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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Harvard University’

V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Jeremy Bird, the Team Obama community organizing campaign wizard, has come far from his early midwestern roots. He is currently ensconced in a tiny office in Tel Aviv, working to defeat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming March elections through the V15 campaign vehicle of the Peaceworks Network Foundation.

Bird was born in a small town in Missouri, and attended Wabash College in Indiana.

But small town boys can become big time operatives, particularly after spending time in that hothouse of hubris, Harvard University. Bird attended Harvard’s Divinity School from 2000 until 2002, where he encountered Big Ideas and learned he could do Big Things.

While in Cambridge, Bird came under the wing of Edmund Hanauer, a bilious defamer of Israel. In 1972, Hanauer founded Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel. Hanauer firmly believed that Israel was able to “disregard international law, human rights and democratic values” because of the amount of U.S. aid it received.

On Feb. 25, 2002, while Bird was working with him, Hanauer penned an op-ed which ran in the Milwaukee Sentinel, “The Double Standard Must End.”

The loathing for Israel is woven through his words, even as he used a tagline with an invaluable hecksher: “Edmund Hanauer, American Jewish political scientist.”

In that op-ed, which ran just days before Bird appeared with Hanauer at a Bash Israel event at Harvard – more on that in a moment – Bird expresses outrage that President Bush condemned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s actions as “terrorism,” while failing to similarly demand that “Sharon stop Israeli state terrorism.” That is what Hanauer considered the evil American double standard. He called it “selectively” defining terrorism.

Bird’s mentor also excoriated Bush in that op-ed for “making it harder for Arafat to stop Palestinian extremists” and “curb violence.” And this is what Bird’s boss claimed was the basis of the “cycle of violence.”

The suggestions Hanauer offers in that Feb. 2002 op-ed range from using diplomatic and economic pressure on Israel to grant Palestinian rights (he was calling for U.S. government boycotts – way ahead of and more extreme than the current failing BDS revolution), allowing all Palestinian Arab “refugees” their “full rights” and an end to the “occupation” of Gaza, Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.

Oh, and Hanauer also cited as if fact, the vile Chris Hedges’ quote in Harper’s magazine that Hedges “visited many war zones, but only in Gaza has he found soldiers killing children for sport.”

The entire op-ed is rife with examples of how wrong, evil and anti-democratic Israel is, with a few crumbs of “balance” by admitting there are some Palestinian extremists. But Hanauer dilutes that balance by blaming the U.S.-funded Sharon for preventing Arafat from stopping those extremists due to Israel’s brutality and its history of “dispossession, systematic discrimination and a consistent assault on the basic rights” of Arafat’s people.

We know that Bird was thoroughly marinated in Hanauer’s mindset, because the same themes and message in that op-ed were what both Bird and Hanauer pressed at an event they put on for a Harvard audience the same week the op-ed was published, as revealed in a Harvard Crimson article about that event.

It is interesting that this twisted blame-only-Israel, pro-Arafat background was not revealed when Jeremy Bird played an instrumental role in U.S. President Barack Obama’s two campaigns for presidency, or his continuing role thereafter in Obama’s Organizing for America, for which Bird was deputy director.

But at least Bird’s blame-only-Israel background should be known now that he is playing a huge role in the V15 effort to overthrow Netanyahu. Or is it overthrow Israel?

Harvard Will Investigate, But Will it Reverse SodaStream Boycott?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The provost of Harvard University, with the backing of the university’s president, announced there will be an investigation of the decision made by Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) to boycott an Israeli company.

While this latest decision is welcome, the language of the university’s statement left room for the university to “investigate” and to redistribute a policy that should have prevented the boycott decision, but to do nothing more.

As explained in yesterday’s Jewish Press article, “Harvard Boycotts SodaStream (Despite Company’s Surrender)” some Harvard students complained about the presence of the Israeli company’s SodaStream machines in some Harvard university dining halls. The presence of those machines “might offend” Palestinian Arab students.

SodaStream’s main factory is located less than five miles from Jerusalem. It employs approximately 900 Arabs, but opponents of Israel prefer to force actions that will deprive those 900 Arabs of the best chance they have of making a decent salary in order to “punish” the Jewish State. SodaStream has already announced it is moving the factory away from the Arabs. Despite that capitulation, the Harvard students continue to support a boycott of SodaStream by the university.

After a few meetings with various administration officials and students, the managing director of HUDS, in consultation with the Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde, made the decision to remove the SodaStream label from the machines, sever the business relationship with SodaStream, and switch to different providers.

A Jewish student who is a member of two anti-Israel Jewish organizations, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Open Hillel, attended the SodaStream boycott meetings.  Rachel Sandalow-Ash gleefully commented for the Crimson on the boycott decision. She noted some students were disappointed that HUDS declined to issue a statement announcing its boycott decision, but she was glad the university “was receptive.”

The obsequious behavior by the administration (imagine removing the name of a company because some students simply could not bear to be in the same building with a machine bearing the name of an Israeli company!) may, it turns out, have violated Harvard policy.

Provost Alan M. Garber issued a statement about the matter. Garber wrote that he and Harvard University’s president Drew Faust only learned of the SodaStream issue on Tuesday. He informed the community that President Faust:

asked staff to get to the bottom of how these conversations started and to learn more about where matters currently stand. Regardless, Harvard University’s procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals’ views of highly contested matters of political controversy. If this policy is not currently known or understood in some parts of the University, that will be rectified now.

So the university policy of not allowing procurement decisions to be driven by politics will be made known, presumably, to all with procurement responsibilities. That part is clear.

Decisions “should not” be made exactly the way the SodaStream boycott decision was made, according to those involved and as reported by the school’s newspaper.

But will the boycott decision be revoked and harvard’s business relationship with SodaStream revert to its pre-April status? Garber’s statement elides that point.

We’re still waiting for the answer to that question, which The Jewish Press posed to a Harvard spokesperson earlier today.

 

UPDATED Harvard Exams Interrupted by Bomb Threat

Monday, December 16th, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE

At 9:02 Monday morning, Dec. 16, Harvard University students were gearing up for exams when students received a university alert that a bomb threat had been received. Students were instructed to immediately evacuate four university buildings: Emerson Hall, Thayer Hall and Sever Hall, as well as the Science Center.

Harvard University Police Department received an email tip that bombs had been placed in those four buildings.  The Harvard Police contacted the Cambridge Police Department and state and local explosives experts were called in.

Exams were cancelled, police and bomb squads arrived on campus, exams in those buildings were cancelled and the famous Harvard Yard was closed down.

By 11:00, three of the buildings had been combed and no explosives were found.  Afternoon exams resumed in the affected buildings other than in the Science Center, which was the last building searched.

Within six hours of the initial email alert, all four buildings had been combed and declared explosives-free.  Cancelled exams were already being rescheduled, and life returned to normal (for exam week) at Harvard.

UPDATE: A Harvard sophomore has admitted that he was responsible for emailing the bomb threats to Harvard University police on Monday morning.  Eldo Kim, 20, confessed to sending the fake bomb threats and has been charged with making a false threat about an explosive device, 18 USC § 1038(a).

Kim attempted to disguise his identity by using various anonymizing internet applications, but his personal email was tracked as having accessed one of those applications.

According to an affidavit signed by an FBI agent, Kim admitted sending the threats, and said that he acted alone. Kim told law enforcement personnel that he engaged in the ruse because he wanted to avoid a final exam given in one of the buildings he identified as possibly having a bomb.

Kim could face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Larry Summers Withdraws From Consideration to Head Fed

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Was it all the negative articles in which the other front-runner for Federal Reserve Chair, Janet L. Yellen, was compared to Lawrence Summers and Summers was found wanting?  Was it that, plus the snarky articles pointing out that despite what some saw as Yellen’s superior credentials, that Obama was intent on naming Summers to replace Ben Bernanke as the head of the Federal Reserve?  Was it the remaining residue of sexism that plagued Summers when he was the president of Harvard University that finally caught up with the politically correct police guarding the gates in Washington?

According to the letter Summers released following his telephone call to the White House to inform the president of his decision, he wanted the job but recognized the deleterious sideshow that would ensue were the president to name the prickly former secretary of the treasury.

But timing was probably the decisive factor in Summers’ withdrawal.  Had the president not just gone through a bruising clash with the left wing of his party over the potential use of military force in Syria, which followed on the revelations of this administration’s sanctioned government snooping by the National Security Agency, the president might have pushed hard for his choice, and Summers might have been willing to take on whatever criticism would come his way in a confirmation hearing.  But this summer’s one-two NSA-Syria punch sucked out all the air from Summers’ sails.

“I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery,” was what the 58-year old Summers wrote, according to an article posted to the Wall Street Journal website late Sunday afternoon.

The Federal Reserve system, which sets monetary policy for the country, is the central banking system of the United States.  The chairmanship of the Fed will be open after January 31, when the second term of the current occupant, Ben Bernanke, concludes.  Bernanke did not wish to continue for a third term.

Mr. Obama accepted Summers’ withdrawal, although it was widely believed that the former secretary of the treasury and president of Harvard University was the president’s first choice.

Obama described Summers as “a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today.”

While Summers was the first Jewish president of Harvard University, he would hardly have been the first Jewish chairman of the Federal Reserve.

In fact, while the chairman of the Fed has been a Jew for more than the past 25 years, with Alan Greenspan at the helm from 1987 – 2006, and then Bernanke in the seat from 2006 until his term ends in early 2014, there have been at least three other chairmen who have been Jewish.  However, there has never been a woman chair, and the likely choice now for President Obama is Janet Yellen.

Yellen, 67 years old, is currently the vice-chair of the Fed.  She is also Jewish.

Is it likely the old anti-Semitic canards about Jews running the global financial market will start up again if Yellen is named?  No, because they never stopped. Enter the words “Jew” and “Federal Reserve” in a search engine and be prepared to see lots of hysterical rants from Jew-haters.

Netanyahu Wants Harvard Prof. Helpman as New Head of Bank

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is trying to recruit Harvard Prof. Elkhanan Helpman, who previously moved to Israel form the Soviet Union, to replace Stanley Fischer as head of the Bank of Israel.

Helpman also was the Prime Minister’s first choice to head the Bank seven years ago, but after Helpman’s refusal, Fischer was imported from the United States. For his efforts, Fischer, had to take out Israeli citizenship to qualify for the post, but after seven years, he wants to return to the United States.

Helpman already has told Prime Minister Netanyahu he still is not interested in the job, but Globes reported that the Prime Minister is hoping a personal appeal based on Zionism will convince the professor to change his mind.

Helpman is considered to be on the world’s 25 most respected macro-economists. He also is thought to be a candidate for the Nobel Prize, a goal that could be blocked if the Israeli economy were not to show economic growth if he were in charge of the Bank of Israel.

Bean Town Blessings

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Last week was an intense time to be in the U.S. and certainly in Boston. Fresh from Israel, I was ready to talk about the story of the Jewish State, but it seemed God had other plans for me: to live a story in Boston.

So, Friday morning I was walking from the Young Israel of Brookline to the corner Kosher bakery, called Kupels, where I had breakfast every day while in Boston. I must admit I was a bit unplugged from the steady stream of breaking news tidbits and was walking around innocently, when I noticed that there were unusually few cars on the road and that stores seemed to all be closed.

I asked a young lady who was smoking nervously what was going on. “Didn’t you hear?” she said, and proceeded to fill me on everything that had happened overnight: the murder of a police officer, the shootout, the killing of the first suspect and the subsequent manhunt underway for the younger brother. Two things struck me about her tale, the first was the reality of what was happening around me and the strange providence that brought me from “dangerous” eastern Jerusalem to usually-calm Boston to be a witness to this tumultuous and historic time – and hopefully allow me to offer support as well.

The second thing that struck me was the willingness of random Bostonians to give over the whole tale; a kind, verbal kindness that seemed to come naturally to this city of universities, history and intellect.

I returned to the quaint Victorian motel on Longwood Avenue which I was staying at for the week. I began the process of checking out as originally planned but now I couldn’t leave. The city of Boston was on lockdown-manhunt mode and my speaking event had been cancelled. I had nowhere to go and the police did not want anyone going anywhere anyway. So my fellow guests and I congregated in the public kitchen, gathering in front of the television to watch the saga that was unfolding just outside.

To my right was a gentleman – let’s call him Joe. A tough old American, with a penchant for mildly anti-Semitic jokes. Another man came in from outside, bringing Old Joe a ham sandwich. Joe turned to me and said: “Hey Rabbi, you want some of this sandwich, I’ll bless it for you!” and he proceeded to cross the ham. We all laughed. Then Joe asked the other man where he got the food from. The other man, let’s call him Mike, said: “everything is closed except the Jewish deli” (the Kosher-style one where he got the pork). So Joe says: “they’ll do anything for a buck.” But Mike retorted “Na, only the Jews have guts!” Joe nodded.

No one in Boston gave me dirty looks. Nobody implied I was the source of all evil, somehow nefariously involved in the terrorism that had just struck. My Jewish genes expect to be blamed when things go wrong for the gentiles, but the average American – certainly the Bostonians that I met – looked right past my decidedly ethnic Middle Eastern appearance.

On Friday night, I had finished dinner with wonderful Jewish students at the Chabad of Boston University, when I heard merriment and revelry outside. Armed with this new understanding of this city’s willingness to talk, I ran outside and asked the first person – a happy dogwalker – to give me the lowdown. Of course, he immediately obliged, giving me the good news that police had located and captured the second terrorist. Relief was in the air for a city which had held its breath for a week.

On Shabbat day, I walked from B.U. to the Chabad of Harvard (and MIT) for prayer, great lunch, and to give a talk. That day was the 25th day of Omer (the 49-day count between the second day of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot) and the Sefira (Kabbalistic emanation which corresponds to each day of the count) was Netzach SheB’Netzach. In my talk I explained that Netzach means two things: eternity and victory, and that these represented two kinds of Jewish triumph. Eternity means that we outlast our enemies and that no matter what they do to us and how many of us they kill, we come back. We outlast the horrors inflicted upon us by Romans and the Nazis and everyone in between. But victory is different; victory is not only outlasting the evil, it is actually beating it. Our nation suffered through the long exile, and we outlasted our tormentors. But now, with the advent of the Jewish State, we are tasked with pursuing victory and helping the world be rid of those who hate peace.

Harvard Jewish Students Contemptuous of Mock Eviction Notices

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Jewish undergraduates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts received mock eviction notices last week which had been distributed by a radical anti-Israel group, the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, in advance of and as a “coming attraction” to Harvard’s Israel Apartheid Week.

The notices read:

Dear Resident(s)

We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days.

If you do not vacate the premise within this time frame, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We are hereby released of any liability for damage to any persons or effects including gross negligence.  You will receive an invoice for the charges of demolition and waste removal soon.

This may seem like unrealistically harsh treatment, but this is the actual state of affairs in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaa Strip.  Around 25,000, homes have been destroyed by the Israeli military occupation forces since 1967 resulting in the internal displacement of over 160,000 Palestinians.  All of this is against international law yet continues to this day.

Harvard’s Israel Apartheid Week took place this past week, March 3 – 9.  However, other than the mock eviction notices and some tattered sandwich board-type signs protesting the “Illegal Occupation,” some of which looked as if they had been re-cycled from other protests, there were only two scheduled events.

The first event was the propaganda movie about protests against the security fence, “5 Broken Cameras,” which was shown on March 7.  Then, on March 8, one of the oldest voices against Israel, linguist Noam Chomsky, spoke about “Lessons from Apartheid South Africa.”  That’s it.

Harvard students were apparently less blase about the “Israel Apartheid” events than had been the case in the past.

Senior Seven J. Triconowicz shared his negative view of the events with the school paper.

“I feel like [Israeli Apartheid Week] goes against what Harvard stands for as a place for open academic dialogue, open thoughts, and open intellectual activity,” said Tricanowicz. “I find it kind of concerning that an event is going on in a way that promotes polarization and closed-mindedness.”  His statements echo similar sentiments expressed by Oxford University students about an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion which was soundly defeated last month.

One of the organizers of the mock eviction notices, senior Yacoub H. Kureh, was reportedly “dismayed” that some of the notices had been ripped up and thrown down on the ground.  Imagine.

Even Jewish student leaders expressed disapproval of what amounts to childish pranks and one-sided information filled with inaccuracies, a welcome change from the past and from the situation at many other campuses.

Junior Sara Kantor ’14, co-chair of Harvard Students for Israel, told the school paper that she believes the Harvard Israeli Apartheid Week is “inherently problematic.”

“We feel bad responding to something that is so outside the spectrum of what we are willing to engage in,” said Kantor. “The issue is that it no longer becomes a question of dialogue—it simply becomes rhetoric and demonizes an entire nation and people.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/harvard-jewish-students-contemptuous-of-mock-eviction-notices/2013/03/08/

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