Israel Political Brief October 18, 2011: US, Obama Administration Criticizing Gilad Shalit Prisoner Swap Deal



US Now Criticizing Shalit Deal

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-18-11

US officials criticized Tuesday evening the deal brokered for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, which set hundreds of terrorists, including those who had murdered Israelis, free.

The criticism came after it became clear that the released terrorists included those who had murdered Jews with US citizenship.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Barak Obama had, despite his own nation’s strict policy of not negotiating with terrorists for the release of its citizens, said he was pleased with the deal that set Shalit was free.

Obama also expressed the hope Israel and officials in Ramallah would take the steps necessary to return to the negotiating table.

Previously, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton also praised Israel for negotiating with terrorists to secure Shalit’s release.

French President Sarkozy welcomed the release of Gilad Shalit, saying France had breathed a sigh of relief. Visiting the port city of Nice, Sarkozy’s opined Shalit’s French citizenship helped keep him alive. He added that Gilad will visit France soon.

Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague also welcomed the release of Gilad Shalit, and like Obama, added he hoped the terrorists-for-Shalit deal would provide positive momentum allowing the resumption of peace talks.

It is unclear why the Shalit deal would provide any such momentum. Israel’s deal to release 1,027 security prisoners, some 450 convicted on terrorism charges, for Shalit was made with the Hamas terror organization in Gaza and not Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah.

Hamas had vowed never to negotiate with Israel.


International scholars’ group condemns academic boycott of Israel

International scholars’ group condemns academic boycott of Israel

Source: JTA, 6-9-11

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East has condemned Britain’s largest academic union for voting to adopt an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

The international organization has also condemned the University and College Union for rejecting the European Union definition of anti-Semitism.

The resolution was passed on May 29 at UCU’s annual conference in Harrogate, Yorkshire. It is the union’s third such vote since it was established in 2006.

The Board of Directors of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East said in a statement issued June 7 that it: “Strongly condemns the Union of College and Universities vote on May 29, 2011 to promote the campaign to academically boycott Israel, despite advice from its own legal counsel which has advised it may be a illegal action based on discriminatory practices as well as being well beyond the scope of the charter of the union.”

The statement also strongly condemned  “the UCU voting to disassociate itself from the European Union (EU) Working Definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism on May 30, 2011 which signals to all that the Union does not take anti-Semitism seriously. In rejecting this working definition the UCU is promoting a hostile, anti-Semitic study and work environment for Jewish and Israeli students and faculty in colleges and universities throughout the UK who support the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders and who challenge those who would demonize, delegitimize and hold Israel to a double standard despite the Union’s protestations and rationalizations to the contrary.”

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East represents about 55,000 university and college professors, researchers, administrators, teachers, librarians, and students on more than 3,500 campuses worldwide, according to its website.

Canada’s PM Stephen Harper Lone Israel Supporter at G8 Summit

On Israel, Harper stands alone at G8 summit

Source: Globe & Mail, 5-25-11

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Deauville, France on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 to attend the G8 Summit. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Deauville, France on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 to attend the G8 Summit. | Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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