Many people complain about the anti-Israel vitriol that is so pervasive on many college campuses. But University of Pennsylvania freshman Shlomo Klapper is doing something about it by documenting the intellectual dishonesty of the Israel-bashers.
After a group called Penn for Palestine staged a demonstration against Israel's West Bank security barrier in conjunction with international Israeli Apartheid Week, Klapper penned an op-ed noting what Penn for Palestine neglected to address – the barrier's critical role in preventing terrorists from crossing into Israel.
"For years, Israelis were terrorized, their normal lives on hiatus," Klapper wrote. "For years, teenagers could not go to a bar without taking their lives in their hands, lest they join the fate of the 21 teenagers slaughtered by a terrorist at the beachside Dolphinarium dance club." Many families stopped going to restaurants "after countless loved ones – unlucky enough that a suicide bomber also chose the same café – never returned from lunch."
In response to that intolerable situation, the Israeli government took action to protect its citizens' safety and security. To prevent would-be suicide bombers from entering the country from the West Bank, the government erected a barrier consisting of security checkpoints and a fence.
By any measure, Israel's defensive steps have proven extraordinarily successful. In 2002, the year before construction began, more than 400 Israelis were murdered in attacks like the Passover suicide bombing at a Netanya hotel (the bomber was a resident of the West Bank town of Tulkarem). In 2009,by comparison, eight Israelis were murdered.
Convicted terrorist Wafa al-Biss is the kind of person Israel seeks to keep out. On June 20, 2005, she attempted to smuggle an explosives belt from Gaza into Israel. She was planning to detonate herself at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where she had been successfully treated for severe burns.
As Klapper points out, when Biss was released by Israel as part of last fall's Gilad Schalit prisoner swap, she urged Palestinian children in Gaza to follow her example. "I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs," she said.
Until the day that "removing checkpoints would not be tantamount to suicide…Israel has the moral responsibility to protect its citizens," Klapper concludes. "And if a security barrier is necessary to stop every Wafa al-Biss, so be it."
Read the full op-ed here. Read Klapper's earlier op-ed on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel here.