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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Berkeley’

Common Blood Pressure Drug Prevents Post-TBI Epilepsy

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Israeli researchers working with an international team have discovered that a common blood pressure medication can prevent epilepsy from developing after a traumatic brain injury.

The discovery is described in an article published in the current issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Physiology and Neurobiology Professor Alon Friedman works at the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel. He worked with Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and Uwe Heinemann of Charite-University Medicine in Germany on the 10-year study.

In 60 percent of the experimental rats tested, the medication – losartan (Cozaar) – prevented the development of seizures following injury in which 100 percent of controls developed seizures. Of the 40 percent that did develop seizures, the researchers said the rats averaged only one quarter of the number of seizures typical for untreated subjects.

Medication administered for three weeks following injury was sufficient to prevent most cases of epilepsy in normal subjects in the subsequent months, the researchers said.

“This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped,” Friedman explained, “as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops… so we are excited about the new approach.”

The researcher added that the study provided a new way to potentially prevent epilepsy in patients after brain injuries occurred, and once they had already developed an abnormal blood-brain barrier. The best news, he said, is that the drug stops the epilepsy from starting, rather than simply suppresses the symptoms.

The Real Agenda Behind the Push for ‘Islamophobia’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Islamophobia has almost become a fad for a certain group of academics and Muslims across North America. 2013 was a bumper year for Islamophobia conferences in America and abroad.

  • “Islam, Political Islam, and Islamophobia: an International Conference” was held at Indiana University, Bloomington on March 29-30, 2013.
  • Islam, Politics and Islamophobia,” an international conference of the Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair, took place at the Indiana Memorial Union Faculty.
  • International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media“, hosted in Istanbul, was organized by the Directorate General of Press and Information, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and under the auspices of Mr. Bulent Arinc, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, and took place in September, 2013. The website starts off by stating “Islamophobia, which is a term used to express the groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims, has swept the world, becoming detrimental to international peace especially in recent years.”
  • The IWIC’s 2013 conference on “Women in Islam,” in Atlanta, Georgia from November 22 to 24, used the theme, “Eradicating Islamophobia.”

One would think that four conferences in one year would be enough for the International group of speakers to discuss, debate and hash out that, in their view, there is an epidemic of Muslim-bashing taking place in North America.

However it seems that these are not enough to complete the agenda of the Islamists. Therefore this year the University of California, Berkeley is hosting its fifth annual International conference on the study of Islamophobia, from April 14 to 19, 2014.

It is frightening to realize that this is their fifth such conference; the website states, “the obsessive pre-occupation of everything related to Islam and Muslims, congressional and parliamentary hearings criminalizing Muslims and violations of their civil liberties and rights, domestic and international surveillance programs exclusively on Muslims and Arabs, extra-judicial use of force on Muslims and Arabs, interventions, military campaigns, and policies rationalizing its exercise, are, in essence, what we see and bear witness in the Muslim world. These are the direct effects of latent Islamophobia.”

University of California, Berkeley is home to Professor Hatem Bazian, who directs the school’s “Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project,” and teaches a course titled, “Asian American Studies 132AC: Islamophobia.”

Seriously? A course on Islamophobia? Recently, Professor Bazian told 100 students in his class to tweet about Islamophobia — all being done to promote an agenda of “victimhood.”

Obviously the Islamophobia conferences, the courses and the tweeting professor must find support for their self-serving propaganda somewhere. Part of this support comes from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an international organization consisting of 57 Arab and Muslim member states, including the entity of the Palestinian Authority. The organization states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” The term “Muslim world” is offensive: no one speaks for all Muslims, and for the OIC to consider itself the “voice of the Muslim world” is dictatorial in the extreme.

No surprise, then, that on their website they have an Islamophobia Observatory, where they mention their support of Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, adopted in 2011, on “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.

What is ironic and hypocritical about all the Islamophobia hype by members of the OIC is their double standards when it comes to minorities in their own lands. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Iran are among OIC members that have appalling human rights violations against minorities, and are routinely ignored under UNHRC Resolution 16/18.

UC Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union Rejects J Street

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

The Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkley has denied membership to a college branch of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby group J Street, citing its violation of the student union’s bylaws through the hosting of speakers who demonize Israel.

J Street U’s membership was voted down 8-2, marking the second time the Jewish Student Union has rejected the group since 2011.

“A lot of people have said that they want the (Jewish Student Union) to stay a place they feel comfortable saying they love Israel,” Jewish Student Union President Daphna Torbati told the Daily Californian.

J Street’s hosting of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which works with Israeli veterans that heavily criticize Israel’s military operations, has raised concern among Jewish students that such programming “unfairly disparages Israeli soldiers” and alienates students, UC Berkeley student leaders said.

Court Dismisses Antisemitism Complaints against UC Berkley

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Federal complaints accusing the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Santa Cruz of failing to curb hostile environments for Jewish students were dismissed.

A complaint filed last year with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against the Berkeley campus by two recent graduates referred specifically to the annual February Apartheid Week demonstration. It charged that the demonstration violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars the recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education extended Title VI to include the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campuses.

The Office of Civil Rights investigation, which included interviews with students and observations of the demonstrations, concluded this week that events described in the complaint did not constitute harassment but rather “expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community.”

“In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience,” the probe concluded.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the claim of a hostile environment for Jewish students at Berkeley “is, on its face, entirely unfounded.”

Dirks added, “We will continue our ongoing efforts to protect free speech rights while promoting respectful dialogue and maintaining a campus environment that is safe for all our students.”

In a complaint against UC Santa Cruz, the Office of Civil Rights in a letter said it determined that the events described in the complaint “do not constitute actionable harassment.”

The investigation, opened in March 2011, focused on two events on campus in which speakers were critical of Israeli policies, on two other talks that had been planned but never took place and on several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti.

The civil rights office determined that the campus “took prompt action to investigate … and to remove the graffiti.”

“This campus values the free and open expression of ideas, and we diligently safeguard our students’ civil rights,” Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal said. “We are, therefore, pleased that these allegations have been thoroughly investigated and dismissed.”

Will New Hillel Head Honcho Continue Stretching the ‘Big Tent’?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

The desk where the buck will stop at Hillel headquarters is about to get a new occupant.  There are those who worry that a recent, perhaps accelerating Hillel trend towards allowing everyone “in the tent” will come to mean that there are no standards at all.

Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, serves Jewish students in more than 500 universities worldwide, the vast majority of which are in the United States. The annual operating budget is just under $90 million.

But while Hillel is “the largest Jewish campus and community-based organization in the world serving the college-age population,” some wonder whether the orientation which is increasingly about “self-authorship” regarding Jewish practice, is likewise so open-ended about support for Israel that the words mean very little.

For instance, in the last year, the venomously anti-Israel group “Breaking the Silence”, an organization which exists solely to demonize the Israel Defense Forces, has been welcomed into Hillel, the Jewish communal home on campus.  And this didn’t only happen on the west coast University of California at Berkeley, as suggested in an article by JNS.com reprinted in EJewishPhilanthropy.org.

The University of Pennsylvania Hillel also hosted a speaker from Breaking the Silence this spring. According to those involved, the issue was put to a vote of the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, and the majority chose to host the group.

Breaking the Silence isn’t just any anti-Israel organization.  Last month the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, Capt. Barak Raz, exasperated by the organization’s continuous pummeling of the IDF, while it nonetheless refused to engage with the IDF in order to make changes. In an interview with Tazpit News, Raz explained that the IDF has standing orders, regulations, and an ethical code that soldiers must abide by.

“These not only require soldiers to act according to the law, but also to report instances when things were otherwise,” he writes. “Instead of taking responsibility for their mistakes, these soldiers simply blame the army for what they did wrong,” he told Tazpit News Agency.

Furthermore, Raz continues, “the information used by Breaking the Silence by and large seems to derive from two sources – unverifiable hearsay or accounts from anonymous former soldiers who, sometimes, they themselves deserve to be behind bars in military prison for what they did!”

Natan Nestel is the former chairman of the Israeli Students Organization in North America.  Nestel has spent the past several years making a documentary about Hillels, and he is greatly disturbed by what he has found.

Nestel told JNS.org that groups that demonize Israel should be outside of the ‘big tent’ on campus.

“Nominally Jewish groups, including those who assist anti-Israel groups and speakers to come to campuses, should not be included [in the tent],” Nestel said. Nestel cited the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group J Street, which he said sponsored the appearance at Berkeley of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that defames the Israeli army for “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing” and “violations of human rights.”

In the statement issued by the entity engaged to conduct the search for the next Hillel leader, a frank admission is made about the shift in orientation regarding how Hillel sees itself in relationship to being a Jewish institution on campus,

Over the decades, Hillel’s approach to education and engagement has evolved. Once seen as the “synagogue on campus,” Hillel today encourages students to take ownership of their Jewish experience and define “Jewish” in their own way. The destination of their Jewish journey is up to the student – Hillel provides the resources.

Is what the Hillels are doing just another attempt to define “pro-Israel” in their own way?  As Nestel points out,

J Street is already entrenched at Berkeley’s Hillel and the JSU (Jewish Student Union),” Nestel wrote. “The Hillel group, Kesher Enoshi (KE), is its proxy there. This year KE, along with J Street U, brought the founder of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in to speak at Hillel. He demonized Israel, proclaiming, ‘Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.’ Berkeley’s Hillel director argued that this was ‘within the framework of national Hillel’s Israel policy.’

A professional search firm, Spencer Stuart Executive Search, was hired by Hillel in January.  An internal search committee was announced in February.

In April, the search firm announced that nearly 325 individuals had been identified as potential candidates, and that more than 200 people had been contacted by the committee.

Initial predictions were that the new Hillel leader would assume the position in June.  That timeline was recently revised, and it is now anticipated that the new Hillel CEO will be announced at the 2013 annual gathering known as the Hillel Institute, which will take place on July 29, at Washington University in St. Louis.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/will-new-hillel-head-honcho-continue-stretching-the-big-tent/2013/07/10/

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