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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Evergreen State College’

Evergreen State — a Total Immersion Experience

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Recently I wrote a couple of posts about Rachel Corrie (here andhere). I was particularly interested in what prompted her to go to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a group which sends idealistic young Westerners to serve as human shields for Hamas or PLO guerrillas in the front lines of the low-intensity Arab war against the Jewish state.

A few of these ‘internationals’ have been seriously hurt, or, like Corrie, killed, sacrifices on the altar of anti-Israel propaganda.

How does it happen that young people are prepared to risk everything for a cause which, by any logic, is not theirs; and which, as causes go, is not especially pressing (the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza or Judea/Samaria are better off in every way than Palestinians in Lebanon, Copts in Egypt, Sunnis in Syria, etc.)?

The answer is that there are well-tuned systems set up on many of our campuses which recruit, process and send students off in service of the Palestinian Cause. These machines have a permanent nucleus of a few dedicated faculty members, which is orbited closely by student organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association, Jewish Voice for Peace, and more.

There are also peripheral groups that support the projects of the central players, usually because of a perception of shared ‘colonial oppression’ — this sometimes includes LGBT groups, immigrants’ rights organizations, etc.

Students drawn into these psycho-political cyclotrons are insulated from all other voices, and what begins as a concern for human rights is amplified by contact with more and more extreme expressions of anti-Israel ideology until they fly off, completely one-dimensional, often white-hot with hatred for the Jewish ‘colonialists’, prepared to cooperate if need be with murderous terrorists because of their perception of the overwhelming justice and need of their Cause.

The Evergreen State College [TESC] of Olympia, Washington, where Rachel Corrie was recruited, has provided a disproportionate number of ISM volunteers. As I wrote before, faculty members Steve Niva and (former faculty) Simona Sharoni were mentioned several times in Corrie’s diaries as important influences on her decision to go to Gaza.

If we look at the overall environment of Evergreen, perhaps we can understand the way today’s Corries are submerged in the Palestinian narrative and Israel-hating ideology. A student group called “TESC Divest!” — which, for some reason does not appear in the list of official student organizations on TESC’s website — is the center of several boycott-divestment-sanctions [BDS] projects, as well as various “informational” activities and events.

TESC Divest! probably represents the majority of the students and faculty at Evergreen. For example, in 2010, Evergreen students voted to pass two BDS resolutions with huge majorities, both over 70%. And here is a list of faculty and staff that endorsed them:

Anne Fischel, Ph.D, Communication Anita Lenges, Ph.D, Curriculum and Instruction Bob Woods, M.F.A. Sculpture Carolyn Prouty, D.V.M., Veterinary Medicine Davi Zielinski Koska, Evergreen Staff, Community Activist E.J. Zita, Ph.D., Physics Elizabeth Williamson, Ph.D., English Literature Erik Thuesen, Ph.D., Biological Sciences Gillies Malnarich, Co-Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education Jean Eberhardt, Evergreen Staff — [advisor mentioned in Rachel Corrie Diaries -- ed.] Jon Davies, Ed.D Jose Gomez, J.D. from Harvard Law School Judith Gabriele Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D., Political Science, Laurie Meeker, M.F.A., Film Production Lin Nelson, Ph.D., Spanish Liza Rognas, M.A., Information Resources and Library Science, Lori Blewett, Ph.D., Speech Communication Marianne Hoepli Michael Vavrus, Ph.D., Instructional Development and Technology Paul McMillin, M.L.I.S., Library and Information Science Peter Bohmer, Ph.D., Economics Ruth Hayes, M.F.A., Experimental Animation Sarah Ryan, M.A., Labor and Industrial Relations Savvina Chowdhury, Ph.D., Economics Susan Preciso, M.A., English Ted Whitesell, Ph.D., Geography Therese Saliba, Ph.D., English; Fulbright Scholar, 1995 Tony Zaragoza, Doctoral Studies, American Studies Zahid Shariff, Doctor of Public Administration Zoltan Grossman, Ph.D., Geography And here are student organizations that also endorsed the resolutions:

Student of Color Union (SOC-U) — [because we are all colonized -- ed.] Black Student Union (BSU) — [because Palestinians aren't racists -- ed.] Native Student Alliance (NSA) Women of Color Coalition (WOCC) Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) Synergy Evergreen Bike Shop — [because Palestinians are green -- ed.] Counter Point Journal (CxPJ) Mideast Solidarity Project (MSP) Latin American Solidarity Organization (LASO) Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) Developing Ecological Agriculture Practices (DEAP) Women’s Resource Center (WRC) — [because Palestinians are feminists -- ed.] Evergreen Queer Alliance (EQA) — [because Palestinians are LGBT-friendly -- ed.] Hip Hop Congress Evergreen State College is a total immersion experience — immersion in anti-Israel propaganda.

Rachel Corrie and Evergreen State

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

I recently wrote about the tragedy of Rachel Corrie (it’s always tragic when a young person dies, more so when she dies for a mistaken cause, and even more when she is cynically brainwashed by a group like ISM which is directly connected to terrorist groups).

Rachel was a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, when she proposed an independent study project for her senior year to establish a sister-city relationship between Olympia and Rafah, a town that lies directly on the border between the Gaza strip and Egypt, a nexus of conflict between the IDF and terrorists smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Evergreen is a paradigm of the progressive cause-based model of education, where you can get what author Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question) called a “modular degree.” For example, the home page for the “Gender and Sexuality: History, Culture and Politics” program includes this bemusing note:

Enrollment is open to any Evergreen student with sophomore through senior standing. It is likely that many students will have a sexual or gender identity, but this is not a prerequisite for enrollment. If you have such an identity, switching it out at any time is also perfectly fine.

Hmmm… everyone that I know has a “sexual of gender identity,” although they don’t “switch it out” too often (not that there would be anything wrong with that).

Among the many courses in gender and ethnic studies, activism, etc., I did not find anything like a course in Western Civilization. The closest to one in American History was “The Formation of the North American State,” described thus:

This program will examine the movement of the North American colonies in their separation from Britain to the emergence of the United States through the election of 1800. It will investigate the conflict; the social, racial and class divisions; and the distinctly different visions of the proper social, economic and political system that should predominate in the new nation. Much conflict surrounded the separation of the settler colonies from Britain, including a transatlantic revolutionary movement, development of slave-based plantations and the birth of capitalism. Capitalism was not a foregone conclusion….

I just bet it wasn’t.

Rachel didn’t get her sister-city project off the ground, although it is presently being pursued in her name. What she did do on arrival was join up with several ISM activists (Olympia and Evergreen have provided a disproportionate number of members to the ISM) for a training session, then traveled to Gaza, where she did her (unfortunately effective) best to throw herself against the machine of Occupation.

Shockingly, Evergreen State College is proud of her, and offers an annual scholarship in her name:

Rachel Corrie, a lifelong Olympia resident, Evergreen student and community activist was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, Gaza, on March 16, 2003, while defending the home of a Palestinian family against unlawful demolition.

This [$2,000] scholarship is for students dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the Middle East and to working locally or internationally to further Middle East peace. Applicants must show how they will use their studies to promote human rights and social justice through community activism and/or political advocacy.

Areas of interest related to the Middle East may include: Arab culture and Arabic language, U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and peace, justice and conflict resolution studies.

There has been some speculation about the faculty members who encouraged her and perhaps approved her “independent study.” Simona Sharoni, who called Rachel her “beloved student and friend,” and Steve Niva, who “met with Rachel Corrie before she left for Gaza,” appear to have been among them.

Sharoni is aggressively anti-Zionist. Now department chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, she coined the term “compassionate resistance” as she

struggled to reconcile my grief, frustration and anger with the empathy, love and compassion I felt for people who put their bodies on the line to resist oppression.

I could find no expression of empathy, love or compassion in her writing for the Jewish victims of Palestinian terror, except insofar as she sees them as misguided. Indeed, she criticizes left-wing Israelis who are involved in dialogue with Palestinians because they don’t sufficiently understand that the needs of the occupied Palestinians take priority over those of the Jewish occupiers, even leftist anti-occupation types.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/rachel-corrie-and-evergreen-state/2012/09/02/

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