Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From Ian:

The academic boycott of Israel is the hill to fight on
The BDS movement went too far this time. Its position on academic boycotts is indefensible.
The supporters of academic BDS have exposed themselves as the threat to civil society they are. It’s easy to laugh when they do flash mobs outside coffee shops and in grocery stores and call for the boycott of hummus. It’s not so easy to laugh when they shout down speakers.
It creates spontaneous outrage when they use academic organizations as political tools and easily cast aside the academic freedom of everyone in their desire to damage Israel.
BDS charged up the wrong hill.
Israel and the Disparity Between Academia and Commerce
So why the disparity between the worlds of commerce and academia?
I submit that academics have the luxury of operating in theory, while those in business have the burden of applying theory to real world problems. In other words, idealism as opposed to realism. When I conferred with some of my business associates as to why Israel is consistently denigrated on campuses but lauded on Wall Street, they concurred. In short, they felt that academia is not accountable, in the succeed versus fail sense of the word, while commerce most definitely is.
The ASA boycott: Academic freedom for me, but not for thee
Seeming to give credence to Orwell’s wry observation that “there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them,” the fatuous members of the American Studies Association (ASA) passed a December 15th resolution to institute an academic boycott against Israeli universities. Admitting that the organization consciously made the decision to ignore the academic transgressions of universities in any number of other totalitarian, oppressive countries which stifle dissent and imprison errant professors, and which might actually deserve to be censured, ASA president Curtis Marez, a University of California at San Diego associate professor of ethnic studies, said “that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human-rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable.” Nevertheless, he contended, his tendentious organization would focus solely on Israeli institutions, since, as he stated quite tellingly and disingenuously, “One has to start somewhere.”
WaPo: Dozens of U.S. universities reject academic boycott of Israel
Dozens of American colleges and universities are rejecting an academic boycott of Israeli universities recently approved by the academic American Studies Association, the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history. And a few schools said they are withdrawing from the organization.
Kenyon College withdrawing from American Studies Assoc over Israel boycott (Update – Indiana too)
The List of Universities rejecting academic boycott of Israel is growing rapidly. These two announcements are significant because they involve withdrawals of Institutional Membership, not just condemnation. This makes four universities (Penn State Harrisburg, Brandeis, Kenyon, Indiana) who are withdrawing membership, plus several others (Willamette, Hamilton, Northwestern, Tufts) who deny being Institutional Members even though listed.
IAF attacks Gaza targets in response to shooting of Defense Ministry employee
A civilian employee of the Defense Ministry was killed by a Palestinian gun attack on the Gaza - Israel border on Tuesday. He was identified as Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, from Rahat.
The IAF attacked targets in Gaza in response for the shooting, striking two Hamas training camps, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.
Army sources confirmed that the cross-border shooting on the border with northern Gaza resulted in one injured man. He was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba where he later succumbed to his wounds. Latyef was a tractor driver carrying out work on the Gaza border fence.
Policeman stabbed near Jerusalem in apparent terror attack
An Israeli police officer was stabbed in the back on Monday near the West Bank settlement of Adam, north of Jerusalem.
The 30-year-old man was moderately injured and taken to a Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital for treatment with the knife still in his back. According to Channel 2, the officer and his partner were directing traffic at a busy intersection where an accident had taken place.
The terrorist threat
The nation went through a collective state of déjà vu on Sunday. Suddenly we were all thrown back to a time when terrorist bombings were an outrageously common occurrence on our buses, on our streets and in our cafes. It could have been the mid- 1990s when Israel had embarked on the Oslo Accord, and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad were registering their displeasure with the PLO’s purported capitulation to “the Zionist entity” by staging indiscriminate murderous attacks on men, women and children. Or it could have been the early 2000s, when Palestinians launched the bloody second intifada, supposedly out of frustration with a stalled peace process.
Once again Israeli citizens are being asked by police and military officers to be alert, like passenger David Pappo, whose initiative on Sunday prevented what could have been a deadly bombing in Bat Yam. Pappo was the one who first raised suspicions regarding an unclaimed bag which turned out to be a bomb. Pappo was also instrumental in evacuating the bus before the bomb was detonated.
B'tselem 'Human Rights' Cameraman Convicted for Rock-Throwing
The Arab youth told the soldier when he was arrested that he was just a cameraman for B'tselem and had nothing to do with the rock throwing.
According to the Mida report, the youth repeatedly claimed that he had only come to the location because “B'tselem told me there were human rights [violations] there.” At one point, however, he let out that “B'tselem know that I go there every week to throw rocks... to take pictures.”
The judge determined that the single slip by the youth would not have sufficed for convicting him, were it not for the fact that she also found the soldiers' testimonies “clear and coherent” while the youth's was “patently unclear... confused, full of contradictions and strange turns in almost every sentence...”
Government Approves Rock-Proof Window Funding
The government on Monday allocated money for the installation of rock-proof windows on vehicles belonging to residents of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. The protective windows, known as migun, will be again available to all residents for free, with the cost underwritten by the government. The program will cost the state NIS 1.25 million, the government said.
In first, Sderot train chugs into rocket-protected station
The first train arrived in Sderot from Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning, pulling into a rocket-proof station and marking the end of a years-long project to extend Israel’s rail network to the poor, missile-battered desert town located less than a mile from the Gaza border.
“In the annals of Sderot, this will be remembered as the end of one era and the beginning of another, more promising one,” Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said in a statement. The new rail line will bring young families from the center of the country seeking “quality housing at a sane price, a high quality of life in a pastoral setting, an all-in-one package accessible to everywhere,” he said.
YouTube blocks PMW video exposing Fatah threats to kill Israelis
Now, YouTube has decided to block PMW's Hebrew version of this video, claiming the video violates YouTube's "policy on depiction of harmful activities."
The irony is that while YouTube removed the video from PMW's YouTube account - where PMW exposed the incitement to murder - YouTube has not removed it from the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades account in Arabic. It still remains on Fatah's YouTube account, where it is intended as incitement to murder.
Massive Drug Lab Uncovered in PA Controlled Territories
Israeli police exposed a massive drug lab in Tulkarm, a city in the Palestinian Authority controlled territories.
Early Friday morning, a large force of Israeli policemen and soldiers surrounded a house in the city, and after entering discovered a large marijuana production plant. The drugs were to be distributed in the Sharon area in Israel. The lab was run by Arab residents of Taiba.
Israel to Abbas: No, Jesus was not a Palestinian
“We celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem under occupation,” Abbas wrote. “This Christmas Eve, our hearts and prayers will be with the millions who are being denied their right to worship in their homeland.” He called the security barrier an “annexation Wall, which is stealing [Palestinians'] land and dooming their future.”
These rather unfriendly statements are “not exactly in the spirit of Christmas,” Palmor, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said cynically. “Maybe he needs a hug from Santa?”
Iran's "Treaty of Hudaybiyya in Geneva"
In reflections on the deal with Iran, one particular Islamic theological construct has been largely neglected: The treaty of Hudaibiyya. During March 628 AD, the prophet Muhammad marched his army on Mecca, the stronghold of his polytheistic opponents. Muhammad realized his forces were at that time not likely to achieve victory, and the Meccans had no appetite for war. The two parties thus agreed on a ten-year armistice. However, when Muhammad thought his forces were strong enough to crush the Meccans, he unilaterally broke the truce and conquered Mecca. Although possibly not the first time in history a truce was broken, the significance of Hudaibiyya in Islamic teachings is that, as the prophet was chosen and protected by Allah himself, and is therefore the "perfect man" without flaw, all of his actions are commendable, mandatory and to be emulated -- treaties are made to be broken.
Iran ayatollah tops Jewish slur list
The Simon Wiesenthal Center put Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the head of its “Top Ten Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel List” for comments he made about the Jewish state.
The top ten list cites Khamenei’s reference to Israel as the “rabid dog of the region,” whose leaders “look like beasts and cannot be called human,” as well as his continued genocidal threats against the Jewish state, the center said in a statement on Monday. The full list is to be published on December 30.
Senate Leader Moves to Speed Vote on New Sanctions Legislation Amid Iranian Boasts of Negotiations Victory
The comments came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif boasted that Iran could quickly restart enrichment to 20 percent – thereby reviving debate over asymmetries in the JPA that have Tehran merely “freezing” parts of its program while the West reduces sanctions – and amid a potential showdown between the Obama administration and Congress.
A bipartisan group of 26 senators on Thursday unveiled legislation that would impose sanctions on Iran if it cheated during the JPA’s six-month negotiating period or if it failed to put its atomic program beyond use for weaponization at the end of that period. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Friday filed a procedure that would allow him to bypass bringing the bill to the floor through committees, and potentially allowing the full body to vote on the legislation as soon as next month:
Islamist rebels said to forcibly convert Syrian Druze
Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria forced residents of 14 Druze villages located in an isolated area to convert to Islam, The Times of Israel was told Monday.
The villagers, from the northern Syrian province of Idlib, were forced by members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, known as ISIL or ISIS, to announce that they had accepted the Islamic faith, according to Syrian opposition sources.
Bombing at Egypt police station kills 12, wounds 134
A powerful explosion believed to be caused by a car bomb ripped through a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city north of Cairo early on Tuesday, killing 12 people and wounding more than 100, leaving scores buried under the rubble.
The country’s interim government accused the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack, branding it a “terrorist organization.”
Corruption Scandal Rocking Turkey Engulfs Bank Known for Iran Sanctions-Busting
A corruption probe involving some of Turkey’s top figures has engulfed officials at a Turkish bank long linked to Iranian sanctions-busting schemes, adding a potential international dimension to a scandal that was already threatening to destabilize the country’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
The probe has pitted rival Islamist camps against each other, with the AKP squaring off against followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric’s followers are influential across Turkey’s state and non-state institutions, and Erdogan has accused the camp of waging a “dirty operation” over recent days as police and prosecutors intensified anti-corruption investigations targeting AKP-linked political and economic elites. Erdogan and his allies have for their part responded by sacking a number of top judicial and police officials.
Muslim Brotherhood Channel Finds Home in Turkey
The Rabaa radio channel, a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated channel, went on-air in Turkey on Friday, Dec. 21. The channel is named for Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiyyah Square, where hundreds of Egyptians died in August during protests against Morsi’s ouster. The four-fingered “Rabaa” hand signal has become the symbol of those opposing the overthrow of Morsi.
One of the first to publicize the four-fingered pro-Morsi salute was Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, just a week after the violent protests.

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