Friday, January 3, 2014

Israel news: BDS, chess children and Jonathan Pollard

Here are some recent Israel headlines you might have missed. These stories come from December 27, 2013 – January 2, 2014.

The war against Israel

-MIT Opposes Academic Boycott of Israel (12/29/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Bill to Strip Schools Supporting ASA Boycott of Public Funding (12/28/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Dozens of U.S. university heads have slammed ASA boycott of Israel, Presidents Conf. says (01/02/14, JTA)


Two weeks ago, the American Studies Association (ASA) approved a bigoted boycott of Israel. Now, we see the fallout.

While the boycott vote has not (yet) been universally rejected by American Universities, no University has been reported (as of December 30, 2013) to support it. But a few prominent schools have been quick to step up to condemn it with public statements.  These include (according to news reports) Brandeis University, MIT, Indiana University, Kenyon College and Penn State University.

In addition, two New York State lawmakers (Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein and Assemblyman Dov Hikind) have started their own campaign to stop public funding to schools that support any boycott. The two lawmakers are proposing a bill that would give colleges and universities in the state of New York 30 days to withdraw their support from groups boycotting Israel --or lose state funding.

By the end of this news cycle (January 2, 2014) at least 90 American Universities and colleges have been reported to have rejected the ASA vote. That’s a good sign. But it isn’t enough. 

The ASA isn’t the only academic organization to promote a boycott of Israel. Boycotting Israel has become a favourite academic pastime—and in this season of joy for gentiles, academic bigots have decided to celebrate their bigotry.

First, the ASA passed its boycott vote. Then, at almost the same hour, the Native American Studies Association urged its own members to boycott Israeli educational institutions.

Now, next week in Chicago, the Modern Language Association (MLA) (a significantly larger organization than any of those which have so far voted to boycott) will offer a roundtable discussion on an academic boycott of Israel.  The first of four listed speakers is Omar Barghouti, who has no academic credentials. He is listed simply as an ‘Independent Scholar’. He is a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). Wherever he can, he promotes the ideology that Israel is an oppressive apartheid state—even as he pursues an advanced Humanities degree at Israel’s Tel Aviv University (Wikipedia).

The MLA has 30,000 members. Barghouti will have a ‘bully pulpit’ to speak his mind. Predictably, he will advocate for a boycott of Israel.

This fight is not over. Those who seek to boycott Israel must be stopped. Those who defend Israel by pursuing lawsuits and legislation should not think they can afford to stand down.

So long as a boycott discussion appears on an academic agenda, lawsuit and legislation must be on our agenda.

-Israeli Chess Team Forced to Compete Under Anonymous Title (12/27/13, Arutz Sheva)


Here’s a little story that most readers probably missed. It’s about a chess match. What could be more boring than that, right?

Well, this chess match wasn’t boring because, once again, Israelis were given the Nazi treatment—and nobody objected.

Israeli participants were not allowed to play under the Israeli flag. All other participants had their national flag displayed. The Israelis were forced to play under the auspices of the international chess federation. They were the only team forced to do this because the Arab country hosting this particular international competition refused to show an Israeli flag.

This isn’t ‘international competition’ as much as it’s a version of the old Nazi theme: deny the Jew—or, short of that, make believe the Jew doesn’t exist.

This time the Nazi drama unfolded at the World Youth Chess Championship being played in the United Arab Emirates. Only Israelis were unable play under their own national flag. Only Israelis were forced to play under the flag of the World Chess federation—as if they were stateless, with no national representation.

It’s that Nazi theme: deny the Jew until he disappears for real.

This is international bigotry empowered by a major international organization. Since this was a competition for an under-18 age group, it was bigotry aimed at children.

No one had the moral courage to say, no.

Jonathan Pollard

-Report: Kerry Offers Pollard's Release to Israel(12/27/13, Arutz Sheva)

-White House Denies Plans to Release Jonathan Pollard (12/29/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Report: Peres to Devote Remainder of Term to Pollard (12/27/13, Arutz Sheva)

-US Jewish Leaders Have 'Consensus': Pollard Must Be Freed (12/27/13, Arutz Sheva)

-Hotovely to Netanyahu: Demand Pollard's Release (12/27/13, Arutz Sheva)

-For Kerry, Pollard is a bargaining chip with Netanyahu (12/29/13, Haaretz

-Protesters rally for Pollard outside Kerry hotel (01/02/14, Times of Israel)

News flash: Jonathan Pollard will be released as part of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

News flash: Jonathan Pollard will not be released.

News flash: US Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to release Pollard.

News flash: the US has no plans to release Pollard at this time.

Headline writers will have a field day with this story: ‘Pollard peace pawn’; ‘Peace pawn Pollard’; ‘Peace pawn Pollard protests being pawn’.

It’s unseemly. Jewish blood is so cheap, a Jewish political prisoner can be dragged through the media as if he were a rag doll.

Well, maybe that won’t happen. Maybe Jonathan Pollard will simply be released.

Would Pollard accept such a deal?

Stay tuned.

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