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Prominent British professor turns down Israeli prize

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British Professor Catherine Hall
Press TV – May 22, 2016

A prominent British academic and historian has refused to accept a $330,000 prize by an Israeli university.

Professor Catherine Hall of University College London was slated to receive the Dan David Prize by Tel Aviv University on Sunday, but withdrew her acceptance citing political reasons.

“This was an independent political choice, undertaken after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine, but with differing views as to how best to act,” Hall said in a statement.

The annual academic award includes a series of $1 million prizes which are handed out in three fields.

As a historian, Hall was due to receive the prize for her “impact on social history, as a pioneer in gender history, race and slavery.”

Hall’s work on women’s history in the 1970s has helped her become known as a major feminist.

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine described Hall’s decision as “a significant endorsement of the campaign to end ties with Israeli institutions.”

Hall’s share of the million dollar prize will now be given to three economists involved in the fight against poverty, three nano-science researchers, and two historians of social history.

The news comes amid tensions between Tel Aviv and London over remarks by several key British political figures who have condemned the Israeli regime’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was suspended from the Labor Party in late April after bringing up the issue of Israeli war crimes and stating that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.

Before him, Naz Shah, a member of the British Parliament resigned as an aide to the party’s shadow chancellor after being forced to apologize for backing calls for Israel to “relocate” to the United States.

In early July 2014, Israel waged a devastating war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day offensive claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children.

The British government has banned all public bodies from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel which demands the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land particularly through illegal settlement constructions in the occupied territories.

May 22, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Palestinian anger at university construction on Islamic cemetery

MEMO | August 29, 2012

A Palestinian educational institution in Israel has called for a demonstration on Thursday in front of Sheikh Mo’nes Cemetery in Tel-Aviv to protest at what it says is “the violation” of those buried there. Israeli construction company Solel Bonei has started to bulldoze the cemetery to prepare the ground to build student halls of residence for Tel-Aviv University.

Iqraa Educational Institution has criticised the university’s project an act that violates human rights and academic principles. “How can students, Muslims or Jews, trust the university’s academic credentials when it is prepared to violate the sanctity of the dead?” it said in a press statement.

Researcher Ahmed Tobasi from Al-Tadamun Human Rights Organisation discovered the plans about a month ago. This led to a demonstration at the beginning of August organised by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage. The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, joined many Palestinian activists in the protest. “The cemetery is being reduced in size from 20 acres to just 1.5 acres,” he said.

According to Sheikh Raed, Tel-Aviv University itself was originally built on the land of the Islamic cemetery after razing hundreds of graves and throwing out the bones of the dead. “Today, the university shows its determination to violate human rights by deciding to extend its premises at the expense of the remaining cemetery land.” It is absolutely shameful to teach students about human rights while you violate them, the Sheikh added.

The head of student activities at Iqraa, Mohammed Farhan, also criticised the university: “Its construction work in the cemetery violates its academic message and has aroused the anger of many international academic institutions.” The university, he pointed out, criticised the academic boycott by international universities but today had proved that it is far removed from academic and human values and is thus deserving of boycott action.

Farhan said that students will continue to protest against the university’s desecration of the Muslim cemetery. “Tel Aviv University has to respect the rights and feelings of the Arab students study therein.”

A lawyer acting on behalf of Al-Aqsa Foundation, Mohammed Ighbareyah, submitted a petition last week to the Israeli High Court demanding a court order to stop the construction. He described the work as a “dangerous escalation against Islamic sites which constitutes a severe violation of human rights by a university which considers itself remarkable among world academic institutions”. Legal efforts will continue, he said, until the construction of the students’ halls on the land of the Islamic cemetery is stopped.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian cemetery destroyed for new TAU dorms, shopping center

By Patrick O. Strickland | Bikyamasr.com | July 16, 2012

TEL AVIV: On Monday, student activists examined the remains of a Palestinian cemetery that had been uprooted and mostly destroyed to make space for a shopping center and new student dorms for Tel Aviv University (TAU).

A large part of TAU is built on land that used to be a Palestinian village, al-Sheikh Muwanniz, before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. According Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village’s 1948 population exceeded 2,000.

Despite an nonaggression agreement between the villagers and Haganah, the Jewish militia that later became the foundation for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Irgun, another Jewish militia, enacted a campaign of abductions that led to the disappearance of five village leaders in the tense months leading up to the war. Several nearby villages were razed, and eventually the majority of al-Sheikh Muwanniz fled. Most became refugees in the West Bank villages of Tulkarem and Qalqiya.

The construction of the dorms and shopping center began over eight months ago. The crew has blocked off two graves with plastic netting, one of which holds the remains of the village mukhtar, or leader. Cigarette butts have been tossed in the graves.

The activists took photos of the two semi-preserved graves and the bones which were uprooted. Several other bones, including a shattered fragment of a skull, were scattered across the construction site.

“There were definitely more than two graves here,” said Jabr, one of the students, as he carefully sifted through mounds of dirt and uncovered more bone shards, photographing each of them.

As the students left, two women were denied entrance to the site. “Both of our grandparents are buried here,” one said. “Our families are from al-Sheikh Muwanniz.”

They said they had not been notified that their relatives’ graves were being dug up, and that they only found out through Facebook two days ago, after the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage posted a notification.

“Well, they are building the new Museum of Tolerance on top of a Palestinian Muslim graveyard in Jerusalem,” Gaby, another TAU student, told Bikyamasr.com.

Activists told Bikyamasr.com that the destruction of al-Sheikh Muwanniz’s cemetery is consistent with the longstanding tradition of erasing Palestinian history. Tel Aviv University is often identified as a leftist bastion within Israeli society; the destruction of al-Sheikh Muwanniz’s cemetery, the activists charge, demonstrates that even mainstream Israeli liberalism depends on the suppression of the Palestinian historical narrative.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Comments Off on Palestinian cemetery destroyed for new TAU dorms, shopping center

Nakba Law in action: Students must pay expenses for ceremony

By Noam Sheizaf | +972 | May 13 2012

A little over a year ago, the Israeli Knesset passed the Nakba Law, stating that institutions who receive state funding are not to permit any commemoration of the Palestinian catastrophe in 1948. During Israel’s War of Independence, 80 percent of the Arab population in what later became the State of Israel was displaced. Some of the Palestinians fled battle grounds, others were forcefully removed. None were allowed back, and their property was confiscated by the State of Israel. Palestinians mark their national catastrophe on May 15, the day following Israel’s declaration of independence.

A couple of years ago, the Knesset passed a bill aimed at limiting the discussion and commemoration of the Nakba entirely. The original bill ordered any person organizing a ceremony in memory of the Nakba to face criminal charges and a prison term of up to three years. The Knesset ended up passing a softer version of the bill, stating that any institution – even a Palestinian one – could lose state funding if it was to sponsor a Nakba-related event.

Tel Aviv University has permitted a Nakba memorial ceremony planned by Jewish and Palestinian students, but ordered it to take place just outside the university gates, in the main plaza. The university also forced the students to pay for the security expenses of the ceremony, contrary to the practice in all other events organized by students within the campus. The university cited the Nakba Law as the reason for this decision.

Haaretz reported today that Israel’s Minister of Education, Gidon Saar, urged Tel Aviv University to cancel the event altogether.

Needless to say, these developments cast a shadow on Israel’s self-perception as a democracy even within the Green Line. When mentioning an historical event at an academic institution is outlawed, one wonders what is truly left of freedom of speech.

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Nakba Law in action: Students must pay expenses for ceremony

Tel Aviv University imposes restrictions on Nakba Day events

MEMO | May 11, 2012

Tel Aviv University has imposed policies and procedures intended to restrict those Arab students who wish to organise Nakba commemorative events on campus. Palestinians remember the Nakba (Catastrophe) on 15th May every year, the date on which the state of Israel was created on their land.

According to a report in Haaretz newspaper, the presidency of the university has told the organisers of Nakba Day activities to provide the necessary funding for hiring at least six security guards from the university’s own security company to maintain control and order. The university wants to prevent any disturbances or riots during the ceremony scheduled for next week.

The event organisers must provide the required sum of money two days ahead of the proposed date of the programme, failing which it will be cancelled. The university has also banned the use of flags, banners and loud PA systems even though the Nakba Day commemoration has been approved by the students’ council, considered widely to be the first time such permission has been granted.

The organisers of the ceremony told Haaretz that the purpose behind the event is to introduce to non-Arab students the facts about the disaster that befell the Palestinians in 1948. In doing so, they also hope to influence Israeli public opinion and remind all citizens of the loss and human tragedy experienced by the Palestinians as a result of the Israeli occupation of their land.

May 13, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Tel Aviv University imposes restrictions on Nakba Day events

The Old News of ‘New Anti-Semitism’

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | April 18, 2012

An Associated Press article by Diaa Hadid, filed from Tel Aviv and published Wednesday, warns of a potential increase in anti-Semitism and possible anti-Jewish violence in Europe if Israel carries out a military assault on Iran. The piece focuses on Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, speaking at Tel Aviv University “after the presentation of an annual report on worldwide anti-Semitic attacks” and in advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Kantor said “he feared a minority of angry, extremist European Muslims who live in impoverished neighborhoods might use an Israeli attack [against Iran] as a pretext to hit local Jews, particularly in France and Great Britain.” 

The report cited by Kantor was issued by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.  And yes, the Kantor Center is indeed named after Moshe Kantor himself, who paid for its creation in 2010.  Kantor is not only the head of the EJC, he’s also the Chairman of the European Jewish Fund (which he established in 2006) and, with his net worth of $2.3 billion, one of the richest people in the world.

AP quotes Kantor as saying, “If Israel attacks Iran, it will be a dramatic increase of anti-Semitic, very violent attacks against Jews. And the vehicle for the realization of the attacks will be these enclave communities, where the level of hatred is very high and they are prepared to attack enemies inside their countries.”  An Israeli assault on Iran would produce, in Kantor’s words, a “tsunami of hate against Jews.”

Note how Kantor worries that an actual, unprovoked violent attack by a nuclear-armed state against a non-nuclear-armed state is called a “pretext” for potential, future anti-Semitism in Europe. So what are Kantor and the EJC doing about this? Well, AP reports that “his group is prodding European governments to take more measures to protect Jewish communities. He said its biggest efforts were focused on combatting anti-Semitism in the radical fringes of European Muslim neighborhoods.”  Kantor also described this alleged latent and potential violence emanating from Muslim communities in Europe as “a bomb ready to explode.”

That’s right. Kantor isn’t using his platform in Tel Aviv and position in Europe to warn against an illegal Israeli attack; no, he just wants more protection for European Jews if and when such an attack occurs. Apparently, the ancient community of 25,000 Iranian Jews don’t need similar protection for Israeli missiles and bombs.

But, this type of fear-mongering about the so-called “new anti-Semitism” is old news. While the provocation – “pretext” – is now linked to Iran, in the past it has been focused more on Palestine.

Over eight years ago, in March 2004, Los Angeles Times staffer Jeffrey Fleischman wrote, “Intolerance toward Jews is changing. Traditional anti-Semitism is coinciding with leftist opposition to Israel’s response to the Palestinian intifada. And attacks on Jewish institutions in France, the Netherlands and elsewhere suggest that a burgeoning population of frustrated Muslim men is transplanting Middle East animosities into Europe.”

Despite describing Europe as “an eloquent testament to constitutions and human rights,” Fleischman claims that, “as Europe reinvents itself, so does the way it hates.” He also quotes Cobi Benatoff, then-president of the European Jewish Congress, as issuing a “warning cry, a warning to Europe,” saying, “Anti-Semitism and prejudice have returned. The monster is with us again. What is of most concern to us, however, is the indifference of our fellow European citizens.”

Naturally, the Palestine connection is made. “The backlash against Jews over the Palestinian struggle to gain statehood is more pronounced in countries with large Muslim populations such as France, where about 700,000 Jews live amid more than 5 million Muslims,” Fleischman reports. “Germany has about 100,000 Jews and 3.5 million Muslims, and Britain has 300,000 Jews and about 2 million Muslims.”

Look at how outnumbered they are!  Those poor, potential victims, adrift in a sea of bearded barbarity! How spooky!

But this type of hysteria is nothing new.

In 2006, journalist Jonathan Cook reported that there has been an intense effort on the part of the Israeli government to push the concept and fear of the “new anti-Semitism” dating back decades and reemerging more stridently in 2002.  Cook explained that “Israel alerted the world to another wave of anti-Semitism in the early 1980s, just as it came under unprecedented criticism for its invasion and occupation of Lebanon. What distinguished the new anti-Semitism from traditional anti-Jewish racism of the kind that led to Germany’s death camps, said its promoters, was that this time it embraced the progressive Left rather than the far Right.” This narrative was again picked up twenty years later by members of Ariel Sharon’s administration, and championed by a rather familiar character. Cook reports,

Like its precursors, argued Israel’s apologists, the latest wave of anti-Semitism was the responsibility of progressive Western movements – though with a fresh twist. An ever present but largely latent Western anti-Semitism was being stoked into frenzy by the growing political and intellectual influence of extremist Muslim immigrants. The implication was that an unholy alliance had been spawned between the Left and militant Islam.

Such views were first aired by senior members of Sharon’s cabinet. In an interview in the Jerusalem Post in November 2002, for example, Benjamin Netanyahu warned that latent anti-Semitism was again becoming active:

“In my view, there are many in Europe who oppose anti-Semitism, and many governments and leaders who oppose anti-Semitism, but the strain exists there. It is ignoring reality to say that it is not present. It has now been wedded to and stimulated by the more potent and more overt force of anti-Semitism, which is Islamic anti-Semitism coming from some of the Islamic minorities in European countries. This is often disguised as anti-Zionism.

The entire Cook article is vital reading on the subject.

The disingenuous association of anti-Semitism with progressive ideology, along with the absurd conflation and equation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, has only been further exploited in the intervening years and the examples are legion.

The American Jewish Committee released a lengthy report in 2002 that declared, “Over the past two years the specter of anti-Semitism has spread over that part of peaceful, democratic, and law-abiding Europe that prides itself on the high degree of safety it affords its inhabitants.” Written by Villanova professor Gordon Murray, the report charged that, due to “the one-sided condemnation of Israel and the failure of [European] governments to condemn atrocities committed against Israelis, along with “their unbalanced, strongly pro-Palestinian line in the Middle East conflict, Western European governments have given a pass to those who wish to play out the intifada on the streets of Paris, Antwerp, Madrid, and Berlin.” Murray also condemned the “left” for its support for the Palestinian cause, in part blaming the “left’s sympathy for Palestinians and antipathy for Israel on, what he deemed, “the left’s congenital anti-Americanism.”

In September 2008, Paul A. Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. delivered the keynote address at a conference in Bucharest, Romania. In his speech, which warned of the “dangers of resurgent antisemitism” in Europe, Shapiro described the “multiple agents” responsible for the trend, “each capable of being effective with one or more audiences:”

1) Radical and jihadist elements within Islam; (2) right-wing bigots, including neo-Nazis, skinheads, paramilitary militia movements, ultra-nationalists, Holocaust apologists; (3) left-wing ideologues, in particular in the European region, as well as some more mainstream intellectuals, who in the current atmosphere are susceptible to anti-Semitic expression or to the use of code words (e.g., “New York,” “the Israel Lobby”) to express negative views of Jews and protest Jewish “power” and “influence”; (4) extreme anti-Zionists; (5) representatives of a variety of religious denominations who, through their preaching, writing, or speech tap into religious fervor and belief to assault the legitimacy of Judaism and Jews.

Shapiro also stated that this bigotry manifests itself in many ways, not only is physical attacks against Jews or Jewish organizations, but also in the form of “boycotts and divestment efforts against Israel” and “anti-Zionism.”  Shapiro continues,

Scholars debate whether anti-Zionism is necessarily and always to be understood as a form of antisemitism. Many argue, I believe correctly, that one can be critical of specific Israeli policies and actions and not be antisemitic. However, what is often called “legitimate criticism of Israel” frequently crosses the line and becomes vilification of the Jewish state as such. This is characterized by demonization, delegitimization, and judging Israel by double standards, i.e., standards not applied to others. Denunciations of Israel as a “Nazi state,” an “apartheid state,” a state guilty of “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” are antisemitic. Demonizing Israel, denying its right to exist, and attributing its perceived faults to its Jewish character crosses the line, encouraging both verbal and physical violence against Israel and against Jews in general.

So how real is this threat?   Well, the report cited by European Jewish Congress head Moshe Kantor, while noting “an increase in cases involving harassment and violence against Jews worldwide, singling out western Europe, Australia and Canada as three of the places most affected by the trend, also “found that on average the number of verbal threats and vandalism cases against Jews were down 27% in 2011 with 446 incidents compared to 614 in 2010.”  Furthermore, “57% of hate crimes involved vandalism.”

“The decrease was the second year in a row that the research center, which focuses on the study of European Jews, has counted fewer global anti-Semitic attacks,” reported The Jerusalem Post.

The Times of Israel was quick to point out that the “Antisemitism Worldwide 2011” study alleged that “[r]adicalization among young Muslims, as well as the growing dissemination of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda online, contributed significantly to the increase in harassment and incitement throughout the world,” adding that “France led the list of countries where major violent incidents occurred with 114, followed closely by the UK with 104 cases.”  The report also claimed that, while “the number of attacks declined in 2011…they were generally more violent than in previous years.”

By contrast, in 2010, the organization Human Rights First reported, “Authorities in France do not report explicitly on violence against Muslims, but their reporting of racist and xenophobic hate crimes offers a window into the problem of anti-Muslim violence, with 33 percent of reported incidents perpetrated against people of North African (Maghreb) origin, who are predominantly Muslim. In 2009, authorities reported 1,026 racist or xenophobic hate crimes, a 219 percent increase from 2008 (467).”

Additionally, a 2009 survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) that reported discrimination against immigrants and minorities in the EU found that “1 in 10 of all Muslims surveyed (11%) was a victim of racially motivated ‘in-person crime’ (assault, threat or serious harassment) at least once in the previous 12 months.”

The research, compiled in 2008 via face-to-face questionnaire interviews of a total of 23,500 immigrant and ethnic minority people in all 27 Member States of the EU, also indicated that, if the data were translated “to the entire Muslim population in the Member States where Muslim respondents were surveyed, the level of victimisation would extend into thousands of cases every year that are not recorded by the police as racist incidents in the majority of Member States.”

The FRA report also stated, “On average 1 in 3 Muslim respondents (34% of men and 26% of women) stated that they had experienced discrimination in the past 12 months. Those Muslim respondents who had been discriminated against stated that they had experienced, on average, 8 incidents of discrimination over a 12 month period.”

This is not to mention the actual laws and policies implemented in the West in the past few years that explicitly discriminate against and brutalize Muslims, such as bans on clothing and architecture and the systematic, institutionalized destruction of equality, human rights and civil liberties.

The association of Muslims in Europe with both violence and anti-Semitism is also completely disingenuous.  Between 2006 and 2008, a mere 0.4% of all terrorist attacks in Europe could be attributed to extremist Muslims.  Meanwhile, a recent survey about anti-Semitic sentiment conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in ten European countries and which reportedly found increased levels of bigotry against Jews within some European populations, polled only 500 people in each country and compiled (or at least reported) absolutely no data on the religious identification or political ideology of the respondents.

The exploitation of this “new anti-Semitism” charge as a method of policing speech and terminology, dismissing historical events, marginalizing comparative narratives, and delegitimizing the efforts of those who challenge the inherent racism, colonialism and ethno-religious exclusivism of Zionism is laid bare in a statement by Dr. Roni Stauber, a senior research fellow at the Kantor Center and one of the report’s authors:

“We began compiling these reports in 2001 and while we were very strict at the beginning, about differentiating between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, in recent years it has become virtually impossible.

“The data derived suggests that the propaganda promoted by the world’s radical Left and far Right have meshed together the hatred for Israelis and that of Jews; and have created the perception that all Jews are ‘in cahoots’ with Israel, and therefore anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are the same.”

The purpose of the “new anti-Semitism” charge is abundantly clear: it not only serves to fear-monger about Muslims in Europe but also, perhaps more importantly, is a way to demonize and cow into silence critics of Israeli policy and advocates for human rights and international law.

April 21, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Israeli who helped shape Bush’s Caspian Policy

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | February 18, 2012

In a 2006 Harper’s article entitled “Academics for Hire,” Ken Silverstein noted the influence of major oil companies on S. Frederick Starr, the head of Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia Caucasus Institute (CACI). In passing, Silverstein mentioned another influential academic:

Harvard’s program is led by Brenda Shaffer, who is so eager to back regimes in the region that she makes Starr look like a dissident. A 2001 brief she wrote, “U.S. Policy toward the Caspian Region: Recommendations for the Bush Administration,” commended Bush for “intensified U.S. activity in the region, and the recognition of the importance of the area to the pursuit of U.S. national interests.” Shaffer has also called on Congress to overturn Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, which was passed in 1992 and bars direct aid to the Azeri government. The law has not yet been repealed, but the Bush Administration has been waiving it since 2002, as a payoff for Azeri support in the “war on terrorism.”

Shaffer and Starr have plenty of equally compromised companions, so Caspian watchers beware: the next time you see or hear an “independent” American expert talking about how the region’s rulers are implementing bold reforms, check the expert’s credentials to see just how independent he or she truly is.

If Harper’s had done a little more checking themselves, however, they might find that it’s not only Big Oil that’s skewing U.S. policy:

Shaffer received her Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University and has worked for a number of years as a researcher and policy analyst for the Government of Israel.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | Comments Off on The Israeli who helped shape Bush’s Caspian Policy