Opinion

MIT President meets with rightwing pro-settlement Israeli leader

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Naftali Bennett, the education minister of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chief political rival on the right, has been really chuffed by the Trump presidency: He announced that it means the end of the idea of a Palestinian state, and he has demanded the annexation of a large settlement that is several miles east of Jerusalem, Ma’ale Adumim, and he has called for the annexation of large portions of the West Bank. He also wants the establishment of autonomous Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza — in a word, Bantustans. And he has pushed for more settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank, which Israel just announced.

So why is the president of MIT meeting with this guy?

From Naftali Bennett’s twitter feed: Here is L Rafael Reif, meeting Monday with Bennett to discuss education.

Reif and Bennett in Jerusalem

The two men also looked at the Old City together, evidently from the northwest in Jerusalem.

MIT President Reif and Naftali Bennett regard the Old City from Jerusalem

 

It’s an odd message for Reif to be sending when the UN Security Council just voted, 14-0, with the US abstaining, to condemn the Israeli settlement project as a “flagrant” violation of human rights. Imagine the president of a prestigious university meeting with a leader of the Jim Crow south back in the day; there would be a furor. There is surely a fundraising piece; as former Boston-area Rep. Barney Frank once said to anti-settlement activist Jeff Halper, I can’t come out against the settlements unless “you bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… ”

Reif, an electrical engineer, is of Jewish descent, and MIT described him as a “citizen of the world” in announcing his appointment five years ago:

Leo Rafael Reif (pronounced “rife”) is the youngest of four sons of Eastern European emigrés who fled Europe in the late 1930s, living first in Ecuador and then Colombia before settling in Venezuela. The family was poor, supported by his father’s work as a photographer, and spoke Spanish and Yiddish at home.

 

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… Reif, an electrical engineer, is of Jewish descent, and MIT described him as a “citizen of the world” …

I wonder what MIT would call an electrical engineer of non-Jewish descent who selectively supported supremacism and (war) crimes against Jews.

So what does Noam have to say about this?

As far as I can tell, Naftali Bennett is an out-and-out fascist. There are no two ways about it! ■ no two ways about it English Phrase no two ways about it 1. (idiomatic) No other possible action, choice or option. There’s no two ways about it. We’ll have to start over from the very beginning. 2. (idiomatic) No other possible interpretation. SOURCE – https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/no_two_ways_about_it P.S. I certainly could use a big, fat, hand-rolled, Cuban… Read more »

Technology is a poor substitute for morality, as we saw in WWII.

Bennett proposes his solution by advocating autonomous areas for Palestinians in areas A and B, with no sovereignty, no military or control its borders, i.e, Bantustans… “First, we would work to upgrade the Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank, in the areas largely under Palestinian control (known as Areas A and B, according to the Oslo Accords). Ideally, this will be done in coordination with the Palestinian Authority”. And left unsaid..if not done in coordination… Read more »