INSTRUCTIONS: You will read one newspaper or media article of your choice from the world press (it can be an academic article as well) on the Palestinian struggle and the Israel-Palestine conflict, broadly defined (for instance, it can be on U.S. policy towards Israel, on any current event in Israel or Palestine, etc.). Underline and highlight what you think are the main parts of the article, make comments along the margins, and make sure it is sourced. NOTE: MUST ALSO READ AN ARTICLE I UPLOADED IN FILE. YOU READ THIS ARTICLE TOGETHER WITH THE ARTICLE YOU CHOOSE FROM THE MEDIA OUTLET.
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You will read one newspaper or media article of your choice from the world press (it
can be an academic article as well) on the Palestinian struggle and the Israel-Palestine
conflict, broadly defined (for instance, it can be on U.S. policy towards Israel, on any
current event in Israel or Palestine, etc.).
Underline and highlight what you think are the main parts of the article, make
comments along the margins, and make sure it is sourced.
Introduction: Academic Repression
on US University Campuses
William I. Robinson and Maryam S. Griffin
A storm is raging on college and university campuses across the United
A worldwide campaign in support of the Palestinian freedom struggle
has taken off in recent years, spurred on in this age of global digital
media by omnipresent images of Israeli brutality against the Palestinians
and the everyday humiliations of its occupation of Palestinian lands,
now in its fifth decade. As awareness has grown over Israeli violations
of Palestinian human rights and of international law, as well as US
government and transnational corporate complicity in these violations,
so too has the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Ground zero for this movement in the United States is college and
university campuses. Some 25 years after the fall of apartheid in South
Africa, the movement to end apartheid and settler colonialism in Israel/
Palestine has spread among a new generation of campus activists. The
issue has inflamed passions and engulfed students, faculty, administrators, and even government officials in conflicts over free speech and
academic freedom.
At the core of these conflicts is the attempt by what we will call here
the Israel lobby to intimidate those on and off campus who have the
courage to take a stand for Palestinian freedom. As the veil is lifting and
the tide of public opinion begins to turn with increased awareness of the
occupation, Israeli war crimes, and US complicity, the lobby has drastically
stepped up its campaigns to silence and repress those who have spoken
out for Palestinian freedom. It has systematically targeted persecution
scholars, academics, and students who speak out on campuses and in our
communities against Israeli policies and for Palestinian rights. Scholars
have been turned away for jobs, denied tenure and promotion, rejected
for funding, expelled from institutions, maligned and vilified. Student
organizations have faced harassment and sanctions. Individual students
we will not be silenced: the academic repression of israel’s critics
have been threatened with expulsion. Some have even been criminally
investigated and prosecuted.
The lobby consists of a network of individuals and organizations
aligned with the Israeli government that actively works to stifle any
criticism of Israel or US support for it and to silence any mention of
Palestinian rights. We use the term lobby despite certain limitations;
there is no ideal term to describe this network of loosely coordinated,
overlapping, and interlocked advocacy groups, some of whose leaders
have held high-level positions in the US government and occupy key
positions in think tanks, universities, media outlets, political parties, and
civil society organizations.
As with other lobbies that seek to influence the US political system and
policy, both domestic and foreign, the Israel lobby seeks to shape a US
policy toward Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East in a way favorable to
the Israeli state’s objectives. However, what distinguishes the Israel lobby
from others is the breadth and depth of its influence over policy toward
Israel and toward the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as the resources
and pressure that it brings to bear on those who criticize Israel or come
out in public support for Palestinian freedom, as we will discuss in more
detail below and as the testimonials in this anthology bear out. It is
important to note in this regard that the lobby is not united by religion
or ethnicity but rather by its political agenda and its determination to
ostracize, censor, and punish anyone who criticizes Israel or advocates
for the Palestinians.
There is a considerable literature on the Israel lobby in the United
States.1 Perhaps the landmark study among these is The Israel Lobby
and US Foreign Policy, published in 2007 by political scientists John
Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard
University. “It is difficult to talk about the lobby’s influence on American
foreign policy, at least in the mainstream media in the United States,
without being accused of anti-Semitism or labeled a self-hating Jew,” wrote
Mearsheimer and Walt. “It is just as difficult to criticize Israeli policies
or question US support for Israel in polite company. America’s generous
and unconditional support for Israel is rarely questioned, because groups
in the lobby use their power to make sure that public discourse echoes
its strategic and moral arguments for the special relationship [between
Israel and the United States].” They went on to observe:
introduction: academic repression on us university campuses
The lobby rewards or punishes politicians largely through an ability
to guide the flow of campaign contributions. Organizations in the
lobby also put pressure on the executive branch through a number
of mechanisms, including working through government officials
who are sympathetic to their views. Equally important, the lobby has
gone to considerable lengths to shape public discourse about Israel
by putting pressure on the media and academia and by establishing a
tangible presence in influential foreign policy think tanks. Efforts to
shape public perceptions often include charging critics of Israel with
anti-Semitism, a tactic designed to discredit and marginalize anyone
who challenges the current relationship [of steadfast US government
support for Israel].2
As if intentionally to lend credence to one of the book’s claims, upon
publication of their study, Israel advocacy organizations promptly
labeled Mearsheimer and Walt “anti-Semitic.”3
Mearsheimer and Walt identified as key organizations in the lobby
the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American
Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, the Israel Policy
Forum, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League,
Americans for a Safe Israel, Hadassah, the Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs, the Middle East Forum, and the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, among others, as well as at least three dozen pro-Israel
Political Action Committees, or PACs, organizations notorious in the
money-driven US political system for raising and spending money to
elect or defeat candidates in national, state, and local elections. While
a number of these organizations are active in campaigns to silence and
repress critics of Israel on US college and university campuses, there is
a second tier of several dozen organizations that liaise with the major
Washington-based lobby groups and that have formed a tightly-knit
network, the “Israel on Campus Coalition.”
In a shocking and deeply disturbing expose of the inner workings
of this Coalition (see Chapter 1 of this anthology) University of
California professors Goldberg and Makdisi document how the lobby
monitors campus political life and mounts coordinated campaigns of
harassment and repression against their designated targets, employing
“character assassinations, selective misquotation, the willful distortion
of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for
we will not be silenced: the academic repression of israel’s critics
the truth.” The targets of such censorship campaigns, as they show and
as become clear in the 14 testimonials we publish here, are students
and faculty who criticize Israel or support Palestinian freedom in and
out of the classroom, but also university administrators and local and
state politicians. Administrators are pressured and sometimes even
blackmailed with a cutoff of financial donations by wealthy pro-Zionist
donors to censor and discipline the offending party, while politicians are
lobbied to apply pressure on university officials – although it must be
observed that pro-Zionist academics, administrators, and politicians are
often themselves a part of these campaigns.
Meanwhile, in the years since Mearsheimer and Walt’s landmark study
was published, several new books, articles, and reports have appeared
on the battles raging in the United States and worldwide in support of
Palestinian freedom and on the lobby and its repressive activities. In
2015, the New York-based legal advocacy organization, the Center for
Constitutional Rights, and Palestine Legal, a non-profit organization
that is, according to their website, “dedicated to protecting the civil and
constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian
freedom,” published a seminal report, The Palestine Exception to Free
Speech, documenting the “chilling and censoring of Palestine advocacy
in the United States.”4 In that same year, Jewish Voice for Peace, a
faith-based Jewish organization that calls for an end to Israeli occupation
and apartheid and supports the boycott of Israel (see below), published
its own report, Stifling Dissent: How Israel’s Defenders Use False Charges
of Anti-Semitism to Limit the Debate Over Israel on Campus.5 In addition,
several scholarly studies and conferences have in recent years addressed
the censorship and repression that targets supporters of Palestinian
rights in the United States.6
Beyond these reports, books, and public fora, there are many important
studies on Palestine for those interested in the historical and political
background.7 Rather than duplicate what is already available, this
book seeks to provide a special window, through first-hand testimonial
accounts, into how the Israel lobby has worked on US campuses to
suppress free speech and academic freedom. These testimonials tell the
story of academics, scholars, and students who have been victim to the
repression of the Israel lobby in the United States. Some of these cases
of persecution have been aired publicly – in the press and social media
– while other cases have gone poorly publicized, if at all, often as a result
introduction: academic repression on us university campuses
of an intentional blackout. Academics who become targets of the lobby’s
aggressive tactics are affected unevenly. This makes it difficult for certain
kinds of stories to get attention even in the absence of a media blackout
because it may be difficult for targeted individuals to come forward
without fear of reprisals. As we shall see in these testimonials, the tactics
of Israel advocacy organizations vary, from calls for outright institutional
sanction to more subtle aggressions that nonetheless have a cumulative
effect of creating a hostile work environment or career-long stress. Even
the exact same tactics take different tolls depending on the status of the
targeted individual. Instructors with precarious appointments such as
single term lecturers and graduate students are far more vulnerable than
tenured faculty, as are individual students over student groups that may
draw on collective resources. The impacts of persecutions are similarly
felt differentially across race, gender, and other social categories, with
Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and other racially or ethnically oppressed
groups – and especially women from these groups – often placed in
particularly vulnerable situations, so that fight-back can often place
additional pressures on those that are already the most overburdened.
As this tide turns, many of those whose stories are here told have been
able to triumph over academic repression, in both direct and indirect
ways. Others, however, have yet to be granted redress for the persecution
they have suffered. We want this edited collection to be a beacon of
inspiration that scholars and students who face such persecution are not
alone and that, with collective struggle linked to the larger community,
we can beat back repression on our campuses; that even if there are risks
in speaking out, academic freedom and justice can triumph.
Zionism and Palestine
Why has the Palestinian struggle against colonialism and apartheid
inflamed such conflict and passionate emotion, and also generated
widespread fear of speaking out among those who believe in freedom,
justice, and self-determination? After all, there was not the same level of
fear in the United States among those who spoke out against apartheid
in South Africa decades earlier. The intimidation experienced by
supporters of justice for Palestinians results in part from the way the
political issue has been deeply misunderstood by a significant portion of
the US and international public. Popular misperceptions over the nature
we will not be silenced: the academic repression of israel’s critics
of this conflict are, in large part, a deliberate outcome of the narrative
that has been propagated for seven decades by the Zionist movement
– a narrative that has enjoyed the explicit approval of and recitation
by the US government alongside its steadfast political, military, and
economic support for Israel. The Zionist narrative, however, has come
under increasing challenge as the international public has become more
aware of the colonial nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict and global
movements in solidarity with Palestinians have proliferated.
The creation of Israel as an ethnically exclusive “Jewish state” was part
of the new wave of European colonialism that swept Africa, the Middle
East, and Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the
same moment that the peoples of those regions achieved decolonization
and freedom in the post-World War II era, Palestine was being recolonized
and remains one of the last vestiges worldwide of that late nineteenth
and early twentieth century wave of European settler colonialism. It was
in the context of European overseas colonial empires that the Zionist
movement emerged in the late nineteenth century as a particular blend
of colonialism and the racial nationalisms that swept Europe. Racial
nationalism called for the creation of “ethnically pure” nations in the
West and deployed racial supremacist ideologies to justify these colonial
projects. Examples of the ideology of settler colonialism bolstered by
racial nationalism included Manifest Destiny in the United States,
which provided a convenient rationale for US Western expansion, the
seizure of Mexican and Indian territories, and, later on, the invasion and
colonization of Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines, and the South Pacific
islands. Ironically, as Jewish-American scholar Norman Finkelstein has
shown in his historical research, the Nazi call for a “racially pure Aryan”
Germany sprung from the same ideological well of racial nationalism.8
Zionism called for the establishment of an “ethnically pure” Jewish state,
although, to this day, the Zionist movement involves a confused and
contradictory discourse that conflates religion, nationality, and ethnicity.
Early Zionists were drawn from the European Jewish middle class and
intelligentsia who called for the emigration of Jews from their various
homelands and resettlement in a new Jewish state. Zionist leaders
lobbied European colonial powers to support such a state in exchange
for Zionist support for colonization and imperial design. The father of
Zionism, the Austrian Theodor Herzl, first approached the German
Kaiser, and then the Russian Czar, and later the Pope for an imperial
introduction: academic repression on us university campuses
alliance with his movement, before successfully lobbying the British to
support the creation of Israel as a British colonial outpost. “England,
with her possessions in Asia should be most interested in Zionism for
the shortest route to India by way of Palestine,” he said. “England’s great
politicians were the first to recognize the need for colonial expansion …
and so I must believe that here in England the idea of Zionism, which is
a colonial idea, should be easily and quickly understood.”9 Most Jewish
people in Europe at the time paid little attention to Zionism, preferring
to fight anti-Semitism in their own countries or to immigrate to the
United States.
The rise of power of the Nazis and the horrific holocaust that ensued,
however, led to a massive increase of European Jewish migration to
Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. The British had taken over Palestine
as a colonial protectorate with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the
close of World War I. Under British colonial auspices, and with critical
US support, the United Nations – which at the time had no African or
Asian member states, not to mention that the Palestinians themselves
were never even consulted – approved in 1947 a Partition Plan. The Plan
called for granting 55 percent of historic Palestine to the Jewish settlers,
who, at the time, comprised 35 percent of the residential population and
owned 6 percent of the land, and the remaining 45 percent of land for an
independent Arab state. The Zionists proceeded to create Israel through
a military campaign of terrorism and ethnic cleansing – what Israel calls
its “war of independence” – that involved the massacre of thousands
of Palestinians, the permanent destruction of over 400 Palestinian
villages, and the uprooting and expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from
their homeland.10
When this war came to a close in 1948, the newly established State of
Israel controlled nearly 80 percent of historic Palestine. The remaining
20 percent was seized by Israel following the 1967 Israeli invasion of the
West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. These
lands have come to be known as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or
OPT, and the portion of them that has not been directly annexed by Israel
remains under a 49-year (and counting) military occupation. Since 1948,
Palestinians have endured ongoing ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial
discrimination, and military occupation, in violation of international
law and despite repeated condemnation by the international community,
including the United Nations (UN) and human rights organizations.
we will not be silenced: the academic repression of israel’s critics
The official Zionist narrative portrays Israel as a democratic and
heroic underdog facing hostile Arabs. It claims that granting Jewish
immigrants their own state to the exclusion of Palestinians was just
compensation for historic anti-Semitism in Europe and as well is God’s
will – a land promised 4,000 years ago, as stated in the Old Testament,
to Jewish people. It has been Israel’s leading Jewish historians themselves
who in recent years have researched government and military archives
that have been declassified to draft what is known in Israel as the “new
historiography.” This historical research belies the official narrative and
demonstrates how Israel was founded on the calculated and cynical
ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Today, Israel is an international outlaw state and an apartheid state.
The UN General Assembly has continuously ratified every year since
its approval in 1948 UN Resolution 194, which establishes the right of
all those Palestinians expelled in 1948 to return to their homes and to
receive compensation. And UN Resolution 242, approved in 1967 and
continuously ratified by the international community each year since
then, declares Israel’s occupation of the OPT illegal and calls for Israel
to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders. Israel is also in v …
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