So Far, the Gaza Protests Are a Failed Gimmick

April 12 2018

Beginning on March 30, Hamas has been organizing mass demonstrations at the security fence separating Gaza from Israel; these demonstrations are supposed to recur every Friday and culminate on May 14 or 15. They have been combined with attempts to breach the fence, the detonation of explosives, and the burning of tires. But, argues Yoni Ben Menachem, the tactics have thus far proved ineffective:

The Hamas leadership, which did not want to lose too many participants at its events, gave in to pressure from the younger generation in Gaza who brought up the idea of the old-new gimmick of burning thousands of tires. They wanted to use the tactic to hinder the actions of IDF marksmen across the border, thereby “protecting the lives of the protesters.” According to Fatah sources in Gaza, the Hamas leadership believed that this new gimmick would succeed following the failure of the underground-tunnels project.

Burning tires is not new. The tactic first appeared during the civil war in Lebanon in 1975-1990, and it was also used extensively during the first intifada in 1987 and the second intifada in 2000. [The] burning tires [were] intended to draw the IDF into a situation where it would have to deal with thousands of protesting civilians in conditions of poor visibility, which would cause it to make mistakes.

However, an assessment of the results shows that the purpose for which thousands of tires were burned was not achieved. The IDF forces at the Gaza border were prepared in advance. Whenever necessary, they used water cannons, fans, and fire hoses, and they also used aerial drones to overcome the heavy smokescreen. Anyone who attempted to approach the border fence, damage it, cross it, or carry out terror attacks under cover of the smoke from the tires was hit by sniper fire.

The Palestinians did not manage to infiltrate the territory of the state of Israel in vast numbers, and the Israeli deterrent was preserved.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A University of Michigan Professor Exposes the Full Implications of Academic Boycotts of Israel

Sept. 26 2018

A few weeks ago, Professor John Cheney-Lippold of the University of Michigan told an undergraduate student he would write a letter of recommendation for her to participate in a study-abroad program. But upon examining her application more carefully and realizing that she wished to spend a semester in Israel, he sent her a polite email declining to follow through. His explanation: “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine,” and “for reasons of these politics” he would no longer write the letter. Jonathan Marks comments:

We are routinely told . . . that boycott actions against Israel are “limited to institutions and their official representatives.” But Cheney-Lippold reminds us that the boycott, even if read in this narrow way, obligates professors to refuse to assist their own students when those students seek to participate in study-abroad programs in Israel. Dan Avnon, an Israeli academic, learned years ago that the same goes for Israel faculty members seeking to participate in exchange programs sponsored by Israeli universities. They, too, must be turned away regardless of their position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. . . .

Cheney-Lippold, like other boycott defenders, points to the supposed 2005 “call of Palestinian civil society” to justify his singling out of Israel. “I support,” he says in comments to the [Michigan] student newspaper, “communities who organize themselves and ask for international support to achieve equal rights [and] freedom and to prevent violations of international law.”

Set aside the absurdity of this reasoning (“Why am I not boycotting China on behalf of Tibet? Because China has been much more effective in stifling civil society!”). Focus instead on what Cheney-Lippold could have found out by using Google. The first endorser of the call of “civil society” is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that trade not only in violent “resistance” but in violence that directly targets noncombatants.

That’s remained par for the course for the boycott movement. In October 2015, in the midst of the series of stabbings deemed “the knife intifada,” the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel shared a call for an international day of solidarity with the “new generation of Palestinians” who were then “rising up against Israel’s brutal, decades-old system of occupation.” To be sure, they did not directly endorse attacks on civilians, but they did issue their statement of solidarity with “Palestinian popular resistance” one day after four attacks that left three Israelis—all civilians—dead.

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More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Knife intifada