Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rod Liddle on Hawking in Sunday Times

 (Sunday, May 12, 2013)

The behaviour of Stephen Hawking has become as confusing as that of those fairly small particles he gets so excited about, muons and bosons and the like. Perhaps he, too, is capable of being in two places at the same time; one where he is a brilliant and compelling communicator, then the other where he is nothing but a shallow conduit for the hysterical and fascistic academic left.

A statement issued on his behalf explained that he was persuaded by Palestinian colleagues to boycott an academic conference taking place in Israel, because of its policies towards the Palestinians. Right on, Stevie!

I wonder what Hawking’s hero, the late mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing would have thought of this. A short while ago, Hawking was a leading signatory to a campaign for Turing to be posthumously pardoned — he had been convicted of homosexuality 60 years ago.

Turing would get 10 years in prison in Gaza today, although there is a healthy penal reform lobby within the mosques who think this sentence should be non-custodial — that is, it should be changed to death by stoning followed by being doused in Allah’s cleansing fires for eternity. Indeed, Hawking is boycotting one of the only states in the region where Turing would not have been imprisoned on account of his sexuality. Peculiar, isn’t it? Unless on that occasion — as on this — Hawking was just grandstanding for a fashionable cause.

Or perhaps it’s this: maybe Hawking, who has motor neurone disease and uses a wheelchair, finds Hamas’s non-discriminatory jihadist spirit amenable. The group is determined to afford mentally disabled Palestinians a certain prominence in the fight against the Zionist entity by strapping Semtex to their bodies and cheerfully pointing them in the direction of the Israelis. Hamas will use children and women for the same purpose.

Professor Hawking has a problem, mind. He uses an astonishing speech-generation device that has made his voice recognisable the world over. Its most important component is a fiendishly clever silicon chip that was designed in . . . yes, Israel. It is not clear how Hawking will square this problem. Perhaps he will protest against himself.

The Boycott Israel crowd are gaining ground, there’s no doubt about that. A few years ago, a loathsome woman called Mona Baker, then head of translation studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, sacked two contributors to an academic journal because they were Israeli. She explained that they could no longer be employed seeing what beastly Israel was doing to the brave, democratic and liberal Palestinians.

There was widespread revulsion at this act, which seemed an example of infantile leftism mixed with a hefty dose of anti-semitism. But since then, partly through bullying and partly because academics are even more gullible than the rest of us, the movement has enjoyed a certain respectability.

It shouldn’t. It is foul, cruel and illogical. And why boycott Israel and not Iran, or North Korea, or Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe? Why persecute Israeli academics who may well themselves object to their government’s policies in the West Bank? Professor Hawking — still brilliant, and still loved, just about — should be deeply ashamed of himself.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hamas Schools Teaching Children How to Kill Israelis–with Real Guns

Evelyn Gordon 1.5.2013

Having complained frequently about the media’s failure to report anything that might detract from their preferred narrative of Israel-as-villain, I’m delighted to discover that one British paper is bucking this trend. The Telegraph ran two articles this week describing the miserable situation in Hamas-run Gaza. And as reporter Phoebe Greenwood makes clear, the culprit isn’t Israel, but the elected Hamas government.

The first describes how Hamas has introduced military training into the curriculum of Gaza high schools–after having previously excised sports from said curriculum on the grounds that there wasn’t time for it. The mandatory weekly classes include learning how to shoot a Kalashnikov rifle; students who so choose can learn more advanced skills, like throwing grenades, at optional two-week camps. The article also includes video footage of Hamas militants demonstrating their skills for the students on a school playground: They carry out a mock raid on an Israel Defense Forces outpost, killing one soldier and capturing another, then demolish the outpost with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Needless to say, educating schoolchildren to view Israelis solely through the sights of a rifle doesn’t contribute to peaceful coexistence. And as Samar Zakout of the Gaza-based human rights groups Al Mezan noted, it also willfully endangers the students: If Hamas is using schools as military training bases, they could become targets for Israeli airstrikes in a future conflict.

But Hamas also engages in more direct forms of abuse, as Greenwood’s second article makes clear. It describes the victims of Hamas’s modesty patrols. In April alone, police arrested “at least 41 men” for crimes such as wearing low-slung pants or putting gel in their hair. Most were brutally beaten; they also had their heads forcibly shaved. One victim described being dragged into a police station and seeing “a mountain of hair, it looked like it had been shaved from 300 heads.” Another described being beaten on the soles of his feet with a plastic rod “for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

Yet Greenwood’s articles, unsparing though they are, still leave out one crucial point: The situation isn’t much better in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank. There, too, Palestinians are subject to arbitrary arrest for such crimes as insulting PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook. There, too, Palestinian schoolchildren are taught to view all of Israel, even in the pre-1967 lines, as “stolen” Palestinian land that must be reclaimed someday. There, too, murderers of Israelis, like the one who killed a father of five this week, are glorified as “heroes”; the PA even gave the honor of launching its UN statehood campaign to the proud mother of four sons who are serving a combined 18 life sentences for murdering Israelis. It’s no wonder that, according to a new Pew poll, Palestinians are the biggest supporters of suicide bombings in the Islamic world.

This is the reality journalists and diplomats consistently ignore, because it disrupts their comfortable theory that Israeli-Palestinian peace could be made tomorrow if Israel would just cede a little more territory. But the truth is that Israeli-Palestinian peace will never be made until Palestinian leaders do two things: stop teaching their children that killing Israelis is life’s greatest glory, and start providing their people with a decent life instead.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Ulfat Khaider is the fascinating star of the video below on the subject of co-existence in Israel in general and Haifa in particular.

She has reached high peaks not only as a mountain climber, extreme sportswoman and volleyball player (she played for the Israeli national team), but as a remarkable woman striving for peace.

Ulfat is a project manager at Beit Hagefen, a Jewish-Arab cultural center in Haifa. Self-defined as a person searching for peace with herself and with others, she promotes projects that bring Jewish and Arab students closer together. Ulfat uses extreme sports, mountain climbing and nature programs to install positive values in young Israelis.

This is the real Israel and certainly the real Haifa. Click on video to hear her views at: