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International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’

International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’

Delegates at the 2009 Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism convention in London. The organization issued a declaration calling on governments to use an Israel-centric definition of antisemitism and to outlaw and prosecute such “antisemitism.”

For two decades, some Israeli officials and Israel partisans have worked to embed a new, Israel-focused definition of antisemitism in institutions around the world, from international bodies and national governments to small college campuses in heartland America. This effort is now snowballing rapidly. As a result, advocacy for Palestinian rights is well on the way to being curtailed and even criminalized as “hate.”

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | May 18, 2017

As the world has witnessed the oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, many people have risen in protest. In response, the Israeli government and certain of its advocates have conducted a campaign to crack down on this activism, running roughshod over civil liberties (and the English language) in the process.

The mechanism of this crackdown is the redefinition of “antisemitism”[1] to include criticism of Israel, and the insertion of this definition into the bodies of law of various countries.

Where most people would consider “antisemitism” to mean bigotry against Jewish people (and rightly consider it abhorrent), for two decades a campaign has been underway to replace that definition with an Israel-centric definition. That definition can then be used to block speech and activism in support of Palestinian human rights as “hate.” Various groups are applying this definition in law enforcement evaluations of possible crimes.

Proponents of this Israel-centric definition have promoted it step by step in various arenas, from the U.S. State Department and European governments to local governments around the U.S. and universities.

While this effort has taken place over the last two decades, it is snowballing rapidly at this time. The definition is increasingly being used to curtail free speech and academic freedom, as well as political activism.

Furthermore, such politicizing of an important word may reduce its effectiveness when real antisemitism occurs, doing a disservice to victims of true bigotry.

As of this writing, the U.S. Congress has endorsed the distorted definition, the governments of the UK and Austria have officially adopted it (in December and April, respectively), various U.S. State legislatures are considering it, and numerous universities are using it to delineate permissible discourse. Many representatives and heads of other states around the world have embraced the new meaning, even if they have yet to officially implement it.

This article will examine the often interconnected, incremental actions that got us where we are, the current state of affairs, and the public relations and lobbying efforts that are promoting this twisting of the definition of “antisemitism” — often under cover of misleadingly named “anti-racism” movements.

Claims of “Antisemitism” Used to Silence Support for Palestinians

For many years, numerous respected organizations have documented Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, including killing of Palestinian civilians, abuse of Palestinian children, torture of Palestinian prisoners, confiscation of Palestinian land, and other cases of systematic violence and oppression. Detailed reports have been compiled by Defense for Children International, the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Foreign Service Journal, Physicians for Human rights, Christian Aid, Human Rights Watch, the National Lawyers Guild, Israel’s Public Committee Against Torture, Israel’s B’Tselem and others.

Israel long claimed that its 1948 creation was on “a land without a people for a people without a land,” and many people may still believe this founding myth. The fact is, however, that the land was originally inhabited by an indigenous population that was approximately 80 percent Muslim, 15 percent Christian, and a little under 5 percent Jewish. The Jewish State of Israel was created through the ejection of approximately three-quarters of a million people.

Over the decades since Israel’s founding in 1948, accusations of antisemitism have been leveled against many people who criticized Israeli actions. Indeed, the accusation was used effectively to silence very prominent critics.[2]

However, for most of that time, the meaning of the term itself was not in question. The standard definition was, in Google’s terms, “hostility to or prejudice against Jews.”[3] Around the turn of this century, though, certain advocates began promoting official and even legal definitions of antisemitism that included various kinds of criticism of Israel.

Conflating Criticism of Israel with Antisemitism

Natan Sharansky, Israeli minister, in 2003: “The State of Israel has decided to take the gloves off and implement a coordinated counteroffensive against anti-Semitism.” Sharansky’s formulation formed the basis for the new Israel-centric definitions adopted around the world.

Unsurprisingly, the new definitions appear to have originated from within the Israeli government, or at least with an Israeli government official.

The definitions adhere to a pattern set by a man named Natan Sharansky, who was Israel’s Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs and chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Sharansky founded a Global Forum against Anti-Semitism in 2003, stating: “The State of Israel has decided to take the gloves off and implement a coordinated counteroffensive against anti-Semitism.”

But Sharansky apparently didn’t mean a counteroffensive against just anti-Jewish bigotry, but an offensive against criticism of Israel. The following year he wrote a position paper that declared: “Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, ‘new anti-Semitism’ is aimed at the Jewish state.”

Sharansky’s paper laid out what he called the “3-D Test of Anti-Semitism.” Sharansky applied the term “antisemitic” to criticism of Israel in three cases. First, he argued that statements that “demonize” Israel are antisemitic — by being, in his mind, unfairly harsh. (Some of those allegedly guilty of “demonizing” Israel are Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Human Rights Watch, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, French President François Mitterrand, and others.)

Second, Sharansky declared that it’s antisemitic to apply a “double standard” to Israel — in other words, to criticize Israel for actions that other states may also take. However, if one could never criticize, protest or boycott abuses without calling out every single other similar abuse, no one would ever be able to exercise political dissent at all.

Finally, Sharansky said it’s antisemitic to “delegitimize” Israel, or dispute its “right to exist” (a standard Israeli talking point for many years). In fact, insisting Israel has the “right” to exist amounts to saying it had the right to expel Muslim and Christian Palestinians in order to found a religiously exclusive state. (See “What ‘Israel’s right to exist’ means to Palestinians,” by John Whitbeck, published in the Christian Science Monitor.)[4]

Sharansky’s outline provided the pattern for a European agency to create a new definition of antisemitism the next year, 2005 — a definition that would then be adopted by a succession of organizations and governments, including the U.S. State Department.

Jean Kahn (R) with French President Francois Mitterand. Kahn initiated the creation of the European Monitoring Centre, which released an Israel-centric “working” definition of antisemitism.

There is a back story to how this all came about.

This European agency itself was founded and run by a man with important connections to Israel. It was called “The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia,” under the Council of the European Union. A Frenchman named Jean Kahn had convinced European heads of state to create it in 1997.

Kahn had been a President of the European Jewish Congress, elected in a plenary session in Israel, and said the Congress “would demonstrate its solidarity with Israel” and that he hoped European countries would “coordinate their legislation outlawing racism, anti-Semitism or any form of exclusion.”

Kahn was chairman of the Monitoring Centre’s management board and called the “personification” of the agency. Within three years, the Centre issued a position paper calling for the definition of anti-Semitic offenses to be “improved.”

A few years later, Israeli professor Dina Porat took up the effort to create a new definition. Working with her were Kenneth Stern and Rabbi Andrew “Andy” Baker of the American Jewish Committee. Stern reports that when the Monitoring Centre’s then head, Beate Winkler, had failed to deliver the desired definition, Andy Baker “smartly developed a working relationship with her.” Stern and others[5] then created a draft for the Monitoring Centre to use.

Israeli Dina Porat, Kenneth Stern, Rabbi Andrew Baker worked to draft what became the European Monitoring Centre definition of antisemitism.

In 2005 the agency issued its “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism,” largely based on that draft. It included an array of negative statements about Israel as examples of antisemitic offenses. While standard dictionary definitions of antisemitism didn’t even mention Israel, fully half of the newly devised Monitoring Centre definition referred to Israel.

Once the Monitoring Centre had created its expanded definition, certain Israel partisans used it to promote similar definitions elsewhere. And while the Monitoring Centre itself continued to term it only a “working” definition and its replacement organization eventually withdrew the definition, in other countries and agencies the expanded definition became official.

In addition, quite frighteningly, proponents pushed successfully to begin applying the Israel-centric definition to law enforcement.

In the United States

The same year Sharansky created his “3-D” antisemitism test — a year after he founded the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism — the U.S. Congress passed a law establishing exceptional government monitoring of antisemitism. The law created a special State Department envoy and office for this monitoring, over objections of the State Department itself.

The law, called the “Global Anti-Semitism Review Act,” included a line that subverted its meaning by enshrining a new definition of antisemitism aligned with Sharansky’s: “Anti-Semitism has at times taken the form of vilification of Zionism, the Jewish national movement, and incitement against Israel.”

The bill was introduced in April 2004. That June, a Congressional hearing was conducted about how to combat antisemitism. A major witness was Israeli minister Sharansky. In his testimony Sharansky proposed his “3-D” Israel-connected definition for anti-Semitism.[6]

State Department officials objected to the proposed legislation, saying the new office was unnecessary and would be a “bureaucratic nuisance” that would actually hinder the Department’s ongoing work. A State Department press release opposing the new office described the many actions that State was already taking against antisemitism.

Despite this opposition, the Senate bill acquired 24 cosponsors representing both parties, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Russ Feingold, Sam Brownback, Saxby Chambliss and Ted Stevens. Similar bills (here and here) were introduced in the House of Representatives, acquiring 35 cosponsors, again including both Republican and Democratic leaders. The legislation passed easily and quickly became law.

Gregg Rickman, first U.S. antisemitism envoy, later worked for AIPAC.

The first Special Envoy, Gregg Rickman, endorsed the European Monitoring Centre’s Working Definition in 2008. Rickman’s report called it a “useful framework” for identifying and understanding antisemitism. After Rickman left the State Department, he went to work for the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the major Israel advocacy organization that lobbies Congress.

The next Special Envoy, Hannah Rosenthal, took this campaign a major step forward: In 2010 the office officially adopted the European Monitoring Centre’s definition.

Rosenthal was extremely proud of having achieved this “breakthrough” definition. She began making use of it quickly, establishing a 90-minute course on the new antisemitism at the Foreign Service Institute, the training school for diplomats.

“We have now a definition we can train people on,” she told the Times of Israel, “and we’ve been very aggressive in training foreign service officers.”

Rosenthal announced that with the new definition including criticism of Israel, their reporting on antisemitism improved “300 percent,” even though, she said, that didn’t mean that antisemitism had actually increased in all the countries monitored.

Hannah Rosenthal adopted the “breakthrough” Israel related definition and promptly used it in training U.S. diplomats.

The gloves were off. Now fully half of the official U.S. State Department definition of antisemitism had gone beyond the normal meaning of the world to focus on Israel.

Applying the New Definition to U.S. Citizens

The State Department uses the new definition to monitor activities overseas. But once the State Department definition was in place, efforts began to use it to crack down on political and academic discourse and activism within the U.S.

This past December (2016) the U.S. Senate passed a law to apply the State Department’s definition (i.e. the Sharansky-Stern-Rosenthal definition) of antisemitism to the Education Department, for use in investigating reports of religiously motivated campus crimes.

A companion bill for the House is supported by AIPAC, the ADL, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

South Carolina’s House of Representatives recently passed legislation under which the State Department’s definition “would be used in probes of possible anti-Semitism at state colleges and universities.” The state senate will consider this in 2018. If passed, it will mean that the state will now probe criticism of Israel on state campuses.

Similar bills are being considered in Virginia and Tennessee.

Such efforts are also ongoing in California. In December Democrat Brad Sherman called on the California Secretary of Education to “expand its definition to include certain forms of anti-Israel behavior.” Pro-Israel organizations such as the Amcha Initiative have also been pushing the state legislature for several years to officially adopt the State Department definition. So far these have been defeated but continue to be promoted.

U.S. Campuses

A parallel effort has been occurring on U.S. campuses. In 2003 Sharansky said that college campuses were “one of the most important battlefields” for Israel.

In 2015 University of California President Janet Napolitano (head of 10 campuses) publicly supported adopting the state department definition, after 57 rabbis sent a letter to her and the University Board of Regents promoting the definition.

Student councils or other groups at various universities have passed resolutions adopting the State Department definition, which can then be used to block campus events about Palestine.

An AIPAC official announced at the 2010 convention: “We’re going to make certain that pro-Israel students take over the student government. That is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.”

An ongoing campaign to ensure Israel partisans become influential in student government has supported these efforts. This campaign was announced by an AIPAC leader in 2010: “We’re going to make certain that pro-Israel students take over the student government,” he said. “That is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.” (Video here.)

Resolutions referencing the Israel-centric definitions have now been passed by student governments at UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, East Carolina UniversityIndiana University, Ohio’s Capital University, Ohio’s Kent State, Orange County’s Chapman University, San Diego State University, and other campuses around the country.[7]

An example of these resolutions is the 2015 bill at Indiana University. The resolution denounced anti-Semitism “as defined by the United States State Department” and stated that the student government would not fund antisemitic activities or activities that “undermine the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.” It also said that IUSA executives and Congress members would undergo diversity training on anti-Semitism.

According to the student newspaper, the bill was written by Rebekah Molasky, a fellow with the international pro-Israel organization Stand With Us. After the resolution was passed, “the bill’s sponsors and outside supporters hugged and high-fived before gathering in the hallway to take a picture to commemorate the moment.”

As evidenced above, such resolutions can now be used to censor student events. The UC San Diego resolution largely replicated the Indiana format, announcing that the student government will not support activities that “promote anti-Semitism” under the new definition, including “denying Israel the right to exist.” Stand With Us applauded the resolution.

In 2012, an organization called the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law was founded and immediately began promoting the new definition. Within a year it launched an initiative to establish student chapters at law schools throughout the U.S. to advance “the organization’s mandate to combat campus anti-Semitism through legal means.” The Center helped push the South Carolina legislation. It is one of numerous organizations promoting the new definition.

(Incidentally, former Supreme Court Justice Brandeis was a leader in the world Zionist movement and worked in public and covert ways to promote it — see here.)

“Thought Policing”

A number of analysts have pointed out some of the many significant flaws with such legislation.

Anthony L. Fisher at Reason.com writes of Congress’s December law applying the State Department definition to the Education Department: “It gives the federal government the authority to investigate ideas, thoughts, and political positions as violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Fisher continues: “By specifically using the broad language of a 2010 State Department memo attempting to define anti-Semitism, the Senate bill wades into thought policing.”

Attorney Liz Jackson wrote in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times : “Anyone who values the constitutional right to express political dissent should worry about this development.”

NY Times columnist Bret Stephens says Jewish Americans should “do all we can to assure the survival of the Jewish State.”

On the other side of the debate is New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, formerly Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor and before that editor of an Israeli newspaper. Stephens, extremely hawkish on Israel, writes and speaks fervently against the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) and what he says is antisemitism on US campuses and elsewhere. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, he claimed that “anti-Semitism is the disease of the Arab world.”

In 2014 Stephens spoke at the Tikvah Fund, a philanthropic foundation committed to supporting the “Jewish people and the Jewish State,” opining that it would be a scandal if Jewish people failed “to do all we can to assure the survival of the Jewish State.”

U.S. and European Lawmakers Pressure Governments to Ban Criticism of Israel

During all this time, parallel efforts to promote the new definition continued in Europe.

In 2009 an organization called the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) took up the effort to spread the expanded definition. The group says it brings together parliamentarians from “around the world” to fight antisemitism and lists a steering committee of six European and U.S. legislators.

UK politician (and later Prime Minister) David Cameron signed the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition statement calling on governments to outlaw certain forms of criticism of Israel, including calls to boycott Israel; to regulate criticism of Israel in the media; to monitor criticism of Israel online and elsewhere; and to prosecute critics of Israel under “hate crimes” legislation.

The group held a conference in London in 2009 at which it issued a “London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism,” which was signed by then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other heads of state and legislators. This declaration called on governments to use the European Monitoring Centre’s definition and to outlaw and prosecute such “antisemitism.”

It was couched in “anti-racism” terms, but when we look at the declaration’s recommendations combined with its definition of antisemitism, one thing becomes clear: In the declaration, numerous lawmakers of the Western world called on world governments to restrict political dissent.

Specifically, they called on governments to outlaw certain forms of criticism of Israel, including calls to boycott Israel; to regulate criticism of Israel in the media; to monitor criticism of Israel online and elsewhere; and to prosecute critics of Israel under “hate crimes” legislation.

Among numerous other demands, the lawmakers declared that governments:

  • “must expand the use of the EUMC [Monitoring Centre] ‘Working Definition of antisemitism’” including “as a basis for training material for use by Criminal Justice Agencies;”
  • should “isolate political actors” who “target the State of Israel;”
  • “should legislate ‘incitement to hatred’ offences and empower law enforcement agencies to convict;”
  • “should … establish inquiry scrutiny panels;”
  • “should utilise the EUMC [Monitoring Centre] ‘Working Definition of antisemitism’ to inform media standards;”
  • “should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes” (keeping in mind here that the declaration’s definition of “antisemitic” includes various criticism of Israel);
  • “should use domestic ‘hate crime’, ‘incitement to hatred’ and other legislation … to prosecute ‘Hate on the Internet’ where racist and antisemitic content is hosted, published and written” (again keeping in mind what is defined as “antisemitic”);
  • and that “education authorities should … protect students and staff from illegal antisemitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts.”

In 2015 the European Commission created a special position to coordinate work on combating antisemitism and appointed German national Katharina von Schnurbein to the post. Schnurbein proceeded to promote the use of the Israel-centric definition.[8]

UK and Austria Adopt Definition

 In December 2016, the UK announced it would formally adopt the Israel-centric definition. It was quickly followed by Austria, which adopted the definition in April 2017. The Austrian justice minister had previously announced that the new definition would be used in the training of new judges and prosecutors.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the adoption of the Israel-centric definition at a Conservative Friends of Israel event.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement during a talk before 800 guests at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual lunch.

UPI reported: “The British police are already using this definition[9], which can now also be used by other groups, such as municipal councils and universities. The definition is not a law, but provides a formal interpretation of an illegal act that can serve as a guideline for criminal proceedings.” Shortly afterward the UK’s higher education minister sent a letter informing universities that the government had adopted the IHRA definition and directing them to utilize it.

(The London council quickly followed suit with its own adoption of the definition, and other cities have now done the same. In May the Israel-Britain Alliance (IBA) began asking candidates for Parliament to sign a pledge that they would support the new definition.)

A number of groups objected to the definition, arguing that the definition “deliberately equates criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews.”

Opponents said it was “vigorously promoted by pro-Israel lobbyists to local authorities, universities, Labour movement organisations and other public bodies.”

They stated that after its adoption there had been “an increase in bannings and restrictions imposed on pro-Palestinian activities, especially on campuses.” Some of the cancellations cited the IHRA definition. Oxford Professor Stephen Sedley wrote in the London Review of Books that the IHRA definition gives “respectability and encouragement to forms of intolerance which are themselves contrary to law.”

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, recipient of the President’s Medal of the British Operational Research Society and Chair of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, said there were many examples of the definition creating a “chilling effect” on institutions’ willingness to permit lawful political activity, “even when the definition was not specifically cited.”

AJC’s Rabbi Andrew “Andy” Baker helped create and disseminate the new definition throughout Europe, Eurasia, the U.S., and Canada.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which represents all of Europe, Eurasia, the U.S., and Canada — a billion people — was also pushed to adopt the definition at its December 2016 conference.

The American Jewish Committee, which has offices in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome, and Warsaw, reported that it had “met with senior European government officials to encourage OSCE adoption of the definition.” However, adoption of the definition has so far been blocked by one member: Russia.

AJC leader Rabbi Andrew Baker wrote that the AJC would now work “to foster its greater use by the individual states of the OSCE and members of the European Union.”

Inter-Parliamentary Coalition’s American Representatives

Two American Congressmen are among the six-member steering committee of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (CCA).

One is Florida Congressman Ted Deutch. Deutch’s Congressional website highlights his support for Israel as well as his work against antisemitism.

Florida Congressman Ted Deutch has pushed the use of the Israel-centric definition to curtail academic freedom and campus political dissent within the United States. Deutch’s website declares him “a passionate supporter of Israel whose advocacy for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship stretches back to his youth.”

According to the site, Deutch “works closely with his colleagues in the House and Senate to… pass resolutions strongly opposing manifestations of anti-Semitism at home in South Florida, across the United States, and around the world.”

Florida Congressman Ted DeutchThe website reports: “Congressman Ted Deutch is a passionate supporter of Israel whose advocacy for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship stretches back to his youth. Ted spent his summers at Zionist summer camp, worked as a student activist in high school and college, and served in leadership roles on several local and national Jewish organizations throughout his professional career. Today, Ted serves as Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s influential Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, where he continues to champion Israel’s security during a time of great volatility in the Middle East.”

Deutch is also a member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. His ICCA bio announces that he plans to use this position “to continue to publicly condemn anti-Semitism.”

Deutch receives considerable funding from the pro-Israel lobby.

In March Deutch led a bipartisan letter to Trump “Urging Forceful Action on Anti-Semitism.” It demanded ‘a comprehensive, inter-agency strategy that called for the Justice Department to investigate “anti-Semitic crimes” and “ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Deutch was one of two Congresspeople who introduced the December law to apply the State Department definition to education.

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, member of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition, brought Sharansky to testify before Congress about his new definition.

The other U.S. Congressman on the steering committee of the ICCA is Republican Chris Smith of New Jersey. Smith is also a senior member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. According to the website Open Secrets, a large proportion of his campaign donations are also from pro-Israel sources.

Natan Sharansky twice testified at hearings Smith chaired. In a speech at an event honoring Smith for his work against antisemitism, Smith remembered that Sharansky had  “proposed what he called a simple test to help us distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. He called it the three Ds: Demonization, double standard, and de-legitimization.”

Spreading the New Definition Under Cover of “Anti-Racism” Movement

UK universities have seen repression of pro-Palestinian activism on an epic scale. In 2007 the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) adopted the new antisemitism definition at its national conference, when pro-Israel students introduced a motion entitled “AntiRacism: Challenging Racism on Campus and in Our Communities.” Some student unions at various UK universities then did the same.

This was a particularly ironic name for a pro-Israel motion, given that many people around the world consider Israel’s founding ideology, political Zionism, racist. In fact, in 1975 the UN General Assembly specifically passed a resolution that “Zionism is a form of racism.”

(The resolution was revoked In 1991, but not because the world body had changed its mind. In that year President Bush was pushing for the Madrid Peace Conference, which he hoped would end the “Arab-Israeli” conflict. When Israel said it would only participate in the conference if the UN revoked the resolution, the U.S. pressured member states to do just this.)

Through the years numerous entities have affirmed that Zionism is a type of racism, including conferences in South Africa and a recent UN commission which reported that Israel was practicing apartheid. (This report was then removed by the UN Director General, after Israeli and U.S. pressure.)

The UK student actions exemplify a trend that has pervaded this movement since the beginning: Efforts to shut down pro-Palestinian activism, curtail free speech and police thought both online and off are repeatedly packaged as “anti-racism” and sometimes “anti-fascism.”[10]

Campaign for New Definition Overcomes Hiccups

Taken together, these steps towards redefining “antisemitism” to include criticism of Israel, and then ban it, are effectively (and increasingly rapidly) producing significant results in terms of actual regulation and even law enforcement. Nevertheless, there apparently has been some resistance to the change.

In 2013, the successor organization to the European Monitoring Centre (called the European Fundamental Rights Agency) quietly dropped the working definition from its website. Without any public announcement, the definition was simply no longer on its site. When questioned about this, the agency’s director simply said that the organization had “no mandate to develop its own definitions.”

Proponents of the definition were outraged. Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center complained that the agency’s “disowning of its own definition is astounding” and that “those who fight antisemitism have lost an important weapon.” (The Wiesenthal Center is a global organization that declares it “stands with Israel” with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Miami, Chicago, Paris, Buenos Aires, and Jerusalem.)

However, the fact that the Monitoring Centre had never officially adopted the definition, and that its successor organization now had apparently discarded it, seems to have been ignored by those who had adopted it.

The U.S. State Department continues to use the discarded version. The only difference is that the PDF that gave its Monitoring Centre origins has been removed from State’s website.

The World Jewish Congress convention 2014, chaired by David de Rothschild, urged “all countries to adopt a binding definition of anti-Semitic crimes” based on the Israel-centric definition.

The following year, the World Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish umbrella bodies in 100 countries, called on “all countries to adopt a binding definition of anti-Semitic crimes based on the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism developed by the former European Union Monitoring Commission (EUMC) and used in a number of states’ law enforcement agencies.”

IHRA Picks Up the Ball

Other groups stepped into the vacuum and kept the definition alive. In 2016 The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted the definition.

The IHRA consists of 31 Member Countries, ten Observer Countries, and seven international partner organizations. Its chair announced that the IHRA’s goal was to inspire “other international fora” to also adopt “a legally binding working definition.” It’s working: Britain and Austria almost immediately followed suit.

The U.S. Brandeis Center applauded the move, saying that “because the IHRA has adopted it, the definition has now officially been given the international status that it was previously lacking.”

The Brandeis Center reported that this was the “culmination of a process initiated by Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, two years ago, with help from others including Ira Forman and Nicholas Dean of the U.S. Department of State.”

Ira Forman, antisemitism envoy under Obama and formerly of AIPAC, played a pivotal role in the IHRA adoption of the new definition.

Forman was the State Department Special Anti-Semitism Envoy under Obama, reportedly led Obama’s reelection campaign in the Jewish community, had worked for Bill Clinton, and had served as Political Director and Legislative Liaison for AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying organization. Nicholas Dean had been the State Department Special Envoy for the Holocaust.

The New York Jewish Week reported that Forman and Dean “played a pivotal role in diplomatic efforts that led to the recent adoption by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance of a Working Definition of Anti-Semitism.”

“This is the first-ever formal international definition of anti-Semitism, and a potentially crucial tool for forcing governments and international agencies to confront and take action against it,” the article continued.

Pressure On State Department to Continue Extra Monitoring

Among much budget slashing proposed by President Donald Trump were cuts to the State Department that would have ended funding for the antisemitism monitoring office and special envoy (though State Department monitoring of antisemitism would continue even after the cuts).

Various organizations are lobbying to keep the office and envoy, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a U.S. organization whose mission is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people” but which in effect seems to serve as an American extension of the most right-wing elements of Israel’s government. It has a long and infamous history of attacking critics of Israeli policy as “antisemites” and also uses an Israel-centric definition of antisemitism.

The ADL and allies pointed to a rash of bomb threats against Jewish institutions to strengthen their argument that this exceptional office must be funded. A letter with over a hundred signatories was sent to Trump demanding that he keep the dedicated State Department position, a bipartisan letter in support of retaining that special monitor was circulated in Congress, and over 100 Holocaust memorial groups and scholars urged Trump to keep the office.

As this political fight has raged, the ADL, which has a budget of over $56 million, sent out press releases to national and local media around the country reporting that antisemitic incidents have soared. The release was repeated almost verbatim in numerous national media and in individual states (as a random example, a Massachusetts headline declared: “Report: Anti-Semitism on the rise in Massachusetts.”)

However, it is impossible to know how many of the antisemitic incidents reported by the ADL were actually related to criticism of Israel, because the ADL didn’t release the data on which these results were based.

Israeli man arrested for over 2,000 bomb threats.

In addition, the ADL’s reported spike includes a spate of threats called in to Jewish organizations, schools and community centers that, thankfully, were hoaxes. The vast majority of threats (reportedly to over 2,000 institutions) apparently were perpetrated by an 18-year-old Jewish Israeli who reportedly suffers from medical and mental problems. (This alleged perpetrator is also accused of trying to extort a US Senator, threatening the children of a US official, and a range of other crimes.)

Another individual, an American in the U.S., apparently perpetrated eight hoax bomb threats in a bizarre campaign to get his former girlfriend in trouble.

A Jewish News Service article says the threats by the Israeli teen made up a significant percentage of the ADL’s spike and reported: “The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) decision to count an Israeli teenager’s alleged recent bomb hoaxes as ‘anti-Semitic incidents’ is prompting criticism from some Jewish community officials.”

An ADL official admitted that the audit is an approximation, saying “the science on it is currently being written.” A regional ADL director said that “this is not a poll or a scientific study,” but rather “an effort to get a sense of ‘what’s going on in people’s hearts.’”

Regarding hard data, the report said that anti-Semitic assaults across the nation had “decreased by about 36 percent.”

The ADL blames various groups for antisemitism, pointing the finger at people of color with claims that Hispanic Americans and African Americans are “the most anti-Semitic cohorts,” at “white supremacists” and at Trump’s election — but not at the Israeli teen responsible for 2,000+ hoax threats that terrorized Jewish institutions, nor at its own distorted, Israel-connected definition.[11]

Claims of increased antisemitism are cited repeatedly in calls for the U.S. government to maintain funding for the special State Department monitoring.

Former US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power tweeted that the entire Trump administration should focus on antisemitism.

Former Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and two Democratic congressional representatives, Reps. Nita Lowey of New York and Deutch of Florida, are among those demanding that Trump appoint a new antisemitism monitor and maintain this office at full strength, even while he cuts other federal spending.

Power tweeted: “Anti-semitism is surging in world. Entire Trump admin needs to focus on it & envoy position must be kept.”

Lowey demanded: “The president must show he takes the rise of anti-Semitism seriously by immediately appointing a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and fully staffing the Special Envoy’s office.”

In a May 2017 speech, World Jewish Congress leader Ronald Lauder said, “Being anti-Israel is being anti-Semitic.” He announced that the congress “is creating a new communications department, or what you might call Hasborah” to counter this new “antisemitism.”

Dissenting Views

Many Jewish writers and activists dispute Lauder’s contention and oppose the campaign to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. An article in Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper points out that “were anti-Zionism a cover for the abuse of individual Jews, individual Jews would not join anti-Zionist groups. Yet many do. Jewish students are well represented in anti-Zionist groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.”

Rabbi Ahron Cohen of Naturei Kartei (“Guardians of the Faith”) writes that “Judaism and Zionism are incompatible and mutually exclusive.” Cohen states that antisemitism is “an illogical bigotry. Anti-Zionism, however, is a perfectly logical opposition, based on very sound reasoning, to a particular idea and aim.”

Cohen argues: “According to the Torah and Jewish faith, the present Palestinian Arab claim to rule in Palestine is right and just. The Zionist claim is wrong and criminal. Our attitude to Israel is that the whole concept is flawed and illegitimate. So anti-Zionism is certainly not anti-Semitism.”

 Antisemitism?

Recently Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper published a column entitled, “An Israeli Soldier Shot a Palestinian in Front of Her Kids. Where’s Her Compensation?”

The article, by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, begins: “For three months, Dia Mansur was certain his mother was dead. He was 15 years old when he saw her collapse in the living room of their home, felled by a bullet fired by an Israel Defense Forces soldier that sliced into her face, tearing it apart. He saw his mother lying on the floor, blood oozing from her mouth…”

Gaza, 2014. Israel’s invasions and shelling of Gaza killed and injured thousands of children and left multitudes homeless.

Levy, citing a report by an Israeli human rights organization, writes that from September 2000 to through February 2017, “Israel killed 4,868 noncombatant Palestinian civilians, more than one-third of them (1,793) were children and adolescents below the age of 18.” (More info here.)

He continued: “Thousands of others, who were also not involved in fighting, have been wounded and permanently incapacitated.” (Photos here.)

Shifa Hospital, Gaza, 2014

A few weeks before that report, Ha’aretz published an article that described Israel’s month-long imprisonment of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, one of over 200 Palestinian children taken by Israeli forces in a little over three months. The boy, accused of throwing stones against Israeli soldiers, would have been released from incarceration earlier, except that his impoverished family didn’t have enough money to pay the fine.

In the article, Israeli journalist Amira Haas reported that the boy’s father said that his son “wasn’t how he used to be before he was arrested.” “He used to joke,” the father said, “and he stopped doing that. He talked a lot, and now he is silent.”

Haas wrote that UNICEF had issued a report four years ago that Israel was “extensively and systematically abusing detained Palestinian children and youth.” Today, she reported, “The stories of physical violence, threats, painful plastic handcuffs and naked body searches remain almost identical.”

Sadly, every week there are similar stories.

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian boy in West Bank town of Hebron, June 20, 2014. “Human Rights Watch on Monday accused Israel of ‘abusive arrests’ of Palestinian children as young as 11 and of using threats to force them to sign confessions.” – AFP

To the multi-billion dollar network of lobbies advocating for conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, those who work to get such information to the American people – whose government gives Israel $10 million per day – are antisemitic.

Many others of all faiths and ethnicities have a different view.

Sixteen years ago I wrote: “Equating the wrongdoing of Israel with Jewishness is the deepest and most insidious form of anti-Semitism of all.”

It is ironic that it is the Israel lobby that is today doing this equating, and that it has worked to invert the very meaning of antisemitism itself. Rather than denoting only abhorrent behavior, as it once did, today the term is often officially applied to what many consider courageous actions against oppression.

More troubling, still, these lobbying groups are working to outlaw conduct that numerous people (including many Israelis and Jewish Americans) consider morally obligatory.

It seems imperative for Americans who wish for justice and peace in the Middle East, and who oppose Orwellian distortions of language and law, to speak out against this campaign – while we can.

#

N.B. I deeply hope that no one will exaggerate or misrepresent the information this article reveals. The actions above were taken by specific individuals and organizations. They alone are responsible for them, not an entire religious or ethnic group, most of whom quite likely have little idea that this is occurring.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel


Timeline for creating new Israel-centric definition of antisemitism

Following is a timeline of some of the key events in the creation, promotion and adoption of the Israel-focused definition of antisemitism. It provides an outline, but does not include every step of the process, all the key players, or every action.

1991 – Jean Kahn is elected president of the European Jewish Congress at its plenary session in Israel. He announces an ambitious agenda, including demonstrating solidarity with Israel and European countries coordinating legislation to outlaw antisemitism.

1997 – Kahn “convinces 15 heads of state” to create the The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia to focus on “racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.”

2000 – The Monitoring Centre issues a position paper calling for the definition of antisemitic offenses to be “improved.”

2003 – Israel’s minister for diaspora affairs Natan Sharansky founds the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism, stating: “The State of Israel has decided to take the gloves off and implement a coordinated counteroffensive against anti-Semitism.”

2004 – Sharansky, who is also chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, issues a position paper that lays out the “3-D Test of Anti-Semitism:” statements that “demonize” Israel, apply a “double standard” or “delegitimize” Israel are “antisemitic.” These will form the blueprint for new definitions adopted by lobbying organizations and finally governments.

2004 – US Congress passes law establishing special office and envoy in the State Department to monitor antisemitism that includes statements about Israel under this rubric. (Sharansky is witness at Congressional hearing.)

2004 – American Jewish Committee directors Kenneth Stern and Rabbi Andrew “ Andy” Baker work with Israeli professor Dina Porat to draft a new antisemitism definition and push the Monitoring Centre to adopt it, according to Stern. Their draft drew on Sharansky’s 3 D’s.

2005 – Monitoring Centre issues a “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism” that includes Sharansky’s 3 D’s, based on Stern et al’s draft. While standard dictionary definitions of antisemitism didn’t even mention Israel, fully half of the newly devised Monitoring Centre definition referred to Israel.

2007UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) adopts the new antisemitism definition focused on Israel, after pro-Israel students introduce a motion misleadingly entitled “AntiRacism: Challenging Racism on Campus and in Our Communities.” Some student unions at various UK universities then follow suit.

2008 – The first U.S. State Department Special Envoy on antisemitism, Greg Rickman, endorses the Monitoring Centre working definition in State Department report to Congress. (Rickman later went to work for AIPAC.)

2009 – The Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (CCA), which brings together parliamentarians from around the world, issues the London Declaration signed by then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others. The Declaration calls on governments to use the Monitoring Centre definition and to outlaw and prosecute such “antisemitism.” US Congressmen Ted Deutch and Chris Smith are members of the CCA’s steering committee.

2010 – Second US State Department Special Envoy on antisemitism Hanna Rosenthal officially adopts European Monitoring Centre definition; this is subsequently referred to as the State Department definition of antisemitism. Rosenthal creates course on antisemitism using this definition to train Foreign Service Officers.

2012Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law is founded and immediately begins promoting the new definition. Within a year it launches an initiative to establish student chapters at law schools throughout the U.S.

2013 – Successor organization to the European Monitoring Centre (called the European Fundamental Rights Agency) quietly drops the working definition from its website. When questioned about this, the agency’s director says the organization had “no mandate to develop its own definitions.” (Groups using the definition continue to use it.)

2014 – Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, with help from Ira Forman and Nicholas Dean of the U.S. Department of State, initiates efforts for another agency to adopt and promote the working definition of antisemitism.

2015 – European Commission creates a special position to coordinate work on combating antisemitism, appointing German Katharina von Schnurbein to the post. Schnurbein proceeds to promote use of the Israel-centric definition. 

2015 – Indiana University passes resolution denouncing “anti-Semitism as defined by the United States State Department and will not fund or participate in activities that promote anti-Semitism or that ‘undermine the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.’” University of California Santa Barbara and UCLA also pass such resolutions.

2016 – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), consisting of 31 Member Countries, adopts the definition; the goal is to inspire others to also adopt “a legally binding working definition.” An analyst writes that the IHRA action is “a potentially crucial tool for forcing governments and international agencies to confront and take action.”

December 2016 – U.S. Senate passes law to apply the State Department’s definition of antisemitism to the Education Department, for use in investigating reports of religiously motivated campus crimes. Now the law defines actions connected to criticism of Israel as “religiously motivated.”

December 2016 – UK announces it will formally adopt the Israel-centric definition–the first country to do so besides Israel. UK Prime Minister Theresa May made the announcement during a talk before 800 guests at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual lunch.

December 2016 – Adoption of the definition by the 57-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which had been heavily lobbied by the American Jewish Committee, is blocked by Russia. The AJC then says it will push for individual member states to adopt it.

March 2017 South Carolina House of Representatives passes legislation under which the State Department’s definition “would be used in probes of possible anti-Semitism at state colleges and universities.” The Senate version will be discussed in 2018. Similar bills are being considered in Virginia and Tennessee.

March – May 2017 – Resolutions adopting the Israel-centric definitions are passed by student governments at Ohio’s Capital University and Kent State, California’s San Diego State University and at other campuses around the U.S.

April 2017

  • Austria adopts the definition. (The Austrian justice minister previously announced that the new definition would be used in the training of new judges and prosecutors.)
  • The ADL, which uses Israel-centric definition of antisemitism, announces that antisemitism has risen by 86 percent in 2017, but includes questionable statistics. News organizations throughout the U.S. report the ADL claim.
  • Reports that Trump administration budget cuts might cause special antisemitism envoy position to remain vacant provokes outrage among Israel lobby groups and others. Samantha Power calls for entire Trump administration to focus on antisemitism. Soon, Trump administration says it will fill post.
  • All 100 US Senators send a letter to UN demanding it stop its actions on Israel and connects these to antisemitism.

May 2017 –

  • Israel-Britain Alliance begins asking candidates for Parliament to sign a pledge that they will support the new definition.

End Notes

[1] I’m using the newer, unhyphenated spelling of this word, which seems to be growing in popularity. I feel it is a more appropriate spelling, since the hyphenated version suggests that it refers to all Semites, which is incorrect. The word was created in 1879 specifically to refer to anti-Jewish prejudice.

[2] Former Israeli parliament member Shulamit Aloni explained this in a 2002 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy now. “It’s a trick. ” she said. “We always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country people are criticizing Israel, then they are ‘anti-Semitic’.

Aloni noted that the pro-Israel lobby in the United States “is strong, and has a lot of money.” She continued: “Ties between Israel and the American Jewish establishment are very strong … their attitude is ‘Israel, my country right or wrong.’”

“It’s very easy,” she said, “to blame people who criticize certain acts of the Israeli government as ‘anti-Semitic’ and use that claim to justify everything Israel does to the Palestinians.”

Examples abound of critics of Israel silenced in this way. One telling story is that of once-famous journalist Dorothy Thompson, who was virtually erased from history after writing about the Palestinian cause. Read about her here and here.

[3] Dictionaries all agreed on this meaning, with one exception that caused considerable outrage. This was Merriam-Webster’s mammoth unabridged dictionary, which included a second meaning: “opposition to Zionism: sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel.”

When some people discovered this extra, Israel-related meaning in 2004 and raised objections to it, there was a general outcry that the additional meaning was inaccurate and should be removed, including by New York Times columnist and linguistics arbiter Jeffrey Nunberg, who wrote that it “couldn’t be defended.”

Merriam-Webster responded by saying that the extra meaning would “probably be dropped when the company published a new unabridged version in a decade or so.” The company hasn’t published a new version yet, but it seems to have followed through with this decision. The online version of the unabridged dictionary, which says it is updated with the latest words and meanings, makes no mention of Israel or Zionism.

[4] An increasingly common Israeli talking point is the claim that it’s antisemitic to deny the Jewish people their “right to self-determination.” This is disingenuous: Self-determination is the right of people on a land to determine their own political status, not the right of some people to expel others in order to form an exclusive state on confiscated land. In reality, the principle of self-determination would have had the Muslim, Christian and Jewish residents of historic Palestine forming a government for all of them, and today would give Palestinians living under Israeli occupation the freedom to determine their own destiny.

[5] Michael Whine, Jeremy Jones, Israeli Roni Stauber, Felice Gaer, Israeli Yehuda Bauer, Michael Berenbaum and Andy Baker, and later on, AJC’s Deidre Berger, previously an NPR reporter.

[6] The other witnesses were representatives of the Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations, American Jewish Committee, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, Anti-Defamation League, National Conference for Soviet Jewry, B’nai B’rith International, World Jewish Congress, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Shai Franklin, and Jay Lefkowitz of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.

[7] An organization called Students Supporting Israel (SSI) takes credit for most of these initiatives. Created in 2012 at the University of Minnesota by Israeli Ilan Sinelnikov and his sister, Valeria Chazin, SSI now has chapters on over 40 college campuses around the U.S., at least three high schools, and some campuses in Canada. In 2015 Israel’s Midwest Consulate chose SSI to receive the award for “Outstanding Pro Israel Activism.” Campus Hillels are also frequently involved.

The bill at Chapman University passed but was vetoed. Another vote will probably be proposed in in the fall.

[8] For information on additional Israel-centered campaigns, see the works of Israeli strategist Yehezkel Dror, such as his paper “Foundations of an Israeli Grand Strategy toward the European Union

[9] The AJC’s Andy Baker reported: “It is part of police-training materials in the UK.”

[10] An antifa group in France, for example, reportedly shut down a talk by an anti-Zionist intellectual.

[11] A number of analysts have also suggested that some antisemitism may at times be an (inappropriate) response to Israeli violence and oppression of Palestinians. Yale Chaplain Bruce Shipman pointed out in a letter to the New York Times that an earlier period of reported rising antisemitism in Europe paralleled “the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.” Israel partisans were outraged and Shipman was soon required to resign.

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

US College Course on Palestine Reinstated after Cancellation

IMEMC News & Agencies | September 20, 2016

University of California, Berkeley, has reinstated a course on Palestine that was cancelled under pressure from pro-Israel groups, according to a press release.

Palestine Legal said, according to WAFA, that the university reinstated the student-led course titled “Palestine: A Settler-Colonial Analysis”, following an outcry from students and faculty describing the action as a violation of academic freedom, shocking, and unjustifiable.

Palestine Legal also sent a letter to the university chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, on behalf of Paul Hadweh, the student giving the course, warning that the suspension infringed on First Amendment rights and principles of academic freedom.

Following the outcry, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science, Carla Hesse, announced in a statement that the course is reinstated.

“I hope we can now focus on the challenging intellectual and political questions that this course seeks to address,” said Hadweh, a senior student and course facilitator whose family is originally from Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”

Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Legal who represents Paul Hadweh, added, “This is a victory for Paul who spent eight months going through all the recommended and mandated procedures to facilitate a course. It’s also a victory for the 26 students who enrolled and had their academic studies severely disrupted, and for students and scholars across the U.S. who are facing a coordinated attack on the right to speak and study freely about Palestine-Israel.”

Echoing the concerns of Israel advocacy groups, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks had justified the suspension with concern that Hadweh’s course “espoused a single political viewpoint and appeared to offer a forum for political organizing.”

Jackson explained, “The university’s response should have been that academic freedom protects the rights of faculty and students to tackle difficult and even controversial questions. The extra scrutiny on scholarship relating to Palestine is obvious here. The university does not censor Israeli studies classes because they have a ‘political agenda’ or ‘ignore history’, although that case can also be made.”

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

UC Berkeley Axes ‘Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis’ Course

teleSUR – September 13, 2016

University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has bowed to pressure from Jewish groups and suspended a course that discusses the history of Palestine since the late 1800s to the present day in the context of “settler colonialism,” as the latter argue the course has an “anti-Israel” bias that seeks to study “ways to ‘decolonize’ — that is, eliminate — Israel,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

“The course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process,” according to a campus statement that has expressed concern over a course that offered “a single political viewpoint and appeared to offer a forum for political organizing.”

According to the newspaper, 43 Jewish and civil rights groups sent a letter to Dirks complaining that “all the course readings … have a blatantly anti-Israel bias.”

The letter further stated that all course materials and its instructors are one-sided in their view against Israel and were performing “political indoctrination,” which violates the UC Board of Regents’ policy on course content, which prohibits using courses “as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest.”

The Palestine course is among 194 student-taught classes this semester at Berkeley, which are proposed by students and approved by a committee every year.

Within hours of receiving the letter, Dirks issued the statement suspending the course, saying it “did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards.”

The letter called the faculty sponsor, Hatem Bazian, “a well-known anti-Zionist activist who is also the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine.”

However, the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses and Instruction did evaluate and approve the course, Academic Senate chairman Bob Powell told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Is there a box where you check it off? I don’t think so. But everyone involved in course approval is aware of regents policies—including this one.”

The decision to suspend a course, in this case “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” is rarely taken, but censorship of anti-Israel views by university faculty members and students in the United States is well-documented.

In 2015, a comprehensive report titled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US” documented how pro-Palestinian academics have lost their jobs, activists have been suspended from their studies and groups have lost their funding.

In July 2014, for example, the University of Illinois fired Professor Steven Salaita shortly after he signed a contract with the university because he sent out several tweets about the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza strip, which killed more than 500 children.

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Zionist thought police wreak havoc on campus

Bullies and career-wreckers target professor Joy Karega at Oberlin College

By Prof. Tony Hall | American Herald Tribune

joy-karega-at-oberlin_73925

An Open Letter to Marvin Krislov, President of Oberlin College, Following the Suspension of Dr. Joy Karega for Publishing References to Alleged “Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories” on Facebook

10 August, 2016

Dear President Krislov;

I want to include my voice among the many that have chosen to comment on the treatment extended to Dr. Joy Karega, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin College. Dr. Karega is a promising young Black scholar with a new Ph.D.. She finds herself in her present dilemma employed at an institution that advertises itself as a champion of Black equality ever since Oberlin’s involvement in the anti-slavery struggle before the US Civil War.

A report published in Israel on the simmering Karega-Krislov affair includes the text of a letter said to emanate from 174 Oberlin faculty members. All but a few of those that ratified the statement criticizing Dr. Karega’s controversial Facebook posts chose to remain anonymous. This wish to exact professional retribution by colleagues not willing to accept their own personal and professional accountability for a career-wrecking collective intervention speaks of a serious problem in Oberlin’s academic culture. It also illustrates a more pervasive ethical malady plaguing the halls of North American higher education, a sickness that extends far beyond your school or the scope of the Karega-Krislov affair.

Florida Atlantic University is one of those schools where the collapse of academic integrity is far advanced. Central to this collapse is the demise of the core mission of higher education, namely independent inquiry aimed at distinguishing truth from falsehood no matter how threatening this process might be to the status quo.

Tenured Communication Professor, James Tracy, is engaged in suing FAU in a dispute originating in unsubstantiated accusations treating the academic’s important original research and publications on the Sandy Hook debacle as “conspiracy theories.” The creep of the weaponized term, “conspiracy theory,” into academic useage is a telling marker of the insidious submission of universities to masters intent on suppressing those truths incompatible with their agendas of profit and power.

The terminology of “conspiracism” creates the basis for arbitrary blockage of academic work that might menace entrenched power.

With an eye towards Oberlin’s treatment of alleged “conspiracy theorist” Dr. Karega, Prof. Tracy has written about imposed “strictures” that

characterize and define the modern state of academe and its often gutless approach to today’s most urgent social and political problems. Intellectuals recognize as a right of passage how they must tiptoe around concrete geopolitical and historical realities, lest they draw the ire of today’s thought police and face the potential consequences: financial deprivation and professional ruin. In this way what was once higher education has become yet another racket for high finance.

Where Is the Evidence?

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has published the text of the Oberlin professors’ letter that is advertised as emanating from a “majority” of faculty members. The supposed majority has opted not to remain silent even as most of its members “tiptoe around concrete geopolitical and historical realities.” Their irresponsible refusal to allow their names to be published amounts to an unwillingness to accept personal accountability for their group action directed at discrediting an academic colleague. The core of the faculty members’ statement is that

Bigotry has no place on the Oberlin campus (or anywhere). It sullies the values of equality and mutual support that are embedded in our institutional DNA as the first coeducational college and the first to admit students of all races as a matter of policy. It undermines our classrooms as places where students and faculty accord each other the deep respect required for the exercise of free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.

Your school’s decision to suspend with pay Dr. Karega’s teaching and advising responsibilities does not seem to me to be in line with the conditions required for “free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.” I have looked long and hard through the considerable volume of information published on this matter on-line to discover that there is not yet much serious discussion of the actual evidence supporting or negating Dr. Karega’s pronouncements in the highlighted Facebook posts.

This neglect of issues of evidence and proof is especially stark in The Tower, an aggressively partisan publication created by “The Israel Project.” I have not been able to find a coherent explanation on-line of what The Israel Project, also referred to as TIP, actually is. The Tower has tended to lead and arguably also to create the Karega-Krislov story.

The Tower’s narrative is then picked up by other larger publications like The New York Times, The New York Post and Haaretz. One Tower headline presented a summary of Dr. Karega’s contested posts, indicating “Oberlin Professor Claims That Israel Was Behind 9/11, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo Attack.” Another biased and sensationalistic headline in a publication entitled Forward proclaims, “Inside the Twisted Anti-Semitic Mind of Oberlin Professor Joy Karega.”

This pattern of condemning Dr. Karega without any proof that she is wrong in her assertions extends to the anonymous Faculty letter and to a similar statement by Oberlin’s Board of Trustees. You yourself, Dr. Krislov, mirror and replicate this propensity. Even before you decided to suspend Dr. Karega’s teaching you introduced your own unsubstantiated assumptions that Dr. Karega is necessarily misguided and unjustified in all her assertions. Why is she wrong?  The answer seems to be…. Well she just is. Everyone knows. How does everyone know? Well…. We just do. Where is your evidence to back up your conclusions? Where is the evidence on which to base “reasoned analysis”? Where are proper definitions of the language you deploy like juridical markers of a proven crime?

What do you mean when you associate Dr. Karega with “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?” What is your theory of conspiracy and of anti-Semitism? Are theories about conspiracies ever legitimate in your view? What are the criteria? How can the mission of the Liberal Arts be accomplished without the development of theories, including those theories that speak to issues of power and how it is exercised? Who can deny that influential interests, entities and individuals sometimes conspire secretly and outside the law to achieve shared goals? Aren’t you guilty of deploying a propaganda term that has been deviously engineered to block, rather than promote, reasoned exchange on subjects of core importance to the future of higher education and of civilization itself?

The Contrasting Experiences of Dr. Kevin Barrett and Dr. Philip Zelikow Post-9/11

Dr. Kevin Barrett has followed closely what he refers to as a witch hunt on Dr. Karega. A Muslim convert himself and a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, Dr. Barrett is a martyr who was notoriously nailed to the cross of anti-intellectual vigilantism in 2006. Dr. Barrett lost his teaching position as a Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin after Fox News and publicity-seeking politicians succeeded in hounding the custodians of higher education into sabotaging the principles of free speech and academic freedom.  Are you giving way to similar intimidation, Dr. Krislov?

Dr. Barrett was fired from the University of Wisconsin for doing his job too conscientiously. He included in his broad-ranging introductory survey course on Islam a new topic highlighting the impact on Muslims of 9/11. To have not incorporated this subject in his curriculum would have been to fail to maintain the contemporary relevance of his course. All people, but especially Muslims the world over, have been profoundly impacted by what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.

An internal review at the University of Wisconsin found that Dr. Barrett had been conscientious in providing a range of perspectives of the subject of 9/11. Dr. Barrett was at the time a skeptical critic of the government’s account of 9/11 but that did not deter him from presenting various perspectives on the event, including those outlined in 2004 by the Bush government’s highly politicized 9/11 Commission Report.

It should be noted that the conclusions of this investigation, drafted by Prof. Philip Zelikow, were based on supposed “evidence” obtained by the CIA in secret “dark sites” through domestically and internationally outlawed torture.  Is the making of public policy based on evidence obtained through torture even legal, let alone ethical? When lawmakers sanction legislation and policy produced by evidence obtained through torture, are they complicit in heinous international crimes? Are there any professional sanctions that should be imposed on Prof. Zelikow, a historian expert in the deployment of public mythology to influence public attitudes and opinion?

Evidence-Based Interpretation or Conspiracy Theory?

Since 2006 Dr. Barrett has established himself in the United States and internationally as a leading expert among the broad constituency that has conducted independent research on 9/11 and related subjects. I make this assessment as a Full Professor of Liberal Education and Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada.

I have taken some of my leads in my own academic work on 9/11 and related subjects from Dr. Barrett as well as from the writings and talks of professors David Ray Griffin, Graeme MacQueen, Michel Chossudovsky, Peter Dale Scott, Steven E. Jones, John McMurtry, Richard B. Lee, Niels Harritt, Michael Keefer, Richard Falk, Barrie Zwicker and many others. From this starting point of reading the peer-reviewed and journalistic literature, I have conducted my own independent scholarly research on some of the same subjects addressed in Dr. Karega’s media-highlighted Facebook posts.

I have published my findings on these matters in a number of venues including the peer-reviewed volume, Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism. The narrative is a global history from 1492 until the time of publication. It includes my account of the genesis of the 9/11 Truth movement in which Dr. Barrett played a significant part.  Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, Earth into Property was chosen by The Independent in UK as one of the best history books published in the English-speaking world in 2010. The Journal of the American Library Association, Choice, described Earth into Property as “a scholarly tour de force.”

In Earth into Property I outlined my understanding of 9/11 and its outgrowth in the so-called Global War on Terror. I integrated this analysis into an historical interpretation going back to the American Indian Wars and before. Like other imperial assaults on Indigenous peoples the world over, the US invasions of the North American Indian Country were justified in the name of the assumed imperative of “civilization” to ascend over “savagery.” This justification for genocide and land grabs is very similar to the justifications of imperial Israel’s expansionism with massive US military backing, all in the name of “fighting terror.”

The imagery of Islamic jihadists is regularly mainstreamed into the mental environment by many of the same media venues currently attempting to smear Dr. Karega’s reputation with a vengeance. This psychological operation plays on many of the same themes as those deployed by the authors of the US Declaration of Independence who referred to “merciless Indian savages.” America’s founding manifesto racially profiled the victims of the original American genocide much as Muslims collectively are now being profiled in the hate-inciting propaganda of the Zionist-driven Islamophobia Industry.

In the current media-induced environment of psychological paralysis, it is made to seem like the steady flow of violent events in, for instance, Nice, Munich, Orlando, and San Bernardino emanate from the actions of Islamic jihadists acting alone. It is made to seem that their sole motivation is that of religious zealotry and an irrational hatred of “Western freedoms.” This cartoon-like depiction for TV-addicted folks disguises the role in contemporary geopolitics of mercenary proxy armies fighting under Islamic flags. Funded, armed and logistically backed by the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and various other governments and corporations, these mercenary forces give justification to military adventurism of war profiteers abroad, police state and surveillance state incursions at home.

The governments of USA and Israel, the dominant, heavily nuclearized superpowers in this imperial system, do much of their aggression and intrigue through their own network of proxies, puppet governments and corporate clients including Qatar, Canada, UK, France and Exxon Mobil. This imperial coalition is at once backing, while concurrently seeming to fight, the so-called “Islamic State.”

In the effort to overthrow the Assad government of Syria, the inheritors of the Anglo-American empire are openly assisting their intelligence agencies’ offshoot, namely al-Qaeda. A creation of the CIA and Pakistani intelligence in Afghanistan, the very group blamed for 9/11 from the very first hour of the debacle is now declared to be a US ally.

What chain of events led former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack to pin 9/11 on Osama bin Laden and to call for a “concerted war on terror” at the London studios of the BBC on the morning of 9/11? He laid out this scenario even before the Twin Towers burst into pulverized clouds of dust and vapor. How is it that the very group, al-Qaeda, immediately blamed for 9/11 without any investigation whatsoever, has now morphed into one of the “moderate rebel” groups backed by those seeking to overthrow the government led Bashir al-Assad? What is wrong with this picture? Plenty.

Wikileaks has recently added new evidence in the form of hacked US State Department E-Mails to support the interpretation that the Israeli and US superpowers are primary sponsors of proxy armies regularly depicted in the Western media as Islamic jihadists. It has been widely reported that Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has been developing a documentary record demonstrating the connections linking Hillary Clinton’s role in the overthrow and mob murder of Muammar Gaddafi to the transfer of armaments to proxy forces fighting under various Islamic flags in Syria and Iraq.

This sequence of connections is now clearly a matter of public record. Nevertheless the evidence of what is actually going on is not reflected in the media campaigns of Israeli-backed propaganda agencies such as those being orchestrated by Rita Katz’s SITE Intelligence, an extension of the Rand Corporation.

The Academic Martyrdom Club

The overwhelming weight of evidence points, therefore, to the conclusion that Dr. Karega’s characterization of the behind-the-scenes genesis of 9/11 and the Islamic State are, at the very least, plausible. Will the lynch mob mentality that is being incited inside and outside Oberlin College be allowed to run its course to strangle the career of a young academic?

As I see it, Dr. Karega’s Facebook posts suggest that this scholar of anti-apartheid and decolonization studies has shown herself strong enough and intellectually capable enough to stroll through, rather than “tiptoe around, concrete geopolitical and historical realities.” Unlike her 174 Oberlin colleagues, most of whom chose to hide their identity rather than take academic responsibility for their professional actions, Dr. Karega is showing a capacity to stand behind what she teaches and publishes no matter how inconvenient to entrenched interests.

Those who assume Dr. Karega to be wrong, including many of her fearful, duck-and-cover colleagues at Oberlin College, must reckon with the reality that a considerable weight of evidence is on the side of the besieged Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition. The position that Dr. Karega is actually closer to the truth than her critics is edified by the dubious resort of many of her detractors to ad hominem attacks and ill-defined propaganda terms like “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist.”

This kind of weaponized language has everything to do with marginalizing dissenting voices and nothing to do with “according each other the deep respect required for the exercise of free and open expression and the development of reasoned analysis grounded in evidence.”

Better, much better is expected especially of those of us with tenured academic positions. It is during our watch that, as Prof. James Tracy puts it, what was “once higher education is becoming yet another racket for high finance.”  What are the forces that are undermining the will or the capacity of faculty with the protection of tenure to rise to the higher level of our professional academic calling?

How many of us have been enticed away from the academic quest for truth as an end in itself to pursue grants and contracts and media engagements? How many of us have sought the rewards of money, fame or professional tranquility by taking the side of power, by veering away from lines of research, publication and teaching that involve the bringing to light of controversial interpretations inconvenient to power?

What is the impact on our colleagues of the examples being set through the persecution of, for instance, Kevin Barrett or James Tracy or Steven Salaita or Ward Churchill or Rabab Abdulhadi or the latest pilloried nominee for the academic martyrdom club, Joy Karega? They are some of the more prominent examples of those that have left the safety of officially-sanctioned narratives to study the deep politics of current configurations of power.

What are we to make of the fact that our Black, Muslim, Palestinian, and Native American colleagues seem to face disproportionately high levels of professional persecution? How can faculty members best address this increasingly blatant failure of the academy to live up to the higher calling of our profession, to transcend intimidation of thought police in order to advance the ideals of truth, justice, equality, peace and ecological sanity?

Patterns of Persecution

The tidal wave of new revelations and disclosures in this age of pervasive digitalized information has vindicated many of the positions that Dr. Barrett began developing in 2006 when the academic career of this promising Muslim scholar was wrongfully sabotaged. Will the same kind of premature rush to judgment in the Barrett case at the University of Wisconsin now extend to the Karega-Krislov matter at Oberlin College? Will the rule of political expediency continue to prevail over the protection of free speech and academic freedom?

Will Oberlin College continue to act in defiance of the traditions it claims to represent? Will your school continue siding with power to further the repression of an important academic voice giving expression to the struggle for justice by those who Frantz Fanon once described as the wretched of the earth? Dr. Karega’s academic work on the liberation struggles of marginalized people is being pushed farther to the margins. Can there be any doubt that her marginalization is further empowering those who have superior access to media, money and political influence?

The smear campaign directed at Dr. Joy Karega is part of a very elaborate effort by thought police targeting free speech and academic freedom on many campuses throughout North America and beyond. The primary objective is to silence criticism of Israel for its imperial policies but especially its malicious and often lethal treatment of Palestinian people. Dr. Karega is one of those that has connected the dots to associate the underlying impetus of the Global War on Terror with a Zionist-driven effort to demonize in the public’s imagination not only Palestinians but Muslim and Arab peoples the world over.

Sociology Professor William I. Robinson has presented a very broad and illuminating overview of the methodology being deployed to constrain free speech and open academic debate on university campuses throughout North America. His analysis emanates from his own professional experience as a target of an effort to purge this senior sociology professor, a Jew himself, from his tenured position at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The attack on Prof. Robinson and his academic work emanated from an elaborate complex of Israel-First Zionist organizations inside and outside the Santa Barbara campus of University of California.

The attacks came after Prof. Robinson was openly critical of the Israeli military assault in 2009 in Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza enclave. Some have described Gaza under Israeli occupation as a prison complex to contain Palestinian inmates. Prof. Robinson describes the tactics of recrimination used against him as follows:

The persecution to which I was subjected involved a litany of harassment, slander, defamation of character and all kinds of threats against the university by outside forces if I was not dismissed, as well as hate mail and death threats from unknown sources. More insidiously, it involved a shameful collaboration between a number of university officials and outside forces from the Israel lobby as the university administration stood by silently, making a mockery of academic freedom.

The disciplinary procedure initiated against me by UCSB officials involved a host of irregularities, violations of the university’s own procedures, breaches of confidentiality, denial of due process, conflicts of interest, failure of disclosure, improper political surveillance, abuses of power and position, unwarranted interference in curriculum and teaching and so on. As I would discover during the course of the ordeal, individuals inside the university and in positions of authority had linked up with agents of the lobby outside the university in setting out to prosecute me.

It seems this same pattern of treatment, one which has been re-enacted frequently with some variations throughout many centers of higher education, is underway now in the Karega-Kristov matter at Oberlin College. One major difference is that, as a younger professor, Dr. Karega is still in the process of establishing herself professionally. Dr. Karega is at a particularly vulnerable stage in her career. As Prof. Robinson observes, “across the country whenever such persecutions are launched the burden falls on those that are targeted to defend themselves, often tying up the individual’s time and life for months and generating great emotional stress.”

The Robinson case attracted much attention nationally and internationally. Many students and professors organized themselves to create a Committee for Academic Freedom. One of the more vocal members of this committee was Prof. Richard Falk, a Professor of International Law at Princeton University and formerly UN Special Rapporteur on Israeli Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

The effort to pressure the university administration to terminate Prof. Robinson was dropped once the organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, threatened to sue the protagonists seeking recriminations. About the broader context of propaganda and geopolitics surrounding the improper professional assault against him, Prof. Robinson has written,

The Israeli army is the fifth most potent military machine in the world and one that is backed by a propaganda machine that rivals and may well surpass that of the US, a machine that dares to make the ludicrous and obnoxious claim that opposition to the policies and practices of the Israeli state is anti-Semitism. It should be no surprise that a state founded on the negation of a people was one of the principal backers of the apartheid South African state not to mention of the Latin American military dictatorships until those regimes collapsed under mass protest…..

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement, BDS, in Israel-First Interventions on Campus

One important facet of the worldwide resistance to the Israeli government’s current imperial policies is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, BDS. Prof. Robinson stresses the growing strength of the BDS movement especially among Palestinian-support groups on university campuses. This growing strength is cited as one of the primary reasons why Israel-First organizations in North America are targeting institutions of higher education.

Dr. Karega supports the BDS movement, as do a number of Oberlin students including some Jewish students. I would go so far as to surmise that she sees this global campaign as an important extension of the resistance of people and peoples to the colonizing incursions of those at the commanding heights of power over banking, media, intelligence agencies and armed forces.

Campus Watch, the AMCHA Initiative, the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Campus Outreach, the Zionist Organization of America, Stand With Us, Israel on Campus Coalition, Hillel, the American Jewish Congress, and David Horowitz’s FrontPage are some of the Zionist-directed agencies that are destroying the atmosphere of free, open and respectful discourse in our institutions of higher learning.

One of the most active of the groups is Campus Watch, one of Daniel Pipes’ primary agencies of intervention at universities. Its primary technique for wreaking havoc on campus is to quarterback the proliferation of student complaints as a means of initiating attacks like those directed, for instance, at professors Robinson and Karega. About this method of assaulting academic freedom, Will Youmans has written,

Campus-Watch encourages students to snitch on their professors. It has a whole section dedicated to student reports. Campus-Watch is essentially forming a paramilitary thought police, a private TIPS program for pro-Israeli advocates.

In a Counterpunch article entitled “David Horwitz’s Corrosive Projects” Paul De Rooji observes

The Hasbara Manual, a 131-page propaganda manual, was distributed to US-zionist campus organizations; it lists many techniques to whitewash Israel, and to defuse the message of its critics. Two of its key recommendations are to: (1) “attack the messenger and not the message”, and (2) to “gain points” with the public targets by “manipulating,” and diverting them from “rationality,” “real examination,” and “thinking critically”. Well now, this is a splendid explanation for the role FrontPage and Campus-Watch play in the US today. Much of what these organizations do is smearing and undermining rational discussion of a range of issues…….

FrontPage is not merely a contributor to the “marketplace of ideas,” it is a wrecking operation comparable with the book-burners of yesteryear. It is also a mistaken conception to think that we just encounter a “marketplace of ideas”, but a more accurate understanding of our society is that we are confronted with a “battleground of ideas”, and here there is no room for complacency and neutrality…

Horowitz’s FrontPage rag is the equivalent of the village idiot gaining control of the megaphone.

In their investigation of “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics,” in Tikkun magazine, David Theo Goldberg and Sariee Makdisi provide another telling characterization of the notorious Hasbara Handbook. They write

The Hasbara Handbook offers several other propaganda devices, all of which can be seen vividly at play in the coverage of the UCLA Gaza panel and other similar events, including, again, the Robinson affair. “Creating negative connotations by name calling is done to try to get the audience to reject a person or idea on the basis of negative associations, without allowing a real examination of that person or idea,” the handbook states with remarkable bluntness, in advocating that tactic. It also suggests using the opposite of name calling, to defend Israel by what it calls the deployment of “glittering generalities” (words like “freedom,” “civilization,” “democracy”) to describe the country; manipulating the audience’s fears (“listeners are too preoccupied by the threat of terrible things to think critically about the speaker’s message”); and so on. The point of all this is not to use arguments backed by reason and evidence. It is, instead, to manipulate (the handbook’s own term) an audience precisely in order not to examine arguments, not to think critically about what is being said. Which is a rather remarkable approach for a book intended for a university audience.

One of those academics that has faced the full force of this kind of professional harassment described in detail by Prof. Robinson is Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies/Race Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. Like Dr. Karega and Dr. Barrett, Prof. Abdulhadi has been the target of “ritual defamation.”

Prof. Abdulhadi described in 2014 the nature of the obstacles put in her way to develop research alliances in the Middle East with Palestinian colleagues. She writes:

Baseless accusations of anti-Semitism and support for terrorism have had devastating impacts on me and other members of the university community. Students and faculty have been consumed by defending our right to speak freely. These smear campaigns can affect our future and career opportunities and subject us to unwarranted government scrutiny of our speech activities.

Contextualizing Dr. Kevin Barrett’s Unanswered Letter to the President of Oberlin College

Where does Oberlin reside in the historic struggle between those on the delivering and receiving sides of imperial globalization? I am aware you face criticism from those who allege you have not been active enough in taking the side of those that seem to be prevailing in this test of institutional influence. A headline in the unabashedly Zionist publication, the Tablet, for instance alleges, “How Oberlin Repeatedly Failed to Confront Anti-Semitism on Campus.”

There can be no doubt about where Dr. Kevin Barrett has situated himself in a world where the struggle between the forces of colonization and decolonization are as animated as ever. Since 2008 I have looked to Dr. Barrett as a martyred academic colleague. I became aware of Dr. Barrett through my now-deceased friend and colleague, Splitting The Sky.

STS was a Native American sovereigntist, a Mohawk activist and a remarkable human being. In 2009 Splitting The Sky attempted a citizen’s arrest, for war crimes, of George W. Bush in Calgary, Alberta. This action led to a trial where a group of us attempted to hold the former US president accountable for his war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Splitting The Sky was an avid student of the 9/11 false flag terror event and a regular guest on Dr. Barrett’s Truth jihad radio show. The Mohawk activist insisted I address the evidence of 9/11, initiating a process that led to my current professional interaction with one of the most articulate voices in the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Since 2008 I have collaborated professionally with Dr. Barrett. This collaboration led in late 2015 to my co-hosting with Dr. Barrett a regular survey of contemporary events for No Lies Radio. The program is titled False Flag Weekly News. On FFWN we have covered and will continue to cover Oberlin’s treatment of Dr. Karega and the controversy it is arousing.

I have also contributed essays to Dr. Barrett’s publishing projects including two recent edited books on the two false flag terror events in Paris in 2015. One essay is entitled “Witch Hunt on Terrorism.” The second is entitled “Academic Complicity in the Global War of False Flag Terrorism.”

It will come as no surprise that I share Dr. Barrett’s view of the recent suspension of Dr. Karega at Oberlin College as a witch hunt. The attempt to silence her helps facilitate a massive cover up essential to the continuing operations of the Global War of False Flag Terrorism. Having presented this background I republish below the letter that Dr. Barrett sent you last March on the Karega-Kislov matter. He tells me he is still waiting for an answer from you. Dr. Barrett has explained to you, Dr. Krislov, the following:

You write that you are similarly nonplussed by “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Are you referring to the theory that 19 young Semites, led by an older Semite on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan, blew up the World Trade Center by using box-cutters to kindle minor office fires?

I, too, am outraged by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Today virtually all of the world’s Semites are the speakers of Arabic. (“Semite” is a linguistic category, not a racial one.) And I am outraged by the way Arabic Semites have been falsely blamed for the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, the murders of innocents by large white paramilitary professionals in Paris and San Bernadino, and many similar false flag incidents. These false flag public relations stunts have triggered the murder of more than 1.5 million people and the destruction of the homes and lives of tens of millions more. THIS is the real, indisputable and ongoing Holocaust; you and your colleagues are perpetrating it right now with your tax money, your silences and your lies. The blood of more than a million innocents is on your hands.

So while I appreciate your support for academic freedom, I respectfully request that you take the next step and sponsor a debate or symposium on false flags in general and 9/11 and the 2015 Paris attacks in particular. If you or anyone else believes they can defend the 9/11 Commission Report, or the official versions of the Paris attacks, in a debate, they should be not just willing but actually eager to put the “conspiracy theories” to rest.

I will be happy to travel to Oberlin at my own expense to participate in any such debate. Meanwhile, I am sending my three books Questioning the War on TerrorWe Are NOT Charlie Hebdo, and ANOTHER French False Flag as a gift to the Oberlin College Library, where faculty and students can refer to them to understand the positions of Professor Karega and the hundreds of millions of people around the world who share her interpretations of current events.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin Barrett

The Imposed Illusions of Empire versus the Liberating Impulses of Applied Reason

I agree with Dr. Barrett that there is a very real need for some sort of conference to encourage free and open debate about the issues raised to the surface by the Karega-Krislov matter. I would like to see, however, a broader focus than that proposed by Dr. Barrett. I think the time has come for a conference that highlights the problems that are preventing institutions of higher learning from living up to their mission to identify, disseminate and defend truth, but especially inconvenient truths, through the process of education.

Among the issues that are indicative of our educational failures are the following: 1. the marginality and total ineffectiveness of the near-defunct anti-war movement, 2. the disproportionate level of criminalization of minorities as reflected in demography of our penal institutions, 3. the huge and growing economic polarization between haves and have-nots and, 4. the near absence of credible law enforcement when it comes to the rampant criminality of those at the top of our systems of banking, intelligence, militarism, public safety including public health, and mass communications. Should university governance be added to this list?

I think we in the academy should take to heart these appalling trajectories and propensities, these markers of the failure of our educational project. I think it especially important that we respond thoughtfully and proactively to these trends in what you call at Oberlin the Liberal Arts and in what we describe at the University of Lethbridge as Liberal Education. The patterns of decline and deterioration described above point exactly in the opposite direction from everything we claim to stand for in the Liberal Arts/Liberal Education.

The reasons for the breakdown in civility, honesty, equity, due process, and simple sanity in international relations are complex and many faceted. From my perspective, one of the factors in the decline is reflected in the unwillingness of leaders like you to examine the full array of evidence publicly available on core issues like who did 9/11 and who is behind the existence and activities of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/ “Islamic State.” Once again, where is your evidence that Dr. Karega is wrong in her interpretation of these matters?

Without honestly looking into the deep state intrigues facilitating war-profiteering in the twenty-first century, it is hard to fathom the sheer recklessness of those directing our increasingly militarized society. A fundamental facet of this wanton recklessness is the engineering of hatred towards Muslim people as a key to securing public consent for ramped up militarism especially in the Middle East.

In our running commentary on this story Dr. Barrett and I sometimes meet recriminations similar to those being directed at Dr. Karega. This kind of power-serving antagonism to our public service of offering public education in social media was recently put on display on the front page of my hometown newspaper, the Lethbridge Herald.

In an article entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” a local reporter argued that our interpretations of the news are necessarily unfounded because they do not conform to the dominant narrative disseminated 24/7 by the mainstream media. The Lethbridge Herald’s resort to the uncontextualized condemnation as “conspiracy theories” of our effort to share with the public our analysis as senior and well published practitioners in our fields highlights the growing distance between officialdom’s dominant narrative of deception and evidence-based assessments of humanity’s true conditions.

The disparity between the imposed illusions of empire and the liberating impulses of applied reason offers a key to understanding the depth of the betrayal by our governors of the Enlightenment’s rationalist heritage. With this rejection of evidence-based approaches to interpretation comes our accelerating descent into civilizational chaos. The malevolent intent of the criminals currently dominating old pyramids of power seems to be to plunge the largest part of humanity into a Hobbesian state of a war of all against all.

Much is revealed by the failure of officialdom to address, let alone stop, the unbridled crime wave reigning down growing suffering and angst on average folk the world over. I am far from alone in this perception that we are subject to a massive failure of leadership in places like universities where faculty members should be joining together in solidarity to expose the abundant frauds of the empire of illusion. Where do you fit into this picture Dr. Krislov? What signal do you send as a leader in the academy when you refuse to look at the full body of evidence to consider if there is any truth in any of Dr. Karega’s contentions?

Sir, I respectfully suggest you revisit your initial reactions by giving fair consideration to the evidence supporting how Dr. Karega sees 9/11, or ISIS, or the Charlie Hebdo affair, or the historic role of the Rothschild family in the genesis of the world’s dominant system for creating fiat currency by privately-owned central banks. Can you honestly be sure that there is no merit in how Dr. Karega is interpreting Power’s exercise? Who else shares her views? Can you say for sure your own relationship to Power is not a factor in your judgments so far?

In my view, Dr. Krislov, you confuse the issues by connecting your rejection of Dr. Karega’s positions to your own family history. To explain your relationship to the controversy you have written, “Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”

This way of characterizing the context of the controversy over Dr. Karega’s Facebook posts does not serve well the need for objectivity in assessing all sides of this matter.

The memory of Jews killed during the Second World War is too often subject to disrespect by those that abuse their victimhood to cover over and even explain the crimes of the Jewish state. As University of California Professor William I. Robinson has commented, the Israeli response to charges that the Jewish state has “colonized” the Indigenous people and Aboriginal lands of Palestine is often framed in polemics about “righting the wrongs of the holocaust.” Prof. Robinson characterizes this way of justifying genocidal incursions as “a unique system of propaganda and legitimation.”

Since you made the decision to suspend Dr. Karega’s teaching, the onus of proof is on you to demonstrate how you know Dr. Karega is wrong in her contentions. Have you, or have those howling for Dr. Karega’s professional termination, considered the contents of Dr. Barrett’s recent books on false flag terrorism or the extensive literature, including the ten books by Prof. David Ray Griffin, demonstrating that the government’s own conspiracy theory of 9/11 cannot be true?

Will you examine at least some parts of Earth into Property or read Christopher Bollyn’s Solving 9/11? Will you consider the assessment of 9/11 by Dr. Alan Sabrosky whose academic credentials within the US military establishment meet and far exceed the gold standard?

Have you reckoned with the assessment by Dr. Gideon Polya in his article entitled “Zionist-Subverted Oberlin College Trashes Academic Free Speech and Suspends Professor Joy Karega”? Dr. Polya might be considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the demography of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This Australian scientist is proud of his Hungarian Jewish heritage and carries on his family’s tradition of anti-Zionism.

Dr. Polya is unrelenting in his criticism of the deliberate lies spewed throughout media and academic venues. He contrasts this trend with the largely accurate reflection of reality he sees in the posts of Prof. Karega. He writes,

Lying is utterly forbidden in science and in scholarship and academia in general because it subverts rational inquiry. Lying by commission and lying by omission utterly subvert rational risk management that is crucial for societal safety and successively involves (a) accurate information, (b) scientific analysis , and (c) informed systemic change noting that lying by omission  is far, far worse than lying by commission because the latter at least admits  the possibility of refutation and public debate. Lying by omission is exampled by the Mainstream journalist, politician and academic presstitutes utterly ignoring the ongoing Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide. Lying by commission is exampled by the finding by the US Center for Public Integrity that the Bush Administration told 935 lies between 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq.

Professor Joy Karega’s truth-telling is a notable exception to the dominant Mainstream culture of lying by omission and commission about the ongoing Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide, the ongoing Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide, and the ongoing Palestinian Genocide.

In order to contextualize his case study Dr. Polya presents a number of examples of persecution similar to that facing Dr. Karega at Oberlin College. This reference to individual cases should be understood in the context of Prof. Robinson’s comment that “dozens, perhaps hundreds, of professors and student groups have been harassed and persecuted for speaking out against Israeli occupation and apartheid and in support of the Palestinian struggle.” Dr. Polya writes,

The suspension of anti-racist truth-teller Professor Joy Karega by Zionist-subverted Oberlin College is but one further example of racist Zionists attacking Western academic free speech through egregious defamation, subversion, perversion, and institutional suspension or sacking of anti-racist Jewish or non-Jewish academics critical of Apartheid Israel. Thus, for example, outstanding anti-racist Jewish scholar Professor Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure and pressured to leave by a by Zionist-pressured De Paul University. Outstanding anti-racist humanitarian Anul Gandhi (the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) was pushed out by Zionist pressure from the University of Rochester and the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence he had founded. In slavishly pro-Zionist Apartheid Australia, Professor Jake Lynch and his Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University  of Sydney University have been under concerted  attacks from Israeli and Australian Zionists. Anti-racist Middle East scholar Dr Sandra Nasr was censored by the Zionist-pressured UK London School of Economics and defamed and “investigated” by a Zionist-pressured Notre Dame Australia.

Rather than falling back on the canard of “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” how about transcending your own personal prejudices? How about moving to the higher ground of a conscientious academic or jurist that affords fair consideration to all sides in a debate before arriving at conclusions?

Shooting the Messengers with Weaponized Words

In 2014 Kevin Barrett and I and a number of talented investigative journalists attended a conference in Tehran entitled the 2nd New Horizon Conference of Independent Thinkers and Film Makers. The participants in this event came mostly from North America and Europe. In Tehran, we were able to discuss openly the kind of issues before us in an atmosphere of safety, mutuality and respect cultivated by our hosts. We the invited delegates could exchange ideas in a much more relaxed and less paranoid way than would be possible in the intensively policed academic milieus of our own home countries.

In some of our Western countries, including Canada, the constraints against free speech and academic freedom are growing, including through the authoritarian threat of criminal prosecution. Such prosecutions have been visited upon, for instance, my colleague Arthur Topham and his RadicalPress.com.

As I have already discussed, I see very clear connections between the assault on free articulation and the rise of unbridled militarism, the surveillance state, the increasingly transnational police state, financial malfeasance, ecological degradation and toxic contamination of our mental environments. What are our responsibilities in Liberal Arts/Liberal Education to stand up against this onslaught? What can we do as human beings and as faculty members to try to at least slow the erosion of the human condition, indeed the conditions of all life on this planet?

When I returned to Canada from the New Horizon Conference in Iran, I became aware of a press conference that had taken place in New York. There, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League engaged in harsh defamation of his own. The Anti-Defamation League emerges from the international operations of the B’nai Brith.

Foxman has recently retired from the ADL, an entity with over 400 regular employees and an annual budget of about $40 million. In 2014 Foxman was at the peak of his power in the role he had built up for himself since the 1960s. Over decades as the ADL’s primary mouthpiece, Foxman became one of the most powerful lobbyists and aggressive smear meisters to represent the Israeli government in the United States. Part of his job, it is reputed, was to have engaged in close collaboration with the Israeli secret service agency, the Mossad.

For his frequent attacks predictably targeting as “anti-Semites” a broad array of individuals and groups critical of Israel, Foxman was paid about $700,000 per year. In 2009 the professional assault on Prof. William I. Robinson’s career began when Abraham Foxman secretly visited selected administrators, professors and students at the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus.

Abraham Foxman’s smear of the New Horizon conference in Tehran in 2014 echoed widely throughout the mainstream media. Foxman used the occasion to condemn the whole event as a “hatefest” and its participants as “anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, and holocaust deniers.” As on other occasions, Foxman referred specifically to “9/11 conspiracy theories”

Seeing these weaponized phrases— conspiracy theorist, 9/11 conspiracy theorist, anti-Semite, and holocaust denier— highlighted and grouped by the ADL, was something of a revelation for me. It caused me to reflect on how these weaponized terms are being malevolently flung about as a package. To be accused of one of the criminal categories is to be accused of them all. No definitions are ever offered when these control words are deployed for ritual defamation. There is never, as far as I can see, any real grappling with evidence to justify what is being asserted. You have demonstrated the consistency of this pattern yourself, Dr. Krislov. You implicitly directed two of these weaponized phrases at Dr. Karega without addressing how you arrived at your defamatory conclusions.

The deployment of the weaponized terms inevitably has the effect of blocking open, evidence-based discussion on fundamentally important issues of history and power. This malicious methodology is aimed, often by paid agents of Israel First organizations, at doing as much professional, personal and financial damage as possible. This process is already well advanced at Oberlin College where Dr. Karega has been pulled from the classroom because some individuals did not like her Facebook posts.

Seeking an Academic Language of Peace to Replace the Sullied Rhetoric of Verbal Warfare

This exercise of power over what gets taught and who does the teaching at a famous American Liberal Arts institution of higher learning does not bode well for the future of society. A very aggressive style of elite bullying is on full display here. Such bullying to assert political influence over the academic life of universities should not be sanctioned nor rewarded.

With all this in mind I propose that the conference we might mount could be entitled

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories: A Rational or Irrational Phrase in Academic Discourse?

I invite you to work with Dr. Barrett and me in putting together some of the ingredients of this conference. Other possible participants that immediately come to mind are Daniel Pipes, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Kay, Rita Katz, Alan Sabrosky, Barrie Zwicker, Robert Faurisson, Kevin Ryan, Richard Perle, E. Michael Jones, David Frum, Denis Rancourt, Gearóid Ó Colmáin, Gideon Polya, Cythia McKinney, Catherine Shakdam, Michael Chossudovsky, Alfred Schaefer, Vic Sadot, Janet Stein, Mark Taliano, William I. Robinson, John Baird, Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich, David Naylor, Brian Mulroney, Gareth Porter, Pepe Escobar, Ken O’Keefe, Maisoon Rice, Ursula Haverbeck, James Corbett, Joshua Blakeney, John McMurtry, Christopher Bollyn, James Tracy, Steven Salita, Norman Finkelstein, Jez Turner, Stephen Toope, Elizabeth May, and Nader Talebzadeh.

Perhaps we could invite Dr. Joy Karega to set the tone with the opening address. Has Dr. Karega been offered a proper public platform at Oberlin College or elsewhere to tell her side of the story in a safe and secure academic setting? What arrangements if any is Oberlin College making to protect her person from assault for the alleged crime of publicizing her ideas?

Who might be involved in the institutional backing of this conference? I would like to propose that we invite the participation of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. I completed my Ph.D. at the U of T in 1984. I have written critically about the genesis and activities of the Munk School. I have accused it of isolating itself from scholars and scholarship that do not conform with the configurations of power behind the Munk School’s creation and operation.

To me the history of the Munk School illustrates many of the forces subordinating university life to the merging power of corporate and Zionist influence. A manifestation of this more general tendency is to be seen in attempts to exclude from the intellectual life of the academy contributions by the likes of Dr. Kevin Barrett, Dr. James Tracy and now, it seems, Dr. Joy Karega.

The Munk School of Global Affairs’ founder, Peter Munk, is a businessman who worked with Adan Khashoggi, George H.W. Bush, Brian Mulroney and others to expand the international operations of the Barrick Gold Corporation headquartered in Toronto. This history helps explain the Munk School’s strong political support for government deregulation of international mining operations headquartered in Canada. Another preoccupation of the Munk School is to advance some of the policies of Likudnik Israel including its anti-Iranian positions.

I have exchanged collegial correspondence with Munk School Director, Dr. Stephen Toope. In this process I have sent Dr. Toope publications illuminating subjects and interpretations that I think the Munk School should address to avoid the charge that it is engaged in forms of academic censorship. In particular, I have made the case that the Munk School should be much more open to including in its handling of the Global War on Terror due consideration of scholarship pertaining to false flag terrorism.

I observe that Dr. Toope has co-edited a book of conference papers on the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris in January of 2015. The conference was sponsored by the Munk School that also partially funded the book entitled, After the Paris Attacks: Responses in Canada, Europe, and Around the Globe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015). Dr. Karega’s interpretation of the Charlie Hebdo affair is not consistent with any of the interpretations presented in the Munk School’s book. Dr. Karega’s interpretations are consistent with some of the interpretations that appeared in the book on which Dr. Barrett and I worked.

Dr. Barrett specifically refers to We Are Not Charlie Hebdo: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11 (Lone Rock Wisconsin: Sifting and Winnowing Press, 2015) in both his letters to you. The volume’s 22 contributors include professors, a rabbi, a structural engineer, a former US Congress women, a former White House policy analyst, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury Department and a Head of State.

This diverse array of public intellectuals has come up with a broad range of interpretations based on many different types of evidence. Most contributors agree, however, that the Charlie Hebdo affair was to some degree engineered covertly by intelligence agencies. Some think that the most likely architects of the false flag terror event have strong attachments to the policies and imperial aspirations of the Israeli government as well as many of its citizens.

Whether or not you agree with this interpretation, Dr. Krislov, it is one that a number of serious thinkers have put forward after conscientious engagement with the available evidence. There should have been some reckoning with this interpretation, even if only to say why it is wrong, in the Munk School’s volume that appeared months after We Are Not Charle Hebdo.

This exclusion of evidence is a small example of a much larger phenomenon of academic censorship, often in collusion with powerful political lobbies. One of the main censored subjects currently is false flag terrorism and the evidence of extensive Israeli deployment of this tactic to generate widespread public hostility towards the enemies of the Jewish state. A good case study of the extent of academic censorship would be to look at the reception, by university faculty members and libraries, of Dr. Barrett’s three recent volumes on false flag terrorism.

To justify ignoring this impressive scholarly achievement simply by uttering the magical hex phrase, “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist,” or maybe even “Nazi” or “white supremacist,” hardly does justice to our community of scholarship.

Rather than continue our descent into a Hobbesian state of an all-encompassing war of all against all, why not try to move towards a more elevated objective of scholarship that advances peace with justice? Why not join together as peers to take the high road of academic endeavour in the spirit of civility, collegiality and the liberating potential of the Liberal Arts.

I am

Yours Sincerely,

Anthony James Hall

Professor of Liberal Education and Globalization Studies

University of Lethbridge    

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BDS suppression backfires as universities pass resolutions

RT | April 25, 2016

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union at the University of California has been fighting to uphold a resolution passed to support the BDS movement against Israel. Its struggle has inspired other university unions to pass their own resolutions.

The UAW Local 2865, which includes some 14,000 students and teaching assistants working for the University of California, passed a resolution to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement in 2014, becoming the first major labor union to do so, with 65 percent voting in favor of divestment and 52 percent supporting an academic boycott among the student-workers union of the University of California.

“The University of California divest from companies involved in the occupation of Palestine; that UAW International to divest from these same entities; the US government to end military aid to Israel. Fifty-two percent of voting members pledged not to ‘take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel’ until such time as these universities take steps to end complicity with dispossession, occupation, and apartheid.” UAW Local 2865 Resolution

An anti-BDS arm of the union called Informed Grads appealed the result, with the help of Gibson, Dunn & Crutche, a law firm that has defended Walmart, Amazon and Chevron, Salon reports. The firm has represented Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other corporations that gain from Israel’s defense spending.

While the International Executive Board defended the integrity of the vote, saying it represented the will of the members, it claimed it could interfere with the flow of commerce and pointed to the possibility of discrimination, despite the number of Jewish and Israeli members that supported the resolution and later wrote a letter attesting to the fact.

Following the decision, lawyer Scott Edelman expressed pleasure at the UAW’s “forceful rejection of BDS, which sets a powerful precedent for other labor unions and national organizations.”

UAW Local 2865 appealed the decision, saying the “IEB improperly ignored the UAW constitutional mandate to solidify the labor movement and build solidarities with other unions, such as the Palestinian labor unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers who issued the call for BDS in 2005.”

The appeal has gone to the UAW Public Review Board who will make a final ruling in the next few months.

The nullification of the resolution has led to increased support for both UAW Local 2865 and the BDS movement among university staff.

UAW chapters at the University of Washington, Univeristy of Massachusetts Amherst and NYU wrote letters of support for the resolution, and went on to pass their own resolutions in April with Massachusetts securing 95 percent of the vote and NYU’s chapter taking 67 percent.

Both groups cited the nullification as a motivating factor for their own votes.

Jennifer Mogannam, a PhD candidate at UC San Diego and member of the union, told Shadowproof the attacks are “part and parcel of the larger Zionist movement’s suppression and attacking of those fighting for Palestinian self-determination and against Israeli settler colonialism.”

A recent BDS victory that saw security firm G4S announce it would end its contracts in Israel has caused Florida country club members to partake in their own boycott. The country club members are threatening to end G4S’s contract with their country clubs in a show of support for Israel.

READ MORE: Israel connects BDS with terrorism while cracking down on German banks

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

University used $175,000 to bury ‘pepper spray’ cop internet searches

© Brian Nguyen

© Brian Nguyen / Reuters
RT | April 14, 2016

Officials at University of California at Davis have reportedly spent $175,000 trying to digitally suppress the memory of the time campus police indiscriminately pepper sprayed Occupy protesters – to no success.

The university, with a student population of just over 35,000, wants people to forget that in November 2011 campus police lost the run of themselves when responding to a sit-down protest.

Footage from the scene, showing campus police Lt. John Pike discharging military-grade pepper spray into the eyes of student protesters sitting on the ground, caused outrage around the world.

It quickly became a social media meme, with the incident resulting in a number of legal cases, including an agreement by UC Davis to collectively compensate victims to the tune of $1 million.

According to freedom of information documents requested by The Sacramento Bee newspaper, UC Davis paid two separate consultant firms to try to clean the internet of bad publicity.

Some $92,970 out of the university’s communications beefed-up budget was paid to Maryland state PR firm Nevins & Associates in 2013, report the Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, a year later an $82,500 contract was signed with ID Media Partners to design a “search engine results management strategy.”

A document by Nevins & Associates details the plan to filter out “venomous rhetoric” concerning UC Davis and its chancellor, Linda Katehi.

“Nevins & Associates is prepared to create and execute an online branding campaign designed to clean up the negative attention the University of California, Davis, and Chancellor Katehi have received related to events that transpired in November 2011,” it reads.

A list of objectives by the public relations firm reveals a plan to launch an “aggressive” campaign to dilute negative search results and eradicate references to the pepper spray incident on Google.

The company advised optimizing the use of Meta tags and feeding local media “content with positive sentiment.”

Chancellor Linda Katehi was roundly criticized for her reaction to the Occupy Wall Street protest at the time, with students demanding her resignation.

“We have worked to ensure that the reputation of the university, which the chancellor leads, is fairly portrayed,” a UC Davis spokesperson said.
“We wanted to promote and advance the important teaching, research and public service done by our students, faculty and staff, which is the core mission of our university.”

US Representative Kevin McCarty (D-California), who serves and chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, said that the PR expenditure was “troubling” given the increase in university tuition.

“It is troubling that the administration chose to spend scarce public dollars and to nearly double its PR budget when tuition soared, course offerings were slashed and California resident students were being shut out. These findings just raise more questions about university priorities,” he posted on Facebook.

READ MORE: UC Davis Slammed for pepper spraying students 

April 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | 3 Comments

At the Intersection of Zionism and Social Justice

By Michael Howard | Dissident Voice | March 25, 2016

In her oily, cringe-inducing and totally predictable speech to AIPAC on March 21, Hillary Clinton argued that, since (according to her) “anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world… we must repudiate all efforts to malign, isolate and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.” In other words, we must do what we can to shut down any legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. A reliable means of doing so is to conflate said criticism with anti-Semitism and thus vilify the critic in question. This particular strategy has been perfected and institutionalized for decades, and was perhaps best deconstructed by Norman Finkelstein in “The Holocaust Industry.”

By dismissing BDS advocates as irrational, Jew-hating troublemakers, Hillary Clinton, the great bastion of liberalism and progress, makes common cause with the jingoist far right (where she actually belongs). But she also makes common cause with a good chunk of US academia, where criticism of Israel and its atrocities is often met with censorship and intimidation. In a comprehensive report on the subject, Palestine Legal details the extent of the suppression: “From January 2014 through June 2015, Palestine Legal interviewed hundreds of students, academics and community activists who reported being censored, punished, subjected to disciplinary proceedings, questioned, threatened, or falsely accused of anti-Semitism or supporting terrorism for their speech in support of Palestinian rights or criticism of Israeli policies.”

Needless to say, this is a gross violation of First Amendment rights, and it needs to be challenged at every opportunity. The university system is based on the principles of free inquiry and unfettered discourse; absent the open exchange of conflicting ideas and opinions, academia is essentially worthless. When certain viewpoints are institutionally favored, colleges cease to be places of learning and instead become places of indoctrination. Who could desire such a circumstance? Well, apart from authoritarians, fascists, religious fanatics (including Zionists) and Hillary Clinton, it’s becoming more and more apparent that “liberal” student activists do.

On college campuses across the country, students are mobilizing and protesting against institutionalized discrimination. Few on the left would argue that this is a negative development. After all, if nothing else these students are contesting authority—a noble and worthy exercise in itself. However, what do we say when fundamental democratic values like free speech are subordinated to an ideology? This is the precarious situation in which many student activists currently find themselves. It’s bizarre: presumably, the students protesting at places like Yale and the University of Missouri (to take two high-profile examples from last year) would stand with the BDS activists who are targeted and censored by pro-Israel forces. And yet these same students—exhibiting a degree of schizophrenia—would have their own ideological opponents treated in the same fashion.

Take a recent incident. At Emory College in Atlanta, some students used chalk to write “Trump 2016”—and other similarly anodyne messages—throughout the campus. Curiously (or perhaps not at this point), controversy erupted when a number of students declared that they felt physically threatened by the chalk drawings, which were considered by some to be acts of violence. “I thought we were having a KKK rally on campus,” one student reportedly told the Daily Beast. She “legitimately feared for [her] life.” Another student said that “some of us were expecting shootings” and thus “feared walking alone.” They demanded that the Emory administration identify the perpetrators, presumably so some sort of disciplinary action could take place—perhaps a public flogging. When the administration responded with a tepid defense of the anonymous chalkers’ right to free speech, the offended shifted their ire onto the college itself, for failing to provide an adequate safe space. All of which is par for the course by now.

So here we have a conflation of Donald Trump supporters with homicidal white supremacists; of political campaigning with physical violence. This is not dissimilar to the conflation of BDS with anti-Semitism, which plagues Palestinian rights activists everywhere. In fact, it’s closer to the profoundly stupid idea that all Muslims endorse terrorism—a notion that the offended students at Emory surely find abhorrent. There is one obvious distinction that must be made: the censorship of BDS on college campuses comes from the top, while the attempted censorship of Donald Trump supporters comes from the comparatively impotent student body. The former case is a much graver threat to free speech, but that is not an excuse to ignore the latter. Soon enough the student body will hold positions of authority.

ESP seems to be a trait common to advocates of censorship. For example, in a recent pro-Israel memo from the Regents of the University of California, it is contended that “opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.” Translation: the mind readers at the Regents of the University of California can tell when critics of Israel are actually rabid Jew-haters, and they will adjudicate such cases accordingly. Similarly, the would-be student censors use their clairvoyance to judge when an opinion they don’t like is motivated by race hatred or some other form of bigotry. Support for Donald Trump, as we have already seen, implies a desire to kill minorities. It is therefore no different from real physical violence.

What would happen if an entire college was founded on this line of thinking? A recent petition drawn up by some student activists at Western Washington University spells it out for us. The group calls themselves the Student Assembly for Power and Liberation, which is more than a little ominous-sounding. In their own words: “We are a growing group of students from a multitude of communities and disciplines around campus combatting the systemic oppression embedded within our society that is inevitably upheld through this institution, as it was created to uphold white supremacy at its core.”

Note the aggressively bureaucratic language (the grammar of which unravels throughout the petition). Prolixity of this sort is often employed by postmodernist academics—in whose tradition these students are working—for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. Noam Chomsky once argued that, in general, postmodernism “allows people to take a radical stance—more radical than thou—but to be completely dissociated from anything that’s happening, for many reasons. One reason is nobody can understand a word they’re saying. So they’re already dissociated. It’s kind of like a private lingo.”

Obviously, Michel Foucault these kids are not, but the postmodernist influence is plain to see. It’s like that smug kid in your Creative Writing workshop whose stories are all cheap Bukowski imitations. They don’t really have any idea what they’re doing, but they’re busting with self-satisfaction nevertheless.

What these students want, and what their petition is meant to facilitate, is the creation of a brand new college: the College of Power and Liberation. The function of this hypothetical college would be the “development of academic programs that are committed to social justice.” The first step in realizing this goal is “a cluster hire of ten tenure-track faculty to teach at the college.” Fair enough. However, there is something of a catch: “the Student Assembly for Power and Liberation will have direct input and decision-making power over the hiring of faculty for the college.”

That’s right—the professors at the College of Power and Liberation are to be hired by the students attending that college. The “power,” then, is to reside entirely in the hands of the student body. Naturally, they also reserve the right to take “disciplinary action” against “everyone in a teaching position within the university.” And it gets weirder. Demanded in part three of the petition is “the creation and implementation of a 15 persxn [sic] paid student committee, The Office for Social Transformation.”

The misspelling of “person” here is deliberate, as is the discontinuous misspelling of “history” (hxstory) later on. The implication is that these nouns are gendered (person, history) and thus microaggressive residue of an outmoded patriarchal system of thought. Therefore they have been changed. This, I suppose, is an example of the “de-colonial work” for which the College of Power needs “an annually dedicated revenue of $45,000.”

The Office for Social Transformation doesn’t just sound Orwellian—it quite literally is. Here is its express purpose: “to monitor, document, and archive all racist, anti-black, transphobic, cissexist, misogynistic, ablest, homophobic, islamophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitism [sic], and otherwise oppressive behavior on campus.” This oppressive behavior, the petition continues, is regularly found “in faculty curriculum.” By that I assume they mean curriculum including books with controversial subject matter, for instance the novels of James Baldwin and Mark Twain. So much for the English professors who wish to teach the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”—a terribly oppressive book.

The petition does not explicitly propose thought crime legislation, but it doesn’t rule it out either. One inevitably wonders about the criteria by which a person’s behavior is judged oppressive (i.e., punishable). For example, what becomes of the student or faculty member who is caught reading Kipling? Surely owning a copy of The Cantos is grounds for disciplinary action—Ezra Pound was a bona fide fascist. Hemingway was anti-Semitic and homophobic: it follows that The Sun Also Rises is beyond the pale. Tolstoy abused his wife, and so reading War and Peace implies an endorsement of misogyny.

Simone de Beauvoir once appealed to the censors of her time: “Must we burn [the Marquis de] Sade?” Indeed we must—and most others, for that matter.

Never fear, though: the College of Power and Liberation has a “three-strike disciplinary system that corresponds to citations that are processed.” Thank heavens for the three-strike disciplinary system, without which people might be fired and expelled unreasonably.

You get the picture. The mini despots comprising the so-called Student Assembly for Power and Liberation are concerned very much with Power and very little with Liberation. Their ultimate goal is to establish a totalitarian microcosm of a state, very far removed from reality, in which power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few self-righteous 20-somethings with delusions of grandeur. Because the First Amendment is overrated anyway.

The Holocaust Industry would be proud. And that’s what makes all of this so distressing. If so-called liberal student activists believe in censorship (and many of them evidently do), who can we rely on to challenge the unconstitutional suppression of BDS activism on college campuses? It necessarily devolves into a battle of hypocrites: the right rationalizes their brand of censorship while condemning the left’s, and vice versa. The reality is that both need to be condemned, because both represent explicit attacks on basic democratic principles. The crucial difference, I suppose, is that the Zionists (who know exactly what they’re doing) must be fought, while the overzealous students (who don’t) need merely to be educated. We can and should do both at once.

Michael Howard is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. He can be reached at mwhowie@yahoo.com .

March 26, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Students and Regents Demand University of California Adopt Unconstitutional Policy

By Sarah McLaughlin | Foundation for Individual Rights in Education | September 18, 2015

Yesterday, the University of California Board of Regents held an open meeting allowing students, faculty, members of the UC community, and other interested parties to share their thoughts on UC’s proposed Statement of Principles Against Intolerance.

The statement came about after the UC Regents decided not to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. Free speech advocates pointed out that a public university’s adoption of this definition as policy would raise serious First Amendment concerns and chill protected speech, including criticism of Israel’s government.

Earlier this week, FIRE’s Will Creeley explained that while the Statement of Principles Against Intolerance doesn’t include the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, it still impermissibly chills speech by telling students that certain viewpoints don’t belong at their university, encouraging them to report such views, and promising a “prompt” and “effective” institutional response. Will told the Associated Press yesterday that the policy, if implemented, would create “a kind of race to the bottom, sooner or later, by public universities punishing students or faculty for a particular viewpoint.”

Given the First Amendment concerns over both proposed policies, that this open meeting was held on Constitution Day was fitting. Many speakers at yesterday’s meeting agreed that the new proposed policy was a bad idea—but, unfortunately, for a different reason: they want UC to draft a policy that is even more hostile to speech.

The suggestions put forth and the demands made during the meeting were alarming. Despite having only one minute to share their thoughts, plenty of speakers managed to find time to demand that UC violate its students’ speech rights and ignore its obligations under the First Amendment. (Note: The following may include minor transcription errors.)

Comments from the UC Campus Community

Gary Fouse, an adjunct at UC Irvine, claimed that UC’s current proposed statement against intolerance is “useless” without the incorporation of the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism:

The Israeli-Palestinian debate has led to an atmosphere where many Jewish students who support Israel are often spending their college years in a climate of intimidation, not just from Pro-Palestinian students but in many cases from professors in the classroom. The problem is not neo-Nazis or skinheads. Rather, it is the pro-Palestinian lobby such as the Students for Justice in Palestine, BDS promoters and other faculty allies. Each year these groups invite speakers to campus, some of whom cross the line from legitimate criticism of Israel to attacking Jews as people.

But it’s not up to public university officials to decide what criticism of a foreign government is legitimate or forbidden, and, in turn, to demand everyone at the university abide by their perceptions of “legitimate criticism.” The idea of a public institution doing so should trouble anyone who believes in the fundamental importance of the right to dissent. In fact, President Obama made similar arguments this week at a town hall meeting when he said “I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view,” and that silencing arguments we oppose is “not the way we learn.”

Another commenter, a UC Berkeley alum, pointed out the absurdity of Fouse’s argument:

When I was a student at Berkeley, it was criticizing the US government that wasn’t permitted. In fact, we had to have a free speech movement in 1964 in order to have any political speech on campus. So now apparently criticizing the Israeli government is going to be banned.

As this commenter suggested, it’s noteworthy that students in the UC system have historically fought especially hard for their First Amendment rights—rights that should not be so easily set aside.

A group of UC students made a joint statement together saying that the State Department definition of anti-Semitism is “the only existing definition that is capable of addressing the nuanced hatred that we experienced on our campuses today.” If UC follows the advice of these speakers and a majority of those present at this meeting, it will be adopting a deeply troubling policy.

Another worrisome trend in this meeting was the use of criminal or violent acts as examples of why this policy is needed. Several commenters brought up examples of vandalism, including swastikas drawn on fraternity houses and violence against Jewish students, to justify the adoption of the State Department’s definition. But these actions are criminal—they’re already illegal. Trying to target such acts through this new policy is not only superfluous, but would implicate constitutionally protected political speech in the process.

The Regents Respond

Comments from the Regents themselves were hardly any better.

While Regent John Perez’s acknowledged that the State Department’s definition could potentially limit academic freedom, that was one of the few displays of sound judgment.

The most worrying statements came from Regent Richard C. Blum, whose wife is United States Senator Dianne Feinstein. Blum said earlier in the meeting that “we’ve been too tolerant, too patient about all this for too long,” and continued:

I should add that over the weekend my wife, your senior Senator, and I talked about this issue at length. She wants to stay out of the conversation publicly but if we do not do the right thing she will engage publicly and is prepared to be critical of this university if we don’t have the kind of not only statement but penalties for those who commit what you can call them crimes, call them whatever you want. Students that do the things that have been cited here today probably ought to have a dismissal or a suspension from school. I don’t know how many of you feel strongly that way but my wife does and so do I.

Yes, a UC Regent flatly threatened the university with political consequences if it failed to craft a “tolerance” policy that would punish—and even expel—its violators.

The consequences of this suggestion are grave: If UC adopts the State Department definition of anti-Semitism (or any policy banning criticism or intolerance), and accedes to Blum’s demands, students could potentially face expulsion for any language a person subjectively believes is “intolerant.”

Regent Hadi Makarechian later echoed Blum’s demands, stating:

I just wanted to say that I agree with Regent Blum, that principles are great, rejection of actions are great, but we need to address the punishment. If we don’t have punishment we’re just putting a lot of paper together. We’re just stating a lot of stuff on pieces of paper.

The board concluded the meeting by saying there was more work to be done, and announcing the formation of a working group, led by Regent Eddie Island. Island said he would compose a group of university stakeholders who would work together to craft a policy that addressed concerns about both intolerance and freedom of speech.

We at FIRE believe robust protections for freedom of speech accomplish both goals by providing a platform to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of intolerance in the marketplace of ideas.

Hopefully this working group recognizes that more speech and the hard work of convincing someone they’re wrong are the only real, effective remedies against intolerance. UC students and faculty who value free speech and academic freedom should watch these developments very closely.

September 28, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 3 Comments

Federal investigation finds no merit in claims of ‘anti-Semitism’ at California universities

IMEMC Staff Report | September 2, 2013

After pro-Palestinian groups at several schools within the University of California system were accused of ‘anti-Semitism’, the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation. This past week, they released the findings of their months-long investigation, announcing that the accusations of anti-Semitism were without merit, and that the accusations may have been attempts to stifle free speech on campus.

In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

Civil rights organizations this week welcomed news that the Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has closed three investigations against three University of California schools, at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Irvine, which falsely alleged that Palestinian rights activism created an anti-Semitic climate. The complaints underlying the investigation claimed that student protests and academic programing in support of Palestinian rights and critical of Israel “created a hostile environment for Jewish students.”

“The organized legal bullying campaigns have failed,” said attorney Nasrina Bargzie, of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (ALC), who alongside attorneys from Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) advocated for the students whose activism was scrutinized in the investigations.

“OCR’s decision in these cases confirms the obvious – that political activity advocating for Palestinian human rights does not violate the civil rights of Jewish students who find such criticism offensive, and that, to the contrary, colleges and universities have an obligation to create an environment that supports freedom of expression.” said Bargzie.

In its letter to UC Berkeley, OCR officials stated that student demonstrations in support of Palestinian rights “constituted expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community. In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience. In this context, the events that the complainants described do not constitute actionable harassment.”

“We speak out on campus about matters of fundamental human rights. Students at institutions that are all about learning deserve to be part of robust discussion about one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time,” said Taliah Mirmalek, a student at UC Berkeley and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

The Berkeley complaint was filed in July 2012 by two attorneys who had previously filed an unsuccessful federal lawsuit on similar grounds. The Berkeley investigation was the latest of the three to be open; the Santa Cruz investigation was opened in March 2011, and the Irvine investigation in 2007.

A number of legal and advocacy groups, including Advancing Justice – ALC, CAIR, CCR, NLG, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, the Arab American Institute, and American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California have worked to challenge the misuse of civil rights law to intimidate students and dissuade them from advocating for Palestinian rights on campus.

“Students have faced a pervasive stigma that at times negatively impacted our ability to fundraise and hold events on campus, and even intimidated some of our peers into silence,” said Rebecca Pierce, a recent graduate of UC Santa Cruz and member of the Committee for Justice in Palestine. “However, we feel vindicated that the DOE has rejected this attack on our freedom of expression, and we will continue to advocate in accordance with our values regarding human rights and social justice.”

“The First Amendment unequivocally protects the activities that were targeted in these complaints – holding demonstrations, distributing flyers, street theatre – criticizing the governmental policy of the State of Israel and supporting Palestinian human rights. It is long past time that students engaging in First Amendment activities are able to do so without fear,” said Liz Jackson, Cooperating Counsel with CCR, who also worked with the targeted students. “While there continue to be threats of Title VI complaints against other universities, we are confident that OCR recognizes these claims as attempts to silence certain speech on Israel/Palestine, and do not present viable claims of discrimination against Jewish students,” said Jackson.

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The University of California and the Military Industrial Complex

Why Janet Napolitano Should Fit Right In

By DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM | CounterPunch | July 18, 2013

Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano’s nomination to be the 22nd president of the University of California announced days ago has already provoked skepticism and opposition from numerous faculty and students. Christopher Newfield, a professor of English at UCSB, wrote on his widely read blog that Napolitano is “unqualified to be a university president,” due to her lack of academic background and knowledge of how universities operate. “She has no political network in California,” added Newfield, “no local knowledge of the players, no constituency in the state, no national or state-based academic network, no direct understanding of the state’s history or current society.”

The UC’s graduate student union which represents thousands of student employees across the ten campuses, from Berkeley to San Diego, stated in a press release that they are “shocked and troubled,” by Napolitano’s nomination. “We fear that this decision will further expand the privatization, mismanagement, and militarized repression of free speech that characterized Mark Yudof’s presidency and will threaten the quality and accessibility of education.”

Yudof of course was UC’s cigar chomping, bald, and gruff president recruited from the University of Texas in 2008 to replace Robert C. Dynes and whip the school’s administration into shape. Dynes was a physicist who presided over various scandals including one that has been emblematic of the decline of universities across the U.S. over the past two decades: bloated and growing executive compensation packages even while colleges trim their budgets, lay off faculty, and hike tuition. UC’s executives were lambasted in the press for their six-figure salaries and cronyism until the Regents, that lofty board of millionaires, mostly friends and donors to the Governor of California given ultimate power of the nation’s largest university, told Dynes it was time to retire back to his laboratory at San Diego.

Napolitano is a departure from Yudof and Dynes in that she doesn’t appear to have been selected purely for her unique qualifications to handle the crisis de jour for the University. Yudof cleaned up Dynes’ mess. Dynes was recruited by several of the Regents in order to assemble Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a private corporation in which the university is a partner with Bechtel. LANS, as it’s called, was a creature to necessity; in the early 2000s another set of scandals —spying, theft, and various deadly accidents— threatened one of the UC’s most prized possessions, it’s sole, lucrative, and much coveted contract to manage the nation’s largest nuclear weapons laboratory in the high desert of the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. Dynes arrived largely to assemble the UC’s joint bid for the contract with Bechtel and a few other large military-industrial corporations. He was successful in keeping UC wed to the nuclear lab.

Prior to Dynes was Richard Atkinson, an academic’s academic, a former head of the National Science Foundation, and Chancellor of UC San Deigo. Many UC faculty today look back on Atkinson as the ideal type, his reign the good old days, the high water mark for UC, untainted by worldly corruption and materialism, a set of little cities upon golden California hills where patient scientists and scholars could plod away at their research unhurried and secure in tenure and prestige.

But the UC has always been run by cops, spooks, weaponeers, and financiers at the top. The very first board of Regents in 1868 included William Ralston, California’s top banker whose wealth was built from deposits of the Comstock silver mines, and whose financial empire collapsed upon his wild speculative schemes. The second board of Regents included Irving Scott, a proto-Northrop Grumman building warships for the U.S. military. Scott’s company, the Union Iron Works, built the USS Oregon battleship which was deployed in the 1890s to the Philippines where it shelled the filipinos into submission – for their own childish good said UC’s leaders.

UC’s tenth president was selected partly based on his anthropological work in service of the growing U.S. imperium in Asia. David Prescott Barrows led the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, “re-educating” the Filipinos, indoctrinating them into American culture, and the English language used by their new rulers. Barrows was molding colonial subjects. He once wrote as if he were molding play dough: “the physique of the Filipino is also being modified for the better. The race is physically small, but agile, athletic and comely.” Barrows concluded in a patriarchal tone, “in the face of these benefits the Filipinos are not unappreciative.”

By the time Clark Kerr took the reigns of UC in the 1960s era, UC had become the uncontested heavy weight champion of the military-industrial-academic complex. Yale could certainly boast deeper ties and more recruits sent yearly to the CIA, but UC Berkeley had John McCone, industrialist, weapons manufacturer, and chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and for his crowning achievement in the halls of the national security state, director of the CIA from 1961 to 1965. Yale sent the future spied, Berkeley’s patron McCone ran the show. Today there is a building named after McCone on Berkeley’s campus, but history is alive. If one looks deeper into UC’s federal labs, and into its administration and faculty, one will find live lines to Langley.

McCone was just one among many of UC’s ultra-powerful spooks and Pentagon dons who sloshed money and personnel and gadgetry between Washington and California. After Clark Kerr’s ouster by right-wing, red hunting Regents and the nation’s paranoid FBI director, Charles Hitch took over the nation’s biggest and still fast growing university. Hitch was an economist brought to UC Berkeley to teach business, but his scholarly expertise lay in the economics of military budgeting. Among his greatest hits: The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age; Decision-Making for Defense; The Defense Sector and the American Economy, and; Defense Economic Issues, all very dry tomes patiently and authoritatively discussing the most scientifically effective ways to spend billions of tax dollars on nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles. Professor Hitch was appointed assistant secretary of defense by Kennedy just prior to his taking the post of UC president. It was a natural progression.

Skeptics of Napolitano’s nomination to be UC president point out that running a big federal bureaucracy doesn’t make for skills transferable to UC, but in Hitch’s case that was in fact part of the reason the Regents selected him. Hitch was a budget man for the Cold War defense contractors and Uncle Sam. He was also chairman of the Budget Review Board and the Capital Outlay Review Board for UC while on faculty. So what better man to run the entire integrated show, not just lecturing and writing about how to budget the military-industrial-academic complex, but in fact drafting the operative budgets for the Pentagon and later the UC?

Napolitano does differ from the previous 21 white men who presided over the University of California in being a woman. She’s not different at all with respect to her career and connections to the national security state. Plenty of UC’s leaders, from Chancellors to the Regents to the President have been insiders in the Pentagon, the nuclear weapons complex, and other branches of the warfare state. However, DHS chief Napolitano is unlike the previous UC presidents in that she is an academic outsider, and that is the singular and new difference she signals, a full departure from a presidency that once required the credentials of scholarship and pedagogy.

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UC Berkeley student senate votes to divest from companies that profit from Israeli Occupation

IMEMC | April 18, 2013

After a ten hour debate that began Wednesday evening and continued through the night, the Student Senate at the University of California – Berkeley voted to divest University funds from three companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Three years ago, UC-Berkeley’s Student Senate passed a similar resolution calling for divestment, but the then-President of the Student Union vetoed the measure. Thursday’s vote follows the narrow defeat of a similar divestment resolution at UC-Santa Barbara last week. Two weeks ago, students at UC-Riverside overturned a resolution they had passed the week before calling for divestment.

The heated debate at UC-Berkeley included the voices of dozens of Jewish and Arab students who supported the divestment resolution, and led some students to break down in tears as emotions ran high.

“There are few experiences more traumatic than losing your home or being forced out of the place you call home,” said UC Berkeley junior Kamyar Jarahzadeh, according to the student newspaper The Daily Cal. “This university’s money — our money — is complicit in the deprivation of human rights.”

In addition to the students, many community members attended the hearing – most were in favor of the resolution, but some opponents also attended. Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker spoke in favor of the divestment resolution, as someone who participated in a flotilla to Gaza that attempted to break the Israeli siege put in place in 2007.

Students opposed to the resolution organized a party called ‘SQUELCH!’, aimed at stopping the divestment resolution from passing. In the Daily Cal newspaper, SQUELCH! Party chair Noah Ickowitz commented, “We will take home that this body takes divestment as a weapon of choice when that is not the only weapon in our arsenal.”

According to the Daily Cal, “SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, calls the UC system a “complicit third party” in Israel’s “illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses” and seeks the divestment of more than $14 million in ASUC and UC assets from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Cement Roadstone Holdings. According to the bill, these companies provide equipment, materials and technology to the Israeli military, including bulldozers and biometric identification systems.”

April 19, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on UC Berkeley student senate votes to divest from companies that profit from Israeli Occupation

JTA: U.S. college heads visit Israel, seek collaboration opportunities

By Alison Weir | July 5, 2012

Once again, Israel is recruiting university presidents and chancellors. I wonder how these academics can justify not meeting with Palestinians, who have suffered diverse academic assaults from Israel  – from ethnic/religious discrimination to their schools being shelled and students killed – while they’re over there. Think of the astronomical wealth of the Israel Lobby, which can fund a multitude of such trips.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A delegation of U.S. university presidents is in Israel to explore opportunities for academic and research collaboration.

The seminar, which ends July 9, is sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee.

A president of a historically Black college and university, Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, is participating in the program the first time.

The delegation was scheduled to meet with senior Israeli government and academic officials and leaders of civil society across the social and political spectrum, and to travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders. They were scheduled to network with their counterparts at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute, among others.

The group was also set to travel to Sderot, to view the city that has been under fire from rockets from Gaza.

“As chancellor of a top American public research university with a strong international presence and aspirations to build on our existing global relationships, it is important that that I have a deep understanding of Israel and its neighbors,” said seminar delegation chair, University of California Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

Some may recall that Katehi was part of scandals at the University of Illinois awhile back in which rich, well-connected students were getting admissions preferences over better qualified applicants, and at Davis, where police pepper sprayed peaceful students.

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Delegation includes:

•       Seminar Chair: Linda P.B. Katehi, Chancellor, University of California, Davis

•       Louis Agnese, Jr., President, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

•       Lawrence Biondi, President, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO

•       Karen Haynes, President, California State University San Marcos

•       Elliot Hirshman, President, San Diego State University

•       Dorothy Leland, Chancellor, University of California, Merced

•       Harvey Perlman, Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

•       Beverly Tatum, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

•       Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Targeting academics for pro-Israel propaganda began in the 1940s, if not earlier:

With its extraordinary funding, AZEC embarked on a campaign to target every sector of American society, ordering that local committees be set up in every Jewish community in the nation. In the words of AZEC organizer Sy Kenen, it launched “a political and public relations offensive to capture the support of Congressmen, clergy, editors, professors, business and labor.”[77] [78]

……Grassroots Zionist action groups were organized with more than 400 local committees under 76 state and regional branches. AZEC funded books, articles and academic studies; millions of pamphlets were distributed. There were massive petition and letter writing campaigns. AZEC targeted college presidents and deans, managing to get more than 150 to sign one petition.[80]

The History of US-Israel Relations Part One: How the “special relationship” was created

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Regarding the UC Davis pepper spray incident, Robert May, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of California at Davis, writes:

UC Davis vs. UVA: or What a President Has to do to Get Fired These Days

I think there is an interesting contrast between the University of Virginia situation and that of Linda Katehi, chancellor here at UC Davis.  We now know from the Reynoso report  (discussed here) of Katehi’s complicity in the violent act against the innocent students, and her mendacity about her role in the pepper spraying incident; for this she does deserve to be, and ought to be, fired from her position.  Yet nary a word to this effect has been heard from the UC Board of Regents nor the President of UC.  The campus Academic Senate did finally censure Katehi, but stopped short of calling for her to be fired, which had been recommended by the Senate’s committee that had looked into the incident.  As we head off this week to our summer vacations, it is apparently business as usual in the Chancellor’s office.

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on JTA: U.S. college heads visit Israel, seek collaboration opportunities