Middle East studies in the News
Bakery that Features Mural of Palestinian Terrorist Hosted Book Event Promoting Israel Boycott [incl. Sunaina Maira]
A California bakery that prominently features a mural of a convicted Palestinian terrorist hosted an event Sunday to promote a University of California-Davis professor's new book encouraging the implementation of an academic boycott of Israel by American institutions.
Reem's Bakery in Fruitvale, whose mural of Rasmea Odeh has made it the target of frequent protests since its opening in the summer of 2017, co-hosted a book signing with UC Davis Asian American Studies Professor Sunaina Maira for her "Boycott! The Academy and Justice for Palestine."
The private event was co-sponsored by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, an activist organization whose website blames global repression on "U.S. imperialism and Zionism," and proposes boycott, divestment, and sanctions—or BDS—of Israel as the method to stop worldwide oppression.
Maira's book, published this month by the University of California Press, gives particular attention to the intersectional character of boycott, divestment, and sanctions, according to the book summary. The book positively situates BDS as part of a history of American-backed boycotts and considers "the implications for antiracist, feminist, queer, and academic labor organizing."
A founding organizer with the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Maira was among a cohort of anti-Israel activists who allegedly gained leadership positions in the American Studies Association ahead of the organization's 2013 vote in favor of BDS, in order to ensure a favorable outcome.
Some 30 protesters gathered outside Reem's Sunday to protest both the Maira program and the Odeh mural, according to the East Bay Times.
As a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Odeh was convicted for placing the explosives in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, one of which killed Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner in a supermarket.
She was released in a 1980 prisoner exchange and moved to the United States.
Odeh was deported back to her native Jordan in September 2017, after pleading guilty to lying about her terror conviction on her naturalization papers. Odeh maintained that her confession to Israeli authorities was coerced.
The owner of Reem's Bakery, Reem Assil, has argued that she has a First Amendment right to feature the Odeh artwork, and has sought a restraining order against at least one protester. The demonstrators have said they, too, have a free speech right to condemn the public honoring of a terrorist.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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