Monday, October 20, 2014
BY REBECCA SHIMONI STOIL October 20, 2014, 1:48 pm
WASHINGTON — An American academic group under fire for reportedly barring
Israelis from its conference says its boycott of Israel is not discriminatory and does
not include sanctions against individual Israeli academics.
The statement by the American Studies Association came after the Los Angeles hotel hosting its
annual conference was threatened with a discrimination suit over the group’s anti-Israel policies.
The Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, California, came under scrutiny last week, when the
American Center for Law and Justice sent its management a letter warning that the hotel may
have exposed itself to civil action by hosting the ASA’s annual conference.
The legal watchdog group said that it was “deeply concerned that unlawful discriminatory
exclusionary policies will be implemented by the ASA as to who is permitted to attend the Annual
Meeting at the Westin Bonaventure,” due to the organization’s academic boycott of Israel.
A public petition calling on the hotel to refuse to host the organization was also initiated on the
During its annual conference in 2013, the scholarly organization made headlines when its
members voted in favor of a resolution that would “honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a
boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”
Cast by both opponents and proponents as a watershed moment for the Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions campaign, the well-established academic organization did not include the parameters
for the boycott in the initial resolution.
The group said in a statement at the time that the boycott was limited to banning “formal
collaborations” with Israeli institutions or scholars “expressly serving as representatives or
ambassadors” of Israeli institutions or the government.
“The resolution does not apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in ordinary forms of academic
exchange,” the statement said.
The difference between a “representative or ambassador” of an Israeli academic institution and an
“individual Israeli scholar” who is affiliated with an Israeli academic institution remains vague. In at
least one letter addressed to the administration at the University of California – San Diego, the
ASA explained that it meant “deans, rectors, presidents and others.”
Although the Westin has not issued any statement about the conference, the academic
organization took to the blogosphere recently to defend itself against charges of discrimination.
Last week, in response to a blog post by Northwestern University Law School Prof. Eugene
Kontorovich, an ASA official explained that even a government official – in fact, even Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – could attend the group’s annual conference – provided they
represented themselves and not the boycotted institution.
Kontorovich believes that even though it does not preclude the participation of all Israeli
academics, the ASA’s version of the academic boycott constitutes “facial discrimination” –
discrimination which is enshrined in the organization’s rules rather than simply carried out on a de
“The ASA’s argument that it does not bar Israelis, but only Israelis who attend as representatives
of their academic institutions, will not likely help them much, as the normal way for academics to
attend academic conferences is as representatives of their institutions,” Kontorovich wrote in the
Washington Post’s Volokh Report, adding that the current argument “amounts to saying the [ASA]
is not discriminating as much as they could have, which is not an advisable defense in
Later, however, ASA President Elizabeth Duggan responded to a blog post at Legal Insurrection
documenting this exchange by claiming that “the boycott never applied to attendance and
participation in the conference by Israelis. We invited several to participate, and they are on the
“The boycott never has applied to individual scholars, or to university officials participating as
individuals. Our boycott applies only to official ASA collaborations by ASA *as an association*
with Israeli universities, all of which are state supported. Our members and depts are free to act
according to conscience, the boycott applies only to the associations [sic] official actions,” she
Duggan denied that additional wording placed on the organization’s website that explained that the
boycott did not include a boycott of most Israeli individuals constituted a “backtracking or a
change” from the pro-boycott resolution passed by the ASA’s members during last year’s annual
“We do not discriminate against any individuals at our conference. We never did, and never would
have,” Duggan wrote. “We will not engage institutions of the Israeli state on an official basis, and
that is a protest against the abridgment of Palestinian academic and other freedoms by Israel.”
The ASA did not respond to requests by The Times of Israel to clarify its position regarding the
academic boycott of Israel, and in what capacities specific Israelis would not be allowed to
participate in the organization’s annual meeting.
There is, in fact, at least one Jewish-Israeli academic whose primary affiliation is with an Israeli
university on the program for the ASA’s annual conference next month. Neve Gordon of Ben
Gurion University of the Negev is scheduled to participate, as are Ahmad Sa’di of the same
institution and Mohammed Wattab of the Zefat College School of Law.
But Kontorovich said that the overall impact of the organization’s “strong statements” on BDS
would naturally have a “chilling effect” on the participation of Israeli academics. Even if the ASA
has clarified its stance toward Israelis, he added, to do so less than a month before the
conference means that it would be too late for would-be participants to register to present papers.
While the American Studies Association’s primary focus is interdisciplinary study of American
culture and history, the organization’s newfound focus on Palestine figures prominently in the
Session titles include “Political Imaginings of Palestine Beyond the Here and Now”; “Encountering
Zionism: From Academia to Queer Activism and BDS”; “Teaching About Palestine: Changing the
Pain and Fury of Ignorance to the Pleasures of Knowing”; “Students For Justice in Palestine:
Awakening the US Campus”; and others.
Panels on more general topics, too, such as the carceral state in transnational perspective and
settler colonialism, mention Israel in over half of the cases. Even the session entitled
“Chican@/Native American Relations: Post-colonialism and Contradictions in the Spanish-Anglo
Colonized Borderlands” includes a paper comparing “Common Resistance: Indigenous, Chican@,
and Palestinian Articulations of Sovereignty, Nation, and Recognition, 1974-1982.”
Only the panel in which Wattab is a participant – “The Party’s Over: A Panel and Open
Discussion on the Aftermath of the ASA’s Boycott Resolution” – takes a critical view toward the
Friday, October 17, 2014
By JPOST.COM STAFF | 10/17/2014 13:14| The Jerusalem Post|
Israel conducted an exercise on Friday morning at Ben-Gurion Airport to practice identifying travelers arriving from countries at-risk with the Ebola virus.
The drill encompassed an entire simulated screening process, from questioning visitor coming off the plane, to evacuation and hospital treatment.
According to Health Ministry guidelines, authorities are instructed to evacuate to isolated hospital treatment travelers who have in the past three weeks visited a country where the strain is prevalent and have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
Israel will specifically begin monitoring travelers arriving at the airport from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone
The drill took place following talks held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent week to discuss the spread of the virus.
“Israel is prepared to stop, as much as is possible, the entry of Ebola patients into our borders, as part of our general efforts to defend our borders from illegal infiltrators and terror,” Netanyahu said during the meeting.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, urine, and stools of an infected person, but not by coughing, sneezing or eating food touched by someone who is infected.
The disease has killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in Western Africa, and that has infected a handful in the West, including the US and Spain.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
By Lidar Gravé-Lazi
“It is just a question of time until these people, living among us, become a lethal weapon directed against us,” says Tourism Minister Uzi Landau.
Tourism Minister Uzi Landau penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday calling to revoke citizenship for Israelis enlisting with Islamic State.
According to Landau, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police estimate that over 30 Israeli citizens have joined the ranks of the Sunni jihadist organization.
“These are people who live in Israel as citizens, and as such they enjoy a long list of rights as well as access to large and sensitive information. It is just a question of time until these people, living among us, become a lethal weapon directed against us,” the Bayit Yehudi minister said.
“This is a phenomenon of the utmost severity, which could gain momentum and transform into a sword over our heads,” he continued. “It is our duty as a government, as a society and as a state to take action to eradicate this from our midst.”
Landau said he was also appealing to Netanyahu to prevent these people from reentering the country.
“Every Israeli citizen must know that the State of Israel will act relentlessly against the activity of the ISIS organization, and in doing so will act meticulously,” he said.
He wrote the letter just days after reports surfaced that three additional Arab Israelis, from Yafia village in the Galilee, had joined Islamic State in Syria.
Marwan Kilabi, the father of one of the three youths who had joined ISIS, told Channel 2 on Tuesday that his son, Muhammad, had contacted him on Monday and said he was “fine.”
“We still don’t know what happened. Maybe they brainwashed him. He is a student, a good boy,” Marwan Kilabi said, adding that he was “embarrassed” to say that he didn’t know why his son had decided to join the organization.
Kilabi, who serves as a police volunteer, stressed that his family was not radical or overly religious, and repeatedly emphasized that he viewed Israel as his home.
When asked what he thought of Landau’s letter to Netanyahu, he said simply that he hoped his son would return home safely.
The issue of citizens leaving home to join the terrorist organization in Syria or Iraq is a problem plaguing not only Israel.
Last month, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told the National Post that his ministry revoked the passports of several Canadians who had intended to travel to “the volatile region to enlist as foreign fighters.”
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BY RENEE GHERT-ZAND October 15, 2014, 11:38 am | The Times of Israel|
‘We must rise to action in the defense of Israel! We must vote,
demonstrate and lift our voices in the press!” American preacher Dr.
Robert Stearns urged 5,000 Christian pilgrims from 80 different
countries filling the seats of Jerusalem’s new Pais Arena on Tuesday
evening for a spectacular show celebrating their declaredly
unshakable bond with Israel. They were at the arena for “Israeli Night,” an event of The Feast of Tabernacles to which Israeli
citizens and residents, including 300 Jewish, Christian and Druze IDF paratroopers who served
in Operation Protective Edge, were invited as special guests.
The 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers kidnapped in September on the Syrian side of the Golan
Heights by the Nusra front, and allegedly freed when Qatar paid a $25 million ransom, were
also in attendance. The Feast of Tabernacles has been presented annually on Sukkot for the past 35 years by the
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, an organization established in 1980 to represent
millions of Christians, churches and denominations to Israel and its people. It reaches
Christians in 140 countries and has branches in 80. ICEJ raises millions of dollars to assist with the aliyah to Israel of Jews from around the world,
most recently from India and Ukraine. During this summer’s conflict with Hamas, the
organization provided portable bomb shelters and other assistance to Israeli communities on
the Gaza border. ICEJ also runs a full-care residence for 70 Holocaust survivors in Haifa.
Tuesday’s spirited, colorful, music-filled extravaganza capped off a week of visits to holy sites
and study and prayer sessions for the pilgrims. They also participated in a march through
Jerusalem and heard addresses by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and World Jewish Congress
President Ronald Lauder, as well as by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via video link.
‘We’re here because of our love of the God of Israel as he brings his people home’
According to ICEJ’s website, the Feast of Tabernacles is meant to celebrate the “recognition of
the hand of God in Israel’s modern day restoration and the need to work with what God is
doing, and bless it.” This year’s feast was the largest in seven years, despite Israel’s conflict
with Gaza, which ended less than two months ago.
“It’s an encouraging statement of solidarity,” ICEJ media director David Parsons told The Times
of Israel. “We needed to move it from Jerusalem’s International Conference Center to the Pais Arena
because we needed more space. [Jerusalem Mayor Nir] Barkat urged us to make the move,
and we were the first international gathering in the new arena,” he said.
Judy Russell, the personal assistant to Reverend the Hon. Fred Nile, the leader of Australia’s
Christian Democratic Party, came with a group of 22 pilgrims touring Israel for two and a half
weeks. “We’re here because of our love of the God of Israel as he brings his people home,” she said before the singing
and shouts of Hallelujah reached a deafening pitch.
“It is our mission to bless Israel. In Australia, people are
being manipulated by the Palestinian message. It is the
job of people like us to educate others about Israel’s
side,” Russell said. Roy Sims of Sydney, a member of Russell’s group who has made visits to Israel since the 1970s, agreed that Israel is misunderstood.
He said this summer’s fighting with Hamas in Gaza worried him, but it did not cause him to be
concerned about his personal safety or deter him from coming.
“It’s one thing to be in the lion’s den. It’s another to put oneself in the lion’s mouth, which is not
what we are doing,” he said. The evening’s program featured rousing musical performances by a variety of Christian
performers, as well as by a number of Israeli musicians, including composer Kobi Oshrat, who
had the 5,000-strong crowd signing along to his 1979 Eurovision-winning song, “Hallelujah.”
The pilgrims were obviously moved by a tribute to the IDF soldiers, who were called to the
stage with their commanding officers and Greek Orthodox clergyman Father Gabriel Naddaf,
who has encouraged Christian Arab youth to enlist in the IDF.
“Christians around the world are behind you, praying for you 24 hours a day,” ICEJ public
‘Israel does not answer to America. Israel answers to the promises of Hashem’
relations director Doron Schneider told the soldiers.
In his keynote sermon later in the program, Stearns, leader of the Eagles’ Wings ministry based
in upstate New York, called the young IDF soldiers “the watchmen on the walls of Zion, on the
frontline of the battle for all humanity.”
Stearns’ words brought the crowd to their feet, shouting “Halleluyah!” and blowing shofars.
“There has been a division between Jews and Christians for 2,000 years. Horrible things were
done to Jews in the name of Christianity, but that was never the spirit of the true followers of
Jesus,” he said. “Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew, and we follow the Jewish Jesus. We received the Bible and the
Prophets from the Jewish people.” Stearns sent a clear political message, expressing his
displeasure with the policies of the current administration
in Washington. “Israel does not answer to America. Israel answers to the promises of Hashem,” he said using a
traditional Jewish name for God.
“Don’t look to Obama. Don’t look to the UN. Don’t look to the EU. Lift your eyes to the God of
Israel. He is your rock, your salvation, you defender. He is your Iron Dome!” he told the
audience, presumably focused on the Israelis.
The preacher also directed remarks to the American president, accusing him of having his
priorities wrong in the Middle East.
“Obama, stop worrying where Israelis are building apartments in their capital of Jerusalem, and
start worrying about stopping ISIS from murdering Jews and Christians,” he said.
In conjunction with the Feast, a press conference was held on Monday afternoon calling for an
end to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. The event was hosted jointly by ICEJ,
the Israel Allies Foundation and the World Jewish Congress.
Later on Monday, Lauder thanked the thousands of Christians assembled in the Pais Arena for
standing with Israel through a difficult year, and pledged Jewish support in combating what he
termed a Christian “genocide” in the Middle East and Africa.
“Thank you for standing here, in Jerusalem, the undivided capital of the Jewish state of Israel.
Israel has no better friends in the world than you. We know that you have watched out for us
and we will always watch out for you. The fact is, there is no safer place in the Middle East for
Christians than here in Israel,” he said.
Shmulik Fried, director of the Friends of Israel department of Keren Hayesod-United Israel
Appeal, seconded the importance of nurturing and strengthening the Jewish-Christian alliance.
“The Christians are trying to change direction and are
trying to show shared values and that they want the best
for Israel, including aliyah of Jews to Israel,” he said as
he waited for Tuesday’s spectacular to begin.
“No one supports Israel like the Christians,” he said.
Twenty-three-year-old Olav Andre traveled from his home in Ulsteinvik, Norway, to personally
demonstrate his support.
He said he was glad to have made this first trip to Israel, so that he could see the country for
“In the media, Israel is the big devil, but it is really the opposite. I want to speak the truth about
what is really happening here and around the Middle East,” he said.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
By LAHAV HARKOV \10/11/2014 08:07| The Jerusalem Post|
Israel Allies Foundation President and former tourism minister Rabbi Benny Elon said the MPs represent millions of Israel supporters from around the world.
Christian parliamentarians from around the world will show their support for Israel this week in a Christian Allies Caucus conference in Jerusalem.
The MPs have a packed schedule for the three-day event, including a briefing by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, participating in the Feast of Tabernacles with 5,000 Israel-supporters from 90 countries, and visiting a factory in Ma’aleh Adumim with 200 Palestinian workers.
The CAC members will also sign a petition to increase supervision of funds their countries send to UNRWA, the UN agency dealing only with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, which was widely discredited during Operation Protective Edge after Hamas rockets were found stored in and fired from its buildings and their vicinity. They will present the document to Communications Minister Gilad Erdan.
The participating parliamentarians hail from the UK, Italy, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala and Suriname.
Israel Allies Foundation president and former tourism minister Rabbi Benny Elon said the MPs represent millions of Israel supporters from around the world.
“Unfortunately, hatred toward the Jewish state, which connects radical Islam with the extreme Left, is making more noise and gaining more recognition than ever before, but it is important to know that around the world, there are hundreds of millions of Israel supporters, and we try to channel that into political power to help Israel,” Elon explained.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
By JPOST.COM STAFF |10/09/2014 06:22|} The Jerusalem Post|
Israel must play a central role in the reconstruction of Gaza, the United States said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing in Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki welcomed efforts by Israel and the Palestinians to allow the entry of much-needed aid into Gaza, following 50 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
"We were pleased to see that the UN, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority agreed on procedures aimed at expediting the passage of relief materials into [the Strip] while taking into account Israel’s security needs," Psaki told reporters.
She called on the organizers of the upcoming international donors conference on the rehabilitation of Gaza – which will be co-hosted by Egypt and Norway this weekend in Cairo – to include "all governments who can play a role" in assisting the war-torn enclave.
Psaki said the US was hopeful there would be, as in the past, more contributions to the cause. As for Israel's exact part in the reconstruction efforts, she said "they have contributed materials in the past, and we certainly hope they’ll do the same again."
The Obama administration expected both sides to agree on a permanent deal that "addresses the long-term issues" and will prevent another cycle of violence. "...We’re working towards a lasting cease-fire," Psaki added.
The cost of rebuilding the coastal territory in the wake of a seven-week battle, which has left entire neighborhoods flattened and hundreds of thousands homeless, is estimated to stand at just about $8 billion, according to PA projections.
It is believed that 17,000 homes were demolished during Israel's operation, which also took out Gaza's single power plant that the PA says will cost $250 million to repair.
While Psaki – responding to the question who was to blame for "the amount of aid, assistance" that went into projects that have been destroyed: Hamas, Israel or both – said she did not intend to play "the blame game," she did offer the administration's long-held concerns about "Hamas and their indiscriminate rockets" and "the fact that at times there was more Israel could do to avoid civilian casualties."
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
By YAAKOV LAPPIN |
10/07/2014 18:37 | The Jerusalem Post|
In a significant escalation in the already tense North, Hezbollah planted and detonated two bombs in the Mount Dov region along the border with Lebanon on Tuesday, with one device wounding two IDF soldiers.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 06, 2014 | Israel Today Staff| Israel Today |
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday hosted his sixth open Bible study at the official Prime
Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem since reestablishing the practice two years ago.
The event was attended by dozens of leading rabbis and academics, many of them members of
Knesset and the current government.
One of those participating in the round-table discussion was Education Minister Shai Peron, who spoke
on the topic of why the Bible begins with the story of creation, rather than jumping straight into God’s
relationship with and commandments to the Nation of Israel.
Peron cited the famous 11th century Jewish sage Rashi, who taught that the Bible begins with the story
of creation to demonstrate that the whole world belongs to God, and He gives this land or that to whom
Netanyahu noted that there are many in the world today who do not accept Israel’s divine appointment
to this particular land, and who seek to defame the Jewish people and deny their birthright.
The prime minister said that while these open Bible studies have only been held a handful of times, the
Word of God is studied in his home at least once a week. Netanyahu’s younger son, Avner, won the
National Bible Quiz for Youth in 2010, and, according to the prime minister, often leads their home
Monday, October 6, 2014
October 6, 2014|8:37 am | The Christian Post|
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a television interview that a recent White House rebuke of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is "against American values," but he praised President Obama's decision to attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"It's against the American values. And it doesn't bode well for peace," Netanyahu said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Israel maintains that east Jerusalem is part of its capital but the United States does not recognize it as part of Israel's territories.
"The idea that we'd have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it's anti-peace," Netanyahu added, explaining that Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem should be allowed to buy property wherever they want.
A Jerusalem city official approved last week construction of a new housing development in east Jerusalem, according to The Associated Press.
The Obama administration warned that the new project would affect Israel's relations with "even its closest allies" and reflect badly on its commitment to seeking peace with Palestinians. The Israeli prime minister said he was "baffled" by the criticism.
However, Netanyahu said his relationship with Obama is good.
"I don't want to say like an old married couple, but the president said that we had — he's had more meetings with me than with any other foreign leader," he said. "And I think you get to a point of mutual respect. You cut to the chase very quickly. You talk about the real things openly, as befitting real allies."
Netanyahu also praised Obama for the military fight through an international coalition against Islamic State, or ISIS.
"ISIS has got to be defeated because it's doing what all these militant Islamists are trying to do," he said. "They all want to first dominate their part of the Middle East, and then go on for their twisted idea of world domination. The difference between ISIS and Hamas and ISIS and Iran and so on is they all agree that the world should be an Islamist hill, but ... each of them wants to be the king of the hill."
ISIS, also known as ISIL, wants to form an Islamic emirate in the Levant region through "jihad." According to the CIA, it has about 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.
ISIS, an al-Qaida offshoot, has gained control of large swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria.
In Iraq, ISIS men have killed hundreds of civilians. Numerous members of the Christian and Yazidi minorities have also been killed, and tens of thousands of them have fled their homes.
The terror group is believed to have hundreds of foreign fighters, including those from the United States and Europe.
Friday, October 3, 2014
By BEN HARTMAN,DANIEL K. EISENBUD|10/03/2014 | The Jerusalem Post|
Around 2,000 officers from special police units and the Border Police will patrol across Israel this weekend, in particular in mixed Arab-Jewish cities, to prevent violent clashes as Jews commemorate Yom Kippur and Muslims celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha.
A spokesperson for the National Operations Branch of the Israel Police said they did not have any specific warnings about planned disturbances, but that they suspect that with the holiest day of the Jewish calendar overlapping this year with the Muslim holiday – a holiday of feasting and celebration – there is ample potential for violent clashes.
In recent days police have held meetings with local Arab leaders and their Jewish counterparts in a number of mixed cities and Arab localities, in an effort to reach understanding and to prevent a repeat of the Yom Kippur riots six years ago in Acre. Those riots were believed to have been sparked after an Arab man drove through a Jewish neighborhood in the city during the Yom Kippur fast.
As the two holidays coincide for the first time in decades, hundreds of Jews and Muslims – including the Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis and a number of Muslim leaders - met at an auditorium in Lod on Wednesday for a discussion about the upcoming holidays. The fears of Jewish-Muslim violence follow violent riots that broke out across the Arab sector in July, after Shuafat teen Muhammed Abu Khadeir was found murdered in a Jerusalem forest. Jewish extremists were later arrested for the murder, described as a racially-motivated “revenge killing”.
Police from the Judea and Samaria district said Thursday that a curfew would go into effect for the West Bank beginning at midnight Thursday. The decision to put Palestinians areas on curfew was made by the Defense Ministry, police said.
In terms of security in Jerusalem, police said hundreds of extra Border Police, undercover and patrol officers will be on hand, with a special emphasis on mixed Arab and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the Old City.
“There will be an increased police presence in East Jerusalem, Damascus Gate and Jaffa Gate, where thousands of people will be making their way for Yom Kippur,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“Police units will respond if necessary to any incidents, with other backup units on standby,” he added.
Asked about enhanced security provisions for the Temple Mount, a known flashpoint for Arab violence, Rosenfeld said that for the time being no age restrictions will be imposed to limit Muslims under the age of 50. However, he noted that that may change depending on intelligence police received about possible violence or rioting.
“If necessary, we’ll adjust security assessments throughout Yom Kippur to ensure the safety of all visitors,” he said.