Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kenneth Levin on Academic Debasement


By: Kenneth Levin

Date: Wednesday, December 24 2008
The core of the Arab-Israeli problem is Israel's "territorial addiction."
So declares a December 3 Haaretz article by one Alex Sinclair.

As to the solution, Sinclair does not quite echo Haaretz's former
executive editor David Landau, who urged Condoleezza Rice a year ago to
"rape" Israel. Rather, he advocates a friendly but forceful stand by
President-elect Obama to break Israel of its addiction - promoting, in the
jargon of addiction treatment (although Sinclair doesn't use the term),
less violent-sounding "tough love" instead of rape.

Implicit in Sinclair's metaphor is the conviction that Israel has no
legitimate or rational claim to any part of the territories and that its
seeking to retain a presence there is entirely pathological.
Not for him the perspective of the authors of UN Security Council
Resolution 242, passed in the wake of the 1967 war and subsequently the
starting point for all Arab-Israeli negotiations.
That document calls for Israel not to return to its pre-1967 lines but
rather to negotiate "secure and recognized boundaries" with its neighbors
- and Resolution 242's authors explicitly declared their conviction that
it would be a grievous error to push Israel back to its former lines.

Lord Caradon, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations at the time and
the person who introduced the resolution in the Security Council, observed
some years later:
It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of
June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.
After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side
happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just
armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to
them, and I think we were right not to...
The American ambassador to the UN at the time concurred, noting that
"Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure."

And President Lyndon Johnson, shortly after the 1967 war, declared that
Israel's return to its former lines would be "not a prescription for peace
but for renewed hostilities." Johnson advocated new "recognized
boundaries" that would provide "security against terror, destruction, and

A number of subsequent presidents have reiterated Johnson's position on
borders and several have done so in even stronger terms regarding Israel's
need to retain some of the areas captured in 1967.

Also in the wake of the 1967 war, a memorandum written by the U.S. Joint
Chiefs of Staff stated: "From a strictly military point of view, Israel
would require the retention of some Arab territory to provide militarily
defensible borders."

But Sinclair, in his cavalier attitude toward Israel's security, does not
merely take issue with differing views; he doesn't even acknowledge them.
On the contrary, he presents no evidence to rebut those views or to
bolster his own position. Instead, he offers his "territorial addiction"
metaphor as though it were established truth and devotes his entire piece
to expanding on the metaphor.

Thus, he lists the recommended interventions that an addict's friends and
family can employ to win their loved one from his or her addiction,
including interventions which the addict might resist. And he declares
that these actions should be a model for Obama's policies toward Israel:

Obama must tell us [after indicting Israel for its "addiction," Sinclair
inexplicably shifts to referring to Israel as "us"] in clear terms how
harmful our activities and behavior are to ourselves, to our friends, and
to those around us. He must tell us what we need to do and what will no
longer be tolerated. And he must help us carry out that program.

The absence of argument, the heavy-handed elaboration, the sheer
mindlessness of the piece, is even more amazing in that Sinclair is a
teacher. He is identified in Haaretz as "a lecturer in Jewish education at
the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, and an adjunct assistant
professor of Jewish education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of

There was a time when the essence of pedagogy was training students in how
to think and write critically; how to formulate an argument and muster
evidence in its defense. It entailed weaning students away from believing
it sufficient simply to state one's conviction, perhaps metaphorically,
and then expound on the implications of the conviction until reaching some
requisite number of words.

Jews are known for often being in the forefront of developments in
academia. Recent decades have seen a notable debasement in standards in
the social sciences, humanities, and pedagogy. Alex Sinclair's Haaretz
piece on Israel's "territorial addiction" suggests that some Jews in the
area of Jewish Studies are pioneering new frontiers of academic

Kenneth Levin is a psychiatrist and historian and the author of "The Oslo
Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege."

2. A Great Column on Hannuka:

3. Does Obama have a Mideast Policy?

Incidentally, there are some reports on the web that some members of the
Obama team have been meeting with reps of the picayune far-Leftist Jewish
anti-Zionist groups, Jewish anti-Semites like J-Street. If Obama's people
think that Jewish anti-Semites are representative of the Jewish community,
things look very bleak.

4. It is now official. Meretz has decreed that there are no such things
as Israeli Arabs. Instead, there are "Palestinian Israelis." See:

From the Yid with Lid blog:
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Peace Now--Stupid Forever !!!

You know, this one reminds me of a game show. I am talking about those
times when the contestant should keep their 100 thousand dollars and go
home, but he decides to try to double the money just one more time--even
though the entire audience is screaming "don't be an ass !" When this guy
opens up whats behind door number 3 on national television and it turns
out he traded 100 grand for 12 dollars and a stick of bazooka Joe, he
looks like the biggest ass that ever lived, the only redeeming feature is
the confused look of horror on his face because he know that everyone who
ever knew him knows how stupid he looks.

Peace Now spent a year working through the Israeli courts trying to get
the IDF to release papers they thought would prove their contention that
86% a particular settlement was built on private Arab land. A year ago
September they got to open up door number three and were left with that
stupid, confused look of horror on their faces. Because when the IDF
released the information they were looking for, Peace Now's 86% number was
only off by 85.5%.

The community, Ma'ale Adumim, sued Peace Now for libel and today an
Israeli court Awarded Ma'ale Adumim $20,000 dollars as it cited the
organization and its employees for lying about the settlement. I only wish
I could have been a bug on the wall of the meeting where they found out.
Hey Shmuly, what happened ? You said 86% !!! Do you know how stupid we

Yes Peace Now, we know how stupid you always look---But you look
especially stupid today.

Read the rest of the story below:

Israeli Court: Peace Now Lied, must Pay Now-Camera by Alex Safian, PhD

Peace Now, the Israel-based advocacy group claimed in a controversial
report, Breaking the Law - One Violation Leads to Another, that "a large
proportion of the settlements built on the West Bank are built on
privately owned Palestinian land," including 86.4% of Ma'ale Adumim's land
and 35.1% of Ariel's. Overall, the report claims, "Palestinians privately
own nearly 40% of the land on which settlements have been built." This is
in direct contradiction to often repeated claims by numerous Israeli
governments that settlements are built only on state (that is, public)
land and not on private land.

CAMERA raised numerous factual and legal objections to Peace Now's claims
(see here and here), which the group never addressed. Peace Now, however,
was eventually forced to admit that no more than 0.54% of Ma'ale Adumim's
land was privately owned by Palestinians. That is, Peace Now had erred by
almost 16,000 percent!

Now comes word of another error - one with real consequences. Peace Now
claimed in its original report that the community of Revava sat on land
that was 71.15% privately owned by Palestinians. Revava did not agree that
any of their land was privately owned by Palestinians. According to an
article in Israel National News Revava therefore complained to Peace Now,
which, without admitting any error, reduced the figure of 71.15% to 22%.

Peace Now, however, refused to accurately correct their original claim,
and refused to issue an apology. The group that formally owns Revava's
land, The Fund for Redeeming the Land, then sued Peace Now and the
report's authors (Dror Etkes and Hagit Ofran) for libel in Jerusalem
Magistrates Court.

The decision came on December 11th and it was a slam dunk for Revava and
Fund attorney Doron Nir Tzvi. Justice Yehezkel Barclay convicted Peace Now
and its staffers of libel, ordered them to pay the Fund 20,000 NIS plus
tax, and to make a public apology which they must publish in the
newspapers Ha'aretz and Maariv.

Will Peace Now finally come clean and admit that the rest of their report
is also nonsense? Or will each community that it libeled have to file a
similar lawsuit for the full truth to come out?

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