Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Rubenstein et al in letters today

From: g87
Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:48 PM
Subject: What a waste of time - Colin R!

The last 2 letters are far better - Colin R seems keen on not upsetting Lyons and The Australian.
Geoff Seidner

Minors in Palestine

THE article by Middle East correspondent John Lyons is an example of Israel being damned if it does and damned if it doesn't ("UN circle of unaccountability", 13-14/4).
It implies the existence of a conspiracy whereby Israel has subverted the UN Children's Fund because UNICEF's report on Palestinian minors in military detention didn't correspond with the tone of moral outrage that has sometimes characterised Lyons's reporting.
The report is the first to be issued by UNICEF since it began formally co-operating with Israel -- and positive results of this can be seen in changes in Israeli policy that the report describes. Rather than acknowledging these developments, Lyons attacks UNICEF for co-operating with Israel.
What is being overlooked are the improvements Israel is making as it tries to handle Palestinian youth who are intent on perpetrating violence, often encouraged by their elders and the Palestinian media.

The situation is difficult, and there is room for improvement, but it is worth keeping two things in mind. First, it is international law, not discrimination, that requires Israel to treat Palestinian minors in the occupied West Bank in accordance with the legal system in place there.
Second, stone-throwing frequently results in severe injury. To give one example, an Israeli toddler, Adele Biton, is still in hospital after being critically injured when her family car crashed after being hit by a stone thrown on March 14. Her mother and two older sisters were also

injured. Five Palestinians have been arrested over the attack, all of them minors.
Colin Rubenstein, executive director, Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, South Melbourne, Vic

Anti-Israel academics should consider the wider consequences

ACADEMICS who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign should think about the consequences ("Jewish students slam council over 'pet' BDS", 16/4).
The academics at Sydney University who influenced the Students' Representative Council to call for academic co-operation to be cut with Technion, Israel's oldest university, should remember that the Jews' connection to the land of Israel goes back 4000 years whereas Islam's connection began in the seventh century.
Western academics and students should be reminded that Israel has a better human rights record than any other country in the Middle East and is the only democracy there.
The BDS movement works against peaceful conflict resolution and is an example of group-think that sometimes rears its head in the academic world. Omar Barghouti, a founder of the movement, is open about its real aim -- the end of Israel itself.

Phil Herd, Kangaloon, NSW
IT is disgraceful that Sydney University's SRC is supporting the extremist BDS campaign against Israel.
This nasty campaign to boycott and silence Israelis violates the basic academic principle of supporting freedom of speech for divergent views. Moreover, the leading advocates of BDS have often said they have no interest in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace or reconciliation via a two-state solution that would respect the rights of both.

Rather, their intention is to eliminate the state of Israel and replace it with an exclusivist Arab state putting at risk the lives of millions of Jewish citizens of Israel. How can students support such objectives?
Philip Mendes, Kew, Vic

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