Friday, August 28, 2009

Self-Boycotting Jew

On August 20, Prof. Neve Gordon, chairman of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, published an article in the Los Angeles Times, supporting the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel. The university president has announced she is checking into possible sanctions against Gordon, and has called him to resign, or at the very least, leave his post as department chair. It seems that legally she can't really do anything against him. Others have also called him to resign, while others have jumped to his defense and denounced the president's response.

Gordon did not mention an academic boycott in his article. He mentioned a boycott that is sensitive to circumstances and context, and gradual. He doesn't want to boycott all Israeli institutions and companies, but only those who participate in, or gain from, the occupation. One could easily find a reason to say that Gordon's own institution, Ben Gurion University, is participating in the occupation and so it should be boycotted. After all, it practically has a mini-campus at Hazerim Air Force Base, where BGU professors teach pilot trainees.

Prof. Gordon should be allowed to continue teaching at Ben-Gurion. His call for a boycott may be outrageous, and in my opinion anti-democratic and anti-peace, but it is his right as a citizen in general, and in particular as a professor whose field of expertise is the study of the occupation. However, I don't think he should continue serving as chairman of the political science department. The chairman needs to promote his department's cooperation with foreign universities and international organizations. He can't honestly do that while calling for a boycott.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crazy Orly Taitz

Moldovan-Israeli-American Orly Taitz, Commander-in-chief of the lunatic birther squad, made the rounds on American TV stations last month. Now it's Israel's turn. About a week or two ago she was interviewed on Channel 10 News, where she said Benjamin Netanyahu was now her Facebook friend (umm, Orly, I hate to say it, but it certainly ain't really Bibi, and you're an idiot for thinking that it is). The next day she appeared on another Channel 10 show, "London and Kirshenbaum", where she was interviewed by veteran journalists Yaron London and Moti Kirshenbaum, who subtly mocked her. Taitz seemed pleased, as if she thought she had convinced the duo.

Last night, Taitz appeared on Channel 2's "Mo'adon Layla" ("Night Club"), a comedy panel show. She was first asked a few questions and traded barbs with the comedians. This was the part where she not only compared Obama to Hitler, but said Obama was worse, which prompted panelist Ido Rosenblum to jump up from his chair and ask to "turn this thing off", meaning Taitz's satellite feed. She kind of seemed to storm off, though it wasn't entirely clear if she didn't just think her segment was over. After the interview, the comedians joked about her insanity.

Here's the clip, which, by the way, appears on the show's website under the title "Mo'adon Layla Supports Obama". It's in Hebrew without an English translation. Sorry about that:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rooting For Hamas

I never thought I'd ever side with Hamas on anything, but that's just what happened this weekend. The Muslim terrorist organization which controls Gaza confronted an Al Quaeda-linked group, Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of God's Companions), after the group's leader declared Gaza an Islamic emirate under his control. Hamas killed this leader, Abdul-Latif Moussa, and other members of the fringe group.

Had Jund Ansar Allah not existed, Hamas would have to invent it. It's a great way to show the world that everything is relative. Sure, Hamas is a group of radical Islamic terrorists, but compared to Al Quaeda, they're like Switzerland.

Okay, not quite Switzerland...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Free Country

Alexander Jacobson has a great piece in Haaretz today, which for some reason doesn't appear in the English version. I'll translate a few parts.

He starts out by recalling something he experienced during the peace rally on November 4, 1995, the one that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He was in the crowd, and next to him were two religious teenagers who were arguing with those attending the rally. They accused the left of not allowing dissent. "I thought to myself, you [the religious teenagers] have a lot of confidence in the tolerance and non-violence of the Israeli left. You're standing in a sea of leftists and arguing with them without fear, and even accusing them of silencing dissent. Would any of us dare to venture into a crowd of right-wing protestors and open our mouths?", he writes.

Then he tells the story of the annual memorial service for the victims of the 2002 terrorist attack at the Hebrew University. The ceremony ended with the singing of "HaTikvah", the Israeli national anthem. One of the lecturers stayed put in his seat. He doesn't name him, but says it's a leftist Jewish lecturer who isn't even much of an extreme leftist. Jacobson says this was quite rude, but nobody said anything. This made Jacobson proud.

"[The lecturer] doesn't even think of appreciating the freedom he enjoys - he's Israeli, and freedom runs through his veins. He doesn't even think of fearing state or university authorities - and really, where has it been heard of that a brave dissident in a brutal apartheid state (one whose anthem is worthy of contempt) needs to fear the authorities?"

Thursday, August 06, 2009

How Many Posts Per Page?

I just changed my blog's settings so it will display ten days' worth of posts on the main page, instead of five. Only days I post on are counted, which is why right now there are posts from as far back as June and not just from the last ten calendar days.

Do you have any preferences? Is it taking any longer to load now (though I don't see why it should, since I rarely add videos and pictures to my posts)? I'm open to feedback from all my avid readers. Yes, both of you.

Update (August 28, 2009): I've switched back to five days' worth of posts. I've shortened the list of labels, so a shorter first page is more suitable, in my opinion.

Israel Killed Arafat, Fatah Says

The Fatah Party Conference today decided unanimously to declare that Israel is responsible for the death of Yasser Arafat and to open an investigation into what they see as his assassination. Fatah asked for international aid in getting to the truth.

Oh, come on. The guy got sick and died. His own doctor said he had AIDS, though he blamed Israel for injecting him with the virus (how, with an AIDS rocket? Israelis weren't in physical contact with him during the Second Intifada, except for a few far left wing activists, who I wouldn't see as prime suspects).

How is this resolution blaming Israel and calling for an investigation constructive in any way? This won't bring peace to anyone. It will not even give the Palestinians peace of mind regarding the death of Arafat, since they will not except any conclusion other than the one they've already come to.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Murderous Homophobia in Tel-Aviv

A gunman opened fire at a gay and lesbian youth center in Tel-Aviv yesterday, killing two people. The man escaped and has not yet been apprehended.

Israelis were shocked by this terrible hate crime. Many of my friends on Facebook have changed their profile picture to the gay pride flag with a memorial candle or black stripe as a sign of protest and identification with the gay community. Accusations are flying against the leaders of Shas, the ultra-Orthodox party, who have in the past condemned homosexuality as a perversion that must be treated. Politicians from Shas have condemned yesterday's murders.

I think that while Shas's homophobic words and policies are horrible, it is too early to lay blame on them for what happened. We don't know who the shooter is and whether he's a Shasnik, or even religious. Unfortunately, there are plenty of possible sources for this intolerance.