Monday, 26 May 2008

Odds and ends...

I have visitors from London here, so in lieu of a proper post, a couple of odds and ends from this morning's newspaper:

David Mumford, the American mathematician (I write, as if I am familiar with his work: I can barely make 2 and 2 make 4, most mornings) was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize for Mathematics, presented by Shimon Peres last night; he promptly announced that he would be donating all $100,000 of it to Bir Zeit University, and the civic organisation Gisha. "I decided to donate my share of the Wolf Prize to enable the academic community in occupied Palestine to survive and thrive," Mumford said. "I am very grateful for the prize, but I believe that Palestinian students should have an opportunity to go elsewhere to acquire an education. Students in the West Bank and Gaza today do not have an opportunity to do that."

I think Bibi was at the ceremony. I would have given anything to have seen his face when Prof. Mumford made the announcement.

Norman Finkelstein was deported from the country last night. Given that he apparently broke bread with the lads from Hizbo'Allah not very long ago, and wrote at length about it, I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise. However, his lawyer, Michael Sfard, stated that the actions of the Shabbak recalled "the behaviour of the Soviet Bloc countries". Uh-huh.

Finkelstein, a respected academic with the unexpected instincts of a streetfighter, got himself into a most unedifying row with Alan Dershowitz a while ago. The whys and wherefores of their spat are neither here nor there (actually - if you have half an hour of your life to waste, you could do worse than start off here), but it is worth reading a splendid article, tongue wedged firmly in cheek, by the historian and Ha'aretz columnist Tom Segev about the two here (unfortunately, the only link I can find for it is on Finkelstein's website - a couple of responses are included beneath, the second almost as amusing as the article itself)

Ok, I'm off. Have a good day. Sorry for all the hyperlinks. :-)


Dr M said...

what I don't understand is how do you know all these stuff. I live in the same place and don't recognise any of the names - well except Peres of course.

Goy said...

@ Dr M:

Norman Finkelstein is an American academic. He has done a lot of work about how the Holocaust has does one put this nicely? misappropriated by others, for political and financial gain. Wrote a book about it. Pretty much bulletproof in this respect, since his parents survived the Shoah themselves. I think he defines himself as an anti-Zionist, hence his jolly japes in Lebanon etc.

Alan Dershowitz is a Prof at Harvard, and a Friend of Israel. No, THE Friend of Israel. Was played quite engagingly by Ron Silver in 'Reversal of Fortune' (The Claus von Bulow case, won. Jeremy Irons an Oscar). Was on the OJ Simpson dream/nightmare team. Very litigious, so I'll say nothing more about him.

Bibi, you know. Segev, you know.

That's it, no?

Ah. Michael Sfard - Israeli lawyer. Does lots of Good Things with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and various other activist groups. Seen, generally, as a Good Egg.