Posts filed under ‘dangeous lies and halftruths’

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

A humanitarian solution for

Judea, Samaria and Gaza

Martin Sherman

Martin Sherman gave a compelling presentation

Last week we held the third talk in our series on “Setting the Record Straight”. The guest speaker was Dr. Martin Sherman, well-known columnist for The Jerusalem Post, lecturer, policy adviser and political and strategic analyst. His subject was “Rethinking Palestine – what would Sherlock Holmes have said?” 90 people filled the hall at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.

As the title of Martin Sherman’s talk suggests, it is a highly controversial subject. Rethinking Palestine, according to Martin Sherman, entails scrapping the two-state solution because, in his opinion, it has clearly proved to be a dangerous non-solution and indeed a recipe for catastrophe, both for Israel and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).

Martin Sherman quoted Major-General (reserves) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, who in 2009 had cautioned that, “The maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians … is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept.”

Interestingly, 14 years before that, in his last speech to the Knesset before he was assassinated in 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that Palestine should  be an entity which is less than a state, which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.” He added, “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.” He also said, “We have committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.” These are sentiments that today, in his Labor Party, would probably be met with angry calls of “right wing extremist!” How perceptions have changed!

To illustrate even further the shift in perceptions, Rabin’s associate in seeking peace, Shimon Peres, known to be even more willing to make concessions to the Arabs and still to this day urging the relinquishment of more territory, had concurred that the 1967 lines “constituted almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions …” and warned that “without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war.”

Clearly, the desire to reach a peace agreement has been so strong in Israel, that it has brought about a willingness to concede more and more territory, but at the same time, a resolve has emerged on the other side of the political divide to prevent these concessions by holding on to as much territory as possible.


TWO IMPERATIVES

Martin Sherman says that two imperatives dictate the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews: The demographic imperative and the geographic imperative. Geographically, the two-State Solution poses critical security dangers for Israel, because of the longer borders that would result from the various pockets of Jewish and Arab population concentrations and the proximity of Israel’s main urban and commercial centers, power stations, military headquarters, highways and airport to an entity that, despite the proposals for demilitarization, will undoubtedly be armed to the teeth and in all likelihood be summarily taken over by Hamas or a more virulent form of extremism.

On the other hand, the One-State Solution, proposed by right-wing groups posits serious and obvious demographic risks that will generate even more inter-communal turbulence and instability than now, and dangerously erode the Jewish proportion voting for the Knesset – heralding the possible end of Israel as a Jewish state.

To offset both these predicaments, Martin Sherman suggests something which at the outset would upset many people – funded relocation. Many people immediately make the accusation of: “Ethnic cleansing!” Or “Transfer!”

Martin Sherman builds up his premise in a neat modular form, comprising three humane components. Firstly, he says, “End the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian refugees by abolishing the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), or bringing it into line with international practice for all other refugees on the face of the globe. Every refugee on earth is under the auspices of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – except for the Palestinians. For them a separate institution exists – UNRWA. Strange, but true!

If the universally accepted UNHCR criteria for refugees were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of “refugees” would shrink from close to 5 million to fewer than 200,000. That’s because refugee status, according to the UNHCR lasts only one generation, and a concerted effort is made to integrate the refugees under its care, into other host countries, where they are expected to eventually receive citizenship. Under UNRWA, once a refugee – always a refugee until … return to their original homes. i.e. Israel!

The second humane component in Sherman’s paradigm is to end discrimination against Palestinians in the surrounding Arab countries and abolish the prohibition they face of acquiring citizenship of these countries in which they have been resident for generations. In most of the Arab countries refugees from the wars with Israel endure grave discrimination, with severe restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement, employment and property ownership.

The third component that Sherman proposes is to provide generous relocation financing directly to the Palestinian breadwinners resident across the 1967 Green Line, so as to enable them to build a better future for themselves and their families in foreign countries of their choice.

Countering the claim that this would arouse great opposition by local Arab leadership and the rest of the Arab world, Sherman says the procedure would not require the agreement of any official Arab organizations or states in order to effect implementation. Since the envisaged compensation would be large enough to allow recipients to comply with immigration criteria in numerous countries – not necessarily Arab or Muslim – and since they would be coming as adequately funded private individuals, quite a few countries would be happy to accept them. All that it requires is for the individual family heads to accept help on an individual and private basis.

Countering the charge of “ethnic cleansing” or “transfer” Sherman claims that the number of international migrants today is approaching a quarter of a billion, and is growing rapidly. Although this is partially a byproduct of wars, political conflicts and natural disasters, it is predominantly motivated by economics. Why should Palestinians be uninterested such motivations and why would it be morally wrong to offer them a better life for themselves, while helping to lessen the turmoil in the region?

There is compelling evidence that a desire to seek a better life elsewhere is widespread among the Palestinians, even without the availability of generous relocation grants. Numerous opinion polls vouch for this. The sense of national pride that obviously prevails in Palestine society, would probably be marginalized if a generously funded exit to other lands was made possible.

As for the overall cost, according to Sherman, it is easy to show that the price of the proposed plan would be comparable to any alternative under discussion, involving the establishment of a new independent Palestine, developing its infrastructure, and presumably absorbing a large portion of a relocated Palestinian “diaspora” within its constricted frontiers.

It should also be remembered that for the prospective host nations, the plan has a distinct economic advantages. The Palestinian immigrants would not arrive as destitute refugees, but as relatively wealthy immigrants in terms of average world GDP per capita. Their absorption would bring significant capital inflows to the host economies – typically around a billion dollars for every 10,000 families given citizenship. Clearly it would be a long-term process.

In his talk, Sherman also discussed the issue of Palestinian nationhood, claiming that they are the only group whose manifest raison d’etre is the not primarily the establishment of their own political independence but rather the denial of that of others (Israel). The fact that Palestinians have shown they are capable of cohesive action against another collective does not prove they are a nation. Virtually their entire collective effort has been directed at an attempt to annul the expression of Jewish sovereignty rather than assert their own.

For over two decades after the Oslo Accords – despite more massive financial aid per capita and global political support than any other people, they have produced nothing but a deeply divided entity, crippled by corruption and cronyism and bedeviled by wars against their neighboring Jewish state and among themselves. The result is a dysfunctional polity unable to conduct even the semblance of timely elections, and a puny economy, comprising a minuscule private sector and a bloated public one, totally unsustainable without massive infusions of foreign funds.

Sherman says that In every meaningful aspect, the Palestinians claim to statehood has failed the test of history, as has the two-state endeavor.

Accordingly, the time has come for new, imaginative initiatives to defuse one of the world’s most volatile problems, one for which remedies hitherto attempted have proved sadly inappropriate.

Martin Sherman has a doctorate in political science and international relations and was a lecturer for 20 years at Tel Aviv University. He was a ministerial adviser in Yitzhak Shamir’s government and is the founder and head of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He has written books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of subjects.

The aim of this series of talks, called “Setting the Record Straight,” is to present the public with the information to understand more clearly the serious challenges that Israel faces, so as to counter the misinformation, ignorance and bias.

To see the video recording of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpCEBjkkoC0

Our thanks to Dr. Les Glassman for recording it.

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November 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

What’s in a name?

The importance of correct

terminology

By RALPH DOBRIN

Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon,” available through Amazon

With all the recent talk about an upgrade for the status of “Palestine,” it should be remembered that until 1948 anyone – Jewish or Arab – living west of the Jordan River was called a “Palestinian.” Israel’s Zionist newspaper was called The Palestine Post (today The Jerusalem Post); The electric company set up to provide electricity for Jewish settlers was called the “Palestine Electric Company”; the philharmonic orchestra in Tel Aviv was called the “Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra”; Bank Leumi, founded at the turn of the century, had the word “Palestine” as part of its name. During the British Mandate period, passports and other identification documents specified Jews as Palestinians.

Following the end of the British Mandate in 1948, the term “Palestinian” was seldom used to describe people involved in current events. The term began to be used more frequently in 1964 when the PLO was formed. But in the Six-Day War in 1967, “Palestine” and “Palestinian” suddenly became household words all over the world. Israel had repulsed the Jordanian army from Judea and Samaria – territory Jordan had annexed from what should have been an independent Arab part of Palestine following the United Nations Partition vote in November 29th 1947. (Actually an Arab part of Palestine had been created 25 years earlier with the creation of Transjordan, later to become the Kingdom of Jordan, on 77% of Mandate Palestine.)

It should also be remembered what the Six-Day War was all about and why Israel repulsed the Jordanian forces from its eastern borders. An attempt had been made to destroy Israel – together with Egypt and Syria. Funny how most people seem to have forgotten that!

Another thing that most people seem to have forgotten is that the 1967 attempt to destroy Israel (widely and openly proclaimed by Arab leaders prior to the outbreak of the war) was the second time that the Arab nations would try to invade Israel with the aim of snuffing it out.  The first time was in 1947-1949. Yet another thing that most people either don’t know, or have chosen to forget or disregard is that the people who spearheaded that attack on the nascent Jewish state were the Jews’ fellow-Palestinians. So many things that people have forgotten or choose to disregard!

It is important to understand that “Palestine” and “Palestinian” have became politically-loaded terms implying that the Jews of Israel had stolen the local Arabs’ land. What the Jews had done, in fact, was prevent the Arabs from usurping Israel and God only knows what they would have done to the local Jews had they prevailed. The terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” serve the cause of Israel’s adversaries and also distort history through sloppy terminology.

So what should these people be called? Depending on the context they can be called “local Arabs,” “West Bank Arabs,” “Gazans” (in the case of Israel’s hapless southern neighbors), or “Palestinian Arabs.” Calling them “Palestinians” keeps giving them more and more leverage in their quest to destroy Israel.

Furthermore, calling them by any of these names need not impede the peace process – if peace with Israel is what these folks really, really want.

December 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm 1 comment

How to make the right decisions

How to make the right

decisions

It’s the most important thing in our lives

By RALPH DOBRIN

Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon,” available through Amazon

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make the right decisions or come to fully rational conclusions all the time? Well, there is a way to do this, at least most of the time. It’s a simple procedure that can be applied to just about any question or problem, big or small, whether it’s about a personal matter, a business issue or an international conflict.

The procedure involves asking ourselves two questions:
1. Necessity? Is there a real necessity for whatever it is that we are considering, why and to what extent is it necessary?
2. What are the disadvantages or possible risks involved?

There are some cases where two other questions should be asked:
1. Are there any moral issues involved?
2. Are there any feasible alternatives?
The order of these questions is not binding and can be changed. But there is one cardinal rule and it is complete honesty throughout the process. Answers to all questions should scrupulously follow all the principles of truthfulness. In order to do this we need to get all the relevant facts as accurately as possible. However, unequivocal answers are not always forthcoming, or some answers that we get are not proven, or they are mere speculation or questionable. All this has to be taken into account throughout the entire process.

To see how this procedure works, let’s take a simple, mundane question that involves most of us. Eggs!

Medical experts tell us that eggs cause high cholesterol that can lead to serious health problems. On the other hand nutritionists say that eggs are a good source of protein, B vitamins and a number of important minerals. Now, let’s assume that I have a great liking for eggs in any form – fried eggs, scrambled eggs, omelettes, french toast, egg salad, etc. So, whose advice should I heed? Can I continue eating eggs to my heart’s content, or should I cut down on my egg consumption or avoid eggs altogether? [By the way, this article is not meant to promote or discourage egg consumption. Eggs in this case, merely provide a familiar subject to illustrate the procedure that is necessary if we want to understand how to make sensible decisions.]

So, to get back to our eggs, and the first question: is there a necessity? Well, there seems to be a necessity  in the form of our great fondness for egg dishes. Also, eggs provide significant nutritious benefits. All this indicates necessity.

Next, in addressing what disadvantages or health risks there are, we will find a lot of cautionary material by medical experts. We will also find that there are some experts who qualify their cautionary remarks by saying that depending on the person’s medical condition and metabolism, and the conditions of the egg-laying hens, moderate egg consumption can be acceptable. Yippie! So, I check my cholesterol and triglyceride levels and if they are high, this would indicate severely limiting my egg consumption, according to what my physician suggests. However, if my overall levels are low or at a level that is considered acceptable by my doctor (when he takes into consideration my overall physical condition), I should be able to indulge in my fondness for eggs, as long as annual or bi-annual tests keep showing satisfactory levels.

However, in my candid quest for answers, I learn that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are not the only medical factor to be considered. I find that in many places that use modern poultry factory farming methods, hens are crammed into battery cages in large sheds holding hundreds and even thousands of birds under the most insalubrious conditions. Furthermore, the hens are subjected to antibiotics, vaccines and other drugs to prevent disease, hasten maturity and increase egg production. So, another question arises: do such intensive conditions, together with the drugs administered, pose any additional health risks, to which my physician hasn’t seriously related?

I will need to spend quite a lot of additional time studying the subject in depth. But I can save a lot of time by resorting to a technique that is useful whenever we can’t get a clear-cut answer. It’s called the scale of likelihood. It’s a scale grading the validity of any claim or notion, or the chance of something happening – ranging from “definitely” to “probably,” “possibly,” “unlikely” or “definitely not.” So, I can ask myself which adverb on this scale fits our question: “Do the conditions under which egg-laying hens are raised, pose any possible health risks?” If my answer, candidly reached, is “unlikely,” then I might be able to disregard this issue. But if I think that “probably” or “possibly” are more likely conclusions, then I should factor this into my final decision regarding any additional health risks to eating eggs.

However, we should bear in mind that officials and health experts speaking on behalf of the egg producers and any organizations affiliated with them, including even the Agriculture Ministry, will possibly try to assure the public that the eggs are absolutely safe for consumption and provide maximum nutrition. While one shouldn’t immediately suspect people’s level of honesty, we can consider that their statements might be biased and therefore justify double-checking with other sources. With Wikipedia and countless other internet sites, finding all the relevant facts is much easier nowadays than ever before.

The third issue to be taken into consideration is morality. Considering the densely-crowded, cooped-up existence of the hens – unable to move more than a few centimeters or flap their wings or even stand steadily on the wire-mesh floor of their cages, amid the incessant noise and stench of ammonia from their droppings – that is part of their lives, I should ask myself if the hens are kept under conditions that cause them no suffering, or am I unwittingly or cynically, enjoying produce that results from cruelty – possibly in the extreme? It’s a moral question that I should consider or I can choose to ignore. But I should remember that ignoring any relevant fact or factor, is an aspect of dishonesty. It’s dishonest because by ignoring a relevant fact or factor I am distorting a situation. Can I ignore a moral question and still consider myself a decent person?

But even acknowledging the possibility that extreme cruelty is involved here, and if we assume a health risk for me personally, one thing is clear: it’s going to be very hard for me to stop eating eggs because of my fondness for them.

Which brings us to the fourth question on our list. Are there any practical or feasible alternatives? Is there any alternative to battery-cage, factory-farmed produce? The answer is a resounding yes! There are free roam eggs or organic eggs that are laid by hens that are free to strut around the barnyard and peck to their heart’s content. That could solve the question of morality. (Eggs under such conditions are also said to contain less risky ingredients and have more nutritious value. On our scale of likelihood this seems a valid assumption.)

But now another question presents itself – the cost! Free-range and organic eggs can cost about twice as much as factory-farmed eggs produced in battery cages. So, can I afford the extra outlay in money?

Clearly, in order to come to a decent decision I need to weigh up all these factors as honestly as possible – my desire for egg dishes, my health, morality and practicality. I must remember, however, that objectivity, while very important in coming to any conclusion, can sometimes demand a concentrated effort. In this case, my taste buds might impede on my objectivity. In a similar way, a tendency to miserliness, even though my budget might easily afford the extra expense involved in using free-run or organic eggs, could outweigh the other factors regarding health and morality. However, I should be mindful of the fact that by taking all these factors into consideration, I will have a much better chance of making the right decision, regarding my health and – if it’s important for me – my morality. By the way, there are some issues, where it might not be necessary to consider all four issues.

With any decision, the keyword is truthfulness and we should realize that truthfulness means a lot more than not lying to others. Truthfulness means refraining from undue exaggeration or half-truths. It means not indulging in the deliberate disregard of facts and factors that might be relevant to any issue that is being discussed or considered, and It means not kidding ourselves through wishful thinking or denial. There is also the obverse side of falsehood and that is how we relate to what others say to us and the degree of gullibility that we evince.

Clearly, there is a lot more to the subject of truthfulness than what the vast majority of people realize. But following all its principles, can provide us with the key to usually making the right decisions about most things, and generally enabling us to have a less stressful, more successful, happier life.

There’s a short, vitally important addendum to this article: Never before has knowing how to make the right decisions been more important because the future of all humanity depends on more and more people learning this essential lesson. The key, as we have so often said, is truthfulness. And that demands first and foremost, being absolutely honest with ourselves.

November 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

A message for all good Muslims and for all people who care:

The fanatics have always

ruined everything

A friend send me a very interesting e-mail the other day. It’s an article called “A German’s view on Islam,” and whose authorship is not known for certain, so I refrain from mentioning the assumed writer’s name. I have taken the liberty of renaming the article and have posted it because it is so important.

Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin

A man, whose family belonged to the German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. “Very few people were true Nazis,” he said. “But many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by pundits that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Allah.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the “silent majority,” is cowed and irrelevant.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority was irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving?”

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:
Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts – the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide, read this and think about it, and send it on before it’s too late.

August 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm 1 comment

Some interesting Tel Aviv University faculty members

Strange loyalty to land

and profession

Recently, the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) sent the following letter to the governors of Tel Aviv University. The IAM, founded by Dana Barnett, follows the activities of Israeli academics who publically defame their country within Israel and abroad, and/or teach their students ideas that can be labeled as seditious.

To the Governors of Tel Aviv University,

Dear Governor,  

As you well know, Israel has been the subject to a delegimization campaign led by academics, some employed by Tel Aviv University.   Under the guise of academic freedom they turned their positions into a platform for relentless attacks on Israel.

Professor Daniel Bar-Tal is Branco Weiss Professor of Research in Child Development and Education at School of Education. After obtaining tenure, Bar Tal, a high profile peace activist and past co-editor of the radical Journal of Palestine-Israel Studies, switched to the researching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is the architect the theory that Israelis are too traumatized by the Holocaust or/and Masada to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Conveniently, this “it is all in their head” theory absolves Bar Tal from considering some real threats to Israel’s security and made him the darling of pro-Palestinian activists.

Professor Yehouda Shenhav was hired by the Department of Sociology to teach and research on sociology of organizations.  Upon receiving tenure, Shenhav changed his research focus to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which, as he had acknowledged, fits his political agenda. Shenhav is best known for his book on Arab Jews (his name for Mizrahim) whom he describes, along with the Palestinians, as victims of the “Zionist enterprise.”  More recently, he published a book on right to return of the Palestinians to their pre-1948 places. 

Professor Adi Ophir was hired to teach philosophy at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. Ophir, one of the most virulent critic of Israel, produce an endless stream of writings designed to prove that Nazi evil is on the same ontological plane as Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.  Ophir hired his life partner Ariella Azoulay to serve as a “lexo-photographer“ at the Minerva Center of Humanities that he directs. Azoulay is best known for mounting exhibitions in the West aiming to create a visual link between the Nakba and the Holocaust. She also wrote in support of Anat Kam, the soldier who is serving time for stealing and leaking top secret IDF documents. Azoulay calls the IDF documents “public archives” and describes Kam as an “archivist” wrongly imprisoned.

Professor Shlomo Sand was hired as an expert in French culture by the Department of History. After years of very modest academic existence, Sand became an international super-star with the publication of The Invention of the Jewish People. The book was roundly condemned by historians and geneticists who found a common biological base for Jews, but was welcomed by enemies of Israel and anti-Semitic websites.

Dr. Anat Matar teaches in the Department of Philosophy, but published virtually nothing in her field.  Matar spends most of her time writing about the alleged mistreatment of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists whom she calls political prisoners, as her new co-edited book claims. Matar is one of the pioneers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and supported the British efforts to boycott the Israeli academy.

Professor Yoav Peled, a member of the Communist Party, teaches in the Department of Political Science. Peled is one of the pioneers of the theory that Zionism was a colonial movement which, helped by Western colonial powers, disposed the indigenous Palestinians. Peled has made a career promoting the view that Israel is a colonial state where the capitalist classes prey upon the vulnerable lower classes composed of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the Mizrahiml. Peled makes no effort in his courses to offer a balanced view that falls short of the mandate of the Council on Higher Education to turn liberal arts classes into a “marketplace of ideas.”

While academic staff in a western society enjoys freedom of expression, this freedom is not intended for propagation of political agenda on either the right or left.  We urge the Board to ensure that activist faculty should not engage in such egregious violations of these basic freedoms.  

Best wishes for a successful conference,
Israel Academia Monitor, board and staff
www.israel-academia-monitor.com
Blogger’s note: I doubt whether any of this information is news to the people who run Tel Aviv University. Freedom of speech carries obligations – especially in the case of people who teach. Freedom of speech should be accompanied by the intellectual responsibility to follow all the principles of truthfulness, as well as concern that their actions do no damage to their country. Furthermore, it should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone in its dubious academic permissiveness. Beersheba and Haifa Universities readily come to mind. Is intellectual integrity no longer a cherished value in academia?

Signed: Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin

It should be noted that Tel Aviv University is not alone

June 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Sober Voices from Israel (6): MOSHE DANN


Moshe Dann PhD, is a historian and journalist living in Israel, whose articles can be found in many serious publications and blogsites all over the world, including the Middle East Quarterly, the American Thinker, Jewish Daily Forward and the Canada Free Press. The following article, which appeared in The Jerusalem Post in May 2012, presents a sober look at Arab attitudes regarding Israel. This is a central factor which should be considered by every person honestly concerned with the future.

The fundamental misconception

about Arab-Israeli peace

By MOSHE DANN

For Palestinians, Arabs and most Muslims, a “peace process,” the “two-state solution” that accepts Israel, is a metaphor for defeat.

The “peace process” between Israel and the Arabs, touted as part of a “two-state” plan, failed not because of disagreements over settlements and boundaries, but because of a basic false assumption: that Palestinianism could be fulfilled in a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It failed not because Israel did not give enough, but because nothing would have been enough.

Paradoxically, the more people urged Palestinian statehood as part of a two-state plan, the less relevant it became. This is because the issue was not about Palestine, but Palestinianism. This explains why all diplomatic negotiations and proposals not only did not work, but could not work.

The dispute is not over territory, but ideology – Palestinianism, the basis of their nearly hundred-year war against Zionism and the State of Israel, the national historic homeland of the Jewish People. For Arabs, Palestinians and most Muslims, that struggle is jihad against the infidel.

Since a “peace process” requires Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, it contradicts their basic principles and historic mission. While some might make temporary concessions, the goal is the same. It explains not only why the “peace process” failed, but why that failure was and is inevitable.

The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to legitimize its existence.

Any form of Palestinian statehood, therefore, that accepts Israeli sovereignty in what Muslims believe is land stolen by Jews, and a presence that defies Muslim supremacy is, by their definition, heretical.

That is clearly evident in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter.

Palestinianism is not an authentic national identity, but a political construct developed in the mid 1960s as part of the PLO’s terrorist agenda. “Liberation” did not refer to Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, which Arabs then controlled, but to Israel itself.

Palestinianism was a way of distinguishing between Arabs and Jews, and between Arabs who lived in Israel before 1948 and other Arabs. The terms “Palestinian Arabs,” or “Arab Palestinians” are not foreign or colonial descriptions; they appear in their own official documents.

Trying to convince Palestinian Arabs to change their concept of Palestinian identity and accept Israel, therefore, means throwing out the struggle to “liberate Palestine from the Zionists.” It assumes that their struggle is to achieve statehood alongside Israel, not to replace Israel with an Arab Muslim state.

This explains why Palestinian leaders refuse to submit to Western and Israeli offers, and why making compromises is anathema. Statehood means denying the Nakba (catastrophe), the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.

Palestinian statehood means abandoning five million Arabs who live in 58 UNRWA-sponsored “refugee camps” in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands living throughout the world who would no longer be considered “refugees.”

Statehood means giving up “the armed struggle” against Israel, the heart of Palestinian identity. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by Arabs and the PLO, accepted by the UN and the media, and even by Israeli politicians was a hoax, a fake identity with a false purpose. It means that their suffering was for naught.

Statehood involves taking responsibility and ending incitement and violence, confronting the myths of “Palestinian archeology,” and “Palestinian society and culture,” and it requires building authentic nationalism, with just and transparent institutions.

It also means, of course, ending the conflict with Jews, ending the civil war between Islamists and secularists, between tribes and clans, ending corruption and lawlessness, the establishment of a truly democratic government. Accepting Israel means an end to the Palestinian Revolution, a national betrayal, and an Islamic heresy.

In this context, for Palestinians, Arabs and most Muslims, a “peace process,” the “two-state solution” that accepts Israel, is a metaphor for defeat.

As long as massive funding and proposals for solutions are based on establishing a second (or third) Arab Palestinian state west of the Jordan River they ignore inherent contradictions, fan the flames of resentment and undermine Israel’s security and viability.

And, as long as Palestinianism can tap into the unlimited cesspools of Western Jew-hatred and Arab bank accounts the conflict will continue. Calls to “end the occupation,” and anti-Israel BDS campaigns are not about artificial armistice lines, and will not stop there.

A sustainable peace must be regional, involving other Arab countries and the absorption and integration of Arab “refugees” and their descendants. Based on false and misleading assumptions, the Oslo agreements actually made real peace impossible by not linking promises to performance.

We need to return to reality and leave dreamy visions and hype where they belong. As they say, ein breira.

May 26, 2012 at 7:03 am 1 comment

Actors who want to boycott “Habimah”

Explaining reality to Emma

Thompson

All kinds of great things are scheduled for London this year, including the World Shakespeare Festival featuring 37 companies from around the world, performing all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays in different languages over the course of six hectic weeks.

The inclusion of Israel’s Habimah Theater, scheduled to perform “The Merchant of Venice” in Hebrew in May, prompted an open letter to the Guardian, signed by three dozen English actors, directors, and writers, including Emma Thompson, which called for a ban of Israel’s national theater company in the Festival. The letter states, “Habimah has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.” It adds: “We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonization of occupied land.” A lot of people hurrahed. Those who know better didn’t.

RUTH LEVESON sent a personal letter to Emma Thompson, actress, script writer and human rights activist. Ruth Leveson, who is a legal secretary, working in the city of London, and a teacher preparing children for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, tries to clarify misconceptions about Israel and will engage with anyone who will listen. We present her letter here with a few slight modifications.

Dear Ms Thompson,

I was deeply saddened to see you as a signatory to the letter in the Guardian, urging a boycott of the Habimah Theatre. Saddened because not only do I admire you as an actor and for the humanitarian work that you do but also because I would have expected someone with your intelligence not to have jumped on the trendy BDS anti-Israel bandwagon. I have a few comments to make and I hope that you will take the time and trouble to read them and reply to me.

Firstly, you presumably have no problem with the Palestinian theatre group taking part. This despite the fact that their president, Mahmoud Abbas, has openly pronounced that no Jew will live in a Palestinian state. Why do you not question this, but by your silence, you seem to tacitly accept this ethnic cleansing of Jews as normal and justified? You support the Palestinian theatre group despite their government’s penchant for glorifying suicide bombers who slay Israeli children. You support the Palestinian theatre group despite their government’s coalition with Hamas, a group that has avowed mass murder of Jews and who deliberately fire rockets into Israeli civilian areas, both of which should surely be against your humanitarian principles, but for some reason are not. Why? If human rights violations against Jews are unimportant to you, what about the numerous human rights violations Hamas perpetrate against their own people?

In your letter you mention, “human rights violations, illegal colonization of occupied land.” Can we please look more closely at that statement. Instead of trotting out this trendy phrase, please give me specific, independently corroborated (not unsubstantiated pronouncements and doctored photographs aka the famous ‘Pallywood’ school of film and propaganda) examples of human rights violations by Israel . Stopping and checking people at check points is not a human rights violation unless you consider it a human rights violation to ensure that people who wish to blow up Israeli citizens are stopped from doing so. Personally, I do not. The Arabs living in the West Bank have access to higher standards of health and education and are economically more prosperous than most of their counterparts in other Muslim countries.
Do you know that the biggest health problem in Gaza is obesity? In case you haven’t noticed, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza six years ago so any human rights violations there (of which there are many) are down to the Hamas government not Israel. Did you know that there is a fuel crisis in Gaza because Hamas refuses to allow fuel from Israel to be imported into the territory and insists on the fuel from Egypt being imported through a particular crossing so that they can levy taxes on it? This is how much Hamas cares for its own people!

Let us take the second part of your statement. I really feel it would be useful for you to learn some historical context. Right from the start it is important to stress that there is not nor has there ever been, a sovereign independent Muslim state of Palestine. (Interestingly, the Arabs themselves did not start to refer to that area as Palestine until after 1967. Pre-1948 Palestinians referred to the Jews living there.)

In November 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to partition Mandatory Palestine into two separate states – an independent Jewish state, next to an independent Arab state. The Arabs of Palestine categorically rejected the resolution and launched a war against the Jews of Palestine in order to prevent the establishment of an independent Jewish state. Subsequently, all the surrounding Arab countries joined the quest to destroy Israel – a quest that continues to the present day.

Incidentally, Arab Palestine was not established because Jordan unilaterally annexed it in 1948 together with the Old City of Jerusalem, which had been declared an international city. All the Jewish residents that had not been massacred were expelled from those areas, Jewish holy places were desecrated or destroyed and no Jew was allowed into those areas for over 19 years. A wall was built by the Jordanians dividing the city of Jerusalem. You are unaware of this? Why am I not surprised, you only accept one side of the narrative and do not wish to accept that there could be another side to that narrative.

In 1967, for the second time, Israel faced the very real threat of extermination by the combined forces of Egypt , Syria and Jordan. In fact they begged Jordan not to enter the war but King Hussein was convinced by Nasser’s lies that Tel Aviv was on fire (remember this was in the days before instant news coverage) and to his subsequent great misfortune, joined forces with Nasser. That was when the West Bank and Jerusalem came under Israeli jurisdiction.

However, many people point to the United Nations Charter, which explicitly prohibits the acquisition of territory through military aggression. There are also a number of United Nations Resolutions, connected with the Israel-Arab conflict, which have generated much hotly contested interpretation. And then there’s the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, specifically article 49, paragraph 6, that prohibits any power from deporting or forcibly transferring people into or out of territory it occupies.

But the trouble with the UN Charter, the 4th Geneva Convention and in fact most of the other United Nations Resolutions, is that they hardly relate to the extremely unique situation of the continuous aim of a large part of the Arab and Muslim world to destroy Israel, or the kind of terrorism that evolved with this aim. Furthermore, none of these documents relate to a very important international document – the League of Nations 1922 resolution that calls for the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, and which was validated through the United Nations Charter, and thus clearly giving international sanction for Jewish settlement in Palestine.

So, is it categorically true to say that Israel occupies a sovereign state of “Palestine?” Is it fair to say that Israel is illegally building towns on land actually legally and legitimately purchased from the owners of the title of that land. And I am sure you will be surprised when I tell you the amount of land you believe has been “colonized” by Israel? It is 0.1% of land in the West Bank and is on land that under any future deal will come under Israeli jurisdiction.
There is another aspect to your disingenuous call for a boycott. As Jews we remember another boycott started in 1933 in another country, when ugly mobs stood outside Jewish shops and Jewish performers were barred from performing. We all know how that ended. Tell me what is the difference between you and those previous groups calling for expulsion of Jewish performers? From where I am standing as an English Jew, they are one and the same. In fact so poisonous has the atmosphere become in this country for Jews who support Israel that I, who am a descendant of Spanish Jews who hundreds of years ago fled persecution and found a safe haven in Britain, now feel uneasy at the long-term future for Jews here. Doesn’t that concern you?
Remember the persecution of the Jews in Germany was incremental and took place over a number of years; however, within eight years of the Nazis coming to power such was the ferocity of their campaign that they were able to convince themselves and others that it was perfectly acceptable to go from demonisation and exclusion to murdering Jews. The most frightening development of that persecution was how the intelligentsia, the academics, the legal circles, etc, bought into that campaign in much the same way as you and your cronies are buying into the current ferocious BDS (blame, distortion and slander) campaign that demonises and delegitimises Israel and questions her very right to exist.

I cannot understand how someone who professes to stand up for human rights can align themselves with a campaign of annihilation of a nation state which is precisely what you are doing by supporting the BDS. So intense is this anti-Israel demonisation that when a gunman executes three Jewish children in cold blood, his rationalization that he is avenging the deaths of Palestinian children is given legitimacy in the main stream media and among ‘enlightened’ thinkers.

I will not at this stage list the incredible humanitarian work that Israel does in the world arena. It would be far too exhaustive, but as someone who is involved with refugee projects, you might be interested to know that Muslims fleeing genocide in Sudan and Darfur risk everything to get to Israel where they know they will be safer than in any of the other surrounding Muslim countries. The Egyptians shoot them; Israel provides them with a haven; currently they are building a purpose built facility for them.

I would urge you in the name of British fair play, to gain a deeper knowledge of the conflict and understand just how misguided and deeply offensive you are being in calling for this boycott.

I look forward to your comments.

April 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm 11 comments

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