today’s political environment that many university presidents defend the rights of Muslims while ignoring those very same rights for Jews and others deemed in the “majority.” Even when hate speech is expressed directly at Jews, “woke” authorities simply turn their heads.

Elite university presidents are afraid to do anything that might subject them to criticism for not being “woke” enough. This is the American society that the progressive and far-left activists have been pushing on Americans for years with their identity politics — draw lines between people; make them feel persecuted and sorry for themselves; and get them to hate each other.

But a real irony is that many Jews in the U.S. have been strong far-left activists for many years. The other irony is that the people most blind to antisemitism and far-left ideology are the so-called “educated elite.” It’s the working-class people whose common sense screams at them that “this is f….d up.” However, the power in our society resides with the oligarchs and the “educated elite.” The “educated elite” — products of those same universities (e.g., Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Cornell) that started “wokism.”

Politics of the pro-Palestinian activists prioritizing their radical beliefs and values; and it clouds their judgment for human rights and justice. Pro-Palestinian activists also misinterpret and misuse the concepts of apartheid, genocide and occupation in reference to Israel’s governing and political standing.

The apartheid and oppression in South Africa (1948 to 1994) was the racial segregation under the all-white government, which dictated that non-white South Africans (a majority of the population) were required to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities.

Today in Israel, Jews make up the majority at 73% (about 7.145 million individuals). The Arab community, spanning various religions, accounts for 21% or nearly 2 million individuals. They are citizens of Israel with equal rights, political participation and representation.

Genocide is an internationally recognized crime with the intent to exterminate a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Between 1950 and 2023, the Palestinian population in Israel, Gaza and neighboring territories grew from 944,807 people to 5,371,230 — an increase of the population by 468.5% in 73 years.

Occupation. The Jewish presence in the Israel-Gaza region is, archaeologically and historically, well documented; it is clearly described in every high school and college World History textbook. The Land of Israel has changed hands many times over the centuries. But it has been the homeland of the Jewish people for nearly 3500 years.

Indeed, pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic rhetoric is a classic example of the confusion that far-leftist politicians, media and educators have created in our youth. In fact, it is not surprising that many of our youth now proclaiming support for the Palestinians in Gaza, even that the Palestinian Hamas terrorists committed atrocious crimes against Israel.

Many rational and peace-seeking Americans are outraged by the Gaza (via Hamas) atrocious attack on Israel on Oct. 7, killing, mutilating and kidnapping nearly 1,500 individuals in Israel. It is inconceivable how anyone can find a moral equivalence between the two sides in the present conflict between Israel and Gaza/Hamas. What Hamas terrorists did was savage, primitive, and far beyond any justification.

World-wide antisemitism, triggered by Israel/Hamas-Gaza war, is a direct result of the far-left ideology that is prevalent today in the West. Progressive and far-left activists attempting to create an ignorant, self-important generation of youth with a corrupt moral compass. Pro-Palestinian activism is a product of the far-left ideology (i.e. white privilege doctrine, critical race theory, systemic racism, transgenderism). Clearly, school administrators and teachers unions turn the public schools in America into the “Blue Cities” with the far-left “woke” ideology.

• Alexander B. Dolitsky is a Juneau resident who was born and raised in Kiev in the former Soviet Union, and a longtime researcher and author about Russian topics. He published a “Soviet Life” column for the Juneau Empire during the 1980s.

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