DEFENDING ISRAEL—AT THE UN, ON THE CAMPUS, & THE BATTLEFIELD

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Contents:

 

We Will Never Apologize For Defending Ourselves: Ron Prosor, Jewish Press, Dec. 11, 2014— I stand before the world as a proud representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Bloody Battle for Israel at Oxford University: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, New York Observer, Nov. 28, 2014— Oxford, England, 5 am – I’m trying to get two hours sleep tonight prior to my flight back to America, but cannot.

The Great Jewish American Liberal Academic Anti-Anti-Zionist Freak-Out: Adam Kirsch, Tablet, Dec. 2, 2014 — At the end of last year, the American Studies Association earned more press attention than it has in its entire history by voting to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The Lion-Killer Who Became an Israeli Hero: BBC, Nov. 29, 2014— The man who was to become a hero to the British and to the Israelis was neither British nor Jewish.

 

On Topic Links

 

Formally Recognizing Israel’s Jewishness Will Not Set Back Peace: Morton A. Klein, Jewish Press, Dec. 11, 2014

‘I’m Going to Continue to Hate You’ Says BDS Activist: Barbara Kay, Prince Arthur Herald, Dec. 4, 2014

Six Ways to Fight BDS Lies on Campus: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2014

Will Jonathan Pollard Make it out of the USA Alive?: Batya Medad, Jewish Press, Dec. 8, 2014

                                                                                        

         

WE WILL NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR DEFENDING OURSELVES

Ron Prosor                                                                                                            

Jewish Press, Dec. 11, 2014

 

[The following is adapted from Ambassador Prosor’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Nov. 24—Ed.]

 

I stand before the world as a proud representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I stand tall before you knowing that truth and morality are on my side. And yet I stand here knowing that today in this Assembly, truth will be turned on its head and morality cast aside. The world’s unrelenting focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an injustice to tens of millions of victims of tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians, and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month. How many resolutions did you pass last week to address this crisis? And how many special sessions did you call for? The answer is zero. What does this say about international concern for human life? Not much, but it speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of the international community.

 

Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free – and they are all citizens of Israel. Israeli Arabs are some of the most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court. Millions of men and women in the Middle East would welcome these opportunities and freedoms. Nonetheless, nation after nation will stand at this podium today and criticize Israel – the small island of democracy in a region plagued by tyranny and oppression.

 

Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. Sixty-seven years ago this week, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Arabs said no. But they didn’t just say no. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon launched a war of annihilation against our newborn state. According to the United Nations, about 700,000 Palestinians were displaced in the war initiated by the Arabs themselves. At the same time, some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries. Why is it that 67 years later, the displacement of the Jews has been completely forgotten by this institution while the displacement of the Palestinians is the subject of an annual debate? The difference is that Israel did its utmost to integrate the Jewish refugees into society. The Arabs did just the opposite.

 

The worst oppression of the Palestinian people takes place in Arab nations. In most of the Arab world, Palestinians are denied citizenship and are aggressively discriminated against. They are barred from owning land and prevented from entering certain professions. And yet none of these crimes are mentioned in the resolutions before you. When it comes to matters of security, Israel learned the hard way that it cannot rely on others – certainly not Europe. In 1973, on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, the surrounding Arab nations launched an attack against Israel. In the hours before the war began, Golda Meir, our prime minister then, made the difficult decision not to launch a preemptive strike. The Israeli government understood that if we launched a preemptive strike, we would lose the support of the international community. As the Arab armies advanced on every front, the situation in Israel grew dire. Our casualty count was growing and we were running dangerously low on weapons and ammunition. In this, our hour of need, President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger agreed to send Galaxy planes loaded with tanks and ammunition to resupply our troops. The only problem was that the planes needed to refuel en route to Israel.

 

Our very existence was threatened and yet Europe was not even willing to let the planes refuel. The U.S. stepped in once again and negotiated that the planes be allowed to refuel in the Azores. The government and people of Israel will never forget that when our very existence was at stake, only one country came to our aid – the United States of America. Israel is tired of hollow promises from European leaders. You failed us in the 1940s. You failed us in 1973. And you are failing us again today. Every European parliament that voted to prematurely and unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state is giving the Palestinians exactly what they want – statehood without peace. By handing them a state on a silver platter, you are rewarding unilateral actions and taking away any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate or compromise or renounce violence. You are sending the message that the Palestinian Authority can sit in a government with terrorists and incite violence against Israel without paying any price.

 

Israel learned the hard way that listening to the international community can bring about devastating consequences. In 2005, we unilaterally dismantled every settlement and removed every citizen from the Gaza Strip. Did this bring us any closer to peace? Not at all. It paved the way for Iran to send its terrorist proxies to establish a terror stronghold on our doorstep. I can assure you we won’t make the same mistake again. When it comes to our security, we cannot and will not rely on others – Israel must be able to defend itself by itself. Israel is the land of our forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is the land where Moses led the Jewish people, where David built his palace, where Solomon built the Jewish Temple, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. For thousands of years Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel. We endured through the rise and fall of the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman empires. And we endured thousands of years of persecution, expulsions, and crusades. The bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land is unbreakable. Nothing can change one simple truth – Israel is our home and Jerusalem is our eternal capital. At the same time, we recognize that Jerusalem has special meaning for other faiths. Under Israeli sovereignty, all people, regardless of religion and nationality, can visit the city’s holy sites. And we intend to keep it this way. The only ones trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount are Palestinian leaders…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]               

                                                                                                           

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BLOODY BATTLE FOR ISRAEL AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY                            

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach                                                                                      

New York Observer, Nov. 28, 2014

 

Oxford, England, 5 am – I’m trying to get two hours sleep tonight prior to my flight back to America, but cannot. I am supercharged from tonight’s debate at the Oxford Union on Israel versus Hamas. It was easily the most hard-fought debate on Israel I have ever participated in. It was ferocious, exhilarating, vicious, electrifying, and disturbing. When I first called my close friend Dennis Prager, the celebrated American radio host, to join me at the Oxford Union for their premier Middle East debate of the season, Dennis was at first reluctant to come. He has to broadcast his national show every day. I told him it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to defend Israel at the world’s most prestigious debating society. Europe was turning against Israel. Oxford was the world’s most famous University, educating future world leaders. The scars to Israel’s reputation from the war in Gaza was still fresh. Now was the time. He agreed to come.

 

Dennis, like me, is a veteran of debates on Israel. But I informed him that nothing could prepare him for the ferocity of the attacks on Israel that we were likely to endure. Indeed, as the debate began before a capacity audience, Dennis seemed stunned at what was being said. Israel is an apartheid regime. Israel is slaughtering the Palestinians and is guilty of genocide. Israel is doing to the Palestinians exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. What the Jews experienced in the Holocaust is exactly what the Palestinians are enduring at Israel’s hand. Israel in its six-decade history has had one goal: the theft of Palestinian land and the eradication of the Palestinian people. America is like ISIS. ISIS beheads only a few prisoners, but America annihilates innocents in Pakistan each and every day with drone strikes. There is no real difference. Israel is guilty of war crimes. Israel’s security fence is an apartheid wall that is built mostly through the gardens and property of innocent Palestinians. Hamas does some bad things. But it’s all Israel’s fault. Hamas is a bonafide resistance movement to Israel’s occupation. Terrorism directed at Israelis is an organic response to Israeli colonial rule

 

Many of the arguments came from world-renowned Israeli academic Avi Shlaim, with whom I always had a warm relationship in the eleven years I served as Rabbi to the students at Oxford. The other arguments came from a highly intelligent female Oxford doctoral candidate, with whom I interacted warmly at the pre-debate dinner, and from a Berkeley-Oxford female Professor who was likewise pleasant. The rest of the attacks came from Oxford students in the floor debate segment of the program. I had heard all these things before. But never from some of the most highly educated people in Europe. And never with such ferocity and vehemence. Dennis and I fought back with every fiber of our being. Hamas is a genocidal organization that proudly touts its charter calling on the annihilation of Jews utterly unconnected to any conflict. It seeks the murder of all Jews, including those sitting in the Oxford Union chamber. It aids and abets honor killings of Palestinian women, shoots gay Palestinians in the head on false chargers of collaboration, machine-guns all Palestinian protesters who dare to defy its rule, violently punishes any form of criticism, engages in daily forms of deadly incitement against Jews, celebrates when Westerners, including in Britain, are blown up by bombs, ended any vestige of democratic rule once it was elected, and builds its military installations under hospitals and nurseries so that the infirm and the vulnerable can serve as human shields to its cowardly terrorists. Israel has tried since its creation to make peace with Arab states and has endangered its security with repeated territorial concessions that were met with nothing but terror attacks. Arabs in Israel live with greater freedoms and human rights than any Muslim country on earth. There is no excuse for terror. Jews even under the horrors of Hitler didn’t turn to blowing up German children. The justifications for terrorism that were being offered were an affront and an abomination to Islam which, just like Judaism, abides by the commandment not to murder.

 

The debate was electrifying and deeply felt on all sides. Rather than being dispirited, the small but defiant pro-Israel lobby that sat behind Dennis and me threw a barrage of ‘points of information’ at the Israeli-attacking academics. The full video of the debate will be available on the Oxford Union website in a few days. When the debate was over the President of the Union invited all to drinks. I sat with my opponents. I discussed their trips to Israel. The wounds of the debate were raw but the Union tradition is one of courtesy and mutual respect, whatever the disagreements. And rather than feel at all dispirited, I was energized and alive. I knew from the moment I accepted the debate invitation a few months back that we would lose the vote. Indeed, hearing the jeers against Israel from the vast majority of those in attendance was painful. But we would fight with all our might. We would enter the lion’s den for Israel. We would defiantly tell the truth of the noble and majestic democracy that is the Jewish State of Israel. We would strike a blow for the Jewish state in an extraordinarily hostile environment. (Interestingly enough, Naomi Wolf was there, having just given a lecture attacking Israel for human rights abuses three hours before our debate. All this was curious, given that Naomi had withdrawn from our planned debate on Israel in New York with the excuse that she was going to speak at Oxford. She never mentioned that we would be there on the exact same day).

 

And we made tremendous progress. As soon as the debate was over a group of students asked me for an immediate meeting, that night, to start up the Oxford L’Chaim Society once again to defend the honor of Israel. The student who offered to be President was not Jewish. He told me that as of March of this year he was an active member of Pal Soc (the Palestinian Society) at Oxford. He endorsed and fought for boycotts of Israel. But then he heard me speak at the Union in the debate in Iran. It changed him, he said. He left Pal Soc and joined the tiny but courageous pro-Israel lobby. Sure enough, at the debate the Israel side lost the vote. But we gained our adversaries’ respect. And to be fair to the Union, we were not jeered, interrupted, or heckled. Amid the ferocious battle for Israel and the hundreds of students poised against us, we made our case with passion and each side respected the other’s right to speak. That’s why I love the Oxford Union, and why I did countless joint events with the Union when I was Rabbi in Oxford.

 

I believe with all my heart that Israel can and will win arguments in the marketplace of ideas. If not today, then tomorrow. It ultimately will happen. The truth will prove victorious. We dare not shun debates. We must welcome and engage them. Conclusions: First, Israel is under siege on European campuses. It has determined and active adversaries who are clobbering the more timid Jewish opposition. Second, if we stepped up our game on campus we can begin to reverse the tide of defamation and fraudulence to which the Jewish state is being constantly subjected.

                                                                       

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THE GREAT JEWISH AMERICAN LIBERAL

ACADEMIC ANTI-ANTI-ZIONIST FREAK-OUT                                                    

Adam Kirsch

Tablet, Dec. 2, 2014

 

At the end of last year, the American Studies Association earned more press attention than it has in its entire history by voting to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The effect of the boycott has been devastating—not to Israel, where apparently its sole effect has been to interfere with the dissertation work of one Arab graduate student, but to the ASA itself. Immediately after the vote, hundreds of college presidents and faculty leaders blasted the organization, with several schools withdrawing their membership. This fall, the ASA embarrassed itself by threatening to bar representatives of Israeli universities from its annual convention, only to reverse the decision under the threat of discrimination lawsuits. Its leadership managed to make things even worse by banning Jewish media organizations from the conference, under a press policy one commentator derided as being “as complicated, arbitrary and daunting as getting a press pass for the North Korean Politburo meeting, except that the ASA professes to be a progressive organization devoted to the exchange and dissemination of ideas.”

 

It would be hard, then, to account the ASA boycott as any kind of victory for the BDS movement. If anything, the contrast between the ASA’s self-righteous blundering and the actual course of events in Israel and Palestine, over the last horrible year, makes the boycott seem not just pointless but obscenely trivial. But the appearance of an important new book, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, edited by Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, makes the argument that the academic boycott movement is more significant than its actual achievements suggest. For on every page of this thick anthology, full of essays by American and Israeli academics, you can sense the distress that the BDS campaign has succeeded in provoking in its real target—which is not Israel at all, but Jewish liberals. The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel is 550 pages long, and it contains, in addition to essays, a dossier of official documents on the ASA and other boycott resolutions, as well as a short history of Israel. It is intelligent and wide-ranging, from David Caplan’s essay on the representation of Jews in current American literature to Shira Wolosky’s memoir of what it is actually like to teach Arab and Jewish students in an Israeli university. But its core arguments can be summarized in a few paragraphs, since they are obvious and, it seems to me, overwhelming.

 

First, the boycott of Israeli universities is a violation of academic freedom, since it restricts the ability of scholars to teach and collaborate with colleagues, simply on the basis of national origin. Second, it is counterproductive, since it targets exactly the sector of Israeli society where pro-Palestinian and pro-peace opinion is most flourishing, and where Jews and Arabs are most likely to meet as peers. And third, it is hypocritical, because it singles out Israel for opprobrium while saying nothing about countries whose violations of academic freedom and international law are much worse. Indeed, if they were truly brave, and consistent, the members of the ASA would boycott the United States—which is responsible for far more violence against Arabs and Muslims than Israel—by refusing to teach in any university that receives government funding. These points are made with force and concision by the essays in the book’s first section, “Opposing Boycotts as a Matter of Principle,” by writers including Martha Nussbaum, Cary Nelson, and Russell Berman. Drawing on one of her own areas of research, Nussbaum points out that in 2002 the government of the Indian state of Gujarat organized what she calls a “pogrom” and a “genocide” against Muslim citizens; yet no calls for a boycott of Gujarati or Indian universities were heard. “I am not sure there is anything to be said in favor of a boycott of Israeli scholars and institutions that could not be said, and possibly with stronger justification, for similar actions toward the United States and especially India,” she writes.

 

Meanwhile, Berman reminds us that academic freedom is a hard-won privilege, easily trampled by politics, which scholars have an obligation to defend by “resisting the imposition of any political criteria on scholarship, whether the directives are from state legislatures or from professional scholarly organizations.” And in his contribution, Nelson shows that such trampling is already taking place in BDS circles, as when Steven Salaita—who himself made news this year, when his appointment to the University of Illinois was revoked over his virulently anti-Israel comments on Twitter—calls for a boycott not just of Israel, but of “individuals who consciously participate in advocacy for the Israeli state.” “The new BDS McCarthyism,” Nelson writes, “is organized around an implicit question: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist?’ ”

 

The weaknesses of the boycott campaign are, in fact, so glaring that it has had little success in imposing its agenda on universities. Notably, the Modern Language Association, a much bigger and more influential group than the American Studies Association, declined to pursue an anti-Israel resolution this summer. Samuel and Carol Edelman offer some statistics in their contribution to the book: “In the 2013-14 academic year, 15 divestment resolutions were introduced in universities in the U.S. Of these, only two passed.” Where such resolutions are adopted, it is usually by student governments with no power to affect university policy; of the six campuses where BDS resolutions passed in 2012-13, “not one … boycotted, divested, or sanctioned Israel.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                           

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THE LION-KILLER WHO BECAME AN ISRAELI HERO                                         

BBC, Nov. 29, 2014

 

The man who was to become a hero to the British and to the Israelis was neither British nor Jewish. Like many servants of the crown in the days of Empire he was an Irishman born in County Longford in 1867 to a Protestant father and Catholic mother. Ireland was then part of the United Kingdom and military service was a popular option for many young Irishmen – partly from a want of other opportunities and partly from a sense of adventure. In Patterson's case we can assume it was the sense of adventure. By 1898 he'd been commissioned to oversee the construction of a railway bridge over a ravine at Tsavo, in Kenya, but found work was being held up by two man-eating lions who were terrorising the huge camps housing the Indian and African labourers.

 

It's hard to be sure, but the two lions between them may have killed more than 100 people in all. Patterson wasn't an expert on lions, although he'd shot tigers on military service in India, but to protect his workers and get his bridge finished he resolved to kill the predators. Man-eating behaviour isn't common among lions – it's possible that the two killers at Tsavo had got the taste for human flesh from the careless disposal of human remains over the years. Over a three-week period Patterson killed both the predators. His workers, who'd been growing fractious, presented him with an inscribed drinking cup to salute his extraordinary nerve. It remained one of his most treasured possessions. Patterson told the whole story in his best-selling book, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

 

There was nothing honorary about Lt Col Patterson's military rank. He served with distinction in a British cavalry regiment during the Boer War in South Africa, winning the Distinguished Service Order, and when he was recalled to the colours during World War One he was almost 50 years old. It was during the Middle East campaign that he found himself in command of the Zion Mule Corps, a group of Jewish volunteers eager to serve the international cause and to advance their own cause of creating a Jewish state at the same time. Patterson became a passionate supporter of Zionism and the ranks of the detachment he commanded included influential heroes of the cause, including Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor.

 

Patterson took his Jewish volunteers to war around the dangerous beaches of Gallipoli in what history remembers as a doomed British effort to attack the German Empire through the territory of its ally, the Turkish Empire. It's often said that Patterson thus became the first commander to lead Jewish forces on to the field of battle for two millennia making him an important figure in the history of Zionism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told me that his older brother, Yonathan, was named in honour of John Henry Patterson, who had come to know their father when he lived in New York campaigning for the Zionist cause in the mid-1940s.

 

The family still has an engraved goblet given to Yonathan by Patterson to celebrate his birth. Yonathan went on to become an Israeli national hero who died leading the extraordinary raid on Entebbe in Uganda in 1976 in which commandos from Israel's special forces rescued hostages who were being held at an airport by members of the German Baader-Meinhof gang and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Prime Minister Netanyahu told us he regarded Patterson as godfather to the Israeli Army as well as the godfather to his brother and says it's right that Israel should honour him…

 

CIJR Wishes all our Friends and Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

Contents           

 

On Topic

 

Formally Recognizing Israel’s Jewishness Will Not Set Back Peace: Morton A. Klein, Jewish Press, Dec. 11, 2014—Legislation is under consideration in Jerusalem that formalizes Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. We at the Zionist Organization of America support it.

‘I’m Going to Continue to Hate You’ Says BDS Activist: Barbara Kay, Prince Arthur Herald, Dec. 4, 2014—Social media have their pros and cons. The Twitter hashtag is definitely a “pro.” A hashtag can instantly convey a world of meaning to millions of people.

Six Ways to Fight BDS Lies on Campus: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2014 —I know that the Hillel Houses on campus will promote Israel. I know they love Israel. I know that they educate students positively about Israel.

Will Jonathan Pollard Make it out of the USA Alive?: Batya Medad, Jewish Press, Dec. 8, 2014— Arab terrorists who have murdered dozens of Jews. The US refuses to free from jail Jonathan Pollard, whose crime was releasing some classified documents.

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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