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The Academic Friends of Israel

The Academic Friends of Israel

 Vol.9 No 2                                                                                18 February 2010   

The view from Britain: Plenty of anti -Zionism on Campus 

It is not often that two digests have been sent out within days of each other but I felt that it was necessary to provide as full a picture as possible of recent happenings in Britain, some of which were omitted from the previous digest. In addition in last few days two thought provoking articles have been published; Red lines for academic freedom and The double boycott challenge which I recommend you read. 

 

 The protests and actions on the part of various anti-Israel groups on university campuses in Britain, America and Canada that have taken place this month were organised to coincide with the anniversary of Israel’s “Cast Lead” operation in Gaza and there will hardly be time to draw breath and regroup before the worldwide campus “Sixth Annual Israel Apartheid Week” is upon us at the beginning of March. 

 

 In the aftermath of the disgusting incident at Oxford University I would also draw your attention to the comments made yesterday in the article New policy to deal with hecklers by Danny Ayalon Israel’s deputy foreign minister.  On being told that the police are investigating the matter he said at the time This demonstrates our new policy on hatred and racism and we will have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, something that should have happened a long time ago.” I only hope it’s not too late for such a policy to succeed.

 

I recently discovered the hard way that the media are only interested in “bad” news stories when I tried and failed to get media interest in a “good” news story about Israel.  Earlier this month, Imperial College hosted a lecture by Professor Eliezer Rabinovici from the Hebrew University about the SESAME project which brings together scientists from Jordan Iran, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain, Cyprus, Pakistan and the Palestinian authority.  The scientists are all part of a collaboration seeking to build a high-quality light source known as SESAME at Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan. I have therefore included an article Sowing the seeds of SESAME about this unique cooperative project as well as one about the Hebrew University’s scholarships for African health professionals.

 

Ronnie Fraser 

Director

The Academic Friends of Israel

 

News

 1.Tel Aviv University lecturer to urge London audience to  boycott Israel  

2. Ayalon: New policy to deal with hecklers 

3. Police probe ‘Kill Jews’ Oxford chant  

4. Cambridge allows event with supporter of suicide bombing 

5. Benny Morris talk stirs uproar at Cambridge   

6. Muslim Public Affairs Council defends students' "right" to shout down Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

7. Think tank Israel faces global delegitimization campaign

 Opinion 

8. The double boycott challenge  

9. Red lines for academic freedom

 Academic News 

10. Sowing the seeds of SESAME  

11. UK foundation teams up with Hebrew University to empower Africans  

12. UK increases funds for research projects with Israel  

--------------------------------------------------------------

1.Tel Aviv University lecturer to urge London audience to boycott Israel

Jerusalem Post

BY JONNY PAUL
17/02/2010

 

Dr. Anat Matar will be speaking at London University’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), a campus renowned for anti-Israel activity 

LONDON – Tel Aviv University senior lecturer Dr. Anat Matar will be the guest speaker Wednesday at a London event called “Supporting the Boycott of Israel: Campaigning from Within.” Matar, on the faculty of TAU’s Philosophy Department, will be speaking at London University’s School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), a campus renowned for anti-Israel activity.

The talk is part of events surrounding the one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, organized by the Palestinian societies at five University of London campuses – University College London, SOAS, Imperial College, Kings College and Goldsmiths – as well as at the University of Westminster.

In an opinion piece in Tuesday’s edition of The Jerusalem Post, TAU president Joseph Klafter said faculty members who call for a boycott of Israel “neither speak for nor represent the university. Still, many people expect, and a few insist, that my university and its management punish these faculty members and students by expelling them...........................

To read the full article;
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168909 

2. Ayalon: New policy to deal with hecklers

BY JPOST.COM STAFF
16/02/2010

Deputy FM: We'll deter people like student who cried "kill the Jews"  

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Tuesday said that Israel is developing a new policy to deal with incidents such as that which he experienced at Oxford University last week.

Last Monday, a Muslim Oxford student called out "slaughter the Jews" in Arabic during a talk Ayalon gave at the British university.

Addressing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday, Ayalon said of the incident that "this type of warfare is on a global scale, which is guided by the Palestinian Authority and Islamist groups."

The deputy foreign minister explained that Israel is moving to "put them on the defense" and has decided "to use deterrence by filming these events."  The video from the Oxford Union was passed on to British police who are investigating these incidents, Ayalon said.................................


To read the full article
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168861

For additional information see;Foreign Ministry takes heckling of Oren, Ayalon in stride
http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=168388

Israel to use 'ordinary' people for PR http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168898

 

3. Police probe ‘Kill Jews’ Oxford chant

Jerusalem Post

 BY JONNY PAUL
10/02/2010

University student shouts “Itbah Al-Yahud” at Danny Ayalon during lecture.
British police are investigating the verbal attack on Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon after an Oxford University student shouted “slaughter the Jews” during a talk he gave at the university on Monday night.

During the event, hosted by the university’s Student Union, a Muslim student, who had been heckling the deputy foreign minister, got up and shouted in Arabic “Itbah Al-Yahud” – “slaughter the Jews” as he was leaving the lecture hall.

The incident was referred to the police on Tuesday. Thames Valley Police confirmed on Wednesday that they had received a complaint and were considering a charge of racially aggravated public disorder.

A police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post they were taking the matter “very seriously,” that they were at the very early stages of investigation and that no arrests had yet been made..........................


 To read the full article;http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168320

For additional information see;

Slaughter the Jews call 'misunderstood' http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168723 

 

4. Cambridge allows event with supporter of suicide bombing

Jerusalem Post

BY JONNY PAUL
09/02/2010

After cancelling Benny Morris talk, prestigious university allows event with Hamas backer.

LONDON – A Hamas supporter who condones suicide bombing spoke at Cambridge University on Monday evening, days after a talk by Ben-Gurion University professor Benny Morris was canceled after he was accused of Islamophobia and racism.

Azzam Tamimi, founder of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought, was the guest of Cambridge University’s Islamic Society and spoke on the situation in Gaza post-Operation Cast Lead. Last week, the Islamic Society wrote to the student union asking it to take a stand and show it was serious “in opposing bigotry and Islamophobia,” saying Morris’s views were “abhorrent and offensive.”

Taking into consideration the sensitivities’ of students who opposed the Morris talk, Cambridge University’s Israel Society called off the event..................

To read the full article;
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168277 

5. Benny Morris talk stirs uproar at Cambridge  

Jerusalem Post

BY JONNY PAUL
07/02/2010

University's Israel Society called off talk "for fear of being portrayed as a mouthpiece of Islamophobia."  

LONDON – The Israel Society at Cambridge University has succumbed to pressure and canceled a talk by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev historian Benny Morris after protesters accused him of “Islamophobia” and “racism.”

Morris was scheduled to speak to students at the university on Thursday, but following a campaign led by anti-Israel activist Ben White the Israel Society canceled the talk. Instead Morris was invited to speak at an event hosted by the university’s Department of Political and International Studies.

White, who graduated from the university in 2005 and authored the book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, set up a protest page on Facebook in which he claimed that “on different occasions, Morris has expressed Islamophobic and racist sentiments towards Arabs and Muslims.”

He added: “We find it offensive and appalling that an official student society would want to invite such an individual.”...........................................

To read the full article;

http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=167972

 6. Muslim Public Affairs Council defends students' "right" to shout down Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

LA Middle East Examiner

By Paul Kujawsky

February 12, 2010

One doesn’t want to invoke George Orwell lightly. But there is something positively Orwellian about defending, in the name of freedom of speech, a gang’s attempt to shut down a speech. The facts are these: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, was invited to speak at the University of California Irvine. The invitation came from the Law School and the Political Science Department. Now, UC Irvine has an active-some would say, aggressive (others would say, obnoxious)-chapter of the Muslim Student Union. The UCI MSU has a, shall we say, controversial history, ranging from allegedly fundraising for Hamas to hosting virulently anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic speakers..................

To read the full article;http://www.examiner.com/x-4814-LA-Middle-Eastern-Policy-Examiner~y2010m2d12-Muslim-Public-Affairs-Council-defends-students-right-to-shout-down-an-Israeli-speaker

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2010/02/video-michael-oren-shouted-down-at-uc-ir/ 

7. Think tank Israel faces global delegitimization campaign

Haaretz

By Barak David

12 February 2010

Israel is facing a global campaign of delegitimisation, according to a report by the Reut Institute, made available to the cabinet on Thursday. The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank called on ministers to treat the matter as a strategic threat.

The report cites anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, protests when Israeli athletes compete abroad, moves in Europe to boycott Israeli products, and threats of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders visiting London.

Reut says the campaign is the work of a worldwide network of private individuals and organizations. They have no hierarchy or overall commander, but work together based on a joint ideology - portraying Israel as a pariah state and denying its right to exist............................. 
 

To read the full article;
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1149274.html
 

Opinion

8. The double boycott challenge

 Jerusalem Post

By Joseph Klafter 

15/02/2010

How do I, as President of Tel Aviv University, maneuver through calls to boycott my university and others, as part of the delegitimisation campaign against Israel, on the one hand, and demands from donors to expell our the students and faculty who support it, on the other?
As the new president of Tel Aviv University, the country’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education, I find myself caught in an agonizing double bind. On the one hand, my university and other Israeli academic institutions are the subject of an odious boycott campaign. This effort to instill an academic boycott is part of a much wider campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel – and
ultimately eliminate it – by unfairly casting it as the new racist South Africa. Regrettably, some of the campaign’s advocates include a handful of the university’s own faculty and students. In fact, one of the most vocal leaders of the campaign is a current post-graduate student.

On the other hand, the university is subjected to vehement calls for another kind of boycott – a financial one – by loyal and long-term donors. This latter campaign is designed by well-intended friends of Israel who seek to coerce us, the Tel Aviv University leadership, into acting against the very small minority of our faculty and student body that is critical of Israel and government policies. They demand that
we fire dissident faculty and expel politically wayward students.

It is between these two forces that I operate.........................................


To read the full article;http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=168801  

To read some responses to Professor Joseph Klafter's op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, titled "The double boycott challenge"

 http://israel-academia monitor.com/index.php?type=large_advic&advice_id=7581&page_data[id]=7825&cookie_lang=en 

9. Red lines for academic freedom

By DAVID NEWMAN

Jerusalem Post 16/02/2010

I am no fan of the current government, but its ambassadors should be accorded the same respect as those of any other country.The two most prestigious universities in the UK, Cambridge and Oxford, were the scenes of some major anti-Israel sentiment last week. At Oxford, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was verbally threatened with anti-Semitic remarks during his speech at the Oxford Union, while the presence of Hamas activist Azim Tamimi, a supporter of terrorist activity, at a lecture in Cambridge gave rise to a high degree of anti-Israel sentiment.

At the same time as this was taking place, I was holding a series of meetings with British university principals and vice chancellors, meetings which have been going on for a number of years and are aimed at gauging the official position of the universities to the proposed academic boycott attempts. Over 30 of these meetings have taken place and, rather than focus solely on the negative, they have also been used to promote and strengthen both ongoing and new research collaboration and links between British and Israeli universities. This was partially reflected in last week’s reception hosted by the British Foreign Office for the UK-Israel bilateral research project BIRAX, funded by the Pears Foundation and with formal support of the British government and the British Council.

In the meetings, all of the university principals and vice chancellors state the same mantra, namely that they are opposed to any form of academic boycott, they reject any form of anti-Semitism (or any other form of racism) on their campuses and that they believe in the principles of free and balanced speech at their institutions. For most of them, Israel is simply not on their agenda as they struggle to deal with the economic recession and the government cutbacks in the funding of higher education.........

To read the full article;
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=168815
 

 

Academic News

10. Sowing the seeds of SESAME  

Nestling under the shade of the olive groves at Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan stands a unique project that began nearly a decade ago. It is special in that it has brought together Baharanian, Cypriot, Egyptian, Greek, Iranian, Israeli, Jordanian, Pakistani, Palestinian and Turkish scientists – all of whom are working towards a common goal of extending human knowledge.The scientists in question are all part of a collaboration seeking to build a high-quality light source known as SESAME (Synchrotron light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East). But in this part of the world, where war, hatred and bloodshed are abundant, whether science can give hope for peace is not yet clear. Still, SESAME could certainly be the start.SESAME is, of course, not the first attempt to use science to build bridges between nations. The CERN particle-physics lab near Geneva is perhaps the best known and most successful example of such an idea................. 

 

To read the full article; http://www.sesame.org.jo/pdf/sesamearticle.pdf 

11. UK foundation teams up with Hebrew University to empower Africans

Jerusalem Post

By JONNY PAUL,
15/02/2010

A one-day symposium will bring together health specialists and other professionals from Israel and abroad.

 LONDON – A one-day symposium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Tuesday will bring together health specialists and other professionals from Israel and abroad to discuss critical issues impacting on health in Africa today and to look at Israel’s role in helping out.

The symposium was instigated by the London-based Pears Foundation, working with The Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Hadassah Medical Organization, which provides annual scholarships for 12 students from Africa to study public health and agriculture in Israel. The scholars study for master’s degrees in public health, plant sciences or nutritional sciences at the Hebrew University.........................

To read the full article;
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=168722 

12. UK increases funds for research projects with Israel

Jerusalem Post

By JONNY PAUL
05/02/2010

Program has just awarded its first grants to 15 joint Israeli and British academic projects. 

 LONDON – The British government has announced it is increasing its funding for a scheme set up to enhance research and academic cooperation between Britain and Israel, which has just awarded its first grants to 15 joint Israeli and British academic projects.

The Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) was set up by the British Council in collaboration with the Pears Foundation, Department for Business Innovation and Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry in 2008 to enhance cooperation and build stronger links between the two countries...................

To read the full article;
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=167873                                                                             

Patron: The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks 

Advisory Board: 

Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Vivian Wineman - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Amir Lev

John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East

Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USAProfessor

Leslie Wagner CBE

Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham

 The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.