The Balfour Legacy

by Osama Mor

A century ago British Foreign Secretary Balfour promised to the Zionist movement “the establishment of a Jewish national home” in Palestine; a promise imperialists had no right to make to a colonial movement that was never entitled.

Zionist leaders long sought to garner state support for their movement’s colonial activities in Palestine, and the Declaration came as a breakthrough which laid the framework for the subsequent British Mandate. The British Mandate disadvantaged the native Palestinian majority and advantaged the Zionist colonies, despite Balfour’s promise to protect the rights of the “non-Jewish communities” in Palestine, a diminishing reference to the vast and indigenous majority.

During the 1936 – 1939 Palestinian revolt against the British-Zionist alliance, the Mandate demolished thousands of homes as punishment for rebellion, issued long-term sentences for Arab rebels, executed hundreds and killed more than 5,000 Palestinians since the start of the revolt. Zionist paramilitary groups, precursors to the Israeli colonial army, were trained by British soldiers in subduing the Palestinian revolt. Britain enjoyed this unique colonial circumstance, in which they could rely upon a local force to subjugate the indigenous people. The British Mandate’s crippling of the Palestinian leadership and disarmament of the Palestinian people set the conditions for the catastrophe in 1948.

The Balfour Declaration marked the collusion of a Zionist-imperialist alliance, an alliance that today continues to facilitate Israel’s ongoing colonization of Palestine. As Israel colonizes Palestine, it serves world imperialism and the US in particular as a geopolitical base ready to support US-backed regimes and to serve as an obstacle to anti-imperialist movements in the region. Palestinians are on the frontlines, resisting this oppressive alliance, as they have for a century.

A century of the anti-Israel, anti-colonial resistance in Palestine continues and it will last until Israel, colonialism and imperialism is no more.

#RejectBalfour100

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Palestinian Rift Ended – Thank you Egypt

It was almost 11 years since the so-called ugly political division between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, after fighting in 2007 which led to Hamas expelling Fatah from the coastal enclave. In addition to the siege on the Strip, this split had a very dangerous impact on every Palestinian citizen, mostly in Gaza. Several meetings and conferences were held as well as dozens of countries, like Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, tried to solve this nightmare, but nothing worked!

Two weeks ago, and exactly on October 2nd, Egyptian government and the Egyptian Intelligence Service decided to take a serious step to end this “farce” that nearly wasted the Palestinian case for over a decade. During that decade-long division, the Palestinian streets only talked about the humanitarian crises, like electricity and salaries, forgetting completely about the main case of Palestine and Jerusalem.

If you walk in any Gaza main street, you will see and notice the love and the tenderness Palestinians of the Strip have for Egypt and its President, Abdul Fatah Sisi. Along with the huge photos of the Egyptian leader hung on the highest towers of Gaza city, People raised the Egyptian flag that fluttered just near the Palestinian Cabinet in Gaza, where the Palestinian PM made his weekly meeting in the city for the first time.

Supported internationally, this rift is now officially over – it’s ended- and the Palestinian people are like, “thank you Egypt.” This happened on 10th when the Egyptian Intelligence Service invited the heads of both factions to Cairo where they negotiated for two days, after which they decided to end this black period.

Being called “the Egyptian Deal” by Palestinians, this agreement, that comes a month after Hamas dissolved the committee which ran the Gaza Strip, is based on 2011’s, signed in Cairo, after which both parties did not come along due to “external factors”, as many politicians described. 2017 agreement is now the original one that provides for allowing the Fatah-backed unity government to control the Gaza Strip, its ministries, its crossings and its security. This deal will also station forces in the Gaza Strip by December.

For most of Palestinian politicians, especially for President Mahmoud Abbas, this agreement is a final one! “I welcome the agreement,” he told the AFP news agency, adding: “I received a detailed report from the Fatah delegation about what was agreed and I considered it the final agreement to end the division.”

Abbas, who is reportedly planning to come to the Gaza Strip during the next month in what would be his first visit to the Strip in a decade, promised to lift the sanctions he took recently against Hamas once the agreement is upheld in practice.

Hamas’ leadership also welcomed the new news saying that it’s a new page for Palestinians. “This agreement is a new chapter in the Palestinian history,” Hamas spokesman, Salah al-Bardawil, said.

Apparently, what happened in Egypt is the start of a very big thing not everyone can easily expect. For Palestinian citizens, who have been waiting for this news, what would happen is a breakout and a relief that would rescue the Palestinian ship that has been sinking for years. However, politicians and experts in Israeli affairs have fears that Israel will hinder this process.

They however expected a change in Israeli policy after earlier this year Hamas unveiled an updated founding charter which accepted the borders of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries for the first time.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has slammed the deal saying it’s, “making peace much harder to achieve”.

The Twitter statement about the agreement considered reconciling with Hamas is part of the problem. “There is nothing Israel wants more than peace with all our neighbors. Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes peace much harder to achieve. Say yes to peace and no to joining hands with Hamas.”

Palestine now has her two kids, the green and the yellow, united again, which will gradually unite the kids of her kids. Yet, would they keep the same optimistic atmosphere going, or a random egoism would replace it and demolish the joy every home now has?

Mohammed Arafat

12-10-2017

 

 

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Mohanned Younis and the Fishes

By Tamara Nassar

In the days leading up to Mohanned’s suicide, a friend posted a live video of thousands of fishes shoring up on the Gaza beach as merchants and fishermen gathered up to take their share. Blood was everywhere. He said that the whole world can forget about Gaza because there is a God above who does not.

mohanned

Mohanned was a Gazan short story writer, and recently graduated from pharmaceutical school when he took his life about a month ago. In one of his stories he wrote:

“I feel a loss of all emotional connection with even the closest people around me. Perhaps I’m even ashamed of my feelings, as if they’re nothing but some sort of defect or damned illness that must be hidden from people’s eyes. Is this normal? Please don’t tell me with your quiet, infuriating voice that everything is gonna be all right. Because it’s not.”

Someone once told me that dying is a politically powerful act. That it is drastically more powerful than killing. That it is sometimes more powerful than going on living. This is perhaps what it means to practice the right to die when there is nothing left to be lived through.

Blood from thousands of fishes shored up on the Gaza beach… it is oddly reminiscent of the four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach when they were murdered by an Israeli missile during operation protective edge in 2014. It felt like a reincarnated tribute, one that is difficult to understand.

When a person dies in our society, we eat a huge meal and drink coffee on the soul of the dead. But when four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach are murdered by an Israeli missile, and fifteen hundred others all in the same summer, is there anyone left to eat and drink on anyone’s soul?

Mohanned’s suicide is a murder—a slow murder, aged within an open air prison and the slowest genocide in the world. A concentration camp of dead and yet to be.

Continue reading

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Imagining a Liberated Struggle

By Katie Comfort

I first heard about the Philippine peace talks in late 2016, as a new member of the Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP). Filled with ignorance about the current situation in the Philippines, I immediately felt nervous and anxious that the group I had joined was advocating to be present at a negotiation table. It seemed to me that these processes always tried to normalize power between the rulers and the rebels, ignoring class dynamics and encouraging one side to sacrifice more than the other (often subversively). I assumed that the fifth round of peace talks would play out exactly how Oslo has with more land lost and more power ceded. However, as this fifth round of political negotiations has progressed, I have found a renewed hope in seeing representatives from people’s movements sitting across the table from their aggressors. In learning more about the Filipino struggle for national democracy, I have found renewed hope in the ability of Palestinians and their international solidarity allies to join together as a force that can still advocate and negotiate for a free Palestine. While the conditions of Palestine are vastly different than the Philippines, the fifth round of peace talks for Filipino liberation lets me glimpse the future of a free Palestine as well. Continue reading

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Jerusalem clashes, how does the world react?

Since Friday morning, the area of Jerusalem and around it witnessed a fierce spike in violence between Palestinians who protested the installation of metal detectors at the gates of the Old City in response to an attack by a Palestinian gunman there, and the Israeli police standing on those gates. As a result, the world started to be concerned by this crisis, asking both sides to calm down.

In a joint statement, the USA, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations said that they “are deeply concerned by the escalating tensions and violent clashes taking place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem”. They also called both sides to restraint.

In addition to that, Egypt, France and Sweden requested a meeting at the UN Security Council to discuss this issue urgently.

Palestinians, especially those living inside and near Jerusalem, refused what happened around the golden mosque! Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein, said that he rejects Israeli restrictions at the Al-Aqsa.

Likewise, Ismail Haniya, Hamas Political desk, said during his sermon on Friday, urged that Palestinians shall not enter Al-Aqsa mosque through metal detectors, and that, “we are acting to bring Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem back into the embrace of the Arab world!”

A lot of Arabs living inside Israel believe that things will get worse if Israel does not stop its procedures. Arab member of Israeli keenest, Taleb Abu Arar, stated that the Israeli actions at the Mosque and changing the status quo by placing metal detectors, will necessarily lead to a third intifada, “that already began today.”

Ahmad Tibi, who is also an Arab member in the Keenest, said that the Israeli government and its head, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, are responsible for the clashes and those who died during them.

“Netanyahu said there are metal detectors in mecca, but mecca is not under occupation!” added Tibi.

On the other hand, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cut his visit to China and came back to Palestine. As soon as he entered his presidential office in Ramallah, he had a meeting and decided to freeze all ties with Israeli government in all levels, “until recent decisions on Al-Aqsa backtracked.”

However, It is not clear if that means security coordination between Israeli forces and the PA forces will be halted.

Relatively, People of Gaza, who also protested against the detectors, feared that this crisis would reflect on them negatively.

Mohammed Abu-Aref, Gazan graduate, said Gaza might witness a war very soon since things in Jerusalem are really worsened!

“Whenever something happens in Jerusalem or in the West Bank between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel tries to deliver the crises to Gaza by starting a new war” Added Mohammed.

Emad Salama, a Palestinian Imam, stressed his absolute rejection of the electronic gates!

“We are Muslims, and we have to enter our mosque whenever we want, and without entering the gates through those metal detectors!”

Israeli procedures faced growing criticism from the Muslim world. Jordan, where thousands staged protests against the metal detectors, appealed to Israel to remove the devices as soon as possible.

Demonstrations were also seen in Turkey, Egypt and many Muslim and Arab countries!

Turkish PM, Binali Yildirim, said his country is in touch with Israel to try to end the crisis, saying that limits imposed on Muslim prayers would not contribute to a solution.

Pope Frances appealed for moderation after what the old city witnessed. He also invited others to pray with his so both sides would reconcile.

“I feel the need to express a distressed appeal for moderation and dialogue.” Expressed Pope.

The situations in Jerusalem are getting from bad to worse, while there are no solutions in the sight! International efforts are being done, but Palestinians assert that electronic detectors must be taken away, while Israel says it will not back off!

 

Mohammed Arafat

23-07-2017

 

 

 

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Creative Resistance

When I first visited Palestine on a witness trip with FOSNA in 2014 I kept hearing the resistance movement being talked about as the beautiful or creative resistance. I had heard ‘’nonviolent resistance’’ before, but never the former two. At that time, I thought that this beauty and creativity applied to the arts and the way Palestinian’s were able to express themselves creatively to enact their humanness. Those words – creative resistance – have stuck with me since that trip and embedded themselves in the fabric of my conditioning. What did it mean, what could it mean, to resist creatively or beautifully? Following the myriad of answers to that question has led me right back to working with FOSNA and the space they provide for advocates to think creatively about how to respond to the Israeli occupation and its violation of Palestinian human rights.

Looking back, I see now that the creative resistance is not just about how resisters express themselves, but how they use their minds. The potential that is innately within each of us to do good in this world. To push the limits that upholds the status quo and explore new horizons of what kinds of worlds are possible. It is the threading together of ideas – ideas that Israel has tried to destroy – with the goal of building a broad and spread-out coalition of resisters committed to ending the centuries-old colonial project once and for all. To resist with Palestine is to stand up for our entire world – and all the people and traditions in it – because it is an attempt to end the colonial disease once and for all. The occupation, the apartheid wall, the IDF, Netanyahu – these are all symptoms of a disease our species has been trying to cure ourselves of for centuries, and what Palestinians have showed us is that the most effective treatment to conquer this illness is through a creative and beautiful resistance. If colonial occupation is the disease, then resistance is the antidote that enables us to work towards repair.

When I asked David from the Tent of Nations, the last piece of hilltop land secured by a Palestinian family since settlers and their settlements have stolen a majority of Palestinian land, what nonviolent resistance meant to him, he responded by saying “When you do something different, it confuses the other side. We must act differently.” That is what creative resistance means – to do something different than what is expected of us.

Marjorie1
Iyad Burnat, leader and protest organizer in Bil’in.
Marjorie2
Palestinian creative resistance: growing plants from tear gas canisters.

The project I’ve just started working on with FOSNA is an intricate one that requires us to think creatively and pragmatically on how to bridge theory with practice at the local level. To move forward with effective pragmatism requires creativity. This campaign is creative in the way it sutures together many ideas and people, creating an affirmation of resistance. It’s beautiful because it is borne of and travelled through the many minds of resisters throughout time to get where it is now, showing how similar struggles can coalesce similar resisters.

The new FOSNA campaign aims to assist local constituents to take back the people power in their cities, townships, counties, or communities. Millions of dollars from our taxes are filtered into contracts and investments chosen by our local city officials and we, the people of these municipalities, have a right to collectively decide how this money is spent. FOSNA “encourages groups to work on municipal campaigns, targeting governmental entities that have contracted, or are proposing to contract, with companies profiting off the violation of Palestinian human rights in their local areas. We urge you to get to know the local political powers and learn how the system works, where the authority lies, and what works best with local governing bodies. Much of the work done by your local government involves contracts with outside companies, corporations, and businesses. Contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties. Typically a local governmental entity will announce a contract opportunity on a procurement portal, and companies will then bid for that contract. After a preset time (typically a few months) bidding will close and the city council, school board, or other entity will then review each bid and decide on an awardee. The contract will then enter into force for a specified period of time. After that period the contract will expire and the process starts again.’’

by Marjorie Langdon
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For the first time in Gaza, farmer masters water gardening

Planting with aquatics is slightly different from other forms of gardening in which the farmer needs to be aware of proper planting techniques, fertility and care.

However this method of planting is successful in every country in the first world ones and some in the third, it, for the first time, was a successful by a Palestinian farmer in the besieged Gaza Strip amid the lack of the resources needed for planting and the shortages of importing those resources.

Saed abu Nasser, a 53-year-old Palestinian farmer living in the Gaza Strip is the first Palestinian from the enclave succeeded in water gardening (Planting Aquatic Plants), which is famous in the rest of the world.

Setting among his freshly picked plants in his 200 meter farm that he used after being neglected for years in front of his home, abu Nasser said that he has finally succeeded in gardening healthy vegetables in containers containing water without using soil.

Using mineral salts with water, the farmer considered his step a big achievement in the agriculture era in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“These vegetables don’t consist of any chemicals, and they are really helpful for the human body. These plants are not poisonous like a lot of productions that left side effects to its consumers.” Said abu Nasser.

Broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and eggplant are the group the successful farmer succeeded to get just within a period of 30-70 days.

Calling his small farm ‘a paradise of vegetables on earth’, he said that water gardening is a new method of planting in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from the lack of planting lands, fertilized soil and planting resources.

Abu Nasser is not only an amateur farmer, but he is also a good carpenter whose hobby is farming and planting.

“I love planting and farming, so I began thinking of something unique regarding my hobby ten years ago. As a result, I starting surfing deeply the internet looking for the procedures of this method, and with the help of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), I could master it”. He explained.

When asked why he loves his new method, abu Nasser responded that he began using it to avoid the poisonous vegetables that Gaza markets are filled with due to the chemicals a lot of farmers use without knowledge.

Amid the bad economic, social and political situations in Palestine and in the Gaza Strip in General, abu Nasser, like many other successful farmers, achieved his self-sufficiency.

“Now I can finally say that I am self-sufficient, and I can satisfy my family’s needs through my project.” He added.

To widen his project after its success, abu Nasser said that he is trying to develop the unique method on a 1000 meter planting land in the Strip. He also advises his fellow farmers to use this method simply because, “The products are healthy, fresh and clean as well as it helps saving money.”

When asked about the difficulties and the challenges he faced when starting his succeeded project, abu Nasser said that the main problem he faced was the power corruption that challenged him when trying pumping water inside the containers of the plants.

“The FAO helped me getting solar cells though, but that did not help since the cells could provide only half of the required power. However, the things we need now are greenhouses to help the plants have a normal atmosphere to be able to grow properly.” Explained the farmer.

Moreover, abu Nasser said that the project of planting aquatic plants cost him about 10,000 USD, which is a high price.

On the other hand, Mohammed Bukheit, the manager of Plant Protection and Quarantine tasks in the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, said that this method helps the costumers avoid the unhealthy plants containing chemicals.

“Using this method doubles the harvest of the plant.” Bukheit added. “That means, in the traditional planting, which is planting using soil, the harvest of one dunam of potato, for example, is about four tons, but when it comes to this new method, the harvest would be ten tons for the one dunam.”

He also said that one dunam of Tomato can produce 40 tons using this method, while it’s only 10 in the traditional planting.

Mohammed Arafat

11-05-2017

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California Scholars for Academic Freedom Press Release

As students, we stand behind this statement by the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, which demonstrates a strong solidarity between academics and students against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and any force that threatens the safety of marginalized groups. This statement outlines the ways in which the academic freedom of students and professors is threatened, including our political rights to speak out and criticize ideologies and systems that perpetuate violence.

California Scholars for Academic Freedom Press Release

Co-coordinators: Sondra Hale sonhale@ucla.edu Lisa Rofel LROFEL@ucsc.edu

The newly inaugurated U.S. administration has created an atmosphere of violence, racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. A less discussed aspect of these attacks is on academic freedom. The 2016 election has taken to new extremes the threats to academic freedom. We can see a preview of what this administration intends in their response to the recent cancellations of “talks” by professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who engages in public, cruel harassment of students who are critical of his extremist views, from the lectern through trigger cameras that project students’ images without their consent. He then proceeds to taunt them and incite actions against them on the basis of their physical appearance, race, sexuality, and gender. Instead of condemning this kind of incitement, President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from UC Berkeley after Yiannopoulos’ “talk” was cancelled at UC Berkeley and other UC campuses.

We can also see indications of things to come in the lack of condemnation – hence tacit permission – of attacks by the Horowitz so-called Freedom Center on certain University of California campuses for considering establishing themselves as a set of sanctuary campuses. The recent Executive Order in the form of a travel ban on people coming from seven Muslim majority countries (still in the courts) has ensnared students, faculty and visiting scholars who have had their academic lives and careers put into jeopardy as a result of the proposed ban. The absence of international scholars from large parts of the Middle East would severely affect the quality and reach of our educational institutions. Similarly, the anti-immigration bashing and the threat to build a wall with Mexico puts the important DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in jeopardy, directly threatening our undocumented college students. The politically motivated attacks on research scientists working on climate change and fetal tissue research are further indications of a political climate intent on thoroughly trampling over academic freedom.

Furthermore, with regard to academic freedom and free speech, a legislator in the state of Arizona tried to ban all courses that prohibit “state institutions from offering any class or activity that promotes “division, resentment or social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people.” In other words, discussion of social justice should not be part of the educational curriculum. While this bill died before it reached a vote, Arizona already bans the teaching of ethnic studies in K-12 education, a law that is being challenged in court. We can expect to see more of these attempts to limit academic freedom in the coming four years. These initiatives are important for us to know and attempt to counteract. These are very direct interventions in our campus lives, potentially putting a chill on our educational atmosphere and affecting academic freedom.

A recently formed “Professor Watchlist” purports to alert students about professors they claim “advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.” This watchlist echoes Horowitz’s project, Campus Watch. The latter lists both faculty and students, threatening the latter with slanderous public information for use by prospective employers and the former with threats of violence. The Professor Watchlist names numerous professors from California institutions of higher learning. In response to the Professor Watchlist, faculty from throughout California, at public and private universities, have followed the lead of faculty at the University of Notre Dame, in sending the Professor Watchlist our names to be added to their list. We refuse to be intimidated by such harassment tactics.

Below is a letter we are sending to Professor Watchlist:

We, the undersigned faculty in various universities and colleges in California, write to request that you place our names, all of them, on Professor Watchlist.

We make this request because we note that you currently list on your site several of our California colleagues, such as Professors Bettina Aptheker, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Melina Abdullah, Hatem Bazian and some 20 others, whose work is distinguished by its commitment to reasoned, fact-based civil discourse examining questions of tolerance, equality, and justice. We further note that nearly all faculty colleagues at other institutions listed on your site, the philosophers, historians, theologians, ethicists, feminists, rhetoricians, and others, have similarly devoted their professional lives to the unyielding pursuit of truth, to the critical examination of assumptions that underlie social and political policy, and to honoring this country’s commitments to the premise that all people are created equal and deserving of respect.

This is the sort of company we wish to keep.

We surmise that the purpose of your list is to shame and silence faculty who espouse ideas you reject. But your list has had a different effect upon us. We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called “dangerous,” reaffirming our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently, and fearlessly.

So please add our names, the undersigned faculty from California institutions, many of whom belong to California Scholars for Academic Freedom, to the Professor Watchlist. We wish to be counted among those you are watching.

Most sincerely,

Ece Algan
Director, Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
California State University at San Bernardino

Richard P. Appelbaum
Distinguished Research Professor
Sociology and Global Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Paola Bacchetta
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Carole H. Browner
Distinguished Research Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences,
Anthropology, and Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Edmund Burke, III
Professor Department of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Lara Deeb
Anthropology
Scripps College

Julia Elyachar
Anthropology and Economics
University of California, Irvine

Richard Falk,
Fellow, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Former Special Rapporteur, UN Human Rights Council

Aranye Fradenburg
Professor, Department of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

Margaret Ferguson
Distinguished Professor of English,
University of California at Davis

Mayanthi L. Fernando
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Gary Fields
Associate Professor, Department of Communications
UC San Diego

Prof. Claudio Fogu
Associate Professor of Italian Studies,
Department of French and Italian
University of California Santa Barbara

Manzar Foroohar
History Professor
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Nancy Gallagher
Professor, History Department
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jess Ghannam
Department of Psychiatry, and
Global Health Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
School of Medicine

Bishnupriya Ghosh
Department of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Professor
Department of Women’s Studies
Advisory Board: Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies
Center for Asia and Pacific Studies
Institute for Security and Conflict Resolution
San Diego State University

Deborah Gould
Associate Professor of Sociology
UCSC

Larry Gross
Professor
School of Communication
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
University of Southern California

Sondra Hale
Anthropology and Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Gail Hershatter
Distinguished Professor of History
History Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Ivan Huber, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Madison, NJ
Member, California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Suad Joseph
Distinguished Research Professor
Anthropology Department
University of California, Davis

Zayn Kassam
John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies Pomona College

Katherine King
Professor, Comparative Literature
University of California, Los Angeles

David Klein
Professor of Mathematics
California State University Northridge

Dennis Kortheuer
Dept. of History, emeritus
Cal State Long Beach

Mark LeVine
History Department
University of California, Irvine

Esther Lezra
Associate Professor Global Studies
Feminist Studies and Comparative Literature Affiliate
University of California, Santa Barbara

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
Department of English
University of California, Riverside

Pardis Mahdavi, PhD
Dean of Women
Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology
Pomona College

Amina Mama
Professor, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies
One Shields Ave, University of California,
Davis, CA 95616

Andrew Mathews
Anthropology Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Flagg Miller
Professor of Religious Studies
The University of California, Davis

Minoo Moallem
Professor, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Helene Moglen,
Professor, Literature
University of California Santa Cruz

Kathleen Moore,
Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Patricia Morton
Editor, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Associate Professor, Art History Department
University of California, Riverside

David Palumbo-Liu
Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor,Comparative Literature
Stanford University

David Naguib Pellow
Dehlsen Chair and Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Noam Perry
Department of Justice Studies
Institution: San Jose State University

Ismail Poonawala
Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies
UCLA

James Quesada,
Professor & Chair
Department of Anthropology
San Francisco State University

Nasrin Rahimieh
Howard Baskerville Professor in Humanities
Chair, Department of Comparative Literature
University of California, Irvine

Rush Rehm
Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, and Classics
Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT)
Stanford University

Craig Reinarman
Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Legal Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Dwight Reynolds, Professor
Dept of Religious Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

William I. Robinson
Professor of Sociology and
Global and International Studies
University of California-Santa Barbara

Robyn Magalit Rodriguez,
Associate Professor, Asian American Studies,
UC Davis

Lisa Rofel
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Parama Roy
Professor of English
University of California, Davis

Danilyn Rutherford
Anthropology Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Jeffrey Sacks
Associate Professor
Department of Comparative Literature
University of California, Riverside

Sang Hea Kil, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Justice Studies
San José State University

Vida Samiian
Professor of Linguistics
California State University, Fresno

Bhaskar Sarkar
Film and Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Susan Slyomovics
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
University of California, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Stephens
Art Department
UC, Santa Cruz

Judith Stevenson, Emerita
Phd Anthropology
Peace and Social Justice Program
Department of Human Development
California State University, Long Beach

Baki Tezcan
Associate Professor of History,
University of California, Davis

Howard Winant
Distinguished Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Stephen Zunes
Professor of Politics
University of San Francisco

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Resisting the Trump administration

FOSNA interns recount their participation in anti-Trump actions since inauguration day.

Alexa Klein-Mayer:
This past Friday, I participated in a DisruptJ20 action with DC’s Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter. Around fifty activists arrived downtown at 5am, ready to try and shut down an inauguration security checkpoint. Our first checkpoint shutdown was unsuccessful; within 10 minutes, security had forcefully dragged away many of the “green” activists (those who put themselves in the most arrestible positions). We regrouped once we had all been forced out of the lines, and decided to move east to support the Movement for Black Lives activists in their efforts to shut down a different checkpoint; in this attempt, BLM activists chained themselves across the lines, as SURJ activists blocked off the doorways into the security tents. We successfully closed down the checkpoint, and as we were shutting down that checkpoint, activists from a wide variety of groups were working to block off the others. It was a powerful experience!

Katie Comfort:
As a response to the election an inauguration of Trump, many collectives and organizations participated in a J20 rally and March in downtown Portland. I personally marched with Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), an organization that I became a member of in early November.
The march route initially took the mass across one of Portland’s many bridges onto the east side where it was easier to block traffic and participate in a mass action. However, due to protests following the election which shut down I5 for the better part of 3 nights, the Portland Police department blocked every bridge entrance and began assaulting and tear gassing the entire crowd as we tried to continue on our planned route.
What was striking to me about this incident is how quickly police militarized and criminalized the situation. While organizations and individuals had shown up to stand up against facism, to demonstrate that we would not stand idly by in the coming weeks, months, and  years of Trump’s administration, we were instantly met with aggression.
PCHRP decided that it was best for us to evacuate the march early on, as many of our members felt vulnerable and our collective didn’t have much experience with mass mobilizations. I appreciated this model of collectivism and accountability, and hope that it can be modeled as we take care of one another more wholly in the wake of the current administration.

Osama Mor:
On inauguration day, there were two anti-Trump events. The first was titled the “Day of Inclusion” and it was held on campus in the main plaza. The event gave the opportunity for students to speak about what Trump’s inauguration would mean for them. Students of various identities spoke to a large gathering of students and faculty. I also spoke and my speech was well received. I talked mainly about how we can’t absolve the Democratic party as well as the Republican party – for both have committed crimes. My point was that the system is at fault – US settler colonialism – not just Republicans.

The second event was a community march that began on City Hall. This was the largest protest march Athens, Georgia has ever seen. It’s estimated that about 4,500 people attended. It was a beautiful, powerful event in which march participants were incited from various speeches and chants. In both events, Students for Justice in Palestine had significant representation. Despite Trump winning, I’m glad that SJP has found it’s root in the Athens activist community.

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In Support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine

After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter. The letter can be read below.

_________________________________________________________________

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America

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