web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘University of Pennsylvania’

When Empowered Undergrads Ignore a ‘Victims’ Malevolence

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

The young woman who wrote the article, “The Problem with Band-Aids,” is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her article appeared in Penn’s highly regarded newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, on September 8.  The subtitle of O’Conor’s article is: “From Palestine to Penn/ When Talking About Dialogue, Empowerment and Reform Does the Rhetorical Work of Oppression and Injustice.”  At Penn, Clarissa O’Conor focuses on Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and Modern Middle East Studies.

But O’Conor, who presents herself as an advocate for those who are disempowered, is fed up with what she claims is the oppressive force behind the term “empowerment.” This fall O’Conor is studying at al Quds University, in a place she calls, without quotation marks, “Palestine.”

In this article, O’Conor explains why Penn, which apparently gives her college credit for studying at al Quds, and Bard College, which  created at al Quds “a small honors college at which Palestinian students can earn a dual-degree with American accreditation,” earn her contempt.

Why?

“Especially at Penn, we like to ‘empower’ people.  We have all sorts of organizations and initiatives to do this.  We really like to ‘empower’ communities and women,” she writes, but O’Conor is above all that.  She disdains the Western efforts to empower her comrades in “Palestine.”

Bard’s program is going about things in a contemptible way, O’Conor contends.  You see “the discourse of empowerment makes us feel good about putting a Band-Aid on something while avoiding actually questioning our role in systematic racism, oppression and injustice.”

You’ve probably guessed it by now: O’Conor thinks that Western efforts to “swoop in and empower” the Arab Palestinians, ignores that what oppresses them is the “worldwide systems of white supremacism and colonialism in which we are complicit.”  That’s you and me.  Also her.

O’Conor crams in all the invective she can into a college newspaper op-ed.  She describes the “26-foot-high Apartheid Wall” built by Israel which is a “settler-colonial apartheid state whose modus operandi is and always was policies of ethnic cleansing, displacement and systematic racism.”  And O’Conor thinks places like Penn and Bard and, indeed, all universities and the U.S. government itself should cut all ties to Israel.

So, rather than yawn about an undergraduate thinking and writing like an undergraduate, here’s the part that should…empower you readers.

It is not a surprise that an undergraduate from the middle of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania knows little to nothing about the history of the Middle East.  But why is a school like Penn giving credit to a student to be spoon fed hatred?

Here is a more interesting question: why is it that someone who holds herself out as a defender of the oppressed has no problem aligning herself with the brutal, murderous history and affiliations of the university she so proudly attends?  And again, why would Penn and schools like it countenance such an association?

Al Quds University is a place where terrorists are honored not only by the students, but officially, by the university administration, as heroes.

Let’s pick a few discrete moments through al Quds history, and see whether it is an institution worthy of Ms. O’Conor’s protection, and whether the many installments of her pleas on its behalf – her blog “From Palestine to Penn” appears every other Tuesday in the Daily Pennsylvanian – are trustworthy sources of information for the collegiate, as well as the wider, community. (No less an actively and acidly anti-Israel media source than Mondoweiss eagerly laps up her content.)

So we’ll start at the top.  The current president of the school, Sari Nusseibeh, is generally considered to be a moderate, but there is certainly evidence to the contrary.  This evidence includes his praise of homicide bombers; calling Israel a “racist, Zionist entity”; and helping Iraq direct scud missiles at Israel during the first Gulf War.

For those disinclined to count Nusseibeh as a promoter of violence, there’s much better evidence about where al Quds stands on the issue of the sanctity of human life.

For example, there’s the case of Sami Salim Hammad, an al Quds dropout who carried out a homicide bombing in Tel Aviv during Passover, on April 17, 2006. In this bombing, 11 innocent people were killed, including a 16 year old American, Daniel Wultz.  While it is true that Hammad dropped out of al Quds, that didn’t stop the students there from claiming him as their own.  Immediately after the bombing, once Hammad’s “martyr’s video” was released, they hung a huge poster of Hammad in one of the al Quds University buildings.  They were so proud of their “shahid.”

Penn Hillel Provided Platform to Venomous ‘Breaking The Silence’

Friday, March 29th, 2013

In yet another example of academia succumbing to a flawed battering ram of freedom of speech, the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was outsmarted by J Street U which guilted them into providing a home for an event the sole purpose of which is to indict and delegitimize the defense forces of the Jewish State.

On Thursday evening, March 28, Steinhardt Hall -  the Hillel building at the University of Pennsylvania – provided the platform for the pro-Palestinian J Street U to defile the integrity of the Israel Defense Forces through a well-funded delegitimization organization known as Breaking the Silence.

The “silence” that the group supposedly “breaks” is the unspoken criticism of Israel and Israel’s military.  Yes, that’s right – without Breaking the Silence, one would never hear a negative word about the IDF, because the New York Times, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the EU, the Guardian, the Iranian regime, the Arab League, the Huffington Post, CNN, El Mundo, El Diario or just about any other entity with a microphone or a media outlet never criticizes the IDF.

Well, that’s what the young whippersnappers at J Street U were able to convince the grownups on the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.

Breaking the Silence, which was created in 2004, exists to shout from the rooftops that the IDF is not a “defense” force but is instead an immoral military force that is dedicated to “annexation of territory, terrorizing and tightening the control over the civilian [Arab] population.”

NGO Monitor is a non-profit organization that provides information on, analysis of and promotes accountability for the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) which claim to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas, but which instead so frequently primarily promote the vilification of Israel.

According to NGO Monitor, the 2010 publication created by Breaking the Silence, “Occupation of the Territories – Israeli Soldier testimonies 2000-2010,” suffers from several fatal flaws: all testimony is anonymous, and almost none provide a date, location or context for the incidents being described.  In addition, of the 183 incidents mentioned in the report, only 16 were reported to superiors at the time, which makes it especially difficult to rely on the credibility or motivation for the late, non-reported, anonymous “episodic” revelations.

The effort of Breaking the Silence to smear the IDF as an immoral military force falls apart most decisively when a careful reading of the many violations it claims to catalogue reveal that all – to the extent they are real – are themselves violations of IDF policy, so while problematic, they are evidence solely of errors and missteps engaged in by individuals.

Even the indefatigably leftist Haaretz expressed disdain for the repeated claim by Breaking the Silence that it is a human rights organization:

“Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.

The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.”

And yet, the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was conned into believing that Breaking the Silence, whose sponsors include not only J Street U, but also the New Israel Fund, the European Union, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, NDC (funds from Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark), and George Soros’ Open Society Institute was needed to amplify the tintinnabulation of hatred already ringing across U.S. campuses from such groups as the BDS movement and the annual Israel Apartheid Week hate fiestas which vilify every move taken by Israel and the IDF to protect Israeli citizens – Jewish, Muslim, Christian and others – from Arab Palestinian terrorism.

Although the HGP several years ago crafted and approved a policy that explicitly stated it would not lend its space for events or organizations the primary goal of which was to delegitimize Israel, J Street U succeeded in persuading the board that their point of view – that is, explicitly and simply, that the IDF is a terrorist, expansionist militaristic entity – does not get enough play at the University of Pennsylvania. While the HGP board initially refused to allow the event in the building, the board members’ hesitation was eventually drowned out.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/penn-hillel-provided-platform-to-venomous-breaking-the-silence/2013/03/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: