University of Illinois Rescinds Offer to Professor for his Anti-Israeli Tweets

Aug 06

This morning, I read this disturbing report that the University of Illinois rescinded an offer it made to a professor to join its faculty on account of his anti-Israel tweets. It is important that we write to the University of Illinois protesting this decision.  Please consider sending an e-mail the University Chancellor, Phyllis Wise, explaining why this decision is not consistent with the values central to a university in a democracy.  Her e-mail address is chancellor@illinois.edu (or in the alternative, pmischo@illinois.edu).  Here is the note that I sent her:

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Ilana Feldman, Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University, on Israel’s Long-Standing Policy of Isolating Gaza

Jul 29

Ilana Feldman, an anthropologist at George Washington University, has written this informative post on Israel’s evolving policy of isolation of Gaza, which is now reaching its crescendo in “Operation Protective Wedge.” She concludes with the following bleak assessment of life in Gaza:

“So Gazans are immobilized in every sense: cut off from other members of their community, isolated from the “international community,” deprived of economic opportunity, basic goods, and access to advanced medical care. Imposed immobility is itself a form of violence against people, and it cruelly magnifies the violence of military assault. The current catastrophe in Gaza is a product of years of preparation. Restriction of Palestinian movement goes back to their displacement in 1948. And mobility management has been a central tactic of Israeli occupation since 1967. The phone call ahead of the bomb, the “roof knock” (a small bomb) ahead of the lethal strike, are twists in this long trajectory. That sometimes the phone call is not followed by a strike underscores its potency in psychological warfare. These tactics are yet another weapon in the massive arsenal deployed against Palestinians.”

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Hamas “Defense” Spending Compared to Israel According to Israel’s Shin Bet

Jul 28

When Israeli propagandists talk about Hamas diverting resources from needy Palestinians to fight Israel, keep this factoid in mind, courtesy of Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence services (from WikiLeaks):

“According to the leaked cable, Gaza’s de-facto Hamas government spends an estimated budget of US$290 million annually, on a population of approximately 1.5 million residents. The PA’s budget is four times bigger, at approximately US$1.24 billion in 2010. The PA provides services to about 2.4 million residents in the West Bank, as well as covering some of the costs of certain services for Gaza’s residents. The Shin Bet estimates that Hamas uses US$40 million (13.8% of its budget) for military and security needs, and invests the remainder in administration and civilian projects. Israel, by comparison, ran a budget of US$96 billion in 2010 (for a population of 7.6 million), and spent 18.6% of it on military and security purposes – so that, ironically, even according to Shin Bet estimates, Israel spends proportionately more on its military than Hamas spends.”

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From The Electronic Intifada: The Gaza massacre is the price of a “Jewish state”

Jul 27

From The Electronic Intifada:

“If you support Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state” in a country whose indigenous Palestinian people today form half the population, then you, like Soffer, must come to terms with the inevitability of massacres. If you oppose the horrific, repeated massacres in Gaza, then join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), a movement that aims to decolonize Palestine and restore to all the people all their legitimate and inalienable rights.”

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From Mondoweiss: “The Deafening Silence Around Hamas’ Ten Year Truce Proposal”

Jul 27

From Mondoweiss.net:

“Perhaps more surprisingly, the international community – with the exception of Turkey and Qatar – has spent no words on the Hamas truce proposal although many of the points of the proposal already enjoy international support. This refusal to deal with the proposal is particularly problematic in the current context. Without any pressure by the international community, Israel, the party who has the upper hand in this conflict, will feel legitimized to keep refusing negotiations for a real truce with Hamas. Truces and negotiations are made with enemies not friends. International organizations and Western leaders, echoing Israel and the United States, maintain that Hamas is a terrorist organization and thus any direct negotiations with it are embargoed.”

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Dahlia Lithwick, the Gaza War, and the Need to Listen

Nov 22

My friend, Micah Schwartzman, recently posted what I thought to be a great piece by Dahlia Lithwick. Another friend, Pascale Ghazaleh, asked me why I thought it was great. Its greatness comes from her sincere call — which I read as being directed largely to the North American Jewish community — that it is time to listen. As she put it, “bombing people to oblivion” is not a solution.
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