From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

Corrupting Academic Associations: The Mechanics

Ever wonder how they did it? How BDS activists managed to persuade academic associations with zero connection to the Middle East to pass boycott resolutions against Israel? The answer is provided by a lawsuit focused on the American Studies Association [ASA] against ten of those activists resulting in the release of over 17,000 documents turned over by current and former ASA leaders.  The suit charges that the activists, five of them members of the U.S.  Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [USACBI] (the faculty arm of BDS), engaged in a successful campaign (in 2013) to “covertly” take over the ASA and use it to support the BDS movement in violation of specific ASA bylaws.

The lawsuit identifies Rutgers assistant professor of women’s studies Jasbir Puar (who has repeated libels that Israel harvests the organs of young Palestinian men for scientific research) as chief strategist.  The suit charges that emails between the defendants show how Puar packed the ASA leadership with BDS advocates.  One advocate wrote: “In my conversations with Jasbir it’s clear that the intent of her nominations was to bring more people who do work in, and are politically committed to…the question of Palestine.” Emails between the activists also show that they agree not to include their goal of advancing BDS in their pitches to the membership for election to the ASA National Council.  The one candidate who disclosed his support lost—those who kept it secret were elected.  Once elected they manipulated ASA procedures to ensure the membership would not vote down the Council’s decisions by artificially freezing the cutoff date for dues payments.  Even then, the lawsuit claims, the BDS activists never obtained the number of votes necessary for a boycott but imposed one anyway!

In the case of other academic associations, the BDS activists employed a variety of ingenious devices—for example, holding the boycott vote at the end of the meeting when all but the BDSers had gone home.


Blood Libels at Rutgers

Mazen Adi

Rutgers has the distinction of having not one (Jasbir Puar) but two faculty members who have accused Israel of trafficking in human organs.  Rutgers has appointed as adjunct professor of Political Science Mazen Adi, who worked for Syria’s foreign ministry (most recently as legal adviser at the Syrian Mission to the UN) for 16 years.  While he was defending a boss who was actually guilty of gassing and starving Syrian citizens, including children, he was libeling Israel with a modern version of the blood libel–claiming it was harvesting the organs of Palestinian children. For the Rutgers administration Adi’s evil calumnies are obviously no barrier to his appointment.  Indeed its spokesman has responded to protests with self-righteous declarations that Rutgers supports the faculty’s right to free speech.  Now there’s a laugh.  To cite one example, in 2014 Condoleeza Rice, a black woman, a former Secretary of State, herself an academic by trade, an unexceptionable choice as Rutgers commencement speaker, was forced to bow out when a bunch of rowdy students decided she was not progressive enough for their taste.  There was no speaking out by the administration on her right to free speech; it scurried for cover.


Watch the Watchdog

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a candidate for most unsavory organization in this country—yes, there are worse, but the competitors tend to be forthright about their unsavory purposes and thus do less damage.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has set itself up as a watchdog monitoring and exposing hate groups and its claims are taken seriously by most of the mainstream media which dutifully label as such the more than 1,000 “hate groups” identified by the SPLC.  The only trouble: many are not hate groups at all but traditional Christian groups and groups exposing Islamic extremists.  As an editorial in New Boston Post pungently puts it: “Critics of Islamic extremism are labelled as anti-Muslim extremists.” That includes heroic figures like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is forced to live under armed guard for standing up for women’s rights under Islam, and Maajid Nawaz, author of Radical: My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism and founder of the Quilliam Foundation, which calls itself “the world’s first counter-extremism think tank.” Nawaz is suing the SPLC for defamation.

As for Christians, as New Boston Post observes, SPLC targets are “often Christian organizations which follow the same doctrines and beliefs that the church has followed for the past two millennia….Politicians who support traditional marriage such as Ben Carson are called out as ‘extremists.’”

While it fails miserably as a watchdog on hate groups, the SPLC’s long time head Morris Dees is a master at fundraising.  The SPLC’s net worth in 2015 was $350 million and it is still raking in money from this country’s plentiful supply of useful idiots including Apple, which recently donated a million dollars and J.P.  Morgan which coughed up $500,000.  As New Boston Post points out, while the term “useful idiot” originally referred to non-Communists who unwittingly helped Communism, “in this case, it’s not Communism being aided and abetted so much as calumny.  Shame on these corporations, which should know better than to aid and abet civil strife caused by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”


Israeli Backbone

Congratulations to Gilad Erdan, Minister of Public Security, and Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior, for refusing to grant entry permits to a delegation of 20 members of the European and French Parliament and mayors of French cities who have supported boycotting Israel and had announced in advance they planned to visit Marwan Barghouti in Hadarim Prison.  Until recently Israel had meekly accepted its role as a punching bag for phony “human rights” activists, in fact people whose mission is to destroy the state.  But in March the Knesset passed a law allowing those calling for a boycott of Israel to be denied admission.  This is the first time it is being used against European public officials.

While Israel is showing unexpected backbone, it might turn its attention to a much more dangerous area.  Dr.  Aaron Lerner of IMRA says it’s time for Israel to reconsider its “quiet for quiet” doctrine, which has been in effect since Prime Minister Barak retreated from Lebanon.  Israel has attacked equipment still in Syria but once it reaches Lebanon, quiet for quiet applies.  That allows Israel’s enemies to do anything and everything in preparation for attacking Israel (the policy was extended to Gaza after Sharon’s retreat.) Lerner points out one problem with this approach is that it assumes Israel has to worry at most about two fronts: Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south.  But now there is Iran to take into account.  Writes Lerner: “The longer we postpone demolishing the military threat that has built up during ‘quiet for quiet’ the greater the danger that attack capability is used as part of a larger operation against us.  As costly as it may be to act now, it could very well be the best choice of action.”


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Article by Ruth King

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

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