Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Pitzer College President Rejects Anti-Israel Boycott to Ensure "Free Exchange of Ideas"

Posted by Tip Staff - March 15, 2019

Pitzer College President Rejects Anti-Israel Boycott to Ensure "Free Exchange of Ideas"
Israel, Jewish Organizations Express Solidarity After NZ Mosque Massacres
Israel, Hamas Reportedly Agree to Ceasefire After Rockets Launched Toward Tel Aviv
Israeli Physicist Wins Award for Explaining Her Thesis Through Modern Dance

Pitzer College President Rejects Anti-Israel Boycott to Ensure "Free Exchange of Ideas"

Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver strongly rejected on Thursday a pro-boycott vote to suspend the school’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel, and said the school would not enact the decision to protect a “free exchange of ideas.”

The private liberal arts college located in Claremont, California – with support from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) – voted Thursday to end its only study abroad program with the Jewish State. Earlier this week, the congresswoman was pictured on social media holding a folder labeled "#SuspendPitzerHaifa.”

The non-binding bill passed in the college council with a vote of 68 in favor, 25 against, and 8 abstaining.

In a statement, Oliver said he refuses “to permit Pitzer College to take a position that I believe will only harm the College.”

Explaining his decision, Oliver observed that, “Although some claim that this is not an academic boycott of Israel, I disagree.” Instead, he said, “The recommendation puts in place a form of academic boycott of Israel and, in the process, sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission.”

Oliver continued: “I categorically oppose any form of academic boycott of any country. We cannot allow our objections to the policies of any nation’s government to become a blanket indictment of the nation itself and, by extension, its citizens.”

In December, a group of 75 civil rights, education, Jewish, and student groups praised Oliver for pushing back against the singling out of Israel by the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower, was one of the groups to sign the letter in support of the president.

Instead of singling out Israel, “Pitzer College must continue to be appreciated for its diversity of political and socio-economic views,” Oliver stressed.

“The Israel Project applauds President Melvin L. Oliver for his leadership in fighting this insidious form of anti-Semitic discrimination and for calling out BDS for what it is: a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” The Israel Project’s President and CEO, Josh Block, said. “For years, Israel – and only Israel – has been targeted by this deceptive attempt to delegitimize its very right to exist.”

Read more at The Tower.

Israel, Jewish Organizations Express Solidarity After NZ Mosque Massacres

The State of Israel and Jewish organizations around the world expressed their sympathy to the families of those affected by the horrific massacres at two mosques that took the lives of at least 49 worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"At least forty-nine people were killed and dozens injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand's second-largest city of Christchurch on Friday," The Straits Times reported. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the massacres as a well-planned terror attack and said that it marked "one of New Zealand’s darkest days."

The main suspect, who is reported to have been wearing dark clothing, entered the Al Noor Mosque and started shooting with his automatic weapon. The suspected shooter is believed to be in his 20s, has been charged with murder, and is scheduled to appear in court on Saturday.

The suspect published his manifesto on social media. The document features "conspiracy theories about Europeans being displaced, and details of two years of preparation and radicalisation leading up to the shootings," Agence France-Presse reported.

The terror attacks on houses of worship prompted statements of support and solidarity from Israel, as well as from major Jewish organizations around the world.

Israel's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted, "Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of the terrible shooting against mosques in #Christchurch. We express full solidarity with #NewZealand 🇳🇿 and its people. We should never let hatred , violence and terror win. @IsraelMFA @IsraelinNZ"

“We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack," Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said. “To the victims, the survivors and their families, together with Muslims around the world who have been targets of rising hatred, whipped up by media hostility, we express our absolute and resolute solidarity.”

A statement from The Israel Project stated that it "emphatically condemns the barbaric terrorist attack that took place yesterday at mosques in Christchurch, NZ. We deplore terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act."

Read more at The Tower.

Israel, Hamas Reportedly Agree to Ceasefire After Rockets Launched Toward Tel Aviv

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire following rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and subsequent retaliations by Israel, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

On Thursday night, two Fajr-5 rockets were fired toward Tel Aviv. Though initial reports indicated that Israel's Iron Dome anti-rocket system had intercepted one rocket, the IDF now says that both rockets landed in open areas.

The IDF struck back against 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight. Nine rockets were fired from Gaza toward the nearby Israeli communities. Six of those were intercepted.

Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second most powerful terror group in Gaza, said that his group is "committed to the ceasefire understandings,” as long as Israel "halts its aggression."

"An IDF assessment found that the rockets were possibly fired toward the coastal city by mistake, and that low-level Hamas forces were responsible for the launches," the Times reported. "It was not immediately clarified if the IDF believed it was a technical malfunction or human error."

A Hamas official told the Times that the terror group "has no interest in an escalation” with Israel. The same official denied knowledge of who was responsible for firing the rockets toward Tel Aviv.

The interior ministry of Hamas said that the attack on Tel Aviv was “outside the national consensus” and that it would take action against those responsible.

Hamas also canceled Friday's weekly riots at the border fence with Israel. The riots, which Hamas calls the Great March of Return, began last year on March 30. The organizers of the so-called March explained the cancellation as being "out of concern for our people and in preparation for” a larger one on the first anniversary.

The ceasefire was reportedly arranged with the assistance of Egyptian mediators.

Read more at The Tower.

Israeli Physicist Wins Award for Explaining Her Thesis Through Modern Dance

Scientists are not generally required to display prowess in modern dance, but Roni Zohar of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s science teaching department recently showed her moves in an award-winning science/dance video.

The video by this Israeli PhD placed first in the social-sciences category of the “Dance your PhD” contest held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine, Science.

The competition, now in its 11th year, asks doctoral students and former students to describe their thesis topics through dance. It is judged in four categories – biology, physics, chemistry and social sciences – by a panel of judges that includes scientists and artists.

Dance actually is an integral part of Zohar’s research conducted under the guidance of Prof. Bat Sheva Eylon of the Weizmann’s science teaching department and Prof. Dor Abrahamson of the University of California at Berkeley. She investigates ways of using movement to teach high school students basic concepts in physics.

Zohar called her video “Movements as a Door for Learning Physics Concepts – Integrating Embodied Pedagogy in Teaching.”

In the eight-and-a-half-minute video, Zohar joins dancers in the bubble atop Weizmann’s particle accelerator for a performance showing concepts such as gravity and friction; and 10th-graders practice a Feldenkrais exercise and field activities to learn concepts such as group velocity and balance.

“When the learning material is not just on the board, it helps us to understand that these rules were not useless discoveries, but are a part of the world around us. Experiencing them reduces the fear of learning,” explains one of the students at the end of the video.

“We found a significant improvement in the understanding of the learning material,” Zohar said. “Understanding through the body preceded an understanding that was expressed verbally.”

Dance has long been a part of Zohar’s life. She studied dance in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance at the same time as she was earning her undergraduate degree in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

(via Israel21c)

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.