Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Ben Gurion University Students Strike Back against Anti-Israel Faculty!
You may recall the incident a few months back in which an Arab lecturer at
the Sapir College in Sderot refused to allow a student wearing an army
reserve uniform to enter his class room.
Well, this time a radical leftist self-hating Jewish teaching assistant at
Ben Gurion University named Yakim Silverman did the same thing. A few
weeks back he asked a student in reserve uniform not to enter his class.
Silverman teaches in the Ben Gurion U math department, the same department
in which ultra-leftist Kobi Snitz, head of Anarchists for Attacking
Israeli Police and Tearing down the Security Wall so that Terrorists can
Get In, used to teach. Snitz has since moved on to Bar Ilan's math
department. On his Facebook entry, Silverman describes Ben Gurion
University as occupied Palestinian land. It is not known whether he ever
studied under Ben Gurion University anti-Israel fanatics Neve Gordon or
Yesterday a student wearing an army reserve uniform and a mask, together
with two friends, entered the classroom in which Silverman sat and dumped
a bucket of paint on him.
The full story in Hebrew is here:
You will be happy to hear that the paint was blue. Turning Silverman
into a walking blue and white banner. The Haaretz report says at least
one student proposed in the chat forum for students at BGU that someone
should shoot Silverman instead of painting him.
2. Not just at BGU: Hebrew U students also strike back:
Three students file harassment complaints against professor
By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Israel Women's Network
Three former students have filed police complaints of sexual harassment
against Professor Eyal Ben-Ari. As of Monday, the three women testified
that Ben-Ari's made them indecent proposals. Police say that in the coming
days they expect the women to add additional charges to the file.
Ben-Ari, a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was
arrested last week on suspicion of forcing sexual relations on students
and doctoral candidates he was advising in exchange for their advancement
The police have the names of seven students who were allegedly victimized
by Ben-Ari. A number of them have been summoned to the police to testify,
and police continue to seek out other possible complainants.
Investigators say they believe the publicity in the case will bring other
Ben-Ari, a sociology and anthropology professor, denied the allegations
during his police questioning. He would admit only to having a consensual
affair with a student 12 years ago.
The investigation against Ben-Ari began after students who were allegedly
victimized by Ben-Ari sent an anonymous letter to the university
authorities. The students accused Ben-Ari of rape, forced sexual relations
and misuse of university funds to finance his own trips abroad with female
students and to purchase gifts for them.
Ben-Ari was released last week with restrictions. He has been banned from
the campus for 30 days and prohibited from contacting the complainants or
university officials. He is also not allowed to leave the country and had
to sign a bond of NIS 10,000.
Three months ago, a teaching assistant published sexual allegations
against a colleague of Ben-Ari's, which ultimately led to Ben-Ari's
The university has denied dragging its feet in handling sexual harassment
complaints. But Israel Women's Network attorney Yifat Mitzner, who is
representing the teaching assistant, said the university tried to close
her client's case without even hearing the complainant's testimony.
3. Interesting point of view:
4. Coddling terrorists - instead of arresting them, they sit in the
5. The US does not allow Palestinian "students" with dubious security
status to enter its territory to study - see
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3577877,00.html. Then compare
that with the pusillanimous anti-Israel behavior of a group of University
Presidents in Israel - see
6. from the Wall St Journal:
Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman weighs in with an argument to DO
SOMETHING!!!! about global warming:
It's true that scientists don't know exactly how much world temperatures
will rise if we persist with business as usual. But that uncertainty is
actually what makes action so urgent. While there's a chance that we'll
act against global warming only to find that the danger was overstated,
there's also a chance that we'll fail to act only to find that the results
of inaction were catastrophic. Which risk would you rather run?
It wasn't so long ago that global warmists were acting as if their
alarming forecasts had already come true, even likening skeptics to
Holocaust deniers. Now they are reduced to saying we really don't know if
global warmism is true or not, but since the consequences are so dire if
it is, we'd better just assume that it is and act accordingly.
If this sounds familiar, perhaps you've heard of Pascal's Wager. Blaise
Pascal, a 17th-century French theologian and mathematician, wanted a
reason to believe in God but believed that God's existence could not be
proved by reason. So he argued instead that faith was a good bet.
If you believe in God and you turn out to be right, Pascal argued, the
payoff is "an infinity of an infinitely happy life." If the probability of
God's existing is anything greater than zero, then, the expected value of
the bet is infinity, and therefore the rational thing to do is bet on God.
Krugman is interested in hell, not heaven. If nonbelievers are wrong about
global warmism, the results will be "catastrophic." Therefore, believing
in global warmism is a good bet regardless of the actual probability that
it is true.
One problem with Pascal's Wager is that assuming an infinite payoff is a
cheat of sorts--one that renders calculations of expected value
nonsensical. As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy points out, it
turns out that flipping a coin and believing in God only if it comes up
heads also yields an infinite expected value.
Krugman's Wager presumably does not presuppose an infinite expected value,
but Krugman cheats in the same way. By raising the specter of
"catastrophic" consequences, he evades the question of just how probable
those results are.
Another problem with Pascal's Wager is that it presupposes only two
possibilities: Either God exists more or less as Christians conceive of
him, or he doesn't exist at all. But from a standpoint of pure logic, this
is completely arbitrary. What if God exists and it is Muslims or Mormons
or atheists who go to heaven?
Krugman's thinking is similarly binary: Either global warming is true and
the stakes are enormous, or it isn't and they are trivial. But how do we
know that global warming won't turn out to be beneficial, or that efforts
to avert it won't have catastrophic consequences?
One difference between Pascal's Wager and Krugman's is that whereas Pascal
was making a case for individuals to embrace faith, Krugman is arguing for
collective action--which is to say, he wishes to use the power of
government to impose his beliefs on others.
By imploring political leaders to make a bet on speculative predictions of
catastrophe, Krugman has made an important concession: that current
scientific knowledge is insufficient to justify the "action" he advocates.
Seems to us it's more prudent to bet against the former Enron adviser.
August 5, 2008
Wall St Journal
By BRET STEPHENS
My Bet With Francis Fukuyama
August 5, 2008; Page A17
No matter what happens in November, the war in Iraq will not be brought to
an end by either Barack Obama or John McCain. The war in Iraq is over.
Exhibit A for my claim: Francis Fukuyama has agreed to write me a check
In March 2006, I wrote a blistering review of "America at the Crossroads,"
Mr. Fukuyama's sensational repudiation both of the war in Iraq as well as
the neoconservative movement of which he was once a leading light.
The book was widely praised. I called its arguments weak, its policy
prescriptions weaker, and its manner disingenuous, since Mr. Fukuyama --
an early advocate of regime change in Iraq who claimed to have changed his
mind several months before the war began -- had given no unequivocal
indication of his opposition when his views might have made a real
There followed between us an exchange of emails, in which Mr. Fukuyama
pointed to various pieces he had published prior to the war indicating
some concerns about how the U.S. would go in, and some foreboding about
what might follow. He also mentioned a $100 bet he had made in May 2003
with a friend -- a supporter of the war -- that Iraq would be a mess five
years after the invasion, the definition of a mess being "you'd know one
if you saw it." We agreed to make the same bet.
I nearly forgot about the bet until last Friday, when the Washington Post
reported U.S. combat fatalities in Iraq for the month of July. The total
came to five. Six other soldiers were killed in noncombat situations.
For weekly updates of Bret Stephens's Global View column, point your RSS
The rate of combat fatalities may again inch higher. For all the progress
made in the last year, Iraq remains a dangerous (if no longer terrifying)
place. But to speak of Iraq as a "war" no longer accurately characterizes
the nature of the situation: For purposes of comparison, U.S. combat
deaths in Vietnam in 1971, when America's involvement was winding down and
U.S. troop levels stood roughly where they are today in Iraq, averaged 115
Speaking of "war" also confuses our understanding of what the U.S. should
do next. Put simply, and pace Barack Obama, "getting out of Iraq" and
"ending the war" are no longer synonymous.
With this in mind, I wrote Mr. Fukuyama to suggest that he owed me $100.
He conceded, albeit strictly on "the narrow terms" of the bet itself.
Mr. Fukuyama insists, however, that he has been vindicated on the broader
issue: "We've spent a trillion or so dollars, 30,000 dead or wounded, a
large loss in international influence and prestige, all for the sake of
disarming a country with no WMDs."
He adds that "my concern right from the beginning was that the war
wouldn't be worth the effort it would require, and that the American
people don't have a good record in supporting long, costly struggles in
developing countries." And he asks for "public recognition" that he was no
latecomer to opposing the war.
I'll grant that Mr. Fukuyama had decided the war was a mistake -- if only
in a whisper -- before it was begun. Where does that leave us now? Perhaps
it's worth considering what we have gained now that Iraq looks like a
Here's a partial list: Saddam is dead. Had he remained in power, we would
likely still believe he had WMD. He would have been sitting on an oil
bonanza priced at $140 a barrel. He would almost certainly have broken
free from an already crumbling sanctions regime. The U.S. would be faced
with not one, but two, major adversaries in the Persian Gulf. Iraqis would
be living under a regime that, in an average year, was at least as
murderous as the sectarian violence that followed its collapse. And the
U.S. would have seemed powerless to shape events.
Instead, we now have a government that does not threaten its neighbors,
does not sponsor terrorism, and is unlikely to again seek WMD. We have a
democratic government, a first for the Arab world, and one that is
increasingly capable of defending its people and asserting its interests.
We have a defeat for al Qaeda. Critics carp that had there been no
invasion, there never would have been al Qaeda in Iraq. Maybe. As it is,
thousands of jihadists are dead, al Qaeda has been defeated on its
self-declared "central battlefield," and the movement is largely
discredited on the Arab street and even within Islamist circles.
We also have -- if still only prospectively -- an Arab bulwark against
Iran's encroachments in the region. But that depends on whether we simply
withdraw from Iraq, or join it in a lasting security partnership.
None of these are achievements to sneer at, all the more so because they
were won through so much sacrifice. Mr. Fukuyama has now granted the
"narrow" point of our bet in the form of a personal check. Here's betting
him $100 back that he will come around to conceding the broader case for
the war in Iraq -- shall we say, on the 10th anniversary of its
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