Showing appreciation, Arab styleThe name James Wolfensohn may ring a bell with some longtime readers. Wolfensohn arranged and paid for - along with Bill Gates - the purchase of Israel's Gaza hothouses in 2005 for about a third of their price. The picture is what they looked like when Israel ran them. Eventually, they were abandoned and turned into weapons tunnels.
Wolfensohn was to receive an honorary degree at the American University of Beirut's commencement ceremony later this month. He was also supposed to be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. But he won't be. Due to a petition drive against him, he won't be speaking at the ceremony and he won't even be getting the degree because the university's rules say you can only get a degree in person. Wolfensohn's plight is a lesson in how the Arabs treat those who try to help them (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad).
The petition tied its objections to Wolfensohn’s work as president of the World Bank from 1995 to 2005, his membership in the International Advisory Council of the Israel Democracy Institute, which according to its website, "acts to promote the values and norms appropriate for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," and his investment in Better Place, a company that according to the petition, "intends to build infrastructure to serve Israeli settlers in the West Bank."Read the whole thing. You'll never want to do a favor for an Arab again (if you ever did).
Moshe Kaplinsky, chief executive of Better Place Israel, previously served as commander of the Sayeret Golani, Golani and Galilee Brigades in the Israel Defense Force. During his tenure, he was promoted to the prestigious rank of major general and appointed military secretary to the prime minister in 2001. In 2005 Kaplinsky served as deputy chief of the general staff.
Lebanon technically remains in a state of war with Israel.
"Israel has been a longtime strategic enemy of Lebanon and has launched several aerial and ground offensives in Lebanon," said Mohamed Ghotmeh, one of the petition's organizers and an engineering student of this year's graduating class.
"Even if we want to forget that we have been historic supporters of the Palestinian struggle, we can't forget that Israel occupied Lebanese territories for years," he said in reference to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanese towns from 1982 to 2000.