Stealing newspapers a form of censorship

On March 10, UNLV’s student newspaper, the Rebel Yell, published a column by Opinion Editor Sharief Ali, headlined: “Attack shocks, doesn’t surprise.”

“After the destruction the Israeli military inflicted on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip … this retaliatory attack … was hardly a surprise,” wrote the UNLV student editor.

On March 6, a Palestinian Arab gunman walked into a Jewish seminary in West Jerusalem, killing eight students and injuring nine others. Unless Israel surrenders yet more land — for starters — “expect more heinous acts like the seminary shooting,” Mr. Ali warns. After all, “Palestinians … are the world’s largest group of refugees, living in camps since 1948. With no army, their only mode of resistance to occupation has been through terrorism … as long as Israeli policy is to collectively punish an entire race of people for resisting an occupation which has lasted 60 years.”

So offended were some on the UNLV campus that about a third of the newspaper’s March 10 press run apparently was stolen and trashed. So the editors re-published the piece in the March 13 edition, along with two other columns in response.

Which was exactly the right thing to do.

We don’t trash newspapers here, no matter how much we disagree with their message. Those who did so should be ashamed. Their actions amount to censorship.

But even as we defend Mr. Ali’s right to his opinion, it’s just as important to point out that his argument couldn’t be more wrong.

Israel started pulling out of Gaza in 2005, hoping against hope, one more time, that offering “more land” might bring peace.

The descendants of the Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 — we doubt many of the killers are over 60 — showed their good faith by immediately racing up to the border to start launching rockets into Israel, randomly killing defenseless civilians.

Because Israel, after considerable forbearance, responded with a targeted strike, successfully killing a Hamas leader, young Mr. Ali accuses them of “indiscriminately killing civilians.”

But wait a minute. Because Gaza is no longer occupied, what territory can he possibly be referring to, that Israel now “occupies” and has “occupied … for 60 years”?

Oh, we get it … Israel itself. Israel stands accused of occupying Israel!

“Withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders” isn’t going to solve that, is it?

And what “race” do the Israelis wish to punish? The Semites? But most of the Israelis themselves are Semites. The Arabs? Are they “a race” apart from their neighbors?

In 1948, the former British protectorate of Palestine was divided into two unequal pieces. The Jews got the smaller piece, the Arabs the larger, now known as “Jordan.” The notion that there is a “Palestinian race” made up of the children and grandchildren of those Arabs who fled proto-Israel in 1948, believing the promises of their leaders that the Jews would soon be pushed into the sea — a “Palestinian race” that was subsequently kicked out of Jordan by the Hashemite King Hussein after they failed to depose him in a coup in the fall of 1970, is a politically convenient construct of quite modern mintage.

The Arabs “have no army”? Those sure looked like armies trying to push the Israelis into the sea in 1948 and 1967 and 1973.

The Palestinian Arabs have been “living in camps since 1948”? The term evokes images of temporary dirt-floored tents and women lining up for water down at the well, when in fact most of the Arabs who are kept squatting on the frontiers of Israel for the political benefit of the Egyptian, the Syrian, and the Jordanian governments have lived for decades in high-rise apartment buildings with electricity and running water.

If their lives are miserable, perhaps they should look to their corrupt leadership, who would rather spend all those billions in international “humanitarian aid” on rockets than on schools, business development, better water and sewer systems.

Our young essayist complains about an Israeli “blockade” — trying to stifle the importation of more rockets. The nerve! But who is it who prevents these Arabs from commuting to work in Egypt, getting everything they need from their Arab brothers? Is there also an Egyptian “blockade”? If so, why aren’t they firing missiles into Egypt — and gunning down students in some Egyptian madrass?

Unlike in Arab countries, here in America Mr. Ali and Rebel Yell Editor Nur Kausar can write and publish what they want, without fear of any repercussions … save two.

First, they can expect to be civilly — but firmly — condemned for condoning willful murder. Second, any who find themselves unwillingly funding such expressions should be given the right to stop subsidizing expressions they do not support.

The Rebel Yell is supported by advertising revenues and student fees. UNLV students should be given the option of continuing to fund the Rebel Yell, or withholding the 8.7 percent of their student fees that support the newspaper.

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