In October 2010, I accompanied my roommate Christopher Kain to a poetry reading he gave at Brandeis University. Before his reading, we went into the student center and were greeted with this banner.
In small letters it read “FREE GILAD SHALIT”.
In much larger letters it also read “AND THE 6,011 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS HELD IN ISRAELI JAILS.”
Well, a year later, Gilad Shalit was released in exchange for a thousand Palestinian prisoners. One of those Palestinian prisoners, a Hamas operative named Ziad Awad, has now been charged along with one other individual in the death of Israeli police officer Baruch Mizrahi who was shot while driving with his family en route to Passover services.
At the time of Shalit’s release, I had mixed emotions. While I was glad Shalit was alive and well I also argued that it would “serve to legitimize Hamas and pressure will be brought to bear on Israel to negotiate with Hamas even though it vows that Israel shall be destroyed and perhaps by the very people that Israel will release in exchange for Shalit.” Well, the Obama Administration has now recognized the Fatah-Hamas coalition while Hamas members kidnap Israeli teenagers and murder an Israeli police officer.
While I fault the Netanyahu government for making the deal, I know they had no illusions about what they were getting into. The same cannot be said for the student body at Brandeis who believed Israel holding Palestinians who had murdered Jews was the equivalent of Hamas kidnapping Shalit. For them the release of the Palestinian prisoners was a matter of justice – even more so than the release of Shalit.
The students at Brandeis who put up this banner should ;et this be a lesson to them and to be careful for the things they wish. But as both Benjamin Disraeli and Winston Churchill said, “A man who isn’t a socialist at 20 has no heart. A man who is still a socialist at 40 has no head.”
I’ll end by asking the student body at Brandeis this simple question. Where is the justice in the release of a Palestinian terrorist who has resumed a life of terrorism?