Saturday, November 12, 2011

CSU to reinstate study abroad program to Israel?

Not if David Klein can help it.
He's been passing around this open letter to CSU Chancellor instead. David hates Israel so much, he devotes part of his CSU Northridge Website to Israel bashing. From David's website, hosted on the CSU server: "Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time". Yes, David's website includes the gratutious dead baby photos, along with BDS resources. Nice. Really nice
He teaches math, incidentally

MY comments are BOLD

An Open Letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed Regarding the CSU-Israel Study Abroad Program

Dear Chancellor Reed;

The CSU system has recently taken steps to reinstate the Israel Study Abroad Program. It was suspended in 2002 because of costs and because of the U.S. State Department travel warning on travel to Israel.

The second intifada led to thousands of casualties from acts of Palestinian terror. In 2002 alone, 2,348 Israelis were wounded in terror attacks, with 220 dead from suicide bombings alone. These numbers have greatly decreased, due in part to the security barrier, which according to some reports, has reduced casualties by 90%

We strongly urge you not to reinstate the CSU Israel Study Abroad Program.

The signers of this letter, CSU faculty, staff, students, and administrators, represent a wide range of views and political perspectives, but each one of us shares that conclusion along with some or all of the following concerns:

As of Nov 12, all SIX of them

1) The original reasons, from 2002, for suspending the program remain valid, and may, in some respects, be even more compelling. The CSU is facing unprecedented funding cuts, and programs serving greater numbers of students than this program may be more deserving of the limited available funds. The State Department travel warning also remains in effect

If funding is really the issue, why are you only targeting study abroad to Israel?

2) Additional dangers to U.S. citizens, not described in the State Department travel warning, deserve consideration. There have been multiple instances of U.S. citizens, including students, who have been severely injured, and in some cases killed by Israeli military forces. For example, in 2010, Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Jewish American art student, lost an eye when Israeli soldiers shot her in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister. She had joined protests against Israel's attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla, during which Furkan Dogan, aged 19, another U.S. citizen, was killed by Israeli troops. Other young Americans killed or injured by Israeli forces include Rachel Corrie, Brian Avery, and Tristan Anderson.

Yes, David Klein, CSU Northridge math instructor is creating a moral equivalence here- acquainting those hurt while obstructing operations in a closed military zone, with those targetted simply because they were Jews in a Jewish state. Davis Klein dares equate the death of UC Berkeley graduate Marla Bennett, murdered while eating lunch in the Hebrew University cafeteria with the death of Rachel Corrie, dead while guarding smuggling tunnels in Gaza. David Klein, math professor dares to compare the death of Daniel Wultz, age 16, murdered while eating lunch with his dad with Furkan Dogan. Turkish member of the IHH, who ambushed and assaulted Israeli soldiers in international waters

3) If the Israel Study Abroad Program is reinstated, participating CSU students could face discriminatory treatment, based on race and ethnicity. According to a U.S. State Department document:

"U.S. citizens with Arabic or Muslim names, those born in Muslim or Middle Eastern countries, those who have been involved in missionary or activist activity, those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passport, and other U.S. citizen travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny by Israeli border authorities, and on occasion they have been given a “Palestinian Authority only” stamp in their passport which prohibits entry into "Green Line" Israel. U.S. citizens have been detained and/or arrested at the airport and at other border crossings on suspicion of security-related offenses. Members of religious groups have been monitored, arrested, and deported for suspicion of intent to proselytize in Israel. In some cases, Israeli authorities have denied U.S. citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, and even family members during temporary detention."

"Palestinian-American dual citizens living in the West Bank can be detained or arrested by the IDF. In such instances, the Government of Israel may not recognize the U.S. citizenship and will instead consider the arrested person a Palestinian. In such cases the U.S. Consulate General may not be notified."

If Palestinian America students wanted to study in Israel, and had no ties to terror or plans on proselytizing, this would not be an issue

4) During its October 2011 meeting, the Academic and Fiscal Affairs Committee of the CSU Statewide Academic Senate made a recommendation as follows:

"The AFAC recommends in light of the developments of the past 10 years, and in order to provide a more inclusive perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian issue that priority and effort be given to exploring new partnerships such as: Birzeit University, Arab American University in Jenin."

Reinstating a CSU Study Abroad Program in conjunction with Israeli universities without similar programs in cooperation with Palestinian universities would be one-sided.

The same man who just wrote "The CSU is facing unprecedented funding cuts, and programs serving greater numbers of students than this program may be more deserving of the limited available funds." is now proposing new programs.

5) To restart the CSU International program in Israel at this time would not reflect well on the CSU's commitment to the universal right to education. Israel has consistently violated its obligation under Article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which requires the Occupying Power to facilitate the proper functioning of educational institutions in occupied territories. Israel remains the Occupying Power because it retains effective control in all these areas, and exercises this control by making education difficult or impossible for Palestinians in a variety of ways: blockading, besieging and bombing schools and universities; suspending delivery of books and educational supplies; restricting or barring the movement of students, teachers and researchers to their institutions of learning, as well as to travel abroad for educational purposes. Because of these actions, Israel has deprived hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their right to education.

Mr. Klein forgets that Arab students at Israeli colleges on average are about 12 percent of the student population. And he ignores that in Israel's years as "occupying power"

"... during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria."

6) Recognized leaders and prominent intellectuals have compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid in South Africa. Among these are Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Mairead Maguire [4]. John Dugard, a South African professor of international law, has served as Judge ad hoc on the International Court of Justice and as a Special Rapporteur for both the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the International Law Commission.

Logical fallacy, Mt. Klein.
Appeal to Authority

Description of Appeal to Authority
An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
Person A makes claim C about subject S.
Therefore, C is true.

Affiliations of the signatories are included for identification purposes only.

CSU Faculty, Staff, and Administrator Endorsements

David Klein
Department of Mathematics
CSU Northridge

Ian Barnard
Department of English/Queer Studies Program
CSU Northridge

Harry Hellenbrand, Provost
CSU Northridge

Edie Pistolesi
Department of Art
CSU Northridge

Jerry Rosen
Department of Mathematics
CSU Northridge

Vida Samiian, Dean
College of Arts and Humanities
CSU Fresno

Sunday, November 6, 2011

UC Davis Jewish Studies Program Presents the Anti-Israel Narrative and Censors Questions

This is the report of a speaker event at the University of California at Davis, hosted not by an anti-Israel group but by the Jewish Studies Program.  It was written by Gail Rubin J.D., co-chair of StandWithUs Davis.  Please e-mail your concerns and comments to the Jewish Studies Program at and to their funders:  the Koret Foundation ,  the Osher Foundation , the Taube Foundation (, and the Posen Foundation (


Some UC Jewish Studies programs seem to be part of the growing problem of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist bias on UC campuses. Consider the lecture sponsored by the UC Davis [UCD] Jewish Studies Program on October 21st.

The lecturer was University of London professor Gilbert Achcar, author of the controversial book, “The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.” He was introduced by Diane Wolf, current chair of the UCD program, Professor Susan Miller, and founding chair, David Biale. Professor Miller praised Achcar and called his scholarship “courageous.”

Achcar may have been courageous in acknowledging the Holocaust was a uniquely horrifying event directed at Jews and that Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini’s anti-Semitism and collaboration with Hitler were deplorable. But after these observations, he careened into anti-Zionist, anti-Israel charges and distortions. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, he argued that the Mufti’s Jew-hatred had little influence on Palestinian and Arab hostility to Israel. He dismissed evidence about the cross-fertilization of Muslim anti-Semitism and Nazi-inspired anti-Semitism as hyperbole and charged that Israel exploits the Holocaust and exaggerates the Mufti’s influence only for propaganda purposes.

 More disturbingly, he has argued that the rise of Zionism in 1920, not prejudice, spawned Arab Jew-hatred, essentially accusing Jews of causing anti-Semitism. Indeed, in his book, he excuses the current popularity of the Czarist anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” in the Arab world, arguing it must be read from an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semitic, perspective.

Achcar minimized pogroms against and expulsions of Jews in the Arab world after World War II and after Israel’s reestablishment, equating their expulsion with the American internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. He repeated anti-Israel clichés, denying Israel’s right to exist and referring to it as a “settler colonial project” built on “Arab land,” accusing Zionists of "ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians", and downplaying any suggestion of Pan-Arab racism toward the Jewish people.

Despite these tendentious charges, challenging questions were not welcomed during the Q & A.  I was abruptly censored while attempting to establish facts to challenge Mr. Achcar’s skewed conclusion that the Grand Mufti’s anti-Semitism had only a minimal impact on both Jews and Arabs. Professors Miller and Biale angrily told me the questions were insulting and to either stop or leave the room. So much for free speech and scholarly discourse in academia.

Unfortunately, this lecture was not an anomaly. It is symptomatic of attitudes in the UC Davis Jewish Studies Program and elsewhere in the UC system. Approximately 30 Jewish Studies faculty members signed a March 3 letter to the Orange County District Attorney, opposing legal action against the “Irvine 11.” The “Irvine 11” were the Muslim Student Union students who had orchestrated a disruption of a lecture by Israel Ambassador Michael Oren on the UC Irvine campus, in violation of both campus guidelines and the law. The six UCD faculty connected to Jewish/Middle Eastern scholarship who signed that letter are: David Biale; Ari Kelman; Ze’ev Maoz; Susan Miller; Brenda Deen Schildgen; and Diane Wolf.

Yet, these same academics turn a blind eye to campus anti-Semitism. Open letters were submitted to UC President Mark Yudof in June of 2010, highlighting the rise of anti-Semitism throughout the UC system. Some of the signatories included the Simon Wiesenthal Center, CAMERA, StandWithUs, and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. More than 700 students signed an on-line petition. In September , 2011, more than 5,200 supporters sent another letter to Mr.Yudof, urging him to investigate and take action. Thus far, not one of the UCD professors referenced above has signed on to the letters, nor have they taken action to protect Jewish students from harassment and fear on their own campus. In fact, Emanuel Ringelblum Professor David Biale criticized the decision by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights to extend Title VI protection to Jewish students as “bizarre” because “the Jews are a group with power”.

Blind allegiance to any ideology is dangerous for the free exchange of ideas that is supposed to be the hallmark of a university. It is even more dangerous in the current climate where professors and academic departments encourage anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and anti- Jewish views and behaviors. Too often, students who express favorable views about Israel are ridiculed and verbally abused. Surely Jewish Studies Departments should ensure that the distortions and misinformation that propel anti-Israel dogmas are exposed and critiqued. People committed to intellectual integrity and the future of Israel and the Jewish people should be concerned about these trends in Jewish Studies Programs.