Trending Topics:

Academia, the ‘battleground’ in the Palestinian solidarity movement

Activism
on 19 Comments

On September 23 2014, Palestinian solidarity activists took part in the International Day of Action on College Campuses, calling for students and faculty around the world to pressure their academic institutions to support justice, human rights, and freedom for the Palestinian people.

The International Day of Action officially stated as its demands:

  • No to Academic Complicity with Israeli Occupation
  • No to Study Abroad Programs in Israel
  • No Investments in Apartheid and Occupation Supporting Companies
  • No to University Presidents’ Visits to Israel
  • No Campus Police Training or Cooperation with Israeli Security
  • No Joint Research or Conferences with Israeli Institutions
  • No Cooperation with Hasbara Networks on College Campuses
  • No to Targeting Faculty for Speaking Against Israeli Crimes
  • No to Administrative Limits on Free Speech Rights of Palestine Activists
  • No to University Coordination and Strategizing with the ADL, JCRC, AJC, Stand With US, ZOA, Israeli Consulate to Limit Students Pro-Palestine Constitutionally Protected Activities.

The call was spearheaded by Hatem Bazian, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. A large rally was held at this school, with over 300 attendees.

At the demonstration, Bazian stated that “this international day of solidarity is to highlight the BDS” (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Muslim Student Association activist Unis Barakat echoed the call, and explained that activists had gathered “to peacefully demand that Israeli universities and the Israeli state give academic freedom toall individuals” and recognize “the Palestinian people’s basic human rights.”

A die-in at UC Berkley (Photo: Facebook)

A die-in at UC Berkley
(Photo: Facebook)

The rally concluded with a die-in. Later that evening, Bazian joined several other California professors for a teach-in.

Many university Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters tabled and held demonstrations on their campuses to raise awareness and to educate fellow students about Israel’s brutal occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

Stanford University SJP’s memorial to children killed in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge (Photo: Facebook)

Stanford University SJP’s memorial to children killed in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge (Photo: Facebook)

Stanford SJP activists chalked the center of their campus with the names and ages of Palestinian children killed in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge.

Similar demonstrations and events were held around the country.

Student organizing was by no means unencumbered, nonetheless. The day of action entered the spotlight in mid September when a leaked email showed that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was pressuring universities to crackdown on Palestinian solidarity activists. The ADL demonized the organization American Muslims for Palestine in particular, who helped organize the International Day of Action, falsely accusing it of attacking “Jewish communal organizations.” The chancellor of University of California, Davis was later publicly criticized for circulating the dishonest email with administrators.

Not soon after, the executive director of Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) sent a letter to 1,000s of members, defending “our strong historic ties to the State of Israel” and implying Palestinian solidarity activists were planning on engaging in “intimidation and acts of violence.” Leading Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah condemned the message as an attempt “to stoke tensions between Jewish and other students in an effort to discredit criticism of Israel following the recent massacre in Gaza.” (Abunimah also noted the irony that such a directive would come from ZBT, a fraternity with “a long history of internal violence” andwhose members steadfastly defended Israel in the summer of 2014, when the country killed over 1,500 Palestinian civilians, including approximately 500 children.)

Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine

Flags arranged by  Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine

Flags arranged by Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine

Perhaps the highlight of student actions took place at Oberlin College, a small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio. There, the organization Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine held a “2,133 black flags, 2,133 Palestinians dead, do not be silent” action, in which activists created an enormous installation, planting a small black flag for every Palestinian killed in Israel’s most recent massacre in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge.

In front of the 2,133 flags students hung a banner reading

These black flags honor the 2,133 Palestinians murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces over the 51 days of Operation Protective Edge. Israel receives more military assistance from the United States than any other country in the world at an annual rate of $3.1 billion dollars. Our tax dollars, and likely our tuition, funded this genocide.

This is not a vigil. This is a call to action. It is a recognition of our complicity in these acts of violence. It is a refusal to be silent.

The activists asked onlookers to sign their online petition, demanding an administrative response to an Oberlin student divestment resolution.

The flags remained up until the morning of the 27th.

I contacted Oberlin SFP to inquire how the college and community responded to their action. They were pleased with how well the action went. They reported seeing a lot of support from the student body. On the evening of the 24th, approximately 60 people, representing a variety of student and local organizations, gathered to read statements of solidarity with Palestine. Many of these connected the struggle for justice in Palestine to those other oppressed peoples around the world, particularly those in Ferguson, MI—a parallel numerous Palestinian organizations have made since the murder of Michael Brown on 9 August 2014.

Not everyone was happy with their demonstration, however. SFP members noted “a lot of disapproval,” particularly with the fact that the demonstration also marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. “We hold that this action was in accordance with the larger International Day of Action of September 23,” they insisted, adding “despite the provocative timing also assert that the mourning of Palestinian deaths and recognizing our own complicity in this violence should not be mutually exclusive from celebrating Rosh Hashanah.”

According to SFP members, the Zionist presence at Oberlin is much more of a liberal variety, as is increasingly common for today’s generation. A student told me that many Jewish students at Oberlin are in fact uncomfortable with more hardline Zionist organizations, namely Hillel, and “feel unwelcome in their spaces.” The Oberlin Hillel Facebook page has not been active in two years.

J Street U Oberlin did criticize SFP, writing on Facebook that it was “saddened by the polarization within our community and want to offer a productive path forward based on establishing conditions for a sustainable, real peace.” SFP members rejected such accusations, and lamented that J Street members “often try to conflate our messages while erasing the very obvious power dynamics that exist between Israel and Palestine.”

Oberlin SFP’s International Day of Action demonstration is just one part of its ongoing BDS campaign. A member told me that their “ultimate goal is to continue to push for true economic divestment from six corporations profiting from the occupation: Caterpillar, Veolia, G4S, SodaStream, Elbit Systems, and Hewlett-Packard.” The Oberlin Student Senate already passed a divestment resolution in May 2013, “but since then neither the administration nor the Board of Trustees have expressed any interest in moving forward.” The activist added, “Thus, while we wanted this action to be about mourning the tremendous loss of life, we are also firm in our insistence that this is not a vigil—it is a call to action.” SJP released a press release condemning the administration for being “unresponsive” and “demanding that the college divest from companies profiting from and perpetuating the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

The Oberlin administration has yet to respond to the action or to the calls for accountability, and SFP members admitted that do not find it likely that it will.

University Crackdown on Palestinian Solidarity Activists

Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine did not encounter any trouble from their administration, as they registered the installation with Oberlin’s security and facilities departments beforehand. Other university administrations, however, have not been so kind.

In one of the more publicized recent controversies, in March 2014, Northeastern University banned its SJP branch, in what many characterized as a draconian act of censorship. Student activists had engaged in a harmless mock eviction action, distributing what were clearly fake notices in order to educate students about just one of the many fears Palestinians face on a daily basis—the very real possibility of an Israeli government official arriving to tell you that the home your family has lived in for generations is, without any kind of trial or due process, now going to be demolished.

Northeastern SJP member Max Geller stated that his “school was accusing us of an act of criminality for simply [an] act of leafleting,” and that “NYPD-style tactics were used against students” for handing out pieces of paper. The administration asked the Northeastern University Police Department to conduct an investigation. The authorities immediately went after any Arab and Muslim students involved. Two students were threatened with expulsion—both of whom happened to be women of color. Neither was an officer in the organization, just rank-and-file members.

Journalist Max Blumenthal uncovered big money and powerful leaders of Zionist organizations with close ties to the university. Geller bemoaned that Northeastern was “more interested in appeasing outside astroturfed Zionist groups than in fostering an environment where the vigorous exchange of ideas can take place.”

Fortunately, after “Weeks of protests, picket lines, petitions, phone calls, and emails,” the student organization was reinstated. ACLU attorney Sarah Wunsch called the branch’s reinstatement “a victory for freedom of expression, which is a crucial aspect to any quality university.” Staff attorney with Palestine Solidarity Legal Support and co-operating counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights Radhika Sainath remarked that “What happened to SJP at Northeastern is just one part of the larger assault on speech supporting Palestinian rights in this country. There is no ‘Palestine Exception’ to free speech rights and the First Amendment.”

Crackdowns of this kind are by no means limited to the US. In Israel itself, students are suffering huge consequences for criticizing their government. In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, Israeli scholar Amir Hetsroni wrote in Haaretz of “the undeniable attempts by academic management to prevent students and faculty from speaking their minds and punishing those who protest against the war.” He details extreme policies of Israeli universities, enumerating incidents in which students were were punished, fined, and even arrested simply for speaking their mind.

Before the massacre in Gaza, Hetsroni explains, he opposed the academic boycott of Israel. But when he saw the role Israeli universities played in stifling opposition, his position quickly shifted. “A college that prohibits students from taking part in political protest is not an academic institute. A university that vetoes its faculty’s right to publish non-Zionist (not to say anti-Zionist) scholarship is not a university. In such cases an academic boycott might be an acceptable response,” he confessed.

Academia as a Locus of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement

The International Day of Action for Palestine was organized by a scholar, to take place on college campuses. Many of the leading figures of the Palestine solidarity movement, and the organizers of the BDS movement, are scholars. Academe is, in many ways, today a locus of the struggle against Israeli apartheid—just as it was for the struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the quite recent past.

In April 2004, numerous Palestinian scholars and intellectuals organized the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). The organization maintains that “all Israeli academic institutions, unless proven otherwise, are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights.” In its guidelines for the international academic boycott of Israel, PACBI writes:

Academic institutions are a key part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people. Since its founding, the Israeli academy has cast its lot with the hegemonic political-military establishment in Israel, and notwithstanding the efforts of a handful of principled academics, the Israeli academy is profoundly implicated in supporting and perpetuating Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

This is the reason institutions are cracking down so harshly on student activism. Much of the ground gained in the BDS movement has been in Academia, led by the PACBI. Israel’s own desperate attempts to manipulate public opinion demonstrate how much it fears the power of the BDS movement to end its decades-long process of colonization.

Israel pays students (and handsomely, at that) to spread government propaganda online. In recent years, as the momentum and strength of the BDS movement increases, Israel has even gone so far as to pressure foreign governments to crush Palestinian solidarity activism.

The recent firing, on incredibly suspect grounds, of Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita for the “crime” of criticizing Israel is a more palpable and personal manifestation of this encroaching attack. In the words of Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen, the firing of Salaita “shows where Zionism meets neoliberalism at US universities.”

It is not mere happenstance that so much of this struggle has taken place in academia. Academe, of course, is where policies are researched and created that will later be implemented to capture the “hearts and minds” of citizens. Yet, even more simply, Israel deliberately decided to make the Academy an important center of struggle. During the Second Intifada, head of Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky visited a slew of North American colleges. Upon returning to Israel, he “said to [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon—the most important battleground for the future of the Jewish people is campuses.”

Sharansky’s rhetoric about college campuses—as with so much of the rhetoric in the hyper-militarized life of far-, far-right Israel—is extremely militaristic in character. He speaks of a “war” on campus, and insists “that one battle would finish and immediately the other would start on the campuses.”

Israel is well-prepared for this “war.” The Times of Israel boasts that, at “the height of this summer’s Gaza conflict [read: one-sided massacre], JAFI had already begun training its 2014 cohort of 66 campus Israel Fellows, which are based out of Hillel Houses on 111 campuses throughout North America (some fellows have a presence on multiple campuses).” All of these 66 fellows “have completed army service … and sign on for up to two years on campuses where they aim to ‘empower student leadership and create Israel-engaged campuses.’” And the JAFI’s propaganda campaign on US college campuses doesn’t just adopt the rhetoric of militarism; it openly adopts the Israeli military’s tactics. The Times of Israel practically gloats:

Using this summer’s massive call-up of IDF reserves as a model, JAFI began to conscript its “reservists” and, with emergency funding from Jewish Federations of North America, pressed 20 former Israel Fellows back into its ranks. The reservists themselves are happy to serve and have taken off between two weeks and a month from their “civilian lives” to return to campuses in North America.

Bending toward Justice

In spite of the ferocity of the clampdown on dissent, and in spite of the prodigious political capital of the Zionist establishment, the truth of Israel’s crimes in Palestine has been increasingly difficult for the average American to ignore. The victory of Northeastern SJP, the calls for divestment by student activists at schools like Oberlin College, and the immense push-back against the attack on Salaita’s academic freedom all show that the Palestinian solidarity movement is really taking off in the US. To call the US Academy the “battleground” for Palestinian liberation is of course hyperbolic—and even downright insulting, considering the actual live battleground the Palestinian people live in, and their valiant and multifarious forms of resistance against oppression. At the end of the day, the struggle in the US is only one of solidarity with the Palestinians as they themselves fight to liberate themselves. Yet the fact that Americans, the citizens of the superpower whose economic and political support has allowed Israel to continue its egregious crimes with complete impunity for so many years, are now questioning their country’s relationship with Israel is an exceedingly important step in this long haul.

In April 2013, the Association for Asian American Studies voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Months later, in December, the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association did as well. Similar boycotts of Israeli academic institutions have been declared by prominent organizations in the UK, Australia, South Africa, and many more countries around the world.

In May 2013, Stephen Hawking, a scientist with celebrity status in the scholarly world, joined the academic boycott of Israel. Renowned philosopher Judith Butler, herself an anti-Zionist of Jewish descent, has also become a leading figure in the BDS movement. Of her support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, she explains

I have no problem collaborating with Israeli scholars and artists as long as we do not participate in any Israeli institution or have Israeli state monies support our collaborative work. The reason, of course, is that the academic and cultural boycott seeks to put pressure on all those cultural institutions that have failed to oppose the occupation and struggle for equal rights and the rights of the dispossessed, all those cultural institutions that think it is not their place to criticize their government for these practices, all of them that understand themselves to be above or beyond this intractable political condition. In this sense, they do contribute to an unacceptable status quo.

Butler’s distinguishing individual Israeli scholars (and artists) from Israeli institutions is incredibly important. It is an aspect often overlooked and ignored by critics of the BDS movement. The PACBI has been very careful to honor this distinction. The BDS movement is “Anchored in precepts of international law and universal human rights,” it explains, and rejects “boycotts of individuals based on their identity (such as citizenship, race, gender, or religion) or opinion.” The only circumstances in which it advocates boycotting in individuals is when they are “representing the state of Israel or a complicit Israeli institution (such as a dean, rector, or president), or is commissioned/recruited to participate in Israel’s efforts to ‘rebrand’ itself. … Mere affiliation of Israeli scholars to an Israeli academic institution is therefore not grounds for applying the boycott.”

Today, distinguished Israeli scholars such as Ilan Pappé, Shlomo Sand, Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel, Anat Biletzki, and more have supported academic and cultural boycotts of their own state. Their calls for justice, in fact, have been some of the most vociferous. People from all walks of life, around the world, are calling for human rights and dignity for the Palestinians, and the university has served as the rallying point for these calls.

In his canonical August 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King, Jr. paraphrased 19th-century American abolitionist Theodore Parker, proclaiming “The arc of the Moral Universe is long, but it bends toward Justice!”

The “war” for hearts and minds, as Sharansky fancies it, is indeed being waged on the “battleground” of the US university campus. But, despite the enormous and formidable forces rising against them, those seeking justice and freedom for the Palestinian people are winning. The arc of the Moral Universe is indeed slowly, and painfully, but surely, bending toward Justice.

About Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is BenNorton.com.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

19 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    October 9, 2014, 11:41 am

    Anybody keeping a score-card with the names of universities which have interfered with pro-Palestine activities or speech (and descriptions of all that happened, blow-back, etc.)? And those (if any) which have helped (or not hindered) pro-Palestine activities and/or speech?

    I bet the first list is getting quite long about now.

    • Ellen
      October 12, 2014, 12:07 am

      Don’t know if this answers your question, but: in 2008 there was a budding and very active group at the College of William and Mary. — a sort of mill for future federal employees and and officials (I.e. Bill Gates). They even had Alison Weir speak.

      http://web.wm.edu/so/sjp/paw.php

      But then they disappeared or were snuffed out?

      • Ellen
        October 12, 2014, 12:13 am

        I mean Robert Gates

  2. JWalters
    October 9, 2014, 5:16 pm

    The suppression of facts and discussion in America, a country with freedom of speech in its bedrock law, its Constitution, and especially in America’s colleges and universities, is utterly reprehensible and indefensible. Any American citizen who participates in such suppression should be deeply ashamed.

    It’s easy to understand why the defense of Israeli policies and actions require such suppression. Israel’s “special relationship” with the U.S. is based almost entirely on a fictitious story. This deception has been made possible by massive amounts of money.

    Key facts being suppressed are given in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror” at
    http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

    The above link is “highly recommended” by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern at
    http://consortiumnews.com/2014/06/03/the-real-villains-of-the-bergdahl-tale/#comment-170961

    It is entirely fitting that universities and colleges should lead the resistance against this massive dishonesty. Ironically, Jews have been victims of this deception right along with non-Jews.

  3. southernobserver
    October 9, 2014, 6:31 pm

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/11137943/Lancet-editor-apologises-for-Gaza-article-by-scientists-who-circulated-anti-Semitic-video.html

    I am so depressed that Richard Horton is apologising for a perfectly reasonable letter about the Gaza assault. I had thought better of the Lancet.

    • globalconsciousness
      October 10, 2014, 9:08 am

      I was becoming increasingly agitated by the article in the link when I realized the paper it was published in – the Lancet’s editor may see fit to apologize about only the two individuals involved but people like Derek Summerfeld who has a long history working with torture survivors and was an ardent critic of apartheid South Africa, as well as Mads Gilbert who has first hand knowledge of the conditions in Gaza; they cannot be dismissed that lightly.
      Here is a followup editorial from Gaza, which is unstinting in its feedback about the conditions in Gaza:
      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61297-6/fulltext
      and a page that links to the original letter and the flurry of criticism from largely Israeli medics…
      as well as an important letter regarding the targeting of hospitals in Gaza

      • seafoid
        October 10, 2014, 9:19 am

        This is also relevant

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.610988

        “Hassan, who has worked at the mental health center since 1991, spoke a lot in our conversation about the meaning of psychological treatment during periods of unrelenting and continuing trauma. “I came to the conclusion that such treatment is not ethical,” he said. “For 23 years, I have been trying to help children living in trauma, but there is no guarantee that they will not be affected again. It’s as if I am just preparing them to deal with something worse. You cannot provide true psychological treatment when the patients have no protection, no guarantee that it won’t happen again and soon, when what causes trauma never ends,” he said.
        “What is at issue here is a lot more than individual, separate cases,” he continued. “Even when there is no war, there is no stability in the Gaza Strip, and in a situation like this, how can psychological treatment help? One political decision on Israel’s part — lifting the blockade — could do a lot more good than all of the psychological treatment performed in Gaza and all of the quantities of money invested in them. The long-standing blockade limits our field of vision, our broader outlook, our creativity. The occupation is not only of land. The blockade is not just of goods, objects. The occupation is also cognitive, of one’s will, of feelings and thoughts. The siege is also over the ability to hope.”

        Zionism is a really awful ideology. Jews deserve better.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    October 9, 2014, 7:59 pm

    RE: “Many of these connected the struggle for justice in Palestine to those other oppressed peoples around the world, particularly those in Ferguson . . .” ~ Ben Norton

    ■ ACCORDING TO AN ARTICLE at ElectronicIntifada.net:

    [EXCERPTS] At least two of the four law enforcement agencies that were deployed in Ferguson up until Thursday evening — the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Police Department — received training from Israeli security forces in recent years. . .
    . . . While there is a wealth of scholarship on police militarization in the US, there has been little to no examination of the ways Israel’s security apparatus facilitates it.

    Decades of testing and perfecting methods of domination and control on a captive and disenfranchised Palestinian population has given rise to a booming “homeland security industry” in Israel that refashions occupation-style repression for use on marginalized populations in other parts of the world, including St. Louis.

    Under the cover of counterterrorism training, nearly every major police agency in the United States has traveled to Israel for lessons in occupation enforcement, a phenomenon that journalist Max Blumenthal dubbed “the Israelification of America’s security apparatus.” Israeli forces and US police departments are so entrenched that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has opened a branch in Tel Aviv.

    In 2011, then St. Louis County Police Department chief Timothy Fitch attended the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) National Counter-Terrorism Seminar, an annual week-long Israeli training camp where US law enforcement executives “study first hand Israel’s tactics and strategies” directly from “senior commanders in the Israel National Police, experts from Israel’s intelligence and security services, and the Israel Defense Forces,” according to the ADL’s website.

    Until Thursday night, the St. Louis County Police Department appeared to be the largest most militarized and brutish force operating in Ferguson. “St. Louis County Police” was scrawled across the side of most of the tactical unit vehicles and appeared on the combat-style uniforms of officers aiming assault rifles at peaceful protesters.

    The ADL boasts of sending more than 175 senior US law enforcement officials from 100 different agencies to the seminar since 2004, which are “taking the lessons they learned in Israel back to the United States.”
    The ADL is just one of several pro-Israel groups forging close ties between US cops and Israel’s security and intelligence apparatus.

    Another is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a neoconservative think tank that claims to have hosted some 9,500 law enforcement officials in its Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) since 2004.

    LEEP “takes delegations of senior law enforcement executives to Israel to study methods and observe techniques used in preventing and reacting to acts of terrorism” and “sponsors conferences within the United States, bringing Israeli experts before much larger groups of law enforcement leaders,” according to JINSA’s brochure..”

    Former St. Louis Police Department police chief Joseph Mokwa is listed as having traveled to Israel as part of a LEEP conference in February 2008.

    Following nationwide outrage and embarrassment, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon pulled St. Louis County Police forces out of Ferguson and placed the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of policing demonstrators. The St. Louis Police Department voluntarily removed its officers from Ferguson.

    As a result, Ferguson no longer looks like occupied territory, though the underlying issue, Michael Brown’s murder, has yet to be addressed. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-trained-police-occupy-missouri-after-killing-black-youth
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ■ ALSO SEE: Catalan Police in Israel: repression courses “Tested In Combat” [VIDEO, 05:40] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPrNmGcIFpY
    CATALAN POLICE TRAINING IN ISRAEL
    VIDEO February 16, 2014
    “Public security” training in Israel for police from Catalonia – or how to wage war on your own civilian population to protect the investments of bankster criminals!

    SOURCE – http://roblosricos.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/catalan-police-training-in-israel/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ■AND SEE: “Atlanta Police Department Commander Completes International Public Safety Training”, Elizabeth Espy, APD Public Affairs Deputy Manager, Atlanta Police Public Affairs News Release

    Atlanta Police Department Commander Completes International Public Safety Training

    News Release

    Zone 4 Major Rodney Bryant learns best practices on counterterrorism

    Atlanta Police Department Major Rodney Bryant completed a two-week public safety program and exchange focused on new public safety techniques and technologies. Organized by the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), Major Bryant along with 16 other senior Georgia public safety officials learned best practices on counterterrorism measures.

    “The Atlanta Police Department has supported the GILEE program since it was founded in 1992. “I am huge supporter of the GILEE Exchange Program since I visited Israel myself as a participant in this program, said Police Chief George N. Turner. “GILEE is an excellent tool to help educate and train our officers about to responding to multiple threats.”

    Major Rodney Bryant is the commander of Zone 4 and has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience. The Department regularly participates in global public safety exchanges. The Atlanta Police Leadership Institute is a leadership program that prepares all ranks for promotional opportunities. The APLI program includes training on international law enforcement issues where officers learn tactics on preventing acts of terror, responding to suspicious objects and organizing volunteers for emergency response. Additionally, this year the Atlanta Police Department has hosted several international police agencies including the Nicaraguan National Police and Israel National Police Department. . .

    ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE – http://www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page=672&recordid=2912

    • JLewisDickerson
      October 9, 2014, 9:19 pm

      P.S. RE: “Tested In Combat” ~ from the above video on Catalan police training in Israel

      MY COMMENT – Here is a very powerful testimonial regarding the impact of Israeli notions of security on policing here in the U.S.
      ■ An Israeli Soldier’s Story – Eran Efrati [VIDEO, 40:05] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93hqlmrZKd8
      Published on Mar 8, 2014
      The talk by Eran Efrati was filmed in Denver, Colorado on March 3, 2014 as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik U.S. tour with Maya Wind. Eran talk about his experiences in the IDF and then more broadly discusses Israel, its relationship to the U.S. and the global expansion of militarism.

    • JLewisDickerson
      October 9, 2014, 10:03 pm

      P.P.S.
      ■ ALSO SEE: “Sheriff Ortiz goes to Israel”, by Eva Ruth Moravec, mysanantonio.com, 07/07/11

      [EXCERPTS] . . . For one week last month, Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz swapped his cowboy hat for a yarmulke as he visited Israel on an organized trip with other law enforcement leaders.
      “I’ve always had an interest in Israel,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “It was a great conference.”
      Ortiz joined 16 other sheriffs, police chiefs and organization heads, including Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, on a week-long trip, courtesy of the Jewish Institute for National Security’s Law Enforcement Exchange Program.
      The group toured a hospital’s trauma unit, Israeli Arab villages, sites of terrorist attacks, border crossings, police offices and the country’s security fence. Based on the itinerary, most of the sites and speeches focused on terrorism and security.
      Ortiz said he was impressed by Israel Defense Force soldiers, who he said are trained as soldiers and as police officers.
      “If we ever deploy troops along the Texas border, they should have training in being a soldier and in law enforcement,” he said…
      …The junket was Ortiz’s second organized trip to Israel: last year, Bexar County footed the bill to send him to an international conference on homeland security, he said…

      SOURCE – http://blog.mysanantonio.com/police/2011/07/sheriff-ortiz-goes-to-israel/

      ■ AND SEE: Israel trip an eye-opening experience for Jefferson chief, By Adina Solomon, onlineathens.com, 07/18/11

      This summer, Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman went on a two-week trip 6,000 miles away, traveling across Israel with a delegation of state law enforcement officers as part of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange.
      “It was an awesome trip,” he said. “A trip of a lifetime.”
      GILEE, which partners with Georgia State University, sends a different group of Georgia officers every summer to work with Israeli law enforcement and border control.
      Commerce Police Chief John Gaissert and University of Georgia Police Chief Jimmy Williamson also have gone in past years.

      The object of the program is to learn how Israeli police deal with terrorism every day…
      …After his trip, Wirthman is trying to think one step ahead with the Jefferson Police Department, preparing for the type of threatening situations Israel faces 24 hours a day, he said.
      “Hopefully it’ll never happen, but in this world, ‘never’ isn’t a word,” Wirthman said. “We’re not invincible here.”
      He’s also witnessed how people live their daily lives with the constant menace of terrorism, he said.
      Wirthman met one man who sends each of his children on a different bus to school. In case one of the buses is bombed, only one of his three children will be harmed.
      “I don’t know if I could raise my family under those conditions,” said Wirthman, who has three kids of his own.
      And nobody in Israel grumbles about it, he said. Instead, they have a strong national pride many Americans had only after 9/11, he said…”

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://onlineathens.com/stories/071811/jac_858627408.shtml

    • JLewisDickerson
      October 14, 2014, 4:01 am

      RE: “TESTED IN COMBAT”

      ■ Residents of East Jerusalem have fought almost nightly with Israeli security forces – AFP PHOTO
      Look familiar (as in Ferguson)?

  5. Mayhem
    October 10, 2014, 8:29 am

    What about the largest Palestinian university by admissions Birzeit University which has instituted apartheid against Jews on its campus? (refer Amira Haas controversy reported in Haaretz).
    This reveals gross Palestinian hypocrisy. Carrying out boycotts when your own behavior is much worse.
    In the same way as Rabbi Lewis is being vilified there is total blindness to the widespread hate speech coming from imams that can be found all over YouTube.

    • Talkback
      October 10, 2014, 8:29 pm

      “What about the largest Palestinian university by admissions Birzeit University which has instituted apartheid against Jews on its campus? (refer Amira Haas controversy reported in Haaretz).
      This reveals gross Palestinian hypocrisy. Carrying out boycotts when your own behavior is much worse.”

      You question reveals gross stupidity. Apartheid means that people have to be discriminated or kept segregated or expelled to maintain an existing regime.

      And if you want to suggest that the “Amira Hass controversy” is much worse that what Israrel does to Palestinians you have certainly lost your marbles.

      • JLewisDickerson
        October 10, 2014, 9:46 pm

        RE: “And if you want to suggest . . . you have certainly lost your marbles.” ~ Talkback

        MERRIAM-WEBSTER mayhem:

        mayhem

        may·hem noun \ˈmā-ˌhem, ˈmā-əm\
        : actions that hurt people and destroy things : a scene or situation that involves a lot of violence

        Full Definition of MAYHEM

        1
        a : willful and permanent deprivation of a bodily member resulting in the impairment of a person’s fighting ability
        b : willful and permanent crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of the body
        2
        : needless or willful damage or violence

        Examples of MAYHEM

        movies filled with murder and mayhem
        a criminal who escaped from prison and caused mayhem

        SOURCE – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mayhem

  6. lproyect
    October 10, 2014, 8:47 am

    The Hatem Bazian referred to in the article above was the keynote speaker at a Syrian revolution rally in Washington I attended in 2012, not John McCain. It is a pity that so much of the left never figured out that this movement had much in common with the Palestine Solidarity movement. You can see what Bazian said at the rally here:

    http://louisproyect.org/2012/09/06/report-on-september-2nd-rally-for-syrian-revolution/

  7. bryan
    October 10, 2014, 9:06 am

    Apparently “the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was pressuring universities to crackdown on Palestinian solidarity activists”. This is unfair and one-sided criticism of “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency” which energetically and even-handedly “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all,” doing so through “information, education, legislation, and advocacy.” (Wikipedia)

    Far less attention has been given to email communications sent out by ADL on the eve of Rosh Hashanah to leading religious groups urging them not to allow places of worship to be taken over by solidarity activists intent on demonizing Moslems, spreading bigotry, incitement to hatred and to genocide, and selfishly exploiting the highly emotional atmosphere that surrounds the Israel-Palestine conflict. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, red lines were crossed by the likes of Rabbi Shalom, as reported by Mondoweiss. A spokesman for ADL regretted this mindless incitement, and pointed out that “our integrity as a campaigning civil rights organisation depends entirely upon our even-handed consistency in opposing bigotry in all its forms.”

  8. NorthCascadian
    October 11, 2014, 9:21 pm

    I’ll I can say is what I observe and note in Portland, Oregon. Here both high end private colleges, Reed and Lewis and Clark both have no Palestinian Solidarity groups, they both do have Hillel and Chabad banging drums and urging the “right” students to go on free trips to that bad country. Portland State University is a little different. PSU has lots of Arab, Muslim and even Palestinian students, they also have SUPER (Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights). However, from personal observation I can say that SUPER has been completely subverted by American Jews and even Israeli Jews taking over the committee, to the point that they have been stalled into inaction, no Arab/Muslim/Palestinian students feel very welcome, virtually no public displays about boycotting Israel or supporting Palestine are made, no critique of the wide and deep collaboration between Israel and PSU is ever made and no activists who realize that this is a propaganda war are welcome. Portland is a very sad case where zionist power seems completely ascendent.

  9. just
    October 12, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Ruh- roh!

    “Chancellor Phyllis Wise, the top administrator who fired Steven Salaita from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after complaints from pro-Israel donors, is facing allegations from academic peers of unethical conduct that may stretch back two decades.

    Evidence has emerged of several instances of duplicate publishing – a widely condemned form of unethical behavior sometimes called “self-plagiarism.””

    lots more here:

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/illinois-chancellor-who-fired-salaita-accused-serial-self-plagiarism

Leave a Reply