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Announcement :: Organizing : Palestine
Rally for Suspended Northeastern SJP Tuesday at 10AM
by Northeastern SJP
16 Mar 2014
URGENT – NORTHEASTERN STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE SUSPENDED BY UNIVERSITY. COME TO SOLIDARITY RALLY TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 10 AM.The administration of Northeastern University has suspended Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) after months of discriminatory restrictions. Two students of color face disciplinary action for leafletting student dormitories, while no white SJP members have been singled out for sanctions.
These two students will attend disciplinary hearings on the morning of Tuesday, March 18th and SJP has called for the solidarity of the greater Boston community. Whether you support justice for Palestine or simply free speech on campus, come out at 10 AM to defend these brave students who have done nothing more than speak out for human rights.
We will meet on the public sidewalk in front of the Krentzman Quadrangle, by the Northeastern University stop on the MBTA Green line.
We will march entirely on public sidewalks, and legal observers will be present.
Please spread the word far and wide!
This work is in the public domain
Re: Rally for Suspended Northeastern SJP Tuesday at 10AM
by Miharu Sugie
(No verified email address)
16 Mar 2014
Mock eviction notices lead to suspension of NU’s Students for Justice in Palestine http://huntnewsnu.com/2014/03/mock-eviction-notices-lead-to-suspension-o/
By Miharu Sugie, News Staff
In some Northeastern residence halls, fake eviction notices were slipped under the doors of unsuspecting students’ rooms, in late February. Each notice bore bolded words like “demolition,” a concept foreign to many students but one that drives fear into many Palestinian families. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a Northeastern student-run organization, distributed these flyers marked with “#BostonMockEviction” to bring this reality to students.
As a result of the action, SJP was suspended until December on March 7 by the Northeastern administration for repeated “disregard for university policies over an extended period of time,” according to a statement from the university sent to The News yesterday. The administration specified several violations: “vandalism of university property, distribution of flyers in residence halls without prior approval and disrupting the events of other student groups.” These policies, according to the administration, can be found in the Student Organization Resource Guide.
Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support and legal advisor to to SJP since last spring, when the administration put SJP on probation, said that two female members are being investigated by the Northeastern University Public Safety Division (NUPD) in addition to the suspension. They were summonsed to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), according to Khalidi.
“Many SJP members feel as though they’ve committed a crime and I’d like to sort of make clear that we have not had hearings to answer these charges about distributing flyers,” said Max Geller, president of SJP and a third-year law student.
In response, members of SJP have started a petition via change.org against Northeastern to release SJP from suspension and drop all charges against the organization’s members.
Soon after SJP’s suspension, Northeastern associate dean of Cultural, Residential and Spiritual Life Robert O. Jose sent an email to students stating that the university does not condone disruptive behavior that threatens or targets members of the Northeastern community.
“The issue here is not one of free speech or the exchange of disparate ideas,” the university’s statement to The News said. “Instead, it is about holding every member of our community to the same standards, and addressing SJP’s non-compliance with longstanding policies to which all student organizations at Northeastern are required to adhere.”
However, Geller said he thinks the issue is less about a violation of policies and more of a scrutiny of the content of the eviction notices. He said that many organizations seem to post flyers without proper authorization; he noted that students on campus walk by hundreds of leaflets and unauthorized posters on glass windows, which can potentially be a fire hazard, everyday.
“I see those every day, and you see those everyday, every student sees those everyday,” Geller said. “The fact that Northeastern SJP is being charged as a group for what the university calls the acts of individuals, in fact we’re being charged as a group, for putting up flyers, a thing that everyone does all the time, it has more to do with our content then the act of flyering. It’s the content of those flyers that the university is really responding to and that’s an upsetting notion. That is a real problem for those of us who take academic freedom and free speech seriously.”
“SJP as a group is being treated differently and are viewed with a lot more scrutiny because of what we think is their message,” Khalidi said. “This differential treatment is the problem here.”
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and NLG Palestine Subcommittee member Barbara Harvey added that pro-Palestine groups tend to be scrutinized more because many accuse them of anti-Semitism, discrimination and harassment.
“This is a worrying trend we see not just at Northeastern,” Khalidi said.
Many universities’ administrations have been targeting specific activism because of the reaction by groups that strongly support Israel and private universities have more flexibility enforcing policies, compared to public schools because public schools are bound by the constitution, Khalidi said.
Although Khalidi said there have been many instances of such scrutiny of pro-Palestine groups, the Department of Education (DOE) recently declared in August 2013 that student activism criticizing Israel’s state policies and supporting Palestine was in fact not anti-Semitic harassment. This decision to dismiss complaints of anti-semitic harassment at the University of California at Berkeley protects the sort of freedom of speech that Geller said the SJP and other student organizations should have.
“It’s not anti-semitic to express criticism against a nation-state’s official state policy,” Harvey said. “You have to use an objective standard and someone’s feelings being hurt is not an objective standard. It’s subjective standard.”
Northeastern Hillel executive director Arinne Braverman wrote on the Huskies For Israel’s Facebook page about the incident: “The mock eviction notice is a publicity stunt that has been used at other college campuses in the past. It includes factually inaccurate content about Israel and is part of a campaign of intimidation and fear used to manipulate public opinion against Israel.” On Facebook, Braverman encouraged anyone with concerns to contact her and other officers of Hillel. She declined to comment further.
Less than a day after Jose’s email reached the Northeastern community, SJP had already gathered approximately 3,300 signatures. People in other states and abroad have signed the petition.
“I am very disappointed at the obvious abuse of censorship that is being used to silence the conflict rather than flesh it out and present an opportunity for both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian members of the respective student groups to voice their opinions,” Ibis Valdes, a political science and international affairs major who signed the petition, said.
Harvey said that private universities like Northeastern are not bound by the First Amendment. To threaten students based on the content of their speech is “contrary to providing a healthy, vibrant environment.” Harvey calls this “content-based discrimination.”
“I can’t say whether everything they do or say is correct or put the best way, but [organizations like SJP] are an outlet of expression that must exist in human society,” Anthony Phillips, a second-year history major who also signed the petition, said. “Struggling people simply have to be heard. If we didn’t have SJP or groups that are willing to take a stand, debate and promote their opinion and the spirit which compels people to do this, protest and speak out, then there wouldn’t be a Northeastern, there wouldn’t be a Boston as we know it.”
In the past, Geller said, SJP has attempted to reach out to the university’s general counsel, Ralph C. Martin II, and President Joseph E. Aoun with much difficulty, but Geller said that SJP welcomes any opportunity to speak with the administration.
“Being a part of the Northeastern community is really important to us and being told as an organization that we’re no longer welcome hurts our feelings and is disappointing,” Geller said. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Re: Rally for Suspended Northeastern SJP Tuesday at 10AM
by International Socialist Organization
(No verified email address)
17 Mar 2014
Click on image for a larger version
Boycott Israel - We're starting to win
AT THE end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the BDS movement, which has been building for some time, gained an unprecedented profile, through the combination of the American Studies Association boycott resolution and the fallout from the SodaStream and Scarlett Johansen marketing deal. Have you been at all surprised by the pace of recent events?
I DON'T think it's taken me by surprise. In fact, just after Barack Obama was elected president, I wrote an article looking forward to the next four years. I predicted two things. One was that the U.S.-sponsored "peace process" would go absolutely nowhere, and that turned out to be true. And the other was that the BDS movement would increasingly be seen as a significant factor in the relationship and in the conflict between Palestine and the Israelis. That's exactly what happened.
I say it doesn't surprise me because I have had the privilege of traveling to many places where grassroots activists are working on these BDS campaigns with incredible tenacity and dedication. If you see the kind of work people are doing, and the kind of dedication they have, then I don't think you can be surprised by the successes and the high profile that we've seen in recent months.
Having said that, it is definitely amazing progress. It is gratifying to see these issues becoming mainstream, the discussion becoming mainstream. And the key thing about BDS is that it has really brought the discussion away from these fantasy "peace" talks, back to what is really happening to Palestinians--to the siege of Gaza, to Israel's ongoing theft of land, to the economic exploitation of Palestinian workers by the Israeli occupation and by occupation profiteers like SodaStream. That is all very positive for what happens next.
HOW BIG a factor do you think BDS is in the calculations of American and Israeli politicians as they attempt to coordinate the future of the region?
I THINK it's a huge factor. In my new book, I have a chapter called "Israel fights back against BDS." I point out that it was during a 2011 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that President Obama gave his pledge to the pro-Israel lobby that he would fight against the BDS movement.
And it was in 2010 that the Israeli government adopted this all-out war strategy against the BDS movement. That was a recommendation made by the Reut Institute, which is an Israeli think tank close to the Israeli government and intelligence services. So four years ago, Israel and pro-Israel groups in the United States and around the world launched an all-out war against the Palestine solidarity movement, in particular against students on campus.
Yet here we are four years later, and BDS is bigger than ever, and you have Israeli government ministers like Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and other leading Israeli politicians, now including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying BDS is among the biggest threats Israel faces. So what does that tell you? They invested millions of dollars, perhaps tens of millions of dollars, to fight a grassroots movement, and they see it as a bigger threat than ever.
It's pretty remarkable. Another sign of the success and growth of BDS is the fact that U.S. officials, like Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and others, are speaking out against BDS. It goes to show that they are bringing out all the big guns.
Of course, this follows the ASA vote to respect the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. So all this goes to show that this is a grassroots movement and that it is not dependent on the blessing or consent of people in power. It is a movement that is growing despite their best efforts to malign it, to defame it, to sabotage it and to stop it.
IN RECENT months, a number of pro-Israel figures--people like Peter Beinart or Roger Cohen who are liberals or who at least consider themselves liberals--have argued forcefully against the BDS movement. Have they been effective?
THEY ARE typical of progressives against Palestine. As I point out in the book, Peter Beinart has been one of the people who is supposedly critical of the Israeli occupation, but he has been very explicit in saying he opposes equal rights for Palestinians because he sees equal rights as a threat to Israel as a so-called Jewish state.
And more recently, with the controversy over SodaStream and Scarlett Johansen, we've had other so called liberals, like Jane Eisner, the editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, making these arguments that these factories in the settlements are actually good for Palestinians because they are providing jobs.
But as my colleague Rania Khalek has pointed out at ElectronicIntifada.net, these are exactly the same arguments that American and British conservatives and right wingers used to make in order to oppose the boycott of apartheid South Africa. They would say that divestment from and sanctions on South Africa would hurt Black workers, that it would hurt the people we are trying to help. People look back on those things now with embarrassment and shame.
IT SEEMS like the narrative about Palestine and Palestinians has discernibly transformed in recent months. Israeli officials may try to stick to the script that they oppose Palestinian statehood because of their concerns about Israeli security. But now there is the reemergence of the reality that Palestinians are an oppressed and occupied people. Could you talk about how the issue of Palestinian self-determination is being reintegrated into this discussion after a long absence from it?
WE ARE really at a crossroads moment. The paradigm of the so-called "two-state solution" is dead. Sure, Secretary of State John Kerry and Obama are still going through the motions with the so-called peace process, but no serious person--and certainly not the Israeli leadership or the Palestinian Authority (PA)--believes that this is going to end in two states living side by side in peace.
These are two leaderships that have to go along with this sham in order to avoid angering the United States too much because they have various pokers in the fire with the U.S. Admitting failure and admitting that the paradigm that you've been pushing for decades is a hollow shell is extremely costly, especially for the PA. It's costly politically, it's costly ideologically, and it's costly materially for people who are profiting from the status quo.
But I think Palestinians are going through a process collectively of examining what it is that is fundamental to them. And it turns out that for Palestinians, the right of return, the right to be equal, and the right to live and move freely in their country are far more fundamental than having a so-called state, especially one shorn of sovereignty and any shred of independence that exists on only a fraction of their home land.
So I think Palestinians are going through a process of redefining or rediscovering what self-determination means. Some of the major developments are happening not just in the West Bank and Gaza, but in present-day Israel, in the 1948 areas, where Palestinian youth and Palestinian citizens of Israel are leading a movement to return to their parents' and grandparents' villages, to establish permanent presences in those places, and not to wait for the United Nations or President Obama or someone else to bless their right of return, but actually to exercise it. That really is self-determination.
We are saying that we are human beings, that we deserve to be accorded the full rights that human beings have, and we do not accept the secondary status that Zionism imposes on us, where Zionism says that if you're Jewish, you are privileged in this land, and if you are Palestinian you are nothing.
In fact, they are saying to us that you are literally garbage. Think about the Jahalin Bedouins who were pushed of their land in the 1990s to build the settlement where SodaStream has its factory today. The Jahalin Bedouins were pushed off their land and into a garbage dump. Israel literally views Palestinians as garbage, and self-determination means asserting our humanity, our full humanity, and not accepting the second-class status that Zionism and President Obama would like to impose on Palestinians.
CAN WE turn to a discussion to the two-state solution and the one-state solution?
WHAT'S LEFT to discuss about the two-state solution? It's finished.
IT IS indeed remarkable how a decade ago there was widespread support for the two-state solution, even among Palestinians, but today the landscape is transformed. Nevertheless, there are still some defenders of the two-state paradigm, but it's true their arguments are largely negative. Liberal Zionist, for example, argue, "People can't just live as equals in one state. That would never happen."
LOOK AT who is today vigorously defending the so-called two-state solution. It is mostly, not entirely, but mostly, liberal Zionists. And there are some Palestinians too, but I don't meet many of them. It's mostly liberal Zionists, and they are desperate to have a so-called Palestinian state, because their concern is to preserve a gerrymandered Jewish majority, so that Jews can control the politics and economy and culture of Israel.
For them, it's about racial, ethnic, religious gerrymandering. I think more and more people have come to understand that the two-state solution is not about liberating Palestinians, it's not about Palestinian self-determination. It's about preserving and legitimizing Israeli apartheid and the Jewish supremacy that Zionism demands. I think in the 21st century, more and more people are saying that we have to move towards a world where people are treated equally, and where your ethnicity and your religion don't determine the rights you have. And that's where I think the change is happening.
Then there's the reality on the ground. The fact is that the most ardent foe of the so-called two-state solution has been Israel, which continues to colonize and settle Palestinian land, to the point where there is a reality of a single state, but it is an apartheid state. I think that's why the shift has happened, and I think it is a really important shift. At the time that my book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse was published in 2007, people who talked about a single democratic state were definitely in a minority and definitely viewed as marginal--or viewed with amusement or contempt or just some kind of curiosity.
Now I think really the argument is over. In The Battle for Justice in Palestine, I quote John Kerry desperately arguing against a one-state solution.
The fact that a U.S. Secretary of State has to take time to address this issue just goes to show that it's really become mainstream. Of course, I've heard the negative arguments about a single state a lot since the publication of One Country, and that was part of my motivation for writing The Battle for Justice in Palestine. In the new book, I actually respond to these counterarguments very directly.
I address very directly the claims that Israelis would never accept this and that Palestinians and Israelis couldn't live together in a chapter called "Israeli Jews and the one-state solution," and I'm really looking forward to people reading and engaging with these arguments.
For example, the claim that we should not talk about equality or ending apartheid because Israeli Jews would never accept it or because the vast majority of Israeli Jews currently support it is a bogus argument to begin with. If we take the example of South Africa, the vast majority of whites in South Africa fervently opposed ending apartheid, and they made all the same arguments that Israeli Jews now make: "It's not that we're racist, but this is a matter of survival for us." Or: "If we are subsumed in a 'flood' of Africans," in the way Israelis talk about a flood of Palestinian refugees, "it will be the end of us. We'll be thrown into the sea."
As I show in the book, white attitudes were pretty solidly against a one-person, one-vote system in South Africa until very close to the time that it happened--into the early 1990s. Now of course, nobody in South Africa admits that they supported apartheid. The fact is that whites overwhelmingly supported it until close to the end.
What made them change was not that they woke up one morning and said, "We're wrong." It's that the balance of power shifted. And the balance of power shifted because of people's struggles, primarily on the ground in South Africa, but also because of international solidarity. And I think that in the Palestinian case, the struggle and the international solidarity in the form of BDS is already forcing Israelis to reexamine the idea that they can enjoy supremacy and impunity forever. They are starting to recognize that there is an expiration date to Israeli apartheid.
LASTLY, WHAT do you think the future in the short- to medium-term holds for the Palestinian struggle? What tasks are there for those who advocate for Palestinian liberation? Is it basically more of the same, such as organizing solidarity with the struggles of Palestinian political prisoners and various BDS campaigns? Or are there new directions that we must contemplate?
OF COURSE, I don't have a crystal ball, but I can say this: I think that it is within our reach to see this situation transform radically in the next few years. I was very touched that BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti said that my book offered what he called "educated hope" and that my colleague Rania Khalek said it offered "realistic hope." In other words, I really do think that this situation is ripe for transformation.
I think that the major tasks ahead of us now are to continue the solidarity work, to continue to grow and strengthen the BDS movement, and to remember that this work is first and foremost about making the case for decolonization, making the case for equality, making the case for justice. The amazing thing is that it's a case that people are ready to hear, and it's a case that many people who previously supported Israel, right or wrong, are starting to hear.
So I feel very optimistic that the work we're doing in the next few years is really going to make a difference. And this is work that is of course in support and solidarity with Palestinians who are struggling in Palestine, in every part of Palestine. And we mustn't forget also that Palestinians in other places, particularly Palestinians in Syria, are still facing new disasters. Over the past three years, as a result of the Syrian civil war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced--yet again--from their refugee camps in Syria. Many of them have fled to other countries in absolutely desperate situations. Of course in Yarmouk camp in Syria, in Damascus, people have been starving to death.
This is a reminder that as long as Palestine is colonized, as long as Palestine is a place of apartheid, a place of walls, a place of fences, Palestinians can never be safe. It is Palestinians who need safety, who need a refuge, who need to be able to go back to their country. That is an urgent task, and I really do feel that it is within our grasp and within our reach to achieve it in the next few years.
Re: Rally for Suspended Northeastern SJP Tuesday at 10AM
by Philip Giraldi
(No verified email address)
17 Mar 2014
Click on image for a larger version
Israel Is No Ally - But is it even a friend?
By Philip Giraldi • March 13, 2014
Inside the beltway types and the media constantly refer to Israel as an ally, which it is not. Israeli soldiers have never fought beside American troops and to be an ally you need an actual alliance on paper. No such legally binding document exists between Washington and Tel Aviv. Sycophants in congress are also fond of calling Israel Washington’s best or closest friend in spite of the fact that it does actual damage to the United States through using its considerable access to the government and media to promote policies that are good neither for the US nor for Israel itself. Recalling the expression that a friend does not let a friend drive drunk, one might observe that the United States has been driving drunk for quite some time, dangerous behavior that has to some extent been encouraged by Israel and its many supporters in Washington.
Israel might or might not have been an actual enabler of the disastrous American invasion of Iraq but it is undeniably true that the Pentagon officials who contributed to the “Clean Break” recommendations prepared for Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 were subsequently behind the rush to war and the forgery of phony intelligence that fed the process. And Iran is Iraq redux. If the Washington goes to war with Tehran in the near future it will not be because Iranians actually threaten America, it will be because Israel and its powerful lobby in the US have succeeded in creating an essentially false casus belli to bring about such action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who once commented that 9/11 was good for Israel, has repeatedly sought to commit the United States to draw red lines that would narrow options for the White House and de facto require it to take military action against Iran. Congress is meanwhile advancing legislation that would commit the United States to intervene militarily in support of a unilateral Israeli attack, meaning that Israel could easily be empowered to make the decision on whether or not the US goes to war.
Nothing relating to Israel is quite like how the US interacts with other countries. Direct grants, forgiveness of loans, charitable exemptions, and Pentagon co-production schemes all contribute to the dollar costs that go to support Israel, measures that are not in place for any other nation. Congress also recently approved by a 410 to 1 vote the United States Israel Strategic Partnership Act which grants to Israel an exemption from the reciprocity mandated by the so-called visa waiver program. Israelis will be able to travel freely to the United States while their government will be allowed to refuse entry to American citizens, a privilege granted to no other visa waiver country. One congressman has even introduced a bill to cut off federal funding for any academic organization that engages in boycotting Israel. Boycotting other countries is apparently okay.
Israel involves itself in American elections, most recently on behalf of Mitt Romney, it has corrupted our congress, its head of government publicly humiliates our own head of state, its government ministers insult and ridicule John Kerry, and its intelligence officers actually provide alarmist and inaccurate private briefings for American Senators on Capitol Hill. No other country interferes in our system in as many ways as Israel.
That Israel, accustomed to behaving with impunity towards its alleged friend and patron in Washington, might manufacture a pretext reminiscent of the Lavon Affair in Alexandria Egypt in 1954 or the false flag attack carried out on the USS Liberty in 1967 that killed 34 US sailors and civilians to draw the US into a new conflict is not unthinkable. Israel also strongly supports using force to intervene in Syria, a proposition that is opposed overwhelmingly by the American public. In short, Israel has no reluctance to use its enormous political and media clout in the US to pressure successive administrations to conform to its own foreign and security policy views.
One other very good reason why Israel should not receive a free pass on its behavior as well as billions of dollars in military assistance annually is its persistent espionage against the United States. American friends of Israel stole enriched uranium from a Pennsylvania refinery to create the country’s secret nuclear arsenal. More recently we have learned how Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer born in Israel, arranged for the illegal purchase of 800 nuclear triggers. He picked up his first Oscar on March 2nd without any interference from the FBI.
The existence of a large scale Israeli spying network at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported, incorporating Israeli companies in New Jersey and Florida as well as hundreds of “art students” nationwide. Five Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the twin towers going down, the so-called “Dancing Shlomos.” Did Israel know in advance about 9/11? Many in the intelligence community believe that it certainly had knowledge of some aspects relating to the terrorist attack.
While it is often observed that everyone spies on everyone else, particularly true when one is referring to our own NSA, spying is a high risk business and most countries are extremely careful when spying on friends for fear of blowback. Israel, which relies on Washington for billions of dollars in aid and also for political cover in international fora like the United Nations, does not spy discreetly, largely because it knows that few in Washington will seek to hold it accountable. There were, for example, no consequences for the Israelis when Israeli Mossad intelligence officers using US passports and pretending to be Americans recruited terrorists to carry out attacks inside Iran. Israelis using US passports in that fashion puts every American traveler or businessman at risk.
Israel, where government and business work hand in hand, has obtained significant advantage by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. The US developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports with considerably reduced research and development costs, giving them a huge advantage against US competitors. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of an adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that are believed to incorporate technology developed by American companies, including the Python-3 air-to-air missile and the Delilah cruise missile. There is evidence that Israel has also stolen Patriot missile avionics to incorporate into its own Arrow system and that it used US technology obtained in its Lavi fighter development program, which was funded by the US taxpayer to the tune of $1.5 billion, to help the Chinese develop their own J-10 fighter.
The reality of Israeli spying is indisputable. Jonathan Pollard, Ben-Ami Kadish, Stuart Nozette and Larry Franklin are spies for Israel who have been caught, but apart from Pollard they all received no or light sentences and are only the tip of the iceberg. Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage.” The 2005 report states “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizable armaments industry.” It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information. The 2005 report concluded that the thefts eroded US military advantage, enabling foreign powers to obtain expensive technologies that had taken years to develop.
A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon. “Placing Israeli nationals in key industries …is a technique utilized with great success.” A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries described how Israeli citizens residing in the US had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtained classified plans for a reconnaissance system, and passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users. An Israeli company was caught monitoring a Department of Defense telecommunications system to obtain classified information, while other Israeli entities targeted avionics, missile telemetry, aircraft communications, software systems, and advanced materials and coatings used in missile re-entry.
The GAO has concluded that Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.” In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge overruled an appeal by an Israeli who had been denied a security clearance, stating, “The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.” More recently, FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department. He provides a “conservative estimate” of 125 viable investigations into Israeli espionage involving both American citizens and Israelis that were stopped due to political pressure from above.
So is Israel an ally of the United States? The answer is most definitely no. Is it even a friend? Well, I suppose there are all kinds of friends in the world but if you judge Israel by its record on how it interacts with the American government and people I think the answer would also have to be no.
Re: Rally for Suspended Northeastern SJP Tuesday at 10AM
by International Socialist Organization
(No verified email address)
17 Mar 2014
From Roxbury to Ramallah
March 17, 2014
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at Northeastern University was suspended last week for handing out mock eviction notices to raise awareness about home demolitions and other injustices suffered by Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid. The SJP at Northeastern University has mounted a defense campaign, and support is pouring in from across the country and around the world.
Northeastern SJP member Ryan Branagan spoke to Madeline Burrows and Kristen Martin about the years-long campaign by pro-Israel groups to target the SJP chapter at Northeastern--and the importance of connections between Palestine and other social justice issues on Northeastern's campus.
THIS ISN'T the first time Northeastern's SJP has been under attack. Can you talk about the history of intimidation against SJP at Northeastern?
I WOULD mark 2010 as the beginning. That's when Charles Jacobs, who's connected to Zionist organizations like Americans for Peace and Tolerance and the David Project, started making videos about Northeastern SJP and posting them on his website www.shameonneu.com. He makes videos defaming SJP; the Islamic Society at Northeastern; Imam Faaruuq, who was actually fired in 2012; and a few professors who have given presentations at SJP events and are not afraid to criticize Israel.
Imam Faaruuq was a very justice-minded imam. He was involved with the Roxbury mosque, and he was also the spiritual adviser at Northeastern and attended many SJP events. He talked about the continued apartheid system in Palestine. He talked about the persecution of Tarek Mahenna and Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani political prisoner who was tortured by the United States. So he earned the ire of Charles Jacobs by standing up against the Islamophobic legal proceedings that were going on in Boston.
Between April 2013 and March 7, 2014, somebody at Northeastern was influenced by these videos from Americans for Peace and Tolerance, and that's how it led to our official sanctioning. Hillel is a campus-affiliated organization, but not a student group. There is a relationship, but the administration doesn't have any oversight over Hillel. It's absurd that outside community groups are influencing how a student organization gets punished by a campus administration.
CAN YOU describe the mock eviction action, which the administration cites as a reason for suspending SJP?
THE WHOLE point is to raise awareness about the 47,000 Palestinian homes that have been demolished since 1967, and I think it has been very effective.
Our mock eviction notice very clearly states that it is not a real eviction. Hillel and Huskies for Israel sent a letter to the administration saying we were "endangering" students, and then without any evaluation of the situation whatsoever, the Northeastern administration suspended SJP. The language of the charges is taken not only from Hillel and Huskies for Israel, but also Americans for Peace and Tolerance, the Anti-Defamation League and the Zionist Organization of America--national Zionist organizations which are incredibly powerful and notoriously hostile to even the slightest expression of sympathy for Palestine.
We also did an action where we walked out of an Israeli soldier's speech on campus, and for that, we were put on probation. The administration argued that we were disrupting another student organization's event, and it was not in keeping with the student code of conduct, which promotes civility between groups.
Basically, we were being punished for not being polite enough, but of course, that's not really why. It's not like they're worried about mean people on campus. They were worried about Israel specifically. That's what was being punished.
WHAT ARE the charges that SJP is facing?
THERE ARE six or seven charges. One is failure to not cancel an event after being ordered to do so by the university, which is false. Another is vandalism on campus, which, again, we didn't do. Another charge was not writing a civility statement, which we did--they just didn't like it.
WHAT IS a civility statement?
ONE OF our sanctions was that we had to write a civility statement before December 2013 describing in detail how we're going to "civilly" relate to other student groups on campus. Basically, what they wanted was something that we wrote ourselves that they could later use against us to further sanction or expel us.
We agreed to write one, and we said we will base our civility on the First Amendment, and we think it is uncivil to bring war criminals to the university. That's uncivil, not us. And the last charge was endangerment of students. How did we endanger students with fliers that clearly say, "This is not real"?
WHAT ABOUT the lawsuit filed by Zionist organizations against Northeastern?
THE LAWSUIT was a terrible perversion of the Civil Rights Act. What it said was that the "failure" of the Northeastern administration to crack down on SJP meant that for pro-Israel students and Jewish students in general, Northeastern was creating a culture that was not welcoming. So these groups were suing the university to defund them federally because of non-compliance with the federal Civil Rights Act. Absurd.
These groups have used this same tactic from Berkeley to Barnard, and every single time they have tried, it's been thrown out of court. But Zionists keep bringing these up. Why do they do this? Their tactic is to pressure the administration to get rid of the problem, which is us. So the administration sees us as a legal liability and then makes something up about us and censors us.
And the Northeastern administration were wet noodles. They clamped down on their own students because of pressure from these outside organizations. That's why you see such an outpouring of support for Northeastern SJP--because what the administration did was very explicit, in-your-face and heavy handed.
CAN YOU tell us about the two students who are facing disciplinary proceedings?
THE EVICTION action took place during Israeli Apartheid Week a few weeks ago. There were many students involved, including students who were not members of SJP, who let us into dorms or otherwise helped us out, because they were in support of what we were doing. This was a very diverse group.
Two days after the action, one of our youngest student members, an 18-year-old woman of color, was visited by the campus cops in her dorm room, and they also visited another woman of color. These were the only two who were visited. And though a few others got calls from the administration, none of the white and male members even got calls.
They went after the people that they thought were most vulnerable. The students who got calls were the ones with the most Muslim-sounding names. Some of our other members of color, men and women, were called on the basis of their names. Ryan Branagan was not called. Max Geller was not called.
WOULD YOU say Northeastern has a history of racism and other diversity problems?
ABSOLUTELY. WE'RE seeing the tip of the iceberg. If you walk through campus, you can visit the Raytheon Amphitheater. Raytheon is a U.S.-based war profiteer, responsible for the production of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which we know are for murdering Iraqi and Libyan civilians. Raytheon is part and parcel of U.S. imperialism.
Look at the spatial reality of Northeastern University. It's right on the border of Roxbury and has begun to gentrify the community. If you go across the Orange Line, you're in a completely different world. Northeastern has never talked about the gentrification of its own campus community, yet it wants to talk about human rights and being a global leader. It's has been featured in the news media for being the third greenest university, but it's a total greenwashing of the actual oppression at Northeastern.
Even when it comes to its own employees, adjuncts, who teach the vast majority of classes at Northeastern University, are making poverty wages, while President Aoun is the second most highly paid university president in the country at $3.1 million every year.
YOU'VE BEEN trying to get solidarity from faculty at Northeastern university, but it's been challenging because so many are adjunct professors. Can you talk about some of that organizing?
EVEN TENURED faculty are afraid because there's a culture of union busting at Northeastern. They've hired the notorious law firm Jackson Lewis, which literally wrote the book on union busting. So at this liberal university, they're spending big money on lawyers to crush adjunct organizing efforts, so they don't have to pay their own employees.
All that being said, you have vast support for unionization among the adjuncts. They are working with other students groups like the Progressive Student Alliance to make this a possibility. It's something that SJP and every student group should get behind.
AFTER THE American Studies Association (ASA) voted to honor the Palestinian call for academic boycott of Israeli institutions, university presidents across the country came out strongly in opposition. What was the reaction on Northeastern's campus? Have there been any boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaigns at Northeastern?
PRESIDENT AOUN came out very strongly against the ASA boycott, saying it was an attack on academic freedom, and that this was against the spirit of Northeastern University and we needed to be encouraging dialogue. Then, a few months later, he cracks down on students organizing for justice in Palestine.
BDS has been difficult because of the lack of transparency about Northeastern's investments. They don't have to tell us what they're invested in. I think students should have more of a say. We have no voting power on the board of trustees. The student government is symbolic.
CAN YOU talk about the response from other student groups and the way you've been able to build alliances? What groups have explicitly endorsed your campaign?
THE PROGRESSIVE Student Alliance, which is working on the adjunct faculty organizing campaign, explicitly came out in our favor. The Latino Student Organization (LASO) also came out explicitly in our favor. We also have a lot of informal support. What's even more amazing is that there probably isn't one single SJP in the country that hasn't said something in support of us.
Northeastern got a message the other day from Italy. On our petition, we're getting signatures from Tel Aviv, from Palestinians in Gaza. People in Sweden are actively following the events at Northeastern. We've gotten messages from student organizers in Mexico.
IT SEEMS that there is now more of a sense of international solidarity. Do you think that things have changed in the past few years?
I THINK the past four years have been really critical when it comes to Palestine organizing. If we were trying to do this four years ago, we wouldn't have won. But we've been really working through BDS to make this global. The BDS movement and other anti-imperial, anti-colonial struggles have been forming alliances. We have groups coming together to talk about the connections between U.S. imperialism and how the wider neoliberal university fits into this.
I think the outpouring of support, which is amazing and which we've been humbled by, speaks to a wider latent strength of the left. If we can, we should use this to build a radical critique of all of these different things. Why is our university engaged with all of these imperialist donors? Why are we gentrifying Roxbury? Why are we going against unions?
I think students are forming a little bit of a vanguard for really serious struggle. Of course, we can't do it alone. It has to be alongside low-wage workers and others. For example, in Boston, Veolia got kicked out of the city and lost its contract because bus drivers formed a union, and that union was working with SJP and other groups, which were talking about connecting oppression from Ramallah to Roxbury.
It's so important to be building these transnational connections because things that we're facing are transnational--transnational capitalism and transnational imperialism. The things that are affecting our community are not just affecting us.
WHAT DO you think will be the next steps will be for this organizing?
WE THINK that it's critical--especially now, when we're really under a spotlight--to articulate other critiques of why there are these structural inequalities. The rally on March 18 is going to be in conjunction with the disciplinary hearing of the two students. We're going to deliver our petition, which has gathered more than 5,000 signatures in just a few days, to President Aoun's office. It's mostly symbolic, but we want to put the pressure on the people who will be judging the two students and the administration.
We've already won a small victory in getting the administration to back away from its threat to expel the two students. We want to pressure them to treat all student groups equally, to not allow the cops to police free speech on campus, to compel them to allow us to organize freely on campus, to reinstate and drop all charges against SJP, and to drop all of the charges against the two students in question.
We're going for total unconditional victory, and we're trying to push that even further. I think we should use this as a chance to look at rape culture and homophobia and transphobia on campus, to talk about adjunct unionization and all of these other things that we've been struggling for. That is how we move on from here. We've been incredibly encouraged by the support we've gotten so far, but it doesn't end with a petition or a protest or delivering signatures to the president.
DURING THE Occupy movement, Boston student activists came together to talk about the neoliberal structure of universities and colleges. Do you think that Northeastern's attack--and the response of SJP and its allies--is opening up a similar kind of possibility?
I'M SURE everybody has critiques of Occupy, but it did speak to a wider sort of revolutionary feeling in the country and a wider sense of discontent.
I do think we have another opening, another chance. We've been doing very patient work over the past four years, and we're building off of decades. We have a chance. The goal is to use this discontent, which we saw during Occupy, to build a wider and more serious movement for emancipatory change. And if we don't do that, that's on us. We've been given a golden opportunity by the people who run this system, so let's use it.
WHAT ABOUT what's happening right now in Gaza? How can SJP and other activists take this opportunity to also talk about what's happening there?
ONE OF the main injustices is that Northeastern denied us the opportunity to advocate on campus for people in Gaza as the bombs continue to fall. They are talking about endangerment and feelings instead of actual material consequences and death. In the last few months of the Kerry peace talks, 44 Palestinians have been slaughtered by Israeli forces. The racial segregation that they're actively funding persists, and our complicity in that as the university remains.
We should be careful to not be too inward looking even as we come under pressure from the administration. Suspension is not nearly as bad as bombs being dropped on your home. We're a solidarity organization. We organize primarily to raise awareness and to create material changes. We think in this broad outpouring of support for SJPs, it's also necessary to take time to talk about BDS, about actually cutting off funds to the apartheid system, actually materially impacting them.
I think that's why we're in this. Its not just to have a great event or do a petition that gets a lot of signatures. That's awesome. We need that. But we need it to do something. We need to use that momentum to do something concrete and real that actually changes things for the better.