This op-ed by Neil Berro was published in The New Haven Register, November 15, 2011.
Was it 30 years ago that I began my Jewish community service career, the week in March that President Ronald Reagan was shot?
When in college on my first trip to Israel in 1975, I barely knew there was such a thing as Jewish community service in which people worked full time. My mom always had done event fliers at the temple and my dad had volunteered in the early years to do the synagogue's financial books, while leaving the prayer books to higher authorities.
I always wanted to give back, believing it would never be possible to pay back the kindness and opportunities I was blessed to receive. Something in me said: Strive for social justice.
While American Jews still enjoy bountiful opportunities, there continues an unabated hate and terrorism campaign against Israel.
It is as if the enemies of Israel are unwilling to reflect upon needed reforms in their societies without being prodded by protests and revolutions. Even then, Israel remains the whipping boy and scapegoat for Arab and Muslim nations
The Arab Spring has revealed how much work needs to be done to advance liberal democracy.
Israel in the last 30 years has built a largely modern society. Its scientists win Nobel Prizes. Along the way, Israel makes sacrifices of land for peace with uncertain commitments in return. Egypt, since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, has seen a breakdown in order in the sensitive Sinai Peninsula, where critical gas flows to Israel under the peace accord. On several occasions, sabotage has shut delivery while the Egyptians have been slow to restore contracted service, in an apparent attempt to raise prices.
Egypt's emerging electoral process includes many calling for the abrogation of the long-standing peace treaty with Israel.
With Iran making existential threats against Israel, with 100,000 Hamas and Hezbollah rockets ready and with nervous Arab regimes, such as Syria, threatening to deflect domestic attention by attacking Israel, Few can argue that Israel
their has achieved a sense of permanence and peace with law-abiding neighbors. While Iranians speed to nuclear bombs, Israel must endure the bombast with the knowledge of history that those who threaten to kill Jews en masse mean what they say.
While 1,000 murderers and assorted serious felons are returned unharmed, Israel places an equivalent value on the life of one young soldier. Sadly, many a Jewish family will be saying Kaddish for the dead because of such a painful choice to obtain the release of Gilad Shalit, who became every Israelis' child. The 1,000 freed Palestinians are the equivalent of 1,000 freed Cheshire home-invasion killers - not exactly an axiom for reassurance or for the prospects for peace.
For me and many Americans of all backgrounds, there remains the hope and expression that Israel will soon enjoy a full and meaningful peace with her neighbors grown tired of excuses instead of internal progress.
It is a small hope at best. Yet, in the region there are growing numbers of Arabs and Muslims who realize the future is hopeless without change that begins at home.
I have worked and waited for this to happen for 30 years. I have raised money to post flabby, middle-aged guards outside kindergartens in Israel. No people anywhere should ever have to do that. Sadly, kindergarten children are a favorite target of Palestinian killers.
Peace is possible, but only if and when the hatred and fascist ideology that drove the Nazis and continues to drive some in the Islamic world is finally retired forever.
Neil Berro of New Haven has worked for Jewish and Israeli causes since 1981. Write to him at the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I was recently sent a copy of a misguided appeal calling on members of the New York University community to pressure TIAA-CREF to act against the only bastion of liberal values in the Middle East. As an alumnus of NYU, I wrote the following letter to one of the people propagating that misguided appeal. It is followed by a copy of the offending email.
Dear Ms. Katz:
For most practical purposes, any Israeli "occupation" ended in the mid-1990s, near the beginning of the failed Oslo process. All the Arabs in Gaza and roughly 95 percent of those in Judea and Samaria (aka the "West Bank") live under their own, albeit brutal and corrupt, governments.
Further progress awaits a turnaround on the part of the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, who have repeatedly refused to accept the establishment of their own state in virtually all of the disputed territory and have refused to even negotiate with Israel for more than two years.
In practical terms, "Justice in Palestine" is impossible to achieve, since the injustices emanating from more than six decades of brutal Arab war on the Jews in their homeland can never be rectified. Pressuring Israel, the victim, only encourages continued conflict and, ironically, probably harms the Arabs more than anyone else.
Mahmoud Abbas has finally acknowledged the Arabs made a mistake in not accepting the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. Unfortunately, he has not internalized the real, immoral aspect of that "mistake" and effectively repeats that mistake every day as he refuses to accept the existence of the world's only Jewish state and refuses to make peace.
If you are interested in promoting the welfare of the Arabs in the portion of the world the Romans renamed "Syria Palaestina" in their exercise in ethnic cleansing, I suggest pressuring the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership to end their glorification of terrorism, their continued assault of innocent Israeli civilians and their boycott of peace.
And, as an alumnus of NYU, I urge you to take advantage of the education you are being offered, learn to distinguish between truth and lies and propagate the former rather than the latter.
Department of Mathematics
University of Connecticut
The following is the original, misguided appeal:
LETTER RE: DIVESTITURE
From: Sara Katz
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 23:08:18 -0500
Subject: TIAA-CREF Campaign
I'm a sophomore in College of Arts & Science and a member of NYU Students for Justice in Palestine. Last semester SJP launched a campaign for NYU faculty, students, and staff to call on TIAA-CREF to divest its holdings in companies that profit from the ongoing US-backed Israeli occupation. We have only just begun to realize the support of the NYU community and hope to expand our campaign greatly over the coming months.
Following this letter is a list of the 174 faculty and staff members who have signed our open letter to Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA-CREF. For information regarding our campaign, please see the link below. If you are interested in signing the letter, you can either reply to this email or do so online: http://nyusjp.wordpress.com/tiaa-cref-campaign/
Please let me know if you have any questions.
- Sara Katz
View our campaign here: http://nyusjp.wordpress.com/tiaa-cref-campaign/
1. Sandra Adams - Department Administrator, French, College of Arts and Science
2. Rodolfo Aiello - Senior Language Lecturer, Department of Spanish and Portugeuse, College of Arts and Science
3. Jonathan Alexander - Sherman Fairchild Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts
4. Awam Amkpa - Associate Professor of Drama, Social and Cultural Analysis; Director, Africana Studies, College of Arts and Science
5. Gary Anderson - Professor of Educational Leadership, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
6. Peder Anker - Associate Professor of History of Science
7. Sinan Antoon - Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
8. Arjun Appadurai - Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
9. Karl Appuhn - Associate Professor of History, College of Arts and Science
10. John M. Archer - Professor of English, College of Art and Science
11. Aline Baehler - Senior Lecturer, Department of French
12. Michael Balter - Adjunct Professor of Journalism
13. Nancy Barton - Clinical Associate Professor of Art and Art Education
14. Adam Becker - Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Classics Director of Religious Studies
15. Thomas Bender - University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History
16. Georgina Dopico Black - Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
17. Ned Block, Julius Silver Professor, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science
18. Neil Brenner - Professor of Sociology, Social and Cultural Analysis
19. Barbara Browning - Associate Professor of Performance Studies
20. Craig Calhoun - Professor of Sociology; University Professor
21. Christopher Cannon - Professor of English
22. Marisa Carrasco - Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
23. Vivek Chibber - Associate Professor of Sociology
24. Gene Cittadino - Clinical Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
25. Robert Cohen - Adjunct Professor of German
26. Joy Connolly - Associate Professor of Classics
27. Frederick Cooper - Professor of History
28. Marty Correia - Assistant to the Chair, Dept. of American Studies
29. Medhat Credi - Arabic Language Lecturer; Middle East Studies Association; American Association of Teachers of Arabic
30. Raffaella Cribiore - Professor of Classics
31. Shamita Das Dasgupta - Adjunct, Law School
32. C. Daniel Dawson - Adjunct Professor, Gallatin
33. Patrick Deer - Associate Professor of English
34. María de Lourdes Dávila - Clinical Assistant Professor: Spanish and Portuguese
35. Dipti Desai - Associate Professor of Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human development
36. Muriel Dimen - Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology
37. Carolyn Dinshaw - Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis and English
38. Ana Dopico - Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish and Portuguese
39. Lisa Duggan - Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis
40. Stephen Duncombe - Associate Professor, Gallatin
41. Henry Em - Associate Professor, East Asian Studies
42. Kathy Engel - Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts and Faculty Administrator, Office of Community Connections
43. Paula England - Professor of Sociology
44. Khaled Fahmy - Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, History
45. Michelle Fawcett - Adjunct Professor, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development
46. Allen Feldman - Associate Professor, Media, Culture and Communication
47. Hartry Field - Silver Professor of Philosophy
48. Sibylle Fischer, Associate Prof. and Chair, Spanish & Portuguese
49. Juan Flores - Professor, Dept of Social and Cultural Analysis
50. Luis Francia - Adjunct Professor, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Dept. of Social & Cultural Analysis
51. Elaine Freedgood - Professor, Dept of English
52. Rosalind Fredericks - Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
53. Toral Gajarawala - Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature
54. Ahu Gemici - Assistant Professor of Economics
55. Patricia DeGennaro - Professor of International Security, Department of Politics
56. Michael Gilsenan - Professor, Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies
57. Gabriel Giorgi - Associate Professor Spanish and Portuguese
58. Ann Goerdt - Assist Professor of Physical Therapy
59. Jeff Goodwin - Professor of Sociology
60. Gayatri Gopinath - Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis ; Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies
61. Linda Gordon - Professor of History
62. Greg Grandin - Professor of History
63. David F. Greenberg - Professor of Sociology
64. Ed Guerrero, Associate Professor - Cinema Studies/Africana Studies
65. Nadia Guessous - Assistant Professor/Director of Graduate Studies, Hagop Kevorkian Center
66. Hanna Gurman - Clinical Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
67. Hala Halim - Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies
68. Yukiko Hanawa - Senior Language Lecturer
69. Christine Harrington - Professor of Politics; Institute for Law and Society (Associated Faculty); and New York University School of Law (Affiliated Faculty)
70. Scott Hightower - Adjunct Faculty, Gallatin School
71. Denis Hollier - Professor, Department of French
72. Richard Hull - Professor of History
73. Colin Jerolmack - Assistant Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies
74. Neville Kallenbach - Professor of Chemistry
75. Rebecca Karl - Associate Professor, History & East Asian Studies
76. Jair Kessler - Assistant Director, Remarque Institute
77. Arang Keshavarzian - Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies
78. Mehdi Khorrami - Clinical Professor of Middle Eastern Islamic Studies
79. Ilya Kliger - Assistant Professor, Russian and Slavic Studies
80. Michael Landy - Professor of Pyschology
81. Jill Lane - Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
82. Andrew H. Lee - Librarian for History, European Studies, Iberian Studies, Soccer & Politics
83. Tamer el-Leithy - Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
84. David Levering Lewis - Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History, NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi
85. David Levene - Professor of Classics
86. George Levine - Visiting Professor of English
87. Jacques Lezra - Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature; Chair of Comparative Literature
88. Jocelyn Lieu - Adjunct Professor, English, Faculty of Arts & Sciences
89. Zachary Lockman - Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and History
90. Beatrice Longuenesse - Professor of Philosophy; Acting Director of Graduate Studies
91. Thomas Looser - Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, Director of Graduate Studies
92. David Ludden - Professor of History
93. Ritty Lukose - Associate Professor, Gallatin
94. Steven Lukes - Professor of Sociology
95. Holly Maguigan - Professor of Clinical Law
96. Jeff Manza - Professor of Sociology
97. Randy Martin - Professor and Chair of Art and Public Policy (Tisch)
98. H. Salvador Martinez - Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Former Director of NYU in Spain
99. John Maynard - Professor of English
100. Anna McCarthy - Associate Professor of Cinema Studies
101. Aziz Mehdi - System Network Administrator
102. Eve Meltzer - Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
103. Ara H. Merjian - Assistant Professor of Italian
104. Adam Meyers - Clinical Associate Professor of Computer Science
105. Mona Mikhail - Emeritus professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies
106. Mark Crispin Miller - Professor of Media Ecology,
107. Mara Mills - Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication
108. Bella Mirabella - Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study
109. Ali Mirsepassi - Professor of MEIS and Sociology, Gallatin
110. Sylvia Molloy - Schweitzer Professor of Humanities
111. Paul Monsour - Adjunct Professor, Courant Institute
112. David Thornton Moore - Associate Professor, Gallatin
113. Ann Morning - Assistant Professor of Sociology; Center for Advanced Social Science Research
114. José Muñoz - Professor of Performance Studies
115. Vasuki Nesiah - Associate Professor of Practice
116. Mary Nolan - Professor of History
117. Sana Odeh - Faculty Liaison for Global Programs, Department of Computer Science
118. Bertell Ollman - Professor of Politics
119. Deborah K. Padgett - Professor of Social Work
120. Crystal Parikh - Associate Professor, Department of English and Social and Cultural Analysis
121. Michael Peachin - Professor of Classics
122. Haley Peele - Administrative Coordinator, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
123. Ann Pellegrini - Associate Professor, Performance Studies and Religious Studies
124. Susan Pelosi - Adjunct Lecturer, Silver School of Social Work
125. Dana Polan - Professor of Cinema Studies
126. Maurice A. Pomerantz - Assistant Prof./Faculty Fellow Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
127. Mary Louise Pratt - Silver Professor and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures
128. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan-Visiting Professor of English, Global Distinguished Professor of English
129. Arvind Rajagopal - Professor of Media, Culture & Communications, Steinhardt
130. Mark Read - Adjunct Professor, Gallatin
131. Timothy J. Reiss - Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Distinguished Scholar in Residence
132. Nancy F Regalado - Professor of French, Medieval & Renaissance Center; Director, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program
133. Erica Robles-Anderson - Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication
134. Andrew Ross - Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis
135. Kristin Ross - Professor of Comparative Literature
136. Everett Rowson - Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies
137. Deirdre Royster - Associate Professor, Sociology & Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
138. Martha Rust - Associate Professor, English
139. Josefina Saldaña-Portillo - Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis
140. Greta Scharnweber - Associate Director, Outreach, Hagop Kevorkian Center
141. Martin Scherzinger - Associate Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication
142. Frank Schiro - Professor, Vocal Performance
143. Nadrian Seeman - Sokol Professor of Chemistry
144. Eduardo Segura - Senior Lecturer, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
145. Burt Shachter - Retired Professor of Social Work
146. Lytle Shaw - Associate Professor of English
147. Stephen Schiffer - Silver Professor of Philosophy
148. Ella Shohat - Professor, Art and Public Policy; Affiliate with NYU Faculty of Arts and Science Department of Middle Eastern Studies
149. John Victor Singler - Professor of Linguistics
150. Laura Slatkin - Professor, Classical Studies, Gallatin School
151. Nancy Smith Amer - Department Administrator, Department of Classics
152. Alan Sokal - Professor of Physics
153. George Solt - Assistant Professor of History, East Asian Studies
154. Marie Cruz Soto - Clinical Assistant Professor, Gallatin
155. Robert Stam - University Professor, Cinema Studies
156. Justin Stearns - Assistant Professor in Arab Crossroads Studies, NYUAD
157. Constance R. Sutton - Professor of Anthropology
158. Helga Tawil-Souri - Assistant Professor, Media Culture and Communication
159. Nina Thomas - Clinical Associate Professor, Co-Chair, Relational Orientation at NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
160. Paul Thompson - Associate Professor, Tisch School of the Arts
161. Sinclair Thomson - Associate Professor of History
162. Thuy Linh Tu, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis.
163. Jim Uleman - Professor of Psychology
164. James David Velleman - Professor of Philosophy
165. Daniel J. Walkowitz - Professor of History and Metropolitan Studies
166. Marc Walters - Associate Professor of Chemistry
167. Jeremy Walton - Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow, Religious Studies
168. Stephen Wangh - Affiliated Professor, Tisch
169. Sarah Waterbury - Staff, Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program & Institute
170. Barbara Weinstein - Silver Professor of History
171. E. Frances White - Professor, Gallatin and Social Cultural Analysis
172. Marilyn B. Young - Professor of History
173. Edward Ziter - Associate Professor, Drama
174. Angela Zito - Associate Professor of Anthropology, Religious Studies; Co-director of the Center for Religion and Media
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
In the spirit of fair play and respecting others’ points of view and beliefs, we in the West have fallen into a most interesting and stealth- like trap. One, I might add, that is used by all groups who do not share our way of life in the West nor do they share our same sense of toleration and humanity. They have enabled a destructive narrative to consume all manner of public discourse and in turn produced national policies that are detrimental to our survival. The strategy of disrupt a society from within is replete with multiple tactics-the use of language is but one such tactic.
For reasons mentioned by many, the narrative of “offensive language and behavior” has been allowed to promulgate throughout all stratum of our society. The agents of academia and MSM accelerated the “offensive” language myth. Weapons appear in many different forms, words are the 21st century weapon of choice among many groups who have a design to tear down the West from within-unfortunately we are cooperating quite nicely!
The tactic is quite simple to understand and use. You know your enemy believes one should exhibit tolerance of others; you further know that you can undermine a person’s credibility and legitimacy by calling the man or woman a name that slurs his/her good standing inside a society. You know then that your enemy will refrain from challenging your words (fear of “offending”) and your enemy will either ignore or criticize anyone who dares make a challenge. You have learned how to de-legitimize your enemy. You have used stealth-like words to neuter your opposition. This accomplished,
allows you to demand specific policies supporting your beliefs and values while nullifying your enemies long held convictions.
Guess what? This tactic has produced value-added outcomes in our enemies’ war against us and we choose to ignore the fact we are at war, 21st century style war. For example, our Marine soldiers fighting so many miles away from home now must not urinate or spit in the direction of Mecca as it “offends Islamic human senses”. Yes, an edict has then been generated to our soldiers to change how where they perform a daily human activity. Absurd-yes and the reason I chose this one from thousands of examples. There are far more “serious” offenses that have resulted in humans being murdered, maimed and injured for life. Everyone remembers the Mohammed cartoon event and how could we forget the simple act of a female having a coffee with a male that leads to her death?
As upsetting as these and other examples are for we Westerners to accept or even understand, we have chosen to “stand down” in the face of this war tactic currently in play here in the USA. This road of value submission leads us in a direction I do not want my grand children to engage. Therefore, I offer the following.
Offensive language does not exist except in the minds of those who choose it. I have found that individuals do not offend anyone; fact is I am the only one that can do this to myself. Why do I write this? The state of being offended is simply my personal reaction to words and this is a learned behavior-therefore I can control it. Personally I believe that I am in charge of this not anyone else. No one was born “being offended”-rather, you learn to respond this way.
Our enemies know this and have taught their people to respond and act in a particular manner to specific language as it produces the desired effect-we call this political correctness today. “Being offended” is an example of irresponsible behavior by the person claiming to be so offended. Fact is, the person assumes no accountability, blames others and gives his “power” away to someone or something outside his abilities to be human.
What to do with this information? Consider the following immediate actions: 1. You are not responsible for any person’s perception; you are responsible for words selected. 2. From this moment forward speak your mind regarding what you believe about your beliefs and your values-they are as legitimate as the Islamists’ views. 3. Cease being concerned what others think about your intentions as no one but you knows your intentions. 4. Challenge anyone who falsely claims you are “offending” them-consider saying, “It is your choice to perceive what has been said as offensive and btw why do you choose being offended? What is in it for you?” 5. Be clear what you personally believe, treat others with behavior as you would like to be treated and understand you no longer have to tolerate the intolerant. Doing the latter does not make you a good person, a righteous person, or a more moral person. It does demonstrate weakness in the face of a confrontational situation.
Now, if I did believe others could offend me, I might be offended when Islamists say or do the following:
Our G-d is the only G-d
Kafirs have only three choices…
Women must cover their body parts
Call to daily prayer
Want to build a mosque near the former Twin Towers
Cab drivers may interrupt my ride as he has to engage in prayer
Refusal to assimilate into our Western culture
Demand special prayer rooms for public schools
And so many more…
However, I do not get offended and I do take action against all of the preceding. I ask that others stand up now and defend our precious culture and social institutions. You see, our enemy has made its choice and cares not one bit about our feelings.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
No doubt, you have heard the news reports that Palestinian terrorists in
are once again firing short and long range missiles into Israeli cities. Totally
unprovoked. Yesterday, I happened to be visiting friends in the southern city
of Gaza and
we were enjoying a quiet afternoon meal in their home when the air raid sirens
began their ominous shrill. Immediately, twelve of us huddled into their bomb
shelter that doubles as a walk-in cabinet and we waited in absolute silence (as
Israelis do) to hear “the boom”. Hear it we did as a long-range grad missile
landed not terribly far away. It was time to head back home to the north. During
that drive, we listened intently to the news while additional barrages of grads
were launched against Israeli civilian population centers. Ashdod
Today in Emek, I was leading a group of visitors from
on a tour of our School for Hospitalized Children. I introduced the group to
Arrif and his fifteen year old son, Mohammed. They come from England . They have been ‘living’ in Emek for ten
months as young Mohammed is being treated for severe facial cancer. Arrif
speaks fluent Hebrew and I conducted a simultaneously translated Q&A
session between him and the British visitors … Gaza
Q. How do you feel here, among the Jews of Israel?
A. Perfectly normal and at ease. Grateful – so very grateful.
Q. What does your family back in
say about Mohammed’s treatment here? Gaza
A. They are amazed and they send their sincere gratitude. They cannot believe what has and is being done for Mohammed and me.
Q. Do you know that missiles are again being fired from
into Israeli cities? Gaza
A. Yes. I am ashamed. The politicians and extremists are not “the people”. We only want to live a normal life alongside you.
Many ask, considering the asymmetrical vortex we are caught in … why do you help ‘them’? The answer is simple – because that is who we are.
It’s chemo vs grads. You decide what and who is the problem.
Support Emek … an example the world can learn from.
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