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February 29, 2012 2

Mock “Apartheid” Wall Kicks off Palestine Awareness Week at UCLA

Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 27, marked the start of Pales­tine Aware­ness Week at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia — Los Ange­les. The week­long event, timed to coin­cide with the Israeli Apartheid Week is spon­sored by the university’s chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), the pri­mary orga­nizer of anti-Israel activ­ity on campus.

A large out­door “apartheid wall” con­tain­ing extreme anti-Israel imagery and text has been erected at the university’s cen­tral pub­lic gath­er­ing space, Bruin Plaza.Texts on the pan­els include accu­sa­tions that Israel is an apartheid state that per­se­cutes and deprives Pales­tini­ans of their fun­da­men­tal rights.

“Apartheid Wall” at UCLA

There are also Holo­caust analo­gies com­par­ing the Nazi ghet­tos of Europe with con­di­tions fac­ing Pales­tini­ans in Gaza. Com­par­isons to the Holo­caust are dis­played under the ban­ner of “Never Again? His­tory Repeats Itself.” The pan­els also fea­ture sta­tis­tics and “facts” por­tray­ing a skewed and inac­cu­rate image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The “apartheid wall” has also been dis­played at a pub­lic area across the Stu­dent Activ­i­ties Cen­ter in Wil­son Plaza in order to more broadly reach the stu­dent public.

In addi­tion to the “apartheid wall,” SJP mem­bers gath­ered Tues­day evening to denounce Israel with dele­git­imiz­ing slo­gans like “Israel is a ter­ror­ist state.” Other events sched­uled for Pales­tine Aware­ness Week include a one-state solu­tion lec­ture by UCLA pro­fes­sor Sari Madi­son and a panel on Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS).

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February 28, 2012 0

Gilad Atzmon on U.S. Tour

Gilad Atz­mon, an anti-Semite whose record and activ­ity has pre­vi­ously been reported on this blog here and here, is cur­rently tour­ing the United States to pro­mote his new book, “The Wan­der­ing Who?” The book is an explo­ration of Jew­ish iden­tity pol­i­tics (a topic fre­quently used by Atz­mon to pro­mote his anti-Semitic views) and the “tribal” aspects of Jew­ish discourse.

Fol­low­ing his first tour-related appear­ance in the U.S., a visit to the Islamic Cul­tural Cen­ter in down­town Oak­land last Sat­ur­day, Atz­mon is sched­uled to stop in seven states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia between now and March 16.Some of Atzmon’s appear­ances will take place on uni­ver­sity cam­puses, includ­ing the Uni­ver­sity of La Verne in Cal­i­for­nia, Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado, Boul­der (which is an Israeli Apartheid Weekevent) and the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin, Madi­son. A fourth cam­pus stop at North­east­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­sity is being spon­sored by sev­eral uni­ver­sity departments.

In numer­ous posts on his Twit­ter feed crit­i­ciz­ing the Jew­ish com­mu­nity (and ADL) for label­ing him an anti-Semite, Atz­mon defends his posi­tions and notes that he is just opposed to “Jew­ish supremacy.”

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February 23, 2012 1

Israeli Apartheid Week Slanders Israel with “Pinkwashing” Falsehoods

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) begins in cities across the United States this Sun­day, includ­ing at approx­i­mately two dozen col­lege cam­puses. One of the cen­tral themes of this year’s events is “pinkwash­ing,” a short­hand for claims that Israel tries to show­case its pro­gres­sive record on LGBT issues as a way to white­wash its poli­cies toward Palestinians.
Three uni­ver­si­ties, Yale, Boston Univer­sity and Tem­ple, will host events about “pinkwash­ing” and LGBT issues as part of their IAW pro­grams. A fourth event calls on indi­vid­u­als to rally out­side the LGBT Cen­ter in New York because the Center refused to host an IAW event last year.
Alle­ga­tions of so-called Israeli pinkwash­ing have become more promi­nent in the past sev­eral years and gained main­stream atten­tion a few months ago when The New York Times pub­lished an op-ed on the sub­ject by CUNY pro­fes­sor Sarah Schul­man. She argued that Israel’s accep­tance of gays into the mil­i­tary is an “incom­plete indi­ca­tor of human rights” and shouldn’t “blind us” to the Pales­tini­ans’ issues.
This is a clas­sic straw man argu­ment: No one was assert­ing that Israel’s record on LGBT issues was the final say on its human rights record.
The pinkwash­ing alle­ga­tion uncov­ers some­thing deeply nefar­i­ous about the anti-Israel move­ment: Oppo­si­tion to Israel is rarely lim­ited to  crit­i­cism of Israel as it relates to the con­flict. Instead, it often becomes an all-out attempt to slan­der every facet of Israel’s exis­tence and to claim that Israel’s real and laud­able achieve­ments are just an attempt to “cover up” the darker truth. Israel’s swift responses to the recent human­i­tar­ian crises in Turkey and Haiti were sim­i­larly dis­missed by anti-Israel activists as an oppor­tu­nity exploited by Israel to white­wash its record.  

Even if one dis­agrees with some of Israel’s poli­cies, Israel has every right to pro­mote its legit­i­mate accom­plish­ments on LGBT rights, includ­ing annual pride parades, anti-discrimination laws, adop­tion rights and, most recently, Tel Aviv being ranked the “best gay city” in the world. Israel deserves and should be enti­tled to claim credit for a gay rights record that far sur­passes most other coun­tries in the world. 

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