USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for November, 2009

“Jews from Libya” and other Upcoming Events at UCLA

Posted by uscsjp on November 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Jews from Libya: Cross-currents and Concretizations of Identity in Israel Today

A lecture by Professor Harvey E. Goldberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


The Goldstone Report & Int’l Law – Part 2: David Kaye, UCLA Law School

David Kaye, UCLA Law School Professor and Executive Director of the International Human Rights Program, will speak on “International Justice & the Goldstone Report.” This is the 2nd event of a 3-part lecture series titled, “The Goldstone Report and International Law” Three Perspectives”
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


See also:

Palestinians organize for the Gaza Freedom March

“‘From the besieged Gaza Strip, we call upon all peace lovers around the globe to come here to participate in our Gaza Freedom March that is aimed at breaking a repressive Israeli blockade on Gaza’s 1.5 million residents.’ So said Mustafa al-Kayali, coordinator of the steering committee for the Gaza Freedom March.

The march is scheduled to depart by 31 December from Izbet Abed Rabbo, an area devastated during last winter’s Israeli assault, and head towards Erez, the crossing point to Israel at the northern end of the Gaza Strip…”


Rami Almeghari, The Electronic Intifada, 30 November 2009


Also from The Electronic Intifada:

“We will have to kill them all”: Effie Eitam, thug messiah

“Colonel Efraim (Fein) Eitam was only following orders when he told his troops to beat Ayyad Aqel in 1988. They beat him to death…”


Jim Holstun and Irene Morrison, The Electronic Intifada, 25 November 2009


And finally, in general US Foreign Policy Activism:


On Tuesday, December 1st, President Obama will travel to the U.S. Military Academy to announce plans to expand the war against and occupation of Afghanistan through a 34,000 troop surge.  World Can’t Wait calls on people to unite against any troop escalation, to demand all troops home now, and to organize events protesting this escalation. The only resolution of this conflict that is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan and the world, including the people of the U.S., is for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan, and to end the occupation of Iraq also.

The only resolution in the interests of the people of Afghanistan and the world, including the people of the U.S., is to get out of Afghanistan and end the occupation of Iraq.

In Los Angeles, on Wednesday December 2nd two opportunities to take message of US Out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Westwood: 5:00 p.m. join with other activists (including Answer LA and Code Pink) and take a bold and visible stand at the Westwood Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd @Veteran Blvd.

In MacArthur Park 6:00 p.m. corner of Wilshire and Alvarado Blvd (MacArthur Park) escort World Peace March team for one mile along Wilshire Blvd to Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Berendo Street. (Metro Red LIne exit at MacArthur Park)

7:00 p.m. World March Peace Concert – Immanuel Presbyterian Church at Wilshire & Berendo Streets. (Metro Red Line exit at Vermont )





Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, History | Leave a Comment »

Educating Congress and other recent updates

Posted by uscsjp on November 28, 2009

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

Join Our Congressional District Coordinator (CDC) Network

You can help us move this debate forward and help create momentum for real policy change by joining our re-launched Congressional District Coordinator (CDC) network .

“Since re-launching this network last month, activists in about 50 Congressional districts have signed up to become CDC’s.  It’s a good start, but we’re only a little more than 10% of the way toward creating a coordinated nationwide network of activists who are committed to educating their Members of Congress about Palestine/Israel issues from the perspective of human rights, international law, and equality.  Learn more about what’s involved in becoming a CDC and sign up today…

And in recent news (thanks to Gary Yeritsian for drawing my attention to this):

Israeli forces racially profile, deny entry to former Black Panther leader from US

“Along with Washington DC based independent journalist Naji Mujahid, bin Wahad was detained at the Allenby bridge that crosses the River Jordan and marks the main border terminal between Jordan and the West Bank. Contrary to past signed agreements, however, Israeli forces control the border terminal, and arbitrarily detained the two men for over 11 hours before refusing them entry and forcing them to return to Jordan.

Mujahid told an IMEMC reporter, ‘As soon as we got off the bus, we were immediately singled out by the Israeli Defense Force soldiers that were there. There was a bus full of people, and this was before they even know who we were, our history, what we were there for, or anything. We believe they saw two black men and decided to single us out. They confiscated our cell phones, and took my media equipment and cameras.’

He then described a grueling 11-hour interrogation in which the two men were separated from each other and strip searched, all of their luggage examined piece by piece. Both were separately asked the same questions about their religious and political beliefs, including whether they were Muslim, what type of Muslim, if they had been on a pilgrimage to Mecca, how they felt about the government of Saudi Arabia, and many more questions about their lives and political beliefs.

The two Americans had never been to the Palestinian Territories before, and were on their way to attend a conference in Jericho convened by the Palestinian Authority on the status of political detainees in Israel.

Israel’s denial of entry to certain internationals based on their race, religion or political beliefs has become extremely commonplace since 2006. Although such racial and religious profiling is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no foreign government has taken Israel to the International Criminal Court for its actions.”

— Saed Bannoura, IMEMC News, 27 November, 2009

And also, on recent campus organizing:

Horowitz event spurs walkouts and protests

“A private event hosted by the USC College Republicans featuring conservative speaker David Horowitz prompted protests and a walkout Wednesday night.

The event came a day after a number of students complained about being denied entrance to the speech. Earlier this week, USC College Republicans said they would bar some individuals affiliated with Students for Justice in Palestine to prevent any disruption…”

–By Christianna Kyriacou, Daily Trojan, 5 November, 2009

And the following response from Alex Shams of USC SJP:

“Fellow Students for Justice in Palestine,

Our campaign to not allow racist Horowitz to speak at our University unopposed has succeeded! The event, which was covered in the DT, the Socialist Worker, Horowitz’s blog and a few other right-wing sites, began with a number of vicious smears (among them, that SJP gives money to the Taliban), after which 10-15 SJP Members and supporters stood up and turned their backs on Horowitz! After this, DPS evicted them from the event and a rally was held outside with some 30 people.

Hate Speech spreads ignorance and racism, and with that discrimination and violence. In the last few years, hate crimes against Muslim-Americans have skyrocketed across the country, and there have been violent attacks against Muslim students on our own campus. This hatred is encouraged by the Islamophobia spewing from Horowitz’s mouth- and it is in the name of preventing the spread of violence that we stood up and refused to offer Horowitz a podium in one of the best academic institutions in the world. This is OUR University, not his, and we will defend our rights and safety.

The USC College Republicans, aware of our anger at their decision to bring a racist to campus to speak, blocked many from attending the event. But it was not just SJP students- only SJP students with Muslim-sounding names were blocked! This racial discrimination is unacceptable at a USC event, and we are currently filing complaints. If you RSVPed to the event, and were either allowed or refused entry, please send me a message with the date and time of your RSVP.

In addition, if you are a student please contact an RA and ask them to file an official complaint on your behalf to Heather Larabee regarding the Islamophobic nature of the event. No matter if you RSVPed or not, if she receives many complaints she will be more inclined to listen to us.

In Solidarity with anti-racism all over the world!

alex shams”

And an interesting perspective on media disinformation from Laurence Krauss writing  in Scientific American:

War Is Peace: Can Science Fight Media Disinformation?

“When I saw the statement repeated online that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge would be dead by now if he lived in the U.K. and had to depend on the National Health Service (he, of course, is alive and working in the U.K., where he always has), I reflected on something I had written a dozen years ago, in one of my first published commentaries:

‘The increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling. Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain’…”

–Laurence Krauss, Scientific American, December, 2009

For an even more radical critique of the media, see this excellent essay by Edward Herman:

The Propaganda Model: A Retrospective

“In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Noam Chomsky and I put forward a ‘propaganda model’ as a framework for analysing and understanding how the mainstream U.S. media work and why they perform as they do (Herman and Chomsky 1988). We had long been impressed with the regularity with which the media operate on the basis of a set of ideological premises, depend heavily and uncritically on elite information sources, and participate in propaganda campaigns helpful to elite interests. In trying to explain why they do this we looked to structural factors as the only possible root of the systematic patterns of behavior and performance. 

Because the propaganda model challenges basic premises and suggests that the media serve antidemocratic ends, it is commonly excluded from mainstream debates on media bias….”

–Edward S. Herman, Against All Reason, December 9, 2003

And finally, Thanks to Jeff  Warner for the following list of Upcoming LA Area Events

Saturday, Dec. 12

Israel-Palestine and American Empire

By Richard Becker (ANSWER)

Unitarian Universalist Church, 511 SOUTH HARBOR BLVD, ANAHEIM, CA

Sunday, Dec. 20, 10 AM

Report on Viva Palestina USA July Humanitarian Mission to Gaza

Speakers:  Jeff Warner (LA Jews for Peace) and Tony Litwinko (Friends of Sabeel)

All Saints Church, Pasadena

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Horowitz Weiss in The Nation: American Jews Rethink Israel

Posted by uscsjp on November 28, 2009

The Nation: American Jews Rethink Israel

“This year has seen a dramatic shift in American Jews’ attitudes toward Israel. In January many liberal Jews were shocked by the Gaza war, in which Israel used overwhelming force against a mostly defenseless civilian population unable to flee. Then came the rise to power of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose explicitly anti-Arab platform was at odds with an American Jewish electorate that had just voted 4 to 1 for a minority president. Throw in angry Israelis writing about the ‘rot in the Diaspora,’ and it’s little wonder young American Jews feel increasingly indifferent about a country that has been at the center of Jewish identity for four decades…”

–Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss, 14 October, 2009

See also:

Where To Now For Jewish America?

“During the ‘Salute to Israel’ parade in New York in May, over 100,000 Jews marched in solidarity with the Jewish state. It was an awesome sight of organisation, dedication and passion. But something was missing: Arabs and Palestinians were near invisible. There was no room for that 20 per cent of Israel’s population or for the millions in the West Bank and Gaza. There was, however, a handful of protesting Arabs, dissident Jews and ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta…”

Antony Loewenstein,, June 24, 2009

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The New Yorker: Gaza in Ruins

Posted by uscsjp on November 20, 2009

“In southwest Israel, at the border of Egypt and the Gaza Strip, there is a small crossing station not far from a kibbutz named Kerem Shalom. A guard tower looms over the flat, scrubby buffer zone. Gaza never extends more than seven miles wide, and the guards in the tower can see the Mediterranean Sea, to the north. The main street in Gaza, Salah El-Deen Road, runs along the entire twenty-five-mile span of the territory, and on a clear night the guards can watch a car make the slow journey from the ruins of the Yasir Arafat International Airport, near the Egyptian border, toward the lights of Gaza City, on the Strip’s northeastern side. Observation balloons hover just outside Gaza, and pilotless drones freely cross its airspace. Israeli patrols tightly enforce a three-mile limit in the Mediterranean and fire on boats that approach the line. Between the sea and the security fence that surrounds the hundred and forty square miles of Gaza live a million and a half Palestinians.

Every opportunity for peace in the Middle East has been led to slaughter, and at this isolated desert crossing, on June 25, 2006, another moment of promise culminated in bloodshed. The year had begun with tumult. That January, Hamas, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist group, won Palestine’s parliamentary elections, defeating the more moderate Fatah Party. Both parties sent armed partisans into the streets, and Gaza verged on civil war. Then, on June 9th, a tentative truce between Hamas and Israel ended after an explosion on a beach near Gaza City, apparently caused by an Israeli artillery shell, killed seven members of a Palestinian family, who were picnicking. (The Israelis deny responsibility.) Hamas fired fifteen rockets into Israel the next day. The Israelis then launched air strikes into Gaza for several days, killing eight militants and fourteen civilians, including five children.

Amid this strife, Mahmoud Abbas—the head of Fatah, and the President of the Palestinian Authority, the governing body established by the Oslo peace accords of 1993—put forward a bold idea. The people of Palestine, he declared, should be given the chance to vote on a referendum for a two-state solution to its conflict with Israel. Perhaps it was a cynical political maneuver, as the leaders of Hamas believed. The fundamental platform of Hamas was its refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist, yet polls showed that Palestinians overwhelmingly supported the concept of two states. A referendum would be not only a rebuke to Hamas; it also would be a signal to Israel—and to the rest of the world—that Palestinians were determined to make peace. Abbas set the referendum for July.

Just before dawn on June 25th, eight Palestinian commandos crawled out of a tunnel into a grove of trees in Kerem Shalom. A new moon was in the sky, making it the darkest night of the month. With mortar fire and anti-tank missiles providing cover, the commandos, some of them disguised in Israeli military uniforms, split into three teams. One team attacked an empty armored personnel carrier, which had been parked at the crossing as a decoy. Another team hit the observation tower. The two Israelis in the tower were injured, but not before they killed two of the attackers.

The third team shot a rocket-propelled grenade into a Merkava tank that was parked on a berm facing the security fence. The explosion shook the tank; then its rear hatch opened and three soldiers tried to flee. Two of them were shot and killed, but a third, lightly wounded, was captured. The attackers raced back into Gaza with their prize: a lanky teen-ager named Gilad Shalit.

–Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, 9 November, 2009

Posted in Analysis, News, Opinion/Editorial | 2 Comments »

Obama Administration Reverses Position on Settlements

Posted by uscsjp on November 6, 2009

First, Recent Headlines From Democracy Now!

“General Assembly Endorses UN Gaza Inquiry

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to endorse a UN inquiry that found Israel committed war crimes in its assault on the Gaza Strip. Headed by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone, the inquiry also accused Hamas of war crimes and urged both sides to investigate the charges or face international prosecution. The non-binding measure to back the inquiry was approved Thursday with a vote of 114-to-18. Deputy US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff explained the US vote against the resolution.

Deputy US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff: ‘We believe that the Goldstone report is deeply flawed, including its unbalanced focus on Israel, its sweeping conclusions of law, the excessively negative inferences it draws about Israel’s intentions and actions, its failure to deal adequately with the asymmetrical nature of the Gaza conflict, its failure to assign appropriate responsibility to Hamas for its decision to base itself and its operations in heavily civilian-populated urban areas, and its many overreaching recommendations.’

Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the three-week assault, compared to thirteen Israelis, four by so-called ‘friendly fire.’ The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the vote.

Riyad Mansour: ‘Tonight is a very important night in the history of the General Assembly. It is a very important night in the history of fighting against impunity and seeking accountability.’

Abbas Won’t Seek Re-Election as Palestinian Leader

Meanwhile in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced he won’t seek re-election early next year. Speaking in Ramallah, Abbas said he had grown frustrated by Israel’s refusal to halt settlement building and said his retirement is “not up for debate.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: ‘I have told our brethren in the PLO’s executive committee and Fatah central committee that I have no intent of running in the upcoming presidential election, and this decision is not up for debate or bargaining at all. I hope they understand this position of mine, taking note that there are other steps that I will take.’

Abbas has recently faced widespread Palestinian criticism for negotiating with Israel, despite ongoing settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, and agreeing to delay a vote on the findings of the UN’s inquiry into the Gaza assault. In Gaza, Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri said Abbas had relied too heavily on US and Israeli backing.

Sami Abu Zuhri: ‘Mahmoud Abbas’s speech expresses the crisis he is in after being abandoned by his friends, the Americans and the Israelis, who just used him like a tool. He’s trying to hide this by attacking Hamas and holding it responsible for his crisis’…”

–Democracy Now, 6 November, 2009


As’ad Abu Khalil, “The Angry Arab,” also comments on this issue:

“Al-Arabiyya TV (the private station of King Fahd), has aired a live speech by Abu Mazen. He was categorical that he won’t be running for re-election as chief PA puppet. But if you have been reading this blog, you should not be surprised. The decision is not his: he read the American press and learned that while he was not looking, the US government has already selected Salam Fayyad as the chief PA puppet. Very expected. He managed to pay tribute to George W. Bush. I am posting the picture of Abu Mazen above because it shows him in his dignified state…”

–The Angry Arab News Service, 5 November, 2009

Clinton reverses Obama policy on Israeli settlements

“Hillary Clinton, speaking on behalf of the Obama Administration reversed nine months of Obama policy statements on Israeli settlement activity by calling Netanyahu’s concessions on restricting settlement activity ‘unprecedented’ even as settlement expansion continues.

The Palestinians reacted angrily accusing Obama of killing the peace process and accusing him of ‘back pedaling’ on his previous policy.
Only a few months ago, the issue of settlement expansion was called ‘unacceptable’ by Obama and at that time Obama demanded Israel freeze its settlement activity. It was a demand that Netanyahu ignored and settlement expansion continued.
The new U.S policy, far from demanding Israel stop expanding its settlements, is now applauding Netanyahu for, in Clinton’s words, ‘his unprecedented concessions’ to the Palestinians for making voluntary restrictions on settlement expansion…”
–Marc Rubin,, 1 November, 2009
Also, on the same topic:

Clinton: US wants Israel settlement halt ‘forever’

“After Arab criticism of her comments in Jerusalem on the Israeli plan, Clinton delayed her return to Washington after attending an international conference in Marrakech, Morocco, and flew instead to Cairo.

In a new twist Tuesday, Clinton made what appeared to be an inadvertent slip of the tongue in a television interview with the Al-Jazeera network, referring to the goal of  ‘an Israeli capital in east Jerusalem.”

It has not been U.S. policy to favor including east Jerusalem in an Israeli capital; the Palestinians claim it as their capital, and the issue is one of the most important and delicate points that would have to be settled in any final peace deal between the two parties…”

–Robert Burns, AP, 4 November, 2009

And Progressives React the House’s Condemnation of the Goldstone Report

“Shame on the House of Representatives, and on the Democratic leadership of the House, for pushing through a resolution once again blindly taking the side of Israeli aggression.

I’m referring to the vote on Tuesday, by a lopsided 344-to-36 margin*, to condemn the Goldstone report on Gaza.

That report, by South African jurist Richard Goldstone for the UN, showed that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes in the lead-up to and during Israel’s invasion of Gaza almost a year ago. (To read the executive summary, click here)

It noted that Israel deliberately attacked civilian targets, and did not take sufficient action to minimize civilian loss of life. For instance, it found that Israel even refused to allow the evacuation of the injured by ambulance.

The report also condemned Hamas for its rocket attacks into Israel, which the report said were designed to create terror.

Even as the U.N. was about to consider the report, the House measure called it ‘irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.’ And it urged the Obama Administration to ‘strongly and unequivocally oppose’ any discussion of it at the UN.

This reflexive attitude that Israel can do no wrong is morally bankrupt and exceedingly unhelpful in resolving, in a just manner, the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Dennis Kucinich had it right when he denounced the House majority for going along with this. His statement is so powerful that I’m excerpting it at length here.

‘Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt,’ he said on the House floor on Tuesday. ‘Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.

‘Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.

‘The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the “Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right: resolution.” . . .

‘How can we ever expect there to be peace in the Middle East if we tacitly approve of violations of international law and international human rights, if we look the other way, or if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?

‘How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to human security of jobs, education and health care?

‘We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim.”

Until most members of Congress show some respect for international law and some humanity toward Palestinians, there’s no reason for Israel to.

*Nays: Baird • Baldwin • Blumenauer • Boustany • Capps • Carson (IN) • Clarke • Clay • Davis (KY) • Dingell • Doggett • Edwards (MD) • Ellison • Filner • Grijalva • Hinchey • Johnson, E. B. • Kilpatrick • Kucinich • Lee (CA) • Lynch • McCollum • McDermott • McGovern • Miller • George • Moran (VA) • Olver • Pastor (AZ) • Paul • Price (NC) • Rahall • Snyder • Stark • Waters • Watt • Woolsey

Present: Becerra • Cooper • Dahlkemper • DeFazio • Delahunt • Duncan • Eshoo • Farr • Heinrich • Hirono • Honda • Johnson (GA) • Jones • Kaptur • Loebsack • Lofgren, Zoe • Lujàn • Obey • Speier • Tierney • Welch •Wu”

–Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, November 4, 2009

Finally, see the following video of a recent talk by Noam Chomsky

Palestine and the region in the Obama era: the emerging framework

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