Trending Topics:

Israel is a democracy like Florida was under the confederacy — student says, taking on school’s president

on 36 Comments

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton has become a focus for debate over Israel.

Last April, you may recall, several students at the school interrupted a speech by an Israeli colonel, then walked out on the speech and called the officer a war criminal. The students were disciplined for allegedly violating the speaker’s rights; and three of them said that in order to stay in school they had to take a “Campus of Difference” training program created by the Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel organization.

Now the issue is busting out again, and the school’s interim president, Dennis Crudele, has issued a surprisingly-lengthy statement cheerleading Israel and distancing the school from students who are critical of the Jewish state (though Crudele also states that the students are not anti-Semitic). Excerpts:

Over the next few days, a small student group will stage a series of events on FAU’s Free Speech Lawn. The student group intends to raise political awareness of certain policies of the State of Israel with which they disagree….

Let there be no mistake about it: FAU deeply values its relationships with the State of Israel and with our many Jewish students, faculty, staff, neighbors, and friends around the world. Our Hillel Center and Chabad Student Center are large and thriving. We have student exchange programs with universities in Israel, and FAU students, scholars, and officials regularly travel to Israel for academic or other purposes. We have proudly hosted many Israeli officials and visitors on our campuses over the years. Our Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education trains educators from around Florida to teach Holocaust and genocide studies, and our library houses three major resources dedicated to the study of Jewish culture and history: (i) the Judaica Sound Archives, a center that collects, preserves, and digitizes Judaica audio recordings and musical scores dating back centuries; (ii) a Yiskor Memorial Books special collection of books written by Holocaust survivors that document the shtetls destroyed by the Nazis; and (iii) a Visual History Archive, which offers online access to more than 1,000 English-language testimony videos by Holocaust survivors and witnesses, and cataloguing and indexing data of nearly 52,000 videotaped interviews conducted with survivors and witnesses in 56 countries and 32 languages…

The group’s criticisms of Israel often fail to appreciate that Israel is a robust democracy – unique in its part of the world – that nourishes an astonishingly broad array of public opinion and expression, even to the extent that this group’s own protest activities would be permitted to take place in Israel…

The last word belongs to one of the students disciplined in the earlier protest. Nadine Aly has responded to Crudele on twitter:

— Nadine Aly (@NadineAly1) October 3, 2013


About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

36 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    October 5, 2013, 10:49 am

    FAU deeply values its relationships with the State of Israel and with our many Jewish students
    Yet another person who believes that “Israel = Jews”.

  2. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    October 5, 2013, 10:55 am

    Letter to the Editor: “Build Bridges Not Apartheid Walls”
    by Nadine Aly

  3. Krauss
    October 5, 2013, 12:07 pm

    I understand Nadine’s point but it’s important to be precise. If what she said was true, a clear majority of Israeli Jews wouldn’t have full rights themselves since 65% of them are non-Ashkenazi and of the Ashkenazi Israeli Jews, half are women. In addition the 35% or so of the Ashkenazi Jews are just the share of the Jewish population. If you count all citizens, their share plummets even further.

    Is she suggesting that 15% or so of the population in Israel have full rights and, inversed, that 85% of them don’t?
    There’s a lot of discrimination against black Jews, for instance, you have wage discrimination against women. But this is true in America also.

    I’m chuckling as I’m writing this because I understand I sound like hophmi’s clone. Believe me, I’m not trying to negate her point. Israel, even within the green line, is not a typical Western democracy. But my point is that just taking the usual identity politics found in the West, where the white male is the bete noir, and lazily transplanting it to Israel, where religion matters more than blood(even if blood matters a lot too), makes you lose the potency of the argument.

    This is also why I roll my eyes when some on the left, like Chomsky, keeps trying to put a “capitalism did it” perspective on the conflict because that’s in vogue in the Western left today, while in fact while capitalism does have a lot of flaws, you’d have to be pretty naive to believe that capitalism and not fanatic nationalism is the culprit.

    Israel is a special case and the analysis must take into consideration; it’s not what we face normally in the Western world.
    (Nitpicking over).

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      October 5, 2013, 3:45 pm

      I’m chuckling as I’m writing this because I understand I sound like hophmi’s clone.

      You also have to consider that Israel unjustly withholds citizenship from the Palestinian refugees and their descendants. To me, that’s the main reason why Israel is not a democracy. All these Palestinians who would be Israeli citizens under normal circumstances are denied their right to vote by the Zionist regime.

      • pabelmont
        October 6, 2013, 12:39 pm

        GL: Absolutely agreed. Israel as a democracy — which began by deporting about 1/2 of its population and, of course, denying that (approx) 1/2 the vote. And when the “world” (i.e., UNGA) demanded that peaceably intended refugees be readmitted (to Israel), Israel refused.

        Think of the wonderful “democracy” they used to have in USSR where the Politburu members (a smallish fraction of the total population) got to vote. (OK, OK, I’m kinda making that one up. But suppose. Or take China today.)

        And look at the USA today, where vicious gerrymandering has created long-lasting districts virtually guaranteeing tea-party-type representation. giving us the lovely stalemate we now behold. Think of the USA with a proportional representation system based on number of votes cast (within a state) rather than on districts (whether or not gerrymandered).

    • Donald
      October 5, 2013, 6:45 pm

      I think (though I don’t know) that Nadine was just spelling out why the Confederacy was both a democracy and a massive human rights violator, and not claiming that Israel was exactly the same. She could have been more precise, as you say.

      For me this “robust democracy” cliche needs to be taken on–people seem to think that if you say a country is a democracy then it can’t be a massive human rights violator, but American history (among others) demonstrates the silliness of that claim. Voters in a democracy might very well choose to oppress others–sometimes they even vote to oppress other voters in the same country, people who are theoretically citizens. Non-citizens don’t necessarily have any protection at all, not if the voters in the “robust democracy” want to steal their land. Democracy is no guarantee that you don’t deserve a long write up by Amnesty International.

  4. just
    October 5, 2013, 4:55 pm

    ” Our Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education trains educators from around Florida to teach Holocaust and genocide studies, and our library houses three major resources dedicated to the study of Jewish culture and history”……

    When will they invest in a Center for Nakba and Human Rights Education? Or a center dedicated to Human Rights Education for all??


    • Ludwig
      October 5, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Maybe they should teach about the 9 year old Jewish girl that was murdered by a Palestinian sniper today. You guys couldn’t care less could you? The silence is deafening.

      • annie
        October 5, 2013, 9:17 pm

        she died? i just read about it but it said she was wounded.

      • JennieS
        October 6, 2013, 3:57 pm

        Yes she was wounded Annie not killed according to this article in Ha’aretz

      • Ecru
        October 6, 2013, 1:41 am

        @ Ludwig

        Yes but at least we’re not trying to come up with excuses for the abhorrent murder of a child Luddy. Unlike what your lot do every single bloody time.

      • Cliff
        October 6, 2013, 6:12 am


        There are far more Palestinian children murdered by you Jewish terrorists.

        Where’s your concern for the occupation and on-going colonization of Palestinian land by your cult?

        The silence is deafening.

      • Shingo
        October 6, 2013, 8:58 am

        Maybe they should teach about the 9 year old Jewish girl that was murdered by a Palestinian sniper today.

        Or about the hundreds of Palestinians murdered by Israeli snipers.

        You guys couldn’t care less could you? The silence is even more deafening seeing as you’ve been silent for 65 years.

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 9:24 am

        Maybe they should teach about the 9 year old Jewish girl that was murdered by a Palestinian sniper today. You guys couldn’t care less could you? The silence is deafening.

        The silence here is not deafening. I’ve commented here in the past about the fact that children are not valid military objectives on either side of the Green Line and the fact that two wrongs don’t make a right.

        But you Zionists refuse to listen when anyone explains that implanting illegal settlements in the middle of the area of an armed conflict only increases the likelihood of both intentional and unintentional civilian casualties of this nature. Your own armed forces usually manage to wound or kill many of the innocent members of the occupied population they are supposed to protect under the terms of international law.

        Many of us here have long advocated that all of the parties responsible for any crimes committed on the the territory of Palestine should be brought to justice regardless of nationality. The failure to do that, only strengthens the position of those on both sides who claim that they have no other alternative except the use of force and taking the law into their own hands.

        Israeli civilians should not be in the occupied territories in the first place in accordance with the applicable laws and customs of war and the explicit terms of the armistice agreements that Israel itself concluded under the auspices of a standing UN Security Council Chapter VII resolution. The silence about that from your side is deafening:

        Article IV

        1. The lines described in articles V and VI of this Agreement shall be designated as the Armistice Demarcation Lines and are delineated in pursuance of the purpose and intent of the resolution of the Security Council of 16 November 1948.

        2. The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move.

        3. Rules and regulations of the armed forces of the Parties, which prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement with application to the Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI.

        If your government really cared about the little girl, they could have simply kept her on the Israeli side of the armistice line in accordance with that prohibition.

      • amigo
        October 6, 2013, 9:24 am

        “Maybe they should teach about the 9 year old Jewish girl that was murdered by a Palestinian sniper today. You guys couldn’t care less could you? The silence is deafening.” dulwig

        Link me to one , just one post where you have raised the issue of Palestinian children being murdered or abused by zionist idf cowards.


      • K Renner
        K Renner
        October 6, 2013, 12:49 pm

        Accusing a grotesque hypocrite of being hypocritical is “anti Semitism” (Israeli definition of), even if he’s not an Israeli or Jewish in general.

        Didn’t you realize? Prepare to be whined and lied to death!

      • Bumblebye
        October 6, 2013, 10:12 am

        After seeing your comment yesterday, I checked the news. The child was not dead then, but lightly wounded according to the paramedics – and the most recent at the time I checked was 53mins old. I’ve checked again, now some 12hrs later, and she is still not dead, thankfully. Seems you could care less about the facts, eh? Your silence on that small matter is deafening!

      • Ludwig
        October 6, 2013, 10:56 am

        I heard about it pretty early. She is alive. The difference between IDF and PLO is IDF targets terrorists while PLO targets children and innocents.

      • Shingo
        October 7, 2013, 4:38 pm

        The difference between IDF and PLO is IDF targets terrorists while PLO targets children and innocents.

        Not according to the Israel.

        “The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”
        Mordecai Gur(Israeli politician and the 10th Chief of Staff of the IDF)

      • Hostage
        October 7, 2013, 7:03 pm

        I heard about it pretty early. She is alive. The difference between IDF and PLO is IDF targets terrorists while PLO targets children and innocents.

        Correction: The IDF quite deliberately targets multi-family dwellings in urban areas with old-fashioned 2,000 pound bombs and Hellfire missles delivered by F-16s and Apache helicopters. It’s an obvious example of State-sponsored terrorism, and a war crime/crime against humanity.

      • Bumblebye
        October 7, 2013, 7:28 pm

        The PLO doesn’t, nor has it targeted anyone for years.
        The chosen patsy seems to be someone mentally unstable. This means he’ll very probably be found guilty on the basis of a false confession, despite the likelihood that dozens of his friends, family, neighbors saw him far from the scene of the crime at the time it occurred.

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        October 6, 2013, 11:39 am

        What do you have to say about the Palestinian children who are murdered by Israeli “soldiers” on a frequent basis?

        Or the many thousands of people who are beaten up or wounded or detained without charge, once again including many children.

        The silence (or blustering, idiotic excuses) is deafening.

        To add to what everyone else is saying– lightly injured does not equal “murdered”. Unless you take the pro-“settlers” rationale that “One jew is the equivalent of 100 Palestinians”.

  5. seafoid
    October 5, 2013, 5:14 pm

    “Israel is as much a democracy as we were under the confederacy”.

    “Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
    And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear”

    Zionism is darkness. Justice for
    Palestine is the light.

  6. mondonut
    October 5, 2013, 6:14 pm

    What a flat out ignorant statement. Both historically inaccurate and demeaning to the horrors of slavery.

  7. just
    October 5, 2013, 6:23 pm

    ““Israel is as much a democracy as we were under the confederacy”.”


    • just
      October 5, 2013, 8:26 pm

      And, by the way, these two warmongering, self- proclaimed ‘democracies’ are just simply lying to themselves and to the world.

      We must, and can, do better.

      noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\

      : a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting

      : a country ruled by democracy

      : an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights”

      • MHughes976
        October 6, 2013, 10:17 am

        The third point is significant. The confederacy had elections with many voters and allowed vigorous criticism of Jeff Davies. But it disfranchised a large proportion of those subject to its sovereign power which made it an oligarchy.

  8. traintosiberia
    October 5, 2013, 8:45 pm

    Gentile members of the Zionist could best be described as one of the two – I . e : either a well paid mercenary or a conscripted sailor of the pirate ship

  9. hophmi
    October 5, 2013, 11:27 pm

    Because Israeli Arabs are enslaved. Got it.

    Stupid analogy, great response by the FAU President.

    • Ecru
      October 6, 2013, 4:38 am

      @ Hophmi

      No because Blacks were oppressed based on white bigotry (and LONG past the abolition of slavery) and Palestinians are oppressed based on Zionist bigotry. Get it now?

    • Cliff
      October 6, 2013, 6:15 am

      Palestinian Israelis are treated like second-class citizens and specifically discriminated against w/ respect to land acquisition.

      Israel is not a democracy. Israel is a ethnocracy – a Jewish democracy, meaning democracy for Jews.

      It’s disgustingly Orwellian to inflict the ADL on the protesters just like when Debbie Almontaser was removed and replaced with some random Jewish lady.

      But we already know how terrorist-sympathizers like you approve of censoring Palestinian agency. Their suffering is academic to you whilst the prospect of Palestinian violence is another Shoah in your warped mind.

      This is supposed to be an American university, not the West Bank under Jewish nationalism where you colonists can push non-Jews around.

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      October 6, 2013, 11:49 am

      The analogy is imperfect, mostly because it should have been said that “it’s a democracy if you’re jewish”, but it’s good there was such a response to the FAU cretins, who lie through their teeth at every opportunity they get.

  10. Dagon
    October 6, 2013, 6:50 am

    The other day,on NPR,the banter was about Bibi weaselling and sleatherimg about the nukes issue.The question was ,at the end is how can the USA justify it’s stance on israel’s nukes.And the answer” that caused the food to shoot out of my nostriles was,”well,the USA considers israel a Democracy,and says democracies do not use nuclear weapons agaist other countries”.I swear .

  11. Dagon
    October 6, 2013, 7:04 am

    No hophmi we are not inslaved.It doesnt have to get to this point.But when the system is built to benefit one group because its jewish ,and makes the real natives to feel like they don’t belong and unwelcome,and that it is a matter of time before a transfere solution is implemented,Its being talked about you know.In a way,Being inslaved is a better status, At leased our “owners ” will keep us around .

  12. Walid
    October 6, 2013, 8:41 am

    “Stupid analogy, great response by the FAU President.”

    Take heart, hophmi, FAU’s President is not the only Floridian to back the Zionists. University of Miami’s President is also an avid fan of Zionism and a frequent visitor to Israel to receive prizes and recognitions for strongly opposing BDS. The worst of it is that she’s American-born of Lebanese parents. The best of it was that last year she was booed at Beirut’s AUB graduation ceremony where she was invited to make the keynote speech and accept a prize and even better when in the same summer, she visted Israel and in spite of all the services she has rendered to AIPAC and other Zionist lobbying organizations, was held for questioning at Ben-Gurion for 2 1/2 hours because of her Arabic-sounding surname (Shalala), during which she was asked invasive and humiliating personal questions. Served her right; she should have been held much longer by those Zionists she defends. She went to Israel (trip sponsored by a Jewish organization) as part of an official delegation of the heads of universities fighting against the academic boycott against the Jewish State. Her phony excuse for being like she is and why she wasn’t complaining about her mistreatment at the airport: the Jewish grants and donations that the UofM urgently needs. She went on to say she agreed with Israel’s profiling of people.

    The year before (2011), the AUB students successfully blocked James Wolfensohn (former Worl Bank president) from attending the graduation ceremonies because of his personal investment in a West Bank company. In 2012, the AUB to prevent a repeat of the Wolfensohn fiasco, pulled a fast one past the students when it announced Donna Shalala’s invitation a few days before the ceremony to thwart any mass demonstrations against her.

    The booing at Beirut’s AUB:

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      October 6, 2013, 11:45 am

      >> The booing at Beirut’s AUB:

      >> link to

      That’s the only reception someone like that deserves. Good riddance.

Leave a Reply