Tag Archives | Israel

Wrongfully Treating Academic Debate as Anti-Semitism

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Saree Makdisi writes at the Los Angeles Times:

The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular.

A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a means to “accurately identify” and “publicly condemn” it in campus debate, protest and discussion. That problematic definition conflates principled criticism of Israeli policies with genuine anti-Semitism; if the university accedes to this demand, such criticism — and academic freedom — could be suppressed by administrative fiat.

The State Department definition explicitly draws on a formulation provisionally adopted by a European Union body but long since discarded. It stretches the concept of anti-Semitism to include “demonizing” Israel, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and “denying Israel the right to exist.”

Such emotionally charged language attempts to preempt criticism of Israeli policies.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Protests Go Global as Ethiopians March Against Police Brutality in Tel Aviv

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Several thousand people, mostly hailing from Israel’s large Ethiopian population, took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday to protest racism and police brutality against ethnic minorities.

According to reports, marchers blocked highway traffic chanting and bearing signs which read: “A violent policeman must be put in prison” and “We demand full equal rights.”

The protest was sparked by the release this week of a video which shows an Ethiopian-Israeli man in an IDF uniform being beaten by police. Demonstrators are demanding an investigation into the attack and are calling for an end to what they say is an epidemic of brutality against Israel’s minority populations.

During a similar protest in Jerusalem on Thursday night police reportedly unleashed tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators. As the crowd continued to swell on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported that police are threatening to use force.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Did Washington Post Columnist Cherry-Pick Estimates on Israel Nukes?

alison-weir-bookWell, then.

Alison Weir via CounterPunch:

Washington Post “Fact Checker” columnist Glenn Kessler chastises Iran’s Foreign Minister for saying that Israel has 400 nuclear weapons.

Specifically, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “It’s laughable that Netanyahu has become everybody’s nonproliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads, nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT.”

In an otherwise valuable article, Kessler uses omission to make the claim of 400 nuclear weapons sound unwarranted, concluding “… his figure is more than double the median for the most recent estimate, and five times higher than another credible estimate. Zarif could make his political point without inflating the numbers. He earns Two Pinocchios.”

However, it appears that perhaps the Pinocchios should actually go to Kessler himself for omitting reports on the subject that didn’t fit his own views, thus skewing the numbers.

For instance, A 2009 study by U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

On Eve of Election, Netanyahu Promises No Palestinian State If Re-Elected

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

On the eve of national elections in Israel, politically-embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that if he and his Likud Party were returned to power for another term he would make sure that an independent Palestinian state would not come into being.

The comments come as a reversal of official Israeli government policy which, like the U.S. government, states that a two-state solution is the preferred outcome for the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Netanyahu made the assertion on the eve of an election in which he is trailing in the polls. He has been campaigning aggressively, appealing to conservatives for support.

“I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel,” he said in a video interview published on the NRG website.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

‘The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one’

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Frisk writes at The Independent:

Uri Avnery is without doubt the most intellectual, philosophical, prescient leftist Israeli seer I have ever met. Like TS Eliot, he has a habit of using the fewest words to tell the greatest truth. Every essay he writes, this reader always says the same thing: Exactly! Yet, for the first time in 40 years, I disagree with the great man.

He has just suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to address the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans tomorrow– two weeks before an Israeli general election – and Barack Obama’s decision not to see the old rogue, has destroyed Israel’s bipartisan support in America. For the first time, says Uri, Democratic politicians are allowed to criticise Israel.

Absolute Tosh.

Congressmen of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What Would Happen if the Int’l Criminal Court Indicted Israel’s Netanyahu?

Benjamin_Netanyahu_2012

Juan Cole writes at Informed Comment:

If the International Criminal Court takes up Israeli government actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, it could well find specific officials guilty of breaches of the Rome Statute of 2002. Article 7 forbids “Crimes against Humanity,” which are systematically repeated war crimes. Among these offenses is murder, forcible deportation or transfer of members of a group, torture, persecution of Palestinians (an “identifiable group”) and “the crime of Apartheid.”

The Israeli government murdered Palestinian political leaders (not just guerrillas) and have routinely illegally expelled Palestinians from the West Bank or from parts of the West Bank illegally incorporated into Israel. They deploy torture against imprisoned Palestinians. Their policies on the West Bank, of building squatter settlements on Palestinian land from which Palestinians are excluded, is only one example of Apartheid policies. Getting a conviction on Article VII should be child’s play for the prosecutor.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

How to Criticize Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic

Flag_of_Israel.svg

Peter Vidani writes at This Is Not Jewish:

If you’ve spent any time discussing or reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I guarantee you’ve heard some variation of this statement:

OMG, Jews think any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic! 

In the interests of this post, I’m going to assume that the people who express such sentiments are acting in good faith and really don’t mean to cause pain to or problems for Diaspora Jewry.  For those good-faith people, I present some guidelines for staying on the good side of that admittedly murky line, along with the reasoning why the actions I list are problematic.  (And bad-faith people, you can no longer plead ignorance if you engage in any of these no-nos.  Consider yourselves warned.)  In no particular order:

  1. Don’t use the terms “bloodthirsty,” “lust for Palestinian blood,” or similar.  Historically, Jews have been massacred in the belief that we use the blood of non-Jews (particularly of children) in our religious rituals. 
Read the rest
Continue Reading