When BDS Reaches Its Logical Conclusion

BDS end

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, despite all its noise, has so far avoided the logical step of actually boycotting all Israeli products and inventions. This is because it would make life too difficult, as Israeli inventions and products are integral to so much of modern technology and are very often a necessary and unavoidable part of products that people simply cannot live without.

Boycotting Israel only to the extent that it suits you, while taking advantage of Israeli IT or medical technology is, of course, a particularly sickening form of hypocrisy and possibly a completely new breed of bigotry. Nevertheless, it would appear that some state officials on the European continent have indeed tried to bring BDS to its logical conclusion, even when it meant that they might find themselves at a considerable disadvantage in an area of grave importance to national security.

According to news reports, France was offered Israeli security technology to track terrorists, which might possibly have prevented the disastrous terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Belgium in March 2016. The technology tracks terrorists by finding and matching intelligence reports from a number of national and international databases and employs powerful analytical tools and unique algorithms to navigate and process the information. According to an Israeli counter-terror specialist, French authorities liked the technology, but were told that there was a higher-level instruction to abstain from purchasing it. No official reason was stated for the rejection.

If true, this shows that not only has BDS made significant inroads into official France, but also that there is at least one European government willing to disregard its own citizens’ security just to pursue the goals of the BDS movement. It should give every concerned European pause that a European government puts the twisted and basically racist policy of boycotting Israeli products before its obligations of securing its own citizens and keeping them safe from terrorism — especially recently, with the Islamic State terror threat at an all-time high.

Being offered advanced terrorist-tracking technology from Israel – an indisputable leader in this field — and refusing it simply because it is Israeli does not merely constitute a terrible form of mindless bigotry but also gross malfeasance toward the citizens of France.

The incident opens up an even bigger question: How many governments and state agencies across Europe have refused Israeli technology simply because it was Israeli and not for objective or legitimate reasons? How many countries allow arbitrary hatred of the Jewish state to dictate their policy?

We will probably never know the answer, but the victims of adherence to such policies are the Europeans themselves. Israel sells its technologies across the world – Europe only constitutes a small part of the market. But every European should be interested in getting the best available technology and if that means choosing an Israeli product, then Europeans should insist on it, especially in those technological fields spearheaded by Israel.

We will also never know whether the purchase of Israeli terrorist-tracking technology would have indeed saved those 200 European lives snuffed out in the Paris and Belgium attacks. However, I imagine that it must be a heavy burden for the French officials who refused the Israeli technology to carry, knowing that they might possibly be indirectly responsible for all those deaths by refusing to obtain more advanced technology.

Europeans would be wise to wake up to the fact that when it comes to Israel, the policies that their governments pursue are not only wrong because they are anti-Israel and based on stubborn, often bigoted and antisemitic misperceptions, but that they may frequently be to the direct disadvantage of the European citizens that these governments were elected to serve. Clearly, a government that chooses to follow the principles of BDS rather than the best interest of its citizens is a government that has lost its moral compass entirely and is groping in the dark. Europeans should start asking some hard questions. The sooner the better.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Bannister: Divesting from Israel is counterproductive, simplistic, biased

NU BDS

When I first arrived at Northwestern this September, I was intrigued by the NU divestment movement. As a student interested in foreign affairs, I had always followed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and disapproved of Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank. NU Divest struck me as an organization that could be part of an important dialogue on campus. However, as I learned more about the movement and experienced the divestment debate at NU firsthand, I soon realized that my optimism was misplaced.

NU Divest’s mission is logically shaky. It excels at reducing a highly complex issue of foreign policy and social relations to a black and white moral ultimatum in order to attract and mobilize its members. Unfortunately, this strategy has created an organization that, despite its size and vocal presence, has goals that are devoid of subtlety and depth.

The NU Divest movement aims to prevent NU from investing in companies including G4S, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard, which make products for the Israeli military. Like any sanctions proponent, including the national one against Iran, it aims to discourage or prevent companies from doing business with the Israeli government. In this way, the divestment movement is effectively punishing the State of Israel by claiming that it is less entitled to business with U.S. companies than other nations.

Just last year, Lockheed Martin reached an $11.25 billion dollar military contracting deal with Saudi Arabia. Both Lockheed and Boeing manufacture the F-16 and F-15 fighter jets used by the Saudi Air Force. Since 2015 the Saudis have embarked on a brutal military intervention in Yemen’s civil war in an attempt to crush the Shiite Houthi rebels. According to the United Nations, the Saudis have killed over 3,000 civilians and bombed “markets, hospitals, clinics, schools, factories, wedding parties — and hundreds of private residences in villages, towns and cities.” These horrendous violations have been carried out with weapons manufactured by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Boeing also recently reached a multi-billion dollar agreement with Turkey, a close U.S. ally, to manufacture F-16s, many of which are used in Turkey’s violent repression of the Kurdish minority population. According to the Los Angeles Times, Turkey is responsible for the destruction of over 4,000 Kurdish villages and the deaths of 35,000 Kurds since the conflict began. Indeed, massive corporations like Lockheed, Boeing, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard do their business all over the world, oftentimes with highly unsavory customers.

If you haven’t caught the drift of my argument yet, I’ll make it obvious. It is disturbingly biased to argue that NU should divest from these companies on the basis that they do business with Israel when they do business with nations and people who commit atrocities that are just as bad or worse.

If we can’t sanction every country on Earth that violates human rights, surely we must choose the worst ones first. I find it difficult to believe that Israel is more repressive than Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad, Egypt’s Al-Sisi, or the Saudi monarchy. And those are just its neighbors. As a result I find it impossible to believe that NU Divest is making rational choices when it attempts to sanction Israel.

Singling out Israel before all other states justifiably makes Israelis and Jews in general feel targeted. The companies mentioned by NU Divest do business with some of the most repressive regimes on earth. It is insulting and unfair for the divestment movement to target a small Jewish democracy over far larger and more violent actors. It indicates that the real distinction between Israel and its neighbors isn’t the actions of its government or its ties to the United States, but the identity of its people.

The greatest flaw in NU Divest isn’t its binary understanding of the Israeli conflict, but its attempts to effectively levy sanctions against a foreign state. NU will continue to be allowed to invest in other countries with human rights violations such China, Turkey, Russia, Egypt and even Iran. But it will not invest in Israel. The perversity of this double standard is alarming to many Northwestern students, as it should be.

University President Morton Schapiro and the NU administration are not fools. They will never undermine the integrity of NU as a neutral forum for ideas in order to mollify the injured feelings of a single party. Nor will they jeopardize the school’s reputation by punishing the Jewish state before numerous other human rights violators. Actions like that would provoke a harsh response from the national media as well as justifiable accusations of anti-Semitism. That is why NU Divest has and will continue to be stonewalled by the administration.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an issue that needs to be discussed. It is a complex and sensitive subject that impacts the lives of many people. That is why each student on this campus, no matter what their position on this issue is, should help push the dialogue away from punishment, sanctions and finger-pointing and towards something based off of rationality and mutual respect.

Original Article: Daily North Western

Dershowitz: Obama’s double standard toward Netanyahu

Dershowitz op ed

The US president owes the American people, and Benjamin Netanyahu, an explanation for his apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency.

As US President Barack Obama winds up his farewell tour of Europe, it is appropriate to consider the broader implications of the brouhaha he created in Great Britain. At a joint press conference with Britain Prime Minister, David Cameron, President Obama defended his intrusion into British politics in taking sides on the controversial and divisive Brexit debate. In an op-ed, Obama came down squarely on the side of Britain remaining in the European Union – a decision I tend to agree with on its merits. But he was much criticized by the British media and British politicians for intruding into a debate about the future of Europe and Britain’s role in it.

Obama defended his actions by suggesting that in a democracy, friends should be able to speak their minds, even when they are visiting another country: “If one of our best friends is in an organization that enhances their influence and enhances their power and enhances their economy, then I want them to stay in. Or at least I want to be able to tell them ‘I think this makes you guys bigger players.’” Nor did he stop at merely giving the British voters unsolicited advice, he also issued a not so veiled threat. He said that “The UK is going to be in the back of the queue” on trade agreements if they exit the EU.

President Obama must either have a short memory or must adhere to Emerson’s dictum that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Recall how outraged the same President Obama was when the Prime Minister of a friendly country, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke his mind about the Iran Deal.

There are, of course, differences: first, Israel has a far greater stake in the Iran deal than the United States has in whatever decision the British voters make about Brexit: and second, Benjamin Netanyahu was representing the nearly unanimous view of his countrymen, whereas there is little evidence of whether Americans favor or oppose Brexit in large numbers.

Another difference, of course, is that Obama was invited to speak by Cameron, whereas, Netanyahu was essentially disinvited by Obama. But under our tripartite system of government – which is different than Britain’s Unitary Parliamentary system — that fact is monumentally irrelevant. Netanyahu was invited by a co-equal branch of the government, namely Congress, which has equal authority over foreign policy with the president and equal authority to invite a friendly leader. Moreover, not only are the British voters divided over Brexit, but the conservative party itself is deeply divided. Indeed, the leading political figure in opposition to Britain remaining in the European Union is a potential successor to Cameron as leader of the Conservative party. So these differences certainly don’t explain the inconsistency between Obama’s interference in British affairs and his criticism of Netanyahu for accepting an invitation from Congress to express his country’s views on an issue directly affecting its national security.

So what is it Mr. President? Should friends speak their minds about controversial issues when visiting another country, or should they keep their views to themselves? Or is your answer that friends should speak their minds only when they agree with other friends, but not when they disagree? Such a view would skew the market place of ideas beyond recognition. If friends should speak about such issues, it is even more important to do so when they disagree.

A wit once observed that “hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.” It is also the currency of diplomacy and politics. That doesn’t make it right.

The president owes the American people, and Benjamin Netanyahu, an explanation for his apparent hypocrisy and inconsistency. Let there be one rule that covers all friends – not one for those with whom you agree and another for those with whom you disagree. For me the better rule is open dialogue among friends on all issues of mutual importance. Under this rule, which President Obama now seems to accept, he should have welcomed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s advocacy before Congress, instead of condemning it. He owes Prime Minister Netanyahu an apology, and so do those Democratic members of Congress who rudely stayed away from Netanyahu’s informative address to Congress.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Israeli, US university heads combat BDS calls for academic boycotts

 isr usa univ

Leading universities such as MIT, University of Chicago and the University of California campuses all released statements re-affirming their solidarity with Israeli higher academic institutions.

In a significant blow to Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), the presidents of Israeli universities have enlisted the aid of their US counterparts to fight back against calls for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

Leading universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT, University of Chicago and the ten campuses of the University of California all released statements re-affirming their opposition to academic boycotts and in solidarity with Israeli higher academic institutions.

Prof. Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and head of the Association of University Heads in Israel (VERA) and Prof. Rivka Carmi, president of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in collaboration with the efforts of Prof. Zvi Ziegler, head of the forum to counter future academic boycotts against Israel established by VERA, penned letters earlier this month to their US university counterparts urging them to make public statements opposing the call for a boycott.

“Those who did not want to open the door for us got us through the window. The Association of University Heads is determined to do everything possible to combat this spreading phenomenon,” Lavie said.

The call to oppose the academic boycott was made ahead of the upcoming decision of the American Anthropological Association on whether to officially adopt a boycott to refrain from formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, though not of individual academics.

In November 2015, the resolution in favor of a boycott was approved by an overwhelming majority (1,040 in favor to 136 against) of some 1,400 members of the association participating in its annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

Currently, over 10,000 members of the Association are casting their vote on the issue. Should the boycott resolution pass, it will mark the largest association to date to call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

In a letter penned earlier this month to Prof. Gene David Block, Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, Lavie wrote: “The impending vote of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) is a new cause of concern.

This is a very large organization and we believe that if they endorse the boycott motion it will have a very destructive effect and increase the chances of pro-BDS groups obtaining similar results with other associations.

“I therefore approach you, as someone who is highly respected in the academic arena in the US, with a request to consider initiating a letter on behalf of a group of presidents of leading universities in which you state that you view the a boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions as an affront to academic values.”

In response to Lavie’s letter, Prof. Block appealed to the president of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, who together with the additional chancellors of all the UC campuses penned a letter last week to the AAA voicing their concern over the call for a boycott of Israeli institutions.

“The University of California believes that an academic boycott is an inappropriate response to a foreign policy issue and one that threatens academic freedom and sets a damaging precedent for academia,” the UC president and chancellors wrote.

“An academic boycott goes against the spirit of the University of California, which has consistently championed open discourse and encouraged collaboration with scholars and peers from international institutions of higher education. We urge Association members to consider the boycott’s potentially harmful impacts and oppose this resolution,” they concluded.

The president of MIT, Prof. Raphael L. Reif also responded to Lavie’s letter and said that earlier this month “Hunter Rawlings, the president of the Association of American Universities wrote all of the AAU presidents and chancellors with a reminder of the Association’s consistent public opposition to academic boycotts.”

The AAU is comprised of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada, including Harvard, MIT, Princeton and Stanford.

Earlier this year in January, the AAU issued a statement re-affirming its opposition to boycotts against Israeli academic institutions.

“As a member of the AAU board, I support these public statements of opposition, which reflect my disagreement with the proposed boycott,” added Reif.

The University of Chicago also issued a statement in response to the letter by Carmi, reaffirming its position on divestment and academic boycotts: “The University of Chicago will not divest from companies for doing business in Israel and opposes academic boycotts aimed at specific nations, including Israel. The University is restating its policy to address questions regarding its institutional position,” the statement read.

“The University has from its founding held as its highest value the free and open pursuit of knowledge. Faculty and students must be free to pursue their research and education around the world, and to form collaborations both inside and outside the academy, encouraging engagement with the widest spectrum of views. For this reason, the University continues to strongly oppose boycotts of academic institutions or scholars in any region of the world, including recent actions to boycott Israeli institutions,” the university concluded.

Lavie reiterated that Israeli institutions would not sit idly by in the face of calls for academic boycotts against Israel.

“We will not enter an ‘academic ghetto’ which the BDS seeks to place us,” he said. “I hope that the declarations of the American presidents will affect the stances of the members of the American Anthropological Association.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

NYU graduate student union approves BDS resolution

NYU UAW

The resolution called on the union and its parent union, the United Auto Workers, to divest from Israeli companies.

The graduate student union at New York University voted to approve a motion to support a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution against Israel.

The resolution was approved by two-thirds of the 600 union members who voted on Friday, according to reports citing the Graduate Student Organizing Committee. The committee represents more than 2,000 graduate teaching and research assistants at the university.

The resolution called on the union and its parent union, the United Auto Workers, to divest from Israeli companies. It also calls on NYU to close its program at Tel Aviv University, which it alleges violates the NYU non-discrimination policy. Fifty-seven percent of the voting union members also took a personal pledge to boycott Israeli government and academic institutions.

The resolution calls for the boycott to remain in place “until Israel complies with international law and ends the military occupation, dismantles the wall, recognizes the rights of Palestinian citizens to full equality, and respects the right of return of Palestinian refugees and exiles.”

NYU spokesman John Beckman told Capital News New York that: “NYU has a long-standing position opposing boycotts of Israeli academics and institutions. This vote is at odds with NYU’s policy on this matter, it is at odds with the principles of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas, and it is even at odds with the position of their own parent union, the UAW.”

The United Auto Workers International in January struck down a boycott resolution against Israel passed by the University of California Student Workers Union, UAW Local 2865, which represents more than 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other student workers in the UC system.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

‘Israel boycott halted security deal that could have foiled Paris attacks’

bds israel france

Israeli security source says offer of terror-tracking software to French security officials was refused due to ‘higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli tech’

An alleged boycott of Israeli technology may have prevented an airport security deal offered to France after the deadly Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks in January, 2015. Use of the Israeli terrorist-tracking technology could possibly have thwarted the subsequent Islamic State terror attacks in Paris and Belgium.

According to an Israeli security source who spoke to Fox News on Monday, an Israeli security company offered terrorist-tracking software to the Directorate-General for Internal Security, France’s main intelligence agency — software that could have helped flag the deadly IS terror cell that perpetrated the attacks in Paris last November and in Belgium last month. But the offer was rebuffed allegedly after an official made clear that Israeli technology could not be purchased, the source said. The agency did not officially state a reason for the rejection.

The software, according to the Fox News report, finds and matches up intelligence reports from a number of different databases, both national and international. The tool could have helped counter-terror agents track suspects in real time.

“French authorities liked it, but the official came back and said there was a higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology,” the Israeli counter-terror specialist told FoxNews.com. “The discussion just stopped.”

The source did not name the company behind the software or go into further detail about the technology but indicated it was made available to the US and other countries with which Israel enjoys good relations.

“Government agencies struggling to foil terror attacks need access to technologies that allow them to connect their data fragments, making it possible to handle daily data challenges,” the source added. “With this system, all data can then be easily navigated, processed and represented by employing a set of powerful analytic tools and unique algorithms.”

The source said the software could have given French and European authorities an advantage in flagging and tracking the Islamic State suspects and could have possibly thwarted the attacks that killed 130 in Paris and over 30 in Belgium. Both assaults have been linked to the same Islamic State terror squad.

The last surviving member of the Paris branch of the terror cell, Salah Abdeslam, who was arrested in Brussels last month after a four-month manhunt — setting off the airport and subway attacks in the Belgian capital — is set to be extradited to France after a court appearance.

Abdeslam and alleged Paris accomplice Mohamed Abrini, who has also been charged over the Brussels attacks, were moved to different jails in Belgium last week. Abrini, 31, has confessed to being “the man in the hat” caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport. He was also linked to the November 13 Paris massacre after being caught on video at a motorway gas station with Abdeslam.

Following the November Paris attacks, demand for Israeli security technology surged, according to a report in Haaretz in November.

A manager for Israeli company BriefCam — whose technology lets users view security footage quickly to detect suspicious activity — told Haaretz at the time he received urgent orders from Belgium, Italy and Germany, after the attacks.

The Charlie Hebdo assault on January 7, 2015, in which 11 people were killed, was perpetrated by Cherif and Said Kouachi, brothers claiming to be members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Two days later, four Jewish men were killed at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris in an attack coordinated with the Kouachi brothers and perpetrated by Amedy Coulibaly, who claimed to be working on behalf of the Islamic State.

The three terrorists died in separate shootouts with security forces on January 9, 2015, ending a three-day manhunt that left Paris reeling.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel

Professors Sue American Studies Association for Boycott of Israel

asa protest

Several members of the American Studies Association (ASA) announced Wednesday that they are suing their own academic association for its boycott of Israel, arguing that the boycott violates a District of Columbia (DC) law that applies to non-profit organizations.

“Until a handful of zealots appropriated our learned society, the ASA was the leading organization for the study of American culture,” said one of the plaintiffs, Professor Simon Bronner. “Yet in 2013, a handful of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists aggressively steered the ASA to an organization of social change pushing a narrow political agenda.”

The membership of the ASA, the oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, in 2013 voted to endorse the ASA’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The vote had attracted the largest number of participants in the 5,000-member organization’s history. More than 66 percent of voters endorsed the boycott resolution, while 31 percent opposed it.

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs say that at the time of the boycott, the ASA’s constitution stated that “the object of the association [is] the promotion of the study of American culture through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication…about American culture in all its diversity and complexity.” Therefore, the boycott of Israel was outside the scope of the constitution and antithetical to the association’s stated goal of promoting knowledge, the plaintiffs argue.

The ASA’s constitution also states that the association’s goal is “the strengthening of relations among persons and institutions in this country and abroad devoted to such studies,” which the plaintiffs say is also the exact opposite of what the boycott of Israel aims to achieve.

Further, as a tax-exempt non-profit, the ASA reports documents annually to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In those IRS documents, the ASA describes its mission as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” with the specific purpose of “advancing the study of American culture.”

Prof. Bronner is joined in the lawsuit by three other plaintiffs: Professors Michael Rockland, Michael Barton, and Charles Kupfer. The four plaintiffs say they have unsuccessfully tried to address the issue of the Israel boycott directly with the ASA numerous times since 2013, and chose to now sue the association as a last resort.

“This appears to be a clear example of a small group misappropriating assets raised for an agreed-upon purpose and illegally using the organization to advance a completely separate and personal agenda,” said University of California, Berkeley Law School Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon, a corporate law expert who advised the litigation group representing the plaintiffs.

Northwestern University Pritzker Law School Professor Eugene Kontorovich, a legal expert who also advised the litigation group, added that “to be clear, this is not about silencing or stopping criticism of Israel, or in any way discouraging it. It is about non-profit corporations abiding by their own rules.”

Original Article: Algemiener

Israel nabs Hamas men from Bethlehem said linked to Jerusalem bus blast

nab bus

The Shin Bet said on Thursday that the lone fatality from the blast was the bomber, Abdel-Hamid Abu Srour.

Following days of unnerving police silence, exacerbated by rampant media speculation amid a court-imposed gag order, the Shin Bet on Thursday finally confirmed the identity of the Palestinian terrorist who detonated a bomb on Egged bus No. 12 in Jerusalem on Monday.

The confirmation comes less than 24 hours after Hamas claimed responsibility, and lauded its operative, Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, for carrying out the attempted mass murder that wounded 20 men, women and children.

Srour died Wednesday night at the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center following multiple surgeries after his legs were blown off in the explosion, which seriously wounded seven other passengers on Moshe Baram Street, a major thoroughfare in the southern portion of the city.

The explosion caused an inferno that engulfed a second empty Egged bus and car. Six fire trucks were needed to extinguish the blaze, which reduced all three vehicles to charred metal.

Remarkably, none of the Israeli passengers sustained critical injuries, with the only death being Srour’s.

However, according to police, Srour did not carry any identification, stymieing the intensive joint police and Shin Bet investigation that ensued.

“A major part of the investigation was to find out who [the terrorist] was, and who helped him plan the attack,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld shortly after Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court lifted the gag order early Thursday evening.

“Immediately following the explosion, police and the Shin Bet launched a joint investigation that has led to several arrests of terrorists who helped him plan the attack from Beit Jala, where Srour lived, on Wednesday.”

Srour’s father was among those arrested, Rosenfeld said, adding that more arrests are expected as the investigation continues.

Jerusalem District head Asst.- Ch. Yoram Halevy praised both the police and Shin Bet for their “fruitful cooperation,” which “brought the rapid arrest of the suspects.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

France to convene Mideast summit in May, without Israel or Palestinians

hollande talks

The conference will include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council.

France will convene a summit on May 30 of some 30 countries and international organizations to discuss the parameters for an international peace conference to be held in the French capital in the second part of the year, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be invited to the summit, though they will be asked later to join the peace conference.

“There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital,” Ayrault said in Paris.

“The two sides are more divided than ever. I’m not naive, but am acting in good faith. There is no alternative. The other option is fatalism and I refuse it,” he said.

France’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Pierre Vimont, completed a report earlier this month.

According to a spokesperson at the French embassy in Tel Aviv, the May 30 meeting would be on the basis of the 2002 Arab League’s peace plan.

The list of those to be invited to the parley was not released, though it is expected to include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council. The invitations to the meeting are expected to be sent out on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told reporters earlier this week that he was unclear what was in the French initiative, said the planned summit in Paris was not mentioned on Thursday during his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malik, meanwhile, said at the UN that the Palestinians “welcome” the summit and “are looking forward to help.”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

BDS Professor Links Campus Rape to Israel

bds prof

Simona Sharoni is a professor, Israel-hater, BDSer, and one of those who gave Rachel Corrie college credit to go to Israel with the ISM.

Her niche in the loony Left world is to say that (because of “intersectionality”) there is a link between Israel’s existence and rape on college campuses.

While the idea of intersectionality had some merit when it was first defined, nowadays it is a catch-all buzzword to claim that the Jewish State is the very definition of evil.

From the far-Left Alternet site:
Why Feminists Should Care About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Dr. Simona Sharoni is a feminist scholar, researcher, and activist who has focused her career on the gendered nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Currently a Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Plattsburgh, Dr. Sharoni champions the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement…

In her recent academic work, Dr. Sharoni has been exploring the relevancy of the BDS campaign to a praxis of transnational feminist solidarity.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Sharoni spoke at an event at Columbia University, co-hosted by both Palestine student activist groups and No Red Tape, the anti-sexual assault group launched in January 2014.

Dr. Sharoni asks questions like, “What do Israeli Apartheid and the campus sexual assault crisis have in common? How can a feminist intersectional analysis help us understand violence at the heart of both cases? How can we use this comparative analysis to advocate for survivors of violence and to demand accountability for perpetrators?”

Aviva Stahl: Let’s start at the beginning. Why is BDS or what’s happening with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a feminist issue?

Dr. Simona Sharoni: Firstly, there is the fact that there is a direct connection between the violence of the occupation and sexual and gender based violence against Palestinian and Israeli Jewish women. The highly militarized conflict has gender dimensions.

For example, during my military service, we started raising the issue of the connection between the violence of the occupation and violence against women, because in Israel, men who serve, even after their mandatory military service, have their weapons in their home until they’re 55. There were many murders of women—intimate partner violence, which they used to call in Israel crimes of passion—that were actually done with weapons provided by the state.

By this logic, cookbook publishers are linked to women who stab their husbands with kitchen knives.

…BDS is a movement that emerged in response to a call for solidarity. Palestinian women’s groups were part of that broad civil society group that called for solidarity.

So feminists should be Zionist because of women-run Zionist organizations that have been around for more than a hundred years.

Aviva: Can you talk a little bit about some of the parallels between Israeli Apartheid and the campus sexual assault crisis?

Dr. Sharoni: Power is made invisible in the narration of both the Palestinian-Israel conflict and campus sexual assault. Focus is placed on the relationship, not on the system.

In other words, it’s not a conflict between two parties on an equal playing field, even when it’s a healthy relationship. For example when we talk about what’s happening on college campuses—sexism and rape culture, interfere with [that possibility for equality.]

As for Israelis and Palestinians—the discourse is that there’s a “cycle of violence.” And of course it’s not a cycle of violence. There’s a history of colonization, and a settler-colonial movement—that sowed the seeds for this conflict. So the violence stems from that, it doesn’t stem from, “this side did this to the other side.”

We have to highlight these structural power inequalities and the way that violence is embedded in them.

I guess police, corporate executives, government officials and teachers are inherently prone to violence because they do not have an equal relationship with the people that they have power over.

Intellectual-sounding arguments fall apart very easily when the same arguments cannot work in other contexts. What is the common denominator? The fact that a lot of people hate Israel, and need to justify their hate ex-post facto!

It’s a feminist idea, based on intersectional feminist analysis that views gender oppression as systemic and intertwined with other forms of systemic oppression. Postcolonial feminism addresses specifically feminist critiques of settler colonialism. The problem is that for many liberal Jewish feminists, the idea of treating Zionism as a settler colonial project is new and challenges how they were brought up to view Israel.

If we re-conceptualize the injustice of Palestine, and reframe it by taking an intersectional look at multiple oppressions and multiple struggles, then it makes sense. If you build a movement that moves away from narrow identity politics to coalition politics, you’re going to have people who are not comfortable, because they still have this single issue, one-identity understanding of the struggle.

But Jews who are the victims of antisemitic violence — like Monday’s bus bombing — cannot claim to be intersectionalized with feminism, even though there are plenty of women victims.

Why not? Because, (handwaving, yadda-yadda), Israel!

Here Sharoni almost admits that the real reason to link the issues is a strategy to delegitimize Israel, not because there is any merit in her laughable arguments.

Aviva: What is the importance of broad-based solidarity movements?

Dr. Sharoni: I think strategically, making the connection between the two struggles [Israeli Apartheid and campus sexual assault] makes sense. We do need to move from this narrowly defined strategies of identity politics—the idea that the group that is most hurt, and most targeted, has the burden of organizing…

The problem with how “intersectionality” is used nowadays is that it can be used as a bludgeon against anything. It is a fraudulent idea because the same logic can be used to come to opposite conclusions — in fact, opposite conclusions that make far more sense. So for example, the widespread and well-known cases of sexual abuse against female anti-Israel activists by Palestinians would indicate a far more direct relationship between Palestinians and rape.

An anti-Zionist professor at UCLA is accused of sexual assault — yet using the “logic” of people like Sharoni, this should indicate a much stronger link between anti-Zionism and rape than she claims Israel has.

Here’s one more “intersectional” relationship that is stronger than any of the absurd theories that Sharoni espouses:

She is one of the mentors who awarded Rachel Corrie college credit to go to “Palestine” to protest Israel. If it wasn’t for her, Corrie would be alive today. She is linked to Rachel Corrie’s death!

Murderer!

See how easy it is to come up with linkages when you don’t have to worry about things like logic, causality, or consistency?

This all shows that the anti-Israel academic crowd is made up of frauds.

It is no surprise that Sharoni is one of the frauds who signed a letter to McGraw Hill asking it to reinstate the Map that Lies in a textbook that had no reason to refer to it to begin with.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Chief Syrian Coordinator Claims Golan Heights For Syria

syria chief

The chief coordinator of Syria’s main opposition bloc: “The Golan is Syrian land and it will be returned to Syria.”

The chief coordinator of Syria’s main opposition bloc on Tuesday has blamed Israel for moves he claims support the continued rule of the country’s President Bashar Assad.

“If it weren’t for the support of the Israeli occupation, Bashar Assad wouldn’t remain [in power] until now,” Arab media quoted Riad Hijab as telling reporters.

While Israel and Syria have never had formal diplomatic ties, Syrian opposition forces have more than once claimed that the Assad regime has employed Israeli technology during the years-long bloody civil war.

During the press conference Tuesday, Hijab charged that former Syrian president, and the current leader’s father, Hafez Assad, was responsible for Israel’s current control of the strategic plateau due to his rejection of offers by the Jewish state to surrender to the pre-1967 borders in exchange for peace.

Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks earlier in the week that the Golan Heights “will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty,” the Syrian opposition leader pledged that the territory would return to Syrian control.

“We won’t give up on our territorial completeness or on the unification of our social fabric,” Hijab asserted. “We won’t concede a single grain of soil. The Golan is Syrian land and it will be returned to Syria.”

Hijab also said there will be no solution for the more than four-year Syrian conflict as long as Assad remains in power.

“Bashar Assad will not remain and we will not forgive. Bashar Assad must face justice, he must be punished, he will not escape punishment. Not he or any of the criminals who commit massacres towards the Syrian people,” Hijab said.

He also called on major powers to urgently meet to re-evaluate a truce on the Syrian civil war that he said was no longer in place and said there could be no talks while the Syrian people continued to suffer.

“I ask the UN, and the great nations, with the United States at its head, if you are unable to let a bottle of milk pass, how will you be able to move a political process and achieve a political transition in Syria?”

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Jordan cancels plan for security cameras on Temple Mount

TM cameras

PM says kingdom will halt program, aimed at preventing violent clashes at holy site, because of Palestinian opposition.

Jordan’s prime minister on Monday said his government had decided to call off a plan to install surveillance cameras at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, derailing a US-brokered pact to ease tensions at the volatile hilltop compound.

Abdullah Ensour told the state-run Petra News Agency that Jordan was calling off the plan due to Palestinian concerns.

“We were surprised since we announced our intention to carry out the project by the reactions of some of our brothers in Palestine who were skeptical about the project,” he said. “We have found that this project is no longer enjoying a consensus, and it might be controversial. Therefore we have decided to stop implementing it.”

The decision came just days before the Jewish holiday of Passover — a time of increased activity at the site. The Temple Mount is revered by Jews as the site of the biblical Temples, and by Muslims, who call it the Noble Sanctuary. It has been a frequent scene of violence in the past.

In a deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Jordan offered to install the cameras last fall after clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces.

The Palestinians had accused Israel of secretly plotting to take over the site — a charge Israel strongly denies — while Israel pointed to videos showing Palestinian protesters using the mosque as cover while throwing stones and firecrackers at police. The idea was that transparency by both sides would help ease tensions.

But the plan quickly ran into trouble, with the Palestinians objecting to Israeli demands to place cameras inside the mosque. The Palestinians also said that Israel would use the cameras to spy on them.

Israel wants cameras installed everywhere in the compound, including in the mosques, to document the alleged hoarding of stones and weaponry by Palestinians in preparation for clashes with Israeli security forces. Jordan, the custodian of the shrine, only wanted cameras in open areas to show alleged violations by Israeli security forces.

Palestinians earlier this month placed notices in the Jerusalem compound warning of plans to smash any security cameras installed at the site.

The Jordanian decision could deal an embarrassing blow to Kerry, who had hailed the deal at the time it was announced last October and pushed behind the scenes in recent months for the sides to wrap it up.

There was no immediate reaction from the US, Israel or the Palestinians.

Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces erupted at the compound in September, preceding a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence, including stabbing, shooting and vehicular ramming attacks that have killed 29 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese since October 1. Some 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in this period, most of them while carrying out attacks, according to Israeli officials.

Israel captured the Temple Mount, site of the biblical Temples, from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed the area, but it left Jordanian religious authorities in charge of the Muslim holy sites there. While Israel controls access to the holy site, Jews are barred from praying there.

Israel and Jordan have close but quiet relations in other areas, such as security coordination against Islamic extremists. Israeli and Jordanian officials have shied away from commenting about the cameras on the record, presumably not wanting to upset the delicate ties between the countries.

Original Article: The Times Of Israel