Monthly Archives: February 2009

Palestine Solidarity Week – Update

We would just like to thank everybody who has attended so far at the Solidarity Week events, and have helped it become such a massive success so far!

We’d just like to remind everybody that tomorrow we’ll be hosting our main speaker, Dr. Nari Nusseibeh, president of the Al Quds University in Palestine, Founder of the Palestinian Consultancy group, Representative of the Palestinian national authority until 2002, co-founder of the Federation of Employees in the Education Sector for the entire West Bank, and author of the Palestinian statement of principles of the first intifada.

 

Dr. Nusseibeh will be talking at 18:00, tomorrow Friday, at MS01.

Voices for peace, Voices for fascism

I remember reading an article from a Palestinian blog some time ago, accusing some Jewish groups which are supposedly trying to work for peace, of in effect promoting the Israeli cause by pushing forward charges of anti-semitism. 

In a way this points out the modern dichotomy in the concept of activism for the Jewish people outside Israel, at least from my perspective. One side focuses solely on the concept of anti-semitism, and of support for Israel as the Jewish state – defining every attack on Israel, policies, or personalities as anti-semitic. The other focuses on very specifically attacking Israel as non-representative of the Jewish people, as creating anti-semitism, and as a state carrying out criminal acts in their name. And both groups seems incredibly passionate on what they do – each seeing a very personal connection to their cause in their own way.

I don’t think there’s any need to mention which point of view this society supports. Its not our intent now to analyze Jewish activism or specific Jewish groups. We merely wanted to pass along the following message from the group Jewish Voice for Peace attacking the Anti Defamation League. And given the contents of the message point out:

– The racist attitudes that are coming even more into the mainstream in Israel, as evidenced by the huge support for the proposal of the banning of Arabic parties in the elections (thankfully stuck down by the Israeli courts), and the new proposal for Israeli arabs to sign an ‘oath of allegiance’ to the Israeli state.

– The general shift to the -even more- extreme right in Israeli politics. This is a larger topic on which we may write later on.

In any case, below is the message from Jewish Voice for Peace

____________________________________________________________

Dear ……….,

Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League is defending one of Israel's most powerful
far-right extremists and his plan to strip "unfaithful" citizens, mostly Arab
Israelis, of their citizenship. The Anti-Defamation League is supposed to "secure
justice and fair treatment to all." Instead, they are supporting a dangerous
ideology that calls for taking citizenship away from Israelis for exercising their
right to free speech.

How can we expect the ADL to effectively defend the rights of Jews when they so
easily step on the rights of Arabs?

Avigdor Lieberman now heads Yisrael Beytenu, the third largest party in Israel, and
is likely to be a minister in a new Israeli government.

On February 10, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Abe Foxman defended
Lieberman's plan, despite the fact that "Some liberal Israeli and Jewish groups have
condemned Lieberman as a fascist - the left-wing Meretz Party even compared him to
the late far-right Austrian politician Joerg Haider - for his proposal to require
Israeli Arab citizens to sign an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state." (1)

Instead of defending Lieberman, the ADL should be condemning Lieberman.

Why should the Anti-Defamation League condemn Lieberman?

    * Avigdor Lieberman led the drive in Israel's Central Election Committee to have
Arab political parties banned from running in the most recent election, which
passed successfully and was overturned only by the Israeli Supreme Court. (2)
    * He has called for the expulsion of Arab Members of the Knesset, threatening
them that "a new administration will be established and then we will take care
of you." (3)
    * He has called for Arab citizens of Israel to sign an "oath of loyalty" to the
state or be stripped of their citizenship. (4)
    * His party has been very clear about what being "loyal" means: If you are an
Arab student and dare come to school wearing a kefiyah, you are "disloyal." (5)
    * Lieberman's party said that if you are a Muslim Israeli and collect money and
medicines for Gaza relief, you are "disloyal." (6)

If you do not meet his standards of loyalty, you lose all the rights of a citizen;
you lose the right to vote; and you lose the right to have a political party or to
run for office - that is, the right to participate in Israel's political process.
Is this what the ADL stands for?

It is ironic that ADL understands as anti-Semitic the accusations of dual loyalty
hurled against Jews in the US and elsewhere, but remains unconcerned about similar
accusations against Arab Israelis.

Remind Abe Foxman that his organization was founded "to stop the defamation of the
Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all" - and that all means
all, including Arab Israelis.

Click here to sign the letter to Abe Foxman.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1840
----

(1) Back in 2006, the ADL condemned Lieberman's call to execute Arab legislators.
But today, Abe Foxman defends Lieberman's loyalty oath
(http://jta.org/news/article/2009/02/10/1002906/controversial-lieberman-proposal-finds-support-among-american-jews)

(2) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054867.html

(3) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/962767.html

(4) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090204/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_hard_line_hero

(5) in Hebrew: http://beytenu.org.il/126/2596/article.html

(6) in Hebrew: http://beytenu.org.il/126/2345/article.html

Got feedback? Go to
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/content.jsp?content_KEY=5246
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Landmark policy in Manchester University

On Wednesday 11th Feb the student union in Manchester University has passed a motion that marks an almost landmark victory in the UK occupation wave. The motion compares Israel to apartheid South Africa, supports the global Divestment, Boycott and Sanctions movement, and condemns the BBC decision not to air the Disaster Emergency relief for Gaza University.

The following page from the Action Palestine students group  gives more details on the Manchester victory. What it means in terms of a University response is still unclear, at least from our perspective here. The following is a quote from the linked article:

Matt Scholey, a first year Politics and Modern History student, said “This is going to set a precedent, more and more student unions will have the confidence to take similar step. Last year LSE SU called for divestment, now UMSU calls for a complete boycott, and tomorrow the rest of the student movement will follow suite.”

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Thank you to everybody who attended the charity dinner Monday

We’d just like to thank everybody who showed up on this Monday’s charity dinner. The event was a huge success, with all tickets sold out, and the room completely filled up. With much of the world aparrently ‘moving on’, seeing such a massive response from all of you, each helping in their own way, has been incredibly uplifting.

 

In solidarity, and keep remembering Gaza… nobody needs to tell you how to help if you keep caring.

Manchester occupation under threat

Manchester University is apparently forcefully trying to remove the students in occupation of a room there, having called the police to the site. We’re not sure what the justfication they’re using is… it has always seemed to us that people reserve the right to peaceful protest to promote their viewpoint when the status quo fails- when that right is attempted to be removed under the pretext of law, the law ends being a means towards justice, but becomes an end in itself, with no benefit for those that are bound to follow it.

This is the statement by the Manchester students under occupation that can be found here. As they say, contact the Manchester University and police if you can.

THE UNIVERSITY ARE TRYING TO REMOVE THE STUDENTS IN OCCUPATION, THERE IS A DEMO OUTSIDE TO SUPPORT THEM, PLEASE COME AND JOIN THE PEACEFUL DEMO OUTSIDE!!!!!

and if you can’t come:

THE UNI HAVE CALLED THE POLICE PLEASE CONTACT BOTH THE UNI AND THE POLICE TO COMPLAIN!!!

UNI +44 (0) 161 306 6000
+44 (0)161 306 6010

POLICE 0161 872 5050

(be polite)

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Occupation at Strathclyde university

Similarly to the post before, an occupation is currently going on at Strathclyde university. Their facebook group can be found here, and some pictures here. There are also the beginnings of a blog here. The following is their list of demands. Do visit their facebook group and blog and give them your support. 

We demand:

-Cancel the contract with Eden Springs

-Divest of arms manufacturer BAE Systems and find 
alternative funding for the engineering department

-The SU board must issue a statement condemning Israel’s bombing of Gaza

-Pay for a facilitate 50 scholarships for Palestinian students

-Show solidarity with the Islamic University of Gaza. Write a letter of support, twin SU with the university and send money to help rebuild it

-Condemn the BBC for refusing to broadcast the DEC appeal for Gaza, show the appeal in lecture theatres and hold a fundraising day

-Oppose Israeli academics who promote military research at SU

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Manchester university Occupation in Support of Palestine

As in many other universities around the UK,  Students in Manchester University have occupied a university building, putting forth a list of demands to the university. The following are quotes from the student group’s blog which can be found here. A facebook event can also be found here, so make sure you follow both and give them your support!

The University of Manchester Occupation in solidarity with Gaza
Over 150 University of Manchester students have occupied the main university administration building in a demand for a stronger and more proactive position from the university on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The students have proposed a set of demands on the university’s Vice Chancellor Alan Gilbert, including a boycott of Israeli goods on campus, support for a day of fundraising with proceeds to the DEC fund, and that the university end research into manufacturing arms.

Over 500 students attended an emergency general meeting of the students union to discuss a motion on the issue of the crisis in Gaza, whereby the students marched on University administration headquarters, the John Owens Building, to draw up a list of demands.

The peaceful occupation is planned to continue for as long as it takes to achieve its demands, and promises to welcome high profile speakers during the week.

DEMANDS

1) University of Manchester should issue a formal statement condemning Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip, acknowledging particularly the effects on educational institutions such as the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University and expressing concern about war crimes allegations.

2) Support a day of fundraising across campus with the proceeds going to the DEC Gaza appeal.

3) University to publicise DEC advert in any way possible (including banner on the website) and put pressure on the BBC and sky to show the DEC advert.

4) All furniture & surplus supplies from buildings that are being renovated to be sent to Gaza on the Viva Palestina convoy.

5) Join the BDS movement through stopping sales of Israeli goods on university premises, the University should also stop buying any campus supplies from Israeli companies.

6) That the university divests from all companies directly involved in the manufacture of weaponry. We also demand that the university takes the issue of transparency in their investment seriously.

7) That the university publicly supports its students’ right to protest, such as occupations. That in line with this, the university will provide its facilities for a “Students for Palestine” conference, second week of April 09.

8 ) To send a public message of solidarity to the Islamic University in Gaza, whose campus has been virtually destroyed, and publish it on the university website and distribute it to the university wide e-mail addresses.

9) To give at lease five scholarships for Palestinian students as well as providing at least five scholarships for Israelis who refuse to serve in the IDF.

10) That the university make a module on the history of Palestine available as an optional module for any University of Manchester student.

11) That home fees apply to Palestinians students wanting to study at the University of Manchester.

12) No victimisation for those taking part in the Occupation, and free movement in and out of the occupied spaced.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1) For more information please contact manuni@actionpalestine.org
2) The group have set up a blog with frequent updates at: http://manunioccupation.wordpress.com/
3) Media outlets can contact katan at 07917206282 or 01612 75800

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Weekend conference on the Nakba, 21 of February

The Palestine Society at SOAS is co-organizing a weekend conference on the nakba and the history of the Palestinian National Movement (21/2 February). For all those interested in attending the events the program is attached here, including information on how to reach the conference and purchase tickets.
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New pages and material up

We’ve added a new page with various student resources we’ve been using for activism, including presentations, fliers, and posters, for interested individuals.

Islamic University of Gaza Press Release on attacks

The Islamic University of Gaza has issued a press release regarding the Israeli attacks on its grounds. I’ve added a new ‘Press Releases’ section in our resources page, the full text can be found there as well. Following is part of the press release. The full text, which we encourage you to read, includes requests for activism and links to various other groups and news sources:

Islamic university – Gaza

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Press Release

“Where’s the Academic Outrage Over the Bombing of a University 
in Gaza?”      (
http://www.counterpunch.org/gordon12312008.html)

Imagineyour university is bombarded with tons of explosives!!
 

On Saturday December 27th, 2008, the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) was ready to start the final exams of the fall semester for more than 20,000 students. On that day, more than 60 Israeli American-made F16 warplanes began to bomb the Palestinian population of Gaza at a time when the maximum number of children were going to and coming from schools.

On the next day, Sunday December 28th, Israeli F16 fighters bombed IUG with several missiles targeting two-six-storey buildings housing all university’s laboratories belonging to the colleges of IT, engineering and science. As in all other universities all over the world, these labs served the enhancement of teaching and learning skills.       

The bombardment of both buildings also caused extensive damages to all university buildings, including the central library and lecture halls and led to major disarray in completing the fall semester, entailing the inability of hundreds of students to graduate.

Although IUG has repeatedly emphasized pure academic activities conducted in its buildings and labs, such horrific attack is the 3rd of its kind in less than three years

The bombing come at a time IUG faces major financial difficulties as many students’ families cannot pay fees due to the high rate of unemployment caused by the siege imposed on Gaza by the Israeli army.

The Israeli propaganda machine which accompanied the brutal aggression in order to justify the extensive damages to many civilian educational and health facilities broadcasts massive misinformation, allegations and lies about the targets Israeli warplanes destroyed. To prevent any independent verification of the Israeli lies, the Israeli army prevented all foreign journalists and human rights monitors from entering Gaza during the aggression. 

 

After the attack stopped, the truth of the destructive bombing and using both internationally banned white phosphorus shells and dime bombs against civilian targets have been steadily confirmed by UN institutions, international media (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/printer10214.shtml) and above all Israeli academics and human rights groups who condemned such attacks.

 

We firmly believe that the illegal Israeli occupation has endlessly violated legitimacy of the international community and international law and has deliberately targeted the Palestinian academic institutions, including IUG, in a vain attempt to keep the Palestinians ignorant and insecure so that the oppressive Israeli occupation could last longer.

We therefore call upon all academics, faculty associations, student unions, professional and colleagues at large to show their support and solidarity to the right of the Palestinians to education. Several positive worldwide steps have already been taken including boycotting Israeli academic cultural institutions and activities.

Your solidarity and support for the right to education in Palestine is vital and highly appreciated.

 

Please spread wide and far.                                                 Email: extr@iugaza.edu.ps

Dr Kamalain Sha’ath

President, the Islamic University of Gaza

Tel 970 8 282 3310

Fax 970 8 286 3552

website:  http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/en/
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