Jarah, a 22-year-old Palestine refugee cancer survivor and amputee, climbs Mount Everest Base Camp to save his UNRWA school in Jordan

When he was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 15, he didn’t give up.

When his right leg was amputated, he didn’t give up.

When 9 of the 11 climbers were medevaced, he didn’t give up.

When it dropped to -14 Celsius and he couldn’t feel his face, he didn’t give up.
Jarah reached Everest Base Camp on Saturday, April 14 because he never gave up.

And to mark 17,500 steps up Mt. Everest, he raised a flag.

He raised a flag to help refugees like him have the chance to get a quality UNRWA education.

He raised a flag to show fellow cancer survivors and amputees that nothing is impossible.

He raised a flag to show solidarity with 5 million Palestine refugees.

Weather permitting, Jarah will be climbing down the mountain over the course of the next week.

For live updates, follow #MyFirstStep as well as his personal posts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Show Jarah that you’re willing to take your own step to save his UNRWA school and others like it.



This is definitely an institution worth supporting ….. click HERE for details

Hand in Hand Learning together Living together | יד ביד يداً بيد

The story of Hand in Hand pioneering schools, almost the only bilingual ones in Israel, and the joint Arab – Jewish communities surrounding them.


Palestinian universities are fighting an uphill battle on two fronts, one being the Israeli military occupation, and more recently, the other being the Palestinian government. Although each poses two very different sets of challenges, one outcome is clear. If immediate and decisive intervention is not forthcoming, the structural damage that will set back entire generations of Palestinian students will haunt Palestine’s developmental capabilities for many years to come. That is, if the damage has not already been inflicted.

On display at the Bethlehem Museum, the abacusis a simple, but yet piercing piece of art reflecting what Palestinian kids aregoing through under military occupation. Palestinian Artist Rana Bishara fromTarshiha in the Western Galilee. (October, 2016) Printed with permission ofartist.

On display at the Bethlehem Museum, the abacusis a simple, but yet piercing piece of art reflecting what Palestinian kids aregoing through under military occupation. Palestinian Artist Rana Bishara fromTarshiha in the Western Galilee. (October, 2016) Printed with permission of artist.

Palestinian Universities on the Frontline

By Sam Bahour

Palestinian universities are fighting an uphill battle on two fronts, one being the Israeli military occupation, and more recently, the other being the Palestinian government. Although each poses two very different sets of challenges, one outcome is clear. If immediate and decisive intervention is not forthcoming, the structural damage that will set back entire generations of Palestinian students will haunt Palestine’s developmental capabilities for many years to come. That is, if the damage has not already been inflicted.

Prolonged Israeli military occupation of Palestine (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip) has caused a staggering amount of damage to the Palestinian society at large. Much of this damage is visible to the naked eye, such as land grabs, settlements, walls, fences, checkpoints, demolished airports, and bombed-out buildings, just to name a few. However, the more serious and long-term damage is hidden from view. I call it the administratively applied part of the Israeli military occupation. These invisible aspects of the occupation comprise issues such as the infamous permit system, the limiting and prohibiting of access to the electromagnetic spectrum, confiscation of water resources, severely limiting Palestinians’ access to water, and importation restrictions. The list is long.

These are the elements of occupation you cannot capture in a photo. One of the key elements Israel has routinely sought to attack is Palestine’s education system. The Israeli fixation on blocking Palestinian education is not new.

When Israel was yet in its formative years, it introduced an office of the advisor to the [Israeli] prime minister on Arab affairs. As quoted in Atty. Sabri Jiryis’ landmark book, “The Arabs in Israel” (1976), one of the most racist persons to hold this position was Uri Lubrani (1960-1963). Lubrani stated in a lecture, “It very probably would be better if there were no Arab university students. It probably would be easier to govern them if they continued to work as wood cutters and waiters.” It seems this desire has not faded away.

Earlier this month, Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, a Palestinian research group which recently became affiliated with Birzeit University, held its 22ndAnnual Conference titled, “The Complex Challenges Facing Palestinian Universities: Is There a Way Out?” The conference was held at Birzeit University on September 30 and October 1, 2016. The Muwatin Conference came on the heels of a provocative student strike at Birzeit University, which witnessed a handful of students forcibly chain closed the gates of the university, totally paralyzing the university for nearly a month and delaying the start of the school year. There is no indication that the situation has stabilized to prohibit the students (or teachers’/workers’ unions) from undertaking future disruptive labor action. The backdrop of this strike made the Muwatin Conference even more timely.

The conference brought together an impressive audience of senior academics, education administrators, including several current and past university presidents, private sector concerns, and Palestinian government officials, including the current Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Sabri Saidam, as well as several ex-ministers. The panels hosted some of the top Palestinian thinkers on higher education.

One panel, Higher Education: Continuation or Start Over?, offered an historical overview of the young Palestinian higher education sector. Another panel, Where Does Higher Education Stand in Palestine?, grappled with the need to educate for the sake of education, as well as to educate to serve a productive labor market, one that is extremely distressed by prolonged occupation. Other panels were titled Self-Restricting Constraints on Higher Education, University Economics and Country Economics, Higher Education Under Occupation, The Regulatory Framework for Higher Education, and Higher Education and State Building. Having listened attentively to them all, the overarching messages were loud and clear: our higher education system remains in the crosshairs of the Israeli occupation, and the Palestinian government, with its deep financial constraints and lack of legislative oversight, is unable to stop the imminent damage on its own.

From the Israeli side, the damage to the higher education sector is systemic. Physical targeting of university facilities, as was the case at the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip, and frequent incursions on to campuses, as was recently the case at the Palestine Technical University (Kadoorie) located in Tulkarm and Birzeit University near Ramallah, have brought material damage and disruption to university operations. Additionally, the heavy restrictions Israel has placed on Palestinians’ movement and access have forced universities to be established near the students, bringing the total number of universities to 15 for a population of 4.8 million with over 220,000 university students, with three new private universities in the pipeline. This forced geographic fragmenting of our community is not only draining material resources, but it is cannibalizing the shrinking pool of qualified university professors, especially those holding PhDs. Just last month, Israel denied entry into the country to UK-based scholar Dr. Adam Hanieh, who was invited by the Ph.D. Program in the Social Sciences at Birzeit University to deliver a series of lectures at the university. He is not the first case of an academic being denied access. The number of Israeli restrictions and disruptions is too long to list here.

On the side of the Palestinian government, the criticism was pointed. The inability of the government to meet its financial commitments to universities was highlighted by almost every panelist, especially given the over 40 percent budget allocation that goes toward security. Another alarming issue brought up by many was the issue that the Palestinian security forces have “infiltrated” the universities and are seen as hindering the academic freedoms students expect. This criticism was exacerbated by the fact that, as of late, the Palestinian security forces have arrested and interrogated many student activists.

The Muwatin Conference distributed a booklet titled, “Higher Education in Palestine…Beyond the Figures!!!” I think the three explanation points in the booklet’s title speak for themselves. Nevertheless, reading the set of statistics presented, from the rising unemployment rates, to the declining interest in sciences, to the inability of the labor market to absorb the nearly 40,000 annual graduates, it becomes apparent that the situation is reaching a tipping point and the spillover, when it occurs, will not remain confined behind campus walls.

It was refreshing, albeit depressing, to hear the case made by Dr. Samia Botmeh, Assistant Professor of Economics at Birzeit University, about the negative effect that neo-liberalism is having on Palestine’s higher education system. She made a convincing argument that higher education cannot merely be reduced to providing job skills to serve a market (something she called the “productization” of education), but rather must be viewed from a much broader societal vantage point where a higher education is instilling a set of values and skills to produce a life-long learner who has the ability to assume his or her role in society, be it in serving a business, engaging a philosophical dilemma, producing music, or being a homemaker.

One missing aspect of the conference that I have interest in was how to utilize our diaspora, academics and non-academics, to support the higher education of Palestinians, as well as Palestinian higher education institutes. A week before the conference, my consulting firm launched a Linkedin Group, Academic Network for Palestine (ANPs), to start to collect in one location those Palestinian academics and non-Palestinian academics who are in solidarity with Palestine to discuss ways to support the sector.

Ironically, as I was writing this article, my 11th-grade daughter, Nadine, came to me with her laptop in hand. She enthusiastically wanted me to watch something. It was this, THE PEOPLE VS THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, a YouTube clip by American rapper, spoken word artist, music video director and rights activist from St Louis, Missouri, Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince EA. Nadine’s timing was spot on.

Palestine’s challenge is huge. As this video clip by Prince EA so eloquently articulates, we must deal with the same mega-challenges that the entire world is dealing with, the only difference is we must do so while the oppressive boot of Israeli military occupation is pressing on our necks. Ignoring desperately needed reforms and freedoms in Palestine’s education system levies a heavy price on students and the society at large. As Palestinian educators struggle to survive, our Israeli occupier is laughing all the way to the next settlement hilltop.

Originally appeared AT


And this in memory of Pete Seeger and Fred Hellerman


When I was a student math was never my favourite subject ….. now I can see why.

Alabama teacher gave middle school students a math test so racist you have to it see to believe it

A middle school starts the year with 3 math teachers and one gets fired for being a racist. How many remain?

A middle school starts the year with 3 math teachers and one gets fired for being a racist. How many remain?

By Jen Hayden

An as-of-yet unnamed language arts teacher at Burns Middle School in Mobile, Alabama, is on administrative leave after giving 8th grade students a shockingly racist math test. Erica Hall’s son was so shocked that he snuck a photo of the test and sent it to his mom.

From Fox 10:

“They took it as a joke, and she told them that it wasn’t it a joke, and they had to complete it, and turn it in,” Hall said.

Erica Hall and her husband headed to the school Tuesday for some answers.

A sample of the questions on the test:

“Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?”

Fox10 reporter Renee Dials researched the origins of the test:

FOX10 News did some research to try to find out where the test may have originated. What we discovered is that it apparently has a long history. Similar versions of the 10-question quiz have been turning up in classrooms across the country since the 1990s.

And, a lot of teachers have ended up in hot water over the test in several states including Texas, California, and New Mexico.

The teacher no doubt found the test from her racist uncle who hit forward on a hilariously racist email that has been circulating for 20 years. Parents and students told Fox10 the teacher was retiring at the end of the school year. This sounds like it may have been an attempt to go out in one big blazing ball of racist glory. You can see interviews with parents and students in this report from Fox10.

The racist math test given to Burns Middle School students

The racist math test given to Burns Middle School students

This teacher’s career probably should’ve ended a little sooner.


They can stay in the kitchen, learn to cook, go barefoot and get pregnant!



Who said Israel was the only Democracy in the Middle East?

Obviously someone that never read the following two reports …


Haredi school admits only 5 Sephardic girls 

Education Ministry cancels registration of girls to New Beit Yaakov seminary in ultra-Orthodox city of Elad after learning that 83% of students accepted for next school year are Ashkenazi.

Read the full report HERE


Even worse is the fact that Sephardic leaders endorse this madness


Rabbi’s ban on women’s studies embarrasses Shas 

After haredi movement’s new spiritual leader rules that women must not pursue academic degree, members present three letters in which late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef encouraged women to study.

Full report HERE


First they didn’t allow Arab kids in Israeli schools


Then they removed Ethiopian kids from their schools in Israel


Now it’s girls of Sephardic origin …


And some of us DID SPEAK OUT!




Israel decides who is allowed into Palestine. Palestine has no say in the matter. Does Abbas care? Does Obama ?? Hopefully you do.
An American citizen who teaches English in Ramallah was denied entry to Israel at Ben-Gurion International Airport Tuesday, even though she has a valid one-year multiple-entrance visa.

Israel denies entry to American teacher working in West Bank

After failing to satisfactorily answer security questions, the American daughter of Palestinians was turned away from Israel en route to her job teaching English in Ramallah.

By Amira Hass
Nour Joudah, 25, has twice failed to enter Israel.
Nour Joudah, 25, has twice failed to enter Israel.

An American citizen who teaches English in Ramallah was denied entry to Israel at Ben-Gurion International Airport Tuesday, even though she has a valid one-year multiple-entrance visa.

The Shin Bet security service said in a statement she was turned her away for refusing to cooperate under questioning on security issues.

Nour Joudah, 25, is the daughter of Palestinians who became naturalized citizens of the United States. Her father, a retired history professor, was born in Ashdod. She has visited the country several times, both with her parents and without them. She teaches full-time at the West Bank City of Ramallah’s Friends School, which is run by the Quakers (Friends United Meeting), a Christian religious order headquartered in Indiana.

In August 2012, Joudah received a three-month entrance visa after reporting the purpose of her arrival – to teach and live in Ramallah. In September, she received a visa from the Interior Ministry that allowed her multiple entrances and exits from the country for a year. Her request for the visa was submitted through USAID, the American international aid agency.

Joudah went to Amman for Christmas, and when she returned in early January, she was refused entry at the Allenby Crossing. When inquiries were made on her behalf by attorney Emily Schaeffer, the Border Crossing Administration representative said the decision was made for security reasons, but did not elaborate.

While Schaeffer was preparing an appeal, Joudah contacted U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents the district of Texas where Joudah’s parents live. Jackson Lee contacted the Israeli Embassy in Washington, which suggested that Joudah try to re-enter through Ben-Gurion airport to give the authorities a chance to reconsider their position.

After landing at the airport on Monday, she was questioned twice, once for half an hour and once for 20 minutes, and then held in custody for several more hours. On Monday evening, she was told that she was being refused entry and would be put on a plane back to Amman Tuesday morning.

Joudah told Haaretz that at the airport, investigators from the Shin Bet Security Service asked her many questions they would have known the answers to since they were covered in her request for the year-long visa and during her questioning at Allenby, including the names of her relatives in the country, the reason she was coming and previous places she had taught.

She was also asked if she knew any prisoners, a question she had not answered previously. When she said she did not, the Shin Bet members asked her whether she knew anyone who had a relative in prison. She answered that it was possible but that she does not ask everyone she meets whether they have a relative in prison.

They asked her if she had written any articles while she was here. She answered that she had, but a simple Google search, she told Haaretz, would have turned up the two articles she had written for a local American paper.

According to Joudah, toward the end of her questioning, she was asked to provide information about people she had met in Ramallah between August and December 2012. She replied that she does not record details about every person she meets and that she would not give information about her friends and acquaintances – Palestinians or foreign citizens – in any case.

Joudah noted that a USAID representative, who had helped coordinate her visa, came from Tel Aviv to the airport and sat with her for several hours. She said he was also questioned.

In response to a request for comment, the Shin Bet said in a statement, “An American citizen whose family comes from the Gaza Strip was refused entry on Jan. 5 after failing to cooperate under questioning on security-related matters. After it was made clear to all involved that if she cooperated her entry would be considered, she returned on Feb. 25 for additional questioning. On this occasion too she refused to cooperate to the extent required, and her entry was refused.”

On Monday, Schaeffer submitted an urgent appeal to cancel the denial of entry or to at least allow Joudah to respond to whatever claims were being made against her. But Central District Court Judge Avraham Yaakov denied the petition, saying the administrative procedures had not yet been fully utilized. Schaeffer said her appeal to the Interior Ministry against the denial of entry had been submitted more than two weeks ago and that although the ministry had promised a preliminary answer by Feb. 24, this promise was not kept.


Written FOR


 This should raise a few eyebrows at the offices of the ADL ….

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

‘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.
‘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.

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.



First a look at the proposed curriculum for the new school year, followed by a book review dealing with hatred in the schools, and how to combat it …

בן גוריון. בבתי הספר ילמדו גם עליו (צילום: AFP) 

Schools to teach about Zionist leaders. Ben-Gurion (Photo: AFP)

State mandates schools to teach Zionist values

With school year fast approaching, Education Ministry orders schools to put emphasis on national anthem and symbols


 The  title for this post appears as is assuming that ‘zionist values’ =hatred.


The report from Ynet can be read HERE




Book review: how Israeli school textbooks teach kids to hate

Asa Winstanley *

At the height of Israel’s brutal 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip, then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni claimed that “Palestinians teach their children to hate us and we teach love thy neighbor” (232).

The first part of this myth is propagated by people like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and more recently Newt Gingrich, who both spread the baseless claim that Palestinian schoolbooks teach anti-Semitism. This calumny originated with anti-Palestinian propagandandists such as Israeli settler Itamar Marcus and his “Palestinian Media Watch.”

In an important new book, Palestine in Israeli School Books, Israeli language and education professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan buries the second part of Livni’s myth once and for all.

Peled-Elhanan examines 17 Israeli school textbooks on history, geography and civic studies. Her conclusions are an indictment of the Israeli system of indoctrination and its cultivation of anti-Arab racism from an early age: “The books studied here harness the past to the benefit of the … Israeli policy of expansion, whether they were published during leftist or right-wing [education] ministries” (224).

She goes into great detail, examining and exposing the sometimes complex and subtle ways this is achieved. Her expertise in semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) comes to the fore.

Inculcation of anti-Palestinian ideology in the minds of Israel’s youth is achieved in the books through the use of exclusion and absence: “none of the textbooks studied here includes, whether verbally or visually, any positive cultural or social aspect of Palestinian life-world: neither literature nor poetry, neither history nor agriculture, neither art nor architecture, neither customs nor traditions are ever mentioned” (49).

Palestinians marginalized, demonized by Israeli textbooks

On the occasions Palestinians (including Palestinian citizens of Israel) are mentioned, it is in an overwhelmingly negative, Orientalist and demeaning light: “all [the books] represent [Palestinians] in racist icons or demeaning classificatory images such as terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers — the three ‘problems’ they constitute for Israel” (49).

“For example in MTII [Modern Times II, a 1999 history text book] there are only two photographs of Palestinians, one of face-covered Palestinian children throwing stones ‘at our forces’ … [t]he other photograph is of ‘refugees’ … placed in a nameless street” (72).

This what Peled-Elhanan terms “strategies of negative representation.” She explains that “Palestinians are often referred to as ‘the Palestinian problem.’” While this expression is even used by writers considered “progressive,” the term “was salient in the ultra-right-wing ideology and propaganda of Meir Kahane,” the late Israeli politician and rabbi who openly called for the Palestinians to be expelled. Peled-Elhanan finds this disturbing, coming as it does “only 60 years after the Jews were called ‘The Jewish Problem’ ” (65).

She reprints examples of the crude Orientalist cartoon representations of Arabs, “imported into Israeli school book [sic] from European illustrations of books such as The Arabian Nights” (74). Arab men stand, dressed in Oriental garb, often riding camels. The cartoons of Arab women show them seated submissively, dressed in traditional outfits. Meanwhile, two Israelis on the same page are “depicted as a ‘normal’ — though caricaturistic — Western couple, unmarked by any ‘Jewish’ or ‘other’ object-signs” (110-11). The message is clear: Arabs do not belong here with “us.”

Justifications for massacre

Peled-Elhanan concludes: “The books studied here present Israeli-Jewish culture as superior to the Arab-Palestinian one, Israeli-Jewish concepts of progress as superior to Palestinian-Arab way of life and Israeli-Jewish behavior as aligning with universal values” (230).

While Israeli war crimes are not entirely ignored, the textbooks do their best to downplay or justify massacres and ethnic cleansing. “[T]he Israeli version of events are stated as objective facts, while the Palestinian-Arab versions are stated as possibility, realized in openings such as ‘According to the Arab version’ … [or] ‘Dier [sic.] Yassin became a myth in the Palestinian narrative … a horrifying negative image of the Jewish conqueror in the eyes of Israel’s Arabs’ ” (50-1).

Deir Yassin was a Palestinian village where, in 1948, a notorious massacre of around 100 persons by terrorists from the Zionist militas Irgun, Lehi and Hagana took place. Yet note in the example above that is is only the negative image of Israel that is “horrifying.” The massacre of unarmed men, women and children is otherwise not a cause for concern.

Israeli education going backwards

With reference to previous studies of Israeli school textbooks, Peled-Elhanan finds that, despite some signs of improvement in the 1990s, the more recent books she examined have if anything got worse. The issue of the Nakba, the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948, is for the most part not ignored, but instead justified.

For example, in all the books mentioning Deir Yassin, the massacre is justified because: “the slaughter of friendly Palestinians brought about the flight of other Palestinians which enabled the establishment of a coherent Jewish state” — a result so self-evidently good it doesn’t need explaining (178).

Contrary to the hope of previous studies “for ‘the appearance of a new narrative in [Israeli] history textbooks’ … some of the most recent school books (2003-09) regress to the ‘first generation’ [1950s] accounts — when archival information was less accessible — and are, like them ‘replete with bias, prejudice, errors, [and] misrepresentations’ ” (228).

There is some sloppy editing here, and the academic jargon at times slips into the realm of mystifying. But those quibbles aside, Peled-Elhanan’s book is the definitive account of just how Israeli schoolchildren are brainwashed by the state and society into hatred and contempt of Palestinians and Arabs, immediately before the time they are due to enter the army as young conscripts.

*Asa Winstanley is a journalist from London who has lived and work in occupied Palestine. His website is:

Written FOR


Yes, it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that the rich send their kids to Ivy League schools. Probably parents that do so realize that the quality of the education will be extremely similar to that offered at colleges half the cost, but for connections made and the earning ability that comes with the degree’s prestige, see it as a sound investment. While all the Ivies enjoy high ratios of rich kids, a few consistently attract the heirs of millionaires and even billionaires.

Where The 1% Send Their Kids to College



The 1%. They’re the people on everyone’s lips these days, but if you were to pass one of their ilk on the street, you’d probably never know it. Despite what you may think of them, they don’t walk around with a cane and top hat looking for Grey Poupon. They’re 1.4 million regular folks who just happen to make more than $343,927 a year in adjusted gross income. The vast majority of them who have kids send them to college to ensure they get the best job they can, just like the rest of us.

Of course, the difference is that their range of options for college is practically limitless. The median household income in America is about $51,000, meaning $50,000 in tuition is not going to happen (without significant or full financial aid). But the 1% can afford the finest education for their kids that money can buy, and while these kids can end up anywhere from community colleges to Cornell, certain schools consistently attract the children of the wealthiest Americans. (Because schools don’t publish the incomes of students’ families, we’ve primarily had to go by children of people we know are millionaires: celebrities.)

The Ivy League

Yes, it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that the rich send their kids to Ivy League schools. Probably parents that do so realize that the quality of the education will be extremely similar to that offered at colleges half the cost, but for connections made and the earning ability that comes with the degree’s prestige, see it as a sound investment. While all the Ivies enjoy high ratios of rich kids, a few consistently attract the heirs of millionaires and even billionaires.

  • Brown:

    Brown is like a giant exhibition hall of celebrity DNA. Dozens of wealthy luminaries who probably land in the top 1% of the 1% have had children come through its doors: Nicholson, Spielberg, Willis, Harrison, Versace, Forbes. Susan Sarandon’s daughter Eva attended, as did two of Diana Ross’ daughters. Politicians Jimmy Carter and billionaire John Kerry both had daughters attend. Brown has also been rated one of the richest colleges in America on the basis of the number of students awarded federal Pell Grants, an indicator of financial need. Just 10.9% received them in 2008-2009.

  • Penn:

    Gov. Jon Huntsman’s net worth is estimated to be as much as $71 million, and he had two daughters attend his alma mater University of Pennsylvania. Billionaire Donald Trump also graduated from Penn and found it good enough to send two of his kids there. Millionaire comedians Joan Rivers and Ray Romano have sent their offspring to Penn, as has Denzel Washington, with his son. This year it will cost about $57,000 to attend the school. Financial assistance is need-blind, but you have to wonder if seeing the name “Trump” on an application for financial aid wouldn’t earn it a “denied” stamp.

  • Yale:

    No doubt many famous, wealthy children pick Yale as their school because it’s where their parents went. Barbara Bush followed in the footsteps of both her father George W. and his father George H. W. by becoming a 2004 grad. Vanessa Kerry joined her father John Kerry as a Yale alum. From the Hollywood brand of millionaires, billionaire Steven Spielberg’s adopted son Theo recently graduated from Yale alongside Denzel Washington’s daughter Katia Elizabeth. As for Pell Grant recipients, Yale came in even lower than Brown at 8.9% receiving the loans.

  • Columbia:

    We have the statistical evidence that Columbia University is a 1% stomping ground. Its now-$59,000 cost of attendance puts it out of the reach of most, but in 2010-2011, nearly 35% of freshmen did not apply for financial aid. For physical evidence, we know that multi-millionaire John McCain sent his daughter there, as did Al Gore and Neil Bush, brother of George and son of George. Even John Lennon’s kid did a stint there before dropping out. But anecdotally, we have Columbia’s rep for being a bunch of spoiled rich kids, based on this hilarious Craigslist ad and pretty much common knowledge.


  • George Washington University:

    At an attendance cost rapidly approaching $60,000, but only 65% of freshmen applying for financial aid (in 2010), George Washington obviously has some affluent students. It has long maintained a reputation as one of the most expensive schools in the nation, and unfortunately, one of the worst values for the money. However, the one-percenters who send their kids here seem to have no qualms with dropping a hundred grand here or there, judging by the cars GWU students drive. Unsurprisingly, four of the top five richest counties in America are in the D.C. area.

  • New York University:

    Another notoriously expensive school, NYU appeals to the children of the super-rich largely because some of the country’s richest people, their parents, already live in the Big Apple or nearby on the East Coast. George Soros, the 12th-richest man in the United States, has sent two kids to this school. Wealthy Oval Office occupants John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton also had children attend here. Its 14.8% rate of Pell recipients in 2008 made it the 33rd-richest school that year. Over 31% of freshmen requested no financial aid from the school in 2009, a year the school earned itself a major black eye for calling financially needy kids to warn them about the high price tag of enrolling.

  • Washington University:

    The rock-bottom 5.7% rate of Pell recipients at Washington University in 2008-2009 earned it the title of richest school in America, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Cost of attendance stands at $60,000+ today, but of the 64.4% of freshmen who applied for financial aid in 2010, only 60% were found by the school to have a financial need. In 2009, the school’s Students for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity conducted a survey of undergrads and found that more than 6% claimed their parents’ earned at least $500,000 a year, and another 13.8% said the figure was between $200,000 and $500,000. Although the survey was not super-scientific, it seems clear that Wash. U. kids come from money.

  • Duke:

    Many Duke University grads have gone on to become well-known, well-paid professionals, but not many send their kids there. Recently, NBA coach Doc Rivers’ son played ball there. Bruce Springsteen’s daughter attended, and a Canadian Prime Minister’s kid went to Duke. But the campus seems to be stocked with un-famous, run-of-the-mill one percent kids. A 2006 survey of students reported an average family income for white students of just under $230,000 during their senior years of high school. With a rate of about half the student body being white, we can safely assume there were a significant number of students who reported 1%-level incomes. In the Chronicle‘s richest university report five years later, they had Duke at number five based on its 8.3% Pell Grant recipient rate.


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OWS rally to support the Quebec student strike.

About 150 + people gathered in Washington Square Park NYC to march through the city’s streets banging on pots and pans.

There was a phalanx of police accompanying the rally with the warning to walk on the sidewalks.

This event occurs every Wednesday evening.


Photos and above text © by Bud Korotzer
















The name Ayman Qwaider might ring a bell to many of my readers. Over the years I have posted many articles written by him dealing with life in the Gaza Strip. Because of the seizure I was never able to meet this young man, but we are in contact by phone and Internet on a regular basis.
A year ago I posted THIS piece written by Ayman which tells how he was able to get where he is today. Now, after more than a year of being away from Gaza, he reflects on what he left behind, both in words and video.
Mind The Strip, Lessons Learned

 by Ayman Qwaider

Firstly, humanity and human rights should be our prime concern as peace makers and peace caretakers. I was helped by people I have never met in my life when i was stuck in Gaza and was being prevented by Israel to go to Spain to complete my masters.   My newfound friends, who were different in colour, religion, nationality and language, assisted me without any pre-existing conditions. They initiated a media campaign to pressure public opinion so that Israel would allow me to leave Gaza, simply because we share the most important aspect of what can bring all peoples together and that is humanity. 

When I asked them why they helped me, someone that they had never before met, they replied that they believed that what was happening to me was unjust and that they were in a position to help me and so they did what they felt was natural and right.  It is important to stress here is that humanity and a belief in universal justice can transcend all nations and all tribes.  At this point, I would like to bring to your attention an important verse from Sura al-Hujurat of the Quran which highlights this point:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

Secondly, we should never overlook or undermine our power as people to make significant changes in the world today. When I was stuck in Gaza and was struggling to leave Gaza for nearly two months, we did not give up. We created peaceful and powerful tools and strategies to put pressure on the Israeli state where we knew it would be most effective: public opinion. We were determined that our efforts would succeed, and that is first and foremost because we believed that we would succeed from the very beginning.

So, first and foremost the strategy was to affect the sphere of public opinion and second, we needed to find the proper tools and access points to achieve this goal.  Through our access to social media networks and local Catalan media and through another Spanish media contact in Jerusalem, we managed to reach the Spanish mainstream media that reported my story in the major Spanish media outlets, and it spread like a wildfire!   The major social media tools that we used included Facebook, Online Petitions and Twitter, however it wouldn’t have been successful had we not taken the effort to reach a more broad audience through traditional media outlets.  However we likely would not have been successful in reaching the mass media without firstly instigating the social media campaign.

Thirdly, we learned to never be afraid to demand your basic human rights because it is yours and no power on earth should deny you these rights.  These are not simply the rights outlined in the UN Charter or the Geneva Conventions, but God given rights, irrespective of any international organization or piece of paper that they are written on.

Fourthly, all human rights violations should be documented because it is the only way to raise awareness of these plights to a wider audience.  It is important that we stand beyond all deprived and vulnerable people. There are so many people on earth whom their voice is voiceless or they do not have the means to bring their voices to the attention of the world. Thus, it is our duty to help give them a louder voice.

And finally, in situations of injustice, never wait for others to assist you. We should always take the lead to change realities of unfairness and injustice. We should always utilize all possible means available to us in order to remove or contribute to removing injustice. Others will be convinced later and take the initiative and complete the path.


The Video…


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The above is not a direct quote, but it expresses the position of Israel’s Educational Ministry. It is in regard to school sponsored trips to the Occupied west Bank despite the opposition expressed by parents of the students involved. In the past month I posted about the situation, all of which can be seen HERE in case you missed it.
Now that teachers themselves are protesting against the trips, the Educational Ministry claims that the opposition is part of anti-government campaign aided by Haaretz. Kudos to HaAretz if that is the case!
At the very end of this post you will find a video which gives you the historical background to the Apartheid system in Israel, and how you, as a consumer, can help destroy that system by supporting the BDS Movement.
‘It’s good to come to the settlements. Its good that the settlements flourish. One should not allow the Arabs to harbor the illusion that one day there won’t be Jews here. Jews will always live here and any other illusion is an obstacle to peace.’ That is the reason we’re called to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Shiloh. By using the national education system, you wish to strengthen and perpetuate the Jewish settlements in these areas. To this end, the reality in Hebron is presented in a partial and tendentious manner. Concealing the political reality is a political action.”

Education Minister: Hebron school trips should have started a long time ago

Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar rebuffs protest letter by 260 teachers who refuse to participate in trips to the West Bank town, saying missive is part of anti-government campaign aided by Haaretz.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar rebuffed a teachers’ protest concerning planned school trips to Hebron, telling Israel Radio on Monday that the only issue with such excursions is that they haven’t been taking place in the last forty years.

Sa’ar comments came after, on Sunday, and for the first time in Israel’s history, more than 200 teachers signed a letter declaring that they would refuse to participate in an Education Ministry program to take pupils on “heritage tours” in Hebron.

“In February 2011, you announced a new tour program called Ascending to Hebron,” some 260 teachers wrote yesterday to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar.

“Introducing the program to schools is a manipulative use of pupils and teachers, who will be forced to become political pawns. Since we’re dedicated to education, our conscience prevents us from becoming agents of such a policy,” the letter said.

On Monday, Sa’ar rejected any criticism of the planed trips, saying that “it’s to the discredit of the education system that this hasn’t happened in the last 40 years.”

“I didn’t receive any protest letter, their letter was sent to Haaretz to serve their campaign against us,” Sa’ar alleged, saying: “One teacher charged me of Zionist indoctrination. You see? Being Zionist is now an accusation.”

The education minister also referred to last week’s cancellation of a planned Hebron school tour lead by Jerusalem-based NGO called Breaking the Silence, a group of ex-soldiers who relay what they deem to be the daily reality of IDF presence in the West Bank.

“There’s no need to balance out Shelach teachers [from the Education Ministry’s heritage program] with an organization like Breaking the Silence which aided the Goldstone report,” Sa’ar added, referring to the UN mission to investigate the Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza led by former South African justice Richrad Goldstone.

The controversial “heritage tours” curriculum has until now been geared only toward students in the Jerusalem school district; but last week, Sa’ar announced that it would be available to students across the country.

So far some 2,000 secular and 1,000 religious high school students have visited the the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Beit Hadassah. So far, the program has not been made compulsory but the teachers fear that is the next step.

Students from a Jerusalem high school were prohibited by security forces yesterday from touring Hebron with a group of former Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

The planned tour, organized by a, was scheduled to provide students with testimony from IDF soldiers and veterans who have served in the West Bank. However, security forces reportedly informed Breaking the Silence officials yesterday that its members would not be allowed to accompany the students on their visit to the West Bank city.

In their protest letter, the teachers opposed Sa’ar’s plan to spend millions of shekels – the amount was undisclosed by the Education Ministry – to fund the tours.

“You claim that the purpose of these tours isn’t political,” the letter reads.

“But in your visit to Shiloh you announced their aim openly: ‘It’s good to come to the settlements. Its good that the settlements flourish. One should not allow the Arabs to harbor the illusion that one day there won’t be Jews here. Jews will always live here and any other illusion is an obstacle to peace.’ That is the reason we’re called to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Shiloh. By using the national education system, you wish to strengthen and perpetuate the Jewish settlements in these areas. To this end, the reality in Hebron is presented in a partial and tendentious manner. Concealing the political reality is a political action.”




“I don’t want my children to be taken on apartheid roads, with a jeep in front and a jeep behind, and for them to feel that this is totally normal,” he said, referring to a military escort.

The construction of sections of a controversial segregated road network in the West Bank planned by Israel for Palestinians – leaving the main roads for exclusive use by settlers – is being financed by a US government aid agency, a map prepared by Palestinian researchers has revealed.

USAid, which funds development projects in Palestinian areas, is reported to have helped to build 114km of Israeli-proposed roads, despite a pledge from Washington six years ago that it would not assist in implementing what has been widely described by human rights groups and the Israeli media as Israel’s “apartheid road” plan.

To date the agency has paid for the construction of nearly a quarter of the segregated road network put forward by Israel in 2004, said the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ).

The roads are designed to provide alternative routes to connect Palestinian communities, often by upgrading circuitious dirt tracks or by building tunnels under existing routes.

USAID funded ‘Jews only’ settler road near the West Bank town of Beit Jala south of Bethlehem.
Israeli parents urge minister to cancel school trips to West Bank

Petition signed by 500 parents as of Tuesday night, was started after Education Minister announced school trips would visit archaeological site of Shiloh in the West Bank.

Hundreds of parents have signed a petition over the past two days refusing to allow their children to attend school field trips over the Green Line.

The petition, signed by 500 parents as of Tuesday night, was started after Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced recently that school trips would now visit the archaeological site of Shiloh in the northern West Bank. Some months ago, Sa’ar made the controversial decision that school children would be taken to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

“Your political agenda is clear to us and it should be said in your favor that you do not bother to hide it. But your political positions are different and in fact in opposition to ours and therefore we cannot allow our sons and daughters to take a trip to Hebron, Shiloh or the rest of the sites and settlement beyond the agreed-on borders of Israel,” the petition states.

The petition was signed “Concerned Mothers and Fathers throughout the country.”

The petition also called on Sa’ar, as “education minister of all Israelis” to “direct school trips to areas that our children can visit. If you do not, our children will be excluded from an important social and educational experience.”

Jerusalemite Tamar Verta started the petition. “If we don’t inform the school administration that they must plan trips within the Green Line, we will find our children visiting Yitzhar and Havat Ma’on,” she said, referring to two Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

One parent, Ehud Inbar of Modi’in, said he did not oppose trips to Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, “but only after a Palestinian state has been established with which we have a peace treaty. Then the children can visit there the way people visit Egypt or Jordan. I oppose holding trips like this under the current situation where there are citizens ‘grade b or c’ there.”

Inbar also said he would consider changing his mind about the visit to Hebron, “if the Palestinians were at least allowed to present their side. But these trips are not innocent. They are intended to strengthen students’ relationship to places that, to me at least, it’s clear won’t remain under Israeli control.”

Rafi Getenyo, a father of two from Rishon Letzion, said he saw two problems with the trips.

“The first is security and the second is moral,” he said. “I don’t think a face of normalcy should be given to the occupation, and that is after all the intent of the organizers of these trips.”

Getenyo said he thought the children were being cynically used for political purposes.

“I don’t want my children to be taken on apartheid roads, with a jeep in front and a jeep behind, and for them to feel that this is totally normal,” he said, referring to a military escort.

Getenyo said his children understood his position, but did not always agree. He said when other parents allow their children to go “with their eyes shut to institutional reasons, that places a bulldozer of pressure on me. They feel different and they don’t like it,” he said.



First they came for the workers, homeless and their supporters at Wall Street, Not too many people said anything …. Then they came for the students. Even The New York Times had something to say about this as it was just too big a deal to ignore….
Occupy Wall Street Protesters Shifting to College Campuses
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Police officers in Portland, Ore., pushed people away from a park encampment on Sunday. The protesters were later driven out.



BERKELEY, Calif. — Goodbye, city park, hello, college green.

Students on Sproul Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley, on Thursday, a day after an encampment there was broken up.

As city officials around the country move to disband Occupy Wall Street encampments amid growing concerns over health and public safety, protesters have begun to erect more tents on college campuses.

“We are trying to get mass numbers of students out,” said Natalia Abrams, 31, a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, and an organizer with Occupy Colleges, a national group coordinating college-based protesters.

Though only a handful of colleges have encampments, tents went up last week at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and here at the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, protesters in California have vowed to occupy dozens of other campuses in the coming days.

Last Wednesday at Berkeley, about 3,000 people gathered on Sproul Plaza to protest tuition increases, and many then set up a camp. Demonstrators linked arms to protect their tents, but police officers broke through and took down more than a dozen tents, arresting about 40 protesters.

University officials said they had watched city governments struggle to deal with expanding campsites and decided to take a stricter line: no tents, no sleeping, period.

“The present struggles with entrenched encampments in Oakland, San Francisco and New York City led us to conclude that we must uphold our policy,” the university chancellor, Robert J. Birgeneau, said in a statement.

“Our experience with these encampments is that they are never temporary,” said Claire Holmes, a university spokeswoman. “We’ve had a long-term encampment at People’s Park for 43 years.”

Over the weekend, local governments across the country moved to keep Occupy protesters from establishing that sort of tenure.

In Salt Lake City, permits that allowed people associated with the movement to camp in a downtown park, Pioneer Park, were revoked on Friday after a man was found dead. Demonstrators were given about 24 hours to clear out, according to Lt. Scott White of the Salt Lake City Police Department, before the officers moved in on Saturday night to remove those who remained. The police said that 19 people had been arrested.

The same night, protesters in Denver were forced out of their encampment, the second park they have had to leave since demonstrations began. Seventeen people were arrested, the police said.

A police crackdown at Kiener Plaza in St. Louis ended with 27 arrests on Friday night, the local police said, and The Associated Press reported that 24 people were arrested in Albany on Saturday for remaining in a state-owned park past an 11 p.m. curfew.

But protesters in Oakland, Calif., managed to outlast a threat of eviction on Saturday, defying the city’s second demand in two days that they clear out. Those calls began after a man was shot near the protest area on Thursday. On Sunday, demonstrators received a third notice from the city demanding they stop camping in city parks.

The mood in Oakland has been tense and angry since Scott Olsen, 24, an Iraq war veteran, was critically injured at a protest in October. Friends confirmed Sunday that Mr. Olsen was released from the hospital last week. Dottie Guy of Iraq Veterans Against the War told The A.P. that he can now read and write, but that he still has trouble talking.

Demonstrators in Portland, Ore., staved off eviction on Saturday with the help of hundreds of supporters who poured into two city parks near each other, Lownsdale Square and Chapman Square, and a nearby street as a midnight eviction deadline passed. About 60 people on bicycles circled the area, while drumming, dancing and juggling lent a festive air.

On Sunday, however, The A.P. reported that the number of protesters there had thinned tremendously, and that police officers in riot gear had moved in to empty the parks, surrounding protesters and shoving some of them with nightsticks. At least one officer said through a loudspeaker that anyone who resisted arrest might be “subject to chemical agents and impact weapons,” The A.P. said.

By midafternoon, the area was cleared of protesters and fenced off, while crews cleaned up debris inside. The Portland Police Department’s spokesman said that more than a dozen had been arrested.

In Berkeley, the history of encampments stretches back to 1969, when student protesters seized a plot of university land now known as People’s Park. In the violent mayhem that followed, the police shot dozens of demonstrators, killing one man.

In the decades since, efforts by the university to develop or alter the park — now used mostly by the homeless — have met with protests.

Despite that combustible history, the zero-tent policy and the campus police’s apparent willingness to enforce it with batons (as they did Wednesday), the Berkeley protesters say camping is an integral part of their strategy.

Over the weekend, members of the protest group Occupy Cal gathered tents and tarps to rebuild their camp. They have called for a general strike and a mass camp-out at all 10 University of California campuses, 23 state university campuses and 112 community college campuses, starting Tuesday.

“Encampment is one of the most powerful forms of peaceful civil disobedience,” said Marco Amaral, 20, a third-year student majoring in political science and political economics who said he was involved in the protests in part because his parents lost their Las Vegas home to foreclosure.

On campuses elsewhere, officials have been more hospitable.

At Duke University in Durham, N.C., Shreyan Sen, 19, a senior physics major, pitched his tent on a university lawn more than two weeks ago. Between classes, Mr. Sen goes to the four-tent bivouac to run teach-ins. So far, campus administrators have been very accommodating, he said.

Campuses offer amenities not available to protesters inhabiting parks, like hot showers, indoor pools and cafeterias. “We have restrooms right here, so that’s not an issue,” Mr. Sen said.

The Harvard encampment, much like the university itself, is highly exclusive. After protesters set up about 30 tents in Harvard Yard last week, university officials closed the gates to the yard, allowing only students with IDs to enter.

“Securing access to the Yard is necessary for the safety of the freshmen and others who live and work there, for the students who will be sleeping outdoors as part of the protest, and for the overall campus,” the university’s provost, Alan M. Garber, said in a statement.

Harvard protesters set up their tent city a week after a student walkout of Economics 10, an undergraduate course taught by N. Gregory Mankiw, a professor and former economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

“We think that Harvard is complicit in propagating the ideology that made the current crisis possible,” said Amanda Haziz-Ginsburg, a camper who is a student at Harvard Divinity School.

Back in Berkeley, Mr. Amaral worried that Occupy Cal would have a hard time rounding up enough tents. “It’s a hard thing to donate your tent knowing the police are going to take it,” he said.

*Malia Wollan reported from Berkeley and Elizabeth A. Harris from New York. Jess Bidgood contributed reporting from Boston, and  Lee van der Voo from Portland, Ore.


University administrators disciplined some of the students involved and suspended the campus Muslim Student Union, whose members participated in the protest, for an academic quarter. The group is still on probation.
‘Irvine 11’ jury finds all 10 students guilty


Photo: Muslim students gather with their attorney at the Central Justice Center on Friday after being found guilty of conspiring to disrupt and then disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador at UC Irvine last year. Eight of the 10 students were present for the verdict at the center in Santa Ana. The other two had permission by the court to be out of town. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

More photos HERE


After more than two days of deliberation, an Orange County jury on Friday found 10 Muslim students guilty of two misdemeanors to conspire and then disrupt a February 2010 speech at UC Irvine last year by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

There was crying as the verdict was read in Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson’s courtroom. The students showed no visible emotion, although they hugged each afterward. Some also stormed out.

In a case that garnered national attention over free-speech rights, the trial centered on conflicting views of who was being censored. Prosecutors argued that Ambassador Michael Oren was “shut down” when his speech was interrupted by students who took turns shouting preplanned phrases in a crowded UC Irvine ballroom.

Six defense attorneys argued that the students, seven from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside, were only following the norm of other college protests and were being singled out.

A guilty verdict, the defense had said during the trial, could chill student activism and the free exchange of ideas at colleges nationwide.

University administrators disciplined some of the students involved and suspended the campus Muslim Student Union, whose members participated in the protest, for an academic quarter. The group is still on probation.

The case also has drawn the attention of a wide range of groups, including Muslim and Jewish organizations and civil libertarians. The trial began Sept. 7.

Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s Law School, has said that although freedom of speech is not an absolute right, university sanctions were enough for the students.

But he also added that he believes criminal sanctions go too far.

Chemerinsky told The Times last week that “it makes no sense” to use such resources. “It’s so minor.”

Charges against one defendant were tentatively dismissed pending completion of 40 hours of community service at a local soup kitchen.

But the other 10 went on trial Sept. 11 before packed, at times noisy, crowds in the courtroom.





This Israeli process of educating children to hate and prejudice is, of course, exactly what the Zionists accuse the Palestinians of doing. It turns out that all this time, while leveling charges of incitement at the Palestinian educational process, they themselves have been practicing the same sort of indoctrination on their own children.


Education and Behavior In Israel and Palestine

Dr. Lawrence Davidson*

Part I – Education as Indoctrination

Over the last ten years there have been periodic outbursts of rage over the alleged anti-Semitic nature of Palestinian textbooks. Most of these episodes have been instigated by an Israeli based organization called the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (AKA the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education). According to one Israeli journalist, Akiva Eldar, the Center does sloppy work. It “routinely feeds the media with excerpts from “Palestinian” textbooks that call for Israel’s annihilation…[without] bothering to point out that the texts quoted in fact come from Egypt and Jordan.” The Center’s conclusions have been corroborated only by other Israeli institutions such as Palestinian Media Watch.

Not surprisingly, almost all independent investigations of the same issue have come up with very different conclusions. Non-Zionist sources such as The Nation magazine, which published a report on Palestinian textbooks in 2001, the George Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, reporting in 2002, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, reporting in 2004, and the U.S. State Department Report of 2009 all found that Palestinian textbooks did not preach anti-Semitism. Nathan Brown, a professor of Political Science at George Washington University, who did his own study on the subject in 2000, set out the situation this way, Palestinian textbooks now in use, and which replaced older ones published in Egypt and Jordan, do not teach anti-Semitism. However, “they tell history from a Palestinian point of view.” It might very well be this fact that the Zionists cannot abide and purposefully mistake for anti-Semitism.

Here is another not very surprising fact. When it comes to choosing which set of reports to support, which set to take a public stand on, American politicians will almost always go with the Zionist versions. Take then Senator Hilary Clinton who, in 2007, denounced Palestinian textbooks. They “don’t give Palestinian children an education, they give them an indoctrination.” How did she know? Well, Israel’s Palestinian Media Watch told her so, and she did not have the foresight to fact check the assertion before going public. How typical. And, how analytically shallow. While the Palestinian textbooks don’t teach hatred of Jewish Israelis, the reality of daily life under occupation surely does. Those “facts on the ground,”and not the textbooks, supplies the most powerful form of education for Palestinian youth.

Although in 2009 the U.S. State Department found that Palestinian textbooks were not the products of anti-Semites, there will be yet another Department sponsored “comprehensive and independent” study in 2011. This time around the investigation will look at “incitement caused by bias in both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks. When this happens, one can only hope the investigators take a look at the work of the Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan. She is a professor of language and education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and also the daughter of the famous Israeli general turned peace activist, Matti Peled. Peled-Elhanan has recently written a book titled Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. The book will be published this month (August) in the United Kingdom. The work covers the content of Israeli textbooks over the past five years and concludes that Palestinians are never referred to as such “unless the context is terrorism.” Otherwise, they are referred to as Arabs. And Arabs are collectively presented as “vile and deviant and criminal, people who do not pay taxes, people who live off the state, who don’t want to develop….you never see [in the textbooks] a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.” In contrast she finds that Palestinian textbooks, even while telling history from a Palestinian point of view, “distinguish between Zionists and Jews.” They tend to take a stand “against Zionists, not against Jews.”

Peled-Elhanan makes a link between what Israeli children are taught and how they later behave when drafted into the country’s military services. “One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behavior of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering…I think the major reason for that is education.” Historically, the mistreatment of Palestinians and even their periodic massacre is taught to Israelis as something that is “unfortunate” but ultimately necessary and “good” for the survival of state. On the other hand, this behavior of Israelis toward Palestinians must also have its consequences. In Peled-Elhanan’s opinion, Palestinian terrorist attacks are “the direct consequence of the oppression, slavery, humiliation and the state of siege imposed on the Palestinians.”

This Israeli process of educating children to hate and prejudice is, of course, exactly what the Zionists accuse the Palestinians of doing. It turns out that all this time, while leveling charges of incitement at the Palestinian educational process, they themselves have been practicing the same sort of indoctrination on their own children. This revelation fills Peled-Elhanan with despair–”I only see the path to fascism” for Israel.

Part II – Education and Making Choices

Keeping our theme of education in mind, let us shift attention to the unprecedented protests now going on in Israel. For the last two weeks massive demonstrations have hit all of Israel’s major cities. “Tent cities” have sprung up in some 40 locations. All of these protests are demanding “social justice.” What, in this case, does social justice mean? It means addressing all the legitimate, standard of living problems that beset most of the demonstrators: soaring costs of food and housing, declining social services and the like. All the predictable consequences of unregulated capitalism and neo-liberal governments.

A significant number of Israelis have decided that this lack of social justice has gone far enough. A recent poll shows that 88% of the citizenry supports the protests. However, this is not entirely a good thing. In order to maintain such support, coming as it does from almost all sections of Israeli political life, the protest leaders now endeavor to remain “non-political” and “rooted squarely in the mainstream consensus.” This is, of course, naive. They live in an albeit skewed “democratic” political environment. The government, which is a right-wing affair, is not going to acquiesce to their demands, except to throw them an occasional bone, unless they can command the votes to shape the outcome of elections. Like it or not, that is the way their system works.

There are other problems. Also in order to be “rooted in the mainstream consensus” the protest leaders are staying away from the issue of social justice for the Palestinians. In Israel proper, that means turning their backs on the plight of over 20% of the population. What sort of social justice is that? Well, it is social justice as defined by people educated in the system described by Nurit Peled-Elhanan. That is why the protest leaders can happily solicit the support of Naftali Bennett, the thoroughly despicable leader of the colonial/settler movement, but not any of the leaders of the Arab-Israeli community.

By not taking a social justice for all stand the protest movement leaders have registered their acceptance of the “justice for Jews only” system to which they were educated. This in itself is a political act which will make them vulnerable to being picked apart with pseudo solutions that offer some of them a little while denying others a lot. Already, as reported by Haaretz, “dozens of Mks [members of the Knesset]’ have petitioned Prime Minister Netanyahu to “solve the housing crisis by building in the West Bank.” Soon thereafter the government announced approval for “1600 more settler homes” in East Jerusalem, with 2700 more to come later. That is the sort of solution this protest movement will get unless their leaders can overcome their education/indoctrination and go into politics in a way that applies social justice to all citizens.

Part III – Conclusion

In all societies there are two major goals for education: one is vocational and the other is acculturation. So, one important reason for education is to prepare young people for the job market. The other is to educate them to be “good citizens.” What this latter goal means depends on the society one is raised in. In the old Soviet Union becoming a good citizen meant being acculturated to a nationalist brand of communism, as is still the case today in China. In the United States it means becoming a believer in the American version of freedom, both political and economic. And, in Israel, being a good citizen means becoming a believing Zionist.

The objective of acculturation means that education always has, and probably always will have, a strong dose of indoctrination attached to it. That the Zionists should find it shocking that the Palestinians want to use education for their version of indoctrination and acculturation is sheer double standards. And, finally, that the leaders of the on-going protest movement in Israel so pointedly exclude the plight of the Palestinians, is testimony to the success of their own education/indoctrination within the apartheid model.

You see, most of us really are what we are educated to be.

*Dr. Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University. He is the author of numerous books, including Islamic Fundamentalism and America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood.

The author is a regular contributor to articles can be found on, Logos Journal, and Dr. Davidson also maintains an online blog, you can find it at

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From Sam Bahour


Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s new book, exposing the racism of Israel’ s education system. 
Nurit Peled-Elhanan, a long time peace activist and an academic, has just got her book “Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education” published by I.B. Tauris. Part of the publisher’s description of the book: “She analyzes the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity. 
and don’t miss  her interview
Book may be ordered at


First they came for the teachers, then they came for the playwrights … I WAS NOT SILENT EVEN THOUGH I WAS NEITHER

The upshot of the Tony Kushner muzzling

 by Alex Kane

Image from

The decision by the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Board of Trustees to block famous playwright Tony Kushner’s honorary degree at John Jay College is rightly being met with outrage.  But there’s also an important upshot to the controversy:  the racism that right-wing supporters of Israel deploy against Palestinians is getting an airing, as is the unrelenting attempts by powerful pro-Israel types to shut down debate on Palestine.  It’s a tiny airing, but it’s a start.

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the far-right supporter of Israel behind the decision to block Kushner’s degree, is being pilloried in the press.  For instance, while Jeffrey Goldberg minces words and refuses to call him a racist, he did writethreeblog posts criticizing Wiesenfeld.

The narrative that Wiesenfeld wanted to disseminate–that Kushner is an extremist and an anti-Semite–has backfired, and has turned into a story about Wiesenfeld’s politics and how one powerful supporter of the State of Israel successfully managed to block debate and smear a prominent American artist.

Wiesenfeld’s racism against Palestinians, and the shameful way Kushner was treated, was cataloged in an interview published today by the New York Times’ Jim Dwyer:

Mr. Wiesenfeld is the City University of New York trustee who rose this week at a board meeting to block an honorary degree to the playwright Tony Kushner, declaring him an “extremist” opponent and critic of Israel.

It was a startling development for a board that appeared to be on the verge of rubber-stamping a bundle of honorary degrees proposed by the colleges within the university, including one for Mr. Kushner from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Mr. Kushner was not present, and fragments of his views — which are complicated, passionate, critical — were balled up into a few pellets by Mr. Wiesenfeld, who gave a 900-word speech that was mostly devoted to other figures who he felt were radically hostile to Israel. He quoted about 75 words that he said showed that Mr. Kushner’s thinking was beyond the pale.

The trustees pulled the playwright’s name from the motion and moved on to wholesale rubber-stamping of the remaining honorary degrees.

Was this any way for one of the great public universities of the world to discuss the views of one of the leading dramatists of modern times, author of the epic “Angels in America”?


I tried to ask a question about the damage done by a short, one-sided discussion of vigorously debated aspects of Middle East politics, like the survival of Israel and the rights of the Palestinians, and which side was more callous toward human life, and who was most protective of it.

But Mr. Wiesenfeld interrupted and said the question was offensive because “the comparison sets up a moral equivalence.”

Equivalence between what and what? “Between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said. “People who worship death for their children are not human.”

Did he mean the Palestinians were not human? “They have developed a culture which is unprecedented in human history,” he said.

A separate New York Times article notes that this was not the first time Zionists attempted to nix an award for Kushner:

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Kushner has received 15 honorary degrees. In 2006, some pro-Zionist groups tried to block him from getting an honorary degree at Brandeis University, but the university decided to go ahead with the honor.

In response to the current episode, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a vehement supporter of Israel, has called on CUNY to fire Wiesenfeld:

Ed Koch call for the City University of New York to terminate its relationship with a trustee who engineered the denial of an honorary degree to Tony Kushner because of the playwright’s criticism of Israel…

Neither Kushner nor anyone else was invited to speak in his defense.

“Mr. Wiesenfeld and the trustees who followed his request should immediately reverse their action and urge Mr. Kushner to forgive them,” Koch wrote. “I consider Mr. Wiesenfeld’s action so outrageous as to be an abuse of power on his part requiring his resignation or removal from the Board of Trustees.”

This was probably not what Wiesenfeld was expecting.  CUNY is already backpedaling.  Former Mayor Koch is airing his outrage over Wiesenfeld’s actions.  The New York Times and Jeffrey Goldberg are calling him out for his repugnant views.  Some discussion of the history of these attempts to shut down dissent over Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is being heard.  What needs to happen next is an honest discussion about the facts concerning the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Posted AT


From Today’s HaAretz;

CUNY trustee: Kushner must renounce anti-Israel statements to get honorary degree

Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld tells Haaretz would vote to reverse decision if playwright Tony Kushner renounces statements claiming Israel engages in ethnic cleansing, denouncing its right to exist; calls Kushner’s statements ‘pure incitement’.

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a CUNY trustee, told Haaretz that if playwright Tony Kushner was willing to come before the board of trustees and renounce his statements accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and denouncing it existence, he would be willing to vote to award the playwright as with an honorary degree as planned.

Kushner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has condemned Israel’s policies against Palestinians, accusing Israel of engaging in ethnic cleansing. The playwright was also quoted saying that it would be better if Israel did not exist.

Wiesenfeld said that in the 12 years that he has been a member of the board of trustees, 450 candidates have been given honorary degrees, 30 of whom have expressed opposition to Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

However, the trustee clarified, none of these candidates ever so blatantly expressed anti-Israel statements in such an offensive way as to accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing, comparing it to Bosnia and Darfur. Wiesenfeld said this was pure incitement against Israel.

Left-wing Israel advocacy group J Street condemned the board of trustees’ decision in a statement Friday, saying it was an infringement upon Kushner’s right to free speech, calling it a “political witch-hunt”.


An Interview with Kristofer Petersen-Overton


Another Professor Fired for Views on Middle East


Brooklyn College fired PhD student Kristofer Petersen-Overton yesterday, one day after New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) sent a letter to BC president Karen Gould accusing Petersen-Overton of being an “overt supporter of terrorism.” Hikind has complained in interviews that Petersen-Overton’s academic work is anti-Israel, and that his attempt to “understand” suicide bombing is unfathomable. Petersen-Overton and I are colleagues at the CUNY Graduate Center.

JS: You were preparing to instruct a course on the Middle East and were fired. What happened?

KPO: I was hired by Mark Ungar at Brooklyn College’s political science department on the recommendation of Dov Waxman at the Graduate Center. I went in for an interview, and he was impressed with my credentials. I have an MA and I’ve published on the situation [in the Middle East], and he said “I would be honored to have you.” And this was for a grad level seminar, which is not lecture-based, meaning that our classes would be discussion-oriented and not some sort of alleged platform.

JS: What was the official explanation for your firing, and why doesn’t it make sense?

KPO: I have not once been contacted by the department itself, but I was told that the official reason I have been fired is that I don’t have a PhD, which is untrue, because no student teaching this course has a PhD, and there are of course many student teachers at BC who do not have their PhD’s. And I’ll point out that I am somewhat more qualified than many student teachers because I came into the program with a Master’s degree, which many students who are teaching for CUNY don’t have.

I was fired immediately after Dov Hikind contacted the school. He is an especially radical assemblyman who goes after people who he perceives as being anti-Israel. He’s actually made a career out of targeting people for alleged anti-Israel bias.

JS: And the charge of bias is doubly problematic. Because, one, it’s inaccurate. But, two, even if it were accurate, what does it imply?

KPO: We all come to the table with our personal political views; there’s not a single professor who doesn’t have their own views. So it all comes down to how one approaches those views, and I devoted an entire class in the syllabus to the subject of objectivity and humanism, meaning I wanted to put this issue of bias on the table to facilitate open and productive discussions.

JS: What does your firing suggest about contemporary politics and higher education?

KPO: They’ve targeted professors up for tenure for so long and have been relatively unsuccessful except for several cases, like with Norman Finkelstein (JS: and, among others, Nicholas De Genova and Thaddeus Russell, at Columbia University and Barnard College, respectively), now I think they’re going after graduate students before their careers even begin. One of the most direct implications of this which is deeply troubling is not the fact that people take issue with one particular class, which is inevitable, but the way in which the college administration caved so quickly – for it to occur within 24 hours is incredible to me, and the school never even consulted me. For this to be decided by a state official poking his nose in a college syllabus is Orwellian. I’ve received tremendous support, which I’m very grateful for. Norman Finkelstein wrote me, and after I contacted Neve Gordon he (Gordon) contacted BC’s provost, writing that he reviewed my syllabus and that it was excellent and reflected a number of different perspectives, noting that the textbook was mainstream and “emphasizes the Zionist narrative.” He also read a scholarly paper I had written, and wrote that he was “struck by (my) academic rigor.”

JS: What can people do to lend support?

I would be greatly appreciative if people can send an email to the provost, even better a letter, and tomorrow it would be great if people could call, and more importantly if people could disseminate this story. It’s especially disgusting that they would go after a grad student, because they have not only impacted my career but also my income and health insurance.

Office of the Provost (William A. Tramontano)
Brooklyn College
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11210







Also see This related post from Muzzle Watch




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