Saturday 5 December 2015

No Respect for Dr. Levine

Dr. Marsha Levine is an expert on the origins of horse husbandry, and spent a decade as a fellow and a senior research associate the University of Cambridge’s McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.  She was recently contacted by 13 year-old Shachar Rabinovitch, an Israeli pupil, who asked her questions for a school project about how ancient horses lived, and how much modern horses have in common with their ancestors.  Dr. Levine’s astonishing response to Shachar read, “You might be a child, but if you are old enough to write to me, you are old enough to learn about Israeli history and how it has impacted on the lives of Palestinian people”.    When asked by London’s Jewish Chronicle about the incident, Dr. Levine said that she has the choice not to waste her time on people who tread on the rights of other people.  She continued that she will answer Shachar when there is justice for Palestine.  Dr. Levine is a signatory to Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and she claims to have responded in this way as a matter of conscience and to stand up for what she believes in.  She described Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “totally disgusting” and says that Israeli Jews have become the Nazis!

Dr. Levine’s response is wholly unacceptable for a number of reasons.  Politics aside, answering an innocent enquiry from a 13 year-old child in this manner can never be justified.  This aspect gives perhaps the greatest incite into Dr. Levine, and who she is as an individual.  While having sympathy and standing up for the human rights of the Palestinians, what happened to this empathy when approached by a child?  There is no possible way of understanding that this child, or any child, can be held responsible for the political situation in the Middle East, and deserves to be punished or taught a lesson for it.  It is entirely likely that Shachar will remember the rude response received from a person who sympathises with the Palestinian cause, and hold a negative view towards such people in the future.  There is nothing positive that young Shachar can glean from this response, and her exposure to Dr. Levine.  The most likely educational lesson that Shachar has learned is that she should be wary of people who stand up for the human rights of the Palestinians.

Dr. Levine also perhaps forgets that it takes two to tango, and that the current situation that exists between Israel and the Palestinians arises as a result of the actions of two parties.  Perhaps she has forgotten the ongoing attempts to attack Israel, to commit terror attacks against innocent Israelis and the larger desire to destroy the State of Israel at any price.  Where does she raise the issue of how the Palestinians are treading on the human rights of the Israelis?  Do Israel civilians not have the basic right to live without threat of terror attack and without having missiles fired towards them?  Does Dr. Levine consider the possibility that the current human rights situation is more as a result of the actions of the Palestinian leadership, than it is about Israel?  When looking at the human rights records of Muslim countries around the world, it is extremely difficult to conclude that human rights violations in the Palestinian Authority area are wholly about Israel and her actions.  The desire by Muslim fundamentalists to destroy does not stop in Israel.  Perhaps Dr. Levine forgot that these Muslim acts of terror are also seeking out Jews and other innocents around the world.  The terrorists are looking for people exactly like her to kill, maim and terrorise.

The act of signing up to Jews for Justice for Palestinians is somewhat superfluous.  We have a whole country of Jews who are signed up to this – those living in Israel.  Israelis believe in justice for all people.  And while Israelis certainly stand up for justice for innocent Palestinians, Israelis firstly believe in justice for themselves.  If this justice is under threat at any time, Israelis will not stop at any obstacle to defend themselves, even if this means that they stand accused of treading on the human rights of other people by Dr. Levine and her cronies.  Respect for human rights is something that should not only be given, but it should also be received.  When the human rights threats come in the form of a desire to destroy an entire nation or people, there can be no doubt that this nation and those people have the right and the obligation to defend themselves in protection of their own human rights.

Being a career academic, I would have expected Dr. Levine to study the facts before she stands up to criticize, and before she takes the wind out of the sails of an innocent child.  I cannot blame uneducated people for being sucked in by the propaganda that is presented by enemies of Israel and by the general press.  Dr. Levine should know better than to be influenced by such unreliable sources, and to take such a strong stand on the base of these flawed positions.

I am do not expect Jews like Dr. Levine to blindly support Israel’s cause or actions.  I know that all countries can, and should be held to account for transgressions that they commit.  Israel is no exception.  Israel, however, has a slightly different status for the Jewish community around the world.  Not only does Israel defend and protect the rights of the Jews living in Israel, it also sees its role as defending and protecting the rights of all Jews around the world.  This includes those, like Dr. Levine, who are Israel-hating Jews.  There is little doubt in my mind that, the only reason why there has not been another Holocaust in more recent times, is because of the existence and the actions of the State of Israel.  With the terrorist actions undertaken by Muslim fundamentalists against Jews even with the existence of Israel, we can only consider what may have been without the protection afforded by the Jewish state.  There can be little doubt that it is precisely this protection that has given the background to allow Jews like Dr. Levine to live their lives in relative normality.  I have strong doubts as to whether she would have succeeded at a Jew as an academic at one of the world’s top institutions, without the protection afforded by Israel.

Dr. Levine, you have lost respect in my eyes.  You have lost my respect for the inappropriate and unjustified insult that you issued to an innocent child when she turned to you out of admiration for you as an expert in your  field.  You have lost my respect for your attack on Israel, which is flawed and baseless.  You have lost my respect for your lack of balance in the manner in which you presented your views.  You have lost my respect for stooping so low as to compare Israelis to Nazis.  Perhaps it is best that young Shachar Rabinovich received the real picture of who you are, and learned her lesson about you in this way.  You are not worthy of her admiration.