This is Harvard. Harvard. These are supposed to be some of the best and brightest young people in America, yet they seem to know nothing of the real world.

Harvard University’s dining service has removed labels from soda machines in its facilities over concerns that merely reading them could damage the fragile psyches of university students.

The root of the problem, like so many other campus food fights, is Israel. Until last spring, Harvard Undergraduate Dining Services (HUDS) purchased water machines from a firm owned by SodaStream, an Israel-based firm that operates a plant in the West Bank.

According to The Harvard Crimson, those purchases have stopped after activists on campus complained that the machines were offensive to students of Palestinian origin. Nor did HUDS stop there, as they even stripped SodaStream labels from machines they already owned in order to minimize any potential psychic harm to students who oppose the company.

Umm, Harvard students, discriminating against an entire ethnic group is a little thing called racism.

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The Secret Jewish Conspiracy Against Cancer

The top Palestinian diplomat in Canada says the Harper government should not have boycotted a United Nations conference this week that harshly criticized Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Said Hamad says Canada should have joined other countries at a conference in Geneva examining the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the rules of war and military occupation.

Some 126 countries of the 196 international parties to the convention adopted a resolution Wednesday saying Israel’s construction of settlements does not conform to its international legal obligations as an occupying power.

Along with Israel and the U.S., Canada boycotted the conference, another example of unwavering Conservative support of Israel – a position that has exposed deep differences with the majority of the United Nations.

“We had hoped Canada would participate in this conference, given its long-standing policy that ‘Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,”’ Hamad said in a written statement.

“We urge all countries absent from the conference to rejoin the international community’s efforts to enforce the rule of law.”

Hamad was quoting from Canada’s written foreign policy, posted on the Foreign Affairs Department website – a written policy that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have been reluctant to repeat out loud.

Continue Reading.

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good informational vid about the conflict if you’re interested :)

Some interfaith conflict in the Israeli Parliament:

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein says he refused to display a Christmas tree in the parliament because of the “painful memories” it evoked among Jews.

Edelstein told Israel Radio Thursday such a public display of a Christian symbol could be construed as offensive.

Earlier this week, Edelstein rejected the request of a Christian-Arab lawmaker. He said the parliamentarian could display a tree in his office and party’s conference room.

Edelstein says the initiative is part of an Arab campaign to chip away at Israel’s Jewish nature. He warned that if he had agreed he would then likely face further requests to display a cross and crescent in parliament.

Edelstein has a point, of course.  He’s quite right that as soon as the state agrees to adopt the symbolism of a particular religion, it then risks the appearance—if not the active adoption—of favoritism towards the selected group, and others will complain.  

But what’s strange about this incident is that Israel pretty clearly has a favored religion already.  Judaism is the official state religion of Israel in everything but name, and it’s obvious to anyone that examines the relationship between State and religious authorities in the country.  To highlight an example that came up recently, Jewish religious authorities are given state funding to investigate marriage seekers, in order to prevent the “wrong” kind of marriages from occurring, including marriages involving “individuals of questionable Jewishness.”  Haaretz made the following helpful chart at the link above to explain Israel’s marriage system:

Basically, Israel’s religious authorities are paid by the state to subject citizens seeking marriage licenses to something akin to a religous purity test.  Anyone who fails or refuses is denied a marriage license and may seek a civil union.  But you can only get a civil union if you declare yourself as “no religion” on a state form, which a lot of religious people are clearly not going to be comfortable doing.  All of this, unfortunately, is done with the blessing of the Israeli Government, which remains forever fearful of any type of cultural assimilation that could cause Israel to lose its “Jewish nature,” to use Edelstein’s term.

These are just more examples of how Israel’s obsession with remaining a “Jewish State” creates a quagmire for the Government of Israel.  Religious Judaism is obviously a very important part of Jewish identity, so a significant part of the Israeli Government’s attempts to maintain the “Jewish nature” of Israel includes subsidizing the activities of Jewish religious authorities.  Unfortunately, this sometimes inures to the detriment of Israeli citizens, including Jewish Israelis who may be subjected to invasive and humiliating investigations by religious authorities seeking to “authenticate” a couples’ Jewishness before they’re allowed to receive a marriage license.