Tag Archives: usa

Richard Silverstein: Israel Lobby Threatens Church Groups With Congressional Investigation Over Call for Restricting U.S. Military Aid

by RICHARD SILVERSTEIN on Oct 18, 2012

A coalition of U.S. church groups recently made public a letter which called upon the U.S. government to condition future military aid to Israel on its fulfillment of obligations under U.S. law.  The statement was intended to express criticism of Israel’s use of U.S. weapons like cluster bombs in violation of our law and noted that U.S. military assistance provided Israel a buffer against undertaking any actions to advance a just and lasting peace.  For example, its settlement policy, refusal to return to 1967 borders, and refusal to share Jerusalem, all directly contradict international law and stated U.S. policy.

Though these church groups have been critical of Israeli policy in the past, threatening to lobby for withholding military aid would really cut the Israel lobby to the quick,  as it’s a position held by a number of anti-Zionist groups that are much farther to the left.  The fact that mainline Christian denominations, who generally support liberal Zionist positions, would be moving in a more critical direction has to be deeply concerning to the lobby.  Continue reading

SFSC Letter: Support for University of California Student Association resolution defending free speech

Ms. Angelica Saleceda, President, 2012-2013, University of California Student Association

Dear Ms. Saleceda

On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) – Vancouver, Canada, we congratulate you and your fellow Board members on the resolution passed on Sept. 15, 2012 opposing the California Assembly Bill HR 35.

Attempts to conflate criticism of Israel and/or solidarity with Palestinian human rights with antisemitism, and therefore hate speech, is a tactic used by Israel supporters for the last forty years. The last five years have seen the usefulness of this tactic diminished as many courageous individuals and organizations have fought back against such claims. HR 35 demonstrates that attempts to use the false charge of antisemitism to smear and frighten Israel´s critics is still an ongoing strategy. Your resolution, and the unanimity of the UCSA Board, is an important step in opposing these attempts and diminishing their credibility.  Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: Israel lobby uses discredited anti-Semitism definition to muzzle debate

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada. 28 September 2012

Top administrators at the University of California are considering what action to take against speech and activities alleged to be anti-Semitic. As part of their discussions, the university may endorse a seven-year-old document, which — despite not having an official status — is often called the European Union’s“working definition” of anti-Semitism.

Although the administrators have indicated that their motive is to protect Jewish students, a careful examination of the definition indicates that the real agenda may be to stifle Palestine solidarity activism and criticism of Israel in the classroom.  Continue reading

CS4AF: An Open Letter From California Scholars for Academic Freedom on Resolution 35

To California Assemblymembers Linda Halderman, Bonnie Lowenthal, and 66 Co-authors of California House Resolution 35:

Coauthors: Assembly Members Achadjian, Beall, Block, Blumenfield, Butler, Cook, Fong, Furutani, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Hagman, Mansoor, Miller, Monning, Portantino, and Williams, Alejo, Allen, Atkins, Bill Berryhill, Bonilla, Brownley, Buchanan, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, Cedillo, Chesbro, Conway, Davis, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fuentes, Beth Gaines, Garrick, Gorell, Harkey, Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hueso, Huffman, Jeffries, Jones, Lara, Ma, Mendoza, Mitchell, Morrell, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Perea, John A. Pérez, V. Manuel Pérez, Silva, Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Valadao, and Wagner

Dear California Assembly Representatives;

California Scholars for Academic Freedom** opposes in the strongest possible terms House Resolution 35, a resolution which lists each of you as introducers or co-authors, and which was approved, with no debate, by the California State Assembly on August 28, 2012 [1]. The resolution poses a clear threat to academic freedom in the University of California and the California State University systems.  Continue reading

UCSA: UC Student Association opposes all racism, whether anti-Semitism on campus or racism of Israeli human rights violations

by Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss, September 19, 2012

Below is the full text of the landmark resolution that was passed last weekend by the The University of California Student Association. The resolution is in opposition to California Assembly Bill HR 35 which sought to stifle Palestinian solidarity activism on UC campuses under the guise of combating anti-Semitism.

A Resolution Regarding California Assembly Bill HR 35

Approved by the University of California Student Association,

9/15/2012 (12 for, 2 abstain, 0 against) Continue reading

Mondoweiss: California passes resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism

Mondoweiss, August 29

School’s out, but that didn’t stop California’s state assembly from passingResolution HR35 buttressing a controversial report commissioned by the University of California that accuses students and faculty of contributing to an environment fostering anti-Semitism on campus.

The report’s recommendations, which seek to limit criticism of Israeli state policies as a form of “hate speech”, have been criticized as an assault on academic freedom and an attempt to limit student and faculty’s first amendment rights to free speech.  Continue reading

jewishpress.com: UCLA Officially Protects Promotion of Anti-Israel Boycott

By Lori Lowenthal Marcus, July 24th, 2012, jewishpress.com

A professor of World Arts and Culture who specializes in Native American cultures at the University of California at Los Angeles, David Delgado Shorter, has been given the official green light to continue using university resources to promote the boycott of Israel by the university’s Committee on Academic Freedom.

Several months ago a California-based group focused on protecting Jewish students from academic anti-Semitism, AMCHA, learned from UCLA students that Shorter prominently features links to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel on his official class website.  The students who brought the anti-Israel concerns to AMCHA were too worried about retribution to complain either to Shorter or to anyone else at UCLA. Continue reading

The Atlantic: Neo-McCarthyism

The Atlantic, Jul 15, 2012 by Robert Wright

The charge of anti-Semitism is starting to lose its force. The reason is that over the past few years it’s been applied with less and less discernment, largely by people who want to stigmatize Israel’s harsher critics. As Sarah Wildman has noted in the Forward, this is very unfortunate, because there are real anti-Semites in the world, and they benefit when the label they deserve to bear no longer has the power to stigmatize.

Wildman said this six months ago while writing about a slew of smears, such as the attempt to stigmatize the Center for American Progress via half-truths and McCarthyite guilt-by-association. Now there’s another example of this neo-McCarthyism, and I’m sorry to say that it appeared on this website. Continue reading

Al Jazeera: Silencing pro-Palestinian speech on campus

Remi Kanazi, Al Jazeera, 12 Jul 2012

At the University of California, pro-Palestinian students face disciplinary action, but Israel’s advocates do not

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

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

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

CS4AF: Letter to NCSU Chancellor re Terri Ginsberg

Dear Chancellor Woodson,

We the undersigned, who are also members of California Scholars for Academic Freedom (CS4AF),* write to request that you give Terri Ginsberg the full grievance hearing that she first requested in 2008. In the four years that our group has been defending academic freedom, we have found that a preponderance of cases involve the Middle East or Middle Easternists. We are therefore especially vigilant when unpopular views about this region are coupled with failure to renew or award academic positions.

In a letter sent to at least two of our members, you acknowledge that “Dr. Ginsberg’s allegations regarding her employment at NC State University were raised in an internal grievance.” However, in your subsequent focus on the courts rather than the campus, you neglect to mention that her internal grievance was denied a hearing solely on the grounds of a technicality. Perhaps because you were not Chancellor at the time, you are unaware that this denial was reportedly described by Jim Martin, then Chair of the Faculty Senate, as “very disturbing and an unwise practice for the University” (Technician, July 16/December 8, 2008, http://www.technicianonline.com/news/professor-claims-unprotected-speech-1.1104494#.T- zihByQ1Ed).  Continue reading