Protesters are pawns in anti-Western agenda

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 28 May 2024. © Richard Kemp

It seems the students of Sydney University’s Gaza encampment have gone full Hamas — at least in terms of their social norms. Certainly the toxic patriarchy is alive and well. I was having a conversation with two young women sitting in a gazebo at the camp entrance when the male heavies turned up and stood right in front of them, ordering their silence. The women meekly complied with their masters.

They should have known better anyway. Just like inside Gaza, free speech is not allowed on the encampment. Perhaps the campus rabble rousers are afraid their minions will say too much about their real agenda or reveal their lack of knowledge about what they are actually ‘protesting’ about. What river? What sea? Often they have no idea. And what does ‘Palestine will be free’ actually mean? The reality, perhaps better not stated publicly on an Australian university campus, is the annihilation of Israel. And as for freedom among the Arab population in any future ‘State of Palestine’ there will be none. Certainly ordinary Arabs have no freedom under Hamas in Gaza or Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank. No elections, no human rights; any dissent or protest viciously crushed. In fact the greatest freedom, rights and prosperity for ordinary Arabs anywhere in the Middle East is among those who live inside Israel, which explains why virtually none of them have any desire to live anywhere else in the region, least of all in Gaza or the West Bank.

But of course the encampment protesters know nothing of this as they parrot their slogans about apartheid and genocide. When I was at the University of Sydney a few years ago to give a talk about application of the laws of war, I was welcomed with chants about Israeli genocide. Talking to the protesters then, none had a clue what it meant. And this time when I asked some of the students the meaning of the word, I was told it was defined as ‘the IDF killing people’.

Of course the obscenity of South Africa’s accusation against Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice just fuels the anti-Israel protests at places like Sydney Univeristy. That will be reinforced by the court’s latest orders to Israel not to commit genocide in Gaza, which it has not been doing and will not do. As with the ICJ’s original order in this conflict, it has already been seized on and deliberately misinterpreted by the anti-Israel mobs as implying the IDF is in fact committing genocide. This unnecessary and ambiguously worded order is highly dangerous. It invigorates Jew hate on the campuses and in the streets, and even worse, it strengthens Hamas, which welcomed the ruling, reducing the prospects of hostage release by negotiation and encouraging the terrorists to fight on, prolonging the war and increasing violence.

There is certainly genocidal intent in Gaza but it is by Hamas, whose charter spells out in black and white the need to cleanse the land of Jews and kill Jews everywhere. Its actions on 7 October prove these are not mere words.

The opposite is true for Israel. I have been inside Gaza several times since this war began and have witnessed the extraordinary measures the IDF takes to minimise the deaths of innocent civilians, in some cases risking the lives of their own soldiers to do so. Their efforts far exceed anything any other army has ever done to mitigate civilian harm, and currently available statistics show a civilian to military death ratio significantly lower than in any comparable conflict.

Of course the University of Sydney protesters have no knowledge of this either. How could they? They are fed on a diet of Israel’s illegitimacy and unique evil and will dismiss out of hand any views that waver from that.

Their actions do nothing to help the people of Gaza, in fact the reverse. Like the ICJ they and their fellows around the world help prolong the fighting by encouraging the terrorists, even though some Hamas-supporting religious leaders complain that LGBTQ students among their number offend Allah and have the opposite effect.

As a visitor to Australia for the last three weeks I would guess the average fair-minded Aussie will have no truck with these protesters who, according to some students and staff, aim much of their ire directly at Jewish students. Several have recounted examples of deliberate intimidation on campus.

One student told me she took an Australian flag to the encampment which was met by as much venom as an Israeli flag. For many protesters and their puppet-masters, the Iranian, Russian and Chinese-funded anti-Israel cause is just another intersectional weapon against Australian democracy and values, exactly as their counterparts in the US and UK are all-too-often anti-American and anti-British.