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A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine

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In an attempt to foster critical thought on campus and include pro-Palestinian viewpoints, Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine (WSJP) has been dragged into a larger set of administrative issues that are out of our control, and falsely accused of contributing to a growing hostile and anti-Jewish environment on our campus. We feel compelled to address the repeated attempts to slander our premises, goals, and work toward the improvement of Palestinian and Israeli human rights.

During its first semester on campus this fall, 2014, WSJP has engaged in self-education as well as the planning and implementation of three different educational initiatives: the “A Name to the Number” poster campaign, the “What Does Zionism Mean to You?” poster campaign, and a public lecture on nonviolent movements wherein Israelis and Palestinians co-resist the occupation. Both poster campaigns were supplemented with publicized statements addressing their intentions, which were respectively released online on October 22 and November 20.

In an article titled, “Wellesley College fires Hillel staff as Jewish students face upped anti-Israel activity,” written by Debra Nussbaum Cohen and published in Haaretz on November 21, WSJP actions were misrepresented as hostile. While we empathize with Jewish students whose religious leadership is in transition at Hillel, we would like to point out that we have no input in such decisions, and our actions have been exaggerated disproportionately and represented inaccurately. We agree with Ms. Cohen’s statement that at times, “intense anti-Israel sentiment bleeds into anti-Semitism.” We have, however, carefully monitored our efforts to assure this is not the case with our work. With a full understanding of these concerns, we emphasize that the central goal of our actions is to resist all forms of oppression – not just anti-Palestinian animus, which we see too often on this campus, but anti-Semitism as well.

Sa'ed Adel Atshan

Sa’ed Adel Atshan

In our programming, we seek to open the campus to challenging and respectful public discourse. Our “What Does Zionism Mean to You” poster contains a disclaimer that reads, “Please be respectful. Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and racism will not be tolerated.” In this way, we created an open discussion encompassing a variety of perspectives that reflects and represents the diversity of our community, while also being respectful. Additionally, we invited Professor Sa’ed Adel Atshan, human rights activist and professor of Peace and Justice Studies at Brown University, to speak at Wellesley on November 13. In his lecture, entitled “On Heroes and Hope: Nonviolence and Resilience in Israel/ Palestine,” Atshan spoke of various Israeli and Palestinian community leaders who are striving to create a reality where both communities, and the minorities within them, can coexist in a way that serves justice. Following the lecture, students engaged in discussion with Professor Atshan, free to ask questions on points of contention; they were met with thoughtful responses. Yet the fact that some found this lecture and discussion to be “extremely destructive” suggests a sense of unwillingness to engage with ideas that challenge one’s opinions and call for cooperation and coexistence.

Despite attempts to foster a public discourse, our actions are deemed destructive by a handful of very vocal students and adamant supporters concerned with alleged discrimination towards the Jewish Community. Comments that portray Wellesley SJP, its programming, and anti-Israel criticisms as “menacing” threats to safety and security are anti-Arab and reinforce a racialized image of the Other, thus perpetuating cycles of hatred and violence. Additionally, this racialized language, positing WSJP as monolithically “Arab,” as opposed to the supposedly universally pro-Israeli Jewish student, must be challenged if one is to find truth in this discourse. Wellesley SJP strives to question this racialized polarization in all possible ways: in reality, our membership is composed of students from various racial, religious and nonreligious, and ethnic backgrounds, and our programming enables the expression of diverse voices from the conflict. Paramount to our mission as an organization is the realization that racist hegemony must be dismantled if justice is to be achieved.

While a handful of Wellesley’s Jewish students, wrongly claiming to speak on behalf of the entire Jewish community, has vocalized that the campus climate is now “difficult,” a Jewish WSJP member who would like to remain anonymous asserts that, “The existence of Students for Justice in Palestine has created a comfortable space for me, as a Jewish student who stands for Palestinian human rights.” Wellesley SJP has served to incorporate pro-Palestinian freedom viewpoints, which have often been excluded from the discussion of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict at Wellesley. In fact, it is the small minority of Palestinian and Arab students on our campus who often feel most marginalized as a result of the policing of discourse, such as is exhibited in the bigoted backlash we’ve faced with our programming.

Just as Wellesley SJP condemns the racism and discrimination underlying many of the policies of the state of Israel, Wellesley SJP also categorically opposes all forms of prejudice or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. We believe values and standards of integrity and respect should apply across the board, to all political issues and to all those who seek to discuss them.

Eliza Marks, Nour Azzouz, and Mallika Govindan are three of the founding members of Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine, a student organization started in September.

About Eliza Marks, Nour Azzouz, and Mallika Govindan

Eliza Marks, Nour Azzouz, and Mallika Govindan are three of the founding members of Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine, a student organization started in September

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67 Responses

  1. just
    just
    November 25, 2014, 9:32 am

    Great work, great piece!

    Thank you, WSJP.

    • November 26, 2014, 5:26 pm

      The B Globe published a letter today from the Wellesley President groveling before the Jewish community.

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        November 27, 2014, 6:16 am

        What a joke. The majority of the Jewish community continues to disappoint on a massive level wherever they are when it comes to this issue.

  2. just
    just
    November 25, 2014, 9:43 am

    “in reality, our membership is composed of students from various racial, religious and nonreligious, and ethnic backgrounds, and our programming enables the expression of diverse voices from the conflict. Paramount to our mission as an organization is the realization that racist hegemony must be dismantled if justice is to be achieved.”

    I took the liberty of googling these fine students and authors~ impressive.

    Thank you again.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      November 26, 2014, 12:03 am

      is it truly a contradiction, progressive support for apartheid? Or rather is it embedded, progressives being chosen, superior, they deserve a spare country on some one else’s land.

      Sam HarrisVerified account ‏@SamHarrisOrg
      For those attacking @SarahKSilverman over my podcast on Gaza. See the annotated transcript:

      https://twitter.com/SamHarrisOrg/status/536708354987421697

  3. Horizontal
    Horizontal
    November 25, 2014, 11:03 am

    This story beautifully details what we all suspected, that there was quite a bit on demonizing going on in an attempt to prevent a pro-Palestinian message from being aired at Wellesley. You’re fighting for your cause in the best possible way.

    In a maybe not-off topic aside, I can’t help but thinking where alum Hilliary would come down on all of this.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      November 25, 2014, 5:06 pm

      “In a maybe not-off topic aside, I can’t help but thinking where alum Hilliary would come down on all of this.”

      It would depend on how much money they had.

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 25, 2014, 7:36 pm

        Bingo, ABC.

  4. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 25, 2014, 11:34 am

    “Yet the fact that some found this lecture and discussion to be “extremely destructive” suggests a sense of unwillingness to engage ”

    Rather than “found”, use “stated” or, better, “claimed”. In fact, use “without elaboration or explanation claimed”.

    Same thing with asserted feelings of unsafety on campus. These are “unsubstantiated claims”, “statements offered without justification or explanation.”

    I think the next program, here, for WSJP and others at other campuses, is to challenge the complaining students to come before an open meeting and explain just what’s wrong with the discussions, and why they claim to feel unsafe on campus as a result.

    What would be the result if (with somewhat better reason) WSJP members stated that professions of Zionism on campus made them feel unsafe?

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 25, 2014, 7:41 pm

      Great point.

      I had the same reactions when I read the other story here on MW dealing with this. We never really got any concrete instances of unsafe behavior. No attacks. No assaults. No incidences. It was all very cotton candy. I would have thought that if something untoward had really happened, it would have been documented and reported.

      Instead, we just got a bunch of squishy “claims . . .”

    • chocopie
      chocopie
      November 25, 2014, 11:26 pm

      I think they feel “threatened,” and it makes them “uncomfortable,” so they call that “unsafe.” They are no longer safe in the little Zionist echo chamber they grew up in, and that’s scary, hence the weasel word: “unsafe.”

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 26, 2014, 9:41 am

        You’re probably right.

        If I could get in a room with them and talk to them for maybe five minutes, I’d have a pretty good idea which it is.

        If you aren’t exposed to any push-back on long-held assumptions, and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by people from all different backgrounds and beliefs, I believe that could scare the crap out of you to be suddenly so challenged. But if your beliefs are defensible ones, it shouldn’t really be much of a problem.

        If, on the other hand, you’re defending Zionism, well . . .

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        November 26, 2014, 10:15 pm

        @ chocopie,

        Q: ““unsafe.”

        R: In local circles that’s referred to as the ‘IDF Dichotomy.’ Once the Apartheid State’s goons stop target practicing on Palestinian kids and face wo/men who can and do fight back [with horizontal aluminum transportation tubes filling up rapidly] the ‘fight’ is over pretty quick and a hasty retreat launched that then is labeled as a ‘strategic success.’

        It’s like you can’t have a discussion about the Apartheid State’s horrific actions without someone bringing up the old Huns and their heinous past, the holocaust or that deadbeat donkey antisemitism [Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians excluded].

      • November 27, 2014, 10:09 am

        I feel uncomfortable that my tax dollars are helping in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. I feel threatened and unsafe that the Zionist foreign policy is creating so many people that will want to strike back,

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 27, 2014, 2:21 pm

        I bitch about this every February, and there’s really no alternative to vote for to change it, since most every congress-critter is in on the con.

        Talk about taxation without representation . . .

  5. Pauline
    Pauline
    November 25, 2014, 11:37 am

    Kudos to the members of WSJP for standing up to the Zionist machine that is attempting to shut down discussion of Israeli apartheid on the Wellesley campus~!

  6. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 25, 2014, 12:43 pm

    Typical SJP. Make false claims of “racialization” to tar anyone in the Jewish community who criticizes them as “anti-Arab. “

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      November 26, 2014, 2:17 pm

      Typical Zionists.

      Accuse anyone who advocates for Palestinian rights as being anti Semitic.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 27, 2014, 2:24 pm

      False claims? Of what do you speak?

      (Hophmi’s bonus hidden thesis = The American Jews are the underdogs in this. Hilarious.)

  7. Sulphurdunn
    Sulphurdunn
    November 25, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Do pro-Zionist students have some kind of special right to silence others on college campuses who challenge their beliefs? Are they really such frightened children that it makes them run around with their hair on fire, screaming antisemitism? I would rather believe that than think people so young are already cynical enough to use such behavior as a mere tactic to silence all criticism of themselves.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 28, 2014, 8:57 am

      I don’t think they’re frightened children as much as they think they’re exceptional and can’t believe that the rest of us can’t see it, too.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 28, 2014, 10:57 am

      “Are they really such frightened children that it makes them run around with their hair on fire, screaming antisemitism”

      Oh no, of course not! No, when one lives as a virtual second-class citizen, one learns to choose one’s battles very carefully, and you learn what really matters, and what is just a type of social acceptance that we, as Jews, will never attain.

      And of course, there’s just the stubborn pride which makes us think we don’t need to complain about anti-Semitism, because, with our right actions and abilities, we can overcome it.

      Now, where did that pipe go?

    • John Douglas
      John Douglas
      November 28, 2014, 2:35 pm

      Of course they have no such right, and if they just joined SJP any discomfiture they might in fact have would go away. So their support of an apartheid regime is uncomfortable (at most). But from the perch of the college administrator right is created by might, where might is measured in donor dollars. This explains to me why such discomfited students are sometimes provided these privileges even though they have no right to them. But then, thinking of the Northeastern University case, “Times they are a changing”

  8. Cliff
    Cliff
    November 25, 2014, 3:31 pm

    This is what you can expect from young Zionist Jews on campus.

    They are thoroughly indoctrinated (‘land of Israel’, ‘peace process’, ‘rockets on S’Derot’, etc. etc.) and speak in terms of their feelings rather than reality.

    They feign being offended and expose their delicate sensibilities because of a tacit awareness of identity politics.

    If a Jew cries antisemitism, people freak out. If a Palestinian-American cries anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia then people do not freak out.

    Jews have more political capital and the organized Jewish community (mostly vulgar, pro-Israel and racist + hypocritical to the core) exploits this fact.

  9. kma
    kma
    November 25, 2014, 6:40 pm

    WSJP is apparently brilliant and just what our country needs!
    the poster is perfect, and if Hannink wants “dialogic”, that’s exactly what it is.
    there is nothing more pertinent to the dialogue than what zionism means! how do you get to “nuance” before knowing what you’re talking about?

    the tactic to shut up the conversation is older than you students are. keep on doing what you do!

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 25, 2014, 7:48 pm

      the tactic to shut up the conversation is older than you students are. keep on doing what you do!

      Great point. It really seems like this is where the future of Zionism in America will be either won or lost.

      The logic here is self-defeating:

      Zionism is ugly.
      It makes people angry.
      It makes those embracing it unpopular.
      Rather than examine & repudiate Zionism, close down the discussion about Zionism.

      Oh, the times, they are a-changin’ . . .

  10. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    November 25, 2014, 7:49 pm

    Unusual news item about Wellesley:
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/11/23/ouster-hillel-staff-upsets-wellesley-students-alumnae/6w4lYTJXM5u1ttQ7PYjHQI/story.html

    David Eden, chief administrative officer for Hillel International, praised the move, saying few small colleges go to the lengths of hiring a full-time rabbi to oversee a Hillel group. “We see this as being a huge positive step going forward,” he said.

    About 8 percent of Wellesley students are Jewish, and about half of those are active in Jewish campus life, students and administrators say. The Hillel group provides a lounge for students, which includes a Kosher kitchen. David Bernat, the Jewish chaplain, said he was shocked by his removal, particularly in the middle of the school year, and expressed concern for students.

    I wonder what the background story is.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      November 25, 2014, 7:53 pm

      On one hand, the college and Hillel are in favor of the restructuring, but the organization’s staff are not and some donors are withholding funds in objection, according to Haaretz:
      http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/.premium-1.628248

      The Wellesley Report says that “we really don’t have any inside knowledge of the hot and sensitive story at Wellesley College over the past few days (the school has largely kept its communication on the Jewish staff ousters within the school)”
      http://theswellesleyreport.com/2014/11/wellesley-college-staff-dismissals-distress-jewish-students-alums/

    • Philip Munger
      Philip Munger
      November 26, 2014, 2:32 pm

      Not wanting to comment on the Hillel staff changes, but on Wellesley’s ethnic makeup. Eight percent of the students are Jewish, according to the BG article cited above. According to Wellesley:

      Admitted students hail from 46 states plus the District of Columbia, and represent 40 nations of citizenship. Further, approximately 10 percent of the admitted students are international citizens. Forty-one percent identify as ALANA (African American, Latina, Native American and Asian American).

      http://www.wellesley.edu/news/2013/03/node/34484

      I am part Comanche – a very small part, but important to me. Native Americans once outnumbered non-Native settlers in North America. Vastly. Today, that is not the case. Depending on how one counts a person as Native American or as Jewish, Jews now outnumber Native Americans in the USA by at least three to one.

      On campuses all over the country, particularly where there are significant Native American populations statewide, there are daily incidents where Native students have to put up with a ton more crap than these spoiled brats at Wellesley. Unlike these whiners, the Native Americans don’t have deep-pocketed backers to help them manipulate the campus machinery in their favor.

      • lysias
        lysias
        November 26, 2014, 2:38 pm

        8 + 10 + 41 = 59. After WASP upper class and upper middle class are counted, that mustn’t leave much for white non-Jewish ethnics and members of the working and lower middle classes.

        And I suspect the statistics are similar for all the Ivy League.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        November 26, 2014, 3:00 pm

        Great point, Philip.

        The “I don’t feel safe” brigade are spoofers.

      • annie
        annie
        November 26, 2014, 3:08 pm

        thanks philip, awesome smack down

  11. michtom
    michtom
    November 25, 2014, 8:40 pm

    As a Jew, what I find appalling about the Zionists is how unJewish they are. This also applies to Israeli leadership.

    In the Passover Seder we are told that we should think of ourselves as having personally come out of slavery. Secondly, that no one is free until everyone is. Finally, Jews are told that we have an obligation to work toward that universal freedom.

    Is the behavior of Israeli leadership, of Zionists, or of the propagandists who repress groups like WSJP even remotely Jewish by those standards?

    NO!

    • just
      just
      November 26, 2014, 7:51 am

      Good comment.

      It is ‘appalling’, and why it is such an oxymoron to announce that Israel is a democratic Jewish nation-state.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 26, 2014, 9:45 am

      As a non-Jew, I had no idea what the Seder was about. Thanks for posting your comment.

      Seems like Zionism in Israel is really giving Jews a black eye.

      Kind of sadly ironic, I guess you’d say.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 28, 2014, 9:26 pm

        ” I had no idea what the Seder was about.”

        It’s partly about the charoset, which is crushed apple, walnuts with honey and cinnamon, maybe a bit of wine. But that’s a good part.

  12. Monica70x7
    Monica70x7
    November 26, 2014, 10:33 am

    Zionism is an ideology that should be examined impartially in any academic community — just as any other ideology is examined, such as Marxism, caesaro-papism, and laissez-faire capitalism. Academic freedom is at stake here. As an alumna of Wellesley (1969), what can I do to help WSJP? Eliza, Nour, and Mallika: If any of you reads this comment, I would be delighted to receive a response. I am a member of Friends of Sabeel North America (http://www.fosna.org) and can be trusted to support you.

    • just
      just
      November 26, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Great comment. Thanks.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      November 26, 2014, 6:14 pm

      Totally agree that Zionism should not be exempt from rational examination, the same as any other philosophy. Academic freedom of thought is indeed at stake. Fundamental facts about the origin of Zionism and Israel have been intentionally obscured for decades. These need to be brought to light for the truth to prevail.
      http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 28, 2014, 8:59 am

        Whoops — there go the endowments . . .

  13. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    November 26, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Pro-Israel = Pro-Silence.

    How does that equate to being the LBGT’s li’l darling?

    Oh, stfu!

  14. jon s
    jon s
    November 26, 2014, 3:56 pm

    According to the report in Haaretz:

    “Jewish students want to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict, she said. “But it is an issue we want to discuss respectfully and without polarizing” the community. SJP leaders “said they were uninterested in these kinds of dialogic conversations,” Hannink said.”

    Refusal to engage in a dialogue is a sign of closed-mind fanaticism.

    • just
      just
      November 26, 2014, 4:12 pm

      SJP wants an open and public dialogue.

      If you think that is “a sign of closed-mind fanaticism”, then you are truly lost in the wilderness of Zioland.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        November 26, 2014, 4:19 pm

        “But it is an issue we want to discuss respectfully and without polarizing” the community”

        It’s not possible to openly discuss apartheid without polarizing Zionists ,Jon
        the screaming and slurs of anti-Semitism start and that’s the end of debate.
        And SJP aren’t interested in hasbara talking points.

        how can SJP talk about Gaza to pro Israeli bots? They’ll have your talking points. What’s the point? How do you talk respectfully to someone who supports the bombing of hospitals ?

    • annie
      annie
      November 26, 2014, 4:47 pm

      Refusal to engage in a dialogue is a sign of closed-mind fanaticism.

      jon, i addressed the hypocrisy of hannink’s (and now your) accusation regarding her “respectfully and without polarizing” comment in our other thread on wellesley here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/questioning-zionism-wellesley#comment-725351

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        November 26, 2014, 4:52 pm

        Superbly argued Annie.

        When the bots talk about dialogue, that is usually code for sticking to very limited guidelines as to what is acceptable to be discussed.

      • annie
        annie
        November 26, 2014, 5:08 pm

        exactly shingo, see below.

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 28, 2014, 9:04 am

        Annie ~

        Jon’s comment is so ridiculous on its face that I can’t imagine that even he really believes it. I haven’t been around here for that long, but it seems most of these counter-commenters here on MW fall into the same category, which makes me wonder what their real intent is in posting here?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 28, 2014, 11:13 am

        “MW fall into the same category, which makes me wonder what their real intent is in posting here?”

        About the same time Mondoweiss was started, an unscrupulous firm of computer-merchants swept through the Zionist community, and sold many defective computers.
        These computers are stuck on Mondoweiss, and it’s the only website they can tune in.
        You gotta feel for the poor schlumps.
        Can you imagine being stuck looking at a website where all the information is poison, and all the articles are too short?

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      November 26, 2014, 4:49 pm

      “Jewish students want to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict, she said. “But it is an issue we want to discuss respectfully and without polarizing” the community. SJP leaders “said they were uninterested in these kinds of dialogic conversations,” Hannink said.”

      In other words, what Hannink wants in a discussion where all participants are in agreement.

      There is no refusal to engage in a dialogue, it is a refusal to accept hasbara narrative.

      • annie
        annie
        November 26, 2014, 5:04 pm

        shingo, Hannink wants to set the rules of engagement, see Policy Paper: Reut’s Broad Tent and Red-Lines Approach

        http://reut-institute.org/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=4042

        or pdf> http://reut-institute.org/data/uploads/PDFVer/20111210%20ReViews%20-%20Deleg%20in%202011%20-%20issue%2017.pdf

        Broadening the tent to include liberal and progressive circles: Reut maintains that in order to effectively challenge delegitimization, the pro-Israel community must broaden its
        base by increasing its tolerance for legitimate criticism of the country’s policies and
        seeking the support of progressive and liberal circles. Examples include: The Year of
        Civil Discourse
        initiative by the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council
        (JCRC), which aims to promote respectful dialogue n Israel within the Jewish
        community (JCRC website), and ‘Making the Progressive Case for Israel,’ an initiative of
        the UK’s Labour Friends of Israel aimed at bringing together progressive voices to
        speak in favor of Israel’s democracy (The Jewish Chronicle, 05/10/2011).
        „ Establishing red lines: The broad tent approach must be compounded by ‘red …

        both civil and respectful are code words to watch out for in the context of setting boundaries for discussion when certain topics are already targeted as being red lined as outsie the boundary of civil discussion. (bds/apartheid)

        even when they are moved into the realm of another kind of conversation, it’s an indicator of that same corralling.

        but what i find really interesting is that the authors of this article addressed this very accusation in the main article above and jon is commenting in this thread without making any mention or acknowledgement of their response (counter argument) above. hmm.

        anyway, what sjp is doing is really smart. they are setting their own rules of engagement (public not private discourse)

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      November 27, 2014, 6:21 am

      The “why can’t we dialogue?” line is old and rotten and has been shown up as rubbish many, many times. I don’t know why you’d actually believe that pro-Israel elements on campuses would be at all interested in an actual discussion or speaking genuinely.

      • just
        just
        November 27, 2014, 11:46 am

        Just like the “peace talks”.

      • just
        just
        November 27, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Nice to see you again, K Renner.

      • Horizontal
        Horizontal
        November 28, 2014, 9:13 am

        Just ~

        Exactly! We don’t really want “peace,” we want “peace talks” while Israel gobbles up more land and kills more Palestinian civilians.

        Another one is “balance.” Any attempt to chain the Israeli King Kong in the UN is rejected on the grounds that the initiative “lacks balance.”

        Israel bombs the crap out of Gaza with full battlefield weaponry and Gaza fires a few missiles which don’t do anything and the US calls for both sides to “show restraint.”

        My God, I just realized that the United States is just one big Jordan Hannink.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      November 27, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Jewish students want to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict, she said. “But it is an issue we want to discuss respectfully and without polarizing” Translation: We talk, you sit there and take it and if you raise your voice that will be taken as hostilities and be prepared to be fired upon (with words y’ know, because we’re really peace-loving folks).

      “Refusal to engage in a dialogue is a sign of closed-mind fanaticism.”

      It sounds a lot more like they were just not that into you or to have preconditions for a conversation. I mean, this is in america, not israel. Oh who am I kidding, if it were in israel the SJP folks would be getting arrested for “incitement”.

      • annie
        annie
        November 27, 2014, 12:52 pm

        marnie, my hunch is that ‘respectful’ centers around ideas like “both sides” (creating equanimity thru acknowledging each others right to be fearful and how using words like apartheid and genocide hurts zionist students and how everyone needs to recognize israel is the homeland for these jewish students yada yada bds is hateful, inciteful yada yada and in turn the jewish students (who really want peace too but israel should be able to defend itself from radical islam) feel and understand the pain palestinians are going thru because they too were refuges and so likewise palestinians can reciprocate by feeling and understanding the zionist students pain kumbaya and stuff like that) boring.

        meanwhile, there’s a movement building to boycott divest and sanction israel for crimes against humanity and since our government keeps shoveling money into the apartheid system it’s the people who need to join together to stop this machine of oppressions.

        so, under those circumstances, who has time to assuage the pain of the pro-oppressor and the guilt that comes with that? both sides? pff. isolate the ideology of systematic racism and oppression [inherent in colonialism] and then normalize that isolation, not the opposite.

    • Horizontal
      Horizontal
      November 28, 2014, 8:51 am

      Hey, jon, since you’re so great with signs, what’s it a sign of when you engage in dialogue over a period of decades and your opponent’s settlements just keep expanding all the while?

      That’s a sign that dialogue with close-minded fanaticism is a waste of time.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 28, 2014, 9:06 am

      >> jon s: Refusal to engage in a dialogue is a sign of closed-mind fanaticism.

      That sounds an awful lot like Zio-supremacists, who refuse to engage in dialogue about Israel:
      – ending its on-going occupation of Palestine;
      – withdrawing to within its / Partition borders;
      – honouring its obligations under international law;
      – accepting responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – reforming from a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” – a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews – into a secular and democratic Israeli state – a state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally.

      Any time you try to engage in dialogue with them on these points, they deflect attention away from the topic at hand and start talking about Hamas, Iran, the Holocaust, Saudi Arabia and African “hell-holes”, terrrrr and peace (but never justice, accountability or equality).

  15. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    November 26, 2014, 7:34 pm

    Q: A handful of Wellesley students…

    R: If they had been Irish, Italian, Korean. Buddhist, Palestinian, Muslim, African, Chinese students or anything else, it would’ve been added to the headline, right?

  16. ckg
    ckg
    November 26, 2014, 8:17 pm

    Excellent:

    Just as Wellesley SJP condemns the racism and discrimination underlying many of the policies of the state of Israel, Wellesley SJP also categorically opposes all forms of prejudice or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.

    Thank you. Wellesley SJP women may want to consider amending or making explicit “gender, or sexuality” to include “gender identity”. No one understands discrimination and societal animosity as those who don’t conform to this standard.

  17. Marnie
    Marnie
    November 28, 2014, 12:31 am

    “so, under those circumstances, who has time to assuage the pain of the pro-oppressor and the guilt that comes with that? both sides? pff. isolate the ideology of systematic racism and oppression [inherent in colonialism] and then normalize that isolation, not the opposite. ”

    Annie – right as rain and the voice of calm and reason. Thank you –

  18. just
    just
    November 28, 2014, 8:57 am

    Letters refuting Cohen’s article and about the Wellesley “situation” (aka Storm in a Teacup brought by zionists) in Haaretz today:

    https://twitter.com/haaretzcom/status/538312626896244736

  19. piotr
    piotr
    November 28, 2014, 4:05 pm

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4596047,00.html

    Sometimes I check Ynet News for a sample or reports, commentaries and comments to get idea of news and sentiments in Israel. Yesterday I found something that fits the topic. The most recent danger besetting the Jewish State seems quite metaphysical:

    Evil spirit taking over Middle Eastern studies
    Op-ed: The source of hostility toward Israel can be found in the American academia.

    Evil spirit taking over! That really puts events in Wellesley in perspective.

    • just
      just
      November 28, 2014, 4:11 pm

      lol.

      I read that with a cocked eyebrow, too. Mumbo jumbo.

  20. piotr
    piotr
    November 29, 2014, 11:26 pm

    From Ha’aretz: Atshan said that the Jewish state was established in its present location “only because Uganda wasn’t available,” said Berger. “He equated all non-Zionist Jews with Jews of conscience, which makes Zionist Jews something else, I guess,” she said. “It was extremely destructive, and with the posters and the lack of face-to-face dialogue, added to the stalemate on campus.”

    Memo to parents: 100-200k spent on liberal education of your daughter are not wasted! I bolded an instance of a correct deduction!

    That said, I have no idea what is wrong with having “stalemate on campus”. What else: slug it out until there is one man (girl) standing? “Stalemate” can be also called “co-existence of different points of view”. Should College Democrats and College Republicans dialogue face-to-face until there is a consensus? It is not that they should never talk to each other, but they will not “resolve differences”.

  21. jayn0t
    jayn0t
    December 5, 2014, 1:27 am

    “We agree with Ms. Cohen’s statement that at times, “intense anti-Israel sentiment bleeds into anti-Semitism.”… full understanding of these concerns… resist all forms of oppression – not just anti-Palestinian animus… but anti-Semitism as well.”

    As long as Palestine solidarity grovels and appeases its oppressors, it will lose.

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