ZION LOSES GROUND IN ITS OWN PRESS

The Forward, which has been fiercely pro-Israel, ran two pieces yesterday that are sharply critical of the Zionist establishment.

Mazal Tov!

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‘Forward’ lives up to its name, bashing denial of Palestinian narrative and donors’ control of Hillel

Philip Weiss FOR
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Roll over Ben-Gurion and tell Jabotinsky the news: The Forward, which has been fiercely pro-Israel, ran two pieces yesterday that are sharply critical of the Zionist establishment.

First, here is a piece defending Students for Justice in Palestine chapters from the ongoing university punishments– SJP “is one of the few campus groups pushing for a just peace in Israel and Palestine”– written by a member and former member of SJP chapters (respectively, Joey Morris at Brandeis and Gabi Kirk, formerly of University of California Santa Cruz). Notice the complete lack of hysteria in this rendering of the argument:

Everyone has the right to criticize a foreign government when it breaks international law, even if others have deep emotional ties to it. …

SJP’s actions are, at their heart, meant to bring the Palestinian narrative to campus. If telling history from a Palestinian point of view makes pro-Israel students feel uncomfortable, that’s not anti-Semitic on our part. It’s denial on theirs.

While pro-Israel groups have filed many Title VI discrimination complaints with the Department of Education, not one has been found in their favor. Pro-Israel students have alleged anti-Semitic harassment and have failed to provide objective evidence, yet administrators still cave to their demands. In contrast, when Northeastern Law SJP student Max Geller received death threats, the university’s response was tepid. The administration applies a double standard to Palestine solidarity groups, delaying the response to their harassment claims while taking decisive action when Israel lobby groups complain.

And then this excellent attack on Hillel, in which Jay Michaelson of the Forward staff tells young Jews just to leave the organization rather than try and reform it from within. Notice how Michaelson goes right to the funding question. “Institution Is Beholden to Donors, Not Students,” is a headline, and he scores “Jewish philanthropists” in the piece. Michaelson explains that the Hillel guidelines shutting down intelligent conversation about the conflict aren’t about institutional ideology or love of Israel but about money.

Remember back in 2009, when the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco issued one of the first gag rules regarding Israel-Palestine? Why do you think they did that? Because they felt like it? No, because two major California-based foundations said that if one dime of their money went to support or endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, however indirectly — a film at a film festival, a speaker on a panel, anything — they would pull all their money. That’s why the policy was put in place, and that’s why it was mimicked around the country.

This is not to say, dear Hillel students, that you shouldn’t be outraged. On the contrary: you should be more outraged. The community institutions which pretend to involve your participation are a sham. Your Hillel “officers” are like student government: They can make petty decisions, but when the rubber hits the road, money talks and they walk.

So direct your outrage in a meaningful way: leave.

The only way these institutions will listen to you is if they begin to fail at their core mission. Their donors will then have to choose between their support of that mission, and their desire to maintain a particular kind of political purity. There is no point in arguing with your Hillel director, or Eric Fingerhut, Hillel’s president and CEO, or the Jewish Museum’s staff. You are clearly right. But if they listen to you, they will lose their jobs.

This is of course the reason that Vassar and Swarthmore have declared themselves Open Hillel’s and Harvard and Berkeley have failed to do so. Because the Harvard and Berkeley chapters are large and too embosomed in the local Jewish establishment to disentangle themselves financially. Michaelson is telling the students to break out now and form their own tabernacle in the desert.

Notice that both these pieces address the Israel lobby. So a progressive Jewish publication that sought to marginalize that analysis is now embracing it. You simply cannot understand the primacy of the special relationship in our politics without talking about the money of the Israel lobby.

The Forward’s apostasy underscores my mainstream political analysis: Not till Jewish progressive culture splits will American political culture break on this issue. You cannot get the Democratic Party unless you transform American Jewish attitudes; Jews are simply too important in the blue state liberal consensus. I’m all for organizing inside the rightwing of American life, with Rand Paul and the National Summit to Reassess the Special Relationship. But that just gets us back to a traditional opposition of the 40s and 50s, Harry Truman versus the State Department. And we saw how that worked out. You have to break down this powerful ideology in its own burrows.

Hat’s off to Forward editor Jane Eisner for having the journalistic integrity to take on these stories.

ISRAEL DECLARES WAR ON AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES

Israel’s War on American Universities

By Chris Hedges

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the AIPAC meeting on March 4 in Washington, D.C. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

 

The banning of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Northeastern University in Boston on March 7, along with a university threat of disciplinary measures against some of its members, replicates sanctions being imposed against numerous student Palestinian rights groups across the country. The attacks, and the disturbingly similar forms of punishment, appear to be part of a coordinated effort by the Israeli government and the Israel lobby to blacklist all student groups that challenge the official Israeli narrative.

Northeastern banned the SJP chapter after it posted on campus replicas of eviction notices that are routinely put up on Palestinian homes set for Israeli demolition. The university notice of suspension says that if the SJP petitions for reinstatement next year, “No current member of the Students for Justice in Palestine executive board may serve on the inaugural board of the new organization” and that representatives from the organization must attend university-sanctioned “trainings.”

In 2011 in California, 10 students who had disrupted a speech at UC Irvine by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren were found guilty, put on informal probation and sentenced to perform community service. Oren, an Israeli citizen who has since been hired by CNNas a contributor, has called on Congress to blacklist supporters of the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and to prosecute those who protest at appearances by Israeli officials. Some activists at Florida Atlantic University were stripped of student leadership positions after they walked out of a talk by an Israeli army officer and were ordered by school administrators to attend re-education seminars designed by the Anti-Defamation League. Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (CSJP) was abruptly placed on suspension in the spring of 2011 and barred from reserving rooms and hosting events on campus. The university administration, before the ban, had a practice of notifying the campus Hillel in advance of any CSJP event. The suspension was eventually lifted after a protest led by attorneys for the CSJP.

Max Geller, a law student and a SJP member at Northeastern whom I reached by phone in Boston, accused the university of responding “to outside pressures,” including that of alumnus Robert Shillman, who is the CEO of Cognex Corp., and hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman, both supporters of right-wing Israeli causes.

“To prohibit students from holding leadership roles and student groups simply because they engaged in a peaceful political protest is antithetical to the university’s mission to educate students,” he said. “It erases any pedagogical value disciplinary process might seek.”

“In the last year,” Geller went on, “I have received death threats, been publicly and unfairly maligned, and have been threatened with disciplinary measures. This has made engaging in speech about an issue about which I care deeply, both as a Jew and an American, a fear- and anxiety-causing prospect.”

Israel’s heavy-handed reaction to these campus organizations is symptomatic of its increasing isolation and concern about waning American support. The decades-long occupation and seizure of Palestinian land and the massive military assaults against a defenseless population in Gaza that has left hundreds dead, along with growing malnutrition among Palestinian children and enforced poverty, have alienated traditional supporters of Israel, including many young American Jews. Israel, at the same time, has turned into a pariah in the global community. If it were to become devoid of American support, which it largely buys with political campaign contributions funneled through groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel would be adrift. There are a growing number of banks and other companies, especially in the European Union, joining the boycott movement, which refuses to do business with Israeli concerns in the occupied territories. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking before AIPAC on March 4, surprisingly devoted much of his talk to attacking the nascent BDS movement, which he said stood for “Bigotry, Dishonesty and Shame.” He called for BDS supporters to “be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot.” He warned that “naive and ignorant” people are being recruited as “gullible fellow travelers” in an anti-Semitic campaign.

Israeli officials are also apparently attempting to infiltrate the BDS movement and are using subterfuge to link it to Islamic extremism, according to The Times of London. The Israeli government in addition is pushing censorious, anti-democratic bills in the state legislatures of New York, Maryland and Illinois that would impose financial sanctions on academic organizations that boycott Israeli institutions. Meanwhile, the United States and others enthusiastically impose sanctions on Russia for an occupation that is much less draconian than Israel’s long defiance of international law.

The ADL-designed indoctrination classes for university activists are, according to those who have been required to take them, shabby attempts to equate any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

“Myself and two other members of SJP were forced to attend the ADL-sponsored ‘diversity training’ course or we would have violated the terms of our probation and in turn we would be suspended and/or expelled,” said Nadine Aly, a Florida Atlantic student activist who with other activists walked out of a lecture given at the university by an Israeli army officer, Col. Bentzi Gruber, who had helped devise the rules of engagement for Operation Cast Lead, the horrific attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. I reached her by phone at the Florida campus. “The very idea that the administration is implying that it is racist to criticize Israeli policy is ludicrous. We were put on ‘indefinite probation,’ banning us from holding leadership positions in any recognized student organizations, including student government, at the university until our graduation. I was stripped of my position as president of SJP as well as a student senator, and the former vice president of the SJP lost her position as a Student House representative. It is a shame that this university, like most universities, bows to the pressure of the Zionist lobby and wealthy Zionist donors, when they should be protecting the rights of their students.”

The persecution of scholars such as Joseph Massad and Norman Finkelstein who challenge the official Israeli narrative has long been a feature of Israeli intervention in American academic life. And the eagerness of university presidents to denounce the American Studies Association call for an academic boycott of Israel is a window into the insatiable hunger for money that seems to govern university policy. The current effort to shut down student groups, however, raises traditional Israeli censorship and interference to a new level. Israel seeks now to openly silence free speech on American college campuses—all of these student groups have steadfastly engaged in nonviolent protests—and has enlisted our bankrupt liberal elites and college administrators as thought police.

The failure among academics to stand up for the right of these student groups to express dissenting views and engage in political activism is a sad commentary on how irrelevant most academics have become. Where, in this fight, are the constitutional law professors defending the right to free speech? Where are the professors of ethics, religion and philosophy reminding students about the right of all to a dignified life free of oppression? Where are the Middle Eastern studies professors explaining the historical consequences of Israel’s violent seizure of Palestinian land? Where are the journalism professors defending the right of dissidents and victims to a fair hearing in the press? Where are the professors of queer and gender studies, African-American studies, Native American studies or Chicano studies acting to protect the voices and dignity of the marginalized and oppressed?

This assault will not end with groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine. The refusal to hear the cries of the Palestinian people, especially those 1.5 million—60 percent of them children—who are trapped by the Israeli military in Gaza, is part of the wider campaign by right-wing operatives like Lynne Cheney and billionaires such as the Koch brothers to stamp out all programs and academic disciplines that give voice to the marginalized, especially those who are not privileged and white. Latinos, African-Americans, feminists, those in queer and gender studies also feel this pressure. Under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, books by leading Chicano authors have been banned from public schools in Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona on the ground that such ethnic studies promote “resentment toward a race or people.” It is language similar to what Ambassador Oren has used to justify his call for criminal prosecutions of BDS activists—that they are advancing “bigotry.” The neoconservatism that grips Israel has its toxic counterpart within American culture. And if other marginalized groups within the university remain silent while Palestine solidarity activists are persecuted on campuses, there will be fewer allies when these right-wing forces come for them. And come they will.

Those of us who denounce the suffering caused by Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinians and who support the BDS movement are accustomed to sleazy Israeli smear campaigns. I have been repeatedly branded as an anti-Semite by the Israeli lobby, including for my book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” That some of these dissident voices, such as Max Blumenthal, who wrote “Goliath: Fear and Loathing in Greater Israel,” one of the best accounts of contemporary Israel, are Jewish does not seem to perturb right-wing Israeli propagandists who see any deviation from the Israeli government line as a form of religious heresy.

“I have been on tour discussing my book, ‘Goliath,’ since October 2013,” said Blumenthal, with whom I spoke by phone.  “And on numerous occasions, Israel lobby groups and pro-Israel activists have attempted to pressure organizations into canceling my events before they took place. I have been slandered by teenage pro-Israel students, prominent magazine columnists and even Alan Dershowitz as an anti-Semite, and my family has been attacked in right-wing media simply for hosting a book party for me. The absurd lengths pro-Israel activists have gone to stop my journalism and analysis from reaching a wide audience perfectly illustrate their intellectual exhaustion and moral poverty. All they have left is loads of money to buy off politicians and the unlimited will to defend the only nuclearized apartheid state in the Middle East. As young Arabs and Muslims assert their presence on campuses across the country and Jewish Americans reel in disgust at Netanyahu’s Israel, we are witnessing pro-Israel forces wage a fighting retreat. The question is not whether they will win or lose, but how much damage they can do to free-speech rights on their way towards a reckoning with justice.”

“It would be heartening if prominent liberal intellectuals would agree with all of my conclusions, or would accept the legitimacy of BDS,” Blumenthal went on. “But the only reasonable expectation we can hold for them is that they speak up in defense of those whose free-speech rights and rights to organize are being crushed by powerful forces. Unfortunately, when those forces are arrayed in defense of Israel, too many liberal intellectuals are silent or, as in the case of Michael Kazin, Eric Alterman, Cary Nelson and a who’s who of major university presidents, they actively collaborate with fellow elites determined to crush Palestine solidarity activism through anti-democratic means.”

Hillel chapters, sadly, often function as little more than Israeli government and AIPAC campus outposts. This is true at Northeastern as well as at schools such as Barnard College and Columbia. And university presidents such as Barnard’s Debora Spar see nothing wrong with accepting Israel-lobby tours of Israel while Palestinian studentsmust risk imprisonment and even death to study in the United States. The launching of campuswide defamation campaigns from supposedly religious houses is a sacrilege to the Jewish religion. In seminary I read enough of the great Hebrew prophets, whose singular concern was for the oppressed and the poor, to know that they would not be found today in Hillel centers but would instead be protesting with SJP activists.

The campus Hillel centers, with lavish budgets and gleaming buildings on campuses often situated in centers of urban blight, offer running events, lectures and programs to promote official Israeli policy. They arrange free trips to Israel for Jewish students as part of the “Taglit Birthright” program, functioning as an Israeli government travel agency. While Jewish students, often with no familial connection to Israel, are escorted in these well-choreographed propaganda tours of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who remain trapped in squalid refugee camps cannot go home although their families may have lived for centuries on what is now Israeli land.

Israel has for decades been able to frame the discussion about the Palestinians. But its control of the narrative is coming to an end. As Israel loses ground it will viciously and irrationally attack all truth tellers, even if they are American students, and especially if they are Jews. There will come a day, and that day will come sooner than Israel and its paid lackeys expect, when the whole edifice will crumble, when even students at Hillel will no longer have the stomach to defend the continuous dispossession and random murder of Palestinians. Israel, by ruthlessly silencing others, now risks silencing itself.

Chris Hedges will deliver a lecture sponsored by the Northeastern University Political Economy Forum at 6 p.m. March 25 at West Village F, 20, 460 Parker St. in Boston.

 

Written FOR

HIGHER EDUCATION COULD BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH …

… If you are a Palestinian

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I risked imprisonment and death in order to study at Washington University.

Last summer I was thrilled to learn that I had earned admission and a scholarship to the Brown School of Social Work. But I almost could not be here – for one reason.

I am a Palestinian from Bethlehem.

 

I risked imprisonment by Israel and death to study in the United States

Murad Owda *

Israel’s wall around the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem restricts the basic freedom of thousands of Palestinians every day.

(APA images)

I risked imprisonment and death in order to study at Washington University.

Last summer I was thrilled to learn that I had earned admission and a scholarship to the Brown School of Social Work. But I almost could not be here – for one reason.

I am a Palestinian from Bethlehem.

I needed to go to the United States consulate in Jerusalem to apply for my visa. Bethlehem is only six miles from Jerusalem, but it is extremely difficult to get there because less than a decade ago Israel built a giant wall between the cities.

I went through the proper bureaucratic channels to apply to enter Jerusalem. The Israelis denied me permission – on four separate occasions. They claimed I was a security threat – but offered no explanation why. I have never committed any crime or been to jail.

When I explained the situation to the American officials they told me that’s not their problem. In order to apply for a visa I needed to be at their consulate at 10AM on 16 July.

So I had to sneak around like a criminal, evading soldiers. I went miles away to find a small opening. I went through hills. I went through thorn trees. I crawled through a sewage pipe – knowing that others caught in such pipes have suffocated to death after Israeli soldiers discovered them and shot tear gas into the pipes or sicced dogs on them.

When I arrived in Jerusalem I washed myself with a bottle of water, covered my cuts and bruises with an extra pair of clothes I had in a backpack and went into the consulate to talk with the American officials. Then I immediately hid in a friends’ house for three days, not daring to go outside.

I made it here. I’m lucky – thousands of other Palestinians who want to study aren’t so lucky. That’s why it upset me to read that Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton recently condemned the American Studies Association’s (ASA) endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

Although an extremely limited boycott, which only targets institutions and not individual academics, Wrighton stated that he was “deeply troubled and dismayed” because “the boycott directly violates academic freedom.”

What about my academic freedom? What about the tens of thousands of Palestinian children and teachers whose movement to and from their schools is impeded by the Israeli military?

Forget academic – what about basic freedom? Israel made my family stateless refugees in 1948 until now. It steals our lands. It steals our water. It denies us freedom of movement. It taxes us without representation. It subjects us to arbitrary violence and detention without any meaningful due process. It allows fanatical, armed religious settlers to torment us and applies a separate code of law to Palestinians than it does to Jewish Israelis.

Why is Chancellor Wrighton unconcerned about violations of both my academic rights and my basic human rights, but he is “deeply troubled and dismayed” that perhaps a handful of Israeli academics may have to pay for their own airplane tickets if they decide to participate in an ASA conference?

I commend the ASA for heeding the call of the Palestinian people for boycott, divestment and sanctions against institutions that are complicit in sustaining the Israeli system of ethnic discrimination and domination.

This nonviolent movement helped change the unjust apartheid system in South Africa – and it can also support our struggle to end apartheid in Palestine so that all can enjoy equal rights, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.

*Murad Owda is from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, Palestine, and an MSW student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

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MUST SEE VIDEO ~~ ACADEMIC BOYCOTT DAYS

Up in the mornin’ and out to school
Israel’s universities are the tool
Palestinian history, they give it a pass
Too busy with jobs for the army brass
Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone
To help control the occupied zone

Ring, ring goes the bell
Village kids are in the prison cell
Discrimination at Ben Gurion
Palestinian students almost unknown
Back in the classroom they cook the books
Apartheid don’t know how mean it looks

Soon as 2005 rolls around
They’re boycottin’ to bring apartheid down
You say they violate freedom of speech
But you don’t practice what you preach
Up to the corner and round the bend
Palestinian freedom is at an end

Set the campus on stolen land
This is where the seizure of Palestine’s planned
With the grants you love, you work for the boss
All day long Palestinians waitin’ to cross
Doin’ demographics at Haifu U
Better send some natives to Timbuktu

Hail hail brand Israel
Our prettier face must prevail
Long live hasbara
To fool the world is the holy grail
Look out, they’re callin’ us to account
Academic apartheid’s beyond the pale

ZION TRIUMPHS IN NEW YORK STATE

See Immediate ACTION ALERT ….. HERE

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The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

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Another great blow to Democracy and Academic Freedom …

In line with the policies of New York City, the State itself is now backing the occupation of Palestine with the following legislation …

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New York State passes anti-boycott legislation

Bill proposed by Democratic state senator passes chamber, if signed into law will prohibit New York universities and colleges from paying dues to ASA and other academic organizations that boycott Israel

By Yitzhak Benhorin FOR

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WASHINGTON - New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that directly addressed the controversy surrounding the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli universities.

The bill, to become law if signed by the governor, would prohibit the state’s massive higher education system from funding organizations that “have undertaken an official action boycotting certain countries or their higher education institutions” according to the language of the legislation.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Klein, and it passed with a wide margin of 56-4.

The senator’s office released a statement: “This legislation sends a very simple message, which is that we should never ask taxpayers to support religious, ethnic, or racial discrimination.”

The statement stressed the New York legislator’s relationship with the Jewish State: “I will not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York.”

The new legislation would prevent New York higher-ed institutions from paying membership fees to academic groups that boycott Israel and will no longer reimburse students or scholars for their travel expenses to conventions of groups that have voted to boycott the Jewish State.

Violators of the new bill would be cut off from state aid for the academic years in which the violation occurred.

The president-elect of the ASA, Lisa Duggan, told Al Jazeera that the New York Senate legislation is intended to cover Israel’s “ongoing violations of international law and human rights.”

In an emailed statement to Al Jazeera, Duggan said: “This law’s supporters claim to oppose discriminatory boycotts, but they have designed their legislation to let Israel off the hook for restricting the academic and other freedoms of Palestinians, while punishing those who protest those injustices.”

ISRAEL’S HYPOCRITICAL BACKLASH AGAINST BDS

Zionists have been quick to accuse the ASA resolution of violating academic freedom, but this accusation does not stand up to meaningful scrutiny. In fact, it is Israel that systematically denies this right to Palestinians.
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Backlash against boycotting Israel’s universities reeks of hypocrisy

David Letwin

A Palestinian schoolgirl inspects the damage to a classroom hit days earlier during Israeli bombing in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on 26 November 2012.  (Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

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The American Studies Association’s recent endorsement of the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions is a triumph for the entire boycott, divestment and sanctions(BDS) movement.

Israel’s ongoing crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people — 65 years of ethnic cleansing, colonization, denial of refugee rights and second-class citizenship, including extension of this brutal regime into the territories occupied since 1967 — has been perpetuated with the full complicity of Israeli academia.

The association’s vote powerfully affirms that such racism and injustice must not be legitimized through so-called “engagement” with abetting institutions.

Zionists have been quick to accuse the ASA resolution of violating academic freedom, but this accusation does not stand up to meaningful scrutiny. In fact, it is Israel that systematically denies this right to Palestinians.

And in reality, these attacks have little to do with academic freedom in the first place. Nor do they reflect an aversion to boycotts per se, which Israel and its supporters widely apply, for example, to the entire populations of Gaza and Iran — and now to the ASA itself.

Targeting Israel

Their real objection is that BDS targets Israel. Rather than admit this outright, however, BDS opponents typically complain of double standards.

“Did [the ASA resolution’s] authors,” wrote editors of The Washington Post, “pause to consider China’s incarceration of writers and scholars who dare to think and speak out for freedom, or the ethnic groups in China persecuted for refusing to heel to the Beijing masters?”

Writing in The Huffington Post, Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan College, stated: “The ASA listens to civil society only when it speaks against Israel. As its scholarly president declared, ‘One has to start somewhere.’ Not in North Korea, not in Russia or Zimbabwe or China — one has to start with Israel. Really?”

James F. Jones, president of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut made a similar point: “In this strange case, why the ASA would propose an academic boycott of Israel and not, for example, of Syria, the Sudan, North Korea, China, IranIraq, or Russia escapes rational thought.”

Congressman Eliot Engel stated: “If you must “start somewhere,” than I strongly suggest the ASA turn its attention to Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s forces have indiscriminately shelled universities, killing students even as they sat for exams.”

Desperate

These arguments, however, are merely desperate attempts to distract attention from the fundamentally unjust nature of the “Jewish state” and trivialize Palestinian suffering.

As writer Mike Marqusee recently pointed out, these arguments are also virtually identical to earlier cries of “hypocrisy” against those who boycotted apartheid South Africa rather than “black dictatorships” elsewhere in Africa.

The logical fallacies here are numerous. First, one injustice never excuses another, nor do opponents of one injustice have to answer for unrelated injustices.

Second, the BDS movement has never condoned crimes by other regimes to begin with. Third, opponents of the ASA resolution wouldn’t support BDS no matter who else it denounced.

And fourth, they would never be making such arguments in the first place were their own rights at stake.

True hypocrites

Who, then, are the true hypocrites?

Furthermore, the ASA didn’t “propose” the boycott of Israel, as Jones has claimed. Rather, it endorsed an already existing Palestinian call — as Jones et al would do were their purported empathy for the oppressed genuine.

Instead, just as hostile whites often condescendingly dismissed black resistance to Jim Crow as the work of “outside agitators,” defenders of apartheid Israel portray BDS as the pathological brainchild of left-wing Western academics and activists. In both cases, the goal is to attack a movement’s authenticity and validity.

It didn’t work then; it won’t work now.

Indeed, more than anything these attacks signify that Israel has lost the battle for moral legitimacy. With Israel increasingly exposed before the world as a racist regime, its supporters now resort to assassinating the character of those — including a growing number of Jews — who demand justice for Palestinians.

These threats notwithstanding, the association’s stand is reverberating around the world.

“The ASA boycott of Israel,” wrote Palestinian BDS advocate Omar Barghouti, “will be remembered for many years to come as a crucial catalyst in this emancipatory process of reclaiming rights for all who are denied them.”

In Palestine, that process must ultimately lead to the end of Zionist apartheid, and, consistent with renewed Palestinian calls, a single democratic state throughout historic Palestine with equal rights for all.

Meanwhile, it is incumbent on all people of conscience to defend — and emulate — the ASA’s courageous stand.

David Letwin is a teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. He is affiliated with Jews for Palestinian Right of Return and Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.

Written FOR

ZIONISM ATTACKS THE VERY FOUNDATIONS OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM

 http://www.awakeawareandpartofthesolution.com/blog/assets/0_0_0_0_250_188_csupload_57526329.jpg?u=635040238875052548 
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Earlier this month, members of the ASA voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to endorse the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions which are complicit in Israel’s occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights.

Individuals supporting the boycott have also been targets of intense vilification and hate campaigns.

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Israel lobby launches fierce counterattack against American Studies Association

UN officials in Gaza announced last month that school construction projects were suspended due to the effects of the ongoing Israeli blockade.

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Israel lobby groups are marshaling their formidable forces for a fierce counterattack against the American Studies Association (ASA), including calls for repressive legislation, boycotts and other measures to punish and silence solidarity with Palestinians.

Earlier this month, members of the ASA voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to endorse the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions which are complicit in Israel’s occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights.

Individuals supporting the boycott have also been targets of intense vilification and hate campaigns.

Pressure on universities

Last week anti-Palestinian group StandWithUs, which works closely with the Israeli government, sent out an email blast calling on its followers to “Urge university presidents, donors and government to denounce the ASA and sever ties with the organization.”

The ASA has five thousand individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers.

Under such pressure two universities, Brandeis University and Penn State Harrisburg, have canceled their institutional memberships of the ASA.

Targeting NYU

Now, New York University (NYU) is under intense pressure to follow in their footsteps. A 21 December New York Post editorial called on NYU’s American studies program to “sever its ties” with the ASA, pointing out that “almost a quarter of the American Studies Association’s 17 non-student councilors are from NYU, including the group’s president-elect, Lisa Duggan.”

It was the ASA’s governing body, its National Council, that first endorsed the boycott and called for a full membership referendum to back its decision.

In a bizarre anti-Semitic twist, the Post editorial emphasizes that NYU “is supported by many Jewish donors and attended by many Jewish students. It features buildings and programs with names like Steinhardt and Tisch. It makes its home in the US city that has the highest number of Jews.”

It is unclear why any of that should be relevant unless one takes the bigoted position – as the Post appears to do – that all Jews are either implicated in or supportive of Israel’s occupation and other human rights abuses that motivated the ASA boycott.

Northwestern president’s preemptive strike

Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro was among a dozen or so leaders of academic institutions who pro-Israel activists say have issued denunciations of the ASA’s boycott call.

“While we support the right of academicians to voice their viewpoints, Northwestern University disagrees strongly with the boycott vote of the ASA. Northwestern also rejects the actions suggested in the resolution,” Schapiro wrote in a 20 December email sent to the university community.

A copy of Schapiro’s email, co-signed by provost Dan Linzer, was sent to The Electronic Intifada by Uri Horesh a lecturer in Arabic at Northwestern.

“I myself happen to be a citizen of Israel, yet I fully support the call emanating from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli institutions until Israel ends its apartheid rule and recognizes the Palestinian people’s right to self determination” by meeting all the demands in the BDS call including the right of return, Horesh wrote back to Schapiro.

Horesh added that Schapiro’s statement is “odd” given that “there has not been a public debate or discussion of these matters in any University forum.”

Princeton resists

Princeton University president Christopher L. Eisgruber expressed his “dismay” at the ASA’s boycott decision and affirmed that “My personal support for scholarly engagement with Israel is enthusiastic and unequivocal,” in a statement sent to William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor and pro-Israel blogger at the publication Legal Insurrection.

But, Eisgruber adds, “I do not intend to denounce the ASA, make it unwelcome on campus, or inhibit the ability of faculty members to affiliate with it. … engagement may be better than a boycott.”

Bullying and intimidation

In a 20 December press release emailed to The Electronic Intifada, the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism states that “members of the American Studies Association are getting hate mail or threatening mail following the ASA membership vote in favor of a resolution calling for boycott of Israeli universities.”

The ASA Facebook page has been “subject to an avalanche of abusive postings” and “senior faculty have explicitly and implicitly intimidated junior faculty who support the boycott,” the release states.

“More generally within the academy, some are threatening to cut funds for faculty who want to attend the ASA in the future. We are also learning that individuals and groups outside the academy are threatening legal action against the ASA,” the press released adds.

Former Harvard University president Larry Summers has, for instance, called the ASA boycott “anti-Semitic in effect” and urged universities to deprive faculty of funds to participate in ASA meetings and activities.

Claire Potter, a professor at the New School University and long-time prominent critic of the ASA boycott, decided to vote for the boycott resolution in the end after careful deliberation.

Since then, “I have been receiving nasty and threatening electronic messages from those supposedly defending Israel: swastikas and pictures of concentration camps arrive daily, as well as accusations that I am promoting another Holocaust,” Potter writes at her widely read Tenured Radical blog.

“Expressions of hate and intimidation, even if they come from isolated individuals, constitute part of a larger pattern of attack on anyone who criticizes Israel or Zionism. These disturbing messages can take the form of threats. As such, they should not be dismissed or discarded,” the Caucus on Academic and Community Activism says in its press release.

It urges ASA members to report threats and intimidation both to the caucus and to the appropriate officials at their institutions.

Call for government repression

Unsatisfied by the campaigns already underway, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador in Washington, called for more than mere denunciations of the ASA’s action.

“What’s needed is a way to fight back, and Congress can do it,” the American-born Oren, who renounced his US citizenship in 2009, writes in Politico.

Oren cited as a desirable precedent a 1977 US law “making it illegal for US companies to cooperate with any boycott of Israel and imposing stiff penalties on those that did.”

It is unclear whether Oren is unaware that such laws, in an academic context, would grossly violate First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association – the very values that opponents of the boycott claim they want to protect.

Still, Oren may find a receptive audience in Congress where the leaders of the bipartisan Israel Allies Caucus have strongly denounced the ASA.

Backlash likely to backfire

Anti-Palestinian groups likely believe that with a strong counterattack they can raise the price to any other group that might want to follow in the ASA’s footsteps and thus deter anyone else from taking action in solidarity with Palestinians.

Israel lobbying groups’ outrage and bullying tactics may claim a few more victories, just as Brandeis and Penn State Harrisburg moved to boycott the ASA.

Yet the repressive backlash also exposes the lie that many boycott opponents are concerned about “academic freedom.”

In the long run, the only thing such tactics are likely to achieve is to spread the debate about Israel’s abuses and the merits of boycott as an ethical solidarity strategy to campuses across the United States.

There is evidence that is already happening. In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece denouncing the boycott as “a repugnant attack on academic freedom,” Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University, nonetheless had to concede that many of the Israeli policies that motivate boycott supporters are indeed “abhorrent.”

There’s something, at least, that we can all agree on.

Written FOR

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See THIS related report from the zioPost

ASA BOYCOTT RESOLUTION IRKS THE FOUNDATIONS OF ZION

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ASA membership votes to boycott Israel by landslide

Ali Abunimah 

The full membership of the American Studies Association (ASA) has voted by a two-to-one margin to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, it was announced today.

The referendum was called after the National Council, the ASA’s governing body,endorsed the boycott itself on 4 December.

The vote is likely to be seen as an historic milestone in the Palestinian campaign forboycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), particularly in the United States, where university administrations have forcefully opposed student and faculty initiatives of this kind.

The ASA describes itself as the “nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”

It has 5,000 individual members along with 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers.

The ASA has also published detailed guidance and a “Frequently Asked Questions” document [PDF] about what the boycott means in practice.

More can be read HERE

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The Resolution ….
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Council Statement on the Academic Boycott of Israel

ASA National Council Votes Unanimously To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel

One year ago, the Academic and Community Activism Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA) asked the Executive Committee (EC) to consider a resolution to honor the call from Palestinian civil society to support the academic boycott of Israel. The EC forwarded the resolution to the National Council. Following the deliberative procedures detailed below, the Council unanimously decided to issue a revised version of the resolution, which we now recommend to members of the ASA.  Please follow this link to read the resolution.

The Council voted for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action. It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.

We believe that the ASA’s endorsement of a boycott is warranted given U.S. military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many members of the ASA.

Our resolution understands boycott as limited to a refusal on the part of the Association in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions, or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.

The resolution does not apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in ordinary forms of academic exchange, including conference presentations, public lectures at campuses, or collaboration on research and publication. The Council also recognizes that individual members will act according to their convictions on these complex matters.

The ASA is a large organization that represents divergent opinions. Anticipating strong and potentially divided feelings on this question, the Council unanimously decided to ask ASA members to endorse the resolution by a vote.

Background on the Resolution

The resolution is the culmination of a long history of discussion and debate in the ASA. In 2006, in response to Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, the ASA International Committee (IC), including a former ASA President, discussed the possibility of endorsing a boycott. In 2009, in the wake of Israel’s military assault on Gaza and in response to requests from ASA members, several bodies in the Association again took up the question of a boycott: the IC, the Program Committee for the 2009 convention, and the Executive Committee, which included the current ASA President. The consensus then was that members needed more opportunities to learn about and discuss the issues and so the Program Committee organized two featured panels: “Palestine in Crisis” and “Academic Freedom and the Right to Education: The Question of Palestine.” Scheduled in prime times on Friday and Saturday of the convention, the panels addressed the plight of Palestinian universities and academics and the profound pressures on teaching and research contexts in the U.S. and Palestine where education and intellectual freedom were under attack. The second panel focused in particular on the boycott movement.

In the wake of such discussions, the Academic and Community Activism Caucus (ACAC) met at the 2012 ASA convention to consider a resolution and gather signatures. This resolution was then submitted to the Executive Committee and, in December, posted on the Caucus’ page on the ASA web site. Information about the resolution was also included in the December 2012 ASA Newsletter distributed to all ASA members.

In March of 2013, the Program Committee for the 2013 ASA convention met and discussed ways to create opportunities at the meeting to discuss issues related to calls for boycott. The resulting program included 8 sessions on “Middle East American Studies,” with four focused specifically on United States/Israel/Palestine. At the same time the Ethnic Studies Committee organized two panels about settler colonialism that discussed the Israeli occupation of Palestine, while the ACAC organized a panel called “Boycott as a Non-Violent Strategy of Collective Dissent.”

In May 2013 the Executive Committee met and discussed the proposed resolution submitted by the ACAC at great length. It agreed that it would be in the best interest of the organization to solicit from the membership as many perspectives as possible on the proposed resolution to aid the National Council in its discussions and decision-making. With the past President and a prominent, senior member of the Association serving as moderators, it held an open session during the November National Convention at which the National Council was present to hear directly from the membership. Members were notified of the open discussion well in advance of the convention and it was highlighted as a featured event in both online and print versions of the program. Additionally, members who could not attend the session or the convention were encouraged to contact the EC directly via email, and many did so. 

The Saturday November 23rd open discussion was attended by approximately 745 ASA members. Members distributed information about the boycott in advance, and the hall was filled with leaflets representing different views. The moderators carefully and clearly articulated the different actions that could be taken and the process for deliberation. To guarantee an orderly and fair discussion members who wished to speak put their name in a box from which speakers were randomly selected. Speakers were limited to 2 minutes, providing the opportunity to hear from forty-four different speakers during the time allotted for the special session. The discussion was passionate but respectful.  Speakers included students, faculty, past Presidents, former members of the National Council, former and current members of the AQ editorial staff, American Studies department chairs, and an ASA member also representing the organization Jewish Voice for Peace. While different opinions were articulated, the overwhelming majority spoke in support of the ASA endorsing an academic boycott.

Remaining in session over the course of 8 days after the open session, Council members spoke and wrote from different perspectives, debated different possibilities, and critically yet generously engaged each other. The resulting resolution reflects, we think, the history and present state of conversations within the ASA, offering a principled position for the Association’s participation in the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions while respecting the unique conditions and diverse positions of our membership on this issue.

In the last several decades, the ASA has welcomed scholarship that critically analyzes the U.S. state, its role domestically and abroad, and that reaches out beyond U.S. borders. Our commitment to cutting-edge and transnational scholarship has been accompanied by the comparative study of borders, migration, and citizenship. The ASA also has a history of critical engagement with the field of Native American and Indigenous studies that has increasingly come to shape and influence the field and the Association, and the Council acknowledged the force of Israeli and U.S. settler colonialism throughout our deliberations. Finally, the resolution is in keeping with the ASA’s continuing commitment to ethical research and the right of scholars to dissent and to take public positions.

The Council believes that the resolution is of particular significance to scholars of American Studies. Together, we endorse it, and recommend that ASA members endorse it as well.

The ASA National Council

Jennifer Devere Brody, Stanford University
Ann Cvetkovich, University of Texas, Austin
Jeremy Dean. University of Texas, Austin
Lisa Duggan, New York University
Avery Gordon, University of California, Santa Barbara
Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University
E. Patrick Johnson, Northwestern University
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
Marisol LeBrón, New York University
Karen Leong, Arizona State University
Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis
Martin F. Manalansan IV, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Curtis Marez, University of California, San Diego
Roya Rastegar, Bryn Mawr College
Chandan Reddy, University of Washington, Seattle
Juana María Rodríguez, University of California, Berkeley
María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, New York University
Nikhil Pal Singh, New York University

Due to a family emergency, Juri Abe, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan, was not present for the National Council meeting where the resolution was passed.

From

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And the zionist response …

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Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said, “This vote to boycott Israel, one of the most democratic and academically free nations on the globe, shows the Orwellian anti-Semitism and moral bankruptcy of the American Studies Association.”

“The Middle East is literally filled with dead from governments’ reaction to the convulsions of the ‘Arab Spring,’ but the American Studies Association singles out the Jewish state, the one Middle Eastern country that shares American values, for opprobrium?”

Full Report HERE

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And of course there’s ‘The Mouse That Roared’ …..

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Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

This shameful, morally bankrupt and intellectually dishonest attack on academic freedom by the American Studies Association should be soundly condemned by all who are committed to the ideal that open exchange of ideas is the most effective way to achieve change. Targeting Israeli institutions solely because they are in Israel — the only democratic country in the Middle East where scholarship and debate are encouraged and flourish – is based on a myopic and fundamentally distorted perspective of Israel and the conflict and is manifestly unjust.

We commend those members of the ASA who boldly spoke out and voted against this shameful resolution. We further applaud the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for reiterating its opposition to academic boycotts which “strike directly at the free exchange of ideas.” 

Although the ASA resolution will likely have limited practical impact on Israeli academic institutions and on Israeli academics, those members of the ASA who voted in favor of this resolution should also understand the hateful message they are sending. As Lawrence Summers, who, when he was president of Harvard a decade ago said about an initiative to boycott Israel, “Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.”

We call on academic institutions across the United States to enhance their existing relationships with Israeli universities and research institutions and stand resolutely in support of open exchange, dialogue and study.

From

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Abraham_Parrotman (1)

DERSHOWITZ AND KLAN ONCE AGAIN STRIKE OUT AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE

Brooklyn College is once again on the defensive from local pro-Israel forces.
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The first salvo in the campaign against White and Brooklyn College came on November 4, when New York Daily News reporter Reuven Blau published a piece calling White “a controversial author who has likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi Holocaust is bringing his act to Brooklyn College.”
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Brooklyn College under attack from Dershowitz and Hikind over author talk on Israeli ‘apartheid’
 Alex Kane

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Author Ben White speaking at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York City. (Image via russelltribunalonpalestine.com)

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Brooklyn College is once again on the defensive from local pro-Israel forces.

Brooklyn Democrats have harshly criticized the school and academic departments over an event featuring Ben White, an author and activist who is critical of Israel. He is set to speak at the school November 14.

The fracas comes nearly a year after Brooklyn College found itself at the center of a storm over the school’s hosting of an event featuring proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Like last year’s controversy, this year’s features ardent supporters of the state of Israel accusing the speaker of anti-Semitism and the school’s departments of supporting the event, which will feature White arguing that Israel is an apartheid state.

“It is predictable and unfortunate that defenders of Israeli apartheid seek to smear me as an individual in order to distract from the ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights,” White told me in an e-mail. “I oppose anti-Semitism as a form of racism, and in fact, it is precisely because of opposition to racism that I am in solidarity with the Palestinians’ struggle for their basic rights in the face of Israeli policies of systematic discrimination.”

Members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at the school are the ones organizing the event.  The Political Science Department and the Sociology Department have agreed to co-sponsor the event, though the school says that does not connote endorsement of the speaker and the event.

“Ben White is not just anti-Israel, he is also an anti-Semite,” state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an influential Orthodox Jewish politician who got into hot water for wearing blackface as part of a Purim costume, told the website Matzav.com. “Brooklyn College’s continued co-sponsorship of anti-Israel hatefests is abhorrent.”

Fueling the outrage at Brooklyn College is the claim that the departments are “supporting” the event, though the claim rests on a misunderstanding of new Brooklyn College policies on student events.

The first salvo in the campaign against White and Brooklyn College came on November 4, when New York Daily News reporter Reuven Blau published a piece calling White “a controversial author who has likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi Holocaust is bringing his act to Brooklyn College.”

“It’s unfortunate that Brooklyn College seems to be consistent in sending a message to their Jewish students that they are not respected on campus,” Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield told the Daily News.

The reporter, Blau, charged that White defended “Iranian hatemonger” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that White has “defended anti-Semitic comments made by the former German politician Jurgen Mullemann, who likened the Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis.” The proof offered up is White’s 2007 statement that “Palestinians…in the name of a social-democratic experiment, had to endure massacres, death marches and ethnic cleansing.”

In 2009, White explained that his 2006 piece on Ahmadinejad was “critiquing the mainstream analysis of some recent remarks by Ahmadinejad, and the politicised context in which they were being framed.” He went on to say, “I make no bones about it – Ahmadinejad is either a Holocaust denier himself, or cowardly encourages those who are (and probably both).”

Joining the campaign against White is state Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who sent a letter to the interim chancellor of the City University of New York, a system Brooklyn College is a part of. “Publicly funded institutions do not have the right to spew hatred without permitting an equal response,” he wrote, according to the website SheepsheadBites.com.

But it’s the claim that the college is “supporting” the event that is driving the story. Alan Dershowitz, the pro-Israel attorney, told the Daily News that “If these departments deny they are taking sides, I challenge them to ‘support’ a speech by me on the Mideast.” Dershowitz’s criticism that academic departments are “supporting” the speech is rooted in new guidelines disseminated by the college on student events, likely drawn up in response to last year’s torrent of criticism over an event on BDS.

Under the new draft guidelines–whether it is the official policy of the college is unclear–the word “supporter” takes the place of what used to be known as “co-sponsor.” A “supporter,” the new guidelines explain in a footnote, is the “preferred term that is used at Brooklyn College to describe the type of assistance provided in a manner that was previously described as a ‘co-sponsor,’ meaning the group lends its name only for the purpose of encouraging attendance at the event.” To a lay person, though, “supporter” means something much different.

The Brooklyn College Political Science Department released a statement clarifying that they “decided explicitly to co-sponsor these events; it is not a ‘supporter,’ advocate, champion, or endorser of these events and the views that will be expressed there.”

The college released a similar statement from Director of News and Information Keisha-Gaye Anderson, who also said, “Brooklyn College will continue to support the right of student clubs to host programs of interest to them, including those that may be controversial.” The statement also emphasized that “there are a number of scheduled and proposed events this semester hosted by the Israel Club.”

Those explanations, though, are unlikely to tamp down the furor over White’s talk.

Both Hikind and Dershowitz are no stranger to campaigns targeting those critical of Israel–especially at Brooklyn College. Last year, they led the charge against Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler, who spoke at the college on BDS. The event went on as planned despite calls to cancel it and threats from a City Councilman to cut funding for the college.

But it was marred by controversy over the fact that four Jewish students were tossed out of the event. A report by a law firm and CUNY concluded that there was no anti-Semitism in the decision to toss them out–despite the claims from Israel advocates–though there was no justification for the tossing either.

Written FOR

‘BIAS’ PROBE AT RUTGERS U

When I think of Rutgers University the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that Paul Robeson was an All American Football Player there, the first Black man at a major US campus to have that honour. I thought of Rutgers as a bastion of Liberal thought, that is, until I read the following;
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Rutgers students face “bias” probe for flyers criticizing Israeli home demolitions

 Ali Abunimah 

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SJP member Amanda Najib delivers a mock eviction notice at the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

 (Syjil Ashraf)

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Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, is under investigation by campus administrators after complaints of “bias.”

One Zionist group has alleged that SJP specifically targeted the dorm rooms of Jewish students on the New Brunswick, New Jersey campus with mock “eviction notices” designed to draw attention to Israel’s practice of demolishing Palestinian homes.

But this claim has been contradicted by the university in a statement to The Electronic Intifada.

A campus rabbi has even demanded that SJP be “disbanded” by the university to set an “example.”

The “bias” investigation comes after the university has already issued a written warning to SJP that it violated school policy by posting the flyers without prior approval from administrators.

The claims are only the latest in a long-running effort by pro-Israel advocates to paint Rutgers University as hostile to Jewish students.

Action to raise awareness

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Activists have used mock eviction notices on several campuses to draw attention to Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes.

 (Syjil Ashraf)

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“On the night of Sunday, October 6th, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) board members printed mock eviction notices and distributed them in dormitory buildings,” Students for Justice in Palestine — Rutgers New Brunswick explained in a statement emailed to The Electronic Intifada.

“This action was intended to call attention to the systematic demolition of the homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israel.”

Last week, The Electronic Intifada published a photo story of Khirbet al-Makhul, a Palestinian community of 120 people in the occupied West Bank, demolished to make way for a live-fire training area for the Israeli army.

In August, Human Rights Watch urged Israel to “immediately end unlawful demolitions of Palestinian homes and other structures,” noting an alarming increase in the number of Palestinians made homeless in eastern occupied Jerusalem since last year.

“Our completely fake notices brought no harm; it is the confiscation of Palestinian land that these notices bring attention to that continues to bring harm to millions,” Rutgers SJP added.

Bogus allegation Jews targeted

Andrew Getraer, executive director of the pro-Israel advocacy group Rutgers Hillel, told theDaily Targum, the campus newspaper, that “We had many students who came to us who were very upset when they received eviction notices, who felt harassed, who felt that they have been deceived and made to feel targeted and unsafe in their dorm rooms, and … We directed them to the appropriate deans … There were several students who filed complaints.”

Getraer claimed that “in some cases, Jewish students were targeted and explained how some students came to Hillel stating how they were the only student who received a flyer on their floor.”

SJP at Rutgers denied this, explaining the measures it took to avoid the possibility of bias accusations:

We posted the notices under many doors on different floors of student dormitories and residence halls. We chose doors at random, aiming to maximize the number of people who would be viewing the notice, with one exception: we intentionally avoided the Hillel building and Les Turchin Chabad House, locations with many, if not exclusively Jewish, residents. This was done to avoid the possibility that Jewish students would feel that they were singled out or targeted.

A university statement appears to support SJP’s account and contradict the claims of Hillel’s Getraer.

“The flyers were distributed randomly to about 800 students and the university is in the process of reviewing a student complaint arising from the incident,” university spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote in an 11 October email to The Electronic Intifada.

Identical claims that Jews were targeted have been made in other cases where campus Palestine activists distributed mock eviction notices, including at Harvard University andFlorida Atlantic University.

Florida Atlantic confirmed there was no evidence Jewish students were targeted and declined to take punitive action.

The claim that Jews were targeted at Harvard appears to have been fabricated by Israel’s far-right Arutz Sheva website.

Call to disband SJP

Pro-Israel groups have been swift to condemn the SJP educational effort and to call for official retribution.

Rabbi Esther Reed of Rutgers Hillel told the Targum that she found the flyers “alarming and reprehensible” as well as “factually inaccurate,” complaining that they “vilified Israel.”

Rutgers Hillel also released a formal statement condemning the flyers, stating that they made “students feel unsafe in their homes.”

Another Hillel official, Rabbi Akiva Dovid Weiss, opined on the incident for Arutz Sheva, calling on Rutgers to ban SJP to set an “example for all others”:

[No] student in this university ever will feel safe until they know that university groups that engage in this kind of behavior will be unconditionally disbanded, since actions that compromise the emotional safety of our students within the privacy of their own residences cannot be tolerated and have no place on our campus.

The flyers were also condemned by anti-Palestinian and anti-gay activist group Christians United for Israel (CUFI) on the conservative news site The Blaze, which stated that “We focus on the real debate as opposed to theatrics.”

Bias investigation

The Targum reported on 11 October that complaints had been filed with the bias committee, and that committee, which “deals with the content in the flyers,” in turn alerted the Office of Student Life, which oversees student organizations.

Kerri Wilson, director of student involvement, told the Targum that SJP “was found responsible for violating student involvement posting policy for the residence halls,” resulting in a written warning over the unauthorized distribution of the flyers.

“We have faith that the Rutgers community and administration will recognize that our cause is important, not only to the Palestinians, but to the humanitarians in all of us,” the Rutgers SJP statement said in reference to the complaints.

“Students for Justice in Palestine is proud to be at Rutgers University, and we will not — should not — be silenced.”

Bias complaints are handled by the university’s Bias Prevention Education Committeewhich includes a “Response Team” made up of deans of students and a “Bias Prevention Education Advisory Team.”

The Bias Prevention Education Advisory team Team is co-chaired by Hillel Rabbi Esther Reed herself.

It is unclear whether she would play any role in the investigation, given her organization’s advocacy for Israel and her own prejudicial public statements regarding the flyers.

Rutgers Hillel has itself come under attack for promoting bias on campus. In 2003, sixty professors signed a statement expressing “growing unease to the role [Rutgers] Hillel has recently come to play in the promotion of the extreme right on campus.”

Then, as now, Getraer was executive director.

As recently as 2012, Rutgers Hillel has hosted Israeli soldiers who have personally participated in the military occupation of Palestinian land and justified killings of Palestinians.

Rutgers targeted

The allegations of “bias” at Rutgers are only the latest in a series of attempts to portray the campus as a hostile environment for Jewish students as a result of Palestine solidarity activism.

Rutgers is the subject of a 2011 complaint to the US Department of Education by the Zionist Organization of America under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, alleging pervasive anti-Semitism on campus.

A similar tactic has been used by various Zionist groups in an effort to suppress Palestine solidarity activism on other campuses.

But three similar complaints against the Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Irvine campuses of the University of California were recently thrown out by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, in what has been seen as a major victory for free speech.

While the Rutgers case is still pending before the Office of Civil Rights, university officials have dismissed the allegations as “factually inaccurate and significantly distorted.”

Gregory S. Blimling, the university’s vice president for student affairs, told the Chronicle of Higher Education in April 2012 that the issues raised in the complaint were not about anti-Semitism, but disagreement over Israel’s policies.

“There are people on both sides of that debate,” Blimling said, “who would like to have the other side of that argument not have the same freedoms they do.”

While Blimling may believe that, the indisputable fact is that only anti-Palestinian groups have resorted to legal measures to try to silence criticism of Israel on campus.

Faculty “frightened”

The attack on Rutgers has already affected the right of students to freely learn and talk about the question of Palestine.

Junior faculty are too afraid to even discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in class, according to Professor Charles G. Häberl, 2009–12 director of the Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

“They are frightened to say anything about these issues, especially since they don’t have the shield of tenure to hide behind. And I don’t blame them,” Häberl told the Chronicle.

Anti-Palestinian groups are likely to consider that a success.

Full statement from Rutgers SJP

On the night of Sunday, October 6th, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) board members printed mock eviction notices and distributed them in dormitory buildings at Rutgers New Brunswick. This action was intended to call attention to the systematic demolition of the homes of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israel. Since 1967, approximately 24,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel, as estimated by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. The facts about Palestinian home demolitions included on the mock eviction notices are all true and substantiated by human rights organizations, as well as international bodies such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice. More information can be found at www.icahd.org.

We posted the notices under many doors on different floors of student dormitories and residence halls. We chose doors at random, aiming to maximize the number of people who would be viewing the notice, with one exception: we intentionally avoided the Hillel building and Les Turchin Chabad House, locations with many, if not exclusively Jewish, residents. This was done to avoid the possibility that Jewish students would feel that they were singled out or targeted.

The fake eviction notices were just that—fake. The notices clearly stated that the eviction was not real, and was authored by SJP.

This peaceful, quiet demonstration is not unprecedented. It originated with student activists at New York University and has spread to other schools across the country, including Harvard, Yale, San Diego State, and Florida Atlantic University. This action is part of our long-term mission to draw awareness to a human rights issue that affects the global community on many levels, including social, psychological, humanitarian, and economic.

The Palestinian-Arab refugee and displaced population is the largest in the world, and forced evictions are one of the milder methods used to achieve this. It cannot, thus, be truthfully denied that for 65 years now, the Israeli government has oppressed and traumatized the Palestinian people by means of racial discrimination, ethnic cleansing, illegal settlement and colonization, forced military occupation, and more. Thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed since the beginning of this conflict, and Palestinian refugees and their descendants number in the millions.

Rutgers University has a strong history of student protests and being the voice for those whose cries have fallen on deaf ears. We are proud to uphold this tradition that is fundamental to what it means to be a student at this university as well as a citizen of this nation. The First Amendment protects our right to free speech at a public university – especially speech about one of the most urgent international human rights issues of our time. This is a college campus, the quintessential marketplace of ideas, where vigorous debate about serious problems is part of the educational experience. Free Speech is sometimes controversial and upsetting to some; it would be worthless if it were not. But as was recently noted by the U.S. Department of Education in dismissing complaints against campuses like Rutgers alleging that pro-Palestinian activism creates a hostile environment for Jewish students, “[i]n the university environment, exposure to robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student may experience.

Our completely fake notices brought no harm; it is the confiscation of Palestinian land that these notices bring attention to that continues to bring harm to millions. We hope that those who received and read them were given more insight as to the plight of the Palestinian people after being put in their shoes for a few seconds.

We have faith that the Rutgers community and administration will recognize that our cause is important, not only to the Palestinians, but to the humanitarians in all of us. We ask for your support not only in our fundamental right to freedom of speech, but also in fighting for Palestinian liberty, justice, human rights, and self-determination. Students for Justice in Palestine is proud to be at Rutgers University, and we will not— should not— be silenced.

In solidarity,

Students for Justice in Palestine — Rutgers New Brunswick.

 

 

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ALICE WALKER RE-INVITED TO SPEAK

See yesterday’s post
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Pollack in the letter reiterated the university’s “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints.”
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Alice Walker Gets New Invite To Speak at University of Michigan

After Being Disinvited by Women’s Center, Provost Invites Walker

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

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Author Alice Walker will be invited to speak in a public forum on campus, the provost of the University of Michigan said, after being disinvited from a women’s center celebration.

The provost, Martha Pollack, said in a letter to university faculty posted on the university’s Center for the Education of Women’s web page that the center and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies plan to invite Walker to speak on campus.

Walker in a blog post on her website last week said she had been disinvited from speaking at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. The Pulitzer Prize winner maintained that she was asked to step down as speaker at the initiative of donors.

The center said the decision to withdraw the invitation was based solely on the “celebratory nature” they hoped to achieve at the anniversary event.

Walker is a well-known supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel, in particular “a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions,” such as her decision last year to not allow an Israeli publishing house to translate her book “The Color Purple” into Hebrew.

Pollack in the letter reiterated the university’s “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints.”

“At the same time, we respect the right of individual academic units to make decisions about whom they invite to campus, consistent with university principles and values,” she wrote.

Pollack added that the women’s center “apologized for the way the interaction with Ms. Walker was handled and has made clear to me that their decision was not driven by the content of speech.”

Source

ALICE WALKER PAYS THE PRICE FOR DARING TO SPEAK THE TRUTH

In recent years, Walker has become increasingly outspoken in her support of Palestinian rights, sometimes likening Israel’s abuses to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in the southern United States.
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Alice Walker disinvited from University of Michigan over ‘Israel comments’

 Ali Abunimah 
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Alice Walker speaks in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

 (Lazar Simeonov /TEDxRamallah)

*World-renowned American author Alice Walker has been disinvited from giving a speech at the University of Michigan because a donor objects to her views on Israel, the agent negotiating the contract was told.

Walker, the Pultizer Prize winning author of The Color Purpleposted on her blog an excerpt of a letter from the agent informing her that the invitation to keynote the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan had been withdrawn.

The agent wrote:

I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own. They are deeply regretful but I wanted to let you know immediately either way. I hope you can appreciate the fact that I’m uncomfortable even having to send this email in the first place. Hopefully we can work together again down the road. Thanks for understanding. I wish things had turned out differently.

Calling the withdrawn invitation “Censorship by Purse String,” Walker wrote, “Such behavior, as evidenced by the donors, teaches us our weakness, which should eventually (and soon) show us our strength: women must be in control of our own finances. Not just in the family, but in the schools, work force, and everywhere else. Until we control this part of our lives, our very choices, in any and every area, can be denied us.”

Walker is listed as one of the speakers represented by the American Program Bureau agency.

Alice Walker not “optimum choice”

Gloria D. Thomas, director of the Center for the Education of Women, acknowledged that Walker had been disinvited, but said that the matter was a “misunderstanding.” In an email to The Electronic Intifada, Thomas wrote:

The [Walker’s] blog was a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding. As director of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW), I decided to withdraw our invitation because I didn’t think Ms. Walker would be our optimum choice for our 50th anniversary. 

Our 50th anniversary funding is assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech. In fact, in a conversation with one of Ms. Walker’s friends/representatives, I indicated that I would be willing to speak with other units around campus to serve as a possible co-sponsor for a lecture by Ms. Walker in the near future.

Asked if a speaker had been chosen to replace Walker, Thomas wrote, “No contract has been signed yet. This information will be made available on our website once the contract is confirmed.”

Walker: supporter of Palestinian rights

In recent years, Walker has become increasingly outspoken in her support of Palestinian rights, sometimes likening Israel’s abuses to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in the southern United States.

Walker has written about her visit to Gaza, and participated in the June 2011 solidarity flotilla that attempted to reach the territory besieged by Israel, which led to her beingdemonized by the Israeli army.

Her position on boycott has also been deliberately distorted by Israeli media.

Walker has campaigned for other artists, most recently Alicia Keys, to respect the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

In her letter to Keys, Walker wrote:

I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own.

Could Walker, one of the most celebrated figures in American letters, now be paying the price of refusing to be silent about Palestine?

 

 

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STEPHEN HAWKING ‘STANDS UP’ AGAINST APARTHEID

By participating in the boycott, Hawking joins a small but growing list of British personalities who have turned down invitations to visit Israel, including Elvis Costello, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox and Mike Leigh.
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Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel
Physicist pulls out of conference hosted by president Shimon Peres in protest at treatment of Palestinians
Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
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Stephen Hawking
A statement published with Stephen Hawking’s approval said his withdrawal was based on advice from academic contacts in Palestine. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
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Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president’s conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday.

Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking’s approval described it as “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there”.

Hawking’s decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions.

In April the Teachers’ Union of Ireland became the first lecturers’ association in Europe to call for an academic boycott of Israel, and in the United States members of the Association for Asian American Studies voted to support a boycott, the first national academic group to do so.

In the four weeks since Hawking’s participation in the Jerusalem event was announced, he has been bombarded with messages from Britain and abroad as part of an intense campaign by boycott supporters trying to persuade him to change his mind. In the end, Hawking told friends, he decided to follow the advice of Palestinian colleagues who unanimously agreed that he should not attend.

By participating in the boycott, Hawking joins a small but growing list of British personalities who have turned down invitations to visit Israel, including Elvis Costello, Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox and Mike Leigh.

However, many artists, writers and academics have defied and even denounced the boycott, calling it ineffective and selective. Ian McEwan, who was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 2011, responded to critics by saying: “If I only went to countries that I approve of, I probably would never get out of bed … It’s not great if everyone stops talking.”

Hawking has visited Israel four times in the past. Most recently, in 2006, he delivered public lectures at Israeli and Palestinian universities as the guest of the British embassy in Tel Aviv. At the time, he said he was “looking forward to coming out to Israel and the Palestinian territories and excited about meeting both Israeli and Palestinian scientists”.

Since then, his attitude to Israel appears to have hardened. In 2009, Hawking denounced Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza, telling Riz Khan on Al-Jazeera that Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza was “plain out of proportion … The situation is like that of South Africa before 1990 and cannot continue.”

The office of President Peres, which has not yet announced Hawking’s withdrawal, did not respond to requests for comment. Hawking’s name has been removed from the speakers listed on the official website.

Written FOR

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RELATED REPORTS …
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From HaAretz
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From Ynet
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ZIONISM; GOOD FOR THE GOOSE BUT NOT FOR THE GANDER

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There is never an outcry when pro Palestinian or Muslim students are arrested for peacefully protesting zionist meetings,  BUT …..
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BDS -Brooklyn College - Dershowitz BDS-BrooklynCollege-Dershowitz.jpg

BDS -Brooklyn College – Dershowitz

Brooklyn College probing removal of Jewish students from BDS event

NEW YORK (JTA) — Brooklyn College launched a probe into allegations that Jewish students were wrongly ejected from an event hosted by the school in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Karen Gould, the college’s president, on Wednesday ordered officials to conduct a “thorough independent review” of allegations that four members of the Jewish student group Hillel were told to leave the gathering organized by a pro-Palestinian group on campus last week. The college’s political science faculty was an official co-sponsor of the event.

The students claim they were escorted by security out of the room where a lecture by pro-Palestinian speakers was set to take place for no apparent reason other than being supporters of Israel.

The Hillel students had pro-Israel leaflets with them in the lecture hall. They told the New York Daily News that they were asked by an event organizer to give up the leaflets, and when they refused they were told to leave.

“If we learn that these students were denied that opportunity without cause, as they allege, the decision to have them removed will have been inappropriate and the college will issue a formal apology,” Gould wrote in a statement.

The primary host of the event was the Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that says it is aimed at “helping end Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine.” Some objected that a BDS event was being held on a college campus with the college’s imprimatur.

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There were no arrests, still it’s headine news.

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What really happened at the meeting ….
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‘New York Daily News’ distorts why student Israel advocates were tossed from Brooklyn College event (updated)

by Alex Kane 
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BC
The Brooklyn College campus (Image via Forbes)

The New York Daily News continues to add fuel to the fire over the disturbance involving four student activists affiliated with Zionist organizations who were kicked out of the Brooklyn College event last week on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Daily News ran three pieces addressing the matter recently (two of them today) — a news storyan Op-Ed today by Ari Ziegler, one of the students who was tossed from the event, and an editorial decrying the fact that the students were tossed out. But their coverage is misleading and does not even make the pretense of trying to get the full story out.

The articles push the narrative that was first published by Tablet magazine: that the students had flyers in their laps and were then picked out by a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) member for no reason other than the fact that they were opponents of BDS. The SJP member, according to the student Israel activists, came up to Melanie Goldberg, an intern with the Israel on Campus Coalition, and demanded that they hand over the flyers in their laps. When Goldberg and the others refused, the narrative goes, the SJP member got security to toss them out. When Goldberg and her friends asked security why they were being thrown out, security had no answer. The college vice president allegedly said that the SJP members “were calling the shots” because it’s “their event.” The bottom line, according to this narrative: the students affiliated with Hillel were doing nothing wrong. They had flyers in their laps. They were kicked out for no reason. They were not creating a disturbance. In the Daily News’ world, that narrative is now fact.

But that narrative has been clearly disputed. As I reported last Friday, organizers of the event and witnesses to the disturbance tell a much different story. Here’swhat I wrote:

According to Sarah Aly, a student volunteer with Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College who witnessed the mini-controversy, the students were passing out anti-BDS flyers [update: amongst each other] in the middle of the event, while Judith Butler was talking–contra the claim that they had flyers “in their laps.” They were also talking during the event. When a student volunteer asked them to stop passing out the flyers and to quiet down, the Hillel-affiliated activists refused. That’s when a volunteer asked a security guard to remove them. Two other witnesses who preferred not to have their names published also confirmed this story to me. So yes, these students were removed, and you can debate whether that was the right move or not. But it wasn’t about them getting kicked out because they were “pro-Israel” or had flyers “in their laps.”

I have since spoken to SJP member Carlos Guzman, who told me the same story that Aly did. But it’s not only SJP students that dispute the story from Goldberg and Ziegler. It’s also the Brooklyn College administration–as well as another witness who posted her account on Facebook in response to Goldberg’s narrative.

“My understanding is that these students were in the room along with the rest of the audience. From the first speaker they began to speak out, they were becoming vocal and disruptive to the members around them and one of the student organizers of the event went to them and said ‘you really need to be quiet you’re disrupting other people around you,’” Jeremy Thompson, a spokesman for Brooklyn College, told Algemeiner. “They then did not comply and a couple of police officers asked them to come out into the lobby.” Thompson also told the Daily Newsa similar thing in an otherwise misleading story by reporter Corrine Lestch.

The ICC’s Goldberg posted an account on Facebook of what she says happened to her at the event. It is similar to the Ziegler Op-Ed in the Daily News. But someone in the comments section, named Emma Snyders, disputes Goldberg’s story. Snyders is not a member of SJP at Brooklyn College, according to Guzman. “I am a student at Brooklyn College, have been for about two years now. I don’t mind being the odd person out in this conversation by saying that I was directly in front of you and had to ask you to be quiet numerous times before you were asked to leave. While leaving someone you were with yelled ‘This is a violation of our freedom of speech,’” wrote Snyders. “If you had been quiet and respectful of an incredibly amazing and articulate person, such as Judith Butler, you would have had a chance to not only learn that, but ask questions at the end. There was a lot of tension in the room and your behavior made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.”

So on one side, you have a witness to the disturbance who was not a member of SJP disputing the account of Goldberg; multiple members of SJP who say a similar thing; and the college administration confirming the accounts of SJP students. And on the other side are the four student activists who are claiming they did nothing wrong and were tossed out because they had anti-BDS flyers in their laps.

The Daily News is publicizing one side of the story while omitting claims that complicate the story. I did not clearly see the incident, so I can’t definitively say who is right and who is wrong. But it’s the height of journalistic irresponsibility to publicize one narrative while leaving out another side of the story that complicates things greatly.

The Daily News also reports that the City University of New York is opening an investigation into the matter. Let’s hope an inquiry clears the matter up once and for all.

Update: This story has been modified to make clear that the Daily News editorial was not published today, as originally stated. It was published on Saturday. The other modification was to clarify what the students were doing with the anti-BDS flyers during the event, according to witnesses. They were passing out flyers amongst themselves.

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THE HIDDEN AGENDA OF ‘LIBERAL ZIONISM’

Presenting themselves as progressive advocates of academic freedom, the pro-Israel liberals pushed back against the zealots who demanded Brooklyn College’s political science department withdraw its sponsorship from the BDS forum. At the same time, however, they warned political fellow travelers against falling for the appeal of BDS, characterizing the movement as dangerously radical, and potentially destructive to Jewish life.
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Brooklyn College battle reveals hidden agenda of “liberal Zionism”

Max Blumenthal 
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Liberal Zionists don’t bother to detail what a two-state solution would mean in practice.

 (Issam Rimawi / APA images)

As soon as it was clear that the pro-Israel forces opposed to the forum on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) held at Brooklyn College on 7 February had badly overreached, and that their crude invective and histrionic behavior was alienating broad sectors of mainstream intelligentsia, liberal Zionist writers and activists injected what seemed like a much more sensible narrative into the debate.

Presenting themselves as progressive advocates of academic freedom, the pro-Israel liberals pushed back against the zealots who demanded Brooklyn College’s political science department withdraw its sponsorship from the BDS forum. At the same time, however, they warned political fellow travelers against falling for the appeal of BDS, characterizing the movement as dangerously radical, and potentially destructive to Jewish life.

An editorial published in Tablet Magazine by the pro-Israel writer Yair Rosenberg typified the liberal line against BDS. After issuing his token support for the Brooklyn College political science department’s “right” to sponsor the BDS panel, Rosenberg lashed into the progressive MSNBC host Chris Hayes and The New York Times editorial board for supposedly “whitewashing the movement’s radicalism” (“New York Times, MSNBC whitewash BDS,” 6 February 2013).

Hayes and the Times had erred, Rosenberg argued, by failing to acknowledge that the BDS movement not only seeks to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land, but that it also calls for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to land forcibly expropriated from them by the State of Israel. According to Rosenberg, the right of return is a “radical goal” because it “denies the Jewish right to self-determination.”

No detail

What does “the Jewish right to self-determination” mean, and from where did Jews (whom Rosenberg conflates with Israelis) receive such a right? Was it guaranteed by a binding international legal treaty? Or was it derived from the Torah, the holy book that the self-declared messianist and Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion described as his “blueprint” for building the Jewish state?

Rosenberg did not explain. All readers needed to know, according to Rosenberg, was that this right necessitates the establishment of two states though a “peace accord” so sensible he did not need to provide details of what it might look like, or how it could be implemented.

In another recent attack on BDS, published at Newsweek’s liberal Zionist online forum,Open Zion, a Canada-based associate political science professor and analyst for Freedom House named Mira Sucharov reinforced Rosenberg’s argument. Like Rosenberg, Sucharov condemned BDS advocates for not respecting “Israel’s desire to maintain its core Jewish identity.” And like her counterpart, she failed to provide a scintilla of detail about the implications of such an endeavor.

Sucharov went on to denounce the BDS movement’s “demand that the Jewish nation give up national self-determination,” piling meaningless language atop subjective terminology (“Why BDS isn’t compatible with two states,” 8 February 2013).

The Nation columnist and Brooklyn College professor of English Eric Alterman produced what was probably the sharpest attack on BDS in the past week. Hammering on the allegation that BDS advocates rely on deception to mask their radical goals, Alterman likened them in an editorial for The Daily Beast to the American Communist Party cadres who campaigned during the 1940s as earnest progressives while secretly taking cues from Stalin’s Politburo.

According to Alterman, the real agenda of BDS — an “intellectual masquerade,” he called it — is to force Jewish Israelis to “commit suicide” by “forfeit[ing] their commitment to their history, their national identity and their understanding of Jewish history” (“Brooklyn College and the BDS debate,” 7 February 2013).

Gross distortions

Leaving aside the gross distortions leveled by Rosenberg, Sucharov and Alterman, it is instructive to note what they omitted.

While each writer ignored the clearly articulated guidelines of the Palestinian-led BDS movement, along with the scholarship on how such tenets could be implemented, either in the framework of two states or a bi-national arrangement, they accused the BDS movement of deliberately obscuring its real goals.

At no point, however, did any of the liberal Zionists who weighed in on the debate about Brooklyn College’s BDS panel attempt to explain in any explicit fashion what it was that they wanted.

Liberal Zionist critics of BDS proclaim their passionate commitment to two states, or at least, to the established proposals for partition that have emerged through the US-led peace process, but few are willing to provide details. And even fewer have attempted to explore what the established proposals for two states will mean for the Palestinians who would have to live with its consequences.

How do they get away with such reticence on a core issue of contention while simultaneously blasting their opponents for deception and ambiguity?

Detached from reality

Perhaps the pablum of “two states for two peoples” has become so entrenched in mainstream discourse that progressive Zionist supporters see little need to explain what it actually means in practice. There is also the possibility that their rigorous, all-consuming academic and intellectual pursuits in North America have left them with little time to experience the daily reality in occupied Palestine, relegating them to a superficial, detached relationship with the situation that they invariably describe as “complicated.”

There are myriad factors influencing their curious behavior, but none is more salient than the inherent contradiction between liberalism and Zionism.

Like the right-wing Likudniks they claim to abhor, liberal Zionists are staunchly committed to the maintenance of an ethnically exclusivist Jewish state. They will fight any political campaign (BDS) or natural trend (Arab babies) that threatens to upend the Jewish demographic majority inside Israel, wherever its borders are.

That is why they claim that BDS, with its call for Palestinian equality and the right of return, will “destroy Israel.” And it is why they are so passionate about reigniting the US-led peace process. From their perspective, the establishment of two states would provide the most effective bulwark against the non-Jewish “demographic threat.”

In the words of Yossi Beilin, the liberal Israeli politician credited as the godfather of theOslo accords, the two-state solution under the guidelines of Oslo is “the only way to save the Jewish state from an Arab majority” (Tikva Honig-Parnass, Between the Lines, p. 97).

Racist measures

Every major proposal for two states — even the supposedly progressive Geneva accords — has included measures to combat the presence and proliferation of the non-Jewish population inside a Jewish state. These have included separation barriers, Bantustan-style cantons ruled by unelected strongmen, annexing the major settlement blocs that sever Palestinian East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and instituting a program of de facto population transfer described in anodyne terms as “land swaps.”

During the Annapolis track of Bush-era Road Map negotiations, then-Foreign MinisterTzipi Livni proposed transferring the populations of entire Arab villages inside Israel into the hands of the Palestinian Authority in order to help resolve Israel’s demographic problems (“Livni: A lawyer against Law?,” The Palestine Papers, Al Jazeera English, 24 January 2011).

A more recent plan conceived by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and promoted by the progressive Zionist writer Bernard Avishai in The New York Times called for linking Gazato the West Bank through a 25-mile underground tunnel, tacitly designating Palestinians as untouchable Morlocks who must be hidden from the view of the enlightened Israeli public (“A plan for peace that still could be,” 7 February 2011).

Even the most acute liberal Zionist mind would struggle to sell a progressive peer on the logic of advocating for an immigrant-friendly, multicultural society in the United States while simultaneously defending a colonialist ethnocracy in a far away, Middle Eastern country that offers them the right of “return” on the basis of their supposed kinship with Early Bronze Era desert nomads.

This may be exactly what US-based liberal Zionists are doing, but for obvious reasons, they must find ways of concealing their agenda, either through strategic reticence, or by masking their extreme positions in flowery, essentially meaningless language.

Not a pretty picture

To be sure, a few major US-based liberal Zionists have been willing to sketch out the broad outlines of the kind of two-state solution they might support. It is not a pretty picture.

Peter Beinart, the editor of Open Zion, recently joined with Harvard University professor of law Alan Dershowitz, an outspoken proponent of torture and the collective punishment of Palestinians, to call for Israel to “divide the West Bank into three chunks” (“The conversation Israel and Palestine needs to have,” 3 December 2012).

And Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of the “pro-peace” J Street lobbying outfit, insists that the separation wall and major settlement blocs must be permanent features of the landscape of Israel-Palestine. A future Palestinian state should have no control over its borders or airspace, according to Ben-Ami (“A voice in the wilderness,” America Magazine, 2 April 2012).

Is unilaterally deciding how Palestinians will be controlled and dominated what liberal Zionists mean by “Jewish self-determination?”

Questions like this are not easy to answer, which may be why leading liberal Zionists stringently avoid engaging in forums where their onerous proposals might be placed under tough scrutiny.

Beinart has staged collegial debates with Dershowitz and Rabbi Daniel Gordis, a political hardliner who has suggested a new wave of ethnic cleansing to preserve Israel’s Jewish majority, but he has never met a figure like Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel founding member Omar Barghouti on the same stage.

Ben-Ami, for his part, has openly stated his preference for keeping discussions about BDS “within the Jewish community,” refusing a request to debate a Palestinian like Barghouti (“J Street’s Ben Ami: “Our discussion” on BDS should stay “within the Jewish community”,” MaxBlumenthal.com, 15 April 2011).

What are they afraid of? Do liberal Zionists have something to hide? If not, they should end the intellectual masquerade and bring their real agenda out into the open for all to see. Then we will know who the radicals are.

 

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HYPOCRISY AND LIES; ZIONISM’S STRONGEST DEFENSE

Doctors are known to take the Hippocratic Oath before starting their practice, zionist lawyers take the Hypocritic Oath instead …
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Dershowitz’s hypocrisy and dishonesty over Brooklyn College BDS conference
 David Samel

Alan Dershowitz, famed Harvard Law Professor, is feeling besieged, bruised and battered. In his shrill campaign against Thursday evening’s BDS program presented by Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler at Brooklyn College, Dershowitz did not call for cancellation of the event, but was incensed that it was co-sponsored by the College’s Political Science Department. According to him, this was an egregious violation of students’ academic freedom. From his Huffington Post column:

[W]hen a department of a university officially co-sponsors and endorses an event advocating BDS against Israel, and refuses to co-sponsor and endorse an event opposing such BDS, that does constitute an official endorsement. Freedom of speech, and academic freedom require equal access to both sides of a controversy, not official sponsorship and endorsement of one side over the other. The heavy thumb of an academic department should not be placed on the scale, if the marketplace of ideas is to remain equally accessible to all sides of a controversy.

The BC Poli Sci Department hasn’t actually refused to sponsor an anti-BDS event, but Dershowitz thinks it would: “Based on my knowledge of the Brooklyn College political science department, they would never vote to sponsor and endorse an anti-BDS campaign.”

The effects of such bias on students can be enormous, says Dershowitz: “If I were a Brooklyn College student today and an opponent of BDS against Israel, I would not major in political science. I would worry that my chances of getting into a good law school or graduate program, would be put at risk.”

In a subsequent column, making basically the same arguments, Dershowitz further detailed the agony faced by students:

One political science student at Brooklyn College said she was afraid to criticize her department because “that’s going to put a target on my back.” Other students talked about a “chilling effect” that the department’s decision would have on them. And yet another student said that she had “an uncomfortable feeling” about raising her hand and arguing “with a professor who voted for it” and who tried to justify his vote in the classroom.

So according to Professor D, the problem is that departmental sponsorship of political events jeopardizes the academic freedom of students who will then feel “uncomfortable in class” and vulnerable to retaliation if they publicize views contrary to those “endorsed” by the department. In preparation for his column about the BC controversy, Glenn Greenwald emailed Dershowitz, resulting in a rather contentious exchange posted in full by Greenwald. Among other things, Dershowitz stated: “I would oppose a pro Israel event being sponsored by a department. . . I recently told someone who invited me to give a talk on Israel that the talk should not be sponsored by the school or a department.” When Greenwald asked for details about his request for no sponsorship by school or department for one of his speeches, Dershowitz mysteriously failed to respond.

Dershowitz, as a lawyer trained to anticipate contrary views, should have known better. He himself is a prolific lecturer, and has given political lectures sponsored by a university department, a sin he now considers so egregious that he has devoted several columns to exposing it. Just one year ago, Dershowitz was invited to speak against BDS at the University of Pennsylvania. That lecture was sponsored by both the University’s Political Science Department and its Philosophy, Economics and Politics Department. Greenwald updated his column with this glaring hypocrisy. And, unlike the BC situation, in which Dershowitz speculates that the Department would deny sponsorship of an anti-BDS lecture (I would speculate otherwise), Penn’s Poli Sci Department really did choose sides, refusing to sponsor the BDS conference held at the school at the very same time but explicitly sponsoring Dershowitz’s opposition speech. In response to this revelation, Dershowitz had no choice but to dig himself a deeper hole.

In an Open Zion column , among the grossly misleading and false statements he made was the following defense of his appearance at the Penn lecture:

When I agreed to give that talk, I was told that the event was being sponsored by Hillel alone. I was not and am not aware that it was also sponsored by a department. Had I been aware, I would have opposed such co-sponsorship, since I do not believe that academic departments should take official positions on issues of this kind.

Somehow he didn’t realize that his speech enjoyed the sponsorship of two university departments. Although he now considers such sponsorships to be a dangerous infringement of academic freedom that intimidates poor young students and influences them to change their majors, Dershowitz was so unconcerned about this clear red line that he did not inquire whether it had been crossed at Penn. Even worse than Dershowitz’s dubious claim of (self-imposed) ignorance of the multi-departmental sponsorship of his speech, he well knew that the President of the University and its Chairman of the Board of Trustees did endorse his appearance. The Chairman, David Cohen, introduced Dershowitz, reading a letter from President Amy Gutmann: “We are unwavering in our support of Israel” he read. “We do not support the message or the goals of BDS.”

Shouldn’t that have set off alarm bells to someone who feels that students are so aggrieved by one-sided lectures sponsored by a university or department? And what did Dershowitz do in response to Cohen’s introduction? Did he begin his speech decrying the official endorsement of his anti-BDS appearance, saying it would adversely affect Penn students who hold contrary views? Did he raise a protest to President Gutmann that her avowed support of Israel would make pro-Palestinian rights students “uncomfortable” on campus and in the classroom? Yeah, right.

Dershowitz’s Open Zion column was in response to another OZ column about the BC controversy penned by Amy Schiller . Dershowitz accused Schiller of lying on two points:

Amy Schiller, in her article, “NYC Politicos Rally Against Brooklyn College BDS Panel,” quotes an anonymous professor saying that the political science department sponsored “Alan Dershowitz’s 2008 Konefsky lecture where he defended torture, where there has been no one presenting the other side.” That short sentence contains two lies: 1) I gave the Konefksy lecture approximately 40 years ago in which I spoke about Professor Konefsky and the United States Supreme Court. It was an entirely academic lecture. 2) I have never defended torture. Indeed, I have repeatedly condemned it. What I have proposed is a method for making those who do engage in torture accountable to the law.

The first point is another classic Dershowitz half-truth deliberately designed to deceive. While indignantly declaring that his Konefsky lecture took place 40 years ago and was “academic” in nature, he has the audacity to conceal that he delivered a (non-Konefsky) lecture at BC in 2008 at which he presented without opposition his views on torture (for several minutes of a much longer lecture in which he presented his unopposed views on free speech and Jefferson). So Schiller’s unidentified source (I wonder why he was afraid to reveal his identity) was only wrong about the title of the lecture! Who is the liar here: Schiller’s source who mistakenly believed the 2008 lecture was the famed “Konefsky” but got the other details right; or Dershowitz, whose blanket denial clearly implied that he gave no such lecture at BC in 2008?

As to Schiller’s accusation that Dershowitz defended torture, his actual views are so complex and confusing that he can hardly accuse anyone who misinterprets them of lying. Dershowitz essentially argues that torture can work wonders in saving innocent lives, and offers a legal framework for the authorities to conduct such torture of suspects. The aspiring torturer should apply to a magistrate for a “torture warrant” and the torture should be performed by “sterilized needle under the nail.” (Note the careful attention to personal hygiene.) Still, Dershowitz claims, he’s opposed to the practice, despite the heavy price society would pay for forgoing this useful tool. “[Torture] may sound brutal,” he says, “but it does not compare in brutality with the prospect of thousands of preventable deaths at the hands of fellow terrorists.” To complicate matters even more, Dershowitz says he disagreed with the Israeli Supreme Court opinion unequivocally banning torture. Do you understand his position? Apparently Amy Schiller did not, and in Dersh’s view, she is a liar. Actually, in saying that Dershowitz “defended” torture, she most certainly was correct, as he did defend its value while opposing it on principle. If you’re not a Talmudic scholar, don’t even try to understand my (hopefully accurate) summary of Dershowitz’s position on torture.

OK, so maybe Dershowitz gave a 2012 department-sponsored speech at Penn without knowing it, and a 2008 university-sponsored speech at BC (but not the Konefsky!) about free speech, where he couldn’t help but throw in his opinion on torture. But are there more? Well, in 2010, Dershowitz received an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University (can’t get more institution-sponsored than that), and used the occasion to spout his views on Israel and the disgraceful academics who criticize it, as well as Israeli universities’ contribution to the development of new and improved methods of killing Palestinians and other Arabs (and perhaps Persians). Some very brief excerpts:

No country in the history of the world has ever contributed more to humankind and accomplished more for its people in so brief a period of time as Israel has done since its relatively recent rebirth in 1948. . . Israel’s research universities have contributed immeasurably to the defense of Israel by the development of technological advances that support the mission of the IDF. . . The Israeli military plays more than a critical role in defending the citizens of the Jewish state. It also plays an important social, scientific and psychological role in preparing its young citizens for the challenging task of being Israelis in a difficult world. . . Some of the same hard leftists who demand academic freedom for themselves and their ideological colleagues were among the leaders of those seeking to deny academic freedom to a distinguished law professor who had worked for the military advocate general and whose views they disagreed with.

Dershowitz also said: “The answer to bad ideas is not firing the teacher; but articulating better ideas which prevail in the marketplace.” Tell that to Norman Finkelstein.

It turns out that some of those “hard leftists” who were not invited by TAU to present their viewpoint were upset with the speech. A letter to the university president signed by 80 faculty members protested Dershowitz’s comments as an assault on academic freedom.

Then there’s the saga of the BDS campaign at Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 2009. While the Administration was considering whether to divest from companies doing business in Israel in accordance with the sentiment of students and faculty, did the Harvard Professor stand by on the sidelines and allowed the debate to proceed without interference? Of course not. He threatened to organize a boycott of contributions to the school: “I call on all decent people — supporters and critics of Israel alike — to make no further contributions to a school that now promotes discrimination and is complicit in evil.” In the end, College President Ralph Hexter caved in a public act of contrition, writing an obsequious open letter to the great moral arbiter from Cambridge, assuring him that the sale of a “problematic” mutual fund had nothing to do with Israel. So much for the “marketplace of ideas” Dershowitz trumpets ad nauseam. The “market” should be receptive to his ideas, but he will do his best to financially punish those who express ideas he does not like.

Most recently, Dershowitz authored yet another article in which he claims he has been attacked by the “dogs of defamation” for his pro-Israel advocacy. Item 1: Norman Finkelstein’s allegation of plagiarism, claiming that Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel quoted without citation from Joan Peters’s From Time Immemorial. Space does not permit me to rebut in detail Dershowitz’s claim of innocence, but judge for yourself. Dershowitz quoted verbatim Joan Peters’s very strange version of a Mark Twain quote, including an 87-page ellipsis, and repeated each of Peters’s dumb transcription errors. Yet Dershowitz cited Twain only, claiming that he got the quote himself, and not from Peters. Frank Menetrez wrote in greater detail about this affair if anyone is interested.

Dershowitz next complains about the “lie” that he is pro-torture, discussed above. Finally, he gets to the most recent calumny against him, where “the dogs” charge him with hypocrisy on the BC affair because of his own recent history at UPenn. Once again he disavows any contemporaneous knowledge of departmental sponsorship of his anti-BDS diatribe, and fails to mention the praise heaped on him by Penn’s Chairman and President.

Dershowitz reveals the motives behind this cabal of defamers. It is not to hurt him, because he himself is invincible. It is to set an example to younger academics, to threaten them that if they are as outspoken in favor of Israel as Dersh, they will be similarly attacked and the attacks could have more serious repercussions because of their vulnerable position:

The message is clear: If you support Israel, we will attack you like we attack Dershowitz, but you will be hurt much more that Dershowitz would. We will damage your reputation, hurt your student evaluations and decrease your chances for tenure.

How ironic that the man who played such a large role in ruining Norman Finkelstein’s academic career is now so concerned about hypothetical academic hit men who are sharpening their knives on him in a dress rehearsal for a similar jihad against young, honest pro-Israel scholars.

Moreover, Dershowitz’s overall complaint of defamation is a classic example of projection. Dershowitz is accusing others of committing the same offenses he has committed for decades. He has been on the front line of a concerted effort to demonize those who dare criticize Israel beyond the very narrow boundaries of legitimate criticism that he can tolerate. And his own attacks on others has not exactly been moderate and measured. Goldstone is a “moser,” there is a “special place in hell” for Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is “one of the most evil men in the world,” Professors Mearsheimer and Walt plagiarized their scholarship on the Israel lobby from David Duke, Norman Finkelstein suggested that Dershowitz be killed; the list is endless.

People often comment that Dershowitz is a clown who does not deserve the time and effort to discredit him. I could not disagree more. He remains a highly influential public figure on matters pertaining to Israel and Palestine, commanding an audience at the White House and filling lecture halls regularly. Give the devil his due. He has great rhetorical skills, thinks quickly on his feet, and in my opinion can on occasion out-debate far worthier opponents. He remains a rock star of pro-Israel advocacy. His brazen hypocrisy and serial dishonesty should be challenged regularly.

 

Written FOR

WHY SO MUCH FUSS AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE?

To see full report of Brooklyn College event, CLICK HERE
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There’s one way to end the BDS Movement ….. it’s a simple solution ….
END THE OCCUPATION!
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Until Then …
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The Campaign

What do we want?

TIAA-CREF is one of the largest financial services in the United States, considered to be one of  the largest retirement systems in the world. We want TIAA-CREF to stop investing in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation

Why TIAA-CREF?

1. TIAA-CREF is big, one of the biggest fund of its kind in the world.  If we help them change their policies, this will have a substantial impact on the Israeli Occupation.

2. TIAA-CREF is near you. With 60 offices in the US and 15,000 client institutions in the academic, research, medical, cultural and nonprofit fields, chances are that wherever you may be in the US, you will find a network of TIAA-CREF participants close to you.

3. TIAA-CREF cares about socially responsible investment.  In 2009, TIAA-CREF divested from companies involved in Darfur. However, it continues to invest in companies that reap profits  from the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violations of  Palestinian rights.  Until it divests,  TIAA-CREF violates its own ethical principles and is complicit in Israel’s breaches of international law and violations of human rights. Join us in giving TIAA-CREF the opportunity to live up to its motto: TIAA-CREF, Financial Services for the Greater Good.

More reasons to join the We Divest Campaign.

Brief History of the We Divest Campaign

In 2009, Adalah-NY discovered that TIAA-CREF was invested in Africa Israel, whose owner, Lev Leviev, was the target of an existing Adalah-NY boycott campaign. While TIAA-CREF divested soon thereafter from Africa Israel, it maintained its investment in many other companies supporting the Israeli occupation.

Using Adalah-NY’s initial research, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) began planning a national campaign to persuade TIAA-CREF to divest from many of these companies. In June 2010, JVP launched the campaign with a petition drive, which is ongoing. In July 2010, the campaign was endorsed by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coalition.

In October 2010, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) issued a statementsupporting the We Divest Campaign which reads in part:

“We urge all groups working on boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse this campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US.”

In 2011, The US Palestinian Community NetworkGrassroots International, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and numerous Student for Justice in Palestine groups around the country joined the growing national campaign.

In January 2012, the  We Divest Campaign formally became a coalition based-effort, led by a National Coordinating Committee made up of representatives of the six leading organizations: Jewish Voice for Peacethe US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation,Adalah-NYThe US Palestinian Community NetworkGrassroots International, the American Friends Service Committee.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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A SPLIT IN THE RANKS IN NEW YORK’S ZIONIST DYNASTY

 This should raise a few eyebrows at the offices of the ADL ….
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Mayor Bloomberg Backs Brooklyn College in Flap Over Boycott Israel Panel

‘Go to North Korea’ to Escape Disputes, Mayor Tells Critics

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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‘Go to North Korea’** Mayor Bloomberg sharply criticized lawmakers who called for a cut-off of funds to Brooklyn College in a dispute over a Boycott Israel event at the campus.
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‘Go to North Korea’** Mayor Bloomberg sharply criticized lawmakers who called for a cut-off of funds to Brooklyn College in a dispute over a Boycott Israel event at the campus.
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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg harshly criticized city officials who had called on Brooklyn College’s political science department to drop their sponsorship of a pro-BDS panel.

Stipulating that he “couldn’t disagree more violently” with the movement that seeks to impose boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel, Bloomberg said he believed an academic department should be allowed to sponsor any sort of panel it liked.

“If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea,” Bloomberg said at a press conference today.

The panel, featuring two prominent supporters of the BDS movement, is scheduled to take place on February 6. It’s drawn criticism from Jewish activists and from public officials.

Bloomberg’s statement amounted to a stark rejection of a January 29 letter to Brooklyn College from New York City Council members Lew Fidler and David Greenfield, among others, implicitly threatening the school’s public funding for sponsoring the panel.

At today’s press conference, Bloomberg specifically criticized the threats to CUNY funding. “The last thing we need is for members of our City Council or State Legislature to be micromanaging the kinds of programs that our public universities run and base funding decisions on the political views of professors,” the mayor said.

Progressive Democrats have also criticized Brooklyn College’s political science department. In a January 31 letter that did not threaten the school’s funding, a group of Democrats led by Congressman Jerry Nadler and New York City Councilman Brad Lander asked the political science department to withdraw their co-sponsorship of the panel. In a second letter sent February 6, the same group reasserted that they had not threatened CUNY funding.

Critics of the officials’ push against the panel saw Bloomberg’s comments as a major win. “That’s a very strong endorsement of my department’s position,” wrote Corey Robin, a professor in the Brooklyn College political science department, in a blog post about the speech.

 

STAND WITH US FOR FREE SPEECH AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE

THE RIGHT
TO
FREE SPEECH

Standing for Free Speech, February 5, 2013 at a press conference at Brooklyn College organized by Students for Justice In Palestine
 
Standing for THE RIGHT TO RESPECT the students, faculty and administration at Brooklyn College who are preserving academic freedom and dignity for all…

Despite the efforts of politicians and others to bully student activists and faculty and to smear supporters, students at Brooklyn College plan to hold a lecture Thursday with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti on the importance of BDS in helping end Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

 

Standing for Human Rights 

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at Brooklyn College BDS Lecture…

Onward… 

 

 

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT is an artist/activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and at times emboldened on signs held up in public spaces, we respond to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, direct public-actions where many people can participate.

 

FACEBOOK / TWITTER     
Contact: INFO@WEWILLNOTBESILENT.NET
WWW.WEWILLNOTBESILENT.NET

 

 

BREAKING THE SILENCE AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
anti-zionism-is-not-anti-semitism (1)
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Brooklyn College President Won’t Cancel Boycott Israel Panel

Hits Back Against Lawmakers Who Threaten To Cut Funds

By Ari Paul

The president of Brooklyn College hit back against New York City Council members who threatened to withhold funds to the school if it allows a panel discussion about the boycott Israel campaign to go forward later this week.

Brooklyn College President Karen Gould insisted the discussion would go ahead as planned and defended the decision as part of the school’s commitment to “academic freedom.”

“Providing an open forum to discuss important topics, even those many find highly objectionable, is a centuries-old practice on university campuses around the country,” Gould said. “Indeed, this spirit of inquiry and critical debate is a hallmark of the American education system.”

Gould spoke out after 10 City Councilmembers wrote her a letter objecting to the panel. Prominent pro-Israel voices including lawyer Alan Dershowitz also lambasted the panel that will include philosopher Judith Butler and Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti.

“We don’t believe this program is what the taxpayers of our City, many of who would feel targeted and demonized by this program, want their tax money to be spent on,” the lawmakers said.

Supporters of the event praised Gould for standing up to the pressure.

“We knew this would be controversial. We’re not scared of controversy,” said Corey Robin, who has taught political science at Brooklyn College for 15 years. “The fact that government officials have chosen to threaten us … I thought we had moved beyond that.”

Defenders of the panel have likened the move by these City Council members to an incident involving then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani who in 1999 threatened to slash funding to the Brooklyn Museum for showing an image of the Virgin Mary mired in elephant dung.

This prompted Robin to look to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who very publically and passionately stood up to critics of the lower Manhattan Islamic center, invoking freedom of speech and religion.

“In some ways, this fight has really just begun,” he said. “It’s very clear, the terms of the confrontation: the entire academic community against the power of the state.”

Gould also strongly stated that support for the panel should not be seen as the college’s endorsement of the divestment movement.

In addition to Thursday evening’s event, at which I encourage those with opposing views to participate in the discussion and ask tough questions, other forums will present alternative perspectives for consideration,” she said.

“The college welcomes participation from any groups on our campus that may wish to help broaden the dialogue,” she said. “At each of these events, please keep in mind that students, faculty, staff, and guests are expected to treat one another with respect at all times, even when they strongly disagree.”

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