USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for the ‘Articles in USC Daily’ Category

Berkeley Divestment, Finkelstein USC Controversy, etc

Posted by uscsjp on April 12, 2010

Attack on Berkeley divestment bill dishonest and misleading

“A coalition of nearly 20 Jewish groups, ranging from the right-wing David Project and the Jewish National Fund to the liberal J Street, is distributing a misleading statement condemning a Student Senate bill at the University of California, Berkeley (Troubling UC Berkeley Student Senate Bill on Israel, 5 April 2010). The ground-breaking bill calls for divestment from companies that profit from the perpetuation of the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza. They refer to the bill as ‘dishonest’ and ‘misleading’ and ‘based on contested allegations.’

Yet it is their letter that is both dishonest and misleading.

The bill is based on extensive, footnoted research (see A Bill in Support of UC Divestment from War Crimes).

Yet this coalition of Jewish groups does not contest any of the facts. Without offering any evidence, they dismiss findings by reputable organizations like the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Instead of condemning these human rights violations, they prefer to misinform the public by suggesting that it is somehow wrong to ‘take sides’ against universally-recognized injustice. In so doing, they effectively defend illegal Israeli settlements and the Israeli military occupation that continues to disrupt everyday features of Palestinian life: education, health care, economic life and art and culture.

Further, they claim that the Berkeley bill calls on the university ‘to divest exclusively from Israel.’ They imply that the bill calls for divestment ‘from any company doing business with Israel.’

But this is simply not true.

The Berkeley bill focuses specifically on the Israeli occupation, not on Israel. While a vibrant and necessary debate on the merits of a total boycott and divestment from Israel continues around the world, it is not at issue here.

In reality, the bill divests only from two American companies that make money by equipping the occupation, General Electric and United Technologies — but no Israeli companies. It also announces an intention to divest from any company — whatever the nationality, and only after further research — that similarly profit from the occupation…”

-Sydney Levy and Yaman Salahi, The Electronic Intifada, 12 April 2010

And From CounterPunch:

The Anat Kamm Affair

The Dark Underbelly of Israel’s Security State


in Nazareth.

“Next week 23-year-old Anat Kamm is due to stand trial for her life — or rather the state’s demand that she serve a life sentence for passing secret documents to an Israeli reporter, Uri Blau, of the liberal Haaretz daily. She is charged with spying.

Blau himself is in hiding in London, facing, if not a Mossad hit squad, at least the stringent efforts of Israel’s security services to get him back to Israel over the opposition of his editors, who fear he will be put away too.

This episode has been dragging on behind the scenes for months, since at least December, when Kamm was placed under house arrest pending the trial.

Not a word about the case leaked in Israel until this week when the security services, who had won from the courts a blanket gag order — a gag on the gag, so to speak — were forced to reverse course when foreign bloggers began making the restrictions futile. Hebrew pages on Facebook had already laid out the bare bones of the story.

So, now that much of the case is out in the light, what are the crimes committed by Kamm and Blau?

During her conscription, Kamm copied possibly hundreds of army documents that revealed systematic law-breaking by the Israeli high command operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, including orders to ignore court rulings. She was working at the time in the office of Brig Gen Yair Naveh, who is in charge of operations in the West Bank…

–Jonathan Cook, CounterPunch, 9-11 April, 2010

See also The Electronic Intifada:

Israel gags news on extrajudicial killings
Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 5 April 2010

Also, From The Daily Trojan

Regarding Dr. Finkelstein

“The news article published March 11 in the Daily Trojan under the title, ‘USG-funded speaker event draws criticism,’ was a misleading piece of journalism rife with bias against USG-funded guest speaker Dr. Norman Finkelstein, whom Students for Justice in Palestine hosted for a speech that night…”

–Letter to the Editor, The Daily Trojan, 23 March, 2010

USG should sponsor both sides of debate

“The university setting is an ideal forum for viewpoints from all political, cultural and ideological arenas; colleges across the country have a storied history of rigorously defending the right to free speech.

Tonight, controversial political scientist Norman Finkelstein will be lecturing at an event co-sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Levantine Cultural Center and the Undergraduate Student Government…”

–From the Editors of Daily Trojan, 10 March, 2010

Finally, a local event from Jeff Warner

Saturday, April 24, 2010, 6:00 – 9:00 PM

The Rebuilding Alliance 2nd Annual Peacemakers Dinner

at the Red Rock Chateau, Silverado Canyon, Orange County, CA
1   Cindy and Craig Corrie, Parents of Rachel Corrie, Advisory Board members
2   Congressman Brian Baird, Visited Gaza to see for himself, a clear advocate for Palestinian and Israeli human rights
3  Professor Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights

Info and reservations: Mary Bentley Abu-Saba, Rebuilding Alliance Outreach Director
510 205 1469,


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

“Unprecedented Victory”

Posted by uscsjp on December 7, 2009

A message from Alex Shams:

“Fellow Students for Justice in Palestine, Last Thursday we witnessed an incredible and UNPRECEDENTED victory anti-racist and progressive students on campus, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. PUBLIC CONDEMNATION OF THE USC COLLEGE REPUBLICANS for fostering an environment of BIGOTRY in light of Horowitz’ comments at our school some weeks ago. In the Daily Trojan today, a full advertisement was placed by Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson condemning the comments. This is a result of weeks of pressuring and campaigning by multiple individuals, in an attempt to have redress for the bigoted, hateful, and Islamophobic remarks the College Republicans invited Horowitz to say. Today, we see an Unprecedented step on the part of the Administration- the University has NEVER condemned a student group like this for its actions But this is only the beginning. We must work from here to ensure that our campus is not merely ‘tolerant”‘or ‘liberal’- but this campus strive to be anti-racist, inclusive, and progressive! We must lead the way for our nation and for the world, because if change does not come from the youth and from our centers of education, where will it come from? We are the instruments of social change, and we are powerful- now, we must wield this power on campus in a way that actively combats oppression and creates a more open and fair society and world. Join US! Next semester, on Wed January 13th at 5 PM we will have our first meeting- more details to be announced. We have already started planning a great number of events, speeches, and conferences for the 2010 Spring Semester- and we need all the help we can get! IN SOLIDARITY, alex shams

Transcript of Letter:

“December 3, 2009 An Open Letter to the USC Community The University of Southern California has taken many institutional steps to promote tolerance and mutual respect within our academic community. Committees have been created, policies have emerged, and acts of intolerance have been condemned by the USC administration. However, our community is not merely defined by administrative actions. We all must do our part to elevate tolerance and respect for others in our community. The university strives to provide an optimal learning community with an atmosphere of free inquiry and expression– an environment that fosters the examination of major issues of social, political, economic, ethical and aesthetic importance. Thriving in such an environment means we all encounter differences: different people, beliefs, cultures, religions, ethnicities and values. The manner in which we accept and work with these differences characterizes our individual principles. Recent events have led members of our community, our Muslim students, to feel threatened, unsafe, and betrayed. The students feel attacked in part by statements made by a speaker at a non-university sponsored event. These statements claim that the USC Muslim Student Union is a terrorist organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The USC MSU is an outstanding student organization that contributes to a welcoming, safe environment for Muslim students to celebrate and share their culture. Further, this organization has never engaged in any campus activities that presented concerns for the university. The MSU is comprised exclusively of USC students and deserves to be treated with respect. Referring to Muslim students or any other group in derogatory terms will not be tolerated. We are a community of scholars and Trojans; bigoted name-calling has no place here. These past events underscore the importance of each person maintaining a basic respect for the rights of people to uphold their own beliefs and to work, learn, and prosper in harmony within our academic community. We each must pledge to encourage respect for human rights and dignity on our campus, in our society, and in the global community.


Michael L. Jackson Vice President for Student Affairs”

And finally, some upcoming events

On Saturday, Dec. 12 in Orange County and Sunday, Dec. 13 in San Diego, there will be special public forums and signings of the new book “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire,” by Richard Becker, West Coast Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition. We urge you to attend one or both of these important meetings.

Orange County Event (Anaheim)
Saturday, December 12, 2pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Anaheim
511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805
Map & Driving Directions

The Forum will feature:
Richard Becker, author, “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire”
Muna Coobtee, Palestinian American Women’s Association

There will be discussion, questions, and a book signing, sponsored by ANSWER, the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East and the PSL. Click here to RSVP to the Orange County Event.

San Diego Event
Sunday, December 13, 2:00pm
Latte Mi Corazon (Coffee Shop)
129 25th St., San Diego, CA 92102
Map & Driving Directions

Speakers include:
Richard Becker, author Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire
Yousef Abudayyeh, Free Palestine Alliance
Abel Macias, Party for Socialism and Liberation

There will be discussion, questions and a book signing. Click here to RSVP to the San Diego Event.

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Articles in USC Daily, Articles in USC Newspaper | 1 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

Posted in Analysis, Articles in USC Daily, Articles in USC Newspaper, Blogroll, News | Leave a Comment »

Al Jazeera: UN pressures Israel on peace policy

Posted by uscsjp on May 11, 2009

“Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has urged Israel to ‘fundamentally change’ its policies towards settlements and commit to a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Ban told a ministerial level meeting of the Security Council that Palestinians faced ‘unacceptable unilateral actions’ by Israel, such as settlement activity, violence, house demolitions and restriction of movement.

‘Action on the ground, together with a genuine readiness to negotiate on all core issues, including Jerusalem, borders and refugees, based on Israel’s existing commitments, will be the true tests of Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution,’ he said on Monday.

Ban also said Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel must end and that the Palestinian Authority must develop an effective security structure and state institutions.

In a statement issued by the council following the meeting, all 15 members said that ‘vigorous diplomatic action’ was needed to achieve peace and a two-state solution.

It also urged the Quartet of Middle East negotiators – the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union, to continue such efforts…”

Al Jazeera, 11 May, 2009

Also, from Democracy Now!

“Israel Has Secret Plan to Thwart Division of Jerusalem

The Israeli government and settler organizations are secretly working to surround East Jerusalem with nine national parks, pathways and sites, drastically altering the geography of the city and to strengthen Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, a move not recognized by the international community. The Guardian newspaper reports, under an eight-year plan, a series of nine national parks, trails and tourist sites based on apparent Jewish historical spots would be established, most under the control of settler groups working together with the Israeli government. The sites would also create a link to Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. The Israeli organization Peace Now says the secret plan for East Jerusalem might prevent the ability to reach a two-state solution.

Obama Renews Sanctions Against Syria

In other news from the Middle East, President Obama has renewed economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria. The sanctions were first put in place by President Bush four years ago…”

Democracy Now!, 11 May, 2009

See also the following  from The USC Daily Trojan:

Israeli anniversary

“’SC Students for Israel’s event, Israel Palooza, which celebrated Israel’s 61st anniversary of its independence was met with opposition Wednesday afternoon, as demonstrators from Students for Justice in Palestine gathered to protest…”

Daily Trojan, 30 April, 2009


And Finally:

USC students protest for Palestine

“LOS ANGELES–Students held a memorial on March 4 for Palestinians killed in Gaza and elsewhere, and delivered a letter to the president of the University of Southern California (USC), demanding academic freedom for Palestinians, scholarships for 10 Palestinian students and educational supplies to be delivered to universities in Gaza.

Coordinated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the action included about a dozen students carrying 10 makeshift coffins and Palestinian flags through campus. One student played taps, while another banged a drum. Afterward, students petitioned passersby calling on the administration to agree to the request.

A group of Zionists showed up to counterprotest. One sign depicted a person wearing a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headscarf, covering their face and carrying a gun. The text over the image read, ‘There is a reason why terrorists wear masks’…”

–John Osmand, Socialist Worker, 13 March, 2009

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Daily Trojan Editorial: US Occupation of Iraq Illegal and Immoral

Posted by uscsjp on October 11, 2006

With mounting casualties among civilians and soldiers in Iraq, conservative pundits can be heard across the airwaves insisting that “we have to stay the course.” Aside from the obvious fact that these pundits will not be doing any of the fighting and dying themselves, it is worth noting that another vital factor is left completely out of their consideration: the wishes of the people of Iraq. Contrary to the propaganda emanating out of the Bush and Blair governments, the majority of Iraqis, according to reliable statistics, continue to support an end to the foreign occupation of their country.

As progressive commentator Mike Whitney notes, in spite of a recent upsurge in violence, a survey conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program on international policy attitudes “found that 71 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. troops to leave within a year.’ The poll also found that nearly four out of five Iraqis believe that the U.S. military is ‘provoking more conflict than it is preventing.'”

Even a recent Department of State report confirms these facts, conceding, “Majorities in all regions except Kurdish areas state that the Multi-National Force-Iraq should withdraw immediately, adding that the (Force’s) departure would make them feel safer and decrease violence.” In Baghdad, the site of rampant violence in the last several months, three-quarters of residents say that an end to the occupation would make them feel safer, while 65 percent favor an immediate withdrawal.

The attitudes of ordinary Iraqis are hardly the product of ingratitude toward their “liberators,” as some rightist commentators would surely have us believe. Instead they illustrate that the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq have not brought its people freedom and democracy, but rather massive bombardment, killing, torture, humiliation and a dire humanitarian crisis.

Popular opinion on the “home front” is itself increasingly unfriendly to the Bush administration’s militarist agenda. Support for the war continues to decrease in the United States in spite of massive propaganda campaigns and biased coverage in the corporate media, with only 20 percent of Americans saying in a recent poll that they are “still confident that U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful.” (continued)

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Daily Trojan Article on the myth of a “new anti-Semitism”

Posted by uscsjp on September 28, 2006

Apologists for Israel have often tarred the state’s critics with the charge of “anti-Semitism.” A recent letter to the Daily Trojan, for example, accused Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization with which I am affiliated, of employing “anti-Semitic rhetoric” in our carefully documented analysis and condemnation of Israeli actions in Lebanon.

Related to these charges is the frequently recycled notion that there is a “new anti-Semitism” afoot in the Western world. In spite of the fact that such claims have largely been the product of distortions and outright fabrications, they have, in recent years, been repackaged and revived.

This revival, as dissident political scientist Norman Finkelstein observes in his landmark text “Beyond Chutzpah,” has in large part been an effort by Israel’s apologists to deflect mounting international pressure on the state to comply with international law and end its occupation of Palestine. (continued. . .)

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Israel’s crimes in Lebanon, Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on September 7, 2006

Despite the truce between Israel and Hezbollah that came into effect on Aug. 14, the consequences of Israeli crimes in Lebanon continue to be felt.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland recently said that there are as many as 100,000 unexploded remnants of cluster bombs scattered throughout 359 separate sites in the country.

Egeland referred to the use of the munitions as “completely immoral,” especially given that 90 percent of them were dropped “in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a (ceasefire) resolution.” A UNICEF spokesperson said that 12 people have been killed by unexploded “bomblets” since the ceasefire, and experts predict it could take 10 years to clear Lebanon of all of these weapons…..

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“Israeli actions in Lebanon clearly constitute crimes of war”

Posted by uscsjp on August 29, 2006

Recent Daily Trojan pieces have been so riddled with errors and distortions of fact that Students for Justice in Palestine at USC finds it necessary to refute their claims, which represent widespread misconceptions about current events in the Middle East.

Hezbollah is not a “terrorist organization that infiltrated throughout Lebanon beginning in 1982” (“Don’t Fall for Hezbollah’s PR campaign,” Aug. 24), nor is it a “faction of terrorists bringing utter devastation” on Lebanon, as a more balanced piece published Monday insists (“U.S. media reports lost in the fog of war,” Aug. 28). Rather, it is a guerilla force that has been linked by commentators to certain terrorist actions in the past – these links remain a matter of debate – but has chiefly concentrated on resistance against legitimate military targets.

Hezbollah arose largely as a popular expression of resistance to the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 1982, which resulted in thousands of Lebanese civilian casualties, with estimates as high as 20,000 deaths; these include the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, carried out by Israeli proxies with Israeli complicity….

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