Lawrence Summers, the Crisis of the Universities, and Israel

Nov. 24 2015

The headlines about absurd protests and pseudo-scandals on American campuses, and the often craven responses to them by college administrators, give the sense that academia is imploding. An adumbration of this latest crisis can be found in the end of Lawrence Summers’ tenure as president of Harvard in 2006. Summers found himself in hot water because he transgressed taboos about race and gender and also, writes Edward Alexander, about Israel:

In September 2002, [after Cornel West had accused him of racism, Summers] gave a speech to the Harvard community deploring the upsurge of anti-Semitism in many parts of the globe. He included synagogue bombings, physical assaults on Jews, desecration of Jewish holy places, and denial of the right of “the Jewish state to exist.” But his most immediate concern was that “at Harvard and . . . universities across the country” faculty-initiated petitions were calling “for the university to single out Israel among all nations as the lone country where it is inappropriate for any part of the university’s endowment to be invested.” This brought an avalanche of attacks on Summers from Israel-hating professors throughout this country and also the United Kingdom. . . .

Once Summers had failed the litmus test of contemporary liberalism called “the Palestinian cause,” he was already in great danger. Questioning “gender” doctrine was his third strike, not his second; and calling the BDS movement what it most assuredly is—anti-Semitic—was the only “heresy” he did not recant. . . . Matthew Arnold was prescient when he wrote (about Oxford, England’s Harvard): “there are our young barbarians, all at play.” Summers would eventually find out that in this game, as in others, three strikes and you’re out.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Matthew Arnold, Racism, Sexism, University

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela