Adonis Diaries

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 44

Les hommes, n’ayant pu guérire la mort, la misère et l’ignorance, ils se sont avisés, pour se render heureux de n’y point penser. Ca marche toujours pour tous les systems politiques

There is nothing there, after death. Try to avoid pains et strive to alleviate the pains of others: pains of thirst, famine, diseases, torture, collateral damages…

1217 letters later, late French president Francois Mitterrand to his secret love Anne Pingeot. They beget the “illegitimate” daughter Mazarine. From 1962 to 1995, the correspondences never stopped.

Have Russia and the 7 colonial powers decided on the next President to Syria? Is that the kind of “democratic system” to be instituted for the Syrian people in the foreseeable period?

Demanding to lift Marie Le Pen immunity in EU parliament, at this junction of the election, is tantamount to bring a tsunami of new voters for the Front National

Erdogan of Turkey is now Officially a Dictator: What changed? By a tiny small margin that the “No opposition” are contesting the results.  All Turkish TV stations never gave the opposition the luxury of exposing their opinions.

If I still can daydream of a performing Me it is that I suffer of no pains nor major aches

The US never attacks a State who can deliver on weapons of mass destruction. It attacked Iraq when it was sure Saddam had No deliverable nuclear bombs. It attacked Syria when made sure it has Not the means to deliver chemical weapons. If it attacks North Korea it means  North Korea has Not the means to deliver on its threat

We all knew that Erdogan referendum was meant to appoint himself Khalif: He paid a visit to all the shrines that Ottoman Sultans visited to pray when inaugurated

Un juif dans un train de samedi: ses pieds baignaient dans une cuvette d’eau. Sa religion lui defendait de se déplacer le samedi, sauf sur l’eau (True story from Louise Weiss, 1919)

Pourquoi je n’es pas d’enfant Rabbin? Retourner á la maison et exercisez vous á faire l’amour

If you want to comprehend current Europe, read “Memoires d’une Européenne” by Louise Weiss. Two volumes: period (1893-1919) and (1919-34)

Reporter Louise Weiss covered most European States and central Europe, the wars, the tribulations of peace treaties, the Society of Nations and the conditions and divisions of Europeans after the treaties

Le spectacle du ghetto de Varsovie en 1919: Levites et calottes, barbes et tortillons, nez ronds insuffisamment mooches, mauvaises habitations, grouillement de l’intelligence et la pauvreté. Le concert des apostrophes yiddisch (Louise Weiss)

US missile attack on Syria airfield was actually a message to Turkey: Desist from supplying chemical weapons to the Islamic extremists factions of Al Nusra and Daesh. The US is convinced that its engaged contingents in Syria and Iraq will be attacked chemically.

Soon after the missile attack on Syria airfield, the US bombed 3 chemical depots belonging to Al Nusra and Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

Only 13% of German/(Turks and Kurds) voted on the referendum: Claiming that they have Not been integrated is far fetched

If Macron becomes France President, consequences far worst than Le Pen: 1) he never served in an elected post, 2) lacks cultural complexity, 3) a stooge to the financial institutions, 4) will drive France deeper in debt (Hariri type of economic development), 5) follow Israel policies in Middle-East, 6) lacks comprehension of the intricate manoeuvring of  political parties

Two kinds of details: Details of the interested parties in a treaty, and details interpreted and applied by the professionals. The Devil in the details: Interest of initial parties change, but the practices and interpretations of the professionals don’t.

Within 8 years after the end of WWI, 125,000 Germans committed suicide. Though Germany didn’t have to fight within its land

Le problem de base est cerebral pour les unions des Etats: Il manque d’universités internationals pour s’ organiser

On ne concoit pas d’organization entre Etats, meme transformés, sans justice et sécurité. La sécurité mine l’ EU et la justice entre les etats est trop complex que le citoyen la comprend comme injustice, especiallement des petits états qui n’ont pas les facilities financieres et professionelles necessaire pour contester

Pouquoi désarmer? Quant et comment désarmer? 3 committés d’études se sont organises a Paris au Trocadero (1933) lors du Congré International. Il y avait 1098 délégués representant 395 associations. Nothing was resolved until now.

Since all your predictions turned false, your latest of a calamity generated by France election induces me to sleep serenely

Nabra Hassanen: Chaplain at local mosque says murdered teen ‘revolutionised and inspired an entire community’

‘An angel was taken,’ the All Dulles Area Muslim Society chaplain says

“These youth have vowed to take her advice, because she always gave good advice, to give to people who are in need, even if it’s your last dollar,” and “befriend people who other people don’t like”.

The murder of a Muslim teenager has “revolutionised and inspired an entire community”, according to a chaplain at the mosque where she was travelling on the night she was killed.

Nabra Hassanen was abducted and murdered by a passing motorist on her way to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Fairfax County, Virginia, police said.

The 17-year-old’s killer allegedly kidnapped the teenager after engaging her group of friends in an argument and following them into a McDonald’s carpark.

The group had just finished their last meal of the day before fasting for Ramadan.

The suspect, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, is currently being held without bail.

While Hassanen’s death stoked fear in Virginia Muslim community, ADAMS Center chaplain Chaplain Joshua Salaam says it has also inspired her peers to lead more thoughtful lives.

“These youth have vowed to take her advice, because she always gave good advice,” Mr Salaam said, adding that Hassanen encouraged her friends to “give to people who are in need, even if it’s your last dollar,” and “befriend people who other people don’t like”.

“When you knew her you might possibly begin to understand why this is so hard for this community: because an angel was taken,” he said.

Hassanen’s father – speaking through ADAMS Imam Mohamed Magid – said little, besides that he hopes his community will “express love always to one another” regardless of religion or race.

Mr Hassanen has said he believes “100 per cent” that his daughter was targeted because of her religion.

“In the McDonald’s there’s a lot of kids, a lot of people; why did he run behind this girl especially? For what?” he asked.

Fairfax County Police are not investigating Hassanen’s death as a hate crime. In a press release, they said they believe the murder was a “road rage incident”.

“It appears the suspect became so enraged over this traffic argument that it escalated into deadly violence,” spokeswoman Julie Parker said.

Mr Salaam said he trusts the police will fully investigate the motives for Hassanen’s death.

“They can only move as fast as the facts come in,” he said.

Asked if he believed the young woman’s death was a hate crime, he replied, “That’s not for us to decide”.

Police are also investigating whether the teenager was sexually assaulted before her death.

 

Make two lists

On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks:

  • People who don’t like you.
  • Deals that went wrong.
  • Unfair expectations.
  • Bad situations.
  • Unfortunate outcomes.
  • Unfairness.

It’s all legitimate, it’s all real. Don’t hold back.

On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have:

  • The places where you get the benefit of the doubt.
  • Your leverage and momentum.
  • The things you see that others don’t.
  • What’s working and what has worked.
  • The resources you can tap.
  • The things you know.
  • People who trust you.

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer.

Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror.

Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it’s safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what’s happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you’ll do all day.

The peace process industry keeps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict running

Ben White. Monday 19 June 2017 #Occupation

Rather than admit their methods haven’t worked, pundits and scholars – often participants in unsuccessful peace talks themselves – push tired approaches that only keep Palestinians occupied

At an April conference in Washington DC held by the Middle East Policy Council, University of Pennsylvania-based political scientist Professor Ian Lustick had some strong criticism for what he described as “the continuous merry-go-round of American-orchestrated negotiations”.

After analysing the interests and roles played by the Israeli government, the US government, and the Palestinian Authority, Lustick turned his attention to a “fourth player” – what he called “the peace process industry“.

This industry, according to Lustick, is made up of “legions of pundits, scholars, commentators, funders and conference organisers”, whose “speculations, warnings, maps and advice fill the newspapers, blogging sites and airwaves”.

In particular, Lustick highlighted the role of this industry’s “two-state solution proponents”, who, “given the choice between a vanishingly small chance of success and having to develop and adapt an entirely new framework for pursuing values of justice, peace and equality and democracy in this domain, they prefer continuing the fight”.

He added: “It is far easier to raise funds, preserve institutions and promote careers by describing a closing window of opportunity for two states than to ever admit that in fact a window is closed.”

The result is that “both protagonists and observers [are discouraged] from thinking beyond the outworn categories of two states to imagine other possibilities”. (I tend to disagree: first a 2 State settlement and then opening new windows to the process)

Sample study

This peace process industry hides in plain sight. Its members maintain a high-profile public presence, but one whose role and influence is framed as independent and technocratic.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

In five pieces published over three weeks in May by The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Politico, CNN and Reuters, 16 regional analysts were cited on 22 occasions.

Dennis Ross and David Makovsky were both cited in three of the five articles – the pair are colleagues at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

Career diplomat Aaron David Miller and former US envoy to Israel Dan Shapiro were quoted in two of the five pieces.

Together, Ross, Makovsky, Miller and Shapiro constituted almost half of the total 22 expert contributions.

Other analysts cited include Ronald Reagan and George W Bush-era official Elliott Abrams, veteran US diplomat and expert Martin Indyk, and former Israeli military and diplomatic figures like Gilead Sher and Amnon Reshef.

Of the 22 times that an expert was quoted, only three were Palestinian: Jibril Rajoub, Hanan Ashrawi (the sole woman of the 22), and Hani al-Masri.

Taking these five articles as a whole, written in the context of President Donald Trump’s Middle East tour, we notice the following:

First, Palestinian voices are marginalised, or sometimes absent entirely;

second, readers are not informed of the analysts’ own personal views; and

third, many are commenting on a “peace process” in which they themselves have been (unsuccessful) participants.

Makovsky (a US-Israeli dual national), for example, worked as senior advisor to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under secretary of state John Kerry.

That special envoy was Martin Indyk, who took a break from Brookings to take up the role, before returning in 2014.

Ross, too, is a former US negotiator (albeit one who believeswe need to be advocates for Israel”).

‘The most spectacular deception’

This revolving door between think-tanks and government is a key element in sustaining the tired approaches and bankrupt frameworks that have helped keep the Palestinians occupied, colonised and dispossessed – at no significant cost to Israel with respect to consequences or sanctions.

The structure of the peace process imposes “mutual obligations” of “both sides” – Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) – despite the fact that the former is a powerful, occupying state, and the latter is an interim, autonomous entity for the occupied population.

The peace process industry experts play a key role in talking up or echoing the latest demands of the PA fashioned by Israel the US or others, whether it’s “reform” of security services or financial institutions, or ending “incitement” in the media and the education system.

In turn, Israel is urged to adopt tokenistic gestures such as economic “confidence-building measures”, issue more work permits to enter the pre-1967 lines, or lift some of the restrictions on Palestinians’ usage of territory in “Area C” of the West Bank.

Writing a decade ago in the London Review of Books, Henry Siegman described “the Middle East peace process” as possibly “the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history.”

Last month, writing in The New York Times, former Palestinian negotiator excoriated a peace process that has produced “no progress” after “more than two decades.” She continued:

I spent several years involved on the Palestinian side of the negotiations and can attest to their futility…When we spoke of international law and the illegality of settlements, Israeli negotiators laughed in our faces. Power is everything, they would say, and you have none.”

During a recent seminar at Queen Mary University London, Palestinian author and academic Ghada Karmi told attendees: “We must stop talking about Palestine, and do something about Israel.”

( The western societies that were pressured to hide their racist and apartheid penchants publicly, vent their rage by openly supporting Israel policies without any limitation in “”free expression” rights)

Such a course of action is unlikely, however, so long as the “peace process” merry-go-round continues, ably assisted by its industry of experts, providing Israel cover for permanently-temporary occupation.

– Ben White is the author of  Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide and Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. He is a writer for Middle East Monitor and his articles have been published by Al Jazeera, al-Araby, Huffington Post, The Electronic Intifada, The Guardian’s Comment is Free and more.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

The Day I Immigrated: There Are Homes Better Than A Home in Lebanon

Which Is Why Lebanese Expats Are Expats

Posted June 13, 2017

On my last drive to the airport as a Lebanese citizen permanently living in his home country, I was thinking about how sad my mother was next to me, as she prayed her rosary, probably for me to have safe travels and a beaming future in the United States, the country that’s offering me a home.

I was also wondering if, in the upcoming few months, I’ll be one of those Lebanese whose entire purpose in life is to sell the country they’ve left, hiding away all of the flaws that made them leave it.

Then I realized, I’m probably already the target of those videos, such as that Byblos bank ad that went viral about two days ago, titled: There’s No Home Like a Home in Lebanon:

I will miss my grandma’s cooking, but most of all I will miss her and those sweet teary eyes that bid me farewell, in a hospital room this morning, as I said goodbye to my sick grandfather before heading to the airport.

I will miss that man2ousheh, those Sunday lunches with my family, road trips to areas I haven’t yet discovered with friends who mean the most to me.

Yes, this is the country where I was born, where my family and friends live, where I’ve had my first kiss and my first heartbreak, and in whose airport I’m currently writing this post as I look on a whole bunch of other people like me leaving, in planes carrying my national symbol.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tearful and grateful for what I’ve been offered as I write this. But on that last drive to the airport, I realized once more that emotion and reason can’t mix in determining the future that we ought to demand for ourselves, starting with myself.

There comes a time when hummus and man’oushe over sensational music isn’t enough anymore to sell a country, no matter how many times the same disc is spun. I’m sorry to say, that disc is broken – nay, it’s shattered and there’s no coming back from it.

In this past week alone, a 24 year old named Roy Hamouche was killed in cold blood because some guy was angry. Another person was also attacked by a police officer because of road rage.

In this past week, a physician coerced the judicial system into helping him commence the cover up in a possible malpractice lawsuit, and we can’t but sit by and watch.

I’m leaving a country as a 27 year old citizen who was never allowed to vote, (the deputies voted to extend their tenure twice on the lame excuse of security reason) and whose voice has to always be self-censored as to not face the wrath of the multiple sensibilities we have to consider in saying what’s on our mind.

I’m leaving this country as a doctor who has to fight a mammoth of a system entirely geared at making me feel like I’m always a bug up the echelons of my career, no matter how much I try to thrive.

I’m leaving a country whose beaches are dirty, whose sea is toxic, whose forests are being dismantled, whose elderly are being turned down at hospital doors,

Where mothers and their children are being evicted from houses and forced to live in construction sites even in the heart of Beirut, whose garbage can’t be sorted or addressed, and whose people – most of them at least – are still ready to offer their necks to the same politicians who have turned this country into what it is today, as they drool over any video or international article that says their country is a nice vacation site, and whose children are forced to beg in the streets to make ends meet.

A nice holiday destination doesn’t make a good index of quality life.

I’d love to say there’s no home like a home here. But the truth is that is far from the truth. There’s a reason why Lebanon has expats who visit every once in a while and return to countries they’ve chosen to turn into their homes.

It’s because in the republic of wasta (bribes and middlemen), you can only make it as far as your strongest connection. It’s because in the republic of waste, you breathe cancer.

It’s because their children can die for angering the wrong person on the street, because this country ranks among the highest in corruption, the weakest in passport strength, and is on the lower side when it comes to international indices of life.

Remember this when you support sensational bank ads or articles or lists of why this country is the best ever.

Remember that falling to delusions of grandeur will never advance this country, and that being content with what we have will never give us what we need.

Never forget where you’re from, but always remember why you left.

I love it here. Correction: I loved it here. But today, I pack my life in 3 suitcases, and leave all of it behind because here is not where my future lies.

Note: Before 1980, it was good to believe that the USA could be a substitute home. People in places of responsibilities had wide latitude for compassion and facilitating matters without worrying about criticisms and stringent restrictions on their conscience and duties

Joanna Choukeir Hojeily and Pamela Hakim shared a link.
Today is the day I become a Lebanese expat and my country of residence, in all those forms that we have to fill, becomes something else than the home I’ve known for all of the 27 years I&#821…
stateofmind13.com

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 43

Je m’ étais fabriqué un ritual qui isolait dans le temps un espace qui tient, même brinquebalant

Je n’ai pas su être heureux: qui se foutra que j’ai pu etre heureux pour quelques moments épheméres?

“The Americans” of Robert Frank, is the saddest book on earth: Cow-boy hats, jukebox, TV, all the objects of the new prosperity

Cette perseverance nourrie par la hargne et la solitude

On amasse des verres, chaises, bibelots…dans des élans d’optimisme, pour les rendre aussitot vaines. Et on persiste a retenir tout ce bric-a-brac qui ne serve plus qu’a maintenir un optimisme croulant

Maintenance de la vie: essayez quand même de metre de l’ordre dans ce foutoir qu’est le monde

C’est mon amour: je ne vois le monde que lorsequ’elle est a côte de moi

C’est la vie qui est lourde: demandez á une femme enceinte quand le bébé appuie de ses pieds sur son diaphragm.

“Fishman neba say I fish stink”  Un pecheur ne dit jamais que le poisson pue. 

La seule éternite qui existe est l’univers. Changeant tout le temps, mais toujour lá, á nous de contempler et a subir ses changements imperceptibles

Ada Lovelace (1842) was the first programmer. Alan Turing (1936) and Alonzo Church (1936) invented every kind of computer programing languages

After Russia and China challenged the pre-emptive US and France military attack on Syria in 2013, the US backed ISIS and let it invade Iraq and take Mosul. Hillary said that they created ISIS

Resilience is betting on a range of plausible outcomes in the future. Assuming that you believe that being in the game is what count, and Not “winner-take it all” mind-fix.

There are inner achievements and outer ones. Inner worth and outer ones. Inner love for someone and public ones. This dichotomy is natural to women, especially mothers. Males might comprehend this dichotomy and eventually admit it to himself, but never admit it to others. Lest he is viewed as an unstable person. The worst part in that deal is that the woman abuse male in his confusing feelings.

L’hiver est plus froid durand les guerres. L’ete plus chaud, et la faim plus pénetrante. Que veux-tu? Quand la nature est dévastée et que les mains utiles deviennent stupid aux fronts?

Ce sont les odeurs de la period des guerres, pendant notre enfance, qui surgissent au moment ou on s’y attend le moins.

Avec les livres on transforme la réalite en secret et les rêves en une vie qui progresse

Les régions les plus pauvres de la planéte s’elargissent et augmentent. Elles sombrent continuellement dans les guerres larvées et l’insolvabilitees. Si seulement quelques individus peuvent espérer qu’il y a quelque part une sorte de paradis oubliés.

When a youth in the developed nation is given opportunities, facilities and means to reflect, he grabs what is offered and can redefine what is “Normal in life”. It is much harder, but definitely rewarding, when any phase in life process is overcome.

In communities, a normal life is a ritual. We marry young and procreate easily: The community is tacitly responsible of shouldering a wide range of tasks for raising kids.

In developed nations, the demographics are taking an inverted pyramidal shapes: the top, constituted of retired and elderly people is as large as the bottom kids and youth. If it were Not for immigration, many developed nations would have reverted to community life-style.

Unless you are a mindless Stallion, men wait for the woman to tell them they can do it and proceed to pleasure them

Men have no erotic regions: it is all mental and they get no pleasure in sexual activities. They are meant to pleasure women whom they care for. 

The US warned it would withdraw from UN Human Rights if it keeps criticising Israel apartheid policies. Everyone one would be delighted if the US withdraws: For 2 centuries the US was the worst in human rights, inside and outside its borders

Marine Le Pen is the next President of France, given the total disarray of the other political parties

The Maronite clergy and Patriarchate signed a deal and an understanding with Zionists in 1919 to facilitate and support Jewish implantation in Palestine. The clergy of this sect renege on everything except on deals with Israel, and foreign western powers.

Dustin Hoffman: As a Jew, I say humanity ceased to exist by the creation of Israel

“Tout ce que j’essayais d’ écrire était des vers” (Ovide, et puis Dante dans La Comedie Humaine, et Racine

“Mais nous, a qui le monde est patrie, comme aux poisons la mer…” Dante. Doit-on devenir marins si on veut voir le monde?

“La langue vulgaire qui sans régles s’apprend en imitant la nourrice” Dante. Toutes les langues vulgaire furent crées et propagées par les nourrice, les plus pauvres femmes de la communauté

Ce sourir superieur d’ un initié. Le rgard haineux des authentiques croyants qu’ils réservent aux infidels.

Demandez a un fou croyant des preuves et vous le tuez en l’envoyant dans les ténebres du desespoir

La “raison caché”, une clé universelle d’y croire a n’importe quel prix, les puissance obscures… notre siècle est le plus touché depuis l’avenement de l’humanité, malgre les progrés scientifiques et medicinales. Quoi, 7 milliars de damnés contre quelque milliers d’illuminés.

Imaginez le regard de Ruth, de Messaline et de la reine de Saba venant a vous du fond des ages par les yeux d’une enfant

Le kat, consommé au Yemen et L’Afrique de la mere Rouge,  abrutit les gens au point qu’ils oublient leurs regards pesants sur vous.

Vous avez la foi dans un ideal? Vous serez capable du pire quand l’opportunité vous est donné d’agir

Les traits du visage de croyant fanatique se durcissent: foi en un Dieu, en une police a l’ échelle cosmique, detenteur de tous les pouvoirs terrestres.

From the hills of west Juarez, you can observe the differences with El Paso, across the river Rio Bravo, bordering the USA. Greeneries everywhere, straight roads, parks and swimming pools…

Israeli soldiers harass students on US campus

Students had erected a mock wall – representing Israel’s barrier in the occupied West Bank – in the school’s Anteater Plaza and were handing out flyers with information about life under Israeli military rule. Student groups MEChA and the Black Student Union also volunteered to help.

On the first day, two of the soldiers carried Israeli flags and wore shirts identifying their support for the Israeli army, while the others disguised their intent: at least one person wore a traditional Palestinian checkered scarf, while others claimed to be from Palestinian cities and attempted to speak with the students in Arabic.

Some feigned naivety about the issue, while secretly recording responses.

This tactic is reminiscent of Israeli soldiers who dress up as Palestinians – so-called mistaravim – in order to act as provocateurs at demonstrations or to carry out extrajudicial executions in the occupied West Bank.

The next day the group returned, this time they all wore clothes that more honestly identified who they were.

Over four days in total, the group of soldiers showed up to the mock wall. They hurled racial and gender insults while one woman aggressively filmed the activists’ faces and conversations.

They told Daniel Carnie, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, that he is “not a real Jew” and told him to take off his Jewish skullcap.

A 30 May letter to UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, signed by Palestine Legal attorney Liz Jackson on behalf of a coalition of civil rights groups, describes what happened at the mock wall.

According to the letter, when the students began a chant that compared Israel’s wall to the US wall at the Mexican border, one of the soldiers shouted, “We want the Mexicans!”

And when a Black student asked one of the hostile members of Reservists on Duty to leave, he called her an “18-year-old punk-ass bitch,” then followed her around shouting at her.

The letter alleges that a “male soldier taunted a female demonstrating at the wall in a sexually threatening tone, saying in Arabic, ‘You want me to stick it in you, don’t you.’”

“These soldiers do not just use propaganda, they use intimidation tactics like taking video footage,” Ghiyath Alazzah, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Irvine, wrote in an email to other SJP groups on the West Coast.

Alazzah also accused the soldiers of “using hidden microphones, attempting to incite to violence by using extremely racist and sexist obscenities in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and even going so far as to physically grab a student.”

“We are sending this email to you to warn you all that your campus may be targeted next,” Alazzah wrote.

Administrators watch passively

School administrators witnessed the confrontations, but did not intervene.

Dean of students Rameen Talesh was one of the administrators present during the week’s activities, according to Carnie and Alazzah.

Carnie told The Electronic Intifada that students asked Talesh to stop Reservists on Duty from harassing them, but Talesh said there was nothing he could do.

But advocates for the students say that the accumulation of racist speech and harassing behavior created an environment of intimidation that was grounds for the school to intervene.

“Here, there was overwhelming evidence that foreign military agents engaged in sustained harassment of Palestinian students, and other students of color perceived to be allies of Palestinian students,” Palestine Legal’s Jackson wrote to Chancellor Gillman.

Jackson alleges that the school violated its obligations under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as its own policies, by standing by passively: “Administrators cannot act with deliberate indifference to a hostile climate of severe or pervasive harassment targeting students based on their race or national origin.”

On the night of 10 May, Reservists on Duty held their panel discussion.

SJP members came to the event with the intent to ask challenging questions.

During the event, a woman who had been filming the students during the preceding days lunged at one of the students with her fists up, according to Carnie and Alazzah. She was restrained by an administrator and then the SJP students broke out into a chant before they were asked to leave.

Part of this altercation can be seen in the video above.

The next day, 11 May, Jackson’s letter states, the same woman who had nearly attacked a student, returned to Anteater Plaza and shoved a sign out of the hands of a student protester, hitting the student in the face with the sign.

According to Jackson, these two physical assaults were also grounds for intervention, yet administrators took no action.

Alazzah was informed on 16 May that his group was under investigation for allegedly disrupting the question-and-answer portion of the discussion with Reservists on Duty.

The university confirmed to the The Electronic Intifada that members of its staff were present during some of the week’s incidents. A spokesperson wrote that administrators are “reviewing reports of that week from all interested parties and will take action, as appropriate.”

A year of pressure

The investigation is taking place after a year of heavy pressure from Israel advocacy groups, including the Amcha Initiative, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights, Hillel, StandWithUs and the Israeli consulate, to crack down on Palestine activism on campus.

On 30 May this year, Hillel of Orange County wrote to Chancellor Gillman.

Emphasizing that SJP and an earlier incarnation of the Palestine solidarity group have been investigated three times since 2010, the letter strongly suggests that the university’s disciplinary process had yet to be effective.

Last year, UC Irvine investigated SJP after students from several groups protested a film screening sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.

That investigation cleared SJP members of accusations they had harassed and intimidated participants, but found that it was “more likely than not” that the student protest outside the venue had generated enough noise to disrupt the viewing of a film about Israeli soldiers.

The students were given a warning and required to host an educational program. Israel advocacy groups expressed unhappiness that the penalty was not more severe.

Hillel also invoked a UC Irvine policy document titled “Higher Ground.”

Published in October 2016, after the university cleared SJP, “Higher Ground” attempts to integrate the UC Regents’ “principles against intolerance,” which were approved in March 2016.

The UC Regents is the governing body for the entire University of California system. The regents produced the “principles against intolerance” in response to heavy pressure from pro-Israel groups, which wanted the regents to adopt the controversial US State Department definition of anti-Semitism. That definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry.

The UC Regents rejected that definition and removed a sentence equating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.

The “principles,” which are unenforceable themselves, did however specify a prohibition against “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism” – a weaker formulation than Israel advocacy groups wanted.

But pro-Israel groups have since sought to use this formulation as a basis for going after Palestine activism.

UC Irvine’s “Higher Ground” document appears to be a direct capitulation to this agenda.

Silencing criticism

In an 18 July 2016 email to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim group Amcha Initiative, UC Irvine’s associate chancellor Michael Arias, wrote: “Following up on your suggestions, Chancellor Gillman plans to ask [UC Irvine’s] Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion to undertake a review of existing policies to confirm they are consistent” with the “principles against intolerance.”

Arias promised Rossman-Benjamin the university would “revise as necessary” any of its policies.

The following month, Gillman asked Douglas M. Haynes, a university vice provost, to conduct the assessment.

In October, Haynes produced “Higher Ground,” which critics say reproduces the misperception that anti-Zionist activities exclude Jewish students.

According to Palestine Legal’s Jackson, the document “conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, discards the UC’s commitment to free speech and excludes the interests of Palestinians and other vulnerable communities.”

After “Higher Ground” was published, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights and StandWithUs, two Israel lobby groups that have spearheaded efforts to silence Palestine activism, wrote to Haynes to applaud the report.

They also sent Haynes a “white paper” supposedly meant to help UC Irvine understand and recognize “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism.”

Their paper claims that anti-Semitism today is mostly expressed in “coded” ways, but points the administration back to the State Department’s definition as a guide. That controversial definition, which Israel lobby groups have urged institutions and governments around the world to adopt, claims that “demonizing” Israel, holding Israel to a “double standard” and “delegitimizing” Israel are forms of anti-Semitism.

It also alleges that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist” are anti-Semitic. This would potentially categorize advocacy for a one-state solution founded on equal rights in a democratic non-sectarian state that grants full citizenship to Israelis and Palestinians as a form of anti-Semitism.

Last month, Haynes spoke at a conference hosted by the Academic Engagement Network, a group founded to counter support for Palestinian rights on college campuses.

On 6 June, Haynes responded to Jackson’s letter to Gillman. Haynes asserted that the administration’s priorities align with the “principles against intolerance.” Haynes’ letter also makes allusions to balancing students’ First Amendment rights while maintaining “safety and security” and enforcing “civil discourse.”

According to Haynes, the university is still “reviewing the May 10th incident,” presumably a reference to the Reservists on Duty panel.

Hold them accountable

Palestine Legal’s Liz Jackson believes UC Irvine does indeed have a discrimination problem, but it is students advocating for Palestinian rights who have been the targets.

According to Jackson, the harassment students faced from the Israeli soldiers “is just the latest example of UC Irvine’s discrimination problem.”

Jackson accuses the administration of “ignoring harassment complaints by Palestinian and other students of color, and meanwhile singling out these same students for discriminatory treatment because of their viewpoint in favor of Palestinian rights.”

Some of those students have filed a complaint asking the university to investigate the pervasive harassment they say they face based on race and national origin.

“We must hold UC Irvine accountable for this discrimination,” said Jackson.

 

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

June 2017
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