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U of Michigan student gov’t meets tonight, amid anticipation of divestment vote

Israel/Palestine
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A sign at a student sit-in calling for the University of Michigan to divest from corporations that work with the Israeli military. (Photo: Students Allied for Freedom and Equality/Facebook)

A sign at a student sit-in calling for the University of Michigan to divest from corporations that work with the Israeli military. (Photo: Students Allied for Freedom and Equality/Facebook)

In the nationwide battle over Israel-Palestine, there is likely to be a major encounter tonight at the University of Michigan. The school’s student government assembly will be meeting a week after it tabled a divestment resolution, and many expect that the resolution will come up again. “It is not on the agenda, but it could be voted to be heard,” a student at the assembly told me.

Opponents of the legislation are said to be bringing in busloads of Hillel students from other campuses. And Palestinian solidarity forces will be out in great number, too. “Staff at the University of Michigan expect upwards of 500 people in attendance,” reports Brandon Baxter of the pro-divestment coalition. (See updates at #UMDivest.)

The meeting is sure to be jammed, and tense– 7:30 PM, the Rogel Ballroom of the Michigan Union.

Meantime, the sit-in at the student government offices continues, by scores of students protesting the vote last week to table a resolution that called on the university to divest from corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation.

A friend reports that there is sympathy on campus for the pro-divestment forces–Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE)– because of the manner in which the resolution was taken off the agenda last week. Here’s a fairly comprehensive story in The Michigan Daily that cites the regrets over procedure from the student government president:

SAFE’s efforts over the past three days culminated with a statement Sunday from Business senior Michael Proppe, CSG [Central Student Government] president, who laid out his response to each of the five “calls for accountability” from the sit-in, including an apology from Proppe personally… [and] reiterating his plan from last week to motion for Assembly Resolution 3-050 to be reconsidered…

SAFE members also said their group members, as well as other students perceived to be Arab, have been threatened and intimidated by various individuals on campus….

[Others have also reported feeling intimidated.]

“The climate issues have impacted a wide range of groups of our students this week,” [Dean of Students Laura] Blake Jones said. “Many people have been harmed and have felt fearful, and we have to address the climate issues and care about the concerns of all of our students.”…

She spoke privately with student leaders of Hillel about personal concerns before answering questions from all students who attended the forum.

Student commenter Mozhgan Savabieasfahani adds:

The resolution that was brought to Michigan Central student government (CSG) last Tuesday night was “indefinitely postponed”. That means the voices of 300 students who were present at the meeting, and 36 student organizations that had supported this resolution, were muzzled. That was/is undemocratic and should not have happened. Unpleasant and outright threatening messages are begin sent to may Arab students involved in BDS movement locally and nationally –not just to Michigan CSG.

Our friend relates that, “The unshaken outrage of SAFE activists seems to have turned the dynamic around. They’d been dissed, they knew they’d been dissed, and they refused to let it go. The Administration paid attention, as indeed it needed to. SAFE students got an apology, in the end, by the CSG president. It wasn’t perfect; it was directed to both sides, equally, as though the slight were equal. But it put SAFE into the position of who was right, an important psychological victory.”

Now here is a statement from Jewish Voice for Peace in support of the divestment resolution.

March 24, 2014
To the Assembly of the University of Michigan Central Student Government:

We write to endorse the divestment resolution proposed by S.A.F.E. and supported at last week’s meeting by 300 students and 37 student organizations, including groups representing a broad spectrum of students of color, human rights, and social interests.

The resolution calls on the University to divest from five named U.S. corporations and all others that directly “profit from and facilitate the Israeli occupation and siege of Palestinian land in violation of international law and human rights.” It is explicitly offered “in the spirit of UM’s deeply held principles of social justice and equality for all people.”
In calling for divestment from companies that profit from and enable the commission of egregious human rights violations, this resolution follows the model of nonviolent economic
resistance against the Jim Crow laws of the American South and South African apartheid. The resolution honors the Palestinians’ own call for global nonviolent economic resistance.

The Israeli occupation destroys Palestinian homes; depletes aquifers essential to family farming in a fragile ecosystem; seizes sleeping children from their beds in the middle of the night for throwing stones at armor-plated bulldozers that rip their centuries-old olive trees from their family orchards before their eyes; and has forced women in labor to give birth on the ground at checkpoints, even in winter, causing the deaths of women and infants, in arbitrary exercises of total power and control over a captive population. Victims of South African apartheid, including former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, after seeing it with their own eyes, have called the Israeli occupation “apartheid.”

Growing numbers of Jews reject such brutality and say instead: “Not in our names!” We believe that the only path to peace and security for Israeli Jews and Palestinians alike follows justice, fairness, and equality. Israel, as all other nations, must adhere to universally accepted standards of human behavior and international law, and we join with others in applying nonviolent economic pressure to persuade it to do so. It is not anti-Semitic for Palestinians to demand equal rights, just as it was not anti-white for African-Americans and South Africans to demand equal rights, and just as it is not bigotry against Chinese people to demand a change in official policy and practices toward Tibetans. The resolution that should be before the Assembly seeks equality and fairness and is neither racist nor discriminatory; it is a demand for an end to oppression. The target is not the “Jewish people,” but official misconduct by the State of Israel.

In all struggles for equality, those holding advantaged positions will be reluctant to relinquish the personal benefits of inequality, oppression, exploitation, and slavery. When black South Africa turned to nonviolent boycott and divestment campaigns to seek equality, and when civil rights activists in the United States tried nonviolently to enforce the civil rights of black Americans in the 1960s and ‘70s, it was not their nonviolent pressures that caused turmoil. They were responding to oppression in ways now universally recognized as appropriate. The turmoil was caused by the underlying injustices and the repressive reactions to peaceful efforts to end them. Fears of heated debate on campus in response to peaceful efforts to vindicate human rights provide no justification for suppressing or abandoning the struggle for justice.

The divestment resolution is strongly protected free speech. The rights to petition for and engage in boycotts and divestment in the name of human rights and the rule of law are afforded the highest degree of legal protection under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and such advocacy and related action do not lose their protected character simply because they may embarrass or vex others.1

Please stand proudly in solidarity with the courageous proponents of this resolution, and make us proud of the student government of this great University. It is the right and just
decision.

Gabi Kirk, Campus Liaison
Jewish Voice for Peace National

Jewish Voice for Peace – Detroit

1 NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 910 (1982). In this case by white Mississippi merchants for relief from a civil rights boycott against their businesses as part of the struggle to end segregation in the South, the Supreme Court held that boycotts “to bring about political, social and economic change” are protected under the speech, assembly, association and petition clauses of the First Amendment.”

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72 Responses

  1. Dan From Away
    Dan From Away
    March 25, 2014, 2:57 pm

    The problem with using the word “tabled” is that it carries both a definition and its opposite:

    verb [ with obj. ]
    1 postpone consideration of: I’d like the issue to be tabled for the next few months.
    2 Brit.present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting: an MP tabled an amendment to the bill.

    IOW…thanks to history/usage it means to both “postpone” and “present”.

    If we are going to use the term we should always include a clarifier.

    • JusticeForPalestine
      JusticeForPalestine
      March 26, 2014, 1:38 am

      Michigan’s student government just voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the motion to study the possibility of divesting from 4 companies.

      As a Michigan alum, I could not be more disappointed.

  2. Krauss
    Krauss
    March 25, 2014, 6:04 pm

    I know Abuminah will be there. He is tireless.
    I hope to read some updates how it all went down tomorrow or later today!

    I’m also guessing a lot of the Zionists will try to provoke a fight, then film it all with a camera, put it on Youtube and claim that anti-Semitic violence is reaching record highs and that a pogrom is near etc. If this sounds too strange, then you haven’t been paying attention.

    Charles Jacob’s lobby outfit has claimed that BDS supporters are planning a massive genocide. These people are genuinely crazy, fanatical bigots.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      March 26, 2014, 1:39 am

      I watched the last 15 mins of the livestream by accident, I wasn’t planning on following it but clicked the link because I thought “hey I’ll just watch the archived video and skip to the end”. Turns out they had a meeting going on for 6 hours(!).

      In the end, they lost the vote 25-9 or something. It was a pretty stacked panel, Zionist after Zionist spoke up and denounced it. The audience was overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 26, 2014, 5:05 am

      What Abunimah and co are doing is working for humanity.
      They are working for the future of Judaism too. I wonder if the news is filtering through to the people in Gaza. It must be hard to believe after 66 years of Jewish nihilism and persecution that there are so many people out there who care about them and that their decency can be leveraged to destroy the relentless Zionist machines of hatred .

      Theme tune has to be this

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    March 25, 2014, 6:30 pm

    Keep us posted. Student actions are terrific. Open Hillel. BDS. Divest.

    Another thing I’d like to see — may take some faculty help — would be teach-ins and/or conferences, all-day things, with speakers and a variety of topics.

    I very much remember a conference by NYC law school professors at Fordham Law School in NYC, which celebrated the wonderful advances in international human rights law over the then last, perhaps 50 years, , but which failed to mention the Fourth Geneva Convention — which has been flouted by Israel since 1967. How could these well-meaning law professors celebrate something that was being ignored by all governments?

    But today, it would be timely to have teach-ins and conferences aimed at explaining to students and the nation, all citizens and visitors, what the law is, what it calls for, how it’s been ignored and transgressed, etc.

    “Hurry up please, it’s time!”

  4. just
    just
    March 25, 2014, 6:39 pm

    I hope that the vote is overwhelmingly in support for divestment.

    And pabelmont, perhaps Iymen Chehade would agree to teach. It’s a great idea– one whose time is long overdue, and is definitely ripe……..

  5. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    March 25, 2014, 8:09 pm

    i watching it over on livestream http://new.livestream.com/csg/events/2868309
    the number watching it on livestream is 367
    the place is pack. going by the number of keffiyehs i seeing there seems to be a large pro-Palestinian crowd.

    of course the habarists are out in full on social media with their diatribe

    Max Blumenthal is there

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 26, 2014, 5:13 am

      http://new.livestream.com/csg/events/2868309

      “Jenean Q The way in which pro-Israel supporters use the term “safety” is bothersome to me. The people standing up for a land that has had the majority of their basic human rights stripped away from them are in more danger than these Zionists claim to be. However, I applaud the efforts put in place for this event to occur. The outcome was expected and a far cry from shocking. Obviously a disappointment. “

      • Sycamores
        Sycamores
        March 26, 2014, 11:11 am

        Hi Seafoid

        safety, divisive but never human rights or equaility

        the outcome was expected and yes it was a disappointment but i sense that the Palestinian solidarity students have learn alot and will gain new alliances from other groups and will become stronger then ever while certain groups will become stagnant, stuck in the mud with their pro-israel diatribe. this is only the tip of the iceberg.

        when you consider the motion was only to investigate corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation that the university invested in. why was it so vehemently opposed? i’m sure this has raise some eyebrows.

        Palestinian solidarity students were very passionate using their individual expirences of israeli aggression to make clear the reason to divest from companies that were profiting from occuption.

        Max Blumenthal gave a great opening salvo packing in as much infomation as was possible within the half hour alloted to him. in retrospect i wish he had went more into why israel can’t be democracy and a Jewish state at the same time.

        anti divest crowds were reading from the hasbara book for dummies not worth regurgitating here.

        vice president of the CSG who spent he first two years in university heavily involve with pro-israel activities but he said something on the lines like “don’t leave that bother you i’m able to switch off my pro-israel mindset” (paraphrasing).

        i spent my first two years at the university heavily involved in the pro-israel community when i made the decision to run for student government, i knew my involvement needed to subside. i knew my personal opinions did not matter and that i needed to represent the entire student body.

        at least the VP was coherent as for most of the CSG that were obviously against UMdivest from the outset they rely on the same old hasbara lingo giving the impression that Palestinians and israel were on equal footing and it is to complicated for the students to understand.

        bravo to the Palestinian solidarity students and friends, their day will come.

  6. munro
    munro
    March 25, 2014, 8:29 pm

    Livestream – watch Max Blumenthal now at #UMDIVEST http://new.livestream.com/csg/events/2868309

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      March 25, 2014, 11:30 pm

      Have been listening to this. Most, but not all, students are thoughtful and eloquent .

      The talks against the motion have the themes: their own feelings and fears of feeling unsafe. (That is personal projection.) A climate of divisiveness (so what …that is part of the process, suck it up) and personal familial sentimentality. (That is not the issue, Many of us have stories of familial suffering.)

      Some of those speaking for the motion also play the personal card, but most capture the issues of basic human rights, and this is what it is all about. Supporting universal human rights or not.

      BDS is a movement for human rights .

  7. ckg
    ckg
    March 25, 2014, 8:44 pm

    Wow! Max is a great speaker.

  8. ckg
    ckg
    March 25, 2014, 8:55 pm

    Where is UM tenured professor Juan Cole in this effort?

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 26, 2014, 12:27 am

    BDS is the only way to go, at this point. When the US Congress, leaders, and even the media, is refusing to against Israeli policies, the brutal occupation, the illegal settlements, and the crimes by settlers called “terroristic activities” by our own State Department, this is the only message we can send Israel. Hope the students are successful in their attempt to pass this resolution, which may be the start of other campuses being encouraged to do so. If universities in the UK and Ireland can do it, so can the US colleges. Good luck to SAFE, and thank you for this effort.

  10. Sumud
    Sumud
    March 26, 2014, 1:43 am

    The divestment meeting just finished, I watched the last few hours of the livestream. The motion to investigate further UM’s investment in complicit companies did not pass:

    9- Yes
    25- No
    5- Abstained

    The vote was unusually by secret ballot as there were anonymous threats made against the student teams by supposed pro-BDS people. I find that hard to believe, wouldn’t put it past zionists to do some false-flag activities to try and discredit BDS. I guess that kind of thing would be effective, but only in the short term…

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 26, 2014, 2:16 am

      You are right, and they are so known for false flagging. This is how it is going to be, the stronger, more influential side, will always win. Some of these anti BDS students, might be hasbara trained, and get their talking points from a higher source, and be better prepared for such situations.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        March 26, 2014, 11:23 am

        This is how it is going to be, the stronger, more influential side, will always win.

        True – each day BDS gets a little stronger and every other week a new organisation signs on for the cause. So it is only a matter of time, and we will be the stronger side.

        We need only tell the truth, whether we win or lose on the day it is an exercise in raising consciousness about Palestine, and from there the facts speak for themselves. BDS is a bit of a slow burn issue, after today hundreds, possibly thousands of students a U Michigan might pay a little extra attention to news about Israel / Palestine. From there, the facts speak for themselves…

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        March 26, 2014, 11:38 am

        “True – each day BDS gets a little stronger and every other week a new organisation signs on for the cause. So it is only a matter of time, and we will be the stronger side.”

        It is only a matter of time before the Tibetans overcome those Chinese. I mean, there are free Tibet orgs on like every campus. When I was at Vassar, one of the other student groups brought a speaker who believed that Tibet should remain part of China, and they went nuts.

        Yeah, it’s just a matter of time.

        “We need only tell the truth”

        Which you don’t. You tell your form of propaganda.

        “BDS is a bit of a slow burn issue, after today hundreds, possibly thousands of students a U Michigan might pay a little extra attention to news about Israel / Palestine. ”

        Yes, perhaps. But the chances that they’ll care after they graduate are small.

    • Walid
      Walid
      March 26, 2014, 4:45 am

      Sumud, the opponents were very well organized with a common message about having been threatened with violence with one guy saying he missed classes for a week because of the threats . The results were to be anticipated with the final roll-call of names of the voters just before the results were announced. 9 voted for it and 30 voted against it.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 26, 2014, 5:19 am

        It’s going to keep on coming back, Walid. The bots say “give us time, we are people of good faith” but they are standing behind Jewish nihilism in the Med.
        There is no goodwill and the machine is relentless.
        So the next time the issue comes back they’ll have a weaker argument.

        It’s like those magicians who spin plates on TV. The bots have so many plates to watch now.

        The people on the ground with the kippas and the bulldozers are slowly destroying their power base in the US.

        Bernard Lonergan : “A civilisation in decline digs its own grave with relentless insistence. It cannot be argued out of its destructive way.”

        “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things.” AN Whitehead

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 26, 2014, 7:53 am

        seafoid, they’ll keep coming back, but they’re evidently getting professional help in the propaganda department. There is already CAMERA representation on 50 campuses to offset the BDS movement. A blurb in Algemeiner a few hours before the vote to help with the spooking; I’m surprised they haven’t yet gotten around to the white sheets schtick:

        “… Rosen, the University of Michigan senior, was a fellow for CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, and wrote an Op-Ed, published in The Algemeiner in December, about a “mock eviction” campaign by SAFE, which placed 1,500 notices on the doors of pro-Israel students and Jews on campus, breaking school rules for intimidation and for harassing students at their dorms.

        “The Mock Eviction campaign broke the peace of mind of thousands of students on campus and was only constructive in tearing communities and individuals at the University apart,” Rosen wrote.

        A similar campaign at Northeastern University earned a one-year suspension for campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), while the group’s executive board was barred from ever serving on any future board in the organization, school administrators ruled this month.

        Rosen noted that Northeastern’s Hillel and dean of students stood up for Jewish students on campus, but that it remains to be seen what will happen at Michigan.

        Aviva Slomich, CAMERA Campus Director, told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, “Northeastern has very strict policies, a very strong Hillel, and pro-Israel organizations on campus, and in Boston, in general, that we’ve worked with closely, and we’ve also had a CAMERA fellow there, to help organize awareness events, so it made sense the SJP would be censured.”

        “At Northeastern, there is a priority for every group to follow the same guidelines, which really are aimed at preventing any student from feeling intimidated on campus, so we’re hoping to see a similar stance at the University of Michigan,” she said. “All universities are handling it differently, but I know the ‘eviction notices’ campaign also got the SJP group suspended at Florida Atlantic University, where they pushed the boundaries even further by using a university stamp on the notice.”

        “There was a question of, was this just an informational campaign, but we know that the notices were targeted at vocal pro-Israel students and Jews, the example being that, in one case, just one student, a Jew, received the notice on an entire dorm floor, so, no, it is not a coincidence,” Slomich said. “These are planned to make students uncomfortable in their ‘homes’ and that is against every school’s policy.”

        “At Northeastern, there was also an SJP walkout of an event featuring Israel Defense Forces on Yom Hashoa (Holocaust Memorial Day), which was another case of the group not following the school’s protocol. All of this adds up to students feeling intimidated and targeted, and crossing the line from freedom of speech to incitement and intimidation against Jews,” she said. “The school administration has an obligation to protect all students, to keep them in a safe environment, and, in the case of Jews, there is no reason why a Jewish student should be forced to endure calls for Intifida, which, if you don’t know, means the murder of innocent Israelis. That is unacceptable.”

        Slomich said CAMERA is active on 50 campuses in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa and in Jerusalem, a new office which she is now heading to reach Jews studying in Israel. Students come to Boston for an annual training session in August, when they learn how to be “strong confident activists and Zionists on campus, armed with factual information, ready to present the truth about Israel and counter any misinformation they experience in terms of the BDS movement.”

        CAMERA maintains an archive of 30 years of BDS campaigns, where “some of the names have changed, but the points they try to present against Israel are the same, and students can learn how to respond with strength,” Slomich said.”

        http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/03/25/jewish-students-report-intimidation-as-bds-battle-ignites-at-university-of-michigan/

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        March 26, 2014, 11:48 am

        The school administration has an obligation to protect all students, to keep them in a safe environment, and, in the case of Jews, there is no reason why a Jewish student should be forced to endure calls for Intifida, which, if you don’t know, means the murder of innocent Israelis.

        CAMERA’s Arabic translators don’t seem to understand Arabic.

        I wonder if Slomich can tell me the Hebrew for “the murder of innocent Palestinians”? Shalom?

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        March 26, 2014, 11:37 am

        I only caught the last few hours Walid but I did hear the guy saying he’d been at home for a week.

        I was surprised the BDS team weren’t onto that a little more, although who knows what had happened behind the scenes.

        I would have been asking for names and email addresses and twitter handles and anything else relevant and reporting it to the Police – also investigating each and every incident as much as possible – in fact they can still do that now – BDS will surely resurface at U Michigan later. I’ll eat my hat if any threats came from genuine BDS’ers.

        Hi my name is Fred and I support the non-violent civil society-led BDS Movement supporting human rights for Palestinians and if you don’t support us we’ll kill you!

        It just does not add up.

        I agree they were well organised. Why is it I’m reminded of the jewish uni student who was graffiting her own door with swastikas?

  11. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 26, 2014, 1:45 am

    It seems the BDS side was unable to overcome the strong, organized push, obviously by a more experienced side, most probably backed by, and instructed by a larger power, who finds squashing university students, child’s play.
    Unfortunately there was no one able to counter the ” my cousin can now walk safely because of that wall” justification, with the argument that this wall does not prevent IDF forces from going to homes in the middle of the night, and dragging terrified little boys out of their homes. It is a shame that when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it is always one sided, and the occupier is far more influential and organized in attack and stifling any dissent, even in colleges. It makes me also wonder, how many of these pro Israeli students are trained for hasbara, by their Ministry of Information.

    • Walid
      Walid
      March 26, 2014, 8:41 am

      The unified spook message repeated by so many times by so many proved what you are saying about a a large power behind the unified terror. They didn’t even need to invoke the big “H”. One voting member recalled that it would be inappropriate to boycott GE that had been graciously funding the equipment for their medical school.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        March 26, 2014, 9:17 am

        I heard that too, and how poor Corporations will be hurt if this passes.
        The usual BS, spewed by those who most probably got talking points from the mother ship. I wish the pro BDS folks would regroup, and get the help they need to make their efforts more successful, for they are indeed fighting a well oiled goliath.

    • Pamela Olson
      Pamela Olson
      March 26, 2014, 9:18 am

      Regarding Israel’s Wall and whether or not it’s effective in preventing terrorism:

      The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security and intelligence service, credited the sharp decline in violence in 2005 to the truce and Hamas’s desire to enter the political arena — not to the Wall.

      The Shin Bet admitted that the Wall was “no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it. The fence does make it harder for them, but the flawed inspection procedures at its checkpoints, the gaps and uncompleted sections enable suicide bombers to enter Israel.” Hundreds of Palestinians cross the Wall every day to work in Israel without a permit. If someone is really motivated to get across, he absolutely can.

      The main reason for the drop in attacks was “the fact that Hamas, in general, stopped engaging in terror activities . . . Its focus on the political arena and the preparations for the Palestinian parliamentary elections [because the bombings were not supported by the Palestinian public] have limited its active involvement in terror to a large extent.”

      Source: Amos Harel, “Shin Bet: Palestinian Truce Main Cause for Reduced Terror,” Haaretz, January 2, 2006.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 26, 2014, 10:37 am

        @Pamela —

        The problem with that argument is it is inconsistent with the gradual falloff in suicide bombings. That argument would be consistent with a sudden sharp drop. Number of attacks:
        2001 (40 bombings)
        2002 (47 bombings)
        2003 (23 bombings)
        2004 (17 bombings)
        2005 (9 bombings)
        2006 (3 bombings)
        2007 (1 bombing)

        What the data shows was that Israel’s anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism techniques were working and then Hamas decided to enter into a political process. Obviously the wall as it exists today isn’t foolproof. It didn’t have to be there were other techniques like almost 24/7 curfews and an almost complete shutdown of West Bank transportation. What Israel proved was that they could bring the level down on their own with no political accord and moreover could use “security” to enact effective ethnic cleansing.

        Finally of course from a Palestinian liberation proposal the suicide bombings shifted the Israeli public drastically to the right. A completely unanticipated consequence which horrified other Arab leaders especially Syria and Egypt though also of note Saudi Arabia.

        Considering the wall the reason Israel is safe is an oversimplification perhaps but it is not inaccurate. What happened was the Israeli population came to view the Palestinians as inherently violent and unstable, and started treating them as such. There may be periods of quiet in a maximum security penitentiary but the facility and its norms are structured around being able to contain violence effectively. That’s not true of a low security penitentiary. That type of shift is what occurred.

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        March 26, 2014, 10:12 pm

        JeffB: Again: Hundreds of Palestinians cross the Wall every day to work in Israel without a permit. If someone wants to attack Israel, he absolutely can. It will just be a bit more expensive.

        The SHIN BET said it wasn’t an effective security measure. So take it up with them.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 27, 2014, 5:46 am

        @Pamela —

        Yes someone can. The other measures the wall was combined with are not in effect. The question is not what happens today but what led to the reductions prior to the cease fire. I don’t have to take it up with Shin Bet, Shin Bet isn’t supporting your point.

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        March 28, 2014, 12:43 pm

        JeffB, you are not even speaking coherently. Tough to have a discussion with incoherence.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 28, 2014, 1:05 pm

        @Pamela —

        Look there are two possible view.

        A) The Hamas cease fire led to the reduction. In which case you have a problem of an effect prior to a cause.

        B) Counter terrorism led to the reduction. In which case the timeline matches up.

        If you try and defend (A) you have to explain a reversed timeline. That’s not a minor flaw, it is major flaw in your argument.

        Once you accept that effects can’t come before causes then you have a much clearer picture. The Hamas cease fire was a reaction to the effectiveness of the counter terrorism effort on reducing bombings. The Palestinians were military losing and Israel was using the terrorism to establish permanent or semi-permanent changes which Hamas did not favor. Primarily among those was the construction of an effective border well past the Green line for “security reasons”. While the suicide bombings were no longer doing the kind of damage they had been in 2001-2 the wall was doing tremendous damage to Palestinian long term objectives.

        Israel effectively implemented a policy where violence would be met by permanent shifts to the border including low level ethnic cleansing. Which is more or less exactly what the World Court found by the way. That was a credible threat.

        On top of all that, the wall was part of the defensive measures that had brought the bombings down in the first place. So saying the “the wall is what made Israel safe” is IMHO appropriate shorthand for “the counter terrorism policy including both the safety aspects and collective punishment aspects of the wall is what made Israel safe”. It also has the nice effect of not having to directly admit to “collective punishment” since under 4th Geneva collective punishment is a war crimes.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        March 28, 2014, 12:59 pm

        Any WB malcontent with a soda can of explosive and some nails can kill 10 people in Israel. TODAY. But they do NOT.

        And Cast Lead slaughter was in 2008, the year of (eight months after) the last Palestinian bombing in Israel. So not only is there extreme motivation to kill Israelis, there is opportunity via the porosity of the Wall (intentional, btw, as Israeli industry needs Palestinian workers). But they do NOT.

        The Palestinians decided to stop the terror, despite ongoing murderous Israeli provocations.

        You should reverse your thinking. Ask yourself why Israel is still provoking and killing Palestinians when Palestinians have stopped terror attacks.

        And what Ms. Olsen said.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 28, 2014, 1:49 pm

        @Ritzl

        I don’t agree with you that Israeli industry needs Palestinians. I think Sharon proved that. The level of Palestinian labor in Israel is at this point quite low relative to the Israeli economy. More than anything else it provides a reward for good behavior, doing something nice and you get a viable way to provide for your family.

        Any WB malcontent with a soda can of explosive and some nails can kill 10 people in Israel… . Ask yourself why Israel is still provoking and killing Palestinians when Palestinians have stopped terror attacks.

        Mainly they are killing Palestinians because they aren’t following orders given to them by soldiers. When police much less soldiers demand compliance with a lawful order a resident should obey. I was in France and Italy when there was respective emergencies that put soldiers on the street. I’m neither French nor Italian yet I followed their orders. Same as I follow instructions from American police that may not always be clear to me.

        Ultimately governments try and establish a monopoly on violence. Having established that monopoly on violence the force can then become much more indirect. But the first step in establishing the rule of law is establishing this monopoly. As Weber put it, “a necessary condition for an entity to be a state is that it retains such a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence”. Israel is the governing authority and the Palestinians reject it. So they get shot. Ultimately if I decided New Jersey wasn’t part of the USA and refused to obey any laws here if I couldn’t be arrested I’d get shot.

        Once you accept that the West Bank is part of Israel the rest just falls into place.

    • adele
      adele
      March 26, 2014, 1:31 pm

      I watched 5 hours of the meeting, missing only the beginning. One of the dominant themes that kept being repeated by the pro-Israeli students was how they feel “threatened” on campus, and some of the CSG members’ comments also kept echoing this. In a way, the “fears” of the pro-Zionists effectively hijacked the and overshadowed the crux of the Divestment argument about the rights of Palestinians to live free of Israeli’s state violence.

      We can expect more of these diversionary tactics, but the “feeling threatened for who I am” will without a doubt be the cornerstone of the pro-Israeli strategy to combat the progressive student movements. The pro-Zionist movements can’t argue the facts so they will continue to use these tactics. This raises the issue of how the progressive student & civil society movements will respond, this is a critical discussion that must take place if we will effectively shut down this argument.

      One effective way is to insist that any threats be publicly disclosed and investigated, insisting on the evidence being made available to the concerned parties/public. We can’t just sit idly by if a) the threats are based in fact or b) if the threats are proven fabricated.

  12. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    March 26, 2014, 1:59 am

    divestment fails 25 to 9

    considering University of Michigan was one of the last universties to support anti-apartheid in South Africa all i can say is at least they are consistent.

    one major victory for those who seek divestment is the amount of students who knew very little about israel atrocities towards the Palestinians and African refugees one week ago are now very much aware of what’s going on.

    • Walid
      Walid
      March 26, 2014, 12:59 pm

      Sycamores, before the vote, it was said that an abstention vote would be construed as a nay vote, therefore the final count was effectively 30 for the nays against 9 for the good guys. From the names on the roll-call, many sounded Jewish and hadn’t the vote been a secret one, I suspect many would have voted for the resolution as they couldn’t all have been of ill will. For over 3/4 of them to have voted against it is not normal after all the pro-BDS brouhaha leading up to the vote. Flipping the vote at the last minute into a secret one on the pretext of protecting members from pro-BDS ruffians was a very astute move.

  13. seafoid
    seafoid
    March 26, 2014, 2:09 am

    “Opponents of the legislation are said to be bringing in busloads of Hillel students from other campuses”

    When did Hillel become the Jewish Basij ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basiji

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      March 26, 2014, 3:06 am

      Here’s my question : if what so many people are saying is true, that Israel’s losing young American Jews, where do all these young American Jewish Zionist students come from? The ones who are constantly trying to impede any and all discussion of the Judenreich and who can always be relied upon to defend it (using every dishonest and filthy tactic in the book) no matter how inhuman its actions?

      I’m not sure I’m buying the “losing American Jews” thing. Young American Jews might be sufficiently embarrassed by it to not want to admit openly to backing it, but when push comes to shove an awful lot seem happy to crawl out of the woodwork.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 26, 2014, 11:47 am

        Yes, I think that this is one of themes with which we comfort ourselves too much and too soon. Those who are lost to Zionism are for the most part just walking away, as people do when doubt attacks certainty, and preferring not to think about those things, whereas those who stay attached to the Zionist cause see that there is a problem and resolve to do something about it.

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 26, 2014, 1:08 pm

        I agree, Ecru, and even if Jews had voted with their conscience, the bad guys would have still won, but their victory would not have been so lopsided. At the end of the day, they still have to look out for the tribe irrespective of how much they think it’s acting wrongly. The secret vote kept them comfortably tucked in the woodwork.

  14. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    March 26, 2014, 3:59 am

    Just finished watching Max Blumenthal’s 30-minute presentation to the UM assembly. It is very powerful, and passionately presented. After I finished a 14-hour workday. Exhausted, but have to say: this is an important speech.

  15. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    March 26, 2014, 6:08 am

    Still, a pretty crushing defeat – anything over 2:1 is always bad – for the likes of us and I think it will discourage many similar moves within student organisations. We’re still the outsiders. I’ve often mentioned that James Thurber line, ‘the night is dark and getting darker; the road is long and getting longer’.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 26, 2014, 7:23 am

      It’s very dangerous when Hillel Jews link their “safety” to the continuation of apartheid in Palestine. That means they identify with the system, that it is done in their name. Leveraging their identity to protect wickedness. It means pro justice for Palestinians is inherently anti-Semitic , which is a nonsense.

      This is the big mental/ethical roadblock- how to sanction Jews appropriately for the evil that is Zionism.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 26, 2014, 10:45 am

        One of our fixed points, I think, should be that the answer to unjust discrimination practised by some Jewish people against others ‘just because they are not Jewish’ is never ever discrimination or hostility against anyone at all ‘just because they are Jewish’. One of our sanctions against Zionists, Jewish or not, is to wound their consciences by making it clear that we can take a genuinely anti-racist position while they cannot. I would say from my own experience of doing wrong things, of moral error, that usually you get some sense of it.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 26, 2014, 11:11 am

        @MHughes976

        One of our sanctions against Zionists, Jewish or not, is to wound their consciences by making it clear that we can take a genuinely anti-racist position while they cannot.

        Bull. I have no problem taking a genuinely anti racist positions. My own request is that Israel be treated like any other country in full equality with those countries. That Israel should live under whatever standards are applied (not claimed) to all other peoples and their countries. That’s an anti-racist position.

        As I mentioned your whole definition of “invaders” vs. “occupants” is more or less wholesale endorsement of the idea that land should permanently only be governed by the right race / ethnicity / nationality / religion…. It is hard to think of anything more central to actual racism than the position you were advocating less than a week ago.

        So no. You can try that but it won’t work.

      • adele
        adele
        March 26, 2014, 2:01 pm

        JeffB: “Bull. I have no problem taking a genuinely anti racist positions.”

        Really JeffB? Really? Cross your heart? Scout’s Honor?

        I find that hard to believe because YOU yourself, just yesterday, posted a link to an article to substantiate your criticism of Desmond Tutu (for the sin of preaching forgiveness and reconciliation) but in that very same article there was a notation that during his trip to Israel Tutu was slandered as a “Black Nazi Pig”. I don’t recall you taking issue with the racial slurs Tutu endured while a guest of Israel?

        My primary source EVIDENCE of your hyprocrisy —–> http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/desmond-critcizing-israel.html/comment-page-1#comment-652121

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        March 26, 2014, 3:15 pm

        “My own request is that Israel be treated like any other country in full equality with those countries. That Israel should live under whatever standards are applied (not claimed) to all other peoples and their countries.”

        Yes, and when the standard is announced–that all states must grant all people full equality and all human, political and civil rights and an equal vote in that government that controls their lives without regard for ethoreligious background of the people and without regard for issues citizenship, in situations were occupations last for generations–then you claim that that standard is unfair because and that Israel faces unique challenges, blah blah blah.

        “As I mentioned your whole definition of ‘invaders’ vs. ‘occupants’ is more or less wholesale endorsement of the idea that land should permanently only be governed by the right race / ethnicity / nationality / religion”

        Baloney. It’s a recognition of the basic fact that there is no justice in one group of people moving to a land from abroad and concocting and perpetuating a polity on that land that perpetuates a system of benefits on an ethnoreligious, racial, and national basis and which excludes some or all of the people already on that land and their descendants. Nothing racist at all in that recognition.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 27, 2014, 9:13 am

        @Woody

        Yes, and when the standard is announced–that all states must grant all people full equality and all human, political and civil rights and an equal vote in that government that controls their lives without regard for ethoreligious background of the people and without regard for issues citizenship, in situations were occupations last for generations–then you claim that that standard is unfair because and that Israel faces unique challenges, blah blah blah.

        Maybe you should stop putting words in my mouth. Because no actually I agree with that standard.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        March 26, 2014, 11:35 am

        “One of our sanctions against Zionists, Jewish or not, is to wound their consciences by making it clear that we can take a genuinely anti-racist position while they cannot.”

        That’s not remotely true. Israel is more diverse than any state in the region. It is not difficult to find Palestinian leaders, clerics and otherwise, making racist statements about Jews.

        Zionists can argue that Israel, a democracy with citizens of all races and religions, is the most diverse country in the region by far.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 26, 2014, 12:50 pm

        Hoph
        That is bullshit. There is more religious freedom in Lebanon and you know it.

      • eljay
        eljay
        March 26, 2014, 1:14 pm

        >> … Israel, a democracy with citizens of all races and religions, is the most diverse country in the region by far.

        It is also the most Jewish-supremacist country in the region – and in the world – by far. There’s nothing admirable – or just or moral – about any form of supremacism.

      • adele
        adele
        March 26, 2014, 2:04 pm

        Diverse as long as they are Jewish

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 26, 2014, 2:07 pm

        “… the most diverse country in the region by far.”

        Exactly as seafoid called it, bullshit. The only thing diverse about it are the Jews of different nationalities gathering in Israel and pretending they are one people when all they have in common is the religion. The minute they will be at peace with all their neighbours, they will start going at each other as their common fear of dying is the glue that keeps them together for now. The only homogenous group that can truly call itself a people is the Palestinian one that has lived on the land for hundreds of years. I can’t see how a Jew from Shanghai can have anything in common with one from Santiago even though they share the same religion.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        March 26, 2014, 2:09 pm

        I often offer, maybe avoiding boredom with some slight variation of wording, the definition of ‘Zionism’ as ‘the belief that Jewish people, and they only, have an inherent right (now commonly called a birthright) to a share of sovereignty in the Holy Land, others having a share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs’.
        I’m ready to work with any other def that you suggest (no one owns words) but I think that what I suggest is more or less what is necessary to justify what has been done in Z’s name.
        Z (as I understand Z) is a belief that I say is false, though I quite accept that Z does not rule out grace and generosity and general good treatment, to a certain but of course limited extent, to people, to a large but of course limited number, who are not Jewish. You give me examples of this. However, I believe that people living under the sovereign power operative in the Holy Land (or anywhere else) should all be fully enfranchised without distinction of race, contrary to what Z prescribes, and should have rights in the same absolute way, not in any case dependent on the grace of others.
        I think that Z’s operative idea of ‘Jewish’ is sufficiently based on ancestry, including distant ancestry, to involve, in reasonable use of language, race. The claim of exclusive rights on grounds of race is, again in reasonable use of language, racist – more importantly, morally indefensible – and the denial of those claims in the name of equality regardless of race, fairly plainly anti-racist.
        I repeat my claims that it is the right of all, but for those in some temporary and exceptional circumstances, to exist as enfranchised citizens subject to a sovereign power and that invaders and marauders defy and violate this right. (This is the right of people who are Jewish, Palestinian, British, Venusian, Martian and all sorts.) JeffB has suggested a critique of this claim, though I’m not sure that he or anyone else has flatly denied it. I have replied to this critique already, fairly courteously by my standards, and do not think that courtesy compels me to repeat what I said then (which was maybe a bit too long anyway, as maybe this note is too) at least unless someone else intervenes in the discussion.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 26, 2014, 3:02 pm

        Any Jew (from Hillel or elsewhere) who defends Zionism’s activities in the ongoing Occupation or raises the issue of antisemtism to deflect criticism of Zionism deserves to be challenged. Anyone making money from the misery deserves to be sanctioned.

        Zionism is a Jewish problem that has gone beyond the capacity of Judaism to manage.

      • Walid
        Walid
        March 26, 2014, 1:13 pm

        “It’s very dangerous when Hillel Jews link their “safety” to the continuation of apartheid in Palestine. ”

        Which takes us right back to the big “H”. All roads lead to it.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        March 26, 2014, 3:03 pm

        Walid

        I think the meltdown of the big Z is going to lead to a resurgence of antisemitism.
        People are going to ask how come the abuse was tolerated for so long .

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        March 26, 2014, 3:06 pm

        “Exactly as seafoid called it, bullshit. ”

        You can tell yourself that, if you like. Unfortunately for you, you’re not going to find a country in the region that is more racially, ethnically, or religiously diverse, and you’re also not going to find one with a better record of extending the franchise to minority groups. Go, go to the US Congress and tell them, don’t bet on Israel. Bet on Lebanon and Hezbollah. Yeah. Don’t bet on Israel. Bet on the Shi’ites in Iran and Iraq. Don’t bet on Israel. Bet on the Wahhabi fanatics in Saudi Arabia.

        Tell them these places are all more reflective of American values than Israel is.

        “The minute they will be at peace with all their neighbours, they will start going at each other as their common fear of dying is the glue that keeps them together for now. ”

        Uh-huh. They already do that, and guess what, they manage to duke it out in an elected parliamentary body. If only the Arabs had a single elective body with as much legitimacy as the Knesset.

        ” can’t see how a Jew from Shanghai can have anything in common with one from Santiago even though they share the same religion.”

        You don’t need to see it. But they do. I can’t see how an Arab from Saudi Arabia has anything in common with an Arab from Lebanon, but they work together to ensure that an entire region is ethnically homogeneous. I can’t see how an Argentinian Greek has anything in common with an American Greek or a Grecian Greek. But they do.

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      March 26, 2014, 2:26 pm

      @adele

      Up a level

      Really JeffB? Really? Cross your heart? Scout’s Honor?

      I find that hard to believe because YOU yourself, just yesterday, posted a link to an article to substantiate your criticism of Desmond Tutu (for the sin of preaching forgiveness and reconciliation) but in that very same article there was a notation that during his trip to Israel Tutu was slandered as a “Black Nazi Pig”. I don’t recall you taking issue with the racial slurs Tutu endured while a guest of Israel?

      Well maybe because whether the reaction to his comments was racist or not never once came up prior to your post. That wasn’t the topic. But FWIW I don’t think calling Tutu a Black Nazi Pig was appropriate either. They were racist comments.

  16. weareone
    weareone
    March 26, 2014, 6:58 am

    @MHughes976
    I agree and it’s very easy to feel disheartened in this fight, but it helps me to remember that the Palestinians haven’t lost hope after 66 years and also the proverb, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 26, 2014, 9:26 am

      wearone, as someone who has no dog in this fight, but feel passionately about downtrodden people suffering through a very oppressive, and violent occupation, these people are living in the dark for too long, and it seems for generations.
      The punishment meted out to them, will be considered a “sin” in any religion.
      Deprivation of water, rights, lands, farming, fishing, and brutal attacks at the slightest excuse, part of their daily lives, while their occupier lives on their lands, have their faucets flow with water, and electricity that is never switched off, because of punishment.

  17. weareone
    weareone
    March 26, 2014, 7:37 am

    Just wanted to add–I grew up during the Civil Rights Movement in the South, so I’m old enough to remember all of the lost battles on the way to winning the war. The reality is that our numbers are growing, while support for Zionism is dwindling, so we will win the war. Zionism is in the process of self destructing, so actually, this will occur even without our involvement. This may sound like a platitude, but evil does destroy itself. History repeatedly proves this. So, “keep the faith.”

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      March 26, 2014, 10:30 am

      Yes, that’s very sensible, weareone. It’s just that I think that the task of keeping the faith in this context stretches into the future for a long way. Preposterous arguments and complacent people stand in our way almost as much as they ever did. Not quite as much, I agree. We’ve made the transition from negligible to noticeable but not from noticeable to acceptable in mainstream conversation.

    • adele
      adele
      March 26, 2014, 2:07 pm

      weareone, Very well said, and very true!

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 26, 2014, 3:51 pm

      “evil does destroy itself.”

      Yes, it does. I think the collapse when it comes will happen very quickly, like Lehman Bros. Israel has made so many enemies and shafted so many people and there are many who will be happy to let it swing.

  18. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 26, 2014, 10:20 am

    Florida Senate bill #SR894 Tries To Silence voices critical of Israel: http://thehessexpress.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/florida-senate-resolution-894-ummm-israel-a-democracy/
    Go #BDS

    • Walid
      Walid
      March 26, 2014, 1:44 pm

      Citizen, the BDS effort by students about “settlements” being the ultimate evil is a lot of dilly-dallying that’s going to take another 128 years to get anywhere. The evil is Israel itself; it’s much more evil than its illegitimate offspring.

      BDS would do better to stop its pussy-footing around GE, Caterpillar and others about their products being used on the settlements and start targeting the mother ship, as Kay called the alien that’s actually buying these machines of destruction.

      One of the anti-BDS voting members asked if the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership are both against BDS, so why should the university be for it? Good question that may have swayed a couple of wavering members.

  19. weareone
    weareone
    March 26, 2014, 1:16 pm

    Well, MHughes976, I understand, but it may not be as far into the future as it seems. Chris Hedges had a good article on this-http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/our_invisible_revolution_20131028 -“Our Invisible Revolution.” He’s referring to revolution against the corporate state, but it seems to me that we could substitute Zionism or any repressive ideology for “corporate state.”

    From the article–“Revolution usually erupts over events that would, in normal circumstances, be considered meaningless or minor acts of injustice…But once the tinder of revolt has piled up…an insignificant spark easily ignites popular rebellion. No one knows where or when the eruption will take place…”
    As for the idea of needing acceptance by the mainstream– also from Hedges: “…the real work of revolutionary ferment is unseen to mainstream society, noticed only after it has largely been completed.” I’ve noticed that once “an idea whose time has come” is in the popular consciousness, it is at least possible for change to occur very quickly. Let’s hope so, anyway.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      March 26, 2014, 2:14 pm

      Yes, thanks, you cheer me up! As does the news from Loyola – many will share annie’s sentiments on the relevant thread about Max’s contribution.

  20. weareone
    weareone
    March 26, 2014, 2:43 pm

    My pleasure. Reading this site gives me hope, too.

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