Archives: April 2005
Sat Apr 30, 2005
Pressure Building Against British Academic Boycott
Counter actions possible in wake of targeting of two Israeli universities.
In an escalation of tensions between academics in England and Israel over Israeli treatment of Palestinians, the Anti-Defamation League is considering a call for a “counter boycott” of British universities after British university teachers announced a boycott of two Israeli universities, Bar-Ilan and Haifa.
Also, an adviser to the rector of Bar-Ilan University said he is recommending that the Israeli government and academicians ask American universities to suspend all relations with British universities.
“This is not just a matter between Israel and Great Britain,” said the adviser, Eytan Gilboa. “It is a violation of one of the basic rules of world academic conduct.” More...
Jury’s Out On AIPAC
Washington’s Mideast watchers are awaiting word from a federal grand jury that is reportedly looking into allegations that employees of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, illegally transferred sensitive documents to Israel.
But despite dramatic developments last week, there are few details; legal experts and Jewish activists close to AIPAC say it’s not even clear the alleged documents transfer is still the real target of the grand jury. More...
`And they were silent, and answered him not a word` (Isaiah 36:21)
`The looting will start immediately after the evacuation. One will take a window. Another will take a door.`
This racist and wicked statement, that was published a few days ago from the mouth of the one who stands at the head of the State of Israel, was intended purely as incitement and was meant to foment hatred and contempt towards those with whom the State of Israel is supposed to make real peace. To represent the Palestinians, the blood of whose children is splashed on every window and door in the criminal and redundant settlements that were set up on their stolen lands, to represent those victims as savages from the desert who will come to dismantle houses and loot windows and doors, just to make them into firewood, for they do not know the proper use of windows and doors – although they were the builders of all the Jewish settlements - is an expression of pure, benighted, dangerous racism, which the enlightened world cannot and must not tolerate any longer. In England a Member of Parliament who dared to say that the health system was collapsing under the burden of immigrants was dismissed, and the leader of the Tory party is being severely criticized because of racist statements against immigrants. However, not one of them dared to rise to the level of the racism and incitement of the Prime Minister of Israel. But this man, who has already floated the idea of a civil war that he evidently longs for, the man who has been stealing lands, looting property, ruining vineyards, uprooting orchards, who has killed and devastated and destroyed more than any other leader in the world today, has not been denounced for his words and obviously will not be brought to justice and will not be punished for his inflammatory words and many crimes. More...
It`s Not the Boycott, Stupid, It`s the Occupation
url for French translation of this article (by Uri Ram) quoted at the end.
The angry responses in Israel to the decision passed by the Association of University Lecturers in Britain to boycott two Israeli universities, Bar Ilan and Haifa, because of their acquiescence with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, have, as usual, succeeded in diverting attention from the main issue – the occupation, to the secondary issue of the boycott.
The deputy to the ambassador of Israel in Britain is quoted as saying that Jewish lecturers were not boycotted since Nazi Germany. Interesting; nobody mentioned a boycott of Jewish lecturers. Moreover, as far as there are `Jews` in this case, these are the Palestinians. Those who suffer daily from undifferentiating occupation, killing, destruction, confiscation and humiliation are the Palestinian residents; residents, not citizens, because the state dominating them does not grant them citizenship rights, barely human rights. More...
Boycott will do nothing to change Israeli policy
Site Editor's note: Kimmerling's position is typical of the Israeli left. No conceivable atrocity can ever justify doing anything to harm the interestes of academics, and particularly Israeli academics.
The Association of University Teachers voted last week to boycott two Israeli universities over their failure to speak out against their Government. Haifa University was accused of restricting the academic freedom of staff members critical of the Government, while Bar Ilan University was named because it has an affiliated college in the occupied West Bank.
The boycott, against "my" Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was dropped as delegates demanded more evidence for the allegation that it had evicted Palestinian families to build dormitories. This decision seems to be a kind of compromise between the Palestinian demands for a blanket boycott of all Israeli higher learning institutions and those who opposed them. However, even this compromise seems to me to be a wretched one and rooted not only in the misreading of the situation of the Israeli academy but also in a gross misunderstanding of the basic principles of academic life and freedom.
A boycott is a coercive and arrogant measure that should be excluded from the academic domain. It reveals a belief in the efficacy of force that is morally identical to the world-view that enabled Israel to oppress the Palestinian people and the Anglo-American troops to invade Iraq. To my knowledge, the AUT did not present a motion to boycott US or British institutions. More...
Thu Apr 28, 2005
Debate grows over Khalidi candidacy
The potential appointment of a professor embroiled in the controversy over Middle Eastern studies at Columbia has polarized some members of Princeton's Jewish community.
On Friday morning, Wilson School professor and Center for Jewish Life (CJL) board member Stanley Katz wrote a sharply critical email to Arlene Pedovitch '80, the CJL interim director, about her public comments regarding Rashid Khalidi.
Khalidi, director of Columbia's Middle East Institute and a prominent historian, is being considered for Princeton's new Robert Niehaus '78 chair in contemporary Middle East studies.
"In the first place, I don't think the CJL has or should have a position on an academic appointment in this university," said Katz, a former CJL board president. The message (full text), which was leaked to The New York Sun and quoted in a story Tuesday, was also addressed to Hank Farber GS '77, the current CJL board chair.
Last week, Pedovitch told The Daily Princetonian that alumni had complained to her about Khalidi's possible appointment, concerned about "hiring an individual who has a political agenda rather than a scholarly approach to history."
In his message, Katz wrote: "The difficulty, as even the benighted [Columbia president] Lee Bollinger has figured out, is with professors who do not distinguish their political agendas from their scholarship. Rashid has not done that in my view, and to suggest that he has, as Arlene is quoted as doing, is either inaccurate or politically motivated or both."
"If CJL wants to turn Princeton into Columbia, I want nothing more to do with it," he added.
Statewide Academic Union Calls for University of Wisconsin Israel Divestment
(Madison, WI- 04/27/05) – The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP) has adopted a resolution that calls on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to divest from companies that provide the Israeli Army with weapons, equipment, and supporting systems. TAUWP is a statewide local of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin representing faculty and academic staff from 25 University of Wisconsin campuses. The resolution was passed at the TAUWP delegate assembly on April 23rd by a vote of 24 to 2, with four abstentions.
Citing the precedent set by the University of Wisconsin’s elimination of investments in apartheid era South Africa, the resolution urged divestment from Boeing, Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon ‘based on evidence of the active role these companies play in enabling Israeli forces to engage in practices that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.’ The University of Wisconsin Trust Fund’s investments in the companies specified by the resolution exceed $3.8 Million.
The resolution is part of The University of Wisconsin Divest from Israel Campaign, a project led by Al-Awda Wisconsin (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) and Alternative Palestinian Agenda in partnership with several local social justice, student, and community organizations. The campaign gained significant momentum when the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville passed a similar resolution at it’s regular meeting on January 25th 2005. The UW-Platteville senate became the first University faculty body in the United States to adopt a resolution calling for divestment from companies providing material aid to Israel. A similar resolution was adopted by the Teaching Assistant Association and called on the Board of Regents to divest from weapon manufacturers. More...
Wed Apr 27, 2005
Hypocrisy of the liberals
Last week the union of British university lecturers imposed an academic boycott on two Israeli universities, as a means of pressure and punishment for "Israel's war crimes." After a debate inside the British academy, which has gone on since the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, a compromise was reached and the decision was made to make do with only two Israeli universities. The University of Haifa was chosen because of the baseless reason that it is harassing leftist Dr. Ilan Pappe (who continues working, teaching and conducting research at the university), and Bar-Ilan University was chosen because it provides academic support to the college in Ariel.
A boycott that is truly academic
If a boycott of Israel is ever to work, it must broaden its appeal, not narrow its ambitions
The word "academic", when attached to words such as purely, strictly or highly, seems to emphasise the supposed irrelevance of the cloistered, intellectual, life. When coupled to the word "boycott", though, the opposite effect is achieved. By contrast - to me, anyway - an academic boycott sounds blunter, more serious, more desperate than any other sort of boycott.
The phrase conjures up horrible visions, of bonfires of vanities, of book burnings, and of the persecution of heretics. A sanction against the free exchange of thoughts and ideas is a sobering sanction indeed, a closing of human minds to other human minds, a withdrawal of civilised discourse and a denial of the idea that fully shared and freely exchanged knowledge should be a universal human goal. Heavens, the implication runs, if even the academics are taking direct, practical, personal action against something, then matters must be serious indeed. More...
Tue Apr 26, 2005
You brought the boycott upon yourselves: Gush Shalom letter to Bar Ilan University
Tel-Aviv, April 26, 2005
Professor Moshe Kaveh
Bar Ilan University
In various media interviews today you expressed anger at the decision of British university lecturers to declare a boycott against the Bar-Ilan University, calling it "an unacceptable mixing of politics into academic life". When asked about the "Judea and Samaria College" which your university maintains at the settlement of Ariel, you stated that this was "an entirely non-political issue" and that said college was nothing more than "the largest of five colleges which Bar Ilan maintains at different locations in Israel". Indeed, you declared yourself and your colleagues to be proud of the decision to establish the Ariel college, and you felt no contradiction between continuing to maintain that college, at the investment of a considerable part of Bar Ilan's total resources, and the maintenance of extensive ties with universities worldwide, including in Britain.
As an example you mentioned your own ties as a physicist with Cambridge University and your plans to spend some time at Cambridge this summer - plans which, as you stated, remain unchanged also in the wake of the British lecturers' decision.
Surely, a person of your intelligence and experience can be expected to note the obvious contradictions in the above position. As you well know, Ariel is not "a location in Israel". Rather, Ariel is a location in a territory under military occupation, a territory which is not and has never been part of the state of Israel. Moreover, Ariel is a special kind of location: it is an armed enclave, created by armed force and dependent for its continued existence on force, and force alone. More...
Haifa University president calls on dissident academic to resign
Haifa University President Aharon Ben-Ze'ev called on Dr. Ilan Pappe, a staff member who supports the academic boycott on Israeli universities, to tender his resignation. "It is fitting for someone who calls for a boycott of his university to apply the boycott himself," Ben-Ze'ev said yesterday.
Ben-Ze'ev said the university management would not boycott Pappe nor would it take disciplinary steps against him, because boycotts destroy academic freedom. But he said Pappe's behavior was "intolerable from a moral point of view," and that he should therefore decide to leave of his own accord. More...
The Disengaged: Gaza and the fragmentation of Palestinian Nationhood
Shortly before midnight on July 22nd, 2002 I heard an unusually loud roar from an aircraft flying low above the skies of Gaza City. Because the sound of Israeli warplanes is commonplace in the area, I didn`t feel particularly alarmed and went to sleep as usual. I was awakened less than a half hour later by a call on my cell phone: An F-16 fighter jet had just dropped a one-ton bomb on an apartment building in one of Gaza City`s poorest and most crowded neighborhoods, about 15 minutes from where I lived.
Ambulances, fire fighters and the press were already on the scene. Salah Shehadeh, leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, was dead. So were 14 others, we learned later on, most of them women and children. Later that morning, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would proclaim this event “one of [Israel`s] greatest successes.” I wandered through the wreckage of the bombing the following afternoon, practically numb to what I was seeing, what struck me most was that I could have been almost anywhere in the Occupied Territories: Jenin, Ramallah, Khan Yunis, Rafah… The familiarity of the destruction was, for me, the most disturbing thing because it had begun to symbolize the success of a much greater goal: the fragmentation of Palestinian nationhood into ruined, localized identities. As the popularity of Hamas continues to rise and the media blindly herald the coming “disengagement” from Gaza, I remember the freshly painted graffiti on a wall near the site of the blasted-away building that hot July day. “This is the Israeli Peace,” it declared.
The head of the Israeli Air Force, the man who ordered the bombing, was Major General Dan Halutz. In an interview nearly a month later, when asked about charges that he was a war criminal who should be tried at The Hague, Halutz commented, “[W] e operate according to an extremely high moral code. And since that is what guides us, I don`t think that there is any court to which we have to give an accounting…. Personally, I have a deep feeling of justice and morality. And as for how I feel - I feel just fine, thank you. I really meant it when I told the pilots that I sleep very well.” More...
Mon Apr 25, 2005
Israeli universities reject UK boycott
Two Israeli universities targeted in a boycott by Britain's biggest teachers union have condemned the decision, calling it shameful and a blow to academic freedom.
Bar-Ilan and Haifa university officials said on Monday they did not expect the boycott call by the 40,000-member Association of University Teachers (AUT) to have any immediate effect.
Nonetheless, they said they would fight the decision and called on the worldwide academic community to reject it. More...
Middle East Wars Hit Princeton
A prominent professor of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia University is up for a professorship at Princeton University — and the controversy over his work and his views could follow him.
Rashid Khalidi is currently the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia. Many scholars in his field consider Khalidi an outstanding, influential scholar. He has been at Columbia only a short time, after being wooed there from the University of Chicago. Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan, said in an e-mail interview this weekend that Khalidi was “a giant in the study of the modern Middle East” who has “used archival sources and the best of criticial theory to rethink the history of Arab and Palestinian nationalism.”
But pro-Israel groups have denounced his work for several years, arguing that his Palestinian sympathies distort his scholarship. More...
Legal warnings over Israeli boycott
The head of the lecturers' union which last week launched an academic boycott of two Israeli universities has appealed to members not to begin the boycott until they have received advice on how to do so without breaking the law.
In her first public comments since delegates at the union's annual conference in Eastbourne last Friday narrowly voted to back the boycott, Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the Association of University Teachers (AUT), said: "The national executive will issue guidance to local associations on the implementation of the boycotts of the two Israeli universities in due course.
"Until this guidance is issued, it is stressed that members should be advised to not take any action in relation to a boycott which would place them in breach of their contract of employment."
The Guardian has reported increasing concerns about the legality of a boycott against academics working in Israeli universities. More...
Sun Apr 24, 2005
Diary of an American martyr inspires a young audience in theatre's hit play
She was the young American with blond hair whose death became an unlikely but powerful political symbol for the troubles of Palestine.
Now Rachel Corrie, crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip two years ago, has caught the imagination of a fresh audience as her life story emerges as one of the most sought-after theatre tickets in the country. More...
Why Israel will always be vilified
Last Friday saw two examples of intelligent people behaving in a futile way. The first was the decision by the US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, to seek the death penalty for would-be suicide terrorist, Zacharias Moussaoui. Not only does such a sentence confer on Moussaoui precisely the heroic end that he was seeking (did Gonzales never read Brer Rabbit?), but it would also deprive the authorities of a potentially valuable source of information and psychological insight. All it does is make some Americans feel better.
And then there was the decision of the Association of University Teachers council in Eastbourne to boycott two (perhaps three) Israeli universities, the futility of which I now hope to prove. More...
Israeli army 'lied' about Miller death
Leaked report returns Gaza Strip death of British film-maker to the spotlight
Israeli soldiers stand accused this weekend of 'lying' and tampering with evidence in an attempt to obstruct an inquiry by military prosecutors into the death of British film-maker James Miller, according to internal army documents seen by The Observer.
A 79-page report by the chief lawyer of the Israeli army's southern command into the shooting of Miller in the Gaza Strip details how soldiers questioned over the killing changed earlier testimonies. The version of events offered by the soldier originally implicated in the shooting, identified only as Second Lieutenant H, were so contradictory that his accounts were described in the report as coming 'full circle'.
'Evidence shows that Second Lieutenant H heard his soldiers lying in their testimonies during the investigation, and unfortunately did not mention that fact to his commanders, that his soldiers are giving them details that are not true,' the report says.
In addition, the report alleges the barrel of the rifle understood to have been used in the shooting two years ago was changed. Rifles submitted as part of the investigation could not have been those used in the shooting because it was 'impossible' that bullets found at the scene in Rafah belonged to the weapons surrendered, adds the report. More...
Sat Apr 23, 2005
Lecturers to vote on boycott of three Israeli universities
Lecturers from Britain's leading universities will cast their votes today in a poll that threatens to split the academic world.
They will vote whether to boycott three Israeli universities because of their alleged backing of government action in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Union delegates will also decide whether to circulate a call from Palestinian academics and intellectuals for a blanket boycott of all Israeli academics unless they condemn the Israeli government's treatment of the Palestinians. More...
Lecturers to boycott two Israeli universities
University lecturers have voted to boycott two of Israel's eight universities over their alleged complicity with Israeli persecution of Palestinians.
The Association of University Teachers voted to sever links with Haifa University and Bar Ilan University, accusing them of colluding in a system of "apartheid" that victimised Palestinians and anyone who opposed the Israeli state.
There were cheers as the two motions were passed. But the 200-strong audience rejected a call to boycott the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is accused of demolishing Palestinian homes in order to expand its campus. Delegates instead voted for a decision to be postponed to allow for an investigation.
Lecturers vote to boycott Israeli universities
A leading union voted yesterday to boycott two Israeli universities which it accused of being complicit in the abuse of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The Association of University Teachers voted to sever links with Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities, and said it would consider boycotting a third. More...
Fri Apr 22, 2005
The new McCarthyism
A witch hunt against a Columbia professor, and the New York Times' disgraceful support for it, represent the gravest threat to academic freedom in decades.
A member of the U.S. Congress calls for an assistant professor at a major university to be summarily fired. The right-wing tabloid press runs a series of vicious attacks on him, often misquoting him and perpetuating previous misquotes. Opinion pieces attacking "tenured radicals" and questioning professors' patriotism use him as their centerpiece. All of these attacks are spurred by a propaganda film made by an advocacy group, in which anonymous accusations are made and the professor is not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
It is not 1953, the Congress member is not Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and the professor is not being accused of being a communist. No, it is 2005, the Congress member is Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and the professor is being accused of being anti-Israel.
The lesson for academics, and American society as a whole: McCarthyism is unacceptable except when criticism of Israel is involved. More...
Israel 'shocked' at BBC reporter award
sraeli officials expressed dismay this week that BBC reporter Orla Guerin, who has come under sharp attack for what some perceive as an anti-Israeli bias in her coverage, will receive an MBE honor from the British government for "outstanding service to broadcasting."
Diaspora Affairs Minister Natan Sharansky, who last year wrote a formal letter of complaint to the BBC over Guerin's coverage, said it is a pity that a lack of anti-Semitism was not a criterion for the award. More...
PRESS RELEASE: PUTTING THE ISRAEL BOYCOTT ON THE AGENDA
The Association of University Teachers (AUT) in the UK voted in its Council meeting today to boycott Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities and to disseminate to all its chapters our Call for Boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This historic decision, which sets a landmark precedent, stands as a major achievement in the struggle to attain a just peace in our region. Finally, boycotting Israeli institutions, as a morally and politically sound response to Israel’s crimes, is on the mainstream agenda in the west; and no one can ignore it now.
For years, Israeli academics have by and large served in the occupation army, thereby participating in, or at least witnessing, crimes committed on a daily basis against the civilian population of Palestine. They have hardly ever publicly denounced Israel's occupation, its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens, or its adamant denial of the internationally-sanctioned rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties. This constitutes collusion. More...
Academics back Israeli boycotts
Academics have voted to boycott two Israeli universities over their alleged involvement in "illegal activity" in the occupied territories.
Members of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) decided to suspend all links with Haifa and Bar-Ilan universities.
They were complicit in a system of "apartheid" towards Palestinians, delegates at the AUT's council heard. More...
Lecturer defends Israeli boycott plan on eve of vote
The woman behind a divisive vote today to boycott Israeli universities has brushed aside criticism of the proposals, saying it is impossible to treat that country's academics as "normal citizens from a normal state".
Sue Blackwell, a Birmingham lecturer, who is launching her second attempt to secure a national boycott of Israeli academia, said that, if successful, the move would increase the pressure on the "illegitimate state of Israel". She accused the country's universities of being complicit in the alleged abuse of Palestinians in the occupied territories. More...
Thu Apr 21, 2005
Academic boycott hot topic in UK
A heated debate has developed this week surrounding new British motions to boycott Israeli academics, which will be voted on this Friday at the annual meeting of the UK's Association of University Teachers (AUT).
The meeting of the association's ruling council opened in Eastbourne in southeast England on Wednesday. More...
Wed Apr 20, 2005
To boldly go
Haifa University academic Ilan Pappe is one of the few Israelis supporting the university boycott of Israel. Here he explains
I appeal to you today to be part of a historical movement and moment that may bring an end to more than a century of colonisation, occupation and dispossession of Palestinians. I appeal to you as an Israeli Jew, who for years wished, and looked, for other ways to bring an end to the evil perpetrated against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, inside Israel and in the refugee camps. I devoted all my adult life, with others, creating a substantial peace movement inside Israel, in which, so we hoped, academia will play a leading role. But after 37 years of endless brutal and callous oppression of the people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and after 57 years of colonisation and dispossession of the Palestinians as a whole, I think this hope is unrealistic and other means have to be looked at to end a conflict that endangers peace in the world at large. More...
Why we ask for a boycott
The statements against the proposed academic boycott of Israeli universities (Letters, April 19) miss the clear analogy between Israel's apartheid system and South Africa's. Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has recently drawn similarities between the two, calling for boycotts against Israel. In South Africa's case, the UN established a regime of sanctions that eventually ended apartheid. Academics, athletes, artists and business people were all subject to boycott then, and British academics and intellectuals played a distinguished role in those campaigns. More...
Tue Apr 19, 2005
Israeli college boycott debated
Leading figures working in higher education have set out their opposition to a proposed boycott of Israeli universities in protest at the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
In today's Guardian, academics put their name to letters expressing concern at plans to boycott three of Israel's eight universities because of their alleged complicity with government policies towards the territories.
The Association of University Lecturers (AUT) is to vote on Friday on the proposal when it will also discuss plans to ostracise Israeli academics who refuse to condemn their government's actions. More...
Don't boycott us, plead Israeli academics
sraeli academics are appealing to members of the Association of University Teachers not to back an academic boycott of a number of their institutions.
The AUT is due to vote on Friday on whether to boycott the Hebrew University, Bar Ilans University and Haifa University, in protest over their government's actions against Palestinians, and the universities' alleged complicity in elements of that.
The forthcoming vote at the AUT's annual conference in Eastbourne has already sparked controversy in the UK and abroad.
After the proposal was first reported in the Guardian two weeks ago, details were published in Israeli national newspapers and debated in TV news programmes. More...
Mon Apr 18, 2005
Realities and Roots of Pro-Israeli Harassment at Columbia University
Introduction by M. Junaid Alam
Readers who have been following the attacks on Arab professors at Columbia University may have read my recent investigative article on the subject. The piece elicited many positive responses, including from Columbia staff and students. One such respondent was a recent European graduate who shared some startling revelations about the university's real atmosphere. Relating his experience below, and using the pseudonym "Mark Roberts" to avoid the kind of vicious attacks Zionist groups are notorious for, he describes how Zionist students have attacked Muslims inside and outside the classroom, and exposes the heavily pro-Israel nature of Columbia Law School. He then explains in detail how this comprises merely one part of a broader campaign of attacks on intellectual freedom and Palestinian rights on campuses across the country. In fact, the broad outlines of his account have been confirmed by Columbia's Ad Hoc Grievenace Committee. Tasked with investigating the claims of anti-Semitism in the department, the panel found the claims untrue - but noted several instances of harassment in the University mounted by Zionist students themselves. More...
Sun Apr 17, 2005
De-Colonization through Academic Engagement?: The Blurred Vision of Al-Quds University’s Administration
Rebuttal by Prominent Palestinian academics and intellectuals of the Statement  issued by Al-Quds University’s administration regarding Joint Palestinian-Israeli academic projects:
We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, both in the diaspora and inside the occupied Palestinian territories, believe that the recent public statement issued by the administration of Al-Quds University depicting calls for boycotts and other punitive measures against Israel as indications of “blindness and deafness” and defending its “vision” of ending oppression and injustice through scientific “engagement” with Israelis is seriously flawed, both morally and politically.
First, the University administration claims that ending Israel’s illegal occupation would require “winning over” Israelis, not pressuring them. It explicitly attacks attempts to apply pressure on Israel in any form as counterproductive, since “Israel’s posture towards us can only be transformed from the inside.” This “vision” is clearly ahistoric as it ignores the accumulated experience of liberation movements around the world. When did a colonized nation succeed in winning its emancipation without considerable international pressure on the colonizing power? The issue is not whether Israel can change “from within;” it is how to bring about such a change in a society and state founded in a moment of colonial aggression and characterized by a deep-seated refusal to acknowledge the illegality and inadmissibility of ruling over and controlling the destiny of another people. In view of the obvious imbalance in power between the oppressed and the oppressors in the Palestinian case, international pressure becomes an essential ingredient in bringing an end to injustice and oppression. The success of the international campaign to end apartheid in South Africa through sanctions, boycotts, and other punitive measures is a case in point. More...
Models of Occupation: Israel is the Key to Bush's Iraq Strategy
Israel is the key to understanding President Bush's strategy in Iraq. Not because it had any influence over the decision-making process leading to the 2nd Gulf War, but because the current Administration has adopted the "democratic occupation" model that Israel introduced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
After the eruption of the first Palestinian Intifada in December 1987, Israel had to deploy a relatively large number of troops aided by tanks and armored vehicles to sustain the occupation -- exactly as the US is now doing in Iraq. This transformed the Israeli occupation from an economically profitable enterprise into a financial liability, leading Israel to come up with the ingenious idea of outsourcing the responsibility for the population while continuing to control the natural resources -- in this case land and water. More...
The Road to Rendition: Torture Air, Incorporated
A sleek Gulfstream V jet with the tail number N379P has racked up more international miles than most passenger jets. Since October 2001, this plane has been spotted in some of the world's most exotic and forbidding airports: Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Karachi, Pakistan, Baku, Azerbaijan, Baghdad, Iraq, and Rabat, Morocco.
It has also frequently landed at Dulles International, outside Washington, DC and enjoys clearance to land at US military air bases in Scotland, Cyprus and Frankfurt, Germany. Observers around the world have noticed men in hoods and chains being taken on and off the jet. More...
Sat Apr 16, 2005
Taking Stands - Not Sides
When, if ever, is a boycott justified? What are the practical and moral criteria that determine when the time has come? Patrick Bateson, professor of ethology and provost of King's College, Cambridge University explains his own position.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict worsened, Hilary and Steven Rose, she professor of social policy at Bradford University, he professor of biology at the Open University, wrote to a large number of friends and colleagues asking whether they would put their names to a letter recommending a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
My own feeling was that Israeli reprisals against the Palestinians after the suicide bomb attacks, dealt with the symptoms rather than the causes of the violence. It is nave of the most passionate advocates of 'the war against terror' to suppose that Israel can kill the Hydra by chopping off one of its heads, and implausible that Israel will ever achieve the Herculean task without generating ten more heads for every one destroyed.
Before the country has alienated all its friends, leaving itself in a more perilous position than if it had attempted to deal with the major sources of discontent, Israel would benefit from a thorough analysis of why it has stirred up so much hatred. More...
[Site Editor's Comment: another racist contribution from the Zionist lobby]
Pay attention, Professor. If you support the proposed academic boycott of Israel — and if you are to remain intellectually honest — prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computer. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television set. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phone. Excellent. You see, Professor, these machines are not only the engine of the globalised, capitalist world but they also depend on technologies that have been produced by Israeli academics in the Zionist entity.
Stop playing with your detached mouse, Professor, and concentrate. I’m afraid you may not use the British Library because it has been computerised by Ex Libris, a Zionist company that was spawned by the odious Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And if, God forbid, you develop problems of the small intestine, you may not pop the Zionist-invented ‘video capsule’, which passes naturally through your body as it monitors this delicate piece of your anatomy. You will, sadly, have to take it up the derrière, Professor. As a matter of principle, of course. But remember: your principle allows your proctologist to keep his hand in.
All this boycotting, you see, is the logical extension of proposed academic sanctions against Israel by some members of your Association of University Teachers (AUT) when they meet in Eastbourne next Wednesday. Just visit the website of Egyptian-born Mona Baker of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. She set the standard by firing two Israeli scholars from the boards of her translation journals as a matter of high academic principle. More...
Fri Apr 15, 2005
Undermining Civil Society: David Horowitz's Corrosive Projects
"A smear is among the simplest of propaganda techniques. It can take the form of repeated, unapologetic, systematic name-calling, or otherwise implying or asserting that opponents are bad, evil, stupid, untrustworthy, guilty of reprehensible acts, or part of some undesirable category.
A smear might be conducted subtly or vaguely so the target cannot seek legal action against a slander or libel, which must be specific and believable to be legally actionable. False implications can be masked by otherwise truthful statements."
In a democratic and civil society, one expects a free exchange of ideas, respect for the opinion of others, and it is taken for granted that all members of society are able to air their views without fear. It is also assumed that most members of the society have the potential to remain well informed . Without this basis, the notion that a society can make the least-worst collective decisions or retain a modicum of civility will be undermined.
Although the United States used to trumpet the glory of its democracy and the related freedoms, it is disconcerting to find many developments that are hostile to the aforementioned assumptions. All of the following are detrimental to a civil society: truculent right-wing radio-talk shows, the sensationalist Springer-type talk shows, Fox News, , and David Horowitz's projects. This article examines the pernicious nature of some of Horowitz's projects, and it attempts to explain what role they may play in the United States today. An evaluation of these projects should also put into context Horowitz's campaign for an "academic bill of rights". More...
Academic Boycott and the Israeli Left
Some of the most committed Israeli opponents of their state's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian territories have recently expressed serious reservations about, if not strident opposition to, the Palestinian call for boycott** of Israel's academic and cultural institutions. We think that their concerns are worth addressing.
Almost all of the publicized reservations we have seen are prefaced with moral support for the right of Palestinians to resist the occupation -- non-violently, most would write -- even by calling for boycotts to achieve that goal. A common theme in their antagonism to the academic boycott, however, is the pragmatic consideration that such a boycott may be "counterproductive" in the struggle to end the occupation. They allow themselves to raise this objection because they regard themselves as partners of Palestinians in the anti-occupation camp, not as outsiders patronizing us. In some cases, this premise is valid. Most of the time, however, it is not. Israelis who arrogate to themselves the exclusive right to arbitrate every issue dealing with the Palestinians ought to think twice about their self-appointed role as sole licensers of the form the anti-occupation struggle should take. More...
The New York Times Supports Thought Control: The Massad Case
The New York Times has never been a very courageous newspaper in times of political hysteria and civil liberties threats. When Bertrand Russell was denied the right to fill his appointment at CCNY in 1940, following an ugly campaign by a rightwing Catholic faction opposed to his positions on divorce and marriage, the paper not only failed to defend him, its belated editorial called the appointment “impolitic and unwise” and criticized him for not withdrawing when the going got hot (“The Russell Case,” April 20, 1940). Russell pointed out in a published reply something the editors had missed: that there was a serious matter of principle at stake; that a withdrawal would have been “cowardly and selfish” and would have “tacitly assented to the proposition…that substantial groups should be allowed to drive out of public office individuals whose opinions, race or nationality they find repugnant” (April 26, 1940).
During the McCarthy era also the Times failed to stand by its ex-Communist employees who were willing to tell all to the Times officials, but not turn informers. They were fired, and in its news and editorials the paper failed to oppose the witchhunt with vigor and on the basis of principle. Publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger himself wrote an editorial assailing the use of the Fifth Amendment in appearances before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities (August 6, 1948). More...
Why do they collaborate?
The following paradox never ceases to amaze me:
Why do mainstream Israelis collaborate with the Occupation? Most of them are unenthusiastic about the settlement enterprise. You may often hear from them “I do not support the settlers”… “I would gladly give up the Territories for peace”. And while nationalist hype exists in Israel, it is limited. During the first two years of this Intifada I accompanied Palestinians in need of treatment to Israeli hospitals. Once they managed to get there, a considerable number of Israelis tried hard to help them. In everyday situation you can find much decency, generosity, tolerance and human warmth in Israel.
And yet the sons of these same people serve in the army, endanger their lives in the Occupied Territories, and shoot at Palestinians when ordered to. More...
Sat Apr 09, 2005
New York Times joins witch-hunt of Columbia University professors
In its lead editorial on April 7 (“Intimidation at Columbia”), the New York Times issued an extraordinary attack on academic freedom, calling for Columbia University to crack down on professors who give “politicized courses.”
The newspaper urged the university to take action against professors in its Middle Eastern and East Asian Languages and Culture (MEALC) department who are critical of the policies of Israel—in effect, sanctioning a purge of the department. More...
Bollinger Vows ‘Overhaul’ Of Grievance Process
Columbia president says he’ll revamp procedures for student complaints; committee chair defends panel as Jewish students charge ‘whitewash.’
Reacting quickly to a Columbia University committee report which found little evidence that professors in the Middle East studies department had intimidated pro-Israel students but sharply criticized the university’s grievance procedure, President Lee Bollinger vowed this week a “complete overhaul” of the process by which students register complaints against faculty members.
In an interview with The Jewish Week Monday, Bollinger said that within the next several days he would announce the formation of a process to begin revamping the grievance procedures. More...
Fri Apr 08, 2005
At the Center of an Academic Storm, a Lesson in Calm
IF intimidation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, Joseph A. Massad, the Columbia University professor implicated last week by a faculty panel investigating charges of intimidation of students by pro-Palestinian professors, is apparently on his best behavior as he sits on his spotless microsuede sofa a stone's throw from the campus where his classroom conduct has been denounced as "inappropriate." And where he has received hate e-mail, including this advice from a fellow faculty member: "Go back to Arab land where Jew hating is condoned. You are a disgrace and a pathetic typical Arab liar."
Not a nice thing to say to a Christian fellow who began holding Seders as an undergraduate in Albuquerque (he had a Jewish roommate). More...
Conservative 'Academic Bill of Rights' campaign challenges teaching evolution in colleges
Urged on by conservative provocateur David Horowitz, lawmakers in several states are pushing legislation requiring unprecedented government oversight of teaching on college campuses.
In Florida last week, a key legislative committee approved the so-called “Academic Bill of Rights" in an 8 to 2 vote. The decision came after the bill's Republican sponsor inveighed against "leftist totalitarianism" among professors, which he said had led to conservative students losing their academic freedom.
If passed by the full legislature, the bill would potentially allow students in Florida to sue if they feel that a university is not providing "balanced exposure to significant theories and thoughtful viewpoints." Another clause restricts the ability of professors to introduce "controversial material" into the classroom. More...
Thu Apr 07, 2005
Israel’s Strategic Advantage Inspires Creation of Middle East Center at Brandeis
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
Israel has the undisputed strategic advantage in the Middle East. So now that Israelis feel more secure it’s time to talk peace, seemed to be the underlying message delivered by Shai Feldman, the director of Brandeis University’s new $25 million Crown Center for Middle East Studies. It was the second day of the opening conference and time to talk Turkey and Iraq and Iran, Syria and of course of the Israeli Disengagement Plan and a certain something called the Palestinian Israeli conflict.
British lecturers renew call to boycott Israeli academics
The leading union of British lecturers may boycott Israeli academics who refuse to condemn their government's policies in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday.
The Association of University Teachers' annual council, which convenes on April 20, will debate whether to boycott three of Israel's eight universities - the University of Haifa, Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - over their alleged complicity with the government's policies on the territories, the paper wrote. More...
Wed Apr 06, 2005
EI EXCLUSIVE: Joseph Massad's response to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report
In late 2004, claims of intimidation in the department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) of Columbia University hit newspapers around the world after an unreleased documentary, "Columbia Unbecoming", which purported to reveal incidences of intimidation and anti-Semitism in the classroom. The primary target of the organized campaign was Professor Joseph Massad. Columbia University ultimately formed an ad hoc committee to investigate, which released its report on 31 March 2005. Joseph Massad responds to the report.
Response to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report
The Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report suffers from major logical flaws, undefended conclusions, inconsistencies, and clear bias in favor of the witch-hunt that has targeted me for over three years. Despite these major limitations, the report acknowledges that there has been an organized attempt by internal and external forces to intimidate faculty at Columbia and that I have been the central target of this attempt. In the following, I will point out the most glaring flaws in the report to illustrate that not only was the committee illegitimate, but that it has also produced a report that is not defended by argument, facts, or proof.
I should reiterate that I do not recognize the legitimacy of the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee established by the Columbia administration, as I consider it an instrument in the ongoing campaign to suppress academic freedom on this campus. This is so because the charge of the committee ignored the central question of the intimidation of faculty by other faculty, by students, by administrators, and by forces from outside the university. I told this to the members of the committee when I met with them on March 14th and clarified to them that I had acquiesced in appearing before them out of a combined sense of obligation and intimidation. It is this sense that motivates my response to the report that the committee released on March 28. More...
The New PC
The Yale student did not like what he heard. Sociologists derided religion and economists damned corporations. One professor pre-emptively rejected the suggestion that "workers on public relief be denied the franchise." "I propose, simply, to expose," wrote the young author in a booklong denunciation, one of "the most extraordinary incongruities of our time. Under the "protective label 'academic freedom,'" the institution that derives its "moral and financial support from Christian individualists then addresses itself to the task of persuading the sons of these supporters to be atheistic socialists."
For William F. Buckley Jr., author of the 1951 polemic God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of "Academic Freedom" and a founder of modern American conservatism, the solution to this scandal was straightforward: Fire the wanton professors. No freedom would be abridged. The socialist professor could "seek employment at a college that was interested in propagating socialism." None around? No problem. The market has spoken. The good professor can retool or move on. More...
Tue Apr 05, 2005
PM extends law meant to maintain Jewish demographic edge
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided Monday to extend a temporary law preventing Palestinian spouses of Israelis from becoming Israeli citizens.
"There's no need to hide behind security arguments," Sharon said at a meeting in his bureau attended by the justice and interior ministers, the national security adviser and the head of the Shin Bet security service. "There is a need for the existence of a Jewish state."
Sharon's decision, which ratifies the recommendations of the National Security Council, extends a temporary law from 2003 that bars Palestinians from qualifying for citizenship under the family unification principle and prevents foreign residents, including Palestinians, from receiving legal resident or citizen status in Israel by virtue of being married to Israeli citizens. More...
Israel plans to dump tons of garbage in the W. Bank
For the first time since 1967, Israel has decided to transfer garbage beyond the Green Line and dump it in the West Bank.
The project was launched despite international treaties prohibiting an occupying state from making use of occupied territory unless it benefits the local population.
In addition, pollution experts say such use of the Kedumim quarry - located in an old Palestinian quarry between the Kedumim settlement and Nablus - will jeopardize Palestinian water sources. More...
Boycott call resurfaces
The campaign by some academics against Israeli universites will intensify at the Association of University Teachers' annual council this month. Polly Curtis reports
Every day, all over the world, thousands of bundles of research grant applications make their way by airmail from author to funding council to academic reviewer and back again. Some are successful, while others, frustratingly, are not. To be reviewed, to review, or even just to be asked, can be an honour. But when the Israel Science Foundation, the biggest government funder of Israeli research, approaches a European academic there is a political cloud hanging over the process. More...
Lecturers may boycott Israeli academics
State's policy in occupied territories fuels union debate
Israeli academics who refuse to condemn their government's actions in the occupied territories risk a boycott by the UK's leading lecturers' union.
The Association of University Teachers' annual council, which begins on April 20 in Eastbourne, will also debate whether to boycott three of Israel's eight universities - Haifa University, Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - over their alleged complicity with the government's policies on the Palestinian territories.
Sat Apr 02, 2005
Anti-Islamic Crusade Gets Organized
Daniel Pipes, the founder of the Middle East Forum and an anti-Islamist activist, is working to organize a new policy institute, which will be called the Anti-Islamist Institute (AII). According to Pipes, “In the long term ... the legal activities of Islamists pose as much or even a greater set of challenges than the illegal ones.” His new institute will expose legal “political activities” of “Islamists,” such as “prohibiting families from sending pork or pork by-products to U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq,” according to the draft of a grant proposal by Pipes' Middle East Forum (MEF).
Pipes is also working with Stephen Schwartz on a new “Center for Islamic Pluralism” (CIP) whose aims are to “promote moderate Islam in the U.S. and globally” and “to oppose the influence of militant Islam, and, in particular, the Saudi-funded Wahhabi sect of Islam, among American Muslims, in the America media, in American education ... and with U.S. governmental bodies...”
Schwartz, a former Trotskyite militant who became a Sufi Muslim in 1997, has received seed money from MEF, which is also accepting contributions on CIP's behalf until the government gives it tax-exempt legal status. More...
Mubarak may be scheming but the taboos are falling
On February 26, speaking at a rally with university students in his hometown of Menufiyya, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would ask Parliament to amend the Constitution to allow for direct election of the president with multiple candidates. "I took the reins of this initiative in order to start a new era on the path of reform," Mubarak said.
Since he became president in 1981 after the assassination of former President Anwar al-Sadat, Mubarak has been re-elected four times through the referendum system laid out in Article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution. Under this system, Parliament endorses with a two-thirds majority a single candidate, who then must be approved by a majority in a "yes or no" popular referendum. Mubarak has always won with at least 95 percent of votes.
The announcement was certainly a public-relations coup. Local television channels carried live coverage of the event throughout the day, showing footage of jubilant pundits and members of Parliament. For several days, the local and international media buzzed about the psychological barrier that Egypt's president had broken. Observers such as the eminent political scientist Osama al-Ghazali Harb, a member of the reformist coterie around presidential scion Gamal Mubarak, even spoke of the beginnings of a "second Egyptian Republic." More...
Statement to the Ad Hoc Committee
I have prepared a statement to read to you. I would be happy to answer your questions afterwards. Before I begin, however, I want to ascertain that as professor Katzneslson has informed me, the only complaints that your committee has heard about me are the two complaints that the press reported from my students, namely the complaint by Noah Liben and the complaint by Deena Shanker. As for the complaint by Tomy Schoenfeld, who was not my student, I presume, his case is irrelevant to this body, as your mandate states that “as a result of the expression of concern by a number of students that they were being intimidated by faculty members and being excluded from participating fully in classroom discussions because of their views,” you are expected “to identify cases where there appear to be violations of the obligation to create a civil and tolerant teaching environment.”2 If there are any other complaints against me, unless I am told what they are and who made them, and the date and place where they allegedly took place, I shall not respond to them.
I appear before you today because of a campaign of intimidation to which I have been subjected for over three years. While this campaign was started by certain members of the Columbia faculty, and by outside forces using some of my students as conduits, it soon expanded to include members of the Columbia administration, the rightwing tabloid press, the Israeli press, and more locally the Columbia Spectator. Much of this preceded the David Project film “Columbia Unbecoming,” and the ensuing controversy. In the following statement, I will provide you with the history of this coordinated campaign, including the facts pertaining to the intimidation to which I am being subjected by the Columbia University administration, most manifestly through the convening of your own committee before which I appear today out of a combined sense of intimidation and obligation and not because I recognize its legitimacy. You need to bear with the details of the following narrative, as the campaign of intimidation against me is most insidious in its details.
Fri Apr 01, 2005
Can a “Patriotic” Mob Take Over the Universities?
In the American academy, there is currently an organized campaign by some public figures to vilify prominent researchers and departments that are regarded as “anti-American” or even as “anti-Semitic” because their research and teaching are not in accordance with the views of the recent American administration. Universities are especially at risk if their faculty members are of Arab or -- even “worse” -- of Palestinian origin. The recent scandalous decision of the New York City Department of Education to bar Rashid Khalidi, one of Columbia University’s finest scholars, from instructing public school teachers is an example of this effort. Indeed Khalidi, a first-rate academic and a genuine intellectual, has often spoken of both the discriminatory laws within Israel that favor Jews and of the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories, facts that no honest and informed person would contest. One the other hand, he has consistently condemned suicide bombings as "war crimes," while asserting the right of Palestinians to resist the occupation without harming Israeli civilians. Many Jewish intellectuals in Israel and around the world share these completely legitimate opinions. More...