Thursday, September 28, 2006

Irvine World News: Chancellor works to ease tensions

Chancellor works to ease tensions
UCI’s Drake working to lessen hostilities between Muslim, Jewish students
September 14, 2006

After years of debate between Jewish and Muslim students on the UC Irvine campus, the student groups and university officials hope to start the school year by peaceably talking about differences.

From the showing of a representation of the Prophet Mohammed on campus, to false rumors of Muslim students wearing Hamas armbands to graduation commencement, to speeches deemed hateful toward Jews, campus events throughout the years have made for heated debate among Jewish and Muslim student organizations.

Most recently, the Muslim Student Union sponsored a week of events in May titled “Holocaust in the Holy Land,” which featured speakers that Jewish students on campus deemed as anti-Semitic.

Jewish students said the speeches justified suicide bombings, cheered Hamas and Hezbollah and called for an end to the Jewish state. The Jewish community was outraged, said Jeffrey Rips, executive director of Hillel of Orange County, a Jewish campus organization.

“There was a lot of hatred,” he said.

Chancellor Michael V. Drake and administrators received complaints of hate speech against the union. The university ultimately said it was a freedom of speech issue – speech that could not be suppressed.

The university has since taken a more proactive approach to the situation, said Manuel Gomez, vice chancellor of student affairs.

Gomez and Drake have recently released statements addressing free speech and highlighting the importance of peaceful conversation. Drake said: “This
winter and spring there have been incidents testing the bounds of the First
Amendment at many campuses across the country, including ours … Make no mistake: I find hate speech abhorrent.”

The university plans on sponsoring cultural events to help spark peaceful dialogue to address the issues.

In December 2005, the uni- versity was one of 27 in the nation that received $100,000 in grants for projects to address intolerance and help create dialogue about contentious political and cultural issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The projects include courses, seminars and events that facilitate dialogue.

About two weeks ago, Drake met with Orange County Jewish leaders and students to discuss the conflicts at UC Irvine and on campuses throughout California, said Jewish Federation President Jodie Greenbaum. His approach to resolving the challenges on campus have been beneficial, she said.

“He took the chance to talk with each person,” she said. “We came out feeling very optimistic. We feel (the university is) stepping forward.”

He has also met with Muslims on a regular basis. Drake and the university have developed a good relationship with the union, and Drake understands them, Bangee said.

“He probably doesn’t agree with our political views,” she said. “He agrees with our right to say them.”

Drake was not available for comment, but Gomez said the chancellor and the university have emphasized that students should follow a set of values that include respect, appreciation and empathy.

“He has been very, very involved in trying to resolve the concerns,” Gomez said. “I think (students) have been responsive to that.”

Bangee said she is hopeful that the groups will be able to build some bridges. The Muslim union is open to work with the Jewish groups to hold events and start friendly dialogue, she said. Gomez said he hopes the new school year, which begins Monday, will bring forward an understanding on all sides.

Monday, September 25, 2006

NewU: Huda Shaka: Benedict's Speech Misinterprets Islam

To be discussed later as time permits. For now:

Link to Op-Ed

Benedict’s Speech Misinterprets Islam
By Huda Shaka’

At a speech in Germany last week, Pope Benedict XVI quoted from a theological dialogue between a 14th-century Byzantine Emperor and a Persian Muslim scholar. Statements from the pope’s speech greatly offended and disappointed millions of Muslims worldwide, and rightly so.

First, several of the pope’s comments about Islam were completely erroneous. The pope referred to the beginning of verse 256 in the second chapter of the Quran (“There is no compulsion in religion...”) as a verse that had been revealed in the earlier part of Prophet Muhammad’s life when he was powerless. He went on to suggest that this verse was followed by statements about “holy war” that sanctioned the spread of Islam by the sword.

Based on authentic narrations, the above-mentioned verse of the Holy Quran was actually revealed toward the latter part of Prophet Muhammad’s mission after he had established the first Islamic state in Madinah. More importantly, this verse is as applicable today as it was 1400 years ago: conversion by force is absolutely forbidden in Islam.

Furthermore, the concept of “holy war” to which the pope referred to is nonexistent in Islam. Muslims were given permission to bear arms only in self-defense or in their struggle for justice: “Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and God indeed has the power to help them; for they are those who are driven from their homes unjustly due to their faith” [22:39-40]. At no point in the life of Prophet Muhammad or his righteous followers was Islam spread or imposed on anyone by the sword.

After his comments on violent conversions, Pope Benedict XVI considered the relationship between faith and reason, especially with regard to the Islamic and Christian faiths. He suggested that the relationship in the Islamic faith is different than that in the Christian one because Muslims view God as “absolutely transcendent,” God’s will being unbound by any human category, “even that of rationality.” This statement is misleading.

It is true that Muslims believe that God is beyond all worldly standards and that “there is nothing like unto Him” [42:11]. However, this only implies that God’s attributes, including God’s wisdom, are above and beyond our comprehension. Thus we as humans may be unable to see the reasons behind some of God’s judgments, but that does not make those judgments irrational. This is an important distinction that is absolutely necessary for a correct understanding of Islamic law and theology.

To truly understand the relationship between Islam and reason, one must start by examining the verses of Holy Quran. Over and over again, the Quran urges its readers to analyze, think, reflect and ponder with open minds and hearts.

The statement that angered most Muslims was the quote from Emperor Paleologos: “Show me just what Muhammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” It is true that this statement was not the pope’s own, and he did later clarify that he did not mean it as an expression of his personal opinion.

Nevertheless, I would expect any knowledgeable religious leader to refute this statement, based on its gross misrepresentation of Islam and the contempt and hatred it displays towards Muslims. Suffice it to quote Prophet Muhammad: “Do not kill the elderly, the women, the children, nor destroy any innocent life (whether plant or animal) and always try to improve things, reform matters, act kindly towards others; for God loves those who act with compassion.”

Huda Shaka’ is a graduate student in the department of chemistry. She can be reached at

NewU: Marya Bangee: Pope Benedict's Comments Reinforce Black/White Views

To be discussed later as time permits. For now:

Link To Op-Ed

Pope Benedict’s Comments Reinforce Black/White Views
By Marya Bangee

Samuel Huntington’s theory that there is an imminent, and bloody, clash of civilizations between Islam and the West; the Danish cartoons that portrayed the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a terrorist; George Bush's recently-coined term “Islamo-facists”; and now the Pope quoting the old Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos from the time of the Crusades, all point to the growing trend of using absolute, religious rhetoric to define the relationship between Muslims and Western civilization.

Words such as “evil-doers” and “crusade” clearly evoke strong historical allusions, attempting to draw a parallel between a past of religious conflict and the present. It seems as if there is a concentrated agenda from some of the most powerful leaders of today to frame the current international conflict as a religious war. As a society that trumpets the values of speech and rational thinking, the dialogue that is framing our “war on terror” is surprisingly simplistic, erroneous, misleading and provocative.

What is wrong with these incidents? To start with, Huntington’s idea that there is an imminent clash between two vastly different civilizations fails to take into account a history where people of different faiths have lived in harmony for hundreds of years throughout the Middle East and in the West.

The Danish cartoons were drawn to provoke a reaction to an extremely sensitive issue for Muslims, to show that Muslims are not reasonable human beings; the media then used the extreme reactions of a few hundred to categorize the reactions of over one billion followers.

The president has repeatedly referenced religion when referring to the war on terror, calling it a “crusade” and appointing heads like General Boykin who believe Muslims worship Satan. All of these things help enforce what I would term “apocalyptic talk”—a showdown between two of the largest religions in the world.

Let’s consider Pope Benedict’s remarks. What I find most worrisome about his statements is that they reverse a long-standing policy of the Catholic Church to promote interfaith understanding between Muslims and Christians, as put down in the landmark “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s document on the Church’s relations with non-Christians. It urges Muslims and Catholics to re-double their efforts to work more closely together on moral, social and civil rights issues.

This had led to an extremely beneficial relationship between the Catholic Church and Muslims all around the world, especially in the United States. With Pope Benedict’s words, this historical relationship is ignored in favor of an “us vs. them” outlook.

Talk of a clash is inherently dangerous because it simplifies both groups, making it much easier to see the other side as inhuman. Muslims cannot be seen as extremists burning churches—something the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade.

Islam is a rich faith, with a proud history of accomplishment that encompasses a diverse group of ethnicities and practices. In the thousands of years of co-existence between Muslims and those of other faiths, Muslim-initiated terror has been extremely low when compared to terror by other religions. Even today, there is universal condemnation from mainstream Muslims of terrorism like that of Osama Bin Laden.

There is an underlying humanity and commonality that is forgotten when a culture of fear is introduced and manipulated, as is being done today. It is easy to fear what you do not understand; it is harder to reach out and try to understand it.

Cardinal Mahony of the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in Los Angeles calls the controversy surrounding Pope Benedict’s remarks a “teachable moment” which should be used to reaffirm our bonds of faith and friendship towards each other. Others will use this moment to further the idea of a religious war. As citizens of the human race, it is our duty to understand each other or else this moment will be exploited to unleash more murder and chaos.

Marya Bangee is a third-year sociology and English double-major.


The NewU did not point it out, so I will: Marya Bangee is the MSU's 2006-2007 External Public Relations person.

NewU: Reut R. Cohen: Radical Muslims Overreacting

To be discussed later as time permits. For now:

Link To Op-Ed

Radical Muslims Overreacting
By Reut R. Cohen

On Sept. 12, while visiting Regensburg University in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a Byzantine emperor during an academic speech and caused an uproar.

The pope quoted Manuel II Paleologos, the 14th-century Byzantine emperor, who said, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The Vatican has issued a statement that the pope was giving a speech in an academic setting with the intent to create more open dialogue between different religions.

The following Sunday, the pope issued his own apology. “I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect,” Benedict said.

The apology was obviously unsuccessful in reducing the anger of many Muslims in countries ranging from Iraq to China, who were insulted that anyone would dare to suggest Islam is not a peaceful religion. To make the point that Islam is not violent, radical Muslims burned down dozens of Christian churches and allegedly shot and killed a 65-year-old nun in Somalia.

It was only a few short months ago that a Danish newspaper printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims all over the world became incensed, suggesting in many cases, “to hell with freedom of speech.”

The reactions to the cartoons led to more than 100 killings so that radical Muslims could drive home the point that Islam is a peaceful religion.

Therefore, should we really be surprised that the pope’s quotation of Paleologos, initially intended to create more open dialogue between Catholics and Muslims, drove many fanatical Muslims to commit crimes against innocent civilians as they have done over and over again?

The fanatical Arab world is once again looking for yet another excuse to attack Western culture and attract freedom fighters to their morally reprehensible cause. The president of Iran constantly calls for the slaughter of the Jews and the elimination of Israel, suggesting that the Holocaust was nothing but a hoax. Al-Qaeda repeatedly declares its hatred for America and the West, recruiting more terrorists for the sake of holy war. It seems to me that radical Muslims can criticize, spurn and attack, but we must be wary of uttering a single thought about Islam for fear of being insulting.

Any other religion, race and culture can be attacked without fear of fundamental revolt.

The “New York Times” even went as far as to recommend that we ought to never insult Islam, but proposed that a picture of Jesus in a tank of urine is “art.” We should compare the reactions of Christians to such depictions of Jesus to the reactions of the Muslim world to the pope’s speech.

Much of the Arab world bestows virtually no rights to their people. In Saudi Arabia it is illegal to practice any religion besides Islam and completely legal for a husband to murder his wife if he suspects she is cheating. In many respects, the education afforded to citizens of the Arab world is one of brainwashing from infancy.

Although we may believe that every individual is entitled to his religion so long as it does not interfere with another’s ability to live, radical Muslims will not abide by other religions and will continue to perceive non-Muslims as infidels.

Radical Islam is not Islam.

Moderate Muslims have a duty to speak out against such violence, as it is the moderates who practice the most peaceful and purest form of Islam. It is the moderate Muslims who are educated and entitled to free thinking while the Arab world continues to place deadly restrictions on its citizens.

I can fully understand and sympathize with Muslims when they suggest that the pope should have been more respectful in his discussion of religion. I cannot, however, abide by violent uprisings which, sadly, are seen frequently in the Muslim world. Instead of burning down churches, Muslims should participate in creative dialogue so that non-Muslims can understand their culture and empathize with their hurt.

Reut Cohen is a third-year English major. She can be reached at

Vice Chancellor Gomez appointed to University Diversity Study Group

A friend reminded me that Vice Chancellor Gomez doesn't believe that UCI is required to protect Jewish students from harassment and intimidation under Title VI. Isn't it ironic then that he's now on a study group on university diversity?

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006
Ricardo Vázquez (510) 287-3301


University of California Board of Regents Chairman Gerald L. Parsky and UC Provost and Executive Vice President Rory Hume will co-chair UC's Study Group on University Diversity and have appointed 18 members to the study group.

The members are:

  • Regents Joanne C. Kozberg (study group vice chair), Eddie Island, Maria C. Ledesma, John J. Moores and Frederick Ruiz

  • Regent-designate Eleanor V. Brewer

  • Faculty Representatives John B. Oakley and Michael T. Brown

  • Chancellors Robert J. Birgeneau (UC Berkeley), France A. Córdova (UC Riverside) and Henry T.Yang (UC Santa Barbara), and Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal (UC Santa Cruz)

  • Executive Vice President for University Affairs Bruce B. Darling

  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Manuel N. Gomez (UC Irvine)

  • Former Faculty Representative Lawrence Pitts

  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Judy Sakaki (UC Davis)

  • UC Student Association President Bill Shiebler

  • Former regent and past-president of the UCLA Alumni Association Peter Taylor

The appointment of the study group comes after the Board of Regents agreed at their July 19 meeting to sponsor a study of the current status of the University of California's efforts to continue to increase diversity and foster a climate of inclusiveness.

The Study Group on University Diversity has been charged with the following objectives:

  • Review and report on recent trends with respect to diversity within UC's undergraduate, graduate and faculty populations;

  • Survey campus climate on diversity and inclusion;

  • Study the interactions among undergraduate, graduate and faculty diversity and campus climate;

  • Identify "best practices" in student preparation, recruitment, and admissions; faculty hiring and retention; and efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive campus climate; and

  • Recommend actions that the university and its individual campuses can take, respecting federal and state laws, to increase diversity and inclusiveness at UC.

The study group objectives and scope will be discussed in greater detail at the regents' upcoming meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

For more information about diversity at UC:

Week 1: Amir Abdel Malik Ali already paying a visit to campus

The MSU just released their Fall Week 1 calendar.

Amir Abdel Malik Ali will be doing the Ramadan speech on Thursday at 5 pm as part of their Maghrib prayer - the prayer to break the daily Ramadan fast.

How Physically Close Have You Been to Blatant Anti-Semitism?

By Joe Example, the Concerned UCI Student

(Published originally in the first StandWithUs Orange County Newsletter, September 7, 2006)

Before I came to UC Irvine, I had only heard stories of in-your-face anti-Semitism from my family: while in the US army, my father was asked where his hooves and horns were. While visiting Germany during the 1930’s, my grand aunt – who happened to have blond hair and blue eyes – came across a bunch of brown shirts beating a Jew; she told them in perfect German to go you-know-what themselves.

But me – I had never seen it up close. That is, until I came to UCI.

UCI - in the top 12 American public universities according to a recent issue of US News and World Report. With enough smarts, time, and drive, just about anyone can earn a bachelor’s degree for less than $40,000 in tuition.

Don’t waste your time buying books and supplies, though, because the first person you’ll meet the moment you arrive on campus is the guy shown in the above photo.

This is Amir Abdel Malik Ali, frequently invited guest speaker for the UCI Muslim Student Union (“MSU”), and blatant anti-Semite. He loves to dish the ancient canards: the Jews control the government, the economy, and the media. He unequivocally supports HAMAS, Hezbollah, and the other terrorist organizations; he also supports Iran, Syria, and other state sponsors of terrorists. To him, Zionism is just a reincarnation of Nazism. And here’s one of his most recent messages to the Jews at UCI: “Your days are numbered.”

He’s not the only source of unchecked hatred on campus. The MSU itself publishes articles in the campus weekly newspaper, New University, as well as their own quarterly magazine, Alkalima. These articles have included discussions on how Jews might be genetically separate from the rest of the human race; Israel has been falsely accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing; quotations are fabricated and plastered everywhere with the sole goal of inciting hatred against Jews; and, scariest of all, calls are made for violent jihad against anyone who stands in their way.

In the face of similar anti-Semitism at Harvard, Georgetown, and Rutgers (to name a few), those university administrations made their condemnations of the bigotry of Jew-hatred very clear. Even the President of UC Berkeley was a signatory to a public statement decrying intimidation of Jews on college campuses in 2002.

The UCI administration, however, instead of educating their students by demonstrating true leadership, considers such unequivocal statements to be beneath them.

One event in particular speaks volumes: instead of standing up to the anti-Semitism on campus, Vice Chancellor Gomez was invited to speak at an anti- hate rally organized by the MSU and their partners-in-crime, the Society of Arab Students (“SAS”), where the only student organizations specifically dis-invited were – you guessed it – Jews. Even Jewish fraternities and sororities were banned from participating in any formal way. Vice Chancellor Gomez, well aware of this deliberate exclusion at an event that was supposed to stand for unity, chose to speak anyway. He has yet to publicly apologize for turning a blind eye.

UCI refuses to enforce any of its own rules when the violators are the MSU or SAS. For instance, as part of their annual registration as official UCI student organizations, the leaders of all student organizations, including the MSU and SAS, must each sign a pledge to uphold UCI’s Principles of Community – see page 4 of the linked PDF – a document which waxes and wanes about tolerance and respect, and states in particular “acts of bigotry and abusive behavior will not go unchallenged within the University”.

There are rules at UCI prohibiting fabrication of information both inside and outside the classroom (look at sections 102.01 and 102.02) as well as rules against harassing and threatening students, and serious violations of these rules are grounds for expulsion from the university. Yet the MSU and SAS are still in business and – you should sit down for this one – the former VP of the SAS was the student commencement speaker for the School of Social Sciences this past June.

With this in mind, I went to our community organizations and basically said “do something!” They stated that they could only privately write “stern” letters to the Chancellor or hold private meetings with the administration (ooh, I’m sure UCI was just quaking in its boots, getting chills up its spine, as it ran the letters through the shredder). Even though I pointed out that those actions had proven to be useless, they refused my request to take the appropriate next step – namely, bringing in the lawyers.

Luckily, an outside organization had the cojones to do what’s right: in October 2004, the Zionist Organization of America (“ZOA”) filed a civil rights complaint on the behalf of the Jewish students of UCI with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). After its investigation concludes, if OCR finds that UCI is violating the civil rights of Jewish students on campus, and should UCI not change its tune thoroughly or quickly enough, OCR has the option of pulling all US Federal funding of the university, which would in effect shut the university down (not that we want that). The OCR investigation continues even today and that pressure has affected the university’s conduct when dealing with sensitive subjects.

At the same time, a similar Federal body, the US Commission on Civil Rights (“USCCR”), separately investigated the situation on campus and – vindicating the ZOA’s complaint – found that things on campus had to change: UCI must protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation. While the USCCR does not have enforcement powers, its findings and recommendations do carry great weight and I would be shocked if the OCR completely ignored them.

While working with the ZOA, I also learned of StandWithUs. Their representatives are out there at the anti-Semitic events holding signs up challenging the espoused anti-Semitism. They help gather and distribute the information needed to debunk the falsehoods and propaganda that the anti-Israel activists use to poison the next generation’s minds, as well as train our local Pro-Israel students in conferences and leadership sessions. Alongside StandWithUs is the American Jewish Congress, both protesting the events here and working with our state and federal legislatures to make sure the future generation of American leadership is being taught the facts about the Middle East and Judaism and not the lies of the MSU and SAS.

Now I do have to admit that UCI has tried to deal with the situation through dialogue. They first attempted to reduce the level of persistent hostility against Jews on campus by holding a series of inter- religious forums in Fall Quarter 2004. When that failed to have any effect, they organized a year-long series of lectures and discussions called “Difficult Dialogues”, funded by a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. If the level of hatred of the MSU and SAS wasn’t so intense, perhaps these steps would have done the trick.

Unfortunately, the MSU’s and SAS’s response has been to increase the intensity of their hatred. This past year, practically every week an anti-Israel speaker was a guest of the MSU. During May 2006, the campus was treated to “Holocaust in the Holy Land” week, where speakers called Israel “the Fourth Reich” and Muslim students, dressed in military fatigues, harassed passersby.

This is what I have to put up with every time I step on campus. This is why my grade point average isn’t as high as it should be, because I have to try to ignore the drech while I study for exams or write papers, when in reality it eats me up inside that I’m not out there on the front lines, fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Take to heart one thing: this newly-formed group, the Orange County chapter of StandWithUs, is not going to stand by and let it happen. Unlike other organizations, we aren’t going to bury our heads in the sand or hold hands and sing koombya, keeping you in the dark about how bad it is.

We have been and will continue to be there protesting against the anti-Semitism. We have been and will continue to keep you accurately informed as to the real situation on campus (G-d willing, we might even bring you live video over the Internet someday). As you read this, we are organizing events to be held on and around campus to define the problems and then seek solutions to stop this mess once and for all.

So spread the word about StandWithUs Orange County. We can defeat this anti-Semitism - with your help and support, it might even happen before I graduate.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Articles from first Fall 2006 issue of New University

Dean of Student's Office Program Promotes Tolerance

There was also a piece of commentary called Governments Should Steer Clear of Religion. The author is a third-year English major and, as far as I can tell, doesn't know how to write. His article takes a swipe at Israel about the bombing of a mosque in Lebanon (no context provided), then meanders his way into a complaint about Bush, and I have yet to figure out what he was blabbing about in his conclusion. I'm just putting this in here for now because this guy - for now - is an unknown, and I'm wondering what else he's going to pull.

Friday, September 22, 2006

L'shana Tova / Happy New Year

May you and yours have a sweet and happy New Year!

For a good laugh, check out this short film on how to ring in the New Year:

Shofar So Good

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Israel's Consul General visiting UCI this Monday

Anteaters for Israel at the University of California, Irvine present:

The Current Situation

A Town Hall Forum
at the
University of California, Irvine

The Honorable Ehud Danoch
Consul General of Israel

Monday, September 25th, 2006
Social Sciences Lecture Hall 100
8 p.m.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
(Get there earlier than later, because the room can only fit so many people)

Sponsored by Anteaters for Israel
For more information, please email

Monday, September 18, 2006

Texts of Pope Benedict XVI's "Controversial" Speech

I haven't had time to look at these yet, but given the reaction to the Pope's September 12th speech, I thought it would be good to get the full text out.

Hat tip: Multiple commenters on

From the Vatican: The original German version

From MSNBC: An English translation

From BBC: A PDF of an English translation


I found this hillarious, though I should warn those who click on the image that the site itself has a bit of a hateful bent to it:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Amnesty International accuses Hezbollah of war crimes

This was LGF's Flying Pig Moment of the Day

Yahoo coverage

JihadWatch, though, called it "A late, belated, too-late, utterly phony, half-hearted "symmetrical" condemnation"

Hezbollah's reaction

An interesting blog post that tries to answer the question: what is a war crime? (with a quotation of an analysis by Professor Alan Dershowitz of why Israel appears to be inproperly accused)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

( copied from )

"Learn from Israel what human dignity means. Human dignity is a primary value in Israel."

- Israeli Arabs protesting outside the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv against what they perceive as Egypt's failed handling of the traffic accident in Sinai which left 12 Israelis dead.

Brought to you from the Zionist, racist, apartheid State of Israel. (TM)

Update: Funny how this story is not being reported elsewhere, nor are pictures of the protest (including pictures of protesters with the signs that included "State of Israel – doesn't abandon injured and killed citizens") being published by Reuters, AFP, AP, and the like.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dick Cheney's remarks today at the Pentagon

Probably the best way of defining the situation at hand:

As President Bush has said, this nation has defeated tyrants and liberated death camps, raised the lamp of liberty to every captive land. We have no intention of ignoring or appeasing history's latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power.

Read it all

Cox and Forkum Cartoons for 9/11

I will always remember having the radio wake me up as normal at 6 am that morning 5 years ago, and hearing the substitute radio-show host briefly say that a plane had hit the first tower of the World Trade Center and then cutting to the national breaking news. After turning on the television in disbelief, I reached for the phone and woke up a whole bunch of people on this coast.

Cox and Forkum have done a good job illustrating that terrible tragedy:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"It is unfortunate that some people don't have the moral compass to condemn evil."

So sayeth Harvard University Rabbi Hirschy Zrachi in response to Harvard's invitation to former Iranian president Khatami. Similar statements can be made about the UCI administration.

By the way, if you're trying to figure out why people are against Khatami coming to the US, let me help you:

Info from Cox and Forkum

Info from Vital Perspective

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Forward has been covering UCI

Susan Tuchman of the ZOA - bless her heart - brought to my attention that the Forward newspaper has been covering UCI. Here are two articles that they've put out in the past six months:

May 26, 2006: College Chief Hit Over Anti-Israel Events

August 11, 2006: ZOA Brings Civil-rights Education to Campus

September 1, 2006 (apparently not yet available on the Forward website):

Salute Irvine Students

Most people would agree that Jewish students should not have to tolerate verbal threats or insults, physical assaults or the destruction of property (“ZOA Brings Civil-rights Education to Campus,” August 11). But it’s important to understand that when Israel is demonized as a brutal, murderous state, when it is obscenely compared to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, or when claims are made that the State of Israel has no right to exist – these are also manifestations of antisemitism that can have a devastating impact on Jewish students, and they shouldn’t be tolerated.

As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, you are talking antisemitism.” The United States Civil Rights Commission also appreciated that anti-Zionist and anti-Israel actions can amount to antisemitic harassment. This is part of what the ZOA hopes to make clear to college students and administrators alike in our public education initiative, so that they will understand their respective rights and obligations under these new federal guidelines.

Fixing the problem of campus antisemitism requires bringing it out in the open. That’s why Jewish students like those at the University of California , Irvine , deserve our respect and applause. They made repeated efforts to resolve informally the harassment and intimidation they faced on their campus, by seeking the help of college officials and trying to engage in constructive dialogue with the perpetrators of the hate.

When all these efforts failed, the students courageously came forward and provided detailed information to the ZOA about their experiences and the problems they were facing, which formed the basis of our civil rights complaint on their behalf and led to the first-ever investigation of campus antisemitism by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Though they had school, work and many other obligations, these students subjected themselves to time-consuming interviews with federal officials and have never backed down from their ongoing effort to improve the campus environment for Jewish students.

African Americans, women and the disabled are prime examples of aggrieved groups that have effectively used not just education and negotiation, but also the legal system, to secure their civil rights. Our community should likewise support the use of all those tools, which will provide the best chance of redressing antisemitic harassment, in all its forms, on our campuses.

Susan Tuchman
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
New York , NY

Friday, September 01, 2006

Irwin Cotler nails it on the head

Former Canadian Federal Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler wrote a great piece in the Toronto Star:

The notion of being even-handed between terrorist groups sworn to Israel's destruction and a democratic country defending itself from armed attack is a moral absurdity, a "perversion of our traditions" as The Globe and Mail put it.

In fact, the foundational principles of Canadian foreign policy in the Middle East as affirmed by successive governments require us to "take sides," to eschew even-handedness and to raise our voice as a moral interlocutor in a principled way.

Hang on a sec...lemme re-word this a bit...

The notion of being even-handed between (a) anti-Semitic student groups at UCI sworn to Israel's destruction and the debasement of all Jews, and (b) Jewish students who - according to the USCCR - UCI is required to protect, is a moral absurdity, a "perversion of our traditions" as The Globe and Mail put it.

In fact, the foundational principles of UCI require it to "take sides," to eschew even-handedness and to raise our voice as a moral interlocutor in a principled way.

Read the whole thing here