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Students bemoan effort to plant trees in Israel, call it ecological imperialism

‘artificially making these areas look more like Europe’

Israel is reportedly “one of a few countries in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees,” according to a group that has pledged to turn the desert-nation into a garden oasis and says it has planted 250 million trees in the region since 1901.

While environmentalists might be encouraged by the efforts of the Jewish National Fund, a group of Ivy League students — including members of Students for Justice in Palestine and the United Minorities Council — say they see it as ecological imperialism.

As part of a recent “Divestfest” protest at the University of Pennsylvania, students eco-demonstrators bemoaned the tree-planting effort, according to a report in The Statesman:

…the presenters looked into the symbolism of “making the desert bloom,” a phrase the students argued connected the forest environment to whiteness, evoked the notion of “a vacuum that the European savior can come nourish,” and ultimately incentivized “artificially making these areas look more like Europe.”

The students found a particular problem in the planting of pine trees in Israel and the West Bank, drawing a “connection between pine trees, forestation, and the way they further the colonialist agenda through capitalistic (sic) means of timber production.”

While pine trees are an invasive species and can be bad for certain environments, the solution is not merely to plant native trees like the olive tree.

“If we are talking about environmental justice, we have to consider intersectionality,” one of the presenters said. “We have to consider the way that different environmental agendas are being used in order to romanticize and support things that may be in violation of human rights and ancestry rights.” Additionally, the students urged the audience to “look for the complexity in the way that issues are whitewashed.”

Read the full report.

MORE: University to offer ‘Green Lives Matter’ environmental justice class

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

Add to the Discussion

  • KeenIncite

    I don’t know what they’re disturbed about. More trees mean more places for Palestinian terrorists to hide behind. They should be happy for that.

  • NoPasaran

    Ecological imperialism? Instead of spitefully bitching about people voluntarily planting trees in Israel, why don’t they plant one in Lebanon?


    • jeffsters

      That’s the first thing that I thought of – go help Lebanon replant their cedar forests.

      • Thomas Mandell

        But but, that is WORK! And they can’t risk their soy latte drinking hides in a country that is a possible warzone.

  • thomr875

    They want to get an early start on being the old, bitter gripers of their generation. What privileged nitwits they are.

  • Ed Cutting, Ed. D.

    More re-planting — the area was forested in Biblical times.
    And the US has more trees than in 1901.

  • Anything to whack Israel over.

    • rabidfox2

      Yes, that is the bottom line. Any excuse will do.

  • Olives are not native to the region. They’ve been planted there for thousands of years but are probably native to either Turkey or Iran.

    Pines, OTOH, are. (Possibly not this species but pines in general.) As are cypress. The region was heavily forested, primarily coniferous due to the aridity, BEFORE HUMANS SETTLED THERE. It was humans who deforested the region. (Well before the modern era. You can deforest with rock axes given enough time.)

    This sort of complete lack of historical vision is why I agree with Glenn Reynolds that we need to just close all ‘Ivy League’ colleges.

    The ignorance it burns.

    • steveH01

      Also grazing sheep and goats. Don’t forget the goats.

      • rabidfox2

        Oh yes – sheep and goats are very, very hard on grass lands because they pull up the grasses roots and all.

  • alanstorm

    Any company that hires Ivy League grads is attempting slow suicide.

  • nooyawka212

    As KeenIncite suggests, more trees more Pal hiding places. Also, more trees more places to hang gays.

  • Dad_All_Day

    To paraphrase an movie – “I’ve got three words for you: carbon dioxide sequestration!”

  • ib1netmon

    “Before them Joos arrived, almost all of Judea was a lifeless, almost uninhabitable expanse of sand and rubble, and we liked it that way!”

    • hang100

      Actually, the fertile crescent as it was called – was lush and green, until the Ottomans (i.e. a real colonial power) stripped the Mid-east of its forestry and greenery. But for the antifa/snowflakes the facts are meaningless.

      • Tom Billings

        Well, …the stripping started long before the Ottomans. Every time there was a siege of a fortress, whole forests would be cut down to provide the structure for siege engines, reinforcements for trenches and then for tunnels used to undermine the walls.That all goes back to the Babylonians and Ur. The Ottoman’s capital simply was far enough away from the fertile crescent that there was little care for the damage. It was easy to say at a capital in Constantinople far away from the fertile crescent, that if the forests were cut down, destroying the watershed, that people should just raise goats, which would eat anything that could grow. Of course, those goats are what prevented forests from regrowing. Ottomans were not colonialists, whose colonials would have cared for the local economy, if nothing else, but the broader category of imperialists, as were all caliphates.

        Still, you are correct that the current academicians are not interested in historical fact, but in yet another slogan to yell.

  • Craig Zimmerman

    Yet another confirmation that “intelligent” and “educated” are not synonymous. Of course, those who complete their studies and finish with that piece of paper are not necessarily educated. Credentialed? Yes. Educated? Mmmm…no.

  • JonathanInTelAviv

    If Jews do it, helping the environment is evil ecological imperialism. If Jews do it, giving gays equal rights is evil “pink-washing”. Pretty much anything Jews do is evil, to these people. But they’re not antisemitic, no.

    • David

      That’s the point of intersectionalism. It allows someone to condemn anything they like by crafting a buzzword-laden sentence that sounds plausible, but on closer examination is meaningless.

      • rabidfox2

        Anyone who uses a word like ‘intersectionalism’ seriously should be stood up against a wall and shot before they have a chance to contaminate the gene pool.

    • jubadoobai

      Jews love life so Muslims must love death. Let them enjoy what they love.

  • Art Metz

    > the presenters looked into the symbolism of “making the desert bloom,” a phrase the students argued connected the forest environment to whiteness,

    I’m pretty sure that trees, forests, and blooms are associated with green, not white.

    • rabidfox2

      They have to associated anything they disapprove of with whiteness to give them a reason to whinge.

  • John Marston

    In other words, lets leave it a barren desert for the palestinian goatherds.

  • Hazel Nuts

    They are not Jew-haters. They are just afraid to run our of grazing land for their wives.

  • gunsmithkat

    When the greenies do it, it’s called ecological restoration, but when the Jews do it: ecological imperialism. Double standards and all that…

  • hang100

    Of course the morons protesters don’t know the history that the colonialist Ottoman Empire stripped the fertile crescent’s lush forestry for a few centuries, otherwise it would be green and forested. Embarassing that my alma mater Penn is involved in this crap.

  • mackykam

    LOL, If Israelis planted cedars it would be called cultural tree appropriation.

    Solution: plant palestinians instead.

  • Sally

    I have an idea! Instead of these little snowflakes complaining about trees growing in Israel, why not take your funds and grow trees in Gaza in the West Bank? That’s a much more positive thing for you do with your money and time, and our time and sanity.

  • jubadoobai

    The Arabs occupied Israel. They occupied Judea and Samaria, and all that was there was sand. The desert did not bloom because the land was not Arab land. They did not love it; it had not been promised to them. It was not their patrimony.

    Even if the Arabs are given all of the land and every Jew is driven into the sea, the land will revert to a barren wasteland because the Arabs love death more than they love life. That land, that glorious land, that Israel, will never ever bloom for Arab Muslims because it is not theirs and they do not love it. They just hate the Jews and want the land empty of them.

  • rabidfox2

    Is someone injecting Botox into their brains?

  • 2+2=4andalwayswill

    It’s depressing because they certainly will be the ones hired into government and media.

    I know all old people eventually end up thinking the world is going to hell in a handbasket, but….it can’t just be my imagination that now it really is, can it?