Yearly Archives: 2010

Salahi calls for real understanding of Anti-Semitism AND Islamophobia

Yaman Salahi was criticized by Rabbi Shmully Hecht on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog for Salahi’s earlier piece on Islamophobia at a conference on Anti-Semitism at Yale. Salahi responds ably, and in much fuller detail in the same site.

I was particularly struck by his admonition against explaining the actions of contemporary people purely in terms of their religion.

We should not look either exclusively or primarily to Islamic scriptures to understand Palestinians, Palestinian politics, or Palestinian resistance to Israel for the same reason that we do not look to the Torah, the Talmud, and the work of Maimonides in order to explain Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement expansion plans. We should not look there even to explain former Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef’s recent call for the death of the entire Palestinian people and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. I do not think so poorly of millennia of Jewish tradition, practice, and co-existence with Muslims as to attribute either Israeli policy or Rabbi Yosef’s genocidal remarks to Judaism. I would, therefore, understand if Rabbi Hecht took offense to aggressive and unwarranted requests for him to condemn violent and racist statements and policies for which I have no reason to hold him responsible merely on the basis of his shared religion.

However, there is a reason why many people choose to adopt this methodology: it provides an excuse to ignore the legitimate grievances of people afflicted by violence or oppression. Take, for example, the recent statement by Martin Peretz, the neoconservative editor of The New Republic, that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims” as he wonders aloud whether American Muslims deserve First Amendment Rights. These unfounded and deeply offensive notions are part of a political agenda that focuses selectively on Muslims. Relying on stereotypes, selective quotations, and misinformation, it seeks to obscure the role of powerful political, economic, and social forces in shaping the identity, beliefs, and politics of Arabs and Muslims around the world.

I do occasionally encounter someone who is convinced the Torah and other Jewish texts are the most important cause of Israeli policy today, which strikes me about as insightful as those who would use the Bible as a real estate deed. I am indebted to Salahi for pointing out that doing so for Palestinians is equally absurd.

Salahi closes his piece by pointing out how such bigoted proponents actually hinder the cause of understanding Anti-Semitism.

On a final note, I must make it emphatically clear that I do not wish, as Rabbi Hecht alleges, to censor the study of Jewish persecution. Anti-Semitism is for not only Jews, but all people to study. Indeed, in light of rising anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incitement in the United States, Europe, and Israel, there is certainly a great deal left for the world to learn about the horrors of anti-Semitism. If the purpose, however, of studying anti-Semitism at Yale or anywhere else is to justify or distract from Israel’s own racist laws and policies, or from anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States and the unpopularity of US policies abroad, then we have certainly missed the point – and that is a tragedy indeed.

The juxtaposition between this thoughtful argument and Hecht’s “Condemn Hamas?” piece as well as Marty Peretz’s ignorant pronouncements couldn’t be greater.

–Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment edition for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with professional help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this cure is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

Fighting Anti-Semitism with Islamophobia at Yale

Audre Lorde used the metaphor of the masters tools not being able to dismantle the masters house to explain why racism could not be used to fight sexism. Unfortunately, no one told many of the scholars who attended the recent Yale conference Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity. In no case can one oppression effectively or ethically used to combat another, but particularly in the case of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, where one is threatening to take the place of the other.

Yaman Salahi writes about the virulence of many of the speakers. First up

Among the many anti-Arab and anti-Muslim speakers was Itamar Marcus, a member of the Israeli settler movement who offered a keynote speech on “The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity.” The title alone reduces an entire people and its history to irrationality and hatred; worse, it was but one of dozens of talks with a similarly problematic theme.

It is hard to imagine any other conflict where Yale would allow a front line and privileged member of a conflict to hold forth on their opponent. Would Yale invite Chinese settlers in Tibet to hold forth about the inferiority and irrationality of Tibetans? Members of Sudanese militias to criticize the perfidity of people of Darfur?  Salahi gives several other examples of speakers’ problematic past records and then points out to the larger problem.

<a href=’http://www.oncampusweb.com/delivery/ck.php?n=21672435&cb=11040234′ target=’_blank’><img src=’http://www.oncampusweb.com/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=121&cb=11040234&n=21672435′ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>

The center’s failure to adhere to consistent anti-racist principles makes it vulnerable to the charge that it is motivated by a political agenda. Indeed, many of its speakers hailed from partisan, right-wing, pro-Israel organizations including NGO Monitor, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Palestinian Media Watch — not to mention the Israeli government. In addition, many talks functioned as apologia for recent controversial Israeli actions, including an attack that killed nine civilians on a humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza this summer that one speaker called “the Jihad flotilla.”

Using Arabic terms as a slur does not seem like an effective way of combating Anti-Semitism, to say the least, but hardly suprising from this crew. And neither is their rigid view of acceptable Judaism.

In addition, speakers at times seemed to conflate anti-Israel sentiment with anti-Semitism. For example, in a plenary about anti-racist Jewish critics of Israel titled “Self Hatred and Contemporary Antisemitism,” Richard Landes’ speech asked, “What Drives Jews to Loathe Israel Publicly?” as if those dissidents’ claims were based not on merit but on some pathological psychosis. Landes and others were not speaking about radical organizations but rather reputable human rights organizations, prominent Jewish dissidents and international student activists — exactly the kind of people a center purporting to fight bigotry should celebrate.

Instead Jews who differ from these groups view of Israel are marginalized and their Judaism question.

the same logic, inverted, often provides a pretext for racist ideas about Jews around the world, for those who imagine that Jews, no matter where they are or what they say, form a monolithic body that can be blamed for Israel’s actions.

Of course, Arabs and Muslims are the primary targets of Islamophobita, but Salahi also realizes the cost to Jews of this kind of mindset.

While the center’s failure to abstain from inflammatory anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric is offensive and dangerous, the real tragedy is its failure to recognize that a successful and principled stand against anti-Semitism requires a principled stand against all kinds of racism, including anti-Muslim/anti-Arab bigotry in America and anti-Palestinian racism in Israel.

So Jews who have differing views on Israel cannot count on these self appointed fighters of anti-Semitism, We would not be welcome at such a conference, and such bigotry will not protect us. Fortunately we have allies like Salahi who we can partner with to fight both our oppressions together.

Magnes ZIonist also reporting on the conference, asks where were the progressive Jews who study Anti-Semitism?

Do only hard-line Zionists care about anti-Semitism? No, not really. But the study of anti-Semitism has gravitated in that direction because it has been taken over by Israelis and Zionists, and is supported mostly by hard-line Zionist money. Sorry to be blunt, but I can think of no other explanation.

–Jesse Bacon

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Alex Kane alerts us to a muzzle in progress

Blogger Alex Kane who previously demonstrated the far-right origins of the anti-”Ground Zero Mosque” campaign, has the scoop on the latest muzzling campaign. This time the target is Arab American professor Moustafa Bayoumi.

In an opinion piece for the Post, Ronald Radosh, a neo-conservative adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, [last seen on Muzzlewatch funding attempts to scrutinize Israeli syllabi for 'left wing bias'] argues that the Bayoumi book assigned to all incoming freshmen, How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, is “extremely slanted.”  Radosh argues that, while it may be legitimate to assign Bayoumi’s book, what’s also needed is “a contrasting opinion, one challenging the view that Americans and New Yorkers in particular are completely Islamaphobic.”

Reading the whole column, it’s clear that underneath all the concern for Brooklyn College students being “indoctrinated” is an aversion that Radosh feels to any airing of criticism against Israel, especially if it comes from an Arab or Palestinian point of view.

Radosh mentions Bayoumi’s associations with Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, without explaining why that is relevant to what he terms the “scandal” at the college.  The mentions of Said and Khalidi are really a wink and nudge to hard-line supporters of Israel who don’t want to hear Khalidi’s and Said’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He also goes after Bayoumi for editing Midnight on the Mavi Marmara, which is about the Israeli attack on the flotilla last May.  Radosh labels the book as a”pro-Islamist” work that includes “selections from such noted foes of Israel as Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Max Blumenthal, Philip Weiss and scores of Arab authors.”  Radosh is too polite to really say what he’s thinking, but he apparently thinks there’s a problem with “scores of Arab authors” criticizing the Israeli raid that killed 9 people in international waters.

So here we have guilt-by-association, the attacking of respected figures for their very effectiveness, and the demand for “contrasting views,” which is never made by these same people when the person is defending the Israeli Occupation. The targetting of someone for speaking out against the Mavi Marmara killing echoes the Israeli moves against Member of Knesset Haneen Zouabi. In particular, I love that Radosh is trying to refute Islamophobia while labelling people of diverse backgrounds who oppose him politically “pro-Islamist” and not even able to mention “scores of Arabs” by name. Definitely no need for college students to read a book about anti-Arab racism. Not when we have one public figure against Islamophobia!

At a time when Mayor Bloomberg stands out for his insistence on the right of Muslims to build the “Ground Zero mosque,” the view that our country is taking out its anger over 9/11 against decent American Muslims is clearly overstated.
Radosh does not mention the cabdriver stabbed for being a Muslim, or any other descriptions of actual Islamophobia. Is it just the decency of American Muslims that Radosh thinks is being overstated?
Thanks for the heads up, Alex.

–Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variation for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile disfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with occupational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

New McCarthyist quotes his mentors directly

It is amazing to me how little the script varies from muzzle attempt to muzzle attempt, but this recent example shows remarkable fealty to muzzling’s rich history.  Josef Olmert, brother of former Prime Minister Ehud, is concerned about the BDS movement’s rise and potential for even greater growth on US college campuses. So how does he express this concern?

I possess a list of thousands of American academics calling for a boycott of Israel. The number of Jews among them is overwhelming.

What’s next, Un-Jewish-American Activities hearings at every Hillel? In a threefer, Olmert manages to reproduce the paranoia of the  Old “I have here in my hand [a list of communists]” McCarthyism as well as its obsession with the number of Jews and State Department employees amongst its enemies.

I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the BDS Movement and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .

Just kidding, that was actually Joe McCarthy, and I switched out the words “Communist Party.”

Here’s Joe Olmert,

Among students, anti-Israel sentiment is its strongest in Middle Eastern studies departments and research centers, decades ago hijacked by anti-Israel teachers. Frighteningly, present students and researchers are the future staffers of the U.S. State Department and the intelligence community. Clearly, the anti-Israel sentiment on campus is dangerous, Israel and her supporters cannot afford to lose this battle.

All we need now if for him to say something homophobic and the history lesson will be complete. So how can we fight this BDS menace?

To combat these forces, supporters on campus must do a better job at presenting Israel’s case with clear, straight, and concise facts.

Rather like a teacher trainer lecturing about the importance of avoiding lecture, Olmert’s piece does not seem too heavy on facts. But I guess that sounds better than “hysterical innuendo, paranoid hyperbole, and guilt by association.” All this for a transparent movement whose members sign public petitions and have all night open debates on the issue!

Olmert closes with the following battle call,

On the eve of a new academic year, I make an urgent call to the pro-Israel community. Time is running out. Israel can win this war currently raging on the American campus, but for that to happen, Israel’s supporters must act quickly and decisively. My only question is: Who’s coming with me?

My guess is, probably people unconcerned with civil liberties, human rights,  or academic freedom. I look forward to following this BDS-baiting further.

–Jesse Bacon

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Ali Abunimah “exposed” as smooth sophisticate by bigots

StandWithUs again attempts to take someone down, in this case Palestinian American author Ali Abunimah. As one might expect from such a hateful crew, they don’t do a very good job.

Abunimah responds to their dossier,

The StandWithUs dossier is a mishmash of biographical information about me, much of it taken from my own writing, but wildly distorted and wrapped in hostility. Its main purpose it to advise anti-Palestinian activists how to “expose” me. Parts of it are quite complimentary though: “When Ali Abunimah comes to your campus, be prepared for a sophisticated, smooth advocate of radical Palestinian positions.” It warns that my “calmness, highbrow style and constant references to international law and human rights cannot conceal [my] intense hostility about the very founding of Israel… .”

Abunimah notes the absurdity of their counter strategy, confronting him with questions about his own work! I have seen Abunimah speak countless times when I lived in Chicago, and I can testify that reciting the same questions he gets every time will not phase this “smooth sophisticate.”

The document points to the bankruptcy of the “anti-delegitimization” stategy. It requires bullying, ignorant attempts to suggest something sinister about people who stubbornly refuse to be caricatured. And with the existence of the internet, the absurdity leaks out, Abunimah can easily make them look ridiculous on his blog by, proudly for me, reposting the video  from Muzzlewatch of StandWithUs members shouting slurs at Jewish Voice for Peace and our allies. Such a contrast between StandWithUs’s bigotry and Abunimah’s forceful, thoughtful advocacy is all that is required for “delegimiatzation,” nothing sneaky is required.

–Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment option for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile dysfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with vocational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common objectionable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

How to be a Muzzler.

The sad case of Iman Rauf is bringing the practice of muzzling to a much wider audience. The potential target is literally concrete: a thirteen story building rather than someone’s job or right to speak. And the victim, is unusually well connected, an envoy of the US Government.

But the process is much the same. So for all the people who’ve joined us late, it would be a good time to write the definitive guide to “muzzling” debate on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

First, pick someone whose crime is not their outlandish views, but their very reasonableness. A few out-of -context quotes, and that very reasonableness can appear sinister, evidence of a hidden agenda!

Second, in addition to being reasonable, this person should have some particular influence credibility. There is no percentage in gagging a random nut on the internet. Particular points will accrue to you if the person is seeking an expanded role for Arab or Muslim Americans in public life or an expanded debate within the Jewish community about Israel. Neither development can be tolerated, for the Jewish community must remain utterly lockstep on Israel. Who knows to what use Jewish Americans with dissenting views might put their ethical traditions or feeling of connection to others? And what would occur if Arab and Muslim Americans could report on the Middle East, raise money for charities in their countries of origin, or build community centers like everyone else?

If you have done your homework well on the first and second points, this third should go without saying, but the person you are targetting should actually care what other people think. While hard line lunatics can sometimes be useful, they only derive gratification on your attacks on them. Whereas the tolerant liberalism of the muzzlee and their actual opposition to anti-Semitism can be their own undoing! It’s no fun if they don’t cry.

Once the first three conditions are met, mazel tov, you have your victim, now go get ‘em! Here’s a tip, if you are a liberal-seeming organization, let conservative blowhards do your dirty work. Their accusations will be eagerly reported by journalists who believe the only “real Americans” are white rural protestant blowhards and the people they like, not coffee drinking liberals like themselves. Once the reporters do their work, good liberals will be earnestly repeating slanders, after all they read them in the New York Times!

If this muzzling attempt is an internal Jewish community affair, you can either use the Jewish version of the right wing blowhards or if the community is small enough, create a new group! You could name it something like “Jewish Americans for Peace, Kugel, and Continuity” or something equally heart-tugging. In the post-Madoff age where so many Jewish organizations have gone belly-up, there is valuable community growth to be had from muzzling!

Ok, now to actually apply the muzzle. Make sure you begin your speech/ blogspot/ oped by saying how against the thing you are doing you are. You are NOT against Muslims or an Open Debate on Israel, just THIS Muslim or Open Debate. And every other one you have met. The word “BUT” can be given a world of innuendo and meaning here.

Congratulations, you are now a muzzler. But sadly your work is not done. In the good old days, it would have been but now the other side has blogs of their own, and plasma televisions. They will complain. You should also be prepared to alienate everyone in your community, many of them younger, who are disgusted that you engage in such activity. This should be your cue to lament how “we are losing the young people” and plug the indoctrination program of your choice.

Your work is finally done. Your reasonable, open-minded opponent will now lack a platform for their speech/reportage/Islamic community center and you can lament how there is no one to talk to. Your supporters will be suitably terrified by the enemies you have conjured under every rock and lower Manhattan block. Any backlash against your group for bullying and moral blindness will only feed those fears. Most meaningfully of all, Israeli government officials will thank you, for you will have provided an invaluable distraction from their latest outrage against Palestinians. So everyone will be happy.

Until the day when this game no longer works. When your community begins to hold you accountable to their actual needs and values. When Israel’s abuses can no longer be justified as self-defense. When Muslim and Arab in the United States and Israel/Palestine no longer accept second class citizenship or none at all.

So your last move should be to hope that day has not yet arrived, and repeat the entire cycle until you no longer can.

–Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment version for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile disfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such drug experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with vocational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common unwanted side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this preparation is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

New Israel Fund, itself a victim, considers (and rejects) some muzzling of its own. UPDATE: the muzzlers fail.

I don’t have a lot to add to Richard Silverstein’s sobering post on the New Israel Fund’s proposal to denying grants to groups that do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Forward brings distressing news that the New Israel Fund has prepared draft funding guidelines that would bar any Israeli NGO which did not endorse Israel as a Jewish state.

I have, throughout the Im Tirzu attacks, stood by NIF and championed its cause.  But if it follows through on such guidelines it will have succumbed to the venom spewed by Im Tirzu.  It will have caved to pressure from the Israeli right to conform its mission to a pro-Zionist one, rather than one that embraces the notion of Israel as a state that empowers all its citizens, including those who are not Jewish.

Silverstein goes on to point out how if this is a response to right wing attacks on New Israel Fund, it is unlikely to appease those critics.

The NIF, under enormous pressure from the Israeli right, determines that it must compromise with its values in order to appease its enemies? Does NIF really believe this will protect it from the worst of the hatred coming its way?

If this is what NIF’s leaders are thinking they are sadly mistaken.  If they cave, the right will see this as a sign of weakness and it will crowd in for what it hopes to be the kill.  And such compromise will destroy the organization’s credibility among its Arab donees.  Who in the Palestinian community will want to accept money from it under such conditions?

We have also supported the New Israel Fund many times on these pages, and been inspired by their work. One of my first posts here at Muzzlewatch was how impressed I was by a panel at JStreet’s conference organized by the New Israel Fund. Its most powerful moment came when a Jewish Israeli, Hagai El-Ad of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said he was not afraid of the Palestinian narrative of their own dispossession in the  creation of Israel being taught in Israeli schools. He was afraid of an Israel where such a thing would not be possible.

I think the New Israel Fund should apply the words of their donee El-Ad in this case. NIF has nothing to fear from groups who have a different vision of just what a “New Israel” would look like. Provided they advocate their vision democratically, such groups, many of them Palestinian citizens of Israel, can only strengthen the democratic values that sustain Jewish Israelis as well, values that the New Israel Fund has supported in the past. What they should fear is a country that outlaws such alternative visions, a country that would make it far more difficult for the NIF to do its important work.

UPDATE: Richard Silverstein reports that the attempts to muzzle grantees were defeated. Good news!

My source tells me the proposed guidelines will include a provision acknowledging Israel as a Jewish homeland.  But the language will also affirm that Israel is:

…A democracy dedicated to the full equality of all its citizens and communities.

Not perfect language, but Silverstein beileves the compromise to be in good faith.

–Jesse Bacon

There are a lot of benefits of a wholesome lifestyle. But can medicines help us? In fact, it is not so easy to find trusted web-site. Choosing the best treatment variant for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the merits and demerits of the existing treatment methodologies. Diflucan (fluconazole), the first of a new group of synthetic antifungal agents, is existing as a powder for oral suspension. Viagra which is used to treat erectile disfunction and similar states when erection is of low quality. Cialis is a medicine prescribed to treat a lot of complaints. What do you know about buy cialis online cheap? Our article focuses on the treatment of erectile dysfunction and buy cialis cheap. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual dysfunctions. What are the symptoms of sexual disorders? In fact, a scientific reviews found that up to three quarters of men on such preparation experience erectile dysfunction. Such disease is best solved with occupational help, commonly through counseling with a certified physician. Your sex therapist can help find the treatment that is better for you and your partner. The most common undesirable side effects of such medications like Cialis is dizziness. This is not a complete list of potential side effects and others may occur. Even if this medicament is not for use in women, this medicine is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby.

“Anti-Zionists” scare volunteer soldier

I subscribe to the American Jewish Committee’s newsletter, and it’s an itneresting window into their psychology. As readers of this blog know, involving oneself in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict invariably provokes strong reaction. My perception is that you are at much greater risk of your job if you are seen as “taking the side” of Palestinians, say if you are a respected journalist.

The American Jewish Committee though is not interested in such victims of the conflict, and certainly has not spoken out against the economic blockade of Gaza or people like Abdallah Abu Rahmah who are imprisoned for the “crime” of organizing peaceful protests.

So who does the AJC defend instead? An Irish woman who volunteered for the israeli Army. Ben Cohen writes in the Huffington Post,

It’s very rare that you come across someone deserving of the title “hero” – or “heroine,” for that matter – but I just did.

Cliona Campbell is a 19-year old student from Cork, in Ireland. She is something of a prodigy; in 2008, she was a finalist in the Young Journalist of the Year competition run by British broadcaster Sky News. Last year, she won the essay-writing competition run by the law faculty at University College in Cork, one of the more prestigious institutions of higher education in Europe. She has, it would seem, everything going for her.

Except that right now, Cliona lives in fear. She’s become an object of vilification in parts of the Irish press. Grown men have walked to up to her in the street and abused her. Browsing in a clothes store, the security guard recognized her and showered her with insults. Threats have been emailed to her.

And all this because Cliona spent a couple of months in Israel as a volunteer for the IDF.

The article then goes on to complain about how the “pro-Hamas” International Solidarity Movement volunteers are treated like “Anne Frank,”(a reference to Rachel Corrie who unlike Cliona Campbell was killed while volunteering in the Gaza Strip)  and how people accused Israel of “murder” in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which occurred while this woman did her volunteer shift.

While I don’t think anyone should be threatened for their views, I find Ben Cohen’s outrage a bit much, given that this women did not simply visit to “see for herself,” she volunteered in an occupying army. In contrast, International Solidarity Movement volunteers do not in fact “volunteer for Hamas. From the group’s website,

The ISM is not affiliated with any one political party. The movement is open to all individuals and groups who choose nonviolent direct-action and other forms of unarmed resistance as a method for confronting and challenging the Israeli occupation.

Ben Cohen’s hero has an answer for me.

But why the army? Because over the years, I had seen the Israelis suffer incessant rocket attacks from terrorists and, when they eventually retaliated, be castigated when the same terrorists placed their own civilian people in the line of fire as ‘human shields.’”

I will leave it to the mountain of human rights reports that debunk Campbell’s mischaracterization of who is responsible for Palestinian civilian deaths and document the Israeli army’s use of human shields. But I disagree that her one month volunteer gig did anything to make such rocket attacks on Israeli civilians less likely, only a just solution can do that. I would note that the “vilification in parts of the Irish Press” seems to consist of one letter to the editor calling her brainwashed. And I am fascinated by Ben Cohen’s claims regarding the Israeli Defense Forces.

This keen observation captures the essence of that much maligned word, “Zionism.” If Zionism is about Jewish empowerment – in other words, engineering a state of affairs in which Jews exercise control over their security and destiny – then the IDF is the most tangible expression of that principle. For someone who is intellectually sympathetic to the fate of Jews without sovereignty, the IDF becomes a compelling story.

Cohen does not even try to claim that the people who bullied Cliona Campbell were motivated by anti-Semitism; the term does not appear in the article. But in the very title, he slanders an entire political philosophy anti-Zionism as being the force motivating the accosting thugs and hateful emailers and engages in McCarthyist guilt by association.

What is it about the nature of the Palestinian solidarity movement that enables a defenseless young woman to become an object of hatred? And how have those anti-Zionists who sit in the media and the academy, who would doubtless throw up their hands in horror at being associated with such thuggish behavior, contributed to the atmosphere of loathing which increasingly surrounds those who publicly support Israel? Are they in any way culpable for those spiteful individuals who email this pretty redhead to tell her that she “looks rough?”

Um, no, unnamed anti-Zionist intellectuals are not responsible for random sexist emails . And none of this is remotely as bad a violation of Ireland’s “democratic norms” as is Israel’s imprisonment of unarmed activists like Abdallah Abu Rahmah. Or how about the treatment of member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi? So deep is Cohen’s sense of victimization that he must search the world to find a fellow victim, and he must equate opposition to the Israeli Army as tantamount to opposing Jewish self-determination. I believe Jewish self-determination is much more threatened by declining democracy here in the United States and in Israel than a badly behaved Irish security guard. Why doesn’t Cohen speak out against that?

–Jesse Bacon

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The BDS Movement: Now with Plasma TV’s.

Sue Fisckoff writes in the JTA about the off season preparations of Team Israel, aka Hillel, the Jewish student organization. The article highlights the very real panic the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement has caused and its automatic equation with anti-Semitism in the minds of some.

Amanda Boris is nervous about what she’ll face when classes resume at the University of Wisconsin later this month. “There’s an uncomfortable amount of anti-Semitism on my campus,” said the incoming senior.

We begin with some descriptions of actual anti-Semitism, namely an ad denying the Holocaust and anonymous internet posts, which sound bad if not exactly a groundswell of hatred. But within a sentence, we move to an unnamed professor charged with “making openly false statements about Israel.” No examples are given, but the professor whoever she or he is, is now in league with neo-Nazis and people who believe Jews had it coming. Whatever the real threats this student faces are now conflated with political views that differ from hers, and it sounds like Hillel’s trainings on Israel advocacy are doing nothing to sharpen that distinction. The article does not give any other examples of the titular “anti-Israel” sentiment “on the lesson plan,” implying in the classroom.

Rather, the focus is on the BDS movement, which is predicted to be “better organized, more prevalent and more vitriolic” this school year. The first two seem quite likely, but no evidence of the latter is given. Instead, anti Divestment students are warned that their foes have…better technology!

Whereas past years might have involved handfuls of anti-Israel students passing out photocopied flyers, last year saw a high-tech traveling exhibit of Israel’s separation barrier, complete with an embedded plasma TV showing anti-Israeli images.

Now we come to the heart of the matter, divestment resolutions on campus.

Only one of those proposed resolutions passed, in a non-binding student body vote at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. But every time such a bill is put forward, activists say, the charged atmosphere leaves lasting wounds.

Actually, Berkeley passed one too, and it was vetoed by a campus President. And what are those lasting wounds? Seeing Jews who disagree with you.

When the student government at the University of California, San Diego voted on a divestment bill in April, Hillel campus director Keri Copans noted some Jewish students standing across the room with the pro-divestment crowd, even as most Jewish students stood with her in opposing the bill.

The article does not actually interview any of these strange creatures, these Jews for BDS, But their very existence is painful,and Copans feels bad for them.

‘Divestment bills come and go, but these are Jewish students,’ she said. ‘I want them to have positive Jewish experiences, and that’s not what they get by being glared at across the room.’

However much pain is being felt, it seems clear that Hillel has NOT drawn the lesson that truly representing all Jewish students means allowing for a range of positions on Israel. Instead, students with differing views or who just don’t want to engage in this debate are compared to a piece of defective furniture.

‘For the average student, Israel is a problem — and they don’t want more problems,’ said Michael Faber, longtime Hillel executive director at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. ‘It makes that leg of their Jewish identity wobbly.’

Wayne Firestone, the Hillel executive, said: ‘We want the students to be prepared, not paralyzed with fear.

We are in the identity-building business, and the Israel issue is one we are standing up for.’

Free advice, Michael and Wayne: lay off the carpentry metaphors, stick to the actual anti-Semitsim your students face, and stand up for them and their values, not the “Israel issue.”

PS The article also interviews StandWithUs as a “pro-Israel” organization, last seen on Muzzlewatch making Jewish Voice for Peace members feel highly unsafe with slurs and threats on their family members.

–Jesse Bacon

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Hudson’s co-founder, the Israeli academic purge and the subversion of US Middle East policy


Reposted from Didi Remez’s Coteret blog.

Evidence is mounting that the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS) — an Israeli NGO at the forefront of an ongoing campaign to purge Israeli Universities of faculty and programs deemed “left-wing” — is a creature of  The Hudson Institute, a major Washington based neoconservative think-tank, which played an active role in shaping the Bush administration’s Middle East policies.

Hudson is the primary financial backer of the IZS, providing at least half of the organizations’s total reported multi-year funding, but the connection does not end there.

Max SingerMax Singer

Max Singer, co-founder of the Hudson Institute, its former President and current Senior Fellow, is also the IZS’s Research Director. At least according to his bio on the Hudson website: The IZS site only identifies him as a member of the Advisory Committee. Its 2006 brochure (page 8), however, states that he is a member of the International Board of Governors and as one of the ex-officio members of the Projects Committee, which “as such, are invited to all deliberative sessions and events.” According to the IZS’s verbal report to the to the Israeli Registrar of Associations for 2008 (the last one filed), Singer’s wife, Suzanne, is one of three members of the NGO’s “Council”, the sovereign decision-making body under Israeli law.

As the IZS’s Research Director, Singer would presumably be responsible for the research that pressured the President of Tel-Aviv University to take the extraordinary step of examining the syllabi of his institution’s Sociology Department for “left-wing bias”. The introduction to the IZS’s 2006 brochure (page 1), which Singer co-signed, indicates that he saw this type of activity as part of the organization’s strategic purpose:

IZS 2006 Brochure

The IZS will help liberate the public discourse in Israeli society from the self-imposed constraints of the prevalent dogma and internalized notions of the politically correct. Israeli society needs to be freed from the acceptance of double standards so that we can become comfortable asserting our own national purpose as a sovereign Jewish community.

This goal would fit well within the stated purpose of a Hudson Institute project, which was launched at the same time as funding of the IZS began (emphasis in the original):

The Future of Zionism. The Center for Middle East Policy is launching a multi-year project to examine the future of Zionism and its implications for the State of Israel. Israel faces an ideological crisis: As the recent Gaza pullout showed, societal divisions between secular and religious Israelis and between left and right wing camps have become so pronounced that they threaten to overpower the Zionist consensus that traditionally unified the nation. [Hudson Institute Form 990 Report to the IRS for 2005, page 23].

For a generation, Singer has been involved in designing and promoting aggressive US foreign policy. In the early 1980′s he was on the board of Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America (PRODEMCA), a controversial organization involved in the Iran-Contras scandal. In 2002, he published The Many Compelling Reasons for War with Iraq.

A Democratic administration is in power in Washington and Singer has moved to Jerusalem, so he has found a new instrument for beltway influence: The government of Israel. From a July 17 policy note published by the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University (emphasis mine):

To prevent Obama from bringing America behind his different view of the world, Israel needs to help Americans appreciate the way that Obama sees things differently than they do. The views of most Americans, and of most of the American political world, are much closer to Israel’s understanding of Middle Eastern realities than to Obama’s perceptions. Israeli actions can help Americans to recognize the conflicts between what they believe and the premises of Obama’s proposed policies. The critical element in Israel’s policy concerning the US is the degree to which Israel is able to recognize, stimulate, and get the benefit of the parts of the American policy-making system that do not share President Obama’s radically different ideas about the world. Israel does not have to act as if Obama’s views will necessarily determine the policy of the US, and it certainly does not have to assume that Obama’s current views will dominate US policy-making for many years. Israel has the power, if it has the fortitude, to influence the degree to which Obama is able to make the tectonic change in American policy that he would like to make.

Netanyahu’s Senior Diplomatic Adviser, Ron Dermer, seems to have acted on this advice, incurring the wrath of Rahm Emanuel. From Ben Caspit’s August 19 column in Maariv:

Emanuel was angry, he claimed, because Dermer briefed certain Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, against the President and and Emanuel himself.

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