Print

Print


http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article989.shtml

The Electronic Intifada, 18 December 2002

800 American professors sign document warning of coming Israeli ethnic
cleansing

Nigel Parry

Earlier this year, 187 Israeli professors signed an "Urgent Warning"
letter titled "The Israeli government may be contemplating crimes
against humanity." As of today, 800 American professors have signed a
similar document, warning of coming Israeli ethnic cleansing.

Released on 29 September 2002, the original Israeli letter began by
stating, "We, members and friends of Israeli academe, are horrified by
US buildup of aggression towards Iraq and by the Israeli political
leadership's enthusiastic support for it. We are deeply worried by
indications that the 'fog of war' could be exploited by the Israeli
government to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up
to full-fledged ethnic cleansing."

The letter continued on to note that the coalition ruling Israel
included parties that promote ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian
population as a "solution" to the conflict, the letter cited several
examples of senior Israeli government and military officials using the
language of ethnic cleansing, and called on the international community
to "pay close attention to events that unfold within Israel and in the
Occupied Territories."

The American letter, released on 18 December 2002, opens with
expressions of full support for the Israeli letter. Signed by 800
professors and intellectuals to date, the U.S. letter concludes: We join
with our Israeli colleagues in calling for vigilance as events unfold in
Israel and the Occupied Territories. With an average of more than $10
million dollars per day of American tax dollars going to Israel, we
believe Americans cannot remain silent while crimes as abhorrent as
ethnic cleansing are being openly advocated.

We urge our government to communicate clearly to the government of
Israel that the expulsion of people according to race, religion or
nationality would constitute crimes against humanity and will not be
tolerated. More information about the U.S. letter, including
instructions on how to sign it, can be found at
www.professorsofconscience.org.

This initiative by American academics represents a highly significant
mainstream articulation of Palestinian concerns about where the
international community's tacit acceptance of Israel's now regular
excessive use of force will ultimately lead.

The letter is expected to draw much criticism and praise in the
hotly-contested arena of Middle East education. Earlier this year, a few
days before the Israeli academics' letter was released, EI reported on
the launch of the Campus Watch website, an initiative by Daniel Pipes to
encourage McCarthyite monitoring of faculty opinion and lesson plans in
U.S. higher education institutions.

Such initiatives would seem to have failed. It appears from today's
letter and several other recent moves to encourage universities to
remove Israeli stocks from their investment portfolios, that U.S.
faculty are increasingly feeling the need to express an opinion on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and their message is not one that Mr.
Pipes or his ilk wish to hear.

Nigel Parry

Nigel Parry is one of the founders of the Electronic Intifada.

Full text of the U.S. letter and initial signatories

LETTER AGAINST EXPULSION OF THE PALESTINIANS

18 DECEMBER 2002

AMERICAN ACADEMICS JOIN ISRAELI COLLEAGUES IN WARNING AGAINST ETHNIC
CLEANSING

We, American academics and intellectuals, applaud our courageous Israeli
colleagues for their recent letter warning of the possibility of ethnic
cleansing in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The 187 Israeli
signatories express concern that the "fog of war" [against Iraq] "could
be exploited by the Israeli government to commit further crimes against
the Palestinian people, up to full- fledged ethnic cleansing."

The Israeli professors point out that: "The Israeli ruling coalition
includes parties that promote 'transfer' of the Palestinian population
as a solution to what they call 'the demographic problem'. Politicians
are regularly quoted in the media as suggesting forcible expulsion, most
recently MKs [members of the Israeli parliament] Michael Kleiner and
Benny Elon, as reported on Yediot Ahronot website on September 19, 2002.
In a recent interview in Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Chief of Staff Moshe
Ya'alon described the Palestinians as a 'cancerous manifestation' and
equated the military actions in the Occupied Territories with
'chemotherapy', suggesting that more radical 'treatment' may be
necessary. Prime Minister Sharon has backed this 'assessment of
reality'.

Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of
Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being
contemplated." Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly appointed Israeli foreign
minister, previously advocated expelling Palestinians while the world
was distracted with events at Tiananmen Square.

We join with our Israeli colleagues in calling for vigilance as events
unfold in Israel and the Occupied Territories. With an average of more
than $10 million dollars per day of American tax dollars going to
Israel, we believe Americans cannot remain silent while crimes as
abhorrent as ethnic cleansing are being openly advocated.

We urge our government to communicate clearly to the government of
Israel that the expulsion of people according to race, religion or
nationality would constitute crimes against humanity and will not be
tolerated.

Professor Joel Beinin, Stanford
Professor George Bisharat, UC Hastings
Professor Beshara Doumani, UC Berkeley
Professor James G. Ferguson, University of California, Irvine
Professor James Fujii, University of California, Irvine
Professor Zachary Lockman, New York University
Professor Liisa Malkki, University of California, Irvine
Professor Timothy Mitchell, New York University
Professor Glenn Morris, University of Colorado
Professor Gabi Piterberg, UC Los Angeles
Professor James Pope, Rutgers University, School of Law
Professor Glenn E. Robinson, Naval Postgraduate School
Professor Ted Swedenburg, University of Arkansas
Professor Anthony Thompson, New York University
Professor Judith Tucker, Georgetown University

A full list of the 800 current signatories can be found at
www.professorsofconscience.org.