Wednesday, September 05, 2007

From Bil'in to Chicago: bulletins from the front say the struggle continues

Two press releases, bulletins from different ends of one front line:

ISRAEL's High Court has released its verdict in the petition of the Palestinian village of Bil'in against the separation barrier constructed on its land. After two and a half years of struggle, in which the villagers were joined by Palestinian, Israeli and international supporters, and weekly faced tear gas and rubber bullets, the High Court recognised there was an injustice.

The Israeli group Gush Shalom continues this report:
It decided that the present route of the fence is illegal and that the State must propose an alternative route within a reasonable period. According to the decision, the alternative route must retain Bil'in agricultural land on the Palestinian side of the barrier. Moreover, the court has decided that the benefits of the present route is disproportional to the damage it causes, and ordered the state to consider refraining from including the planned eastern section of the "Matitiahu-Mizrah" neighborhood on the "Israeli" side of the fence.

In the words of the judges "The present route raises grave questions also in regards to the security advantages it was said to provideā€¦and the selected route cannot be explained other then by the intention to include the eastern section of "Matitiahu-Mizrah" on the west side of the separation barrier".

This means that the route cannot be rationalized except by the efforts to steal and confiscate the land, consideration forbidden even by the criteria endorsed by the court. Even with the best legal representation the ruling could not have arrived at without the unrelenting struggle mounted by the village of Bil'in against the construction of the barrier. The residents of Bil'in had raised the flag of the joint non-violent struggle from the very beginning of construction on the barrier and did not forsake it for a moment.

All of us, who shared the struggle, are fortunate to have participated in an event unprecedented in its importance. We were privileged to have formed very meaningful bonds as well a sense of empowerment that is the prize of those who persists in confronting violent oppression and overcome it. The journey is still long. The High-Court, failed to rule that the wall should be moved to the Green-Line (the pre-1967 Israeli border), and of course did not abolish the separation it produces. The present ruling is indeed an achievement and reinforces the popular struggle against the wall.

The common struggle against the occupation shall go on! Palestinians and Israelis shall join hands and shall behold, through their deeds, that the apartheid shall fail and the robbery shall not pass!

On this coming Friday We shall all arrive to Bil'in to show the occupation system that the struggle against the apartheid and theft, and for justice and equality is well alive! Transportation will leave from Tel Aviv - Arlozorov train station and Jerusalem - Bell park, Gan Hapa'amon.

Next from Jewish Voice for Peace, in the United States, news of the struggle at
De Paul University, in Chicago, where two professors were denied tenure following a campaign against one of them in particular, Professor Norman Finkelstein, led by Zionist witch-hunter Alan Dershowitz.

Jewish Voice for Peace reports:
Following a large demonstration in support of academic freedom this morning, Professor Finkelstein met with DePaul University officials and reached a settlement in his tenure dispute. Profesor Finkelstein reminded the assembled supporters that the denial of tenure to Professore Mehrene Larudee remains an open wound at DePaul.

Please write an urgent letter of protest to the DePaul's University President (Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider) and Provost (Dr. Helmut Epp) today! We will send a copy of your letter to the De Paul Academic Freedom Committee, a student organization that seeks to preserve academic freedom on campus.

Prof. Finkelstein issued a joint statement with De Paul University, which reads in part:
During my six year stint at DePaul I consistently received among the highest student evaluations in my department. I have published five books to critical acclaim from leading scholars, and they have been translated into 46 foreign editions. I have been recognized as a public intellectual in the United States and Europe and have become an internationally recognized scholar in my academic specialties. Based on that record, I should have received tenure. Indeed, after extensive scrutiny of my academic credentials, my department voted overwhelmingly to tenure me as did the college-level tenure committee, which voted unanimously in my favor. The only interference that I can draw is that I was denied tenure due to external pressures climaxing in a national hysteria that tainted the tenure process. The outpouring of support for me after the tenure denial from among the most respected scholars in the world buttresses this conclusion.

Profesor Finkelstein reminded the assembled supporters that the denial of tenure to Professor Mehrene Larudee remains 'an open wound' at De Paul. Prof. Larudee, a universally respected professor of international studies, who openly advocated for Finkelstein, was denied tenure at the same time as Prof. Finkelstein, to the shock of her colleagues.

'Our jaws just dropped, hit the floor, when we saw the decision went the other way.'--Michael A. McIntyre, director, De Paul's program of international studies, in response to denial of tenure to Dr. Mehrene Larudee.

Dr. Larudee, rejected for tenure at the same time as Norman G. Finkelstein, believes her advocacy for the embattled political scientist may have derailed her career.

'There is no good explanation for why I was denied tenure,' Mehrene E. Larudee, an assistant professor of international studies, said in an interview on Monday. 'So one has to look elsewhere.'

Praised as 'outstanding' by the dean of her college and recommended unanimously by distinguished faculty peers during the tenure process, Ms. Larudee was 19 days away from becoming director of De Paul's program in international studies when she learned on Friday of the decision against her.
(Larudee is a member of the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.)

For more on the struggle at De Paul:

and Jewish Voice for Peace:

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