Archives: March 2005
Thu Mar 31, 2005
Israel honors Egyptian spies 50 years after fiasco
After half a century of reticence and recrimination, Israel on Wednesday honored nine Egyptian Jews recruited as agents-provocateur in what became one of the worst intelligence bungles in the country's history.
Israel was at war with Egypt when it hatched a plan in 1954 to ruin its rapprochement with the United States and Britain by firebombing sites frequented by foreigners in Cairo and Alexandria.
But Israeli hoped the attacks, which caused no casualties, would be blamed on local insurgents collapsed when the young Zionist bombers were caught and confessed at public trials. Two were hanged. The rest served jail terms and emigrated to Israel. More...
Churchill Wars Continue
Both Ward Churchill and one of his legislative critics compared the University of Colorado to an asylum this weekend — showing that the debate over the controversial professor has not been put to rest by a university review released Thursday.
Churchill says that the new investigation requested by the review — this time an inquiry into whether he engaged in plagiarism and other forms of research misconduct — is unfair. In a speech in San Francisco Friday night, he said that the new investigation at Colorado, which will examine among other things his claims of being an American Indian, was befitting to a “lunatic asylum,” and he vowed not to cooperate with the investigation, according to a report in The Rocky Mountain News. More...
Columbia Panel Reports No Proof of Anti-Semitism
An ad hoc faculty committee charged with investigating complaints that pro-Israel Jewish students were harassed by pro-Palestinian professors at Columbia University said it had found one instance in which a professor "exceeded commonly accepted bounds" of behavior when he became angry at a student who he believed was defending Israel's conduct toward Palestinians.
But the report, obtained by The New York Times and scheduled for release today, said it had found "no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic."
It did, however, describe a broader environment of incivility on campus, with pro-Israel students disrupting lectures on Middle Eastern studies and some faculty members feeling that they were being spied on. More...
Mon Mar 28, 2005
Columbia Chief Tackles Dispute Over Professors
Faced with complaints that Columbia University has tolerated anti-Semitism and intimidation in its Middle East studies classes, Columbia's president said last night that academic freedom has some limits when it comes to the classroom and the broader educational experience.
"We should not elevate our autonomy as individual faculty members above every other value," the president, Lee C. Bollinger, said in a speech to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Professors, he said, have a responsibility "to resist the allure of certitude, the temptation to use the podium as an ideological platform, to indoctrinate a captive audience, to play favorites with the like-minded and silence the others."
His remarks came as Columbia awaits the report of an internal committee set up to investigate charges by some pro-Israeli students that they had been intimidated in classes by pro-Palestinian professors in the department of Middle Eastern and Asian languages and cultures and outside the classroom as well. They also said that this occurred for several years and that Columbia had not taken their charges seriously. More...
Letter to London School of Economics
Important Letter from Palestinian Organisations to London School of Economics
Professor Mary Kaldor
Professor David Held
Centre for the Study of Global Governance
London School of Economics
27 March 2005
Dear Professors Kaldor and Held,
We are writing to you to voice our profound concern about a project for which your Centre has provided support, mainly through the administration of the Irfan Ali Mowjee Memorial Award and the partnership with Growing Sustainable Peace, the Jerusalem-based organisation sponsoring the project. Moreover, Professor Kaldor is listed as an advisor to Growing Sustainable Peace.
We, Palestinian organisations active in environmental work and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) believe that the project, entitled “Water Conservation, Conflict Resolution, and Renewable Energy in the West Bank,” is seriously flawed and particularly ill conceived and timed. The project aims to “introduce innovative environmental technology to Palestinian small-scale farmers affected by the Separation Barrier. In addition to its environmental goals, the GSP aims to engender trust and empower all the parties involved-key building blocks to conflict resolution.” More...
Egypt - on the road to democracy?
Although recent events in Lebanon have captured the imagination of the world's press, events of perhaps greater significance are unfolding in Egypt, where President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak's government has recently conceded limited constitutional change in the face of a growing protest movement. On 20th March - coinciding with the international protests against the Iraq war - there will be a demonstration in Cairo called by the Popular Movement for Change, under the slogans: "Against the US invasion of Iraq, against despotism, against corruption in the regime and against impoverishing millions of Egyptians." More...
Sun Mar 27, 2005
'Socially Responsible' Fund Cuts Starbucks
SEATTLE - A mutual fund company that invests only in businesses it deems socially responsible has dropped Starbucks Corp., citing the coffee giant's launch of a java liqueur with whiskey maker Jim Beam.
Pax World Funds, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based fund family, steers clear of companies involved in defense or weapons, tobacco, liquor or gambling. It sold 375,000 shares of Starbucks worth an estimated $23.4 million, about 1.6 percent of its Pax World Balanced Fund portfolio, the fund said in a statement released Wednesday. More...
Faculty Revolt Is Brewing at Columbia
A faculty rebellion is brewing at Columbia University against President Lee Bollinger over his handling of the university's investigation into the conduct of professors in the Middle East studies department.
Leading the way is a former provost of the university, Jonathan Cole, who in a speech on Tuesday night before a restive gathering of professors and students strongly suggested that Mr. Bollinger wasn't doing enough to defend faculty members from accusations that they have intimidated Jewish students.
Speaking for almost an hour and drawing applause from the audience, which included some of the scholars under investigation, Mr. Cole said in no uncertain terms that Columbia is under attack by what he described as outside political forces. More...
Sat Mar 26, 2005
I'm a scholar not a terrorist
The experience of a history professor refused entry to the US under new anti-terror laws is a blow to all those who support the free exchange of ideas, says Toby Muse More...
Fri Mar 25, 2005
THE ISRAELI LEFT IS OPTING FOR SUICIDE
To judge by the political discourse, being a leftist today means supporting Sharon. Even when his government decides yet again to postpone the evacuation of the illegal outposts to an unknown future date, the pundits explain that the mere fact that he even raised the matter for discussion in the government is indicative of the seriousness of his intentions. Sharon will evacuate Gaza first, they say, and afterwards the outposts, and in the end maybe even the West Bank. And those who most believe that Sharon will dismantle settlements are the parties of the Left. On what basis?
Sharon is known as a man who has not always told the truth. At the time of the Lebanon war, he succeeded in concealing his plan even from the then-Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. He has no problem making promises and then not fulfilling. For three years now he has been promising the US that he will immediately evacuate at least the outposts that were created during his current term as Prime Minister. So what? - He can always propose a new commitment that would postpone the realization of the previous one. Why should the Gaza “Disengagement” be any different? The answer that the Right and the Left agree on is that this time Sharon has changed. That is an interesting answer in the realm of psychology. But what confirmation does it have in the realm of facts? It is much easier at the present to imagine many scenarios in which there will not be any evacuation of settlements in July, than the one in which there will be an evacuation. More...
Wed Mar 23, 2005
Israeli Settlers Poison Palestinian Land and Sheep
For Immediate Release
Sheep are ill and dying on the day following the discovery of poison pellets on the land outside the Palestinian town of At-Tuwani adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma'on. Two sheep are dead and others are ill. The amount of sheep affected remains unknown. Palestinians have also found two dead gazelles in the area. Villagers fear that a well has been contaminated. The poisoning is yet another incident in a pattern of attacks in this area.
Early Tuesday morning March 22, a Palestinian shepherd from At-Tuwani discovered poison pellets spread over the hillside outside the town in the South Hebron Hills. The turquoise blue pellets appear to be barley soaked with rodent poison. At least 30 dunams of land is affected and the villagers fear that the poison may be in other areas as well. The Israeli police were called upon discovery of the poison. The villagers were informed by the police that an investigator from the settlement of Ma'on has been assigned to the case. More...
Tue Mar 22, 2005
Embattled professor won't back down
BOULDER, Colorado (AP) -- Stacks of papers sit on a sun-drenched table in the home of University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, some full of praise and others full of dark threats and unprintable insults.
In one message, liberal scholar Noam Chomsky calls Churchill's achievements of inestimable value, while an e-mail in another pile warns: "If you ever come to Florida, I will personally bash your (expletive) brains in." More...
Academic Integrity Travestied at Columbia Middle East Studies Conference
On Sunday, March 6, Columbia University hosted a conference called "The Middle East and Academic Integrity on the American Campus." Despite its repeated and advertised calls for "balance" and "objectivity" in academic scholarship, the gathering exemplified nothing of academic integrity. The conference was sponsored by U.S. organizations which support the Israeli right wing, including Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Columbians for Academic Freedom, The David Project, Jewish Business Student Association, and Koleinu: Columbia Law Students for Israel, and all participants hailed solely from the political Right on the issue of Israel/Palestine. Each presentation expressed support for U.S. and Israeli military manipulation of the Middle East as well as for anti-Arab racism and legislation that would censor dissenting speech, deemed "oppressive" and "antisemitic," in both the academic and public spheres.
The merging of a neoconservative agenda with the language of liberation is disconcerting, to say the least: it places a blatant bid to foster the idea that neoconservatives, who openly seek to mold the world into a mirror-image of an oligarchic U.S., are in fact "progressives." The best and most incendiary example of this was the presentation by Phyllis Chesler, a recognized feminist best known for her 1972 book, "Women and Madness," and more recently the author of the neoconservative "The New Anti-Semitism," a book that charges all critics of Israel with being antisemites. Chesler starred at the "Academic Integrity" conference, emphasizing her feminism while decrying "multiculturalist" insistence on equality for Palestinian women. Insisting that she is feminist, anti-racist, and pro-gay, Chesler then declared herself (and the audience) victims of that purported majority of feminists, African Americans, and gays whose propensity to question her pro-Likud views belies as self-serving, she claimed, their status as alienated, struggling, and deserving of sympathy from the U.S. mainstream, and whose movements should now be monitored for undue influence. Chesler and subsequent speakers related this phenomenon to the situation of Palestinians, who were likewise accused of exploiting their status as occupied to wring unwarranted sympathy from Americans, while marginalizing Jews. More...
Letting Israel Sell Itself
A new poll on the attitudes of American Jews had some disturbing, if not surprising results. The poll is the work of Professor Steven M. Cohen of the Melton Center at the Hebrew University.*
Cohen is the most distinguished pollster specializing in Jewish attitudes and, accordingly, his polls are always eagerly awaited in the community. Cohen polls affect the programs and policies of Jewish organizations and one can expect his latest findings to resonate for a long time.
Basically Cohen’s survey finds that the attachment of American Jews to Israel has fallen dramatically over the past two years while other measures of Jewish identification – religious observance and organizational affiliation – have remained steady. More...
Sun Mar 20, 2005
Speech on International Women`s Day at the EU Parliment, in a debate about violence against women
International Women`s day, The European Parliament, Strasbourg, 8.3.2005
Thank you for inviting me to this day. It is always an honour and a pleasure to be here, among you.
However, I must admit I believe you should have invited a Palestinian woman at my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in my county are the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my speech to Miriam R`aban and her husband Kamal, from Bet Lahiya in the Gazza strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking strawberries at the family`s strawberry field. No one will ever stand trial for this murder.
When I asked the people who invited me here why wouldn’t they invite a Palestinian woman the answer was that it would make the discussion too localized.
I don’t know what is non-localized violence. Racism and discrimination may be theoretical concepts and universal phenomena but their impact is always local, and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse, torture and death, are all very local, and so are the scars.
It is true unfortunately, that the local violence inflicted on Palestinian women by the government of Israel and the Israeli army, has expanded around the globe, In fact state violence and army violence, individual and collective violence, are the lot of Muslim women today, not only in Palestine but wherever the enlightened western world is setting its big imperialistic foot. It is violence which is hardly ever addressed and which is halfheartedly condoned by most people in Europe and in the USA.
This is because the so-called free world is afraid of the Muslim womb. More...
Thu Mar 17, 2005
Irish soccer should show Israeli Apartheid the Red Card
Boycott the Ireland-Israel football matches
On 26 March 2005, Ireland is due to play Israel in Tel Aviv, as part of the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), supported by the Movement against Israeli Apartheid, is calling on the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and on Irish players and supporters to boycott this match in protest against Israel's continued refusal to respect Palestinian rights and International law. Show your support for justice and human rights by staying at home on March 26. Do the same when the Israeli team comes to Dublin on 4 June. Show Israeli Apartheid the red card!
Impact of Israeli Apartheid on Palestinian football
While Israeli sportsmen and women travel freely around the world, the Palestinian team has to surmount a labyrinth of checkpoints and border crossings just to play their "home" matches overseas. With no decent pitches on which to train and a suspended national league, their success in getting to the preliminary qualifiers cannot be overstated. Furthermore, Israeli authorities regularly prevent Palestinian players from attending international games. In September 2004, five players were prevented from travelling to the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. Unable to play in Palestine, the team travels to Doha, Qatar, for "home" games and trains in Ismailia, Egypt, more than 100 miles from the local Gaza players' homes. More...
Wed Mar 16, 2005
Israel: A Call for Divestment
T he assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has led to an explosion of "people power" in the streets of Beirut, in which hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens have called for an end to Syria's occupation of their land. These calls have been celebrated and echoed in other capitals, and nowhere more so than in Washington. However, there is another area in the Middle East where a struggle to end foreign occupation has brought the natives only death and destruction. For decades, Israel has crushed the 3.5 million Palestinians living under military domination, beating them into submission while taking away their civil rights and their land.
As an Israeli Jew committed to peace for Israel and our neighbors, I was shocked and disgusted by the recent terror attack in Tel Aviv, which took the lives of innocent Jews. Such acts of terror have made headlines and been rightfully condemned by the international community. However, deadly Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians have not received significant press attention in the West or led to appropriate, decisive international action. For decades the Israeli army, equipped with US arms and technology, has killed, maimed, beaten and tortured tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians. Evidently, in the eyes of the West the people power of Palestinians does not count. More...
Tue Mar 15, 2005
U.S.: Israel broke promise to set settlement boundaries
Israel has still not kept a promise that it made the United States last April to demarcate the built-up areas of every West Bank settlement, for the purpose of setting limits on the settlements' growth. As a result, the U.S. has halted the work of the Israeli-American task force that was supposed to deal with this issue. More...
Mon Mar 14, 2005
Questionnaire on Joint Projects with Israeli Academic Institutions: Results
Towards the end of the first semester of the academic year 2004-2005, the Union of Teachers and Employees of Al-Quds University conducted a survey of opinions of a representative sample of teachers and employees regarding normalization with Israeli academic institutions, particularly since joint Palestinian-Israeli academic collaboration has been the source of considerable controversy among Palestinian and international academics. The survey sample comprised 184 academic and administrative staff members.
Those surveyed were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the following statements on joint Palestinian-Israeli academic projects: More...
Thu Mar 10, 2005
It is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East
For weeks a western chorus has been celebrating a new dawn of Middle Eastern freedom, allegedly triggered by the Iraq war. Tony Blair hailed a "ripple of change", encouraged by the US and Britain, that was bringing democracy to benighted Muslim lands.
First the Palestinians, then the Iraqis have finally had a chance to choose their leaders, it is said, courtesy of western intervention, while dictatorships such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are democratising under American pressure. And then in Lebanon, as if on cue, last month's assassination of the former prime minister triggered a wave of street protests against Syria's military presence that brought down the pro-Damascus government in short order. More...
Wed Mar 09, 2005
Press Release: Outcry at Expulsion of Gaza Students from the West Bank
Israel forcibly removed four Palestinian students from their studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank and illegally deported them to the Gaza Strip last November. The four Gazan students were not accused of any offence and their forced expulsion is being seen as part of Israel’s plan to impose a final separation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Students Appeal, launched by the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University, has growing international support from parliamentarians, human rights organizations, trade unions, and some 1000 letters and signatures from academics, students and other concerned individuals around the world. More...
Mon Mar 07, 2005
The meaning of Calm: Relativity, LA Times Style
Well, I just got hung up on again. This time by an editor on the Los Angeles Times foreign desk. He didn’t give me his name.
I had called and attempted, as politely as possible, to give him a correction for the story on the Times’ website tonight. This will probably be their front-page lead news story tomorrow morning.
The trouble is, their headline and lead paragraph are just plain wrong. And now, of course, they’ll stay wrong in the paper tomorrow. More...
When Academic Freedom Is Kicked Out of Class
New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein should pay a visit to the City University of New York Graduate Center this week to see a telling and chillingly timely exhibit called "Activism and Repression: The Struggle for Free Speech at CCNY, 1931-42," which closes March 6. Contemplating this chronicle of shameful blacklists against City College teachers with dissenting political views might help him recognize the imprudence of his recent decision to summarily exclude a Columbia University professor from participating in teaching-development workshops on the Middle East. Klein announced the ban in the wake of allegations that the professor, Rashid Khalidi, had made statements harshly critical of Israel. More...
Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon
The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.
"I am deeply concerned about the ethical aspects of this research," says Andrew Rice, a consultant in pain medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, UK. "Even if the use of temporary severe pain can be justified as a restraining measure, which I do not believe it can, the long-term physical and psychological effects are unknown." More...
Sun Mar 06, 2005
Churchill Defends 9/11-nazi Link
Ward Churchill was defiant. He was bold. He was passionate.
And he spent the better part of his 75-minute speech here defending controversial comments he made in a 3-year-old essay that has ignited a national firestorm in the past month.
The University of Colorado-Boulder professor of ethnic studies deconstructed the oft-quoted line in which he compared the "technocrats" who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, to Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann.
"I've got 24 books in print, 70 book chapters, about 100 journal articles, introductions, prefaces.... Of that, we are focused now on one less-than-20-page essay and within that essay, one phrase," he told a rapt capacity crowd of about 550 in UW-Whitewater's Hamilton Center. More...
Between South Africa and Israel: UNESCO's Double-Standards
AN OPEN LETTER TO UNESCO
Mr Koichiro Matsuura,
Director-General of UNESCO
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France
2 March 2005
Dear Mr. Matsuura,
On behalf of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), we are writing to express our deep concern about UNESCO's recent support for establishing a joint Palestinian-Israeli scientific organization, which in our view marks a serious setback to the cause of just peace in Palestine.
Under the noble aim of the World Science Day to "help focus the attention of young people on science and how its goals are congruent with their own aspirations," another message, which is subtle, yet highly damaging politically, is being communicated. Through supporting the establishment of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO), UNESCO is actually placing itself at odds with the decision of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education which has repeatedly rejected "technical and scientific cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli universities." This move also conflicts with the Palestinian call for boycotting Israeli academic institutions which was endorsed by tens of the most important unions, associations and organizations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities' Professors and Employees. Furthermore, by blessing IPSO, UNESCO is providing an international cover for a thinly veiled Israeli attempt to improve its image in the world and its status in UN organizations without having to comply with international law, which calls for an end to its illegal occupation, among other forms of its oppression against the people of Palestine. More...
Sports boycott in Ireland: Show Israeli Apartheid the Red Card!
The Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has launched calls for a sports boycott of Israel, as its national team look set to take on the Apartheid state in the qualifying stages of the World Cup.
Activists from the Republic of Ireland, a country with its own struggle against colonialism, note how Israel’s participation in the Cup serves to legitimise the occupation and daily war crimes against the Palestinian people. They have called upon the Irish team to take the moral initiative against Apartheid Israel, engaging in a similar strategy used to isolate the equally racist regime of South Africa in the 1980s. More...
Wounded Italian Journalist Recalls Ordeal
ROME - The freed Italian hostage wounded by American troops at a checkpoint in Baghdad shortly after her release said in an article Sunday that her Iraqi captors had warned her U.S. forces "might intervene."
Giuliana Sgrena, who writes for the communist newspaper Il Manifesto, described how she was wounded and Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was killed as she was celebrating her freedom on the way to the airport. The shooting Friday has fueled anti-American sentiment in a country where people are deeply opposed to U.S. policy in Iraq. More...
Fri Mar 04, 2005
Demand Investigation into Israeli Killing of Professor and Son
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
Amr Salah, a United States citizen living in Massachusetts asks for your help in demanding a formal investigation into the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of 1,000 Israeli troops. Dr. Khalid Salah, age 51, and his 16 year old son, Mohammed were shot and killed by Israeli Defense Forces on July 6, 2004 in their home in the city of Nablus in the Israeli Occupied West Bank. Throughout the hours of assault the Salahs were huddled together in a corner of the apartment, contacting relatives on a mobile phone for help. Despite an urgent call to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, Consul General David Pearce nor anyone else at the consulate intervened.
Sharon is war criminal says Livingstone
Ken Livingstone has reignited his dispute with Britain's Jewish leaders by launching a provocative attack on the "war criminal" Ariel Sharon.
In a riposte to criticism from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London mayor accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and said its prime minister should be imprisoned. He also accused Israel of demonising Muslims.
Writing in the Guardian, he again rejected accusations of anti-semitism arising from his confrontation two weeks ago with the Jewish newspaper reporter he likened to a German concentration camp guard.
But while stressing his steadfast opposition to racism and his regard for the Jewish people, he accused Israel of spreading misinformation about the scale of anti-semitism in Europe, and seeking to silence critics by calling them anti-semitic. More...
This is about Israel, not anti-semitism
Not to speak out against this injustice would not only be wrong. It would ignore the threat it poses to us all
Racism is a uniquely reactionary ideology, used to justify the greatest crimes in history - the slave trade, the extermination of all original inhabitants of the Caribbean, the elimination of every native inhabitant of Tasmania, apartheid. The Holocaust was the ultimate, "industrialised" expression of racist barbarity.
Racism serves as the cutting edge of the most reactionary movements. An ideology that starts by declaring one human being inferior to another is the slope whose end is at Auschwitz. That is why I detest racism.
No serious commentator has argued that my comments to an Evening Standard reporter outside City Hall last month were anti-semitic. So I am glad that Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, accepted on these pages that "Ken is sincere when he states that he regards the Holocaust as the worst crime of the last century". More...
Thu Mar 03, 2005
U. Senate Meets, Responds to MEALAC Debate
The University Senate returned to its discussion of improving Columbia’s grievance procedures on Friday in response to the ongoing MEALAC controversy, but it began with President Bollinger’s first public criticism of the New York City Department of Education’s recent dismissal of Rashid Khalidi from a program for secondary school teachers on instruction about the Middle East. More...