Showing posts with label students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label students. Show all posts

Monday, July 16, 2012

Silencing pro-Palestinian voices on US Campuses

Remi Kanazi is a poet, writer, and author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine. He will be performing at our National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University so register today!  

On July 9, 2012, the University of California's Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion presented its fact-finding report and recommendations on Jewish Student Campus Climate. According to a letter written by UC President Mark Yudof, the report was launched
in response to the 2010 Berkeley student government vote to divest from companies selling weapons to the Israeli military and the 2010 UC Irvine protest against Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. 

The "climate report" was tasked with "fact-finding about the challenges and positive campus experiences of Jewish students at UC and to identify steps needed to make campuses more inclusive and welcoming for Jewish students." The council also presented a fact-finding report on Muslim and Arab Student Campus Climate. 


From the outset, the Jewish Student Campus Climate report focuses on non-violent protests and speeches critical of Israel, a state in clear violation of international law, not anti-Jewish bigotry. In fact, nearly 50 per cent of the report (excluding the introduction and recommendations) covered "the Anti-Zionism/Anti-Israel Movement and its Impact on Climate." 


Specifically, the use of the words "ethnic cleansing" and "apartheid" to describe Israel's policies are presented as problematic, while anti-Zionism and the
Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel are referred to as "manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment on campus." 

What is the definition of "anti-Israel?" We are never told. Imagine a UC report referring to protests against the war on Iraq as "manifestations of anti-American sentiment on campus." One of the three key demands in the BDS call is equality for all Palestinians living inside the state of Israel. Imagine referring to the Montgomery Bus Boycott as an "anti-American" period in our history. 


The report further presents Palestine Awareness Week as a "negative experience" for Jewish students, a framing that disregards the viewpoints of many Jewish students involved in organizing and planning the event. 


Israeli apartheid 


When asked about his reaction to the report, UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) member Rahim Kurwa said, "it reflects an attempt to put the brakes on campus discussion that is rapidly shifting from whether Israel is practicing apartheid to what we should be doing about it, namely divesting from companies profiting off of Israeli apartheid." 


Another extremely troubling aspect of the report is the clear conflict of interest of one its two advisory council members: Richard D Barton. Barton is the National Education Chair of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organisation
infamous for smearing groups working on Palestinian rights and for attacking American Jews who don't fit within their narrow ideological framework

Under its "
Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America", the ADL lists SJP, Jewish Voice for Peace, a national organisation with more than 100,000 members that "believes that peace in the Middle East will be achieved through justice and full equality for both Palestinians and Israelis", and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition boasting 380 member organisations, including California-based Jewish groups such as LA Jews for Peace and the Tikkun Community. 

It is important to note that SJP, a campus group that often bears the brunt of attacks from right-wing, pro-Israel outside agitators, clearly states on its
website that it "categorically opposes any form of prejudice or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation." 

The choice of Barton is not without consequence. While UC students have
consistently complained that anti-Semitism is cast about to stifle critique of Israel’s policies, the council members dismiss their concerns that "the charge of anti-Semitism is used in a manner to suppress that criticism." 

Continue Reading on Al Jazeera

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dozens of US Campaign Member Groups Participate in 2012 Israeli Apartheid Week!

Two weeks ago, activists from US Campaign member groups and other organizations joined organizers in 115 cities worldwide for the 8th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW)!

From Olympia, WA to New Brunswick, NJ; from Burlington to Boston; US Campaign member groups in more than a dozen U.S. cities held IAW actions and events during the global week of action to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid state and to build campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Exposing Israel's apartheid policies and challenging corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation are central to the US Campaign's mission of ending U.S. institutional support for the Israeli occupation and promoting freedom, justice, and equality.

The actions -- including guerrilla theater, mock walls, mock checkpoints, new billboards, walk-outs, and street theater -- and participating cities are too many to name here. (For a complete list of participating cities and their activities, visit the official IAW website.)

Here is just a small sampling of some of the inspiring, creative actions and events by US Campaign coalition member groups and others around the country:




Above: Students at Antioch University set up a mock checkpoint with signs reading "Palestinians Stop" and "Israelis (and everyone else) Pass."

Students at Antioch University in Seattle and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley erected mock Israeli checkpoints, while students at Boston University, Brandeis University, Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania, and beyond constructed mock Israeli apartheid walls on their campuses.

At the University of Minnesota, Students for Justice in Palestine joined community members working on the Minnesota Break the Bonds campaign at a "Visualizing Inequality" event, where they served different sides of the room a different quality and quantity of food to represent the inequality of resources and quality of life between Israeli and Palestinian families under Israel's apartheid laws.

Students at UCLA and UC Irvine staged peaceful and powerful walk-outs from presentations by Israeli soldiers organized to counter IAW.




Above: Click to view a marching band, mock wall, and street theater protesting Batsheva Dance Co.

More than a hundred activists protested performances by the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company in San Francisco and New York City with banners, guerrilla theater, marching bands and street theater, calling attention to the dance troupe's role in the Brand Israel campaign to whitewash Israeli apartheid.

The Seattle Middle East Awareness Campaign launched a series of advertisements on local King County Metro buses with billboards calling for equal rights for Palestinians.

These actions came on the heels of film screenings, protests, panel discussions, and so much more that happened across the country earlier this month.

But it's not over yet! If your US Campaign member group did not get to take part in IAW, or if you want to build on your IAW activities, remember that the Global BDS Day of Action is right around the corner on March 30th, Palestinian Land Day!

This year, Land Day happens to fall on César Chávez Day, commemorating the late American farmworker and civil rights activist. This coincidence presents a wonderful opportunity for US Campaign organizations to connect the struggles and tactics (including boycotts) of farmers and workers who have advocated for justice from grape orchards in the United States to olive groves in Palestine.

Click here for more information and ideas for taking action on Land Day, and be sure to send the US Campaign your photos, links, videos, and reports back!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hands Not Bombs: From the cave of your invented neighbors

The following was written by former US Campaign intern Tamara Masri. It appeared yesterday (Martin Luther King, Jr., Day) on 972mag.com.

“Dare to look for the handprints, dare to acknowledge the humanity of an invented people.” A Palestinian-American student, writer and activist takes a journey of discovery, in an essay inspired by the culture and literature of liberation, an ancient symbol, and a prehistoric cranium.
The author against a mural she painted on the separation wall.
"Do not take the sun out of my palm," it reads.
By Tamara Masri
January 16, 2012
+972 Blog


Skulls of early man flashed across the screen. Dr. Bailey looked at no notes as he described the anatomical features of the ancient cranium. “Female Neanderthal found in Mt. Taboun, Israel”.. For the first time in my Biological Anthropology class, I felt a small jolt in my gut. Until that moment, the babble and jargon revolving around some chick named Lucy had flooded my head with a kind of collegiate wonder. Like the unfamiliar New England snow, the names given to the various early stages of man wafted around and settled within me. The exact location of the Garden of Eden no longer seemed to matter. Though every concept Dr. Bailey spoke was completely foreign to me, it was not the word Neanderthal that had gotten my attention. It was the fact that I had never heard of a place called Mt. Taboun. For Dr. Bailey, the name of the site might have been as dry as the bones unearthed there. But for me the word hung in the air like a piece of ripe fruit, forbidden fruit, and the Mitochondrial Eve within me was reaching for it. Forbidden, that is, for a Palestinian.

Dr. Bailey continued, now speaking of cave paintings found around the world. He was explaining how early man pressed their palms against cave walls; blowing red ochre around the outline of their hands. He raised his own hand slowly, revealing an open palm. “Hands. Why have we always been so fascinated by them?” Long after class ended the question lingered in my mind, a feather floating on a red ochre breeze.

Now I see hands everywhere. On bathroom stalls, imprinted in cement, worn as amulets, the once unnoticed shape now follows me. And I wonder, why hands, indeed? The figurative hands of past literary greats are imprinted on my memory as well. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, “Don’t leave the palm of my hand without the sun.” During elementary school, those elusive Arabic words rolled on my tongue, heavy with syllables but lost in meaning. Other symbols I knew well: keys, the sea, Jaffa oranges. Those are the symbols that are etched into every psyche identified as Palestinian. While the land dwindles with each passing year, those are nostalgic symbols of loss that have never failed to be passed down to the next generation—our negative inheritance.

But for hands, the connotation has never been clear. The symbols of loss we carry around with us, sometimes emerging in the midst of controlled and intellectual New England conversation. Those symbols introduce an uncomfortable tide that shifts the once placid conversation into the uncharted waters of “politics”. Friends at school come back from their Birthright trips; conversation is pleasant when they speak of the deep blue of the Mediterranean. I think of how in Palestine, my friends call it the “white sea”. And for the life of me, I don’t know why. Perhaps because when you stand on a rooftop, balance on your tiptoes, and the haze has cleared… you can see a white glimmer. That’s the only way they’ve ever seen that water. But in Birthright pictures, the sea is a deep blue. I begin to speak of our white mirage of a sea, and I see the straining tide tugging at the corners of their bright faces. Politics. I give a tight smile and swallow the symbols. Can I blame them? The Palestinians are just one uncomfortable paradox that doesn’t fit into their newly discovered Jewish “Narnia”.

The next picture: An innocuous camel ride, a boy helps them climb on to the spitting beast’s back. Their bright faces are the dots of exclamation points. How exciting, foreign, authentic! But my friends don’t even know the best of it: it is all already theirs. Their paradox now pulls at the fringes of my smile: an exotic welcome home in a land in which that boy helping them has no place. He wears the familiar tight smile, a chapped crescent moon carved into dark skies of his skin. The silent smile of submission.

This camel, this ride, this land…it’s their birthright, their Manifest Destiny, not his. I’ve seen him and those rides times before. The stage is set: American teenager and camel in center, the boy edging to the picture’s frame. Another photograph snapped, another album of legitimacy complete. Later it will be posted on Facebook, or perhaps even developed, anything to build the sentimental bedrock of the newfound homeland. My friends move onto the next room of this new house of a country, we awkwardly stand between their frames. Place a golden Israeli coin into our dirt-caked palms, and we stand a little further. The faux sun that has pacified the oppressed, unprivileged, and unwanted—my people— for 63 years. No different than the colonized the revolutionary writer Frantz Fanon once described; we are the wretched of the earth.

When arriving in Israel last week, I handed the soldier my American passport. The passport is the only reason I can use that airport. The soldier is a girl my age, a gun strapped around her shoulder; I smile tightly as I hand her the booklet. Every time I do this I hope she doesn’t open it. It is because of my American passport that I know that the Mediterranean Sea isn’t white, but blue. I want her to see the rolling blue waves of my star-spangled passport. I want her to see the white of my colonial skin. But she does not look at me as she opens the booklet, and suddenly she sees something in the fine print: the red that flows in my veins. “The middle name. Eman. It’s Arabic for what?” She doesn’t believe the lie that my parents would name me after David Bowie’s wife. I scramble trying to explain that I carry only an American passport. I am red, white and blue. She only raises her hand, “Stop talking. A Palestinian is a Palestinian.” And I am sent into a room for interrogation. With every question, the image of her hand - that primitive outline of what makes us all human - kept flashing. Driving home I hand over my passport at each military checkpoint for inspection, now freshly scarred with yet another short-term visa. Being the persistent visitor who can’t seem to get enough of the Israeli State is my only fragile connection to home.

Hands continue to emerge in places where I least expect them. I walk through the streets of Jerusalem, and only now do I notice the hand talisman hanging on the walls of old Palestinians homes in Jerusalem. An Israeli girl walks by, a hand amulet glitters on her neck. Hamseh in Hebrew, Khamsah in Arabic - the hand signifies protection. The irony is blatant. A sole symbol of semblance amongst the two peoples, adorned as protection against the wrath of the other.

The hand itself is such a versatile appendage, completely at the will of the mind’s great machinery. The symbolism of the hand appears to be just as boundless and malleable. Perhaps those hands did not emerge cosmically, but rather I finally chose to see them. I read a poet’s verse and adopt the universal symbol of the human hand as our own. It’s a vain and naïve attempt of just another kid trying to find “meaning.” But that’s what a forgotten people do. We collect the detritus of our ancestors; mold them into ornaments to adorn the colorful, crumbling inner cathedrals of our intricate and fragile identities. And so I hunt—in search of that symbol that can’t be taken.

Now more than ever I have visions of running up to that girl in the cubicle, pressing my hand against the glass that separates us. I want her to look at that hand, at something she can’t take away from me. I want to tell her that we are just a people of hands—not carrying bombs but suns within our palms. It is not the red of blood she sees but the red of ancient ochre outlining my handprint. The symbol is a primal bond far older than our teenage selves, far older than this conflict and all the visceral bitterness that has set us so far apart. Though we may emphasize the unique intricacies of those scars in our palms, holistically our hands are the same. I want her to not only see, but to believe in our equality.

But I did none of that as I returned to the masses of the oppressed and tired prisoners. People were killed during the non-violent demonstrations commemorating Al-Nakba, referring to the Palestinian Diaspora. When I heard my cousin was injured, I sent him a message to which he replied, “Everything is fine.” He did not mention that he may be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. An Israeli asked me if he regretted his “mistake”.

After those words sank in, I spent the next month making mistakes in the village of Bil’in.

Every week for the past six years the people of Bil’in and many Israeli supporters protest the separation wall. I went, hoping that clouds of burning tear gas would fill the void of helplessness. Through the haze and chaos, I saw a man in a wheelchair heaving himself up a hill against a crowd of running protesters - toward the gas, bullets, soldiers, wall. I did not know how he could withstand the physical pain, all I could see was his relentless battle to photograph the injustice he was forced to swallow as the law of his life. When I spoke to Rani Burnat he replied in hushed, gentle whispers. A quiet disposition radically contrasts to the image of a man hurling himself and the mechanism that binds him towards the grey fumes of chemicals. Every week more images, more characters, more stories burn within me. A boy once ran between the recovering protesters, yelping with joy. He carried a strange electrical box wrapped in loose wires like a trophy. Someone told me that he had dissembled a security device from the wall itself. He ran ahead of the crowd, up the hill toward the soldiers. He moved swiftly through the smoke, eventually throwing the device over the fence. He ran down the hill cheering, weaving between the descending tear gas torpedoes, dodging and dancing. The celebration and the struggle, inseparable. You see, for the wretched of the earth, everything is a wedding.

I still can’t help but think Darwish was speaking of something distinctively meaningful. Suns in the palms of our hands. The image resonates with gravitas similar to that of the Israeli whistleblower Mordachai Vanunu’s first words when he was released from prison, “You tried, but you cannot break the human spirit!” In fact, it was the photograph of Vanunu’s palm pressed up against a car window inscribed with the details of his kidnapping that told the world of his own injustice. His hand served as a fleshy canvas of truth. Saying such words after 11 years of solitary confinement for “treason,” I wouldn’t have ever believed him. But after living in the urban prison that the Palestinian Territories prove to be, I know his words are true. Perhaps this is what Darwish meant. To take the sun, the spirit, out the palms of the innocent is impossible. Under the smoke and sun, there will always be jubilee.

I think back to Dr. Bailey’s statement: “The most intact Neanderthal remains were found in Taboun, a cave in Israel.” If that cave had to go through a checkpoint, surely it wouldn’t pass with a name like that. The cave itself, with its ethnic name, betrays the country that has adopted it. Taboun in Arabic means oven. And though I may be denied of ever seeing this relic, I can feel the temperature rising in this oven-cave I call my home. The fumes of third world traffic exhaust trace the tight circles of the confined motion of a buzzing people with too much energy - too much potential - and nowhere to go. These grey walls we’ve been placed in only incubate the heat of all these wasted suns.

It is no wonder the handprint was the first art form. Early man must have been so fascinated with hands because that print was proof of his own existence on this Earth. And that is in fact the only crime Palestinians are guilty of: sheer existence. But there is a consolation in knowing that other hands across the world have experienced the similar struggles. A man at Bil’in once told me, “Didn’t Martin Luther King have a dream? Why not us?” I smile at the wonderful naïveté of the cliché, but cannot help but think of the question Langston Hughes once posed, about what happens to a dream deferred.

Indeed, Dr. King’s words have never been more applicable than today, “I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do-nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist.” The equivalent forces that have always polarized the Palestinian image have never been more unpopular. Like in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, they too have been busy projecting images on these cave walls. But it is far too hot now to keep watching the players take turns at shadow games between the flames of empty promises. Though this prison I write from may be larger than Dr. King’s cell in Birmingham, I am reminded of the fact people do overcome. I do believe that the wind of red ochre blows within Palestine. An age has come in which making handprints on these walls has never been so alluring. The walls may rob us of our freedom, but let them remind the outside and ourselves of our own humanity.

For us, Plato’s cave is no allegory but a 63-year old reality we have endured. Darwish, Vanunu, a boy with the camel, a girl with the gun. They are all just hands, some with prints, some without. Their existence within a conversation carries a certain tension, but they are not political. The hands I speak of, the hands I have held, are not about politics. Politicians have hands too, but as Stephan Walt of Foreign Policy noted a few months ago when referring to Congress; hands may also “applaud for apartheid.” The sound of those hands applauding is amplified with Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s sentiment, when he called the Palestinians an “invented people” in early December.

Mustafa Tamimi. Bassem Abu Rahma. Jawaher Abu Rahma. These are the “invented” names that chose to protest non-violently in the past few months. American-made “non-lethal” teargas torpedoes took their lives, human hands no longer.

Let it be known that the hands of the Palestinians are open, empty, and reaching. Whether you hold onto that extended hand now or wait to shake it after all is said and done, that is your choice. Our dream is no different from that of Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, or any people who have been oppressed. Together we share the dream of justice “deferred.” Ours has been blooming in the form of non-violent resistance, and only now are you seeing the blossom. In this garden of a world that my generation will inherit, I know that I will struggle to protect that delicate bud from the weeding hands of the various gardeners we never asked for. And though I take solace in reading the literature of the oppressed, I am reminded that there are multiple fates for a dream deferred. Even blossoms are ephemeral, if they spend their lives fighting the violent heat insulated between these cave walls. Dare to look for our handprints, dare to acknowledge our humanity. For it is the only thing we have left, the only thing we really need.

Here’s to the wretched, the indigenous, the “invented” people who brought me into existence. Our emergence from this cave is inevitable. With fists unclenched, flickering suns illuminate the path to freedom.

Tamara Masri is a sophomore at Tufts Univeristy in Medford, Massachusetts. She lives in Ramallah.

SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Invitation to Historic National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference

Below is an invitation to students around the country to attend the historic national Students for Justice in Palestine conference next month at Columbia University. Students attending and organizing the conference represent SJPs around the country, including several US Campaign member groups. 



National SJP Conference
14-16 Oct 2011
Columbia University
Dear Students,
It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the 2011 National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Conference at Columbia University in the City of New York from 14-16 October 2011.
Over the past couple of months, a number of student activists from SJPs and other student groups focused on Palestine from around the country have been laying the foundations for a national SJP conference to be held in Fall 2011. This group emerged from a discussion which took place on the national SJP listserv and has met a number of times via teleconference.
The objective of this conference is to democratically shape and refine the existing network of SJP groups in the United States, building on the momentum these groups have generated in recent years and strengthening the historical movement of which we are all a part.
This conference is specifically geared towards current student Palestine solidarity activists, including current students actively involved in, or looking to establish, a SJP group or a similar Palestine solidarity student group, as well as alumni actively involved in assisting their former SJP group.
To succeed the planning of this conference needs to be a democratic process involving as many students as possible, and we hope you will become involved. We are confident that this conference will provide a momentous opportunity for students across the United States who are mobilizing for justice in Palestine to exchange ideas and to strengthen the national student movement.
Sincerely,
The Ad Hoc National SJP Conference Planning Committee

To register for the conference, click here.

Read the full text of the letter here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"We Stand With the Irvine 11"


Following the convictions of the students known as the "Irvine 11" this past week, over thirty chapters nationwide of Students for Justice in Palestine have signed on to a message of support for the Irvine 11.  The students were arrested in February 2010 and charged with “conspiracy to disrupt a public meeting” and “disruption of a public meeting,” after interrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

Sign on to the pledge here.

We Stand With the Irvine 11

"Ordinarily, a person leaving a courtroom with a conviction behind him
would wear a somber face.  But I left with a smile.  I knew that I was a
convicted criminal, but I was proud of my crime. It was the crime of joining
my people in a nonviolent protest against injustice."


-Martin Luther King, Jr. (Case No. 7399, convicted of violating the state
of Alabama's anti-boycott law, March 22, 1956, from "Stride Toward
Freedom: the Montgomery Story".)

We join our voices with the unjustly charged and convicted Irvine 11, who
dared to draw attention to Israel‚s war crimes. Orange County District
Attorney, Tony Rackauckus, has punished students who care about the world
enough to try to change it. The 11 students refused to remain silent when
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren spoke at the University of California,
Irvine in February 2010. Their brief outbursts, at best representing
protected First Amendment speech and at worst harmless civil disobedience,
have led to McCarthyistic misdemeanor charges. On September 23, 2011, an
Orange Country jury found them guilty.





We unequivocally condemn these charges, which unfairly single out and
criminalize Muslim students who chose to exercise their First Amendment
right to speak out against Israel’s human rights abuses. Had the speaker not
been Israeli, had the issue not been Palestine, had the students not been
Muslim, these charges never would have been pursued. Rather, these charges
reflect a climate of Islamophobia and an irrational exceptionalism for
Israel when it comes to free speech. The charges chill the free exchange of
ideas and students‚ right to protest at universities nationwide.

CONTINUE READING HERE

CU-Divest! delivers 2000+ signature to CU Regents!


US Campaign member group CU-Divest! presented a petition with over two thousand signatures asking the university to divest.  Read more about the group's efforts here, or visit the group's website: CU-Divest!

by Michael Rabb

A week ago on September 12th, CU-Divest! at the Regents’ meeting at UC Denver, delivered our petition asking the University of Colorado to divest from Israeli Apartheid.  I count this action as one of our major successes.  Thanks to Beth Daud and her determined group of campus activists and the folks who drove down from Boulder, we had “good” showing with signs and flyers and this time I think we had the Regents’ attention.  We handed out our flyer requesting the Regents to support our campaign and sign our petition.  The flyer highlights a campaign that was successful in the 1980s in compelling CU to divest from South African apartheid. 

In public comment segment of the meeting we made our appeal to the Regents to divest from Israeli apartheid. In addition, we delivered our petition with over 2000 signatures, making the argument that CU should not remain complicit in Israel’s oppression by profiting from the illegal an immoral occupation and apartheid.

After we spoke, the opposition, from the ADL and CU’s Hillel student made a few comments:  mostly about how complicated the Israel-Palestine conflict is, and that human rights and social justice are not the purview of CU, and it’s none of CU’s business what Israel does to the Palestinian people.

Then a marvelous thing happened: Regent Jim Geddes turned to the Treasurer of the University of Colorado, Donald Eldhart, and asked the Treasurer to explain the process for divestment and to provide some history of other divestment actions.  This was significant because for the first time in the six months that CU-Divest! has been communicating with and petitioning the University, the Regents have indicated an interest in our campaign.

A short discussion with the Treasurer and other Regents including Regent Michael Carrigan ensued regarding divestment process and history, specifically when CU divested from Sudan’s genocide in 2006.  So I count this as a success and important milestone in our effort to engage the University on the issue of Palestinian rights and our campaign to ask the University to divest from Israeli apartheid.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Divesting from Israel's Occupation: Petition at University of Colorado


A US Campaign coalition member, CU-Divest, is presenting a petition to the University of Colorado Board of Regents this month.  This is one of many nationwide divestment campaigns, including the campaign against TIAA-CREF, which is chronicled here.

By Ida Audeh - Boulder, Colorado
In September, the University of Colorado Board of Regents will be presented with a petition urging it to remove from the university's stock portfolio all companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Launched by CU-Divest and signed by nearly 2,000 students and human rights activists, the petition states that the university's $1.7 billion investments "may violate the University's commitment to human rights and social justice."

Similar divestment campaigns are underway in dozens of campuses across the country, following the successful efforts of Hampshire College students in 2009. (The retirement plan giant TIAA-CREF is the focus of a separate national divestment campaign.)

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call to the international community to apply boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it upholds international law and Palestinian rights. The appeal resonated with human rights activists who have been frustrated by their government's failure to pressure Israel to stop its human rights violations of Palestinians.

The U.S. divestment campaign has been modeled very deliberately on campaigns that targeted investment in South Africa apartheid during the 1980s. The two countries, Israel and the former South Africa, are remarkably similar in their treatment of populations they define as undesirable (Palestinians and black South Africans, respectively).

CONTINUE READING HERE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video by DePaul SJP to Boycott Sabra

Students for Justice in Palestine at DePaul University, a new coalition member of the US Campaign, released this awesome video as part of their campaign to compel the university to end its sale of Sabra food products.

Writes the group:
Sabra products are manufactured by the Strauss Group, an Israeli corporation that supports the Givati and Golani brigades of the Israeli army. These "elite" brigades have been cited for numerous human rights violations since 1948, including during Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza that killed over 1,400 mostly unarmed civilians.


For more information about Sabra hummus's support for human rights abuses, click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Re-interpretation of Civil Rights Act threatens free speech at UC Santa Cruz


By Kristin Szremski
San Jose Mercury News
May 18, 2011

Free speech and the unimpeded exchange of ideas are under attack on America's college campuses. Federal funding for institutions of higher education, including moneys for research and academic conferences, may be hanging in the balance.

In March, federal authorities from the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education announced they are investigating charges of anti-Semitism against UC Santa Cruz. This is the first investigation since Title VI of the Civil Rights Act was reinterpreted in October 2010, allowing Jewish students -- as members of a religious group -- to claim discrimination under a provision that previously applied only to racial and ethnic bigotry.

Possible Title VI violations also are being threatened at Rutgers University in New Jersey. On April 6, Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein wrote a 15-page letter to Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick complaining the university violated Title VI by allowing multiple pro-Palestinian student activities on campus, one of which was sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine. The same allegations are being lobbed at UC Hastings College of Law for its conference, "Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?"

The claims are absurd. Legitimate concerns about Israel's discriminatory policies against Palestinians should not be conflated with anti-Semitism.

A "Dear Colleague" letter issued by the civil rights office on Oct. 26, 2010, said discrimination against a student who is a member of a religious group violates Title VI when the discrimination is based on the group's "actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics "... or when it is based upon the student's actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity," said David Thomas, U.S. Department of Education spokesman.

This reinterpretation now can be applied to Jewish students who claim universities create hostile environments if they allow pro-Palestinian events or even class lectures critical of Israeli policies.

To be sure, Jewish -- as well as Muslim -- students should be protected from discrimination. But the reinterpretation is being used to silence debate. That's a descent down a slippery slope many academics are unwilling to make.

"While some of the recent allegations "... might well raise a claim under Title VI, many others simply seek to silence anti-Israel discourse and speakers. This approach is not only unwarranted under Title VI, it is dangerous," Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, and attorney Kenneth Stern, anti-Semitism expert with the American Jewish Committee, wrote recently in an open letter on AAUP's website.

If federal investigators find a university in violation of Title VI, it could lose federal funding. This is sensible so long as the bigotry is real and not a false claim based on students calling for Palestinian rights. The very real possibility of false charges threatens the open exchange of ideas on college campuses.

A university should address real anti-Semitism. But criticism of Israeli racism is anti-Semitism only in the mind of fanatics unwilling to accept even the possibility of Israeli wrongdoing.

Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian-American who is also American Muslims for Palestine's chairman, asserts that instead of shutting down dialogue, those who distribute federal funding should be encouraging universities to examine the ramifications of the United States' support of Israel, because -- at $3 billion annually -- it is the largest recipient of our foreign aid.

With the current climate in the Middle East, America's campuses should be the springboard for creating new possibilities, not a wasteland absent of ideas due to a perhaps well-meaning but misused provision in the Civil Rights Act.

KRISTIN SZREMSKI is director of media and communications with American Muslims for Palestine. She wrote this article for this newspaper.


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Show Caterpillar it can run, but it can't hide

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
May 19, 2011

For the past seven years, the US Campaign and many of our coalition member groups, including Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, have dominated Caterpillar's annual Chicago-area shareholder meetings by organizing creative protests inside and outside the meetings, like these actions in 2009 and in 2010 (click to learn more).




Above: Activists protest outside a Caterpillar shareholder meeting. (click image to enlarge).


Together, we've challenged the corporation for supplying Israel with D9 bulldozers -- which Israel misuses to demolish Palestinian homes, uproot olive trees, construct Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall, and kill and maim unarmed civilians -- at Caterpillar's most important annual gathering.

Apparently CAT has had enough of us all dominating their annual shareholder meeting. Recently, it announced that it is moving its meeting on June 8th to Little Rock, Arkansas. CAT can run 700 miles away for its meeting this year, but we're still watching.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained in a recent interview in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that:

"BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions]... will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners."

Our joint corporate accountability campaign to challenge CAT's role continues from all corners: from shareholder activism, to targeting the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales Program D9 deliveries, to student divestment campaigns and CAT-free campuses. Only with your help in targeting CAT from "all corners" will this campaign continue to grow!

Here are some updates and ways for you to advance our collective "Stop Caterpillar" campaign:

Last October, media reports stated that CAT would not deliver bulldozers to the Israeli military during the civil trial brought by Cindy and Craig Corrie against Israel for the 2003 killing of their daughter Rachel by its military with a weaponized Caterpillar D9 bulldozer as she nonviolently tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Click here for trial updates from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group.

We need to maintain pressure on the Obama Administration and on CAT to make sure no D9 bulldozers -- destined to destroy Palestinian homes and lives -- are delivered ever! In the lead-up to CAT's shareholder meeting...

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Join nearly 15,000 people in signing our petition to the Obama Administration demanding the end of D9 Caterpillar bulldozer deliveries to the Israeli military, and an investigation into Israel's violations of U.S. laws committed with Caterpillar equipment.

2.



Above: Video by Earlham College students (click to watch).


This spring has brought a surge of campus divestment campaigns targeting Caterpillar and other corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, which declared itself CAT-free last year, have joined with campuses like the University of Arizona (UA) in a "Mock Wall" movement coinciding with the launch of a resolution to divest from Caterpillar and Motorola. Likewise, students in a new US Campaign member group, BDS Earlham, are calling for divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to show your support for the Earlham College resolution to divest from Caterpillar.

3. Dozens of groups around the country, including member groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Grassroots International, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee at UT-Austin, are building campaigns to get TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial services providers in the United States, to divest more than $250 million from Caterpillar (along with holdings in other occupation-profiteers).

Show CAT it can run but it can't hide!
Click here to call for TIAA-CREF's divestment and to find out how you can become a local organizer on this fast-spreading campaign.

Let's prove Ehud Barak right by using all possible avenues to end Caterpillar's complicity in Israel's occupation and apartheid policies!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Israeli Officials and History Affirm the Power of BDS

By Anna Baltzer, National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Are boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) proving effective at isolating Israel as a form of pressure to end its violations of Palestinian rights? We at the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation think so, but you don’t have to take our word for it.

Two recent articles in The Jewish Daily Forward and the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz have affirmed the power of the growing BDS movement in placing a cost on Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies. The Forward’s piece, “Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases,” sets out to diminish concern over the recent surge in campus BDS campaigns, but ends up making the case as well as anyone could for how and why ongoing BDS campaigns—on-campus and off—are succeeding!

The Forward’s article reassures BDS opponents that in no instance has a North American BDS campaign resulted in a campus divesting from corporations or de-shelving products. But further down, former human rights director for the American Committee on Africa reflects on the BDS movement against Apartheid South Africa: “It took a good 20 years to get to the height of the movement.” The reality is that within the first five years of the 2005 Palestinian civil society BDS call, the movement had arguably achieved more victories than the corresponding anti-Apartheid South Africa BDS movement could count in its first 15 years, especially taking into account BDS successes worldwide, particularly in Europe.

Apparently, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak agrees that the success of the BDS movement will take time, explaining in an interview with Ha’aretz:
This will not happen overnight.… It will start coming at us like a glacier, from all corners. There are people in the European Council that [sic] deal with export and import, and they are capable, without any government decision, of inflicting significant damage on the Israeli economy. We will see this taking place in academia, we will see this taking place in dockworker unions, consumer groups, and this will seep into governments.… To me, this uncontrollable process looks more dangerous than what the [Israeli] public perceives at the moment.
In addition to being a long-term struggle, BDS is much more than economic; it’s about changing the discourse around Israel. On this front, the movement has been wildly successful, pushing the discussion beyond the question of whether Israel is committing crimes to the question about what the world is going to do about it. It frames the discussion around three fundamental, indisputable Palestinian rights—freedom from occupation, equality in Israel, and the right of return—rather than any particular solution. It is proactive in nature, unifying and mobilizing allies around points of unity and a common, concrete way to action.

Far from failing on campuses, BDS has proven itself to be one of the best tools there is to educate people about Israeli occupation and apartheid. Last year’s divestment campaign at the University of California at Berkeley is a case in point. UC Berkeley’s student senate voted overwhelmingly for a resolution calling on university divestment from companies involved in the Israeli occupation. Although the senate president and outside opposition succeeded in stopping the resolution, the battle for the hearts and minds of the UC Berkeley community had already been won. With all the surrounding controversy, by the time the final vote came around, likely every student and faculty member on campus had encountered the association between “Israel” and “apartheid.” This is a tremendous victory. Campus campaigns that fail to pass a resolution often win instead by rectifying Israel’s exceptional status in public discourse as immune to criticism, promoting debate on the real issues and thereby educating people.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee executive director Howard Kohr described the power of BDS during the committee’s 2009 conference:
We need to recognize that this campaign is about more than mere rhetoric. This is the battle for the hearts and minds of the world... left unchallenged, allowed to go unchecked, it will work.
As illustrated in The Forward’s article, the effectiveness of the BDS movement has not gone unnoticed, with a new $6 million initiative to counter BDS, funded by the Jewish Federations of North America. The Reut Institute, an influential Israeli think tank, has also called on the Israeli government to direct considerable resources to “attack” and possibly engage in “sabotage” of the BDS movement and related campaigns. Earlier this spring, the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) approved its first reading of an anti-boycott bill, imposing harsh fines on Israeli citizens who call for academic or economic boycott. It is precisely the reactions of BDS opponents that illustrate the effectiveness of the BDS movement.

While failing to convince the reader that campus BDS organizing is not a force to be reckoned with, the article sets up a false and highly problematic distinction between BDS organizers and Jewish groups. The BDS campaigns referred to within the article (including the TIAA-CREF Campaign, initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace) have enjoyed widespread support from the growing number of Jewish individuals and organizations advocating for BDS. The attempts to claim that BDS erases “the Jewish narrative” does a great disservice to American, Israeli, and international Jews and Jewish organizations. Many of these organizations are mobilizing for BDS and challenging the monolithic Jewish narrative co-opted by Israeli official rhetoric. They include, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Jews for a Just Peace, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the Coalition of Women for Peace, and Boycott!: Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within.

The Forward’s article not only ignores Jewish BDS activism but also omits a number of non-divestment campus BDS campaigns that have proven successful, such as last month’s cultural boycott victory at Washington University in St. Louis. Organizers of a Middle Eastern hip-hop event on campus were compelled to disinvite Israeli hip-hop artist Marvin Casey, whose dance troupe is funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel, following opposition from Washington University students, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, and Arab hip-hop artists also slated to perform.

BDS opponents attempting to downplay the success of the movement in The Forward’s article repeatedly refer to BDS as a delegitimizing campaign, without specifying precisely what is being delegitimized. A rights-based movement focused on equality and freedom for all, BDS indeed delegitimizes occupation, discrimination, and apartheid. Those delegitimizing Israel’s transgressions and impunity have nothing to apologize for. And despite the wishful thinking of some, it is increasingly clear that those trying to hold back this long-established and respected nonviolent tactic of BDS as a vehicle for achieving equality and human rights for the Palestinian people are fighting a losing battle.


Anna Baltzer is an award-winning lecturer, author, and activist for Palestinian human rights. She works as national organizer with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Students to Board: "We will push you until you divest."

Above: On-campus representation
of a refugee camp by student group
"TESC Divest!"

Cooper Point Journal, May 12, 2011
"TESC Divest!" is a student group at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees' May 11 meeting was mobbed with students and community members full of opinions on the campus divestment movement.

Evergreen alum Anna-Marie Murano vehemently demanded that the Trustees obey the student election supporting divestment. "So far, the board of trustees has failed us. The president [of the college] has failed us," she said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Cornell students publish second annual journal, "Notes on Palestine/Israel"

Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine is a US Campaign member group.

The occupation of Palestine will not end, but will only be managed differently, unless the regional system of military aid, client states, and despotism -- in a word, imperialism -- also ends.

The good thing about a task this large is that one may start nearly anywhere. To this end, we've assembled this second volume to contribute our voices, critiques, and experiences to the mix, in the hopes that you find them informative, engaging, provocative, and useful:

Max Ajl presents a view of the occupation from within Gaza, and Dan Sinykin relays his experience, on a Birthright trip, of the Israeli vision that blinds itself to Gaza. Howard Botwinick describes the burgeoning TIAA-CREF divestment campaign, and Beth Harris recounts her visit to the settler-targeted West Bank village of Iraq Burin. Kevin McGinnis traces the colonialist affiliations between the foundational myths of America and Israel, and Sayres Rudy concludes the collection with an extended meditation on the uses and abuses of the apartheid comparison.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Daily Forward illustrates its own blindness toward rising campus activism

Consider weighing in with your own view on the following article and video commentary by Josh Nathan-Kazis at the Jewish Daily Forward, where he claims that the spreading phenomenon of U.S. university campus BDS activism -- which we have recently blogged here and here and here and here -- is "airy rhetoric ... achieving very little." Obviously we beg to differ with this analysis, but take a look for yourself...

Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases

Click to enlarge.
An Israeli diplomat issued a stark warning to a roomful of Jewish communal professionals at a major Jewish convention last fall. The campaign to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel, he said, amounts to putting “a practical warhead on the tip of an ideological rocket.”

The Israeli official, a public diplomacy officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs named D.J. Schneeweiss, was not alone in describing in drastic terms the threat posed by the international anti-Israel campaign, known by the acronym BDS, at the New Orleans convention of the Jewish Federations of North America. Since the blow-up months earlier at the University of California, Berkeley, over a student government resolution calling on the school to divest from firms selling weapons to Israel, concern over the BDS movement had been at the forefront of the Jewish communal agenda. Communal officials warned that it gave everyday activists a concrete outlet for their efforts.

ARTICLE CONTINUES with comment box...


How Strong is BDS on Campus? from Jewish Forward on Vimeo.

TIAA-CREF campaign update

Jewish Voice for Peace is one of more than 350 member groups in our nationwide coalition.

Campaign to Divest from Retirement Giant TIAA-CREF, Nationwide Right to Education Tour

Jewish Voice for Peace

Our TIAA-CREF campaign continues to gain strength. We are asking the retirement giant to divest from companies such as Caterpillar and Veolia, both heavily implicated in human rights abuses connected to the Israeli occupation. With your help, we plan to bring thousands of new signatures in favor of divestment to the CREF shareholder meeting in July, where some of our members will be presenting a shareholder’s resolution to encourage divestment. Help us spread the word by asking shareholders to sign our public pledge at our new website (wedivest.org) where you can also get additional information about the campaign and how to take action.

In support of the campaign, we launched a “Right to Education” tour featuring Palestinian students who are speaking in fifteen cities across the United States, from campuses to community centers to high schools. At one of our early events in Boston, we heard that students were talking in the hallways, at lunch, and in classes about what they had heard from the Palestinian students about their lives and the obstacles they face due to the Occupation. You can find the whole tour schedule at wedivest.org

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

St. Louis boycott victory makes the Jerusalem Post

Below is an excerpt from Greer Fay Cashman's April 19 piece in the Jerusalem Post, "A Private Moment With God," which mentions Anna Baltzer, our National Organizer based in St. Louis, and an activist with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Campaign...

The Palestinian influence on university campuses seems to be gaining in strength. Marvin Casey, the head choreographer of a recently launched hip-hop dance troupe called Tribe 13 - which is made up of new immigrants, is sponsored by the Jewish Agency, performs for visiting groups in Israel and acts as a group of cultural ambassadors abroad - has had some setbacks due to the influence of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which in March of this year pressured Washington University to revoke its invitation to the group.

More recently, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, which welcomed the decision, announced its second annual Commemoration of the Nakba (catastrophe), which will take place on May 14, with proceeds from the event earmarked for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. The Palestinian Campaign is aided by Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American Columbia graduate, former Fulbright scholar, and granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. Baltzer is an award-winning lecturer, author and activist for Palestinian human rights. She worked as a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service in the West Bank and supported Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to what she perceives as Israel’s occupation.

FULL ARTICLE HERE...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dr. Cornel West endorses BDS, supports Ethnic Studies at University of Arizona

Editor's Note: We also blogged about recent actions on the University of Arizona campus here.


Nora Barrows-Friedman
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Following the recent direct action on the University of Arizona (UA) campus — in which an enormous mock wall was constructed to bring attention to Israel’s wall in the West Bank and the wall at the US-Mexico border — legendary intellectual and academic Dr. Cornel West formally called on the UA community to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s illegal settlement policies and the occupation of Palestine as well as from “immigrant and indigenous suffering and youth cultural censorship in Arizona and nationwide.”

In an open letter to the UA community, including students, faculty, staff, and the administration, Dr. West stated:

“Powerful social movements such as the one that helped end South African apartheid have shown that when world governments fail to enforce the rule of law, international civil community must arise to meet the challenge of upholding fundamental human rights and securing justice. Ethnic studies youth activists and groups like Jewish Voice for Peace are doing just that. As [South African Archbishop Desmond] Tutu and many others point out in the case of the Palestinians—as well as that of Latina/o immigrants and indigenous peoples in the U.S.—the tactic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is an effectively nonviolent means of exerting moral and economic pressures to end unjust policies, from racial profiling to repressive laws, to foreign occupation and land settlement.  Perhaps the most vulnerable right in these situations is the right of education, because of the endangered cultural future it represents.  Those in the United States and Israel who hold the levers of power and influence over such policies must be beckoned to the negotiating table so that vulnerable peoples can anticipate a peaceful future through living a just and honorable peace.”

Identifying Caterpillar and Motorola, two US corporations that have entrenched contracts with the Israeli military, Dr. West said that such companies are responsible for the “treachery targeting our youth’s future” and praised the current campaign launched by JVP to urge giant pension fund TIAA-CREF to divest from such corporations.

Connecting the struggles between Palestine and Arizona (and other immigrant communities across the US) has been a powerful movement that keeps growing more and more vocal. Especially with the shocking presence of Arizona’s anti-immigrant “Minutemen” — whose members have been given the green light by state officials to shoot-to-kill undocumented immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border — the solidarity movements bridging Palestinian and American indigenous peoples have been intensifying. Elizabeth Dake, a student and ASUA Women’s Resource Center Health and Sexuality Chair, stated in the Arizona Daily Wildcat (UA’s on-campus newspaper) on 25 April that:

“Denying education to Palestinian students and eliminating ethnic studies in Arizona are necessary steps to maintain oppressive, pro-corporate policies. The UofA currently holds contracts with Motorola, Caterpillar…which support Israeli occupation of Palestine and anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona. Divestment is the strongest statement our university can make in support for worldwide human rights. We, as members of the university community, demand that our administration end our university’s contracts with these corporations and stand up for human rights around the world and at home.”

Dr. West’s endorsement of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) comes amidst a time of severe attacks not only against Latin American immigrants, but of Ethnic Studies programs across Arizona campuses — a move that has sparked nationwide outrage and protest from students, academics and anti-racist activists. In a joint press release, No More Deaths (No Mas Muertes) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) stated that:

West’s letter came on the heels of an Ethnic Studies youth movement that is shaking Arizona and the nation to its bones.


This past Tuesday night, when the Tucson Unified District School Board (TUSD) was to vote on a fateful measure that would effectively dismantle Ethnic Studies programs as core classes for students, the popular youth coalition UNIDOS (United Non-discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies) and dozens of supporters occupied the TUSD headquarters. Minutes before the meeting was to begin, 9 UNIDOS activists rushed the Board platform and chained themselves to Board members’ chairs and dais, setting up a banner that read, “UNIDOS Presents the Youth School Board.” The Board was unable to hold their meeting and rescheduled for a later time. Asiya Mir, organizer with UNIDOS and founder of Tucson High School Students for Justice in Palestine, was one of the 9 activists who chained themselves to the board. Mir believes the TUSD board will not yield from selling out the students’ education. However, she said, “We stopped them from passing the vote tonight. For tonight, it’s a victory.”

Dr. West explained in his letter that Ethnic Studies programs:

“[are] about the quest for truth, from the standpoint of the weak and the vulnerable who are rising up to speak, to educate, to struggle and to build justice from the ground up … Bold Arizona youth who are fending off attacks on their cherished Ethnic Studies in an environment of racism and hostility; courageous Palestinian youth who aim to preserve and defend their own fragile Ethnic Studies from the violent, cultural destruction of a vicious, 44-year Israeli occupation—an occupation whose length continually represses the memory of a peaceful time … A decent education cannot be limited to tolerating youth accessing their ethnic and cultural history but must be about facilitating their right to do so, without the hindrance of state or corporate exploiters.”

West continued:

“Attacks on education are big business. Greed is amuck in Arizona and in occupied Palestine. U.S. corporations like Caterpillar and Motorola—and others especially in the prison-Industrial complex—continue to profit from the suffering of peoples who seek dignity and self-determination in Arizona. Similar corporations profit from the misery of occupied and distressed peoples in Palestine.”

ORIGINAL POST...