Jonathan Pollard, Jewish-American Spy for Israel, Going Free After 30 Years: Mitch Ginsburg, Times of Israel, Nov. 20, 2015 — Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American-Jewish spy for Israel whose conviction on charges of espionage shaded the relations between the two countries and raised, yet again, the ancient allegation of Jewish dual loyalty, was finally to be freed on parole Friday after 30 years.
War: Thinking the Unthinkable: Bernard-Henri Lévy, Huffington Post, Nov. 18, 2015 — So it's war. A new kind of war.
The Rise of the College Crybullies: Roger Kimball, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13, 2015 — For more than a week now, the country has been mesmerized, and appalled, by the news emanating from academia.
A Crisis Our Universities Deserve: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015— Between the 19th century and the 1950s, the American university was gradually transformed from an institution intended to transmit knowledge into an institution designed to serve technocracy.
The World is at War: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2015
Pollard’s Tragedy of Errors: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2015
University Administrators and Real Professors Should Take Note: Every Brain Needs a Spine: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 14, 2015
Columbia Protesters Cheer: 'I Love Black Criminals': Aaron Short, New York Post, Nov. 15, 2015
Times of Israel, Nov. 20, 2015
Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American-Jewish spy for Israel whose conviction on charges of espionage shaded the relations between the two countries and raised, yet again, the ancient allegation of Jewish dual loyalty, was finally to be freed on parole Friday after 30 years.
Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy, spied for Israel for the span of 18 months. His capture and his subsequent treatment — by Israel, which threw him out of its Washington embassy and into the arms of waiting FBI agents, and by the United States, which agreed to a plea bargain and then sentenced him with uncommon severity — left him deeply embittered.
He was caught in November 1985 and given a life sentence two years later. There was no trial. Pollard, abiding by the prosecution’s terms, cooperated with FBI investigators and pleaded guilty to one count of espionage, conspiring to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. The prosecution honored its commitment and requested a “substantial” prison term rather than life behind bars. Judge Aubrey Robinson Jr., not bound by the prosecution’s plea bargain and apparently swayed by secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger’s damage-assessment brief, nonetheless sentenced Pollard to life. The content of Weinberger’s memo remains classified until today.
For the first 11 years of his incarceration, Israel refused to acknowledge that Pollard had operated as an authorized spy. He was not granted Israeli citizenship until November 1995. Nor was he much of a cause célèbre. Two notable backers of clemency were Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale, New York, and Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, both of whom advocated for his release during the early nineties. At that time the vast majority of Jewish leaders in the US sought to distance themselves from the case, which, like the trial and execution of Jules and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953, was seen as corrosively toxic to the achievements of American Jewry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first Israeli leader since Pollard’s capture who presumably had no involvement in, or knowledge of, the case in real time, requested a presidential pardon from Bill Clinton in October 1998. Only Pollard’s release, he contended, would allow him to sign the second stage of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians at Wye River, Maryland. CIA Director George Tenet, also present at Wye River, served Clinton with an ultimatum: he would quit if the president acquiesced.
Subsequently, a growing list of American leaders, Jewish and otherwise, called for Pollard’s release. The US assistant secretary of defense at the time of his capture, Lawrence Korb, said in 2010 that “an injustice was done to Pollard” and that he should be released “before it is too late.” Former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger echoed that call. None, though, spoke as firmly as former CIA director James Woolsey, who hinted at anti-Semitism as a root cause of his lengthy incarceration: “There is absolutely no reason for Pollard to be imprisoned for as long as [Aldrich] Ames and [Robert] Hanssen, and substantially longer than spies from other friendly, allied, and neutral countries,” he wrote in 2012 in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. “For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he’s an American Jew, pretend he’s a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him.”
Donald Rumsfeld, early in his tenure as secretary of defense under president George W. Bush, wrote a memo that encapsulated the sentiment of the anti-clemency camp. “Representatives of the Israeli government are coming to Washington DC to meet with you,” he opened a March 2001 memo to Bush. They would likely ask for Pollard’s freedom, he wrote dryly. “Indeed it tends to happen repeatedly during the course of an Administration.” Rather than merely saying no, Rumsfeld suggested that Bush say: “…definitely no – no today, tomorrow and the next day, and that it is not a matter that you would consider during your administration. The advantage of being forceful the first time they visit the subject is that it might set them back on their heels and give them pause about bringing the subject up to you ever again.”
Pollard, known to his friends and colleagues as Jay, was raised in South Bend, Indiana, where, according to de-classified CIA documents, he lived a childhood “marked by material sufficiency, strong intellectual stimulation within a closely knit family and some bruising experiences as a member of the Jewish-American minority growing up in middle-America.” The Klan, he told Wolf Blitzer in the latter’s enduringly excellent book “Territory of Lies,” “was well organized in my city.”
A trip to Dachau, followed by a summer in Israel at a science camp at the Weizmann Institute, cemented in his mind a commitment to Israel’s security. The commitment, though, while apparently genuine — there have been doubters, citing offers Pollard allegedly made to trade classified documents to the governments of South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan before ever coming into official contact with Israel — was not rooted in entirely stable ground. In college, at Stanford University, he claimed to work for the Mossad. On one occasion, he waved a pistol in the air “and screamed that everyone was out to get him,” according to the CIA papers.
Lieutenant Commander David G. Muller, Jr., who ran an analytical section at the US Navy’s Field Operational Intelligence Office in Suitland, Maryland, told Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker in 1999 that when he first met Pollard, during a job interview in the early eighties, the future spy had come late for the interview and told him a complicated tale about how his then fiancé, Anne Henderson, had been kidnapped over the weekend by IRA operatives. “I ought to have gone to the security people and said ‘hey, this guy’s a wacko,” Muller said…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Huffington Post, Nov. 18, 2015
So it's war. A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the nonterritorial model of Al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Daesh has returned. But a war all the same. And, faced with this war unwanted by the United States, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and now France, only one question is worth asking: What should we do? How, when a war like this is forced upon you, do you respond and win?
Principle number 1: Don't play with words. Call things by their right names. Dare to utter the terrible word "war," a word that the democracies try to push out of the range of hearing, beyond the bounds of their imagination, their symbolic system, and their reality. This aversion to war is their mission, their distinguishing trait, and their crowning glory, but it is also their weakness.
Recall the nobility and the candor of Léon Blum revealing, in a famous debate with Elie Halévy in the 1930s, that he could not grasp the notion of democracy at war, except as a contradiction. Recall the dignity but also the limits of the great consciences of humanism in the second half of that same decade, when they watched with alarm as Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Roger Caillois, and others from the College of Sociology called for the intellectual rearmament of a world that believed, then as now, that it was done with its dark past and with history.
That is where we stand today. Thinking the unthinkable: war. Accepting the oxymoron of a modern republic required to wage war to save itself. And thinking it all the more painfully because none of the rules laid down by theoreticians of war, from Thucydides to Clausewitz, seem to apply to that nonexistent state that brings fire from a distance that is all the greater because its frontlines are fluid and its fighters have the tactical advantage of making no distinction between what we call life and what they call death.
France's government, including the president, understands this. French political leaders across the spectrum have voiced their unanimous support. That leaves you, me, and society, both collectively and individually. Each of us, this time, is a target, a frontline, a soldier without knowing it, a cell of resistance, a locus of mobilization and of biopolitical fragility. The idea is heartbreaking and appalling, but it is a fact that we must face.
Principle number 2: The enemy. To utter the word war is to evoke an enemy. As Carl Schmitt taught, we must deal with the enemy as enemy, viewing him as someone to be tricked, outmaneuvered, tangled up in negotiations, or struck silently, depending on the tactics adopted–but in no case appeased. Following Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and every other theoretician of just war, we must also call the enemy by his true name.
That name is not "terrorism." The enemy is not a dispersed collection of "lone wolves" or "lunatics." And, as for the relentless culture of excuses that persists in portraying Daesh death squads as oppressed and excluded individuals pushed to the edge by an unjust society and forced by poverty to execute young people whose only crime is to like rock music, soccer, or a cool autumn night at a sidewalk cafe, that is an insult to the world's poor as well as to the dead. No.
These ignorant men who level their guns at the gift of life and at the freedom of movement and expression of the world's great cities; who detest the urban spirit as much as they do the underlying spirit of laws, rights, and peaceful autonomy of people freed from ancient subjections; who could benefit, if only the words were not so utterly foreign to them, from Victor Hugo's protest in response to the massacres of the Commune: that attacking Paris is worse than attacking France because it destroys the world–these men should rightfully be labeled fascists. Better: FASCISLAMISTS.
Better: the product of the grafting that Paul Claudel saw coming when he noted in his journal for May 21, 1935, in one of those insights that occur only to the truly great: "Hitler's speech? A kind of Islamism is being created at the center of Europe." What is the advantage of naming things accurately? To place the cursor right where it belongs. To remind us that against such an adversary war must be waged without truce or mercy. And to require each of us, everywhere, in the Arab-Muslim world as on the rest of the planet, to say why we are fighting, alongside whom, and against whom. Of course this does not mean that Islam, any more than other systems of thought, has a special affinity for the worst. It does not…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 13, 2015
For more than a week now, the country has been mesmerized, and appalled, by the news emanating from academia. At Yale the insanity began over Halloween costumes. Erika Christakis, associate master of a residential college at Yale, courted outrage by announcing that “free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society” and it was not her business to police Halloween costumes.
To people unindoctrinated by the sensitivity training that is de rigueur on most campuses today, these sentiments might seem unobjectionable. But to the delicate creatures at Yale’s Silliman College they were an intolerable provocation. What if students dressed as American Indians or Mexican mariachi musicians? Angry, hysterical students confronted Nicholas Christakis, Erika’s husband and the master of Silliman, screaming obscenities and demanding that he step down because he had failed to create “a place of comfort, a home” for students. The episode was captured on video and went viral.
At the University of Missouri, Jonathan Butler, the son of a wealthy railroad executive (2014 compensation: $8.4 million), went on a hunger strike to protest what he called “revolting” acts of racism at Mizzou. Details were scanty. Nevertheless, black members of the university football team threatened to strike for the rest of the season unless Tim Wolfe, Mizzou’s president, stepped down. A day or two later, he did. Emboldened, student and faculty protesters physically prevented reporters from photographing a tent village they had built on public space. In another shocking video, a student photographer is shown being forced back by an angry mob while Melissa Click, a feminist communications teacher at Mizzou, shouts for “muscle” to help her eject a reporter.
What is happening? Is it a reprise of the late 1960s and 1970s, when campuses across the country were sites of violent protests? In my book “Tenured Radicals: How Politics Have Corrupted Our Higher Education,” I showed how the radical ideology of the 1960s had been institutionalized, absorbed into the moral tissues of the American educational establishment. As one left-wing professor wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while—to the unobservant—that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.”
“Tenured Radicals” provides an account of that reshaping, focusing especially on what it has meant for the substance of a college education. The book includes a section on “academia and infantilization.” But when I wrote in 2008, the rhetoric of “safe spaces,” “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” had not yet colluded to bring forth that new academic phenomenon, at once tender and vicious, the crybully. The crybully, who has weaponized his coveted status as a victim, was first sighted in the mid-2000s. He has two calling cards, race and gender. By coincidence Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard University, was involved in the evolution of both.
Race came first. In 2001 Mr. Summers made headlines when he suggested that Cornel West—then the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr., University Professor and eminence in the African and African American Studies Department at Harvard—buckle down to some serious scholarship. (Mr. West’s most recent production had been a rap CD called “Sketches of My Culture.”) Mr. Summers also suggested that the professor lead in fighting the scandal of grade inflation at Harvard, where one of every two grades was an A or A-. A national scandal erupted. Black professors at Harvard threatened to leave—Mr. West soon decamped to Princeton—and the New York Times published a hand-wringing editorial criticizing Mr. Summers, who quickly recanted, noting that the entire episode had been “a terrible misunderstanding.”
Then came gender. In 2005 Mr. Summers spoke at a conference on “Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce” at MIT. He speculated on why there aren’t more women scientists at elite universities. He touched on several possibilities: Maybe “patterns of discrimination” had something to do with it. Maybe most women preferred to put their families before their careers. And maybe, just possibly, it had something to do with “different availability of aptitude at the high end.” What a storm that last comment sparked! “I felt I was going to be sick,” wailed Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at MIT, who had walked out on Mr. Summers. “My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow, low,” Ms. Hopkins said. “I was extremely upset.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
New York Times, Nov. 14, 2015
Between the 19th century and the 1950s, the American university was gradually transformed from an institution intended to transmit knowledge into an institution designed to serve technocracy. The religious premises fell away, the classical curriculums were displaced by specialized majors, the humanities ceded pride of place to technical disciplines, and the professor’s role became more and more about research rather than instruction.
Over this period the university system became increasingly rich and powerful, a center of scientific progress and economic development. But it slowly lost the traditional sense of community, mission, and moral purpose. The ghost of an older humanism still haunted its libraries and classrooms, but students seeking wisdom and character could be forgiven for feeling like a distraction from the university’s real business.
At which point the student radicalism of the 1960s entered the picture. The radicals moved quickly to dismantle the vestiges of moral conservatism on campus — the in loco parentis rules that still governed undergraduate life, for instance. But their real mission was actually a kind of remoralization, a renewal of the university as a place of almost-religious purpose, where students would be educated about certain great truths and then sent forth to live them out. It was just that these truths were modern instead of ancient: The truths of the antiwar and civil rights movements, and later of feminism and environmentalism and LBGTQ activism and a long list of social justice causes.
With time, the university ceded just enough ground to co-opt and tame these radicals. It adopted their buzzwords as a kind of post-religious moral vocabulary; it granted them the liberal arts as an ideological fiefdom (but not the sciences or the business school!); it used their vision of sexual liberation as a selling point for applicants looking for a John Belushi-esque good time. The result, by the time I arrived at college late in the 1990s, was a campus landscape where left-wing pieties dominated official discourse, but the university’s deeper spirit remained technocratic, careerist and basically amoral. And many students seemed content with that settlement.
This was the heyday of what my colleague David Brooks dubbed “the organization kid,” a vaguely liberal but not at all radical specimen to whom both traditional humanism and left-wing politics seemed entirely lacking in appeal. Now, though, radicalism is back, and the settlement that kept the careerist peace on campus seems to be cracking up all over. At small liberal-arts colleges, big state schools and Ivies alike, protesters are defenestrating presidents and deans, occupying quads, and demanding wholesale social and academic change.
It probably goes without saying that I have little sympathy for the goals of these new activists. In the academy they have in mind, ideas I cherish would probably be banned as hate speech and a past I treasure buried under “trigger warnings.” But the activists’ many critics, conservative and liberal, need a clearer sense of what these students are reacting against. The protesters at Yale and Missouri and a longer list of schools stand accused of being spoiled, silly, self-dramatizing — and many of them are. But they’re also dealing with a university system that’s genuinely corrupt, and that’s long relied on rote appeals to the activists’ own left-wing pieties to cloak its utter lack of higher purpose…
And within this system, the contemporary college student is actually a strange blend of the pampered and the exploited. This is true of the college football recruit who’s a god on campus but also an unpaid cog in a lucrative football franchise that has a public college vestigially attached. It’s true of the liberal arts student who’s saddled with absurd debts to pay for an education that doesn’t even try to pass along any version of Matthew Arnold’s “ best which has been thought and said,” and often just induces mental breakdowns in the pursuit of worldly success. It’s true of the working class or minority student who’s expected to lend a patina of diversity to a campus organized to deliver good times to rich kids whose parents pay full freight. And then it’s true of the rich girl who discovers the same university that promised her a carefree Rumspringa (justified on high feminist principle, of course) doesn’t want to hear a word about what happened to her at that frat party over the weekend.
The protesters may be obnoxious enemies of free debate, in other words, but they aren’t wrong to smell the rot around them. And they’re vindicated every time they push and an administrator caves: It’s proof that they have a monopoly on moral spine, and that any small-l liberal alternative is simply hollow. Or as the great Walter Sobchak might have put it: “Say what you want about the tenets of political correctness, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” Which might turn out to be the only epitaph for the modern university anybody needs to write.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
The World is at War: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Nov. 20, 2015—The world is at war. And that's old news. Immediately after 9/11, over 14 years ago, former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy said that WWIII had begun. The only thing that has changed over the past few days is that the rest of the world is also beginning to realize that it is at war.
Pollard’s Tragedy of Errors: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 20, 2015 —Dictionaries define William Shakespeare’s tragedies as his plays dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character.
University Administrators and Real Professors Should Take Note: Every Brain Needs a Spine: Rex Murphy, National Post, Nov. 14, 2015—The most recent reports say there is a crisis in child services in the United States. The cost of daycare spaces has reached absolutely astronomic levels. Placement at the University of Missouri, for example, easily breaks the $40,000 threshold.
Columbia Protesters Cheer: 'I Love Black Criminals': Aaron Short, New York Post, Nov. 15, 2015—Either you’re with us or you’re against us. Columbia student activists are pestering peers to attend campus protests and walk-outs in solidarity with college students at Missouri and Yale or risk social isolation, students say.