Thursday, September 28th
The Arab boycott still exists at least in theory and despite Saudia Arabian membership in the WTO, US oficials look the other way and pretend it doesn't exist, while the Saudi Ambassador to the US openly admits that Saudi Arabia is violating WTO rules and continuing the boycott. However, insiders have known that clandestine Israeli trade with Persian Gulf countries has been going on for some time.
A Ynet news article reports: 12 Israeli firms exporting to Saudi Arabia. And they are also exporting to Morocco, and of course to Jordan and Egypt and a few other countries.
The problem is that reporting the existence of the trade with countries that boycott Israel, threatens its existence of course, because the boycott wardens always raise a stink. It is a scandal if a single item is found with a "Made in Israel" marking in Saudi Arabia.
Hat tip: Israel from Level Ground
Ami Isseroff on 09.28.06 @ 05:08 PM CST [link]
Ambitious Alternative Energy Research Program Launched
An ambitious multidisciplinary research initiative into alternative, sustainable energy resources is being launched by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Its goal is to significantly advance the search for solutions to the world’s most pressing energy problems.
Ami Isseroff on 09.28.06 @ 04:54 PM CST [link]
Wednesday, September 27th
The news from Iran is that the "Zionists" are taking over the world through a sinister plot. Nothing new about that, is there?
At the beginning of the year, Iranian academia did a great service to the world by explaining that Zionism is Mouse-ism and Mouse-ism is Zionism.
The symbol of the Zionist conspiracy
Following are excerpts of the anti-"Zionist" (remember folks, it is not "anti-Semitism," right??) theories of Professor Hasan Bolkhari, aired on Iranian television on February 16,
Hasan Bolkhari: "There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults - Tom and Jerry."
"Some say that this creation by Walt Disney [sic] will be remembered forever. The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon...
"Some say that the main reason for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe."
"If you study European history, you will see who was the main power to hoard money and wealth in the 19th century. In most cases, it is the Jews. Perhaps that was one of the reasons which caused Hitler to begin the anti-Semitic trend...
"Watch Schindler's List. Every Jew was forced to wear a yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed 'dirty mice.' Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. One of terms used was 'dirty mice.'
"I'd like to tell you that... It should be noted that mice are very cunning...and dirty."
"No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews."
Imagine those sneaky Jews, hiding behind the anonymity of Hollywood! Anti-Zionism, rignt? Of course, Tom and Jerry were created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in the 1940s, while they worked for MGM, another "Zionist" company. Walt Disney was not Jewish and didn't have anything to do with Tom and Jerry. However, for anti-Zionists, as Ilan Pappe noted, facts don't matter. Facts are for pedants.
Bolkhari is a moderate Iranian. He was active in interfaith activities. Actually, compared to Bolkhari, mice are clean. Apparently they are also a lot smarter.
Ami Isseroff on 09.27.06 @ 05:50 PM CST [link]
Tuesday, September 26th
Who killed 80,000 Muslims recently, imprisoned thousand more and brutally occupied and de-facto annexed their country? Israel? no. USA? Try again. Remarkably, no UN debate ensued. If Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International made a fuss about it, nobody noticed. No boycotts of Russia were organized. No embassies were burned. Muslims did not demonstrate against the enslavement and murder of their co-religionists by the racist warmongers.
The country is Chechnya, the imperialist colonialist crusader expansionist aggressor is Russia. The leader who was NOT pictured in the Independent eating Muslim babies is Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB officer of the Soviet Union, carrying on in the honorable and progressive traditions of Stalin's "Nationalities policy" - a euphemism for genocide.
Ami Isseroff on 09.26.06 @ 01:12 PM CST [link]
A small group of Irish Academics has published a letter in the Irish Times calling for a boycott of Israel. Such initiatives do not reflect conscientious examination of the issues. It is no secret that such letters are always the result of painstaking organization by someone. We can and should fight these initiatives.
Jon Ihle, who writes for the Irish Times and also has his own blog, has been following the boycott call. In the Irish Times, Ihle wrote:
Since 2002, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and other activist groups in Ireland and around the world have been trying to institute a global boycott of Israeli economic, academic and cultural institutions, as well as Israeli goods and companies that do business with Israel or Israeli firms. The movement arose in parallel with the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank that had begun in 2000, but had reached a climax two years later with a series of suicide bombings in Israel and the controversial Israeli assault on Jenin. As peace looked less and less retrievable, campaigners turned to what is now a well-known litany of activisim: boycott, sanctions, divestment.
The goal of the organisations involved is to brand Israel as a pariah state for its policies in the Palestinian territories and to isolate it from the community of democracies, as the anti-apartheid movement cut off and discredited South Africa in the 1980s. The similarity in tactics is no accident: to the activists, today's Israel is itself an "apartheid state" that has segregated the Palestinians in "bantustans" in the West Bank and Gaza. In their rhetoric Zionism is a doctrine of racial superiority, and not of national liberation as an overwhelming majority of Jews understand it.
This bland prose hides a bit of unpleasant Actually IPSC and the International Solidarity Movemnet are not only opposing Israeli policies. The boycott movement didn't just "arise." It was part of a planned Palestinian effort, whose aim is to discredit and destroy Israel. At a 2004 conference of the Badil refugee advocacy group, the plan to destroy Israel was stated frankly:
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.
In his first blog about the Irish Boycott Israel call Ihle wrote:
If you didn't sleep through the latest denunciation/call for boycott of Israel on the letters page of The Irish Times last week, you might have noticed one of its 60 academic signatories was IRA bomber and Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign member Feilim O hAdhmaill, who served six years of a 25 year term for being caught in possession of 17kg of Semtex and a list of targets...while working as a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire. He now lectures at UCC.
This gives a big hint that this boycott call is the work of the ISM/PSM movement, which has been tirelessly at work subverting every organization possible and turning it into a hate Israel group. (see PSM - Palestinian Subversion and Mendacity Movement http://www.zionism-israel.com/ezine/PSM_Palestine_Subversion_Movement.htm.
As Ihle notes, the "academics" who signed the call for boycotting Israel are small fry, and some are not really academics at all. He notes that the boycott call probably doesn't merit the publicity it is getting. As Education minister Yuli Tamir noted:
The question is whether these lecturers have a say in the academic world or whether they don't. It is not pleasant, but not terrible. We don't want to make a big deal of it because this will give them a false status."
And Ihle notes:
Apart from Luke Gibbons and Seamus Deane of Notre Dame, and Ivana Bacik, the academics who signed the petition have about zero public profile. The IPSC's resident terrorist, Feilim O hAdhmaill, isn't even listed among the faculty at UCC's department of applied social studies, so his affiliation can't be particularly influential. I suspect the same is true for many of the names on that list.
Nonetheless, every such public call for boycott cannot be ignored. We understand that the real purpose of the boycott movement, the stated purpose, is to discredit Israel and end the Jewish state, rather than ending the occupation. In the best of all possible worlds there would be another ISM - Israel Solidarity Movement - active at campuses, churches, labor unions and womens groups.
Ihle also notes:
...let's not forget the vast infrastructure of anti-Israel NGOs which the EU supports with tax money.
That is not an accident either. At the end of days perhaps there will also be a "UN Committee for the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Jewish People" that will accredit NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) similar to those anti-Zionist NGOs funded by the EU today and accredited to the "Committee for the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People." (See The Question of Palestine.)
The Irish Embassy in Israel has rejected the boycott call. Unfortunately, once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is hard to get it back in. The 61 people in Irish academia who want to boycott Israel got their publicity and presumably added to their number. In future, we need to try to stop these things before they happen.
Meanwhile, we need to do what we can. We need to expose the ISM/PSM subsversion campaign for what it is, every place it rears its ugly head. Please write to the editors of Irish Times and tell them that academic freedom is not about boycotts: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sample letter:
To the editors,
I am responding to the letter published in the Irish Times on September, 16 2006 from 61 Irish academics, calling for a moratorium on EU support of Israel academic institutions until Israel ends the occupation of Palestinian territories.
Academic boycotts over political issues are contrary to the spirit of academic freedom. They limit the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Surprisingly, the academics did not call for a boycott of British universities, despite the British occupation of Northern Ireland, the longest occupation in history. Wouldn't that occupation be of greater concern to Irish academics? Nor did they call for boycotting Chinese academic institutions, though China has brutally occupied Tibet since 1949 and has denied self-determination to the Tibetan people.
What is the reason that Israel has been singled out for this treatment? Boycott Israel initiatives do not represent the free and spontaneous expression of academic positions. They do not reflect the positions of individuals who have conscientiously and fairly examined the issues. Rather, they are the result of organized agitation by partisans of the Palestinian cause, who are trying to subvert academic institutions, churches and other groups for their own purposes.
Responsible organizations that are concerned about freedom of ideas, academic freedom and freedom of the press should not turn themselves into platforms for limiting those freedoms or foisting the political agenda of a partisan group on an unsuspecting public.
Ami Isseroff, D.Sc.
Another sample letter sent by SPME is below (at http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000252.html ).
Ami Isseroff on 09.26.06 @ 11:55 AM CST [link]
Historical truth is often obscured in the mists of history. Usually this process requires centuries. In the Middle East, owing to sandstorms, and to the mist-making machinery of Pallywood and others, the process happens before our very eyes. We are privileged to witness the birth of many myths.
Danny Rubinstein offers us two of those myths. The first myth is that the Oslo accords did not benefit the Palestinians. They "recognized Israel" but got nothing in return except settlements and closures and the like. Actually the Palestinians got a great deal from the Oslo accords. They got a government of their own, and they got Israeli withdrawal from about 40% of the area of the West Bank, allowing a measure of self-rule to 97% of the Arab population. They almost got a state too. Too bad that the government that Palestinians chose turned away from peace, resulting in the violence that brought on Israeli counter measures, and too bad that the government they democratically elected now disavows the peace process and is sworn to destroy Israel. Did Israel build settlements during the Oslo period, as Rubinstein points out? Definitely, Israel built settlements. Did the Israeli population of the West Bank and Gaza grow as fast as the Palestinian population? No way. Palestinian population was swelled by illegal immigration from Jordan, recklessly high birthrate encouraged as a matter of policy, fudging of figures by Palestinian authorities to an unknown extent. And Yasser Arafat said he was going to do it. Both sides understood that the Olso accords had started a "race" to determine how the territoriy would be divided.
Ami Isseroff on 09.26.06 @ 01:40 AM CST [link]
Monday, September 25th
Most of us do not have time to read a great deal about the Middle East, or any other subject, and so we put our faith in experts. We have to. Scientists tell us that electrons and muons and other such things exist, but we can't see them. Biologists tell us there are viruses and most of us have never seen those either. We have to trust the experts.
Middle East and Islam experts tell us different things. Which ones can be trusted? A man wrote to me that John Bagot Glubb explained that Islam did not conquer and convert people by force. If Glubb says so it must be right? Right? Wrong. Glubb was a British Arab sympathizer. We can easily show from numerous examples in history that Muslims did conquer and convert people, sometimes using force, or sometimes because of the expediency of converting to the religion of the conquerer and being a first class citizen. Christians did that too.
The answer to the question "whom to trust?" is "trust nobody completely." There is no way of getting an "unbiased jury" about the Middle East, Islam or Israel, especially not from "experts" who are all biased in one way or another. As a rule of thumb, trust what "experts" write in articles in popular newspapers or in popular books much less than what they write in peer-reviewed journals. Never accept any important pronouncement just because it comes from an "expert." If at least two really independent sources, preferably with generally opposing views, agree on a fact, then it has a reasonable chance of being true: if it is written in Al-Jazeera, Jerusalem Post and New York Times, or if both Edward Said and Efraim Karsh agree on a fact, then probably it is true. If you catch an "expert" telling you one or two or three major facts that you know are not true, then you probably can disregard the rest of what the "expert" has to say about the topic. All of the above would appear to be common sense, but too many people disregard it when forming their opinions.
Ami Isseroff on 09.25.06 @ 11:12 PM CST [link]
Gregory Levey explains Why Israel secretly loves the United Nations or why he thinks Israel secretly loves the United Nations in the New Republic. Levey's thesis is basically this:
If the United Nations berated Israel in a less cartoonish way, it would be hard for the United States and the Europeans to countenance Israel essentially ignoring the organization when it comes to the safety of its own citizens. In an Israeli calculus, then, the U.N.'s bias gives Israel elbow room--from those that actually matter in the Israeli mindset (the United States and, to a much lesser extent, the European Union)--to handle its own security as it sees fit.
Indeed Israeli governments have been generally able to afford the attitude of "oom shmoom" (UN is BS in free translation) for many years, protected largely by US vetos in the Security Council. However, the idea that the UN has no effect whatever on Israel is false, and continuing to ignore the real problems in the UN in the future is reckless.
Ami Isseroff on 09.25.06 @ 09:22 PM CST [link]
Under the innocent sounding headline, U.N. Force Is Treading Lightly on Lebanese Soil, the New York Times explains that essentially the UN force in Lebanon is betraying its mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Instead of stopping the flow of arms to Hezbollah and beginning the process of disarming the terrorist group, the UN force is there to protect the Lebanese against Israel, according to UN soldiers. Since the only force Israel would attack in Lebanon is the Hezbollah, this means essentially that the UN is providing a shield for a terrorist group, if the New York Times article is correct.
As the Times article notes:
The Security Council resolution, known as 1701, was seen at the time as the best way to halt the war, partly by giving Israel assurances that Lebanon’s southern border would be policed by a robust international force to prevent Hezbollah militants from attacking. When the resolution was approved, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, one of its principal architects, said the force’s deployment would help “protect the Lebanese people and prevent armed groups such as Hezbollah from destabilizing the area.”
As usual however, supposedly neutral wording is interpreted in the way most unfavorable to Israel and most favorable to extremists.
...at the moment, the Lebanese government and the United Nations have a similar agenda in trying to win the trust of the Lebanese people and not have the force become a tool of political factions looking to incite domestic conflict.
So while there may have been some expectation that the international force would disarm or restrain Hezbollah, or search for hidden weapons caches, the commanders on the ground say very clearly that those tasks are not their job for now. “We will advise, help and assist the Lebanese forces,” said Col. Rosario Walter Guerrisi, commander of the San Marco Regiment, referring to the Lebanese Army.
Indeed there was "some expectation" that the international force would fight terrorism, rather than protecting terrorists. If they are not disarming Hezbollah, then the UN forces are really a "tool of political factions looking to incite domestic conflict." Or more accurately, Hezbollah doesn't want conflict at all. They simply want to take over Lebanon, and rule it by force of arms, and dictate the agenda of Lebanon by continuing to threaten Israel.
The following comment, a gem of understatement, sums up the situation:
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding what we are doing here,” said Lt. Col. Stefano Cappellaro, an Italian commander with the San Marco Regiment.
You betcha "there's a lot of misunderstanding what we are doing here.”
(Entire NYT article is below at
More about the UN and Israel:
The Question of Palestine
Please sign the petition for Fair Play for Israel at the UN.
Ami Isseroff on 09.25.06 @ 08:17 PM CST [link]
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