Just because I post something, do not assume that I agree with it. I try to provide a diversity of opinion lacking in the main stream media. I post material that in my view may have some element of truth, and is important to the extent that it is true. The authors I link to disagree among themselves; they can't all be correct! All of us, without exception, believe a mix of truth and misinformation, and often enough, disinformation. We must strive to understand the world as it is, and not how it looks only according to our preconceptions, which are shaped by a multitude of forces, embedded as we are in our cultural matrix.
Sometimes, the most unlikely seeming explanation turns out to be the correct one. Consider alternative views, but question everything!
American Studies Association national council endorses academic boycott of Israel
The American Studies Association National Council has called for an academic boycott of Israel.
The council made the unanimous decision after the group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., where the academic boycott call was debated. The vast majority of speakers at an ASA forum on the academic boycott resolution were in favor of the call, and now the organization is likely to follow suit. The resolution will now be put up for a full vote by ASA members. Members have until 11:59 pm EST on December 15 to cast their vote. It’s likely to pass given the prevailing sentiment at the conference. However if the majority of voters do not endorse the decision, the ballot explains the Council will “withdraw the resolution and determine next steps.”
“The Council voted for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action. It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians,” a statement on the ASA website reads.
The news was lauded by the Academic and Community Activism Caucus, the group of scholars that brought the resolution to the ASA. The resolution states that Palestinian students and scholars have their movement severely restricted by Israel’s occupation, infringing on their ability to attend and work at schools and travel abroad for conferences. It also criticizes Israeli universities for being complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian human rights.
“The American Studies Association endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” the resolution reads. ”The ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.”
ASA President Curtis Marez said in a statement, “The boycott is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education. Palestinian academics are frequently impeded by Israeli occupation authorities, schools and universities have been bombed by US-supported Israeli military forces, and the Wall blocks educational access for thousands of students. As an association of scholars and educators, the ASA has an ethical responsibility to act.”
The resolution was brought in response to the call for academic boycott from Palestinian civil society groups, launched in 2004. It calls on the international community to end cooperation with Israeli academic institutions due to their deep involvement in Israel’s system of control over Palestinians.
“The American perception that Israel is ‘exceptional’ is bolstered and bankrolled by US policy and military aid, while also secured through the persistent myth of American exceptionalism that denies the colonization of indigenous peoples here,” said Wesleyan University’s J. Khaulani Kauanui,
The ASA council’s endorsement follows the April endorsement of the academic boycott by the Association for Asian American Studies. Earlier this year, the American Association of University Professors’ journal published an issue where almost all the articles were in favor of an academic boycott of Israel.
The ASA endorsement is sure to dismay supporters of Israel, who have expressed worry that the academic boycott was becoming more popular.
Geri Palast, the managing director of the anti-boycott Israel Action Network, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Ron Kampeas that her “concern about some of these smaller academic associations is that they get amplified out of proportion.”
This article has been modified to clarify the ASA decision. Mondoweiss first reported that the ASA had endorsed the boycott. The ASA National Council has voted to endorse the call, but now the resolution will be put to a full vote.
About Alex Kane
Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.American Studies Association national council endorses academic boycott of Israel | Mondoweiss.
American Studies Association national council endorses Israel boycott
Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Wed, 12/04/2013 – 15:46
In an historic decision, the national council of the American Studies Association (ASA) today announced its endorsement of the Palestinian call for boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
“The boycott is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education,” ASA president Curtis Marez said in an email sent to media.
“Palestinian academics are frequently impeded by Israeli occupation authorities, schools and universities have been bombed by US-supported Israeli military forces, and the Wall blocks educational access for thousands of students. As an association of scholars and educators, the ASA has an ethical responsibility to act.”
The national council – the ASA’s elected governing body – also called a referendum of the organization’s full membership to endorse its decision.
The ASA, with 5,000 individual members and 2,200 library and other institutional subscribers, describes itself as the “nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.”
“The Council voted for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions as an ethical stance, a form of material and symbolic action. It represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians,” a statement on the ASA website says.
It adds, “boycott is warranted given US military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions; the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students; the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights; and the support of such a resolution by many members of the ASA.”
Acknowledging the controversy over the issue, the statement notes that the “ASA is a large organization that represents divergent opinions. Anticipating strong and potentially divided feelings on this question, the Council unanimously decided to ask ASA members to endorse the resolution by a vote.” It provided a link for members to vote on online.
The boycott resolution had been the subject of heated debate and efforts by pro-Israel groups to misrepresent and derail it.
But the initiative received overwhelming support from dozens of randomly chosen speakers at an open meeting during the ASA’s national conference in Washington, DC last month.
ASA’s decision follows the lead of the Association for Asian American Studies which approved an academic boycott resolution earlier this year.
It indicates that the call for the boycott of Israeli institutions complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people is gaining ground within US academia, despite strong opposition from university presidents and administrators.
What boycott means
ASA also published an FAQ offering guidance on what the boycott means. It includes the clarification that:
The ASA understands boycott as limited to a refusal on the part of the ASA in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions (such as deans, rectors, presidents and others), or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.
We are expressly not endorsing a boycott of Israeli scholars engaged in individual-level contacts and ordinary forms of academic exchange, including presentations at conferences, public lectures at campuses, and collaboration on research and publication. US scholars are not discouraged under the terms of the boycott from traveling to Israel for academic purposes, provided they are not engaged in a formal partnership with or sponsorship by Israeli academic institutions.
Need for support
While supporters are celebrating today’s decision, they also anticipate further debates ahead as the resolution goes to the membership.
The ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism sent out an action alert by email urging members to “to take further action in expressing your support for the resolution to endorse and honor the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”
“We appeal to you to show support for the Council’s decision, and vote in support of that resolution.”
“With your endorsement of their vote, the National Committee and the President of ASA will have the broad support of as many members as possible. Please contact other ASA members and urge them to vote for the resolution also,” the action alert states.
The Caucus on Academic and Community Activism also welcomed the decision in a press release which “congratulates the National Council on a decision in keeping not only with the spirit of the Open Meeting, but in accord with the principles of the American Studies Association, which has in its recent history expressed a strong commitment to the study and critique of racism, colonialism, and other forms of social injustice.”
American Studies Association national council endorses Israel boycott | The Electronic Intifada.
Top Obama administration and Pentagon officials signaled a willingness to temporarily accept China’s new, controversial air defense identification zone on Wednesday. Those officials expressed disapproval for the way in which the Asian power has flexed its muscles, and cautioned China not to implement the zone. But they also carved out wiggle room in which the United States and China ultimately could find common ground on the issue, indicating that they may be willing to live with the zone for now — as long as China backs off its demand that all aircraft traveling through it check in first.
“It wasn’t the declaration of the ADIZ that actually was destabilizing,” said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, America’s highest-ranking military officer. “It was their assertion that they would cause all aircraft entering the ADIZ to report regardless of whether they were intending to enter into the sovereign airspace of China. And that is destabilizing.”
That’s a change from just a few days ago, when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden demanded that China take back its declaration of the zone. And it’s another demonstration that China’s recent decisions have forced the United States to tread carefully. On Wednesday, Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing for more than five hours, according to a senior administration official. In brief public remarks midway through the marathon session, Biden didn’t mention the air defense zone at all.
Japan, a vital American ally, has expressed fury over the Chinese move and ordered its commercial airliners not to provide information about their flight paths to the Chinese military. By contrast, the United States made a point of flying a pair of B-52s through it last week [[LINK]], but seems to have accepted that China will keep the zone in place indefinitely. U.S. officials have shifted their focus instead on preventing a potential military clash between Japan and China.
In meetings in Beijing on Wednesday, Biden laid out the U.S. position in detail, reiterating that the United States does not recognize the new zone and has deep concerns about it, a senior administration official said. Biden told Xi that the United States wants China to take steps to lower tensions in the region, avoid enforcement actions that could lead to crisis, and to establish communication with Japan and other countries in the region to avoid altercations, the administration official added. Privately, Biden did not call for the air defense identification zone it to be rolled back — something administration officials had done Monday while Biden was visiting Japan. Instead, the vice president asked the Chinese leader to be careful about how his country operated the zone going forward.
“He indicated to Xi that we are looking to China to take steps as we move forward to lower tensions, to avoid enforcement actions that could lead to crisis, and to establish channels of communication with Japan, but also with their other neighbors to avoid the risk of mistake, miscalculation, accident or escalation,” the official told reporters in Beijing.
via Team Obama Changes Course, Appears to Accept China Air Defense Zone.
Pillay’s fanaticism and the religious fervor of her devotion to the doctrine of “humanitarian interventionism” harkens back to an earlier era where the murder of millions was justified in pursuit of the historical inevitability of utopia on earth. It is a dangerous and deadly philosophy, which justifies all manner of death and destruction.
You could very well say that Navi Pillay was more than anyone else the person responsible for NATO’s disastrous invasion of Libya. As UN Human Rights Commissioner she chaired that fateful meeting in February, 2011 where Libyan NGO leader Soliman Bouchuiguir was allowed to repeat incredible tales about the “massacres” taking place in Libya – tales he openly admitted after the NATO invasion he had just made up. “There is no evidence,” he exclaimed when asked after the invasion to back up his claims, which were the basis of the chain of events that led to NATO bombing.
The first link in that chain was the UN Human Rights Commission hearing chaired by Pillay, where Bouchuiguir’s lies led to the suspension of Libya from that body and the referral of the Libya issue to the UN Security Council. At the hearing, Pillay took her cue from the falsifier Bouchuiguir, exclaiming that, “The Libyan leader must stop the violence now.” Eventually the Security Council passed Resolution 1973, cracking the interventionist door to Libya, which NATO very soon kicked open.
Commissioner Pillay wasted no time setting her “humanitarian interventionist” sights on another crisis just waiting for a military solution. As early as August, 2011 she began urging the International Criminal Court to take up the case against the Syrian government, which was fighting against a foreign-sponsored insurgency seeking its overthrow. Never mind the illegality of her position urging the overthrow of a sovereign state, Pillay has argued relentlessly from the beginning in favor of a Libya-style NATO invasion of Syria.
Now Pillay is back in the news, releasing an incredibly dubious “report” concluding that the Syria government is guilty of war crimes in its fight against a foreign-sponsored insurgency. Pillay’s methodology would be laughed out of any courtroom except perhaps those of Stalin’s show trials. Her “investigators” had no access to Syria, conducted no on-the-ground investigations, but instead conducted their interviews in neighboring countries or via Skype. As with her previously discredited Libya claims, there is no independent verification of her findings, no way of even knowing who she talked to in the collection of this “evidence.” In fact, she would not even reveal the names of the accused, a list of perpetrators which she claims was secretly handed to her. No, she prefers to keep her information secret in hopes that the International Criminal Court would finally take up her case against the Syrian government.
Pillay’s fanaticism and the religious fervor of her devotion to the doctrine of “humanitarian interventionism” harkens back to an earlier era where the murder of millions was justified in pursuit of the historical inevitability of utopia on earth. It is a dangerous and deadly philosophy, which justifies all manner of death and destruction. The oft-cited C.S. Lewis quote comes most often to mind when thoughts wander to the Navi Pillays of the world:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Source: Ron Paul Institute
The Unwelcome Return of Navi Pillay | Veterans News Now.
Canada Busted Covering Up Spikes In Fukushima Radiation
Falsely Stated That There Were No Unusual Radiation Levels
The governments of Japan, America and Canada have covered up the severity of the Fukushima crisis ever since it started in March 2011.
They’ve cut way back on radiation monitoring after the Fukushima meltdown, underplayed the amount of radiation pumped out by Fukushima, and raised acceptable radiation levels … rather than fixing anything.
For example, Straight.com reports:
A study by several researchers, including Health Canada [the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health] monitoring specialist Ian Hoffman
, reveals a sharp spike in radiation over southwest B.C. on March 20, 2011.
In 2011, investigative journalist Alex Roslin reported in the Georgia Straight that a Health Canada monitoring station in Sidney had detected radioactive iodine-131 levels up to 300 times normal background levels.
In 2011, Health Canada was declaring on its website that the quantities of radiation reaching Canada did not pose any health risk to Canadians.
“The very slight increases in radiation across the country have been smaller than the normal day-to-day fluctuations from background radiation,” Health Canada said at the time.
Roslin maintained in his article that Health Canada’s own data contradicted that assertion. Below, you can see more of what the researchers stated in the PowerPoint presentation about the radiation plume.
Here’s what Roslin wrote in 2011:
After Japan’s Fukushima catastrophe, Canadian government officials reassured jittery Canadians that the radioactive plume billowing from the destroyed nuclear reactors posed zero health risks in this country.
In fact, there was reason to worry. Health Canada detected large spikes in radioactive material from Fukushima in Canadian air in March and April at monitoring stations across the country.
For 22 days, a Health Canada monitoring station in Sidney detected iodine-131 levels in the air that were up to 300 times above the normal background levels. Radioactive iodine levels shot up as high as nearly 1,000 times background levels in the air at Resolute Bay, Nunavut.
Meanwhile, government officials claimed there was nothing to worry about. “The quantities of radioactive materials reaching Canada as a result of the Japanese nuclear incident are very small and do not pose any health risk to Canadians,” Health Canada says on its website. “The very slight increases in radiation across the country have been smaller than the normal day-to-day fluctuations from background radiation.”
In fact, Health Canada’s own data shows this isn’t true. The iodine-131 level in the air in Sidney peaked at 3.6 millibecquerels per cubic metre on March 20. That’s more than 300 times higher than the background level, which is 0.01 or fewer millibecquerels per cubic metre.
“There have been massive radiation spikes in Canada because of Fukushima,” said Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
“The authorities don’t want people to have an understanding of this. The government of Canada tends to pooh-pooh the dangers of nuclear power because it is a promoter of nuclear energy and uranium sales.”
Edwards has advised the federal auditor-general’s office and the Ontario government on nuclear-power issues and is a math professor at Montreal’s Vanier College.
Similarly, the Nelson Daily reported in 2012:
The Green Party of Canada said despite public concern over fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Health Canada failed to report higher than normal radioactive iodine levels in rainwater.
“We were worried that this important information would not reach the public and unfortunately, it looks as if we were right,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich Gulf Islands in a written press release.
It has now been revealed that data were not released from a Calgary Health Canada monitoring station detecting levels of radioactive iodine in rainwater well above the Canadian guideline for drinking water.
This isotope was known to be released by the nuclear accident and also showed up in tests in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Lower levels of contamination resulted in a don’t-drink-rainwater advisory in Virginia.
“Serious questions are arising about how Health Canada tests for radiation, and why it has failed to properly alert the public,” said May.
“In effect, Health Canada has not allowed Canadians to take any preventative steps to reduce our exposure to this radiation.”
Canada Busted Covering Up Spikes In Fukushima Radiation Washington’s Blog.
THE FENCE SITTERS OF ZION
December 5, 2013 at 11:51 (Boycott Israel, Hasbara, Israel, Palestine)
Whenever I see the term ‘Progressive zionist’ I can’t help but feel confusion and revulsion. It’s got to be the greatest of oxymorons and definitely one that might be understood by morons themselves.
The rest of us have to question how this could be …. is it possible to be a ‘Progressive fascist or nazi’? How than is it possible to be a ‘Progressive zionist’? The Editorial in today’s Forward shows their true colours ….
One cannot be a fence sitter when the very existance of an entire nation is at stake.
The American Studies Association Veers Towards a Boycott of Israel
via THE FENCE SITTERS OF ZION | Desertpeace.
American Studies Association endorses academic boycott of Israel
Published yesterday (updated) 05/12/2013 16:13
A mock Israeli checkpoint at Columbia University, 2010.
By Alex Shams
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A top body of the largest scholarly association dedicated to American Studies voted unanimously in a landmark decision on Wednesday to endorse a resolution supporting the boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education.
The endorsement of the boycott resolution by the National Council of the American Studies Association is a major symbolic victory for activists in the global Palestine solidarity movement, as the scholarly association focuses on the United States, the global superpower that funds Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year.
The resolution, which has been under debate for over a week, highlights the necessity of severing ties with Israeli institutions, stressing the “devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians,” caused by the Israeli occupation.
The resolution mentions US complicity in the occupation as a rationale for the American Studies Association’s stance, pointing out that the “United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians.”
The resolution highlights the complicity of Israeli academic institutions with the occupation of Palestine.
via American Studies Association endorses academic boycott of Israel | Maan News Agency.
‘George Osborne is making people work until they drop’: Chancellor to unveil ‘fantasy land’ pensions shake-up that will make under-50s work until they’re SEVENTY
Those born after 1990 will have to work for 5 years longer than those today
The move will slash state pension bill by £400billion over 50 years
Age which people can claim their pension will be linked to life expectancy
Anyone currently in their 40s or younger will be affected by the moves
A baby girl born today may not get her state pension until the age of 77
By James Chapman and Martin Robinson
via Autumn Statement 2013: In your 20s? You may have to wait 50 years for a pension | Mail Online.
Protesters shout slogans in front of Herod’s Gate, Jerusalem, in support of Bedouin Arabs. Photograph: Imago / Barcroft Media
Several thousand people worldwide have taken part in protests at the Israeli government’s plans to forcibly remove Bedouin Arabs from their villages in the Negev desert.
In Israeli towns and cities, mounted police used teargas, stun grenades and water cannon against demonstrators, in what the Association for Civil Rights in Israel described as a “disproportionate” response to stone-throwing. More than 40 people were arrested at protests across the country, and 15 police officers were injured.
In what was billed as an international “day of rage”, demonstrations were also held in London, Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, Cairo and in the US.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, criticised the protests. “We will not tolerate such disturbances,” he said in a statement. “Attempts by a loud and violent minority to deny a better future to a large and broad population are grave. We will continue to advance the law for a better future for all residents of the Negev.”
Under the Prawer Plan, which is expected to pass into Israeli law by the end of the year, 35 “unrecognised” Bedouin villages will be demolished and between 40,000 and 70,000 people removed to government-designated towns. Israel says the proposal will bring benefits such as permanent housing and public services, but the majority of Bedouin say they do not want to give up their ancestral lands and way of life.
“We have been living here since before the creation of the state of Israel,” Maqbul Saraya, 70, told Al Jazeera. “We feel that democracy and justice in Israel do not apply to us.”
More than 50 public figures in the UK criticised the plan in a letter published in the Guardian, saying it would “mean the forced displacement of Palestinians from their homes and land, and systematic discrimination and separation”.
via Israel’s plan to forcibly resettle Negev Bedouins prompts global protests | World news | The Guardian.
Worker strikes and public protests outside fast food restaurant chains are kicking off across the country on Thursday as low-wage employees in the industry are demanding a federal living wage of $15 an hour.
Organizers for the day’s events include the groups Low Pay Is Not OK, Fast Food Forward, Fight for 15:
via ‘Low Pay Is Not OK’: Fast Food Workers Rise Up with Nationwide Protests | Common Dreams.