American Historical Association: Anti-Israel-HAW-resolution-2016

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I became aware of the American Historical Association’s meeting in Atlanta where they are planning to reintroduce the same motion that was voted down in January of 2015.

Here is the video of Jeffrey Herf who rallied historians to vote negatively on this proposition. He thoroughly exposed the speciousness of the arguments put forth by the HAW – Historians Against the War. And yet here they are putting forth the same tired arguments with many “historians” signing onto it.

And here is the current resolution with a list of all the members of the American History Association who have signed onto it and are set to vote on the same proposition at the 2015  Atlanta meeting.

I am not impressed by the credentials of all these historians. On the contrary, I think they should reconsider their signing onto this kind of resolution that has very little to do with historical scholarship. And if they really were to explore this with a historian’s eye as Prof. Jeffrey Herf did, they would think twice before signing onto this kind of proposition.

I share below the full proposition:

Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

WHEREAS, members of the historical profession support the Right to Education, including the universal access to higher education enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education can be exercised only when students and faculty have the freedom of movement to teach and study at institutions of their choice;
WHEREAS, Israel’s restrictions on the movement of faculty, staff and visitors in the West Bank impede instruction at Palestinian institutions of higher learning;
WHEREAS, Israel routinely refuses to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad or at West Bank universities;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education is undermined when state authorities raid or close campuses;
WHEREAS, in summer 2014, Israel bombarded fourteen institutions of higher learning in Gaza, partially or completely destroying nine, and its military routinely invades campuses in Jerusalem and the West Bank and frequently impedes entry;
WHEREAS, the Right to Education can be exercised only with access to a broad range of ideas and a diverse faculty; and
WHEREAS, Israel restricts the right to lecture or teach at Palestinian universities by denying entry to select foreign nationals, including US citizens; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the AHA upholds the rights of Palestinian faculty and students to pursue their education and research freely; and
Resolved, That the AHA calls for the reversal of Israeli policies that restrict the freedom of movement, including denial of entry to foreign nationals; and
Resolved, That the AHA calls for the cessation of physical attacks on Palestinian educational institutions; and
Resolved, That the AHA commits itself to monitoring Israeli actions restricting the right to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.1

Signatories

Signatories of the “Protecting the Right to Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” resolution who are AHA members in good standing as of November 1, 2015.

Paul Adams, Shippensburg University
Kevan Aguilar, University of California, San Diego
Guy Aronoff, Humboldt State University
Silvia Marina Arrom, Brandeis University
Jeanie Attie, Long Island University
Aaron Bae, Arizona State University
Marc Becker, Truman State University
Jonathan Beecher, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joel Beinin, Stanford University
Norman Bennett, Boston University
Jade Bettine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Allison Blakely, Boston University
Renate Bridenthal, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Kaye Briegel, California Stater University, Long Beach
Michelle Campos, University of Florida
Alejandro Cañeque, University of Maryland
Juan Carona Zabala, University of California, San Diego
Clayborne Carson, Stanford University
Amy Chazkel, CUNY, Queens College and the Graduate Center
Bruce Cohen, Worcester State University
Deborah Cohen, University of Missouri, St. Louis
Juan Cole, University of Michigan
Sandi Cooper, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Paul Croce, Stetson University
Kenneth Cuno, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Daniel Czitrom, Mount Holyoke College
Leena Dallasheh, Humboldt State University
Natalie Davis, Princeton University
James D’Emilo, University of South Florida
Jennifer Derr, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dennis Deslippe, Franklin & Marshall College
Sandra Deutsch, University of Texas, El Paso
Alan Dillingham, Spring Hills College
Justus Doenecke, New College of Florida
Thomas Dublin, SUNY, Binghamton
Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
Geoff Eley, University of Michigan
Mark Elliot, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Marjorie Feld Babson College
Thomas Field, Embry-Riddle University
Eileen Findlay, American University
Jerise Fogel, Montclair State University
Tami J. Friedman, Brock University
Warren Goldstein, University of Hartford
Stephen S. Gosch, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Van Gosse, Franklin & Marshall College
Marc Goulding, University of Central Oklahoma
Karen Graubart, University of Notre Dame
Anthony Gronowicz, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
Martin Halpern, Henderson State University
Elizabeth Heineman, University of Iowa
Kelly Herold, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Luis Herran Avila, New School for Social Research
Gerald Horne, University of Houston
David Hostetter
Temma Kaplan, Rutgers University
Rebecca Karl, New York University
Mary Kelley, University of Michigan
Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie, Howard University
Dina Khoury, George Washington University
Peter Kirstein, St. Xavier University
Thomas Klubock, University of Virginia
Dennis Kortheuer, California Stater University, Long Beach
Scott Laderman, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Jesse Lemisch, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Deborah T. Levenson, Boston College
Zachary Lockman, New York University
Henry Maar, University of California, Santa Barbara
Andrae Marak, Governors State University
MJ Maynes, University of Minnesota
Teresa Meade, Union College
Shane Minkin, University of the South
Marissa J. Moorman, Governors State University
Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of Michigan
Ruth Mostern, University of California, Merced
John Munro, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax
Pamela Murray, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Melanie J. Newton, University of Toronto
Mary Nolan, New York University
Enrique Ochoa, California State University, Los Angeles
Melina Pappademos, University of Connecticut
Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College
Roger Peace, Tallahassee Community College
Samuel Pearson, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Lewis Perry, St. Louis University
Jeffrey B. Perry, Independent Scholar
Margaret Power, Illinois Institute of Technology
Jean H. Quataert, Binghamton University
Michael Reagan, University of Washington
Thomas Ricks
Alfred Rieber, Central European University and University of Pennsylvania
Shira Robinson, George Washington University
Sonya Rose, University of Michigan
Karin Rosemblatt, University of Maryland
Ellen Ross, Ramapo University
Doug Rossinow, Metropolitan State University
Adam Sabra, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sara Scalenghe, Loyola University Maryland
Johanna Schoen, Rutgers University
Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University
Kirsten Schultz, Seton Hall University
Joan Scott, Institute for Advanced Study
Paul Seaver, Stanford University
Robert Shaffer, Shippensburg University
Martin J. Sherwin, George Mason University
Daniel Sidorick, Rutgers University
Robyn Spencer, Lehman College
Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara
Ted Steinberg, Case Western University
David Suisman, University of Delaward
James Swarts, State University of New York at Geneseo
Dennis Sweeney, University of Alberta
Carol Symes, University of Illinois
Lynn Thomas, University of Washington
Judith Tucker, Georgetown University
Daniel Walkowitz, New York University
Frank A. Warren, Queens College
Barbara Weinstein, New York University
Robert Whealey, Ohio University
Jon Wiener, University of California, Irvine
Carol Williams, University of Lethbridge
Rhonda Y. Williams, Case Western Reserve University
Lawrence Wittner, University of Albany
Marilyn B. Young, New York University
James Young, Montgomery County Community College
Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University

Note

1. For documentation, see http://historiansagainstwar.org/aha16/.

I hope all of the above professors will be reading this post. I have already reached out to several professors who are planning to promote this resolution. Judith Tucker (Georgetown University). Tucker will be chairing a “Roundtable on Violations of Academic Freedom in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,”
Andrew Zimmerman and Shira Robinson (George Washington U.)
Robinson will be giving a talk accusing Israeli archives of “forgetting the Palestinians” and Zimmerman is scheduled to chair a session on “Boycott Campaigns: California, South Africa, Palestine.” Prof. Prasannan Parthasarathi of Boston College, another sponsor of the resolution condemning Israel, will also be speaking at the AHA assembly in Atlanta. Barbara Weinstein (NYU), Robyn Spencer (Lehman College) and Luis Herran Avila (New School for Social Research) and Geoff Eley of the University of Michigan are all apparently speaking out in support of this resolution.

On the other hand I just received this article about a Palestinian professor, Dr. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi formerly from Al Quds university.

A Lonely Palestinian Moderate

As told to Machla Abramovitz | Monday, December 28, 2015
Dr Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, the Weston Fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, was once a Fatah activist in Beirut determined to destroy the Israeli enemy. These days, though, he speaks of peace. Dr. Dajani, a secular Muslim and founder of American graduate studies at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem who now lives in Washington DC, made headlines last year when he took Palestinian graduate students on a study tour of Auschwitz. The idea was to expose Palestinian students to the attempted Nazi genocide of the Jewish People, something standard Palestinian education promotes as exaggerated at best, mythological fantasy at worst. But Dr. Dajani couldn’t have anticipated the outrage that followed. He lost his job at Al-Quds, and Palestinian critics torched his car and threatened his life. Despite these personal setbacks, he remains steadfast in his determination to establish a model for peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. “We, as a generation, have inherited this conflict, so it is important that we leave for our children a peace inheritance. We seek reconciliation in the midst of conflict,” he told Mishpacha. “The idea is that moderation leads to reconciliation; reconciliation paves the way for negotiations with good spirit and good will, which leads to conflict resolution, which will lead to democracy and prosperity.”

 Scholars of history should stick to scholarship and measure their actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antisémitisme / Islamisme Qu’ont-ils en Commun? Et sont-ils tout aussi importants l’un et l’autre?

Un billet de Abigail Hirsch
traduit par Hélène Anna
ISGAP, l’ Institut pour l’Étude de l’Antisémitisme parraine des conférenciers effectuent des recherches sur le phénomène de l’antisémitisme. J’ai assisté à presque toutes les conférences à l’Université McGilll à Montréal  depuis le début car je suis également mandatée pour filmer les conférences.
Gunther Jikeli, un spécialiste sur cette question, vient d’écrire un livre dans lequel il expose ses recherches sur l’état actuel de l’antisémitisme en Europe. Il a récemment présenté les fruit de ses recherches dans le cadre de ces conférences.
Jikeli book
Jikeli a interrogé les populations musulmanes vivant en Europe et les populations non-musulmanes. L’article de l’investigative project résume certaines de ses conclusions.
La plupart de ces enquêtes étaient basées sur les réponses des sujets aux stéréotypes sur les Juifs, en leur demandant de se mettre d’accord ou en désaccord avec de telles déclarations: «les Juifs ont trop de pouvoir dans la vie politique» et «les Juifs ont trop de pouvoir dans les médias.” Pays par pays, le nombre de musulmans d’accord avec ces déclarations antisémites a dépassé de loin celui des non-musulmans.
Ce qui rend le rapport ISGAP particulièrement intéressant est la preuve qu’il offre contre la croyance communément répandue que la classe sociale, la discrimination et autres facteurs similaires jouent un rôle dans l’antisémitisme musulman en Europe. Jikeli note plutôt que “le niveau de l’antisémitisme augmente avec le niveau de religiosité et les interprétations fondamentalistes de l’Islam.” De plus, il ajoute : “bien que l’antisémitisme est particulièrement forte chez les fondamentalistes ainsi que pour les croyants et ceux qui pratiquent la religion musulmane, le niveau de l’antisémitisme parmi les moins religieux musulmans est encore plus élevé que dans la population générale.”
Aujourd’hui, tout le monde sait que les textes sacrés de l’Islam, le Coran et les Hadiths, sont remplis de prescriptions à haïr les Juifs, et à faire la guerre contre eux, parce qu’ils sont des gens mauvais et maudit par Allah. Même un musulman qui n’est pas très religieux a été élevé avec ces idées antisémites.
Néanmoins, cela ne veut pas dire que l’antisémitisme européen et nazi a totalement disparu. Cette réalité a elle aussi été corroborée par la recherche du professeur Jikeli. L’antisémitisme avoué par l’extrême droite est seulement légèrement inférieure à celui de la population musulmane en général.
Croyez-vous que ces inepties? Croyez-vous que les Juifs méritent d’être attaqués? Ont-ils méritent d’être attaqués dans l’Allemagne nazie?
Quelle est la similitude entre l’idéologie anti-juive nazie et de la haine anti-juive islamiste? Je crois que la similitude réside dans le fait que chacune de ces idéologies prétend qu’il ne peut atteindre son rôle messianique qu’en détruisant l’autre, en le diabolisant.
Maajid Nawaz, un ancien islamiste radical, explique ce qu’est le djihad:
Le djihad est une idée traditionnelle musulmane impliquant un combat, parfois un combat spirituel personnel, parfois un combat contre un ennemi extérieur. Le djihadisme, cependant, est tout autre chose: c’est la doctrine qui met de l’avant l’usage de la force pour répandre l’islamisme…
Il donne également une définition de l’Islam:
L’islam est une religion, et comme toute autre religion, il est diversifié. L’islamisme, en revanche, est la volonté d’imposer une seule version de l’islam sur toute la société. L’islamisme est pas l’islam, mais il est une émanation de l’islam. C’est la théocratie musulmane.
Aucune stratégie destinée à vaincre l’islamisme ne peut réussir que si l’islamisme lui-même et son expression violente dans le djihadisme ne sont pas d’abord nommé, isolé et compris. Il est fallacieux de prétendre que l’État islamique est entièrement dissociée de l’islam tout autant que d’affirmer qu’il est synonyme de l’islam. l’État islamique a en effet quelque chose à voir avec l’islam, ni «rien», ni «tout», mais quelque chose. Ce quelque chose c’est le fait que tous les islamistes justifient leurs arguments en utilisant écritures islamiques et cherchent à recruter des musulmans.
L’antisémitisme est une branche de l’idéologie islamiste anti-infidèle qui menace actuellement le tissu même de tous les Etats-Nations européens comme on le voit par les attaques aveugles récents en France, en Espagne, à Londres et aux Etats-Unis.
Tout comme un tyran devient plus fort quand personne ne se lève pour le contrer, l’antisémitisme se développera si les gens restent les bras croisés et refusent de nommer la bête, qu’elle vienne de musulmans ou non-musulmans. L’immoralité des antisémites et les djihadistes doit être exposée et toute violence doit être sévèrement traitées si l’Europe veut faire des progrès dans sa lutte contre l’islamisme et toute autre doctrine pernicieuse comme l’antisèmitisme.

anti antisemitism French

Antisemitism/Islamic Jihad/Do they have anything in common

Antisemitism/Islamic Jihad – Do they have anything in common?  And are they equally important? Prof. Gunther Jikeli of Germany has just published a book on his research of antisemitism among Muslims in Europe today.

Jikeli bookThe first graph below based on research by Fondapol surveyed Muslim populations and non-Muslim populations living in Europe. They were asked to agree or disagree with the following statements:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 10.01.37 AMThe above graph measure what percentage of the population that self identifies as Muslim, or members of far left or far right organizations agree with each of these questions.  What do you think about the above statements? Do you agree with any of them?  Do you agree with the first question – “The Jews use today their status of victim-hood of the Nazi genocide during the second world war for their own interest?” According to the graph 40% of the European population whether Muslim far right or far left, agree with this statement. Do you agree with this statement? What about the second statement: 2. “The Jews have too much power in the economy and the financial world”?: What about the third statement 3 – “The Jews have too much power in the media?”. What about the fourth statement 4 – “The Jews have too much power in politics?” What about the fifth statement 5 – “The Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis”? What about the sixth statement 6 – There is a Zionist conspiracy on a global scale?”

And what about these questions: Are Jews evil? Are Zionists trying to take over the world?  Do Jews deserve to be attacked? Did they deserve to be attacked in Nazi Germany? What about Israelis? Are they any more criminal or evil than anyone else?

Perhaps you are among those, whether you are Muslim or not, who do not agree with these statements. Are you represented above or below the yellow line in the graph?  The line measures  the percentage of antisemitic ideas among those people who do not self identify as part of either the far left or the far right in Europe. Their agreement with the above statements  varies widely from 35 % of the population to 6% of the population polled depending on the individual question. In this way the graph examines the not always obvious beliefs about Jews in the general European population whether they are Muslims or not, whether they are members of the far left or the far right. The highest number, 35% of the European population believe that, “The Jews use today their status of victim-hood of the Nazi genocide during the second world war for their own interest?”. This is a sickening statistic attesting to the underlying antisemitic notions of the European public and attests to the lack of understanding of many in Europe that the systematic murder of six million Jews was not just another atrocity but a rupture of civilization. How did professors, philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, professionals, and the common man, acquiesce to the Nazi program of expulsion and murder of their Jewish compatriots, and so many other Jews just because they were born Jewish.

By now everyone knows that the sacred texts of Islam, the Koran and the Hadith are chock full of commands to hate the Jews because they are such evil people and cursed by Allah. The Jikeli research additionally offers evidence against the commonly held belief that social class, discrimination, and similar factors play a role in Muslim antisemitism. It is rather that the level of antisemitism rises with the level of religiosity and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.(reference)

Moreover, anti-zionism, anti-Israel propaganda is also part of the ideology of Islamic Jihad. and more and more outrageous ideas about Israel and Jews are propagated every day by the Islamic world. Have you heard that Israel is the creator of Islamic Jihad? An article by Manfred Gerstenfeld exposes these outlandish ideas that are daily propagated by Islamic scholars.

 

Although Muslims are most prominent in their assent to these antisemitic tropes or lies about Jews, Europeans – on the far right and the far left are not far behind.

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Where does European non-Muslim antisemitism come from? Again Manfred Gerstenfeld reminds us:

This idea of Jews being absolute evil is ensconced in history. Christianity has long promoted it by saying that the Jews were eternally responsible for killing the “son of god.” This was in their view the worst imaginable act. In his book, The Devil and the Jews, Joshua Trachtenberg wrote that medieval Christendom perceived the Jew as “sorcerer, murderer, cannibal, poisoner, blasphemer.”[13]

 

As you can see from this graph, some of them are Muslims, some are identified as belonging to the far right/Nazi parties and most are not identified. This exposes the lack of attention paid to these antisemitic violent crimes by the authorities and the public.

Sadly, anti-zionist, anti-Israel Muslim forces, often those advocating on behalf of Palestinian refugees, have long been active in poisoning the minds of  European/western students about Israel as well.  On many universities in Europe and in North America, Israel is equated with the Nazi state and with Apartheid South Africa, and similar calumnies, such as the IDF harvesting organs for trafficking and murdering babies.

The acceptance of such antisemitic ideas among Europeans, whether Muslim or not, is highlighted by the popularity of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. Below are two slides created by Prof. Jikeli to illustrate this point.

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And just as any bully will only be strong if no one stands up to him, the silent acquiescence to antisemitic ideas by the general public has greatly emboldened the anti-semites and the jihadists and resulted in a massive increase in hostile antisemitic actions.

Antisemitism has greatly increased in France since the year 2000 as most people have stood idly by and refused to name the beast whether it comes from Muslims or non-Muslims. And this has resulted in a massive and increasing exodus of Jewish families from France where they feel unsafe. The increase in antisemitic acts and antisemitic violence is documented below.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.36.01 AMHowever antisemitism is only one strand of the anti-infidel Islamic jihad ideology. And these supremacist false Islamic ideas currently threaten the fabric of all European and non-European western democratic nations as can be seen by the recent indiscriminate attacks in France, Spain, Belgium, England, Australia, Canada and the United States.

The picture below documents the recent attackers of innocent civilians in a cafe, in a concert hall etc.of which I am sure you are all well aware.

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The immorality, prejudice, and violent acts of the anti-semites and the jihadists have to be exposed, condemned, and prosecuted both by individuals, the media, and the state, if Europe is to make any headway in its current struggle with Islamic jihad and antisemitism. We all have to clearly understand what is antisemitism, what is Islamic jihad, and we must expose these and any other  pernicious political currents that promote violence as a tool for change.

If you want to see the insidious workings of these forces in the world for yourself  watch this report on a notorious U.N. human rights official Alfred de Zayas — a hero to Holocaust deniers — for his new essay absurdly blaming the Paris terrorist attacks on America, the West and Israel.

Are these ideologies important to understand? Yes indeed, for the sake of all humanity. If we don’t open our eyes, face these issues, and do our part, we are all doomed.

And here is a video of the seminar by Professor Jikeli that I participated in at McGill that this essay is based on:

 

 

Islamic Terrorism on the World Stage Post Paris Attacks

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.24.53 AMOver the weekend, the Islamic State issued a Statement on the Blessed Onslaught in Paris against the Crusader Nation of France.

The “believers” who carried out the attack, it says, regarded Paris as

“the capital of prostitution and vice, the lead carrier of the cross in Europe.”

The above is a quote from an article in the Washington Post: Reality Check: Forget Paris: Will We Ever Learn by Clifford May. Here is more from that same article detailing the time-posts of the Jihadi-wars. Some of us have long memories.

For almost two generations, since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, self-proclaimed jihadis have been fighting to re-establish Islamic supremacy and domination in the world. Leaders of the nations they have been targeting have regarded them as a problem – but mostly not as dangerous enemies who must be decisively defeated. And so their numbers have grown and their ability to project power has increased. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda splinter that arose after America’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, was quick to take responsibility for last week’s carnage in Paris. This follows by less than a year its attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a French Jewish supermarket. Also attributed to the Islamic State: a double suicide-bombing in Beirut on Thursday and, in October, a bombing in Ankara and the blowing up of a Russian passenger jet.

The Islamic State’s rival is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which prefers to pretend it was not behind such attacks as those in Beirut in 1983, Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, Berlin in 1992, and Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012; not to mention the failed plots to bomb New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2007 and a restaurant in Washington, D.C., in 2011.

Also alive and well and lethal: Nigeria-based Boko Haram, Somalia-based al Shabaab, Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I could go on.

As the blood ran red in Parisian streets, President Obama responded with expressions of sympathy and support for the victims. He should not be faulted for that. Nor should he be expected, at such moments, to say anything incisive or insightful. What is disappointing – though no longer surprising – is how reflexively he distorts reality to conform to his unwavering preconceptions. The attack in Paris, he insisted, was directed against “all of humanity and the universal values that we share.

By now it should be fairly obvious that the terrorists are targeting only specific subsets of humanity: e.g., Christians, Jews, secularists and other “infidels,” along with any Muslims who refuse to embrace their medieval reading of Islam. And self-evidently, the jihadis and those cheering for them do not share Mr. Obama’s values, which means, by definition, those values are not “universal.” (emphasis mine) Time and again, the jihadis have demonstrated that they have other values and that they are willing – indeed, eager – to both kill and die for them.

Ignoring that, Western leaders have prattled on about “countering violent extremism” through jobs programs and foreign aid. They have maintained that “there is no military solution” and that we can rely on diplomats to effectuate “conflict resolution” employing “soft power” and “smart power.” Mr. Obama has reassured us: “The tide of war is receding.”

When our enemies are more honest about who they are and what motivates them than most of our political leaders, academics and journalists, we have a problem.

Who is prepared to begin fixing it? Among those vying to succeed Mr. Obama is there anyone who strikes you as having the courage and the leadership skills necessary to facilitate what Churchill, at a moment when the Third Reich seemed unstoppable, called “a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor”? (Would most Americans today even understand that phrase?) The next commander in chief must resume leadership of the Free World (another phrase that, sadly, has come to sound archaic) and develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat jihadism in all its forms – Sunni and Shia alike.

Such a strategy will need to include a muscular military component. That necessitates rebuilding, rather than continuing to diminish, the armed forces of both America and Europe. Immigration reform is urgent – with national security as the top priority, not an afterthought. Nations willing to fight jihadi forces require much more support from Washington than they’ve been receiving over recent years.

A war of ideas – a war against jihadism and Islamic supremacism – is long overdue. Such endangered Western values as freedom and tolerance must be defended. Currently, that’s not even happening on American campuses.

If you can identify such a candidate, he (or she) deserves your vote. The alternative is to forget Paris and let this cancer metastasize for another generation or two. By then, however, our children and grandchildren will be living in a very different world from the one our parents bequeathed to us.” (emphasis mine)

Emil Fackenheim’s Thought: CIJR Conference

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 4.13.41 PMRecently I attended and filmed the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research Conference on  “The Jewish Thought of Emil Fackenheim” in Toronto (Sunday, 25 October 2015). Emil Fackenheim  (1916-2003) was a German-born Jew who went on to become a  philosopher in his own right, a Professor of  Philosophy at the University of Toronto and, after making aliyah, a professor at the Hebrew University as well. He was not only a philosopher but also an ordained German Reform Rabbi. Emil Fackenheim became known for  probing the antisemitic dimensions of German Idealist philosophy, for studying the impact of the Holocaust on Judaism and on secular modern thought, and for demanding that Philosophy address the Holocaust. In this context he analyzed critically  the secular philosophers, including Hegel,  Nietzsche,  and  Heidegger  (who espoused the Nazi   movement).

Bringing a Jewish perspective to Fackenheim’s thought, Professor David Patterson, Hillel A. Feinberg Chair of Holocaust Studies of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, presented a paper: A Jewish Philospher’s Critique of Philosophy: Emil Fackenheim’s Response to the Holocaust. Emil Fackenheim asks the question: What does philosophy have to do with Auschwitz?

Professor James A. Diamond, Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair, Jewish Studies, University of Waterloo, compared the writings of the Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe, Rabbi Shapira, with Fackenheim’s teachings in a paper titled God’s Infinite Pain: Encounter between Emil Fackenheim and the Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe. Professor Sally Zerker, Professor Emeritus York University, spoke on the subject Emil Fackenheim and Post Zionist Jewish Intellectuals.

Over lunch time, we were treated to a keynote address by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, President Emeritus, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Rabbi John Moscovitz, Rabbi Emeritus Holy Blossom Temple, spoke about Fackenheim’s ideas of Tikkun Olam and Mending the World.

Many of Fackenheim’s students and friends, spoke about Fackenheim’s impact on them. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate, a  colleague, and  personal friend, sent a brief video greeting.  We were fortunate to have Fackenheim’s son, Joseph Fackenheim, now a theater director living in Toronto, share some thoughts about his father. Joseph feels that he is carrying on his father’s legacy by bringing the Jewish Theatre Aspaklaria to the Toronto stage.

Peter Margo, National Board Member of CIJR, who had known Fackenheim as a young immigrant in Montreal shared: The Young Fackenheim in Canada: a Personal Reminiscence.

Professor Edward Alexander, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Washington sent a Letter on Emil Fackenheim, which was read by Professor Krantz.

Several of Fackenheim’s students were present. Professor Sharon Portnoff, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Connecticut College, and a student of Fackenheim’s, presented a paper, Emil Fackenheim’s Moral Seriousness in the Art of Living. Professor MIchael Morgan, Grafstein Chair in Philosophy and Jewish Studies, University of Toronto,  examined Fackenheim’s Legacy. Professor Paul Merkley, Professor Emeritus of History, Carleton University, also a student of Fackenheim’s presented: Emil Fackenheim: The Perspective of a Christian Realist. And another student, Professor Victor Shepherd, Professor of Theology, Tyndale University College and Seminary, presented a spirited tribute: Emil L.Fackenheim: Gratitude for the Gift He Was.

And academic scholars of philosophy also presented these papers:

Professor Kenneth Green, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto presented on Emil Fackenheim and the Political Theology of Diabolical Evil, while Professor David Novak, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, spoke on Emil Fackenheim and Heidegger.  Professor Martin Yaffe, professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Texas presented a paper: After 50 Years: Emil Fackenheim on Hermann Cohen.

CIJR (Canadian Institure for Jewish Research) is planning to publish these papers and to post the videos of the lectures.

In the meantime below is a video of Professor Emil Fackenheim himself, presenting his ideas during a conference at the University of Oregon entitled Ethics and the Holocaust: He gave a paper entitled:  Holocaust  as a Persistent Threat to Thought.
Emil Fackenheim’s talk begins at 8:46 minutes and he speaks for an hour. But you will appreciate this, I am certain,  for the originality, the erudition and the passion of his presentation.

Confronting BDS Today: SPME conference, Baltimore

In May of this year, with several students, I attended a conference sponsored by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists at the University of Baltimore Law School on Confronting  BDS – the radical left wing Palestinian movement to boycott Israel on campus.

Richard Landes, a renowned historian, put forth the ideological underpinnings of BDS as more of a secessionist religion of converts that believe in its mission as an ideological utopia rather  than as an intellectual debate. This is the only thing that makes sense when you experience the stonewalling that anyone who is not in the BDS camp gets when they attend one of theses BDS meetings. Yes I speak from experience. Every year they stage a week of speakers as part of the travesty know as Israel/apartheid Week. They bring in speakers like Ali Abunimah and Steven Salaita. And woe to anyone who dares to disagree.  Attending their meetings, I have been accosted with the words “why are you here?”.  They know I don’t buy their party line, but sadly I am the only dissenting voice in the room. It is more like a church gathering than an academic meeting.

Alexander Joffe, a scholar and an author spoke about his research regarding the funding networks of the BDS movement and its links to the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR.

Jeffrey Herf, an intellectual historian, sociologist, political scientist and Professor of Modern European History shared the exact timeline and actions that took place in his fight to lead the members the American Association of Historians to vote “no” regarding  a BDS motion. His talk exposes the nefarious tactics of the people who promote these motions in an attempt to politicize campus academic institutions.

Allan Dershowitz, the renowned lawyer and retired Harvard law professor answered  questions from the audience:

Sadly the news about BDS was not new to me, however it bears sharing.  I never considered myself right wing or left wing but the lies and calumnies of the Israel/apartheid BDS gang that have proliferated on American and Canadian campuses need to be exposed and it behooves the Jewish community and the non-Jewish community to come to grips with the tactics and concerted efforts put forth by trade union/communist networks aligned with Muslim Brotherhood organizations that aim to divide campus communities and initiate and arouse unsafe, antisemitic environments for any pro – Israel supporters and of course for Jews, whether they support Israel or not.

Please share this blog with students, academics, and the general public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewish Learning is Not Just for Children

Every one knows that Jewish civilization rests on the bedrock of the education of children. However study of Jewish texts and values is not limited to children. It happens to be one of the fundamental behaviors that Jewish men and women of all ages are enjoined to practice throughout their lives: study is a lifelong aspiration and a primary goal for all Jews. Here in Montreal, we are fortunate that classes are held all week and every week at various venues, synagogues and community centers. We are blessed with exceptional teachers and can be busy with Jewish learning every day of the week. In addition Rabbi Steinmetz and Rabbi Jacobsen have been offering a full day of learning to the community every year for the last several years. The most recent day of learning took place last Thursday, June 25th, 2015. This time I recorded their classes and want to share them with you so that you too can taste the nature and scope of what we call Jewish learning. I videotaped these talks and share them with you here.

1) Hachnasat Orchim – Hospitality towards strangers in the Jewish tradition: What is its Source and Why is it Important?  (Rabbi Steinmetz)

2) Why are the Jewish people called G-d`s witness. What does this mean and what are we being called upon to  witness or to testify to? (Rabbi Jacobson)

3) Talmudic Study: “acquiring an accidental treasure, when unanticipated value emerges, who owns it?” Rabbis and class sharing one on one discussion. This is typical of the way Jews study texts via inquiry but difficult to video.

4) The Racist Murders in Charleston: Is Forgiveness possible? This talk was a response to the families of the murdered victims in the Charleston Church shooting offering the murderer forgiveness at the funeral of the victims. Rabbi Steinmetz argues that offering forgiveness without asking for any reflection from the perpetrator deprives the perpetrator of the opportunity for  acknowledging his transgression and working through any personal responsibility abd regret that is involved in “asking for forgiveness? (Rabbi  Chaim Steinmetz)

5) Quebec’s Bill 52 and the “right to die”: A Jewish perspective on this issue. 1,the obligation to avoid suffering and 2. the need to appreciate every life to its very end.

(Rabbi Jacobson)

Exposing IAW and BDS on campus

bdsI have been attending the IAW Israel/apartheid week and BDS  lectures and and observing their behavior in Montreal for at least five years.

The Palestinian Mafia on campus systematically takes over student union positions, something not too difficult to do since most students are totally uninterested in student government issues, preferring to focus on study and grades and getting that degree. The student union fees are automatically deducted from students’ fees.
The “student union” in Montreal is not part of the university and does not come under the jurisdiction of the university. It comes under the labor law and the jurisdiction of labor unions. They become therefor untouchable unless students wake up to where their funds are going.

I know this because of personal experience.
In Montreal, and I can see that IAW and BDS uses the same tactic everywhere.  On campuses all over North America the same speakers and programs are offered. It is clear that they are a well organized franchise having very little to do with student leadership.

Their most recent pretty boy is Steven Salaita, the professor who was declined for a tenure position at the University of Illinois for his poor scholarship and egregious tweets regarding the recent war in Gaza.
I attended his talk here in Montreal last week and recorded it.
 The hall was full of those and only those who are already convinced of the “cause”. They tried to dissuade me from attending. They wanted to know “why I was there”. I was the only one in the room not clapping and not adulating the speaker.

The other modus operandi of BDS and IAW is to infiltrate left wing student organizations, and student media. Check out the student run media In Montreal, CUTV, a tv lab run by student union funds, and the student run radio station, CKUT 90.3fm, that is totally infiltrated by professional Palestinian activist students. In addition the students infiltrate left wing student causes and organizations, convincing them that they are in the same boat as the Palestinians. They prey on underdog issues, aboriginal causes, feminism, queer issues, sexual harrassment, infiltrating these student organizations and comparing Israel and the Palestine issues to South Africa and its apartheid era. (Any scholar can differentiate between these two but these people thrive on the innocence and ignorance of students seducing them to these “social justice” causes by false information and a false narrative: ie, that the Israelis are Jewish “colonizers” who have stolen Arab lands. That the Israelis are committing “genocide” vis a vis the Palestinians. The BDS mafia has no respect for history or numbers. Very few students are in a position to check them. In addition to bringing false information about the Israel/Palestine situation, by bringing rogue Israeli soldiers and “professors” Jewish, and otherwise, in this way they wage a psychological campaign for the hearts and minds of college students.
And sadly I have seen even legitimate tenured college professors supporting them. Because the left wing rhetoric can be compelling. I used to have an uncle who while not being a leftie himself was wont to pronounce, “the world is veering to the left”…that was before the fall of Communism.

Students and the public are beginning to understand this situation. This year 2014/2015, the McGill student union brought two motions for the university to boycott and divest from Israeli enterprises. They were defeated in the autumn term because students made a concerted effort to invite students who never attend student GA’s to come out and vote “No”. The student leaders then put it on the agenda again in the spring term close to exams. This time in addition to student mobilization, Justin Trudeau himself, an alum of McGill showed up to denounce the motion and it was defeated 267 – 217.
Ryan Bellrose, a Metis from Calgary, has personally waged a one man campaign to show how the aboriginal situation in Canada is more like the Israeli position than the Palestinian position.

But how many people can involve themselves in a serious way in this ugly battle.
In addition to the blogs that I have published on my own site (www.askabigailProductions.com)  and the blogs that Ryan Bellrose has published (http://www.cuwi.ca/ryan-bellerose.html), I am aware of several organizations that have stepped up to the plate to expose this situation. SPME, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East), CIJR (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research), ISGAP (Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism).

I would love to hear from you on this issue.

Abigail Hirsch, CSW
CEO askabigail Productions
March 18, 2015

What is the Israel/apartheid, BDS movement all about?

workers party europeWhat is the Israel/apartheid movement all about? It is a  radical left wing, communist workers party, focusing on Israel as the “bad guy capitalist” and “colonial” entity. They will tell you that they don’t focus only on Israel and its true. They also are anti-Canada and anti-US. They court aboriginals with incitement that Canada has “stolen lands from the aboriginal Indians”, and claim to support feminist and “queer” issues, and all anarchic environmental and political issues. Their current flag waving is about the prospect of raised student fees. Certainly any serious academic can punch giant holes in all their arguments but they are convinced of their self righteous political correctness, of being on the side of “justice” and “human rights”.

So why have they made a name for themselves with the Israeli issue? Because they think they can. Why did the Nazis target the Jews? Because they were a distinct and demonized minority, easy to push around. We now realize that this is antisemitism.  As Prof.Wistrich pointed out “there are some things that only an intellectual would be stupid enough to believe…Intellectuals invented modern antisemitism”

The BDS Israel/apartheid movement is doing the same thing. It is attracting students with the call for “social justice” by using spurious academic arguments regarding Israel as a colonial entity who has “stolen” Arab land and is committing genocide vis a vis the palestinians. They call it “apartheid” and call for Justice for Palestinians. The Nazis also had their academic supporters. They too were spurious.

Anyone who believes this is not a sophisticated organizing labor/union party is fooling themselves. And by the way, apparently student unions in Quebec fall under the legal law of labor unions. I learned this the hard way, via an experience of discrimination by a Concordia student union enterprise: CUTV. When I complained to the university authorities, they told me their hands were tied because the student union comes under the labor union law and is a defacto union, supported by student fees.

They call themselves a grass roots movement similar to the unionizing movement of another era.  They adopt the tactics of Saul Alinsky, the social worker of the early twentieth century who supported the unionizing of farm workers in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. And they infiltrate victim-associated student groups in order to get them to align themselves with their subverted Palestinian narrative. For example one of the titles of their talks is

from Turtle Bay to Palestine”

Turtle bay is a Canadian Aboriginal community

I quote from a recent article published by SPME, Schlars for Peace in the Middle East:

Academic freedom” is invoked today by the BDS movemetn largely to criticize two Satans – America and Israel.  Only sexual harassment appears exempt from this blanket protection. Gradually the entire campus has become an “academic freedom” zone where protests often filled with anti-Israel speech that demonize the Jewish State qualify as academic “speech.”  Universities have enacted “speech codes” and imposed restrictions on “hate speech” in an attempt to curtail speech that academics find uncongenial. But these codes and restrictions do a pitiful job protecting against the falsehoods waged against Israel. Clearly, academic freedom is a one-way street; only those having the “correct” opinions may claim it.

In conclusion, the IAW/BDS movement propogates a false and delegitimizing narrative vis-a-vis Israel under the banner of “social justice”.

And this is why, I, who am not an academic, feel compelled to share with you my experience and understanding of the IAW and BDS campus movements. IAW and BDS is subverting the minds of our students with false narratives and they need to be “called out”.

But don’t take my word for it, Here is a very detailed and well researched article on BDS its supporters and funding.

Unmasking BDS: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends