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MIT President meets with rightwing pro-settlement Israeli leader

on 13 Comments

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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13 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay on January 25, 2017, 2:45 pm

    … 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.

    • just
      just on January 25, 2017, 4:47 pm

      eljay~ not much to “wonder” about there.

      This meeting is rife with Zionism~ same old, same old thing. Israel firsters. That is all.

      Naftali Bennett has said:

      He’s no “citizen of the world”.

      btw and O/T, anyone really know what a “State- minus” is?

      “Netanyahu Ahead of Trump Phone Call: I Am Willing to Give Palestinians a ‘State-minus’
      Israeli prime minister to discuss Iran, Palestinians and Syria with President Trump on Sunday, noting that overturning the Iran nuclear deal remains a top objective for Israel.”

      read more:

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on January 26, 2017, 4:28 pm


      And that is the bottom line. These people areovert racists engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity. They don’t have to hide their objectives or methods. They proudly procalim their illegal plans. Just like m.cohen the other day who sees potential in a series of crimes as a solution to the ME. The world looks away.

      It is a sad day for humanity when humanity ignores such crimes and evil.

  2. marc b.
    marc b. on January 25, 2017, 8:14 pm

    So what does Noam have to say about this?

    • Keith
      Keith on January 26, 2017, 1:04 am

      MARC B- “So what does Noam have to say about this?”

      Noam seems to have come in from the cold.

      • marc b.
        marc b. on January 26, 2017, 5:15 pm

        i went to graduate school and became friends with a student who had his PhD in the maths from MIT. back in the day he and some class mates had approached chomsky to ask for his support for a janitors’ strike at MIT or some such matter. chomsky blubbered on in response, ‘what can i do about this . . .’, etc. chimpsky in a nut shell.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson on January 25, 2017, 8:58 pm

    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
    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 –

    P.S. I certainly could use a big, fat, hand-rolled, Cuban cigar right now.
    Oh, Arnon?
    Arnoooooooooon! ! !
    If I don’t get a big, fat, hand-rolled, Cuban cigar real soon, you can forget about using Israel as a tax haven! ! !

  4. JWalters
    JWalters on January 25, 2017, 8:59 pm

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

  5. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw on January 26, 2017, 10:34 am

    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 with the Palestinians? Well, it will be done without their consent, as is happening now. Jabotinsky is alive and well.

  6. wfleitz
    wfleitz on January 26, 2017, 10:56 am

    What a hypocrite. His family immigrates to Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and finally the United States so he can have a better life and he doesn’t have the humanity to see that his “guest” won’t even fathom permitting people indigenous to Palestine returning to their homelands from which they were expelled.

    On the other hand he probably knows this but having a prestigious title, fancy house and BMW are just too precious to risk to stand up against this thug. What a Gollum…

    • JWalters
      JWalters on January 26, 2017, 8:51 pm

      “he probably knows this but having a prestigious title, fancy house and BMW are just too precious to risk to stand up against this thug.”

      He might consider watching Judgement At Nuremberg some evening. A very thoughtful, well-done movie.

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