Tag: campus anti-israel extremism

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

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

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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EGYPT FACES THREATS FROM HAMAS & A LOOMING ENERGY CRISIS; WHILE “CULTISH” ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK VILIFIES DEMOCRATIC ISRAEL

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org



                                           

The Return of the Israel Apartheid Week Cult: Jonathan Kay, National Post, Feb. 25, 2014— In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike.

Egypt Ban Could Push Hamas Into New Fight With Israel: Philippe Agret & Adel Zaanoun, Times of Israel, Mar. 6, 2014 — An Egyptian court ban on Hamas activities could push the increasingly isolated Palestinian Islamist movement into another battle with Israel, analysts say.

Sisi’s Gas Pains: Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy,  Feb. 21, 2014 — Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime.

Egyptian Field Marshal Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi: A Profile: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 27, 2014 — When the last war between Egypt and Israel was fought in 1973, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi was almost 19 years old.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Big Boycott Bluff: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2014

The Bottom Line on Israeli Apartheid Week: Canadian Jewish News, Mar. 4, 2014

Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt After Mubarak and Morsi: New York Times, Jan. 27, 2014
Egypt to Revoke Citizenship of Nearly 14,000 Palestinians Affiliated With Hamas: Ariel Ben Solomon

, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2014

Disbelief After Egypt Announces Cures For Aids and Hepatitis C: Kareem Fahim & Mayy El Sheikh

, New York Times, Feb. 26, 2014

                                     

THE RETURN OF THE ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK CULT                      

Jonathan Kay                                 

National Post, Feb. 25, 2014

 

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to rain artillery on rebel positions in the city of Homs, killing journalists and innocent civilians alike. Iran’s mullahs are set to execute a Canadian citizen for the crime of operating a web site they don’t like. The new Libyan regime is torturing Gaddafi loyalists. And Egypt’s rulers are prosecuting NGO leaders on trumped-up charges. And so next week, Canadian left-wing activists will congregate in Toronto to express their hatred of … you guessed it: Israel.

 

The events of March 5-9 will take place as part of the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), and will feature presentations such as “Cutting the Ties to Israeli Apartheid: Cultural and Academic Boycott,” and “Rhymes Of Resistance And The Sounds Of Existence — with poets Remi Kanazi, Red Slam and Chand-nee.” The IAW website is full of the usual rhetoric about Israel’s “criminal” actions. There is not a word of acknowledgement about how utterly ridiculous it is to run a week-long event vilifying Israel when right next door in Syria, the government has just exterminated more Arabs than were killed in both Intifidas, the 2008 Gaza conflict, and the 2006 Lebanon war combined.

 

The timing of IAW this year truly does represent something of a farce. The eyes of the entire world are focused on Syria and the Strait of Hormuz. Even West Bank Palestinians themselves now seem more concerned with building up their economy than with grand international gestures aimed at the Jewish state. And in the “occupied” Golan Heights, Druze Muslims have been stirring — not against Israel, but against the Assad regime that many once looked to for “liberation.” In the streets of Cairo, Sana’a and Tunis, no one is talking about Israel — only about when they will get the democracy they were promised. Only among cultish, single-minded anti-Israel activists has the news of the Arab Spring failed to circulate.

 

The word “cultish” is used here advisedly — because even some veteran anti-Israel activists are getting tired of the false mantras that circulate at IAW events. This includes no less an anti-Zionist than Norman Finkelstein (who has called Israel a “vandal state” that “relentlessly and brutally and inhumanly keeps these vicious, murderous wars”). Speaking to an interviewer earlier this month, he attacked the animating philosophy behind IAW — the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS) — as a “cult,” and an unsuccessful one at that.

 

National Post editorial writers have attended BDS events here in Toronto, and they all contain the same rousing assurances that the BDS movement will bring Israel to its knees. The self-consciously enforced spirit of viva la revolución solidarity that permeates these rallies reminds one of communist rallies in the days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Year after year, we hear the same clichés about how the BDS movement is on the cusp of victory. Yet the Israeli economy continues to prosper, and the only groups that have fallen into line with the boycott call are scattered NGOs and low-tier universities. “All [the BDS] claims about ‘victories’ [against Israel]: These 10 fingers more than suffice to count their victories,” Mr. Finkelstein said this month. “It’s a cult. The guru says: ‘We have all these victories,’ and everyone nods their head.”

 

Of greater concern to Mr. Finkelstein, a former university professor and the author of many controversial books, is the sheer dishonesty that permeates the BDS movement. “We have to be honest: They [BDS activists] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being clever. They call it their three tiers. ‘We want to end of the occupation,’ ‘We want the right of return [for Palestinian refugees],’ ‘And we want equal rights for Arab citizens.’ But they know the result of implementing all three is — what? You and I both know: There’s no Israel. [If you ask them about it, they say] ‘Oh we’re agnostic about Israel.’ No. You’re not agnostic. You don’t want it [to exist].”

 

In fairness to the IAW activists who will be assembling on campuses in coming days, not all of them seek the outright destruction of Israel — though many certainly do. Some are merely naive undergraduates who truly do believe in two secure, peaceful states living side by side. Others are bored veterans of other activist movements, such as anti-racism and gay rights, looking to the Middle East to recapture the sense of moral purpose once provided by the (successful) fight against discrimination here in Canada. But all of them should understand that IAW and BDS are not what they seem: As some of Israel’s own fiercest critics themselves now admit, these are dishonest cults meant to enlist ill-informed activists in a campaign to destroy the Jewish state.

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EGYPT BAN COULD PUSH HAMAS INTO NEW FIGHT WITH ISRAEL Philippe Agret & Adel Zaanoun

Times of Israel, Mar. 6, 2014

 

An Egyptian court ban on Hamas activities could push the increasingly isolated Palestinian Islamist movement into another battle with Israel, analysts say. The latest move marked a further deterioration in ties between Egypt and Hamas, which has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and is now the target of a sweeping crackdown by the military-installed government.

 

Since Morsi’s overthrow, the Egyptian authorities have destroyed hundreds of tunnels along the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip which had been used to bring in fuel and construction materials, as well as weapons and ammunition. The loss of the tunnels has deepened the economic crisis in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006, and a senior Hamas official warned the court’s move could prompt a new confrontation with Israel. “The situation between Egypt and Hamas has reached the point of no return,” said Mukhaimar Abu Saada, political science professor at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University. “For Hamas, the choices are extremely limited: reconciliation with (Western-backed Palestinian) president Mahmud Abbas, or open confrontation with Israel to embarrass Egypt and win the sympathy of the Arab world,” he said. “The latter option would be costly and risky.”

 

On Tuesday, the Egyptian court banned Hamas from operating in the country and moved to seize its assets after accusing it of colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood to carry out attacks…Bassem Naim, an adviser to Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya, told AFP the court ruling was “shocking”, and said he hoped it would not translate into “restrictions on people’s movement.” Egypt has severely restricted access through the border town of Rafah — Gaza’s only gate to the world that is not controlled by Israel — ostensibly for security reasons. Ezzat al-Rishq, a Hamas official close to the movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, said the ruling “will open the door to new (Israeli) aggression and war against Gaza”.

 

A fragile Egypt-mediated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that ended a bloody eight-day conflict in November 2012 has brought more than a year of relative calm, with Hamas policing its borders to prevent rocket fire by rogue militants. Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habib downplayed the court ruling as “a formality which will have little additional impact,” saying border restrictions are nothing new and that Hamas has no offices or major assets in Egypt. But Adnan Abu Amr, a politics professor at Gaza’s Ummah University, said: “A final, definitive break between Egypt and Hamas would mean increased pressure on Gaza, meaning that it could blow up in Egypt or Israel’s faces.”

 

Political analyst Naji Sharab said the best option for Hamas would be to reconcile with Abbas’s Fatah party, its Palestinian rival based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But that would require Hamas to moderate its core belief that Israel must be destroyed and accept US-brokered peace negotiations — which it has staunchly refused to do. Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, signed a 2011 reconciliation agreement in Cairo that was meant to heal divisions that boiled over when Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. But the agreement has never been implemented.

 

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SISI’S GAS PAINS                                                                                     

Keith Johnson                                                        

Foreign Policy, Feb. 21, 2014

 

Egypt faces plenty of threats, from a growing insurgency in the Sinai to a shaky and still unstable presidential regime. But the dramatic reversal in the country's energy fortunes in recent years, and the stark challenges that poses for the economy could end up proving the biggest headache for strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Before the Arab Spring, Egypt turned its abundant reserves of natural gas, the third largest in Africa, into lucrative exports shipped to Europe and Asia. It sent gas by pipeline to neighboring countries, including Jordan and Israel. It had ambitious plans to further develop offshore natural gas resources, and was expanding its creaky electricity system on the back of natural-gas fired power plants.

 

Today, Egypt is scrambling to import natural gas just to meet skyrocketing domestic demand. Exports have plummeted: One of the two terminals that liquefied natural gas and shipped it to southern Europe has been shuttered since 2012; the other is wheezing, starved of gas for export by voracious demand at home. In a sign of just how quickly Egypt's once-advantageous position has changed, there are reportedly talks underway to import gas from Israel — less than two years after Cairo shut off exports headed there.

 

The abrupt reversal is a result of unsustainable economic policies, such as generously subsidized fuel prices at home that spur unbridled growth in gas consumption. And it's one big cause for concern about Sisi's ability to tackle the country's economic challenges. The energy crunch threatens the electric power sector and big portions of Egyptian industry. The IMF forecasts Egyptian growth of just 2.8 percent this year, among the lowest in the region, making it even tougher to cut into double-digit unemployment. Coupled with blackouts and energy shortages, that could conjure up a repeat of the tumult of 2011 and 2013, which led to the toppling of Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi. "The inevitable result is energy shortages and the concomitant social pressures that come with blackouts, lack of cooking gas, and fuel," Steven Cook, an Egypt expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Foreign Policy. "Sisi is going to have to confront these serious economic problems or he too will be confronted with people in the streets demanding change, and it won't just be the Muslim Brotherhood."

 

In 2009, Egypt exported 647 billion cubic feet of gas, mostly liquefied gas to satisfy demand in Europe, but also gas shipped by pipeline to Israel and Jordan. By 2012, gas exports had fallen to less than half, or 256 billion cubic feet; pipeline exports plummeted to one-tenth of their peak level. In 2013 exports continued to plunge. The latest government figures showed nearly a 50 percent decline in year-on-year exports in November. The impacts aren't limited to Egypt or its reeling fiscal situation. Spanish utility Gas Natural Fenosa, which started importing gas from an LNG terminal in Egypt a decade ago, has watched the terminal sit idle since 2012. British gas giant BG Group in January declared "force majeure" and took a $1.2-billion-dollar write-down on its Egyptian LNG operations because natural gas is being diverted from exports for domestic use. The company warned investors that it doesn't know how much, if any, Egyptian gas it will be able to export this year. Consuming countries, including Japan and India, that once imported Egyptian gas have had to find alternative supplies on the spot market.

 

What's to blame for the sudden turnabout? Gas production has declined in recent years, but that's only partly responsible for the crunch. More important has been the jump in domestic consumption of natural gas, which rose 25 percent between 2009 and 2012 and which has essentially doubled over the last decade. More consumption at home leaves less gas for export, even though gas sold to Europe and especially to Asia is worth billions of dollars a year, while gas fed into the domestic market is kept artificially cheap. Demand is growing so fast because Egypt, like other countries in the Middle East, heavily subsidizes the cost of energy, including fuel for transportation and natural gas for power generation. Energy subsidies alone represent about 10 percent of Egypt's GDP, according to the most recent budget. Natural-gas prices in particular have been kept low for industrial users, the power sector, and especially for households.

 

The Egyptian government is trying to tackle the cost of energy subsidies, especially as it struggles to rein in a budget deficit approaching 14 percent of GDP. In recent years, Egypt has tweaked the prices that big energy consumers, such as cement manufacturing plants, pay for gas, but the reforms didn't affect the cost of gas used in power generation, the biggest source of domestic demand. This year, backed by a grant from the World Bank, the country started work on a comprehensive reform of energy pricing, but experts say the country will be hard-pressed to roll back subsidies and ease fiscal pressure any time soon. Raising domestic energy prices would threaten social unrest; but spending billions subsidizing energy aggravates the deficit and removes a source of substantial export earnings. "In its attempt to correct energy market structure and distortions, the Egyptian government is caught between a rock and a hard place," concluded one report prepared by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation.

 

Ultimately, Egypt hopes to pull itself out of the energy crisis by boosting production from the promising reserves found offshore; BP announced a major new gas discovery last fall, for example. But raising production requires getting those international energy firms to invest, something that's proven devilishly difficult thanks to the domestic unrest, unfavorable contract terms for exploration, and the fact that Egypt owes foreign energy firms about $6 billion. Dwindling export revenues and increasing subsidies only add to that financial distress. In the meantime, to meet demand and bridge the supply shortfall in coming years, the Egyptian government is trying to import natural gas, a stark turnabout for a country that was a big supplier.  

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –ed.]                                                                

 

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EGYPTIAN FIELD MARSHAL ABD EL-FATTAH EL-SISI: A PROFILE            

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah                         

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 27, 2014

 

When the last war between Egypt and Israel was fought in 1973, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi was almost 19 years old. Four years later, he graduated from the Military Academy and began an astounding career that brought him in 2012, after 35 years of service, to the top position as Commander in Chief of the Egyptian army and Egypt’s Minister of Defense and Military Production.

Sisi was born on November 19, 1954, and grew up in Gamaliya, Cairo’s old Islamic district. Sisi has been very secretive about his childhood and his origins. His official history begins with his graduation from Egypt’s Military Academy on April 1, 1977.1 His military career is a reflection of the strategic decision made by the late Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat to change Egypt’s course from a Soviet-oriented country and become an ally of the United States and the West. Sisi underwent key training in the U.S. and the UK. He attended a basic infantry course in the U.S. and later attended the Joint Command and Staff College at Kimberly in the UK in 1992. He was sent to the U.S. Army War College in 2006. In Egypt, Sisi completed a Bachelor of Military Sciences and then a Master’s degree from the Egyptian Staff and Command College in 1987. He later went to the Nasser Higher Military Academy in 2003.

Sisi’s career began in the mechanized infantry, where he was, successively, commander of  the 509th mechanized infantry battalion, chief-of-staff of the 134th mechanized infantry brigade, commander of the 16th mechanized infantry brigade, and finally chief-of-staff of the 2nd mechanized infantry division, before being nominated to the prestigious positions of chief-of-staff of the northern military zone in 2008 and afterwards as deputy director of the military intelligence and reconnaissance department (2011).

 

As such, Sisi was part of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Field Marshal Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, who ruled Egypt after President Mubarak’s resignation in January 2011 until the elections which were won by the Muslim Brotherhood, the best organized but least qualified party. This led to the election of Muslim Brother Mohammad Morsi as president. Morsi took advantage of a surprise terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula, and replaced the aging Tantawi with Sisi on August 12, 2012, in an unprecedented reshuffle of the military that was meant to signal the takeover of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a whole. Sisi was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General (Fariq Awwal) and also took the post of Minister of Defense and Military Production.

 

Eleven months later, in response to mass demonstrations calling for Morsi’s overthrow that took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo, as well as in other big Egyptian cities such as Alexandria, Suez, and Port-Said, Sisi presented an ultimatum that the demands of the anti-Morsi demonstrators be met by July 3, 2013. Morsi’s refusal to deal with the issue led to his replacement by a transitional government headed by Hazem el-Beblawi and an interim president, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mansour el-Adly. Sisi became the strong man, keeping his previous positions as head of the armed forces and Minister of Defense and Military Production. On January 27, 2014, Sisi was promoted to the highest rank in the Egyptian army – Field Marshal (Mushir in Arabic) – on the same day in which the Arab press leaked that Sisi had finally decided to run for the office of President of Egypt in the elections to be held in 2014.

 

Sisi enjoys unprecedented popularity in Egypt. He is viewed as a superhero who saved Egypt from anarchy, civil war, and the despotism of the Muslim Brotherhood. Between TV commercials used to advertise food products, groups on social networking sites, and posters in the street, Egypt has been witnessing “Sisi fever.” Talk shows and newspaper columns have been advocating the idea of the general running for president in order to fight the terrorist threat that they say the country is facing. Local media are also buzzing about the widespread support for a Sisi presidency.

 

In fact, Sisi has no real competitor. Most of the other potential candidates – Amr Moussa, Ahmad Shafik, Hamdeen Sabahi, Abd el Muneim Aboul Foutouh – have declared that if Sisi would run for president, they would retract their candidacies. Recently, a number of campaigns have been launched calling on the general to run for president. The campaigns are called “Complete Your Favor,” “A Nation’s Demand,” and “Al-Sisi for President.” Their aim is to circulate petitions with the hope that 30 million signatures will convince Sisi to run, just as millions of signatures convinced him to act against Morsi. However, now that he will probably be Egypt’s next president, the question remains: Who in fact is Sisi?…                                         

[To Read the Full Article, with Footnotes, Click the Following Link –ed.]                                     

                                                                          

The Big Boycott Bluff: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 13, 2014 —Isolation. Delegitimization. Economic squeeze. Boycott. Boycott. Boycott. Did someone say “boycott”?

The Bottom Line on Israeli Apartheid Week: Canadian Jewish News, Mar. 4, 2014—Israeli Apartheid Week is marking its 10-year anniversary this week across Canada, and as IAW organizers and supporters look back on their movement’s first decade, there’s no doubt it has fundamentally shifted the Israel conversation on campuses across this country and the world.

Timeline of Turmoil in Egypt After Mubarak and Morsi: New York Times, Jan. 27, 2014 —More than two years after the Egyptian uprising that ushered in Mohamed Morsi as the country’s first elected leader, he was deposed by the military. Explore key moments of his rule and the aftermath.
Egypt to Revoke Citizenship of Nearly 14,000 Palestinians Affiliated With Hamas: Ariel Ben Solomon

, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2014 —Egyptian security services began investigating Palestinians in order to revoke their Egyptian citizenship that was granted during the reign of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Disbelief After Egypt Announces Cures For Aids and Hepatitis C: Kareem Fahim & Mayy El Sheikh

, New York Times, Feb. 26, 2014 —At a news conference late last week, an Egyptian Army doctor confidently announced that the country’s military had developed a cure for the virus that causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis C, one of Egypt’s gravest public health threats.

 

 

 

 

 

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THE (ON-GOING) DECLINE OF U.S. “HIGHER” EDUCATION — AND, ONCE AGAIN, CANADA MAY BE LEADING THE REVERSAL

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 The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic WorldDavid Feith, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 5, 2013—It sounds like the setup for a bad joke: What did the Wall Street type say to the college president on the golf course? Well, we don't know exactly—but it has launched a saga with weighty implications for American intellectual and civic life.

 
This is Columbia UniversityDavid Horowitz, National Review, April 2, 2013—Our educational system from kindergarten to the university level, which has long been under the academic thumb of a Left that is comfortable supporting Islamic supremacists and anti-American terrorists both at home and abroad.

Manitoba Student Union Defunds Anti-Israel GroupCanadian Jewish News, Apr. 15, 2013—The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) voted to strip funding and official club status from an anti-Israel group on campus last week.

The Moral Challenge of Divestment Comes to UCSDShlomo Dubnov and Asaf Romirowsky, Times of Israel, Mar. 20, 2013—Last week the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Associated Student Council passed an amended version of a resolution for divesture from companies dealing with the State of Israel, voting 20-12-1 in favor of divesting.
 

On Topic Links

 
Exposing Florida Atlantic U.: Anti-Semitism & Anti-Israel ExtremismAlan Bergstein, You Tube, Mar 7, 2013 (video)
‘Israel Lobby’ Threatening Free Speech at Berkeley?Lee Kaplan, Front Page News, Mar. 29, 2013
'Book Robbery' Hijacks HistoryAsaf Romirowsky, Ynet News, Apr. 7, 2013
Pro-Gay & Anti-Israel? ‘Pinkwashing’ to the RescueCinnamon Stillwell  & Reut R. Cohen, Front Page News, Mar. 25, 2013
 
 

THE GOLF SHOT HEARD ROUND THE ACADEMIC WORLD
David Feith

Wall Street Journal, Apr. 5, 2013
 

It sounds like the setup for a bad joke: What did the Wall Street type say to the college president on the golf course? Well, we don't know exactly—but it has launched a saga with weighty implications for American intellectual and civic life.
 
Here's what we do know: One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially "diversity"—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin's freshman class. That's where the dispute begins.
 
In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer's announcement: "I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons," said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills's telling. During Mr. Mills's next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin's "misplaced and misguided diversity efforts." At the end of the round, the college president told the students, "I walked off the course in despair."
 
Word of the speech soon got to Mr. Klingenstein. Even though he hadn't been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: "He didn't like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow."
 
The real story, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, was that "I explained my disapproval of 'diversity' as it generally has been implemented on college campuses: too much celebration of racial and ethnic difference," coupled with "not enough celebration of our common American identity."
 
For this, wrote Mr. Klingenstein, Bowdoin's president insinuated that he was a racist. And President Mills did so, moreover, in an address that purported to stress the need for respecting the opinions of others across the political spectrum. "We are, in the main, a place of liberal political persuasion," he told the students, but "we must be willing to entertain diverse perspectives throughout our community. . . . Diversity of ideas at all levels of the college is crucial for our credibility and for our educational mission." Wrote Mr. Klingenstein: "Would it be uncharitable to suggest that, in a speech calling for more sensitivity to conservative views, he might have shown some?"
 
After the essay appeared, President Mills stood by his version of events. A few months later, Mr. Klingenstein decided to do something surprising: He commissioned researchers to examine Bowdoin's commitment to intellectual diversity, rigorous academics and civic identity. This week, some 18 months and hundreds of pages of documentation later, the project is complete. Its picture of Bowdoin isn't pretty.
 
Funded by Mr. Klingenstein, researchers from the National Association of Scholars studied speeches by Bowdoin presidents and deans, formal statements of the college's principles, official faculty reports and notes of faculty meetings, academic course lists and syllabi, books and articles by professors, the archive of the Bowdoin Orient newspaper and more. They analyzed the school's history back to its founding in 1794, focusing on the past 45 years—during which, they argue, Bowdoin's character changed dramatically for the worse.
 
Published Wednesday, the report demonstrates how Bowdoin has become an intellectual monoculture dedicated above all to identity politics. The school's ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There's the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There's the dedication to "sustainability," or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to "global citizenship," or loving all countries except one's own.
 
The Klingenstein report nicely captures the illiberal or fallacious aspects of this campus doctrine, but the paper's true contribution is in recording some of its absurd manifestations at Bowdoin. For example, the college has "no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation." Even history majors aren't required to take a single course in American history. In the History Department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history—the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.
 
One of the few requirements is that Bowdoin students take a yearlong freshman seminar. Some of the 37 seminars offered this year: "Affirmative Action and U.S. Society," "Fictions of Freedom," "Racism," "Queer Gardens" (which "examines the work of gay and lesbian gardeners and traces how marginal identities find expression in specific garden spaces"), "Sexual Life of Colonialism" and "Modern Western Prostitutes."
 
Regarding Bowdoin professors, the report estimates that "four or five out of approximately 182 full-time faculty members might be described as politically conservative." In the 2012 election cycle, 100% of faculty donations went to President Obama. Not that any of this matters if you have ever asked around the faculty lounge.
 
"A political imbalance [among faculty] was no more significant than having an imbalance between Red Sox and Yankee fans," sniffed Henry C.W. Laurence, a Bowdoin professor of government, in 2004. He added that the suggestion that liberal professors cannot fairly reflect conservative views in classroom discussions is "intellectually bankrupt, professionally insulting and, fortunately, wildly inaccurate."…
 
In publishing these and other gems, Mr. Klingenstein and the National Association of Scholars hope to encourage alumni and trustees to push aggressively for reforms. They don't call for the kind of conservative affirmative action seen at the University of Colorado, which recently created a visiting professorship exclusively for right-wingers. Rather, Mr. Klingenstein and the NAS want schools nationwide to stop "silent discrimination against conservatives." Good luck.
 
In case you're wondering, Bowdoin's official statement on this week's report amounted to little more than a shrug. A serious response would begin with inviting Mr. Klingenstein to campus for a public debate with President Mills. No golf clubs allowed.

 
Mr. Feith is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal.
 

 
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THIS IS COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
David Horowitz

National Review, April 2, 2013
 

People who ask how it is possible that a convicted killer — a participant in a failed plot to blow up a social dance attended by 18-year-old draftees and their dates; a murderess who abetted the cold-blooded massacre of three law-enforcement officers, including the first African-American on the Nyack police force; a woman whose actions left nine children fatherless and who has shown no genuine remorse for that — should be hired as an adjunct professor at an elite school like Columbia University haven’t been paying attention to what’s happened to our educational system from kindergarten to the university level, which has long been under the academic thumb of a Left that is comfortable supporting Islamic supremacists and anti-American terrorists both at home and abroad….
 
The prestige of Columbia derives from its scientific and professional divisions (Social Work and Education excepted), in which traditional standards drawn from the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution and including two sides to controversial questions are still observed. Over the past several decades, the liberal-arts divisions and the aforementioned professional schools have reverted to their religious origins, except that the doctrines being rammed down students’ throats without the benefit of opposing views are Marxist rather than Christian.
 
Conservatives have been lame in opposing this ominous development. They have abdicated responsibility at the trustee level, they have had little or nothing to say about it at the policy level, and they have been inattentive to it at the political level, despite the fact that 85 percent of college students attend state universities whose curricula and liberal-arts faculties are as monolithic, intellectually deficient, and politically perverse as Columbia’s.
 
For example, a course at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is described in the official catalogue in these exact words: “The goal of this seminar is to learn how to organize a revolution.” The course description goes on to explain that this would be an anti-capitalist revolution. Kathy Boudin would feel right at home there. In fact, her colleagues Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who organized the terrorist Weather Underground in which Kathy Boudin was a soldier, were not adjunct faculty members like Boudin but full-fledged professors (at Northwestern and the University of Illinois). Ayers, a Columbia graduate, is an iconic figure at Columbia’s Teachers College (a third professional school at Columbia that is an ongoing disgrace) and has edited its series of classroom guides on how to use subjects like Mathematics to teach “social justice” — which, as Ayers understands and articulates it, is indistinguishable from the principles of the Communist gulags that the Cold War disposed of.
 
But of course it is terribly outré to mention all this, and those of us who do are marginalized not only by the academic profession but by the editorial supporters of political bomb throwers at institutions that function as the arbiters of the intellectual culture — such as the New York Times, which played an active role in securing Boudin’s undeserved release from a federal prison. These are sad times for our country, and the hour is late.

 

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MANITOBA STUDENT UNION DEFUNDS ANTI-ISRAEL GROUP
Canadian Jewish News, Apr. 15, 2013

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) voted to strip funding and official club status from an anti-Israel group on campus last week. The move came a day after the University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU), which represents both graduate and undergraduate students, repealed its support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, 14 months after becoming the first university student union in Canada to endorse it.

 

The UMSU vote on April 11 went against legal advice and bucked the trend among other student councils at other universities across the country, which in recent months have voted to divest from Israel, most recently at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus earlier this month. The UMSU motion, which passed by a vote of 19 to 15, prohibits Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) from receiving funding from the student union or using student union facilities for club activities.

The resolution references the Manitoba Human Rights Code and accuses the club of “discrimination” and “harassment.” Prior to the vote, the undergraduate student union’s attorney issued an opinion reading, in part, that “the actions of SAIA were well within the grounds of legally protected and acceptable political discourse.” The legal opinion warned that barring the group could expose the student union to legal liability, the National Post reported.
 

SAIA has branches on most major campuses in the country and organizes the annual Israeli Apartheid Week. Supporters of SAIA have said they’ll fight the decision. “We are shocked that UMSU would ban Students Against Israeli Apartheid without any evidence or basis for the accusations brought forward in the motion,” spokesperson Liz Carlyle said in a statement released by the Winnipeg Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid.
 

Judy Zelikovitz, vice-president of university and local partner services for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, commended and congratulated the local student activists who led the initiative in Winnipeg. B’nai B’rith Canada hailed the vote as “precedent setting” and called on other universities to follow suit.
 

Not all Canadian backers of Israel supported the move. Ezra Levant, a conservative television commentator and outspoken supporter of Israel, condemned SAIA, but warned that the vote set a dangerous censorship precedent on campuses and made the anti-Israel group look like the victim. However, Zelikovitz said the resolution does not harm free speech on campus. “It in no way infringes the right of students to organize or voice their opinions in open spaces on campus. Rather, the motion ensures that student union fees and resources are not misused to promote divisive and discriminatory agendas,” she said in a statement to The CJN.

The resolution barring SAIA was the brainchild of student council member Josh Morry, who said SAIA’s events were making Jewish students feel uncomfortable, although there haven’t been any incidents of violence during its five-year run on campus. “I didn’t have to prove that Israeli Apartheid Week has actually incited hatred, but that it is likely to undermine the dignity or self-esteem of students on campus who are Zionists,” Morry told the Winnipeg Jewish Review.
 

The University of Manitoba has approximately 28,000 students, and Avi Posen, director of Hillel Winnipeg, said the number of Jewish students is “in the hundreds.” The UMSU decision comes after several student unions across the country endorsed the boycott movement against Israel recently, including at York University and U of T’s Scarborough and Mississauga campuses.
 

Meanwhile, the University of Regina Students’ Union repealed its endorsement of the BDS movement at a general meeting of the group on April 10. Although there was no official vote count, Sean Wilson, a student representative who spearheaded the campaign, estimated about 130 people voted to withdraw support of the motion, while around 70 voted against the idea.
 

“I knew that when people were faced with what [BDS] actually was, they’d vote in favour of repealing it,” Wilson said. “The fact of the matter is, us adopting BDS doesn't change anything overseas but it makes our Jewish students feel extremely uncomfortable and alienated.”

 

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THE MORAL CHALLENGE OF DIVESTMENT COMES TO UCSD
Shlomo Dubnov and Asaf Romirowsky

Times of Israel, Mar. 20, 2013

 
Last week the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Associated Student Council passed an amended version of a resolution for divesture from companies dealing with the State of Israel, voting 20-12-1 in favor of divesting. To date, UCSD is the most prestigious school to pass a divestment resolution, as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign being propagated across North America and Europe. This resolution marks three out of the ten universities in the California system that have introduced and voted on similar resolutions. It is anticipated that the Student Council of UC Santa Barbara will be voting on a similar resolution soon.
 
The UCSD students, in formulating their resolution, relied on the distortions of the BDS campaign in general: namely, a false characterization of Israel as a rogue human rights violator, the portrayal of the Jewish citizens of Israel as “colonial occupiers,” and the positioning of Arabs as indigenous residents of the land.

The students supporting the BDS movement have challenged the pro-Israel community as they have promoted the false notion that they are open to actual dialogue and debate that would promote equitable and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; in reality, their motives are much more sinister. Rather than being interested in the “social justice” and “human rights” to which they so regularly give lip service, their actual intention is to weaken and destroy Israel, not to make it a partner in peace. As a result, the American Jewish community at large, many of whom embrace the “big tent” approach, still hold on to the desire to accept everyone’s views and self-affirmation in the name of being open and pluralistic.

Since Israel’s very existence is positioned by BDS proponents as antithetical to peace, and an obstacle to social justice for the Palestinians, many on campus are conflicted about fervently supporting the Jewish state. To avoid such dilemma, the strategy of some organizations that support Jewish students is to focus on internal campus life issues, such as Jews being offended if the divestment passes. These arguments are not strong enough in the battle against BDS.

But not all supporters of Israel fall into that moral trap. For instance, some faculty at UCSD, spear-headed by members of its SPME chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), were able to come together and issue a strong statement opposing the divestment initiative, stating that ”the most troubling aspect of the resolution is its characterization of Jewish citizens of Israel as ‘colonial occupiers’ while Arabs are described as indigenous to the land. In so doing, the resolution denies the profound emotional, cultural, and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, a connection that spans 3000 years. This is a deplorable attempt to delegitimize an ancient people’s ethnic identity. Rather than advancing the prospect of reconciliation between Arabs and Jews, such claims regress to the very attitude that has been at the heart of the conflict and prevented a peaceful resolution thus far.”
 
So while the UCSD faculty understood the danger of BDS, the rest of the Jewish community – both on the UCSD campus and at large – lost the battle before it even came to a vote because of a lack of unified strategy and a common ideology. SPME commends the student groups for toning down some of the amoral language of the BDS bill yet it was clearly not enough. Consequently, these grassroots efforts led Associated Students President Meggie Le to express objection to the divestment resolution, but to no avail. Unfortunately, the BDS movement continues to gain momentum as it uses academic freedom to intimidate those who would speak up and question its true intentions.

It is critical to understand that the BDS campaign is contrary to peace, representing a form of misguided economic warfare. The movement is in direct opposition to decades of agreements between Arabs and Israelis, in which both sides pledged to negotiate a peaceful settlement and commitment to a two-state solution, even while only Israel has repeatedly made concessions for peace. There is no doubt that what we saw at UCSD is only part of a larger campaign to isolate Israel and silence its supporters. Until we internalize that the actions of those supporting the BDS campaign are, as former Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers observed, “anti-Semitic in their effect if not in their intent,” we will be losing more ground in this uphill battle.
 
As such, SPME would welcome the opportunity to help students navigate through the matrix of the university governing bodies as we work together, faculty, community and students, to combat BDS more effectively and strategically.

Shlomo Dubnov is a professor of music at UCSD and an SPME board member. Asaf Romirowsky is the acting executive director for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME)
 


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Exposing Florida Atlantic University: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israel Extremism: Alan Bergstein, You Tube, Mar 7, 2013
A university in Boca Raton, Florida tolerates the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activities of a radical hate group.

 

‘Israel Lobby’ Threatening Free Speech at Berkeley?: Lee Kaplan, Front Page News, Mar. 29, 2013—The title of a recent panel discussion at the University of California, Berkeley was ominous: “SHHHH! Don’t Talk About Palestine: Chuck Hagel, Judith Butler, and the Israel Lobby’s Threat to Free Speech on Our Campus.”

 

'Book Robbery' Hijacks History: Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet News, Apr. 7, 2013—'The Great Book Robbery' (watch here), a documentary that recently screened on a number of US college campuses, is the latest attempt by anti-Israel groups to rewrite and recast the historical events of 1948.

 

Pro-Gay and Anti-Israel? ‘Pinkwashing’ to the Rescue:Cinnamon Stillwell and Reut R. Cohen, Front Page News, March 25, 2013—What’s a pro-gay, anti-Israel activist to do when faced with the fact that the Jewish state is the only nation in the Middle East in which not only is it illegal to discriminate against homosexuality, but where homosexuality is celebrated with an annual gay pride parade? 

 

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