Author

Samantha Brotman

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Nora Barrows-Friedman’s In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine , published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Samantha Brotman reviews it and says, “In Our Power should therefore be required reading for anyone in the world of Palestine activism.” Read the review and an excerpt from the book here.

Since Samantha Brotman began publicly expressing her outrage at last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza, and especially since she helped to found a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, several of her Jewish friends and colleagues have sent her links to Alan Dershowitz’s “Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral,” hoping to bring her back into their Zionist fold. Here Brotman responds to Dershowitz’s reasons and notes “I’m glad Dershowitz is scared enough of BDS to take time out of his very busy schedule to write a list like this. This means something is working.”

Samantha Brotman shares her remarks from an event called “Zionism & The New McCarthyism: A Conversation with Bruce Robbins” that took place in Champaign-Urbana. It was a canceled University of Illinois event that was rescheduled as an independent event, without university support. Bruce Robbins’s short documentary, Some of My Best Friends are Zionists, interviews influential Jews such as Judith Butler and Tony Kushner who discuss the repression of anti-Zionist viewpoints. His talk addressed the rise of a “new McCarthyism” on college campuses which threatens to shut down criticism of Israel in the guise of “civility.” Brotman was a respondent along with Jodi Byrd (Professor in American Indian Studies) and Bruce Levine (Professor of History).

Following the firing of Steven Salaita from his position at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), a group of Jewish faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members from UIUC issued a letter to Chancellor Phyllis Wise and the Board of Trustees. Now, the Jewish students, faculty and staff of UIUC who stand in solidarity with Steven Salaita seek support in reemphasizing and strengthening their message to the university administration.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon, Professor Steven Salaita spoke publicly for the first time since the termination of his employment. His focused and powerful address emphasized one clear message: the reaffirmation of his “commitment to teaching and to a position with the American Indian Studies program at UIUC.” Salaita and his lawyers repeatedly insisted that their goal was not to pursue legal recourse against the university, but for the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees to reinstate his position. However, it was clear that he and his legal team are prepared to pursue legal avenues to force his reinstatement if necessary.