The Electronic Intifada | By Ali Abunimah | 00.00.2012 | NEDERLANDS
The Phildelphia Inquirer today publishes opposing op-eds on the upcoming boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference at the University of Pennsylvania one by Ali Abunimah and the other by former CIA chief James Woolsey and Jonathan Schanzer of the pro-Israel neocon group Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
In their op-ed, Woolsey and Schanzer allege that the conference:
will be an exercise in disinformation and propaganda, a call for political and economic warfare, and an attempt to foment hatred of Israel. That is obviously bad for Israelis. It is - perhaps less obviously - bad for Palestinians as well.
It goes downhill from there, with a litany of talking points about Iran and Syria intended to distract attention from Israel as well as ludicrous claims about Israel’s commitment to a “two-state solution.”
Abunimah’s op-ed takes on the overheated rhetoric that has preceded the conference for weeks. It begins:
I am coming to the University of Pennsylvania this week to incite violence against the State of Israel - pro-Israel groups and commentators have contended - and, along with hundreds of students and other speakers who will attend the 2012 National Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Conference, to engage in an “act of warfare.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, we are coming together to push forward an inclusive movement that supports nonviolent action to promote the human rights of the Palestinian people, because only full respect for these rights can lead to peace. Today, millions of Palestinians live without basic rights under Israeli rule. This intolerable situation is at the root of problems that affect the whole world.
Read the rest.
Ali Abunimah is a Palestinian American journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada. A graduate of Princeton University and University of Chicago, Abunimah has contributed to many publications, including The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. He has also served as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Arab American Action Network, and is a fellow at the Palestine Center.
Please note that speakers do not necessarily support the BDS movement.
Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American journalist whose works appear regularly in Al Jazeera English, the LA Times, the Huffington Post, and Mondoweiss, among other publications. He is currently a graduate student of Public Policy at Harvard
Helena Cobban is a veteran writer and researcher on Middle Eastern affairs and other global issues. From 1990 through 2007, she wrote a regular column in The Christian Science Monitor, and from 1993 through 2006 she wrote a regular column in Al-Hayat. Four of her seven books have been about Arab-Israeli issues. In 2010, Ms. Cobban founded a groundbreaking publishing company, Just World Books, a majority of whose titles concern the Middle East.
Nancy Kricorian, who is the campaign manager for the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott, has been on the national staff of CODEPINK Women for Peace since 2003. Kricorian has published two novels with a third forthcoming in 2013.
Noura Erakat is a Palestinian human rights attorney, Georgetown University professor, and activist. She has served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives and helped to initiate and organize Arab Women Arising for Justice, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, and other national formations. For many years, Erakat has worked to seed and empower BDS campaigns across the nation, most notably the one at UC Berkeley.
Bill Fletcher, Jr is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC and editor of BlackCommentator.com. He is a labor, racial justice and international activist and was a key player in both the anti-Apartheid and US Civil Rights movements.
Max Blumenthal is an American journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party.” Blumenthal is a writing fellow at the Nation Institute and Senior Writer for Al Akhbar English.
Anna Baltzer is a Jewish American author and activist Palestinian human rights activist. She serves on many committees, including the Middle East committee of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and the Board of Directors of The Research Journalism Initiative.
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian American and an award-winning author. Her debut novel, Mornings in Jenin, is an international bestseller soon to be adapted as a film. Susan is also the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children.
Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui is associate professor of American studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University. Kauanui serves on the advisory board of the USACBI (US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). She is the author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press, 2008). Kauanui is a co-founder of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, as well as the producer and host of a public affairs radio program, “Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond” that is syndicated across ten U.S. states through the Pacifica Radio network. Her research areas include: settler colonialism; comparative indigeneity; anarchism and the state; and decolonization & nation-building.
Remi Kanazi is an American born Palestinian poet and author of two books, “Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine,” and “Poets for Palestine.” He is co-founder of Poeticinjustice.net, an online resource of writing on Palestinian life and politics.
Pamela Olson, a Stanford physics graduate from small town Oklahoma, worked as a journalist in Palestine for two years, then took a job at a Defense Department think tank in a doomed attempt to “change Washington from the inside” before quitting in order to write full-time. She is the author of an unorthodox memoir called Fast Times in Palestine.
Kristin Szremski began her career as a copy editor on an English-language newspaper in Warsaw, Poland, published by a group of Solidarnosc activists. Since then she has spent more than 20 years as an investigative reporter and editor. Her work has appeared in print or online at Al Jazeera; Zycia Warszawa, one of Poland’s national newspapers of record; the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Dallas Morning News, among other news outlets.She has also worked as a correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Chicago Tribune. She is a member of several professional associations, including the National Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists,and the Association of Women Journalists.
Philip Weiss, a Harvard graduate, and self-described “anti-Zionist” Jewish writer, is the co-editor of the acclaimed online news site, “Mondoweiss.” This site, dedicated to the “war of ideas in the Middle East,” is a widely read source of alternative coverage and debate on the region. Weiss is also the author of several books.
Rebecca Vilkomerson is the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national grassroots movement which seeks to promote peace, human rights, and “full equality for all people of Palestine and Israel.” She lived in Israel for several years, and has contributed to a number of publications.
Rev. Graylan Hagler is the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Hagler has been a long time advocate for racial, economic, and social justice, and lead the Free South Africa Movement to call for divestiture from the former apartheid regime.
Sherry Wolf is a prominent activist, journalist, and author who focuses on LGBT equality, human rights, and economic justice. In addition to her books, she has contributed to multiple publications, including the Nation, New Politics, and Dissident Voice, and has served as co-editor of the International Socialist Review.
Dr. Heather Love is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History.” She has contributed to multiple publications related to sexuality, politics, and women’s studies.
Dr. Dalit Baum is a co-founder of “Who Profits from the Occupation”, an activist research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. She also teaches at Haifa University and the Beit Berl College in Israel, focusing on militarism and the global economy from a feminist perspective.
Dr. Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, journalist, and professor of English at City University of New York (College of Staten Island). Her awards include the 2009 Kessler Award for her ”Sustained Contribution to LGBT Studies” from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two American Library Association Book Awards. Professor Schulman is on the Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace and is a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. She is the author of countless books and articles, including a groundbreaking New York Times op-ed on the “pinkwashing” of Israeli human rights abuses.