This is the video from the event “Don’t Talk About Palestine,” which highlighted and protested the ongoing censorship of students and faculty whose activism and or scholarship touches on the question of Palestine. The event was held on October 18, 2012 at the UCLA Law School, and featured Rahim Kurwa of UCLA SJP, Yaman Salahi of the NLG, Estee Chandler of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Professor David Shorter of UCLA.
Dozens of UC SJP and MSA Groups submit a letter to the US Commission on Civil Rights regarding the the UC Campus Climate reports, the abuse of Title VI, and their negative impact on Arab and Muslim students. Click here to download the letter.
Clarification: The letter states that the Title VI complaint against UC Berkeley contains Islamophobic quotations, but it then inadventently quotes not the complaint, but rather the nearly-identical federal lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley. The language quoted in the letter accusing MSA of a “pro-terrorist” agenda can be found in this court filing. The Title VI complaint filed with the Department of Education was filed by the same attorneys on behalf of the same plaintiffs, and makes similar Islamophobic allegations, accusing the MSA and SJP of “support for” terrorism.
Updates: We have received support from the Claremont Colleges Muslim Student Association, and the MSA at the University of San Francisco. The total number of California student groups signing this letter is now 28.
Recently, the UC Students Association passed a resolution rejecting California Assembly Bill HR 35. Following this vote, pressure groups attempted to bully the UCSA into reversing its vote and decision. This effort has proven unsuccessful to date, but the following article examines criticism of the UCSA resolution published in the UCLA Daily Bruin and shows why critics are largely misleading the public or arguing in bad faith:
1. “The UCSA resolution condemns the state of Israel as a violator of international human rights law, encouraging all institutions of higher education to “cleanse” themselves of investments with the nation.”
FALSE. The resolution says “encourages all institutions of higher learning to cleanse their investment portfolios of unethical investments in companies implicated in or profiting from violations of international human rights law, without making special exemptions for any country;”
http://calsjp.org/?p=1297 This isn’t just a technical difference, it’s fundamental. The resolution says Israel should be treated exactly like any other country. Our opponents are saying it should be treated differently , and that every regular procedure (such as the UCSA) should be changed when dealing with it. The author of the op-ed had the resolution in front of him, quoted it, and deliberately misrepresented it. (here – maybe some background on this person – has he any connections to external advocacy groups?) 2. “rejecting California Assembly bill HR 35, a piece of legislation seeking to quell anti-Semitic activity on college campuses”
By deliberately ignoring this criticism the author misleads the readers. 3. “To begin with, no representatives of the Jewish campus community attended the meeting”
MISLEADING – the UCSA meets once a month do discuss a packed agenda, allowing about half an hour for every item. There are no “representatives” of any community at these meetings. This misrepresents the process of that body. 4. Not until the day of the vote did Arielle Gabai, president of the UC Berkeley Jewish Student Union, even hear of the meeting.
Including Gabai – http://www.hasbarafellowships.org/cgblog/266/69/UC-Berkeley-s-Friend-Request-Pending-Campaign
http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/63819/cal-jewish-groups-right-to-deny-j-street-u-admission/ 5. “Furthermore, the hearing took place on the Sabbath, which happened to fall a day before the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, impeding members of the Jewish community from attending.”
FLASE and MISLEADING. The hearing took place two days before Rosh Hashana, a date that has no religious significance for Jews. The UCSA meetings, convening busy students who study during the week, are always held on Saturdays. There was no special timing for this meeting. While one could argue that in general, ultra-orthodox observant Jews would be unable to travel on that day, most Jewish students are not ultra-orthodox. Pro-Israel advocates showed up to the very next UCSA meeting which was also held on a Sabbath, since like most other Jewish students on campus they are able to travel on that day. 6. By blatantly omitting the Jewish narrative from dialogue over the resolution, the UCSA failed to garner a truly collective voice on this divisive issue.
To expect students whose constitutional rights are under assault to reach out to the same Israel advocates who are either involved in these attempts, or refuse to denounce them, is beyond absurd. The Jewish Student Campus climate report, which recommended new prohibitions on student free speech on campus, was attended by Arielle Gabai, the same hasbara fellow, who failed to invite Jewish students with opposing politics to represent themselves.
9. Laden with loaded words and factual errors,
“DON’T try to deconstruct the bill. DON’T focus on addressing the fallacies/specifics of the bill. Instead, focus on how it is an attack on the Jewish community” http://mondoweiss.net/2010/04/anti-divestment-talking-points-avoid-the-facts-and-charge-anti-semitism.html
It is interesting to see how many of these talking points from two years ago were repeated in this op-ed. 10. As the document continues, it accuses Israel of being an apartheid state. Yet, Israel has never institutionalized the systematic oppression of any racial group within its borders
11. The UCSA surpassed the scope of its responsibilities while marginalizing students who support Israel.
MISLEADING – here we could mention the many groups of UC students who are marginalized by pro-Israel advocates who work with hate-mongers like AIPAC and Aish International (funders of hasbara fellowsips) – Palestianins, Jewish Israelis and Iranians who want to prevent a war between their countries (something AIPAC is pushing hard for), Armenian students (experienced years of genocide denial by AIPAC), muslims (islamophobic materials produced by Aish International, like the film obsession), etc. Read more on AIPAC here http://www.occupyaipac.org/about/articles-on-aipac/
Advocates of Israeli policies are representing huge external lobbies like AIPAC who have expressed their desire to take over student government:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VDYGLY1WBQ?wmode=transparent] “we’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.”
Are they the ones being marginalized, or the student government which is under attack?