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Students stage dramatic walkout on Avigdor Lieberman mouthpiece in Michigan

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Bilal Baydoun, a senior at the University of Michigan, writes:

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor recently staged a walkout on Israeli Bedouin diplomat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologist Ishmael Khaldi. He came to our campus at the invitation of Israel lobby group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) to whitewash the marginalization of minorities in Israel. I’ve included a video of our walkout.

Philip Weiss

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42 Responses

  1. annie on December 4, 2011, 2:01 pm

    this made me cry. it’s really happening, the movement is spreading and it will keep spreading. these kids fill me with so much hope.

    • seafoid on December 4, 2011, 5:31 pm

      Very moving. I get the feeling that nothing is going to stop this.

      • annie on December 4, 2011, 9:55 pm

        i know. i am going to watch it now for the third time. it swells my eyes just anticipating it. am i crazy? it’s like my heart is so ready for this freedom, and i know in my heart of heart it will happen and probably fast like the berlin wall falling. we have to just keep keepin on. and this new generation is so brave and strong. it takes my breath away. the women’s voices especially, so engaged. the women are the heart and soul of the movement as always and this new batch…will not be stopped. reminds me of Rafeef Ziadah . they all have fire in their bellies. fire for truth and justice.

      • on December 4, 2011, 10:26 pm

        this is the same guy who appeared at Kent State Univ on Oct 30 and provoked Prof Julio Pino to shout Death to Israel.

        It caused quite a ruckus in the Akron Beacon Journal. First the ABJ printed an editorial that said Pino was within his rights.

        Then Akron Beacon Journal published an op ed by Walter Hixson, a professor from Akron University. Hixson wrote that “Israel has got to face up to its past.”

        Several Israel lobby groups weighed in on Hixson’s op ed, questioning his qualifications as a scholar and generally slamming Hixson for criticizing Israel.

        American Jewish Committee wrote: One would think that a history professor — a distinguished one, at that — would have some grasp of the facts.

        It was the Palestinians who refused to accept the United Nations partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1947; the Arab world that attacked the new state of Israel in 1948; Egypt, Syria and Jordan that precipitated the 1967 war whereby Israel, fighting in self-defense, captured the West Bank, Sinai, Gaza and the Golan; and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat who walked out of peace negotiations at Camp David in 2001 that were on the verge of success.

        And Israel? It ceded Sinai to Egypt, made peace with Jordan, unilaterally pulled out of Gaza and today stands ready for negotiations with the Palestinians, with no preconditions.

        Similarly, CAMERA questioned Hixson’s scholarly abilities, asserting that he had facts wrong, including a howler implying Israel was blameless re Liberty killings:

        The Six Day War, which preceded Resolution 242, was not an Israeli “aggressive war,” as Hixson claims, but rather a defense against over 200,000 troops massed on Israel’s borders with plans and promises to attack. And six separate American investigations contradict Hixson’s allegation that the USS Liberty was “deliberately” destroyed.

        A few letter writers also had harsh words for Pino AND Hixson. One letter writer said, You have to understand, Israel suffers from PTSD. This condition causes it to react to threats even if they are not real.

        That’s certainly reassuring. A state full of people with PTSD, the most powerful military in the region, and between 200 and 400 nuclear weapons uses the excuse of its fragile psychological state to give itself permission to kill first and ask questions later.

      • eGuard on December 5, 2011, 5:52 am

        Thank you for reporting.

        New to me, in the Hixon link: Israel’s membership in the U.N. was conditioned on its pledge to enable the right of return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees that it drove from their homes while also carrying out summary executions, rapes and the razing of countless villages.

      • W.Jones on December 6, 2011, 2:18 am

        About the membership being conditioned on the right to return.
        In the UN Resolution admitting the Israeli State, it says something very close to, basically, “recalling UN Resolution #__ and the Israeli representative’s statements about it, the UN admits the country as a member state”.

        The representative made alot of statements about this particular UN Resolution #__, which said Israel “should” readmit the refugees, but he didn’t say he would admit them all. In his statements at Lake Success, it seems like he made alot of “gestures” in the direction of taking some refugees, saying Israel was willing to do this, but he said his government thought it would be better if the Arab countries took more of them.

        So did the UN really admit Israel on the condition of taking the refugees?
        In other words, the UN said practically: “Recalling the UN resolution saying Israel should allow the refugees to return, and recalling the Israeli representative’s statements saying his government could do it but would prefer the Arab countries take them and his statement that this should be decided in peace negotiations, we admit the country as a member.”

        So the UN explicitly said its membership was based on the UN resolution saying the refugees should return and Israel’s statement that it could do this.

        Another view could point out that the UN apparently wasn’t requiring Israel to let the refugees return in order to have membership. But still, in a standoff between the UN resolution saying the refugees should return and the representative’s statement saying most of them shouldn’t, the logical conclusion is that the UN Resolution allowing membership would give precedence to the UN’s own Resolution over the statement of one party in the conflict about what “should” happen.

        It is like an egalitarian father saying: “Recalling my instructions that you should give your brother $100, and your words that you could do this but think you should only pay $50, I hereby give you this new expensive vase.”

    • Charon on December 5, 2011, 1:44 am

      This made me cry too. Wish I knew about it in advance, don’t live very far from there. It will keep spreading. Emphasis on the kids. They are the ones who will lead this.

  2. Chaos4700 on December 4, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I have to wonder if he has anything to say about the fact that his government is CHARGING his own people the cost of ethnically cleansing them from lands so that developers have a shot at it.

    Of course, he’s almost certainly a sell out. Like, LITERALLY selling his own grandmother, at this point.

  3. on December 4, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Very nicely done!!.
    “Politics is NOT about changing public opinion.
    Politics is about TRYING TO GET people TO ACT on what they already know is wrong”.
    by Norman Finkelstein

  4. pabelmont on December 4, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I hope he takes this back to Israel. But I suspect that such events are secrets. I love it. My heart gets bigger to see this. I hope his hear runs cold. And that the freeze makes its way to Lieberman and the others who hate (or fear) minorities (as they all were). If all they really fear is mixed societies, then they should WELCOME a big Palestine (28%) as a neighbor, Juden-rein. NO MINORITIES IN PALESTINE. But Israel does not welcome this. THEREFORE, minorities is not the greatest problem (as Lieberman said). Not getting what your own minority wants seems a bigger problem.

  5. atime forpeace on December 4, 2011, 3:18 pm

    cool as hell, i hope the israeli firsters can smell the coffee, but as i am fond of saying it couldn’t happen to a more arrogant people.

  6. FreddyV on December 4, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I’ve seen the cartoon of the kid with his hands behind his back in the Veritas handbook.

    Excuse my ignorance, but where is that from?

    • seafoid on December 4, 2011, 5:30 pm
    • chocopie on December 4, 2011, 5:57 pm

      The character is called Handala, a ten-year-old refugee child, drawn by Naji al-Ali, a political cartoonist originally from Palestine before his family became refugees when he was ten.

    • Kris on December 4, 2011, 7:34 pm

      The little boy is Handala, who was created by Naji al-Ali. Here’s the info from wikipedia:

      Handala, also known as Handhala (Arabic: حنظلة‎) is the most famous of Naji al-Ali’s characters. He is depicted as a ten-year old boy, and appeared for the first time in Al-Siyasa in Kuwait in 1969. The figure turned his back to the viewer from the year 1973, and clasped his hands behind his back. The artist explained that the ten-year old represented his age when forced to leave Palestine and would not grow up until he could return to his homeland; his turned back and clasped hands symbolised the character’s rejection of “outside solutions”. Handala wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolising his allegiance to the poor. In later cartoons, he is actively participating in the action depicted not merely observing it.
      Handala became the signature of Naji al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance. Handala is also the web mascot of the iranian green movement.The artist remarked that “this being that I have invented will certainly not cease to exist after me, and perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that I will live on with him after my death”.

      Handala appears also in this beautiful music video of “Freedom for Palestine”:

  7. Cheryl on December 4, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Couldn’t have happened to a better sponsor. About 8 years ago I came across CAMERA and was shocked to read some of their output and also watch them from a distance as CAMERA representatives worked to lambast a young community college newspaper reporter who had written something negative about Israel. I would be surprised if this young person ever mentioned the country of Israel again after CAMERA finished with him.

    I am so impressed with these young people and their extremely effective protest. You are right Annie. They make my heart surge and also, give me hope.

    • Shingo on December 4, 2011, 8:45 pm

      Don’t worry about CAMERA. They’re utterly discredited and irrelevant. Their web site doesn’t even work.

      • on December 4, 2011, 11:03 pm

        I wouldn’t count them out, Shingo.
        The same guy who funds CAMERA and a few other Islamophobic groups that have managed to generate a lot of hate — Aubrey Chernick — also funds an outfit called Citizens for National Security. The ‘founder’ pictured with Alan West is a nut job/front man/kook, but then, he DID get to speak to a congressional committee. When’s the last time a congressional committee sat down to listen to you? Money talks.

        CFNS has it in for the Muslim Brotherhood, and thinks Muslims have infiltrated Florida’s public schools; CFNS scoured Florida textbooks for references to Israel that are not sufficiently fawning, and references to Islam that are not sufficiently negative.

        have to admit this is sheer conspiracy theory/speculation — CFNS is based in Boca Raton, FL. There’s a fellow from Boca Raton who calls in to C Span Wash Journ, using the names Jeff or Ken. He called in on this morning when Barbara Slavin was guest. In fact, his call came immediately after a woman who spoke very rationally and persuasively, urging people to visit RaceforIran website; decrying that Iran is so often demonized; and calling on Slavin and others to acknowledge that Israel threatens Iran with great frequency. Slavin pretty much conceded that woman caller’s points.

        The Boca Raton guy ranted that the US should continue to threaten and eventually attack Iran. Slavin said that attitude was unhelpful, that everyone should cool down the rhetoric.

        The conspiracy theory part — the Boca Raton guy is the ONLY pro-Israel caller to C Span whose comments have been quoted on CAMERA’s CSpanWatch page, leading one to suspect that he’s at least acquainted with the CAMERA/CFNS network.

  8. ehrens on December 4, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Hats off to you for choosing ways of countering their propaganda with creative yet dignified protest.

  9. American on December 4, 2011, 4:16 pm

    This is the kind of action that is more important than anything Hillary says.
    Good for them.

  10. Kris on December 4, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Wonderful action by this group of young people!

  11. Sumud on December 5, 2011, 4:18 am

    Illustrating the point, yet again, that the only thing Israel has to fear is truth, and for that reason unless they change course rapidly Israel is doomed to self-destruct.

    Look at the radiant joy in these young people’s faces in the early part of the video; this is the dignity and energy that comes from working for a truly just cause.

  12. Taxi on December 5, 2011, 4:47 am

    “Ishmael Khaldi”?

    Surely that can’t be his real name. His English accent (which I hate) is pure zionist israeli accent, not Arab in the SLIGHTEST.

    And if it is, then the Arab Khaldi family, a fairly common name across the region, should demand he surrender it immediately and become a Natanyahu, like that other name-thieving zionists.

    Sorry for being petty but I know an Iraqi who’s actually called Ishmael Khaldi and he would be mortified to know that a racist islamophobic zionist is touring usa campases under the same name too.

    Otherwise, I loved the action – and I especially loved the silent way they demonstrated. Bravo and hip hip hooray Falasteen!

    • eGuard on December 5, 2011, 7:28 am

      Ishmael Khaldi became Israeli consul in the SF area in 2006. In 2010 he published his memoires, called A Shepherd’s Journey.

      Nof, my grandmother who passed away in 2005 at the age of 96, even spoke some Yiddish! It was her generation that made the first connections with the Jewish pioneers (chalutzim in Hebrew) who arrived primarily from Eastern Europe during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s to build the country. In fact, those were the years that defined and designed our status as a Bedouin ethnic minority in the newly-born Jewish State, Israel. My grandmother, Nof (or Jidda as we called her), intensively interacted with her new Jewish neighbors and established close ties with them. I think this was because Bedouin hospitality includes in it the unconditional respect for others – even your enemies. When the first Jewish pioneers came to establish the Jewish State, especially during and after the Holocaust, Bedouins, in their simple way, tried to contribute to their well-being. That was the beginning of these remarkable relations. But one must also remember that for years Bedouins were mistreated by the Ottomans and then the British. Both these regimes fought against various Bedouin tribes and tried to stop them from moving through their traditional territories. Bedouins have always had cultural, social and economic disputes with the landed Arab populations. Taking all this together, the creation of a bond between Bedouins and Jews was natural and mutually beneficial. Today, Bedouins […] are celebrating six decades of […]

      So we should be glad those Jews came over from Europe to set them up against free them from those other tribes, fellow Arabs, Ottomans and British. Though he is mixing up years & facts: first pioneers in the 1940s? To build a country, as if there was none in 1920?

      Unexplained is why this Israeli border policeman left for the USA in 2000 when the second Intifadah broke out. And how did those Jewish “neighbors” land there, when his family lived romantically uncivilised in tents as – well, nomads? On the backpage is a blurp by Dershowitz.

      Taxi, maybe that is his real name. A Bedouin turned into a sheep.

      • Taxi on December 5, 2011, 8:54 am

        Thanks for the info eGuard.

        I’m finding it real difficult to believe the ‘memoir’ info on him and especially with the questions you raise. (Who the eff is HE, what’s so grand about his life that would get a tight-fisted publisher interested in publishing his memoir at such an early age?!)

        I suspect that just like they have internet ‘virtual’ hasbarados, Apartheid israelis also have ‘actual’ hasbarados with fake Arab ID’s and biographies so as to appear more ‘convincing’ when they disseminate their lying hateful Arabophobic propaganda.

        Something about that accent of his and this whole spiel of his ‘grandmother’ this and ‘grandmother’ that that’s a bit, you know, jewish.

        It’s so goddam hard to believe ANYTHING a zionist says.

        I’m also thinking of the parallel claims of Arabhood that our Robert Werdine keeps asserting. The both of them probably went to the same hasbara school of disguise.

      • eGuard on December 5, 2011, 12:02 pm

        Strange, he has no ”memoirs” of his mother, his father. We’d like to know more about his history. Stockholm Syndrome. Having to moonlight for CAMERA. Speech interruptions in Edinburgh, Kent State U Ohio, Ann Arbor Michigan.

        Since August 2009 he is no Consul any more, but “policy advisor” to Lieberman, probably on half pay maximum. Lieberman sure cleaned up his own foreign corps.

  13. dahoit on December 5, 2011, 11:58 am

    For somebody to say that minorities are a problem and being a member of possibly the worlds smallest minority(OK some SA Amazon tribes or maybe some Inuit or some other isolated group)) opens up one to a charge of insanity.Guilty as charged.

  14. hophmi on December 5, 2011, 1:15 pm

    It’s the usual stuff. Pretty much every country in Europe has a far-right leader who says exactly the same thing (except Europe is secure and faces no real security threat as Israel does). It’s also clear that Michigan is a place with a large Arab population that almost certainly does not protest human rights violations in the Arab world with the same vigor as they do Israel.

    These students appear not to believe in the right of those who disagree with their political views to bring speakers on campus. It is also apparently the case that, for these students, Muslims are not permitted to speak unless they tow the pro-Palestinian line.

    Let me know when someone brings a Jewish speaker to speak about equality in an Arab country.

    • Mooser on December 5, 2011, 1:44 pm

      Hophmi, it’s pretty easy to see that if you hang around here too long, you will get an ulcer. Why are you doing this to yourself? You don’t like the articles, you don’t like the facts, and all you do is complain. Is this some kind of variation on the old I’d-never-join-any-club-which-would-accept-me-as-a-member joke?

      • philweiss on December 5, 2011, 2:04 pm

        mooser, dont people say acid reflux these days? i think ulcer dates you

      • Mooser on December 5, 2011, 5:28 pm

        “i think ulcer dates you”

        I am a married man, and don’t date anybody. I know her, but we’re just good friends, nothing more.

      • on December 5, 2011, 5:58 pm

        Ulcer is not your friend.
        It’s a “parasite” that welcomed itself in your lovely intestines ,and made a charming home there. It didn’t ask your persmission , it doesn’t contribute anything valuable for your overall well-being.
        It’s just sits there and grows happily , making your life ,more or less miserable, hoping to overcome your whole “insides”.
        Kick her out if you can. The sooner , the better.
        Quit smoking, drinking, overindulging, worrying, stressing, breathing etc.

      • Mooser on December 5, 2011, 7:26 pm

        Yes, when I was young ulcers were attributed to stress. About twenty years ago, didn’t they discover ulcers were actually bacterial infections? Which might be triggered by stress, but basically, a bacterial infection. And they are now treated with antibiotics.

      • RoHa on December 6, 2011, 12:38 am

        “They” were Barry Marshall and Robin Warren. Marshall infected himself as part of his research.

    • Cliff on December 5, 2011, 2:21 pm

      Hophmi’s responses are predictable:

      ‘Blah blah happens in X, Y, Z country too, so don’t talk about Israel.’

      Yep, except in Israel that nutcase is mainstream and that racism is casual.

      It’s not casual in the US, but it exists and it’s *becoming* casual (still not close to Israel though).

      • hophmi on December 5, 2011, 5:08 pm

        “‘Blah blah happens in X, Y, Z country too, so don’t talk about Israel.’”

        That’s not what I said. I say it’s hypocritical to focus on Israel.

        Again, let me know when that Jew from the Arab world is invited to speak on campus about how great minorities are treated there. Tell you what, I’ll settle for a Copt from Egypt.

      • eGuard on December 5, 2011, 6:08 pm

        Yeah, it shouldn’t always be Israel. Why not ask a Jew from the West Bank to tell how he is treated?

      • Mooser on December 5, 2011, 7:28 pm

        “I say it’s hypocritical to focus on Israel.”

        Ah, but the focus is on Israel. What are you gonna do about it, demand people put their eyes out?

      • RoHa on December 6, 2011, 12:32 am

        “What are you gonna do about it, demand people put their eyes out?”

        Surely it is the least we could do for Israel.

        You first.

  15. annie on December 5, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Hey guys, thanks for the front paging this video . i love this video. awesome choice.

  16. Theo on December 5, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Lieberman: “Minorities are the biggest problem in the world”!!

    Sure buddy, Hitler and Göbbels would agree with you 100%!!

    Too bad that most of those students were arabs, I would like to see real WASPs to do the same, stand up and leave. Thzat would make the point much more obvious.

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