Sunday, February 17, 2008

Welcome to "Palestine Awareness Week" at the University of Michigan

Post below lifted from Anti-racist Blog. See the original for links

Today marked the start of "Palestine Awareness Week" at the University of Michigan. The inaugural lecture was performed by anti-Israel Wayne State University anthropology professor Thomas Abowd. The theme of the event was supposed to be "Introducing Palestine", but the event instead focused on "demonizing and de-legitimizing" Israel.

Anti-Semitic Ann Arbor extremists were out in full force for the launch of the week's events.

You may remember this guy (pictured above and below) from a past ARA/WSU protest at Wayne State, where he held an almost identical sign. ARA/WSU is an anti-Israel/anti-Semitic group based out of Detroit. Most people believe the guy with the sign is Ann Arbor attorney Blaine Coleman, known for his irrational outbursts and public protests.

Below you can see anti-Zionist, and many would say anti-semitic (by most standards) Ann Arbor protester Dr. Catherine Wilkerson, who attended the event. She recently made news after being arrested by the Ann Arbor police.

Catherine spends her weekends intimidating Jews who worship at Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor. Check out Dr. Wilkerson and her wacko companions at the S.P.U.R.N. website, dedicated to exposing their activities.

Below you can see the back of Catherine's t-shirt. Of course, she doesn't mind spreading the apartheid lie about Israel. Good thing telling the truth isn't a requirement of practicing medicine, or she might be in trouble. [Update: It seems that Catherine Wilkerson has been fired from her job recently. Her creepy disruptions of in front of Beth Israel congregation seemed to cause some tensions with her employer.] Some members of the week's main sponsor, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), also wore these shirts.

Before the presentation began, Thomas Abowd apparently told some pro-Israel observers at the lecture not to take any pictures or video of him (like this picture of him speaking at an ARA/WSU rally), or they would face unnamed consequences. This is despite the fact that his lecture was open to the public, and was held in a lecture auditorium of a public law school. Why so shy professor Abowd?

On a similar note, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) called the police on one pro-Israel Michigan student who was videotaping the lecture (hopefully he'll send us the link if he puts the video on You Tube). The student was well within his rights to videotape, and it was hypocritical for SAFE to object to the taping since SAFE reportedly allowed at least three other video cameras to record the event (of course the three cameras weren't owned by Israel supporters). Unfortunately, the hypocrisy label and the law didn't stop SAFE from sicking the police on this student and asking that he be removed. After over 10 minutes in the hall with the police, the student was allowed back in, with instructions from the police to stop taping, on SAFE's orders.

It is clear that SAFE supports Freedom and Equality for themselves, but not for those who disagree with them. Certainly not for those who support the safety and security of Israelis. Anti-Racist Blog has been saying for months that SAFE cares little about free speech and free expression- they are just an anti-Israel group with a misleading name- and SAFE proved this to be true at the presentation tonight.

Below you can see a kafiyah wearing audience member. Did her dog chew on the scarf, or is she going to blame Israel for that too?

During the presentation Professor Abowd falsely accused Israel of ethnic cleaning, and apartheid like behavior. One of Abowd's most outrageous moments was when he questioned why "Zionists" would "cry" when Palestinians say they want to push Israelis into the sea; because according to Abowd, the Israelis did just that to the Palestinians. No sympathy for Israelis from Abowd. Professor Abowd also warned that Israel can keep all of Jerusalem, or it can have peace, but not both.

Here are a few more pictures of the audience, which did not come close to filling the lecture hall.

Readers report that in the Q & A, Professor Abowd was asked by an audience member whether he agreed with the message on the swastika sign held by the protester (probably Blaine Coleman) outside. Abowd stated that comparing Israelis to Nazi is tactically a bad idea, and not a comparison he would make. However, Abowd couldn't explain why he compared Palestinians to Jewish victims of the Nazis in his paper entitled "Memories of Flight and Rights in Jerusalem."

In that paper, Abowd wrote,

"Jerusalem’s future status, therefore, must be dealt with...Luckily, there exists a precedent for dealing with and remembering crimes committed decades ago. The theft of Jewish property by various European countries and banks (most notable Swiss banks) during the 1930’s and 1940’s have been brought up with greater intensity in the last decade by various Jewish bodies. These powerful claims for reparations and for the return of stolen property are legitimate, even fifty years later, and those whose property was stolen by Germany and others in the 1940’s must be compensated fairly. But if this principle of restitution applies to these Jewish victims from Europe, should not the same principle also apply to Palestinians...?"

Mr. Abowd also announced that he has a book forthcoming, which will be published by a University Press in California (surprisingly not Pluto Press). He wasn't specific, but the same publisher also published at least one notorious book by Hezbollah supporter and disgraced former professor Norman Finkelstein. Not a great gift for Hanukkah.

Most outrageous in terms of audience statements was when one man called Israelis "savages" and another falsely accused Israel of "genocide" during the Q & A. This hatefest was despicable, but unfortunately all too common on college campuses.

The state of higher edukation in Colorado

Post below lifted from Jammie wearer. See the original for links

First up is this little bit about the Colorado Department of Higher Education trying to block a proposed piece of legislation to grant free tuition to wounded and disabled veterans. They of course make their argument in monetary terms. What these veterans sacrificed for on their behalf can not be measured in monetary terms. The legislation was actually sponsored by a Democrat in their state house.
In an e-mail Monday to two dozen Capitol lobbyists, Cathy Wanstrath, a lobbyist for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, laid out a plan to kill the measure when it is heard by the Appropriations Committee on Friday. "I think you all agree we need to kill this bill, and (the Colorado Department of Higher Education) has been happy to take the lead," according to the memo obtained Tuesday by the Rocky Mountain News. "However, we need your help in the next couple of days to count the votes to kill it in committee."

I wonder if they would be making this argument if it was for, say, in-state tuition for undocumented extended family members of illegal aliens?
But the staff noted that if 10 undergraduates took advantage of the tuition waiver at CU-Boulder for four years, it would cost the school $216,720. A "hugely constrained" budget has no room for such a waiver.

Contrary to popular belief, veterans do not get free tuition, the government doesn't pay for college after your service. That form of tuition assistance for veterans died during the Carter administration. There are two separate sets of rules governing this. One for the Vietnam veterans and another for those of us who served post-Vietnam.

Folks need to get the facts and quit assuming that the educational benefits of today's veterans match those of previous generations. There are plans, but all of them call for the service member to have contributed money to the fund during the time he was serving and there are a lot of strings.

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