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Israel To Join CERN As First Non-European Member 351

First time accepted submitter WorldPiece writes "More accurately, first non-European full member. This comes with some opposition from groups pushing to boycott Israel academia in response to the Israeli government's policies. 'It is a vital part of our mission to build bridges between nations. This agreement enriches us scientifically and is an important step in that direction,' CERN's Director General Rolf Heuer, a German physicist, told the signing ceremony."
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Israel To Join CERN As First Non-European Member

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  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @09:36AM (#37433468) Homepage Journal

    Politics have no business in science.

  • by Sun ( 104778 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:18AM (#37433678) Homepage

    BDS is one piece of weapon in an arsenal diplomatic warfare. Yes, weapons can be used to push peace, but they are not, generally, considered a "peace device".

    BDS is particularly evil for several reasons. The most ironical is that it attempts to collectively punish all Israelis for what Israel is supposedly doing, thus using collective punishment to protest collective punishment. Presumably, this is okay because it's done by "the good guys"(tm).

    More to the point, BDS strives to prevent the other side from voicing its opinion to argue whether the acts protested are real, or just products of propaganda and distortion. In that respect, BDS is just another propaganda employed against Israel. Weapons may, in some rare circumstances, bring peace, but propaganda seldom does.

    More to the point, however, BDS strives under all that is "Academia". I can sometimes agree that economical sanctions are in order (nothing that Israel has justified, but I can see how others might disagree with that sentiment). I can understand a cultural boycott, though don't see how it ever does any good. An Academic boycott, however, is never justified.

    True discourse and exchange of ideas, some of which you might not like, is the cornerstone of academia. Shutting down someone else's voice is never an academic thing to do, least of all for political reasons.


  • Not good. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:22AM (#37433696)

    Yes and no. There are very good reasons for keeping certain scientific results "secret". Even Einstein did that. Handing a criminal and inhumane state like Israel results without a filter in between is irresponsible.

    All that aside: What Israel is doing in an institution, which has "European" in its name, is beyond questionable.

  • Re:wait a minute (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:23AM (#37433702)

    That government has no right to exist except by the force it uses to subjugate the natives.

    The same could be said of any government. That's what a government is.

  • Re:Military State (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:32AM (#37433742) Homepage

    Wow, what a condescending reply.

    Israel is not a "military state" in the sense that the military controls politics. It's a pretty dynamic democracy with a highly-diverse set of viewpoints. It also has a very educated labour force and a high number of high-tech companies and startups.

    Israel has long been known for innovation. Just google "Israeli Innovation".

    Those who propose BDS on the spurious basis of "Israeli Apartheid [sic]" are blind to reality, either out of ignorance or malice. While Israel is not perfect and its Arab citizens do suffer discrimination, it's nowhere near the level of South African Apartheid, and those same Arab citizens have more civil rights in Israel than in any Arab country.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @10:34AM (#37433750) Journal

    Politics have no business in science.

    If there's funding involved, there's politics.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @11:40AM (#37434158) Journal

    Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun []
    A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
    Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
    "Ha, Nazi schmazi," says Wernher von Braun

    Don't say that he's hypocritical
    Say rather that he's apolitical
    "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
    That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

    Some have harsh words for this man of renown
    But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
    Like the widows and cripples in old London town
    Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun

    You too may be a big hero
    Once you've learned to count backwards to zero
    "In German oder English I know how to count down
    Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @11:55AM (#37434232) Journal

    The fact that you are comparing the way the Arabs in Palestinian territories live to those trapped in Nazi concentration camps, shows that you have not paid attention in history class. Please observe how terrible life is for these poor people in Gaza: [] and then ask for a refund from your high school.

  • by bikehorn ( 1371391 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:02PM (#37434266)
    The point of BDS is not to demonise the average Israeli(like you seem to believe) but to make Israeli citizens realise that it is the fault of the government which THEY ELECTED AND SUPPORTED that they are being shut out by the rest of the world. It is intended to remind them, peacefully, that they have the power to change this by electing a government whose policies do not violate international laws. If that means their scientists are blocked from participating in international projects due to BDS then it is upon the scientists, as some of their society's more educated members, to articulately protest to their government to alter its policies. Do you believe there is a better solution that regular citizens in the rest of the world could employ?
  • by burris ( 122191 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:08PM (#37434284)

    Are you seriously suggesting that refusing to deal with people on a voluntary basis is somehow equivalent to blockading them, denying the importation of food after calculating the absolute minimum calories required to prevent mass deaths and joking about how it's "like a visit to the dietician, the Palestinians will get a lot thinner but won't die," destroying their capacity to make food by destroying chicken farms and flour mills, destroying sewage treatment pond retaining walls so they spoil farmland, destroying their electrical plants then denying the importation of parts to repair them, destroying thousands of homes and refusing to allow them to rebuilt by forbidding the importation of building materials, and denying the export of what little they do produce so they can't have any economy?

  • Gaza != Israel ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:27PM (#37434382)
    If Gaza is not Israel, then why did Israel have commandos with machine guns rappel onto a flotilla boat bringing food to people in Gaza? As far as the "area under their control", the area in the case of the flotilla raid was international waters. You know, international waters, like where the USS Liberty was when Israel killed 34 of its crew. It's funny how people sailing on a ship with food in international waters are the ones "agressively awaiting to attack any Israely they see", while the commandos rappelling onto the boat with machine guns (the "any Israelys (sic) they see" I guess) are not the aggressive ones. The Israeli commandos were armed with machine guns, the flotilla passengers were armed with nothing but pieces of wood from the mast and knives they grabbed from the kitchen.
  • by Sun ( 104778 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:49PM (#37434504) Homepage

    It is intended to remind them, peacefully, that they have the power to change this by electing a government whose policies do not violate international laws.

    But what if I disagree with you that my government is, indeed, violating international laws? If you will not hear what I have to say (because you are boycotting my academia), then how will you find out in case you are wrong?

    BDS is about saying "there is no chance we can possibly be wrong, and no further discussion is necessary", which is another way of saying it is just propaganda. It is also the anti-thesis of the most fundamental core academic value.


  • Re:Military State (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vinlud ( 230623 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @12:56PM (#37434532)

    Just the systematic purging of Arabs in Jerusalem (by refusing permits to Arabs to modify or build new houses) though is not something you would expect to find in any true developed democracy conscious of it's minorities.

    You can wonder if a democracy can operate properly at all if it's main issues are related to security

    The fact that most of Israel's neighbours are fucked up countries as well (although Jordan doesn't seem bad imho and we can hopefully see positive things developing in Egypt) doesn't plead in any way that Israel is a democratic country. It'd be like comparing the US to Mexico and conclude that the US doesn't seem to have a lot of gun fights

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2011 @02:33PM (#37434986)

    "Wow it's great Israel is a democracy. Do the Arabs in the West Bank get to vote in elections?"
    Do Afghanistanis get to vote in American Elections? How about Iraqis? What about Mexicans?

    Arabs in the west bank are not Israeli citizens, they're a people who live in disputed territories, although many of them are Jordanian citizens.
    Israeli Arabs are citizens, however, and do vote in elections and are otherwise protected as equal citizens. Considering they make up more than 20% of the Israeli population and government, I'd hardly call that a "token" minority.

  • Re:Not good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cavreader ( 1903280 ) on Sunday September 18, 2011 @04:01PM (#37435378)
    "criminal and inhumane state" This accurately describes every middle eastern country that has been trying to remove the Jews for the past 70+ years. Since their military efforts showed that they could not fight their way out of a wet paper bag they switched strategies by abandoning those who where living in the sovereign territories that Jordan and Egypt controlled leaving them stateless. A small sacrifice to make sure Israel has to deal with all the problems. If the Palestinians are really suffering as much as people claim why has Egypt, Jordon, Lebanon, or Syria never allowed the Palestinians to settle in their lands? Why have all the Arab countries not kept their promise of providing financial aid? Of course they would never do this because it would mean putting an end to their relentless harassment of Israel. The Arabs are only using the Palestinians as a tool to provoke Israel into violent confrontations that result in Palestinian casualties so they can loudly proclaim to the world about the evils of Israel. They don't give a shit about the people being killed they just want feed their propaganda machines. Anti-US and anti-Israel rhetoric is the only issue that the entire Arab world can agree with and their politicians take full advantage of this to distract the masses and keep them from looking at their own government corruption and incompetence.
  • Re:Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by obarel ( 670863 ) on Monday September 19, 2011 @02:15PM (#37445708)

    Because Israel is not a democracy, as such (despite the trademarks).

    People vote, but there is a lot of corruption in the government and many of its actions are undemocratic. Including the way it was elected (note that the current prime minister is not the leader of the party that received the largest number of votes, he's there because of some political slight-of-hand).

    But I get the basic principle: if a country is democratic, it should be punished for the actions of its leaders, because in principle the people can do something about them. If a country is not democratic, there's no point punishing it, because not only do the people suffer, they are also not in a position to do anything about it.

    So leaving Israel aside for a second, why would the US push for sanctions against North Korea? We all know the people there can't do anything about the government, and they suffer enough. The same could be said about Iran as well (not to mention Iraq, but that's a different story).

    I guess reality is just a bit more complicated than that.

The absent ones are always at fault.