The following article was received from Vivienne Porzsolt on 8 April 2006. It continues the theme of Israel and Apartheid as illustrated by the two articles from the Guardian by Chris McGreal as well as Petty's cartoon in The Age, in Parts 4 and 5.
During February, signs were erected throughout the West Bank, resembling the one in the photograph (Az-Za'ayyem checkpoint on the Dead Sea-Ma'aleh Adumim-Jerusalem road).
The text reads:
"Welcome to the Az-Za'ayyem / Adumim crossing-point. The crossing-point is intended for use by Israelis only. It is prohibited for a non-Israeli person to cross or to be transported across this crossing-point!!
"Israeli" - a resident of Israel, whose place of residence is in the region and is an Israeli citizen, or a person who is entitled to immigrate to Israel pursuant to the Law of Return - 1950 as it is applied in Israel, or a person who is not a resident of the region but holds a valid entry permit to Israel."
In the autumn of 1743, a boy of 14 entered the town of Berlin by the Rosenthal Gate. It was the only gate in the town walls through which Jews (and cattle) were allowed to enter. The Pity of it All, Amos Elon, Metropolitan Books, 2002.
Ordeals for Palestinians holding entry-permits to Israel
'People report that the crossing process takes hours. Some arrive at the checkpoint 04:00, just to secure a place in the line. Occasionally it is only at 07:00 or 07:30 that they are allowed to enter Israel. As a result, labourers miss a day's work, forgo their wages and go home empty-handed'. (Bethlehem, 5, 6, 12, 21 and 26 February 2006)
'Very few people use the checkpoint now, and this has been the case for some months already. We don't know what has become of the people who used to cross at Rikhan and for whom the spacious and expensive "terminal" was built. (Rikhan, 1, 2, 6, 7, 14 February 2006)
'Two Israeli Arabs were on their way to pay a condolence call in the village of Tura (which is just beyond Shaked checkpoint). They were sent from Rikhan checkpoint to Shaked... At Shaked, they were told to try Jallameh, in the northern West Bank. They decided to stop trying'. (Shaked, 11 February 2006)
'The soldiers were in a playful mood - laughter and snickers heard from every side, while the Palestinians stood waiting, obedient and submissive. One soldier took a break to fill in the forms. He worked diligently, but found time to chat with his mates, to inculcate the waiting people with the fundamental values of law and order "Throw that cigarette away! Did I allow you to smoke? Did I?" to a detainee who was bold enough to light up.' (Abu Dis, 2 February 2006)
'In the line for checking men's belongings, a man arrived with a cigarette in his mouth. The soldier who was checking shouted at him "What's this?!" and punished him by detaining him before letting him leave". (Huwwara, 6 February 2006)
'One passenger on the bus was detained very rudely and led to the detainees' shed. It turned out that all this was due to a cigarette. When we asked for an explanation we were told that the young man appeared on the list of "the second plan" (an IDF software called "Wolf Pack") and that the matter was being investigated. Later they admitted that the man had gone for a smoke behind the humanitarian point (a virtual point, as we know) where the soldiers put their belongings - "....and how can we be sure he won't put a bomb there...?". It seemed a bit far-fetched, as the man held nothing in his hands, wore tight jeans and a shirt - but still.....he was smoking and refused to surrender to this strange prohibition.' (Huwwara, 11 February 2006)
Shepherds resting for a while....
their flocks drinking from the stream (folk-song)
'16:00 - Two young shepherds, blindfolded and handcuffed were being led aggressively to the detainee area. All the soldiers treated them as if they were ticking time bombs - roared at them to be silent and forbidding them to talk to each other. The DCO representative explained that it was "a security matter". Even the Engineering Corps soldiers who were by chance in the checkpoint explained knowledgeably that it was a "Shabak matter". The detainees' clothes were dusty, with signs of friction. Before they were brought to the checkpoint they had been held and handcuffed (by whom?) in the Har Bracha settlement for close to six hours. The plastic cable-ties were pulled so tight that their hands were turning blue, and the younger of the two was squirming with pain. Moreover, the strip of cloth that blindfolded them also looked too tight. It took three phone-calls to the DCO for the checkpoint commander to instruct that they reduce the pressure of the cable-ties on their purple hands. All the time, one of the two engineering corps soldiers who were "passing through" bellowed "Uskut!" (shut up) at the two lads. At 17:30 they were sent home. Clearly a security matter....it turned out to be the fifth time that the army has caught them and treated them in the same manner. Every time they are held handcuffed for hours, while their sheep scatter and damage the nearby olive groves. They're at a loss, as they can't buy food for their sheep and have to find pasture for them. But wherever they go the army catches and punishes them. (Huwwara, 6 February 2006)
Who is for the state, and who is against?
Israeli human rights organizations that try to help Palestinians have never enjoyed widespread public support. Organizations such as Machsom Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, Yesh Din, Ta'ayush, HaMoked - The Center for the Defense of the Individual, and B'Tselem are viewed by the general public as slanderers and traitors to Israel's interests, or as disrupters of the work of Israel Defense Forces soldiers who protect the state against terrorism. The understanding that these organizations save the state's honor, and that decrying them undermines and weakens Israeli democracy, has not penetrated the public. And above all, it seems, it has not penetrated the consciousness of the establishment.
Israel has no intention of listening to such advice, betting on US support for any unilateral moves. Such confidence may be short-lived.
Witness the following worrying trend in even raising alternative views in the US on this vital foreign affairs issue:
Roosevelt University of Chicago, IL has fired a philosophy and religion professor for allowing students in his class to ask questions about Judaism and Islam. The chair of the department, Susan Weininger, fired the professor, Douglas Giles, saying that students should not be allowed to ask whatever questions they want in class. Weininger ordered Giles to censor his curriculum, restrict his students’ questions, and to not respond to controversial questions or comments from students.
Weininger’s said that free discussion in a world religions could “open up Judaism to criticism.” Any such material, she said, was not permissible to be mentioned in class discussion, textbooks, or examinations. Further, she ordered Giles to forbid any and all discussion of the “Palestinian issue,” any mention of Palestinian rights, the Muslim belief in the holiness of Jerusalem, and Zionism. When Professor Giles refused to censor his students, Weininger fired him.
The Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) filed a grievance on behalf of Giles citing the faculty contract forbidding the university from restricting academic freedom. Roosevelt University Associate Provost Louis Love denied the union’s claim saying that Weininger was entitled, as department chair, to set a professor’s curriculum and that this was not an academic freedom issue, but a “pedagogical issue.” RAFO has appealed the ruling to arbitration, confident that Prof. Giles’ academic freedom was violated and an impartial arbitrator would find this so.
This case is just one example of a growing trend of right-wing attempts to censor the academic freedom of professors and students. Here, a department chair who called all Palestinians “animals” and says college religion courses should teach that only Jews have a legitimate claim to the land of Israel, has fired a professor whose only “sins” were refusing to teach a biased class and allowing open discussion in his classroom. This can NOT be allowed to stand!
Some Jewish academics, however, seem to believe that Jews can’t be expected to speak out against Israeli injustice because their (unjustified) persecution complex is too strong. Maybe if we lived in 1949…
I am Douglas Giles, the adjunct professor who was fired for allowing students to speak openly in a World Religions class. I have taught college philosophy, ethics, and religion since 1998. I believe that students deserve the opportunity to learn divergent viewpoints and make up their own minds. As such, I welcome questions and allow students to share their opinions and experiences as discussion is absolutely crucial to quality education.
Roosevelt University's Chair of the Department of History, Art History and Philosophy, Susan Weininger is an art history professor who has never taught religion or philosophy. Other than the interview in which she hired me in December 2003, she and I had not spoken before a series of phone calls she placed to me at my home in September 2005. In these phone calls, she told me, as department chair, to change my World Religions curriculum to exclude certain opinions and facts:* Students should not be allowed to ask whatever questions they want in class
I replied that those restrictions would lead to a biased class. She then made a series of disparaging comments about Palestinians concluding with the following:W: "I hear you even allowed a Muslim to speak in class."
She then ordered me to never bring up the conversation again to anyone and hung up. I did report the conversations to my union representative. Within a few days, I received a letter from Weininger saying I would no longer be teaching at Roosevelt.
The reason for my job termination is clear. Because I allowed open and respectful discussion of Judaism and Islam in my classes, I am censored from teaching at Roosevelt. My union, RAFO (Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization - http://rafo.org) has consistently supported me in fighting this violation of academic freedom. They filed a formal grievance Nov. 29, 2005. Roosevelt's response has been a succession of disingenuous delaying tactics. Every communication their story changes, yet, Roosevelt has never once denied that Weininger made the statements. Roosevelt's Associate Provost, Louise Love, has even defended Weininger's statements saying that "as chair of the department, Weininger had a right to express her views," that "it is within the University's province to determine its curriculum," and that Weininger's demand that Giles restrict the content of the course "is not an issue of academic freedom but a pedagogical one." Love even characterized Weininger's comments disparaging Palestinians as an "academic discussion" where Weininger was "defending her position passionately."
RAFO's executive council members have gone above and beyond the call and I can't praise them enough. They have risked their own faculty positions to fight for the rights of all faculty and students at Roosevelt. They have been extraordinarily patient and have given Roosevelt every opportunity to resolve this case. In response, Roosevelt has offered four different cover stories to try and shift the argument away from the academic freedom violation. Their cover stores are clearly manufactured, self-contradictory, and at times laughable in how obviously false they are. In essence, Roosevelt has been lying. Roosevelt also has continually refused to consider our evidence, speak with our witnesses, refused to negotiate in good faith, refused to provide requested information, and conducted themselves in such a manner that RAFO has filed two additional grievances over Roosevelt's contract violations. We are currently scheduled for national arbitration and are supported in our academic freedom case by the Illinois Education Association.
I hope that you also find this deeply troubling. This ugly episode impinges on all of us and our freedom to teach and learn without interference. In no way should faculty and staff ever be censored or pressured to discuss subjects from only one biased perspective. If these acts are allowed to stand, then the standards and learning environment of education not only at Roosevelt University but everywhere have been damaged.
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 1
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 2
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 3
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 4
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 5
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 7
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 8
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 9a
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 9b
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 10
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 11
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 12
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 13
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 14
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 15
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 16
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 17
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 18
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 19
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 20
Jewish and Israel/Palestine Issues Part 21
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)
Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009
RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)
This page updated 23 APRIL 2013 and again on 25 OCTOBER 2016