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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
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Israeli, Palestinian vineyards vandalized in West BankElisha Ben Kimon - Ynet News "A resident of the Palestinian village of Bani Na`im in Mount Hebron discovered that his olive grove had been damaged on Saturday morning and filed a complaint with the Judea and Samaria District Police.GraffitI reading, "Stop the agricultural terror, we`ll get to you everywhere," was spray-painted nearby." ca 25/5/2018
Troubling tactics of the Israeli Police Mazal Mualem - Al-Monitor - Israel Police arrested 19 Arab Israeli activists during a May 18 demonstration in Haifa protesting the killing of Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border fence in recent weeks. When the detainees were remanded two days later, the court ordered the police to release them. The bold decision by Justice Amir Salameh of the Haifa Magistrate Court to reject a police request to extend their detention saved the dignity of the Israeli law enforcement system. All too often, the police succeed in convincing judges to extend the arrest of suspects, using such important but sometimes nebulous claims of their potentially endangering public safety or interfering with legal proceedings. This time the police were publicly humiliated with the media in the courtroom. Salameh emphasized in his ruling that none of the 19 protesters posed a threat to public safety. He also said that some of those suspected of having committed assault required medical treatment themselves.-rh 23/5/2018
Dutch state TV accused of anti-Semitism in Israeli Eurovision song spoofJTA - “Look how beautiful, I’m throwing bombs, Israel again wins, 70 years already the party’s on.” “No way, no Palestinian’s coming in.” “I hunt Palestinians through the curtains.” “If your party’s crashed, make sure you cash on embassies, with your ka-ching, ka-ching and your ping-a-ping, with your dollars and cents." In 2012, the [moderately-left-wing] Vara broadcaster already faced allegations of spreading “blood libels” when it aired a parody of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which had been manipulated to have him say in a seamless and realistic-looking speech: “We are trying to maximize the number of civilian casualties. (...) We are conducting these surgical operations against schools, mosques, hospitals, children. This is something I don’t have to explain to Americans.” [bz]22/5/2018
Much to the chagrin of the Israelis, Palestinians ask ICC for ‘immediate’ probe against IsraelAssociated Press - Ynet - This includes Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank and extends its complaint to east Jerusalem, as well as the recent round of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli fire killed over 100 Palestinians during weeks of mass violent protests along the Gaza border. The Palestinians appear to have an especially strong case in the matter of settlements. [bz] 22/5/2018
If you do it, it is not a dreamSusie Becher - Ynet - US Ambassador Friedman says crushing Palestinians’ ‘fantasies’ will bring stability to the region, but it is not their dreams alone that are fading, as realities of occupation win Trump administration’s seal of approval. Dream of a democratic State of Israel that ‘will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens,’ meanwhile, is dying too [ry]21/5/2018
Pastor who said Jews are going to Hell led prayer at Jerusalem EmbassyMatthew Haag - New York Times - Robert Jeffress, A Dallas evangelical pastor who once said that Jewish people are going to hell, delivered a prayer at the opening ceremony of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem. John C. Hagee, a megachurch televangelist who claimed that Hitler was part of God’s plan to return Jews to Israel, gave the closing benediction. Despite their comments about Jewish people, the two pastors are considered as "among the leading pro-Israel voices in the evangelical Christian world"... [ak]15/5/2018
Tens of Thousands Attend Funerals for 60 Gazans Killed in Border Protests Ha`aretz live updates - It was decided during last night`s Palestinian leadership meeting to transfer the Israeli settlements case to the international court, as well as to call for an emergency session of the UN Security Council and ask for international protection for the Palestinian people (meanwhile vetoed by US). [bz]15/5/2018
Eclipsing Factionalism: The Missing Story from the Gaza ProtestsRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “Palestinians, disenchanted with factional division, are laboring to create a new political space, independent from the whims of factions; because, for them, the real fight is that against Israeli Occupation, for Palestinian freedom and nothing else” [ry]14/5/2018
Trump Operatives Hired Israeli Dirty Ops Firm, Black CubeRichard Silverstein — Mondoweiss "This story began with a bombshell Observer story yesterday saying that during Trump’s first trip to Israel just after he became president, senior members of his transition team “hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign.” It was tasked with finding incriminating information that would impeach the credibility of both Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, two key members of the Obama team negotiating the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran:" ca11/5/2018
The P5 minus 1: Trump exits Iran dealLaura Rozen - Al-Monitor - "Iran and the five other powers that negotiated the deal — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — signaled that they would try to maintain the deal without the United States. But the three European leaders whose diplomats had been working intensively with the Trump administration to try to craft a compromise that would keep Trump in the deal over the past four months said they deeply regretted his decision and feared it could start to unravel global nonproliferation efforts." - id 9/5/2018
‘An Illusion to Think That He Wouldn’t Do This’: Trump Iran Deal Withdrawal Fulfills Wish to Nullify ObamaLachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng and Andrew Desiderio - The Daily Beast - "The Trump administration’s plans for killing the Iran nuclear deal were never a secret. For one thing, a version has been on the internet, publicly available for all to read, for nearly a year." - id 9/5/2018
Palestinian poet convicted of inciting terror in Facebook +972 Magazine - Dareen Tatour, 36, hails from the village of Reineh near Nazareth and is a Palestinian Israeli citizen. She was arrested on October 15, 2015 after publishing a number of poems on her Facebook page, including “Qawem Ya Sha’abi, Qawemhum” (“Resist my people, resist them”). She spent three months in detention until she was placed under house arrest. Tatour`s attorney Gabi Laski disputed the poem`s translation to Hebrew which was presented to the court - done by a policeman with no training in literary translation. Experts on Hebrew and Arabic literature, appearing as expert witnesses, testified about the various meanings of specific words and phrases used by Tatour in her art, as well as the nature of political poetry. The court ruled against the poet. "They say that every poet is a prophet. Well, I have written a poem about being in handcuffs, and it came true" said Tatour after the verdict. [ak]8/5/2018
Winner of Prestigious Israeli Award to Donate Prize Money to Human Rights Organizations Amira Hass - Haaretz - “I am deeply grateful to the Dan David Foundation both for the honor conferred by the prize, and for the opportunity it provides me to support those elements of Israeli society committed to peaceful coexistence and to the protection of human rights for all.” Feminist and scientist Evelyn Fox Keller, a former professor at MIT, will give her Dan David Prize money to anti-occupation organization B`Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Physicians for Human Rights. [bz]8/5/2018
Hamas in Message to Israel: Willing to Negotiate Long-term Truce Amos Harel - Haaretz - The Hamas leadership is engaged in a lively debate regarding the negotiation of a cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners and bodies. The daily Israel Hayom [owned by Sheldon Adelson] reported two weeks ago that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is in favor, while the overall Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is opposed. The paper claimed that Sinwar accused Haniyeh of yielding to Iranian pressure in forming his positions. [bz]8/5/2018
Netanyahu banks on escalation with IranAl-Monitor (THE PULSE OF THE MIDDLE EAST Weekly review, quoting regional commentators) - In Iran, writes Saeid Jafari, “the assortment of broken promises by the United States, Israel`s attacks on Syria and the joint US-French-British missile strikes have all contributed to the emergence of deeply negative views among Iranian political elites. Not only "hawks", also more and more "liberals" see negotiations with the West over the country`s missile program as a pretext for weakening Iran`s capabilities and setting the stage for a more vulnerable Tehran in the future. [bz]8/5/2018
Palestinian refugees are demanding to be heard. Will we listen?Edo Konrad - +972 - 70 years later, Palestinian refugees are no longer waiting for peace talks to determine their fate. In Gaza, they are actively reclaiming their place at the table [ry]7/5/2018
Report shows 40% increase in Israeli defense exportsYnet - A major air defense deal with India propped up defense exports to $9.2 billion in 2017; 31% of sales were missiles and missile defense systems, drone sales down; Asia-Pacific nations lead buyers [ry]7/5/2018
Army Refuses to Disclose Engagement Policy on Gaza ProtestersIMEMC - "Responding to the petition, the Israeli army said that the policy regarding the use of force on Gaza border is “confidential.” It insisted, according to Haaretz, that the rules of engagement in this regard could only be disclosed in a closed court session." - id 2/5/2018
State closes case on officers who killed Bedouin man in Umm al-HiranMagazine Staff - +972 - "“Officer Erez Levi was buried in a military cemetery and recognized as a fallen member of the Israeli armed forces. But my husband, an award-winning educator, was accused of being a terrorist, and we were left abandoned,” al-Qi’an’s widow, Amal Sa’ad, said during her speech at the joint Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony in April. “I’m raising six young children alone and no one has taken responsibility for the disaster that occurred.”" - id 2/5/2018
Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: Different Religions, Same HateRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "To give but one small example: while I don’t think much of the spectacle of Israelis (in Paris, an Israeli Jewish journalist and in Berlin, an Israeli Palestinian) who don kippot in Arab neighborhoods daring Muslims to assault them, the truth is that this is precisely the same form of bigotry Muslim women who wear the hijab and Sikh men who wear the turban, endure. If we were smart, we would make a common alliance to fight this scourge, not separate ourselves by making our victimization worse than anyone else’s." - id 2/5/2018
Netanyahu Promised Israelis Drama About Iran But Delivered an Old TED Talk Aimed at TrumpNoga Tarnopolsky - The Daily Beast - "Netanyahu’s speech was announced at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, three and a half hours before its scheduled delivery, and at the height of rush hour. The Tel Aviv stock market tanked and terrified citizens—who for years have heard Netanyahu’s escalating warnings about the threat posed by Iran, flooded—radio talk shows with concerned questions about the war they expected imminently to erupt." - id 2/5/2018
Saudi Crown Prince tells Palestinians to accept Trump proposals `or shut up`Maan - American Jewish leaders, who last month held a meeting behind closed doors with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, were reportedly “staggered” by MBS’ harsh criticism of “It is about time the Palestinians take [Trump]`s proposals and agree to come to the table, or shut up and stop complaining.” The Crown Prince added “The Palestinian issue is not at the top of the Saudi government’s agenda… There are much more urgent and more important issues to deal with — such as Iran.” With regard to Iran, the Saudis` most important ally is PM Netanyahu of Israel. In order to bring this de- facto alliance into the open, the Saudis need at least the semblance of an advance on the Palestinian issue. "“There needs to be significant progress toward an agreement with the Palestinians begore it will be possible to advance negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the Arab world and Israel.” However, far from providing the Saudis with such a fig-leaf, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared that the U.S. was no longer an “honest broker” in the peace talks between the two nations, following Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as the relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. [ak]1/5/2018
In limbo, asylum seekers await government`s next moveJoshua Leifer - +972 - In the absence of a UN deal and with the collapse of Israel’s mass deportation plan, African asylum seekers again face an uncertain future [ry]30/4/2018
Police use Arab figures for target practice at northern schoolHassan Shaalan - Ynet - As part of activity day organized by police for Menashe Regional Council school, students shoot at keffiyeh-clad Arabs for paint gun practice; MK Zahalka writes incensed query to Minister Erdan, demanding to know who organized activity; police says incident localized, instructions have been made clearer to prevent incident from recurring [ry]30/4/2018
A Warning Likely to Be Unheeded: A Review of Norman Pollack’s Final BookRon Jacobs - CounterPunch - “The fact that assassination without trial and without warning became part of what constitutes acceptable tactics of warfare lends credence to a statement Pollack returns to on more than one occasion. The statement, made by the former head of the Israeli military’s international law division Daniel Reisner, espouses the idea that ‘international law progresses by violation’” [ry]30/4/2018
Palestinian security forces arrest journalist in the West BankCommittee to Protect Journalists - "We are concerned about the arrest of our colleague Hazem Naser given the Palestinian Authority`s record on respecting the rights of independent journalists," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney from New York City. "The authorities must explain immediately on what grounds they snatched this journalist away from his home in the middle of the night." The Palestinian Interior Ministry, which oversees the Preventive Security Forces, did not immediately respond to CPJ`s messages requesting comment." ca 28/4/2018
Revealed: Israeli Justice Ministry directly involved in international ‘lawfare’ activities against BDS movementJonathan Ofir - Mondoweiss "In September 2016, Attorney Eitay Mack filed a FOI request on behalf of several Israeli human rights activists to the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry for Strategic Affairs in an attempt to discover their links with possible funding of foreign bodies to combat BDS. To their surprise, it was revealed that the Justice Ministry is directly involved.Mack and his clients are now appealing to have the identity of the foreign organizations or firms revealed. The question was before the court yesterday..." ca 28/4/2018
The longest 14 minutes of his lifeSima Kadmon - Ynet - "According to the laws of that country, what`s the point of being in power if you can`t cheat, lie, renege on agreements, catch as catch can and do whatever you please? Decent folk, who stick to their words and agreements should seek residence elsewhere. Miri Regev rules supreme here." - id 25/4/2018
Twitter suspends MK who said Palestinian teen ‘deserved a bullet’Michael Bachner - Times of Israel - Twitter suspended a firebrand Israeli lawmaker’s account on Monday due to a post in which he said a Palestinian teen protester who was filmed slapping an IDF soldier should have been shot. Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich was banned from the social media site for 12 hours for “offensive behavior,” along with a demand he remove the tweet, which expressed regret that Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian sentenced to eight months behind bars for slapping an Israeli soldier, had emerged unscathed. [bz] 24/4/2018
British Parliamentarians: `Exert meaningful and decisive political, diplomatic and economic pressure on the Israeli authorities`British Parliament Website - 29 Members of the British Parliament presented an "Early Day" (i.e. urgent), calling on their government to be mindful of its duties as a signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and "to exert meaningful and decisive political, diplomatic and economic pressure on the Israeli authorities to halt the demolitions of Palestinian homes and, in particular, to abandon attempts to demolish the school and other buildings in the village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. [ak]24/4/2018
Young Jewish Resistance in America Hails Portman’s Stance as Turning Point on IsraelDina Kraft - Ha`aretz - “It certainly feels like a new moment, for such a prominent and proud Israeli to take the stance she is taking,” says Andrew Goldbatt of the Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman. "The mantle of legitimacy she lends will embolden young American Jews – specifically fellow progressive Zionists like himself – to feel more comfortable speaking out against Israeli policies that they too find objectionable.It will also enable them to say, as Portman did in her statement, that you can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the country. The key is that she cited her `Jewish values` as the basis for her objections to Netanyahu`s policies." [ak] 24/4/2018
State Dept. Drops `Occupied` Reference to Palestinian Territories in ReportMichael Wilner - The Jerusalem Post - US Ambassador to Israel Friedman reportedly directed the State Department to stop using the term [ry]23/4/2018
In major BDS win, Barnard students vote overwhelmingly to divest from the Israeli occupationJesse Rubin - Mondoweiss "The companies that organizers have targeted for divestment are Hyundai Heavy Industries, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bank Hapoalim and Mekorot. As its name suggests, Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), a coalition of Columbia and Barnard Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), has steadily advocated for divestment since its founding in 2016." ca 20/4/2018
In major BDS win, Barnard students vote overwhelmingly to divest from the Israeli occupationJesse Rubin - Mondoweiss "The companies that organizers have targeted for divestment are Hyundai Heavy Industries, Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bank Hapoalim and Mekorot. As its name suggests, Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), a coalition of Columbia and Barnard Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), has steadily advocated for divestment since its founding in 2016." ca 20/4/2018
Are Iran and Israel Headed for Their First Direct War?Thomas L. Friedman - NYTimes - "I’m sure neither side really wants a war. It could be devastating for Israel’s flourishing high-tech economy and for Iran’s already collapsing currency. But Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force seems determined to try to turn Syria into a base from which to pressure Israel, and Israel seems determined to prevent that." - id 18/4/2018
Al Jazeera denies claims of pro-Israel group on The Lobby filmsAl Jazeera - "The Zionist Organisation of America claims Al Jazeera was compelled to cancel an investigation into pro-Israel lobbies." - id 18/4/2018
Israel advocacy groups demand questionable changes to Virginia textbooks, reports IRmepInstitute for Research Middle Eastern Policy - Cision - Requested changes include: # Deletion of references to Israel "occupying" territories captured during the 1967 Six-Day War and substituting "controlled." (...)# Changes to maps to recognize Israel`s declared "annexation" of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. (...) # Substitution of references to "occupied territories" to "captured areas." # Substitution of references to "Jewish settlers" and "settlements" with "building of homes and communities." # Deletion of a lesson reviewing a video documentary by Iranian-American religious studies scholar, author, producer and television host Reza Aslan. # Deletion of an activity based on reading the biography and work of Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi. [bz]17/4/2018
Independence Day signs vandalized in Arab towns in northern IsraelYishai Porat, Hasn Shalan - Ynet - signs commemorating Israel`s 70th Independence Day were vandalized in several locations—mainly in Arab towns in northern Israel. Many Arab residents expressed opposition to publicizing the celebrations, saying: "We recognize Nakba Day (Catastrophe Day—commemoration of the displacement that preceded Israel`s establishment), not Independence Day." One resident, Jafar Farah, said: "In the past few days, Arab media sources have been harshly criticized for publishing ads for the 70th anniversary of Israel`s independence. Hundreds of posts have been published on social networks calling for the removal of such signs from message boards in Arab towns, the same goes for the print and electronic media and newspapers that publicized the notices were harshly criticized." [ak] 17/4/2018
What is the West`s end game in Syria?Farah Najjar - Al Jazeera - Were US-led strikes on Syria aimed at destroying chemical weapons, or an attempt to maintain geopolitical status quo? [ry]16/4/2018
Israel calls for punishing those who document army violations against PalestiniansMEMO - “It is time to put an end to leftist organisations’ activities which in recent days filmed an army soldier to help delegitimize the state of Israel” [ry]16/4/2018
In another blow to deportation plan, Israel frees jailed asylum seekersJoshua Leifer - +972 - Israel frees 200 asylum seekers imprisoned for refusing deportation after the government admits there is no secret agreement with Uganda that allows for the mass deportation of refugees [ry]16/4/2018
Jeremy Corbyn Calls for Reconsideration of Arms Sales to IsraelIMEMC - "Head of British Labour Jeremy Corbyn has said that Britain should consider halting the sale of arms to Israel, after nine more Palestinians lost their lives on the Gaza border.In a message read at a demonstration outside Downing Street yesterday, Corbyn condemned the violence as an “outrage”, and attacked Western silence over the deaths." ca 13/4/2018
Lieberman LiesRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "Israel’s military said it is still investigating and was not able to confirm Lieberman’s claims. Note that last sentence. Lieberman didn’t offer evidence for two reasons: 1. Israel almost never offers evidence; 2. He doesn’t have any." - id 11/4/2018
Jeremy Corbyn calls for UK to review arms sales to IsraelJeremy Corbyn - "The UK government must support the UN Secretary-General`s call for an independent international inquiry into the killing of protesters in Gaza and review the sale of arms that could be used in violation of international law." - "[Gazans] have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination." [bz]10/4/2018
Israeli DM: No Innocent People in Gaza StripJason Ditz - AntiWar - Says aid workers, journalists involved in `terror activities` [ry]9/4/2018
ICC prosecutor calls for end to Israeli violence in GazaAl Jazeera - The International Criminal Court is monitoring events as part of its preliminary investigation into alleged crimes [ry]9/4/2018
Rwanda is out, but Israel says it can still deport refugees to — Uganda?Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man - +972 - "Now Israel says it has a nearly identical agreement with a second country, widely known to be Uganda. Kampala denies any such agreement exists." - id5/4/2018
Foreign Ministry says it handled Gaza well. Michael Oren [of all people!] begs to differRaphael Ahren - Times Of Israel - FM Spokesman says ministry took a calculated decision not to fan the flames of an event that wasn`t greatly resonating. But according to Deputy Minister Michael Oren the Israeli narrative is losing “big time” to the Palestinian narrative. [bz]4/4/2018
A week of unbearable heartbreak in Israel-Palestine+972 Magazine - This past week has been one of the more heartbreaking recent periods in Israel-Palestine. First, and this seems surreal to write for the umpteenth time, the Israeli army dispatched 100 snipers to open fire into a crowd of unarmed protesters last weekend, shooting over 700 people, killing at least 16. Some were shot in the back while running away. Then there is the way that Benjamin Netanyahu toyed with and ultimately broke the hearts of tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers — people who fled horrors most of us should be relieved we cannot imagine, and many of whom endured torture and other unimaginable horrors just to reach Israel. To find relative safety and security. Monday night Netanyahu announced a deal that would have found a decent and dignified resolution for almost all of the tens of thousands of African asylum seekers in Israel. The mass, forcible deportation of refugees to Rwanda is off the table. And then, just as quickly, just as much out of thin air as the solution had appeared, it was yanked away. Almost like a sick joke. While the world is facing its biggest migration and refugee crisis since the Second World War, Israel, a country of 8 million people, a country comprised almost entirely of refugees of some form or another, declared it is unwilling — not unable, but unwilling — to give refuge to a meager 16,000 people.[ak]3/4/2018
Israel Courts Catastrophe in Gaza ProtestsThe Editorial Board - New York Times - Palestinians in Gaza are among the world’s most desperate people, blockaded for more than a decade by Israel and Egypt, sharply restricting the flow of goods and people, with unemployment reaching more than 40% for the general population and nearly 60% among youths. Under such conditions it is no wonder that pent-up frustrations would erupt in protests, as they did last Friday. Responding to the demonstrations, Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians at the border fence that separates Israel from Gaza and injured more than a thousand. (...) On May 14 and 15, Israel will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its independence, the US will formally open its Embassy in Jerusalem while Palestinians in Gaza will observe the 70th anniversary of what they call the “nakba,” or “catastrophe,” when 750,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel by trying to break through the border fence and march toward their former villages. Unless someone steps up to end Gaza’s humanitarian disaster, ensure Israel and the Palestinians act with restraint during the protests and set a credible peace process in motion, both sides could face a new catastrophe. [ak] 3/4/2018
Pope Francis: The `defenceless` are killedAl Jazeera - He called for peace in the Holy Land but failed to condemn the killing of Gaza`s unarmed protesters by Israeli snipers [ry]2/4/2018
Hebrew University Recruits Future Shin Bet Torturers and Assassins Richard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "I told myself, I’ve recorded these methods from the victims themselves, and here they were presented to me in the guise of a perfect PR pitch under the sponsorship of the Hebrew University. And no one complained, or protested, or blew up this loathsome conference. Regarding this collaboration with the Shabak it’s appropriate to call for an academic boycott of the University" [ry]2/4/2018
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