Even Bashar al-Assad Recognized the Absurdity of Hizballah’s Claims to Har Dov

Ostensibly founded in the early 1980s to drive Israel out of Lebanon, but in fact created to extend Iranian power, destroy the Jewish state, and fight America, Hizballah frequently speaks about seeking to end the Israeli “occupation” of what it calls Shebaa Farms, a strip of territory known in Hebrew as Har Dov. Frederic Hof, who spearheaded an American attempt to broker peace talks between Jerusalem and Damascus between 2009 and 2011, explains the background of this claim:

[I]n early 2000, Hizballah—the “Lebanese resistance” fighting Israeli occupation for nearly two decades—anxiously confronted the implications of possible catastrophic victory: complete, unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. If the occupation were to end, what would there be to “resist”? With nothing to resist, how could Iran’s Lebanese proxy justify maintaining a militia independent of the Lebanese Armed Forces?

Seven Shiite villages in northern Palestine had been separated from related communities in Lebanon by the Anglo-French boundary demarcation of Palestine and Greater Lebanon, completed in 1924. . . . Hizballah, anticipating Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, propagated the idea that the villages would have to be “returned” to Lebanon for Israeli occupation to be considered complete. It knew Israel would never comply with this outlandish demand. And Israel’s noncompliance would supposedly justify continued armed “resistance.” Syria—which wanted the “Resistance” to continue as a pressure point on Israel—fell quickly into line with Hizballah’s claim.

Despite the fraudulent nature of the claim, successive Lebanese governments have been obliged by Iran, working through Hezbollah, to accept it as genuine. The subject was addressed during my February 28, 2011, meeting with Assad. . . . [T]he land, said Assad, is Syrian. Full stop. So much for the “Resistance”!

Read more at Newlines

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Golan Heights, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

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