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World Association of International Studies

Post MP David Ward Accused of Anti-Semitism
Created by John Eipper on 01/15/15 7:12 AM

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MP David Ward Accused of Anti-Semitism (Bienvenido Macario, USA, 01/15/15 7:12 am)

Here's the latest controversy from the UK:

UK's Liberal Democrat MP David Ward broadcast on Twitter: "#Netanyahu in Paris march - what!!!! Makes me feel sick."

He continued to ridicule the now famous online hashtag "Je Suis Charlie" by tweeting "Je Suis #Palestinian" to his 12,000 followers.

See: Lib Dem MP David Ward in race row with Israel over 'Je Suis Palestinian' jibes on Twitter, Jan. 13, 2015


Lib Dems criticise David Ward's tweet, Jan. 13, 2015


JE comments: It was pure chance that this item comes in on the tail of Luciano Dondero's post on the pessimistic attitudes among the Jewish population of the UK.  But is this trend genuine?  Taking Palestine's side is political suicide in the US, but I suppose it isn't in the UK.

What do we know about David Ward?

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  • MP David Ward and the Liberal Democrats (Nigel Jones, UK 01/15/15 11:08 AM)
    In response to Bienvenido Macario (15 January) the small Liberal Democrat party in the UK has a nasty streak of anti-Semitism. One of its Peers, named Jenny Tonge, was thrown out after repeatedly saying that if she were a Palestinian she would be a suicide bomber.

    David Ward MP is cut from the same tainted cloth. His anti-Semitism may be opportunistic since he has a large number of Muslims in his constituency, but it is nevertheless toxic.

    JE comments: When Nigel Jones gets the chance, I'd be interested in a UK Civics lesson: how do you throw someone out of Parliament?

    I oversimplified this morning when I spoke of "taking the Palestinians' side." The point is to seek justice for both sides. Henry Levin (next) explains.

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  • Israel and Palestine: What are the Real Issues? (Henry Levin, USA 01/15/15 2:55 PM)
    Unfortunately, your commentary constrains the alternatives that we should be debating for WAIS discussion. There is no question that the Palestinians are between a rock and a hard place, and that the position of the radical religious right tries to limit free expression within the Jewish community and the Fundamentalist Christian community.  Among politicians in the US, support for Netanyahu is also divided, with "religiously liberal Jews" and the young finding him an obstacle to reasonable dialogue towards Palestinian independence and peace and expressing concern about the Palestinian suffering.

    But, the real issues have not been deeply discussed in the WAIS forum. The question is how we can create a solution that is fair to the Palestinians and does not endanger Israel from the actions of radical groups who will accept nothing less than Israel's destruction. Is there no solution? Are we caught in a political quagmire with no hope, even for theoretical solutions and conflict resolution? Must the Palestinians set up a constitutional democracy (à la our expectations in other countries of conflict) before we are satisfied with a solution?

    There are serious problems here when politicians in the US listen only to the hard-liners in the Jewish community who claim that they speak for the Jewish community and to the Religious Right. How do we support those who dissent from what identity politics claims is their view, when it is not?

    JE comments:  Perfectly stated.  As I wrote earlier today (see Nigel Jones), it's not just a matter of taking one of the "two" sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict.  The question is how to be fair to everyone.  As Henry Levin phrases it, wouldn't theoretical solutions be a good start?

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    • Israel and Palestine: What are the Real Issues? (Robert Gard, USA 01/15/15 3:58 PM)

      Adding to Henry Levin's post of 15 January, I cannot imagine that anyone believes a two-state solution is possible with the West Bank settlements that continue to expand.

      JE comments:  Most would be in agreement with General Gard.  Perhaps it's time to revisit the political hot potato in Israel:  how can the settlements be stopped or scaled back, given the disruptive power of Israel's extreme right?

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    • Israel and Palestine: What are the Real Issues? (Rodolfo Neirotti, USA 01/16/15 2:18 PM)
      As usual, I enjoyed Henry Levin's realistic posting of January 15th, regarding things in their true nature and suggesting that we deal with them as they are. Elasticity can transform reality. Innovations are often the result of the disruption of reality. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I do not sense elasticity, flexibility or innovations in the search for a solution. Flexibility mitigates risk and opens opportunities by recognizing uncertainties and planning for adaptation to real situations.

      Henry wrote, "The question is how we can create a solution that is fair to the Palestinians and does not endanger Israel from the actions of radical groups who will accept nothing less than Israel's destruction." Even if we (WAISers) come up with a theoretical solution, I wonder in which way our discussions can help to accomplish a peaceful situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Do our discussions, conclusions and recommendations reach the outside world and the powerful that make decisions? If not, we are in a circle limited to academic discussions. I admit that because of my relatively recent arrival to WAIS, I may be misinterpreting the purpose of this Forum.

      JE wrote that theoretical solutions would be a good start. Unfortunately, for practical people, the word "theoretical" has a connotation of impracticality, particularly in a context (Israelis-Palestinians) dominated by collective denial, whereby people do not see what they do not want to see. Change is often pressing in on the people from every direction--so much so that reality feels like an invading disease. However, for most, fantasy and denial is the cure. Unfortunately, denial is effective only as short-term treatment.

      I apologize for being realistic.

      JE comments: Where does this leave us? Does the WAIS "jaw, jaw," in the form of postings that might be read by 500 people, reach the ears of policymakers? Probably not, although our record (and one of our greatest strengths, our longevity as an on-line Forum) is far more than a Voice in the Desert.

      Rodolfo Neirotti's very important question reminds me of WAIS history:  if policymakers had read the Hispanic-American Report (our ancestory publication) back in 1961, the Bay of Pigs fiasco would have been averted.

      So I'll invite thoughts from the floor:  how might WAIS prevent future Bays of Pigs?  Is such a thing possible for an academic Forum?  These are weighty questions for a Friday evening.

      Best 2015 wishes to Rodolfo, by the way.

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      • WAIS Relevance and Visibility (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/18/15 9:07 AM)
        Rodolfo Neirotti's post of 16 January poses a critical question to the WAIS Forum: "Do our discussions, conclusions and recommendations reach the outside world and the powerful that make decisions? If not, we are in a circle limited to academic discussions."

        The answer is not that simple.

        Based on the many thousands of WAIS posts I have scanned for many years (probably every post, because you never know when a nugget shows up to teach me something important), different people have different reasons to post. Some want to spread their religious or political gospel (I am no longer interested), some have very practical and interesting knowledge, etc. I post because I want to test and document my ideas and predictions. To me learning is a very serious business: no time for gossip, politicking, ad hominen attacks, etc. Personal anecdotes have been very interesting case studies through story telling, and I love most of them.

        The question of whether our discussions, conclusions and recommendations "reach the outside world" is a separate issue. It is mostly up to the outside world. For example, remember Deming's theories about Total Quality Management. For a long time he was an obscure professor completely ignored by the American corporate world. He developed his theories and one day Japanese industrialists run across them, recognized their importance and implemented them, and in a few years they just about destroyed several American industries such as electronics and auto manufacturing. Thank God the leaders of the latter finally learned their lesson and improved themselves back into competition.

        There is a second dimension to this question: what can WAIS do to make itself more visible and relevant? There are thousands of Forums each trying to be relevant and visible to the outside world. Each must choose the degree of specialization, the amount of gossip versus facts allowed, the degree of obscenity allowed, the degree of personal respect demanded, etc. That will determine our Forum general content quality, and I believe it is fairly high. Over time high quality content will attract attention from outsiders, but it is a long process difficult for us to control.

        JE comments: I applaud Tor Guimaraes's thoughtful answer. As I see it, WAIS is primarily about learning and sharing knowledge. A day never goes by that I don't learn three or four new things. The next step, that of "making a difference" in the world outside our membership, is far more complex. With great pleasure I'll point out that the WAIS readership is steadily growing, and sometimes we'll even come out at the top of the Google food chain. Test "Guderian Armenian" (or WAISmart) and you'll see what I mean.

        More applause to Tor Guimaraes for reading each and every WAIS post!  Who else can make that claim?  I'd love to hear from you.  Of course I read all of them, two or three times, although I simply don't have the time to check out all the links and sources that might be embedded in a post.

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        • WAIS Relevance and Visibility (Enrique Torner, USA 01/21/15 11:41 AM)
          I am thankful that Rodolfo Neirotti (16 January) and Tor Guimaraes (18 January) have brought up the question of WAIS visibility again. I mentioned this sometime last year, too. I am surprised that there have been no efforts to publicize our existence to the rest of the world! We should.

          The Department of World Languages and Cultures at Minnesota State University, Mankato, recently created the first online Spanish Masters for the Professions in the country. How could we attract students without a marketing plan? I think that WAIS should create one too. It is a shame that a group of scholars from all over the world like ours who discuss topics of world relevance is not better known. I have started making WAIS known to my university by mentioning it to my students--even referring them to specific forums/posts--to my colleagues, and to the whole community, by mentioning it in our university newspaper when I was interviewed regarding the Catalan independence referendum, and to the university administration by including it in my two- and four-year report to my college dean. Hopefully, this will spread the word about the role of WAIS online.

          I suggest we all come up with a plan to market WAIS to the rest of the world. Do we have funds to advertise the Forum in academic journals or other venues? Do any WAISers have access to advertising means? I am a recent member of WAIS, but I have been quite involved in marketing/advertising and recruitment committees over my 23 years on the faculty, so I would be more than happy to help in this endeavor, should you decide to go for it. I think it would be worth the effort.

          JE comments:  Bravo, Enrique; I think you've just volunteered! While I work every day to get the WAIS word out to the world, Enrique is correct that we have no specific, codified "marketing plan."

          Who will work with Enrique to come up with new ideas? Let me know, and I'll put everyone in touch. (And of course, I'll be as involved as I can.)

          You are a model WAISer, Enrique!

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