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Category Archives: Government Oppression
Posted: April 23, 2017 at 1:29 am
For those non-minority parents who struggle to pay their childrens college tuition, things may get worse.
On Tuesday, the student government at Western Kentucky University voted, 19-10, in support of free tuition for black students as a means to apologize for slavery.
The reparation bills co-author, Andre Ambam, said that it will level the economic playing field for black students who cannot afford to go to WKU as well as be a symbolic apology by the current generation of white students for racial oppression:
If you really care about diversity, if you really care about inclusion, if you really care about making this campus safe and accessible to everybody, having the student governments support of reparation[s] for black students would be amazing, Ambam said.
If adopted by the administration, black students would be easily admitted; tests administered to students for admittance would be dropped for blacks seeking to enroll, and blacks in certain sections of the country where they are disadvantagedone presumes this means the inner city and Southwould be automatically enrolled.
But not everyone in the student senate is in favor of free tuition for blacks and notes that it will place the economic burden on other students and their parents, and hence would create a new type of discrimination.
While acknowledging there is an obvious disadvantage to African-American students, student senate member William Hurst stated that it will disadvantage other people from getting the same education. Hurst and his compatriots argue that others will have to pay higher taxes or tuition to implement these reparations.
Moreover, Hurst and other dissenters from the resolution see injustice in making white students suffer for oppression against blacks that they had nothing to do with.
Of these critics, Senator Lilly Nellans sees a scramble to keep their historically racial advantage over blacks:
A lot of times equality can feel like oppression for those who are losing their advantage. She adds, but thats not a reason we shouldnt fight for equality,
Against those who state that free tuition should either be for everyone or no one, the resolutions co-author Brian Anderson disagrees and sees political symbolism as more important than anything else:
This is something that I think is more importantly about sending a clear message than it is about actually trying to strive for the institution to actually give out free tuition to everybody, he said.
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Posted: at 1:29 am
The Israeli government conspired and formed an alliance with this criminal who came from Australia, and is a Jew for the burning of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.
Taissir Rajab Al Tamimi 2004
On the morning of August 21, 1969, the South Eastern wing of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was set ablaze by an Australian Jew. It triggered a surge of resentment and grief among the Muslimpopulation across the world. They had already carried out massive protests in 1967 against Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and aggression in Jordan, Syria and Egypt but now,this incident called for a greater action. Hence, the leaders of the Muslim Arab and non-Arab nations came together in an Islamic summit conference to discuss the grievances faced by the Muslim brotherhood at the hands of the Israelis and to devise strategies to ensure Israels withdrawal from all Arab territories that were occupied in 1967. It also pledged support for Palestinian people in struggle for their liberation. With the recognition of unity and support of the participating countries, the conference established the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 1969 with the permanent secretariat located in Jeddah. To date, the organisation has 57 member states, including Pakistan, and declares that it is the collective voice of the Muslim world. OIC has been speaking against the ongoing Syrian governments oppression of the protestors and also suspended its membership in 2012. However, it has not been able to do anything substantialto prevent international involvement into the conflict and resolving the refugee problem.
Posted: April 21, 2017 at 2:58 am
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) An argument before the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday hinged on whether Cisco Systems intentionally assisted the Chinese government in its persecution of practitioners of a religion called Falun Gong.
The appellants claim a federal judges decision in 2014 that a group of Chinese and U.S. citizens could not pursue their claims against Cisco due to jurisdictional issues was incorrect.
Instead, their attorney Paul Hoffman argued Cisco manufactured a surveillance software program with explicit knowledge the Chinese government would use it to identify, arrest and in some cases torture and kill members of a religious sect.
Ciscos attorney Kathleen Sullivan acknowledged the human-rights violations laid out in the complaint were odious, but said Cisco didnt bear any responsibility.
This lawsuit is inappropriate to bring against a company that lawfully exported internet infrastructure to China, Sullivan told the three-judge panel.
To punish U.S. companies for the actions of a foreign government amounts to an end-around of U.S. foreign policy and opens a Pandoras Box, she said.
But Hoffman said the case was akin to others where a company actively participated in a program they knew was being used to violate human rights.
The allegations go far beyond that, Hoffman said.
The Chinese Community Party has attempted to suppress Falun Gong since the 1990s.
The Falun Gong is a religion with both Buddhist and Taoist influences, combining meditation and spiritual exercises with a moral philosophy that emphasizes truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
After its founding in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, the modern mind-body practice spread quickly throughout China, garnering as many as 70 million followers in 1999.
Around that time, the Chinese Communist Party began to view the religion as a threat, and enacted a crackdown and propaganda effort aimed at snuffing out the burgeoning practice.
This effort reportedly involved forced conversions, labor camps, extrajudicial killings, psychiatric abuse and other abusive forms of brainwashing perpetrated by the Chinese government.
Hoffmans clients, consisting of an assortment of U.S. and Chinese citizens, say they were subjected to the abuses and claim Cisco was at least partially responsible.
In their 2011 lawsuit, the members of Falun Gong say Cisco developed a surveillance software called Golden Shield and then customized it with the specific intent to help the Chinese government identify and track down members despite knowing about the human-rights violations.
They didnt just develop the software, they developed an entire system to designed to collect information and these peoples backgrounds, and that information was used for the advancement of this persecution Hoffman said at the hearing.
The lawsuit was initially dismissed by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila on technical grounds, agreeing with Cisco that the federal courts are not the appropriate venue for the case.
Circuit Judge Marsha Berzon attempted to delve into whether the softwares development in San Jose could trigger jurisdiction. But Sullivan said the religious groups claims about Ciscos actions in the Silicon Valley are vague and unspecific.
At one point, Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt asked whether Ciscos actions could be compared to a company that makes the nerve gas Syrian President Bashar Assad used on his own people last month, and whether that constituted aiding and abetting.
Yes, but that is not what happened in this case, Sullivan said, adding none of the Cisco executives named in the lawsuit knew or believed they were aiding and abetting Chinas human-rights violations.
The panel is expected to rule in the coming weeks.
Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:39 am
Srinagar: Wearing black shrouds as a mark of protest and shouting slogans against Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, activists of Jammu and Kashmir Youth National Conference (JKYNC) took out a protest march on Tuesday, against the use of force and harassment by the government, from the party headquarter Nawai-Subah to Press Enclave in Srinagar. Led by its president Salman Sagar, the activists condemned the use of force against people including students. Sagar said the protest was against the unprecedented force used by the government against the people, especially against the students of various colleges, on Monday. He expressed solidarity with the students and claimed that even while Kashmir was burning the government was not waking up from its sleep. We do not even see any condemnations from them on the viral videos. If this government thinks that nothing is happening, then it is blind, deaf and dumb. We want them to see, hear and say something as the people had given them a mandate. We want the Governors Rule to be imposed in the state so that people get respite, Sagar said. Sagar said their protest was symbolic and the organisation wants to warn the government that if it does not stop oppression on people, the NC will come out on roads.
Education, Kashmir Students rise, Kashmiri students, National Conference
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Posted: at 10:39 am
DW: The confrontation between government and opposition in Venezuela is continuing, with no sign of reconciliation. The power struggle is increasingly taking place on the street, and it's now claimed another two victims, including a 14-year-old boy who was shot and killed. How can the spiral of violence in Venezuela be stopped?
Henrique Capriles: We Venezuelans are not violent; I think the world has realized that. We are a peaceful people trying to escape this crisis by means that are written into the constitution. What will end the phase in which our country currently finds itself? Allowing free and democratic elections and respecting the constitution, to put a stop to this coup d'tat that's being staged and controlled by Maduro together with the Supreme Court.
What is the limit of the violence the opposition is prepared to endure?
The violence is being promoted by the government itself. The government has paramilitary groups - armed civilians - that operate on the fringes of legality. We've also seen repression by state security forces. What we've experienced is rampant oppression, and the government has to stop this. The government is violating human rights. A thing like that has no statute of limitations. All democratic governments and international organizations have spoken out about this. Maduro has to understand that he can't place himself above the constitution, or on the fringes of the constitution, and that violating the constitution has consequences.
Protesters have clashed with police during anti-Maduro rallies in Caracas
What role should the international community play?
We've now heard a clear position from the international community for the first time. This explicitly calls on Maduro to respect the constitution. There's been a breach of the constitutional order, which must be reinstated. This is the position Germany and the European Union have taken. Just recently, it was announced that my political rights were being revoked for 15 years. The European Union and Germany responded to this, too.
What political scope do you still have now that your political rights have been withdrawn?
I don't recognize this decision. Of course I will fight for it to be rescinded. Maduro believes that by doing this he can prevent me from standing as a candidate and becoming president. He believes that when they decide to call an election, he can choose who gets to stand. He believes he can choose his opposition. That is absolutely unacceptable to the Venezuelan people.
Henrique Capriles Radonski is regarded as the opposition's most promising candidate for the coming elections in 2018. The Venezuelan politician is currently governor of the federal state of Miranda. Last week the government withdrew his right to hold public office for 15 years. What effect this has on his post as governor remains unclear.
The interview was conducted by Ana Plasencia
Violent protests erupted across the country following a Supreme Court decision in late March to strip the legislative branch of its powers. Amid an international outcry, President Nicolas Maduro reversed the decision, but it was too late. Thousands have taken to the streets in the weeks since to call for new elections. They show no signs of stopping.
As of March, Venezuela's inflation rate surpassed 220 percent, according to the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics. The country's largest bill - the 100 bolivar note - was worth just $0.04 at the end of last year. Shopping trips now require stacks, or even bags, of cash to buy the bare necessities.
An estimated 80 percent of food items and other basics were in short supply by last year. Venezuelans spend more than 30 hours a week waiting in lines to shop, and are often confronted with empty shelves when they finally can enter a store. President Maduro blames the crisis on US price speculation. The opposition, however, accuses the government of economic mismanagement.
In Colombia, Venezuelans are collecting medical supplies to send home, as seen in this picture. Hospitals around the country have compared conditions to those seen otherwise only in war zones. As patient deaths rise, health officials have sounded the alarm on the rise of malaria and dengue fever.
Electricity blackouts and fuel shortages have also driven Venezuelans to desperation. Despite Venezuela's possession of the world's largest oil reserves, drivers face long lines at the gas pump. A 50-percent collapse in oil prices in 2014 devastated the oil-dependent economy. In 2013, revenues were $80 billion. That figure dropped to $20 billion by 2016, according to IMF figures.
Lower poverty rates, better education and health, and economic growth: These are all part of the legacy of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013. Equally part of the socialist's legacy was mismanagement. Not only did he fail to keep the state oil company up to date under increased government control, but his government also overspent despite a drop in oil production after 2006.
Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has been in office for four years and has two more to go. The opposition center-right coalition, which has controlled the National Assembly since 2015, has accused him of "abandoning his post" by failing to stem the economic devastation. It has also denounced him for rights abuses.
The most recent example of Maduro's rights abuses was to silence opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, pictured above. In early April, Capriles was banned from seeking public office for 15 years due to "administrative irregularities" in his role as a governor. Capriles had been at the forefront of demands for a referendum on Maduro. The ban further inflamed tensions with protesters.
Aside from protests, the opposition collected 2 million signatures for a referendum last year, roughly 10 times the number required. And in a move against the Supreme Court - and in lieu of impeachment hearings - it also held a symbolic trial for Maduro. Numerous attempts to stymie its attempts to pressure the government have only emboldened these lawmakers.
Last September saw some 1 million Venezuelans march on Caracas. The opposition hopes April 19 protests - "the mother of all protests" to coincide with Maduro's fourth annivesary - will be even bigger. Meanwhile, the international community looks on with concern. The Organization for American States is mulling a suspension for Venezuela unless it calls elections to emerge from "dictatorship."
Author: Kathleen Schuster
Posted: at 10:39 am
April 21 marks the opening, at the Berkeley campus of the University of California, of the sixth annual academic conference on Islamophobia.If past conclaves are a guide, the conference will be marked by a morass of impenetrable academic jargon and an unremitting flow of anti-Western rhetoric.
Here, if one cares to observe, one may see the academic pistons of the blasphemy-law promotional industry pumping vigorously away at its task, to ensure that expression of hostility to the religion of Islam achieves cultural parity on campuses as a shaming thought crime, morally equivalent to expressed hostility to women, blacks, gays and aboriginals.
What ends in law often begins in academia. And the Berkeley conferences are ground zero in North America for hardline theories around Islamophobia. This cadre does not shy away from definitions of Islamophobia, unlike those who promoted and voted for Motion 103, championed by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid and recently passed by Canadas Parliament. The motion calls for a committee to study how to develop a a whole-of-government approach to reducing and eliminating Islamophobia, specifically. That word, Islamophobia, left truculently undefined by all politicians supporting its inclusion, glows with radioactive intensity.
Does M-103s Islamophobia mean expressed hatred of people the Wests normal definition of hatred or hatred of a belief system, normally a protected category of expression here, as religious Christians know to their chagrin? Canadians have no idea if their right to express distaste for Islam would still be protected in a bill premised on the recommendations of this study.
I therefore contacted Jasmin Zine, who teaches race, ethnic, gender and postcolonial studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a regular and ideologically representative participant in the Berkeley Islamophobia conferences, including this one.
I asked her to define Islamophobia for me, which she promptly did: Islamophobia is a fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims that translates into individual, ideological and systemic forms of oppression. This is quite an insidious, though admittedly clever, definition. Note that it puts fear and hatred of Islam, not Muslims, at the centre of the phobia. And the word translates is a masterstroke.
Under this definition, if I write publicly that Islam is inherently Christophobic and anti-Semitic according to its own texts, and a Muslim declares himself oppressed by my statement, who would be the interpeter for the alleged translation? The courts? Iqra Khalid? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?
As one can see from her defined area of study, Zine is an intersectionalist, who sees the world in Marxist tropes of power and powerlessness, with white imperialists and their issue holding the power, and all disadvantaged minorities, into which category Muslims are now tucked, as the systematically disempowered.
It takes a certain chutzpah to hold that Islam, given its history of conquest of indigenous peoples, sexism, homophobia and violence against Christians and Jews, is equal in victim status given their respective histories to blacks, native Americans, gays and Jews. Yet that is the basic narrative thrust not only of Zines work, but of all the scholars promoting the Islamophobia blasphemy-law agenda.
Their guruis Hatem Bazian, faculty sponsor, IRDP creator and effective leaderof the Berkeley conference. Founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, Bazian is also a former fundraising speaker for the anti-Israel organization KindHearts, shut down by the U.S. government in 2006 for its alleged ties to Hamas.
(Bazian is often cited for what appeared to be a call to violence at a 2004 San Francisco rally, when he shouted: Well, weve been watching an intifada in Palestine, weve been watching an uprising in Iraq How come we donthave an intifada inthiscountry? theyre gonna say (Im) being too radical. Well, you havent seen radicalism yet!)
At a former conference, Jasmin Zine spoke on Constructing the Enemies Within: Muslim Youth, Islamophobia, and the Racial Politics of Canadas Home Grown War on Terror. Zine concluded that it was not jihadist ideology at the root of homegrown terrorists rather, it was Islamophobia, the politics of empire and the racialized security industrial complex.
Zine does not outright condone terrorism, but insists it is necessary to situate these acts within a broader historical context such as the racial violence of colonialism, genocide, slavery, occupation and apartheid. She has likened Americas Guantanamo Bay detention centre to a colonial plantation and a Nazi concentration camp. And Zine sees Omar Khadrs radicalization as the result of Canadas failure to properly integrate his family. Uh-huh.
Ominously, Zine calls Canadian Muslim reformists like Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah Muslims who want to see an Islam emerge that is compatible with democratic principles native informers, because they are eager to co-operate with security services in identifying radicalizing elements within the Muslim community.
Will Zine be invited to participate in the M-103 study? I am guessing she will be. Will Canadian patriots and democratic Muslims Tarek Fatah and Raheel Raza be invited as well? I would hope so. If all three are, to whose testimony will greater weight be assigned, to whom more deference shown?
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Posted: at 10:39 am
In light of the latest extreme attacks on the LGBTIQ+ community in Chechnya, Russia, which United Nations human rights experts have called unprecedented, English group Left Unity released the following statement on April 14.
Left Unity strongly condemns the reported incarceration and abuse of gay men in Chechnya, Russia. We call for the closure of the reported detention centre for gay men in Chechnya. We send solidarity to all gay and Trans men suffering such oppression.
Even stories of such oppression send shock waves around the globe and encourage other oppressive governments to attack LGBT+ people.
We recognise that Chechnya is a minor power involved in global power struggles and that not all reports may be reliable.
Left Unity utterly condemns this vicious oppression of gay men and demands the Chechen and Russian governments do all in their power to stop these actions. We urge our government to pursue demands for a full investigation through the United Nations and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
Left Unity Principal Speaker Nick Jones said: Gay men were incarcerated in Nazi Germany, and persecuted and imprisoned for years afterwards, which is still in the lifetime of many people. Freedom for gay men has now been achieved in most of Europe.
We call for solidarity with those incarcerated and those who fear such oppression across the globe and most of all we hope they know they are not alone, that a tidal wave of good people around the world are fighting for them to be free and safe.
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Posted: April 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm
(Alawar Entertainment) US: 9 Nov 2016
Beholder casts you as a tool of an oppressive government. However, after playing Beholder for several hours, I still dont really feel like the tool of an oppressive government.
Part of me thinks this is bad design, the game being unable to properly express its themes. Another part of me thinks its brilliant design, the game making me truly feel the banality of evil; how hard it is to care about other peoples shit when youve got so much of your own to deal with?
In Beholder youre the manager of an apartment building in a totalitarian state. Youre supposed to spy on your tenants and report any illegal activity to your higher ups. Im a tool of oppression, Im suppressing speech, Im enforcing ridiculous laws like Dont wear blue jeans, Dont read, and Dont keep red apples. At least, in theory I am.
Beholder is the kind of game that sucks hours from your life because theres always something to do, and time is always of the essence. I have 72 in-game hours to find a way to get a life-saving surgery for my daughter, 48 hours to find enough money to keep my son in school, and 12 hours to buy candy for my dying daughter.
Meanwhile, I also have to watch my tenants movements, rushing into their homes while theyre out, rummaging through all their stuff for dirt. Damn, they came home before I could search the bed, file that blank spot in the back of my mind and rush back there next time they leave. And install some cameras, too, so I can watch their actions in secret. Multiply all that by six for my six tenants, then somehow cut out time for blackmail and writing profiles.
Its a good god damn lot to keep of track of at once, but it is possible. However, all that rushing around means I spend so much time working towards a level of peak efficiency that I dont have time to stop and consider what that efficiency actually means. I dont realize that Im becoming an efficient tool. I should feel ashamed or guilty, but all I can think about is the next timer ticking down. The busyness distracts from the themesunless thats the central theme.
No matter what your political or ethical ideals are, you will toe the totalitarian line in Beholder. Youll spy, lie, snitch, and steal because the truth is that your shit is more important than their shit. Your family is more important than their family, and your financial safety more important than theirs. The oppressive state creates an every-man-for-himself mentality that forces you to compromise your morals for survival. This is a how a totalitarian state stays in power.
Its also, ironically, how a capitalistic economy stays in power. The truth is that I spend so much time running around because thats how I make money, and money is survival. Money will save my daughters life, money will keep my son in school, money will keep my wife happy, and money will bail me out of trouble if Im caught doing something untoward. All my problems can be solved with money, so earning money becomes my primary goal.
The more information I gather on a tenant, the more detailed a profile I can write, and the more the government pays me for the report. So I embrace my totalitarian duties to spy and steal and snitchbut only so long as they earn me cash. When I do find someone doing something illegal, I never turn them in. I blackmail them, because thats a more consistent source of income. Then, once Ive done this a few times and I can see them in their home all unhappy and miserable, on the verge of moving out, only then do I report them to the authorities for the reward money. Im a tool of oppression for both the government and myself; economic needs supersede totalitarian duties.
In fact, money quickly becomes a bigger motivator than fear of the state, because rebel factions will pay you handsomely for your help and youd be a fool to turn them down: A rebel leader calls and says he wants to house a sign-maker in my building. I say no, its dangerous to get caught up with these people and I could get in trouble with oh wait youll pay me how much? Yea, let him come on over. Naturally, I spy on the sign-maker, gathering a good amount of dirt on him. I get him on camera making signs and then blackmail him, earning enough dough to buy groceries and keep my family happy.
When the government finds out about this (because the sign-maker is really a spy, spying on state-sponsored spies) my boss chews me out for letting a rebel operate out of my building. He calls me incompetent, but as long as he doesnt deduct anything from my bank Im fine with his threats. The rebel leader chews me out for letting his sign guy sabotage the operation, but again as long as he doesnt drain my bank account I dont care what he says. My economic concerns blind me to the context of my actions. I dont care about oppression or freedom, only finances.
Ironically, in this simulation of an oppressive communist-like state, Im actually more of a slave to capitalism.
I dont know if thats purposeful or accidental. I cant tell if Beholder is thematically confused or thematically consistent. Regardless, its certainly interesting: It presents a world in which Im a slave to the state and a slave to the economy, but I have just enough freedom of choice to distract me from my slavery.
Nick Dinicola made it through college with a degree in English, and now applies all his critical thinking skills to video games instead of literature. He reviews games and writes a weekly post for the Moving Pixels blog at PopMatters, and can be heard on the weekly Moving Pixels podcast. More of his reviews, previews, and general thoughts on gaming can be found at http://www.gamehounds.net.
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Posted: at 1:22 pm
The Hans India
Fight against oppression, leaders tell cadre at POW meet
The Hans India
She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched populist slogans like 'Beti bachavo' and 'Beti padavo' but in reality the exploitation and sexual violence has increased ever since BJP government came to power.In the name of Gaai (cow) bachavoo, people ...
Posted: at 1:22 pm
A BDS march held in Montreal on May 15, 2010. (Photo: Stephanie Law / Flickr)
How can we distinguish between the very real and harmful phenomenon of antisemitism, and false accusations of antisemitism used to defend Israeli state policies? Jewish Voice for Peace, a grassroots organization working for justice and equality in Palestine and Israel, has put together a collection of essays on this question, with a foreword by Judith Butler. Order your copy of On Antisemitism today by making a donation to Truthout!
The following is an interview with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and the editor of On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice.
Mark Karlin: How is the charge of antisemitism used to smear critics of the Israeli government and its ignoble policies toward Palestinians?
Rebecca Vilkomerson: As Tony Lerman's contribution to the On Antisemitism book explores, Israel and its advocates have worked hard to portray criticism of the state of Israel as the "new antisemitism." However, using the charge of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli policies diminishes the meaning of the term and makes it harder to combat the real thing.
Rebecca Vilkomerson. (Photo: Courtesy of the Author)In our advocacy work for Palestinian rights, we must always be vigilant for cases of real antisemitism directed against Jewish people -- as opposed to protest against the Israeli state -- just as we need to do more to combat all forms of bigotry and oppression in all of our movements.
In the current political moment, when acts of antisemitism have been on the rise, it is even more disturbing that many Jewish organizations are more focused on demonizing Palestinian rights advocacy rather than combatting the antisemitism of white supremacists empowered by the Trump administration.
How is this dynamic playing itself out in the academic world in the US?
Just recently, the pro-Israel group AMCHA released another blacklist of anti-Israel professors, a tactic that they have used for years to intimidate scholars from being outspoken in their advocacy for Palestinian rights. There has been a battle on campuses for years now over the definition of antisemitism, as some Israel advocates have tried to push the University of California (and now some state and national legislation) to codify a problematic State Department definition of antisemitism that includes legitimate criticism of Israel. Fortunately, we've been able to successfully oppose these measures and educate people on the difference between criticism of the state of Israel or opposition to the political ideology and harmful impacts of Zionism, and anti-Jewish bigotry. A section of the book -- with contributions from Dima Khalidi, Ben Lorber, Kelsey Waxman and Orian Zakai -- address the impact on students and faculty who must constantly fight accusations of antisemitism [that are used] to suppress speaking out on Palestinian rights.
Why is the Israeli government so petrified of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that it just passed a law prohibiting anyone who supports BDS from entering Israel?
The passage of the new bill barring boycott supporters from entering Israel, the targeting of BDS leader Omar Barghouti and the investment of tens of millions of dollars by the Israeli government are all signs of how concerned the Israeli government is with the growing power of the movement to boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights. As with any movement that seeks to transform relationships of power for a more just and equitable future, the pushback grows stronger as the movement grows. This crackdown against BDS is the next step in the evolution of this struggle.
How do you see the fight against Islamophobia to be a partner in the struggle against actual antisemitism?
Antisemitism does not operate in a vacuum; we must fight it along with Islamophobia, sexism, classism and homophobia, as well as anti-Arab, anti-Black and other forms of racism, as part of the work of dismantling all systems of oppression. In the United States today, antisemitism is a serious concern, but it is not institutionalized in the same way that anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are through policing, surveillance and disenfranchisement. This book came out of a need among our base and our allies for resources and analyses on antisemitism that didn't equate it with criticism of Israel but did take it seriously as a form of bigotry and analyzed it in relation to other forms of oppression.
Facing the dangerous reality of antisemitism and the false accusations used to defend Israel's policies.
The way that the charge of antisemitism is used against critics of Israel often contributes to the demonization of Palestinian rights supporters in a way that often perpetuates anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry. Israel itself plays a significant role in reproducing Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, through discourses and policies that paint all Palestinians as violent, hateful or terrorists, and portrayals of Israel as a beacon of civilization in the "barbarian" Middle East. In this context, it is particularly important to be challenging Islamophobia as part of the work for justice for Palestinians and to be clear about what antisemitism is, and what it is not.
Two contributions in the book in particular, by Donna Nevel and an interview with Linda Sarsour, address these questions specifically.
What would you describe as the mission of Jewish Voice for Peace, and do you feel momentum coming out of the 2017 national conference in Chicago that was held recently?
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots organization, inspired by Jewish tradition to work for the freedom, equality and dignity of all people in Israel/Palestine. We see fighting Islamophobia, racism and antisemitism as core parts of that work. This week we held a truly historic gathering of over 1,000 of our members and partners, where we dove deeply into crucial conversations about Zionism, the security state and policing in the US and Israel, challenging Islamophobia as a central part of our work for Palestinian rights, accountability, anti-racism and building Jewish community based on love and solidarity. We know our members have taken home an enormous amount of energy and excitement about the work to come!
What is the importance of young people in increasing the numbers involved in Jewish Voice for Peace?
We know that there is a generational shift happening on this issue, as young people are far more likely to support Palestinian freedom and be critical of Israeli policies. Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to be an intergenerational organization that celebrates learning from the experience and wisdom of veterans, organizers and activists, while providing a community where young people can lead the way toward reinventing our collective future.
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