Renowned Middle East Scholars Bring Pro-Israel Message to UCSD

This post is a tad belated and was supposed to be published on a conservative website. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to publish it here on my blog. Better late than never!

Amid growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments at American universities nationwide—most pointedly the University of California—Jewish students and their pro-Israel allies must go on the offensive.

No one should dismiss the looming threat of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. It is a pervasive and equally contentious problem at universities. Instances like the disruptive antics of the “Irvine 11”, the physical assault of a UC Berkeley student, and anti-Semitic threats against a Rutgers University student, to name a few, evidence the need for Israel advocates to combat misinformation.

Here at UC-San Diego (UCSD), anti-Israeli bias is prevalent.

Following David Horowitz’s May 2010 appearance here—which resulted in a heated exchange between him and a female member of the Muslim Student Association—tensions escalated. For example, a May 2010 UCSD Guardian editorial insisted that Jewish students should feel threatened by “Israel Apartheid” week. More recently, UCSD’s chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) published a full-page ad condemning anti-Israeli bias on campus in the UCSD Guardian, only to receive condemnation from various pro-Palestinian apologists.

Nevertheless, the case for Israel on campus is a legitimate one.

On October 3, 2011, UCSD’s SPME chapter hosted a lecture entitled, “The Palestinian Bid for Statehood at the UN: Breakthrough or Setback?” to discuss the implications of a Palestinian state rooted in terrorism. This event came in wake of Friday’s deliberations over whether or not the United Nations should grant unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) to Palestinians.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is a global organization that boasts chapters in the United States, Europe, and Africa. It started in 2002 by various university faculty members upset by the rise of anti-Semitism on campuses. SPME desires to bring “rational and civil discourse” by “recognizing academic freedom and freedom of speech with rights and responsibilities.”

Four lecturers gave their respective takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist.

The first speaker, Professor Donna Robinson Divine of Smith College, discussed the Arab Spring and its impact on peace talks.

Divine said through the “Arab Spring, particularly with the upheaval of Egypt, Abbas lost major support…patron in Hosni Mubarak.”

She added that the Arab Spring’s anti-Israeli sentiment signals “more demonstrations and protests, more anger expressed at Egypt signing a peace treaty” and “more anger expressed at Israel.” She concluded her speech by illuminating the problem with Mahmoud Abbas’ failure to negotiate peace with Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The Palestinian leadership—Mahmoud Abbas—even if Israel agreed to every demand, Mahmoud Abbas cannot deliver an end of the conflict because Hamas rules Gaza.”

Divine was followed by Professor Jonathan Adeleman, Ph.D., of University of Denver.

Adeleman discussed the case for Israel in terms of pragmatism and real politick. He noted that Palestinians would win the popular vote in the United Nations, but would not garner enough votes from the U.N. Security Council. This, he says, is attributed to “how much more powerful is Israel in the international arena than the Palestinians.”

He added, “Israel is a major power economically, militarily” compared to the Palestinians

Dr. Roberta Seid of UC-Irvine then discussed the implications surrounding peace talks, with respect to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Seid remarked, “One of the main reasons there is this opposition is Abbas’ move would cut off peace through direct negotiations.”

“The whole Oedipus of peacemaking is undermined, including the legitimacy of the PA, which was set up by the Oslo Accords. It supports and rewards this Palestinian tactic of bypassing negotiations and avoiding concessions for peace. It also—were the UN to approve this—would increase more violence,” she added.

The lecture concluded with Kenneth L. Marcus of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. He discussed legal rights of Jewish students as enumerated in the Education and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“If you look at the hot topics of the Middle East…it has played out in various ways on college campuses,” Marcus said.

He discussed cases ranging from the Irvine 11’s recent indictment over disruption charges to UC Berkeley’s failure to protect Jewish students from assault with respect to Jessica Felber’s case.

He added, “The Office of Civil Rights of Dept of Education is not a court, but is important for ensuring that students in public schools don’t face discrimination…If you see this abuse on campus, seek it out.”

To contrast Israel bashing at American universities, scholars and students should demand civil and rational dialogue at their respective campuses. They cannot allow pro-Palestinian proponents to dictate debate and equally spin misinformation about Israel.

Lectures like this one at UC-San Diego are promising. More events like this across the country can propel the defeat of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments at universities.

Perfect: Conservatives Unveil

Although the GOP Establishment is keen to make Mitt Romney our nominee, conservative resistance is slowly building up to counter their efforts. We cannot afford a candidate that boasts many similarities to President Obama, let alone one that flip-flops and is a RINO.

A coalition of conservatives recently unveiled a new website:

Here is their first video:

And  here is their press release:

Coalition of Conservatives Launches
“Not Mitt Romney” Effort in Early States

New Web Site with Petition, Web Ad
and Publishes Iowa and NH Op Eds

MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Today conservative activists, operatives and bloggers are announcing the formation of a new “Not Mitt Romney” (NMR) coalition dedicated to preventing Romney from winning the Republican nomination.
Three of the coalition’s cofounders had a guest column published in the Des Moines Register on Sunday, “Conservative Iowans owe it to Nation to Reject Mitt.” They also had a guest column published in today’s New Hampshire Union Leader.
NMR Coalition co-founder Ali Akbar, a Republican communications consultant and Vice President, Digital Strategy, at Vice and Victory Agency, said, “Primaries are a good place to vet and try a candidate. Mitt Romney is that candidate and this primary is far from over. A nominee, worse a President, whom we have no idea where he stands on the issues presents a danger to our Party’s brand and this unique time in history where true reforms can actually happen. The American people want truth and the Republican Party would do well to offer it, lest we snatch defeat from victory’s jaws again.”
NMR Coalition co-founder John Hawkins, a professional blogger who runs Right Wing News, said, “In 2008, conservatives let the GOP Establishment and the mainstream media select our nominee for us. How did that work out? Does anybody really have the slightest idea what Mitt Romney would do as President? Nobody can even reasonably predict where he’ll be on any issue six months from now, much less what he’d do if he became the leader of the free world.”
NMR Coalition co-founder Matt Mackowiak, President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC, said, “Mitt Romney is an honorable man, but he is not a conservative that we can trust. America faces greater challenges today than at any time in the last 70 years. Nominating a candidate whose history has shown a commitment to opportunism rather than conservative principles is a recipe for electoral disaster next year. Nominating a candidate for whom the base has zero enthusiasm is also a recipe for electoral disaster next year, as it was in 2008. I desperately want to defeat President Obama for reelection and absolutely believe that this coalition effort is helping achieve that. We need bold colors, not pale pastels.”
The coalition, which was publicly created by 20 individuals, launched on November 6, 2011, the one year anniversary of Election Day 2012. On the site, the public may sign an online petition agreeing that “Mitt Romney should NOT be OUR nominee,” access information about Romney’s career of flip flopping on major issues and invite others to join the effort.
In addition to the website, the Not Mitt Romney coalition launched a twitter account (@MittFlipFlops) and twitter hash tag: #NotMitt. . . .
This coalition campaign will include targeted voter contact in early states, which will include phone and door to door contact, email marketing, paid and earned media and online targeting.
This coalition is not paid for by any candidate campaign or Super PAC, but rather is organized solely by its creators, who include supporters of many of the other conservative candidates who are running and some who remain undecided.

I was asked by Ali to endorse the petition, but of course I am strictly a neutral objective journalist, so I can merely report on the existence of the petition, which cannot be considered an endorsement.

(h/t: The Other McCain)