Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Guess who won a FULBRIGHT Scholarship?

Vanessa Zuabi, former Vice President of the Society of Arab Students and one of the main players in MESSI (the UC Irvine Middle East Studies Student Initiative), won a Fulbright scholarship:


According to the profile, she will also be Student Speaker for Commencement Ceremony 1 of the School of Social Sciences at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 17 - I'm taking bets on what the topic of her commencement speech will be...


In case anybody's wondering, here's some info on our Fullbright winner. She's got three problems I can immediately point out:

First problem: SAS's involvement with the 2004 Anti-Zionism Week

"Despite these U.N. resolutions, Israel has illegally occupied the Palestinian territory," said Vanessa Zuabi, a second-year international studies and political science major and vice-president of SAS. "It has implanted checkpoints that prevent Palestinians from going to school, to work and from basic necessities such as food and water. Also against the U.N. resolution, there are illegal Israeli settlers that confiscate more and more Palestinian land. These actions are against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the fourth Geneva Convention and numerous other conventions issued by the U.N. Palestinians are on a daily basis dehumanized, brutalized and denied their human rights. As human beings we should not tolerate this."
At the SAS event on the Monday night of the 2004 Anti-Zionism Week (i.e. while she was in power), the speaker used false facts in order to put Israel in a bad light (I have my own notes from the event and will publish them shortly).

Then there's the question: why has neither she nor the SAS (while she was in power) ever denounced the level of hatred espoused by at the Anti-Zionism Weeks and in general at MSU events? At one event in 2004, for instance, one student in the audience noted that the speaker stated that audience members should "ask the American Jews in the audience" why America is at war in Iraq.

Second problem: the anti-hate rally
When interviewed by the LA Times, Zuabi stated that all groups were invited to the 2004 "anti-hate rally".

Yet in a May 31, 2004 New University article by Ben Ritter, she is paraphrased as stating that the SAS "didn’t want AFI at the rally because they did not want to turn the rally into a political issue."

Hillel and the Jewish Greek organizations were also told "don't come", and they are not political organizations. What gives?

Third problem, as shown in the SCCUR 2003 Conference Program where Mark Levine was her advisor

Israel’s Slave Trade: The Situation of Foreign Migrant Workers in Israel
Vanessa Zuabi
Mentor: Mark LeVine
University of California, Irvine

The Israeli government introduced non-Palestinian migrant workers to the labor market more than a decade ago when Yitzak Rabin closed off the de facto Occupied Territories in 1993. In recent years, there has been a drastic increase in instances of enslavement and trafficking of these foreign workers. Its primary manifestations include debt bondage, restrictions and violations of basic human freedoms, and renting and selling of workers. The government has not only failed to enforce laws protecting workers, they have created fertile ground for the development of conditions of slavery and trafficking in human beings in Israel. In addition, several officials within the government are owners or partial owners of the very companies that engage in these illegal practices. Many officials also receive millions of dollars from them in political monetary aid. The government’s economic ties with this three billion-dollar business of trafficking and enslaving workers have allowed them to condone these illegal actions and pass laws to further facilitate them. These practices have not only led to dehumanization and mass deportation of foreign workers in Israel, it has also had a tragic effect on the Palestinians living in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. My purpose in researching this project was to understand how the foreign worker phenomenon has affected the "Arab" labor sector in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. In addition I sought to better understand the discriminatory practices of the Israeli government and how this has affected not only the Palestinian minority, but all non-Jews living under Israeli occupation. My desire to understand this concept led me to delve further into the treatment of foreign workers in Israel. Much of my research was conducted in the Renaissance Prison in Nazareth, Israel. There are more than 500 "illegal" foreign workers being held there at this time. I was able to gather first hand accounts of the situation of foreign workers through interviews, as well as articles from Israeli magazines and newspapers, and human rights organizations focusing in this issue.


How can the US State Department (sponsor of the Fulbright scholarship program) and UC Irvine reward anti-Semitism like this?


Reut Cohen said...

Crazy... absolutely crazy.

madduxfan31 said...


Re the above: Poor thing.

Unfortunately, she's hot. We could use that P.R. on our side.

Unknown said...

I know Vanessa personally and she's as ethical, intelligent, and fair as they come. Stop being butt-hurt that she got an an award you may never get and get over it.

Go Vanessa!