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UCSD Professors Accuse Student Groups of Hypocrisy, Anti-Semitism

By Taylor Marvin

On April 4th, 28 UCSD professors and faculty published a full-page open letter in The Guardian, UCSD’s leading campus newspaper. The letter’s authors accused UCSD student organizations critical of Israel of hypocrisy — while these student groups have historically criticized Israel’s human rights record in the Occupied Territories, the letter’s signatories allege that they have turned a blind eye to abuses by Arab autocratic governments. This allegation is framed in harsh terms, with signatories accusing UCSD student groups of, in effect, anti-semitism:

“On our campus the muted reaction to this volcanic eruption of civil unrest and the ensuing horrific slaughter of thousands of civilians by their own leaders has been quite revealing. Sadly, it has confirmed strong suspicions of many students and faculty that the highly vituperative activism spearheaded by the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Arab Student Union (ASU) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and directed relentlessly against a single Mideast country, Israel, is driven less by positive impulses of fraternity toward fellow Arabs and Muslims than by hateful impulses to destroy the world’s only sovereign Jewish nation.”

This is an extremely strong allegation. For faculty members at one of the nation’s leading universities to publicly accuse students of racism is noteworthy and disturbing. However, despite their aggressive wording, the authors’ claims are unsupported, deeply misleading and intellectually dishonest.

In contrast to the letter’s claim, in January and February 2011 UCSD student organizations hosted many events and protests designed to draw attention to the humanitarian situation in Tunisia, Egypt, and the rest of the Arab world. Case in point: Prospect’s own Perspectives event on February 28th that hosted discussion and debate about the significance and future of Egypt’s revolution by a number of student and faculty speakers. While Prospect was not mentioned in the letter, Prospect’s event partners Students for Justice in Palestine and Arab Student Union were explicitly criticized.

Source: Prospect.

Source: Prospect.

The UCSD student body’s enthusiasm for this event could hardly be termed “a muted response.” Roughly 250 students attended this event for no academic credit:

Source: Prospect

Source: Prospect

Prospect’s event was not the only panel discussion organized by UCSD students. On February 10th the Arab Student Union, Students for Civil Rights in Iran, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Student Sustainability Collective hosted a teach-in to draw attention to the developing situation in the Arab world:

Source: The Guardian, February 14, 2011.

Source: The Guardian, February 14, 2011.

This event was organized in part by the ASU and SJP, two groups the letter’s authors specifically targets for their “highly vituperative activism.” It’s also worth remembering that the above image is from the front page of The Guardian– the authors’ allegations are specifically contradicted by the front page of the very publication they chose to publish their letter.

The authors also criticize these student organizations for alleged online inaction, specifically through social media. From the letter:

“Why haven’t the websites and Facebook pages of the MSA, ASU and SJP been abuzz with plans for social activism and moral outrage over the murder of civilians who are fighting to gain liberty in Arab countries?”

This is untrue:

Source: Prospect Facebook page, image posted February 18.

Source: Prospect Facebook page, image posted February 18.

Students for Civil Rights in Iran, the Arab Student Union, and Students for Justice in Palestine clearly utilized social media plan activism protesting the murder of Arab civilians fighting to gain liberty. Students for Civil Rights in Iran’s participation in this event is noteworthy: the authors do not mention this organizations’ role in anti-autocrat protests and events, because it does not fit their narrative of student organizations solely obsessed with criticizing Israel. The fact that the letter’s authors did not bother to research this unambiguously false claim is indicative of their disrespect for their readers, and cast significant doubt over the rest of their accusations.

However, one element of the authors’ argument is understandable. Justice in Palestine Week, which the letter terms a “weeklong hate-fest,” is a large event that is highly visible to the student body — displays erected by student organizers dominate Library Walk, the center of the UCSD campus. If student activities critical of Arab governments were limited to indoor events the authors’ allegations of a bias would be justified. However, this is also untrue:

Source: The Guardian, February 3, 2011.

Source: The Guardian, February 3, 2011.

Protests held on Library Walk February 2nd were attended by about 50 students — a respectable number at a largely apolitical campus- who loudly demanded the removal of autocratic leaders in the Arab world. While this event did not display the same degree of preparation as Justice in Palestine Week, this is understandable — Justice in Palestine Week is the product of months of planning by organizing student organizations, while the February 2nd protests were held only 8 days after January 25th’s ‘Day of Rage’ that sparked the revolution in Egypt.

The letter does not simply accuse student organizations of bias — in the eyes of the letter’s authors UCSD students are deliberately targeting Israel and motivated by hate:

“Or is it possible that human rights and social justice have been hijacked by these groups for use as expedient intellectual weapons in the service of a culturally driven agenda—to bludgeon the Jewish state?”

It’s hard to overstate just how strong of an accusation this is. A number of UCSD professors are unambiguously accusing their students of racism. These are words that can’t easily be taken back, and have the potential to permanently break the bond of trust between students and teachers. These serious claims require correspondingly strong support- however, the letter’s authors decline to offer evidence to substantiate their assertions, instead choosing to rely on empty accusations that hide behind their severity.

The accusations advanced in the Guardian letter fail basic investigation and are disproved by a brief examination of the same news outlet where its authors published their message. No one is disputing that Israel is a democratic nation that offers its citizens freedoms and human rights rare in the Middle East. Similarly, aspects of the authors’ allegations are valid — Justice in Palestinian week does offer “deliberately one-sided and selective information” that often neglects the deeply complex nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and both sides’ refusal to accept the meaningful political sacrifices need to achieve peace. However, the authors’ criticism of Justice in Palestine Week’s bias ignores the deep pro-Israel bias in American culture. As of last month, 63 percent of Americans self-identified as sympathizing with Israel compared to 17 percent that identify with the Palestinians, a disparity that is increasing. Given this disparity, the biased nature of Justice in Palestine Week is not a significant threat to Israel’s perception in the United States and does not justify grossly inappropriate personal attacks on students by their professors, a serious abuse of their respected status in the eyes of their students.

However, the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are aside the point. The letter’s authors chose to spend roughly $1,000 to criticize student organizations, accusations that are clearly false and deeply unprofessional. The degree of intellectual laziness in the signatories’ argument is insulting — the letter’s authors take it for granted that readers will accept their claims, rather than undertake the very basic research needed to disprove their specific examples. This level of disrespect for the UCSD student body is not acceptable in university faculty, and its faulty reasoning is profoundly unscientific. The authors of this letter owe their students better, and as UCSD students we should demand it.

Correction: I originally wrongly cited the Feb.2 event as being attended by over 100 people. The correct number is 50, and has been corrected in the text.

Faculty signatories of the letter are listed below. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of provided contact information.

David Feifel, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry: (619)543-2827, dfeilfel@ucsd.edu
Joshua Fierer, MD, Professor of Infectious Diseases: (858) 552-7446, jfierer@ucsd.edu
Ami Berkowitz, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 534-5627, aberkowitz@ucsd.edu
Joseph L. Witztum, MD, Professor of Medicine: jwitztum@ucsd.edu
Seth M. Pransky, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery: (858) 309-7708, spransky@rchsd.org
Sidney Zisook, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry: (858) 534-4040, szisook@ucsd.edu
Larry Millstein, PhD, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: (858) 534-3096, milstein@ece.ucsd.edu
Ron Evans, PhD, Professor, Department of Mathematics: (858) 534-2635, revans@ucsd.edu
Eyal Raz, MD, Professor, Department of Medicine: (858) 534-5444, eraz@ucsd.edu
Gary Frost, PhD, Founding Dean, Earl Warren College
David J. Printz, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Nora Laiken, PhD, Assistant Dean for Educational Support Services, UCSD School of Medicine: (858) 534-2131, nlaiken@ucsd.edu
Alex Groisman, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 822-1838, agroisman@ucsd.edu
Howard Taras, MD, Professor of Pediatrics: htaras@ucsd.edu
Pamela Cosman, PhD, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: (858)822-0157, pcosman@ucsd.edu
Herbie Levine, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 534-4844, levine@herbie.ucsd.edu
Brian G. Keating, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 534-7930, bkeating@ucsd.edu
Neal Swerdlow, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry: (619) 543-6270, nswerdlow@ucsd.edu
Shlomo Dubnov, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Music: (858) 534-5941, sdubnov@ucsd.edu
Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry: (858) 822-7710, sancoliisrael@ucsd.edu
Ruth Covell, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine: (858) 534-4842, rcovell@ucsd.edu
Mort Printz, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Pharmacology: (858) 534-4227, mprintz@ucsd.edu
Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH, Professor, Department of Psychiatry: (858) 534-6400, mstein@ucsd.edu
Vitaliy Lomakin, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering: (858) 822-4726, vitaliy@ece.ucsd.edu
Daniel M. Tartakovsky, PhD, Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: (858) 534-1375, dmt@ucsd.edu
Ivan Schuller, PhD, Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 534 2540, ischuller@ucsd.edu
Yeshaiahu Fainman, PhD, Professor, Jacobs School of Engineering: (858) 534-8909, fainman@ece.ucsd.edu
Daniel Arovas, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physics: (858) 534-6323, darovas@ucsd.edu

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41 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kim #

    Could not have put it better myself – one of the most thoughtful responses I’ve seen yet. No one can articulate the *literally* countless posts, facebook messages, tweets, etc., that the aforementioned student groups have been using to discuss human rights problems across the middle east and beyond.

    Justice in Palestine week has a focused subject, but it is so foolish to claim that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only topic which MSA/SJP contend with.

    Thanks again Taylor. We should consider sending this article to the faculty who signed that letter.

    April 8, 2011
  2. Fantastic, Taylor.

    “the letter’s authors take it for granted that readers will accept their claims, rather than undertake the very basic research needed to disprove their claims”

    April 8, 2011
  3. Sahil #

    Take home message: “These are words that can’t easily taken back, and have the potentially to permanently break the bond of trust between students and teachers.”

    Very well written and well-argued. Thank you for posting.

    Also, interesting to note that it does not seem as if any of the faculty signatories are from backgrounds of political science/ethnic studies/international relations/etc. That does not mean that they cannot have a opinion on the subject, but having someone from such a background would make the letter more credible (in my opinion).

    April 8, 2011
  4. Anonymous #

    Anti-semitism clearly exists on campus…

    Here is one of many examples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fSvyv0urTE

    April 8, 2011
    • admin #

      @anonymous I agree that anti-semitism is a major problem on campus. However, I take issue with the way the letter’s authors conflate student org opposition to Israel’s policies and racism. As the video shows anti-semitism is a real issue UCSD needs to combat right now, but I feel that the letter’s broad and unsubstantiated accusations against entire organizations aren’t an effective way of accomplishing this. Thank you for your input.

      April 8, 2011
  5. Kim #

    Interesting point from Sahil – I also noticed how most of the signatories are from the harder sciences.

    I think this puts these faculty at a huge disadvantage in terms of being connected with the social movements on this campus. Their “credibility” in analyzing the “muted reaction” at UCSD (both among the named students groups and the broader student body) is so obviously at a disadvantage.

    April 8, 2011
  6. Anonymous #

    Look at the departments with which the signatories of the letter are affiliated. Why are there no professors from History, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Literature, or Communication on that letter? It might be because, for the most part, professors who teach in the social sciences and humanities have a more nuanced and historically grounded perspective on the the kinds of arguments that these student groups are making. It’s shameful that the professors and administrators who published this letter in the Guardian would label these students’ reasoned and informed critiques of Israel (a state, not a religion) as “anti-Semitic.” Shame on them.

    April 8, 2011
  7. funspoiler #

    You arent seriously deluding yourselves into believing these tame events discedit the profs letters . Except for the Feb 2 event all the events are scholarly and educational they were not what anyone would consider activism. The Feb 2nd event which the Guardian describes as having 50 people (not over a hundred) was a short, small one time event held 2 months ago before much of the bloodletting in Libya or syria. Compare with a weeklong yearly event, a wall, speakers, candlelight vigils, mock checkpoints, mock cemeteries, AS resoultions, etc., etc. Furthermore the letter says

    “So, if hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims have suffered severe, long-standing repression throughout the Mideast, as is now highly evident, why then have those students who relentlessly pounce on every action and policy of Israel—which comprises 0.04% of the Mideast—been deafeningly silent all these years
    regarding the egregious injustices occurring in the other 99.96% of the Mideast” Again… “ALL THESE YEARS”.

    What they are clearly saying is these revolutions are happening because of massive oppression going on for years in those countries. This was no secret to anyone who knew anything about the ME certainly not to students from that area or smart social activists who are well read. So where were even the benign “teach ins” all those years? That’s the evidence right there. Come on guys, if you think your pathetic examples above are powerful arguments against the profs, you are sadly fooling yourself. Face it, they gotcha and you should instead do some honest sould searching and ask yourself, why have we been so overly focused on Israel?

    April 8, 2011
  8. admin #

    @funspoiler- I wrongly cited the number of attendees at the Feb. 2 event, and it has been corrected. Thank you for the correction.

    April 8, 2011
  9. noor e. #

    as ASU pres and an arab-american student on campus, i wholly appreciate this, especially since it does focus on dispelling facts, and not necessarily being drawn into that larger debate these professors are trying to start. definitely displays the invalidity of their argument, and lack of research on their part; i guess this is their first time attempting institutional intimidation and racism…

    April 8, 2011
  10. anonymous #

    This is a great response. I appreciate the time and effort that went into creating this article and de-bunking the false claims made in the guardian advertisement.

    April 8, 2011
  11. anonymous #

    Taylor,

    This is brilliant! Your efforts are appreciated. This is a great piece.

    April 8, 2011
  12. Spoilerspoiler #

    Funspoiler, do you have any proof that the organizations involved in pointing out the state of Israel’s atrocities have been “silent” “ALL THESE YEARS” on the topic of mideast autocracies? For example, what do you think Students for Civil Rights in Iran has been focusing on for the entirety of its young life?

    April 8, 2011
  13. Janet #

    Great work here, Taylor.

    “the authors’ allegations are specifically contradicted by the front page of the very publication they chose to publish their letter”

    The zionists that paid to publish their words of hate and ignorance should be ashamed.

    April 8, 2011
  14. Bint #

    It’s interesting to see that none of the signatories are faculty in the Department of Social Sciences (i.e. Middle East Studies, etc).

    April 8, 2011
  15. alum #

    Guys,

    I am not sure what the argument is about. When I was a student at UCSD, I felt truly, personally attacked during Justice for Palestine week. There was no representation of both sides of the story, there was only hate-laced propaganda – an unfortunate missed opportunity for the Muslim students on campus to show rational, peace-minded thinking on what amounts to one of the most complex issues in our world.

    When the Jewish organizations on campus (at least while I was there) put up tents or hand out information, it is always with a conscientious effort to breed civility, honest discussion and most importantly to not spark conflict. During Justice for Palestine week, Jewish students maintain their collective cool, showing through our actions that we do not breed hate toward any group among our Jewish campus community.

    For Justice in Palestine Week to be fair, there needs to be a focus on the atrocities suffered by Palestinians in neighboring Muslim countries such as Lebanon and Egypt (similar to the argument made in the letter that you dismiss). Not sure if you remember, but the blockade of Gaza was enforced by not just Israel, but by Egypt, an Arab, and as we have recently seen, a vastly oppressive nation.

    In Lebanon, Palestinians are treated far worse than they are in Israel. There are 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon (and quite a few in Jordan)! They are barred from working, owning property and from obtaining health-care. They live in camps.

    Where is your tribute to these people? Or have you forgotten about them because they are not directly linked to what you call “the occupation”

    Also, to be completely fair, the week must feature segments on the offensive behavior by Palestinians towards Jews – take for example the massacre of the Fogel family, the purposeful attack on a school bus just yesterday and the numerous rockets that are fired into Israel every day forcing citizens (both Arab and Jewish alike) to spend their days in bomb shelters. Or how about the Goldstone report which the AUTHOR just rebuked as incorrect – I believe you guys used that last year against the Jewish community?

    Yes, these things may be hard to admit, but they ARE HAPPENING, and must not be ignored.

    If you portray yourself as truly peaceful and democratic, a one-sided argument is simply dismissed as irrelevant.

    The UCSD professors were right to stand up to the injustices that go on during your week. The endless pursuit of de-investment – which is by the way a terribly mis-guided effort to remove UCSD funding (that does not come from ALUMNI) from the smart investment decisions that will help UCSD grow as an institution, are lamentable. You are hurting our school.

    They were right to band together and to provide a response. You look to pinpoint any weakness in their make-up by saying they are from the hard sciences – how many of your supporters are in the “hard sciences”? Does that mean that they are unable to have an opinion, or it doesn’t count for as much? Are you stifling free-speech?

    As a medical student (a “hard-science”) I am fully capable of making a rational argument, so can the professors.

    Why don’t you work for peace instead of being so overly aggressive and deliberately negative toward the Jews on campus.

    April 8, 2011
  16. realitycheck #

    @Spoilerspoiler

    “Funspoiler, do you have any proof that the organizations involved in pointing out the state of Israel’s atrocities have been “silent” “ALL THESE YEARS” on the topic of mideast autocracies? For example, what do you think Students for Civil Rights in Iran has been focusing on for the entirety of its young life?”

    Seriously? I have been involved in campus for many years. I havent seen any overt activism by Students for CR in Iran. Im not saying it doesn’t happen but there is nothing compared to what takes place against Israel. Ask 10 random students if they have seen “human rights” activism againts Israel and then aks the same guestion about Iran. Like funspoiler was saying, where is the Justice in Iran week. Why not a statue of Neda, the young Iranian protestor who was shot by Iranian security, on LIbrary walk, mock cemeteries etc

    Furthermore, why have there been no Students for civil rights in Egypt, or Libya or SYria or Tunisia etc. etc. if there have been such civil rights abuses in those countries. You guys are hiding your heads in the sand and sound ridiculous if you are trying to deny the point made in the open letter that the activism has been way, way inconsistent and out of balance with the magnitude of abuses in the Mideast. When a person or group acts so inconsistently in this way, it raises legit questions about motivation.

    April 8, 2011
  17. DownWiththeMIC #

    There are so many Jews in this world who would be absolutely horrified by the connections being made both in the letter and in these comments between being Jewish and supporting the military state of Israel. Being critical of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories does not mean hating Jewish people — it is a critique of, on a larger scale, the use of violence and militarism against a population.

    Arguments that conflate anti-semitism with a critique of Israel as a military state are akin to saying that if one is critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one is anti-American. Let’s not forget that there are Arab Jews as well living in the Palestinan territories and Israel as well who are treated poorly and are denied the status of ‘national’ by the state of Israel.

    The strategy of conflating anti-semitism and being critical of the policies that the state of Israel has towards Palestinan peoples is one that benefits the military industrial complex not just in the Occupied Territories but all over the world.

    The amount of hatred directed towards Muslim students in this country is horrifying — it’s absolutely reprehensible to see it coming down, even if shrouded in a critique that purports to be grounded in ‘fairness’, from professors.

    April 8, 2011
  18. Biased Anonymous #

    Watch 4:00 to 4:12- “Falastine Arabiya”, to those of you with no Arabic, and I would like to think Prof. Weidner is one of you, means “Arab Palastine”. Now, try imagining a white Professor in front of hundreds of students screaming “America for Americans”.

    Yes, the letter’s tone is counterproductive but can you not stand behind its advocacy of universal human rights? Yes, the letter is provocative yet is it as divisive as a professor or a student calling for ethnic cleansing of Palestine from Jews or non-Arabs? The letter is much too tame to pose a major threat to whatever is left of the bonds tying together our community after last year’s events.

    The issue is not the strength of the Profs’ argument but what it threatens- a status quo that allows polarizing, counterproductive, hurtful, dangerous, and biased discourse to take place on campus. Instead of arguing against the Profs’ letter and de facto continue a useless antagonizing discourse you should ask yourself whether in any way you allow voices such as Prof. Weidner’s to appear as anything less than the astounding filth they are? Ask yourself, you who is shocked by the letter, do I enable a new conflict discourse that will focus on exchange of opinions based on evidence and aiming at a peaceful solution or, rather, one that polarize and creates a toxic campus environment? Let’s hope something good will come out of this unfortunate exchange.

    April 8, 2011
  19. DownWiththeMIC #

    Oh, and also, alum? You said: “For Justice in Palestine Week to be fair, there needs to be a focus on the atrocities suffered by Palestinians in neighboring Muslim countries such as Lebanon…”

    Um, those atrocities suffered by Palestinians living in Lebanon are largely a result of Israel’s military interventions there. So, I don’t see how that disproves anything.

    April 8, 2011
  20. alum #

    Great article Taylor.

    There is no place for racism and intimidation from professors towards students on campus. As an alum, I was deeply saddened to see such a biased, misleading article which professors went to great lengths to pay and publish and completely break the trust between student and teacher.

    The three mentioned student groups are completely involved in all events calling for justice at UCSD. MSA and SJP members marched on the front lines of March 4th protests calling for affordable education for all, the least of all the activist efforts the organizations put forward.

    Professors should instead be encouraging events like Justice in Palestine week. Such events fill in the narrative and voice that is completely absent in the US discourse on Palestine-Israel and allow Americans to take a more informed position in the dialogue. Americans are very well-informed on the Israeli perspective, any attempt to then suppress the Palestinian narrative cannot claim to be one for peace and dialogue.

    April 8, 2011
  21. Kyle #

    I think the student groups have every right to take on a country.

    If they aren’t balanced in their approach, that’s okay too. UCSD is not balanced in general.

    In response, the faculty can and should speak up.

    The issue here is both sides feeling like they’re fighting against the tide. The student groups are going against blanket support of Israel, and Jews can be very sensitive about anything that can threaten Israel.

    The emotional aspect of the exchange has to be honored.

    We do turn a blind eye to Israel misbehaving, and that frustrates people. Frustrated people act out.

    In this case, I think reasoned argument misses the point. People need to say how they feel and have it be acknowledged. UCSD isn’t always the place for that, but people do have feelings.

    April 8, 2011
  22. Anonymous #

    @DownWiththeMIC

    Actually, that is inaccurate. It is not the Israelis that forces Palestinians to live the way they live in places like Lebanon. It is the government of Lebanon. I recommend you do some more research into the way refugees are treated.

    April 8, 2011
  23. funspoiler #

    @DownWiththeMIC

    “Um, those atrocities suffered by Palestinians living in Lebanon are largely a result of Israel’s military interventions there. So, I don’t see how that disproves anything.”

    Dont know much about the region do you? The Palestinians are mistreated in amost all the Arab countries and it has nothing to do with “Israeli Military intervention” You mentioned Lebanon. They are laws against them working in dignified professions. Here is an excerpt from the Guardian UK

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/27/lebanon-law-palestinian-workers-refugees

    Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are mostly relegated to society’s fringes. A history of violence, poverty and state-sanctioned discrimination combine to beget more violence and poverty. These refugees are traumatised. Theirs is a psychology of besieged dispossession – and they yearn simultaneously for home and a better life now, in Lebanon.

    Much has been made of the Lebanese government’s recent decision to ease the barriers to dignified work for Palestinians here. But Palestinians I’ve spoken to in the penurious Shatila camp don’t expect much to change.

    The new law fails to address the causes for discrimination and inequality. For instance, parliament waived work permit fees, but the process of applying for those permits remains prohibitively cumbersome. Before hiring a Palestinian, a Lebanese employer must demonstrate to the ministry of labour that a Lebanese national cannot perform the job. It’s this bureaucratic hurdle that forces many unskilled Palestinian labourers to work without permits – and the new law does nothing to mitigate its effects.

    Furthermore, many Palestinian professionals are prohibited from working as doctors, lawyers or engineers because the professional syndicates here disallow their participation. The government can remove all barriers to employment, but if organised labour doesn’t do the same, the effect will be minimal. That’s why the new law hasn’t changed the status quo in meaningful ways.

    April 8, 2011
  24. “Look at the departments with which the signatories of the letter are affiliated. Why are there no professors from History, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Literature, or Communication on that letter? It might be because, for the most part, professors who teach in the social sciences and humanities have a more nuanced and historically grounded perspective on the the kinds of arguments that these student groups are making”

    Actually, it is because the Huamnities on must university campuses are stuffed with far-left professors who hate Israel and try to indoctrinate their students rather than educate them.

    Gary Fouse
    Adj teacher
    UC -Irvine Ext

    April 10, 2011
  25. The Elders of Zion #

    “Look at the departments with which the signatories of the letter are affiliated. Why are there no professors from History, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Literature, or Communication on that letter? It might be because, for the most part, professors who teach in the social sciences and humanities have a more nuanced and historically grounded perspective on the the kinds of arguments that these student groups are making”

    Actually, if I were to guess why no Social Sciences profs signed the letter, it’s probably because they just don’t personally know the profs who were behind the letter, and so they never got approached about it. Most of the grad students and faculty in my department (in the Social Sciences Division) that I’ve talked with would agree with the points made in the letter. Also, for what it’s worth, I personally know some proud IDF veterans in the Social Sciences departments here.

    Also, keep in mind that no assistant professors are listed on the letter–that’s probably because it’s not a wise career move to get caught up in campus politics if you’re a junior academic–so the number of profs who feel that way is probably higher.

    April 10, 2011
  26. Justin #

    Wow Mr. Fouse. For a “teacher”, that’s not a very astute or fair accusation to be making.
    To me, it seems strange that professors are attacking these student organizations because as student orgs on campus, they have every right to pursue their own agenda. They are not media outlets. Especially with a name as clear as “Students for Justice in Palestine.” Perhaps, these professors should be wondering why there aren’t any pro-Israel student groups on campus who are countering these other groups.
    And, I think it is very telling that none of the signatories have a degree to show that they are an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    April 10, 2011
  27. Keyvan #

    It’s pretty ironic that these hard scientists, the so-called empiricists of 21st century if you will, did not take notice of the ample evidence that confutes their claims.

    April 11, 2011
  28. Uri #

    zionists can’t be bothered with facts. see the letter they wrote protesting the nonexistent boycott of the toronto film festival the year before last (while ignoring israel’s threat to pull funding from an israeli film festival if a film critical of zionism, udi aloni’s “forgiveness”, would headline). or the anti-divestment petition at umass signed by dozens of normally literate faculty, which claimed that the divestment petition condemned israeli violence while making no mention of palestinian violence, when in fact the opposite was true and only palestinian violence was mentioned.

    April 11, 2011
  29. MW #

    @funspoiler

    In response to the treatment of Palestinians living in Lebanon– of course, it cannot be denied that they do not have equal rights.

    However, we must look to the roots of the conflict and ask ourselves why are there Palestinians living in Lebanon? It is because Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to their homes within Israel where they were displaced from in 1948 and 1967.

    After the 48 and 67 wars, Israel banned the Palestinians from returning to their homes and UN resolution 194 calls for the right of return of refugees.

    If it were not for the blatant disregard for international law and the desperation to maintain a Jewish majority in the state of Israel we would not have these devastating refugee issues in the states of Jordan, Syria,Lebanon, as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    Dealing with surface issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict such as treatment of Palestinians in the neighboring states does not deal with the source of the problem, and in a sense absolves Israel from the problem that they have created.

    April 12, 2011
  30. Zoom #

    “Why are there no professors from History, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Literature, or Communication on that letter?”

    Because these disciplines have become overrun by leftist indoctrination rather than rational intellectual pursuit? Ethnic Studies isn’t even a valid discipline as far as I’m concerned – it’s buzzwordy BS.

    April 12, 2011
  31. The Elders of Zion #

    @MV:

    By “the problem that [Israel] created,” surely you mean Israel’s existence and continued existence? Or Israel’s refusal to lie down and die when several Arab countries’ armies invaded simultaneously with the goal of destroying the fledgling state? Or Jordan and Egypt’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza from 1948 to 1967, of which Israel is somehow guilty in your mind? Or those Arab countries’ leaders who persuaded many of the Arabs in Palestine/Israel to leave and come back later when Israel had been finished off? Or Israel’s granting refuge to the 800,000 Jews who were kicked out of various Arab countries in the mid-twentieth century? (Incidentally, those include the same countries that were trying to destroy Israel and still are trying.)

    April 12, 2011
  32. MW #

    I don’t understand why pointing out Israel’s violations of international law automatically means I am somehow defending and supporting Arab states who have dictators as well. I think it is really interesting how people make that conclusion instead of the conclusion that maybe one can be against international law violations EVERYWHERE.

    “The problem that Israel created” of what I am referring to is that Israel did not allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes after the 1948 war and they did not even let internally displaced Palestinians return to their former homes. I do not think there is any excuse for that, and I do not think that there is any justification for collectively punishing a group of people for 44 years under military occupation. If the Palestinians were currently under occupation from an Arab country, my campaign would be against that country. But, as for now, Israel is the power who has the authority to change things and to allow Palestinians their basic human rights.

    It is a very simple thing, really. There are two groups of people living on the same piece of land and one has rights and the other does not. The responsibility lies on whoever is obstructing those rights.

    April 12, 2011
  33. The Elders of Zion #

    @MV:

    You’re demonstrating exactly the one-sidedness and hypocrisy that the professors’ letter is so decrying. SJP and its supporters have nothing to say about Jordan and Egypt’s occupation of the territories for 19 years. The Israel-haters show no outrage over the Jordanian army’s ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities in what is now called the West Bank, some of which had been there for centuries upon centuries. The Israel-haters are curiously mum about things like Jordan’s massacre of thousands and thousands of Palestinians in one month in 1970.

    While you’re at it, why don’t you publicly campaign for the “right of return” of the 800,000 Mizrachi Jews (and their descendants) chased out of the Arab countries, almost all of whom fled to Israel? And how about you campaign for all the Ashkenazi Jews’ “right” to “return” to Europe?

    Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that the Arab governments actually give a fig about the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have been cynically used by the Arab governments as a stick with which to hit Israel (see the U.N.). Believe it or not, most Israelis actually have quite a bit of sympathy for the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza, and elsewhere; Israelis have less sympathy for the governments of countries like Syria which use the Palestinians as pawns in a game that is about destroying Israel, and Israelis have even less sympathy for elements of the Palestinian leadership (Hamas, Arafat) that have used terrorism as their main tool of diplomacy and continue to do so. To this day, it is those elements that refuse any peace deal that would leave Israel in existence, yet SJP-types blame Israel for the lack of a peace deal. Israelis want a two-state solution to the conflict; Hamas and its brethren want the Jews to die.

    April 12, 2011
  34. Anonymous #

    Who are these professors? Few if any from the social sciences. Sounds like an ill-researched, poorly worded effort by a bunch of conservative professors who are upset at the great progressive movements being made by young students at UC San Diego.

    April 13, 2011
  35. Peacenow #

    The “personal” attack directed towards the students represents a normal strategy taken by the supporters of israel in the U.S.
    Whenever anyone criticizes Israel (especially in the U.S) that person is attacked personally, The supporters of Israel usually avoid a discussion of the “issue” and jump directly to personal attacks.
    They quickly jump to labeling any person who criticizes Israel with labels such as
    “anti-semite” “racist” “Holocaust denier” etc…
    This method has worked very well to silence so many people and end any criticism of Israel.

    April 14, 2011
  36. yayforteachers #

    Finally teachers who teach subjects that actually require intelligence (unlike ethnic studies), are speaking out about the ridiculous anti-semitic atmosphere at UCSD.

    Regardless of the fact that there were some small events regarding the recent protests, the meaning of the letter written by the teachers remains the same. There was no uproar prior to the protests in the middle east over Mubarak or Ghadaffi. While on the other hand anti-Israel events are planned every year regardless of what stories are in the news. This shows that these groups were never focused on any country in the mid-east other than Israel. I’m so happy smart professors finally decided to say something!

    April 14, 2011
  37. The Hamas government has the racist agenda of Islamizing Israel. During Justice in Palestine weeks, accusations of racism have been hurled at Israel, not Hamas. Thus it was reasonable for us to raise the question:
    “Or is it possible that human rights and social justice have been hijacked by these groups for use as expedient intellectual weapons in the service of a culturally driven agenda—to bludgeon the Jewish state?”

    May 18, 2011
  38. Shane Costabile #

    Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, great written and come with almost all important infos. I’d like to peer more posts like this .

    November 30, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Prospect Blog Villifies UCSD Professors, Denies Anti-Semitism Exists « All-American Girl for the Restoration of Values
  2. Student Journalism and Campus Climate: An Interview with UCSD Guardian Editor-in-Chief Angela Chen »

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