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An editorial in Tuesday’s New York Times provides an important perspective on how Israel is viewed by our country’s liberal elites.
According to the editorial, titled “Litmus Tests”:
One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking. Republicans focused on Israel more than anything during his confirmation hearing, but they weren’t seeking to understand his views. All they cared about was bullying him into a rigid position on Israel policy. Enforcing that kind of orthodoxy is not in either America’s or Israel’s interest.
Brooklyn College is facing a similar trial for scheduling an event on Thursday night with two speakers who support an international boycott to force Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. While this page has criticized Israeli settlements, we do not advocate a boycott. We do, however, strongly defend the decision by the college’s president, Karen Gould, to proceed with the event, despite withering criticism by opponents and threats by at least 10 City Council members to cut financing for the college. Such intimidation chills debate and makes a mockery of the ideals of academic freedom….
The sad truth is that there is more honest discussion about American-Israeli policy in Israel than in this country. Too often in the United States, supporting Israel has come to mean meeting narrow ideological litmus tests. J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that was formed as a counterpoint to conservative groups like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, has argued for vibrant debate and said “criticism of Israeli policy does not threaten the health of the state of Israel.” In fact, it is essential.
Of course, contrary to what the Times would have its readers think, those of us who oppose the Hagel nomination are not at all interested in enforcing some kind of pro-Israel orthodoxy. Rather, we are concerned that both Mr. Hagel and his defenders on the Times editorial board apparently fail to recognize that Israel faces a stacked deck in the international arena – one fashioned by a virulently anti-Israel bloc of states and its supporters. And this stacked deck has come to dominate the work of virtually all international institutions.
Indeed, can anyone mistake the significance of the recent series of UN actions bending the rules as to the requirements for statehood when faced with applications from the Palestinian Authority? Or of the almost exclusive focus on Israel by UN human rights units despite the horrible carnage committed by other nations?
The Times is also wrong in its fundamental premise concerning the Brooklyn College controversy. Critics of the event have expressed concern that the political science department is a co-sponsor. But there is no “litmus test” we seek – only acknowledgment that academic freedom does not entail conferring an official imprimatur on the boycott Israel crowd.
And for the Times to bemoan, in this context, “intimidation” that “chills debate” is beyond parody. For years now Jewish and other pro-Israel speakers have been routinely shouted down at debates on campuses across the country. That kind of real intimidation sparks virtually no concern in “progressive” circles, but critical reaction to an officially sanctioned one-sided pro-Palestinian presentation at a publicly funded institution has the Times implying that nothing less than the very survival of academic freedom and free speech is at stake.
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Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”
Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
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Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/israel-academic-freedom-and-free-speech/2013/02/06/
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