Retired Cambridge Academic BDS Discrimination: “….[T]he fact is I don’t want to help Israelis”

Dr. Marsha Levine Meme

Retired Cambridge Academic Refuses to Help Israeli Girl with School Project ‘Until There Is Peace in Palestine’

Dr Marsha Levine, an expert in horse domestication, told the 13-year-old that she would not answer her questions because she boycotts Israel

A retired Cambridge academic has been accused of “outrageous” and “utterly unacceptable” behaviour after she refused to help a 13-year-old Israeli girl with school project “until there is peace in Palestine”.

Dr Marsha Levine, who spent decade at the University of Cambridge’s McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research as fellow then as senior research associate, said she could not answer Shachar Rabinovitch’s questions about ancient horses because she boycotts Israel.

She told the schoolgirl: “You might be a child, but if you are old enough to write to me, you are old enough to learn about Israeli history and how it has impacted on the lives of Palestinian people.

“Maybe your family has the same views as I do, but I doubt it.”

Miss Rabinovitch had emailed Dr Levine, who is an expert in the origins and evolution of horse husbandry, explaining: “I know you are a very important person and I’ve read your article about horses (Domestication, Breed Diversification and Early History of the Horse).

“I love horses very much and it will be an honour if you will answer my questions.”

She went on to send another email asking about how ancient horses lived, whether humans preserved ancient breeds of horses or created new breeds, and how modern horses have in common with their pre-historic ancestors.

Dr Levine, who completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology before taking up research posts at Columbia University and Syracuse University in New York, told The Telegraph that if a school student from a different country had got in touch with her to ask about horses, she would have responded differently.

“Kids have questions, I usually answer their questions,” she said. “But I have agreed to BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel], and I do want to see justice for Palestine.

“In Israel the majority of Israelis support the policies of the government which abuses the rights of Palestinians, so the fact is I don’t want to help Israelis, and if you don’t start with children where do you start?

“You have to ask yourself: what is there to gain from not talking to a 13-year-old girl? How does that solve anything?”
Shamir Rabinovitch, father of schoolgirl

“And she is not that young anyway, her English is pretty good. If people don’t stand up for justice, the world is going to come to an end.”

Shamir Rabinovitch, who posted his daughter Shachar’s email exchange with the academic on Facebook, said he was “shocked” by Dr Levine’s reply.

He told The Telegraph: “You have to ask yourself: what is there to gain from not talking to a 13-year-old girl? How does that solve anything?

“She asked a very polite question about horses, something she is interested in. Why do you reply with such anger? It really crossed the boundary.

“I think it’s ok to have different opinions about Israel and we make a lot of mistakes in this country, like in all countries. But it’s not ok to involve children in this stuff.

“How can she make all these assumptions about what we think and who we are?”
Mr Rabinovitch said his daughter had found Dr Levine’s contact details online and contacted her without prompting from teachers.

He said that his daughter was angry when she received Dr Levine’s response but had decided not to reply.

“Academics should want to help people and ask their questions, it goes totally against everything that academics stand for”
Ronnie Fraser, director of Academic Friends of Israel

Ronnie Fraser, a retired Maths lecturer and director of Academic Friends of Israel, said that Dr Levine’s response was “utterly outrageous and unacceptable”.

“Academics should want to help people and ask their questions, it goes totally against everything that academics stand for,” he said.

“Cambridge University should strip themselves of any association with her – it is unbelievable behaviour to come from one their academics.”

A University spokesman said: “Marsha Levine is not employed by the University, was never a member of academic staff and ceased to be a senior research associate in 2010. Any views expressed are entirely her own.”

In 2013, the former MP George Galloway stormed out of a debate at an Oxford University college after realising he was debating against an Israeli student. He told students he was leaving because he does “not recognise Israel” .

“I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled,” Mr Galloway said.

Mr Galloway later released a statement clarifying why he left the debate: “The reason is simple; no recognition, no normalisation. Just Boycott, divestment and sanctions, until the Apartheid state is defeated.”

In 2003, The Telegraph exposed how Oxford University Professor Andrew Wilkie, the Nuffield professor of pathology, refused to have an Israeli PhD student in his lab because he had served in the Israeli army.

He was suspended for his post for two months, and resigned as a fellow of Pembroke College and as a member of its governing body. Read the rest of the article at The (UK) Telegraph.

November 29, 2015: Peace through Strength

Kasim Meme - Sunday Must-Read Article

This week we are highlighting how peace in Israel is defended and maintained through the strength of Israel’s lone soldiers and the military might of the Israeli Air Force.

Away from Family, Israel’s Lone Soldiers Are Thankful for Thanksgiving

Despite the dangers, an increasing number of diaspora youth are joining the IDF, and the Lone Soldier Center gives them a much-needed sense of community

None of the approximately 800 young people who attended Thursday evening’s Thanksgiving dinner for lone soldiers in Tel Aviv had to be there. Hailing from the United States, the UK, Australia and elsewhere, they could have been at home attending college or partying with their more carefree peers.

Instead, they volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces, spending their days patrolling Israel’s border with Syria or capturing terrorists in special operations. When Thanksgiving rolls around, with their families thousands of miles away, the lone soldiers turn to each other.

Yael Birnbaum, a 25-year-old graduate student who became a lone soldier when she moved to Israel from New York City at the age of 22, said she wished she had known about the Lone Soldier Center, which sponsored the night’s event, during her military service.

“I would have liked people like myself to be with and talk to. Aside from the emotional support, not having your parents here means there is no one to pick you up from the bus station on weekends, no one to buy groceries or do laundry,” said Birnbaum, who served as an infantry instructor in a missile unit after graduating from NYU with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

“I forged strong friendships with Israelis in my unit but it would have been nice to have that extra social setting,”

Josh Flaster, the Lone Soldier Center’s national director, said that he and several friends came up with the idea for the center after their friend, fellow lone soldier Michael Levin from Philadelphia, was killed in the 2006 Lebanon War.

Flaster, now 30, together with those friends founded the center, known as The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, in 2009.

“I knew Michael from our informal network. We talked about ways to make life better and easier for lone soldiers. He had a big heart.”

There are 6,300 lone soldiers in Israel, said Flaster, out of about 176,500 soldiers in Israel’s standing army, and the number increases every year. About 4,000 lone soldiers have received some form of support from the center, whether it is information, counseling, help with renting an apartment, furniture donations or free Shabbat meals and other social events. Read the rest at the Times of Israel.

‘No Country Can Stand Up to Israel Air Force’s Firepower’

IAF’s Tel Nof airbase drills massive strike capability this week; “We can hit thousands of targets in a few days in a future war,” senior source says.

Tel Nof Air Base, central Israel, Tuesday: A siren wailed through the base, as soldiers, technicians, ground crews, and pilots scrambled, honing their responses to a mock air assault on this strategic target south of the city of Rehovot.

It was only a drill, but an important one, simulating a full-scale conflict on the northern front.

The drill enabled the base’s munition assembly crews to practice their critical role in any future war: putting together guided bomb kits and churning out hundreds of the precision- guided weapons per day.

“This is an assembly line, producing bombs,” a senior IAF officer from the Technical Branch said.

In any conflict, the F-15 fighter jets that operate out of Tel Nof would seek to take off several times a day and shoulder their burden in the air force’s goal of firing thousands of precision-guided bombs at enemy targets a day, every day.

At that rate, within a few days, thousands of Hezbollah targets would be in flames, provided that sufficient intelligence exists on that many targets.

Targets are marked out before the eruption of hostilities, and the database can grow during the fighting as well.

“We want to attack as many targets as possible in as little time as possible.

Thousands of targets. In 24 hours, we can send thousands of bombs from Israel, each one weighing a ton,” the officer added.

Next to him, soldiers from various Technical Branch units, wearing colored vests and the names of their roles printed across them, worked swiftly.

They moved MK-84 bombs (dubbed “heavy hail” in the IAF) on forklifts to an assembly table and installed guidance systems onto the bombs.

They can produce hundreds of joint direct attack munitions. “They are safeguarding their operational readiness,” the source said.

Each bomb, which contains a 430-kilogram warhead, can level a high-rise building.

“If we drop thousands of bombs like these, there isn’t a state that would not surrender. This is the firepower of world powers,” the source stated. Read the rest at The Jerusalem Post.

The Latest in Nigeria’s and Israel’s Fight against Terror

Nigeria and Israel 11-27-2015

Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram Bombing Hits Shiite Procession


KANO, Nigeria (AP) — A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated himself in the middle of a procession of hundreds of Shiite Muslims on Friday, killing 21 people and injuring dozens, local religious leaders said.

The attack occurred during the annual Arbaeen procession from Nigeria’s second-largest city, Kano, to the ancient Islamic city of Zaria, said Aliyu Yusuf Kakaki, a spokesman for the Shiite community in Kano.

The leader of Shiites in Kano, Sheikh Muhammadu Mahmud Turi, told reporters on Friday that 21 members of the sect lost their lives in the blast. Earlier, Kakaki said at least 15 had been killed and 40 injured.

A second suicide bomber was detained before he could blow himself up and was being interrogated, Kakaki added.

Police commissioner Muhammadu Katsina confirmed there had been a suicide bombing and said he had visited the scene but could not give a death toll.

Centered in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram is a radical Sunni Muslim group that wants to create an Islamic caliphate and impose its version of strict Sharia law and is hostile to those following the Shiite branch of the religion.

Its 6-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven 2.3 million from their homes, according to Amnesty International. Kano has suffered multiple attacks that have killed hundreds during the uprising.

This year Boko Haram has expanded attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger — all countries contributing troops to a regional force intended to wipe out the extremists. Read the read at AP.

Border Police Officer Wounded in Nahariya Stabbing Attack


Policeman sustains moderate injuries, assailant flees; IDF encircles West Bank village after earlier car-ramming attack on soldiers

A Border Police officer was stabbed and moderately wounded Friday evening in what is believed to have been a nationalist attack in the northern Israeli city of Nahariya.

The attacker fled the scene of the assault, close to the city’s central bus station, the Walla news website said. Security forces were scouring the area for the perpetrator.

Channel 2 television said that the 37-year-old policeman was stabbed twice in the back, and that security forces set up roadblocks in the area in a bid to catch the assailant.

Also Friday, Israel Defense Forces troops surrounded a village in the Hebron region of the West Bank, where a car-ramming attack earlier in the day left six soldiers wounded, a source in Jerusalem said.

The move followed a cabinet decision Thursday night to allow the defense establishment to encircle entire communities in order for searches to be carried out, Army Radio reported. Read more at the Times of Israel.

Six Soldiers Hurt in Car-Ramming during Protest

11-27-2015 Second Attack

Palestinian driver, 19, killed by troops; ambulances pelted with stones as they approach site of attack in Beit Ummar, near Hebron

Six IDF soldiers were wounded in a second car-ramming attack Friday in the West Bank.

The attack took place during an altercation between IDF forces and Palestinian demonstrators at the entrance to the village of Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank, north of Hebron.

While soldiers held back the demonstrators to protect Route 60, the main north-south road that passes nearby, they were caught by surprise by a Palestinian vehicle that raced toward them and slammed into them.

According to the Magen David Adom rescue service, four of the wounded were lightly hurt with wounds to their extremities. One was moderately hurt. A sixth was lightly hurt and refused to be evacuated to hospital, demanding to remain with the troops in the field. Two of the wounded were officers.

Soldiers shot and killed the driver, the IDF said.

The assailant was identified as Omar Za’aqiq, 19, of Beit Ummar. Photos of him were spread on social media shortly after the attack.

MDA ambulances on the way to the scene of the attack were pelted with stones, MDA head Eli Bin said. The danger to rescue crews prevented the ambulances from reaching the wounded at the village entrance, Bin added. IDF medical teams had to bring the wounded from the village to the main road.

IDF forces fired crowd-dispersal ammunition toward the protesters, pushing them back into the village.

The area around Beit Ummar has seen multiple car-ramming attacks in the past.

Earlier Friday, two soldiers were lightly to moderately hurt in a car-ramming attack at the Kfar Adumim Junction, north of the West Bank city of Ma’ale Adumim and east of Jerusalem. Read the rest at the Times of Israel.