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An open letter to professor Rachel Giora
From Maurice Ostroff
April 22, 2010
Dear Professor Giora
I refer to the open letter to which you subscribed, addressed by BOYCOTT! (Supporting the Palestinian call for BDS from within), to the management of the Irish public limited company, CRH, urging it to divest from Israeli cement company Nesher.
Since you signed as a professor, I fear that the shallow unsubstantiated arguments presented in BOYCOTT's political appeal are unworthy of the rigorous academic standards one is entitled to expect of the university you represent.
BOYCOTT's letter to CRH not only lacks rational argumentation, it employs highly emotive inaccurate language hardly appropriate from an academic. The title professor conveys a false sense in the mind of the reader that the material is authoritative, even though your field of linguistics is no guarantee of expertise in Middle East politics.
If the reader of your letter is expected to reach an informed opinion he/she ought to be informed that the $140 million investment in Nesher Ltd. is a very small part of CRH's acquisition program. By comparison, the Dublin based company, a leader in the global building materials market, spent EUR1 billion in a single year in building its international network of companies. Nesher, which supplies cement to the PA as well as to Israel and is a leader in advanced production technology was a natural target for acquisition by CRH, providing synergetic advantages to Ireland, Israel and the PA. It is with respect that I ask who would benefit and who would suffer if your effort to coerce CRH to divest from the Israeli company succeeds?
I ask too, whether you are consistent in making judgments. Does BOYCOTT! apply the same standards to Palestinian suppliers of cement for the security barrier and for construction in settlements? According to Pravda, the Al-Quds Cement Company, a firm owned by the family of Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), provides materials to help build Israel's security barrier and constructing houses in settlements.
And on the subject of being consistent, surely you will agree that if Boycott Divestment and Sanctions are to be realistic, boycotters will have to live without Israeli input into anti-virus program, computers, cellular phones, voice over the internet, instant messaging and life-saving drugs and devices like stents,.
Most importantly, I ask whether as an intellectually honest academic, you checked the validity of the statement to which you subscribed that Israeli settlements are illegal by international law and I suggest that you owe it to your audience to familiarize them with the conclusions of the Late Eugene W. Rostow who played a leading role in producing resolution 242 and who stated unambiguously that the Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is not illegal.
For anyone who is conscientiously interested in gaining a balanced perspective on the legalities of the settlements, the authoritative views of authorities like Rostow and the late Professor Julius Stone, one of the world's leading experts on the Law of nations should be compulsory reading. They may be viewed at http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id91.html and http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id45.html
I also believe that as an academic scholar, you cannot afford to ignore the work of Canadian Lawyer Dr. Jacques Gauthier, who spent twenty years of research on the legal status of Jerusalem. His dissertation comprises some 1,300 pages with 3,000 footnotes. You may hear an interview with him at http://ctstv.com/ontario/player.php?ctsvidID=17133&show=On
This open letter is being made public and I would very much appreciate a considered response from you, which will be similarly publicized.