Monday, January 26, 2009
The Assault on Academic Freedom by Tel Aviv University Leftist Faculty Members
. . . . . There were 1.8 million people at the inauguration and
only 14 missed work.
The Assault on Academic Freedom by Tel Aviv University Leftist Faculty
To right - Zionists and other "criminals" not welcome in the School of Law
at Tel Aviv University
The anti-Zionist caucus of far-leftist professors at Tel Aviv University
has a new cause. It is the suppression of academic freedom in the
university's School of Law. The leftists are upset that the school is
considering allowing the woman colonel who heads the Israeli Defense
Forces international law division to lecture in its Law School. The
far-leftists are opposed to that. Basically they are opposed to anyone
teaching in the School of Law who is not a far-leftist anti-Zionist like
See this for the full report.
The new assault on academic freedom involves Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, a
lawyer in the military. One might think that leftist postureurs for
rigorous enforcement of "law" in warfare and in battles would be happy to
have such a person speaking in a School of Law. After all, unlike so many
of the denizens of the law school, she has been forced to deal with
real-world military dilemmas, involving complex tradeoffs and
difficulties, not just self-righteous pieties about human rights.
The campus leftists however claim she is herself a war criminal because
she gave the okay to bomb the "graduation ceremony" of a group of Hamas
terrorists pretending to be police cadets. As you may recall, one of the
most successful anti-terror operations in the recent Operation "Cast Lead"
was the strike against the "school" for the terrorist cadets. In addition,
the academic Fifth Column is angry because Sharvit-Baruch evidently thinks
that Jews are legally permitted to defend themselves against genocidal
terrorists, and that they may even use weapons in self-defense! They
decided that such a point of view must be muzzled!
According to the news report on this assault on academic freedom,
published in Haaretz:
'Leading the protest against Sharvit-Baruch's appointment is Professor
Chaim Ganz of the university's Minerva Center for Human Rights.
'Ganz wrote a letter to Professor Hanoch Dagan, the dean of the law
faculty, claiming that Sharvit-Baruch's interpretation of the law during
Israel's Gaza offensive allowed the army to act in ways that constitute
potential war crimes. Ganz also said that Sharvit-Baruch harms Israel's
'Dr. Anat Matar, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University's philosophy
department, said, "I was shocked to learn that half of the second-year law
students will learn the foundations of law from someone who helped justify
the killing of civilians, including hundreds of children."
'Dagan told Haaretz that he will not respond to the claims of the original
story, but said that the Faculty of Law makes every effort to expose its
students to a variety of opinions and encourages discussion, even about
questions that provoke disagreement.'
As background to this, it should be noted that the School of Law at Tel
Aviv University is already one of the most politicized and extremist
academic departments at the university, and is a bastion of far-leftist
anti-Israel extremist faculty members. Faculty members at the school
misuse their positions to engage in naked political advocacy, some of it
in conjunction with openly anti-Israel advocacy and activist
organizations. Leftist law faculty in Israel, including at Tel Aviv
University, were the main focus of a recent research paper and expose of
political bias in Israeli law schools, entitled "Pro-Bono for Palestine:
Scholarship, Law, Lawyers. European Government Funding, and the Internal
Legal Campaign against Israel." The report was produced by
www.isracampus.org.il and copies may be obtained from it (email:
firstname.lastname@example.org ). That expose was written by Dr. Seth Frantzman from
the Hebrew University. Chaim Ganz (or Gans) was one of those targeted in
the study, including for his support for the mutiny and insurrection of
Israeli soldiers refusing to serve because of political ideology. This is
the same Ganz now trying to prevent the colonel from teaching.
In particular, in his report Frantzman singles out the Minerva Center,
with which Ganz is associated, financed with money from Germany and the
EU, as a biased politicized pseudo-academic center, devoted mainly to
promoting a radical advocacy agenda.
Here are some citations from Frantzman:
The Minerva Center for Human Rights .... receives funding from the Minerva
Foundation in Germany, the Ford Foundation, the New Israel Fund (NIF), the
Konrad Adenauer foundation, the United States Institute for Peace, the
European Commission and the Faculty of law and the Truman Center at Hebrew
University. It partners with the NIF's Shatil 'training program' for NGOs,
which principally 'trains' NGOs that denounce Israel, and Bimkom, an
organization that primarily supports only Palestinians and Arabs. Through
its partnerships it provides 'human rights' training for Palestinian
teachers, mostly teaching them how to oppose Israel. It is currently
involved with Bimkom in a research project whose goal is to study the
Palestinian Arab village of Isawiyeh in East Jerusalem and help it prepare
a land use plan for "development." The Minerva Center, it should be
pointed out, has never advised a Jewish municipality, even the most
poverty-stricken ones like Kiryat Malachi, on planning and land use.
Minerva claims that it is involved with "diverse disciplines" and
"different sectors." The problem is that they are all far-leftist ones.
On the Minerva website listing those organizations benefiting from the
Minvera fellows' volunteer work one finds Adalah (an Arab "human rights"
group), the Public Committee Against Torture, ACRI, B'tselem, Hamoked, the
"Legal Center for the Arab Minority, and the Jerusalem-based Palestinian
Organization for Economic and Social rights. These organizations are not
exactly 'diverse' and they cater primarily to helping Palestinian Arabs
Clearly Minerva, an organization established in 1997 at the Hebrew and Tel
Aviv Universities, actively strives to influence the political opinions of
its interns through driving them to work with the most radical anti-Israel
voices in Israeli society.
Besides Ganz, the other faculty member organizing opposition to the
appointment of Col. Sharvit-Baruch is Anat Matar, who is not a lawyer or
legal studies faculty member at all. She teaches philosophy, sort of.
Matar is one of the most extremist and most openly anti-Israel faculty
members in Israel. She openly calls for Israel to be destroyed by means of
granting Palestinians a "right of return" to all Israeli territory. She
has been arrested for violently assaulting Israeli police and soldiers at
a protest against the building of Israel's security wall. She has a long
history of illegally promoting mutiny and insurrection among Israeli
These anti-Israel extremists are the people who are seeking to destroy
academic freedom at Tel Aviv University by creating an ideological litmus
test for hiring lecturers, an anti-Israel extremist one.
3. Israeli film-makers for the destruction of Israel:
4. JANUARY 19, 2009, 6:38 P.M. ET
London's reaction to the Gaza war shows it is giving up against jihad.
By MELANIE PHILLIPS | From today's Wall Street Journal Europe
In Britain, the war in Gaza has revealed the extent to which the media,
intelligentsia and political class have simply crumbled in the face of the
The U.K. is a major player in European and world politics and is America's
most significant strategic ally. Until now, it has been considered one of
Israel's firm supporters and a linchpin of the Western defense against the
world-wide Islamist onslaught. With the reaction to Gaza, however, that
reputation is no longer sustainable.
Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain
have now coalesced, as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza
war as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred
against Israel and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews.
Throughout the war, London's streets have witnessed a hallucinatory level
of violent and explicit support for Hamas from Muslims, members of the far
left and supposedly progressive individuals.
Night after night, Israel's embassy in well-to-do Kensington found itself
under violent siege. Demonstrators attempted to storm the building,
howling their support for the terrorist body whose genocidal intentions
toward Israel and the Jews necessarily includes killing every one of the
Certainly, there have been anti-Israel protests around the world. But in
Britain, not only have these been particularly violent but the authorities
have done nothing to stop such incitement of hatred.
The police told pro-Israel demonstrators on at least one occasion to put
away their Israel flags because they were "inflammatory." Yet officers
allowed some anti-Israel demonstrators to scream support for Hamas -- and
even to dress up as hook-nosed Jews pretending to drink the blood of
In general, the police have reacted passively to the violence. One recent
video clip captured the astonishing spectacle of Muslims stampeding
through London's West End hurling traffic cones and other missiles at the
police, all the time shrieking "Allahu akbar" and "cowards." The police
ran and stumbled backward rather than standing their ground and stopping
Not only has such violence barely been reported. There has also been no
acknowledgment of the explicitly Islamist nature of these demonstrations.
Keffiyeh-clad demonstrators prostrated themselves in prayer or shouted
"Allahu akbar" as they attacked Jewish-owned or -founded stores, such as
Starbucks and Tesco, on numerous occasions.
Instead, the political class has simply regurgitated Hamas propaganda. In
a debate in the House of Commons last week, one MP after another expressed
horror at Israel's supposed crimes against humanity in Gaza.
More serious still, Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell cited as fact the
Hamas claim that 300 children had been killed in Gaza, even though Israel
has given a much lower figure, and said the Israeli action was
"disproportionate" and the bombing was "indefensible and unacceptable."
Similarly, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, commenting after this weekend's
cease-fire that "too many innocent people" had been killed, made no
mention of Israel's strenuous attempts to minimize civilian casualties,
nor Hamas's responsibility for holding Gaza's civilians hostage.
In fact, the British government has effectively taken the view that Israel
should not be allowed to defend itself by military means against the Hamas
rockets that ministers have taken care to condemn.
From the second day of the war, Foreign Secretary David Miliband was
calling for an immediate cease-fire by both sides. Since Hamas would take
no notice, this in practice amounted to pressure upon Israel to stop
It was Britain which took the lead in framing the United Nations
resolution calling upon Israel to withdraw all its forces from Gaza while
making no mention whatever of Hamas. And it was Britain which also drew a
disquieting moral equivalence between Hamas terrorism and Israeli
Certainly, neither Mr. Miliband nor Mr. Brown -- a reputed supporter of
Israel -- can be unaware that it was Tony Blair's refusal to call for an
immediate cease-fire by Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war that finally led
his MPs, already enraged by his support for the war in Iraq, to force him
prematurely out of office.
But Britain's new coolness toward Israel is due to much more than this.
The government's failure to support Israel's war against Hamas as the
front line of the West's defense against the global Islamic jihad reflects
its failure in turn to acknowledge the nature of that world-wide
Last Thursday, Mr. Miliband wrote in the Guardian that there was no
single, unified Islamist threat but merely a set of various local
grievances, such as Kashmir or the Golan Heights. Such startling ignorance
of the goals and ideological antecedents of the Islamic jihad, from Hamas
to Hezbollah to Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba, is of a piece with the British
government's stubborn refusal to accept that the West is under assault
from a war of religion.
The government denies this fact because it does not want to face up to the
unpalatable realities of fighting such a war. So although "middle Britain"
is beginning to grasp that the Islamists in Gaza are the same as those
rampaging through the streets of London, ministers are intent on appeasing
Muslim extremism and intimidation both at home and abroad.
Accordingly, while Britain's security services have had significant
success in smashing Islamic terrorism plots, government strategy for
combating Islamist extremism rests upon seeking to mollify Britain's two
million or so Muslims by avoiding confrontation -- which means turning a
blind eye to threatening statements.
Recently, prominent British Muslims who advise ministers against Islamist
extremism wrote an open letter making the veiled threat that unless the
government condemned Israel there would be a rise in violence in Britain.
Ministers' openly stated fear that this will indeed happen as a result of
the war in Gaza makes them anxious to show Britain's Muslims that they
oppose Israel's actions. They don't understand that, by showing such
weakness in the face of intimidation, they are not just betraying their
Israeli ally but also undermining the Western defense against the jihad.
Across the spectrum, Britain's elites are terrified of dealing with
militant Islamism. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, in a pattern
which goes back to the foundational Christian blood libel against the
Jews, they are concealing their fearful inability to deal with Islamist
aggression by displacing the blame onto its Israeli victims instead.
Ms. Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail and author of "Londonistan"
(Encounter Books, 2005).
. 5. JANUARY 24, 2009
. Iran Is the Terrorist 'Mother Regime' OPINION: THE WEEKEND
Israel's would-be prime minister says he was mocked for warning of the
Gaza rocket threat.
By BRET STEPHENS
It's Sunday morning, and I've been trying for days to get an interview
with former -- and, if his poll numbers hold up through the Feb. 10
election, soon-to-be -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But
it's a political season, and there's a war on, and my calls aren't being
returned. With nothing better to do, I go downstairs to the hotel gym for
So who should be on the treadmill next to mine? Benjamin Netanyahu. We
chat for a few minutes, mostly about the cease-fire that the government of
outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has just declared, and I ask if he'd
be willing to sit for an interview later in the day. His answer is
something between a "maybe" and a "yes." As a nod to the customs of the
country, I take that as a definite yes, so much the better to press his
aides to arrange the meeting.
When the interview finally happens, in the grand reception hall of the old
King David Hotel, it's close to one o'clock in the morning on Monday. Mr.
Netanyahu has come from a long dinner with visiting European leaders --
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and
German Chancellor Angela Merkel among them -- and he is plainly exhausted,
joking that he can't be held responsible for anything he might say.
The crack is unnecessary. Rare for a leading Israeli political figure, the
59-year-old Mr. Netanyahu is a phenomenally articulate man -- Obama-esque,
one might even say -- not just in his native Hebrew, but also in the
unaccented English he acquired at a Philadelphia high school and later as
an architecture and management student at MIT. True to form, near-lapidary
sentences all but trip from his tongue. Such as:
"I don't think Israel can accept an Iranian terror base next to its major
cities any more than the United States could accept an al Qaeda base next
to New York City."
"If we accept the notion that terrorists will have immunity because as
they fire on civilians they hide behind civilians, then this tactic will
be legitimized and the terrorists will have their greatest victory."
"We grieve for every child, for every innocent civilian that's killed
either on our side or on the Palestinian side. The terrorists celebrate
such suffering, on our side because they openly say they want to kill us,
all of us, and on the Palestinian side because it helps them foster this
false symmetry, which is contrary to common decency and international
And so on. The immediate question, of course, is the Israeli government's
unilateral cease-fire, followed hours later by Hamas's declaration of a
conditional, one-week cease-fire. Was the war a win? A draw? Or did it
accomplish nothing at all -- thereby handing Hamas the "victory" it loudly
claims for itself?
When Mr. Olmert announced Israel's cease-fire late Saturday night, he
could hardly keep a grin off his face. In his estimate, along with that of
his senior military brass, Israel had scored a clear win: It had
humiliated Hamas militarily; it had caused a political rift within the
group; it had taken relatively few casualties of its own; it had focused
international attention on the problem of the arms smuggling beneath
Gaza's border with Egypt. Most important, in the eyes of the Olmert
government, it had avoided the trap of reoccupying Gaza -- the only means,
it believed, of finally getting rid of Hamas.
Ordinary Israelis, however, seem less confident in the result, and Mr.
Netanyahu gives voice to their caution. He is quick to applaud the
"brilliant" performance of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the
"perseverance and strength" of Israeli civilians under Hamas's years-long
But, he adds, "we have to make sure that the radicals do not perceive this
as a victory," and it remains far from clear that they would be wrong to
see it as one. "Notwithstanding the blows to the Hamas, it's still in
Gaza, it's still ruling Gaza, and the Philadelphi corridor [which runs
along Gaza's border with Egypt] is still porous, and . . . Hamas can
smuggle new rockets unless it's closed, to fire at Israel in the future."
So is Mr. Netanyahu's preference regime change in Gaza? "Well, that would
have been the optimal outcome," he says, adding that "the minimal outcome
would have been to seal Gaza" from the missiles and munitions being
smuggled into it. So far it's unclear that Israel has achieved even that:
A "Memorandum of Understanding" agreed to last week by Israel, the U.S.
and Egypt could be effective in stopping the flow of arms, but that's
assuming Cairo lives up to its responsibilities.
"One would hope they would actually do it," says Mr. Netanyahu, sounding
less than optimistic. Within days, his doubts are confirmed when the
Associated Press produces video footage of masked Palestinian smugglers
moving through once-again operational tunnels.
Rather than looking for solutions from Egypt, however, Mr. Netanyahu's
gaze is intently fixed on Iran, a subject that consumes at least half of
the interview. Iran is the "mother regime" both of Hamas, against which
Israel has just fought a war, as well as of Hezbollah, against which it
fought its last war in 2006. Together, he says, they are more than simply
fingers of Tehran's influence on the shores of the Mediterranean.
"The arming of Iran with nuclear weapons may portend an irreversible
process, because these regimes assume a kind of immortality," he says,
arguing that the threat of a nuclear Iran poses a much graver danger to
the world than the current economic crisis. "[This] will pose an
existential threat to Israel directly, but also could give a nuclear
umbrella to these terrorist bases."
How to stop that from happening? Mr. Netanyahu mentions that he has met
with Barack Obama both in Israel and Washington, and that the question of
Iran "loomed large in both conversations." I ask: Did Mr. Obama seem to
him appropriately sober-minded about the subject? "Very much so, very much
so," Mr. Netanyahu stresses. "He [Mr. Obama] spoke of his plans to engage
Iran in order to impress upon them that they have to stop the nuclear
program. What I said to him was, what counts is not the method but the
It's easy to believe that Mr. Netanyahu, of all people, must be wishing
President Obama well: If diplomacy with Iran fails and the U.S. does not
resort to military force, it would almost certainly fall to Mr. Netanyahu
to decide whether Israel will go it alone in a strike. (In a separate
interview earlier that day, a senior military official assured me that a
successful strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is well within Israel's
On the other hand, a Prime Minister Netanyahu could easily tangle with the
Obama administration, particularly if it makes a big push -- as it looks
like it might with the appointment of former Senate Majority Leader George
Mitchell as the new special envoy to the region -- for the resumption of
comprehensive, "final status" peace negotiations. There's already a
history here: During his first term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999,
Mr. Netanyahu frequently clashed with the administration of the man whose
wife is now the secretary of state.
Mr. Netanyahu's own prescriptions for a settlement with the Palestinians
-- what he calls a "workable peace" -- differ markedly from the approaches
of the 1990s. He talks about "the development of capable law enforcement
and security capabilities" for the Palestinians, adding that the new
National Security Adviser Jim Jones had worked on the problem for the Bush
administration. He stresses the need for rapid economic development in the
West Bank, promising to remove "all sorts of impediments to economic
growth" faced by Palestinians.
As for the political front, Mr. Netanyahu promises a gradual, "bottom-up
process that will facilitate political solutions, not replace them."
"Most of the approaches to peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he
says, "have been directed at trying to resolve the most complex problems,
like refugees and Jerusalem, which is akin to building the pyramid from
the top down. It's much better to build it layer by layer, in a
deliberate, purposeful pattern that changes the reality for both
Palestinians and Israelis."
Whether this approach will work remains to be seen: Palestinian economic
development was also a priority in the 1990s, until it became clear that
billions in foreign aid were being siphoned off by corrupt Palestinian
officials, and after various joint economic projects with Israel were
But however Mr. Netanyahu's economic and security plans play out, he makes
it equally clear that he is prepared to go only so far to reach an
accommodation that will meet some of the current demands being made of
Israel -- not only by Palestinians, but by the Syrians, the Saudis, and
much of the rest of the "international community" as well. "We're not
going to redivide Jerusalem, or get off the Golan Heights, or go back to
the 1967 boundaries," he says. "We won't repeat the mistake our [political
opponents] made of unilateral retreats to merely vacate territory that is
then taken up by Hamas or Iran."
This brings Mr. Netanyahu to the political pitch he's making -- so far
successfully -- to Israelis ahead of next month's election. When elections
were held three years ago, bringing Mr. Olmert to power, "we [his Likud
Party] were mocked" for warning that Gaza would become Hamastan, and that
Hamastan would become a staging ground for missiles fired at major Israeli
cities such as Ashkelon and Ashdod.
"I think we've shown the ability to see the problems in advance," he says.
"Peace is purchased from strength. It's not purchased from weakness or
unilateral retreats. It just doesn't happen that way. That perhaps is the
greatest lesson that has been impressed on the mind of the Israeli public
in the last few years."
The polls seem to agree. As of Wednesday, an Israeli poll gives Likud a
30-seat plurality in the next Knesset, ahead by eight of Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni's Kadima party. Well behind both of them is the left-leaning
Labor Party of Defense Minister Ehud Barak (at about 15 seats), which in
turn is running roughly even with Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael
The dovish parties of yore, particularly Meretz, barely exist as political
entities anymore. Whether they'll ever be back will be a testament, one
way or another, to the kind of prime minister Mr. Netanyahu will be this
Mr. Stephens writes Global View, the Journal's foreign affairs column.
6. So the Pope is reinstating as bishop a Holocaust Denier.
British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, one of those Benedict is bringing
back into the fold, denies that the Nazi Holocaust ever happened:
You realize what this means? Why, the guy could probably now get tenure
at Ben Gurion University!