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Saturday, June 3rd

Boycott me?

I agree wholeheartedly with the letter below and call on everyone to follow this great example and volunteer to be boycotted by NATFHE. As a European, I also have the association with the Nazi boycott of Jewish academics and shops, but I have experienced that this connection very much upsets the advocates for boycotts of Israel, and also to some outsiders it seems to be an unfair comparison. Comparisons to the Nazis are often used by both sides in the 'propaganda war', and there is a famous rule that says that whoever first uses the N-word, loses the argument.

In this particular case however, the association is hard to ignore. The boycotters are standing in a long tradition, of the Nazis blaming the Jews for everything and boycotting them and finally murdering them, the Arab League blaming the Zionists/Jews for everything and boycotting them and threatening and attempting to destroy their state, and now the left-wingers blaming Israel and its supporters for everything and aiming to abolish their state, in effect joining the Arab boycott that has been going on for 60 years.


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Ratna Pelle on 06.03.06 @ 08:44 PM CST [link]

Boycotts again: the good, the bad, and the judges

A lot has been said and written about the infamous boycotts of Israel by the British NATFHE and the Canadian CUPE, and I appreciated very much the following commentary from Dutchblog Israel:

Karin Kloosterman, a Canadian-Israeli freelance journalist living in Tel Aviv, sent me an opinion article about a vote by the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees - Canada's largest union - to boycott Israel. In the article she points out that those who voted for the boycott should also stop using:


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Ratna Pelle on 06.03.06 @ 08:34 PM CST [link]

Thursday, June 1st

What do the Arabs want from Israel?

I am puzzled to say the least. Can you help me with this conundrum?

Israel Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is suddenly a good thing, or at least that is what can be inferred from the behavior of Egypt and Jordan!!

These two Arab countries are lamenting Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank?? Ah but with a qualifier, it is only the “unilateral withdrawal” that is really the problem?

Each cites the havoc currently created for Egypt by Israel’s departure from Gaza, or the havoc that could potentially be created for Jordan by Israel’s departure from the West Bank if it is done unilaterally?

What is the significance attached to “unilateral” by these two Arab states in this context? Do Egypt and Jordan feel that all of a sudden if the PA Chairman is party to the withdrawal in a final status and peace agreement, it will suddenly make all the difference, or are they really suggesting for Israel to remain in the territories, maybe indefinitely? Will all havoc and anarchy cease, because the PA Chairman inks the deal?

Where is the ultimate responsibility lie, in the hands of the Palestinians or in Israel policing of the occupied territories? I am sorry I don’t see it, please help me I am still confused!!

We advocated for the right things for Israel to do, and we ended up dislocating communities of Jews from their established homes, only to read this lament and the urging to wait some more. Are these Arab countries willing to speak up for Israel internationally and not condemn the “occupation” for its salutary effects on their countries? Or at least denounce terrorism and suicide attacks in the open and especially in Arabic and for the Arabic media, and not in English only and for the international media? Well, short of that, what’s in it for Israel at this point beyond the head and heart aches?

I still don’t see it, can you? Can anyone?

Israel Bonan


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Israel Bonan on 06.01.06 @ 07:07 PM CST [link]

Presbyterians consider cost of divestment

This June, Presbyterian Church USA is due to reconsider the divestment resolutions adopted in 2004. A group of Presbyterians has looked into the cost of these resolutions.--A.I.

Two years ago, Presbyterian Church USA leaders began a divestment of corporations doing business in Israel. Since then, thousands of writers have written millions of words on the topic. Today, a Google search with keywords (Presbyterian(s), Israel, and Divestment) produces 181,000 hits.

Missing in the 181,000 results is an analysis of the money spent by the PCUSA creating and promoting its Israel Divestment Movement. A volunteer group of Concerned Presbyterians have studied the obvious and hidden costs of our church’s anti-Israel actions.


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Ami Isseroff on 06.01.06 @ 01:13 AM CST [link]

Are Saudis violating WTO ban on boycotting Israel?

When Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization, they promised to end their participation in the Arab boycott of Israel, but they have not done so, according to a Jerusalem Post story (see below). A Reuters dispatch however, claims that the Saudis are abiding by the WTO agreement. This is a story we've been following for quite some time.

The confusion is created by the fact that the Saudis have agreed supposedly, to drop the secondary boycott, that is, the boycott against companies that do business with Israel. The boycott against Israeli products is still in force.

This distinction is not reflected in news reports. It allows the Jerusalem Post to declare: "Saudis Flout Vow to US to End Israel Boycott" and to quote Saudi officials saying, "If a product is made in Israel, then it is a problem. It is not allowed here." Jerusalem Post is undoubtedly right. On the other hand, the Washington Post can reassure its readers "Saudis have assured not boycotting Israel: US aide".

Susan Schwab, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, stated, "If Israel believes Saudi Arabia is boycotting its goods and services, it could bring a case against Riyadh at the WTO and "the United States could support such a case." That is disingenuous. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes or even the CIA to know that no Israeli goods can be imported to Saudi Arabia. In fact, Schwab should have known that a former US official, Brad Bourland, noted in a recent report issued by a Saudi bank:

"Saudi Arabia's trade stance toward Israel does not change due to WTO accession... The primary Arab League boycott of Israel remains in place."

Evidently, the US and WTO have decided on a "see no evil, hear no evil" charade that ignores Saudi flouting of the anti-boycott provisions. There are about 10 million reasons for that, as many reasons as the number of barrels of oil the Saudis ship each day.

(Source articles are below)

Ami Isseroff


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Ami Isseroff on 06.01.06 @ 12:50 AM CST [link]

Wednesday, May 31st

AUT Rejects NATFHE Boycott

There's a ray of light or two in the dismal NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) boycott fiasco. The boycott resolution is meaningless because NATFHE is merging with the AUT (Association of University Teachers) on June 1. AUT has disociated itself from the boycott (see below). In fact, NATFHE General Secretary Paul Mackney spoke against the motion, though he defended it after it was accepted. He did react adversely to the wave of over-vehement mail that was sent, some of which was racist apparently, and much of which accused him of anti-Semitism. It is evident however that even though this particular boycott motion will probably have have no validity, the union leadership is determined that some campaign against Israel will be undertaken.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.31.06 @ 03:31 PM CST [link]

Tuesday, May 30th

Worse than we thought - another and worse anti-Israel Boycott - CUPE - and boycott resources

The bad news of the NATFHE boycott has been been surpassed by the even worse news of a boycott by CUPE Ontario - Canadian Union of Public Employees' Ontario wing (see source below). This resolution calls for financial divestment as well, and union officials claim they will be pursuing the program.

The measures endorsed by CUPE Ontario go far beyond that. On the weekend, members explicitly agreed to support an "international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions" because of the "apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state." CUPE Ontario hopes to persuade other Canadian unions to follow suit.

Leaders of B'nai Brith Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center are calling the vote outrageous, unrepresentative of the views of most union members and inconsiderate of both the historic and present-day realities of life in Israel.

Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, says he will stand firm and follow through with specific actions, such as trying to persuade public-sector pension funds to dump Israeli bonds.

As I wrote previously, the situation is far worse than we thought. Opponents of Israel have carried out a patient and persistent anti-Zionist campaign aimed especially at leaderhsip and institutions in organizations such as unions, churches and educational institutions, and the campaign is showing its ugly results. It is questionable whether these votes represent the sentiments of the membership of these groups.

Other than overturning the boycott resolution, what is the most effective response? Some have proposed to boycott the bocotters (see - Time to boycott the boycotters). A broad education effort may be much more effective.

Following is a partial list of boycott resources:

Here is a portal with numerous pages of resources about boycotts and divestment:
anti-Israel Boycott and Divestment Initiatives

A systematic examination of myths and claims of the boycott movement:
Boycott facts and myths

A portal section to general resources that address the different anti-Zionist arguments and myths including "Apartheid" and many others: Zionism and Israel FAQ

Academic Boycotts

LabourStart Israel News Database

Ami Isseroff


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Ami Isseroff on 05.30.06 @ 02:27 PM CST [link]

Monday, May 29th

British Academic Union - NATFHE Votes to Boycott Israel

Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) has approved an academic boycott on Israeli higher education institutions that do not condemn Israel's "apartheid policy." NAFTHE, which with a membership of 67,000 educators is one of the UK's largest teachers' unions, voted 106 to 71, with 21 abstentions, in favor of the boycott during a Blackpool convention.

This hurts more than usual for many reasons. I was previously assured by a complacent expert that the boycott proposals had little support and little chance of passing. Apparently, there is a false sense of security being cultivated. The vote was even postponed from Saturday to give more Jewish members a chance to participate. The same conference also voted to congratulate the genocidal Hamas, now fighting bitterly against the Fatah, on their electoral victory. ( see Will a British Trade Union Support Genocide? - NATFHE proposal to back Hamas ) At the same time, the Hamas was busy boycotting the Fatah at a conference of non-aligned nations.

The resolution attacked Israeli "Apartheid" policies, a sure sign that the boycott was not directed against the occupation, but against the existence of Israel. That is another reason for alarm perhaps, but we know that the boycott efforts are instigated by anti-Zionists and are aimed at delegitimizing Israel, not stopping the occupation. We know, because they have told the world that is their aim on numerous occasions. For example:

We must understand that occupation will end only after, or simultaneously with, de-Zionization. Doing away with the old dichotomy will also mean fusing together the struggle to end the occupation and the struggle for return


We must turn the one-state solution into a relevant political agenda, in Israel, the 1967 OPT, in the camps in Lebanon, among Palestinian exile communities in Detroit, everywhere.

About sanctions/boycott campaigns as a necessary means:

- The legitimacy of Israel’s regime must be challenged for its racism on the one hand, and its colonialist character on the other. The only way this regime can be brought to collapse is from outside. We have to call for boycott and sanctions against Israel.

(see Anti-Israel Boycotts for source).


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Ami Isseroff on 05.29.06 @ 06:27 PM CST [link]

Brave Zionism: Coexistence from Kindergarten

Isn't it great when there is good news from Israel? Only brave Zionists like these can make it happen.

When Ahmed met Avshalom
By Leora Eren Frucht May 28, 2006

Ein Bustan

The children are pushing wooden wheelbarrows, clambering up the jungle gym, and cuddling floppy dolls. It is a scene you might observe in any ordinary kindergarten.

But listen carefully and you'll hear the not-so-typical banter of Hebrew and Arabic in one room. Look again, and you'll notice that the dolls lack features on their faces.

Welcome to Ein Bustan, the first Arab-Jewish Waldorf kindergarten in Israel - or, for that matter, the world.

Here in the small Bedouin village of Hilf, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) southeast of Haifa, eight Jewish children and seven Arab ones are unknowingly making history.

Ahmed is seated in a wheelbarrow, being pushed by Avshalom. "Take me over there," Ahmed shouts in Hebrew - a language that was foreign to him until a few months ago.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.29.06 @ 03:19 PM CST [link]

The Protocols - Twenty First Century style

Following needs no comment really. It is an illlustration of the disturbing pattern that is repeated at numerous universities in Europe and in the United States.

The 'Protocols,' 21st century style
By Benjamin Neuberger

Currently, another academic boycott of Israel is being organized in Britain. The boycott movement does not represent all British lecturers and intellectuals. The organizers are not a majority but clearly rather a small minority. However, there are no initiatives for boycotts against other countries: not against Iran, which is denying the Holocaust and threatening to destroy Israel; not against Sudan, which is committing genocide in Darfur; not against Saudi Arabia, where people are executed for religious infractions, and not against China, which is carrying out oppression in Tibet and Shenzhen. Nor is the hated United States being boycotted, because this would hurt academics who want to get to Harvard, Yale and Princeton.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.29.06 @ 01:30 AM CST [link]

Sunday, May 28th

The Palestinian Prisoners' Document: Dilemma and Challenge for Hamas and for Israel

How can Israel find itself supporting Marwan Barghouti, locked up in an Israeli jail as a terrorist and instigator of the violence that began in September 2000? It seems strange, but it could happen.

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas challenged the Hamas-led government to adopt the national reconciliation document of the Palestinian prisoners last week, he created an ingenious challenge to the Hamas, to Israel and to the quartet and the roadmap for Middle East Peace.


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Ami Isseroff on 05.28.06 @ 03:31 PM CST [link]

Iranian letter to USA: Did the US miss a chance for peace between Iran and Israel.

Former US security official Flynt Leverett and others have mentioned a letter sent from the Iranian government to the United States in 2003. A version of the Iranian letter to the US has been circulating through e-mail and is posted at http://www.mideastweb.org/iranian_letter_of_2003.htm.

The letter offers to stop terror and to adopt the Arab peace initiative, in return for a softening of the US attitude to Iran. The letter was sent via the Swiss government, which represents US interests in Iran. The existence of such a letter was claimed by Flynt Leverett in a New York Times article of January 24, 2006. He wrote:

In the spring of 2003, shortly before I left government, the Iranian Foreign Ministry sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences. The document acknowledged that Iran would have to address concerns about its weapons programs and support for anti-Israeli terrorist organizations. It was presented as having support from all major players in Iran's power structure, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A conversation I had shortly after leaving the government with a senior conservative Iranian official strongly suggested that this was the case. Unfortunately, the administration's response was to complain that the Swiss diplomats who passed the document from Tehran to Washington were out of line.
( source - http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/fleverett/20060124.htm )


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Ami Isseroff on 05.28.06 @ 11:41 AM CST [link]


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