USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for April, 2009

LA Times: Obama May Permit Aid to a Palestinian Government that Includes Hamas

Posted by uscsjp on April 29, 2009

Obama move alarms Israel supporters

“The administration seeks changes that would permit aid to Palestinians even if officials backed by Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist group, become part of a unified Palestinian government.

Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration, already on treacherous political ground because of its outreach to traditional adversaries such as Iran and Cuba, has opened the door a crack to engagement with the militant group Hamas.

The Palestinian group is designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization and under law may not receive federal aid.

But the administration has asked Congress for minor changes in U.S. law that would permit aid to continue flowing to Palestinians in the event Hamas-backed officials become part of a unified Palestinian government.

The aid measures may never come into play. Power-sharing negotiations between Hamas and its rival, the U.S.-backed Fatah faction, appear deadlocked. The two have been bitterly divided since 2007, when Hamas drove Fatah out of the Gaza Strip. Fatah controls only the West Bank.

Nevertheless, the move has alarmed congressional supporters of Israel, who are watching for signs that the new Democratic team at the White House might be more sympathetic to Palestinians than was the Bush administration.

The administration’s proposal is akin to agreeing to support a government that ‘only has a few Nazis in it,’ Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a House hearing last week…”

–Paul Richter, The Los Angeles Times, 27 April, 2009,0,4563512.story

See Also:

The Progressive Caucus and Obama

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) met with President Obama for one hour in the East Room of the White House yesterday.

CPC Co-Chair, Congressman Raúl Grijalva, said that 50 of the 77 Caucus members attended, and they honed in on two major issues: their commitment to only supporting a healthcare reform bill that includes a public plan option that is ‘more than a gesture’; and the $83 billion war supplemental…”

–Katrina Vanden Heuvel, The Nation, 29 April, 2009

Also the following from Democracy Now!:

“Report: Israel Built 9,000 Homes in Occupied Territories under Olmert

A new report has determined the Israeli government under Ehud Olmert built or issued bids for some 9,000 settlement homes for Israelis in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The Israeli watchdog groups Peace Now and Ir Amim urged President Barack Obama to step in quickly and pressure Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to halt further settlement expansion.

Group: 2008 Was Deadliest Year for Palestinians since 1948

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed in 2008 in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, making it the deadliest year since Israel was founded in 1948. A total 860 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in Gaza and the West Bank. Another 161 Palestinians were killed in factional fighting.”

–Democracy Now!, 28 April, 2009

Zionist Lobby Targets Another Tenured Professor

Doug Henwood: We’re now joined by William Robinson, who is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, someone I met about six or seven years ago at a conference and, although I’ve disagreed with him on some issues, I though he’s a serious and thoughtful guy. I was very distressed to learn, reading Insider Higher Ed, the website, today that he’s being persecuted by the Zionist lobby for an e-mail that he sent around to some of his students. Welcome William Robinson, tell us the story of what you sent and what’s been happening.

William Robinson: Yes, good afternoon to everyone. I included some material which was highly critical of the Israeli invasion of Gaza as part of the reading material for a course on globalization and global affairs, and this was in January. And I am now facing charges, here at the university, of anti-semitism and violating the faculty code of conduct because two students in the course  – there were eighty students – these two submitted a formal letter of complaint  that they found offensive the material condemning the invasion of Gaza. The students immediately withdrew from the course, I don’t even know them personally. And what is particularly egregious about this case is not that the students submitted a complaint – any student is allowed to do that – but rather that the university took the complaint seriously and is actually prosecuting me…

DH: You have tenure right?

WR: Yes, I am tenured, I am a full time professor…

DH: So in theory you’re protected against persecution for your beliefs.

WR: No, in theory, I have total, I and even if I don’t have tenure, have academic freedom, and this is in total violation of my academic freedom and of all of the principles of academic freedom, and of the university’s own charter on academic freedom, and the American Association of University Professors principles and procedures on academic freedom, so there is absolutely no basis for any of this. What’s going on, and I want to explain, behind the scenes we have been able to find out  – students on campus and faculty have formed a Committee to Defend Academic Freedom which is taking up this issue, and by the way, there is a blog that they put up with all of this information, which at some point I would like to give your listeners – but we have found out that the Anti-Defamation League, which, as you know, and your listeners probably know, is an organization which, at one time, did very good and very important work in denouncing anti-Semitism, but since then has become a, basically, a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, a defender of the policies and practices of the Israeli state, and goes after and attacks anyone that criticizes those policies. So these students did not even accuse me of doing anything which we would consider anti-Semitism – discrimination against Jews, against the Jewish religion and so forth – they said openly and outright that the professor introduces material which criticized the state of Israel and that equals anti-semitism.

DH: Now, I think some people found offensive that you had likened Israeli behavior to the Nazis. Is that an issue?

WR: Well I didn’t do that. What I did was I forwarded several items from the world media, from the internet media. One item was an article written by a Jewish journalist in a Jewish newspaper here in the United States, and it was criticizing the invasion of Gaza…

DH: So you didn’t endorse this position?

WR: I didn’t endorse it but I did include, I said, in presenting this material, I said that Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw and I explained the context. That’s because in Warsaw the Nazi’s surrounded Warsaw, concentrated Jews in Warsaw, wouldn’t let anyone in, wouldn’t let anyone out, wouldn’t let supplies in, wouldn’t let supplies out; as a result there was famine and disease and so forth…

DH: Which is exactly what’s…

WR: …exactly and precisely what the Israeli’s are doing in Gaza…”

–Doug Henwood, CounterPunch, 29 April, 2009


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A Recent Victory and Upcoming Events

Posted by uscsjp on April 27, 2009

The UK government recently revealed that components supplied by Britain were almost certainly used by Israel in its recent assault on Gaza. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages-linked to EI)

The UK government recently revealed that components supplied by Britain were "almost certainly" used by Israel in its recent assault on Gaza. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages-linked to EI)

“It came as no surprise to campaigners in the United Kingdom to hear the British Foreign Minister David Miliband reveal this week that components supplied by Britain were “almost certainly” used by Israel in its recent military assault on Gaza. Despite Israel’s continued human rights abuses, the UK government has licensed millions of pounds’ worth of military equipment to Israel over the last few years including components for tanks and combat aircraft, in direct conflict with its own arms policy.

The British government’s announcement that it will be reviewing arms sales to Israel in light of the atrocities committed in Gaza earlier this year was, however, surprising. The move represents a real victory for the Stop Arming Israel coalition, which began its campaign for a two-way arms embargo against Israel during its invasion of Lebanon in July 2006 and serves as a potent example of public pressure forcing governments to review their policies towards Israel…”

–Yasmin Khan, The Electronic Intifada, 24 April, 2009

See Also:

Mubarak’s Expanding Enemies List

“A telltale sign of a dictator’s waning influence is increasing paranoia. And this is exactly what Egypt’s U.S.-backed dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, is suffering from.

At a time when criticism over Egypt’s abetment of the Israeli siege and attack on Gaza is intensifying, and its traditional role as leader of the Arab world is being eclipsed, Mubarak’s standing and legitimacy in the eyes of his people has plummeted. His paranoia, conversely, has skyrocketed.

This was on display when the state-controlled Egyptian daily Al-Ahram published an article last Saturday accusing the following nations, people and organizations of attempting to destabilize the country, or in the words of the paper, to ‘ … bring Egypt to the brink of chaos and facilitate a coup’: Iran, Syria, Qatar, Hezbollah, Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahdi Akef, and the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news network. Lebanon also joined the ever-expanding list a few days later.

Relations had already deteriorated earlier in the month when Egyptian security officials made public that they had uncovered a Hezbollah-sponsored ‘espionage ring’ and ‘terrorist cell’ operating in the Sinai. Twenty-five ‘agents’ were arrested, and the hunt continues for an equal number more. Nasrallah did admit that one of those captured was a Hezbollah member, tasked with helping to smuggle arms into Gaza. He denied however, the constantly shifting Egyptians claims that the group’s real objective was to instigate the Sinai bedouin population against the government, attack tourist sites in the Sinai, topple the regime, or to launch attacks on the Suez Canal, Egypt or Israel.

‘If helping the Palestinians is a crime, I officially admit to my crime … and if it is an accusation, we are proud of it,’ Nasrallah replied...”

–Rannie Amiri, CounterPunch, April 24-16, 2009

Upcoming Los Angeles Area Events:


This FREE program includes two films, a performance, and a talk:

On TUESDAY, April 28:
6:30 in LH-151 (lecture hall-151): Screening of SLINGSHOT, an engaging documentary film, which portrays the music and experiences of Palestinian hip hop artists in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank through the music and worlds of Palestinian youth.

On WEDNESDAY, April 29:
3:30 pm in the University Student Union Small Auditorium:  performance and discussion with Omar Offendum. This will be a treat!
5:00 in LH-151: a talk “Egyptian and Middle Eastern Hip Hop” by UCLA Assistant Professor H. Samy Alim, an engaging speaker and expert in this area,
7:00 p.m. in LH-151: screening of the documentary,  I LOVE HIP HOP IN MOROCCO, which has received rave reviews…

Friday 5/1

May Day International Workers’ Day March

1PM – 4PM, Broadway & Olympic to Temple St between Los Angeles St and Alameda St
Join thousands of Angelenos of all ages, nationalities, religions, races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds as they march in commemoration of International Workers’ Day.
USC Contingent Facebook:

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

Upcoming USC and Los Angeles Area Events

Posted by uscsjp on April 12, 2009

USC Events, Week of April 12th

THIS WEDNESDAY, we will be having a meeting at 5:00 PM in Leavey Auditorium to discuss upcoming events- including our cultural event on Thursday.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, we will be continuing our Middle Eastern Film Festival with the screening of DIVINE INTERVENTION, which is a 2002 film that consists largely of a series of brief interconnected sketches, but for the most part records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

ON THURSDAY, we will be having a mock checkpoint set up at Tommy Trojan from 10 am to 3 pm. Please come by to check it out and support us, we also need volunteers to participate in taking on roles as Palestinian civilians and Israeli military guards, please contact us at or lmadriga@usc. edu if you can be there Thursday.

ALSO ON THURSDAY we will be having our cultural event, featuring Middle Eastern music and selling Palestinian food. This will be at Tommy Trojan from about 12 am-3 pm, please stop by and enjoy the good food and the good music!

With Respect,
Alex Shams & Lorena Madrigal
Co-Presidents SJP

Also Check Out:


Posted in Activism/Divestment, Culture | Leave a Comment »

Gaza “A Land of Ruins”

Posted by uscsjp on April 9, 2009

Land of Ruins: A Special Report on Gaza from Democracy Now!

“Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat files a report on the state of the Gazan economy, where unemployment and poverty rates are among the highest in the world. Despite international pledges of over $5.2 billion to rebuild Gaza, in the four months since Israel’s assault the siege has not been lifted and only one truck carrying cement and other construction materials has been allowed entry into the Gaza Strip…”

Democracy Now!, 6 April, 2009

Also from Democracy Now!

Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO, and What Obama Should Do in Israel-Palestine

–Democracy Now!, 3 April, 2009

Canadian Judge Upholds Government Decision to Bar British MP George Galloway on National Security Grounds

–Democracy Now!, 1 April, 2009

And from the US Campaign To End the Israeli Occupation:

“Last week Motorola Israel, Ltd. sold its Government Electronics Department to Israeli military contractor Aeronautics Defense Systems.  This means that Motorola will no longer be selling bomb fuses to the Israeli military.  The first demand of our boycott has been met!

While this first victory is sweet, it’s far from the end of Hang Up On Motorola!  Motorola Israel (which is wholly owned by Motorola USA) still produces a number of products that support Israel’s military occupation and entrench its apartheid system in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.  Support Hang Up On Motorola now and ensure that we will stay steadfast until Motorola stops profiting from Israel’s human rights abuses and violations of international law…”

–US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, 6 April, 2009

And Finally, The Guardian’s Gaza War Crimes Investigation Page:

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »