Tag Archives: Jewish state

The American Studies Association’s Badge of Shame

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Boycott_Jews_april_1_1933The American Studies Association (ASA) voted this week for an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The action taken by the ASA is nothing less than a badge of shame. The ostensible reason given was “solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge the freedom for all, including Palestinians.” The truth is, however, that the ASA has never targeted any other country for a boycott.  Israel, a democracy that protects the civil liberties and religious freedoms of its minorities, while protecting its citizens from constant Palestinian terrorism, is the ASA’s sole target. While measures such as checkpoints are used by Israel to protect its citizens from Palestinian suicide bombers, one can hardly regard them as a form of injustice.  Palestinian students might arrive late to class on occasion but the measures do not impede their studies or academic freedom.

 

The ASA is alleged to have 5,000 members, and the association has described itself as the “nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.” In the vote to endorse the boycott, 1,252 members voted. Of those, 66% voted for the boycott, 30.5% voted against. Following the vote, the ASA announced, “We believe that the ASA endorsement of the boycott is warranted, given U.S. military and other support for Israel. Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many of the ASA…”

Abe Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director responded to the ASA boycott with the following statement: “This shameful, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest attack on academic freedom by the American Studies Association should be soundly condemned by all who are committed to the ideal that open exchange of ideas is the most effective way to achieve change. Targeting Israeli institutions solely because they are in Israel – the only democratic country in the Middle East where scholarship and debate are encouraged and flourish – is based on myopic and fundamentally distorted perspective of Israel and the conflict, and it is manifestly unjust.”

 

The arbitrary focus on Israel by the ASA, while ignoring the Muslim world where women and religious minority rights are routinely violated, reveals a clear prejudice on the part of the ASA. The ASA’s own words suggest an ideological bias in declaring, “Given U.S. military and other support for Israel,” as if the U.S. does not give military and financial aid to other countries, including the Palestinian Authority. U.S. aid to the Palestinians hasn’t curtailed its encouragement of hatred and intolerance towards Jews and Israel throughout its educational system. Palestinian campuses are hotbeds of anti-Zionism, and the professors and administrators have openly and consistently spawned terrorism against the Jewish State. And, while Israeli-Jews are unwelcome on Arab or Palestinian-Arab campuses, Arabs in Israel enjoy academic freedom – including the right to wage raucous demonstrations against the Jewish state. ASA members should ask the simple question pertaining to freedom and human rights: Could a Jewish-Israeli student survive on a Palestinian campus? The obvious answer is no. He or she would likely be killed.

 

Another reason given for the ASA boycott against Israeli academic institutions is allegedly “Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions.” This shameful excuse by the ASA is indicative of malice, if not ignorance. The ASA should know that the UN has been stacked against Israel almost from the beginning. The combination of the Muslim and Soviet blocs could have passed a resolution in the General Assembly that the “earth is flat” and it would have won by an overwhelming majority. Today, while the Soviet bloc is gone, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is still the largest and most influential voting bloc in the UN. Insofar as international law is concerned, UN Security Council Resolution 242 speaks of Israel exchanging “territory,” not all the territories in the West Bank or Judea and Samaria it liberated from Jordan in 1967. Jordan occupied these territories during the 1948 War of Independence and its annexation attempts were never recognized by the international community. Egypt and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel and the former received the entire Sinai Peninsula in return. Jordan, too, settled its claims with Israel.

 

In 1988, King Hussein of Jordan, transferred responsibility for the future of the West Bank to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), who chose the armed struggle and terror against Israel rather than peace negotiations. The Oslo Accords signed in September, 1993, were violated in September, 2000, when Yasser Arafat launched the Second Intifada rather than agreeing to an “end the conflict with Israel” at Camp David, held under the auspices of President Clinton. Israel has not violated international law. It is the Palestinian refusal to compromise that has kept “the pot boiling.”

 

It is apparent that the ASA is only willing to use the boycott weapon against the Jewish State. When Jewish and pro-Israel students’ human rights were violated on Canadian campuses in 2010, there was no call by the ASA for a boycott of those academic institutions. Writing for Canada Free Press, Richard Cravatts, Ph.D., stressed that “ A recent incident that took place at the beginning of February, York University in particular, has now revealed a troubling pattern of tolerating physical and emotional assaults by pro-Palestinian radicals against Jewish students and others who dare to demonstrate any support for Israel or question the tactics of Islamists in their efforts to destroy the Jewish state.”

 

Professor Cravatts added, “Violence, and threats of violence, against Jewish students during conversations about Israel have occurred at other Canadian universities, as well. At the University of Toronto’s insidious 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week, for instance, the annual event had so devolved into a racist, rabid rally that proceedings were closed to cameras and reporters, and individuals who actually attempted to participate in a dialogue about the issues being raised by the noxious event in the first place were confronted with physical intimidation and threats, encountering the dark side of pro-Palestinianism.”

 

At the University of California campuses, verbal and physical attacks against Jewish and pro-Israel students have become commonplace. Pro-Israel speakers are usually harassed and sometimes attacked. That is certainly a violation of human rights and academic freedom. Has the ASA boycotted the University of California system for violating the human rights of pro-Israel students?

 

The New York Times quoted Curtis Marez, President of ASA as saying that the “ASA has never before called for an academic boycott of any nation’s universities.” Marez conceded that many nations including Israel’s neighbors are generally judged to have human rights records that are worse than Israel’s. But, Marez concluded, “One has to start somewhere.” Larry Summers, former President of Harvard University, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, appearing last week on PBS with Charlie Rose, ridiculed the notion of the boycott against Israel and called for a counter boycott of the ASA and its eventTo select Israel as deserving of a boycott when genocide and oppression are being perpetrated by the Iranian and Syrian regimes, to mention but two examples of global evil, is an outrage. Given Israel’s circumstances as an island of progress, democracy, and human rights in a sea of repressive dictatorships and rogue nations, one can only call it anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism. This action by the American Studies Association confers upon it nothing less than a badge of shame. Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here

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Palestinians Build a Settlement

@tobincommentary

Though it was entirely unintentional, the New York Times deserves credit today for pointing out the hypocrisy of critics of Israel’s settlement building. No, the paper hasn’t reversed its policy of treating the presence of Jews in the heart of their ancient homeland as wrong or an obstacle to peace that is reflected on its news pages as much as it is on their editorial page. What they did was something more subtle than that and will require some context for their readers to understand. They published a feature about the Palestinians doing something that Israel hasn’t tried in more than two decades, the building of an entirely new city in the West Bank.

What’s wrong with that? Actually, nothing. If the planners of Rawabi own the land where they are constructing a town north of Ramallah, then why shouldn’t they build new homes and places of business for Arabs who want them? But the story about the effort and the travails of the planners—who are, ironically, under attack from Palestinians for their efforts to cooperate with Israel and Israeli businesses and contractors to get the job done—should remind us that doing so is no more of an obstacle to peace than the builders of homes for Jews.

 

The point about the West Bank that cannot be reiterated enough is that the conflict about ownership of the land is one in which both sides can muster arguments in their favor. Should the Palestinians ever reject their culture of violence and delegitimizing of Jewish rights to any part of the country, peace will be possible and the land will have to be divided, however painful that would be for both sides. Such a negotiation would be difficult but, assuming that the Palestinians were ever actually willing to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn, it would not be impossible. And since it is likely that if such a partition were ever to take place, Rawabi would be part of the Palestinian state, then why would Israelis complain that building on the site would make peace impossible?

Of course, Israelis aren’t making such a protest, any more than they speak out against the building going on in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem or any other place in the West Bank.

But when new homes are built in existing Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem or in those towns and communities in the major settlement blocs in the West Bank that everyone knows would be retained by Israel in the event of a peace accord, they are bitterly condemned by the Obama administration, the Europeans, and the liberal media.

In fact, Israel hasn’t done anything on the scale of Rawabi in many years. Outside of scattered hilltop camps with trailers, it hasn’t actually built a new settlement since the Oslo Accords. What Israel has done is added new housing developments to existing places. But the Arabs have done the same and in the case of Rawabi, they are seeking to expand their hold on the land by establishing new facts on the ground that strengthen their claims.

Of course, Israel’s critics assert that Arabs have a right to live in Rawabi while the Jews don’t have a right to live in “stolen land” on the West Bank. That argument rests on the fallacy that history began in 1967 when Israel came into the possession of the West Bank as a result of a defensive war. But in fact, the “West Bank” (a name for the territories of Judea and Samaria that only came into existence when the Kingdom of Jordan illegally occupied the land to differentiate it from their territory on the East Bank of the Jordan River) is part of a territory set aside by international authorities for a Jewish homeland where Jews, as well as Arabs, had rights. Though the international community has sought to abrogate Jewish rights there, they cannot be extinguished in this manner. The resolution of the dispute over the land requires a negotiation in which each side must be prepared to compromise rather than, as the Palestinian Authority continues to do, simply dictate.

Contrary to the claims of Israel’s critics, if both sides continue doing as they are now and building at the same pace, peace won’t be any easier or harder to reach in the future than it is now. The same boundaries will be there to be drawn with Jews and Arabs on Israel’s side and Arabs only on the Palestinian side (as Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have repeatedly made clear), then as they are now. The building of new settlements, whether Jews or Arabs populate them, won’t stop peace if both peoples truly want it. Israel has already demonstrated that it is prepared to do so, as it has repeatedly offered and made territorial withdrawals while the Palestinians have never given up their maximalist demands that aim at Israel’s destruction, not coexistence. The reason the Palestinians focus on settlement building as a threat to their future is not because these places are actually obstacles to peace but because they are opposed to Jews living in anywhere in the country.

Rawabi also demonstrates the priorities of Israel’s foes. Many of them are, as the Times makes clear, opposed to it, because building it undercuts the attempt to boycott Israel. Much like the efforts to prevent the descendants of the 1948 refugees from being resettled so as to keep them as an issue to hold over Israel, they’d rather keep Palestinians from having a new town so long as it doesn’t mean doing business with Jews.

If the Palestinians that will live in Rawabi and elsewhere in the West Bank truly want peace with Israel and to gain self-determination in exchange, they will get it. Moreover, if Palestinians persist in building on lands they are likely to keep and Israel keeps building in those places they will retain, it won’t put off peace by a single day. Let’s hope that, like its Jewish counterparts in Maale Adumim and Ariel, Rawabi will raise the quality of life for its inhabitants. Perhaps in doing so it will undermine the efforts of those Palestinians that continue to foment the hatred of Jews and Israel that remains at the core of the conflict.

UK: British Writers Say “Death to Israel”

Only 65 years since the British Mandate was responsible for so many Jewish deaths, It is impossible to keep an accurate record of all the British writers and poets who have actually endorsed Israel’s elimination.by Giulio Meotti

British intellectuals have gone anti-Semitic. Today you won’t find a single Quixotic writer in the UK who would openly defend the State of Israel and its people. It is the debacle of the entire British cultural elite, a kind of ideological conformism like that in the Soviet Union, which Czeslaw Milosz called “the Captive Mind”.

Famous UK author Iain Banks just announced that his novels would no longer be published in Israel. “I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign because, especially in our instantly connected world, an injustice committed against one, or against one group of people, is an injustice against all, against every one of us; a collective injury,” Banks stated in The Guardian daily.

“My particular reason for participating in the cultural boycott of ‘Israel’ is that, first of all, I can; I’m a writer, a novelist, and I produce works that are, as a rule, presented to the international market,” underlined the best selling novelist.

Banks belongs to a long list of British writers who proclaim the sentence to death on the Jewish State and its people. It is impossible to keep a list of writers and poets who have endorsed Israel’s elimination: Kevin Cadwallender, Jimmy Powdrell Campbell, Jenny Diski, Alison Fell, Naomi Foyle, Ian Gregson, Sarah Irving, Fred Johnstone, Wendy Klein, Diane Langford, Tom Leonard, Catherine Lupton…

These opinion makers and entertainers who speak from journals, essays, reviews, poems and novels have been instrumental in feeding the public opinion with lies and hatred against Israel and the Jews. These “chattering classes” have passed from parlor anti-Semitism to having called into question Israel’s very right to exist. No other country in the world has been treated in this barbaric way.

John Berger, a Booker Prize winner, called for artists to decline being published by mainstream Israeli publishers and to undertake a boycott of the Jewish State.

Harold Pinter, the Nobel Laureate playwright, signed a boycott of Israeli products and tourism. The self-hating Jew Pinter has gone so far as to declare Israel “the central factor in world unrest.”

Eric Hobsbawm, one of the most famous historians of the XX century, supported the Second Intifada, endorsing the “the cause of liberation”.

From Tariq Ali to Seni Seneviratne, there are dozens of British foreign writers who support the boycott of Israel as “a moral imperative”.

George Steiner, famous cultural critic based in Cambridge (I have written a philosophical dissertation on his works and I held a correspondance with Steiner during the last ten years after having broken with him about Israel), questioned whether the Jewish State should have come into being at all. He also said that for two-thousand years Jews did not torture people, but that now they torture.

The British author Ian McEwan launched an arrogant attack on Israeli government policies in his speech accepting the Jerusalem Prize for Literature, saying “a great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air”. And this is the same McEwan whom the Israeli press lauded for having visited Jerusalem despite the boycott calls.

The late Christopher Hitchens, the most celebrated British atheist in the world, depicted Israel as “stupid, messianic and superstitious” and he published an article entitled “Israel’s Shabbos Goy”, evoking the canard of a Jewish conspiracy manipulating US policy. He also described both Judaism and Israel as “genocidal”.

Tom Paulin, poet, essayist and academic at Oxford, said Jewish “settlers” in Israel “should be shot dead”. The Observer also published — a few months after the start of the second Palestinian intifada — Paulin’s poem “Killed in the Crossfire” which refers to the IDF as the “Zionist SS” that guns down “little Palestinian boys.”

The novelist Christine Odone defended Gretta Duisenberg, wife of the president of the European Central Bank, who when asked how many signatures she had gathered for her pro-Palestinian petition, she allegedly replied, “six million”.

The plot of celebrated British playwright Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children,” which got much acclaim at London’s Royal Court Theater, spreads the Jewish obsession. Churchill’s play unfolds over seven scenes, beginning sometime during the Holocaust and concluding with Israel’s wars. Characters appear as parents of an offstage child, and the dialogue revolves around what the girl should know about her political circumstances as they unfold over the decades. “Tell her”, says one of the play’s Zionist elders, “I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out . . . tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people.”

British dramatist David Hare, in a primitive diatribe against Israel that smacks of medieval-style anti-Semitic blood libels, demonizing the Jews for “dispossessing” and “polluting” a fabricated, “archetypical Palestine”, wrote that the Jews have “polluted” the Promised Land and “do not belong here.”

As the British writer Paul Johnson observed: ‘”Violence has always exercised a strong appeal to some intellectuals. It goes hand in hand with the desire for radical absolutist solutions”. The new British writers’ absolutist solution to the existence of the West is the eradication of Israel.

Why not effect the launching of a counter-boycott of this judeophobic cultural system? This sanctimonious British intelligentsia will not rest until the Jewish people is destroyed. And millions of idiots hang on every word that comes out of their corrupted lips.