Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Israel

Stephen Hawking’s Israel Boycott

Stephen Hawking was scheduled to do a conference in Jerusalem, but has backed out, choosing to respect the academic boycott of Israel. The academic boycott seeks to show the Israeli case to be analogous to the South African case–during the apartheid era in South Africa, many academics chose to boycott that country. Is Stephen Hawking right to respect the academic boycott?

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Erdogan and Zionism

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said this in a UN address against racism and discrimination:

In addition to indifference vis-à-vis the Muslim countries, we also see harsh, offending, insulting behavior towards Muslims who live in countries other than their own, and this continues to be an unconscionable act that has been ongoing around the world.

We should be striving to better understand the beliefs of others but instead we see that people act based on prejudice and exclude others and despise them. And that is why it is necessary that we must consider — just like Zionism or anti-Semitism or fascism — Islamophobia as a crime against humanity.

This has managed to infuriate, among others, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. So the question of the day is whether Erdogan is correct in characterising Zionism as politically similar to anti-Semitism, fascism, and Islamophobia, or whether, in falsely equating Zionism to these other things, he is himself guilty of anti-Semitism as his critics suggest. Let’s have a look.

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Student Union Silliness

So apparently some people at Oxford’s student union want to boycott Israel. I disapprove strongly of the way the Israeli state treats its Arab citizens and the Palestinian population it keeps stateless. Nonetheless, I am opposed to this idea, and I want to explain why.

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Why are We Enemies with Iran?

An interesting question occurred to me today–why are we (we being developed countries generally, but the US in particular) enemies with the Islamic Republic of Iran? What is the fundamental problem with Iran that makes it impossible for us to trade with it, buy its oil, and otherwise maintain friendly relations with it? When I asked myself this question, I could not immediately produce a response that seemed wholly justifiable or acceptable to me. So let’s explore it further.

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Israel gets Vindictive

In the aftermath of Palestine’s victory in the recent UN vote, Israel has decided to withhold $120 million in Palestinian tax revenue, representing 3% of Palestine’s GDP, and to expand the illegal construction of settlements on Palestinian land. Today, I intend to denounce these policies as vindictive, irrational, and against the interests of the Israeli state. They are, from all reasonable points of view, the wrong policies. Read the rest of this entry »