Middle East studies in the News
CAL State Palestine [incl. Edward Said, Vida Samiian]
by Lee Kaplan
The PLO has been using the American university system to rewrite history and to deny Israel's right to exist as a sovereign state among the American public since the late 1970's. Our universities are the perfect seeding grounds for such a program since the concept of "academic freedom" allows for the free expression of ideas and acceptance of discussing new ways of seeing things. However, such freedom should be based on facts.
The recently deceased Edward Said was a Columbia professor of English literature. He also claimed to be a Palestinian and made a fortune at it while he was alive (some even say he was actually born in Egypt like Yasser Arafat). Said can be credited with the current techniques being used on American campuses today to propagandize for terrorism under an innocent pretense. Said postured in his writings that in history "facts do not matter, only emotions matter." In other words, write your own history to achieve your desired ends, at the same time fool everyone else by appealing to their emotions.
And nowhere was this twisting of history and facts more noticeable than at Cal State University Fresno on November 21st of this year. As part of the University's "International Education Week" a special presentation was made called "The Israeli/Palestine Conflict: A Historical Perspective." Of course, "The Life and Works of Edward Said" was part of the Fresno program. But articles showing that Said fabricated most of his life as a "Palestinian" who had lost his home to Israelis was never mentioned. In California, particularly the Bay Area, there are pro-PLO groups of leftists who organize such "presentations" to look like scholarly events to present an emotional, though erroneous, picture of what goes on in the Middle East. These groups introduce "balanced" panels to discuss things in what looks like an intellectual forum. The panels really are propaganda fests for the PLO because the "Israeli side" is usually an Israeli in the pay of the PLO with an ulterior motive who mitigates the accusations and charges voiced by the other side.
One such "Israeli" who appeared at Fresno State's "Palestine Day" was Illan Pappe, a University of Haifa history professor in Israel, who Americans, especially young college students, know nothing about other than he is an "Israeli peace advocate." Pappe, who ran for Israel's parliament as a Communist and was soundly rejected in Israel's democracy then embarked on an ignominious campaign attacking Israel. As a tenured history professor (and a marginally recognized one in normal historical circles), Pappe found his niche and fortunes touring the world as an Israeli for the PLO. His most recent notoriety came about in Israel over a libel trial in which one of his protégés presented a thesis describing a massacre of Palestinians in 1948 that never occurred.  The Israeli soldiers accused of the atrocities sued and Pappe's student, Theodore Katz, was forced on the witness stand to admit he fabricated the whole thing under Pappe's direction as his faculty advisor. It later turned out the student was paid $8,000 by the PLO to do the story. The University of Haifa pulled the degree; Pappe still insists all is authentic, of course. This is just one "Israeli" shunted about to such "events" as at Fresno State to speak to impressionable college students. Pappe himself has stated, "Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what the facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truth-seekers." These words would have made Edward Said proud.
Pappe is funded by the European Union (EU) through his educational institute Givat Haviva. The EU also has paid for Arafat's Fateh terrorists for years as long as they were called "policemen." Pappe's colleague, Yossi Beilin, co-author of the Geneva Plan, was recently shown to receive a salary of 400,000 Euros a year plus an additional $7 million dollars from France and Belgium for his efforts. Being a Communist revolutionary or turncoat can be very profitable in certain circles for people like Pappe and Beilin. Pappe also receives money through his "Alternative Information Center." Ghassan Andoni, who was the real founder of the International Solidarity Movement before Adam Shapiro was chosen as the token Jew to run it, also created the "Alternative Tourism Agency" (ATA), funded and led by the PLO to bring radicals to the West Bank. These radicals would interfere with the anti-terror operations of the Israeli army. Andoni's ATA was used to get two Arabs with British passports into Israel where they met with the ISM just before blowing up a café in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis. Pappe seems to have found Palestinian "alternatives" for himself as well to advance his fortunes. Nobody knows who funds the "Alternative Information Center" for certain. Care to guess? The average 18 year-old attending classes at Fresno State knows none of this and the Cal State Fresno Palestine Day organizers sure aren't going to tell him or her.
And the film, "Jenin, Jenin" was screened also that day at Fresno State which claimed a massacre took place which has long since proven to have been a Palestinian fabrication invented once again for propaganda purposes. Nowhere does the film mention of the 56 casualties in Jenin , 48 were armed terrorists (official Palestine Authority figures) and that 23 Israeli boys died in house to house fighting to decrease the civilian casualties that would not have resulted if one F-16 was used for the same job. Nor is there mention of Israelis murdered by suicide bombers, which precipitated going into Jenin to close down the bomb factories. The filmmaker even tried to make viewers think Jenin was a tent city of refugees when it was a city with a built-up casbah even the PLO police feared to go into. But the most important bit of information left out is that filmmaker/producer, Mohammed Bakri, an Israeli Arab, is being sued for libel by the actual Israeli soldiers who survived Jenin for his fabricating events and stories in the film that never took place, such as the shooting of innocent civilians. In short, this was propaganda, not "academic freedom," even stretched to its outermost limits.
Vida Samiian, Fresno's assistant dean of Arts and Humanities admitted the program was not planned as an even-handed discussion because the "organizers" believed they could "balance" opinions on campus. What they meant by "balance" is that in the U.S., most people agree with Israel's side in the Middle East conflict, and by presenting a one-sided event, it would tile some people into a pro-Palestinian view. In other words, this was a propaganda event masquerading as a scholarly presentation. Surely as an academic institution Fresno State could have had an objective program subject to debate on facts? That is the difference between academic freedom and indoctrination. "Are we going to censor ourselves and not talk about the conflict?" Samiian is quoted as saying.
Censor? No. But to present lies to appeal to emotions in order to achieve and encourage fascists and terrorists by making them look like human rights advocates is another thing entirely. And the students at Fresno State who don't get the facts are the ones who are cheated out of a truly balanced education when such trumped-up events are allowed on their campus. Such an education plays well in the Arab world where there is no balance for a reason, but has no place on an American university campus like Fresno State.
Bill Erysian, the chairman of planning for the international week on campus emphasized using the "local community" to suggest the week's topics. He has stated most of the other international subjects dealt with foreign cultures and not politics or political conflicts -- except for Palestine Day. "Activities like this provide an opportunity to better understand what the conflicts are about," he said, "an opportunity for a variety of voices to be heard."
So just who were the sponsors of the Palestine Day affair from the "local community" at Fresno State who were seeking to "balance" the attendees views of Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East? The Hamish Lecture Series, which is part of the National Lawyer's Guild (NLG), is one. The NLG is a legal group established and funded in the 1930's by Josef Stalin to protect the Communist movement in the United States. The NLG still supports all manner of far out leftist causes, from people accused of terrorism to cop-killers like Mumia abu Jamal. The NLG also has links to International ANSWER, Ramsay Clark's group, which supported Saddam Hussein in the past. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, founded in 1915 to support women's suffrage, today organizes trips to Fidel Castro's Cuba and are linked to Women In Black, an organization that blatantly pushes for the PLO. The Women's League, besides showing solidarity with communist Cuba, labels the Cold War and World War II as "containments" by a greedy America hell-bent on preserving her economic expansionism (imperialism). One guesses Pearl Harbor was part of that plan to enhance America's wealth.
The Campus Peace and Civil Liberties Coalition is also a supporter, though it is also active in the anti-globalist movement. The anti-globalist movement objects to economic prosperity being exported to the rest of the world and enjoys monetary support from Muslim elements in Europe (no doubt with links to the PLO). The Campus Peace and Civil Liberties Coalition website links to ANSWER and to the Arab propaganda channel Al Jazeera (which it calls "a breath of fresh air"). What's even more interesting is their faculty advisor at Cal State Fresno is none other than Vida Samiian. Nothing like an impartial administrator to set up academic programs to educate young college students.
The group is rounded out by the Fresno Center for Non-violence which on its website also calls for aid to Castro's Cuba, as well. One wonders if the farming community of Fresno, California, is well enough represented by this "local community" of Marxists and anti-capitalists who run with and support the terrorists of the PLO in the Middle East?
If this were the exception and not the rule, it might be dismissed as some narrow groups seeking and getting a captive audience to misinform on the taxpayer's dime. Unfortunately it is happening time and time again on our campuses. Given California's deficit, it is a serious misuse of taxpayer-financed facilities, not to mention detrimental to Fresno State's image as a center of higher learning. But it will continue as long as we maintain our silence.
NOTES:Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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