On March 7, the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union initiated their week-long Israel Apartheid week. The first speaker was British freelance journalist Ben White. White has written a couple of books condemning Israel for its “maltreatment “ of Palestinians (which get rave reviews from Iran’s Press TV), and Israel is pretty much the only issue in his life as he travels around giving anti-Israel speeches. On this occasion, he pretty much gave his “off-the-shelf” speech about the “injustices” Israel commits against the Palestinians. He spoke of the restrictions on movement of the Palestinians . However, he did not dwell on the reasons for those controls. Naturally, it was not his wont to discuss minor little issues like Palestinian terrorism, suicide bombers, rockets being lobbed into Southern Israel from Gaza-just Israel controlling what kinds of goods could be allowed into Gaza. White also spoke of the “illegal settlements “ in the West Bank but never, of course, mentioned the murders of Israeli settlers by Palestinians. There was, of course, no mention of the slaughter of the Fogel family in 2011.
In the question and answer session, I reminded White of his previous speaking appearance at UCI in 2010, when an audience member questioned him about the then recent murder of an Israeli family living in one of the West Bank settlements. In White's response, he had dismissed them as "illegal settlers.” The woman responded that they were “Jewish human beings”, at which point, White said, “OK. They were illegal Jewish human being settlers”. (A real wide guy.) I then told him that since that last appearnce at UCI, there had been another murder of an Israeli family, this time the Fogel family in Itimar. I described the murder of the five family members including three children-also including a months-old infant in its crib who had its throat slashed. I also mentioned that the reaction of many Palestinians was to hand out candy in the streets in celebration. I asked why he never condemned those things.
In his answer, White gave the standard “I condemn all murder of innocents” response then compared it to the civilians killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes. Of course, I could have come back with the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah use civilians as human shields, but the ground rules for questions was to ask your question then return to your seat before the question would be answered. (The obvious reason for that is to eliminate follow-up responses to bad answers.)
White is typical of the anti-Israel crowd. They will talk forever about Israel’s so–called “crimes”, but never mention the atrocities by Palestinians or other Arab states. It is only when bothersome questioners bring them out that they will of course “condemn all acts of violence against innocents” and immediately change the subject to those who get killed in the cross-fire between the Israeli army and the terrorists who hide behind human shields.
There wasn’t that much of crowd to hear White-perhaps 50 people. Even his supporters in the audience looked bored. He lost them early on in the speak because he is a pedantic and boring speaker. He speaks again Monday evening. That’s double punishment for the MSU members who feel obligated to come out and support the event. In contrast, on Tuesday, we will have the fiery Amir Abdel Malik Ali.