Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. The American Studies Association voted to boycott Israeli academics. I was especially impressed with the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s insightful coverage of the vote, what it means, and what’s next. (Links added).
Other major associations in the humanities and social sciences have not had members propose such resolutions, but two—the American American Anthropological Association and the Modern Language Association—have held or will hold panels at their annual conferences on the topic of academic boycotts of Israel.
See reactions from Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Chait, a Wall St. Journal staff-ed (click via Google News), plus the piling scorn on Facebook. Last word goes to Professor Jonathan Marks, who observed in the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News):
But if we—myself included—do not join together to save our professional associations from anti-Israel activists, we will bear part of the blame for erasing the line between scholarly work and propaganda.
2. Mahmoud Abbas couldn’t have chosen a better place than South Africa to come out against boycotting Israel (though he supports boycotting settlements). Here’s what Abbas told reporters, according to The Star:
“No, we do not support the boycott of Israel,” Abbas replied to a question.
“But we ask everyone to boycott the products of the settlements. Because the settlements are in our territories. It is illegal . . .
But we don’t ask anyone to boycott Israel itself. We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.”
Khaled Abu Toameh described the comments as A Slap in the Face to the BDS Movement.
3. Looking to break its energy dependency on Russia, Hungary seeks Israeli gas. Whoda thunk it?
4. A One Way Run: Not everything in Israel is as dramatic as the Irish Times portrays.
Israel and the Palestinians
• EU diplomats warned Israel not to announce new settlement plans after the next prisoner release. According to Haaretz:
The five largest EU states told Israel on Monday that if it declares construction of new settlements after the planned release of Palestinian prisoners at the end of this month, and the talks collapse, Israel will be held responsible.
• The relationship between left-wing Israeli non-governmental organizations and their European funding is contentious (especially nowadays). In this context, you’ll understand why I think the the Daily Telegraph unspinning Breaking the Silence is so eye-opening.
• The Jerusalem Post was at a conference addressing the distinctions between legitimate journalism and “terror media.” Worth chewing on because the UN’s considering making attacks on journalists a war crime. It’s not likely the world body will nail a decent definition of who is a journalist.
• Worth reading: Benjamin Pogrund debunks media myths surfacing since the death of Nelson Mandela. Pogrund, a South African-Israeli editor especially addresses:
- Israeli dealings with South Africa’s apartheid regime.
- Shaky parallels between ANC and Palestinian violence.
- So-called Israeli apartheid.
- The misrepresentation of Mandela.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Einat Wilf (refugees), Israel HaYom (Europe impinging on Israeli sovereignty), The Australian (BDS down under), and Gideon Rachman (Financial Times via Google News).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Chinese for foreign minister to arrive in Israel this evening. More at the Jerusalem Post.
• Imagine the outrage if Israel did this:
Exclusive: Syria region where polio found excluded from 2012 vaccination drive http://t.co/eRaaSebO8E
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 17, 2013
• Food for thought:
(Image of South Africa via Flickr/Chris Preen)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.