Open letter to pro-Palestinian college protesters

By Lt. Col. James Zumwalt

In witnessing the numerous anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the U.S., I wonder how many of you understand that your actions feed what has been called “the longest hatred” in history – anti-Semitism. This hatred has persisted in various forms over the past 2,000 years with you – a supposedly more educated segment of our great republic – now naively giving it the support needed to continue future attacks.

While Christianity promoted Jewish hatred during the first millennium of its existence by blaming all Jews for the crucifixion of Christ, it managed to logically evolve over time to where it now promotes peaceful co-existence by embracing Judaism as an equal world religion. However, Islam – the ideology of those you are supporting as you fail to appreciate its anti-Jewish mandate – does not.

With the founding of Islam in the seventh century, Prophet Mohammad memorialized the Muslim/Jewish relationship for eternity in the Quran. A total of 123 verses in the Quran call for killing anyone failing to recognize “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet.” While such nonbelievers, called “infidels,” include Christians as well, the Islamic holy book makes clear Jews are the top priority, directing Muslims to slay them wherever they are found.

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Your protests stem from Israel’s response to the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre of 1,200 victims, mostly civilians, which included beheadings of children, at the hands of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. This barbaric act triggered an Israeli invasion into Gaza to eradicate Hamas. It is doubtful you have taken the time either to view the video “Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre,” which is a compilation of camera footage recorded by individual Hamas terrorists, or to listen to recordings of their telephone calls back home proudly boasting about the murders they had just committed.

We are now in the eighth month of that conflict – one for which you have been questioning from day one Israel’s right to undertake and continue until its mission is completed. As students of universities that are supposed to be open to the exchange of opposing ideas, let us look at what you – in your effort to follow those who undoubtedly have only shared a one-sided view with you – have failed to grasp.

An uncomfortable truth pro-Palestinian protesters ignore is that both Hamas and the people they represent saw the Oct. 7 massacre as their duty, set forth in the Quran, and, as such, are fully committed to the belief Allah always sanctions the hatred and killing of Jews. For Muslims embracing this ideological belief, peace in the region is impossible until the last Jew is no more. Try to reflect upon the continuous death threat Jews are thus forced to live under due to this hatred.

The depth of this hatred was demonstrated by non-Hamas Palestinians who freely participated in the October raid and who have been paid to keep Israeli hostages in their residences.

Unlike Islam, there is nothing in Judaism that calls for the death of nonbelievers. Unlike Islam, Judaism recognizes the right of people to practice whatever religion they so desire. Thus, while Jews must live under a death threat from their Islamic neighbors, there is no similar death threat facing Muslims – until they seek to make good on their anti-Jew mandate.

We understood the existence of a right for one to defend oneself 73 years ago when Japan launched a surprise attack against U.S. naval forces at Pearl Harbor. That attack triggered a four-year world war that only ended with the tragic but necessary loss of thousands of Japanese civilian lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan attacked with no warning, claiming thousands of American lives and giving rise to a U.S. right to ensure it never happened again. We exercised that right to the ultimate, knowing it could cause the loss of Japanese civilian lives as well.

But this raises the question, if the U.S. had the right in 1941 to do what it did against Japan to destroy its future ability to wage war, why should Israel not have a similar right? What is it you fail to understand, not only about a right to defend oneself but also the need to destroy a foreign power committed eternally to Israel’s destruction if left with the capability to do so?

A video was posted on Instagram in which several of your fellow protesters were queried about issues important to the hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians. Repeatedly, one protester after another was unable to answer basic questions such as what two bodies of water were being referenced by those supporting a free Palestine “from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Mediterranean)” – which could only exist as such were Israel to be eradicated. Nor could they answer what Hamas proclaims as their No. 1 goal (to murder all Jews).

This strongly suggests you do so because you embrace a lemming mindset, rather than an educated mind.

Your naive support for Hamas brings back memories of an earlier generation of young people who focused their hero worship inappropriately upon the 20th century Cuban terrorist Che Guevera. While Che’s brutality and racism were both well-known, after his early death marketeers promoted T-shirts with his likeness. Young people wore them, either ignoring or failing to understand his real claim to fame. Among those idolizing Che was even black rapper Jay-Z. In an ironic photo that only underscores his naivete, he wears the Che T-shirt, thus helping to promote the legend of a man who thrived on killing blacks, whom he considered inferior.

For those of you who may take comfort in your protests based on the recent order issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Israel to stop its military offensive into Rafah, you fail to do your homework concerning its anti-Semitic bias. While ICJ members are prohibited from engaging in any other political or administrative activity, its president, Nawaf Salam, has twice run for prime minister in Lebanon – a country failing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The ICJ order obviously enhances a third run by him.

The game plan for anti-Israeli Muslims rejecting coexistence with Jews involves two efforts. They include the physical annihilation of Jews and commandeering the U.N. to deny Israel the right to defend itself so that the prior effort can be completed. Sadly, your actions only help to further this game plan.

Life sometimes teaches one lessons too late. If you stop to reflect upon the fact, were the world free of Jews, you then – as an Islamic nonbeliever – would become the new target of Muslims looking to fulfill their duty to kill nonbelievers. You would appreciate too late that you have undermined the very freedom that has enabled you to promote your naive viewpoint.

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