U of W Students Pass Controversial Referendum to Boycott Israel: Rebecca Wright , Windsor Star, Mar. 2, 2014— Passage of a controversial University of Windsor student referendum to boycott Israel has sparked safety concerns for some Jewish students on campus, as well as complaints that have prompted an investigation of the vote by the school’s administration.
‘Israeli Apartheid’ – the New Form of Anti-Semitism: John M. Duffy, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2014— The Afrikaans word “apartheid” means “the state of being apart.”
Secretary ScarJo: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2014 — Last month the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic blew himself up as he tried to open an old booby-trapped embassy safe.
The Boycott Mirage: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, Feb. 6, 2014 — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening Israel with economic embargoes unless Jerusalem agrees to an American-drafted framework agreement with the Palestinians.
On Topic Links
Wildeman to UWSA: Hold Back on Israel Boycott: Dalson Chen, Windsor Star, Mar. 4, 2014
Terrorists Among Guests of Israeli Apartheid Week on Campuses: Joanne Hill, Jewish Tribune, Mar. 4, 2014
Antisemitic Event At SFSU Tomorrow – Simon Wiesenthal Center, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, StandWithUs, ZOA West and AMCHA Initiative Highly Concerned: March 5, 2014
France and the BDS Movement: Michael Curtis, American Thinker, Feb. 23, 2014
U OF W STUDENTS PASS CONTROVERSIAL
REFERENDUM TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL
Windsor Star, Mar. 2, 2014
Passage of a controversial University of Windsor student referendum to boycott Israel has sparked safety concerns for some Jewish students on campus, as well as complaints that have prompted an investigation of the vote by the school’s administration. “I think the referendum will just lead to a more hostile environment on campus,” said David, a Jewish University of Windsor student who only wanted to give his first name for safety reasons. The referendum asked students whether to support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a campaign aimed at creating economic sanctions against Israel and boycotting companies, products, academic institutions and any other group with ties to the Israeli state.
Rob Crawford, University of Windsor Students’ Alliance president, said 798 students voted in favour of the referendum and 585 students voted against it. The university has about 14,000 undergraduate students. Crawford said Saturday he didn’t want to comment on the controversial issue. “I need to wrap my head around everything,” said Crawford after the votes were tallied. He wasn’t available for comment Sunday.
David, 28, said the referendum’s passage means Jewish students on campus “better just keep low” because they can’t safely express their political views. “Unfortunately, the University of Windsor is not a safe place for Jewish students anymore,” said David. “I don’t think I am in immediate physical danger, but it’s just not an easy environment to be a Jew on campus, especially when you are a vocal supporter of Israel.”
The issue landed on a referendum ballot at the university after the student Palestinian Solidarity Group called for it in November. Mohammed Almoayad, president of group, said the University of Windsor has made history by passing the referendum. “Most other students unions that have passed it have been just through their council student representatives, and they get criticized for not being open and democratic and not allowing students themselves to say what they think about such a contentious issue,” Almoayad said Saturday…
David said there were students who were afraid to vote No to the referendum after an incident on campus Thursday that police described as a hate crime. Jake De Jong, vice-president of academic affairs for the student alliance, arrived at his office Thursday – the morning students were to begin voting in a referendum – to find it turned inside out. On a Support Our Troops flag hanging in his office, someone also spray painted the Star of David and the word Zionist. The act has received condemnation from Windsor police and the Windsor Jewish Community Centre.
University president Alan Wildeman released a statement about the referendum on Facebook Sunday. “We are receiving complaints that are raising questions about the referendum process,” said Wildeman. He said a full investigation is being launched to look into the complaints. “We’ve had a lot of concerns about the process and what the implications of the outcome of it might mean and we’re just going to look into those right now,” Wildeman told The Star Sunday evening. “Until such time that we’ve had a chance to really do an investigation, I’m not going to disclose any details.” Wildeman said the process going forward is for the UWSA council to discuss the outcome of the referendum. “And I don’t know exactly what the nature of that conversation will be,” said Wildeman. Wildeman said after “a lot of complaints” were expressed, he released the statement to let the community know the university is taking the complaints seriously. “The University of Windsor will be uncompromising in its commitment to continue to be a place that is welcoming and safe for all students,” Wildeman said in his statement. “The university will not tolerate any practices, by any member or group of its community, that target specific individuals or entities on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, religion, or any other personal characteristic.”
Leading up to the vote, David, who is a member of VOTE NO to BDS at UWindsor – a student group that campaigned against the boycott – said it was difficult for opponents to get their point across to students because their campaigning kept getting disrupted. “Any poster we put up, five minutes later it was gone,” said David. David said the vote was close and since it was 57 per cent of students who voted in favour of the boycott and 42 per cent who voted against, there was not that much more support for the boycott… David said he planned to stay in Windsor to do his masters degree but has now reconsidered.
“I don’t want to be part of a university that endorses such a campaign and creates a hostile environment,” said David. “With this BDS campaign, you don’t feel safe if you have a kippah or even a T-shirt with Hebrew letters on it. Jewish students do not feel safe here anymore and we have to watch our backs when we walk around our campus.” Wildeman said further details about complaints about the referendum will be made public as the investigation unfolds.
‘ISRAELI APARTHEID’ – THE NEW FORM OF ANTI-SEMITISM
John M. Duffy
Jerusalem Post, Feb. 26, 2014
The Afrikaans word “apartheid” means “the state of being apart.”…Apartheid was a system of racial segregation, through legislation, by the National Party of South Africa between 1948-1994. Under this system of governing, political representation for non-whites in South Africa ceased in 1970. Furthermore, in that same year, non-whites were denied citizenship. This racist policy forced the majority of non-white people to live in, and become members of, 10 tribally-based bantustans, or “homelands.” The white-led minority, represented by the National Party, also segregated education, medical care, beaches and other public services. The native black people were considered inferior to the whites, and were exploited due to this inhuman policy.
Those who call Israel an “apartheid state” are morally, factually and historically inaccurate. Their mission is to delegitimize Israel. As a man of faith, I believe that the West Bank of the Jordan River (and frankly, much further east) is the land promised to the Chosen People according to the Bible. Yet, for the sake of argument, let us say that the West Bank is not part of the sovereign state of Israel, and is governed by the elected Palestinian Authority and/or Hamas. In this case, Israel’s policies cannot be compared to the racist internal policies of Apartheid South Africa. And for those Palestinians that are citizens of Israel, Israeli law guarantees equal rights, without distinction of race, creed or gender.
Proponents of so-called Israeli apartheid would attempt to counter by saying that the West Bank is, ultimately, Israeli-controlled. They would also say that Palestinians are scrutinized at military checkpoints, and would bring up the ID system, separate highways, the West Bank security barrier and other apparent forms of oppression. I do not deny that these exist. I do deny, though, that their root cause is racism, as was the situation in South Africa. The vast size and vigilance of the security forces in Israel is an exceptional financial burden on the economy – yet must exist for Israel’s very survival as a nation. Countless acts of terrorism have been perpetrated within Israel by bloodthirsty and brainwashed individuals who hide within crowds, and in hospitals and schools.
The Arab people must understand that the real reason they suffer these inconveniences – and, yes, at times, embarrassment – is that other Arabs carry out terror attacks that make them necessary. For these reasons, it is a sad – but sobering – fact that Israeli security forces are suspicious of the non-Jewish population. The separation of two groups in this case is not due to apartheid racism, but terrorism.
Finally, the citizens of North America shouldn’t throw stones when it comes to the question of occupation, segregation and racism, as our history reveals that we live in the proverbial glass house. We know that much of the continental United States was acquired through conquest – especially against the First Nations People. Indians, here, are still treated as second- class citizens (who live on segregated “Reservations”). We should, as a society, address very real racism at home before directing ignorant and uneducated comments toward Israel. In closing, I must add that Israelis give the best (and free) medical care in the entire Arab world to the Palestinian people. Friends, let us apply these truths to all accusers of Israel.
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 10, 2014
Last month the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic blew himself up as he tried to open an old booby-trapped embassy safe. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered a cache of unregistered weapons in violation of international law. Surprise. Then the real shocker: After prevaricating for a couple of weeks, the Palestinian government apologized to the Czechs and promised, according to news accounts, "to take measures to prevent such incidents in the future."
As far as I know, this is only the second time the Palestinians have officially apologized for anything, ever. The first time, in 1999, Yasser Arafat's wife, Suha, accused Israel of poisoning Palestinian children. Hillary Clinton was there. Palestinian officialdom mumbled its regrets. In other words, no apology for the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. No apology for the 1973 murder of Cleo Noel, the U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and his deputy, George Moore. No apology for the 1974 massacre of 25 Israelis, including 22 schoolchildren, in Ma'alot. No apology for the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, where 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were killed.
And so on and on—straight to the present. In December, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas posthumously bestowed the "Star of Honor" on Abu Jihad, the mastermind of the Coastal Road attack, as "the model of a true fighter and devoted leader." Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian woman who led the attack itself, had a square named after her in 2011. In August, Mr. Abbas gave a hero's welcome to Palestinian murderers released from Israeli jails as a goodwill gesture. And Yasser Arafat, who personally ordered the killing of Noel and Moore, is the Palestinian patron saint.
I mention all this as background to two related recent debates. Late last month Scarlett Johansson resigned her role as an Oxfam "Global Ambassador" after the antipoverty group condemned the actress for becoming a pitchwoman for the Israeli company SodaStream. Oxfam wants to boycott Israeli goods made—as SodaStream's are—inside the West Bank; Ms. Johansson disagrees, citing "a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement." The second debate followed rambling comments on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from John Kerry at this month's Munich Security Conference. Israel, he warned, faced a parade of horribles if talks failed. "For Israel there's an increasing delegitimization campaign that's been building up," he said. "People are very sensitive to it. There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things." So here is the secretary of state talking about the effort to boycott Israel not as an affront to the United States and an outrage to decency but as a tide he is powerless to stop and that anyway should get Israel to change its stiff-necked ways. A Secretary of State Johansson would have shown more courage and presence of mind than that.
But Mr. Kerry's failure goes deeper. How is it that Mr. Abbas's glorification of terrorists living and dead earns no rebuke from Mr. Kerry, nor apparently any doubts about the sincerity of Palestinian intentions? Why is it that only Israel faces the prospect of a boycott? When was the last time the U.S., much less the Europeans, threatened to impose penalties on Palestinians for diplomatic or moral misbehavior? In 2011 the Palestinians defied the U.S. by making a bid for statehood at the U.N.; then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice warned there would be "adverse negative consequences" for the Palestinians. Of course there were none, and the administration fought behind the scenes to make sure there wouldn't be any. Type the words "Kerry condemns Abbas" or "Kerry condemns Palestinians" into a Web search and you'll get that rare Google event: "No results found."
No wonder one Israeli government minister after another has taken to calling the secretary "insufferable," "messianic" and "obsessive"—and that's just what they say in public. The State Department has reacted indignantly to these gibes, but this is coming from the administration that likes to speak of the virtues of candor between friends. Its idea of candor is all one-way and all one-sided.
This is a bad basis for peace. If one expects nothing of Palestinians then they will be forgiven for everything. If one expects everything of Israel then it will be forgiven for nothing, putting the country to a perpetual moral test it will always somehow fail and that can only energize the boycott enthusiasts. It all but goes without saying that the ultimate objective of the BDS movement isn't to "end the occupation" but to end the Jewish state. Anyone who joins that movement, or flirts with it, is furthering the objective, wittingly or not. One useful function of an American diplomat is to warn a group like Oxfam that it is playing with moral fire. Instead, the job was left to Ms. Johansson. How wonderfully commendable. "One gorgeous actress with courage makes a majority," said Andrew Jackson—or something like that. We could do worse with such a person at State.
THE BOYCOTT MIRAGE
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Israel Hayom, Feb. 6, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening Israel with economic embargoes unless Jerusalem agrees to an American-drafted framework agreement with the Palestinians. While the merits of the current American diplomatic initiative are debatable, raising the possibility of a global refraining from economic interactions with Israel only feeds the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign waged by Israel's enemies. Such a scenario, however, is very remote.
So far, BDS has not achieved much success; it constitutes a bearable nuisance. With the exception of isolated cases, Israeli exports are well received all over the world, particularly if they are competitive in quality and price. Due to wise economic policies gradually distancing Israel from its socialist past, the Jewish state has adapted well to a globalized economy. Israel has found ways to penetrate important markets and Israeli products are imported even by Arab states. Moreover, some Israeli-made products have unique qualities which make them indispensable. Israeli high-tech components have become part of the standard equipment of many global brands. Most Israeli businessmen hardly meet obstacles that are connected to political animosity toward Israel.
Numerous past failures of American diplomacy to bring peace in the Middle East have not created long-term adverse conditions for Israel, even if Israel was partly blamed for the lack of American success. Typical American optimism will eventually produce additional attempts at mediation. The linkage between American diplomatic efforts and the fate of Israeli economy is tenuous at best. The Israeli economy has experienced remarkable growth in the last two decades, mostly the result of the liberalization of its economy rather than auspicious political circumstances. Moreover, a survey of the international scene also indicates that the BDS impact is unlikely to change.
The U.S. is the number one export country for Israel. Attempts to boycott Israeli products are unlikely to be successful in America. The American public support for Israel has remained stable for the past two decades at over 60 percent. A variety of legislative steps have already been adopted to prevent a boycott of Israeli products or institutions. Even the current administration, which has been more than once at loggerheads with Israel on Middle East issues, firmly states its opposition to BDS.
Several Western European states, prime recipients of Israel's exports, are indeed displaying a growing anti-Israel bias, despite good bilateral relations. Many Europeans have lost the shame of being anti-Semitic as the Holocaust memories fade away. Therefore, boycotts of Israeli products are conceivable. Yet, as the euro crisis lingers, the purchase power of European countries is in decline. Its aging population is another factor in the decline of the Old Continent. Nevertheless, even in Europe there are strong pockets of pro-Israeli sentiments. The EU itself has announced that it has no plans whatsoever to boycott the Israeli economy. Israeli products originating beyond the Green Line are a different story, but only a small part of the Israeli economic activity is taking place in the settlements.
Israeli exports are gradually, albeit too slowly, being redirected to Asian markets. The future is in Asia. The large Chinese and Indian economies are growing fast, as are those known as the "Asian Tigers." The Asians are business-like and do not carry anti-Semitic historic baggage. Moreover, Israel is generally viewed in Asia as a successful country and a model to be emulated. This is true even in Central Asian states whose populations are largely Muslim.
At the same time, the political clout of the Arab world that is considered a natural ally of the Palestinians is decreasing. The Arab world is in the midst of a deep political and socio-economic crisis, full of failed states such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Egypt, the most important Arab state, faces tremendous domestic challenges and is allied with Israel against Islamic radicalism. Saudi Arabia is more concerned with the rise of Iran than the Palestinian issue, as is most of the Sunni world. Finally, the growing energy independence of the U.S. diminishes Arab leverage. Israel has overcome the boycott of the relatively stronger Arab world, and the BDS movement's attempts to harm the Israeli economy are unlikely to produce a different outcome.
Indeed, it takes a lot of imagination to see a concerted international effort to boycott the Jewish state. If Israel continues to make products with a clear qualitative edge at competitive prices, there will be many to buy them.
Kerry is simply echoing the arguments of the Israeli Left, which claims that an agreement with the Palestinians is the only way to escape international isolation. Moreover, irresponsible elements of the Israeli Left are asking for foreign pressure on Israel, realizing that they have no chance to change Israeli policies by the ballot box. The electoral decline of the Israeli Left makes it more desperate and less democratic when reaching the conclusion that "Israel has to be saved from itself" by the international community. Fortunately, Israel is not internationally isolated and most of the world does not care enough about the Palestinians to sacrifice the benefits of good bilateral relations with Israel. Israel has the leeway to decide what is good for itself.
Wildeman to UWSA: Hold Back on Israel Boycott: Dalson Chen, Windsor Star, Mar. 4, 2014 —University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman has asked the university’s student association to delay its controversial endorsement of an Israel boycott.
Terrorists Among Guests of Israeli Apartheid Week on Campuses: Joanne Hill, Jewish Tribune, Mar. 4, 2014 —Don’t be deceived by the relative quiet surrounding Israeli Apartheid Week: this year, events on Canadian campuses will include terrorists and their supporters, among others.
Antisemitic Event At SFSU Tomorrow – Simon Wiesenthal Center, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, StandWithUs, ZOA West and AMCHA Initiative Highly Concerned: March 5, 2014 —Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Institute sent me the following message this afternoon concerning tomorrow's anti-Zionist anti-Semitic hate-fest at San Francisco State University…
France and the BDS Movement: Michael Curtis, American Thinker, Feb. 23, 2014 —Over the last year, France has displayed courage and initiative in dealing with the threat of Islamic fundamentalism in African countries.