Video: right-wing groups attack U.S. professors over Ilan Pappe speaking tour

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
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A group called the AMCHA Initiative, founded by University of California faculty, launched a campaign against three California professors over an upcoming Ilan Pappe speaking tour.  The organization currently has two campaigns, one against Cal State Northridge professor David Klein (also highlighted in the latest video), and one against the University of California system, both over charges of anti-Semitism.

The video details an upcoming three-stop Cal State lecture tour with historian Ilan Pappe this spring.  The AMCHA Initiative asserts in the video that Pappe’s scholarship violates “state department” restrictions against anti-Semitism, as well as university policies over political endorsements.

From university promotional material for the Pappe events, it is unclear whether the three professors targeted in the video, all affiliated with the U.S. Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, are event “organizers,” as stated in the clip.  The video targets David Klein of Cal State Northridge, Manzar Foroohar of Cal Poly, and Vida Samiian of Cal State Fresno.

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  1. Jim Holstun
    February 17, 2012, 7:54 am

    The account for video production seems to be getting a little skimpy these days–to burnish the lie about Cal State Northridge (1:10), they should at least have cropped out the bit about USING THE CSU NAME to endorse a political action, which is not exactly the same thing as allowing someone to come on campus at CSU and endorse a political position. Also, the proportion of scarey-jihadi-Muslim Persian-Ayrabs to scarey-self-hating-diabolical Jews here (2/2) is getting a little low.

  2. Cliff
    February 17, 2012, 8:17 am

    So the two Zionist Jews who started this impromptu McCarthyite organization sent a letter to the university Chancellor.

    With your help, today the AMCHA Initiative sent California State University Chancellor Charles Reed an open letter urging him to remove the anti-Semitic web pages of CSU Northridge Professor David Klein from the University server. Of the 1,800 signatures we received from the community, many had ties to the California State University system:

    282 were CSU alumni and current students, including 139 from CSUN

    200 were parents of CSU alumni and current students, including 64 from CSUN

    60 were former or current faculty or staff from CSU, including 12 from CSUN

    74 were donors to CSU, including 22 who donated specifically to CSUN, with several of those indicating they would no longer donate to the University.

    This is an important step in our campaign to ensure that tax-payer funded University resouces are not used to promote anti-Jewish bigotry that creates a hostile environment for Jewish students.

    So if you mention the Nakba, you’re expressing anti-Jewish bigotry. If you make the salient point that not long after the Holocaust, Jews were ethnically cleansing another people – you’re expressing anti-Jewish bigotry.

    Do any of these narcissists threaten to withdraw money from organizations that speak on behalf of ‘the Jewish people’?

    What about when the schizo Zionists @Penn, were comparing the BDS conference to concentration camps and Nazism and all that noise?

    As a non-Jew and someone who is a normal person who does not exploit my minority status and weaponize it against non-tribal members, I find all these people to be severely mentally ill.

    They are a cult.

    Recall the censorship of a Palestinian children’s art exhibit.

    Did these psychos care about the IDF carving a Star of David into Gaza farmland during Operation Cast Lead?

    link to jpost.com

    • teta mother me
      February 17, 2012, 11:13 am

      check out the photo on Hannah Rosenthal’s State Department page that I linked in response to Bill from Maryland. It depict an offense against the Jewish people that is so outrageous that an entire office in the US State Department must be organized to combat it: a swastika is spray-painted on a rock.

    • Empiricon
      February 17, 2012, 12:13 pm

      “They are a cult.” Sad but true. See below a few of the the charactersitcs of a cult — all you need do is change “leader” to Zionism or Israel and these all fit well.
      link to csj.org

      * The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

      ‪ * Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

      ‪ * The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members .

      ‪ * The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

      ‪ * The leader is not accountable to any authorities .

      ‪ * The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group.

      ‪ * The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

      ‪ * The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

      ‪ * Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

      ‪ * Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

      ‪ * The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

    • kapok
      February 17, 2012, 3:38 pm

      “They’re a cult.” Precisely. The best way to appreciate Israel for what it really is is simply believe in the opposite of what they say. Terrorists? They are. International law? They flout it. Self-defence? Aggressive war. Civil Society? Stick ‘em up! Conspiracies? The bleedin’ obvious…

  3. Bill in Maryland
    February 17, 2012, 8:34 am

    Thanks Allison. I believe the AMCHA initiative will only result in more publicity for Ilan Pappe’s tour. The whole basis of the complaint in the video is the tired old equation: Israel= The Jewish State, ∴ criticism of Israel = anti-Semitism. Yawn. The AMCHA group would make better use of its time upgrading the p*ss-poor quality of its videos.

    • teta mother me
      February 17, 2012, 11:10 am

      I think it’s more serious than that, Bill, and is the predictable outcome of the formation of Hannah Rosenthal’s State Department office to monitor antisemitism.

      I don’t know what enforcement teeth Rosenthal’s office has, but the mere threat of having a group or a professor investigated by the State Department office can be financially devastating and career-ending.

      this is pernicious.
      no other group in the United States is protected by that kind of shield and sword. That’s unequal justice.

      • Philip Munger
        February 17, 2012, 12:39 pm

        Part of what Prof. Klein, Foroohar and Samiian’s colleague Dr. Kelley related here yesterday, when he said:

        There’s a whole list of people who have had lost their jobs and been forced out. That’s just part of the territory. And I think it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

        We need to keep a close eye on this State Department office.

      • Bill in Maryland
        February 17, 2012, 1:45 pm

        Thank you teta mother, I was not aware of this office- it seems like it could become a taxpayer funded extension of ADL or CAMERA but with the gravitas of federal law behind it – bad news indeed I totally agree.

      • kapok
        February 17, 2012, 3:53 pm

        From their definition of anti-semitism:

        “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).”

        Note the attempt to link anti-semitism to the Left and the weasely “often”.

  4. Gaius Baltar
    February 17, 2012, 8:56 am

    Could someone post a link to Pappe’s US schedule?

  5. Chaos4700
    February 17, 2012, 9:19 am

    I wonder if they wish US Professors were dead the way they apparently wish Palestinian children were dead.

  6. American
    February 17, 2012, 12:51 pm

    “The AMCHA Initiative asserts in the video that Pappe’s scholarship violates “state department” restrictions against anti-Semitism, as well as university policies over political endorsements”

    On what State Department definition of anti semitism are they claiming Pappe’s scholarship is anti semitic?

    Maybe someone has more current information but last I saw the only ‘official’ U.S. Department of State definition of antisemitism was in a 2005 Report which defined Anti-Semitism as “Hatred toward Jews, individually and as a group, that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.”

    There is a ‘working definition’ at the US Anti Semitism Dept. that is being pushed to be adopted by the State Dept., don’t know where that stands. IMO it goes too far into censoring free speech, including ‘political speech” about Israel or zionism.
    I don’t know how they would ever be able to enforce it. I don’t think the US public would tolerate criminalizing speech, for better or worse, the way some countries have if that is the ultimate goal of this.

    link to state.gov

  7. tree
    February 17, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Here’s a flyer for Pappe’s speech at CSUN. It’s going to be this Monday, the 20th, at 4pm. D*mn it. I’m going to be out of town that day.

    link to csun.edu

  8. Dan Crowther
    February 17, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Why not just call them fascists? I think I might be done with terms like “the lobby” and “israel firster” — these people are fascists. It best describes not only their politics, but also the co-mingling of so many different authoritarians, that would seem to have different agendas, but all agree one a few key points: The state is not to be questioned, dissent is to be crushed, speech is to be silenced, “security” is paramount, privacy is to be disregarded, and most importantly – the more war, the better.

    The problem with admitting that there is a fascist element in american politics (whatever we think of how long its been there etc) is that you also have to admit that a lot of public “liberals” have helped it along. It’s been said that the Nazi’s most important victory in their rise to power was getting their opponents to talk like them, even if less forceful. And so, the choice was between people who really meant it ( the nazi’s) and others who shifted opportunistically to platforms that paid lip service to the racism, militarism etc of the nazi’s.

    I think we find ourselves in this position here in the states. Every Public “liberal” HAS to be “strong” on defense. Every “liberal” HAS to be “tough on illegals” Every “liberal” HAS to be “tough on crime” Every “liberal” HAS to be willing to “keep all options on the table” Every liberal HAS to pray at the altar of “security” and so on and so forth. We don’t even have to talk about the public “liberals” and workers…….

    I think maybe instead of “left/right” we need to start thinking and speaking in terms of “authoritarian/anti-authoritarian”

    And I am UNEQUIVOCALLY saying that, personal/political identity based on something other than (in my case) “I am a guy named Dan” is not only sectarian, its AUTHORITARIAN.

    Any serious challenge to these american fascists can only come from anti-authoritarians, whose associations are based on idea’s and values, rather than the assembling of different identities. We need to stop speaking their language. But more importantly, we really need to be honest about what is going on here…………

    • piotr
      February 17, 2012, 6:11 pm

      Their motto is “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato.” All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

      Jewish state is the highest achievement of the Jewish people and all should be within the state, and anything against the state has to be stamped out, say, as anti-Semitism. This is basically the equation. Although Zhabotynsky hailed from Eastern Europe, Italy was much admired as ideological innovator throughout that region, and Zhabotynsky was no exception.

  9. Scott
    February 17, 2012, 2:42 pm

    As agitprop, it’s very ineffective because it doesn’t merely seek to denigrate Pappe, but it shows and quotes him– and he seems like a reasonable, ideological, smart, Hebrew accented guy– hardly the kind of match to match their scarifying depicition. He might as well be Howard Zinn (and as a conservative, I’m not a huge fan, but have learned to recognize his value to the large spectrum of America.)

    • Cliff
      February 17, 2012, 4:08 pm

      Their video excerpts of Pappe are very flattering of him. He doesn’t seem crazy or wild-eyed.

      Plus, people in the middle or newcomers (if this pro-censorship group has even sparked their interest) may look up Pappe’s speeches and lectures on YouTube.

      He is a great man. A humanist. Compassionate and intelligent and has great intuition about the constantly changing landscape of this conflict.

  10. Thanks for posting this story, Allison.

    I heard this video has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Hasbara Section. JK.

    AMCHA needs to come under much more scrutiny and criticism.
    Their motto, branded into their logo, is “Protecting Jewish Students”. That’s big of them but most Jewish students I know can look after themselves much better than the two half-wits running this site.

    However despite their shortcomings, AMCHA is able to make a lot of grief for a single professor in the CSU system. Note that they are cc’ing many California politicians in their attacks and no doubt some opportunists will assist them.

    My suggestion/request:

    1. Support David Klein at CSUN. Go to his link.
    link to csun.edu
    and check out and link to his Boycott Israel Resource page (shown near bottom of his site).

    2. If you live in southern California, go to CSUN on this Monday Feb 20 to hear Ilan Pappe at 4 pm. Presumably there will be few students on campus since it’s a holiday. Should be a great talk. There will be opponents. There should be strong supporting audience too.

    Gracias.

  11. piotr
    February 17, 2012, 6:36 pm

    I want to add to my “italian thoughts”. Nulla contro lo Stato. All crimes listed in the video are against the state, like alleging that the State committed crimes. Which is total absurd: our state defines what a crime is, so it cannot commit crimes.

    One can make a facile objection that it is actually not our state. But that has a simple answer: there is no separation between struggles and aspiration of the two nation. As in a post stamp depicting two leaders with caption “Zwei Volker und Ein Kampf”. link to en.wikipedia.org

  12. Pat Carmeli
    February 18, 2012, 9:01 am

    All the banter back and forth regarding this video and the tired old charges of anti-semitism every time someone says something critical of Israel! We’ve heard this before, time and time again. It’s the “other-side’s” tactic to silence voices speaking on behalf of the oppressed and in favor of justice. The thing to do is to fight fire with fire. All those commenting their outrage (on the Mondo site) should stop right now and send a letter to the university supporting Pappe’s speaking tour. Then comment here on how our own democracy and freedom of speech is threatened by such claims of anti-semitism designed to silence us.

  13. Justice Please
    February 19, 2012, 6:07 pm

    The three attacked profs should sue for libel, and the universities should explicitly defend the free speech of Pappe and Co.

  14. piotr
    February 19, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Something is weird. “It is not allowed to use CSU name without written permission for any purpose, including

    - Advertizing any meeting or activity that has the purpose of supporting or opposing any strike, lockout, boycott, or any political, religious, or sociological activity, and
    - Any other commercial purpose.

    This for example means that if you want to use university facilities to organize innovation fair for California small businesses, you cannot advertise the location without written permission.

    However, the lecture of an invited professor from another institution can be assumed to have an EDUCATIONAL purpose. And of course, University authorized the use of its name, so there is no misuse.

    Suffering taxpayers of California may also welcome the fact that outside visitors to the lecture will presumably pay 6 dollar parking fee, thus aiding the finances of California State university system.

    The good news is that this pathetic effort was already rebuffed, as you can check on the web page of David Klein.