Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Factually-Incorrect "Action Alert" from the National Council of Arab Americans

Apparently the National Council of Arab Americans's oxymoronically-named Defense of Civil Rights in America group published the following action alert.

NCAA/DCRA complains in their alert that our pressuring of the administration to denounce the anti-Semitism on campus is an attack on free speech. On the contrary: many college administrations, including UCI's, will fight to the death to make sure that even offensive speech can be used on their campuses and ours. However, the Presidents of Harvard, Rutgers, Georgetown, University of Michigan, and even UC Berkeley also did the right thing and denounced the anti-Semitism (future post will show a letter that was signed by well over a hundred college presidents stating just this in 2002).

Can UCI do the same? Of course not - they're better than all of those other college administrations.

NCAA/DCRA also complains that an example of "hate speech against the MSU...[was the] display of a charred Israel bus that had been destroyed in a 'suicide bombing' in January 2005 by a Zionist organization [i.e. Anteaters for Israel]."

Sorry folks, but the MSU's unequivocal and unwavering support of HAMAS and Hezbollah permits us to say "this is an example of HAMAS and Hezbollah's actions" by showing Bus 19.

I could go into more, but I've got some homework to do. See the full alert, complete with a photo of two MSU stooges dressed up supposedly as IDF soldiers (one of whom I believe was escorted by police off the plaza when he became belligerent) at: http://www.arab-american.net/projects/civilrights/dcra/news/UCI/uci.html

Action Alert: Defend Free Speech at UC Irvine

May 22, 2006

During the week of May 15, 2006, the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine held a campaign titled “Holocaust in the Holyland” that included a number of events including lectures by Norman Finklestein and others, a rally that included solidarity with worker’s rights and other social justice issues, and the building of a mock Israeli Apartheid wall. One of the lectures was titled “Israel: the 4th Reich.”

The official university response to student and community objections to these titles has been to uphold the MSU’s free speech rights. However, we fear that the pressure of local and national Zionist organizations may be pressuring the university to take a different approach. In addition, UC Irvine is being sued by the Zionist Organization of America in the Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Education for allegedly fostering an anti-Semitic climate on campus. For these reasons, it is important that we applaud and support the position of the university administration at this time. For more background information, see below.

How to Help:

Write letters, email and call administrators at the University of California, Irvine, and suggest the following talking points:

1) Thank and support the university administration as it upholds free speech rights for the Muslim Student Union’s anti-Zionist week (especially in the face of the Zionist counter-campaign).

2) Reassert that anti-Zionism is not equivalent to anti-Semitism, and that these two titles, “Holocaust in the Holyland” and “Israel: the 4th Reich” are clearly statements against Israeli policies.

3) Question the disproportionate response by individual administrators (in the LA Times article, and in the public keynote address during an undergraduate research symposium) to the MSU titles, while anti-Muslim events on campus have not been so quickly criticized.

Please send letters and emails, and make phone calls to the following people:

Chancellor Michael Drake
University of California, Irvine
The Chancellor’s Office
510 Administration
Irvine, CA 92697-1900
phone: 949-824-5111
fax: 949-824-2087

Manuel Gomez
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
University of California, Irvine
Student Affairs Office
405 Administration
Irvine, CA 92697-5180
Phone: 949-824-4804
Fax: 949-824-2763

More on the Attacks on Free Speech at UCI
While the official position of the university as been an admirable one, individual university administrators have taken it upon themselves to make condemnatory statements about the MSU titles that may serve to undermine the university’s protection of the free speech rights of all students. First, in the LA Times article that reported on these titles as “slogans”, the Dean of Students at UCI, Sally Peterson, stated, in response to the MSU titles: "Hate speech is also protected speech. There's no law against being a jerk, basically." Second, on May 13, 2006, at an event celebrating undergraduate research at UCI, an event which many of our community members attended, the Dean of Undergraduate Education, Sharon Salinger, ended her keynote speech by discussing the news story about the MSU events, condemning the titles, and saying that the MSU was “clearly trying to incite someone.” These two statements made by individual administrators at UCI conflate the MSU with the titles of these specific events, and, more importantly, assume that the two titles are hate speech.

The problem here is that the MSU titles, which are clearly anti-Zionist in nature, are being treated as though they are anti-Semitic. Once again, it is necessary for us to underscore that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and that making such accusations is a way of silencing legitimate public debate about Israeli state policies.

Another factor in this situation is that over the past few years, there have been a number of student-organized events at UCI that included hate speech or vandalism against the MSU. Two examples are the display of a charred Israel bus that had been destroyed in a “suicide bombing” in January 2005 by a Zionist organization, and the more recent display of the racist Danish cartoons by a Republican student organization at an event where one of the speakers referred to Islam as an “evil religion.” Again in those instances, the official response of the university was to uphold free speech rights. However, similar ad-hoc comments condemning those events were not made by individual administrators the way that they have been in the case of the MSU titles.

To summarize: The administration of UC Irvine, to its credit, has thus far defended the MSU’s right to free speech. However, a Zionist letter-writing campaign is underway in an effort to sway the administration, and several individual administrators on campus have made statements condemning of the MSU’s titles as hate speech (while continuing to uphold their right to free speech).

We encourage all to take action now to support MSU and defend the right of free speech! It is imperative that we act now to counter the Zionist campaign that is currently working to try to convince the administration that the MSU’s free speech rights should not be upheld in this case.

1260 Lake Blvd., Suite 208, Davis, California 95616
Ph. 530/756.5548;
Fx. 530/756.574
info @ arab-american.net
(888) 846-9451

© 2005 The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA)


Askinstoo said...
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Askinstoo said...
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Concerned UCI Student said...

Askinstoo's comment were removed because they were spam.s