My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friedman on the boycott of Israel...

The boycott is pure anti-semitism...

Two weeks ago, I took part in commencement for this year's doctoral candidates at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The ceremony was held in the amphitheater on Mount Scopus, which faces out onto the Dead Sea and the Mountains of Moab. The setting sun framed the graduate students in a reddish-orange glow against a spectacular biblical backdrop.

Before I describe the ceremony, though, I have to note that it coincided with the news that Britain's University and College Union had called on its members to consider a boycott of Israeli universities, accusing them of being complicit in Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

As the Hebrew U. doctoral candidates each had their names called out and rose to receive their diplomas from the university's leadership, I followed along in the program. The Israeli names rolled by: "Moshe Nahmany, Irit Nowik, Yuval Ofir. But then every so often I heard an Arab name, like Nuha Hijazi or Rifat Azam or Taleb Mokari.

Since the program listed everyone's degrees and advisers, I looked them up. Rifat got his doctorate in law. His thesis was about "International Taxation of Electronic Commerce." His adviser was "Prof. D. Gliksberg." Nuha got her doctorate in biochemistry. Her adviser was "Prof. R. Gabizon." Taleb had an asterisk by his name. So I looked at the bottom of the page. It said: "Summa Cum Laude." His chemistry thesis was about "Semiconductor-Metal Interfaces," and his adviser was "Prof. U. Banin."

These were Israeli Arab doctoral students -- many of them women and one of whom accepted her degree wearing a tight veil over her head. Funny -- she could receive her degree wearing a veil from the Hebrew University, but could not do so in France, where the veil is banned in public schools.

How crazy is this, I thought. Israel's premier university is giving Ph.D.s to Arab students, two of whom were from East Jerusalem -- i.e., the occupied territories -- supervised by Jewish Israeli professors, all while some far-left British academics are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities.


Blogger Thermblog said...

Friedman makes some good points but I'll never forgive him for popularising the view that the settlements are a bad idea. I simply don't think Israel had much choice.

Most journalists are totally ignorant of military and security matters which is what drove the settlement policies. It would have been madness to simply hand over these territories while still effectively at war. The recent, ongoing Gaza Affair is an example of what I mean.

6:10 AM  

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