How the Boycott-Israel Movement Corrupts Science

Molecules, a prestigious chemistry journal based in Switzerland, recently decided to cancel the publication of a special January issue over a single article by an organic chemist named Mindy Levine. But no objections were raised over Levine’s conclusion or the quality of her research; rather the issue at hand was her byline, which listed the university where she currently works as “Ariel University, 65 Ramat HaGolan Street, Ariel, Israel.” This address enraged group of chemists, led by the Nobel prize-winner George Smith, as Ruthie Blum explains:

[These scientists] demanded that Levine’s article be nixed unless the location of her academic affiliation were “correctly and factually” edited. . . . They insisted, thus, that the address be changed to read: “Ariel University, illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, Occupied Palestinian Territory.” . . . Molecules asked Levine to correct the error of her affiliation.

Levine courageously refuse to give in. Blum continues:

This is not the first time that Ariel University—whose 16,000 students and 450 senior faculty members include all sectors of Israeli society, including many Arabs and Druze—has been targeted by left-wing academics who toe the Palestinian line.

As the Palestinian news agency WAFA proudly reported on Monday: “In 2018, more than half of the invited speakers withdrew from a scientific workshop at Ariel University following appeals from Palestinian and international scholars. Prominent scientists published a letter in the Guardian stating that science should not be used ‘to normalize [Israel’s] occupation of the Palestinian territories.’”

Indeed, it is Smith . . . and the editors of Molecules—not Levine—who are putting propaganda over academic freedom in the “larger interest of the global science community in unfettered publication of scientific ideas and results.”

Read more at JNS

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Science

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy