Today, I’m asking my readers to please support the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The group has been working hard on some new legislation and it’s really important to help get this bill to the floor of the Senate and the House. Read more at LobeLog
after the university’s chancellor faced strong pressure from major donors objecting to Salaita’s tweets about Israel’s massive military campaign in Gaza, issued this warning: “As the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups have been tracking, this is part of a nationwide, concerted effort by wealthy and well-organized groups to attack pro-Palestinian students and faculty and silence their speech. This risks creating a Palestinian exception to the First Amendment and to academic freedom.”
At Ohio University, we recently saw the disturbing reality of the different treatment accorded to pro-Israel, as opposed to pro-Palestinian views which supports Salaita’s statement. Read More at LobeLog
I’m proud to announce that in today’s Souciant we have Emmanuel Stokes interviewing Glenn Greenwald. Please check it out, it will be worth your while.
The absurd events at Brooklyn College continue to roll along. The thought police, led by the great promoter of anti-Semitism (through his ceaseless efforts to dehumanize
Palestinians), Alan Dershowitz insist that any and all programs involving the Israel-Palestine conflict must present Israel’s point of view. One cannot miss the fact that they show no such concern when only the Israeli view is represented, as happens often on campuses and community centers across the country. And, to be sure, there is nothing wrong with that view being presented. But neither is the view of those who are working in support of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel due to its 45-year old occupation.
That this issue even arises shows the absurdity of the debate on this issue in the United States. The fact that some New York City politicians are actually threatening to cut Brooklyn College’s funding should send a chill up anyone’s spine who believes in free speech and democracy, whatever their views of Israel, Palestine and BDS. But the university president is holding fast to the view that an institution of higher learning, whether privately or publicly funded, has a first duty to present a diversity of views and not every such presentation needs to be in a debate format. And she is being defended by her staff, in the form of their union.
Pasted below is the letter the union sent to a long list of cowardly, clueless or bigoted politicians who are trying to shut down a legitimate, non-violent Palestinian view from being heard. It doesn’t matter what you think of BDS, or which side, if any, your heart lies on with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is about free speech and academic freedom. And for that, a hearty BRAVO to Brooklyn College’s president, Karen Gould, and the union, as represented by Dr. Barbara Bowen. Continue reading
Adele Stan, Washington correspondent for AlterNet, who, along with AlterNet’s Alex Kane and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss, shared my experience of being frozen out of the AIPAC conference, has written her own piece about the incident. Please check it out. Like me, she was given no reason for the ban, so she is left to speculate as to the reasons why, and she has some very interesting speculation.
The takeaway line from Stan: “The real casualty here is to AIPAC’s reputation. The organization insists it is bipartisan, and has gone to some lengths to include liberals such as Donna Brazile and Paul Begala on the roster of speakers for its policy conference. But when its leaders choose to freeze out a highly selective and tiny group of progressive writers because they have a colleague in common whose views contradict AIPAC’s, well, big, bad AIPAC just looks petty and small.”
This article also appears on Muzzlewatch, a Jewish Voice for Peace blog
It’s a little hard to imagine. The self-proclaimed “most influential foreign policy lobbying organization on Capitol Hill,” an admittedly deserved sobriquet, is apparently afraid of what little old me might say about their conference.
It’s hard to interpret what has happened in any other way, after my approved media credentials for AIPAC’s annual policy conference were rescinded without explanation just a few days before the event.
I applied for media access to the conference back in January. Soon after, I received an email from AIPAC’s then-media relations officer, Ari Goldberg, confirming acceptance of my application to attend as a reporter.
I am hardly unknown in this arena, and a quick search on Google would certainly have revealed that I was a progressive blogger, but also that I had written numerous pieces of straight journalism for Inter Press Service, the agency for which I will still be reporting on the conference.
So, it was no surprise that AIPAC credentialed me. Just as a major event at, say, the Center for American Progress (a think tank with unabashed ties to the Democratic Party) would not think twice about credentialing someone from FOX News, it is standard practice that such large organizations credential a wide range of media.
More surprising was the revocation of those credentials with just a few days to go before the conference.
With the conference slated to start on Sunday, I got a curt note on Wednesday, simply stating: “Thank you for your interest in attending this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference as a member of the press. However, press credentials for the conference will not be issued to you. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.”
It came from someone named Sarah Coopersmith at Scott Circle Communications, a firm AIPAC contracted with to handle the press logistics. The email wasn’t even signed.
Inquiries to both Coopersmith and AIPAC’s new press officer, Adam Harris brought no response. Ari Goldberg, despite having left AIPAC, did respond to me, expressing surprise and the hope that this was just a mistake.
To say this is highly unusual behavior would be an understatement. And I wasn’t the only one this happened to.
Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss, who had been credentialed the past three years without incident, and Adele Stan, the Washington Bureau Chief at AlterNet were also rejected without explanation. As I understand it, Phil and Adele were rejected outright. In my case, I was given media access and then had it revoked. Continue reading