Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: In Wake of Sarsour Speech, UNC to Co-Host Anti-Israel Conference with Duke

Posted by Tip Staff - March 08, 2019

In Wake of Sarsour Speech, UNC to Co-Host Anti-Israel Conference with Duke
UK's Equality Commission to Investigate Labour Party over Failure to Counter Anti-Semitism
Holocaust Scholar: "Jews Can Be Victims of Prejudice"
Israeli Researchers Show How Engineered Cells Can be Transplanted with Fewer Complications


In Wake of Sarsour Speech, UNC to Co-Host Anti-Israel Conference with Duke

In February, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) hosted anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, who gave the keynote address at its Minority Health Conference. Sarsour used this prestigious UNC platform to promote Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against only one country on the planet – Israel.

In a move that many community members fear could be much worse, UNC and Duke are now preparing to jointly host a conference that will be used by some to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Titled “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities” and scheduled for March 22-24, the conference is sponsored by UNC’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies. Co-sponsors include many departments and organizations, including the Gillings School of Global Public Health, which hosted Sarsour.

To ensure the integrity of the institutions sponsoring the event, a non-biased academic conference on Gaza would invite non-biased individuals to present. However, a look at some participants of this large conference on Gaza raises multiple concerns of severe anti-Israel bias even before the conference starts.

For instance, providing welcoming remarks is speaker Laila El-Haddad, who has tweeted “Israel is a terrorist state” and is an outspoken supporter of BDS movement. El-Haddad has made dozens of pro-BDS tweets and even encouraged a boycott of Sabra hummus.

El-Haddad has charged Israel with “equating [Palestinian] children with human cannon fodder” and with seeking the “extermination” of Palestinians. Beginning this three-day conference by featuring a speaker who regularly demonizes Israel sets a tone where students and other attendees can expect little complexity and no nuance.

To read the complete essay, please click here.



UK's Equality Commission to Investigate Labour Party over Failure to Counter Anti-Semitism

In an explosive development, Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced Thursday that it had begun proceedings against the Labour Party over its failure to stamp out anti-Semitism in its ranks.

The equality watchdog said it has reason to believe that Labour has “unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs” over the party’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints. The independent body was founded by a Labour government in 2006.

“The party of today is a far cry from Tony Blair’s Labour, which enjoyed intimate and friendly relations with the Jewish community,” wrote TIP Senior Fellow Julie Lenarz in a comment piece for The Daily Telegraph. “In the era of Jeremy Corbyn and his hard-Left ideologues, a once proud anti-racist party has turned into a powerhouse of anti-Jewish extremists.”

The EHRC’s announcement followed legal complaints made last year by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Jewish Labour Movement. “Since the Holocaust, Britain has led the world in promoting human rights, and it could scarcely be more important to British society that the Jew-hatred festering in the Labour Party is firmly brought to an end,” CAA said in a statement.

The watchdog has only rarely taken action against political parties, but in this instance, Lenarz said, it was a “necessity.”

“I’m not mincing words here. The election of Jeremy Corbyn was a catastrophe – for Labour; the country; and the Jewish community, especially,” Lenarz wrote in The Telegraph. “I am of the strong belief that Corbyn harbours anti-Semitic views. And unlike some who see him as a misguided old man, I think Corbyn knows exactly what he’s doing. This is a serious charge, but the evidence has been lining up.”

She concluded that, as of now, it’s unclear if the EHRC investigation will lead to more resignations from Labour or force the party to act. “One thing is certain, however,” Lenarz said, “we are witnessing the battle over the soul of the Labour Party, and only one side will come out alive.”

Read more in The Tower.



Holocaust Scholar: "Jews Can Be Victims of Prejudice"

Commenting on the controversy sparked by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D - Minn.) suggesting that Jews bought support for Israel and subsequently that allegiance of American Jews was to Israel, noted Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt said that "Jews can be victims of prejudice," in an interview with NPR on Wednesday.

The interview was prompted by talk of a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to the imputations made by Omar. It appears that the resolution will be voted on Thursday. However, it will not name Omar, nor will it be exclusively focused on anti-Semitism.

Lipstadt explained that the problem with Omar's comments wasn't that they were critical of Israel but that she was "relying on anti-Semitic stereotypes, anti-Semitic tropes, anti-Semitic memes."

For example, when Omar said that support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins," or later, when she that American Jewish allegiance was to Israel, Lipstadt said, "Those go back to, at their root, the notion of a Jewish conspiracy, Jewish dual loyalties."

The scholar pointed out that it was these comments, not criticisms of Israel, that led to charges that Omar was anti-Semitic.


"There's a sense," Lipstadt said of the rationale of Omar and her supporters, "that when Jews claim anti-Semitism, they're trying to cover up."

However, she emphasized, "It's not true. Jews know that you can be a subject of anti-Semitism."

Read more at The Tower.



Israeli Researchers Show How Engineered Cells Can be Transplanted with Fewer Complications

Skin grafts are modern medicine miracles, saving the lives of people suffering from severe tissue damage. Unfortunately, they are also complicated to perform and carry the risk of infection, rejection and a whole lot of pain.

This is why tissue engineering was invented. Instead of using the patient’s own skin or the skin of others, lab-grown tissue is used to replace or regenerate the damaged area. This too is a very complicated process, but one that research students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have just helped make a little simpler.

Engineered tissue combines cells from the patient’s body with scaffold biomaterials that act as 3D templates to guide its growth. For the tissue to be transplantable, it needs to have blood vessels created to bring in oxygen and nutrients. However, the vascularization process can lead to thrombosis (clotting or coagulation) in the graft tissue.

Shahar Ben-Shaul, a biomedical engineering doctoral student at the Technion, set out to study whether transplanting more mature engineered vessels to integrate with the patient’s tissues could speed up the process without causing thrombosis in the grafts.

She and her team cultured cells on 3D scaffolds for one, seven and 14 days to form vessels of different ages. They discovered that the more mature cells were indeed more successful in connecting blood vessels more quickly without clotting.

Their findings were recently published in Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences. The study was carried out in mice, and Ben-Shaul hopes to conduct more preclinical studies that could lead to its implementation in humans.

(via Israel21c)


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