Why Turkey Arrested an Alleged “Mossad Spy Ring”

On Monday, the Turkish internal intelligence agency announced that it had rounded up a network of (mostly Arab) Israeli operatives working within its borders. While it is certainly possible that the Mossad has agents based in Turkey who are observing the activities of Iran or of various terrorist groups, there is also no reason to take Ankara’s version of events at face value. Benny Avni puts the story in context:

Israeli sources tell the Sun that they are intrigued by the timing of the alleged exposure, as it happened just after Mossad said it uncovered a terror ring in Cyprus and on the same day that Israel launched a major anti-terrorism push in the northern West Bank, targeting groups with ties to Turkey.

Ironically, Ankara is widely advertising the alleged bust of Mossad agents even as a major thaw of relations is under way between Israel and Turkey, which have been on a long collision course. According to various reports, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Erdogan plan to meet later in July, in a first such powwow since 2008. Last year, Mr. Erdogan hosted President Herzog of Israel.

Members of the ring were allegedly dispatched to Beirut and Damascus to pinpoint Hizballah sites in Lebanon and Syria for attacks by Israeli drones. . . . Some were charged with identifying Hamas-related targets at Istanbul. Unlike Israel, America, and most of Europe, Turkey does not designate groups like Hamas as terrorists. Hamas’s second in command, Saleh Arouri, has long resided in the country and reportedly still maintains a base there.

“While I can’t tell whether the spy-ring story is true, its timing is curious,” one Israeli source who declined to be identified told the Sun. “It seems to me that it was widely advertised by Ankara for internal consumption. The message they wanted to convey to their public is, ‘We’re no patsies of the Mossad.’”

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Hamas, Mossad, Turkey


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