USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

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

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-obama-hamas27-2009apr27,0,4563512.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

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/edcut/431234/the_progressive_caucus_and_obama?rel=hp_picks

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

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/28/headlines#13

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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