Friday, September 17, 2004


On October 15-17th, Duke University is scheduled to host the Fourth Annual Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement. This year's event was originally slated for the West Coast (last year's was at Ohio State), but the organizers had to look elsewhere because of reports in Frontpage Magazine and elsewhere that chants of "Kill the Jews" were heard during the proceedings of the first conference at UC-Berkeley. The same chants were repeated at the University of Michigan conference the following year, where the guest of honor was Sami al-Arian, the U.S. head of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian won't be appearing at the Duke event because he is currently in federal lock-up. His group is responsible for the murder of more than 100 people inside Israel including some American citizens. The campaign Frontpage Magazine waged against the conference at Ohio State, the third conference site, undoubtedly contributed to making university administrators in California skittish about holding such an event again.

Duke was chosen because it is a private university and less beholden to the public than taxpayer-supported institutions. Duke also has a history of inviting terrorists to proselytize its students. Two years ago Duke invited Sami al-Arian to keynote an academic conference on "National Security and Civil Liberties." Al-Arian was invited as a civil liberties expert. Last year, Duke's African and African-American Studies Department invited Weatherman terrorist Laura Whitehorn who had set off a bomb in the Pentagon and served 14 years in federal penitentiary for her act. The Duke faculty presented Whitehorn to Duke students as a "revolutionary anti-imperialist who spent over fourteen years in federal prison as a political prisoner."

The Ohio State Solidarity conference presented one face to the outside world and another to those who attended its closed workshop sessions. The press conference before the event was a propaganda show as the organizers claimed to be hosting an academic meeting to discuss ways to bring a non-violent settlement to the Middle East. Once the press was gone, the interior workshops addressed to ways to conduct war against Israel and its supporters by promoting divestment, getting control of campus newspapers, joining a campaign to ruin the business of the Caterpillar Corporation (because the Israeli army uses these bulldozers to unearth terrorist tunnels), and other like concerns. Ways to counter negative press reporting of suicide bombings were also discussed - but never whether one should condemn them.

The Ohio Solidarity Conference used airport-style metal detectors to confiscate tape recorders and cameras, while the press was barred. The Duke Solidarity Conference will follow the same procedures......

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