As a father, I may not always agree with the opinions of my children, but I respect and honor their right to have them and I am proud when they have the courage to express them, even if those opinions are unpopular. How else can any of us continue to learn?

The following was sent as a Comment on the following post…. ZIONISM TRIUMPHS OVER REASON AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE
‘Food for thought’ as they say…..

As Kristofer’s father, I am keenly disappointed with this decision. One of the things that I love about a free country is enjoying the right to maintain and express opinions without fear of discrimination or prejudice. I served in the US military for almost all of my adult life because I believe in protecting individual freedoms, and I believe that all nations have an obligation to set a good example in this regard. This decision does not appear to be a good example. I have no fluency on the issue at hand, but I know why I served and I believe that this decision is counter to the fundamental principles of that service.

What is particularly painful for me is that an inaccurate, irrational, and indefensible accusation from Assemblyman Dov Hikind was quickly followed by Kris’ removal, which would suggest that the leadership of the school is in agreement with the Assemblyman’s opinion. If that is not true, then the only other conclusion that I can reach is that the decision demonstrated a deplorable lack of moral courage. Kris has never condoned violence of any kind and never could. I believe on that topic, I am completely fluent.

From a purely academic perspective, I am currently enrolled in an EMBA program at Rochester Institute of Technology. I can write with certainty that one of my most important sources of learning comes through robust dialog with others in my class (or with my Professors) who hold conflicting opinions. While I am not an educator, suppressing the opportunity for such interaction does not make sense to me.

As a father, I may not always agree with the opinions of my children, but I respect and honor their right to have them and I am proud when they have the courage to express them, even if those opinions are unpopular. How else can any of us continue to learn?

One of the biggest complaints in the US today is that the truth is often hidden because people in authority give in to special interests groups, lobbyists, and individuals who pay or use political power to have their position pushed to the forefront…often squashing opposing opinions. I imagine that it would be impossible to stop that behavior in politics due to its very nature, but I would not have expected an academic institution to “fold” so easily and so quickly.


Mark D. Petersen-Overton,
Captain, USN (ret)

You can support Kris by signing and circulating the following Petition …. do your part to help restore Academic Freedom to the ‘Land of the Free’!

Defend Academic Freedom at Brooklyn College, CUNY

Also see the following report from Salon News ….

Showdown over Israel and academic freedom

By Justin Elliott

Showdown over Israel and academic freedom

CUNY graduate student Kristofer Petersen-Overton

An adjunct political science professor was fired Wednesday by Brooklyn College following complaints by a student and a local politician about his pro-Palestinian political views.

The college maintains the instructor, graduate student Kristofer Petersen-Overton, was let go because he did not have proper credentials to teach a master’s level course on Middle East politics. But there’s evidence that other graduate students with the same level of experience as Petersen-Overton have had no trouble teaching advanced courses in the department both in the past and the present.

And now a group of Brooklyn College professors are blasting the administration for undermining academic freedom.

Here is what happened:

Petersen-Overton, a political science student at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, was looking for a course to teach in the spring, and he heard about an opening at Brooklyn College, which is part of the CUNY [City University of New York] system. Petersen-Overton had a B.A. in political science from San Diego State and a masters in development from a university in Denmark. He has published several articles about Israel and the Palestinians in academic journals and books. He also previously worked at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza NGO, in 2007-08. He started his studies at CUNY in 2009.

He got the part-time adjunct professor’s job at Brooklyn College to teach Middle East politics, a master’s level course that is regularly offered in the political science department. That was in late December. The acting chair of the department, who had hired him, asked Petersen-Overton to send him a syllabus to circulate to prospective students.

That’s when the trouble began.

One student, whose identity is not known, did not like the books in the syllabus. The student complained to the department and also contacted a blogger and Brooklyn College alum, Bruce Kesler. He attacked Petersen-Overton in a Jan. 19. post titled “Gaza Defender Hired To Teach Middle East At Brooklyn College.” Kesler criticized Petersen-Overton for being “preoccupied with the Palestinian narrative,” for describing Zionism as a “philosophy of separation,” and for having published articles on the website Electronic Intifada.

Around that same time, a student (likely the same student) contacted the provost and complained about Petersen-Overton. All the details of the communication between the student and the provost are not clear, but, according to Brooklyn College spokesman Jeremy Thompson, the original complaint  was about “the credentials of the instructor, not about his politics.” Thompson adds: “What motivated that student? I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whose district includes Brooklyn College and who actively supports Jewish settlements in the West Bank, got wind of Petersen-Overton’s appointment from the unidentified student. This past Monday, Hikind fired off a letter to the president of Brooklyn College calling Petersen-Overton an “overt supporter of terrorism” and arguing that “Mr. Petersen-Overton’s personal biases should not be allowed to pollute the academic realm.” Hikind specifically pointed to a paper by Petersen-Overton, “Inventing the Martyr: Martyrdom as Palestinian National Signifier.” In fact, Petersen-Overton has quite clearly condemned suicide bombings as “heinous acts.”

It was also on Monday that Petersen-Overton signed a contract with Brooklyn College to formally accept the adjunct position. On Tuesday, he got a call from a local Jewish newspaper to ask for comment on Hikind’s charges. On Wednesday, the chair of the political science department called Petersen-Overton and informed him that his contract had been terminated, even though he had not even begun to teach the class.

The reason, according to Brooklyn College? “Mr. Petersen-Overton was not sufficientlycredentialled to teach at this level,” says Thompson, the spokseman, noting that he does not have his PhD. “The course is an advanced [master’s level] course and he is only three semesters into his doctoral studies.”

Thompson also notes that the provost had been looking into the matter since several days before Hikind’s letter. The assemblyman’s complaint had nothing to do with the decision, Thompson says.

But here’s where Brooklyn College’s explanation does not hold up well to scrutiny. According to a professor of political science and another graduate student, there are plenty of other adjunct professors teaching advanced courses who have the same credentials as Petersen-Overton.

Patricia Stapleton is a CUNY political science doctoral student who has herself taught several master’s level courses at Brooklyn College in the past few years.

“I would say that half the political science master’s courses being taught per semester are being taught by grad students who do not have PhDs, and some don’t have master’s degrees,” she says. “I have repeatedly taught master’s courses without having a master’s degree.”

Stapleton adds: “The argument they’re making is just patently untrue. They do hire adjuncts who do not have PhDs to teach master’s courses all the time.”

Asked about other graduate student adjuncts who had the same credentials as Petersen-Overton but were not fired, Thompson responded: “If that is indeed the case, under the leadership of this president and this provost, it is not going tolerated in the future.” He declined to say whether the provost will actively seek out other such cases.

Mark Ungar is the political science professor who, when he was acting department chair last month, hired Petersen-Overton. He says in an email that “many adjuncts have not yet attained their degrees. If they have not, we weigh their other credentials as well.” Petersen-Overton’s on-the-ground human rights work in the Middle East was taken into account when he was hired.

Ungar and eleven other members of the department objected to the Provost William Tramontano’s decision to fire Petersen-Overton. “His decision to reject our appointment undermines academic freedom and departmental governance,” Ungar says.

CUNY students, meanwhile, have begun circulating a petition “to defend academic freedom.”

Petersen-Overton, for his part, is now unemployed. “It was fear of controversy,” he says. “The administration looked at this and thought, ‘Why should we stick our neck out for a graduate student?'”


When will the doors of Freedom be opened at America’s universities?

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


This morning I received a very short email from Kris simply stating that Zionist pressure worked. I was let go. I want to get very loud over this and will be appealing. The department and many colleagues are behind me. I have attached a press release.There will be coverage in the Daily News and Post tomorrow.

Kris Petersen

Hopefully the situation will soon change.

Here is the Press Release that was attached;

CUNY Provost Intervenes To Cancel Appointment of Controversial Brooklyn College Professor: Grave Implications For Academic Freedom

Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a political science doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, has been fired from his position as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College one week before his course on Middle East politics was slated to begin.

The case was taken up by the Brooklyn College administration after a student enrolled in his course raised concerns that Mr. Petersen-Overton’s alleged pro-Palestinian bias would prevent him from conducting a balanced seminar. The student expressed these concerns with the political science department but agreed not to pursue further action until after the course actually began. However, this student contacted state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who then characterized Mr. Petersen-Overton as “pro-suicide bomber” in a letter to the college President.

In a response sent to Hamodia newspaper on Wednesday, Mr. Petersen-Overton expressed concerns “that a state official would denounce my work so strongly without, apparently, having offered it more than a cursory reading. [Hikind’s] press release … is slander pure and simple.” Mr. Petersen-Overton emphasized that his work has little to do with suicide bombers and that Mr. Hikind deliberately twisted his conclusions to make it appear otherwise.

“I was not contacted by Brooklyn College administration at any time during their decision-making process. This politically motivated action undermines CUNY’s longstanding legacy as a stalwart defender of academic freedom,” Mr. Petersen-Overton said.

The allegations against Mr. Petersen-Overton center on time he spent in the Gaza Strip working for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and on an unpublished scholarly paper that analyzes the symbolic place of martyrdom in Palestinian nationalism. Petersen-Overton’s detractors also took issue with the fact that, according to his personal website, he still maintains “close contact” with the Palestinian activist community.

Mr. Petersen-Overton’s academic work deals broadly with issues of identity formation in Israel and Palestine.

# # #

And here is how New York’s two tabloids reported the story today…


Kristofer Petersen-Overton, Brooklyn College prof, says he was fired for pro-Palestinian politics

Brooklyn College spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton was fired for not having a Ph.D.  

Brooklyn College spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton was fired for not having a Ph.D.

A Brooklyn College professor says he got canned because of pressure from a local pol angry over the teacher’s pro-Palestinian politics.

A college spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton, 26, was dropped Wednesday from teaching a Middle East politics class because he didn’t have a Ph.D.

“[He] simply did not have the credentials to be teaching at the graduate level,” said spokesman Jeremy Thompson.

But the adjunct prof says he thinks he was fired because Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) complained to City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein about the course reading list .

“It’s pretty clear that this was politically motivated,” said Petersen-Overton. “I don’t blame the pro-Israel crowd. I blame the administration for caving in to the pressure.”

The dismissal came one day after Hikind fumed to Goldstein about the syllabus – which he said included many anti-Israel books – and Petersen-Overton’s internship in 2007 with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. “This guy was literally radical and one-sided,” said Hikind. “Whatever your point of view is, if you’re a teacher you’re supposed to present both sides.”


and from the New York Post…..

‘Anti-Israel’ prof canned

Brooklyn College yesterday fired an adjunct professor teaching a class on Middle East politics just hours after a state assemblyman accused him of supporting Palestinian suicide bombers.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) faxed a letter to the college president, Dr. Karen Gould, on Monday expressing his reservations about Kristofer Petersen-Overton.

Hikind said yesterday that Petersen-Overton, 26, has written several academic papers that are anti-Israeli and attempt to understand suicide bombers.

Hikind told The Post that after he was alerted by students, he reviewed the proposed curriculum and saw about 50 books listed — all of which blamed Israel for problems in the region.

“Not one of them presents another point of view,” Hikind said.

Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student at CUNY’s Graduate Center, said Hikind’s accusations were “slander, pure and simple.”

The Jewish newspaper Hamodia this week quoted Petersen-Overton on suicide bombers, saying , “I certainly do not condone such heinous acts.”

Jeremy Thompson, a spokesman for Brooklyn College, said that Petersen-Overton was bumped from the classroom because he was not “sufficiently qualified,” since he is “very early on in his doctoral studies.”

Thompson said that Hikind’s accusations had no bearing on the decision and that Petersen-Overton should never been have hired in the first place.


Letters in support of Kris’ reinstatement can be sent to;

Office of the Provost (William A. Tramontano)
Brooklyn College
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11210
Let’s flood his email box by writing to… tramontano@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Or by calling….




University is closed today due to heavy snow…. so best to email


Campus Watch
Mr. Kristofer Petersen is an active partisan of Palestinians in Gaza. As a recent graduate student, he has published his views in one of the most virulent pro-Palestinian forums and elsewhere, and I have found little else in his online record displaying either balance or a wider scholarly understanding of Israel and the Palestinians… His writings and associations point to an apparent one-sidedness with regards to the Middle Eastern issue of Israel and Palestinians.

One- sidedness? That accusation coming from folks who don’t even recognise the existence of the ‘other side’. How could atrocities be committed against a people that do not even exist?

In Kristofer’s own words…. Outside the academy, I worked for some time as a human rights activist in Gaza and the West Bank and I still maintain close contact with the Palestinian activist community.

Does it sound like he was trying to hide anything when he applied for his teaching position at Brooklyn College? The zionists make it sound like he did. One of them went as far as to write to the Department Chair of Middle Eastern Politics saying that; The key question is whether Mr. Petersen is capable of wide scholarship, balance, and presentations that will bring credit to Brooklyn College and not legitimate criticism from students, alumni or the public. I think it appropriate to have sympathy for Palestinians. However, there is much more to the complex story, as you must be aware. That is why careful and sober scholarly analysis and presentation is so needed. From Mr. Kristofer Petersen’s writings available online and his associations, it appears that this may not be what the students at Brooklyn College can be assured to receive.

Careful and sober scholarly analysis? In other words, the zionist point of view ONLY. For example, they continue with;

An indication of Mr. Petersen’s more supposedly serious work is the chapter Petersen recently co-wrote, Retooling Peace Philosophy: A Critical Look at Israel’s Separation Strategy in the book Peace Philosophy in Action. It is a polemic masquerading as scholarship. Petersen’s co-authors, Johannes Schmidt and Jacques Hirsh, are Danish academics. Hirsh is avidly anti-Zionist, writing in the Marxist periodical Monthly Review: “As the focus on the Holocaust evolved, it came to be seen as related to the transformation of the struggle for a secure Israel into one of an expanding and conquering state.” Schmidt is active in the international “peace” movement.

Petersen’s chapter presents Israel’s Zionism as a “philosophy of separation” and “ethnic separation” creating an apartheid state and so treating Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. “This chapter argues that the philosophy of separation is a logical extension of Zionism’s exclusionary ideological history and that its implementation in the Gaza Strip has not reduced the level of violence against Israeli civilians.” The chapter goes on this “has led some to draw comparisons with South African apartheid, a parallel that has become increasingly justified…”

Now, many within Israel forecast and most now see that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from occupation of Gaza would allow the most violent among Gazans to take control, as Hamas did, and imperil Israel, as homemade rockets and the Iranian arming of Hamas has done. But, Petersen’s chapter treats the cause of Gazan violence against Israel as if it is Israel’s fault, somehow a consequence of ensuing Gazan poverty: “…Israel’s general security situation has actually worsened, roughly commensurate with the plummeting humanitarian conditions in Gaza.” There’s no exploration of the murders by Hamas of its Palestinian political foes, its authoritarian control of Gazan society, pocketing or use on arms of hundreds of millions of dollars a year of international humanitarian aid from the West, other Arab states avoidance of support for Hamas, or Hamas dedication from its inception to eradicate Israel.

Peace is a concept alien to the zionist ‘mind’, a threat to their very existence, therefore someone like Kristofer Petersen is a threat to them as was a Norman Finkelstein before him. Hopefully Brooklyn College won’t follow the example of DePaul University or be influenced by anything a Dershowitz might have to add to this particular situation.

I have personally known Kris for a number of years through his solidarity work in Gaza and the West Bank. His first hand knowledge of the situation here makes him the perfect candidate to teach in the Department he is connected with. His thoughts are there for all to see on his HomePage. He hides nothing about himself or his activities.  He is the type of friend that one can be proud of having. He is the type of teacher that a student can actually learn something from.

The report from Campus Watch can be seen HERE.

It is they that should be watched, not those that teach the truth.

Kristofer Petersen


The video presented below is supposed to be funny….. it might have been if it wasn’t true. Not only is racism taught in many homes in Israel, it is reinforced by the educational system. A guaranteed way to preserve everything zionism stands for today.

A brilliant skit from the Israeli comedy show “Eretz Nehederet” (lit: “Wonderful Country) on Channel 2. This skit depicts a joint education program devised by the right-wing (yet mainstream) organization Im Tirtzu with the Ministry of Education that helps kindergarten children be prepared for the complicated life in Israel.

Thanks to Norman Finkelstein for posting this


The Israeli military said that the sites selected for the new schools are too close to Palestinian government buildings in Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. Since Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, any government building in Gaza (where Hamas is the ruling party of the government) is considered by Israel to be a ‘terror’ location, and thus a legitimate target for bombing raids.

UN School destroyed in Israeli attack in 2009 (photo by alethonews)

Israeli military prevents UN from building new schools in Gaza; 40,000 students without schools

by Saed Bannoura

Nearly two years after the devastating Israeli invasion of Gaza that left 1400 dead and over 30,000 families without homes, many of the schools that were destroyed in the invasion have yet to be rebuilt. Now a United Nations effort to rebuild schools in Gaza has been cut short by the Israeli military, which refuses to give the UN permission to build several schools.

The Israeli military claims that the schools could be used by Hamas to plan terror attacks against Israel. This, despite the fact that multiple UN and international investigations have found no evidence that Hamas has ever used a school in this way, and the fact that the armed wing of Hamas has not knowingly attacked Israeli civilians for over 5 years.

According to UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna, over 40,000 students were kept out of school this year due to a lack of facilities, and Israel’s refusal to allow the construction of needed facilities merely exacerbates this problem.

Since June 2007, when the elected government of Hamas took office in accordance with the Palestinian Constitution, the Israeli government has refused to recognize the elected government, and has imposed a devastating siege on the entire population of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations and other international agencies have called this siege ‘collective punishment’, which is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Building materials, even for schools and hospitals, have been among the many items forbidden from entering the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of tons of building materials donated by international aid groups and foreign governments were seized by the Israeli military and sold for profit inside Israel.

The Israeli military said that the sites selected for the new schools are too close to Palestinian government buildings in Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. Since Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, any government building in Gaza (where Hamas is the ruling party of the government) is considered by Israel to be a ‘terror’ location, and thus a legitimate target for bombing raids.

Source via Uruknet


“Everything is political,” cultural theorists often claim. Recently, Bar Ilan University in Israel, decided to prove them right.

The Firing of Ariella Azoulay


“Everything is political,” cultural theorists often claim. Recently, Bar Ilan University in Israel, decided to prove them right.

Located on the outskirts of Tel-Aviv, Bar Ilan likes to boast that it is the largest university in Israel. Its official goal is to cultivate and combine “Jewish identity and tradition with modern technologies and research.”

Fifteen years ago, however, the university became infamous after one of its students assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in what turned out to be a successful attempt to arrest the Oslo peace process. The administration was appalled by the criminal act and consequently appears to have adopted a strategic decision to temper its conservative and right-wing proclivities. On the one hand, Bar Ilan continued to provide accreditation for two colleges located in illegal West Bank settlements, yet, on the other, it also developed an excellent gender program and hired a number of faculty members with well known left-wing credentials. It aspired to become a liberal institution guided by ostensibly neutral professional processes and regulations, like all major universities around the world.

It was during this period that philosophy professor Avi Sagi of Bar Ilan hired Ariella Azoulay. From an academic standpoint, he made a wise decision, since over the past decade Azoulay has become one of Israel’s foremost cultural theorists, specializing in visual culture. In addition to publishing scores of journal articles and book chapters, editing journals, translating classic texts, and serving as the curator of numerous art shows, during her ten-year career she has managed to write nine academic books, four of which came out with prestigious presses like MIT, Zone Books, Verso and Stanford University Press (forthcoming). On top of all of this, she is also the supervisor of more than ten PhD students.

Azoulay is one of those rare academics who can produce exceptionally high quality research, and do so as if she is working on a conveyor belt. She is precisely the kind of scholar top rate universities recruit and attempt to retain.

Last month, Bar Ilan decided to deny Azoulay’s bid for tenure, effectively firing her. While the protocols of the university committees that reached this pitiful decision have not been made public, Azoulay’s curriculum vitae and academic accomplishments are on the web, and anyone who is familiar with academic promotion procedures can readily see that the university’s verdict is illogical. But, then again, maybe matters are more complicated; maybe there is a method to the madness.

One important fact that does not appear on Azoulay’s written CV is her political activism and public visibility. She was, for instance, the curator of a photography exhibition “Act of State – 1967-2007,” which included hundreds of pictures that for the first time visually exposed four decades of occupation. The show was held in a gallery at the heart of Tel-Aviv. To be sure, a significant part of her work offers a critique of Israeli rights abusive policy and of Zionism. This is the real reason – no other plausible one exists – that most of the people on the university committees decided to vote against her bid for tenure. Bar Ilan, it seems, could not stomach tenuring a vocal Zionist apostate. It therefore abandoned the liberal maxim of a neutral professional process, and demonstrated that cultural theorists are right: everything is indeed political.

*Neve Gordon is an Israeli activist and the author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008).



An international boycott helped end apartheid – now South Africans are leading world opposition to racism in Israel

South Africa Champions the Academic Boycott of Israel

We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.Nelson Mandela, December 4,1997

Occupied Ramallah, 30 September 2010 — PACBI welcomes the decision [1] yesterday by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) “not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form” and to set conditions “for the relationship to continue.” The fact that the UJ Senate set an ultimatum [2] of six months for BGU to end its complicity with the occupation army and to end policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians is a truly significant departure from the business-as-usual attitude that had governed agreements between the two institutions until recently.

If the Senate decision was a commendable first step in the right direction towards ending relations with Israeli institutions implicated in apartheid policies and support for the occupation, the real victory lies in the intensive mobilization and awareness raising processes by key activists and academics in South Africa that indicated beyond doubt the groundswell of support for Palestinian rights in the country and that played a key role in influencing the UJ Senate vote. A petition urging UJ to sever links with BGU remarkably gathered more than 250 signatures of academics from all academic institutions in South Africa, including some of the most prominent figures. The mainstream media attention, in South Africa and the West, to the facts about BGU’s complicity and the heavy moral burden placed on the shoulders of South African institutions, in particular, to end all forms of cooperation with any Israeli institution practicing apartheid has been unprecedented, with views favorable to justice and upholding international law gaining wide coverage.

The UJ Senate has requested BGU to “respect UJ’s duty to take seriously allegations of behaviour on the part of BGU’s stakeholders that is incompatible with UJ’s values” and to provide more information about “BGU’s formal policies and informal practices.” Explaining this aspect of the ultimatum, Adam Habib, UJ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, told Aljazeera [3]:

[W]e know that the BGU has collaborative projects with the Israeli army and we also know that the university implements state policy which invariably results in the discrimination of the Palestinian people. Crucially, there can be no activities between UJ and an Israeli educational institution that discriminated against the Palestinian people.

Salim Vally, a senior researcher at the UJ Faculty of Education and spokesperson for the Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC), welcomed the decision saying: “While the PSC supports an unequivocal and unambiguous boycott of all Israeli state institutions, this is a move in the right direction and we are confident that it would lead to a more comprehensive boycott of Israel in the future.” [4]

Regardless of all concerns about the details of the decision, a predicted outcome of a delicate balance of forces in a university that is still dealing with its own apartheid past, it cannot but be viewed as a triumph for the logic of academic boycott against Israel’s complicit academy, as consistently presented by PACBI and its partners worldwide, including in South Africa. It is, indeed, as a significant step in the direction of holding Israeli institutions accountable for their collusion in maintaining the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. As former South African cabinet minister and ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils wrote in the Guadian, “Israeli universities are not being targeted for boycott because of their ethnic or religious identity, but because of their complicity in the Israeli system of apartheid.” [5]

PACBI warmly salutes all those who worked on and who endorsed the campaign to cut links with BGU. The precedent-setting petition, endorsed by the heads of four South African universities and prominent leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, and Kader Asmal, does not mince words in calling for severing links with BGU and, it implies, with all Israeli institutions complicit in violations of international law [6]:

While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.

Archbishop Tutu defended the call to sever links with complicit Israeli institutions saying [7], “It can never be business as usual. Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice.” Reiterating his unwavering support for the Palestinian-led global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, he eloquently adds:

Together with the peace-loving peoples of this Earth, I condemn any form of violence – but surely we must recognise that people caged in, starved and stripped of their essential material and political rights must resist their Pharaoh? Surely resistance also makes us human? Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the nonviolent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

While challenging BGU’s complicity, the UJ Senate decision does not fully heed the call by Archbishop Tutu or the 250 South African academics. It makes problematic assumptions and reaches, in part, conceptually and morally flawed conclusions.

First, by conditioning the continuation of links with BGU, among other conditions, on including a Palestinian university in a three-way collaboration, the UJ Senate decision indirectly assumes “parity between justice and injustice,” which Mandela cautioned against, and balance between an institution that is in active partnership with the system of apartheid and occupation and another university that is suffering from this same system. This position is morally untenable, especially when espoused by an academic institution that is transforming itself from an apartheid university to one committed to equality and social justice.

Furthermore, this attempt to cover up an essentially immoral relationship with BGU — that was forged during apartheid at the height of Israel’s partnership with the racist regime in South Africa — by suggesting a Palestinian fig leaf is in direct violation of the long standing position by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education which has consistently called on all Palestinian academic institutions not to cooperate in any form with Israeli universities until the end of the occupation. [8] It is also in conflict with the Palestinian Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [9] and the Guidelines for the International Boycott of Israel,[10] both widely supported by Palestinian civil society, particularly by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), representing the academic and support staff in all Palestinian universities and colleges. Does enticing the victim of a criminal to “partner” with that criminal make the latter less so?

Second, the statement that “UJ will not engage in any activities with BGU that have direct or indirect military implications” is quite troubling in its logic, if taken literally, not as interpreted by Prof. Habib above. It basically says that it is acceptable to do business with a criminal entity so long as the particular business done with it is above suspicion. Had this logic been applied to a South African apartheid institution at the height of the international academic boycott, it would have meant continuing business as usual with that racist institution so long as the specific project conducted with it was not directly or indirectly implicated in apartheid policies. The fact that the institution as a whole is guilty of complicity in apartheid would have been deemed irrelevant.

BGU as an institution is guilty of complicity in the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies; nothing can make any “environmental” or “purely scientific” project it conducts with UJ morally acceptable until it comprehensively and verifiably ends this complicity. The culpability of the entire institution in violations of international law and human rights cannot be washed away by narrowing the focus or diverting attention only to details of the project with UJ.

As Archbishop Tutu said:

In the past few years, we have been watching with delight UJ’s transformation from the Rand Afrikaans University, with all its scientific achievements but also ugly ideological commitments. We look forward to an ongoing principled transformation.

A post-apartheid South African university that is in the process of transforming itself to a truly democratic institution cannot possibly complete this necessary transformation while maintaining a partnership with an apartheid institution elsewhere. We sincerely hope that UJ will continue on the path it has taken, by completely severing its links with BGU and any other Israeli institutions complicit in violating international law and human rights.

Also see THIS brilliant piece by Ronnie Kasrils


Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Written in part by Omar Barghouti

A true breakthrough in the academic boycott of Israel!!

A South African, long brewing, campaign at the prestigious University of Johannesburg to cut off academic links with Ben Gurion University due to its complicity and racist practices has won the endorsement of John Dugard, Desmond Tutu, Breyten Breytenbach, Allan Boesak, Mahmoud Mamdani and almost 200 other academics from 22 academic institutions in SA.

Here’s the Mail & Guardian report on it today:
Here is the petition  to sever links with Ben Gurion University

This petition was first disseminated on the 05th of September, within two days it was signed by over 100 South African academics from more than 12 SA universities. To date it has more than 200 signatories from 22 academic institutions.
Supported by: Professors Kader Asmal, Allan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Barney Pityana and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
As members of the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other, we write to you with deep concern regarding the relationship between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The relationship agreement, presented as ‘merely the continuation’ of a ‘purely scientific co-operation’ is currently being reviewed owing to concerns raised by UJ students, academics and staff.
As academics we acknowledge that all of our scholarly work takes place within larger social contexts – particularly in institutions committed to social transformation. South African institutions are under an obligation to revisit relationships forged during the apartheid era with other institutions that turned a blind eye to racial oppression in the name of ‘purely scholarly’ or ‘scientific work’.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. BGU is no exception, by maintaining links to both the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the arms industry BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation. An example of BGU’s complicity is its agreement with the IDF to provide full university qualification to army pilots within a special BGU programme. Furthermore, BGU is also complicit in the general discrimination at Israeli universities against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
It is clear to us that any connection with an institution so heavily vested in the Israeli occupation would amount to collaboration with an occupation that denigrates the values and principles that form the basis of any vibrant democracy. These are not only the values that underpin our post-apartheid South Africa, but are also values that we believe UJ has come to respect and uphold in the democratic era.
We thus support the decision taken by UJ to reconsider the agreement between itself and BGU. Furthermore, we call for the relationship to be suspended until such a time that, at minimum, the state of Israel adheres to international law and BGU, (as did some South African universities during the struggle against South African apartheid) openly declares itself against the occupation and withdraws all privileges for the soldiers who enforce it.
To view the signatories , click HERE


More than five thousand Palestinian children in East Jerusalem do not attend school at all. The dropout rate for Palestinian school students in East Jerusalem is fifty percent, compared with about 12 percent for Jewish students.

Israeli discrimination drives kids from school
Mel Frykberg

The Israeli education system discriminates against Palestinian children in Jerusalem. (Mel Frykberg/IPS)

QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, occupied East Jerusalem (IPS) – A thin Palestinian boy, no older than ten, darts between the piles of garbage and the congested lines of traffic which converge at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

He pleads with bus drivers to allow him on their buses so he can sell chewing gum at a pittance. When nobody buys any gum and the boy is ordered off the bus, he leaves on the verge of tears. Risking life and limb he then moves from car to car begging the frustrated drivers to purchase some of his goods.

Dozens of Palestinian youngsters can be seen on a daily basis at other East Jerusalem checkpoints and intersections — or scavenging through the ubiquitous garbage heaps for salvageable items — which they then try to sell to passing pedestrians and motorists.

Due to the endemic poverty in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank, hundreds of Palestinian children are forced on to the streets by parents who are living below the poverty level in a desperate bid to eke out a few extra dollars to help their families survive.

These children should be in school securing a better future for themselves but Israel’s discriminatory education policies between Jewish West Jerusalem and Palestinian East Jerusalem is driving these youngsters out of school — if they are lucky enough to be enrolled in the first place.

Knesset (Israeli parliament) member Jamal Zahalka claimed earlier in the year that “educational provision for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem is worse than anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza, or in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.”

More than five thousand Palestinian children in East Jerusalem do not attend school at all. The dropout rate for Palestinian school students in East Jerusalem is fifty percent, compared with about 12 percent for Jewish students.

“The rate of school dropouts, and the level of poverty amongst Palestinians in East Jerusalem, is frightening,” Orly Noy from the Israeli rights group Ir Amim told IPS.

“The severe neglect of the education system in East Jerusalem is brewing a catastrophe,” adds Tali Nir, a lawyer with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

The two Israeli human rights organizations accused the Israeli authorities of deliberate discrimination in a report titled “Failed Grade — The State of the Education System in East Jerusalem.”

In their report they state that Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem are short one thousand classrooms.

Israel’s education law requires the state to provide education equally to all residents of the city.

However, the Israeli government spent an average of 2,300 New Israeli Shekels (NIS), about $604, on each Jewish child in elementary school during the year 2008-2009. In comparison 577 NIS ($151) was spent on each Palestinian child.

According to the report, only 39 classrooms were built for Palestinians over the past year despite promises made in court to build 644 by 2011.

The rights groups further accuse the Israeli government of forcing Palestinian students to study in unsuitable conditions.

Thousands of Palestinian pupils are bundled into crowded classrooms, often in ill-equipped buildings. Approximately half of the rooms (647 out of a total of 1,398) are sub-standard and a quarter are in “inappropriate conditions,” the report found.

The state of classrooms, researchers said, often forces thousands of students to study in rented buildings lacking ventilation, libraries, laboratories, and playgrounds.

It usually takes Palestinian children hours to get to and from school as they have to cross through Israeli checkpoints, and the fares they pay for substandard transport are high.

In May 2001 Israel’s high court ruled that the Israeli education ministry and the municipality of Jerusalem were obliged to provide education for every Palestinian child in the city.

Yet 40,000 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are forced to attend private schools to obtain a decent education. Only 39,523 of 82,250 Palestinian pupils, accounting for 48.05 percent of the children, attend government schools.

Islamic organizations in East Jerusalem provide education for approximately eight percent of Palestinian children, while the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) also does its share.

“Many have to turn to private schools, and thousands who cannot afford to pay stay at home,” the report adds.

“We continually take the municipality and the education ministry to court over the issue and the state orders these authorities to rectify the situation. However, the state responds by making up excuses, saying there are many obstacles. This is not the first time court rulings have been ignored by the Israeli authorities,” Noy explains to IPS.

In the interim while the bureaucracy continues to grind in never-ending legal circles, Palestine’s street children will continue to fall through the cracks with the prospects of a better future looking particularly grim.

“This is a self-perpetuating cycle that further undermines Palestinian society and is not helping to build a strong and stable community,” says Noy.



Although the recent scuffle seems to be about academic freedom, the assault on the Israeli academe is actually part of a much wider offensive against liberal values. Numerous forces in Israel are mobilizing in order to press forward an extreme-right political agenda.

McCarthy in Israel

By Neve Gordon

On May 31, I joined some 50 students and faculty members who gathered outside Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to demonstrate against the Israeli military assault on the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid toward Gaza. In response, the next day a few hundred students marched toward the social-sciences building, Israeli flags in hand. Amid the nationalist songs and pro-government chants, there were also shouts demanding my resignation from the university faculty.

One student even proceeded to create a Facebook group whose sole goal is to have me sacked. So far over 2,100 people (many of them nonstudents) have joined. In addition to death wishes and declarations that I should be exiled, the site includes a call on students to spy on me during class. “We believe,” ends a message written to the group, “that if we conduct serious and profound work, we can, with the help of each and every one of you, gather enough material to influence … Neve Gordon’s status at the university, and maybe even bring about his dismissal.”

Such personal attacks are part of a much broader assault on Israeli higher education and its professors. Two recent incidents exemplify the protofascist logic that is being deployed to undermine the pillars of academic freedom in Israel, while also revealing that the assault on Israeli academe is being backed by neoconservative forces in the United States.

The first incident involves a report published by the Institute for Zionist Strategies, in Israel, which analyzed course syllabi in Israeli sociology departments and accused professors of a “post-Zionist” bias. The institute defines post-Zionism as “the pretense to undermine the foundations of the Zionist ethos and an affinity with the radical leftist stream.” In addition to the usual Israeli leftist suspects, intellectuals like Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm also figure in as post-Zionists in the report.

The institute sent the report to the Israel Council for Higher Education, which is the statutory body responsible for Israeli universities, and the council, in turn, sent it to all of the university presidents. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel-Aviv University, actually asked several professors to hand over their syllabi for his perusal, though he later asserted that he had no intention of policing faculty members and was appalled by the report.

A few days later, the top headline of the Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that another right-wing organization, Im Tirtzu (If You Will It), had threatened Ben-Gurion University, where I am a professor and a former chair of the government and politics department. Im Tirtzu told the university’s president, Rivka Carmi, that it would persuade donors to place funds in escrow unless the university took steps “to put an end to the anti-Zionist tilt” in its politics and government department. The organization demanded a change “in the makeup of the department’s faculty and the content of its syllabi,” giving the president a month to meet its ultimatum. This time my head was not the only one it wanted.

President Carmi immediately asserted that Im Tirtzu’s demands were a serious threat to academic freedom. However, Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar, who is also chairman of the Council for Higher Education, restricted his response to a cursory statement that any move aimed at harming donations to universities must be stopped. Mr. Sa’ar’s response was disturbingly predictable. Only a few months earlier, he had spoken at an Im Tirtzu gathering, following its publication of a report about the so-called leftist slant of syllabi in Israeli political-science departments. At the gathering, he asserted that even though he had not read the report, its conclusions would be taken very seriously.

Although the recent scuffle seems to be about academic freedom, the assault on the Israeli academe is actually part of a much wider offensive against liberal values. Numerous forces in Israel are mobilizing in order to press forward an extreme-right political agenda.

They have chosen the universities as their prime target for two main reasons. First, even though Israeli universities as institutions have never condemned any government policy—not least the restrictions on Palestinian universities’ academic freedom—they are home to many vocal critics of Israel’s rights-abusive policies. Those voices are considered traitorous and consequently in need of being stifled. Joining such attacks are Americans like Alan M. Dershowitz, who in a recent visit to Tel-Aviv University called for the resignations of professors who supported the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli goods and divestment from Israeli companies until the country abides by international human-rights law. He named Rachel Giora and Anat Matar, both tenured professors at Tel Aviv University, as part of that group.

Second, all Israeli universities depend on public funds for about 90 percent of their budget. This has been identified as an Achilles heel. The idea is to exploit the firm alliance those right-wing organizations have with government members and provide the ammunition necessary to make financial support for universities conditional on the dissemination of nationalist thought and the suppression of “subversive ideas.” Thus, in the eyes of those right-wing Israeli organizations, the universities are merely arms of the government.

And, yet, Im Tirtzu and other such organizations would not have been effective on their own; they depend on financial support from backers in the United States. As it turns out, some of their ideological allies are willing to dig deep into their pockets to support the cause.

The Rev. John C. Hagee, the leader of Christians United for Israel, has been Im Tirtzu’s sugar daddy, and his ministries have provided the organization with at least $100,000. After Im Tirtzu’s most recent attack, however, even Mr. Hagee concluded that it had gone overboard and decided to stop giving funds. The Hudson Institute, a neoconservative think tank that helped shape the Bush administration’s Middle East policies, has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Institute for Zionist Strategies over the past few years, and was practically its only donor. For Christians United and the Hudson Institute, the attack on academic freedom is clearly also a way of advancing much broader objectives.

The Hudson Institute, for example, has neo-imperialist objectives in the Middle East, and a member of its Board of Trustees is in favor of attacking Iran. Christian United’s eschatological position (whereby the Second Coming is dependent on the gathering of all Jews in Israel), includes support for such an attack. The scary partnership between such Israeli and American organizations helps reveal the true aims of this current assault on academic freedom: to influence Israeli policy and eliminate the few liberal forces that are still active in the country. The atmosphere within Israel is conducive to such intervention.

Nonetheless, Im Tirtzu’s latest threat backfired, as did that of the Institute for Zionist Strategies’ report; the assaults have been foiled for now. The presidents of all the universities in Israel condemned the reports and promised never to bow down to this version of McCarthyism.

Despite those declarations, the rightist organizations have actually made considerable headway. Judging from comments on numerous online news sites, the populist claim that the public’s tax money is being used to criticize Israel has convinced many readers that the universities should be more closely monitored by the government and that “dissident” professors must be fired. Moreover, the fact that the structure of Israeli universities has changed significantly over the past five years, and that now most of the power lies in the hands of presidents rather than the faculty, will no doubt be exploited to continue the assault on academic freedom. Top university administrators are already stating that if the Israeli Knesset approves a law against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement for Palestine, the law will be used to fire faculty members who support the movement.

More importantly, there is now the sense among many faculty members that a thought police has been formed—and that many of its officers are actually members of the academic community. The fact that students are turning themselves into spies and that syllabi are being collected sends a chilling message to faculty members across the country. I, for one, have decided to include in my syllabi a notice restricting the use of recording devices during class without my prior consent. And many of my friends are now using Gmail instead of the university e-mail accounts for fear that their correspondence will in some way upset administrators.

Israeli academe, which was once considered a bastion of free speech, has become the testing ground for the success of the assault on liberal values. And although it is still extremely difficult to hurt those who have managed to enter the academic gates, those who have not yet passed the threshold are clearly being monitored.

I know of one case in which a young academic was not hired due to his membership in Courage to Refuse, an organization of reserve soldiers who refuse to do military duty in the West Bank. In a Google and Facebook age, the thought police can easily disqualify a candidate based on petitions signed and even online “friends” one has. Israeli graduate students are following such developments, and for them the message is clear.

While in politics nothing is predetermined, Israel is heading down a slippery slope. Israeli academe is now an arena where some of the most fundamental struggles of a society are being played out. The problem is that instead of struggling over basic human rights, we are now struggling over the right to struggle.

Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel. One can read about his book Israel’s Occupation and more.



Psycho Gal is at it again…. not declaring war on Iran or the USA today, but this time on Academic Freedom.

Im Tirzu’s success shows that after a generation of accepting the Left’s domination of the public discourse the public has had enough.

Im Tirtzu is a grass-roots initiative of university students.

Over the past few years it has managed to amass a modest budget funded by Jewish and non-Jewish Zionists here and in the US.

One of Im Tirtzu’s central goals is to engender an atmosphere of academic freedom and intellectual pluralism on university campuses. Over the past generation or so, those campuses, and particularly the humanities and social sciences faculties, have become hotbeds of anti- Zionist activism and intellectual terror. Stories of professorial intimidation of and discrimination against Zionist students are widespread, as are instances of outright indoctrination in the classrooms.

As Ma’ariv’s Ben Dror Yemini reported this week, at Hebrew University’s law school, Prof. Yehuda Shenhav teaches a class called “Bureaucracy, Governance and Human Rights.” In the course of their studies, the students are expected to participate in the work of anti-Zionist organizations including Machsom Watch and Yesh Din. At the end of the year, the participants – who will be paid NIS 1,450 for their activism – are expected to write an article describing their experiences which will be turned into a booklet edited by Shenhav and anti-Zionist activists Michael Sfard and Yael Barda and published by their anti-Zionist NGOs.

The situation at Ben-Gurion University’s Politics and Government Department is particularly distressing. It is headed by Dr. Neve Gordon, an anti-Zionist activist who has written that Israel is a “proto-fascist state,” has castigated it as an “apartheid state” and has signed petitions calling for international academic, scientific, economic and cultural boycotts of the country.

Click HERE to see what Im Tirtzu REALLY is….

These two posts will update you on the situation…



BUT, despite the ugly reality of the situation, Caroline Glick is prepared to tow the line of the extreme right and the rest of the psychopaths in Israel….

Her complete rant of the day can be read HERE.


The (sorta) good news of the day is….. (twisted logic by very twisted people)

Im Tirtzu loses funding over boycott threat to Ben-Gurion University

U.S. based pro-Israel organization Christians United for Israel: We do not support any calls for divestment from Israel in any way.

Read the HaAretz Report HERE


Be sure to read THIS report posted yesterday before you continue….

According to Wikipedia, McCarthyism is the “political action of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.” Unfortunately, this is what has been taking place here recently.

Shut down the universities

Israeli society is on the verge of being consumed by a menacing wave of McCarthyism stoked by nationalist movements and publicity-hungry legislators.

By Shlomo Gazit

More than 20 years have passed since I served as president of Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, but I still take an interest in what’s happening there. So a recent headline in this newspaper caught my eye: “Im Tirtzu threatens Ben-Gurion University with donor boycott” (August 17 ). I asked myself how I would have reacted if I had faced such a predicament as the school’s president. Afterward I heard my colleague, BGU President Rivka Carmi, condemn the threat in a radio interview, but in the next breath she played down the significance of Im Tirtzu’s demand to fire left-leaning professors. Carmi holds the view that the university should ignore the organization and its letter.

I pondered her statements and came to a completely different conclusion: The threat posed by Im Tirtzu does not stand in a vacuum. Israeli society is on the verge of being consumed by a menacing wave of McCarthyism stoked by nationalist movements and publicity-hungry legislators. If we ignore this wave and it’s not stopped immediately, it will endanger – perhaps even destroy – Israeli democracy.

According to Wikipedia, McCarthyism is the “political action of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.” Unfortunately, this is what has been taking place here recently.

It is particularly sad that the authorities have kept quiet on the matter. No one is condemning this phenomenon, nor will anyone act to thwart it. We have not heard any remarks on this issue from the president, prime minister, Knesset speaker, chairman of the Knesset Education Committee or Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee.

I must acknowledge that I have my own criticisms of many of the people who have been “denounced and besmirched.” I utterly reject their statements and positions. Nonetheless, I absolutely oppose any attempt to silence them. What is being tested now is not their positions but the shutting of mouths.

Apart from the New Israel Fund, most of the pressure is being put on the universities – certain departments and lecturers who are being pilloried for the sin of showing a lack of loyalty to the state, Zionism and the people.

If I were the university’s president today, I would demand that we immediately hold a conference that would include the heads of all the major academic institutions and the Council for Higher Education to discuss the situation. My proposal would be the most serious threat possible to shake up the system. I would demand that the government and Knesset act immediately to stop this dangerous snowball from gaining momentum. Failure to do so would result in the closure of all institutions of higher education, and the new academic year would not open.

Im Tirtzu handed down an ultimatum to the university: Fire leftist professors or we’ll dissuade donors from giving money. The donors, who include some of the university’s good friends, will have to understand what the universities are fighting for and why they are shutting down. The danger of McCarthyism speaks to them even more than to the Israeli public. They will be the first to support the struggle for democracy; they will be the first to threaten to turn off the spigot of donations to Israel, and not just to the universities.

If we don’t act immediately, and with all the tools the law provides, we will find McCarthyism inside our homes.


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


Hebrew textbooks focus chiefly on the success of Israel’s troops during the 1948 war. The books say that the 750,000 refugees either left voluntarily or were ordered to leave by Arab armies. Most historians now say that Israeli troops either physically expelled the Palestinians or frightened them so much that they fled.

Israel tells schools not to teach nakba

Jonathan Cook

Members of the Haganah (with rifles) “escorting” Palestinian Arabs
being expelled from the city of Haifa on May 12, 1948. (AFP picture archive)

NAZARETH // Government officials warned Israeli teachers last week not to cooperate with a civic group that seeks to educate Israelis about how the Palestinians view the loss of their homeland and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Israel’s education ministry issued the advisory after Zochrot – a Jewish group that seeks to raise awareness among Israeli Jews of the events of 1948, referred to as the “nakba” by Palestinians – organised a workshop for primary school teachers.

The ministry said the course had not been approved and told teachers not to participate in Zochrot-sponsored activities during the coming school year.

In a letter to the education ministry protesting against Zochrot’s activities, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, an advocacy group for Jewish settlers, had called the group’s educational materials “part of a criminal vision to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”.

It was unclear whether participants in the workshop for primary school teachers would be punished, but a teacher identified as a trainer for the seminar might be investigated by the education ministry, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The warning is the latest move by the education ministry, headed by Gideon Saar, a member of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, to use school curricula to advance a more strident Zionist agenda.

In March, for instance, the ministry banned Israeli schools from distributing a booklet for children about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Critics had objected to parts of the declaration that refer to freedom of religion and protection of asylum-seekers.

The ministry’s latest move involves the controversies that still swirl over the events that led to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 – what Israelis describe as their “War of Independence” and what Palestinians call the nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”.

Eitan Bronstein, Zochrot’s director, said the ministry was trying to “frighten off” teachers from learning about a period in Israel’s history that until now, he said, had been presented in schools only from a “triumphalist perspective”.

The group, which was founded eight years ago and whose Hebrew name means “remembering”, has provoked controversy by organising visits to some of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed by the Israeli army during and after the 1948 war.

Zochrot members place signposts at the former villages using their original Arabic names, and bring Palestinian refugees back on visits, upsetting Jewish residents who live in communities built on those lands.

In recent months, Zochrot has concentrated on developing a programme on the nakba for schools, allowing teachers to address the subject from a Palestinian perspective for the first time.

Mr Bronstein said more than 300 high school teachers had asked for Zochrot’s information kits over the past year, and a few primary school teachers had started to show an interest too. That has provoked a backlash from education officials and right-wing groups.

“A small but growing number of teachers are curious about the nakba and want to find out more,” he said. “The problem is that the education authorities see this development as threatening and are prepared to intimidate teachers to stop them from getting involved.”

Last week’s workshop was the first Zochrot had arranged for primary school teachers.

Hebrew textbooks focus chiefly on the success of Israel’s troops during the 1948 war. The books say that the 750,000 refugees either left voluntarily or were ordered to leave by Arab armies. Most historians now say that Israeli troops either physically expelled the Palestinians or frightened them so much that they fled.

In 2006 an Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, published a popular book in English – but little read inside Israel – that went farther, arguing that Israel had implemented a military plan to “ethnically cleanse” Palestinians even before Israel’s founders declared statehood.

A year later Yuli Tamir, the dovish education minister, provoked public outrage by approving for the first time the use of the word “nakba” in an Arabic textbook for the quarter of the school population who belong to the country’s Palestinian minority.

The book was banned last summer by Mr Saar, Ms Tamir’s successor.

Mr Saar has also backed legislation to punish groups and individuals who commemorate the nakba. The bill, which enjoys wide support, is working its way through the parliament.

Zochrot’s kit includes teaching units on life among Palestinians before and after the 1948 war, personal stories from refugees, a tour of a destroyed village, and a discussion of the refugees’ right of return.

Amaya Galili, Zochrot’s educational coordinator, said that although the group offered complete lesson plans, most teachers incorporated only elements of the programme so that officials would not notice they were using Zochrot’s material.

A history teacher in Jerusalem, who did not want to be identified, said she was one of half a dozen in the city who had participated in Zochrot’s courses.

She said, however, that her new-found understanding of the nakba had had almost no impact on either the curriculum or the pupils at the school.

“There are many other ways for the school to make sure that an atmosphere of fear prevails towards Palestinians. It’s easy to insert a nationalistic and religious agenda into the classroom – and, after all, I am just one teacher.”

The changes at the education ministry have become increasingly apparent since Mr Saar’s appointment nearly 18 months ago.

Earlier this year, the ministry demanded that its logo be removed from a joint Hebrew and Arabic website called Common Ground, which aims to promote greater understanding between the country’s Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Officials had objected to Zochrot’s posting of a story written by a Palestinian girl about the nakba.

Ms Galili said the ministry’s response to Zochrot’s work contrasted strongly with its encouragement of private initiatives by right-wing groups.

One, called Gush Katif week, brings former Jewish settlers from Gaza into 400 schools to celebrate life before Israeli troops and Jewish settlers withdrew from the Strip in 2005. Another, Mibereshit, run by a far-right rabbi and financed by evangelical Christians in the US, offers pupils tours of the country, including the settlements, in a bid to “strengthen Zionist education”.

“Many of these programmes sound superficially reasonable. They’re presented as ‘instilling positive values’ or ‘learning to love the land’. But, in fact, they are cover for dubious initiatives by religious and settler groups”, Ms Galili said.

Over the past year, Mr Saar has emphasised courses on Zionism, Jewish heritage and Judaism. He also has increased pupils’ visits to Jerusalem’s Palestinian districts and introduced a programme to bring soldiers into the classroom to help enlist pupils into the military.

Source via Uruknet


The same group that tried to destroy the NIF and lynch Naomi Chazan a few months ago has found a new target…. this time it’s Ben Gurion University.

In their own words…..
“Our aim isn’t to harm the university and we are not against academic freedom.

We simply believe that the views should be balanced. It’s all a question of measure. Just like there can’t be 100 percent males in the workplace. It can’t be that only one side is heard in the classroom.

We are willing to acknowledge that anti-Zionist sentiments are present in the university, but refuse to accept that it should be forced down the students’ throats.”

BUT…. of course it’s ok to shove their fascist sentiments down the student’s throats until they choke on them….

Right-wing group Im Tirzu threatens BGU donations

Ben-Gurion University: Efforts by Im Tirtzu “reek of McCarthyism.”

Ben-Gurion University on Tuesday released the contents of a letter in which right-wing student group Im Tirtzu threatened to try and convince donors to stop contributing to the university unless university president Rivka Karmi showed she was taking concrete actions to remedy what they perceive as a leftwing bias in the university’s Politics and Government Department.

The publication sparked a storm of public and media responses surrounding the issue of academic freedom and financial boycotts of universities.

The letter, which was sent to Karmi a month ago, stipulates that unless she met their demands within a month, Im Tirtzu would, “Use all the legal means at our disposal to bring to the attention of the present and future student body and especially to the university’s supporters in Israel and abroad, the severity of the situation and the ongoing disregard by university management that allowed things to arrive at their current state.

“We will request that all the donors submit their contributions to a trust fund managed by a lawyer, to be released to the university after it is factually proved that the bias that exists in the department, as expressed in the faculty make-up and the syllabus content, is remedied,” added the letter.

“The department has 11 faculty members, of whom nine are involved in political activities that present extreme leftist positions,” said Shoval.

“Six out of the 11 faculty members have signed a petition calling on soldiers to refuse to serve in the West Bank. Two research fellows are known to have anti- Zionist beliefs. Eight out of 19 external lecturers express radical leftist positions and our research shows that there is a sharp slant in the program’s syllabus, which is characterized by its anti-nationalist and anti-Zionist content,” he continued.

“Heading the department is Dr. Neve Gordon, who has repeatedly called for an international academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel.

The full report can be read HERE


A day of celebration in the occupied Palestinian territories

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Nearly 86,000 Palestinian students sat this year for the final high school unified matriculation exam (called Tawjihi) in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.  Today the results of the exams were released and they were phenomenal.  It is a noisy day of celebration for thousands of people who worked very hard and achieved good results. There was no divisions here, the unified examinations were given in Gaza and the West Bank with cooperation of the ministry of education employees in both places and without political considerations.  Considering the slaughter of Gaza last year, the results from Gaza were remarkable (and equivalent to the West Bank).  The highest six students (4 females, 2 males) in the science section got the score of 99.5% and they represent refugees, villagers, and city dwellers, from Asira Al-Shjamaliya (near Nablus), Khan Younis (Gaza), Nablus City,  West Gaza, Shufat (Jerusalem), and Beni Nuaim (Hebron area).  In the humanities section, the top ten come from Tulkarem, Rafah, Nablus, Khan Younis, Qabatiya, and Jenin. My own nephew got 93.6% even though his father died in the middle of these exam (I had shared the story of Hazem with you earlier). This remarkable result by our young people shows the possibilities of the people of Palestine.  Of course, the colonial apartheid system limits the options open to our high school graduates but ultimately nothing can stand in the way of determined individuals.

I participated in teaching summer camps at two locations to younger students during the past few days.  I have been focusing on teaching and interactions with young Palestinians since I returned to Palestine two years ago.  In all these interactions I see the incredible opportunities.  Palestine has no oil or other major natural resources except its people.  If only our leaders understood the potential of mobilizing our people to liberate themselves.  We do not need to rely on endless negotiations or on irrational rhetoric or acts. Three young high school students built an electronic walking stick for the blind (I shared that story two months ago with you). Palestinian students at the Polytechnic University in Hebron just built a solar powered car from scratch .  What we need is a belief in the human potential.  We need a denial of the negativism that is fed by corruption, lies, and distortions; I will write more on this in my next message.  Meanwhile congratulations

Here is a must read article for all Palestinians: Towards a Palestinian Political Agenda by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta (two parts)

Israeli army destroys a Palestinian village in the Jordan valley

17 Year old arrested in night raid in Bil’in

Action: As received from Janan Abdu-Makhoul: Free Ameer Makhoul

Model Action: BDS activists do a musical tour in New York against Israeli apartheid

Mark Braverman’s report on the victory at the Presbyterian Assembly and lays out the nature of the Zionist tactics to thwart Christian action for peace and justice

Health in the occupied Palestinian territories

Action: Join the campaign to get TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli apartheid (at the meeting held results were good and there was no opposition but this is expected to change so the organizers of the action want more signatures)

You are always welcome to visit us in Palestine


But the greatest threat to academic freedom is the academic boycott. This weapon – even if those who preach it are trying to target government policy – strikes a mortal blow at the freedom to research and develop, because it cuts the scholar off from sources of funding for his research and from colloquy with colleagues, which is essential to academic research.

Click on source below to respond…..

What do boycotts have to do with academic freedom?

The pretension of wrapping political critique in academic garb will end up curtailing the right to criticize – as if people who do not enjoy academic freedom should not express their opinions.

By Asher Maoz

A university lecturer calls the naval commandos who raided the Mavi Marmara cold-blooded murderers. Another lecturer refuses to permit a student returning from reserve duty to enter the classroom in uniform. A third tells his students that he does not believe reserve duty in the territories justifies absence from class – but he is prepared to excuse the absence of students who attend a protest at a checkpoint.

Yet another lecturer calls for a boycott of Israel because of the occupation. His colleague calls for an academic boycott of Israeli universities, including the one that employs him. Another lecturer’s students claim he silences them when they disagree with him.

Or the details could be changed: Perhaps one lecturer calls soldiers who evacuate settlers “Nazis.” Another forbids a Muslim student from entering the classroom because she is wearing a veil. A third gives no special consideration to a student called up for reserve duty to evacuate a settlement outpost, but does so for a student who is absent because he went to help thwart an evacuation. And a fourth calls for a boycott on Israel or its universities because the “treasonous” government is prepared to give up parts of the homeland.

What all these scenarios have in common is the pretension that they are protected by academic freedom. But their true common denominator is that they have nothing at all to do with academic freedom. Some of these incidents are protected by freedom of speech, not academic freedom. Others contravene academic freedom.

Let’s take criticism of the government: In a democracy, freedom of expression and criticism must be zealously guarded. But what does this have to do with academic freedom?

Indeed, the claim of academic freedom in these matters is somewhat arrogant, as if the faculty were above the people. After all, in a democracy, the voice of a professor is equal to the voice of every other citizen, and rightly so. The pretension of wrapping political critique in academic garb will end up curtailing the right to criticize – as if people who do not enjoy academic freedom should not express their opinions.

Academic freedom goes beyond freedom of expression, and is intended to respond to the needs of the academic community. It is the freedom to study, publish and teach. This is the only way the search for scientific truth can be protected. That is how academics differ from employees of any other institution.

But no one has a monopoly on truth. Thus to protect the search for truth, academics must not suppress the opinions of others, whether students or colleagues – because they too are entitled to academic freedom. Neither may academics force their opinions on others or do harm those whose opinions differ from theirs. The power of academic discourse lies in persuasion, not coercion.

But the greatest threat to academic freedom is the academic boycott. This weapon – even if those who preach it are trying to target government policy – strikes a mortal blow at the freedom to research and develop, because it cuts the scholar off from sources of funding for his research and from colloquy with colleagues, which is essential to academic research.

Nor can we ignore the fact that those who call for a boycott will not be harmed by it themselves. They will enjoy the best of both worlds – both the rights conferred by belonging to the boycotted university and the right to exemption from the very boycott they advocate.

The writer is a professor of constitutional law at Tel Aviv University



The universities are already disturbed by a bill submitted by 25 MPs last month that would make it a criminal offense for Israelis to “initiate, encourage, or aid” a boycott against Israel and require them to pay compensation to those harmed by it.

Image by Pete Pasho

Israeli education minister wages witch-hunt against boycott supporters
Jonathan Cook

Hundreds of Israeli college professors have signed a petition accusing the education minister of endangering academic freedoms after he threatened to “punish” any lecturer or institution that supports a boycott of Israel.

The backlash against Gideon Saar, a member of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, comes after a series of moves suggesting he is trying to stamp a more stridently right-wing agenda on the Israeli education system.

The education minister has outraged the 540 professors who signed the petition by his open backing of a nationalist youth movement, Im Tirtzu, which demands that teachers be required to prove their commitment to right-wing Zionism.

Two of Saar’s predecessors, Yossi Sarid and Yuli Tamir, are among those who signed the petition, which calls on the minister to “come to your senses … before it’s too late to save higher education in Israel.”

Saar’s campaign to “re-Zionize” the education system, including introducing a new right-wing Jewish studies syllabus and bringing soldiers into classrooms, has heightened concerns that he is stoking an atmosphere increasingly hostile to left-wing academics and human rights activists.

Neve Gordon, a politics professor at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva who called for an academic boycott of Israel last year, has reported receiving death threats, as has a school teacher who refused to participate in Saar’s flagship program to encourage high-school recruitment to the Israeli military.

Daniel Gutwein, a professor of Jewish history at Haifa University, said: “A serious red flag is raised when the education minister joins in the delegitimization of the academic establishment. This is a method to castrate and abolish Israeli academia.”

Saar’s sympathies for Im Tirtzu were first revealed earlier this year when he addressed one of its conferences, telling delegates the organization would be “blessed” for its “hugely vital” work.

The youth movement emerged in 2006 among students demanding that the government rather than ordinary soldiers be held to account for what was seen as Israel’s failure to crush Hizballah during that year’s attack on Lebanon. It has rapidly evolved into a potent right-wing pressure group.

Its biggest success to date has been a campaign last year against Israeli human rights groups that assisted a United Nations inquiry led by Judge Richard Goldstone in investigating war crimes committed during Israel’s assault on Gaza in winter 2008-09. The human rights organizations are now facing possible government legislation to restrict their activities.

Im Tirtzu’s latest campaign, against what it calls “the reign of left-wing terror” in the education system, was backed by Saar during a parliamentary debate last month. He told MPs he took very seriously a report by the movement claiming that anti-Zionist professors have taken over university politics departments and are silencing right-wing colleagues and students.

Saar also warned that calls for boycotts against Israel were “impossible to accept” and that he was talking to higher education officials about taking “action” this summer, hinting that he would cut funds for the professors involved and their institutions.

Yossi Ben Artzi, the rector of Haifa University and the most senior university official to criticize Saar, warned him against “monitoring and denouncing” academics. He added that the Im Tirtzu report “smells of McCarthyism.”

The universities are already disturbed by a bill submitted by 25 MPs last month that would make it a criminal offense for Israelis to “initiate, encourage, or aid” a boycott against Israel and require them to pay compensation to those harmed by it.

The bill is likely to be treated sympathetically by the government, which is worried about the growing momentum of boycott drives both internationally and in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu has called the emergence of a boycott movement inside Israel a “national scandal.”

Gordon, who wrote a commentary in the Los Angeles Times a year ago supporting a boycott, said Im Tirtzu had contributed to a growing “atmosphere of violence” in the country and on campuses.

Hundreds of students at his university have staged demonstrations demanding his dismissal. He was also recently sent a letter from someone signing himself “Im Tirtzu” calling the professor a “traitor” and warning: “I will reach Ben Gurion [University] to kill you.”

Gordon said: “I have tenure and Im Tirtzu cannot easily get me fired. But they are trying to become the ‘guards at the gate’ to make sure other academics do not follow in my path.”

Only three Israeli academics have so far openly endorsed a boycott, he added, with many others fearful that they will be punished if they do so. But Im Tirtzu and its supporters were using the issue as a pretext for cracking down on academics critical of right-wing policy. He called Israel an increasingly “proto-fascist” state.

Gordon cited the recent case of Assaf Oren, a statistics lecturer and peace activist who had been told he was the leading candidate for a post in Ben Gurion’s industrial engineering department until right-wing groups launched a campaign against him.

In a further sign of what Prof. Gordon and others have labelled a McCarthyite climate, MPs in the parliamentary education committee — which has come to closely reflect Saar’s views — summoned for questioning two head teachers of prestigious schools after they criticized official policies.

One, Ram Cohen, has condemned Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians, while the other, Zeev Dagani, has spoken against the program to send army officers into classrooms to encourage pupils to enlist.

Dagani was the only head teacher in the 270 selected schools to reject the program, saying he opposed “the blurring of boundaries when officers come and teach the teachers how to educate.” He subsequently received a flood of death threats.

The education ministry has announced a new core curriculum subject of Jewish studies in schools that concentrates on nationalist and religious themes and is likely to be taught by private right-wing and settler organizations.

Avi Sagi, a philosopher at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, warned in the liberal Haaretz newspaper that the syllabus offered “an opening for dangerous indoctrination.”

A modern history curriculum published this month has been similarly criticized for leaving out study of the Oslo peace process and Palestinian politics.

Also in the sights of education officials are hundreds of Arab nursery schools, many of them established by the Islamic Movement. Zevulun Orlev, head of the education committee, has accused the schools of “poisoning the minds” of Arab children in Israel.

Saar appointed a special committee last month to inspect the schools and shut them down if they were found to be teaching “anti-Israel” material.

Arab MPs have called the claims “ridiculous,” pointing out that the schools were set up after the education ministry failed to build nursery schools in Arab communities.



a stark reminder of the privilege Jewish-Americans hold in our society and how racism against Arabs is an accepted part of our national discourse

A tale of two schools

by Alex Kane

When plans were announced in February 2007 to open the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), New York City’s first dual-language Arabic public school, ugly anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia reared its head.

Yesterday, the New York Times profiled a Brooklyn-based Hebrew language charter school.  There has been barely a peep about this school–a stark reminder of the privilege Jewish-Americans hold in our society and how racism against Arabs is an accepted part of our national discourse.

Here’s an excerpt from a great New York Times profile by Andrea Elliott of KGIA’s founding principal Debbie Almontaser about the concocted controversy:

In newspaper articles and Internet postings, on television and talk radio, Ms. Almontaser was branded a “radical,” a “jihadist” and a “9/11 denier.” She stood accused of harboring unpatriotic leanings and of secretly planning to proselytize her students. Despite Ms. Almontaser’s longstanding reputation as a Muslim moderate, her critics quickly succeeded in recasting her image.

The conflict tapped into a well of post-9/11 anxieties. But Ms. Almontaser’s downfall was not merely the result of a spontaneous outcry by concerned parents and neighborhood activists. It was also the work of a growing and organized movement to stop Muslim citizens who are seeking an expanded role in American public life. The fight against the school, participants in the effort say, was only an early skirmish in a broader, national struggle.

One of the more pernicious, and completely false, charges against KGIA was that the school had a political agenda to indoctrinate students to believe in “radical Islam.”

The Hebrew-language charter school, on the other hand, does have politics, namely Zionism, infused into it:

There are reminders of Israel everywhere — blue-and-white flags adorn the walls of one classroom, and another class often watches an Israeli children’s show. The students celebrated Israeli Independence Day this year. (In the parlance of 5- and 6-year-olds, the day was known as the country’s “62nd birthday,” and prompted a project of construction-paper birthday cards.)

Appeared AT


One question to the supporters of a ‘One State Solution’ for Israel/Palestine…. How do you expect Israelis and Palestinians to get along in one state when Israelis cannot even get along with each other?

If they want segregation between Jews of European decent and Jews of North African decent, can you imagine where Palestinians will wind up?

Think about it…..

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox protesters rallying in Bnei Brak for right of segregated Asheknazi-Sephardi education.
Photo by: Motti Milrod

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox rally for right to segregated education

Leading modern Orthodox rabbi urges religious Zionists not to support ‘racism’ of Ashkenazi parents who refused to let their daughters study with Mizrahi girls.

By Yair Ettinger

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox protesters gathered in Jerusalem and in Bnei Brak on Thursday to support the right of Ashkenazi Hasidic parents to keep their children in classes segregated from their Mizrahi peers.

Ultra-Orthodox officials made a last-ditch effort on Wednesday to keep parents in the settlement of Immanuel from being arrested and jailed for refusing to implement a High Court of Justice ruling requiring the Ashkenazi and Mizrahi girls to study in the same classes.

The parents were ordered to arrive at the Jerusalem police headquarters at 1 P.M. on Thursday to begin carrying out their prison terms. The court had initially scheduled the sentencing to begin at 12 P.M., but postponed the commencement due to the mass protests expected in the city.

The 43 families of the Ashkenazi girls seemed elated Wednesday by the prospect of their impending arrest and two-week jail term, which some called “a historic stand for the sanctification of the name of heaven.”

The police have given a permit for a 20,000-strong demonstration in Jerusalem, to be led by Ashkenazi Haredi political and religious leaders. Thousands more gathered in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv.

The numbers could far exceed the expected figure, though, to judge by the calls issued by heads of yeshivas and schools to cancel classes Thursday so students can attend the protest.

A leading spokesman of Israel’s modern Orthodox stream on Thursday urged religious Zionists not to take part in the mass protests, regardless of the political price they may pay in the future for refusing to support the movement.

“I cannot take part in the racism and discrimination that is taking place, which is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, who heads the joint army-yeshiva program in Petah Tikva.

Religious Zionism must “return to its historic role” and bring both sides to a compromise. “It’s impossible to claim that this is Jewish law or that it is sanctifying the name of God,” he said.

Even the spiritual leader of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has come out against the petitioners seeking integration. He said they should not have taken the matter to the courts.

Attempts to find a compromise were orchestrated Wednesday by former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who met in Jerusalem with the most prominent leader of the Ashkenazi community in the northern West Bank settlement of Immanuel – the Slonim grand rabbi, Shmuel Berezovsky.

Deri is focusing his efforts on assuring compliance with the 2009 High Court ruling requiring the ultra-Orthodox Beit Yaakov school in Immanuel to make sure the Mizrahi students study with their Ashkenazi peers. Most of the students are Ashkenazi.

The Ashkenazim have said they are not guilty of ethnic discrimination but are attempting to keep the Ashkenazi students from being influenced by those they consider to be less religious.

Some have been discussing the possibility of building another school in Immanuel for next year – the fourth for Haredi elementary-age girls – that would give parents the autonomy to decide who should study with whom. The High Court petitioners, chief among them Yoav Laloum, said they did not oppose the opening of another school, but the compromise has not really been embraced by all the parties involved.

Various political officials have been meeting in an effort to resolve the issue. MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism ) met Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman. Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman met with Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush is expected to meet Thursday with President Shimon Peres to ask him to pardon the parents.

The State Prosecutor’s Office might seek the arrest of only one parent rather than the whole group.

But even as politicians held talks in an effort to resolve the issue quietly, many Haredim were gearing up for the demonstration. On Wednesday, the Slonim beit midrash was full of people holding feverish conversations about Jews who died for the sanctification of God’s name, mixed with stories from the High Court.

A briefing was held at the Slonim beit midrash Wednesday for the parents expecting to be arrested for contempt of court. “Tomorrow we’ll all go to jail,” Yitzhak Weinberg, a spokesman for the parents, said to applause.

Weinberg announced Thursday’s protest schedule, including the busing of the Slonim Hasidim to Jerusalem to receive the grand rabbi’s blessing, demonstrations and activities for the children of parents who are expecting to go to jail. The 43 sets of parents plan to appear in their Sabbath finery for the arrest.

The protest in Bnei Brak will begin at 1 P.M., where a representative of the parents from Immanuel will speak. The main march will begin an hour later in Jerusalem and will go to police headquarters in the Russian Compound. Dozens of the pro-segregation parents are to stand on the pedestrian bridge over Jerusalem’s Bar Ilan Street wearing signs saying “prisoner sanctifying the name of heaven.”

Ads to appear in newspapers on Thursday will call on people to avoid violence. Yerah Tocker, a spokesman for the protest, said “avoiding violence is one of the main emphases of the organizers.”

“We want to protest the High Court ruling and declare that for all of us, in light of the ruling, Torah comes first,” he said.

Despite the pledges of non-violence, police are to deploy in large numbers in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, Immanuel and near Ma’asiyahu Prison, where apparently the fathers of the girls are to be taken, and Neveh Tirza Prison, where the mothers are to go.

Police also called on drivers to avoid the area of the demonstrations in Jerusalem on Yermiyahu, Bar Ilan, Shmuel Hanavi and Hanevi’im streets, and in the Russian Compound.

The Courts Administration on Wednesday beefed up security around Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, who headed the panel that ruled against the segregation. Levy, who wrote the sole dissent from the anti-segregation ruling, came out strongly against parents seeking rabbinic advice on the ruling. “No ruling of a court in general, or the High Court in particular, requires the authorization of any person, not even halakhic (Jewish law ) authority,” Levy said.

Wednesday for the first time since the segregation issue in Immanuel became public three years ago, Yosef said he was “very shocked” at the petition.

Shas chairman Eli Yishai met on Wednesday with Yosef, after which he said Yosef was “pained at the discrimination and also at turning to the courts and the High Court ruling.” He said it would have been better to deal with the issue “in pleasant ways” and insist on a solution out of court. Shas has not told its followers whether to take part in the demonstrations. However, this evening the Shas Council of Torah Sages is to hold a special meeting on the issue and will set its official position.

Rabbi Shimon Ba’adani is the spiritual leader of the Yemenite Jewish community in Immanuel, and all his daughters study in the Hasidic classes with mostly Ashkenazi girls.

The Shas position is very complex and not likely to win it many supporters in its community. One of the main reasons Shas has not expressed itself yet on the matter is because the elite Shas families, including the Yosef and Yishai families, send their girls to Ashkenazi schools.

Deri, a former Shas chairman, has been waiting a long time for the right moment to re-enter politics after serving time on corruption charges. On Wednesday he showed signs of moving in that direction. He told Haaretz the political system had to make decisions in the Immanuel affair and not let the courts intervene.

“The handwriting is on the wall. A terrible rift among the people,” Deri said. “There are ministers and deputy ministers. They should get together and go to the prime minister’s office and say, ‘Let’s solve the problem.'”

The Ashkenazi community is united in its support for the demonstration. Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv announced he was personally going to join the demonstration, as did the Gerer rebbe and other leading rabbis.

The Immanuel affair is the most dramatic state-religion clash to break out here. It is now no longer about the length of skirts of Beit Ya’akov students, or the autonomy of the education system, but a fundamental question of identity: Who will be king? Who will decide? Even the petitioners, Mizrahi Haredim, felt uncomfortable on Wednesday with the frontal clash between religion and state.

No less important, Levy proposed to the parents on Tuesday to sit at the table with the Education Ministry regarding a new school next year for Immanuel. That was the first time the High Court sent a hint to all parties not to oppose the opening of a school with more autonomy, albeit less state funding. This may mean that, at least for now, Ashkenazi rabbis won’t be instructing their followers to leave Immanuel.



We already have Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists. We certainly don’t need to have Muslim-Zionists as well.

We must not accept holocaust propaganda in our schools

Commentary by Khalid Amayreh

Some circles within UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, have been trying to introduce “the holocaust” into Palestinian school curricula in the Gaza Strip. In so doing, the organization is trying to appease certain Zionist-minded groups in North America, and to a lesser extent in Europe, which have been lambasting the UN body for “conditioning” the Palestinian school system to Arab ideological and political trends.

Needless to say, the rationale behind such calls for introducing the conspicuously controversial and highly-propagandistic subject into the world of Palestinian youngsters has very little to do with any educational merits. But it has every thing to do with a virulent Zionist propensity to brainwash Palestinians, particularly young generations, into accepting or at least understanding Zionism, a hateful fascist political ideology that has much in common with Nazism, both in terms of theory and practice.

Using the words of Gaza academic, Zionist supremacists would like to see Arab children taught, at least subconsciously, that the holocaust justifies the arrogation of Palestine by Zionism and that Arabs and Muslims would have to accept what the rest of the world has accepted, namely the Zionist narrative concerning certain events during the Second World War.

Well, the Zionists have stolen our ancestral land, destroyed our homes, and expelled the bulk of our people to the four corners of the world. Now, they are trying to rob us of our memories, falsify historical facts and obliterate our historical awareness by inculcating holocaust mythology into the minds of our kids.

They would like to convince us that the genocidal ethnic cleansing of our people at the hands of Ashkenazi terrorists was an act of charity, not a Nazi act par excellence.

They would like to make us shed tears for Jewish victims based on historical narratives that should be subjected to genuine academic scrutiny in order to ascertain its historical veracity or mendacity.

We, as Arabs and Muslims, certainly realize that Jews, many Jews, were killed unjustly at the hands of the Nazis between 1939-1945. We also heard, as others did, of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen Belsen, and other death camps.  And we are genuinely sorry for the death of innocent human beings, including Jews. After all, as many as 40 million people perished during that European war and all of them were bona fide human beings, equal in humanity. It was a European war, and to paraphrase Menachem Begin, it was Europeans killing Europeans. We Palestinians had nothing to do with it.

However, what we can’t understand is the repulsive and morbid utilization of these sorrowful events by Zionism in order to justify the slow-motion holocaust that has been meted out to the Palestinian people under the rubric of Jewish suffering.

Today, the shipyard dogs of Zionism bark uncontrollably every time the Zionist holocaust narrative is questioned, even by historians and academics. In some European countries, even raising an innocent question about the “ultimate taboo” is illegal. In short, one can critique and criticize any figure, including God, Jesus, and Muhammad, but should think a million times before even thinking of questioning the ultimate sacrosanct cow, the holocaust.

In Europe today, one can freely depict the Prophet Muhammad, who said all humans are as equal as a comb’s teeth, as a terrorist. Jesus, who said “the meek shall inherit the earth”, is depicted as a gay of salacious characters. Even the Almighty Himself is subject to all sorts of mockery and ridicule.

Only the holocaust is off limit to scrutiny.  It is the modern Golden Calf whose status is more inviolable than any other subject.

Needless to say, this taboo, a mantra whose invocation justifies every conceivable crime under the sun, must be crushed under our feet.

We certainly, don’t say that the memory of innocent Jews killed at the hands of the German Nazis ought to be discarded or violated due to the satanic behavior of the Zio-Nazis of our time, namely the criminal state of Israel.

However, the cheap and virulent exploitation by Zionism of the memories of Jews killed during the Second World War, must be publicized and denounced in the strongest terms.

This is not a legitimate identification with legitimate victims of fascism. After all, Jewish fascism is not really fit or morally equipped to challenge German fascism on the basis of moral criteria.

The Germans invented the master race slogan, the Zionists are invoking the “Chosen people.” The Germans spoke of Untermenschen and Ubermenschen whereas the Zionists speak in terms of Jews and Goyem. The Germans spoke of Lebensraum while Zionist Jews are insisting that “Jews have the right to live anywhere.” Here the allusion is clear, namely that Zionist Jews have the right to arrogate and steal land that belongs to another people.

In short, Zio-Nazism and German Nazism are more or less two sides of the same coin. They are very much like tweedledee and tweedledum.

A few days ago, the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International castigate western countries for keeping silent and doing nothing in the face of crimes against humanity committed by Europe’s nefarious brat, Israel.

Amnesty underscored Israeli crimes against the people of Gaza:

“Among other things, they carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians, targeted and killed medical staff, used Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields’, and indiscriminately fired white phosphorus over densely populated residential areas,” it added. “More than 1,380 Palestinians, including over 330 children and hundreds of other civilians, were killed.”

This disgraceful silence and inaction on the part of the Old Continent stems mainly from the so-called holocaust guilt.

This is why Europe, with the exception of a few courageous men and women who have an active moral conscience and who are willing to call the proverbial spade a spade even if they find it in Jewish hands, is allowing Israel to carry out genocide and ethnic cleansing against the helpless Palestinians, in order to escape the ever haunting charges of anti-Semitism. Yes, some European states have spoken a few words against the latest Zionist crime in high seas in the Eastern Mediterranean. But that is all.

Well, anti-Semitism is wrong, but so is the blind support of Zio-Nazism which the hateful entity known as Israel embodies and exemplifies.

It is for all these reasons that Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims all over the globe must refrain from introducing Zionist propaganda into our school systems.

We already have Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists. We certainly don’t need to have Muslim-Zionists as well.

We have been so tormented by these irredeemable liars, the world’s premier merchants of death and mendacity, so much so that we must be constantly vigilant in the face of   anything and everything they try to get us to do either directly or via international bodies such as UNRWA.

In the final analysis, UNRWA itself has no right to tell our children what to learn and what not to learn. According to its mandate, it has no political role to play. Its job is to facilitate, not indoctrinate.

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