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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Thursday, March 29.
1) "Nearby" Ashdod

A recent New York Time news story, As Rockets Fly, New Conditions Shape Fight in Gaza, was illustrated with a picture of school girls taking cover from a rocket attack. The captions read, "In a fourth day of cross-border fighting, schoolgirls in Ashdod, Israel, took cover on Monday during a rocket attack launched from the nearby Gaza Strip."

The use of the word "nearby" is curious. According to Google Maps Ashdod is about twenty miles from Gaza. Gaza is not visible from Ashdod as it is from Sderot. To shoot a rocket from Gaza to Ashdod requires more fuel and technical skill. This is what the terror groups in Hamas controlled Gaza invest in, not creating a better and more productive society.

A "Letter from Israel" by Koby tells what it's like to live in Ashdod. (h/t tweet from Elder of Ziyon)
My 3-year-old has trauma. She shakes in my hands every time a siren is heard. She hugs me and wouldn’t let go for long time. She asks me: ”Dad, why is the siren coming down at us?”. What do you say to your baby when she asks this? That Arabs Hate us and want us dead? How can I explain it to a baby?
No we do not teach our children hate. We teach them hope and love and respect.
A nearby Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh experiences similar warnings as a student there, Jonah Keyak writes (h/t Israel Matzav, Daily Alert) :

Sirens blare in my head. Realizing this is not a drill, I jump out of bed and dash to the closest bomb shelter. Within seconds, the room fills with American, Canadian and Israeli students, all here in fear for their lives. Boom one, that was close…boom two, that was closer…wait for it…boom three. We wait to hear the booms because, ironically, that’s the most calming sound. That’s when we know that the bombs have landed and we are momentarily safe.

To get some perspective of the rocket threat to Israel, go the JCPA website, click on the "Israel and its neighbors" tab (on top) and then choose the "Gaza Strip" button (to the left).

If things have been a little quieter lately, it might have to with Israel's success in killing the responsible terrorists than the terrorists' good behavior. (h/t Daily Alert)
On the one hand, the PIJ, which joined the attacks despite the fact that the targeted killing had not been directed at an operative of its own, launched most of the rockets with ranges greater than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). Of the 20 terrorist operatives killed by IDF fire, 14 belonged to the PIJ (the other six belonged mainly to the PRC).
On the other hand, the PIJ did not force Israel to pay a high price in lives for the targeted killing of two senior PRC terrorist organizations and the deaths in air strikes of its own operatives, despite the massive amounts of rocket fire directed against Israel, far greater than in previous rounds of escalation (About 240 rockets were fired at Israel, 170 either falling in Israeli territory or intercepted by the Iron Dome, which was successful in destroying long-range rockets.). In addition, public conduct on the home front contributed to the small number of civilian casualties. While a number of civilians were wounded and damage was done to property, in our assessment, the PIJ and PRC regarded the price exacted from Israel as far too low.
2) Gulf U

The New York Times recently featured a "Special Report," Elite Schools Find New Base in Emirates:
The universities are also contributing to much-needed original research on the Middle East, which education experts say can be patchy and outdated. The N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi Institute is spending $35 million on research into Middle Eastern issues. Wharton Abu Dhabi, an office that opened in early 2010, is supervising 30 research projects funded by the CERT Foundation, the entrepreneurial arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi.
“Our goal is to create and disseminate knowledge in the region and the best way to do that was to set up an office in the Mideast,” said Pankaj Paul, regional manager for Wharton’s U.A.E. office, the business school’s sole presence outside the United States.
Hmmm. They're studying "Middle East issues" in Abu Dhabi. I wonder how academic that enterprise is! All in all the article reads more like a brochure for those looking to study in the Gulf, rather than a serious journalistic effort. After all, how could the New York Times have failed to note the arrest of Nasser bin Ghaith last year?
The arrest of Nasser bin Ghaith, a lecturer at the Abu Dhabi branch of the University of Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne) who has participated in the Doha Debates, a respected regional political forum, leaves observers asking what freedoms the academics working at new Western branch campuses in the emirates will enjoy. "Are professors only protected in the 90 minutes when they are giving seminars, and after that they are fair game?" asks Samer Muscati, a researcher on the United Arab Emirates for Human Rights Watch.
If lecturers (and students) are not free to discuss issues and topic that the hosting government disapproves of, it necessarily limits the quality of the academics. In the mid-90's the New York Times applauded Yale University for rejecting a contribution from alumnus Lee Bass for a Western Civilization curriculum because Bass demanded a say in who could teach in the program. But, the same newspaper seemingly has no problem with this limit on academic freedom.

Clearly this is a business decision, that will hurt the quality of education at these institutions.

3) VDH on antisemitism

This is the heart of Victor Davis Hanson's "The New Antisemitism" (h/t Instapundit)
Does the world much care about the principle of occupation? Not really. Consider land that has been “occupied” in the fashion of the West Bank since World War II. Russia won’t give up the southern Kurile Islands it took from Japan. Tibet ceased to exist as a sovereign country—well before the 1967 Middle East War—when it was absorbed by Communist China. Turkish forces since their 1974 invasion have occupied large swaths of Cyprus. East Prussia ceased to exist in 1945, after 13 million German refugees were displaced from ancestral homelands that dated back 500 years.
The 112-mile green line that runs through downtown Nicosia to divide Cyprus makes Jerusalem look united in comparison. Over 500,000 Jews have been ethnically-cleansed from Arab capitals since 1947, in waves of pogroms that come every few decades. Why are they not considered refugees the way the Palestinians are?
The point is not that the world community should not focus on Israel’s disputes with its neighbors, but that it singles Israel out for its purported transgressions in a fashion that it does not for nearly identical disagreements elsewhere. Over 75 percent of recent United Nations resolutions target Israel, which has been cited for human rights violations far more than the Sudan, Congo, or Rwanda, where millions have perished in little-noticed genocides. Why is the international community so anti-Israel?
One more point worth citing:
On the flip side, since the 1960s, trillions of petrodollars have flowed into the Islamic Middle East, not just ensuring that Israel’s enemies now were armed, ascendant, and flanked by powerful Western friends, but through contributions, donations, and endowments also deeply embedded within Western thought and society itself. Universities suddenly sought endowed Middle East professorships and legions of full tuition-paying Middle East undergraduates. Had Israel the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, then “occupied” Palestine might have resonated at the UN about as much as Ossetia, Kashmir, or the Western Sahara does today.

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