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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Guest Column: Mock wall’s message contradictory to values

After reading about the wall on the Mall in the Daily Wildcat, as a visiting professor from Israel, I felt I could not let the issue go by without at least two comments.

— Universal values. This wall on the Mall was erected under the slogan of “”No Más Muertes/No More Deaths”” and includes a condemnation of Israel’s security barrier. Like those of Israel’s critics who refer to Israel’s security barrier as an “”Apartheid Wall”” as if it were a racist creation, the wall on the Mall also totally ignores the fact that Israel’s barrier was actually erected under the same slogan as the protest, that is, “”No More Deaths”” of Israelis by suicide bombers. It was built after the spate of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel had killed hundreds of Israelis. Since the erection of the barrier, Israeli deaths to the bombers have declined from hundreds a year to less than 10. That may not be of any concern to the organizers of the “”mock border wall”” and other critics of Israel, but it should be. Referring to the barrier outside of this context of conflict ignores Israeli losses as if Israeli lives were no more than human dust. Such dehumanization is in total contradiction to the humanist values the organizers of this protest claim to support.

— Singling out. Why is Israel singled out of all the countries in the world outside of the U.S. that have built such barriers? Just to mention a few: Spain built a fence, with European Union (EU) funding, to separate its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from Morocco, as a barrier against illegal immigration into the EU. In Cyprus, the U.N. sponsored a security fence reinforcing the island’s de facto partition between Greeks and Turks. In Northern Ireland the British built barriers to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast. India constructed a barrier in Kashmir to halt infiltrations supported by Pakistan. Saudi Arabia built an anti-infiltration barrier along its border zone with Yemen.

According to the organizers of the “”mock border wall,”” the U.S. and Israeli areas are the only focus of the protest “”because they are funded by the United States.”” (Daily Wildcat, March 22). This is a rather lame excuse for singling out Israel. While the United States is obviously funded entirely by the United States, Israel is not. Israel is a recipient of U.S. aid equal to just over 1 percent of Israel’s GDP. Of this aid, 75 percent is spent in the U.S., mainly on defense procurements, and only the remaining 25 percent, that is about 0.25 percent of the Israeli GDP, is actually spent in Israel. The U.S. has intimate relations with the UN and all of the barrier-building countries mentioned above. The U.S. provides financial assistance to the UN and to members of the European Union such as Spain and the UK (via the NATO alliance, for example) who have also constructed such barriers.

Singling out and dehumanization are the hallmarks of prejudice and they have no place here.

 

— Asher Susser is a visiting professor of Modern Israel Studies. He can be reached at susser@email.arizona.edu.

 

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