Physical Assaults, Smearing Professors, and Silencing Palestinian Refugees

This e-mail was originally sent to signatories of this Open Letter on April 16, 2016. 

When we came together last summer to oppose false accusations of anti-Semitism within the movement for Palestine, we agreed, “We are painfully aware that there are well funded opponents who spare no effort to undermine and divide this movement for justice and human rights in Palestine.”

Unfortunately, we were right.

When Alison Weir gave a talk last month in Walnut Creek, California, anonymous Zionist activists used false accusations of anti-Semitism from US Campaign and Jewish Voice for Peace to mobilize protests against the talk. One of the Zionist protesters then physically assaulted a woman in the audience and was arrested by police.

When eminent Stanford professor David Palumbo-Liu recommended If Americans Knew in an article written in Salon, a writer at the Zionist Tablet Mag began smearing the professor — making liberal use of the accusations provided by US Campaign and Jewish Voice for Peace. Unfortunately, it appears that Professor Palumbo-Liu, conceding that If Americans Knew provides useful information from reliable sources, felt compelled to withdraw his recommendation.

And perhaps most regrettably, Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine attempted to censor Amena El-Ashkar, a guest speaker from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, from challenging Israel’s “right to exist”. When the speaker, understandably infuriated, called off the talk, Stanford SJP tried to cover up censoring their own guest by falsely blaming it on Alison Weir — making full use of JVP’s accusations. Alison was in the audience and had provided informational flyers for the talk — one of which, written by John Whitbeck, argues against Israel’s so-called “right to exist”. Alison wasn’t even presenting!  And that same student group recommends If Americans Knew on their own website! The Students claim that Alison “refused to leave,” causing them to cancel the talk, but El-Ashkar says that she — not the Students — called off the talk out of frustration with attempted censorship. Alison Weir denies being asked to leave and no security personnel were ever called to remove anyone.

Amena ElAshkar Interview
Watch Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, Amena El-Ashkar explain why she was censored at Stanford.


The students have since conceded that they attempted to censor the talk out of fear of campus repression, but have not issued any apologies to Ms. El-Ashkar and insist that Alison Weir is to blame.

Unfortunately, it appears that the damage from these attacks is still resonating — to the point that information sessions, Stanford professors, and even Palestinian refugees from Lebanon — have to pay the price.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Don’t let Zionist activists shut down talks. You can attend one yourself here.

2. Don’t let Palestinian refugees like Amena El-Ashkar be silenced. Consider attending one of the talks on the North American Nakba Tour. Please watch and share Amena’s version of the events.

3. Take Dr. Palumbo-Liu’s advice. Visit If Americans Knew for news and analysis!s!

Share this e-mail with your lists.

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