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November 23, 2015

Anti-Semite Claims Prominent BDS Activist Invited Him To Berkeley Conference

Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett claims he was accepted to present a paper at the 3rd Islamophobia and Civil Society Conference in Paris, sponsored by University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender.

Kevin Barrett's GoFundMe page

Kevin Barrett’s GoFundMe page

The conference, which appears to have recently been canceled, was organized by BDS activist and Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, the Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country.

Barrett, a former University of Wisconsin-Madison instructor, is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work Press TV and Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news. Even Barrett himself seems surprised he was accepted to present at Bazian’s conference. On his GoFundMe page, where he has raised $2,175 to fund his trip to Paris, he wrote, “Amazingly, I just had a hard-hitting, truth-telling paper accepted for a mainstream academic conference: The 3rd Islamophobia and Civil Society Conference to be held in Paris December 11th-12th 2015.” Barrett hoped that by presenting at the conference, he could send the message, “Keep our universities open to people who are willing to think taboo thoughts and ask the hard questions!”

In Barrett’s synopsis of the paper he was accepted to present, titled “Taboo on Questioning: Silencing the Muslim Other,” he alludes to his typical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In a discussion on whether the January 2015 terror attacks at the Charlie Hebdo office and a kosher supermarket in Paris were “largely fabricated by Western security agencies to mobilize public opinion for a war on Islam,” Barrett examines questions like “What are we to make of Netanyahu’s repeated threats during the run-up to the shootings that if France recognized or sided with Palestine it would be hit by terrorists?”

Trying to blame Jews or Israel for acts of terrorism is nothing new for Barrett. Some recent examples of his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories include:

  • In a Novem­ber 13 Vet­er­ans Today arti­cle titled “Another French False Flag?” Bar­rett states that “Since we now know the Char­lie Hebdo attack was a…false flag by the usual sus­pects (NATO hard­lin­ers and Zion­ists), can we safely make the same assump­tion about these new Fri­day the 13th Paris atroc­i­ties? I think we can.” Bar­rett added “The first ques­tion, as always, is: Who gains? And the answer, as always, is: Author­i­tar­ian insid­ers. Zion­ists. Mil­i­tarists. Islam­o­phobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”
  • In Barrett’s book We Are Not Char­lie Hebdo! Free Thinkers Ques­tion the French 9/11 he claims that the January Paris attacks were just one in a long his­tory of events – such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax poi­son­ings – per­pe­trated by Israel in order to “incite hatred of Mus­lims and sol­i­dar­ity with Israel.”
  • In a Jan­u­ary 20 Press TV article titled “Zion­ist NWO mur­ders Iran­ian gen­eral, Amer­i­can film­maker,” Barrett claims that “The Zion­ists cre­ated ISIL and sent it to fight Mus­lims and Chris­tians in Syria and Iraq…New World Order Zion­ism is also tar­get­ing the USA for destruction.”
  • Bar­rett stated in a Feb­ru­ary 17 Press TV arti­cle titled “9/11 attack was Zion­ist coup d-etat to seize power in US: Scholar” that “…Zion­ist pre-emptive mur­der­ers excel at ‘killing the future’…A team of Zionist-liked pro­fes­sional killers exe­cuted a total of 77 peo­ple [2011 attacks in Norway], while Zionist-freemasonic assets in the Nor­we­gian police and mil­i­tary stood by.”
  • In the same Feb­ru­ary 2015 arti­cle Bar­rett stated that “The Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were a Zion­ist ‘coup d’etat’ to seize power in the coun­try and launch a per­ma­nent war on Islam on behalf of Israel…”


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April 24, 2014

Momentum For Divestment On California Campuses Falters

Despite the best efforts of anti-Israel student groups, divestment resolutions debated on two California campuses failed last night by wide margins, while a third passed by just one vote.sdsu divest logo

Student Senators at San Diego State University (3 Yes-16 No-3 Abstentions) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (8-16-0), rejected resolutions that called on their respective universities to withdraw investments from multinational companies that work with Israel. A similar resolution did, however, pass by a razor-thin margin at the University of California, Riverside.

The results of the Riverside resolution, though not favorable, are telling in and of themselves about the state of support for BDS on American college campuses. The final vote was 8-7 and that was only after the Senators voted to conduct a closed vote so that the representatives would not have to openly declare their anti-Israel views.

Moreover, it appears that the president of the Senate did not support the resolution. Based on live-tweeting from the event, it seems that the president, Sai Patadia, asked those in favor of divestment to explain why it was legitimate to single out Israel for punishment, an issue often cited by the pro-Israel community. [Last November, Patadia also tried to resolve an issue that had arisen when a divestment resolution on campus was introduced in stealth, stripping pro-Israel students of the opportunity to present an alternative viewpoint.  This time around, Patadia encouraged Students for Justice in Palestine to reach out to the pro-Israel community and let them know when the resolution was drafted, according to an article in the campus newspaper.]

UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara have both dealt with similar resolutions before. A resolution several months ago was voted down and last March, a resolution passed but was then rescinded a month later. At UC Santa Barbara, a vote last April failed 10-11-1 whereupon pro-Israel students took it upon themselves to run for Student Senate, presumably in the hopes of avoiding a similarly close vote this year.

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November 14, 2012

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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