Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jewish Voice for peace: Choose between us and the ADL.

In which JVP pleas for money.

I received an email from Rebecca Vilkomerson of JVP. Its a plea for money.  She asks me to chose between the ADL and JVP.
Really Rebecca.  Really?
As a Jew, as a Zionist,  do you really think there  is a choice?
Do I side with conspiracy theorists whose stated goal is to "drive a wedge" through my community?

Jewish Voice for Peace  from the Zombietime website
Do I side with a venerable organization that’s taken the lead in securing justice and fair treatment for  all people?

Sorry, Rebecca. It’s a no brainer for me.

You are absolutely correct about one thing.  This is about two very different world views,

I reject JVP primarily for its hypocrisy. For promoting a concert featuring vile anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon, after publicly denouncing him. For taking him out to coffee and offering him "support" if only he used the term "Zionist" instead of "Jew".

JVP courting Gilad Atzmon
I reject JVP for consistently standing shoulder to shoulder with the enemies of our people. For embracing those that would destroy us.
I reject JVP for its refusal to acknowledge the right of the Jewish people to self determination in our ancient homeland.
I reject JVP for giving lip service to the very real threats facing the Jewish people, without ever taking affirmative action to help.

Conversely, I support ADL for taking a principled stand- for rejecting controversial bus ads   as “inflammatory and anti-Muslim.”
I support ADL  for its condemnation when any group is unfairly singled out for attack and persecution.
I support ADL for its vision.

Rebecca concludes her email :"We know which side you're on. But we need you to show it."

No, Rebecca, you really don't have a clue.

Perspective 2013 The Cultural BDS Year in Review

The cultural BDS cheerleader and spokesmodel Tali Shapiro recently posted her latest "BDS is triumphant. BDS is on a roll. BDS is unstoppable." claim. Judge it for yourself

After countless hours spent spamming Facebook timelines and twitter feeds,  Tali crows over Richard Bona ( who?) and Sonia Montez (huh?).
And the BDS fails? Among  those visiting Israel in 2013 were

Tom Jones
Amar’e Stoudemire
Eric Burdon
Antonio Muñoz Molina
Alicia Keys
Pet Shop Boys
Ky-Mani Marley
John Malkovich
Joe Louis Walker
Barbra Striesand
King Lizard
Ashton Kutcher
Mila Kunis

Dozens more showed up to literary events, film and music festivals, and plenty came to just see the sights.  For more celebrity sightings in Israel, visit the Creative Community for Peace 

Next year (thanks for the reminder, Tali) Justin Timberlake, Cyndi Lauper and many others have committed to play in Israel.

Join me in wishing Tali and the BDS cru more of that very same special sort of "success" in 2014.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Israel's sacrifices for Peace: Palestinian criminals to be freed by Israel

Israel is continuing to make tremendous and painful sacrifices for peace.  The following are the names of the prisoners slated for release, as published by the Israel Prison Service  along with their offenses. The release of these criminals was a per-conditon of the Palestinians before they would even sit down and negotiate peace.  There are thugs and murderers.  Do not let anyone try and tell you that these are "political " prisoners

Via Times of Israel

Muhammad Yusuf Adnan Elafandi, arrested May 13, 1992, for stabbing two youths in Jerusalem. After the attack, his life was saved by an Israeli woman who defended him from a lynch mob. He was convicted of attempted murder.

Farid Ahmed Shahade, arrested February 16, 1985, for the murder of Yosef Farhan, a suspected collaborator with Israel, in Jaffa.

Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud, arrested April 1, 1993. The three were convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.

Abu al Rub Mustafa Mahmoud Faisal and Kamil Awad Ali Ahmad, convicted of murder in the killing of 20-year-old IDF soldier Yoram Cohen in a shootout in the West Bank town of Jenin. Ali Ahmad was also convicted of kidnapping, torturing and murdering 15 Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal, arrested June 16, 1989, and convicted of murdering Steven Friedrich Rosenfeld, 48, a US-born immigrant to Israel.

Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal, arrested April 10, 1991, and convicted of murder. Abu-Muhsan ambushed Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbed him to death.

Tamimi Rushdi Muhammad Sa’id, convicted of kidnapping and murdering Hayim Mizrahi at a Palestinian-owned farm outside the settlement of Beit El, where Mizrahi lived, in 1993. Mizrahi had come to the farm to shop for eggs.

Silawi Khaled Kamel Osama, one of three Palestinians convicted in the murder of Motti Biton. Similar to Mizrahi, Biton was shot while he was shopping for groceries in a Palestinian-owned store. Afterwards his wife, who was in the car outside, fired at his attackers, who detonated a pipe bomb and fled.

Sawafta Sudqi Abdel Razeq Mouhlas, who stabbed Yosef Malka (Malkin) to death on December 29, 1990, during an attempt to rob his home in Haifa.

Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser, arrested December 20, 1993, for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri. Nasser, a former employee of Edri, 65, ambushed Edri and stabbed him in the back. After he was apprehended, he said he had carried out the murder to prove that he was worthy of joining Hamas.

Yusuf Ahmed Nu’aman Al-Shalvi, Mahmad Anis Aiman Jaradat, and Ahmad Yusuf Bilal Abu-Hassin, convicted of murdering multiple Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Mahmad Naim Shawmra Yunis, convicted of murder in the death of Yossef Hayun, a police sapper who was killed while attempting to disarm a bomb in Moshav Shekef in June 1993.

Mahmud Muhammad Salman, arrested May 6, 1994, and convicted in the murder of Shai Shoker. Salman strangled Shoker with a shoelace outside Tira on February 2, 1994.

Ahmed Ibrahim Jamal Abu-Jamal, convicted of attempted murder. Abu-Jamal was slated for release in 2016.

Mahmoud Ibrahim Abu-Ali Faiz, convicted of murdering Ronny Levy.

Zaki Rami Barbakh Jawdat, convicted of murdering Yosef Zandani.

Mustafa Ahmed Khaled Jumaa, convicted of aggravated assault, up for release in 2014.

Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin, convicted of murder. Yassin shot Yigal Shahaf, 24, in the head while Shahaf and his wife were walking through Jerusalem’s Old City toward the Western Wall. Shahaf died in hospital on the following day.

Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim, convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989. Ibrahim was also convicted in the murder of Eli Amsalem. In addition, the two murdered a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, Hassin Zaid.

Taqtuq Lutfi Halma Ibrahim, arrested March 3, 1989, and convicted of murder in the shooting of IDF soldier Binyamin Meisner, on February 24, 1989, in Nablus.

A Letter from a terrorism victim to St. James’s Church

Kay Wilson is a British born Israeli who was a victim of a horrific Palestinian terrorist attack in 2010 that left her friend and companion Kristine Luken dead.

Read her   A Letter from a terrorism victim to St. James’s Church

Via Trending central:
....I have given much thought to the events of that terrible day, that culminated in my near murder and the execution of my friend. I believe that I of all people could be forgiven for hating Palestinians. I believe too that I could be forgiven for thinking all Palestinians are terrorists. But I do not. On the contrary, I have maintained relationships with my Palestinian friends, so that my ignorance will not give me reason to hate. I hate hatred. It is the hatred of St. James’s Church in London, in the form of a Christmas stunt, that has compelled me to write.

I would like to think that as Christians, the church would never condone Kristine Luken’s heinous murder or the attack on myself. I suspect however that you may rationalise this savagery as an inevitable result of the “Israeli occupation.”

You would probably suggest that the Palestinians who murdered my friend were themselves victims who grew up in depravity. I would concur, but would point out that if poverty was the case, the aristocrats who flew into the twin towers had no reason to commit their crimes.

The Palestinian terrorists were indeed victims, victims of a radical and primitive Islamist regime that force feeds them a morally malnourished diet of hatred of Jews and hatred of any life – including their own. They were also deprived: deprived of an education that cherishes culture, history, literature, art and the dignity of difference. Their impoverished morality coupled with ignorant generalisations is what enabled two men to butcher defenceless women without so much as blinking an eye.

The “wall” that has been erected outside St. James’s Church is hopefully just a result of your own ignorance and generalisations concerning the complex situation here in the Middle East. Nevertheless, like all walls, it serves as a facade and a barrier.

If the wall was scrutinised, one would see that underneath the whitewashed surface that concerns itself with Israeli policies, there are blocks of anti-Semitism. These bricks stand high. They raise expectations from an entire people group. This wall precedes to separate the nation of Israel as non-desirable.

The wall is cemented together by a superior theology that tells it’s people that G-d gave up on the Jews. This is the same theology that lies behind radical Islam. G-d tried the Jews, then the Christians, but ultimately it was the Muslims who He ultimately chose.

The wall, is just one brick in a global wall of an Islamist agenda, an agenda that will stop at nothing until the destruction of the Jewish State. To your own cultural detriment, it is a wall that obstructs truth and ultimately seeks not only to destroy Israel but every Judeo-Christian society.

The wall inflames an ancient conflict that for those like myself, who live in this region, long not for an exacerbation in hatred but for a quenching of hostilities.

The wall is an affront to Kristine Luken and other victims of terror who may well have been alive today had there have been a wall erected on the other 90 percent of land that separates us from our Palestinian neighbours.

The wall is an injustice to Christians living under Muslim despots. Ironically it is the State of Israel, that you deem pariah and unjust, that is unique in the Middle East because unlike all of our neighbours, our Christian population is flourishing and our Christians have full religious rights.

Please write on your wall, under the cross, now obscured by the crescent…. “R.I.P Kristine Luken.”

Kay Wilson – (a British-born Israeli)

Read Kay's letter in its entirety here

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Israel Under Attack: Four katushyas launched from Lebanon

At least four Russian-made Katyushas rockets were launched from Lebanon at Northern Israel. 2 fell short of their target.

From the J Post

 Two of the Katyushas crossed the border and landed in Israel, causing no casualties but some damage.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced that the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted a third rocket between Acre and Nahariya.

One missile hit Kibbutz Gesher Haziv, damaging a road and vehicles parked on it. Another projectile landed in a built-up community in the Western Galilee. There were no injuries in the attack, Magen David Adom paramedics said. Local residents reported that one rocket fell close to a home in which dozens of Holocaust survivors reside.

Two residents suffered shock and were taken to Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital.

Israel lodged a formal complaint with UNIFIL the  United Nations peacekeeping force stationed along the border with Lebanon.

The J post reports:

A UN spokesman said that “UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon] is aware of the reports and the mission has sent one of its helicopters to investigate the incident. The force commander is also in contact with various parties and has called for restraint.”

Crossing the line in London

St James Church in Piccadilly, London  has built a  replica of the Israeli security barrier as part of their holiday program  "Bethlehem Unwrapped"   Not the 97% that is a chain link fence- there is no drama in that.

From Richard Millett 
St James’s Church, Piccadilly, in London’s West End has installed a life size 8 metre tall/30 metre long replica of Israel’s security wall in its courtyard as part of its Bethlehem Unwrapped festival. The replica wall is so vast that it obscures the Church itself.
The replica wall will be lit up at night and for the next twelve days of Christmas (until 5th January) a montage of images and slogans will be continuously projected onto it. Scenes include parts of London with a wall passing through it.

What you won’t see projected onto the replica wall are scenes of bombed out Israeli buses, hotels, pizza restaurants, bars and nightclubs that were ubiquitous in Israel before the wall.
 Apparently the church has  have encouraged people to come along and write messages on their wall.

From Israellycool

...Read this Facebook status from some friends of mine:
Sharon and Lesley again at the St James market place today armed with our bag of acrylic paint and wall brush. (SWU clearly not there – again)
With no support from anybody the sense was one of antagonism, being watched as we were by the wardens present it seemed, in case we dared to write on the wall. Seeing our paint Tom, a St James warden approached us to say we could only use their now worn out felt pens. Explaining the uselessness of those pens and the fact that others had used spray paint Debbie, another warden said she’d get us some of theirs. Returning a while later she produced grey – the shade they use to obliterate posts they don’t approve of. In the end Tom told me I could paint one message on a designated spot, provided I was professional and refrained from being abusive. Odd that seeing that others could write what and where they wanted as many times as they wanted!
So I painted This Wall Saves Lives, started to write that 1340 Israeli citizens have died as a result of terrorist attacks since 2000, but Tom’s space and location didn’t permit!

 Sharon and Lesley are right. Israel's security barrier saves lives.

Pointless Asides:

Sharon and Lesley's strategy  has precedent.  Several years back, a painting of Israel's security barrier appeared at the Santa Clara Palestinian Cultural Day Commemoration. Viewers  were encouraged to interact with the piece- markers were provided

Santa Clara Palestinian Cultural day
The message "Israel wants peace" was added to the painting of the security barrier. 
Santa Clara Palestinian Cultural day
An Israeli and a Palestinian flag were eventually added to Handela, turning him into an effective symbol of peaceful co-existence.  Nice touch.

The anti-Israel cru have invested too much time and money in this monstrosity to assume it will be shelved at the end of Christmas. I suspect London is just its debut performance.  It will likely be coming to a city near you.  Be prepared.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Via Camera: Statements from Universities That Withdrew from the ASA

As of today, 54 institutions have rejected the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli institutions.

Camera has a nice summary, current as of Dec. 24th

Statements from Universities That Withdrew from the ASA
American Studies Program
"It is a with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional affiliation with the American Studies Association. We view the recent vote by the membership to affirm an academic boycott of Israel as a politicization of the discipline and a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster."
Indiana University
President Michael A. McRobbie
"Indiana University joins other leading research universities in condemning in the strongest possible terms the boycott of institutions of higher education in Israel as proposed by the American Studies Association and other organizations. Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them...
...Indiana University will contact the ASA immediately to withdraw as an institutional member. We urge the leadership of the ASA and other associations supporting the boycott to rescind this dangerous and ill-conceived action as a matter of urgency."
Kenyon CollegePresident Sean Decatur
"Academic freedom – the unfettered exchange of ideas – is a cornerstone of liberal education...I cherish academic freedom and I oppose the ASA boycott of Israel...
...The ASA is, first and foremost, an academic society aimed at the promotion of interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history. This commitment to scholarship, teaching, and learning is what drew Kenyon to participate in ASA activities in the past. But, as the president of a College with an unwavering commitment to the liberal arts and the concept of academic freedom, I reject the notion of a boycott of academic institutions as a geopolitical tool. I concur with the decision of our American Studies program to withdraw as an institutional member of the ASA."
Penn State Harrisburg
American Studies Department Chairman Simon J. Bronner
"As a prominent program in American Studies concerned for the welfare of its students and faculty, Penn State Harrisburg is worried that the recent actions by the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) do not reflect the longstanding scholarly enterprise American Studies stands for. The withdrawal of institutional membership by our program and others allows us to be independent of the political and ideological resolutions issued by the ASA and concentrate on building American Studies scholarship with our faculty, students, and staff. There might be alternative organizations forming in the future that better represent the field of American Studies. When and if that occurs, we will re-examine our independent position. In the meantime we view this move as one intended to protect students and faculty from opprobrium as a result of the ASA’s claim to represent scholars of American studies."
 Read it all here, at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Sabeel Hosts 9/11 truther Richard Falk

Richard Falk is theUnited Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories. He's a shill for Hamas, a 9/11 Truther, and a  very special fan of notorious anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon

So many others have said it better than I possibly could.

From Yair Rosenberg, originally appearing in The Tablet
By day, Falk serves as the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories, where his support for the terrorist group Hamas has been so blatant that the Palestinian Authority tried to get him fired. The United States and Canada have also called for him to be dismissed, and he has been censured by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But Falk’s most objectionable conduct has actually taken place outside the U.N.’s halls.
In 2004, he wrote the preface to a book by conspiracy theorist David Ray Griffin which argued that the Bush administration helped perpetrate the 9/11 attacks. “There have been questions raised here and there and allegations of official complicity made almost from the day of the attacks, especially in Europe,” Falk wrote, “but no one until Griffin has had the patience, the fortitude, the courage, and the intelligence to put the pieces together in a single coherent account.” In 2011, Falk mused on his blog about the “apparent cover up” of 9/11, and the “eerie silence of the mainstream media, unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events.” He reaffirmed these views this past June, when he told radio host and 9/11 truther Kevin Barrett that “questioning that deeply the official version of 9/11 does touch the third rail of American political sensitivities, and there is an attempt to discredit and destroy anyone that makes such a bold statement, and this has intimidated a lot of people.”
Falk is an equal opportunity advocate of conspiracy theories, not just about America, but about Jews. In 2011, he effusively blurbed a vicious book which called American Jews “the enemy within,” questioned the historicity of the Holocaust, and claimed that “robbery and hatred is imbued in Jewish modern political ideology on both the left and the right.” In Falk’s opinion, prominently showcased on the book’s front cover, such insights constitute “a transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Of course, in the opinion of everyone else–including Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti, leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel–such ugly utterances constitute blatant anti-Semitism. As Andrew Sullivan, no Israeli apologist, put it, “Why would anyone blurb a book like this? I’m all for airing a variety of views, and provocative theories. That doesn’t mean you have to endorse poisonous, wounding hate.” And just in case you thought this was an odd aberration for Falk, he’s having lunch with the book’s author this week. It’s business as usual for the man who has dubbed the Jewish state “genocidal” and repeatedly compared it to Nazi Germany, and once posted a cartoon of a yarmulke-wearing dog urinating on Lady Justice while chewing on a bloody skeleton.
From an interview with Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson  via the UN Watch website
We condemn and completely reject Richard Falk’s latest outrageous statements made during an interview with Russia Today. The Administration has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms his despicable and deeply offensive comments, particularly his anti-Semitic blog postings, his endorsement of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and more recently, his deplorable statements with regard to the terrorist attacks in Boston. His most recent remarks, however, represent a new low. We do not support his mandate or his work, which has been one-sided and biased, nor do we believe he should continue to serve as independent UN rapporteur, and we reiterate our calls for him to step down from this role.
We note that his term as Special Rapporteur ends in March 2014, and he cannot be reappointed to the role after that time.
What does a promoter of antisemitism, a shill for terrorists and a conspiracy theorist do when his UN position expires?

Apparently, he goes on a speaking tour for Sabeel

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Via Legal Insurrection: As pressure mounts, academic boycotters play victim.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has been taking the lead at exposing the agenda of the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and has served as an inspiration in orchestrating a response.

Anti-Israel academic boycotters complain criticism violates their academic freedom to boycott

The anti-Israel academic boycott launched by the American Studies Association and two smaller groups has been denounced by several dozen universities and colleges, among others, as a grievous attack on the academic freedom of everyone. The rebukes have been stunning in their severity.
Here are just three examples from dozens of University statements rejecting the academic boycott of Israel :
  • Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now President of Purdue University: ”This is as clear a violation of academic freedom as one can imagine.  We (Purdue) do not appear to have any institutional relationship with the American Studies Association, but are checking to see whether any of our departments do.”
  • Ron Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College: “the vote is a sad reflection of an extreme and hateful ideology of some members of the academy ….  I urge others in the academic community to condemn the ASA boycott and reaffirm their support for academic freedom.”
  • James F. Jones, Jr., President of Trinity College (CT) writing to the President of ASA: “Trinity once years back was an institutional member… Were we still an institutional member, we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East…. As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association”
The accumulation of similar statements from University Presidents and others — including people who are critical of Israeli policies — surely must sting the academic boycotters, who are under the misconception that the American world is run by the “Israel Lobby.”
To the contrary, there is near universal condemnation from a wide range of American civil society — that condemnation is heartfelt, willingly given, and reflects the best traditions of American academic life.
 The refusal of American civil society to acquiesce in the anti-Israel boycotters’ attack on academic freedom is not itself an attack on academic freedom.
 In full on panic mode as their delegitimization strategy  crumbles to pieces, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) is scrabbling to provide a response. Their current campaign focuses on their inevitable fallback position,  "Wait! We're the victims! Really, we are", with an occasional nod to their slightly more introspective rationalization, "the ASA resolution has had tremendous effect on starting debate on Palestine.", segueing into the inevitable "When we lose, we still win".

To the American Studies Association, academic freedom gives them the right to deprive others of academic freedom

Free Speech for me, but not for thee, brought to you by the morally bankrupt gatekeepers of academia- the American Studies Association.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Via Legal Insurrection: The academic boycott of Israel is the hill to fight on

From the Blog Legal Insurrection, and Cornell law professor William Jacobson.

The academic boycott of Israel is the hill to fight on

We will continue to rally support among American civil society.  That support comes willingly, as one of the movers behind the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in the U.S., who runs the Electronic Intifada website, lamented today on Twitter:
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.
When some of the harshest critics of Israeli policies say an academic boycott of Israel is too much, the academic BDS movement has no ground to stand on.
This is not, as Electronic Intifada claims, a counterattack by the Israel Lobby. It’s a counterattack by American civil society, and soon political society, against the attack on our core freedoms.
Don’t let this pass with just denunciations.
This is the hill to fight BDS on.

Prof. William Jacobson has been among those taking the lead in this assault against our academic freedom. Please follow Legal Insurrection to keep up to date on this issue.

StandWithUs has also come out with practical steps you can take to fight back.

  •  Withdraw the school from the ASA if it is an institutional member of the organization.
  •  Publicly denounce the ASA and the academic boycott. In 2007, over 300 presidents of American universities signed a statement deploring academic boycotts as "utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy," and declared, "Boycott Israeli universities? Boycott ours too!" University leaders should have the same united response today.
  •  Not allow university funds to be used for ASA-related activities.  The ASA has demonstrated that it is a politicized organization, no longer one of scholars devoted to research and education.  As former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers, said "My hope would be that responsible university leaders will become very reluctant to see their university funds used to finance faculty membership and faculty travel to an association that is showing itself not to be a scholarly association but really more of a political tool."
  • Publicly deplore the ASA`s travesty of scholarship, research and analysis, and reassure the community that the school will uphold scholarly standards.  The resolution is based on distortions, erasure of context, and false or disputed claims, and uses circular reasoning or irrational leaps of logic. It is not based on sober, reasonable analysis or rational analysis of evidence. It is an assault on the most elementary scholarly standards.
  •  Publicly denounce the ASA`s assault on Israel.  BDS is an extremist movement that defames the Jewish state and denies the Jewish people`s rights to self-determination, statehood, and security.  This resolution is destructive: it does nothing to further peaceful coexistence and a resolution of the conflict. Furthermore, as former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers noted, singling out Israel for opprobrium is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.
  • Actively seek more institutional partnerships with Israeli universities: an anti-academic boycott of Israel. Israel`s extraordinary achievements in scholarship and research in multiple fields have benefited the world.  American schools should dramatically increase their partnerships with Israeli academia to further such contributions.
  • Publicly denounce the ASA resolution.  This bigoted resolution is an assault on academic freedom, educational standards, and Israel. Public officials should join together to denounce it.
  •  Urge schools that are ASA institutional members to sever their association. (The list of 83 schools that are institutional members is below.)  
  •  Ensure that public funds are not used to support ASA activities.   Many schools receive federal and/or state funding.  Government officials should not permit public funds designated for education to be used for political activities, and certainly not for political extremism and bigotry.
  •  Encourage and facilitate partnerships between Israeli academia and American schools.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

King Lizard: Anatomy of a Cultural Boycott fail

Its a familiar  routine by now. An artist or group announces their intention of performing for their fans in Israel.  The haters mobilize- they inundate the facebook pages and Twitter feeds of the artist.  They spread lies- and often they threaten the artists.   Sometimes they are banned or blocked- as often they are ignored or rebuked.

 Lets examine this week's BDS fail: King Lizard, who just played a successful show in Tel Aviv.

Tali Shapiro begins by urging her friends and partners in slime to spam King Lizard

And finds herself soundly rebuked.

Turns out that King Lizard loved Tel Aviv.

And they are coming back.

 A classic BDS Fail in 3 steps.

Universities Standing Strong For Academic Freedom and Against Bigotry

 Thanks to Avi Mayer, whose Tumblr account is keeping a running list of institutions condemning the  ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Universities Standing Strong For Academic Freedom and Against Bigotry (running list)

The following is a list of institutions whose presidents or chancellors have publicly rejected the academic boycott of Israel in recent days. The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities, which represents 62 top institutions in the U.S. and Canada, has also expressed its strong opposition to the boycott, as has the American Association of University Professors, which counts more than 48,000 members.
(Updated 3:27 p.m. EST, 12/28. Current tally: 78)
In addition, the following institutions’ American Studies programs have withdrawn their membership in the American Studies Association (ASA) following last week’s boycott vote:
Furthermore, the following institutions have flatly denied being institutional members of the ASA, though the organization lists them as such:
Keep checking here - as the list is updated frequently

Idle No More Organizer speaks up for Israel

Ryan Bellerose, a member of the First Nations of Canada and an Idle No More Organizer speaks out against the Native American and Indigenous Studies call for the boycott of Israeli institutions.

Ryan, a founding member of Calgary United with Israel was asked if he had a "foot in both camps", as an aboriginal man  interested in Israel.  Ryan answers "I think of the struggle as the same camp. I see Israel as an indigenous project, basically indigenous people who have managed to return to their traditional lands and create a state. I happen to think its a really great example for our people"

Watch it here

Regarding the proposed NAISA boycott of Israeli goods and services, Ryan respond that the group is not an indigenous group- it is all "white people"

Via the  Israelllycool website: Ryan Bellerose's letter to the NAISA reprinted bellow
To the leadership of Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

“I was shown your website by a friend and colleague and to be quite honest I am extremely shocked that an organisation that states it is here as a group dedicated to studying Native American and Indigenous issues is openly supporting a racist, anti-indigenous group like BDS. As a Metis human rights activist who has studied the history of the Middle East, I feel it’s important for people like me to speak out because frankly you can only be supporting this boycott out of ignorance.

First off, as indigenous people it’s very important for us to support the struggles of our indigenous brethren. Contrary to popular belief and the false narrative being spread by pro-palestinians, Arabs are not indigenous to the Levant. The indigenous people are the Jews who trace their origins as a people and their culture to the levant. The Arabs who conquered the Middle East in the seventh century are in fact indigenous to the arabian peninsula. They do not get to claim indigenous status to the levant any more than white people can lay claim to being indigenous to North America. Israel is an indigenous rights project at its core; it is the return of an indigenous group that was disenfranchised by colonialists dating back to the Roman occupation and culminating in the Arab expansion in the seventh century. There is no statute of limitations on human rights, and indigenous rights are in fact human rights.

Second off, the boycott is inherently racist and prejudiced; even anti-Israel spokespeople like Norman Finklestein have openly stated that BDS is simply another attack against Jews. The hypocrite who started this Boycott is in fact a student at an Israeli university (Omar Barghouti who studies at Tel Aviv University). The idea that people should boycott an entire indigenous nation because of some ridiculous notion that colonisers have become indigenous is offensive as hell.

This entire ‘supporting the Palestinians out of some misguided “affinity” with them due to their underdog status’ is quite idiotic itself; in fact the entire Middle East minus one percent of the land mass, is under the control of Muslims who share the stated goal of the Palestinians’ leaders, which is “to remove the state of Israel and its people from the map”. So that means that in fact Israel is not just the underdog, but has overcome almost insurmountable odds. The Palestinians have been nothing more than a tool for the Arab nations to fight the Jews by proxy.

So you explain to me how a state that consists of one percent of the land mass and less than one percent of the total population is somehow an oppressor. The truth is that the Palestinians have been given several things that North American Indians have never been given: the opportunity to create their own state. They refused each time, believing that their Muslim brothers would destroy Israel for them – only they never have.

Boycotting academics is wrong, it’s immoral and disgusting. It is not borderline racism, it is abject racism. I urge you and your friends to reconsider this support of an illegitimate boycott. Please do some research into this.

A link for you: Norman Frankenstein speaking about BDS

We have struggled for equal rights in North America for decades; we have never stooped to terrorism, or propaganda. We rely on the fact that our cause is inherently just, so why we align ourselves with people who advocate for violence I have no idea. We have grassroots movements like Idle No More in which I have worked as both an organiser and participant in several events. We do NOT glorify murder nor do we advocate for violence. BDS is merely less open in its goals, which are the destruction of Israel and its people.

Ryan Bellerose, Organiser and Participant of Idle No More.”

Friday, December 20, 2013

Evil Zionist Colonialist Penguins Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid

Evil Zionist Colonialist Penguins Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid

Ain't love grand?

 From Israel21C

Dashik and Yehuda, two male griffon vultures, first made headlines when they raised surrogate chicks together at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo back in 1999. Now, Suki and Chupchikoni, two female Jackass penguins, are waving a new rainbow flag at the Zoological Center Ramat Gan (Safari) just outside of Tel Aviv.

Safari keepers say it was pretty obvious that Suki was a female because of her size. As soon as she and Chupchikoni coupled up and started collecting nesting materials together, the zoo staff wrongly assumed that Suki’s black-footed penguin companion was a male. Penguins pair for life and there was no mistaking Suki and Chupchikoni’s attraction.....

The Safari supports the new couple and even promoted their status with a press release and photos. “This is our first lesbian animal couple at the Safari,” said Setti. “And because there are a few young available males in the colony, we are certain that this is a choice they made to be together and not a coupling by default.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

San Francisco and Haifa: Celebrating 40 years as sister cities

In 1973, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution establishing “the creation of a sister city affiliation between San Francisco and the City of Haifa, State of Israel" designed to promote travel, trade, cultural exchanges, and international understanding.  

Both San Francisco and Haifa are located on a bay,  both have a diverse population, both are centers of high-tech, and both sit on an earthquake fault. Just as San Francisco functions as a "sanctuary" city,  Haifa too provided a sanctuary for people of the Bahai faith, and today is the home of the Bahai World center.

This week  the two "cities by the bay " marked the 40th anniversary of their sister city relationship.

From the website of  the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest 
 Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Consul General Andy David, Charlotte Mailliard Schultz (Chief of Protocol), Senator Mark Leno, City Supervisor Scott Weiner, Arthur Wachtel, Chair of the San Francisco-Haifa Sister City Committee,  and many others joined in celebrating the 40th year of Sister City relations between the two cities by the bay.

Guests included heads of Jewish organizations and members of the Sister City Committee, including Deputy Consul General Eyal Naor, Tracy Harding, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of State and Fuad Sweiss, City Engineer.
Established in 1973, the Sister City agreement has gained increased momentum in recent years, generating the visit of Haifa Mayor Yahav to San Francisco in 2010, a game between the Maccabi Haifa basketball team and the Golden State Warriors in 2012, and an official delegation visit from San Francisco to Haifa in May this year, including emergency management personnel, health officials and military staff.
Mayor Lee affirmed the vital role of the Sister City relationship in promoting deeper mutual understanding and cooperation, sharing the vision of Mayor Yahav, who spoke during his 2010 visit of the role of Haifa as a model for coexistence in the Middle East: "What is outstanding about the fabric of the people is that all parts, all sectors within the Haifa society are living in full peace more than 100 years."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Universities begin dropping American Studies Association membership after Israel boycott

Penn State Harrisburg has become the first school to drop its American Social Studies Association membership, following the ASA's decision to boycott Israeli institutions.

Dr. Simon J. Bronner,  Chair of the American Studies Department and a prominent member of the ASA, is Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of American Studies, a publication sponsored by the ASA. He provided the Blog Legal Insurrection  with the following statement

In the wake of the passage of the resolution by the ASA to boycott Israeli institutions, which programs and departments such as Penn State Harrisburg’s program in American Studies consider to curtail academic freedom and undermine the reputation of American Studies as a scholarly enterprise, the chair of the American Studies program at Penn State Harrisburg plans to drop its institutional membership and will encourage others to do so.
 Dr. Bronner has asked that the following statement also be posted on his behalf:
As a prominent program in American Studies concerned for the welfare of its students and faculty, Penn State Harrisburg is worried that the recent actions by the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) do not reflect the longstanding scholarly enterprise American Studies stands for. The withdrawal of institutional membership by our program and others allows us to be independent of the political and ideological resolutions issued by the ASA and concentrate on building American Studies scholarship with our faculty, students, and staff. There might be alternative organizations forming in the future that better represent the field of American Studies. When and if that occurs, we will re-examine our independent position. In the meantime we view this move as one intended to protect students and faculty from opprobrium as a result of the ASA’s claim to represent scholars of American studies.
Brandeis University has also withdrawn from the American Studies Association, following the organization’s decision to boycott Israel. 
From a post on their website
 It is a with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional affiliation with the American Studies Association.  We view the recent vote by the membership to affirm an academic boycott of Israel as a politicization of the discipline and a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster.  We remain committed to the discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture-- freedom of association and expression. 
 Legal Insurrection has published a list of all Universities that maintain membership in the American Studies Association.

Alberta Institute for American Studies
Bard Graduate Center
Boston College
Boston University
Brandeis University
Brigham Young University
Brown University
California State University, Fullerton
California State University, Long Beach
Carnegie-Mellon University
Centre for the Study of the United States
College of Staten Island, CUNY
College of William and Mary
Cornell University
Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art
CUNY Graduate Center, American Studies Certificate Program
DePaul University
Dickinson College
Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library
Emory University
Fordham University
Franklin College of Indiana
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Hamilton College
Harvard University
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
Indiana University
Kennesaw State University
Kenyon College
Lehigh University
The Long Island Museum
Michigan State University, English Department
Middlebury College
New York University
Northwestern University
Penn State University, Harrisburg
Princeton University
Ramapo College
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Rider University
Roger Williams University
Rowan College of New Jersey
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Saint John Fisher College
Saint Louis University
Saint Olaf College
Skidmore College
Smith College
Sophia University
St. Francis College
Stanford University, American Studies Program
Stanford University, Green Library
Stetson University
Students At The Center
Temple University
Trinity College, Hartford, CT.
Tufts University
University of Alabama
University of California, San Diego
University of Delaware
University of Hawaii
University of Iowa
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Minnesota
University of Mississippi
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma Honors College
University of Southern California
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Texas, Austin
University of Texas, Dallas
University of Utah
University of Western Ontario
University of Wyoming
Vanderbilt University
Washington State University
Washington University, St. Louis
Western Connecticut State University
Willamette University
Winterthur Program in Early American
Culture Youngstown State University
Many of these universities, or their affiliated printers, also provide financial support for ASA through advertising and exhibiting at Annual Meetings.

ASA has made its decision.  These institutions should decide whether they will become accomplices.

You can help. Are you affiliated with any of these schools, as a student, alumni or faculty?  Make your feelings known- and ask them to withdraw their institutional support.

Widespread condemnation of the vote by the ASA to boycott Academic institutions in Israel

From Elder of Ziyon:  Widespread condemnation of the vote by the ASA to boycott academic institutions in Israel

American Studies Association members ratify anti-Israel academic boycott

I’m most shocked at the low turnout for the vote. Given the time and energy devoted by the anti-Israel backers of the boycott, only 825 or so votes were in favor. At the same time, opponents (who were ambushed by the proposal) only managed to get about 375 people interested. Effectively, most people didn’t care. Apathy is perhaps the saddest lesson from this given the odious nature of the proposal, and it’s how anti-Israel zealots are able to drive issues far out of proportion to their actual numbers.
In a nation that overwhelmingly supports Israel at historically high levels, a highly organized cadre of anti-Israel radicals was able to pull off a multi-year effort successfully. They put their people in charge of a previously non-partisan academic organization, waited to ambush the opposition, made sure the flow of information was one-sided, and in the end used a relatively small but motivated group of symathizers to commit the entire organization to an act widely condemned outside the anti-Israel community.
It’s a lesson in how good people let bad people win, and should be a wake up call to supporters of Israel and/or academic freedom.
ASA issues member talking points to counter university pushback over Israel boycott
Apparently ASA is so concerned about how its academic boycott will be received at Universities around the country that it has posted talking points on its website.

The un-American Studies Association
 There are 200,000 dead in Syria and millions of refugees, zero academic freedom in China ... well, why go on; none of these matters seems worthy of notice by the ASA. It is illuminating that one of the endorsers of this move (actually, it is the second name that appears) on the ASA website is Angela Davis, former Communist Party candidate for national office and now a distinguished professor emerita of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She, like the ASA, has long been blind to human rights abuses -- except in Israel.

This move by the ASA will not harm Israel, but it is enlightening for anyone with children attending or soon to be attending college that this group of academics harbors such an extraordinary bias. The much larger American Association of University Professors has opposed this and all academic boycotts, but that is only partial comfort. The AAUP opposition means that ASA members had a principled and academically defensible basis for voting against the boycott of Israel, yet they voted for it. Those votes express not only bias against Israel, for the reasons Summers notes, but a bias as well against the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to infuse American academia.

Israel, Jewish groups slam ASA academic boycott
ASA President Curtis Marez was quoted by The New York Times as admitting that the organization had never before endorsed a boycott of any kind against any other nation's universities.
According to the report, Marez did not dispute the fact that other countries, including some in the Middle East, have far worse human rights records, saying, "One has to start somewhere. … There is a particular responsibility to answer the call for boycott because [the U.S.] is the largest supplier of military aid to the State of Israel."
The ASA’s Guide to World Peace
Earlier today, members of the American Studies Association voted to confirm the organization’s decision to boycott Israel. As far as we can tell, this is an historic occasion—with the exception of South Africa, no other country has been deemed so vile by American academics as to warrant banning all collaboration with its universities and scholars. In the spirit of public service, then, and to commemorate this occasion, we offer the following chart, the ASA’s Guide to World Peace.
World Jewish Congress denounces "Orwellian anti-Semitism" of US academic group's Israel boycott move
"This vote to boycott Israel, one of the most democratic and academically free nations on the globe, shows the Orwellian anti-Semitism and moral bankruptcy of the American Studies Association (ASA).
“The Middle East is literally filled with dead from governments’ reaction to the convulsions of the ‘Arab Spring,’ but the American Studies Association singles out the Jewish State, the one Middle Eastern country that shares American values, for opprobrium? No wonder many Americans dismiss the academy as deeply biased and disconnected with reality."
 And one more, from the Israel Action Network:

Israel Action Network Calls American Studies Association Decision to Adopt an Israel Boycott Resolution a Violation of Academic Freedom

The process of endorsing the resolution, which consisted of an electronic membership vote that closed on December 15, raised issues regarding open member discourse and transparency. The call for a membership vote followed a recommendation by the ASA National Council, a small body of two dozen people that sets policy for an organization of only 5,000 members. The resolution faced vocal opposition by eight former ASA Presidents, ASA award winners, and members that wrote an open letter condemning the resolution with 70 signatories. Until challenged, the leadership did not provide dissenting views or access to the membership to opponents of the resolution. ASA leaders who claim to champion academic freedom withheld alternate views from their colleagues, resulting in a vote where only one side of a complex conflict was formally presented. This reflected the same imbalance seen at the ASA’s recent annual meeting, where a panel discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict featured only panelists in favor of a boycott.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Divest this! via CIF Watch: The ASA's decision to boycott Israel

Recently, the American Studies Association (ASA) voted on and adopted a highly biased and contentious resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.  The vote represented less than 20 percent of membership and was  rejected by eight former ASA presidents.

The incomparable Divest this! has written some excellent commentary on the American Studies Association vote over at CIF Watch. Check it out

 How ASA Became RASA (Racist American Studies Association)
ASA President Marez told the New York Times that Israel was chosen to be the group’s human rights pariah because “you have to start somewhere.”  But the chances that the organization will continue from this starting point to act on human rights issues regarding other countries is nil since, as noted above, the ASA’s leaders are not human rights activists but anti-Israeli partisans first and last.  And given that they have forced the organization to throw academic freedom on the pyre in the name of their cause, I think it’s fair to say they should no longer even be considered scholars.

Anyway, as night follows day the script will play out.  Anger and recrimination by the 75% of members who didn’t vote on the issue (possibly because they – like a friend of mine who is in the organization – didn’t get the postcard voter reminder from the ASA leadership until a day after the vote had closed) will escalate once people realize that a group of people they have never met with no connection to the field is now speaking in their name.  Resignations will both shrink the organization while concentrating the radicals within it.  Real scholars (like those of AAUP) will continue to pour their scorn on the group which the BDSers will ignore as they travel the globe trying to find the next academic organization to corrupt in the name of ASA.
 Proposed ASA boycott of Israeli academics is a guaranteed moral fail
the BDSers took no chances when they stacked the deck of the committees responsible for the original decision and ensured a lopsided number of voices heard during that debate supported the leadership’s preferred outcome, they then went on to minimize chances that the hoi polloi of the American Studies Association (i.e., the scholars they were elected to represent) get in the way of their political crusade.

Exhibit A: While the ASA leadership gave themselves months to manage discussion of the boycott to ensure their desired results, they have given members just fifteen days to ratify the decision (fifteen days that – by a strange coincidence – coincides with finals period, the busiest time of the year for academics).

Exhibit B: While most normal votes about highly contentious issues would be accompanied by Pro and Anti arguments to give members a sense of the stakes involved and different points of view regarding a charged matter, the leadership decided all the members needed to hear was their own full-throated encouragement of a Yes vote.
 American Studies Association purges their Facebook page of critical comments     

Under normal circumstances, I’d take solace in the notion of hypocrisy being the complement vice pays to virtue.  But what are we to make of an organization that, in attempting to shut down inquiry with their Israeli colleagues is ready to first shut it down among its own members while simultaneously sending out e-mails urging people to participate in “discussion and healthy debate”?
American Studies Association ‘boycott Israel’ motion: The Justification
  ...The people claiming that their role as scholars gives them and their proposed boycott special meaning have chosen to act like garden variety propagandists – hiding facts, substituting gut emotion for rational debate, limiting rather than encouraging inquiry and debate – to get what they want.  And if they manage to eke out a victory, they will immediately try to use the virtues of scholarship they had so recently jettisoned to give their decision extra moral weight.
American Studies Association leaders to members: Dear Mindless Sheep
   ...the BDSers took no chances when they stacked the deck of the committees responsible for the original decision and ensured a lopsided number of voices heard during that debate supported the leadership’s preferred outcome, they then went on to minimize chances that the hoi polloi of the American Studies Association (i.e., the scholars they were elected to represent) get in the way of their political crusade.

    Exhibit A: While the ASA leadership gave themselves months to manage discussion of the boycott to ensure their desired results, they have given members just fifteen days to ratify the decision (fifteen days that – by a strange coincidence – coincides with finals period, the busiest time of the year for academics).

    Exhibit B: While most normal votes about highly contentious issues would be accompanied by Pro and Anti arguments to give members a sense of the stakes involved and different points of view regarding a charged matter, the leadership decided all the members needed to hear was their own full-throated encouragement of a Yes vote.
 Divest This! A modest proposal to the American Studies Association
 Most recently, a vote by the American Studies Association (ASA) to boycott Israeli academic institutions was passed the same way other votes have gone the BDSers way in recent months: by stacking decision-making committees with people who are BDSers first, academics second, whose fanatic devotion to “the cause” means they are ready to pass politicized motions they had no mandate to even discuss.  And like stacked student council votes that passed on a few campuses in the Spring, the notion that these measures represent student or academic opinion is laughable.