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Monday, 20 February 2012

Zionist Attempts to Prevent Ilan Pappe Speaking at University of California Fail

Zionism's McCarthyite Supporters Rebuffed - Academic Freedom at California State University Defended

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is an academic at the Santa Cruz campus of the California State University, albeit not one with an international reputation, unlike Professor Ilan Pappe who she has been trying to get banned. When she and fellow McCarthyists heard that Professor Ilan Pappe of Exeter University had been invited to speak on campus, and even worse it was an official invitation, she saw red (or rather blue and white).

Academic freedom is not something that is especially dear to the heart of American Zionists. They first sought to deny tenure to Joseph Massad at Colombia University before successfully intimidating dePaul Catholic University in New York into denying Norman Finkelstein a tenured position as Professor.

Through various ‘grassroots’ organisations such as Amchai (dedicating to protecting Jewish students – i.e. preventing them learn anything too uncomfortable), Camera, NGO Monitor, the Jonathan Foundation and other groups of the same ilk, the Zionists seek to control debate and discourse. Any supporter of the Palestinians is automatically a ‘Hamas’ supporter. By the same token, Rossman-Benjamin is presumably a supporter of Yisrael-Beteinu, party of the fascist Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman.

But in this case her purported concern about the misuse of taxpayers’ money was too transparent. No objections ever materialise when Netanyahu or pro-Israeli speakers are on the guest list. Only certain views should be excluded from being hosted or publicised and there are no prizes for guessing which ones. And since the University as an institution is funded publicly, presumably Pappe shouldn't have spoken anywhere on campus as that would have involved tax payer's dollars being expended, when they could have been better spent on bombs to Iran.

But Israel is no longer as popular as it once was in the USA. And Ross-Benjamin, more of a political functionary than an academic, overplayed her hand. With the result that the principals of the University of California have come out with a letter restating their support for academic freedom.

It’s nice when the censors get egg all over their faces.

And to rub it in, I penned a little letter of my own to Ross-Benjamin explaining what academic freedom is all about. Maybe you would like to likewise and send it to her academic address too! After all that’s what she claims she is.

And it’s also nice to know that Jewish Voices for Peace Deputy Director, Cecile Surasky, has pioneered the opposition to this police-state academic. JVP is a growing force in the USA, having garnered over 100,000 signatures of support. Cecile Surasky herself was among the top 10 in a poll of heroes of the Jewish community before her name was pulled by the organisers!

See also an article on the JVP website on The Zionist Organization of America’s Effort to Criminalize Campus Activism through Federal Civil Rights Legislation

Tony Greenstein

February 18 2012 by Cecilie Surasky

Breaking news/a good day for free speech: despite extensive efforts by the new Amcha Initiative to get Israeli historian Ilan Pappe booted from Cal State University campuses, where he is scheduled to speak next week, the presidents of Cal State Fresno, Cal State Northridge, and Cal Poly have taken a strong, unanimous stand in support of free speech on college campuses.

If you’re near any of these campuses, please go hear Ilan Pappe speak the week of February 20th. He’s a brave, important scholar whose analysis and insights are invaluable to understanding Israel and Palestine. He’s speaking at Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and Cal State Fresno.

In the attempt to censor Pappe, who is a Jewish Israeli, UC Santa Cruz Hebrew lecturer Tammy Rossman-Benjamin, under the aegis of her new group, “The Amcha Initiative: Protecting Jewish Students,” recently sent a letter to the president of the CSU system against Pappe and his CSU hosts. The letter is a prime example of doublespeak, emphasizing – using bold font and capital letters – that we “are NOT asking that these three events be cancelled or that Ilan Pappe be censored.” (emphasis in original)

What, then, were they asking for? For the Cal State campuses and Cal Poly to “rescind all … sponsorship and support” from the Pappe events. What does that mean, exactly? Removing the events from campus and preventing the faculty from hosting Pappe in their official capacity. So no, that wouldn’t exactly be censoring Pappe – he could still speak off-campus, we presume – but it would surely be censoring the faculty who invited him, making a mockery of the freedom of intellectual inquiry and free speech that are so essential to college campuses.

There’s more to this story, too. The Amcha letter claims that Pappe’s event is propaganda, not education, and cites the political activism of the faculty who invited him (including the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at CSU-Fresno) as evidence. This claim that political people can’t be interested in education, or that people can’t simultaneously be committed to a political cause and to rigorous scholarship is both insulting and revealing. Revealing because it suggests on which side of the scale Rossman-Benjamin, an educator paid by the state of California, would fall.

And today, Rossman-Benjamin’s efforts failed. The presidents’ statement is strong and clear. In it, they state that “Universities are places where debate, discussion and free ideas are welcome and encouraged. … Academic freedom and freedom of speech are … cornerstones … of a functioning democracy.”

That’s right – free speech, higher education, functioning democracy are all deeply intertwined.

And moreover, they say, “Universities are charged with teaching students how to think for themselves….We seek to instill in students the tools to fairly and intelligently assess all data and views, as well as the personal integrity and values to come to a rational and reasonable conclusion.”

Exactly. They trust the learning process. They trust that students are intelligent and capable and have integrity, and can learn how to assess data and opposing, conflicting viewpoints.

That is, their educational philosophy is the opposite of Tammy Rossman-Benjamin, who has been the most visible leader behind a growing campaign to eliminate from college campuses virtually any criticism, however mild, of Israeli human rights practices.

In 2010, Rossman-Benjamin succeeded in getting Israeli peace activists kicked off of UC Santa Cruz campus. In March 2011, she – together with the SF Jewish Community Relations Council and the ADL - failed to do the same for a conference on Palestinians legal rights at UC Hastings (though they did get Hastings to pull its “name and brand” from the proceedings.

Also in March 2011, Rossman-Benjamin filed a complaint against UC-Santa Cruz, her employer, with the federal Office on Civil Rights, under the newly revamped anti-bullying guidelines (Eyal Mazor wrote a report on these guidelines for Muzzlewatch here. Rossman-Benjamin’s complaint alleges a “hostile environment” for Jewish students at UC-Santa Cruz and fills 29 pages with reports mainly about human rights activists speaking on campus. According to this complaint, any criticism of Israel is “anti-semitic” and “inciting hatred” against Israel – which, according to Benjamin, automatically means against Jewish students, too. We expect the Office of Civil Rights to dismiss this complaint: despite Rossman-Benjamin’s statement in the Forward suggesting that investigation itself proves the validity of her claim, if a complaint is filed, the OCR must investigate, like firefighters responding to a fire.

Which brings us back to the Amcha letter on Israeli historian Ilan Pappe- it says that hosting the Jewish Israeli historian on campus “cannot help but create a hostile environment for Jewish students” at these three campuses. That language sounds a lot like a threat, or maybe a promise. Are these campuses next on Rossman-Benjamin’s list for an Office of Civil Rights Title VI complaint?

Anti-Israel speaker on 3 CSU campuses with University’s approval

There is a serious misuse of taxpayer money to promote virulently anti-Israel activity on three California State University campuses.

We need your help.

Dear AMCHA Initiative supporters,

Yesterday we sent a letter to the Presidents of CSU Fresno, CSU Northridge, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as well as CSU Chancellor Reed, urging them to revoke administrative sponsorship of a speaking tour by Ilan Pappe.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli Jewish academic who harbors deep animosity towards the Jewish state, has publicly called for its elimination, and engages in activities to harm its citizens, such as a campaign to boycott Israeli academics, which he helped to found. In addition, he openly supports the terrorist organization Hamas and falsely accuses Israel of “crimes against humanity,” including “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

On these three CSU campuses, Pappe’s talk is officially sponsored and funded by University departments and administrative offices. In addition on each campus the event is being organized and promoted by a faculty member or top university administrator who has publicly expressed his or her hatred of Israel and has participated in many anti-Israel events, including the campaign to boycott Israeli academics.

It is important to note that our concern is not with Ilan Pappe’s talk per se, but rather with the fact that his talk is being organized and promoted by faculty and administrators of the California State University system, using the name, resources, and imprimatur of CSU, in order to vilify and harm the Jewish state and its supporters. In this way, taxpayers like us are subsidizing the promotion of hateful indoctrination in our nation’s largest public university.

Please click here to view the letter.

You can also watch the following AMCHA video to learn about CSU’s support for Ilan Pappe’s speaking tour:

Please consider sending your own respectful letter to one or more of the following individuals, asking them to ensure that official university sponsorship and funding is withdrawn from Ilan Pappe’s talks at the three CSU campuses:

CSU Fresno President John Welty:
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong:
CSU Northridge Interim President Harold
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed:
CSU Trustees:
California State Senator Tom Berryhill (Fresno):
California State Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (Fresno)
California State Assemblywoman Linda Halderman (Fresno):
California State Senator Sam Blakeslee (San Luis Obispo)
California State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (San Luis Obispo):
California State Senator Alex Padilla (Northridge):
California State Assemblyman Bob Blumenfeld (Northridge):

If you do send a letter, please copy or blind-copy us at:

Thank you!

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Leila Beckwith
Co-founder the AMCHA Initiative

Open Letter to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and her McCarthyite Supporters

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
California State University
Division of Humanities
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Dear Ms Ross-Benjamin,

You have been the principal organiser of a campaign to prevent Professor Ilan Pappe of Exeter University in the United Kingdom, formerly of Haifa University, Israel from speaking on California State University campuses. I think we can take your professed concern with the ‘abuse of tax payers’ money with a pinch of salt. Academic freedom is never an abuse.

In your article ‘Anti-Israel speaker on 3 CSU campuses with University’s approval
you invite people to send a letter to various academic administrators and politicians, with a copy or blind-copy to you at I thought it would be more helpful if I wrote to you directly, with a copy to those you mentioned.

You call the invitation to speak to Professor Ilan Pappe ‘a serious misuse of taxpayer money to promote virulently anti-Israel activity on three California State University campuses.’ Perhaps you would explain how speaking on campus equates to virulently anti-Israel activity? Or is it the message you object to?

As an academic and social scientist, I assume that part of your training involved assessing and weighing evidence before reaching conclusions. Yet in your campaign against a fellow academic, it would appear that your forte is the making of wild assertions, backed no by no evidence but coupled with the use of McCarthyist ‘guilt-by-association’ techniques. It is clear that you have no commitment whatsoever to the concept of academic freedom, a strange quality in a Professor. Your commitment is to Zionism.

Professor Pappe is, as you well know, both Israeli and Jewish. The suggestion that he is ‘anti-Israel’ is a piece of inflammatory abuse. What does ‘anti-Israel’ mean? Were campaigners against Apartheid in South Africa ‘anti-South African’? Were those who opposed Nazism in Germany anti-German?

What you presumably mean is that Prof. Pappe is an Israeli Jew and an anti-Zionist. Anti-Zionism is a valid political current, not least within the Jewish community and until 1945 it was a majority current. Are you seriously suggesting that those who dissent from the Israeli State’s preferred image of itself should be barred from speaking on campuses?

Your purported concern is with a ‘serious misuse of taxpayer money to promote virulently anti-Israel activity’ but what activity are you referring to, apart from hosting a speaker that you obviously dislike? Is Professor Pappe going to be opening a Boycott Israel bazar? Would you object to Zionist academics from Israel speaking on campus?

Professor Pappe was a Professor at Haifa University who was one of the new Israeli historians who challenged the founding myths of Zionism. He conducted research into the massacres and expulsion of the Palestinians during 1947-9. Is that a topic which is out of bounds to the AMCHA censorship group? Are you funded by money deriving from Israeli state sources? Do you not find such funding embarrassing? A foreign state funding those who wish to clamp down on academic freedom within the United States?

The rest of your appeal is equally tendentious. It speaks of Pappe harbouring a deep animosity towards the Jewish state and calling for its elimination. Pappe opposes the very concept of a Jewish state which gives rights and privileges to those who are Jewish whilst at the same time denying those rights to non-Jews. If American Jews received the same treatment as Israeli Arabs I suspect you would be the first to protest. Pappe no more calls for Israel’s ‘elimination’ than anti-Apartheid supporters called for the elimination of the South African state. The very use of the term ‘eliminate’ is emotive, as you well know, suggesting the destruction of people rather than changing state structures.

Nor am I aware of any ‘campaign to boycott Israeli academics’ by Pappe or others. There is a campaign to boycott Israeli universities which are complicit in the occupation and discrimination against Israeli Arabs. That is an entirely different thing.

You allege that Pappe supports Hamas but you cite no evidence for this. Perhaps you would supply some references to back this statement up? In any event it is the Palestinians who have voted for Hamas. You call Hamas a ‘terrorist organization’ yet fail to mention that the Israeli state sponsored and virtually created Hamas as a counterweight to secular Palestinian nationalism in the 1980’s. In any event I’m not aware that Prof. Pappe supports Hamas. I suspect that if the United States were occupied by the military of another country that Hamas would be like a children’s tea part in comparison with groups which would spring up to eject the invaders.

It is true that Prof. Pappe, like other Israeli academic such as Prof. Benny Morris, has shown that Israel was created through “ethnic cleansing.” That is a fact. Or is the truth also verboten to McCarthyist organisations like Amchai?

You say that your concern ‘is not with Ilan Pappe’s talk per se’ but because it is ‘being organized and promoted by faculty and administrators of the California State University system’. This is disingenuous. If Ilan Pappe were singing the Israeli State’s praises then you would be fully supportive of such a talk.

It is unfortunate that you don’t even have the honesty to at least say you don’t want Pappe to speak on Californian campuses because you disagree with him. Instead you use ‘the tax payer’ as a convenient peg on which to hang your anti-democratic credentials. But then hypocrisy has always been the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


George said...

Pappé has long acknowledged that he is not objective and cares little about factual accuracy. He readily admits that ideology drives his historical writings and statements. And his ideology can be simply summed up: Israel is illegitimate and should be the target of international sanctions until it is dismantled as a Jewish state.

Pappé freely expresses his attitude toward historical investigation and academic objectivity:

There is no historian in the world who is objective. I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what's happened. ("An Interview of Ilan Pappé," Baudouin Loos, Le Soir [Bruxelles],Nov. 29, 1999)

I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings...(Ibid)

Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what 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 truthseekers. (Ibid)

The debate between us is on one level between historians who believe they are purely objective reconstructers of the past, like [Benny] Morris, and those who claim that they are subjective human beings striving to tell their own version of the past, like myself. (“Benny Morris’s Lies About My Book,” Ilan Pappé, Response to Morris’ critique of Pappé’s book, “A History of Palestine” published in the New Republic, March 22, 2004, History News Network, April 5, 2004)

[Historical] Narratives... when written by historians involved deeply in the subject matter they write about, such as in the case of Israeli historians who write about the Palestine conflict, is motivated also... by a deep involvement and a wish to make a point. This point is called ideology or politics.

Reminds me of some holocaust revisionists.........

Tony Greenstein said...

There is no such thing as 'objectivity'. It depends on where you are standing. Don't accept that the allegation about not being concerned with factual accuracy is correct. That is just spin.

Nor do I accept your summing up of Ilan Pappe's views. Too simple and betray your own agenda.

Pappé freely expresses his attitude toward historical investigation and academic objectivity:

Given that Israel spent years on a deliberate falsification of what happened during the Nakba, making up tales of instructions to the refugees to leave over the radio when no such broadcasts occurred, as Erskine Childers and Rashid Khalidi found when in 1961 they independently checked BBC and CIA transcripts of the relevant broadcasts, we can take it that none of George's favourite historians are objective or truthful.

And yes, Nakba denial is no different in principle from holocaust denial.

Historians usually have pretty fixed opinions on their subject and look for evidence to back up their theses. That is true in many fields in history, not simply Palestine

But it is noticeable how the Zionist lobby does its best, not to challenge what Pappe says, but to prevent him saying it.

That is the purpose of the article. To highlight the little police state functionaries who operate on behalf of the Zionist movement, always trying to get the rich and powerful to censor opinions they disagree with. And why not since they are incapable of defending their views before civilised human beings.

Tom Suarez said...

George writes, "Pappé has long acknowledged that he is not objective and cares little about factual accuracy."
WHAT??!! Apologists for Zionist racism keep repeating this mantra. Pappé, to be sure, does not mince words that the truth of the situation has led him to a "position", and that this position is based explicitly on "factual accuracy" (aka truth).
That George et al must keep repeating this distortion about Pappé illustrates how fast Zionism must run from any empirically-based, anti-racist discussion.

George said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tonyle writes:
"always trying to get the rich and powerful to censor opinions they disagree with. And why not since they are incapable of defending their views before civilised human beings."

Uhhhh reminds me of someone called Tonyle, that is incapable of defending their views before civilised human beings..... so he devoted his life, to censor opinions he dose not disagree with.....mmmm how do you call it Double standards ..... Hypocrisy...... no you are the humanist angel.
When it comes to revisionism that fits your Agenda....... it is more the welcomed.

Tonyle..... you just expressed yourself in the best way.

skidmarx said...

Eyal Mazor wrote a report on these guidelines for Muzzlewatch here

It might be useful to add the link from the original:

George said...

Nor do I accept your summing up of Ilan Pappe's views.

Hard for you to accept, but that's his own words.....
While you don't have any proof for your assumption.

He fabricated historical events and lost in all the Academic investigations and many long trials,

Tony Greenstein said...

George's contributions have been edited because, like most Zionists, he can't help lying or making false accusations.

If Zionist trolls don't understand then let me explain. Anyone making false accusations of 'anti-semitism' will either be moderated or their post will be edited to remove said offensive comments.

Tony Greenstein said...

And then there's George's alter ego - Gilad Atmon - who is complaining of double standards.

I haven't censored Gilad and friends - merely suggested they have no part in the Palestine solidarity movement and should go join their Zionist allies, with whom Atzmon agrees so much anyway.

I always express myself in the best way Gilad, after all I am, as you say, a 'humanist angel'. You are entitled to deny the holocaust, just as George and Daniel deny the Nakba, but you are not entitled to bring the solidarity movement into disrepute by false claiming that they support revisionism of the holocaust rather than the nakba type.

Tony Greenstein said...


>>skidmarx said...
It might be useful to add the link from the original:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?

Weber said...

Greenstein, did you or did you not try to Prevent Atzmon from Speaking in Frieburg.... what was it then, if not the lowest way to "shut up" Atzmon.
"I know that it is not the first time that you try to jeopardize an event with Gilad Atzmon - whether it is supposed to happen in Germany, Switzerland or other countries."
How can you be such a low Hypocrite.
I know you will delete this comment, but everyone knows your double standarts and hypocricy.

Julia Riber Pitt said...

Same thing happened back in 2008 when Norman Finkelstein came to CSUN to speak. I was a freshman there at the time. We didn't know about the huge campaign against him until later that year.

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes very interesting the Jewish Chronicle article on the 'demographic time bomb that the Jewish state can't afford to ignore.'

You would have to be blind not to see the racism oozing from the pores. There are too many Arabs. How do we get rid of them. Doesn't matter what they think. Adolf may be dead but his children are alive and kicking.

As for Gabi Weber, organiser of the ill-fated Atzmon bean feast in Freiburg last year. Still smarting from the withdrawal of speakers, the second rate nonentities who did attend and that's not including the mad jazzman, our garrulous Gabi protests:

'did you or did you not try to Prevent Atzmon from Speaking in Frieburg.

Not at all Ms Weber. I didn't want to shut Atzmon up and prevent him putting his foot in his rather large mouth. Good gracious no. I merely tried to persuade others not to sully their reputations by appearing alongside him. Clearly some people weren't concerned or had no reputation to lose.

Of course I won't delete your comment Gabi. Really it's a quite priceless example of the fact that you still don't get it.

Gert said...

Objectivity does indeed not exist and Pappé is entitled to his opinions like anyone else. Why is it always agenda-driven mental midgets like George who insist on being ‘fair and balanced’ when of course they themselves are far from objective?

Regards Zionist McCarthyism, anybody would think they have something to hide… Oh, wait, they have!

As ever, it raises questions about ‘freedom’ in the ‘land of the free’. Free to parrot official lines, yes but dissent? The US has it’s own way of suppressing dissent: in the USSR they declared you insane, in the US they take away your livelihood! Bunch of cowardly hypocrites…

O/T: there’s a wonderful Al Jazeera, I think it’s called ‘Jaffa: a clocked orange’, about the ethnic cleansing of Jaffa, the theft of orchards and the ‘Jaffa’ brand by the Zionists. It shows once again just what a colonial project it really was, back then…

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, tony, and excellent letter to that zionist twerp, too. One tiny correction: California has two huge systems of universities, one called University of California at, for example, Berkeley or LA and the other called California State University at, say, San Bernardino or San Diego. The first probably has at least ten or twelve campuses by now and the latter has at least twenty campuses. (I left in 1961)

Tony Greenstein said...

Thanks. I had kinda picked up on this difference between the University of California and CSU.

I've received a post back from this Tammi Rossman-Benjamin. And god is it appalling. She should be fired for being an incompetent, plagiarising academic, if that's the right word. It is truly appalling so I've had some fun. Will post when I have uh time, the most precious asset of all as you get older!

Anonymous said...

And recently, she published a short version of her 1964 Civil Rights Act complaint. She uses two examples from her official complaint. Both times she shows that she cannot tell zionsm apart from jewishness.

The jewish daily forward:

Jack said...

Pappe is not only not objective, but he has a well known record of inventing quotes.
His Academic credibility is Zero.
So why should anyone listen to his "Academic" lecture.....
it has nothing to do with his views.

Tony Greenstein said...

Well Jack if his academic credibility is zero, why was he a tenured Professor at Haifa University and the same at Exeter University?

I assume of course that Professor Jack is an academic of even greater esteem? Perhaps Professor Jack, in the interests of transparency and credibility, could let us have his second name and the Institute in which he lectures and researches?

Or is Jack just another Zionist propaganda idiot who says whatever he is presented with, like Rossman-Benjamin?

And if the attempt to stop Pappe speaking has nothing to do with his views, but all those invented quotes, then why did Ross-Benjamin not say so? She talked about 'anti-Semitism'. Presumably it's not anti-semitic to have no academic credibility?

Rossman Benjamin and her fellow McCarthyites objected not because Pappe had no academic credibility but because he was all too credible and they didn't want all those poor little things, especially Jewish students, from hearing how they had been fed a pack of lies from early childhood. Who knows that 'anti-Semitic' traumas the little darlings might experience.

Anonymous said...

tonyle loves Pappe "one of the tribe"....... until Pappe will discover who tonyle is....
print his comments and compare after the real Tonyle will be exposed by Pape.......and then little tonyle will write the opposite.

Tony Greenstein said...

No Pappe is not one of the tribe Atzmon. He is simply a brilliant historian who has exposed many myths and fallacies. Maybe he could start on the history of an Israeli informant and Revisionist Zionist, Gilad Atzmon!