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Will Events at UNC Prompt a Change in Policy on Anti-Israel Incitement?

Clocktower Quad at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Photo: Warren LeMay/Wikimedia Commons.

On or near October 20, the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) published a “Solidarity Statement” with Palestinians.

The statement read, “We are in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israeli settler colonialism and occupation and support Palestinians in Gaza who are being subjected to ongoing Israeli military violence through indiscriminate bombing.” They added, “We oppose the active genocide of a dispossessed people.”

A recommended resource includes “A Textbook Case of Genocide” which states, “Israel’s goal is to destroy the Palestinians of Gaza.”

Correspondence about this issue was included within hundreds of pages of public records I recently received from UNC.

On October 28, a UNC professor emailed the School’s Provost, Christopher Clemens, saying, “This [solidarity statement] would seem to be a clear violation of UNC’s policy of institutional neutrality, which is based on NC Senate Bill 195 and the Trustee resolution on institutional neutrality.”

On November 9, Clemens sent Ariana E. Vigil, the Department’s chair, an email of concern, stating:

The solidarity statement on your website as written appears to be an institutional statement. I understand Dean White has offered a process to review it for posting on the departmental website, which requires approval by legal and communications. If you do not wish to follow that procedure, then the statement needs to reflect clearly and unambiguously that it is the opinion of those who wrote it and not the institution. This would best be accomplished by moving it to personal websites. Whatever choice you and the faculty make, it is my hope this can be resolved by Monday, November 13.

This “Solidarity Statement” remains on the department’s website. It appears they removed the announcement of the statement from the site while keeping the full statement on the site.

In 2021, this same UNC department signed a statement declaring, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine,” accusing Israel of the “indiscriminate bombing of Gaza.”

Other UNC departments may have recently breached this legal expectation of institutional neutrality.

On November 28, I attended and reported on the event “No Peace Without Justice: A Round-Table Talk about Social Justice in Palestine,” which several UNC departments jointly sponsored.

Sara Smith, an advisory board member of the UNC Women’s and Gender Studies Department, introduced the panel and was a moderator. The Department of Geography and Environment was one of the sponsors of this hateful event, as was the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies.

Dr. Rania Masri, a speaker, said: “October 7 for many of us from the region was a beautiful day.” She spoke with pride and admiration for Hamas and their paragliders, saying she is not “the least bit apologetic of the violence of the oppressed or the occupied,” adding, “Let us demand the eradication of Zionism.”

Among the seven panelists, two moderators, and UNC professors present, not one appeared concerned by what Masri said, no one challenged or questioned her.

On December 15, Dean James White of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, issued a strong public statement about this event, which leaves me cautiously optimistic. He wrote:

On Nov. 28, a panel discussion took place in one of our departments in which a guest speaker made remarks that I found abhorrent and antithetical to what the university represents, which is a place where debate—even vigorous, contentious debate—advances our knowledge and understanding of complex topics. You have heard me speak often about our desire to model civil discourse and educate our students in having difficult conversations. That event failed in this regard. I join Chancellor Guskiewicz in his condemnation of the visitor’s remarks, which glorified violence. Yes, even hate speech is protected speech, but we have a responsibility in the College to ensure that we are providing an atmosphere that is conducive to learning for all students. Plainly put, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of prejudice are wrong, and prohibited discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated at Carolina.

On December 15, the Department of Geography and Environment also issued a statement on its website: “The appalling remarks made by one of the speakers at the [Nov. 28] event do not represent the position of the Department of Geography and Environment.”

The UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies put at the top of their website a message saying, “Click here to read Dean Jim White’s statement on the events of Nov. 28.”

Dean White’s statement and Provost Clemens’ email to the chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department are solid steps in the right direction. Now, UNC needs to do much more to provide Jewish and pro-Israel students with a safe and productive campus environment that is institutionally neutral on Israel and the Palestinians.

Peter Reitzes writes about issues related to antisemitism and Israel.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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