May 6: Palestinian voting

The Palestinian people will have an opportunity to express their preferences at the ballot box.

May 5, 2011 23:18
3 minute read.

letters. (photo credit: JP)


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Not so academic

Sir, – In “Academic freedom is not academic license” (Right of Reply, May 3), Geoffrey Alderman points out that in times of war, rights may be suspended if expression is traitorous.

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The problem in academia today is lies and fabrications used in the service of anti-Israel propaganda.

Many of these lies are put out by academics, and there is no demand for proof of their statements.

There is no reason for academics to avoid the rigor of research when they want to issue political opinions. Let’s call for truth, not censorship.


Sir, – In response to Geoffrey Alderman, I wish to state that I agree with every word, and especially with the distinction drawn between the position in time of peace and the position in time of war.


It has upset me more than somewhat that a professor was permitted to call for a boycott of the very same university from which he draws his paycheck.

Something stinks.


Sir, – As a former chancellor and vice chancellor of universities in the UK, I agree with Geoffrey Alderman that some academics in Israel mistake academic freedom for academic license. However, while these academics make a lot of noise and need to be exposed, they are a small proportion of the total academic staff at Israeli universities.

The greater threat to academic freedom in Israel comes not from stupid academics abusing their position, but from some on the right of the political spectrum who see those with different views not as critics or even opponents, but as enemies, and not just of themselves but of the state.

Alderman’s argument, that the experience of the UK between 1939 and 1945 is a precedent for limiting academic freedom in Israel now, is inappropriate. The rockets from Gaza are extremely serious and a threat to Israeli lives, but they are not the Second World War.

The Israeli media publishes a range of views supportive and critical of Israeli policy. In this context, Alderman’s advice to Israeli academics not to say anything that may give comfort to Israel’s enemies is absurd.


Wait for results

Sir, – Gershon Baskin (“Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: Opportunity or disaster?,” Encountering Peace, May 3) poses 17 basic questions regarding the PA/Hamas unity agreement. Then, without reliable answers, he recommends that Israel strengthen the PA prior to Palestinian elections by immediately expressing its intention to make peace while accepting virtually all Palestinian demands.

Following that course of action could threaten Israel’s long-term survival.

Far from strengthening the PA, it would suggest that only fear of Hamas had forced Israel to capitulate. Even worse, if Hamas wins the election, Israel will find itself bound to an agreement with a terrorist organization sworn to the country’s destruction.

One single question must be answered before any others can be asked: Does Hamas acknowledge the right of the Jewish state to exist in peace? If the answer is yes, then negotiations with a unified Palestinian leadership can begin. If the answer is no, then all the negotiations in the world would be pointless.

The Palestinian people will have an opportunity to express their preferences at the ballot box. If they select Hamas, they will have forfeited any claim to a peaceful resolution and Israel should no longer be expected to assist in their state-building efforts. Certainly, no agreement should be signed until the election results are known.

Zichron Ya’acov

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