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November 14, 2012 0

Non-Binding Student Divestment Resolution Passes at UC Irvine

The stu­dent sen­ate at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, passed a non-binding res­o­lu­tion last night call­ing for divest­ment from sev­eral com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Israel. The res­o­lu­tion, titled “Divest­ment from Com­pa­nies that Profit from Apartheid,” requires the approval of the stu­dent government’s exec­u­tive board before it may be sent to the admin­is­tra­tion for their consideration.

The res­o­lu­tion includes com­pa­nies that have long been tar­geted by the anti-Israel divest­ment cam­paign, includ­ing Gen­eral Elec­tric, Hewlett-Packard and Cater­pil­lar. It also includes lesser known com­pa­nies, how­ever, like Cement Road­stones Hold­ing which sells cement to Israel, as well as Raytheon, a defense tech­nol­ogy com­pany. Raytheon recently part­nered with an Israeli com­pany to build the highly suc­cess­ful Iron Dome sys­tem that inter­cepts incom­ing rock­ets from Gaza.

Despite the pas­sage of the res­o­lu­tion, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem already has a clear pol­icy against divest­ment.  In 2010, when the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine chap­ter at UC Berke­ley put forth a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion, the UC board and Pres­i­dent Mark Yudof issued a state­ment say­ing that the board would only sup­port a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion “when the United States gov­ern­ment declares that a for­eign regime is com­mit­ting acts of geno­cide.” The state­ment added, “The U.S. has not made any dec­la­ra­tion regard­ing the State of Israel and, there­fore, we will not bring a rec­om­men­da­tion before the Board to divest from com­pa­nies doing busi­ness with the State of Israel.” The state­ment also noted that the resolution’s sole focus on Israel “greatly dis­turbs us.”

Last night’s vote took place with what appears to have been delib­er­ate secrecy and lit­tle fan­fare. A Web site and fan pages on Face­book and Twit­ter with the han­dle “Irvine Divest” were all set up less than 72 hours before the vote. It seems not many were aware that the vote was tak­ing place until after it had occurred.

Jew­ish Voice for Peace, the largest Jew­ish anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion in the U.S., attended the meet­ing, accord­ing to reports on social media. Sup­port­ing boy­cott and divest­ment ini­tia­tives across the coun­try has become one of JVP’s pri­mary mis­sions. The group has sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to advo­cate for divest­ment on sev­eral col­lege cam­puses in the past few years. JVP also deliv­ered speeches at two church con­fer­ences over the sum­mer where the orga­ni­za­tions had been con­sid­er­ing divest­ment. A Los Ange­les orga­nizer for JVP, Estee Chan­dler, even blogged about her expe­ri­ence watch­ing the events of last night unfold and described the vote as “historic.”

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October 26, 2012 1

Member Of Islamic Jihad To Address Students At American University

Khader Adnan, a mem­ber of Pales­tin­ian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), is sched­uled to speak at Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity via Skype next Tues­day, Octo­ber 30. Adnan was invited by sev­eral stu­dent groups at Amer­i­can, includ­ing Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine, Jew­ish Voice for Peace, Amnesty Inter­na­tional, Jus­tice not Jails, and the Com­mu­nity Action & Social Jus­tice Coalition.

Adnan, who has been arrested by the Israeli author­i­ties on sev­eral occa­sions, was most recently arrested in the West Bank in Decem­ber 2011 and imme­di­ately began a hunger strike dur­ing his deten­tion. After 66 days, Israel granted his early release. He is plan­ning to speak about his expe­ri­ence as a hunger striker at next week’s event.

Adnan is widely described in the media as a “spokesper­son,” “leader” or “mem­ber” of PIJ. A Decem­ber 17, 2011 news arti­cle on Al-Arabiya, a pan-Arab tele­vi­sion chan­nel, about Adnan’s then recent arrest described him as “one of the main lead­ers of the Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tant move­ment Islamic Jihad” and as “a for­mer spokesman” for PIJThe New York Times, Al Jazeera and CNN fur­ther char­ac­ter­ize him as a “mem­ber” or “spokesper­son” of PIJ in the West Bank, where Adnan resides.

Andan has also pre­vi­ously expressed sup­port for ter­ror­ism. In a video that has been widely cir­cu­lated on YouTube and other video-sharing web­sites, Adnan can be seen shout­ing, “O Quds Brigades, Strike a blow! O Quds Brigades, Shake the earth! Who among you is Hasan Abu Zeid? Who among you is the next sui­cide bomber? Who among you will carry the next explo­sive belt? Who among you will fire the next bul­lets? Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?” The raw footage of Adnan was report­edly taken at a 2007 funeral of a fel­low PIJ member.

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October 5, 2012 5

Free Gaza Founder Embraced by Jewish Groups Despite Recent Anti-Semitic Tweet

Update, Octo­ber 10, 2012: Jew­ish Voice for Peace issued a state­ment on Octo­ber 7 announc­ing that it  is “dis­as­so­ci­at­ing our­selves from spon­sor­ship of Berlin’s cur­rent book tour in the U.S.” and would no longer endorse Free Gaza Movement-related activ­ity. The state­ment described Berlin’s expla­na­tions and apol­ogy as inad­e­quate, say­ing “We unfor­tu­nately don’t think her responses ade­quately address our con­cern about cir­cu­lat­ing anti-semitic materials.”

Greta Berlin, the co-founder of the Free Gaza Move­ment (FGM), is plan­ning to visit the West Coast next week to pro­mote her new book, Free­dom Sailors, which is about the tra­vails of the Free Gaza Move­ment and its boat cam­paigns to Gaza. Two Jew­ish anti-Zionist groups based in Los Ange­les, Jew­ish Voice for PeaceLA and LA Jews for Peace, are spon­sor­ing one of her appear­ances, which will take place next Thurs­day, Octo­ber 11, at the Lev­an­tine Cul­tural Center. 

Last week, Berlin posted a vir­u­lently anti-Semitic tweet to the FGM Twit­ter account, which she oper­ates, that claimed that Zion­ists “oper­ated the con­cen­tra­tion camps.” The tweet has since sparked sig­nif­i­cant media atten­tion and out­rage, even from some anti-Israel activists. Berlin and FGM sub­se­quently apol­o­gized, claim­ing that the tweet was an acci­dent and was only intended for Berlin’s Face­book page.

Berlin ini­tially claimed that she had not watched the video, which was titled “Zion­ists oper­ated the con­cen­tra­tion camps and helped mur­der mil­lions of inno­cent Jews,” and was unaware of its con­tent. Later, FGM issued an apol­ogy on its web­site offer­ing a dif­fer­ent rea­son for the alleged over­sight. The state­ment claimed that the post was intended to be received by a group of peo­ple on her Face­book page who were in the midst of a dis­cus­sion about “pro­pa­ganda and racism.” There is no evi­dence of this dis­cus­sion on Berlin’s Face­book page.

In fact, Berlin’s Face­book page con­tains sev­eral other recent hate­ful post­ings. On the same day Berlin posted the offend­ing tweet, she posted a pic­ture to her Face­book page of Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad shak­ing the hand of a mem­ber of the anti-Zionist group Neturei Karta. Berlin added the fol­low­ing com­men­tary: “if he hated jews so much, as he is often accused of, would he be warmly greet­ing some of them? what he hates is zion­ism, and so do i!”

Berlin is also sched­uled to make sev­eral other speak­ing appear­ances next week to pro­mote her book, includ­ing an appear­ance at UCLA, and var­i­ous stops in the Pacific Northwest.

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