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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Princeton University’

Inside Look at Princeton’s Israel Divestment Failure

Monday, April 27th, 2015

In a college-wide vote, Princeton university undergraduates voted against a resolution to divest funds from Israeli companies or certain companies that are used in Israel. The ballot closed on April 22, and the results were announced on Friday, April 26.

The proposal lost with 52.5 percent voting against it and 47.5 percent voting in favor.

The proposal on which the students voted asked whether the Princeton University trustees should be called on to divest from “multinational corporations that maintain the infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, facilitate Israel’s and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or facilitate state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian Authority security.”

According to Princeton’s internal regulations, any referendum can be included in the student government elections if a sponsor obtains 200 signatures on a petition.

There are no guidelines or standards for the content of a referendum. Accordingly, for those who are not independently knowledgeable, any student who believes in justice and human rights would be inclined to vote in favor of the ballot question.

Who – especially amongst U.S. college students – would fail to oppose repression or collective punishment?

Even given the biased language, the vote was close, and nearly 39 percent of the student body voted.

An active pro-Israel student at Princeton, Hannelora Everett, spoke with JewishPress.com about the atmosphere on campus, and how she and others worked to help defeat the divestment referendum.

Everett is a Princeton sophomore who hails from Westchester, New York. She has spent quite a bit of time in Israel, including trips with her Solomon Schechter school and with Princeton Chabad. Everett lived in Israel one summer on a study program, and spent another summer in Israel working at a nongovernmental organization (NGO).

When Everett first arrived at Princeton she found the atmosphere regarding the Middle East disturbing.

“I realized students were turning Israel into a polarizing, conservative-liberal political issue,” and she decided to become involved in Israel activism on campus.

Through her engagement with the issue, Everett assumed a leadership role in several organizations focused on improving the understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict amongst Princeton students. She was involved in the David Project, in Tigers for Israel (of which she is now president) and works with other student groups to promote common interests.

DIFFERENT FORMAT FOR DIVESTMENT VOTE

Although student proposals to urge their universities’ trustees to divest from certain holdings in or utilized by Israel have taken place elsewhere – at the University of Michigan and Cornell University, to name just two – the vote at Princeton is amongst the first time the student body as a whole voted on such a proposal. A divestment referendum was also defeated at San Diego State University earlier this month.

All other times that divestment from Israel proposals were voted on at universities, it has been the school’s student government which has taken up the issue.

The divestment coalition said the opportunity to have the student body at large discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict was the motivation for choosing this format. Also, previous efforts at divestment had failed, so a new strategy was sought.

Everett told the JewishPress.com that the low bar requirement of only 200 petition signatures to permit a student body referendum undoubtedly made this an attractive option.

EGYPT AND PA MENTIONED AS WRONG-DOERS

Another unusual aspect of the Princeton ballot question was that both Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are mentioned as fellow wrong-doers, along with Israel, for engaging in “collective punishment”  against and/or “repression” of Palestinian Arabs.

It is ironic that this expansion of blame reveals who it is that the Princeton pro-divestment students are most protective: Hamas.

But as Everett pointed out, although the ballot question also condemned Egypt and the PA, “their campaign focused almost exclusively on Israel.”

Top Al Qaeda Operative Left Blueprint to Govern Entire Muslim World

Monday, August 19th, 2013

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. A is A. And the global jihad is the global jihad.

“Yemen terror boss left blueprint for waging jihad” Times of Israel, August 18, 2013 Document provides assessment of al-Qaeda’s performance in Yemen, indicates it seeks to govern throughout the Muslim world

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — A year before he was caught on an intercept discussing the terror plot that prompted this week’s sweeping closure of US embassies abroad, al-Qaida’s top operative in Yemen laid out his blueprint for how to wage jihad in letters sent to a fellow terrorist.

In what reads like a lesson plan, Nasser al-Wahishi provides a step-by-step assessment of what worked and what didn’t in Yemen. But in the never-before-seen correspondence, the man at the center of the latest terror threat barely mentions the extremist methods that have transformed his organization into al-Qaida’s most dangerous branch.

Instead, he urges his counterpart in Africa whose fighters had recently seized northern Mali to make sure the people in the areas they control have electricity and running water. He also offers tips for making garbage collection more efficient.

“Try to win them over through the conveniences of life,” he writes. “It will make them sympathize with us and make them feel that their fate is tied to ours.”

The perhaps surprising hearts-and-minds approach advocated by the 30-something Wahishi, who spent years as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary, is a sign of a broader shift within al-Qaida. After its failure in Iraq, say experts who were shown the correspondence, the terror network realized that it is not enough to win territory: They must also learn to govern it if they hope to hold it.

“People in the West view al-Qaida as only a terrorist organization, and it certainly is that … but the group itself is much broader, and it is doing much more,” says Gregory Johnsen, a scholar at Princeton University whose book, “The Last Refuge,” charts the rise of al-Qaida in Yemen. “The group sees itself as an organization that can be a government.”

The correspondence from al-Wahishi to Algerian national Abdelmalek Droukdel is part of a cache of documents found earlier this year by the AP in buildings in Timbuktu, which until January were occupied by al-Qaida’s North African branch. The letters are dated May 21 and Aug. 6, 2012, soon after al-Wahishi’s army in Yemen was forced to retreat from the territory it had seized amid an uprising against long-time Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

At the time, the terror network as a whole was trying to come to grips with its losses in Iraq, where people rose up against the brutal punishments meted out by al-Qaida’s local affiliate, a revolt which allowed US forces to regain the territory they had occupied. That failure which was front and center in how al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula went about governing the two provinces it held for 16 months on Yemen’s southern coast, including the region where al-Wahishi was born, says Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, author of a study chronicling the group’s attempt at governance.

In the May letter, al-Wahishi warns his counterpart not to crack down too quickly or too harshly.

“You have to be kind,” he writes. “You can’t beat people for drinking alcohol when they don’t even know the basics of how to pray. … Try to avoid enforcing Islamic punishments as much as possible, unless you are forced to do so. … We used this approach with the people and came away with good results.”

Al-Qaida’s foray into governance in Yemen began on the morning of Feb. 28, 2011, when residents of the locality of Jaar woke up to find an ominous black flag flying over their town. Fearing the worst, the population was mystified to discover that their extremist occupiers appeared more interested in public works projects, than in waging war.

“There were around 200 of them. They were wearing Afghan clothes, black robes that go to the knees, with a belt,” said Nabil Al-Amoudi, a lawyer from Jaar. “They started extending water mains. … They installed their own pipes. They succeeded in bringing electricity to areas that had not had power before.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/atlas-shrugged-blogs/top-al-qaeda-operative-left-blueprint-to-govern-entire-muslim-world/2013/08/19/

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