Category Archives:
US Politics

Does SJP have the right to free speech?

Radhika Sainath on
Northeastern chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern SJP)

It is a well-established principle that public universities are bound by the First Amendment. You might not know this from talking to students who are speaking out for Palestinian rights. In the past eight months, Radhika Sainath has given 15 know-your-rights workshops to students from nearly 70 different universities. Despite her extensive conversations with SJPers, she continues to be surprised at the level of repression these students face from their administrations.

Loyola SJP investigation reflects double standard towards Palestinian voices on campus

Lillian Osborne on
loyola_chicago.jpg.720x400_q75_crop.jpg.pagespeed.ic.slLQW_yg6p

On September 19, the administration of Loyola University Chicago temporarily suspended Loyola Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and opened an investigation of the organization. The actions, which will culminate in a disciplinary hearing on Thursday evening, came after a diverse group of students gathered at a table hosted by Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides trips to Israel exclusively for Jewish students, to register and ask questions about the program. Loyola’s investigation is part of a broader censorship of political speech on university campuses around the US over issues related to Israel and Palestine.

Why the Salaita case matters, outside the United States

David Palumbo-Liu on
Steven Salaita speaking at the University of Illinois, September 9, 2014. (Photo: Facebook)

While Steven Salaita has received massive support from colleagues, students, community groups, and others in the US, what has received less attention is the support he has received from outside the US. This is extremely important, for as protests against Israel continue and in fact grow across the globe, one should understand that such acts of silencing resonate with those beyond US borders. Today it is clear that criticism of Israel is the issue, and that the significance of Salaita’s case is not limited to the

J Street’s progressive illusion

Marc H. Ellis on
J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

Are there any in more active complicity in the destruction of Palestine than Palestine’s well-wishers? J Street’s October 28 statement is the latest example of a “pro-peace” organization that is doing nothing to advance an end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.

Another New York Times’ reporter’s son is in the Israeli army

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Israeli army unit posted to Facebook page by Isabel Kershner's son. (Photo: Facebook)

Yet another reporter for the New York Times has a son in the Israeli Defense Forces. Isabel Kershner, a correspondent in the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau, says that her son is in training in the army. This is the third time in recent years that a writer who covers the conflict for America’s leading newspaper has a son serving in an army that is regularly accused of human rights abuses. On each of those occasions, an outside publication has disclosed the army servic

UCLA Hillel partners with PR firm to fight BDS movement

Alex Kane on
Hillel logo

A California Hillel chapter has partnered with a D.C.-linked public relations firm to fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, according to leaked emails obtained by Mondoweiss. The PR firm 30 Point Strategies has discussed how to combat BDS at the University of California, Los Angeles campus with Hillel staffers there. 30 Point staffers have advised UCLA’s Hillel to stay largely silent in the event of a student government resolution that recommends divestment from Israeli military-linked corporations. The revelation that a Hillel chapter has turned to a professional public relations firm shows that UCLA Hillel is stepping up its work to fight BDS on campus.

Israel and Palestine is not about Jews vs. Palestinians

Samantha Brotman on
Screen-Shot-2014-07-21-at-13-30-42

Samantha Brotman shares her remarks from an event called “Zionism & The New McCarthyism: A Conversation with Bruce Robbins” that took place in Champaign-Urbana. It was a canceled University of Illinois event that was rescheduled as an independent event, without university support. Bruce Robbins’s short documentary, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists, interviews influential Jews such as Judith Butler and Tony Kushner who discuss the repression of anti-Zionist viewpoints. His talk addressed the rise of a “new McCarthyism” on college campuses which threatens to shut down criticism of Israel in the guise of “civility.” Brotman was a respondent along with Jodi Byrd (Professor in American Indian Studies) and Bruce Levine (Professor of History).

An open letter to Birthright participants past, present, and future

Hannah Friedstein on
birthrightlogo

Hannah Friedstein writes a primer on Birthright to demystify its themes and its objectives based on her experience in the program. Her goal is that Birthright participants gain a new and critical perspective on the program which she believes is anything but neutra

Allegations of anti-Semitism used to cover up anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn

Ben Norton on
Lawyer Lamis Deek, flanked by Nerdeen Kiswani to her right, says that Kiswani was the victim of a hate crime at the Barclays Center. (Photo: ELI ROSENBERG/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

On the evening of October 7, after a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Israeli team Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Palestinian-American Nerdeen Kiswani was attacked by a group of Maccabi Electra fans. The 20-year-old Hunter College student was punched in the stomach, and a Palestinian flag was torn from her hands. Among her attackers was Leonard Petlakh, a professor of Jewish history at her own school. After he and his accomplices assaulted the young Palestinian woman, Petlakh later told police that he himself was allegedly assaulted in a hate crime. He falsely accused 25-year-old journalist and Palestinian solidarity organizer Shawn Carrié of punching him for being Jewish.

A Yom Kippur epiphany

Liz Rose on
Rabbi Brant Rosen

Growing up an ardent Zionist, Liz Rose says Judaism “became synonymous with Jewish nationalism.” Now she’s struggled to separate the religion and the ideology. At Yom Kippur she had a breakthrough, remembering Palestin

NYT takes on Europe’s recognition of a Palestinian state

Allison Deger on
(Screenshot: NYTimes.com)

The question of Palestine, or rather the question of Palestinian statehood is plaguing the Israeli government and now the pages of the New York Times. In a round table of op-eds Nadia Hijab, Avital Leibovich, Efraim Halevy, Nathan Thrall, Caroline B. Glick, Richard Ottaway, and Omar Barghouti, weigh in on the domino effect of declarations of sovereignty over the occupied territories from the past mont

Israel’s Dead Soul: Steven Salaita’s critical scholarship explains his dismissal from the University of Illinois

David Green on
Steven Salaita speaking at the University of Illinois, September 9, 2014. (Photo: Facebook)

Steven Salaita’s book “Israel’s Dead Soul” (2011) merits serious attention and ultimately effusive praise. It contains five critical essays that not only offer brilliant insight into the cultural and ideological practices of Zionism in both Israel and the United States, but implicitly explain why his conscientious efforts would be denigrated and rejected by the ostensibly liberal aspects of this culture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University

Max Weiss on
The Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University.

Professor Max Weiss says a member of the Jewish Agency vetoed his invitation to speak on a panel about Gaza at Princeton University. He writes, “Apparently this preemptive act of exclusion was carried out on entirely political grounds. This strikes me as an attempt to stifle the exchange of views on an important, if contentious, issue of concern to many in the Princeton University community — an egregious violation of our community’s values.”

From Schindler to Gaza– two evenings at the Lensic theater

Tanya Taylor Rubinstein on
Liam Neeson in Schindler's List

Oskar Schindler’s redemptive life is a legacy, an invitation to all of us to move past our self centered concerns and figure out how we can contribute to the saving of innocent lives. Today it tells us to throw our energy into supporting the people of Palestin