Monday, December 23, 2013

From Ian:

Mainstreaming anti-Israelism
The New York Times, the mainstream voice of the American Left, published two articles this week on a boycott resolution passed by a little-known academic group -- the American Studies Association. The second of the two articles appeared on the front page of the paper, meaning that a resolution adopted by the votes of just over 800 members of the association was viewed as one of the top stories in the world that day.
Had the association refused to endorse such a boycott, the story would never have made the front page, and the results of the vote by the association's members would likely not even have been reported in The New York Times. The Times' breathless coverage, and eagerness to report on the symbolic blow to the Jewish state reflects a dismaying sign of the times in the United States -- hostility to Israel has become a signature issue for the Left.
The Answer to BDS is Jewish Power
I don’t point those facts to make the case that we shouldn’t be worried—we should be. There is no room for complacency in the face of a movement whose worldview is rooted in the struggle against Jewish sovereignty in much the same way that the Nazis saw the Jews, or the communists saw the bourgeoisie, as the ultimate enemy. But in fighting the academic boycott and BDS more generally, we should not lose awareness of the power we 21st-century Jews have, nor our ability to wield it.
Hence, let’s by all means ridicule the pretensions of the BDS movement to be a latter-day incarnation of the movement against apartheid in South Africa. Let’s not hesitate in pointing out its failures. At the same time, let’s not permit it to mushroom because we don’t think it’s a threat. Both Brandeis University and Penn State Harrisburg have pulled out of ASA since the boycott was announced, and we should push for a similar outcome in the case of similar initiatives. Much as some Jews are uncomfortable with acknowledging this reality, we have the power to harass, frustrate, and crush the BDS movement wherever it appears. Let us do so without mercy.
Top US academic association decries Israel boycott
The executive committee of the Association of American Universities, which consists of 60 leading US and Canadian universities including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, released a statement Friday saying that boycotts violate “the academic freedom of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it.”
The AAU said in its statement Friday that academic freedom should not be “abridged by political considerations.”
“Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint,” the statement read. “American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.”
List of Universities rejecting academic boycott of Israel
The universities and colleges below are confirmed to reject the academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Association.
This list is based on positions expressed by the Presidents of such Universities or others in a position to state a university’s position (e.g., communications staff). We are aware of no university in the U.S. endorsing the boycott.
Indiana, Wash U. St. Louis, GWU, Northwestern, Cornell reject academic boycott of Israel
The list of Universities condemning the academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Association and two smaller academic groups is growing.
New announcements are being made daily, although I expect a lull in new announcements as most universities are closed until after New Year’s Day.
Israel Bomb Attack Thwarted by Vigilant Bus Driver
The driver, Michael Yuger, was told by one of his passengers about a large suspicious black knapsack in the back of the number 240 bus he was driving. He immediately had all 15 passengers get off and alerted Israeli security forces.
The bomb exploded as a police sapper attempted to diffuse the device. A police officer was lightly injured and was taken to a nearby hospital.
The bus driver however, claims he is not a hero.
“One passenger saw wires and a big pot after he opened the bag to check it. We all got off. About ten minutes after discovering the knapsack the bomb went off,” he said.
Security forces search for suspects in Bat Yam bus bombing
The US government strongly condemned the bombing, saying “violent acts targeting civilians are deplorable.”
“We reaffirm our unshakable bond with Israel and our solidarity with the Israeli people,” read a State Department statement issued late Sunday.
President Shimon Peres phoned and thanked the bus driver and the passenger who discovered the explosive, saying their actions saved lives.
“The nation owes you a debt of gratitude and I would like to personally congratulate you for this act of bravery,” Peres told bus driver Michael Yoger.
Palestinian terror groups, meanwhile, praised Sunday’s attempted attack, but failed to take responsibility for the blast.
Rocket from Gaza falls near children’s bus stop
Police sappers early Monday morning collected the shards of a Kassam rocket that Palestinians earlier fired from the Gaza Strip at the Hof Ashkelon area.
The rocket was found several hours after it fell near a bus stop used by schoolchildren. There were no injuries in the attack, but the bus stop sustained light damage.
Syrian Mortar Shell Strikes Golan
A mortar shell fired from Syria exploded Monday morning in the Israeli Golan Heights, near Tel Fares. The shell blew up in empty territory, causing no casualties or damage.
An initial check indicates that the shell was not fired at Israel intentionally, but is part of the unintended “spillover” from the Syrian civil war.
Senior IDF Officer: ‘Egyptians Have Made ​​a Strategic Decision to Paralyze Hamas’
Israeli military officials surmise that that the deteriorating economic situation in Gaza, along with a chill setting in between Egypt and Hamas, has increased the deep sense of frustration and despair among Palestinians living in the area.
“The Egyptians have made ​​a strategic decision to paralyze Hamas,” an IDF Southern Command officer said. “This tactic is what is causing the frustration [in Gaza].”
Turkey 'has Replaced Iran as Hamas's Sponsor'
Israel’s intelligence community has determined that Turkey has replaced Iran as the leading financial backer of Hamas since 2012, reports the World Tribune, citing unspecified “Israeli sources.”
The sources said the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has overseen the transfer of up to $250 million a year to Hamas, and particularly to its governing apparatus in Gaza.
Analysis: Why has Netanyahu been silent over NSA spying on Israel?
In the aftermath of revelations of the US National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Israeli prime ministers, why aren’t Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his predecessors Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak calling for heads to roll and a complete overhaul in US-Israel relations?
That was how German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and many other heads of state reacted when they learned that the NSA had spied on them.
US spying gives momentum to free Pollard effort
Politicians from across the political spectrum renewed their call for the United States to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard Sunday, following revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on Israeli leaders.
The revelations gave momentum to the effort to encourage US President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s life sentence to the 28 years he has served. But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a point of saying that Israel did not need an excuse to deal with Pollard’s release.
Palestinian sources: Gulf officials met Netanyahu in Israel
A delegation from a Persian Gulf country recently visited Israel to meet with Israeli officials, the Palestinian weekly al-Manar reported on Sunday. “Two-high rankings officials” were in Israel on December 10, the report said, citing Palestinian sources.
The report could not be independently verified by The Times of Israel.
The Gulf country that sent the delegation was not identified, although al-Manar speculated that it was Saudi Arabia, based on a report that Saudis and Israelis had met in Monaco the previous week. The sources alleged that, in Israel, the Saudi officials met with officials from the foreign and defense ministries, even meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.
Experts: Rouhani Has Isolated Israel In Months
The cover story of Forbes Magazine's latest edition, summarizing the year 2013, focuses on the far-reaching influence of Rouhani's "charm offensive" on Israel in a mere matter of months.
Rouhani's historic nuclear deal is the highlight of his achievements presented in the article. In addition to cancelling Iranian isolation, the deal has led to a crisis in relations between the Islamic regime's greatest enemy, Israel, and Israel's main ally, the US.
The Israeli security and academic experts quoted in the article note that Iran's control of the international sphere comes at Israel's expense, which is taking Iran's place as an isolated country.
Nuclear talks suspended until after Christmas
Talks between Iran and six world powers over implementation of a recent nuclear deal will take a break until after Christmas, the Iranian negotiating team said Sunday night, after four days of negotiations.
The announcement came several hours after Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned that nuclear negotiations may require a “pause in the talks” due to a conflict of agreement on the technical terms of the deal.
Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God (REVIEW)
Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God, by Matthew Levitt The threat that Hezbollah poses, Levitt warns, is very real—and it is growing. “As tensions continue to mount over Iran’s nuclear program, Hezbollah’s strategic relationship with Iran—the role it has already played in Tehran’s shadow war with the West—gives officials worldwide ample cause of alarm.” Therein lies what is perhaps Hezbollah‘s most trenchant message; with the danger of a nuclear Iran looming ever larger on the horizon, Levitt’s book is a timely reminder of how dangerous and widespread the genie of Hezbollah truly is, and why there needs to be a concerted global effort to get it back into the bottle.
Concern grows in Lebanon over refugee camp linked to al Qaida
That means that in addition to wanting Syria to be ruled by radical Sunni interpretations of Islam, the camp is a breeding ground for those who believe that Shiites “are apostates that need to be destroyed,” Rahman said.
The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah agrees, and its officials and security personnel have been quietly making the case that al Qaida-linked groups are using the long-standing tradition that Lebanese soldiers and police officers can’t enter the Palestinian refugee camps to make arrests in order to build a haven to conduct operations against Hezbollah in revenge for its open participation in fighting for the Syrian regime.
Jihadi Cleric Omar Bakri Defends Anti-Hizbullah, anti-Iran Suicide Bombings
Omar Bakri: Using the method of blowing oneself up for the sake of Allah is acceptable, so long as the target is legitimate. This is not about blowing oneself up. All groups, even non-Sunni ones, use [suicide] bombings.
With regard to the two young men [who committed the Beirut suicide attacks], I pray that Allah will accept them as martyrs and absolve their sins, and that He will also accept as martyrs those who were killed there by mistake.
People who want to ban martyrdom operations are trying to alter the religion of Allah.


While the world dithers, Syrians die
For Syrians, 2013 has brought death, destruction and devastation on an unprecedented scale. Indeed, Assad’s most recent aerial barrel-bomb assaults in Aleppo have even been described by activists themselves as being unprecedented. The indiscriminate air strikes this past week – which occurred amidst yet another upsurge in violence – were reported by Al-Jazeera to have caused more than 125 deaths, including many women and children.
At year’s end, Assad’s killing machine – and increasingly that of Jihadist rebels – will have resulted in at least 130 000 dead – with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimating that the real figure is actually much higher. As well, the number of internally displaced people now stands at 6.5 million and growing, while there are more than 2 million refugees – at least half of whom are children.
Red Cross: 500,000 Wounded in Syria
"At least half a million people have been wounded across the country and millions remain displaced and tens of thousands detained," ICRC chief Magne Barth said in a statement.
"The wounded are often not cared for properly and the chronically ill often do not receive the treatment they need," Barth added.
Deterioration In Turkey-Egypt Relations Due To Turkish PM Erdogan's Opposition To Egyptian President Mursi's Ouster
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, founder of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), has consistently opposed Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi's July 3, 2013 ouster by Defense Minister 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, branding it a military coup. Erdogan identifies with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement and, in contrast to many leaders of Arab countries who backed Mursi's removal, supports the MB's call to restore Mursi to the presidency, and its argument that his removal came as part of a military coup against a democratically and legitimately elected government.


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