Friday, October 31, 2014
Meeting between top advisers in Washington comes amid tensions
BY JTA October 31, 2014, 2:20 am | The Times of Israel|
WASHINGTON — The United States and Israel will maintain “unprecedented
coordination” as nuclear talks go forward with Iran, the White House said after a
summit of the two nations’ security advisers.
“On Iran, the US delegation reaffirmed our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear
weapon,” said the statement describing the Thursday meeting of the US-Israel Consultative
Group, co-chaired at the White House by Susan Rice, the US national security adviser; and Yossi
Cohen, her Israeli counterpart.
“The two sides discussed the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the P5+1 and EU to reach a
comprehensive solution that peacefully and verifiably resolves the international community’s
concerns with Iran’s program,” the statement said, using the acronym for the major powers now in
nuclear talks with Iran. “The delegations pledged to continue the unprecedented coordination
between the United States and Israel as negotiations continue.”
The statement comes after a week of tensions between Israel and the United States, sparked by
the publication in The Atlantic of an attack by an unnamed Obama administration official who
described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as cowardly.
The official was describing White House anger with Netanyahu for continuing building in eastern
Jerusalem and the West Bank and for lobbying Congress and the US media against any potential
Notably, the White House statement did not mention the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace
Instead, it described discussion of “pressing issues, including ongoing efforts by the United States
and coalition partners to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” an acronym for the Islamic State in
Iraq and Syria. A photo distributed with the statement showed Rice and Cohen embracing. The
US-Israel Consultative Group meets twice a year
Thursday, October 30, 2014
10/30/2014 12:22 | The Jerusalem Post|
Prime minister holds discussion over rising tensions in Jerusalem, orders increased forces around holy city.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday morning, following the shooting of Yehuda Glick, that the struggle in Jerusalem may be long and drawn out but calm must be reinstated.
The prime minister held a special meeting on the shooting and increase in tensions and violence in Jerusalem. In attendance were the defense minister, security minister, the head of the Shin Bet, the police chief, the mayor of Jerusalem and IDF representatives, among other officials.
Netanyahu opened the meeting by sending wishes to Glick and thanked the police for quickly finding the terrorist responsible.
"A few days ago I said that we are standing before a wave of incitement by radical Islamists and also by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who said we must limit Jewish entry to the Temple Mount. I still haven't heard any condemnation of these provocations from the international community. The international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and act against those who provoke the situation, those who want to change the status quo," he said.
He continued and said he is preparing for increased tensions in the holy city.
"I have ordered a major increase in presence of forces...so that we can maintain a safe Jerusalem and also keep the status quo in holy sites."
Netanyahu concluded by saying that "the struggle here can be long and drawn out, but here, like all the other struggles, we need to put out the flames. Neither side needs to take the law into their hands, we need to act calmly, responsibly and decisively."
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who holds dual US and Israeli citizenship and is the spokesman for the Joint Committee of Temple Organizations – was in serious condition after being shot in front of the capital’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center Wednesday night.
According to police, the shooting took place at approximately 10:30 p.m. outside the memorial center, located near the Old City by a suspect riding a motor bike who fled the scene.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
10/29/2014 09:48| The Jerusalem Post|
With the media buzzing over a possible crisis between Jerusalem and Washington amid sharpened US rhetoric – it seems no one is staying out of the fray.
After the Prime Minister's Office put forward plans to build over a thousand housing units in east Jerusalem, a move which has sparked a series of condemnations from world powers, including the US, President Reuven Rivlin is the latest to weigh in on the issue.
In an interview with Army Radio on Wednesday, Israel's tenth president made a distinction between building for the purpose of incitement and lawfully settling one's country. "If construction is done to get even" with terrorists – it is wrong, he said, noting that construction is "not a provocation."
Rivlin made clear that the newly-authorized building plans in Ramot Shlomo and Har Homa were in areas "we will never desert."
As for tensions with the Obama administration in light of reports that US officials complained about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies vis-a-vis Iran, the Palestinians, and settlement expansion, Rivlin said relations with Washington were paramount in forming policy, or as he put it: "Three principles bind Israel's foreign policy: the first, is US ties; the second – US ties; the third, which is no less important, is US ties."
Even as State Department officials voiced concern about the possible consequences of building beyond the 1967 lines, seen by the Palestinians as borders of a future state, the president said that America understood the capital's status: "We built Jerusalem and it will continue to be inhabited throughout the entirety of the city."
Rivlin gave the interview from Poland, where he is on an official state visit, his first time abroad since taking office in July. He was invited by President Bronislaw Komorowski for the opening of an exhibit at the Polin Museum, formerly known as the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
BY JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH October 28, 2014, 12:30 pm
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday lashed out at international condemnation
of plans to build new housing in East Jerusalem, saying the criticism, and not the building,
was pushing peace further away.
Netanyahu, speaking at Ashdod’s port, said blowback from the United States, Palestinians and
others over an announcement a day earlier that planning could go ahead for about 1,000 housing
units in East Jerusalem was “detached from reality.”
He added that he did not accept the outcry given international silence on Palestinian incitement.
“We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in
Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office. “I have heard a claim that
our construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant. It is the
criticism which is making peace more distant. These words are detached from reality. They foster
false statements among the Palestinians.”
On Monday, Netanyahu gave the go-ahead for some 600 homes in the neighborhood of Ramat
Shlomo and another 400 in Har Homa, both Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem over the Green
Speaking at the Knesset later Monday, the prime minister vowed to continue building in the capital.
“The French build in Paris, the English build in London, the Israelis build in Jerusalem. Should we
tell Jews not to live in Jerusalem because it will stir things up?” he said.
The announcement drew harsh criticism from the US, EU, Jordan and the Palestinians.
Israelis’ continued building across the Green Line is “incompatible with their stated desire to live in
a peaceful society,” State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said the move represented a “huge slap in the face of efforts taken to
restart Palestinian-Israeli negotiations aimed at the incarnation of a two-state solution based on
well-known international references and the Arab Peace Initiative,” according to Kuwaiti news
Amman also requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the
behest of the Palestinians.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned the new construction would spur
Ramallah to continue its statehood drive.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu said the world’s criticism represented a “double standard.”
“When Abbas incites murders of Jews, the [international] community is silent, but when we build in
Jerusalem, for that they jump up,” he said.
“I think we all need to reject this. It’s not true, it’s not right and it goes against any concept of
Netanyahu last week blamed Palestinians incitement for an attack in which a driver rammed his
car into a crowd of people at a light rail station in Jerusalem, killing two.
The building announcement also drew internal criticism, with ministers warning it could harm ties
with Washington, considered Israel’s most important ally.
Monday, October 27, 2014
By HERB KEINON |10/27/2014| The Jerusalem Post|
A representative for the State's Attorney said directives have already been issued to carry out arrests and toughen punishment for rock throwers, including fining of parents of minors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for joining with Islamic extremists and inciting against Israel by spreading rumors that Israel planned to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“There is no change in the status quo in the Temple Mount, and there is no intention to make any changes in this area,” Netanyahu said at yet another consultation in his office dealing with the escalation of tension in the capital.
During the meeting Netanyahu issued directives to speedily move forward legislation to significantly stiffen penalties against rock throwers.
A representative for the State's Attorney said directives have already been issued to carry out arrests and toughen punishment for rock throwers, including in specific cases fining of parents of minors engaged in such acts of violence.
Among those who participated in the meeting were Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Israel Security Agency chief (Shin Bet) Yoram Cohen.
Authorization of east Jerusalem housing units
Earlier on Monday, officials from Netanyahu's office said the prime minister authorized planning to advance 1,060 new housing units in neighborhoods in Jerusalem beyond the 1967 lines
According to the officials, 600 of these units will be constructed in the northern neighborhood of Ramot Shlomo, and another 660 in Har Homa.
Netanyahu has also given the green light to move forward infrastructure projects in the West Bank, including – the officials said – roads that will serve the Palestinians as well.
The official declined to comment whether there was concern these moves would significantly harm Israel's position in Europe and the US, which sharply condemned an announcement earlier this month of moving forward development in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos.
Friday, October 24, 2014
By JPOST.COM STAFF| 10/24/2014| The Jerusalem Post|
In the night's latest incident, Arab rioters threw firecrackers, Molotov cocktails and rocks at Jewish homes in the Old City.
Jerusalem's security alert level was increased after a second violent day in the city, a day after a Hamas terrorist killed a three-month-old baby and injured several others during a violent car rampage.
In the night's latest incident, Arab rioters reportedly threw firecrackers, Molotov cocktails and rocks at Jewish homes in the Old City.
The rioters were eventually dispersed by Israel Police and border police. No damage or injuries were reported.
Earlier, Jerusalem police announced that there will be restrictions on who can enter the Temple Mount for Friday prayers due to security threats, Israel Radio reported.
Though Muslim women of all ages will be able to enter the Temple Mount, entrance for Muslim men will be allowed only for those above the age of 40.
On Thursday, masked Arab assailants hurled stones at a kindergarten in the Ma’aleh Zeitim neighborhood, not far from the Palestinian quarter of Ras al-Amud in the eastern part of the capital.
There were no reports of injuries or damage. The assailants fled the scene immediately after the incident. Border Police and regular police personnel are conducting searches of the vicinity.
A young Palestinian, 12, who was arrested on Wednesday for hurling stones at Jewish motorists near the A-Tor neighborhood was summoned before the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for a hearing on extending his remand.
Earlier on Thursday, unidentified assailants threw stones at the Jerusalem light rail station in Shuafat, just hours after the deadly vehicular terror attack which killed a Jewish infant girl. Jerusalem police vow to step up arrests of rioters in wake of the attack.
There were also reports of Palestinian stone-throwing toward police and Border Police units operating in the Issawiya section of east Jerusalem. Police used crowd-dispersal methods to quell the unrest.
No injuries or damage was reported.
Near the entrance to the Shuafat quarter, a bus carrying soldiers en route to the IDF Central Command base came under a hail of rocks thrown by local Palestinians. There were no injuries reported.
The stone-throwers fled the scene soon after the incident.
On his Facebook page, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman posted a status linking the terror attack in Jerusalem to the horrific shooting that paralyzed the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
“The terror attacks that took place almost at the same time on opposite sides of the globe – Jerusalem and Ottawa – prove once again that terrorism is a worldwide plague that needs to be fought with force and without compromise,” Liberman wrote.
“Terrorism doesn’t stem from construction of homes in Jerusalem, Ottawa, New York, Madrid, London, or Moscow,” the foreign minister wrote. “Rather, it stems from a struggle against extremist Islam throughout the Western world. We stand by our friend Canada, which has proven by virtue of its joining the war against Islamic State and its steadfast support of Israel, that it doesn’t capitulate to terror. We will also continue to be determined in the fight against terror and terrorists.”
Thursday, October 23, 2014
European Union and Australia join Washington in denouncing fatal
ramming of pedestrians at train station
BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF AND AFP October 23, 2014, 12:14 pm | The Times of Israel|
The European Union and Australia on Thursday condemned a deadly attack that saw a
Palestinian terrorist ram his car into Israeli pedestrians standing in a train stop in
Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a baby and injuring others.
Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, tweeted his condemnation
of the attack, writing, “I strongly condemn terrorist attack in Jerusalem killing a baby and wounding
Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma posted a message on Twitter expressing his
shock at the incident.
“Shocked by terrorist attack in Jerusalem + condemn unreservedly,” Sharma wrote. “Esp
saddened by death of 3-month-old baby girl. Deep condolences to family.”
Eight other people were injured in the incident, which took place in the early evening. Israeli police
called it a “hit and run terror attack.”
Earlier, the US State Department denounced the attack.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen,
who was killed in this despicable attack,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a
“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”
The US State Department did not immediately confirm to The Times of Israel that the baby, Chaya
Zissel Braun, was a US citizen.
The driver, identified as Abdel Rahman Al-Shaludi, a Palestinian from Silwan in East Jerusalem,
died from his injuries early on Thursday, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center said. The 21-year-old
had been shot and wounded as he tried to flee the scene, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
It was the second such deadly incident in three months, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to immediately order an increase in police presence across the city.
During the last attack in August, a Palestinian man driving an excavator rammed a bus, killing one
Israeli and injuring five. Police shot the driver dead.
The early evening incident triggered clashes between stone-throwing youths and police in several
east Jerusalem neighborhoods which lasted late into the night.
Police warned they would not tolerate any further unrest, referring to clashes which have gripped
the eastern part of the city on an almost daily basis for the past four months.
“Jerusalem police emphasizes that it will demonstrate zero tolerance toward any incident of
violence and will put its hand on anyone who disturbs public order in the city and prosecute them
to the fullest extent of the law,” Samri said in a statement.
Extra police forces were deployed in areas of friction in the capital, police spokesman Micky
Rosenfeld told AFP. He said a number of people had been arrested for stone-throwing overnight
but declined to give numbers.
“On an operational level, police presence was reinforced with extra border police, a motorcycle
unit and other units who specialize in public order,” he said, indicating they were deployed in East
Jerusalem areas such as Wadi Joz, Issawiya and Silwan to prevent any fresh unrest.
He said police had activated “a strategic plan” to end the wave of unrest, which would incorporate
increased manpower, technological resources and intelligence.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Defense minister stresses solidity of US-Israel ties, but doesn’t hide
concern that a ‘bad deal’ on Tehran nuclear program may be looming
BY REBECCA SHIMONI STOIL October 22, 2014, 6:33 am
WASHINGTON — The formal motions of a 19-gun salute and a wreath-laying
ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Tuesday could not obscure the
distance between Washington and Jerusalem when it comes to the terms of a
nuclear deal with Iran.
“The Iranian question concerns us,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon acknowledged, shortly after
meeting here with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “The question of whether there will be an
agreement and what that agreement is concerns us, and I spoke with them about this,” he said.
“We are making our opinions known.”
The former IDF chief of general staff has had a tense relationship with the American
administration, notably since he referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year as
“obsessive” and “messianic” when it comes to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,
and privately rejected Kerry’s West Bank security proposals as unrealistic.
Evidently determined not to exacerbate those strains, Ya’alon did not harp on the diplomatic
implications of the yawning gap between Israel’s hopes for a deal that will strip Iran of its capability
to enrich uranium and Washington’s position that reduced enrichment and international monitoring
will suffice. He carefully described his talks with Hagel and other security officials as “generally
very good meetings which point to the excellent relations” between the two countries.
But Ya’alon also did not suggest that Israel and the US were any closer now to an agreed
position regarding the terms of an acceptable Iran deal. The United States is one of six negotiating
partners in the framework of the P5+1 talks with Iran, which face a looming November 24 deadline
to either come to an agreement or hammer out terms for an extension.
Israeli officials – notably including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – have publicly stated
repeatedly that Iran’s “military nuclear” capabilities must be dismantled. The US, by contrast, is
reportedly willing to push a deal that would leave Iran with a proportion of its uranium-enriching
Asked whether he believes Israel could live with a centrifuge-equipped Iran following a nuclear
deal, Ya’alon responded tellingly that “we have said along the way that sometimes it is better that
there is no deal rather than a bad deal. “
“The question is what we are talking about – if we are talking about a number of centrifuges, why
do we need to be talking about centrifuges at all? Are they talking about other aspects of the
Iranian military nuclear project, such as missile technology which can carry a nuclear warhead?
And what about other topics that lie outside the nuclear project, like terror?” Ya’alon added.
State Department officials involved in the negotiations have repeatedly reiterated that Iran’s other
problematic policies – its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,
as well as its own domestic human rights violations – are not on the table in the P5+1 negotiations.
They have also said, however, that even if a nuclear deal is struck, Washington will still wait for
changes regarding these other topics before normalizing relations with the Islamic Republic.
Ya’alon maintained Tuesday afternoon that “all of those topics are on the table as part of a larger
vision, that we think at least, are common interests between us and the United States.”
When pressed, Ya’alon would not say that he felt at all satisfied by the US position on Iran.
Instead, he emphasized that “we still haven’t concluded the visit, but it is an opportunity to express
our position and our thoughts on any number of topics including those that are still being debated.
There is an opportunity and a place and discussion.”
The Likud minister sought to downplay what have become frequent tit-for-tat exchanges between
some Israeli ministers and the Obama administration.
Only last week, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Kerry for comments in which the
secretary of state said it was imperative to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, since the
conflict was helping the Islamic State recruit new members. “There wasn’t a leader I met with in
the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and
the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they
felt –- and I see a lot of heads nodding –- they had to respond to,” Kerry said Thursday. “People
need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial
and absence of dignity.”
Ya’alon, no stranger to such brawls, said that he “thought [the topic] is behind us,” but also
acknowledged that “in general, there are disagreements, and we can’t always conceal them. It is
better that they are carried out behind closed doors; on this visit there have been opportunities to
Speaking amidst rows of American war dead in Arlington National Cemetery, Ya’alon added that
“we must not forget that the United States is really the State of Israel’s most important strategic
ally. In every aspect, they are the leading power in the world, whether it is economically or
militarily or diplomatically, and it is good that we have the opportunity to share our opinions.”
Ya’alon stressed that he believed that the core US-Israel relationship was sound. “I think that in
general as I see on this visit, the relationships [are] so strong and well-based – both on shared
values as well as shared interests – that I believe that we can weather these storms.”
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
By HERB KEINON | 10/21/2014 02:25 | The Jerusalem Post|
Israel and Hamas are expeceted to resume indirect negotiations in Cairo next week, following an invitation issued to both sides by the Egyptians.
The talks will come two months after a cease-fire went into effect ending Operation Protective Edge, and some two weeks after international donors pledged $5.4 billion to rehabilitate Gaza. The talks are meant to find a long-term arrangement in the Gaza Strip.
A senior Hamas official reportedly said the talks were set to resume on October 27.
"Hamas and the Palestinian factions will take part in a session of indirect negotiations with the occupation (Israel) on the 27th of this month at the invitation of Egypt," AFP quoted Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk as saying.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel’s position on the talks was simple: Israel supports the rehabilitation of Gaza on the condition that “this is not taken advantage of for the building of tunnels, or manufacturing rockets, or anything else that has a military-terrorist purpose.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, meanwhile, said it was clear Hamas is trying to rebuild its terrorist infrastructure.
He said he hoped the supervisory mechanism that has been put into place to oversee the transfer of construction materials into the Gaza Strip actually works.
“We have no reason to prevent the building of clinics or schools,” he said in an interview with Israel Radio. “But we do have to make sure that the supervisory mechanisms prevent them from using construction materials to rebuild the tunnels. We will know in a few weeks whether this supervision is effective or not. That is our responsibility.”
The two sides held indirect talks for less than a day in Cairo last month.
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