Tag Archives: usa

ginsbergvsncsu: Film scholar Terri Ginsberg’s petition denied in NCSU wrongful dismissal case


We regret to report that the North Carolina Supreme Court decided in conference on June 13 to deny a Petition for Discretionary Review filed last December by film scholar Terri Ginsberg. The Petition asked the Court to reconsider a North Carolina Court of Appeals decision affirming a November 2010 lower court dismissal of Dr. Ginsberg’s lawsuit against North Carolina State University (NCSU). In October 2009, Dr. Ginsberg filed a complaint alleging violation of her right to academic freedom under the North Carolina constitution. Dr. Ginsberg had been denied a tenure-track position because of the University’s discomfort with her scholarly speech and writing critical of Israeli policy and Zionism and favoring Palestinian rights and self-determination. The Court’s Order to deny Dr. Ginsberg’s Petition offers neither an opinion nor a reason for the decision. Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: Israel group’s US front asks City of Los Angeles to sue professor for criticizing Israel

Ali Abunimah, 06/12/2012 – Electronic Intifada

In a new assault on free speech, the US front for Israeli group Shurat Hadin is asking the City Attorney of Los Angeles to sue California State University, Northridge mathematics professor David Klein.

The Global Frontier Justice Center claims that Klein is “misusing” state resources by using his university-hosted personal website to express critical opinions and calls for the academic boycott of Israel.

The Global Frontier Justice Center made the request after California Attorney General Kamala Harris rejected a similar request last month saying that there was no evidence Klein had done anything wrong.

Klein, an organizer with the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, became aware of the new effort to silence him when he received a copy of a 5 June letter from Meir Katz, a lawyer for the Global Frontier Justice Center, addressed to Carmen A. Trutanich, the City Attorney of Los Angeles.

Attorney General “abdicating her responsibilities” by refusing to crack down on Israel criticism

Klein provided a scanned copy of the letter to The Electronic Intifada. Katz’s letter recalls his group’s 2 April request to California Attorney General Harris for prosecution of Klein, and Harris’ response, which Katz criticizes (emphasis added):

On May 17, we received a response from Ms. Harris’ office. It claimed that Ms. Harris “carefully reviewed” our letter of April 2 and concluded that “the evidence [we] provided does not support a finding of misuse of [state resources].” This, of course, is impossible. The evidence is not in question. Perhaps Ms. Harris disagrees with our legal analysis, but she provided no contrary analysis. More likely, she is merely abdicating her responsibilities as Attorney General of the State of California.

Zionist group wants City of Los Angeles to act as censor on behalf of Israel

The letter goes on to request that the City of Los Angeles pursue Klein on behalf of the people of California, and suggests that the City could benefit financially:

As you know, CAL. GOV’T CODE § 8314 authorizes civil actions to be “brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney or any city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000.” If the Attorney General does not wish to enforce the laws of her state, somebody must. We hope that somebody is you.

The statute continues: “If the action is brought by a city attorney, the moneys recovered shall be paid to the treasurer of that city.” The taxpayers of Los Angeles deserve to have this money that has been expropriated from them in violation of law to be returned to them.

Lawsuit would cost taxpayers, not gain them money

Not only has the California Attorney General already rejected the Global Frontier Justice Center’s spurious legal theory, but the claim that Los Angeles could gain financially is equally absurd.

Even if there were any merit to the claim that Klein were “misusing” state resources, the marginal cost of his university-hosted personal website is nil. Its existence almost certainly imposes no measurable financial burden on the State of California.

A politically-motivated prosecution or lawsuit against Klein, by contrast, would cost tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions of dollars of public funds at a time when California is slashing basic services to its population.

The City Attorney’s office has not escaped these cuts. As the Los Angeles Times noted, Trutanich – who is running for District Attorney – “has had his budget slashed deeply, and like many city workers, his lawyers had to absorb furlough days. To the credit of his lawyers, though, many kept working without pay on their forced days off.”

Destroying free speech rights to protect Israel

Would any responsible official put unpaid lawyers on such a case? And for what? To create a nightmare regime where almost any online speech within California’s public universities would have to be expensively and oppressively policed by the state?

Klein told me that the latest assault by the Global Justice Frontier Center “is just one of many actions taken by the AMCHA Initiative,” a California Zionist group that collaborates with the Global Frontier Justice Center, “and other Zionist organizations during the past year to suppress free speech on California State University campuses when that speech criticizes the apartheid government of Israel.”

It is also unlikely to be the last.

Meir Katz Letter


SFSC: Letter defending academic freedom of UCLA Professor

Dear Professor Shorter,

We write on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) to defend your right to academic freedom both in providing educational materials, including website links, for your students, and in supporting the political groups of your choice. You have recently been attacked for both. Continue reading

Mondoweiss: Indigenous Studies Scholars defend UCLA Professor David Shorter and supporters of BDS

by Native American and Indigenous Studies Scholars, Mondoweiss May 4, 2012

An Open Letter from Native American and Indigenous Studies Scholars in defense of UCLA Professor David Shorter and other scholars who support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel
April 30, 2012

As Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars who endorse the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), we write in defense of our colleague Professor David Shorter. Shorter has been accused by representatives from the “AMCHA Initiative” of misusing campus resources for “the purpose of promoting the academic and cultural boycott of Israel” to students in his Winter 2012 course, “Tribal Worldviews” at UCLA. In its rhetoric, AMCHA equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a spurious equation wielded by those who seek to suppress open discussion of Israel and its state policies. Continue reading

AlJazeera: 39 ways to limit free speech

David Cole – Al Jazeera English, May 2, 2012

Is freedom of expression really free when the government can punish that expression because of its political content?

Washington, DC – Google “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad” and you’ll get over 590,000 hits. You’ll find full-text English language translations of this Arabic document on the Internet Archive, an internet library; on 4Shared Desktop, a file-sharing site; and on numerous Islamic sites. You will find it cited and discussed in a US Senate Committee staff report and Congressional testimony. Feel free to read it. Just don’t try to make your own translation from the original, which was written in Arabic in Saudi Arabia in 2003. Because if you look a little further on Google you will find multiple news accounts reporting that on April 12, a 29-year old citizen from Sudbury, Massachusetts named Tarek Mehanna was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison for translating “39 Ways” and helping to distribute it online.  Continue reading

Center for Constitutional Rights: Students Face Death Threats for Speaking in Support of Palestinian Rights

April 25, 2012, New York–Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other Rights Groups issued the following statement in support of student groups promoting awareness in college communities about the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for freedom and human rights. Members of the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Florida Atlantic University recently faced intense pressure from outside groups and were the subject of death threats after organizing a non-violent action to protest the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces. Students participating in the action posted 200 fake eviction notices on dorm room doors to raise awareness of the issue.  

Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: New York Times ad accuses BDS movement, college professors of inciting murder of Jewish children

Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, 04/24/2012

In a sign of growing desperation among anti-Palestinian groups, a New York Times ad published today likens the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to the Holocaust.

“The Holocaust began with boycotts of Jewish stores and ended with death camps,” begins the ad, placed by notorious anti-African American and Islamophobic agitator David Horowitz.

Citing the murder of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse, France earlier this year, the ad says, “it is time for supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to ask themselves what they did to contribute to the atmosphere of hate that spawned these and other murders of Jews.”

Unsatisfied with blaming supporters of Palestinian rights in general of aiding and abetting murder, the ad names specific professors whom it holds responsible, and calls on them to be “publicly shamed and condemned for the crimes their hatred incites.”  Continue reading

CS4AF: Treatment of UCLA Professor adversely affects academic freedom

April 18, 2012

To: Andrew Leuchter, Chair, Academic Senate UCLA

*CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM** *(CS4AF) is a group of 134 scholars at twenty California institutions of higher education.  We are writing to express our concerns about your handling of the events surrounding Associate Professor David Delgado Shorter’s, World Arts and Cultures course website which followed a complaint by a well-known partisan duo who have been harassing California faculty for some time (Amcha).

Our concerns involve the possible violation of academic freedom; the overstepping of your authority as Chair of the Academic Senate; honoring of complaints by a clearly partisan political group over collegiality and protocol regarding treatment of tenured faculty at UCLA; and setting up Prof. Shorter to be judged in the “court of public opinion” by releasing information to the press without his knowledge.  Continue reading