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August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘boycott of Israel’

NYC JCC Film Dir Adds Sleazy Journalism Sin to HuffPost BDS Post

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Last week The Jewish Press ran an article that was critical of the Manhattan Jewish Community Center’s film programs director, Isaac Zablocki.  The criticism was for someone in his position – a paid employee of a Jewish institution whose financial existence is dependent on donations from Jews who are not told their money will be used to promote anti-Israel activity – who published an opinion piece in the Huffington Post strongly endorsing economic warfare against Israel. He wrote boycotts of Israel were “unquestionably” good so long as they do not include boycotts of Israel’s arts and culture and academic world.

To make it clear that it was not just an impression or possibly a misunderstanding of Zablocki’s article as supportive of boycotts against Israel, a block quote from Zablocki’s August 15 article, “Boycotting the Messenger,” was used.  Here it is again, this time with the key words underlined:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region, and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought. Artists and educators have an important impact on changing society. Their diversity of opinions plant seeds of thought and help minds grow.

It is hard to see how Zablocki’s own words mean anything other than that he supports the use of boycotts against Israel, so long as arts, culture and education are immune.  It is hard to say because, heck, those are the words he used!

Zablocki made a few feeble attempts to wish away his own words.  This reporter along with many other people were recipients of an email “clarification.” Next,  Zablocki posted a comment on his own article that he also labeled a “clarification.”  In fact, his statement was not a clarification of his article, it was a contradiction of his article.  Here is a screenshot of his “clarification,” followed by a comment pointing out that his article and his “clarification” are inconsistent.

comments to Zablocki's "Boycotting the Messenger" op-ed in Huffington Post

comments to Zablocki’s “Boycotting the Messenger” op-ed in Huffington Post

The lightbulb must have gone off at this point because then Zablocki, presumably with the Huffington Post‘s approval, did more than just wish away his words.  He deleted them from his article.  By deleting certain key, material words from an article, and neglecting to notify readers that there was a substantive change to the article, Zablocki committed an egregious journalistic sin.

As of sometime on Tuesday, August 20, the key portion of the fifth paragraph of Zablocki’s article, the one quoted earlier in this and our earlier article, was altered. The words “and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable” were deleted.  The beginning of that paragraph now reads:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought.

And what’s worse, we have been told by sources who wish to remain anonymous, that Zablocki is now telling people that it is obvious from his article that he opposes boycotts of Israel, indeed that that was the point of his article!  Hard to square that with his own words: “the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable.”  What’s unquestionable is that caught in an unpleasant situation, Zablocki took the coward’s way out, and is trying to pretend he never wrote what he in fact did write.

We asked Zablocki for an interview, explaining that if we had misunderstood his original article we needed to clear that up for our readers, but that the email clarification was factually inconsistent with the article.  Zablocki did not wish to be interviewed about this, and instead pointed us to the “clarifying statement” he wrote as a talkback comment to his article.

Here is a screen shot of the original version of Zablocki’s article, as it appeared (minus the highlighting and arrows) when The Jewish Press article was written.

screen capture of original published version of Zablocki article in Huffington Post, before key words were deleted

screen capture of original published version of Zablocki article in Huffington Post, before key words were deleted

Stephen Hawking Boycotting Company Working on his Cure

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Professor Stephen Hawking now supports the academic boycott of Israel, because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the Guardian reported Wednesday, and to show it, he pulled out of the conference that will be hosted in June by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem..

Hawking, 71, “the guy who invented time,” as the Big Bang Theory character Penny calls him, is a mega-famous theoretical physicist and the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He had initially accepted an invitation to speak at the fifth annual president’s “Facing Tomorrow” conference (possibly the last one, too, since the next president might not be up to it).

Hawking is in very poor health, according to the Guardian. He suffers from a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a condition that has progressed over the years. He is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device.

Last week, the author of “A Brief History of Time” wrote President Peres a brief letter ignoring a good 50% of History, saying he had changed his mind and won’t appear at the much touted conference.

A statement published with Hawking’s approval by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, said the reason for the insult to Peres and to Israel is “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.”

The Guardian reports that in the four weeks since Hawking’s participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, the great man has been “bombarded with messages from Britain and abroad as part of an intense campaign by boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind.”

It worked. Finally Hawking broke down, and told friends he decided “to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues who unanimously agreed that he should not attend.”

Here’s the catch: almost a year ago, The Jewish Press ran a story about Israeli scientific advancements in the use of stem cells to treat a variety of serious and debilitating illnesses, resulting in the miraculous recovery of the dean of the Mir yeshiva, Rabbi Refael Shmuelevich, from ALS.

A clinical trial of ALS patients conducted by Israel’s BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics shows their therapy, NurOwn, is safe and well-tolerated by patients, and not only capable of halting the progress of the illness, but can actually reverse the course of the disease, improving the breathing, muscle strength, and speech capabilities of sufferers with nerve damage in the brain and spine.

At the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Rabbi Shmuelevitz was given just 2-4 years to live, until he succumbed to the most severe form of the neuromuscular diseases. Soon his speech became difficult to understand, and he was confined to a wheelchair.

But just one month after beginning an experimental treatment spearheaded at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Rabbi Shmuelevitz was back on his feet, teaching again at the 7,000-student yeshiva, as he has done for the last 30 years. His recovery was not only touted as a miracle and a joy for the students of the Mir yeshiva, but is being called the first ever recovery from ALS.

The Mayo Clinic is participating in clinical trials of the BrainStorm drug.

It’s possible that next time Professor Hawking comes to Jerusalem, it would be to receive treatment rather than to rebuke the local scientific community.

Except, as a Jewish Press manager commented online: Maybe Hawking just prefers the innovations and gifts the Palestinians have brought to the world… big bangs.

Hawking has visited Israel four times, most recently, in 2006, when he said he was “looking forward to coming out to Israel and the Palestinian territories and excited about meeting both Israeli and Palestinian scientists.”

But as of now, it’s down to just Palestinian scientists.

Both of them.

Israeli Presidential Conference Chairman Israel Maimon responded to Hawking’s announcement saying that his decision was unjustifiable and wrong:

“The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission. Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.”

Malka Fleischer contributed to this report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/stephen-hawking-boycotting-company-working-on-his-cure/2013/05/08/

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