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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Oxford University’

Oxford University Press Bans Pigs to Avoid Offense to Muslims

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Je Suis Nuts: Is that the sign that will replace the prestigious Oxford Univerity Press sign outside of the publishing powerhouse’s headquarters?

Apparently a Guidance issued by the OUP prohibits authors from including anything that could be perceived as pork-related in their books. So schoolbook authors have allegedly been told not to write about sausages or pigs so that “certain groups” won’t be offended.

We thought it had to be a joke also, but apparently the issue was discussed (and, we’re pleased to report, it was met with ridicule and disgust) by members of the British parliament.

nopiggy.jpgWhile the so-called “guidance” could not be found by scouring the OUP website, it was apparently revealed during a BBC radio program on Monday, Jan. 13,  about free speech.

According to numerous British media reports, a spokesperson for the OUP said its guideline exists because it needs to make educational material available to as many people as possible.

‘Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.

‘Our editorial guidelines are intended to help ensure that the resources that we produce can be disseminated to the widest possible audience.’

A spokesman for the Jewish Leadership Council told the Daily Mail: ‘Jewish law prohibits eating pork, not the mention of the word, or the animal from which it derives.

While Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: “It’s utter nonsense. And when people go too far, that brings the whole discussion into disrepute.”

Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world, publishing around 6,000 new books a year across over 150 countries. It is 450 years old. It’s also gone a bit barmy.

UPDATE: Following publication of this article, an evasive admission about this new policy was found on the website of the OUP.  On Jan. 14, a statement was issued about OUP’s editorial guidelines. To wit:

OUP’s commitment to its mission of academic and educational excellence is absolute.

Our materials are sold in nearly 200 countries, and as such, and without compromising our commitment in any way, we encourage some authors of educational materials respectfully to consider cultural differences and sensitivities.

Guidelines for our educational materials differ between geographies and do not cover our academic publishing.

[emphasis added.]

In a word: yes. They banned the pig.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks to Join Faculty at YU and NYU

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

The Jewish Press had the teaser last week, but it’s now official: the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom will hold dual professorships at Yeshiva University and New York University, both centered in New York City.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will officially become the  Kressel and Efrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at YU in January. He will also hold the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at NYU.

“The voice, the philosophy and the spirit of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has been a gift to the United Kingdom and beyond for many years, said Richard M. Joel, president and Bravmann Family University Professor at YU.

“It has long been our desire to welcome him into this next stage of his life by having him work at Yeshiva University to both inspire the next generation of Jewish leadership and to be a voice to the Jewish people and world for our timeless values. I join with the extraordinary John Sexton in celebrating yet another way for two great universities to work together to advance an agenda that matters.”

Rabbi Sacks, who received degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities in England, and received his rabbinic ordination from the London School of Jewish Studies and Yeshiva Etz Chaim.

In 2005, Rabbi Sacks was knighted by the Queen of England and made a Life Peer.  He sits in the House of Lords as Baron Sacks of Aldgate in the City of London.

“I am excited at the opportunity to teach at Yeshiva University, one of the world’s great institutions of higher Jewish learning and at NYU, a university of global reach and distinction,” said Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. “This dual intellectual challenge is the perfect context to take forward the project of a Judaism engaged with the world in conversation with students in one of the major centres of Jewish life.”

At NYU, Rabbi Lord Sacks will be the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought.

With more than 25 books published and regular appearances in various media, Rabbi Lord Sacks is one of the most admired and feted public Jewish figures of modern times.

Why I Confronted George Galloway

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

This opinion piece appeared first in Great Britain’s “Trending Central

I was one among dozens in February who packed the auditorium of Christ Church College, Oxford University to hear that circus act of a man, the Member of Parliament for Bradford West, George Galloway, debate the evils of ‘Zionist apartheid.’ His speech – littered with such witty remarks as ‘Israel is not kosher, it’s not even halal’ – was mostly met with laughter. After all, the man is a joke. But some jokes are offensive – others, racist.

Like many, I was left stunned by Galloway’s disgraceful actions. In walking out on my friend Eylon Aslan-Levy, Galloway confirmed what we had all thought about him for a very long time. As Eylon put it: “to refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism.”

The moment Hunter confronted Galloway

The moment Hunter confronted Galloway

Galloway is a man who gives speeches toHezbollah rallies in Beirut, who has interviewedMahmoud Ahmadinejad for Press TV – and of course, has rather disturbingly implied support for Bashar al-Assad. Yet he will refuse to have a constructive dialogue with a PPE undergraduate solely due to an accident of birth. Because he happens to hold a specific passport. Because his parents are different.

Galloway refuses to recognise my national and civic identity. He denies my cultural existence. In effect, like Hamas, he seeks the destruction of the State of Israel. This to me and many others is racism of the worst kind. I couldn’t just allow him to return to Oxford and pretend as if nothing happened last time – after all, he is notorious for denying some of his more outrageous statements (thank goodness for the internet).

By looking him in the eye and speaking to him in Hebrew, I wanted to show my fellow students that Galloway’s continuing behaviour is completely inexcusable.

And how does Galloway reply? By implying that I am a fascist, of course. By equating my holding of the flag of my homeland with English Defence League (EDL) thugs. By comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. By comparing Zionism to Nazism. The usual rubbish. The standard anti-Zionist spiel.

So I’m a fascist? But George, you’re the one who addresses the fascists of Hezbollah at their anti-Semitic rallies. You’re the one who openly admired Saddam Hussein’s ‘courage.’ And don’t get me started on the Nazi comparison. Comparing the Jewish people to the perpetrators of their attempted destruction is a classic and recognised anti-Semitic trope.

It’s funny that Galloway almost soiled himself when I approached him – thinking there was a weapon under my sweater. His hands were visibly trembling. I don’t believe in violence against individuals – but it can be argued that those whom Galloway could count as fans most certainly do.

Galloway looks close to "losing it"

Galloway looks close to “losing it”

I need not elaborate that Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. I don’t need to remind anyone of the steps Israel has taken for peace in the last twenty years: Oslo, Camp David, unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, a settlement freeze. Above all, it is unnecessary to stress how Israelis (like me) continuously yearn for peace. I would have rather debated that with Galloway. He did not bother to hear what Eylon had to say last time. In a speech far better than anything that ‘hapless’ Member of Parliament could spout from his big mouth, Eylon magnificently argued the case for the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a negotiated final-status agreement. That is the official policy of the current Israeli government – and nearly all governments preceding it since Oslo.

It is truly perverse that for its first event this term, a debating chamber internationally renowned for its respect for free speech invited a man who denies that right to others on the basis of their nationality. Galloway epitomises everything the Oxford Union stands against. It is disgraceful that he was invited. It is even more disgraceful that he was sycophantically advertised as being one of the ‘most impressive debaters in Britain.’ I don’t know any ‘impressive’ debaters who walk out on their opponents. And I wouldn’t dream of hosting him as a ‘guest of honour,’ especially in light of the offence he caused to the Oxford student community when he last visited.

But as an important disclaimer, I must stress that I don’t deny Galloway’s right to free speech. I stand for constructive dialogue with others. My mocking imitation of Galloway’s behaviour was a statement to all, that on the political issues which divide us most, both sides must be heard. One opinion must not silence another. This is what debate means – and the Oxford Union’s invitation to Galloway is a slap in the face for all those who believe in that principle.

Jonathan Hunter is a student at Oxford University and is now internationally renowned for giving George Galloway MP an earful

Stiff-Necked Oxford Student Triumphantly Upstages Galloway (VIDEO)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013


Remember when that virulently anti-Israel British politician, George Galloway…well there are so many ways to end that sentence, but this article refers to Galloway’s storming out of a debate at Oxford University because, as he so diplomatically announced before flouncing out of the room last February, “I don’t debate Israelis!”

Well Galloway was just had by a young Jew from Oxford who made his own dramatic exit after brandishing an Israeli flag, intoning: “I don’t debate racists!”

First the background.

The topic for debate of the world famous Oxford University debating society, the Oxford Union, on February 21 was: “Israel Should Withdraw Immediately From the West Bank.”

After Galloway, a member of Parliament representing England’s far northern district of West Bradford, completed his presentation of the “pro” side of that question, the person chosen to represent the “anti” position, Oxford University student Eylon Aslan-Levy, rose to present.

As it happens, Aslan-Levy favors what he calls “an end to the ‘Occupation.'” But his problem was with the timing desired:  Immediately.  He began his talk by referring to the failure, prior to the 2005 Disengagement, of guaranteeing Israeli security as a condition of handing over territory. He barely got the following words out before Galloway’s dramatic exit:

This is the lesson from the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, which I supported – out of the same misguided faith that the cards were in Israel’s hands. Israel uprooted over 8,000 settlers and evacuated the military – but without a pledge from the Palestinians not to fire rockets at Israeli towns over the very border to which Israel had just withdrawn. We wanted peace: we got war. We mustn’t make the same mistake again. [emphasis added]

Aslan-Levy barely closed his mouth around those syllables, when Galloway ejaculated: “You said we! Are you Israeli?”

When Aslan-Levy acknowledged that he was indeed Israeli, Galloway flung his coat over his shoulder, and bellowed over it: “I’ve been misled, sorry. I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis,” and then flounced out of the room, followed by his wife.

Fast-forward to Monday evening, October 14.  The setting is again Oxford University and the forum again is provided by the Oxford Union. This time there was no debate, it was just a talk by Galloway.

According to those who were present, Galloway spoke for over an hour, mainly maligning other British politicians, telling the student audience, “you couldn’t split the difference between the left [expletive implied] cheek and the right cheek.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the prime recipient of Galloway’s verbal lacerations, but the usual far left bugaboos of  “occupation,” “colonialism” and “bankers” all score poorly in Galloway’s book and starred in his talk.  Taxation, on the other hand, is a dearly beloved concept.  When Galloway completed his talk, the floor was opened for questions.

After three questioners had their turn, Jonathan Hunter, an Oxford student, was selected as the fourth questioner. Hunter rose from the audience, gesticulating, and speaking in fluent Hebrew.

As Hunter approached the table behind which Galloway was sitting, the politician warned, “Don’t come any closer to me. What’s that up your jumper?” Galloway pointed at a bulge beneath Hunter’s sweater.  Hunter told The Jewish Press, “Galloway’s hands were shaking.”

With Galloway’s fears voiced, Hunter reached under his sweater and brandished what he had placed there, knowing he would not have been called on had it been publicly displayed before this moment:

“This is an Israeli flag, I’m an Israeli, Mr. Galloway.”

“You speak for fascists in Beirut [Hezbollah], you interviewed [former Iranian president] Ahmadinejad for Press TV,” but here Hunter was interrupted by Galloway who intoned, “you’re doing yourself a lot of harm here, son.”

Hunter again refused to be cowed, and responded to Galloway, “I think you did a lot of harm by not speaking to my friend Eylon [Aslan-Levy, referring to the February debate], and not having a constructive dialogue with him, and sir, I don’t have a question for you, as you can see, because I don’t debate with rascists. Thank you, sir.”

With that, Hunter opened the Israeli flag, hoisted it up over his head, holding it aloft and streaming behind him, he strode, stiff-necked, from the room.

UK’s Zionist Jewry Rejects British J Street Clone

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The Zionist Federation, the official representative body of Jewish organizations in England, this week rejected the membership application of Yachad UK, the leftist J Street-esque organization which was formed in England in 2011.

The vote took place on Monday, February 25, and was conducted as required by the ZF’s constitution: member organizations vote to decide whether an applicant organization’s mission and actions are consistent with the mission of the ZF.

According to a statement by the ZF, every constituent organization was given the opportunity to consider Yachad’s application, and representatives of those organizations consulted with their members in order to make a decision.  This process began ten months ago.  When the ZF met on Monday, the organization representatives voted on and rejected Yachad UK’s application.

Although ZF leadership members were unwilling to respond to media inquiries about the decision, they pointed to the deliberative process in which the ZF had engaged, which was consistent with prior membership decisions.

In response to the vote, Yachad, which is Hebrew for “together,” went on the offensive.  It instituted an email campaign informing contacts that they are being discriminated against, along with a twitter attack with the hashtag “whatswrongwithmyzionism.”

Yachad’s first line of offense was to present themselves as innocent Zionist victims of overbearingly aggressive, right-wing Zionist Jews.  They claimed at the top of their website that, “78% of Anglo Jewry favour a two state solution. Is their Zionism not good enough for the Zionist Federation?”

The Zionist Federation issued a public statement in response.  “It is important to note that despite claims by Yachad’s statement, the ZF strongly supports peace in the Middle East and the two state solution.  To say that we do not is factually incorrect.”


Yachad UK is quite similar in orientation and mission to J Street in the U.S.  The tagline for Yachad is “together for peace, together for Israel,” and it describes itself as “the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement for British Jews,” exactly the same claim J Street makes for U.S. Jews.  About the only difference between the two organizations, as Hannah Weisfeld, Yachad’s director, said at its launch, is that Yachad will not engage in political lobbying.

And just as is the case with J Street, there are many Zionists who do not believe Yachad’s self-description is accurate.  They instead claim that Yachad’s relentless criticism of Israel and refusal to make any demands on the Arab Palestinians reveals the true nature of Yachad, one that they believe is instead an anti-Zionist orientation.


The pingpong match of public statements declaring either that Yachad is a Zionist organization that should be welcomed into the UK’s Zionist Federation, or that it is an anti-Zionist organization which has no place in the ZF is not especially helpful in determining the truth.

Rather than look at the public rhetoric, The Jewish Press decided it is most useful to see what Yachad really does and where Yachad really goes. The best way to do this is to peruse the activities posted on Yachad UK’s Facebook page.

This is what you will find there:

• November 11 and February 10, Yachad showed the movie “The Law in These Parts,” a movie that is “a compelling indictment of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza,” another shows a Yachad trip to Israel in which the participants join up with an Israeli leftist activist group, Ir Amim, to rally against Jews living in parts of Jerusalem.

• February 11th and 12th meetings with former Haaretz editor David Landau, who famously told U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should “rape Israel,” and that it has always been a secret erotic dream of his to discuss this with her.”

• July 29, June 21, June 18, June 17 meetings with Nadav Greenberg of “Just Vision,” who recently completed a documentary, “Budrus and Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah,”  that presents four people, all of whom oppose the Israeli efforts to allow Jews to live in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem, known to pro-Arab Palestinian activists as the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Most of the more than 100 photos on Yachad’s page are of Yachad trips to Israel.

Oxford Students Resoundingly Reject BDS Movement

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, is an exemplar of academic elite institutions.  Tonight,  February 27, the student leadership there voted to reject the motion to join in and promote the economic and political warfare anti-Israel effort known as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

Students had been discussing the motion and voted in their own colleges in advance of tonight’s vote. “This boycott goes against everything the university stands for.  The idea that we are not going to read your books or articles or hear your arguments on the basis of your nationality is ridiculous,” Henry Watson, a student at Magdalen College, a constituent college of Oxford, said.  Magdalen College voted to defeat the motion 39-3, earlier this week.

The representatives of the affiliated Oxford colleges, who comprise the Oxford Student Union Organization, met in St. Edmund Hall tonight where the motion was put immediately to a vote.  The motion was defeated, 69 – 10.  There were 15 abstentions.

Had the motion passed, Oxford would have been required to recommend to Britain’s National Union of Students that they join the global BDS movement against Israel.

A representative of Brasenose College, Eylon Aslan-Levy, said, “Tonight Oxford students showed that their commitment to intellectual freedom is unshakeable.  In rejecting calls for a boycott against Israel by a seven-to-one margin, we demonstrated resoundingly that we want Oxford to continue to cooperate with Israeli academics, trade with Israeli businesses and – yes – debate with Israelis in debating societies.”

Aslan-Levy was in the news earlier this week.  He was slated to present the opposing side in a debate the topic of which was, “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank.” When he began his response, his opponent, British member of parliament George Galloway, stormed out of the room upon learning Aslan-Levy is Israeli.

“I hope that other British universities will follow Oxford’s lead in standing up against divisive attempts to hinder academic cooperation and progress,” Aslan-Levy said.

British MP: Yes, I Really Hate and Will Boycott Every Zionist

Monday, February 25th, 2013

George Galloway, a member of the British government from the Respect Party, has made it clear that his abrupt departure from a debate at Oxford University last Wednesday, when he learned the person he was debating was Israeli, was not an impetuous move.  Instead, Galloway’s bolt was based upon his firmly-held belief in boycotting anything and everything about Israel except anti-Israel Israelis.

Galloway posted a message on his Facebook page Monday, February 25, because he felt it necessary to clarify certain questions that arose after his departure from Christ Church College last week.

He made several points.

First: that no one is going to tell him what the parameters of BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) against Israel are; he will boycott anyone and everyone who supports the “racist Apartheid creed of Zionism,” which he described as a “cancer at the heart of the middle-east.”

Here, Galloway was responding to a public statement issued the day after Galloway’s widely-publicized exit by the “Palestinian BDS National Committee” clarifying that the official position of the movement is to boycott Israel and anything that supports the “Occupation,” but it does not boycott individuals, whether Israeli or Zionist.  Galloway’s supporters, such as Israeli Israel-hater Gilad Atzmon, turned on the BDS Movement for trying to distance itself from Galloway’s action by calling them suck-ups to their Evil Zionist Paylords, including “liberal Zionist George Soros.”

Second: What he will and does embrace are any Israelis or Jews who despise the state of Israel for the same reasons that he does.  He provided an example: Israeli ex-pat now British prof. Ilan Pappe, whom he calls his comrade.

Pappe is well-known for his belief that Israel is guilty of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs in the 1948 war of independence, and his ardent support of their “right” of return. “What turned me into a great lover of the Palestinians is the will of many among them to share the land with us,” he explained in 2008, even people in Hamas.”

The third point Galloway made was to attack and ridicule the organizer of the Oxford debate, Mahmood Naji, a fourth year medical student at Oxford.

When Galloway walked out of the debate and in subsequent discussions about the incident, he repeatedly claimed Naji had “deceived” him because his debate opponent’s Israeli heritage was not made known to Galloway before the debate.  Naji finally had enough of the slander and published an open letter to Galloway, calling him to task for his ridiculous claims.

In his letter, Naji wrote that Galloway never asked about his opponent’s nationality when the debate was set up. “As the organiser, am I to know about every one of your views? Should I let you know if your opponent is a vegetarian in case you have a policy of not debating vegetarians? Am I misleading you if I do not tell you your opponent’s shoe size?” Naji suggests that it would be at least highly irregular for someone to inquire about, and make a decision about whether to engage in a debate dependent upon an opponent’s nationality.

Incidentally, Galloway referred to Naji as an “Iraqi Muslim,” but, as Naji told The Jewish Press, “I find it somewhat ironic that he assumed from my name that I am a Muslim (I am in fact atheist) but was not able to use these same powers of inference to suspect Eylon [Aslan-Levy] may be Israeli.”  Naji was born in Iraq but has lived in England for more than 15 years and is a permanent resident.

Naji’s responses to Galloway have all been logical, but he could have gone even a step farther: exactly whom did Galloway think was going to be taking the opposite position in a debate the topic for which was, “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank”?

Here is Galloway, in his own words:

Me and the Palestinian cause: A number of questions have recently arisen I need to deal with. Firstly if people want to talk to the Palestinians they need to contact the Palestine Liberation Organisation. This is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and has been for many decades. Secondly, an organisation calling itself “BDS” does not own the words or the concept of boycott, divestment or sanctions. They are entitled to their own interpretation of these words but they don’t own or control me. I will make my own interpretation. And it is this – no purchase of Israeli goods or services, no normal contacts with individuals or organisations in Israel who support the existence of the racist Apartheid creed of Zionism. That’s what I mean by boycott. That’s what I do. Israelis who are outside of and against the system of Zionism are comrades of mine – like Prof Ilan Pappe. My opponent at Oxford University did not meet this test. The organiser of the event momentarily lionised by the liberal as well as the conservative establishment needs to know this, especially as he is a medical student. To compare Israeli Zionism to “Vegetarianism” is like a doctor not knowing the difference between a pimple and a tumor. Apartheid Israel is a cancer at the heart of the middle-east. Only it’s replacement by a bi-national democratic state from the Jordan River to the sea will cure this. That is what I am fighting for. George Galloway MP House of Commons London

After one of Galloway’s supporters insisted that Mahmood Naji must be a “secret Zionist,” Naji weighed in.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/british-mp-clarifies-yes-i-really-hate-and-will-boycott-every-zionist/2013/02/25/

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