Friday, June 01, 2007
The BENEFICIAL Aspects of the British Boycott of Israeli Academics
See web page for links and references:
Well the British tenured anti-Semites and the pseudo-scholars have decided
to boycott Israeli universities. It remains to be seen if the mediocre
British institutions of higher learning will survive this.
In any case, having thought about it a bit, I think that the British
boycott of Israeli universities and academics has its POSITIVE aspects. In
fact, I think we should ENCOURAGE the Brits to boycott Israeli academics,
or at least SOME academics.
So to help these British boycotters, I have prepared a list of Israeli
academics whom they can immediately begin boycotting:
Ilan Pappe (University of Haifa), Neve Gordon (Ben Gurion University),
Oren Yiftachel (Ben Gurion University), David Newman (Ben Gurion
University), Avraham Oz (University of Haifa), Anat Matar (Tel Aviv
University), Anat Biletzki (Tel Aviv University), Ran HaCohen (Tel Aviv
University), Moshe Zimmerman (Hebrew University), Yuval Yonay (University
of Haifa), Yoav Peled (Tel Aviv University), Shlomo Sand (Tel Aviv
University), Lev Grinberg (Ben Gurion University), Colman Altman
(Technion, emeritus), Jacob Katriel (Technion), Ron Kuzar (University of
Haifa), Yehuda Shenhav (Tel Aviv University), Kobi Snitz (Bar Ilan
University), Menachem Klein (Bar Ilan University), Dan Rabinowitz (Tel
Aviv University), Uri Ram (Ben Gurion University)
You can find many more names of Israeli academics who can be boycotted
by the British at the web site of www.israel-academia-monitor.com!!
3. Visit the US Government's Anti-Boycott Page:
4. A REAL peace plan at last:
5. Oppressed or pampered?
6. Krauthammer on Israel
7. The "Occupation" Whiners
8. From the Wall St Journal:
June 1, 2007
Justice for Lebanon
June 1, 2007; Page A12
Russia and China refused to endorse Wednesday's Security Council vote to
establish an international tribunal for the February 2005 assassination of
Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister. The tribunal, they argued,
was an illegitimate form of outside interference in the country's domestic
affairs. As for Syria's role in Mr. Hariri's murder -- the very reason the
tribunal was needed in the first place -- that's a form of meddling our
friends in Moscow and Beijing apparently prefer not to notice.
The good news is that these two veto-wielding powers abstained from the
vote, which means the tribunal will be established by international fiat
by June 10 if the Lebanese parliament fails to do it before then. In
Beirut, this brought dancing in the streets; Mr. Hariri's son Saad called
the resolution a "victory the world has given to oppressed Lebanon and a
victory for an oppressed Lebanon in the world."
By contrast, Syria denounced the U.N. vote as a "degradation of Lebanon's
sovereignty," which -- considering the source -- is almost amusing.
Iranian-proxy Hezbollah was equally dismayed: It has spent the last six
months attempting to block the tribunal by calling mass demonstrations and
trying to bring down the democratic government of Prime Minister Fuad
Siniora. For Hezbollah especially, the resolution marks a major political
defeat, and therefore a strategic victory for anyone who cares about
Lebanon's future as a sovereign democracy.
Nobody should be under any illusions that the road forward for the
tribunal will be easy. The Syrians have consistently tried to derail the
U.N. investigation leading to the tribunal. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid
al-Moallem, who recently met with Condoleezza Rice in Egypt, was secretly
taped threatening Rafik Hariri just weeks before his death. He then lied
about it to U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis -- a useful reminder of the
value of trying to negotiate anything with the regime of Bashar Assad.
Damascus almost certainly had a hand in the assassinations of anti-Syrian
Lebanese politicians Gibran Tueni in 2005 and Pierre Gemayal in 2006. More
recently, the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat has reported that the leadership
of Fatah al-Islam, an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Lebanon, consists
entirely of Syrian officers. The Lebanese army has been fighting a pitched
battle with the group for the past two weeks in the Palestinian refugee
camp of Nahr al-Bared -- this despite the fact that the New Yorker's
Seymour Hersh reported that the Lebanese government, with the connivance
of Saudi Arabia and the Bush Administration, was actually behind the
group. (See Michael Young's dispatch nearby.)
As in Iraq, the Syrian game in Lebanon is to foment chaos and then offer
itself as the solution. The gambit has plainly impressed at least some
people: Wang Guangya, the Chinese ambassador to the U.N., argued that the
tribunal would "add to the uncertainties embodied in the already turbulent
political and security situation in Lebanon." Comments like that will
surely embolden the Syrians to sow more chaos in Lebanon to show that the
price of justice in the service of a fallen leader will be prohibitively
But whatever happens next, passage of the resolution has shown the Syrians
and their Lebanese friends that they cannot assassinate political enemies
without paying a price of their own. As U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
put it Wednesday to the Security Council, "there can be no peace . . .
without justice." We've heard that slogan before; in the case of Lebanon,
at least, it happens to be true.
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June 1, 2007
Syria's Useful Idiots
By MICHAEL YOUNG
June 1, 2007; Page A13
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council voted
to set up a tribunal that will try suspects in the February 2005 murder of
former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Syria is the leading suspect
in the case, so the establishment of the tribunal serves as a step toward
creating a stable Lebanon. It also poses a clarifying question to the
United States: What will engaging Syria mean for building a liberal future
At the moment, it is clear that Syria hasn't stopped meddling in Lebanon's
internal affairs. The Security Council only created its tribunal after
efforts to establish a similar tribunal within Lebanon were stymied by
Syrian allies. Indeed, to understand what is at stake in the Lebanese
crisis today, flip through the report released last April by the U.N.
commission investigating the Hariri assassination.
The commission, led by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz, now assumes
that Hariri's assassination was tied to his political activities,
particularly his preparations for the summer 2005 legislative elections.
This sets up a key passage in the report: "[A] working hypothesis is that
the initial decision to kill Hariri was taken before the later attempts at
rapprochement got underway and most likely before early January 2005. This
leads to a possible situation in the last weeks before his murder in which
two tracks, not necessarily linked, were running in parallel. On one
track, Hariri was engaged in rapprochement initiatives and on the other,
preparations for his assassination were underway."
Lebanese citizens celebrate Wednesday's establishment of a U.N. tribunal
for the Rafiq Hariri murder.
For anyone who followed Lebanese politics at the time, this deceptively
anodyne passage says a lot. Hariri was hoping to score a victory against
Syria and its Lebanese allies during the elections, after Syria had
extended the mandate of his bitter rival, President Emile Lahoud. The
Syrians felt that such a victory would jeopardize their position in
Lebanon and, although there was mediation to patch up Hariri's differences
with the Syrians, the plot to eliminate him continued. It is plain from
Mr. Brammertz's phrasing that those who were planning the former prime
minister's elimination are the same ones with whom the intermediaries were
trying to reconcile him.
Mr. Brammertz is building a case that, from the information provided to
date, can only point the finger at Syria and its Lebanese supplicants. The
Hariri tribunal, now that it has been formally established, poses an
existential threat to the Syrian regime, and it is in Lebanon that the
Syrians have and will continue to hit back to save themselves.
The outbreak of violence in northern Lebanon between the Lebanese army and
a group calling itself Fatah al-Islam is the latest stage in such an
endeavor. In a BBC interview last week, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora openly
linked Fatah al-Islam to Syrian intelligence. The group has claimed to be
an al Qaeda affiliate, but observers in Lebanon, including Palestinian
sources usually critical of the Siniora government, qualify this, saying
that Fatah al-Islam is acting on Syria's behalf. The daily Al-Hayat has
reported that the group's weapons come from caches belonging to
Palestinian organizations under Syrian control, including the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Fatah
al-Intifada, from which Fatah al-Islam allegedly broke off.
Meanwhile, a more subtle battle is taking place over interpretation of
what is happening in Lebanon. This is especially important because there
are those in Washington who still insist that something can be gained from
dealing with Syria. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thought so in April when
she visited Damascus, did the Gertrude Bell tour of the Hamadiyyeh souq,
and capped it all with a visit to President Bashar Assad, all for
precisely nothing in return.
The Iraq Study Group also thought Syria could be a useful partner in Iraq,
even as all the signs suggest that Damascus has little real influence
there and is sowing dissension to compensate. That's why understanding
what is going on in Lebanon is vital for a sense of what can be gained
from Syria elsewhere. Yet something is amiss when the most obvious truths
are those the pundits won't consider.
For example, what did the former CIA agent Robert Baer mean in Time
magazine, when he wrote that the Lebanese government should "know better"
than to believe that Fatah al-Islam is a Syrian creation, because "at the
end of the day Fatah Islam is the Syrian regime's mortal enemy"? Mr.
Baer's point was that a Lebanese civil war might undermine Syrian
stability, but also that Sunni Islamists oppose the minority Alawite
Syrian regime. He reminded us that "the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood used
northern Lebanon as a rear base to seize the Syrian city of Hama in 1982."
It is Mr. Baer who should know better. Syria has fueled a sectarian war in
neighboring Iraq by funneling Sunni al Qaeda fighters into the country,
without worrying about what this might mean for its own stability. Syria's
vulnerabilities have not prevented it from hosting Khaled Meshaal, the
leader of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. And
Syria's anxieties notwithstanding, throughout its years in Lebanon it
developed ties with many Sunni Islamist groups and recently welcomed to
Damascus a prominent Lebanese Islamist it has co-opted, Fathi Yakan.
The point is that Syria will have no qualms about provoking sectarian
discord in Lebanon to ward away the menace of the Hariri tribunal.
And what are we to make of the journalist Seymour Hersh, now considered an
authority on Lebanese Sunni Islamist groups on the basis of a flawed
article he wrote for the New Yorker last March? In that article, and in a
recent CNN interview, he indirectly suggested that Fatah al-Islam had
received weapons not from Syria but from the Siniora government.
The only source Mr. Hersh cited in his article for the Fatah al-Islam
story was Alistair Crooke, a former MI6 agent who co-directs Conflicts
Forum, an institution advocating dialogue with Islamist movements. Mr.
Crooke did not have direct knowledge of what he was claiming, as he "was
told" that weapons and money were offered to the group, "presumably to
take on Hezbollah."
Mr. Hersh is wading into very muddy waters with very simple ideas. The
relationship of the Lebanese government and the Hariri camp with Sunni
Islamists is byzantine, but there is no evidence to date that the
government or the Hariris had any strategy to use al Qaeda against
Hezbollah. In fact most Lebanese Sunni Islamists are not linked to al
Qaeda. And Mr. Hersh has provided no proof that Fatah al-Islam received
government assistance. Still, the Syrian regime's media has repeatedly
used Mr. Hersh's charges to discredit the Lebanese government.
Then there are those with little patience for Lebanese independence.
Arguing that Syria is worth more to the U.S. than Lebanon, they advocate
Washington's ceding Lebanon to Syria as a price for constructive dialogue.
For example, Flynt Leverett, a former National Security Council staffer
now at the New America Foundation, recently told National Public Radio,
where he appears regularly, that the Bush administration had
"romanticized" the 2005 "Cedar Revolution." This was his way of implying
that the latter was worth discarding. For Mr. Leverett and others, a
Lebanon free of Syria is inherently unstable, even as they disregard
Syrian responsibility for that instability.
In a March 2005 op-ed in the New York Times, as Lebanese took to the
streets demanding a Syrian pullout, Mr. Leverett urged the U.S. to abandon
efforts to establish a "pro-Western government" in Beirut. Instead, he
proposed that "the most promising (if gradual) course for promoting reform
in Syria is to engage and empower [President] Assad, not to isolate and
This makes for restorative reading today, as Mr. Assad's regime pursues
its destabilization of Lebanon, Iraq and Palestinian areas, ignores
domestic reform and continues to detain thousands of political opponents
in its prisons.
There is nothing wrong with keeping an open mind on Syria. However, an
"open mind" can be shorthand for blindness or bad faith. Given the
evidence, it makes no sense to dismiss Syrian involvement in the Lebanese
crisis, or to blame the crisis on an al Qaeda affiliate allegedly financed
by the Lebanese government. Nor does it make sense to assume that Lebanon
is a burden that the U.S. should jettison in favor of a stabilizing Syria,
considering the fact that al Qaeda materialized from across the Syrian
border. We're asked to believe that a group, said to be financed by the
Siniora government, picked a fight with that very government, and somehow
innocently did so just as the U.N. prepared to establish a tribunal the
When Syria is systematically exporting instability throughout the region,
you have to wonder whether its regime can be a credible partner to the
Mr. Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut and a contributing
editor at Reason magazine.
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