Tel Aviv Diary - December 13-17, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - December 13-17, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 13, 2013

Jewish Labor Committee Opposes Draft ASA Academic Boycott Resolution

December 12, 2013, New York, NY - The President of the Jewish Labor Committee, Stuart Appelbaum, issued the following statement:

The Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) is extremely troubled by and stands opposed to the recommendation made by the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) that its members vote for a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel academic institutions. Such a resolution would be an anathema to academic freedom and is totally inconsistent with basic democratic value of free expression.

Academic boycotts assume that all Israeli academic institutions and the people associated with them whether professors or researchers are inherently guilty. It would essentially also hinder the exchange of important scientific research that can benefit all of humankind.

Boycotts of this nature especially since they are directed at only one party -- undermine hopes for a peaceful and just settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. These actions do not encourage compromise; rather, they hurt moderates on each side and encourage extremists and rejectionists on both sides. Ironically, such a resolution would discourage an open discussion in Israel, Palestine and in organizations like the ASA -- one that considers the behavior of all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ways to resolve it.

Instead, the JLC encourages organizations to be even-handed as they work to press both sides to negotiate in good faith, to support academic and other efforts that build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians, to support programs to grow democratic institutions throughout the Middle East and to support moderates on both sides to promote meaningful dialogue and exchanges.

For these reasons, we encourage the members of the ASA to vote against this resolution.

December 13, 2013

We have electricity. we have heat. there are many many people without. 35,000 at least. Snow all over Jerusalem and many many other places - if Jesus had been born now he would have froze to death. We are not equipped for this kind of weather at all.

But we managed to get out this afternoon and joined the crowds at Cameri theater who had come to pay tribute

whoops no electricity

to Anat Gov, the playwright and public critic who died last year. Thousands of people in the hall, hundreds of classic musicians and actors on stage doing skits of her work. Although her criticism of the government warmed my heart always, her "Happy End" play that explains precisely why she has refused further cancer treatment came to us just at the right time. I used to see her in the halls of the cancer ward, hunched in a wheelchair, miserable, and am sure she would have been happier with the send-off yesterday.

December 14, 2013

We've NEVER had this weather before! Even the snow of 1950 was nowhere near as bad. Of course we're not prepared! The damage from this weather is going to be so great, not only because of the information we're getting (we have electricity!) about roads closed, people stranded, etc. but also the information we are not getting, from all the villages and people cut off.

December 15, 2013

Damages are piling up - all around the country - millions and millions of bucks of damages. Hundreds of people harmed by the terrible cold - Why is it so cold here? It may not be so cold but we aren't prepared in any way for it.

Oh yes, and my ceiling is still dripping. The plumber who came today discovered that the pipe belongs to the co-op and not to the neighbor's apartment. So the insurance company that covers the apartment is not the same as the insurance company that covers the co-op and that means we need a different plumber. He will come tomorrow afternoon. In the mean time the drip has spread to our bedroom. Don't ask.

And compared to most of the people in Israel right now, we've got it good.

December 16, 2013

Care to join us in a poetry reading in my living room tomorrow? Click on University of Sophia tomorrow at 19:30 p.m. Israel time: here. You have to download some program but the registration is free. The program starts at 20:00 p.m. Israel time, about 14:00 EST. The site is not totally simple to navigate so start a bit earlier.

December 17, 2013

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