Target Israel

In recent months, two University of California campuses, Berkeley and San Diego, have been embroiled in fierce debates following the introduction of anti-Israel divestiture resolutions by their respective student senates. Both were defeated, but not before a number of California’s Middle East studies academics signed a petition supporting divestment.

The petition is posted at the website for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which is dedicated to the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement. The list of names reads like a Who’s Who of California’s anti-Israel academics:

  • Joel Beinin: Stanford University history professor and well-known anti-Zionist. As a regular guest on the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center (PPJC) Palo Alto cable television program “Other Voices,” Beinin is notorious for railing against Israel. During an appearance on April 6, 2010, he described Israeli building policies in Jerusalem as “segregationist” and claimed that “visceral hatred” and “open bloodthirstiness” were “common” in Israeli society. He was one of only a handful of Middle East studies professors to take part in the odious “Israeli Apartheid Week” in March, 2009 with a speech at UC Berkeley.
  • Hatem Bazian: senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at UC Berkeley, visiting scholar at the Zaytuna Institute/College in Berkeley (the self-proclaimed “first Islamic college” in the U.S.), and committed anti-Israel activist. In March of this year, he was one of the speakers at UC Irvine’s “Israeli Apartheid Week,” which was co-sponsored by the radical Muslim Student Union (MSU) and the problematic Middle East Studies Student Initiative (MESSI). Bazian is perhaps best known for calling for “an intifada in this country!” at a 2004 anti-war rally in San Francisco.
  • Mark LeVine: UC Irvine history professor and abject apologist for terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (a spokesman from the latter spoke to his class in October, 2008). LeVine is a defender of the extremist behavior of UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union, including their shouting down of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in February, 2010—something he described as a “teachable moment.”  In a recent Al-Jazeera op-ed, LeVine portrayed the Turkish terrorist supporters who were killed on one of the Gaza Flotilla ships as “martyrs,” “heroes,” and—in a warped nod to Memorial Day—“warriors every bit as deserving of our tears and support as the soldiers of American wars past and present.”
  • Beshara Doumani: UC Berkeley associate professor of history. He has described Hamas as “a deeply rooted political organization with social and cultural and other dimensions” that—all evidence to the contrary—“has come forward many, many times to negotiate a truce with Israel.” Doumani was one of the signatories (along with Joel Beinin) to a ludicrous 2002 open letter suggesting that Israel would use the war in Iraq to engage in “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians—a charge that never materialized and for which no apologies nor retractions were ever issued.
  • Hamid Algar: UC Berkeley Islamic studies professor, Khomeini acolyte, Armenian genocide denier, and defender of Palestinian suicide bombers, of which he said in a June, 2003 California Monthly interview, “such actions are closer to the case of a soldier who, in battle against overwhelming odds and in the certain knowledge that he will not emerge alive from the encounter, rushes upon the enemy.”
  • Saree Makdisi: UCLA English professor who carries on the political legacy of his uncle, the late Columbia University professor and Orientalism author Edward Said. Makdisi has leveled blood libels against Israel, including—at an infamous January, 2009 UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies symposium—claiming that “the goal of Israel is to deliberately starve children.” Makdisi has a long history of supporting the BDS movement and has endorsed the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
  • Minoo Moallem: UC Berkeley professor of gender and women’s studies. She was a signatory to a January, 2009 open letter to President Obama calling for an end to U.S. support for Israel based on its, “war crimes and in its acts of terror…its racist civil constitution and illegal occupations.” Along with a number of Middle East studies academics, Moallem signed an open letter to the International Society for Iranian Studies objecting to the inclusion of a faculty member from Israel’s Ariel University in the 2010 Iranian Studies Biennial Conference in Santa Monica.
  • Suad Joseph: UC Davis professor of anthropology and women’s studies and president-elect of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the principal professional organization for scholars of the region and a frequent purveyor of anti-Israel “scholarship.” Joseph has signed a number of open letters either demonizing Israel or supporting boycotts, including the aforementioned letters regarding Israel and the war in Iraq and the exclusion of an Israeli academic from the Iranian Studies Biennial Conference, as well as an open letter challenging Israeli academics opposed to international boycott efforts. As president-elect of MESA, Joseph’s politicized perspective does not bode well for the future of the field.
  • Other California Middle East studies academics who signed the petition supporting divestiture include Margaret Larkin, a professor of Arabic literature at UC Berkeley, and Omnia El Shakry, a history professor at UC Davis. El Shakry signed a March, 2008 “Statement of Solidarity with Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Women Facing War and Occupation” opposing Israel’s incursion into Gaza following Hamas’s rocket barrage.

By way of comparison—at least as far as one California university goes—not one UC Irvine Middle East studies academic signed the May, 2010 faculty letter objecting to the atmosphere of “hatred against Jews and Israelis on campus” created by the MSU.

California academics have, however, played a leading role in the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. According to a February, 2009 Daily Bruin article on the Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel, “eleven of the 15 organizing committee members represent California universities, and four of them are from the University of California.” Moreover, two of the founding members of the organizing committee teach Middle East studies at California institutions:

  • Rabab Abdulhadi: San Francisco State University (SFSU) associate professor of ethnic studies and race and resistance studies, and a senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative. Abdulhadi teaches SFSU’s first course focusing solely on the Palestinian people, an emphasis she justifies by claiming that, “Palestine is at the heart of the Arab world.” Adhulhadi spoke at an Al-Awda (Palestine Right to Return Coalition) conference at SFSU in August, 2006 and at York University in March, 2010 for Toronto’s “Israeli Apartheid Week.” She was one of the panelists at an event at SFSU timed to coincide with the second anniversary of SFSU’s Edward Said mural in November, 2009 and dedicated to the BDS movement. Omar Barghouti, founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel—the inspiration for the U.S. version—gave the keynote address.
  • Sondra Hale: UCLA anthropology and women’s studies professor, and chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for the notoriously anti-Israel Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES). At a CNES conference in October, 2009, Hale equated the pro-Israel groups StandWithUs and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) with “Nazis” and “McCarthyists.” In response to widespread criticism regarding the blatantly anti-Israel and, at times, anti-Semitic nature of a January, 2009 “Human Rights and Gaza” CNES symposium, Hale penned an op-ed in UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, slamming UCLA student and Bruins for Israel member Ben Meiselman for having the temerity to publish a piece criticizing the symposium. Hale proudly touted her prominent involvement in the Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel at the time of its inception, telling the Daily Bruin in February, 2009 that, were it to go into effect, “foreign exchange and cooperative programs with Israel would cease.”

What is it about California that has inspired so many of its academics to join the BDS movement?  Rank anti-Semitism on the left—masquerading as anti-Zionism—is hardly limited to California, but certain circumstances (beyond the sheer size of the system) have made the state’s schools ripe for this malady:

  • With a frontier reputation as the “Left Coast,” California ability to lure “cutting-edge” academics has attracted politically likeminded academics from around the world.
  • California’s long-running—and now former—prosperity brought huge numbers of immigrants from all over the world, so that when anti-Israel feelings and agitation became chic among left-wing student radicals over the past decade, there were sufficient numbers of both Muslim students and fellow travelers around to carry out large-scale demonstrations and create an extremely hostile atmosphere.
  • A succession of leftist Democratic politicians has appointed like-minded administrators and trustees to the state universities who are loathe to cross swords with the faculty or student groups.  We’re now seeing second generation university administrators who are either sympathetic to radical student demands or, as products of the radicalized university themselves, lack the will to stand up to fashionable academic politics.

So it is that California has become the epicenter for the BDS movement, a legacy of which there is nothing to be proud.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

  • David

    A WARNING

    The Phenomenon of unholy alliance between fat-left Jews and Arab,-especially Palestinian- Islamists and jihadists against the West, USA and Israel is not new. What is new the appearance of Iranian Islamists, jihadists and apologists as lobbyists and as college and university researchers and teachers. The mullahs are investing hugely in sending their agents to the West as lobbyists (NIAC has already infiltrated the White House, State Department and the VOA Persian service) and even worse as college and university teachers and researchers. They are a threat to the security of the USA. Consider them as enemy agents and very dangerous. Deport them to the cesspool of Islamic hellhole of Iran and Arabs to the Islamic paradises of Gaza, Yemen, Saudia and Sudan.

  • USMCSniper

    Stevwn Plaut has it right on. Tax fundeded Berkeley is openly anti american and anti semite, and also is actively promoting anti-Israel propaganda by hosting anti-Israel extremists who are Israeli as a way to pretend that the Arab campaign to destroy Israel is “balanced” and “objective.” It would a bit like having an American Studies department with Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, and Robert Jensen – but then universities already do.

    • Carolina Don

      Sniper : Do their actions not represent treason and sedition? This would also address the White House actions…where is Oswald when you need him?

  • seethesource

    Where are the groups fighting for divesture and isolation of nations that treat women as fourth class citizens and won't allow the wearing of religious symbols, other that the nations official religion.
    A good offense is better than a weak, but honest defense, if you get my drift.
    Offense wins the war, defense may win some battles, but never the war.

  • Johnz52

    When homes in Jerusalem are being built for JEWS ONLY and when even a white, non-Jewish American can not rent one, let alone purchase one, that is RACIST. What is it that Israel and her fascist supporters don't understand about that equation?

    • Al Best

      And it would be so nice to rent & sell to animals who roar constantly that they want to destroy you & your country & all Jews. That certainly cannot be racism, can it? Only
      Israel, to such haters, must be generous, kind & thoughtful to its Muslim neighbors who would give Israel a respectful funeral if only Israel would let them.

    • Stern

      John, show me the legislation or some proof that says houses are being built for Jews only. It does not exist. Nevertheless, I challenge you to provide some evidence to back up your claims.

    • ajnn

      This is fiction.

      President Johnson once instructed his aides the start a rumor that his opponant (a farm owner) was having intimate sexual relations with his farm animals. The aides said, 'LBJ, LBJ – no one will believe that'. Johnson responded, 'Yes, but let him deny it'.

      Well done, Johnz52 – you have published a rumor that normal people feel they must deny. This is an excellent long-term strategy to undermine those you hate. Unfortunate, but there it is.

  • bernie's money

    ISRAEL.Israel is an apartheid nation ON USA welfare. Most jew Americans in congress support ISRAEL blindly ,despite the repercussions to the USA. this is treason actually, putting the safety of a foreign country above ones own. VOTE THE JEWS out of USA congress, most are dual citizens anyway. AMERICA get rid of our association with ISRAEl -it is an embarassing burden.. HAVE you seen the smuggled video from the flotilla ? IDF killing wounded lyining on the deck point blank, after kicking them

    • xman

      The real apartheid states which are bleeding the US dry are the Muslim states which fruitbats like yourself call allies. Egypt has received at least $80 trillion, Pakistan at least another $50 trillion from the US, and what did the US get back in return? Oh, I know: 9/11, courtesy of that Egyptian Mohammed Atta. What does the US get out oif its so-called 'friendship' with Saudi Arabia? 15 of the 19 9/11 murderers – a fine return on their investment there. Now what did the US receive for all the food aid sent out to Muslim nations whenever natural disasters strike? Yep, you've guessed – partying, dancing and handing out sweets to their oversubsidised kids in celebration of the 9/11 atrocity, and thats not including those US Embassies and 241 US peacekeepers blown to smitherweens by devout Muslim terrorists. Who's the enemy now, stupid?

    • Brett

      "Most Jew Americans" interesting choice of words there Bernie and says something about you. So then I take it you agree with Helen Thomas that they should just go back to Poland & Germany? Also your claim of IDF shooting the wounded is a total lie whether you just made it up or the Turkish terrorist group (affiliated with Al Qaeda) faked it.

    • ajnn

      Classic jew-hatred. all the ususual sterotypes.

      (1) Jews are an international conspiracy to control governments from the "protocals of the Elders of Zion" ,

      (2) Jews are disloyal to their own country "Dual Loyalty" stereotype,

      (3) Jews are inhuman monsters who commit inhuman crimes of torture and murder "Blood Libel" stereotype.

      The classics of jew-hatred are on display here from Bernie.

      • Gilda

        They are classics because they are all TRUE.

        1. Look at the fed/banks/rothschilds etc
        2. How israel got us secrets/ spy rings etc
        3. killing people trying to deliver aid

        TRUE TRUE TRUE

        • xman

          Shut up and get ouit of the West, sponging ungrateful Jew-hating parasite. And if you fall ill, please don't ever take any medicines invented by Jews. They just might cure you.

        • MixMike

          "1. Look at the fed/banks/rothschilds etc"

          I'm still waiting for monthly dividend check from the learned elders of Zion…

          "2. How israel got us secrets/ spy rings etc"

          Wait, I'm confused… if the US government is supposedly secretly run by AIPAC, wouldn't that mean Israel is just spying on itself? Anti-semites have to be fair, you can't have it both ways!

          "3. killing people trying to deliver aid"

          Correction, terrorists trying to deliver stacks of cash to other terrorists.

    • MixMike

      "VOTE THE JEWS out of USA congress, most are dual citizens anyway."

      And Islamists that have allegiance to the creation of another caliphate are not dual citizens?

    • Shrinkwrapped

      Burn a cross for me at your next skinhead rally!

    • Frank

      Stop creating fictions and tell the real story: all Arab countries are apartheid nations on USA welfare and Americans don`t even ask them to create terror by ending their anti-American propaganda in return.

      All these anti-Western far Leftists are the one with the dual allegience and they are living on Arab welfare.

  • guest

    They are anti-Zionist pinheads until a Muslim blows up something of interest to them. They are liberals who have never been exposed to real life and don't have these people in their neighborhood. They are (NIMBYs) Not in my back yard.

    After someone they love gets acid in their faces, or raped, then they are gun toting Republicans. Until then, they are likely to be found trying to repeal the law of gravity.

  • Ibrahim

    Please let the differences exist between those who support Israel and those who do not support Israel among the American academicians. This is an indicator of freedom of speeches and opinions. However, when will the supporters of Palestinians prevail over the supporters of Israelis or Jews?

    • MixMike

      "However, when will the supporters of Palestinians prevail over the supporters of Israelis or Jews? "

      Hopefully never, just think of what would have happened had Nazism prevailed over the Allies.

  • frabul slomn

    So much for diversity. All of these brainless zorgs are of ONE MIND. Not a very fine ONE MIND either. There goes Western Civilisation down a Cali drain.

  • BS1977

    Nothing new here folks….these are the brainwashed idiot lemmings of today….mobs of Orwellian Stepford WIves of the Left….Berkeley, Boston……fools persevering in their folly.

  • Gerr

    Read Zech: 12-14. Which side are you on ?

  • johnny

    Too many ignorant arabs/ mooslims somehow have hijacked the education system, the infidels that go to these institutions should demand their tuition money returned.

  • Raul

    The author didn't include old fashioned anti-Semite and professor of ecology at UC Berkeley, Andrew Gutierrez, who was recently filmed heckling a diverse assortment of students at a rally against swastikas that had appeared on campus.

  • http://irishbillydjr.spaces.live.com BravoBilly

    When I was 7 years old, back then, the main travel across the Atlantic Ocean was by Ocean Liner. My father being an US ARMY Officer was being transferred back to the United States of America. We were going home! I had gone to school in kindergarten at one town at an ARMY dependents School where my Father was 1 of 2 only white men as the ARMY in an all black post starting to integrate it. I went to school with black kids, came home and played with German boys.

    Pretty much the same thing happened in the next town. I went to the first grade with mainly black kids and came home to play with German boys. And we got to the third town and there were a few more white kids in the school by that time in 2nd grade…Still coming home to play with German boys.

    When we left German, we left on a Displaced Persons Ship. While were were travelling, I sneaked off from my family and found this man with a beard and sat down beside him.
    I told him I liked his beard. He was skinny like I was. He smiled. Then he had a number tattooed on his arm and I asked him if it was like my dog tags and pulled them out to show him.

    He then, started, yelling, "TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU SAW!!! TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU SAW!!!" Other skinny people came and shooed me away…

    When these skinny people got to New York, Ellis Island, they all danced in a circle and were clapping. I am Scots-Irish. SHALOM, y'all!!!

  • http://irishbillyd.spaces.live.com BravoBilly

    I saw the bombed out buildings and the men looking for food in garbage cans in Germany. Yet, I have seen men looking for food in the United States of America. The same people who attack Israel attacked our ships when this country was first founded…the Marine Corps Hymn…Tripoli…huh??? I guess they don't teach any more history or at least real history.

    When Those Displaced Persons who were not going to the United States who were Jewish, they went to Palestine which was named that by Britain. The name of the country 3000 years ago was Israel.

    Those people who were there had a choice, they could stay there and some did and are now Israeli citizens. Or they could become Palestinians. They thought they would be accepted by their brothers…

    I guess brotherhood is not the same term like it is in Scotland or Ireland. For when the British relocated a group of people from Scotland to quell the rebellion to Ireland, the Irish accepted us as brothers. We are the Scots-Irish and have been fighting ever since. You will find us serving our country. Andrew Jackson was Scots-Irish and many of the Presidents, and Generals were Scots-Irish.

    Even now on certain social websites, when I run into a Scots, they accept me as a brother. But, I guess, in the Mideast, if you are a Muslim, you will use your brother to forward you own plans. You will strap a bomb on your brother and send him into the fray. Or you will send your brother on plane into the Twin Towers in the United States.

    TELL THEM WHAT YOU SAW!!! I saw the planes flying into the Twin towers. I saw the planes flying into Pentagon! I saw my brother taking a plane down in Pennsylvania!!!
    Semper Fi!!!

  • Getjews OutofUSA

    Jews are the biggest POS racist cum wads going!!!