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Al Quds University: Anatomy of a Smear

al quds university rally

Islamic Jihad salute falsely labeled “Nazi” at Al Quds University campus rally

I wrote several posts a few weeks ago about Brandeis University’s abrupt severing of all ties with the Palestinian Al Quds University and its remarkable president, Sari Nusseibeh.  In those posts I rebutted false claims suggested by Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence that there had been a “Nazi-like” rally on the Palestinian campus which extolled terrorists and suicide bombers.  What was astonishing to me was that Lawrence, the leader of a major liberal arts university would accept as prima facie evidence, information proffered by the right-wing pro-Israel bloggers Pam Geller, Tom Gross and Israel Matzav, who led the ‘jihad’ against Al Quds.  Since then even the NY Times has falsely called the same campus rally “Nazi-like,” though it had absolutely no association with Nazism.  By the way, I wrote an e-mail to the reporter and the Times’ public editor complaining of the false charge.  I received no reply.

I’ve been able to trace the Israeli origin of the charges against Al Quds to a November 11th article in Maariv.  The article deals in general with the theme of so-called Palestinian incitement against Israel.  In its litany of “sins,” it lists the Al Quds rally and a separate incident in which residents of the South Hebron Hills village of Beit Ummar purportedly hung a Nazi flag.

If you read the translation, you’ll see how a sloppy reading by someone looking to sensationalize the facts would allow all the blame to fall on Al Quds:

Documented: Nazi Salutes and Flags in the Palestinian Authority

At Al Quds University, students were photographed with arms raised, while a Nazi flag was flown over a Palestinian village.

Photographs taken at Al Quds University in East Jerusalem feature masked men affiliated with Islamic Jihad as they march with arms raised in salute.  In other pictures, students may be seen also raising their own arms in a Nazi salute.

The article links to a November 6th blog post by UK Jewish, anti-Palestinian blogger, Tom Gross, who calls the salutes “fascist-style.”  He added:

Students were encouraged to give what other students at Al-Quds described as Hitler-style salutes

All this raises the question: who took these photos?  Gross refuses to acknowledge who took them or how he received them.  Curiously, the photos displayed at his site are hot-linked from Pam Geller’s blog, Atlas Shrugged.  The date of her post is also November 6th.  So they both, almost simultaneously, published their information on the Al Quds rally.  Geller does link back to Gross but the latter makes no mention of his collusion with Geller in this smear campaign.

I’d hazard a guess that Gross, who prides himself as being an “independent” Middle East analyst, preferred not being associated with Geller’s bellicose reputation.  In a related matter, Geller’s Islamophobic American Freedom Defense Initiative suffered a legal defeat as a federal judge found its Boston MTA ads which called Muslims “savages” to be offensive. He found that the discriminatory nature of her message trumped her so called free speech rights.

Coincidentally, Gross also omits from his website biography that he’s a member of the international advisory board of the far-right NGO Monitor and a founding member of the pro-Israel, neoncon Henry Jackson Society based in the UK.  Not as “independent” as he makes out to be.

Robert Spencer and Pam Geller have in the past paid anti-Muslim activists to spy on pro-Palestine rallies by videotaping them.  My guess is that she and Gross secured the photos either directly or indirectly from the Shabak or its Palestinian informants.  They, in turn, likely passed them on to the government hasbara apparatus.  From there it was but a hop, skip and jump to Geller, Gross and Fred Lawrence.

One thing that otherwise reputable people like Fred Lawrence may want to consider is whether they want to make decisions based on material proffered to them by ideologues like Gross and especially Geller.

Returning to Gross’ post, the notion that “other students” described the salutes pictured here as “Hitler-style” is preposterous.  No Palestinian would do so.  But Tom Gross, Bibi Netanyahu, and the Shabak certainly would.  So we’ve caught Gross in a major fib.

Apparently, there is a some small moral conscience inside Gross, as he wrote this mealy-mouthed statement which purports to get him off the hook for the pro-Israel Nazi-smear of Al Quds he inspired:

I would also like to make it clear that while it is good these sites are covering this issue, I disassociate myself with the use of language in some of the reports linking to this page that use the term “Nazi salute” or “Nazi style” or “Hitler-style” or “genocide”.

I believe that such terms should only be used in the context of World War Two, and I avoided using them myself on this webpage, as I have elsewhere.

A more apt term would be “Fascist-style”.

Really, Tom, what’s the diff??  Is that the best you can do after siccing the dogs of Hitler on the poor Palestinian campus??

In my earlier posts, I noted that Islamic Jihad itself denied the salutes had anything to do with Nazism, but rather represented raising one’s arm toward Jerusalem, a city Muslims (and Jews) consider sacred.  According to the Brandeis campus paper, a faculty report on the incident said:

…The student group holding the demonstration denied any connection between Nazism and its gesture…Instead, the gesture was meant to be related to a pledge supporting Al-Quds.  The report also mentions that…scholars on both campuses indicate that the salute is used by other Middle Eastern political groups…

In fact, no modern Palestinian groups have ever supported Nazism or displayed Nazi regalia as part of their rituals.  In Israel, on the contrary, some Jews have raised Nazi flags in political protest against the State.  But I think this fact no more associates the State of Israel with Nazism than a campus salute associates Al Quds University with it.

Maariv also quotes PM Netanyahu’s remarks about the Al Quds incident:

It’s especially troubling that even in these days [of peace negotiations] that we witness such salutes and swastikas in the Palestinian Authority.  This is a direct result of the incitement there against the State of Israel.

nazi flag

Nazi flag purportedly hung from powerline outside Palestinian village

If you’re alert, you’re wondering where the “swastika” reference comes in.  It seems that there was a separate incident outside the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar in which the IDF was summoned to take down a Nazi flag that was hung.  The Maariv article displays a Facebook posting which it claims was made on the village’s Facebook page.  It quotes the supposed posting as saying:

Today, the heroes of Beit Ummar hung Hitler’s flag over a power line: may their efforts be blessed.

The Facebook post displayed in the article does not say this.  That post merely describes the incident.  So we have an example of a reporter publishing a supposed post without offering any proof that it exits or who was its author.  The reporter made no effort to speak with the IDF unit which removed the flag.  He never found  anyone from the village to interview about the incident, let alone someone who acknowledged the village was responsible.

In fact, the Beit Ummar Popular Committee released this forceful denunciation of the flag incident. If someone from the village did do this no one in the rest of the village wants anything to do with it.

Maariv’s reporter never wonders whether someone else might gain from such a provocation: settlers or even the security services themselves.  Nazi symbols simply do not resonate for Palestinians.  They don’t carry much weight or import.  So why would any Palestinian bother doing such a thing?  It’s much more likely that a settler provocateur would engage in such an act in order to elicit outrage among Israeli Jews and the outside world.

And that’s precisely what happened.  Fred Lawrence fell right into the trap.  But he didn’t fall unintentionally.  His was a willing one.  Brandeis would have us believe that it is a liberal arts institution “cherishing its independence from any doctrine or government.”  That’s what it’s mission statement says.  But you can kiss that notion goodbye.  A former chair of the school’s board of trustees once told a faculty member that the essence of the school is that “we support Israel.”  When the professor asked how that squared with its mission statement, the trustee dismissed that with a wave of his hand.  “The reason I said we support Israel is because we do.”  You won’t find that in the mission statement because it might be a bit, er, uncomfortable to explain.  But it’s Brandeis’ #1 unwritten law.

In fact, pro-Israelism is virtually the official religion of American Jews. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why American Jewry finds itself in the deep whole portrayed by the Pew Center’s recent poll of American Jewish identity. Young American Jews in particular are fleeing from Israel and the bastions of Jewish communal life: synagogues and Israel lobby-type organizations.

In that pro-Israel context, Lawrence’s cutting of ties with Al Quds makes perfect sense.  Brandeis’ mission is not to create international academic relationships with Palestinian universities.  It’s real mission is to educate American Jewish youth and raise funds from the wealthiest 1% of American Jewry.  Those donors are overwhelmingly, not just liberal Zionists, but hardline pro-Israel.  The school’s trustees are closely allied with the Islamophobic David Project, Aipac, and numerous other Israel Lobby groups.  Fred Lawrence probably didn’t even need to be told to ditch Al Quds.  He knew what his trustees would want him to do and he did it.

To give but one example of Brandeis’ real nature, Michael Steinhardt gave $12-million to endow an Institute in his name that is part of the Cohen Center.  It’s no accident that demographers working under the Center’s auspices have produced ten years of glowing surveys of Birthright-Israel participants “proving” that the billion-dollar investment of Sheldon Adelson, Michael Steinhardt, and other wealthy pro-Israel donors have inculcated pro-Israel values and given them something to live for as Jews.  Such surveys take the guise of serious academic research, but they are nothing more than agitprop for pro-Israelism and self-interested boosterism that inflates donors egos with their own sense of success.  In that sense, Brandeis happily allows itself to be co-opted both by pro-Israel mega-donors and by its own pro-Israel sympathies.  The result is hasbara that passes for rigorous inquiry.

Returning to one of the statements that opened this post: Al Quds University has been smeared by a carefully manufactured campaign in the pro-Israel media.  Serious academics and media outlets have either knowingly or unknowingly bought into the smear.  They should be ashamed.

There will be a Brandeis faculty meeting next month at which Al Quds will be discussed.  Some faculty are seeking to renew ties with the Palestinian school.  One hopes sanity, reason, and real liberal values will prevail.

I should add that after the recent resolution endorsing BDS by the American Studies Association, Brandeis’ own American Studies program almost immediately voted to cut off its ties with the ASA.  That was followed by three other schools.  All of them were pressured to do so by letters sent to them by Israel Lobby groups like the Anti-Defamation League.  Next month, the Modern Language Association takes up debate on the issue.

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{ 33 comments… add one }

  • Rima Najjar December 25, 2013, 4:07 AM

    Richard Silverstein, you have written another blog on the severance of relations by Brandeis University with Al Quds University after the student rally, organized by the Islamic Bloc on campus, commemoration of Palestinian martyrs, including ‘Asi, the father of martyr Mohammad ‘Asi, whom Israel assassinated extra-judicially in Kufr Ni’meh near Bil’in west of Ramallah. Mohammad ‘Asi is accused of masterminding a bombing operation on a bus in Tel Aviv last year (Nov 21, 2012) during Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip that resulted in the injury of at least 29 Israeli civilians and credited by some as one factor that caused Israel to halt the bombing on Gaza. (See my photo album of the AQU campus rally here: https://www.facebook.com/rima.najjar.merriman/media_set?set=a.10151818109148422.1073741897.636428421&type=3).

    Militant Palestinians, whether they come from Islamic groups or leftist groups such as the Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have a just cause to use violence against the Jewish state. Israel’s “security” is equivalent to the denial of Palestinian most fundamental rights as human beings. If I were in Sari Nusseibeh’s shoes, I would not bother “building bridges” with Zionists, even liberal Zionists, unless they recognize their own racist and fascist ideology that denies the humanity of Palestinians.

    You spends a lot of time ferreting out the origins of the report portraying the Islamic bloc rally as a fascist rally that uses the Nazi salute to indicate Nazi sympathies and concludes, as Sari Nusseibeh (president of AQU) has done, that the Brandeis president was swayed, in his quick adoption of the baseless accusations, by “pro-Israel” (i.e., Zionist) forces and was likely motivated by a desire not to jeopardize funding for his university from such quarters. In a desire to set the record straight about the humanist credentials and “open pluralistic culture” of AQU, Nusseibeh has organized a special English-speaking summer course June/July 2014 “to discuss ways of combating hate-speech and racism” and has invited Frederick Lawrence to participate.

    On my part, I wish all that ink devoted to this incident were directed, not at the futile Palestinian efforts (such as Sari Nusseibeh’s) of “building bridges” with Zionist affiliated Jewish universities in the United States, but rather at putting the deceit perpetrated by Brandeis into the larger context of Israel’s successful Zionist propaganda in the United States. Israel continues to be deceitful about its systematic and determined use of oppressive force against Palestinians and the clear facts concerning the long history of the conflict, dissociating Palestinian behavior from Israel’s own settler-colonial Zionist ideology and behavior. In other words, I wish you would follow up with another blog, explaining why militant Palestinian groups will never be silenced until the rights of Palestinians are recognized – all their rights:

    In a recent statement, following the American Studies Association vote to boycott Israeli academic institutions, the Association for Humanist Sociology expressed the ugly and hidden truth about Zionism as follows:

    “Israel has continued and, in fact, intensified its colonization of Palestinian land in violation of international law. The human suffering in the Occupied Territories is great and getting more severe in many ways. All efforts to get Israel to reverse course have failed. BDS initiatives, including the Academic and Cultural Boycott, are what the international human rights community has left to dissuade Israel from this tragic course of action it has chosen.

    The membership of the Association for Humanist Sociology urges the U.S. government, which has continued to provide military and economic support to Israel, to discontinue such support immediately and to support instead:

    (1) the right of return for Palestinian refugees;

    (2) full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and

    (3) the end of occupation and colonial rule.

  • Oui December 25, 2013, 5:12 AM

    A courageous stand, worthwhile to link to the report by faculty members of Brandeis.

    On the Brandeis/Al-Quds University Partnership by Dan Terris

    I have recently returned from a five-day trip to Al-Quds University, continuing work on a decade-long partnership between Brandeis University and this prominent Palestinian educational institution. I was accompanied by my Brandeis colleagues Sue Lanser (English, and Women’s and Gender Studies) and Dan Kryder (Politics).

    Our trip, scheduled months ago, was focused on projects for the next phase of the successful partnership with which we three and many others have been involved. Projects in progress at the time of our departure included faculty research exchanges, a women’s leadership institute, and curriculum development in the politics and English departments.

    Because of the controversy surrounding a rally on the Al-Quds University campus on November 5, President Fred Lawrence asked the three of us while there to gather as much information as we could about the rally, its context, and the response of the Al-Quds University administration, and requested that we report back to him after we returned home.

    [Full report available on website]

    Eli Philip ’15, the co-president of J Street U Brandeis, expressed agreement with the report in an email to the Justice. “J Street U Brandeis joins professors Terris, Lanser and Kryder in their call to resume a vibrant partnership with Al-Quds University. Engaging with narratives different than our own is often difficult, but ultimately a partnership will help both universities empower productive voices who are interested in peace and understanding.”

    Al Quds University – beautiful campus

  • Pip December 25, 2013, 1:02 PM

    Richard.

    I can’t believe you waste your life over shit like this. Sad really.

    • Richard Silverstein December 25, 2013, 1:47 PM

      @ Pip: With views like yours, I can only imagine what sort of miserable misken life you must lead. I’m quite engaged and fulfilled by my mission here. Thanks for your “concern” though.

    • Deïr Yassin December 25, 2013, 4:18 PM

      “I can’t believe you waste your life over shit like this”
      Translation from Hasbaranto to English: “Why don’t you just let the Zionist propagande demonize the Palestinians.”

  • S. Rosen December 25, 2013, 2:40 PM

    It might be interesting to note that AQU has itself very close ties with various Israeli universities. Just to give a few examples: over 95% of scientific papers produced by AQU are coauthored by Israeli academics. AQU sends several of its students to Israeli universities to obtain their PhDs there. Also, this week, I personally attended a lecture by a prominent AQU professor in an Israeli university. I think this type of constructive cooperation and bridge building has a much higher impact on peace than the destructive and detrimental actions.

    • Richard Silverstein December 25, 2013, 9:29 PM

      @ S. Rosen: I think you’re full of horse manure. Can you prove your claim that 95% of Al Quds scientific papers are co-authored by Israeli academics? If you can’t you’re just blowing hot air.

      BTW, if there’s such good relations with Israeli universities I’m sure the presidents of these institutions would be willing to speak out when the IDF invades campus and beats up students & steals university equipment/computers. Would you mind showing me any concern ever expressed by an Israeli institution on behalf of Al Quds? How about any Israeli university presidents who publicly supported Al Quds & asked Brandeis to resume their affiliation with it? I’ll wait patiently for your answer.

      • S. Rosen December 25, 2013, 11:16 PM

        Instead of resorting to personal attack and skepticism, you could easily verify those facts with any Al Quds faculty member willing to cooperate. I prefer not to disclose my source, but this is by no means secret information. You can also read this post to have an idea of the state of affairs

        http://electronicintifada.net/content/al-quds-university-flouts-own-academic-boycott/8966

        As to your second paragraph, I am not aware of any official political statement made by the Israeli universities regarding any political event, and neither did I claim there have been such statements. Rather, the cooperation is manifest through joint programs, student interchange, scientific collaboration and personal ties between the Palestinian and Israeli academics.
        Of course you can always claim that all the above are just a fig leaf for the Israeli universities. But anyone with some knowledge of the Israeli academic world and its strong inclination to the political left, will not take this claim seriously.

        • Richard Silverstein December 26, 2013, 3:42 AM

          @ S. Rosen: So you claim 95% of Al Quds academic papers are published with Israeli co-authors but either can’t or refuse to offer any evidence to support the claim. Instead of offering to support it you tell me that I can confirm it by asking Al Quds faculty myself? Rima Najjar, an Al Quds faculty member has resoundingly rejected your claim. Now why don’t you suggest another faculty member who might confirm it?

          As for Israeli universities, your claim is that while there are cooperative programs with Palestinian institutions, that Israeli institutions really don’t give a crap about the welfare or security of Palestinians schools or students in the face of Israeli military onslaught. How thoughtful and helpful of the Occupiers-professors. They get to claim in their academic brochures what noble and benevolent people they are, while taking no real responsibility for the well-being of their “partners.”

          As for the alleged “strong inclination to the political left” of Israeli universities, you’ve just given away your own ideological biases. You’re the designated hasbarist of the day. Don’t slam the door on your way out.

          • S. Rosen December 26, 2013, 9:51 AM

            The source is an AQU professor who has done statistical analysis regarding this matter. If you prefer, you are of course free to believe I made this up. I did not check the statistics myself, but a very quick check on google scholar already reveals plenty of coauthored papers. Just to give a few examples:

            *Ereqat, S., Nasereddin, A., Levine, H., Azmi, K., Al-Jawabreh, A., Greenblatt, C. L., … & Bar-Gal, G. K. (2013). First-Time Detection of Mycobacterium bovis in Livestock Tissues and Milk in the West Bank, Palestinian Territories. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 7(9), e2417.
            *Khalaf, S., Al-Rimawi, F., Khamis, M., Nir, S., Bufo, S. A., Scrano, L., … & Karaman, R. (2013). Efficiency of membrane technology, activated charcoal, and a micelle-clay complex for removal of the acidic pharmaceutical mefenamic acid. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 48(13), 1655-1662.
            *Alfalah, S., Belz, S., Deeb, O., Leibscher, M., Manz, J., & Zilberg, S. (2009). Photoinduced quantum dynamics of ortho-and para-fulvene: Hindered photoisomerization due to mode selective fast radiationless decay via a conical intersection. The Journal of chemical physics, 130(12), 124318-124318.

            so far the “resounding rejection”.

            I don’t think that universities usually engage in the issuing of statements regarding political and military matters. I don’t see Harvard university issuing a formal statement regarding humanitarian issues in Iraq, just to give an example. Still, I think you underestimate the power of academic partnership in the building of not only mutual trust, but also of reality-changing capabilities. For example, a major part of the collaboration is in the field of education and public health. This is why I think Israeli academics in general (in addition to personal political activities) do “give a crap”, and do take responsibility, within the range of their capabilities.

            Regarding your third paragraph: you apparently cannot resist the urge of personal attack (against a straw man). I am sharing my knowledge of the issue and my appreciation of another way of promoting peace. Any additional conclusion you wish to draw is just a fabrication of your mind. If anything that does not immediately fit into your worldview (such as productive partnership?) automatically results in this kind of hostile reaction, then so be it.

            Best of luck

          • Richard Silverstein December 26, 2013, 5:29 PM

            @ S. Rosen: So despite the fact that you have an alleged Al Quds professor producing “statistical analysis” on Israeli Palestinian academic collaboration, you have to resort to Google
            Scholar to dig up 4 (count ‘em) papers in which you found Israeli & Palestinian co-authors. We still haven’t proven yr claim that 95% of Al Quds papers are co-authored. So after allowing you 2 separate failed attempts, I’m going to call your claim a lie. Till you offer genuine evidence.

            As for universities making statements in support of other institutions or academics threatened by oppressive regimes, it happens all the time. These are not “political statements” as you say, but humanitarian ones.

            Your Harvard analogy is false, since we’re talking about Israeli universities, not American (except in the single case of Brandeis). A more apt analogy would be if American police & National Guard troops invaded the Radcliffe or Smith campus and beat up students & stole computer equipment. In that case, you can be damn sure Harvard would be up in arms since they are neighboring institutions with close ties

            Unfortunately, Israeli institutions themselves are collaborators with both the Occupation & national security state, so they have no moral motivation to stand in solidarity with their nearby academic cousin at Al Quds.

            As to my supposed personal attacks against you: nothing of the sort. “Hasbarist” is a political, not personal term. Your goal here is to advocate for Israel. That’s a political-ideological motivation, which I name for what it is.

            As for your claim that you’re sharing your “knowledge” on the subject. No, you’re sharing your opinions and biases, not knowledge. There’s a BIG difference.

    • Deïr Yassin December 26, 2013, 3:48 AM

      Let’s not forget to mention that about one third of the students at Al-Quds University are Palestinian citizens of Israel. Do you have an explanation for that ?

  • Oui December 25, 2013, 3:37 PM

    “The article links to a blog post by UK Jewish, anti-Palestinian blogger, Tom Gross …”

    In WaybackMachine archive (date Nov. 7, 2013), the original photos were posted on servers reddit.com with identification fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd (dot) net, a host listed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Later the photo’s on his webpage had identification as listed on the AtlasShrugs website.

    Tom Gross is a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor.

    • Richard Silverstein December 25, 2013, 9:53 PM

      @ Oui: The “fbcdn” is Facebook’s photo cloud server. So they were originally posted by someone on Facebook. Interesting to find out who that was.

      • Oui December 26, 2013, 2:13 AM

        Perhaps this article precedes the Tom Gross blogpost …
        Masked Palestinian Students at “Moderate” University Parade with Guns, Give Nazi Salute
        Matzav.com Israel News Bureau on Thursday November 7, 2013 10:18 AM

        No acknowledgement to any other source, blog or photo credit [http://matzav.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/al-quds-university (dot) jpg]!

        In the aftermath, it was Tom Gross Media, MEMRI and other hasbara groups who took the topic to the extremes. Arutz Sheva – Video reveals how Nazi salutes at Islamic Jihad rally on campus are part of a wider trend of Palestinian Nazi glorification.

        • Richard Silverstein December 26, 2013, 3:35 AM

          @ Oui: Gross & Geller’s posts are dated Nov. 6th. I think Israel Matzav just piggy backed onto the story the next day.

  • Oui December 25, 2013, 3:41 PM

    And the smear continues unabated on the sites of Jewish Press and MEMRI.

  • Rima Najjar December 26, 2013, 12:07 AM

    Anyone interested in the research activities of Al-Quds University can check them out here: http://www.alquds.edu/en/research/researchers-portfolios/aqu-published-research.html. Given its struggle to keep a foothold in Jerusalem, AQU is the most likely to have participated in programs funded by US and EU within the framework of Oslo, which provided conditional funds for such research – i.e. the money was conditional on such cooperation. But this has virtually stopped since 2004, when the Palestinian Boycott and Divestment Movement started. The Union of University Employees, including that of Al-Quds University, joined in making the boycott call.

    Not sure what the subtext of Rosen’s comments are. Is he saying that Palestinian university professors collaborate with Israeli universities and that’s why Israeli universities must be absolved of complicity? What is Rosen’s point here? It seems to me he is arguing simply to hide the nightmare of Zionism from view. We are now witnessing the inevitable demise of the ill-fated Oslo, which had given rise to sham “collaboration” efforts and cover to the Jewish entity’s crimes against the humanity of the Palestinian people since 1948. There is no doubt that Israeli universities are complicit in these crimes and that the academic boycott against Israeli universities is gaining traction. Read this excellent recent article by David Lloyd: The Nightmare Hidden Within Liberal Zionism by David Lloyd: http://electronicintifada.net/content/nightmare-hidden-within-liberal-zionism/13029#.UrcXTR0DQ6c.facebook.

  • Robert Mullen December 26, 2013, 8:50 AM

    Mr. Silverstien: would a precis of your lead into the above blog submitted to and published in the Brandeis U. student newspaper get F. Lawrence’s attention?

    The swastika flag photo looks to me to be photoshopped. Making contact with two powerlines, as it appear to, would likely have instantly turned the flag to ashes, not to say to cause a power outage in the powerline’s service area.

    • Oui December 26, 2013, 10:22 AM

      I looked at that possibility but found no evidence of tampering. In dry conditions, a twine or light string would not be conductive and cause no harm, contrary to deliberate short-circuitry of electrical power stations caused by IAF attacks in Gaza.

      There are two photo’s of the event with a slight different angle which had raised some doubt by me at first. The Algemeiner had published both photos in its article. [Photo: Shneior Nachum Sochat, Tazpit News Agency]

  • Oui December 26, 2013, 10:00 AM

    Demonisation by deliberate omission

    (Gary Spedding) – Indeed the articles (found at the Algemeiner, Arutz Sheva et al.) that are being passed around at present omit the statement which was released by the Popular Committee of Beit Ummar where they “express our complete disgust with the display of the swastika”, and state that “It in no way represents the people of Beit Ummar, or of Palestine.

    For some media outlets I guess the opportunity to link the entire Palestinian community of Beit Ummar to fascist anti-Jewish incitement was just too good to pass up.

    By omitting the very public statements coming from representative organisations in Beit Ummar, and subsequently failing to get statements from any legitimate source within the Palestinian town these media outlets are demonising by omission of facts.

    In the bigger picture these incidents potentially feed the growing and rather slanted discussion on incitement in Palestinian media, and why this is a reason to be against current peace talks and in favour of continued occupation.

    Joint statement by Beit Ommar Popular Committee and Palestine Solidarity Project

  • Noam December 27, 2013, 1:09 AM

    @ Richard,
    “Al Quds University has been smeared by a carefully manufactured campaign in the pro-Israel media. Serious academics and media outlets have either knowingly or unknowingly bought into the smear. They should be ashamed.”

    so what we have here is a batch of pictures wrongly understood which causes damage to the University reputation… i wonder where i’ve heard that one before… this is of course one of the biggest MO of the pro palestinian activists. a taste from their own medicine. i’m sure there’s no need to mention some examples but i’ll give a recent one… the arrest of the french diplomat with the “alleged” gun point to the head – which of course was a total BS as was proven (it needed to be proven only to those so bias that won’t let their eyes do the seeing). didn’t see anyone here going out of their way to correct that error and it was actually published on your wall (richard). so, when you see black masked persons saluting like that and marching on the the star of david flag, for the average western person the only things that’s missing is Wagner playing in the background. what did they expect that would happen when the pictures got out?

    “Unfortunately, Israeli institutions themselves are collaborators with both the Occupation & national security state, so they have no moral motivation to stand in solidarity with their nearby cousin academics at Al Quds.”
    what?? they need to feel for them when they are stumping our flag and throwing a gala for a terrorist? that’s what really happened there – nazi salue or not! there’s some limit surly! by the way, haifa U just last week decided not to give an honorary award for Doctor Leshem because of his right wing opinions – and there are many more examples of leftism in israel campuses so i’m not sure where you get off with that sort of statement.

    • Richard Silverstein December 27, 2013, 3:13 AM

      @ Noam: You are the master of the non sequitur and off-topic comment. So you claim that this smear is justified because Israel has been smeared? And you even use false claims that Israel was smeared when it wasn’t?

      I don’t want to get sidetracked and I know this is one of your primary aims. So let’s just say that you’re done in this thread. If you do respond you will be moderated or banned.

      First, a female French diplomat was assaulted and dragged from her vehicle by the IDF. I never read nor do I believe she ever claimed a gun was pointed at her head. But the idea that an Israeli soldier could physically assault a diplomat is appalling. But apparently not to you since you’re just another Israeli who’s been inured to the violence Occupation brings.

      when you see black masked persons saluting like that and marching on the the star of david flag, for the average western person the only things that’s missing is Wagner playing in the background.

      Begging pardon: your feelings are hurt because they trampled the Israeli flag? Get over it. The American flag is burned every day and no American has visions of storm troopers marching down the streets of their home town and herding everyone into concentration camps. What do you expect of Palestinians? That they’ll raise your flag to the top of every Palestinian flagpole and salute? As for Wagner, gimme a break, you can’t even hear Wagner playing anywhere in Israel, let alone in the background due to the delicate sensibilities of certain Israelis. And the claim that “the average western person” thinks anything of the Al Quds incident, let alone hears the strains of Wagner, is ridiculous. Get over yourselves. The average western person is sick and tired of your histrionics.

      …they need to feel for them when they are stumping our flag

      No Palestinian university trampled your flag. A bunch of Islamic Jihad members did so. Again, get over yourself. Stick to facts instead of histrionics.

      • Noam December 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

        @ Richard,
        i know you didn’t want me to comment again but i have to reply to some of your interpretation to what i’ve written even if you are the only one who reads it….

        “No Palestinian university trampled your flag. A bunch of Islamic Jihad members did so.”
        i’m not hurt by palestinians stamping my country’s flag, i probably would have done the same if i were in their shoes… and who else then an israeli knows the need for national ethos and heros. so that was’t my point.
        they (Islamic Jihad members) did their ceremony in the university courtyard… are you saying that no staff member knew what was going on? they have no responsibility? obviously they knew and obviously they supported it in some way… again no judgment there, just don’t expect israeli professors to go on hunger strikes for them even though they are collaborating academically (there are more papers in the AQA website).

        about the picture i made an example of, i think as always when it comes to the israeli-palestinian conflict – hypocrisy is a common trait for both sides. pictures like that are always published tarnishing israelis – sometimes very ironically taking pictures from syria as if they were a result of israeli attacks – it’s an efficient tool used by both sides.

        to dier yassin,
        i live in haifa most of my life and i am a student in haifa… so please don’t tell me what that university as become or what the “ambience” in it is from thousands of km away, you really have no idea… and if it was as racist as you claim i guess they should have built a statue honouring that doctor don’t you think?

        • Deïr Yassin December 28, 2013, 1:21 PM

          You’re NOT a Palestinian, you have no idea about, neither are you interested in knowing what it’s like to be a Palestinian living within the State of Israel, including studying in Israeli universities. I’ve read enough by you to know that. I know various Palestinians who have studied at Haifa University, including friends and a couple of cousins. So don’t you tell me what it’s like to be a Palestinian at Haifa University or elsewhere.
          If one-third of the students at al-Quds University are Israeli Palestinians, there is a reason !

          If you’re interested in knowing what it’s like to be a Palestinian in Israel from a Palestinian perspective (but I doubt), Al-Jazeera made a marvellous documentary on the topic a couple of years ago: Jamal Zahalka, Azmi Bishara, lots of known and unknown Palestinian citizens are interviewed. Also the young woman who survived Eden Natan Zada’s massacre (cf. Richard’s article on the topic recently).
          It’s very long, in all about 4 hours but you should really see it, even little by little, there is a very good historical overview. It’s a story of continuous dispossession, institutionalized discrimination and humiliation. Just see it, no need to give me feedback
          First of three parts: “The Owners of the Land”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cNynBh1Wfc

        • Richard Silverstein December 28, 2013, 11:09 PM

          @ Noam: There is YouTube video of Univ. of Haifa students chanting “death to Arabs” & worse ON CAMPUS. Maybe you were even among them? So I expect you to now write letters to all U.S. universities with any form of affiliation with Haifa to demand that they end such affiliation because Haifa students engaged in behavior equally odious to that of Al Quds. If you refuse then you’re nothing but a friggin’ hypocrite. And one who is now moderated, since you couldn’t be bothered to respect my editorial direction.

          • Oui December 29, 2013, 10:33 AM

            Haifa students chanting “death to Arabs“.

          • Oui December 29, 2013, 10:34 AM

            Arab students in Haifa hold silent vigil for Jabari

            (TOI) Nov. 16, 2012 – Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav sent a letter to the president of the university calling on the administration to use all means necessary to prevent negative extremist elements from spreading malicious propaganda within the university’s walls.

            Yahav expressed outrage over the morning’s silent vigil, saying that “it is not in the spirit of Haifa, which seeks co-existence, tolerance and dialogue.” While he lauded the atmosphere of democracy and freedom of expression, he warned that the “cynical exploitation of this natural right to promote the teachings of terrorist organizations that exalt the murder of children and innocent civilians, crosses the boundaries of humanity.”

            Dean of students prohibits public student activities for two weeks [pdf]

            (Acagemic Watch) – On November 18th, 2012, the Dean’s Office issued a statement banning all public on-campus activities for two weeks; an act that was determined by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel 2 as a breach of freedom of speech. It should be noted that the Dean’s order turned into a systematic practice by the university whenever there is political tension in the region. However, this prohibition affects only the Arab student organizations while the activities that support the army, are subject to the constitution of the General Union which differs from that of the General Student Union. In response, the Arab Student Board initiated a protest in front of the university on the November 19th. More than five hundred students participated in this protest demanding Israel to end its assault on Gaza. MK Haneen Zo’bi and MK Mohammed Barakeh also joined the protest.

          • Noam December 30, 2013, 11:49 PM

            [for commenting a SECOND time after I directed you to end your participation in this thread, you are no longer welcome as a commenter here. If you change your mind and decide you can henceforth follow ALL the rules (not just the ones you prefer) I will reinstate you.]

    • Deïr Yassin December 27, 2013, 3:21 AM

      When students yelled “Death to the Arabs” on Haifa University Campus during the last grand-scale massacre on Gaza November 2012 (filmed and posted on youtube by an Israeli, I posted it on an earlier article on this subject), no American or other university cancelled their collaboration with this university who has quite a number of extreme right-winged professors too. Haifa U has become one of the most racist universities in Israel, Arab students have been told not to speak Arabic in the administrative offices, just one example of the ambience being around there.

    • Oui December 27, 2013, 7:10 AM

      Ah, the famous photo of the “gun pointed to the head” of French diplomat Marion Castaing. Photos do deceive and the status of the gun was misrepresented, there was another side to the story:

      Marion Castaing will leave her post by year’s end

      (JPost) – Israeli troops used force to halt EU diplomats accompanying aid workers to the Bedouin village of Makhul, with French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing dragged out of an aid truck that was later confiscated, diplomatic sources said.

      Marion Castaing, the French diplomat who shoved a Border Police officer in the face in the Jordan Valley, will leave the country by the end of the year, averting an Israeli-French diplomatic crisis. A French official said security personnel from the French Consulate moved Castaing from her Jerusalem home after she received threatening phone calls and her address and pictures of her house were published online.

      Video of IDF violence blocking activists near Bedouin village Makhul

  • Rima Najjar December 27, 2013, 2:26 AM

    Noam and Rosen,
    I couldn’t give a fig whether Barndeis university re-partners with Al-Quds University or not. We are side-tracked, as usual in discussing current affairs in Palestine. It’s not just “today’s Israel” that’s “a frightening, sickening monster”, as
    Zeev Smilansky puts it in his Haaretz opinion piece today, but all of Jewish Israel from the very beginning.

    The smear we should be discussing is not just this incident of deceit that Richard analyzes here, but how Israel continues to be deceitful about its systematic and determined use of oppressive force against Palestinians and the clear facts concerning the long history of the conflict, dissociating Palestinian behavior from Israel’s own settler-colonial Zionist ideology and behavior. It does it, as Smilansky does in his piece today, by equating a false narrative in which Palestinians are bit players in a Jewish drama with a factual Jewish settler-colonial Zionism that continues to ethnic cleanse and dispossess Palestinians.

    Smilansky bemoans the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in emotive words – decries the loss of “moderation and the shrewdness” that he believes Jews have lost since 1967 and replaced by “crude, brute force, seeking an outlet”.

    He looks back nostalgically on the times when “we Jews” “loved to visit the West Bank in the past, but no more. Today, this land is one of moral turpitude, a blot on the family’s record, a historic disgrace.”

    How can this Zionist Jew, whom Richard Silverstein describes admiringly in a tweet, “Scion of 1 of Israel’s truly great Zionist families” be so blind to what’s right under his bloody feet?

    He is the owner of the Meishar winery in the moshav, a semi-cooperative rural Jewish Israeli settlement (the only kind of “settlement” in Israel) that lie on the ruins of the depopulated and destroyed Palestinian village of Bashshit located 16.5 kilometers (10.3 mi) southwest of Ramla, no. 303 on the map.

    Watch a video interview with Ahmad Sa’adoun of Bashsheet, who is now in a refugee camp in Gaza south of Jarash (see link below) and then watch your news reporting triumphantly on your jets continuing to bombard Gaza, and reflect a little, for God’s sake!

    http://shelf3d.com/Te_Bnw_rfR0#مقابلة%20تاريخ%20شفوي%20للنكبة%20الفلسطينية%20مع%20السيد%20احمد%20سعدون%20من%20قرية%20بشيت%20-%20الرملة%20-%20فلسطين%20المحتلة

    Carte et Liste des villages arabes détruits en 48
    http://palestine1967.voila.net/discorde/D.discorde.villagesdetruits.htm

    Haaretz article: Israel has become Zionism’s worst enemy
    The occupation is emptying Judaism’s toolbox of all wealth, turning Zionism and its manifestation into another fleeting, sad episode in the gloomy history of the Jewish people.
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.565384?utm_content=buffer2cbc2&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

    • Richard Silverstein December 27, 2013, 3:19 AM

      @ Rima: I think you misunderstood my tweet in terms of my judgment of Smilansky. I admire his views in relation to those of the rest of Israel. But I understand that he is a liberal Zionist, a bit more progressive than the rest, but still enthralled by the Zionist dream of his forefathers. Unlike you, I try to understand him in the historical context from which he originates. I don’t expect him to become an anti-Zionist.

      As for destroyed villages, there is more than enough time in the future to restore as many of those villages as the returning Palestinians would like. I don’t know how Smilansky will respond to that when it happens. But my sense is that he would not be opposed and might even welcome it.

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