Palestinian Cracks in the Academic Boycott CampaignJanuary 20, 2014 16:58 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Not all Palestinian academics support boycotting their Israeli counterparts. The Chronicle of Higher Education even found a few willing to talk. Even more significantly, the NY Times republished Matthew Kalman’s dispatch from the ivory towers of Abu Dis:
A professor in the College of Pharmacy at Al-Quds, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, said more than 50 Palestinian professors were engaged in joint research projects with Israeli universities, funded by international agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development. He said that, without those grants, Palestinian academic research would collapse because “not a single dollar” was available from other places. He rejected the call for a boycott as having no practical value.
2. Palestinian journalists are already piqued with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Maan News reports his bodyguards got into a scuffle with some of the stringers covering his visit to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. As a result, the Palestinian Union of Journalists urged Palestinian journalists to boycott Harper’s West Bank visit.
A not-so-great moment in Palestinian sources led to two contradictory headlines. One’s based on Palestinian sources, the other based on Canada’s immigration minister. (Realizing it was burnt by the Arab reports it had relied on, the Jerusalem Post updated its coverage later in the day.)
3. In a last-minute reversal, UN chief Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to participate in the Geneva summit on Syria this week along with Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, the South Korea. You know what they say about too many cooks . . .
“As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis,” Ban told reporters on Sunday.
4. Shades of Anti-Semitism in The Economist: Do Jews control Congress?
Israel and the Palestinians
• Relative Calm Watch: Amid concerns of continued rocket fire, 4,000 Ashdod kids were kept home from school because their buildings aren’t suitably fortified. The majority of the city’s schools are fortified, and classes went on as usual for everyone else.
It would be dangerous to recognize this because this would mean our acceptance of the dissolution of our own history and ties and our historic right to Palestine. This is something that we will never accept under any circumstances.
• Once it becomes acceptable to demonize Israel, it’s not long till people use Israel to falsely smear their own enemies too. Turkey’s a case point, Today’s Zaman columnist Abdulhamit Bilici points out:
There was a survey recently conducted by a university about foreign policy perceptions in Turkey. According to this survey, 42 percent of the people interviewed perceived the US as the biggest threat to Turkey while 37 percent said the top threat was Israel. Therefore, the quickest way to launch a psychological warfare operation against someone or a group is to portray them as collaborating with the US and Israel. This is best label you can affix onto someone in order to isolate and demonize them within religious and conservative groups.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Israel allows Egyptian army to operate in north Sinai, even lets helicopters circle over Gaza airspace. But officials told the Times of Israel that turning up the heat on Hamas has to be done carefully because a massive retaliation against the Gaza Strip will significantly hamper Egypt’s ability to curb terrorism on the Sinai-Gaza border.
• Sign of the times: As international monitors dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program, Israel announced that it’s no longer distributing gas masks to the public. LA Times coverage.
• Reuters: Russia’s stepping up arms sales to Syria again.
(Image of atom via deejaywill)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.