Letter to the editor

Students for Israel

On the right to national security

Two weeks ago, during his visit to Israel, President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “[his] first task is to keep the people of Israel safe.” Israel is the most important ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and it is the only one that is a democracy.

Every nation has the right and responsibility to protect its people, and the security fence that keeps Israelis safe is a justified method of protection.

This fence was erected in response to the Second Intifada, a period of massacres and suicide bombings during which an overwhelming majority of those Israelis injured and killed were civilians. Following the construction of a significant portion of the fence, the number of attacks decreased dramatically.

Another fence built to save lives stands between Gaza and Israel. These nonviolent structures are harshly criticized. To be sure, the fences interfere with the daily routines of the Palestinians living in those areas and must have some negative effects on the general population. Yet they exist out of necessity, not ill will.

This preventative heightening of security is a normal reaction to the constant threats and multiple acts of terror committed by a hostile neighbor. This same response was seen in America following the 9/11 terror attacks. To this day, there is increased security along U.S. borders and in all airports.

Of course it is inconvenient to arrive early at an airport to be wanded, to step into full-body scanners and to even be forced to remove clothing. However, most Americans, including myself, would most likely not board an airplane nowadays without these preventative measures.

Certain tactics have been used by several activist groups to undermine Israel’s efforts to keep people safe. First, they set up “checkpoints” on campuses and subject students to intimidation techniques. This is an effort to delegitimize the state of Israel. Furthermore, they demand that certain everyday products produced in Israel be boycotted, a call that USC has rejected. This, once again, is an attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel.

Noam Chomsky, an American activist for the Palestinian cause, calls the movement hypocritical and says it has a double standard. He continues to say that the Palestinian people don’t want the boycott. Ardent supporters of these sanctions also have stated on record that the purpose of the boycott is the destruction of Israel.

This anti-Israel sentiment is also seen in the Palestinian government. Hamas, the controlling party in the Gaza Strip, is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, the European Union and others. Hamas’ charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel and still does not recognize Israel as a country.

The Palestinian Authority is no better. Before Obama’s trip to Israel, the PA honored a woman who urged her three children to commit acts of terror. Earlier this month, Hamas seized control of the entrances of Gaza and refused to allow 65 humanitarian aid trucks into the Gaza Strip, causing harm to the Palestinian people.

In addition, both Hamas and the PA have refused the UN’s request that they take in Palestinian refugees who had fled from the conflict in Syria. Israel has actually brought Syrian refugees across its borders to receive humanitarian aid and medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

Lt. General Sir Alexander Galloway, a former director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said that “It is perfectly clear that the Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront against the United Nations, and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” It is very sad when leaders cause the general population to suffer in order to further their own agenda.

Israel, like every other country, is not perfect. Yet it is held to standards not required of other nations and is constantly criticized — in fact, some of Israel’s harshest critics are members of the Israeli government.

However, history shows that Israel has been willing to make tremendous sacrifices for peace, such as giving up half of the capital city of Jerusalem. Ultimately, it takes two to make peace.

I suggest that we focus on ending the suffering seen on both sides of the fence. Currently, the fence is a necessary barrier for defense, but it is mostly chain link and therefore temporary. All that is needed is a government on the other side who cares about its people enough to want the fences removed, too.


Harris Nickowitz

Junior, Neuroscience


24 replies
  1. Palestinian Supporter
    Palestinian Supporter says:

    While I do appreciate your attempt at TRYING to show Israel as a peaceful nation who only wants what’s best for both the Palestinians and the Israelis….most educated individuals are aware that Israel is not a nation that advocates fair rights for all people. How could anyone support building of a wall? Israel has taken Palestine’s land, and is further isolating them with these walls.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      Is the following also Israel’s fault? Why is it that wherever we find Islam we find restrictive freedoms? Is this ALL Israel’s fault or does Islam share the blame for this consistent pattern found throughout Islamic countries?
      Feb 13, 2013
      In another story the Western media apparently refuses to cover, any Palestinian who dares to criticize Hamas or the Palestinian Authority risks being arrested or summoned for interrogation.
      Palestinian journalists are now hoping to bring this to the attention of President Barack Obama when he meets with President Mahmoud Abbas next month.
      The journalists say they want United States and the rest of the world to know that the crackdown on freedom of expression in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip is designed to hide the fact that Palestinians are governed by two repressive regimes that have no respect for human rights and democracy.

    • Reality Check
      Reality Check says:

      There has never been a Palestinian state or Palestinian people (other than Israelis), so there is no such thing as “Palestine’s land” to take. However, Israel has attempted to cooperate in facilitating the creation of a “Palestinian” state for Arabs who dwell in areas liberated by Israel. This notwithstanding unprovoked multiple acts of aggression against Israel, by its Arab neighbors, unwilling to recognize Israel’s right to exist notwithstanding UN mandate. FYI, every autonomous nation in the world builds security walls to protect their boarders. It is the PA that have isolated the people for which they ostensibly govern, by declaring 2 intifadas rather than negotiating in good faith (or otherwise) for a final peace accord, after Israel offered over 96 percent of the land demand by Arafat’s government and after the PA refused to even propose any counter offers with land swaps. It is the the PA that have isolate the people they ostensibly represent by inexcusably launching rockets (over 10,000 of them ) into civilian populated areas of Israel since Hamas has taken over Gaza. It is the PA that have isolated the people for which they ostensibly protect, by indoctrinating hatred toward Israel and Jewish people in their PA controlled media and schools, and cutting all opportunities that once existed for cooperative trade zones with Israel, calling for divestiture and prohibiting any Jew or Israeli from establishing residency in any area controlled by the PA. Fair rights for all people? Jews and Israelis have no rights whatsoever in the area occupied by the PA. In contrast, Arabs reside in Israel, have the right to vote, practice their religion, pursue relationships regardless of sexual orientation, attend public schools, access the healthcare system, own real property. None of these rights are extended to Jews by the PA – and you speak of fair rights for all people? In Israel, there are duly elected Arabs in the Keneset (legislature) and Supreme Court. Arab Israelis have won recent televised contests. Unlike the totalitarian regime operated by the PA, Israel is a democracy with civil rights and liberties that do not exist in the Arab would. If the PA would just accept the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish homeland (the only Jewish state in the world where Jews can be guaranteed freedom from discrimination, which is only fair, given that there are dozens of Muslim and Christian countries in the world, Israel is only the size of New Jersey (approximately 20,000 km) whereas the Arab countries occupy approximately (13,486,861 km ). There is no need to “try” to show Israel is a peaceful nation. The fact remains that Israel desperately seeks peace, and has a history to prove it. It reached a peace accord with Egypt and Jordan. Israel facilitated creation of a PA. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. In contrast, the PA and hostile terrorist organizations, which share power within the region, thwart all efforts to achieve peace, so that they may pursue their own selfish power motives, by perpetuating hate and conflict.

  2. JB
    JB says:

    A few errors in this article, coming from an Israeli Jew:

    * “Israel is the most important ally of the U.S. in the Middle East and it is the only one that is a democracy.”
    * In fact, Turkey is a member of NATO, allied with the US, and is a democracy.

    * “Israel has actually brought Syrian refugees across its borders to receive humanitarian aid and medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.”
    * Hamas also gives aid to palestinians in Gaza; giving aid is no excuse for violent actions in other venues

    * “To be sure, the fences interfere with the daily routines of the Palestinians living in those areas and must have some negative effects on the general population. Yet they exist out of necessity, not ill will.”
    * No one is criticizing Israel’s right to have a border fence; rather, they are criticizing Israel’s decision build and maintain a wall that encroaches on Palestinian lands (past June 4th 1967 lines) in a blatant land grab

    * “[Noam Chomsky] continues to say that the Palestinian people don’t want the boycott.”
    * That is a huge claim, and you better back it up with sources, as I (and most everyone else, I believe) finds that incredibly difficult to believe.

    I urge the author of this article, along with many others, to realize that just as a patriotic Democratic American can criticize American Foreign Policy, a Zionist Jew can criticize Lieberman and Netanyahu.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      Turkey a democracy? Compared to what?
      Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country in the world.
      Hamas has provided aid to Palestinians in Gaza just like Israelis?
      Yes but that’s not the issue. Has Hamas ever extended a hand to help an injured Israeli? Never is the answer.
      Building the wall was NOT a “blatant land grab” it was to prevent the endless homicide bombings in Israeli restaurants, buses and at wedding ceremonies and the fence stopped these things from happening. It’s too bad Palestinians forced the construction of the fence but they did do so by their success at killing Israeli women and children.

  3. Kayla
    Kayla says:

    Though I too condemn Israel for their blatant disregard for basic human rights and their continued settlement building and their complete animosity for the Palestinian people, I would urge everyone to check out the Op-Ed published in Monday’s edition of the Daily Trojan from a student representing the other side from SJP. It looks like the DT has been covering a great deal of events from both communities, so before you start launching accusations of bias maybe try reading the paper or, even better, writing an op-ed yourself.

    As for Arafat – before you go of on your islamophobic and stereotypical rants void of any real argument, it may interest you to actually try reading some of the comments being made before you start launching accusations about muslims and palestinians on this campus that are just blatantly untrue. BEING PRO PALESTINE DOES NOT MAKE YOU ANTI SEMATIC.

  4. Arafat
    Arafat says:

    The wall is referred to as a “fence,” or “barrier,” because 95% of it is a fence.
    The only instance I know of, where the fence separated Palestinians from their land was Bil’in. The Israeli Supreme Court ordered the fence re-routed and that was resolved.
    As Palestinian shahids massacred dozens of Israeli men, women and children in the early 2000s—at times almost daily, in discos, pizzerias, hotels, and on buses—the Israeli public cried out for a solution.
    The famed Israeli intelligence and military were rendered useless; despite all their efforts, they could not stop the carnage. People would shudder as they got on a bus, not knowing whether they would make it alive to the end of their ride. Daily life became a nightmare.
    The right-wing Sharon government, which did not want to put any barrier between “Judea and Samaria” and the rest of Israel, was finally forced to erect the separation fence and the onerous checkpoints.
    The bombings stopped cold.
    The attempts at murdering Israelis—“amaliyats,” which received the blessings of the vast majority of Palestinians—have never ceased. There are dozens of attempts every single month and the only things that stop them are the barrier, the checkpoints, and the intelligence-driven arrests.
    The barrier placed 80% of settlers and 3% of the West Bank land on the Israeli side—land that under all negotiations and agreements was to fall under the Israeli state anyway. But for pro-Palestinian propagandists, this has been enough to call it an “apartheid wall,” a “land grab,” etc.
    If you were an Israeli, would you rather be labeled a “racist” and stay alive, or would you rather have a good reputation but have your life turned into a living hell until one day you yourself get blown up into shreds?
    This language, about “Israeli Colonialism” only serves to provoke hatred of Israeli Jews, does little to really help the Palestinians, and makes peace even less possible. It may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning thriller, “Palestine.”

  5. Rick
    Rick says:


    Buy them, sell them, threaten them, but above all, get what is best for Israel….nothing else matters, nothing. You are either with us or against us–there is no in-between. Drink the KookAid or die. Drink my minions drink.

    Without American money and support we are nothing, nothing. So, get your AIPAC on and get out there for Israel!!!

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      That Israel is still the subject of hatred is deeply disturbing and one of the forces that drives my support for the Jewish State.
      In choosing not to stand idly by as the age-old hatred of the Jewish people has been transferred to the “collective Jew,” I have been speaking up against the new anti-Semitism that is so pervasive today.
      It targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world.
      It is perversely couched in the language of human rights.
      Just as conventional anti-Semitism denied Jews the right to live as equal members of humanity, the new anti-Semitism denies the State of Israel the right to live as an equal member of the international community.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      ‘The only religion I respect is Islam. The only prophet I admire is the Prophet Muhammad.’ — Adolf Hitler

  6. Say what?
    Say what? says:

    As a bystander who continues to learn about this conflict, I think it’s sickening to see how the Israelis/Zionists normalize and even deny the Palestinian oppression. Israel is one of the major human rights violators of the world and that’s a FACT.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      Given that you support the Palestinians who openly advocate Jewish genocide (see their duly elected leaders clear-cut party covenants), you correspondingly do as well. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that anyone would openly advocate the liquidation of Jews, but you clearly do and it doesn’t seem to bother you a whit.
      Moreover, it would be hard to believe that anyone would support second class status for women, the honor murder of teenage girls, the brutalization of gays and the suppression of dissenters. But you, as supporters of the Palestinians who regularly practice all of the above, are therefore complicit in these sexist, racist and fascist beliefs as well.
      Why are you so bigoted, misogynist, anti-gay and such hater of Jews? Please tell us pray tell.
      And if to be opposed to such garbage practiced by so many Muslims world-wide makes one an Islamophobe, count me and all who believe in freedom and hate sexism and bigotry vs Jews as a proud Islamophobe.

  7. todd
    todd says:

    I fourth that!

    More money for Israel, more money for the oppressors, more money to build that wall bigger!

    Go Israel–straight to hell

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      While Muslims in Syria kill women, children, elderly indiscriminately – up to 90,000 people and counting – we devote our anger on Israel for we are anti-Semites in sheep’s clothing.

      While Muslims have killed up to one million in Sudan, and counting, we devote our anger on Israel for we are really just anti-Semites pretending we are humanitarians.

      While Muslims in Mali have forced 500,000 (and counting) people into refugee status – as they have done in the past year – we devote our anger on Israel for we are anti-Semites pretending to be for social justice.

      While Muslims kill off what remains of the ancient Hindu population in-and-around Pakistan we devote our anger on Israel for we are like the Germans during the 1930s – people who needed a convenient scapegoat to escape their own feelings of frustration.

      While Muslims have wiped out all the Buddhists from their ancient homeland in Afghanistan we devote our anger on Israel for it’s easy to pick on Jews and we are shameless hypocrites engaging in man’s oldest prejudice, anti-Semitism, while pretending to be holier-than-thou.

  8. matt
    matt says:

    The Isaelis for USC are running wild!

    Build that wall higher and longer Mr. Netanyahooooo…….

  9. Rob
    Rob says:

    OMG, you are defending the concept of the wall, Mr. Nickowitz?

    You missed your calling–you should have been a Nazi–maybe you are a modern day one.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you. ”
      – Hajj Amin al Husseini on German Nazi radio.
      Rob – maybe you are the modern-day Nazi. Your own words implicate you as one.

    • Reality Check
      Reality Check says:

      Ad Homonym attacks are quite ineffective. I guess by your logic, every nation in the world which erects border fences are Nazis. Query, is the PA a Nazi organization? They refuse to allow any Jews to live within the area under PA control. To me that sounds awfully familiar to what the Nazis set out to do, rid themselves of the Jews. Are you a supporter of that PA objective Rob?

  10. michelle
    michelle says:

    Israel can take their wall and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

    Israel is a fascist state run by fear and violence against people who disagree with them.

    For every Israeli who dies in the conflict 40 Palestinian die. You tell me who is doing all the killing and taking and lying.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:

      The following was written by an Arab Muslim:

      “So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
      The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
      These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.
      In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people.
      In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis are the ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?”

  11. evan
    evan says:

    Just another Israeli brick in the wall and ultimately in their own undoing.

    What a load of crap from the drones for Israel.

    The Israelis don’t want peace and everyone knows it, at least not until they get everything the Palestinians have: land, water, money, resources, everything

    Israel is universally condemned by the world for it human rights abuses.They are virtual outcasts. Obama castigated Israel for its self-imposed isolation from the world and urged it to change the way it treats its Palestinian neighbors, if they want peace.

    Aparteid practiced by Israel is not democracy it is human abuse! Separate roads, towns, buses, schools, etc.

    How long is the Daily Trojan going to continue acting as the mouth peace for the Israeli Government Garbage. This is truly sickening.

    The Israelis own the Daily Trojan. Despicable Bias!! Unconscionable glad handing to Hillel and its professional lobbying campaign at USC. This is truly outrageous disregard for the rights of the Palestinian People.

    We will not be lobbied into believing that THE WALL is anything but a prison!

    • jay
      jay says:

      I just want to know, have you ever been to Israel to confirm these bold claims you make? Have you seen these human rights violations and “separate roads, towns, buses, schools, etc.”? If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to go visit sometime. You’d be very surprised to see that everything you think about Israel isn’t actually true.

      But if you haven’t gone, you probably won’t go visit and will continue thinking you know everything about a country you haven’t even been to before. Being pro-Israel does not inherently make you anti-Palestinian, you just need to take a step back and realize maybe both sides have valid points and concerns.

    • Reality Check
      Reality Check says:

      Why is it do you think that no Arab country has ever been condemned for its human rights violations by the UN. Look at what is happening in Syria? Israel, Apartheid, not even close. talk to anyone who lived in South Africa at the time. They would be offended by your suggestion. No other country in the Middle East has anywhere near the civil rights that exist in Israel. Walls define boarders in every country in the world. I guess Egypt too is guilty then of creating a prison for the people of Gaza. But you make no mention of that. Perhaps, the Daily Trojan is biased toward Egypt too? Apparently, you have issues with the Hillel organization, as well? I understand that you have your opinions, and biases, but do you not think others have the right to express their opinions in the opinion section of this publication. Sad and pathetic.

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