Israel Advocacy News June 6, 2012: Jewish leaders denounced the Free University of Brussels Recognition of BDS Movement as Legitimate Student Forum

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Jews Lash Out Against Recognition of BDS as Student Forum

Jewish leaders denounced the Free University of Brussels for recognizing BDS as a legitimate student forum.
Israeli tomatoes

Israeli tomatoes
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The president of the Committee of the Coordination of Jewish Organizations in Belgium (CCOJB) denounced the Free University of Brussels (ULB) for recognizing the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions movement against Israel as a legitimate student forum.

While the proposal was submitted about a year ago, it was recently included in the agenda of a Board meeting held on 21st May 2012. A debate was held with the majority of Board member voting in favor of recognizing BDS as a ULB student framework.

“I don’t understand the attitude of the administrative council,” Maurice Sosnowski, head of the CCOJB, told the Belgian daily La Libre, according to The European Jewish Press.

“This decision calls ULB’s credibility into question, as it is the sole European institution to have admitted a BDS presence in its walls,” he said. “Not even Great Britain and Ireland have taken such negative steps. I would add that it’s not really an organization, but a local branch of an international movement. Its creation was not at all accidental and was purely politically driven. We are far from having open debates (there) and rather in an isolated position.”

Sosnowski condemned the university saying, “Two years ago, BDS requested a stand at a welcome reception for students, but the Vice-Chancellor refused them at the time.” He added that, “in Belgium there is no longer an anti-boycott law, as opposed to in France where even (far-left wing anti-Israel politician) Martine Aubry has taken a firm stand against the boycott”.

“Few people at ULB seem to know that 39 Nobel Prize winners of different origins have spoken out against the BDS movement,” he continued. “The idea of an academic boycott is the worst thing to present itself in a university that wishes to have world-wide appeal. It is even worse considering that (Flemish Prime Minister) Kris Peeters is leading the Vice-Chancellors of Flemish universities in a trip to Israel to prepare for increased bilateral relations (with Israeli institutions). It’s not really the time for ULB to distance itself from its Israel counterparts”.

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El Issue

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu: 300 New Families to Join Beit El

PM says: “Those who want to use the courts to damage settlements are mistaken – the opposite will happen.”

 

Netanyahu

Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a special statement Wednesday regarding the impending demolition of the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood….READ MORE

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Issue of the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El

Source: PMO, 6-6-12

Photo by GPO

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks today the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El:

“We are not strangers in Beit El. We are not strangers in Judea and Samaria. This is the Land of our Patriarchs. This is where our identity was formed. I say this here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and I say this everywhere in the world. Israel is a democratic state in which upholding the law is at the foundation of our free lives. The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy and as the Prime Minister of Israel I am committed to upholding the law and am I committed to uphold the settlement enterprise, and I tell you that there is no contradiction between the two. The draft law that was rejected today in the Knesset would have hurt settlement whereas the outline that I have decided upon – the expansion of the community, moving the homes and legal defense against any precedent – strengthens settlement.

And yet it must be said that this has been a complicated and difficult day.  Moving homes from their location, even if it is only five homes, is certainly not an action that this Government rejoices in doing.  But the court ruled as it did and we honor the decisions of the judicial system.

At the same time, the community of Beit El will be expanded. The 30 families will remain in Beit El and will be joined by 300 new families.  I tell those who think they can use the judicial system to hurt settlement, that they are mistaken, because in practice, the exact opposite will occur. Instead of shrinking Beit El – Beit El has expanded.  Instead of hurting settlement, settlement has been strengthened.

I also received a clear legal opinion which I would like to cite. ‘The verdict set no law and in any case does not constitute a precedent.  Nothing may be construed from it regarding other cases.’

I have also decided to establish a ministerial committee on settlement to ensure that the Government’s policy of strengthening settlement is implemented.

I would like to thank my ministerial colleagues for showing responsibility at a difficult time. Yuli Edelstein and Daniel Hershkowitz spoke to me at length about the importance and necessity of establishing the ministerial committee. Benny Begin and Moshe Yaalon invested considerable time in the work of the ministerial team to strengthen settlement. Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan certainly lost much sleep in recent days in the discussions to find a legal outline that would forestall a precedent.  I would also like to thank my colleagues, my partners, the heads of the coalition factions, Shaul Mofaz, Eli Yishai, Ehud Barak, Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni. I would also like to thank Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for acting responsibly.  There is responsible leadership in Israel.

In conclusion, I would like to say a few words to my brothers and sisters from the settler public. I understand your pain, and I share it. I met several of the families. I saw the people. I saw the children and I would like to tell you what I told them. There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.  I also say that there is no government that has withstood such heavy pressures, which could have hurt settlement, and it must be understood that ours is a very complex diplomatic, national and legal environment. And in this complex reality, one must navigate wisely, sagaciously and responsibly. Thus the members of the Government and myself have acted up until now and thus we will continue to act. We will continue to strengthen settlement and we will continue to strengthen democracy in the State of Israel.”

Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: Israel’s Air Force hits two Gaza weapons facilities

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel hits Gaza weapons facilities

Source: JTA, 6-6-12

Israel’s Air Force attacked what it said were two weapons storage facilities in the Gaza Strip.

Direct hits were identified in the early Wednesday morning attacks, according to statement from the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s office.

The statement said that the sites were targeted in response to rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israeli communities. So far in 2012, over 270 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, including at least two this week.

Last weekend, the Air Force struck three weapons production sites in central Gaza, and two terror tunnels. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that the strikes hit a poultry farm and a naval police post.

Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: Knesset Votes Down Ulpana Bill to Legalize Five Ulpana homes in Beit El Retroactively

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Knesset votes down bill to legalize outposts retroactively

Source: JTA, 6-6-12

A bill to legalize West Bank outposts retroactively was voted down by the Knesset….READ MORE »

Ulpana Bill Falls, Nationalists in Coalition Cave In

Nationalists in the coalition caved in and abstained from the Knesset vote rejecting legalizing five “Ulpana” homes in Beit El.
Ulpana neighborhood protest ent

Ulpana neighborhood protest ent
Avi Shimshi

Nationalists in the coalition caved in and abstained from the Knesset vote Wednesday afternoon that rejected a bill aimed at circumventing a court order to destroy five residential units in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and expel their 30 families.

The vote was 22 for the bill and 69 against. Absent from the vote were all of the ministers and deputy ministers who vowed to test Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ultimatum to vote against the bill or be fired.

Among those who left the Knesset before the vote were Jewish Home leader Daniel Hershkowitz and Likud minister Yuli Edelstein and deputy minister Ayoub Kara.

Shas ministers also were absent from the vote on the bill, whose sponsor Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev noted that it was on the same day seven years ago that the Sharon government approved the “Disengagement” plan that resulted in the expulsion of more than 9,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and four northern Samaria communities.

Following the  expulsions, which were promoted as guaranteeing peace and quiet for southern Israel, the government ordered the demolition of houses and then withdrew all soldiers from the Gaza region.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pressured nationalist Cabinet ministers not to vote against the Ulpana demolitions and won the day after it was clear he had a solid majority and after he made several concessions to nationalists.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised to build 10 new homes for every one torn down and has won legal approval from the attorney general for his plan to take down the houses, brick by brick, and rebuild them nearby on land used by the military.

He also said he will head a new committee on Jewish development in Judea and Samaria, effectively removing the authority of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has ordered dozens of demolitions of outpost communities and has blocked Jews from living in homes that were legally purchased, most recently in Hevron.

Nationalists fear the failure to pass the bill will encourage more demolitions and expulsions at more communities, such as Migron and Givat Asaf, where left-wing groups have challenged the legality of their construction.

MK Orlev chided Prime Minister Netanyahu for offering to expand building in Beit El in return for the demolitions. “If the prime minister wants to expand building, why tie it with this destruction in the Ulpana neighborhood?” he asked.

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