I guess the truth hurts.It was great to be back in Chicago yesterday and talking to young people on college campuses where it is supposed to be about intellectual discourse. Last time here I spoke at Northwestern, this time DePaul — I would have liked to drop over to Northwestern and have a chat with Dr. Kathleen Belew about her disparaging NY Times op-ed associating combat veterans with white supremacist groups.
But I had my own fun at DePaul. As I stood waiting to speak and surveyed the crowd, it was easy to pick out the ones there to make some protest statement — especially on a college campus where the topic was the Middle East and the Israeli-Arab situation.I began by explaining the history of the introduction of the term “Palestine.” It came after the Bar Kokhba revolt during 132-136 AD by the Jewish people against the Romans. It would end up being the last revolt.
Emperor Hadrian vowed to eliminate and eradicate Judaism as he saw it as the impetus behind the continuous insurrections. Therefore in victory, Hadrian prohibited Torah law, banned the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars.But the part of Hadrian’s decree which had the most lasting impact was his goal to wipe the name of Judea and ancient Israel from the map, as he renamed the region Syria Palaestina (seems Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a similar idea). He also renamed Jerusalem, Aeolia Capitolina. The name Palaestina was a derivative of the word Philistia and the ancient Philistines traced their lineage to the Greeks. So, these words, Palestine and Palestinian, had nothing to do with Arabs, but were meant as punishment and symbolic of a genocidal objective by a Roman emperor.
I also discussed the affects of post World War I policies such as the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and the McMahon Agreement and Balfour Declaration in shaping present-day issues in the region. I then transitioned to post-World War II British mandates and the partition of Israel and Jordan as the two-state solution. I analyzed the declaration of the modern day State of Israel, on May 14 1948, through the conflagrations of the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
But I think what broke the backs of the “pro-Palestinian” supporters in the crowd was when I talked about the history of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the emergence of the Fatah movement. I reminded the crowd of the civil war of 1970 when King Hussein sought to expel Yasser Arafat and the PLO from Jordan, where they were founded in 1964. And we all remember the attack by “Black September” at the 1972 Munich Olympics.And so the “tolerant” members of the audience, at the command of some individual, stood and walked out — about 30 of them — leaving about 40 people remaining. To me they were cowards who refused to hear anything that countered their radical agenda.
And so I continued to address the issues of the Middle East and what we could look to as resolutions — stressing that Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood for seeking peace and a diplomatic solution to coexistence. I told those remaining, especially the DePaul students, to always stand upon truth and know their history, and I reminded them, “In a universe of deceit, truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
If we are to resolve the issue between Israel and the Arabs, it has to be based upon truth. It has to be a recognition of the right for the Jewish state to exist. There has to be a renouncing of Islamic terrorism.
What I saw last night is that tolerate is indeed a one-way street. I also saw clearly how our children are being sent to college and university campuses that are petri dishes for radical thought, not intellectual debate, which is supported by a complicit administration and teaching staff.As to those individuals who walked out, I’m not exactly sure why they attended in the first place — perhaps they believed they were making a statement, but about what? Because obviously, to paraphrase COL Nathan Jessup in “A Few Good Men,” they couldn’t handle the truth.