February 2017


Activists for Palestinian rights have long known that our universities are overwhelmingly hostile environments where freedom of speech about, and critical inquiry into, Israel’s oppressive policies are heavily censored. Over the past few weeks, two separate and noteworthy incidents have illustrated this heavy-handed approach.

When Donald Trump stopped all incoming travelers from seven primarily-Muslim countries, Iran was on the list. Iran retaliated by blocking all Americans from traveling to Iran, including the U.S. wrestling team who were scheduled to compete in the annual wrestling version of the World Cup. When the ban got knocked down stateside, the Iranians relented and the plot thickened when it all came down to the U.S. vs. Iran in the finals. You might think a sports drama like that would be of interest to the media. But NBC, who had rights to cover the event, instead opted for a blackout on it.

Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. ambassador to Israel has turned out to be one of the most controversial appointments in recent years, with five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel condemning the pick, calling David Friedman “unqualified for the position” due to his “extreme, radical positions.” While Friedman’s appointment has also been condemned by Jewish Americans as well as international human rights groups, Palestinian Americans, in particular, feel disenfranchised by the prospect of a Friedman appointment.