What a U.S. Court Ruling Means for the Palestinian Authority

On Monday, a federal court ordered the Palestinian Authority and the PLO to pay $655.5 million to ten American families whose relatives were killed in terror attacks in Israel during the second intifada. Grant Rumley writes that the landmark ruling will have a major impact on the PA, and not only because it is already facing financial problems:

[T]his ruling . . . threatens the Palestinians’ convictions that their best weapon against Israel is the international community and specifically the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The PA is itching to get in the court and respond to this early loss by filing suits against Israeli leaders. The recent rhetoric out of Ramallah has focused heavily on blaming Israeli officials for possible war crimes committed this past summer in the Gaza war.

But now that the PA has been found culpable for the actions of even its most loosely-affiliated foot soldiers, questions may arise over whether the PA has the stomach for its ICC strategy. PA President Mahmoud Abbas signed a political agreement with Hamas in April, and a few weeks later the two sides formed a consensus government that was ostensibly charged with governing Gaza shortly before the outbreak of the war. Can Abbas and other PA officials now be held responsible at the ICC for rockets fired by Hamas?

Read more at Business Insider

More about: ICC, Israel & Zionism, Lawfare, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Terrorism

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus