a very good article

actsnoblemartin

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http://blog.beliefnet.com/virtualtalmud/

What Are We to Make of Gaza?
Commenting on the violence in Gaza, Jon Stewart quipped that those who hate Jews were overthrown by those who HATE Jews. So why should we care? The people in Sederot care, because they have suffered unrelenting rocket attacks since Israel left Gaza. The rest of us should also care because chaos anywhere threatens chaos everywhere.

Fouad Ajami’s Op-Ed in the New York Times last week blames the situation on Arafat for staying with the political myths of his people that they could have it all “from the river to the sea” rather than accept a decent and generous compromise offered by then Prime Minister Barak during the Clinton Administration. As someone once said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

However, there is certainly enough blame to go around for what is happening.

Some blame goes to the Arab countries for funding families of suicide bombers and other “martyrs,” rather than adequately investing in businesses, schools and other institutions that would have created jobs and hope. Last time I was on the West Bank two years ago, a Palestinian cab driver explained to me as we drove through a refugee camp that all he wanted for his children was to have a better life than he had. Most parents would agree. Arab investment in the West Bank and Gaza would have given the Palestinians the economic opportunities and real quality of life improvements that would have made peace, rather than terror, attractive.

Some of the blame falls on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Three years ago, I met an Israeli journalist who just came from a gun fight between Gazan factions. He predicted that unless an Israeli pullout was orchestrated to give Abbas the credit, Hamas would claim victory due to their violence, as did Hezbollah when Israel pulled out of Lebanon. That would lead to Hamas winning control of Gaza. Sharon could have used the pull out to bolster Abbas, even though Abbas seemed incapable of collecting weapons or stopping rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

Much more of the blame goes to President Bush for forcing elections in Gaza over the objections of PA and Israeli leaders. Abbas said he needed more time otherwise a Hamas victory was likely. Why the press is not slamming the Bush administration for again claiming “no one saw it coming” is beyond me.

However, most of the blame falls on the Palestinians themselves. They have gotten the leadership they deserved, for they--not President Bush--ultimately elected Hamas. They followed a corrupt and manipulative leader, Arafat, who, for years, was more concerned with maintaining his own power than leading his people to peace. He lined his pockets and suppressed the small group of intellectuals who sought to (ironically) bring an Israeli-style democracy to their fledgling nation. When Abbas failed to quickly deliver on his promises for transparency and reorganization (bread and roses), the people turned to Hamas, who, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, had spent years building its reputation for honesty through its social service programs (which were funded by donations from well meaning Americans as well as others).

So what do we do now? Thinking Gaza can be contained as a separate entity and not spill over into the West Bank is the kind of wishful thinking that got us into this mess there (and in Iraq).

As a rabbi, when all else fails, I turn to prayer. I pray God softens the hearts of our enemies and guides our political leaders to make wide decisions. I pray for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire who want a better life for their children. Is that a sign of my sense of helplessness in the face of such madness? I am not sure. I also believe God helps those who help themselves. Perhaps our politicians would do well to seek the advice of the journalists who have been covering the fractured West Bank and Gaza for years. if they had listened to them to begin with, we may not be in this mess.


Comments (35)


posted by Rabbi Susan Grossman @12:10pm Permalink Email This Add to:

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Thursday June 21, 2007
Earth to British Academics
Earth to British academics: Who are you and who cares what you have to say? My fellow blogger rabbis, Rabbi Waxman and Rabbi Grossman, along with Tom Friedman of the New York Times have already done a good job at pointing out the anti-Semitic undertones of this whole charade. Likewise, kudos should be given to Lee Bollinger of Columbia University who has lined up behind the Israeli Universities. As opposed to past incidents at Columbia where Bollinger was accused of being late in responding to Middle East issues, here he has put himself out in front of the issue and has made a very clear statement in support of academic freedom and Israel. Bollinger has gone so far as to exclaim:



"Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education."

To be honest, however, I am not getting all that worked up about the matter. No, not because I am in any way in favor of the boycott; it’s a disgrace on all British academics. But rather because in taking such a stance, they have only made themselves look foolish. The boycott only gives more food to fodder for those who mock and disdain intellectuals as irrelevant and unimportant. I love the academy and see it as an essential component of civilization and the betterment of society but when you hear pronouncements like this one you begin to understand why the influence of the academy has waned in the last 50 years.

The bottom line is that President George Bush has taken hit after hit by academics around America and yet he has won two elections. Next time you get a red and blue map see how many university areas voted for Bush--not many. The decline in influence excreted by academics is coupled with the disappearance of the responsible public intellectual who recognizes both the value and limitations of ideas in social and political contexts. The shrillness of certain academics has degraded the high moral ground the academy once held
 

jillian

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That actually is an interesting and insightful article. I'm not going to comment on the follow up comments. But I find it interesting that a realistic view of the situation would receive such a resounding silence.
 

Annie

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http://blog.beliefnet.com/virtualtalmud/

What Are We to Make of Gaza?
Commenting on the violence in Gaza, Jon Stewart quipped that those who hate Jews were overthrown by those who HATE Jews. So why should we care? The people in Sederot care, because they have suffered unrelenting rocket attacks since Israel left Gaza. The rest of us should also care because chaos anywhere threatens chaos everywhere.

Fouad Ajami’s Op-Ed in the New York Times last week blames the situation on Arafat for staying with the political myths of his people that they could have it all “from the river to the sea” rather than accept a decent and generous compromise offered by then Prime Minister Barak during the Clinton Administration. As someone once said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

However, there is certainly enough blame to go around for what is happening.

Some blame goes to the Arab countries for funding families of suicide bombers and other “martyrs,” rather than adequately investing in businesses, schools and other institutions that would have created jobs and hope. Last time I was on the West Bank two years ago, a Palestinian cab driver explained to me as we drove through a refugee camp that all he wanted for his children was to have a better life than he had. Most parents would agree. Arab investment in the West Bank and Gaza would have given the Palestinians the economic opportunities and real quality of life improvements that would have made peace, rather than terror, attractive.

Some of the blame falls on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Three years ago, I met an Israeli journalist who just came from a gun fight between Gazan factions. He predicted that unless an Israeli pullout was orchestrated to give Abbas the credit, Hamas would claim victory due to their violence, as did Hezbollah when Israel pulled out of Lebanon. That would lead to Hamas winning control of Gaza. Sharon could have used the pull out to bolster Abbas, even though Abbas seemed incapable of collecting weapons or stopping rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

Much more of the blame goes to President Bush for forcing elections in Gaza over the objections of PA and Israeli leaders. Abbas said he needed more time otherwise a Hamas victory was likely. Why the press is not slamming the Bush administration for again claiming “no one saw it coming” is beyond me.

However, most of the blame falls on the Palestinians themselves. They have gotten the leadership they deserved, for they--not President Bush--ultimately elected Hamas. They followed a corrupt and manipulative leader, Arafat, who, for years, was more concerned with maintaining his own power than leading his people to peace. He lined his pockets and suppressed the small group of intellectuals who sought to (ironically) bring an Israeli-style democracy to their fledgling nation. When Abbas failed to quickly deliver on his promises for transparency and reorganization (bread and roses), the people turned to Hamas, who, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, had spent years building its reputation for honesty through its social service programs (which were funded by donations from well meaning Americans as well as others).

So what do we do now? Thinking Gaza can be contained as a separate entity and not spill over into the West Bank is the kind of wishful thinking that got us into this mess there (and in Iraq).

As a rabbi, when all else fails, I turn to prayer. I pray God softens the hearts of our enemies and guides our political leaders to make wide decisions. I pray for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire who want a better life for their children. Is that a sign of my sense of helplessness in the face of such madness? I am not sure. I also believe God helps those who help themselves. Perhaps our politicians would do well to seek the advice of the journalists who have been covering the fractured West Bank and Gaza for years. if they had listened to them to begin with, we may not be in this mess.


Comments (35)


posted by Rabbi Susan Grossman @12:10pm Permalink Email This Add to:

Add to Del.icio.us
Add to Technorati
Add to Digg
Add to Newsvine

Thursday June 21, 2007
Earth to British Academics
Earth to British academics: Who are you and who cares what you have to say? My fellow blogger rabbis, Rabbi Waxman and Rabbi Grossman, along with Tom Friedman of the New York Times have already done a good job at pointing out the anti-Semitic undertones of this whole charade. Likewise, kudos should be given to Lee Bollinger of Columbia University who has lined up behind the Israeli Universities. As opposed to past incidents at Columbia where Bollinger was accused of being late in responding to Middle East issues, here he has put himself out in front of the issue and has made a very clear statement in support of academic freedom and Israel. Bollinger has gone so far as to exclaim:



"Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education."

To be honest, however, I am not getting all that worked up about the matter. No, not because I am in any way in favor of the boycott; it’s a disgrace on all British academics. But rather because in taking such a stance, they have only made themselves look foolish. The boycott only gives more food to fodder for those who mock and disdain intellectuals as irrelevant and unimportant. I love the academy and see it as an essential component of civilization and the betterment of society but when you hear pronouncements like this one you begin to understand why the influence of the academy has waned in the last 50 years.

The bottom line is that President George Bush has taken hit after hit by academics around America and yet he has won two elections. Next time you get a red and blue map see how many university areas voted for Bush--not many. The decline in influence excreted by academics is coupled with the disappearance of the responsible public intellectual who recognizes both the value and limitations of ideas in social and political contexts. The shrillness of certain academics has degraded the high moral ground the academy once held
I thought Jillian might find this interesting, there are links:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_07_01-2007_07_07.shtml#1183836974

[Jonathan Adler, July 7, 2007 at 3:36pm] Trackbacks
Boycotting the British UCU Boycott of Israel:

This morning I received the following note from Professor Steve Lubet of Northwestern University Law School that I thought would be of interest to VC readers.

Dear Colleagues:

As you probably know, the British University and College Union recently passed a resolution advancing a boycott of Israeli scholars and academic institutions. Whatever your political views on the Middle East, I trust you will agree that such a boycott is antithetical to academic principles. It shuts off dialogue, when one of the key purposes of universities is to promote dialogue and thereby the pursuit of truth. It ignores existing projects where Israeli and Palestinian academics cooperate. It requires academics to hew to one ideological line. And it constitutes discrimination on the basis of nationality. Many leading international scholars — including Palestinians — have issued statements in opposition to a boycott, recognizing that it violates essential academic values. In the words of Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, "In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas."

If you agree that the UCU boycott resolution is wrong, you may show your opposition by signing the petition circulated by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). It has already been signed by numerous Nobel Laureates and university presidents.
The text of the SPME petition is as follows:

We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives. We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong. To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott. We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded.​

To sign the statement, go here. A list of signatories is available here. Note that one need not support Israeli policies, or even the positions of SPME, to support this statement. Academic boycotts of this sort are, quite simply, contrary to the ideals of open intellectual discourse.
 

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