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Week in Review—Oberlin Ousts Anti-Semitic Professor; Hezbollah Rising; Israeli Tech Takes Off

Oberlin College Cans Karega

Joy Karega, an associate professor of rhetoric at Oberlin College whose Facebook posts featured conspiracies about Jewish bankers controlling world events and accusations that Israel founded ISIS and was responsible for 9/11, was dismissed by the college Tuesday.

The school’s board of trustees said in a statement that Karega had been given “numerous procedural protections” during their review of her record, including being represented by a lawyer and being able to present and cross-examine witnesses. During the proceedings, the statement said, Karega “attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship,” and never apologized for her misconduct.

Following news of her dismissal, Karega once again took to Facebook, in a post that has since been removed, thanking her supporters and threatening litigation against Oberlin.

Karega’s Facebook posts were first exposed by The Tower in February. After she came under heavy criticism for her statements, Karega thanked the anti-Semitic website Veterans Today for its support. She also received support from the neo-Nazi website Stormfront.

In some of her posts, Karega insisted that being an anti-Zionist or anti-Israel was not the same thing as being anti-Semitic. A similar line of reasoning was offered this week by McGill University’s student newspaper, The McGill Daily. The Daily has come under fire for its decision to stop publishing op-eds that  “promote a Zionist worldview.” In its statement announcing the policy, the Daily’s editors stated that they disagreed with “the conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.”

Anti-Israel advocacy hasn’t had much success so far at McGill. A motion to support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was rejected by the student body in February, and the school’s student government found in June that BDS resolutions violated the university’s anti-discrimination policy. It remains to be seen whether the exclusion of the “Zionist worldview” from the university’s newspaper will also run afoul of that policy.

Hezbollah’s Aspirations

The recent election of Michel Aoun as president of Lebanon has one again raised concerns about the intentions of the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, which had prevented the election of anyone other than Aoun for the post.

In an analysis of the election published in Newsweek on Sunday, David Daoud, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued that “the United States’ receding Middle Eastern role and foreign policies have enabled the regional ascendancy of Hezbollah’s patron, Iran….If anything, the path forward for Lebanon’s new president points not in the direction of moderation, but to Tehran.”

Hezbollah is also active in Syria and Iraq. The pro-Hezbollah website al-Masdar published a photo essay earlier this week showing a Hezbollah military parade near Qusayr, a Syrian city on the border with Lebanon. The terror group is among the Iranian-allied forces poised to capture the Syrian city of Aleppo from rebel forces. And, as Daoud reported earlier this month, Hezbollah is training Iraqi Shiite militias near the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the chief of staff of Iran’s army, boasted last week that the Islamic Republic has been supplying its missile technology to Hezbollah.

All of these data points—its effective control of Lebanon, its army in Syria, its crucial military role in Iraq, and its huge rocket arsenal—show that Hezbollah is far more than an Iranian-allied militia; it is rather, as it was characterized by the foreign correspondent Michael J. Totten, “the tip of an Iranian imperial spear.”

Chip Off the Block

The big news in Israel’s technology sector this week was the opening of Intel’s new $6 billion chip fabrication plant in Kiryat Gat. “The vision of the future is realized here,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening ceremony. “You are producing a new future. Using technology, you amplify Israel’s power. Israel is a global technological superpower.”

Intel’s Israel production plant CEO Daniel Benatar focused on the company’s workforce diversity:

Intel is building here one of the world’s most advanced plants, using thousands of hard working employees, from engineers, electrical engineering and chemistry doctors to welders, pipe fitters and construction workers, Israelis from across the spectrum of Israeli society – Jews, Arabs, Druze and Bedouins, religious, ultra-orthodox, young 25-year-olds and veteran employees over 60; this is a source of pride for Israel.

An Israeli company is also racing ahead in the world of driverless cars. The app developer Nexar is creating a network that automatically alerts drivers—and, eventually, cars themselves—of road conditions in order to avoid accidents. Companies developing driverless car technology see Nexar’s network as an important component to their work.

Nexar may have company, however. Forbes reported in June that major automakers were looking to other Israeli companies in the race to bring the first driverless car to market. A number of major manufacturers have teamed with the accident avoidance system developer Mobileye, which raised nearly $1 billion in its 2014 IPO. And in August, Ford bought SAIPS, an Israeli machine learning company, to boost its own driverless car efforts.

Other tech news from Israel this week include the development of a simple blood test to detect Parkinson’s disease, an Israeli company that makes it easy to grow your own marijuana, and a roundup of celebrities who have invested in Israel’s high-tech startups.

Feature: The Pro-Palestinian Left is Tearing Itself Apart Over Syria

Jamie Palmer looks at the often-vicious infighting taking place on the political Left over the proper response to the civil war in Syria. On one side are those who seek to condemn and sanction Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies, who have killed the vast majority of civilians. On the other are those whom, Palmer asserts, learned “all the wrong lessons” from the failures of the Iraq War. To them, “Iraq provides irrefutable evidence of American incompetence and mendacity; and the West should not lecture Russia or Iran (or anyone else for that matter) on human rights as long as its own allies include Saudi Arabia and Israel.” Palmer noted that the fault lines have emerged due to anti-Western activists’ “refusal to make a clear moral distinction between democracy and dictatorship, and therefore between liberty and tyranny.”

This Week’s Top Posts

Israeli Beauty Queen Hails “Unique and Diverse” Jewish State
Hezbollah Shows Off “Massive” Arsenal of Armored Vehicles in Syria
What the Next President Must Do About the World

Three Big Questions

Unrest is growing in the West Bank, reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. How will he respond: by asserting even more authority (and curtailing freedoms), by rescheduling cancelled elections, or by distracting the population by fomenting violence against Israel?

Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department official who is now the vice-president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, recently observed to Business Insider that the election of Donald Trump “without question…will spook a lot of financial institutions and companies that were considering investments in Iran.” How will the incoming administration affect bilateral and multilateral dynamics with Iran?

Israel has been making significant diplomatic gains in recent months, especially across Africa and Asia. Netanyahu announced this week that early next year he would be taking the first-ever official visit by an Israeli prime minister to the South Pacific island nation Fiji. Israel welcomed the foreign ministers of New Zealand and Romania to Israel this week. What new diplomatic moves can we expect to see?

[Photo: Daderot / Wikimedia]