On April 4th we posted a report on our news site about how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) targets student leaders from around the country, bringing over 1,000 students to its annual national convention in Washington D.C.
In a chilling JTA video from this convention, longtime AIPAC operative Jonathon Kessler is seen describing the Israel lobby's' plan to take over the University of California Berkeley student government, which had passed by 16-4 a resolution detested by the pro-Israel lobby.
In front of a cheering throng, Kessler announced:
We’re going to make certain that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote. That is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capitol. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses.
Yes, that is exactly what the Israel lobby has often succeeded in doing in Congress and throughout the United States. It has taken over numerous campus organizations, university departments, and even churches. (See my recent article giving some of the specifics of this decades-long campaign).
For years writers such as Paul Findley, Edward Tivnan, George Ball, Donald Neff, John Mulhall, Steven Green, James Abourezek, Andrew Killgore, Richard Curtiss, Janet McMahon, Delinda Hanley, James Ennes, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have described this process, but their books have been largely suppressed and/or attacked and only a very small portion of the American public is aware of ths information.
Please view the following video and send it to others. It is time for all of us – of all religions, races, ethnicities and political backgrounds – to oppose this fanatic, destructive, manipulative, and massively powerful special interest pressure group.
Following is a moving letter that one person has already sent:
Dear members of the ASUC Senate,
My name is Anne Weinstein Garcia. I am a Jewish American woman and a college teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But I will always call California “home”. I was born in California, received my doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco and was fortunate enough to be fully funded by a prestigious scholarship for my complete tenure there. Preceding my doctoral work (and post-doctoral studies in Cambridge, England), I had received other academic degrees in Fresno and San Diego.
I mention all of these experiences as evidence of what would appear to be a strong educational background.
But at the ripe old age of 50 (almost 6 years ago), I discovered that my education in at least one arena was sadly lacking—the “story” of Israel. Now I had been told a story over all those years—from my family, my friends, my temple and my community. This story was corroborated by the popular culture that emphasized the frequent persecution of people of the Jewish faith during Biblical times; I saw the film “The Ten Commandments” when I was 4 or 5 and read Exodus when I was 13. My understanding of why the state of Israel was to be celebrated was also based on the narratives of various plays and films I attended as a young adult—I know the words to “Fiddler on the Roof” by heart. And much of these “historical” events did take place—in one fashion or another.
Unfortunately, however, none of these experiences provided me with the factual basis of why Israel was founded, and equally importantly, how it was founded—namely, on the backs of the Palestinian people. The injustice that has been done to them for over 60 years now is so reminiscent of the mistreatment of Jews throughout history that one is blinded by the parallels.
By now I have to believe that you, as educated members of the Berkeley campus (a campus from which both of my nieces recently graduated and one of them is currently completing her residency at UC Davis), know full well that the only thing that stands between human rights for the Palestinians and the abuse of power by Israel is the political will of Americans to do the right thing. We must stop supporting Israel’s mistreatment of these people—stop the diplomatic support, stop the political support and, in your case, stop the financial support.
To this end, I strongly urge you to reaffirm Senate Bill 118A, despite the recent presidential veto. Divesting from the occupation is a critical nonviolent tool for putting pressure on Israel to abide by international law. Stand tall against false criticism—you know and I know that there is nothing against Judaic principles when one protects the victim of an attack. And that is what has happened for 62 years—the Palestinians have been victims—the “fall guys” for the entire world—not Hitler and his cronies who produced the Holocaust—but the people of Palestine who had NOTHING to do with it.
Jewish people around the world, whether they know it or not, will benefit from this important and appropriate action on the part of the Berkeley Student Senate.
Anne Weinstein Garcia
(An excellent blog report on this can be seen on a site by Richard Brenneman.)