boycotting study abroad programs in the zionist entity

bluestar-update1

last month i blogged about california faculty resisting study abroad programs between american universities and those in the zionist entity. now, apparently, some american professors who believe that massacring and ethnic cleansing are appropriate behaviors are trying to encourage their students to learn these behaviors at zionist universities. here is an email detailing this position:

IN SUPPORT OF the University of California’s Decision to Re-open the Education Abroad Program in Israel

We, the undersigned, support UC’s decision to reopen its Education Abroad Program (EAP) in Israel. The original decision in 2002 to close the program was based on security concerns, which have now been significantly reduced. A number of UC faculty have petitioned to have this decision rescinded due to Israeli restrictions on the operation of Palestinian educational institutions and subject to investigation of Hebrew University’s discriminatory policies towards Arab students. We the undersigned urge the university to stand by its decision.

*The petition requesting that the EAP not be re-opened in Israel must be placed in the context of a larger, on-going political struggle to isolate Israel diplomatically, educationally, culturally and economically. It is part of a strategy to characterize Israel as an apartheid state and to boycott Israel in the same manner that was done to the apartheid South African regime. * The two are not the same. Israel has granted its Arab residents citizenship and now faces a partition of the land between two peoples. South Africa confronted the challenge of extending citizenship to all its residents.

Although we regret the restrictions and disruptions to which Palestinian educational institutions are subject and those to which Israeli Arab, Palestinian, and potentially American students of Arab background may be subject within Israel, it is critical to place these restrictions in the context of a history of violent attacks against which Israel has a right to protect itself, indeed attacks that caused the closure of the EAP program in the first place.

Israel’s alleged violations of human rights are being unfairly singled out. Why are our colleagues who demand an end to EAP with Israel not also demanding an end to the present exchange programs with China — which violently suppresses Tibetan efforts to achieve even a modicum of self-determination and brutally crushes all efforts to democratize its society, or Russia — which invaded Georgia and conducted a war of suppression in Chechnya in which tens of thousands have lost their lives? To select out Israel which withdrew from Gaza, allowed the election of a Hamas government which calls for Israel’s destruction and that then went on to mount a concerted campaign of targeting Israeli civilians with suicide bombings and low-grade rockets, would be most unfair.

We do believe it is incumbent upon our university to assiduously protect the rights of our students who travel under its auspices abroad. But we believe that these efforts apply equally to any student of any group liable to suffer discrimination, harassment, not to mention detention and interrogation in any country where the University of California has an educational program.

Benjamin J. Cohen, Professor of Political Science, UCSB
Edwin M. Epstein, Professor Emeritus, International and Area Studies and Haas School
of Business, UCB
Claude Fischer, Professor of Sociology, UCB
Roger Friedland, Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology, UCSB
Thomas B. Gold, Associate Professor, Sociology, UCB
Ron Hassner, Assistant Professor, Political Science, UCB
Richard Hecht, Professor of Religious Studies, UCSB, Director, EAP, Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, 1982-1984
Estie Sid Hudes, Statistician, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, UCSF
David Levine, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law
Ann Swidler, Professor of Sociology, UCB
David Vogel, Professor, Haas School of Business, Department of Political Science, UCB
Maurice Zeitlin, Professor of Sociology, UCLA

and it seems that this is something that is being advertised at bus stops and in other public places around california as in the image below:

img_0451

therefore, friends of mine created a counter campaign and are putting up images in response (see image at the top and image below of this poster at a california bus stop):

billboard

here is their statement about the guerrilla poster campaign:

Guerrilla Ad Campaign Replaces Study In Israel Billboards

Students and community members near the UC Berkeley campus were surprised one weekend to see a series of bus shelter billboards asking, “What country uses live ammunition against unarmed children?” Below a photo of identically dressed schoolboys in front of a barbed wire fence is the answer: Israel.

The guerrilla ads replaced ads which also featured photos of groups of people, beneath the headline, “Study in Israel? You’d like it here.” The ad campaign was part of an intensive campaign to promote study in Israel at California universities. The University of California recently reinstated a study abroad program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, after years of strong lobbying from pro-Israel students and professionals. The program was suspended seven years ago based on concerns that the area was too dangerous.

“It’s ironic that the University of California has decided the area is less dangerous now than seven years ago, when 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed by the Israeli government in Gaza just four months ago,” said one of the creators of the alternative ad campaign, who prefers to remain anonymous. “2009 has already been the deadliest year for Palestinians since the Second Intifada began in September 2000.”

The replacement poster took a satirical tone, reading in part:

“For over eight years, Israel has been under siege. Unarmed Palestinian children have led the attack by crossing Israeli checkpoints, intimidating Israeli troops and provoking gunfire. Acting with extreme restraint, Israelis have killed no more than 1,100 children and seriously wounded only 4,000. Israeli troops have arrested over 6,000 children, but only 80% have been tortured….

“With your continued support we can do better. The U.S. government gave us $5 billion last year, but your additional contributions will help us arrest every Palestinian child, torture 100% of detainees, and rid ourselves of the menace of international human rights workers once and for all. In these tough economic times, think of Israel on April 15th and give generously.”

The poster made its first appearance on March 29, which is observed as Land Day by Palestinians all over the world. Land Day commemorates events of 33 years ago, when Israeli security forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel and injured many others. The young people were killed while protesting ongoing Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land for Jewish-only settlements.

The Study in Israel billboards were carefully designed to appeal to the U.C. system’s multicultural student body. One featured a group of Southeast Asians and another a women in hijab (traditional Muslim headcovering). One of the artists behind the alternative campaign finds this portrayal of Israel as a society that is welcoming to people of all cultures particularly troubling. “Not only is Israel an apartheid state, where Palestinians – whether they wear hijab or not – do not have equal rights with Jewish citizens, but Muslims who attempt to travel there as tourists or students are very likely not even to be allowed into the country,” the artist observed.

While the guerrilla ads are not affiliated with any organization, www.stopthewall.org, www.bdsmovement.net and www.whoprofits.org are excellent sources of information.

meanwhile, as if we needed yet another reason to boycott israeli terrorist universities a friend of mine is under attack at his university. here is the statement about his case from electronic intifada:

The impressive growth of the Palestinian civil society campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, particularly after its criminal war of aggression on the occupied Gaza Strip, is testimony to the morality and consistency of ordinary citizens and civil society organizations around the world concerned about restoring Palestinian rights and achieving justice for Palestinians.

The most recent achievement of the Israel boycott movement was the adoption of BDS — nearly by consensus — by the Scottish Trade Union Congress, following the example set by the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

In despair over their evident inability to stop or even hold back the growing tide of BDS across the globe, Israel apologists have resorted to an old tactic at which they seem to excel: witch hunts and smear campaigns. A self-styled McCarthyist academic monitor group in Israel has launched a petition calling for the expulsion of Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), from Tel Aviv University, where he is enrolled as a doctoral student. The Israeli campaign urges the university administration to expel Barghouti due to his leading role in the BDS movement that calls for boycotting Israel and all institutions complicit in its occupation and apartheid.

To date, more than 65,000 persons have reportedly signed this right-wing Israeli petition that depicts Barghouti as an “especially strident and persuasive voice” against Israeli colonial and racist policies. Several media columns by Zionist journalists in Israel and the United Kingdom, among others, have tried to use the “revelation” that Barghouti, “now enrolled” at an Israeli university, is politically inconsistent for calling for the boycott of all Israeli academic institutions while he is a student at one of them. Other than the clear dishonesty and underhandedness of these same media in presenting the case as if Barghouti has just — or recently — enrolled in an Israeli university despite themselves having reported years ago that he was already enrolled then, the reports have made some glaring omissions about the Israeli apartheid context, the widely endorsed criteria of the PACBI boycott, and the system of racial discrimination in Israel’s educational system against the indigenous Palestinians.

While consistently calling upon academics around the world to boycott Israel and its academic — and cultural — institutions due to their entrenched collusion in the state’s colonial and apartheid policies, PACBI has never called upon Palestinian citizens of Israel and those who are compelled to carry Israeli identification documents, like Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem, to refrain from studying or teaching at those Israeli institutions. That would have been an absurd position, given the complete lack of alternatives available. Successive Israeli governments, committed to suppressing Palestinian national identity in their pursuit of maintaining Israel’s character as a racist state, have made every effort possible to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian university inside Israel. The only choice left to Palestinian students and academics in Israel, then, is to go to an Israeli university or leave their homeland to pursue their studies or academic careers abroad — often not possible due to financial or other compelling reasons. In fact, the Israeli authorities have consistently worked to strip Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem of their Israeli ID cards and thus their residency rights while they study abroad, thereby prohibiting them from returning.

Palestinians in Israel are treated as second-class citizens in every vital aspect of life and are subjected to a system of “institutional, legal and societal discrimination,” as admitted even in US State Department reports on human rights. In the field of education this discrimination is dominant throughout the system, as the following conclusion from a ground-breaking Human Rights Watch study published in 2001 states:

“The hurdles Palestinian Arab students face from kindergarten to university function like a series of sieves with sequentially finer holes. At each stage, the education system filters out a higher proportion of Palestinian Arab students than Jewish students. … And Israel’s courts have yet to use … laws or more general principles of equality to protect Palestinian Arab children from discrimination in education.”

Palestinians, like any people under apartheid or colonial rule, have insisted on their rights, including their right to education, even if the only venues available were apartheid or colonial institutions. Nelson Mandela studied law at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, one of the most notorious apartheid institutes then. Similarly, leaders of the anti-colonial resistance movement in India and Egypt, among many other countries, received their education at British universities at the height of the colonial era.

PACBI has always made a distinction between the forms and range of academic boycott it urges the world to adopt and what Palestinians themselves can implement. The former have a moral choice to boycott Israeli universities in order to hold them accountable for their shameful, multifaceted complicity in perpetuating the occupation and racist policies of the state; the latter are often left with no choice but to use the services of the oppressive state, to which they pay taxes.

Finally, we stress that it is precisely PACBI’s five-year-old record of moral and political consistency and the growing influence of its principles and the campaigns it and its partners have waged around the world that have provoked Zionist anti-boycott forces to try, yet again, to rehash old attacks of inconsistency, failing to understand or intentionally and deceptively ignoring the boycott criteria set by PACBI. We urge all academics, academic unions, cultural figures and cultural associations to adopt whatever creative form of BDS their context allows them. This remains the most effective and morally sound form of solidarity with the Palestinian people in our struggle for freedom, dignity, equality and self determination.

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