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April 30, 2019

Professor John Quigley Falsely Condemns Israel and U.S. Support in His Syndicated Column

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John B. Quigley

John B. Quigley, an Ohio State University law professor, echoes the false “war crimes” charge against Israel and makes other dubious claims in the concluding section of his widely distributed April opinion piece:

Trump unfortunately has a knack for giving ISIS issues to use to incite against the United States. Last year, as Israeli snipers shot 6,000 Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border — shootings that the UN called “war crimes” — Trump insisted that Israel was doing nothing wrong.

Last May, Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a city that few in the Arab world see as belonging to Israel. More recently, Trump said that Israel owns the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967. Actions like these are a gift to ISIS.

Even though ISIS is weakened, it remains a force. We should stop helping it recruit.

The false “war crimes” charge against Israel is not new. But Israeli tactics and actions have not changed since General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2014, commended Israel: "I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths [in the Gaza Strip] to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.” Likewise, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge [Gaza], and basically reiterated his testimony about a previous such operation before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: “During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war.”

Quigley advocates that the United States should play to the Arab world – including the Islamist terrorists – regarding actions such as those dealing with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. What doesn’t seem to matter to Quigley is that the Arab world’s dominant culture is mainly antithetical to American ideals.

This is not the first time Quigley has falsely characterized Israeli actions (more below).

Publications

The column was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency (TCA) syndication company which is owned by Tribune Publishing. TCA was previously known as the Chicago Tribune Syndicate.

The Chicago Tribune, carried the column on April 18, 2019 under the title: “Con: Talk of looming major attacks is overblown.”

The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) carried the same column on April 18 under the title “Claims of looming major attacks by Islamic State are overblown.”

The Miami Herald carried the column on April 23 under the title of “Despite panicked predictions, ISIS is not a threat to the West.”

The column was also carried by numerous lesser known newspapers.

The U.N. is unreliable regarding Israel

Quigley relies on U.N. claims but the organization is clearly unreliable in matters pertaining to Israel due mainly to the influence and voting power of the dozens of Arab and other Islamic member states. For example, in 2018, the U.N. General Assembly passed 21 resolutions condemning Israel, and a mere 6 for the rest of the world, according to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international body. Israel, a democracy, was condemned seven times more than the brutal North Korean dictatorship, which still runs gulags, and was the subject of a mere 3 resolutions. Indeed, just on Nov. 15, 2018 the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel—all while ignoring human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey and Pakistan. Quigley’s “war crimes” characterization is in reference to a U.N. report that is consistent with the pattern of U.N. bias against Israel.

Refuting the U.N. report relied on by Quigley

Israel's acting foreign minister rejected the findings outright: "The Human Rights Council's Theatre of the Absurd has once again produced a report that is hostile, mendacious and biased against Israel," Israel Katz said. "No-one can deny Israel the right to self-defence and the obligation to protect its citizens and its borders against violent attacks."

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer's speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council debate (March 11, 2019) included this statement:

Mr. President, let me be the first to state for the record that everything we just heard from the world’s worst dictatorships, and their apologists, is unfounded, unreal and untrue. For example, the accusation that Israeli soldiers are war criminals for defending their citizens from massive attacks on the Gaza border, organized by the Hamas terrorist group, is absurd. The claim that these are civilian protests, and peaceful in nature, is deceitful and dishonest.

The truth is that 70,000 Israelis live within a few kilometers of these attacks, including three communities which reside right on the border. The truth is that these so-called “protests” include attempts by terrorists to infiltrate into these Israeli communities, and involve shootings, grenades, firebombs, and improvised explosive devices. The truth is that mines and booby-traps have been placed on the border, to be detonated on IDF patrols. Now, for the UN to call these “peaceful protests” is nothing but an insult to every genuinely peaceful human rights activist around the world.

Now it was said here by the Palestinian representative that “anyone who aspires to preserve this Council, should remain in the Council, and work in it; those who do not wish to respect the values, should leave.” I ask: Is it his position that Council members such as Saudi Arabia, which is now torturing women’s rights activists, as we just heard; and China, which is now holding a reported one million Muslims in “re-education camps,” are the one upholding human rights?

Unrealistic demands

Quigley implicitly demands that Israeli and U.S. actions, such as those regarding Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, not be taken unless they are acceptable to the Arab world. But this would result in injustice.

He ignores the unique Jewish connection to Jerusalem in his concluding section, “Jerusalem, a city that few in the Arab world see as belonging to Israel.” However, the reality is that Jews have continuously lived in their ancestral home in the Holy Land including Jerusalem. In 1948, the re-establishment of the Jewish nation of Israel, with the capacity of caring for Jewish refugees, was supported by the United Nations. Israel sought to accommodate the Arabs but was immediately rebuffed by Arab Armies that attempted to annihilate the Jewish state. And thereafter Arab forces attacked, or gathered to attack, Israel several times in order to destroy it.

Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest city, is mentioned hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible. It was the capital city of ancient Jewish kingdoms and home to Judaism’s holiest place, the Temple. Jews from all over the ancient world would make pilgrimages to the Temple three times a year to participate in worship and festivities, as commanded in the Bible. The Jewish wedding ceremony concludes with the chanting of the biblical phrase, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,” and the breaking of a glass by the groom to commemorate the destruction of the Temples. And Yom Kippur services and the Passover Seder conclude each year with the phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

As to the Golan Heights, Israel had seized it in the defensive Six-Day War of 1967. The Syrian military had repeatedly used it to shell the Galilee area of Israel from the Golan high point putting Israeli population centers in jeopardy. Currently, if Israel were to lose control of the Golan, the area would be undefended against the predations of Iran which is intent on destroying the Jewish nation-state. As legal scholar Alan Dershowitz observed recently, “No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war” (Alan M. Dershowitz, “Trump Is Right about the Golan Heights,” Gatestone Institute, March 30, 2019).

The U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights caused little if any outrage in the Arab world although it riles Quigley. Even the New York Times, generally quick to criticize Israel for any perceived infraction, reported that the U.S. declaration “was met across much of the Arab world with a shrug.” But Quigley thinks he knows better. The Times also noted that the 22,000 Arabs inhabiting the Heights are “Arabs from the Druze sect who mostly retained Syrian citizenship and avoided politics. The area has avoided the violence that has riled the Palestinian territories. Israel offered the Arab residents citizenship, but few have accepted it.”

Furthermore, the historical/biblical reality of the Golan is that the ancestors of today’s Jewish Israelis resided in the Golan long before any Arabs arrived in the area. Evidence of this is found in the Bible; references to the Golan are contained in Deuteronomy 4:43, Joshua 20:8, Joshua 21:27 and 1 Chronicles 6:56. The region known today as the “Golan Heights” was a part of the area of Bashan in the territory assigned to the Israeli tribe of Manasseh thousands of years ago. And there is no reason to believe that these ancestors ever willingly relinquished their rights to the land.

Previous Quigley anti-Israel propagandizing

• In 2018, Quigley defamed Israel as a featured speaker at a conference run by The Middle East Monitor (MEM) which specializes in anti-Israel propaganda.

• In 2014, Quigley bashed Israel as a featured speaker at the “National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel ‘Special Relationship’" which was run by notoriously anti-Israel groups such as Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA).

• In 1997, numerous charges by Quigley condemning Israel were refuted in a lengthy American University Law Review piece by Professor Louis René Beres of Purdue University.

• In 1992, a Quigley report condemning Israel was refuted in a Duke University law paper by Professor Eugene V. Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School.

Concluding

Publications providing Quigley material that misleads readers should be mindful of journalistic ethics. For example, Quigley’s anti-Israel claims generally run afoul of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics.

Key editors for Quigley's April article include: Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) (Jill Spitz jspitz@tucson.com), Miami Herald (Rick Hirsch rhirsch@miamiherald.com), Chicago Tribune (John McCormick jmccormick@chicagotribune.com), TCA (Zach Finken zfinken@tronc.com).

Posted by MK at April 30, 2019 01:11 PM

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