America's College Campuses Rise Up Against Israel's Genocidal War on Gaza

Zionists are "secular" but they use God as their "land agent" who gave them the "promised land", says Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University. Jews believe they are God's "chosen people" who are exempt from the rules that apply to non-Jews, according to Israeli author and journalist Gideon Levi. Israel is carrying out "ethnic cleansing … and that may become genocide”, adds Israeli American scholar Omer Bartov. "No, Palestinians did not commit acts of terrorism, Israel did, tweets Miko Peled, son of a former Israeli general. These few quotes summarize current thoughts of some of the former Zionists.  

Pro-Palestine Protest at UCLA. Source: Daily Bruin

Genocidal War:

Israel has completely cut off water, food, electricity, fuel and communications in Gaza. It is bombing its 2 million trapped residents around the clock since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israelis by Hamas. On the ground in Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promised "Mighty Vengeance" is in fact a genocidal war on Gaza. Thousands of Palestinian civilians, mainly innocent children and women, have been killed by Israel's bombing. The Israeli military has destroyed hospitals, churches, mosques, apartment blocks and schools. Large parts of Gaza have been turned to rubble by the Israeli air strikes. Multiple generations of families have been completely wiped out. Craig Mokhiber, a UN human rights official, has called it “textbook genocide” and accused the UN of again “failing” to act, referring to previous genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Myanmar. Israeli government ministers' statements calling Gazans "human animals" and their intentions of "flattening Gaza" lend support to Mokhiber's conclusions. He has resigned from his UN post in protest. At a recent senate hearing, Pakistan-born US Senator Chris Van Hollen  (D-MD) presented Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with statistics and a personal story of loss when questioning him about Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza. Van Hollen said:

"Last night, my wife and I learned that someone we know well lost two family members and four of their children killed in bombing in Gaza. So, they are not yet included in the most recent death toll reported by the United Nations yesterday, which says the number of dead has risen to over 8,300 people, 70% of them women and children, including 3,457 children. These are UN figures. According to UN figures, that is about six times more children killed in three weeks in Gaza than the number of children killed in Ukraine during the entire war there.And if you scale the deaths of those Palestinian children to the United States population, it’s comparable to more than 230,000 American children killed. The executive director of UNICEF, Catherine Russell, said at the current rate, more than 420 children are being killed and injured in the Gaza each day, a number, she said, which should shake us to our core. I agree".

The Original Sin:

Speaking at the UN General Assembly debate on the Gaza ceasefire resolution, the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram provided the historical context for what is happening now. He said Israel’s occupation and killing of Palestinians “is the original sin” and not what happened on Oct 7. “We all know who started this. It is 50 years of Israeli occupation and the killing of Palestinians with impunity,” he added. The resolution passed with 145 countries voting in favor and 14 against, including the United States and Israel. 

College Campus Protests:

There have been massive protests on US college campuses against mass killings of civilians by indiscriminate Israeli bombings in Gaza. Vast majority of the victims of Israel's attacks are women and children who make up over two-thirds of the Gaza population. These protests have drawn the ire of Israel supporters who are alleging antisemitism to try to stop these protests. Some wealthy pro-Israel Jewish donors are threatening college administrators, while others are rescinding job offers made to students who have participated in anti-Israel rallies. In the media, several journalists have been fired for expressing pro-Palestine views. 

Israel Apartheid and BDS:

According to Amnesty International, Israel's practices in Israel and the occupied territories amount to Apartheid, which is prohibited in international law.   Prior to the latest protests, dozens of US college campuses voted for and passed BDS (Boycott-Divest-Suspend) resolutions against Israel with overwhelming majority. These were designed to send a message to the Jewish state to abandon its Apartheid policies aimed at the Palestinians.  

Jewish Americans Call For Ceasefire:

Many Jewish Americans have marched in support of a ceasefire in Gaza that has been proposed to stop the slaughter of Palestinian civilians and allow aid agencies to deliver desperately needed help to relieve the immense suffering of the civilian population. Overwhelming majority of countries voted for this ceasefire at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 145 countries voted in favor of this resolution and 14 against, including the United States and Israel. 

US Opinion Polls:

Polls show that the majority of young Americans oppose the Biden administration policy of unconditional support for Israel.  A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 51% of voters under 35 say they disapprove of the United States’ sending weapons and military support to Israel—a much higher figure than the 28% of Americans who oppose such a policy. Only 21% of voters under 35 say they approve of Biden’s Israel policy; 42% of voters across all age brackets approve.

A CBS News poll conducted last week found that 59% of respondents under 30 oppose sending weapons and supplies to Israel. An even more resounding 64% of those between age 30 and 44—a bracket more likely to vote that carries the whole millennial generation and part of Gen X—said the U.S. should not.

US Pew Poll Conducted in 2022. Source: Pew Research

Democrats Split:

Some strong voices critical of Israel have recently emerged in the US Congress, particularly among the progressive Democrats. A Pew survey conducted last year found that only 44% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents have a favorable view of Israel.  Conservative and moderate Democrats (50%) are more favorable toward Israel than liberal Democrats (36%).  But the party establishment, led by the Biden administration, remains totally committed to supporting the Jewish state unconditionally. This split could cost Democrats enough votes for them to lose the White House and both houses of Congress in 2024. 

American Muslim Vote:

Recent Reuters/Zogby poll shows that only 17% of Arab-Americans expressed support for President Biden, a huge drop from the 59% support he received in 2020. American Muslim vote is particularly important in swing states where Biden won by a small margin in 2020. For example, Biden won Michigan by about 154,000 votes, and there are estimated 242,000 Muslims in the state. And he won Minnesota by about 233,000, where there are an estimated 115,00 Muslims, according to an NBC report

The White House has unveiled a strategy to combat Islamophobia, an attempt to woo Muslim voters. "We look forward to continuing our work with community leaders, advocates, members of Congress, and more to develop the strategy – which will be a joint effort led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council – and counter the scourge of Islamophobia and hate in all its forms," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.


US polls indicate that Israel's genocidal actions in Occupied Palestine are costing the Jewish state the support of many young Americans, and causing a major split in the Democratic Party. These events do not augur well for Israel in the long run. It is time for the Israeli public to ponder if it is wise to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of continued occupation and destruction of Palestine. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Modi and Netanyahu: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Israel's Gaza Attack is Criminal, Not Defensive

Pictorial Review of Israel's Young Gaza Victims

Kashmir: 700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 7 Million Kashmiris

Israeli Settler Colonialism

India Promotes Half Truths About UNSC Kashmir Resolutions

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Total, Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

What is India Hiding From UN Human Rights Team?

Indian JNU Professor on Illegal Indian Occupation of Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
N.Y. Times writer quits over open letter accusing Israel of ‘genocide’

The newspaper said award-winning journalist Jazmine Hughes resigned (forced out) after violating newsroom policy by signing a public statement protesting Israeli actions.

By Avi Selk and Samantha Chery

Riaz Haq said…
A chant used at anti-Israel protests on two college campuses does not call for ‘Jewish genocide’ | AP News

CLAIM: Pro-Palestine rallies at UCLA, Penn and elsewhere are calling for “Jewish genocide.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The chant uttered during recent demonstrations is being misrepresented. Protestors aren’t saying “We want Jewish genocide,” but “Israel, we charge you with genocide.” Experts and advocates say it’s a typical refrain heard at pro-Palestinian rallies.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing videos they claim show college students calling for the extermination of Jewish people as they protest the Israel-Hamas war on campuses across the country.

One video shows a group of people chanting protest slogans as they marched through the University of California, Los Angeles, campus last week.

“In UCLA hundreds of students chanting: ‘Israel Israel you can’t hide, we want Jewish genocide’,” wrote one Instagram user in a post sharing the video last week. “This is not 1930s Germany, this is in Los Angeles October 26th 2023!”

Another video captures similar sounding protest chants at Penn’s campus in Philadelphia on Oct. 16.

“Students @uofpenn gathered chanting ‘We want Jewish genocide’ ‘there is only 1 solution’ in reference to the Nazis ‘final solution’,” wrote an Instagram user who shared the clip in a post. “There has possibly never ever been a more dangerous time to be a Jewish student as Antisemitism continues to grow as a disease.”

But the anti-Israel chants heard during the pro-Palestine rallies are being misquoted, Jewish and Palestinian groups say.

The protestors are actually chanting, “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide: We charge you with genocide,” the Anti-Defamation League, which frequently speaks out against anti-Semitism and extremism, confirmed in an email Tuesday.

It’s a familiar refrain at anti-Israel rallies, but non-Israel-related versions are also heard at other protests, the New York-based Jewish group noted on a page on its webpage debunking false information about the ongoing conflict.

Indeed news outlets in Houston, Chicago and other cities reported the same chant at pro-Palestinian rallies this month.

Penn Students Against the Occupation, which organized the Penn rally, dismissed the claims as “blatant disinformation” in a statement posted on Instagram.

“PAO would like to explicitly state that this claim is false and did not happen whatsoever,” the group wrote, noting that it was just one of many chats during the demonstration. “PAO unequivocally stands with Palestine in the face of ongoing genocide committed by the Israeli government, which has been assisted by other Western allies like the United States.”

The chants last week at UCLA were similarly misquoted, the university said on a webpage correcting misinformation related to campus events.

Dan Gold, who heads Hillel UCLA, a major Jewish organization on campus, noted his organization has called out the rally for its harmful rhetoric in its public statements.

But he personally observed the protest and confirmed there was no direct call to exterminate Jews.
Riaz Haq said…
Universities lost their way on free speech amid the Gaza war - Vox

By Fabiola Cineas

Emotions and fears are running high: Jewish students and student groups say they are fearful of antisemitism on campus. Palestinian students say they are facing Islamophobia and racism. Students who signed petitions that critics say supported Hamas in the wake of its October 7 attack are losing career opportunities or have been publicly named and investigated.

The leading group advocating for free speech on campus argues that the problem is not that universities are doing too little to stifle hateful speech; it’s that they have already done too much. Amid the major social and political catastrophes of the past decade, higher education institutions have strayed away from their mission: to foster dialogue and the flow of different ideas, said Alex Morey, the director of the campus rights advocacy program at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

Sometimes the free flow of dialogue can be uncomfortable, and FIRE often defends statements and individuals who are unpopular. Even as people on and off campus fear that heated rhetoric will lead to an increase in Islamophobic or antisemitic violence, Morey argues colleges should not stop their students from making statements that many find deeply upsetting or even dangerous. Instead, she said, colleges should focus on creating a safe environment where even jarring, hurtful, or racist notions can be discussed and debated.
Riaz Haq said…
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt - The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt discuss their book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," at Cambridge Forum. They argue that a group of pro-Israel activists are manipulating U.S. foreign policy.
Riaz Haq said…
William Dalrymple
The great Gideon Levy
. One of the bravest men I know and the finest speaker we have ever had on the Middle East


Keynote Gideon Levy: Democracy and Human Rights in Israel – 2022 May - Transcending the Israel Lobby at Home and Abroad - WRMEA

This is the core of Zionism. This feeling of chosen people is still very deep rooted in Israel. The consequence is that everything which refers to any other country in the world does not refer to Israel. That we are a special case. That international law should be implemented everywhere, but we are a different case. That a Molotov bottle against a Jewish soldier is not like a Molotov bottle against a Russian soldier because we are different, because we are chosen, because of this damned Jewish supremacy.


Now the real turning point should be, for us, the moment that each of us realize that the Israeli occupation is not a temporary phenomenon. I think that most of the people, if not all of them, understand that the occupation is there to stay. And Israel never had the slightest intention to put an end to it. All the efforts were only to mislead the West and to maintain the occupation. All this longest peace process in history, which never led to anywhere, was never aimed to lead to anywhere. All those efforts were only in order to mislead you and enable the occupation to grow, including Oslo.

So, even Oslo was a trap. We can argue if it was a planned trap or just came out as a trap, but it was a trap. All the other efforts to put an end to the occupation never aimed really to bring an end to the occupation. Because there was never a government in Israel, never ever—including Nobel Prize peace winners—none of them really meant to put an end to the occupation. They meant to make the occupation easier, more comfortable, and above all more viable. We all believed in it and we all fell into this trap. But now it’s over. This masquerade, I believe, is over.


I guess some of you know Israelis and have met Israelis. When an Israeli says that the Israeli army is the most moral army in the world, they truly believe in it. Try to tell an Israeli that maybe the IDF is the second moral army in the world. Try. You’re an anti-Semite. How dare you? How dare you? We built this field hospital in Nepal when there were floods there. What other army is so human? The belief that we are so good and the army is so moral is very deeply rooted. When you believe in it, there is no problem with the occupation.

The Israeli society, as I said, protects itself by denial and by two or three more mechanisms which enable us to feel so good about ourselves and not be troubled at all from the occupation. One is the chosen people. Because if we are the chosen people, so there’s no problem. We have the moral right to do whatever we want. We are the chosen people. The second one is obviously the Holocaust. As the late [Israeli Prime Minister] Golda Meir phrased it once, after the Holocaust, the Jews have the right to do whatever they want. Fair enough. This enabled us to continue with the occupation.

Finally, it is the process of dehumanization and demonization of the Palestinians, which serves so well the denial. Because if they are not human beings like us, if they don’t like their children like we do, if they don’t care so much about death and life, if they are so cruel, as we are being told, if they are so barbarian and brutal, if they can do those horrible things, then there is no problem in occupying them. Then it is even justified. Then it shouldn’t bother us. There is no moral problem because it’s not about human rights. They are not human beings, so how can we speak about human rights?
Riaz Haq said…
“My biggest struggle,” he (Israeli journalist/author Gideon Levy) says, “is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us… So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard.”

The long history of the Jewish people has a recurring beat – every few centuries, a brave Jewish figure stands up to warn his people they are have ended up on an immoral or foolish path that can only end in catastrophe, and implores them to change course. The first prophet, Amos, warned that the Kingdom of Israel would be destroyed because the Jewish people had forgotten the need for justice and generosity – and he was shunned for it. Baruch Spinoza saw beyond the Jewish fundamentalism of his day to a materialist universe that could be explained scientifically – and he was excommunicated, even as he cleared the path for the great Jewish geniuses to come. Could Levy, in time, be seen as a Jewish prophet in the unlikely wilderness of a Jewish state, calling his people back to a moral path?

He nods faintly, and smiles. “Noam Chomsky once wrote to me that I was like the early Jewish prophets. It was the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me. But... well... My opponents would say it’s a long tradition of self-hating Jews. But I don’t take that seriously. For sure, I feel that I belong to a tradition of self-criticism. I deeply believe in self-criticism.” But it leaves him in bewildering situations: “Many times I am standing among Palestinian demonstrators, my back to the Palestinians, my face to the Israeli soldiers, and they were shooting in our direction. They are my people, and they are my army. The people I’m standing among are supposed to be the enemy. It is...” He shakes his head. There must be times, I say, when you ask: what’s a nice Jewish boy doing in a state like this?


Levy believes the greatest myth – the one hanging over the Middle East like perfume sprayed onto a corpse – is the idea of the current ‘peace talks’ led by the United States. There was a time when he too believed in them. At the height of the Oslo talks in the 1990s, when Yitzhak Rabin negotiated with Yassir Arafat, “at the end of a visit I turned and, in a gesture straight out of the movies, waved Gaza farewell. Goodbye occupied Gaza, farewell! We are never to meet again, at least not in your occupied state. How foolish!”

Now, he says, he is convinced it was “a scam” from the start, doomed to fail. How does he know? “There is a very simple litmus test for any peace talks. A necessity for peace is for Israel to dismantle settlements in the West Bank. So if you are going to dismantle settlements soon, you’d stop building more now, right? They carried on building them all through Oslo. And today, Netanyahu is refusing to freeze construction, the barest of the bare minimum. It tells you all you need.”
Riaz Haq said…
The House censured Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, for her statements on the Israel-Hamas war.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 10:43 PM ET

Twenty-two Democrats joined most Republicans to pass the resolution, which accuses Ms. Tlaib of calling for the destruction of Israel. The vote was 234 to 188.

Riaz Haq said…
Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Gaza today

"The Israeli government, Benjamin Netanyahu, failed on October 7th and failed doubly. Firstly, in its ability to ensure the protection of the Israeli people by allowing massacres that are an abomination to occur. He bears direct responsibility for what happened. And his second failure is having encouraged a policy of occupation and colonization, which continues at this moment in the West Bank and constitutes another threat to Israel if a second front in the West Bank were to open.

Force does not ensure the security of a people! This is what all Israelis must understand today. And what is important is that since October 7th, the Israeli government's choice has been to escalate the use of force. You know, neither force nor vengeance ensures peace and security. What ensures peace and security is justice! And justice is not being served today.

The rationale of the Israeli government for the bombings happening today is flawed, and the whole international community can see it. The principle is: "we target terrorists, and unfortunately, there are also civilian populations," what is euphemistically called in military language "collateral damage." It must be understood that this collateral damage is not accidental. That is to say, it is perfectly predictable and fully accepted.

[Host: "But once again, the responsibility is not solely Israeli."]

But once more, let's stop asking about responsibility; let's look at the reality of what's happening on the ground! Assigning fault, allow me to tell you, we will leave to historians. What we want is to stop this violence, to stop these massacres. Israel is putting itself in danger, even more today, with this type of warfare and these types of strikes.

We are essentially dealing with a policy of vengeance from the Netanyahu government. Israel has the right to self-defense, but self-defense does not give an indiscriminate right to kill civilian populations. When you target an ambulance, you can always imagine that there was a terrorist in one of the ambulances, or not. But the result is that there are children, women who die. Every child, every woman killed, that's more terrorists. Therefore, Israel's objective, what Israel achieves, is exactly the opposite of what they wish. So, it is essential today to change this logic and return to a strategy that is sound.

Hostages, everything must be done to secure their release. But let's not forget: the Palestinian people are also taken hostage, by Hamas and by Israel. And Hamas, we all know, cares little for the Palestinian people. So telling Hamas: "we will not lift the siege, we will not have a humanitarian truce until the hostages are released," is a dialogue of the deaf.

Benjamin Netanyahu is waging a war to do everything so that the political solution does not come to the table. And this is where the international community, Europe, the United States, must tell Benjamin Netanyahu that this war is not acceptable. It is not acceptable because it leads us directly [to escalation] - because we can see it well, from Hamas we will move to Iran, from Iran we will move to other targets, and we then enter into the logic of a clash of civilizations. When Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu says that on one side there is the people of light and on the other the people of darkness, we can see the kind of spiral we are getting into.

Riaz Haq said…
Israeli intellectual Professor Avi Shlaim:‘Israel Does Not Want Palestine as Partner in Peace, Wants To Maintain Control Over It'

‘Land grabbing and peacemaking don’t go together, it’s one or the other, and by constantly expanding settlements, Israel showed that it prefers land to peace.’

‘Israel by its actions has shown that it is not interested in having a Palestinian partner for peace because it wants to maintain its control over the territory.’

‘Israel refuses to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner. Israel’s position is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation – pure and simple. It will never negotiate with it.’

‘Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy has been to let Hamas rule the Gaza Strip, but to contain the Gaza Strip, and this policy collapsed, because Gaza could not be contained.’

Shlaim's interview with Karan Thapar:


On October 25, Karan Thapar spoke to Avi Shlaim, emeritus professor of international relations, St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Shlaim, the acclaimed author of Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions Refutations and The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, spoke about the history of the conflict and the aftermath of the October 7 attack by Hamas.

‘What Israel refuses to do is to accept that Hamas represents a serious body of Palestinians, and that you cannot reach any peace agreement with the Palestinians that excludes Hamas. So, the sensible thing for Israel to do and the other European powers to do is to recognise Hamas and to negotiate with Hamas for a political settlement of the conflict.’

‘My duty as a public intellectual, and as a student of this conflict, is to give the public… an account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is as truthful as possible, as honest as possible, and as fair-minded as possible.’
Riaz Haq said…
Pro #Palestine opinions stifled at #Google , other elite institutions in #America— colleges, Hollywood & Democratic Party, to name a few — as declarations of solidarity for Palestinians or calls for an Israeli cease-fire are met with condemnation as undermining #Israel’s right to defend itself against #terrorism.

Google has long been a hub for employee activism, including over the company’s business with Israel. But workers looking to express support for Palestinians say they face hostility.

When Sarmad Gilani joined Google as a software engineer in 2012, he was drawn by the company’s famously open culture, where employees can publicly criticize leadership and are encouraged to embrace their racial identity and sexual orientation while at work.

He said certain political positions, like support for Black Lives Matter or Ukraine, were usually met with agreement and even embraced by the company. But there was one topic Mr. Gilani was always wary of raising: The treatment of Palestinians.

“You have to be very, very, very careful, because any sort of criticism toward the Israeli state can be easily taken as antisemitism,” he said in an interview. Mr. Gilani, a 38-year-old American born to Pakistani immigrants, explained that his caution was also informed by a lifetime of being misunderstood and profiled for being Muslim.

That was before Oct. 7.

In the month since Hamas launched an attack inside Israel, and Israel retaliated with a bombing campaign and invasion of the Gaza Strip, discussion of the topic at Google — for Muslims and Jews — has sunk into a morass of hostility and intolerance, Mr. Gilani and other employees say.

Israeli and Jewish employees have expressed anger over messages posted in Google’s internal channels, including at least one that was overtly antisemitic, and on Wednesday a group of workers published an open letteraddressed to Google leadership accusing the company of a double standard that allows for “freedom of expression for Israeli Googlers versus Arab, Muslim and Palestinian Googlers.”

The letter was not signed by any individuals. Instead it was attributed to “Muslim, Palestinian and Arab Google employees joined by anti-Zionist Jewish colleagues.” The New York Times discussed the matter with seven Google employees and reviewed messages posted in employee channels for this article. A few of the employees, including Mr. Gilani, were willing to be identified, but others asked not to be named out of concern for professional ramifications.

Pro-Palestinian employees say the company has allowed supporters of Israel to speak freely about their opinions on the topic, while taking a heavy hand with Muslim employees who have criticized Israel’s retaliation in Gaza.

“I do not feel safe saying what I want to say,” Mr. Gilani said in an interview before the letter was published.

Google said the acrimony described to The Times by both Muslim and Jewish employees was limited to a small group of its many thousands of workers.

“This is a highly sensitive time and topic in every company and workplace, and we have many employees who are personally affected,” Courtenay Mencini, a company spokeswoman, wrote in an emailed response to questions. “The overwhelming majority of those employees are not engaged in internal discussions or debate, and many have said they’ve appreciated our fast response and our focus on the safety of our employees.”

Google isn’t alone in facing this turmoil. The topic has exposed rifts at other elite institutions in the United States — colleges, Hollywood and the Democratic Party, to name a few — as declarations of solidarity for Palestinians or calls for an Israeli cease-fire are met with condemnation as undermining Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism.
Riaz Haq said…

The letter sent on Wednesday resurfaces another sore point: Google’s role in a $1.2 billion contract to supply Israel and its military with artificial intelligence and other computing power, technology that critics and activists say could be used to surveil Palestinians.

When the contract, called Project Nimbus, took effect in 2021, a number of employees objected publicly and said they were threatened for speaking out in support of Palestinians, claims that are similar to those in Wednesday’s letter. Last year, a Jewish employee of Google who led an effort to get the company to drop out of the contract resigned, claiming it had retaliated against her.

After the fighting broke out last month, employees started a new petition for Google to cancel Nimbus. By Tuesday, it had 675 signatures, according to one of the employees.

“Criticizing Project Nimbus has made people targets,” said Rachel Westrick, a software engineer at Google who said she supported the letter. Ms. Westrick said she also wanted the company to condemn the violence against Palestinians, as it did the attack by Hamas, and address racism that she says her colleagues have experienced.

The company has said Google’s role in Nimbus involves it providing services for run-of-the-mill government agency work and isn’t applied to highly sensitive or classified projects.

Three people said one worker had been fired after writing in an internal company message board that Israelis living near Gaza “deserved to be impacted.”

The company released a statement condemning Hamas on Oct. 7, and a few days later it told Jewish employees that it was monitoring internal platforms for antisemitism and promised to take action — including firing offenders — if warranted.

The next week, in an email to staff, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, acknowledged that Jewish employees were “experiencing a rise in antisemitic incidents,” and that Palestinian, Arab and Muslim employees were “deeply affected by a concerning rise in Islamophobia and are watching with dread as Palestinian civilians in Gaza have suffered significant loss and fear for their lives amid the escalating war and humanitarian crisis.”

But the employees behind Wednesday’s letter say this isn’t enough: “We demand that Sundar Pichai, Thomas Kurian and other Google leadership issue a public condemnation of the ongoing genocide in the strongest possible terms,” it reads. Mr. Kurian is chief executive of Google’s cloud computing business.

Supporters of Palestinians at Meta also feel they are facing unfair treatment. A handful of workers there reported that on Workplace, Meta’s internal communication platform, posts that included the phrase “pray for Palestine” or otherwise expressed support for Palestinians — with no mention of Hamas — were being flagged for removal internally, according to two employees who shared the messages with The Times.

Around the same time that Meta’s workers were having difficulties internally, the company said a “bug” in its code — a mistranslation of Arabic — had led to the word “terrorist” being inserted in some users’ Instagram biographies if they included the word “Palestine” or a Palestinian flag emoji. The Washington Post and 404 Media earlier reported on some of the problems at Meta.

A Meta spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Gilani said he couldn’t figure out what, if anything, he could say at work about what he saw as the killing of innocent civilians.

He knows the risks of speaking out on such a divisive topic, thanks in part to an experience he had in 2014. After he was repeatedly stopped by airport security, he filed a Freedom of Information Act request to try and find out if he was on a watch list. But instead of getting the information, he was approached and questioned by the F.B.I. at Google’s offices.
Riaz Haq said…
“Clear Intention of Ethnic Cleansing”: Israeli Holocaust Scholar Omer Bartov Warns of Genocide in Gaza | Democracy Now!

Israeli American scholar Omer Bartov, one of the world’s leading experts on the Holocaust, says Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip is at risk of becoming a genocide. The monthlong air and ground war has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians in the besieged enclave, a majority of them women and children. Israel has also severely limited the movement of food, water, fuel, medicine and other essentials into Gaza. Bartov says the disproportionate killing of civilians by Israel, as well as dehumanizing statements by Israeli leaders and suggestions of mass expulsion, are of grave concern. He recently joined hundreds of lawyers and academics in signing an open letter warning about Israel’s violations of international law in Gaza. “There is an indication that there are war crimes happening in Gaza, potentially also crimes against humanity,” says Bartov. “If this so-called operation continues, that may become ethnic cleansing … and that may become genocide.”


OMER BARTOV: I was a soldier in the IDF, in the Israeli Defense Forces, between 1973 and 1976. And so, as a young soldier, the first thing that I experienced was the trauma, the huge surprise of the Arab — the Egyptian and Syrian attack on Israel on October 6th, 1973. And I should say that when the Hamas attack on Israel occurred on the 7th of October, 2023, 50 years and a day later, that was quite traumatic, I think, for myself and many members of my generation. And we can talk further about why it was so traumatic.

But in the course of my service, I also served in the northern Sinai, and the command post that I belonged to was in Gaza. And so I would go quite often to Gaza, which was then — had a population of about 350,000, was poor, hopeless and congested. And since then, of course, now we have between two and two-and-a-half million people living in Gaza, which is much poorer, much more congested and whose population is much more desperate, and has been desperate for a long time, considering that it’s been under Israeli siege now for 16 years. So, for me, the lack of progress for all those years in somehow resolving this terrible humanitarian problem is very personal.

And I should add one thing. I was usually not employed as a soldier in occupation duties, but there was a time that I was. And I have very distinct recollection of that, leading my platoon through an Egyptian city at the time, with people looking at us from behind the windows, obviously not wanting us to be there, obviously afraid of us, and us walking on the street obviously feeling uncomfortable being where we are and being somewhat afraid of what might happen to us as we were marching then. That sort of sense of what being an occupation soldier means stayed with me all those years, and it’s always made me — has been one of the reasons, a sort of more personal rather than political or analytical reason, why I’ve always thought that it’s time to end this occupation, for which we called in that August 4th petition, two months before the Hamas attack on Israel.

Riaz Haq said…
Ishaan Tharoor
"We're rolling out Nakba 2023" — Israeli minister just flatly says it, while many in the West tie themselves up in knots to avoid seeing things as they are


'We're Rolling Out Nakba 2023,' Israeli Minister Says on Northern Gaza Strip Evacuation
Likud Minister Avi Dichter says that 'war is impossible to wage when there are masses between the tanks and the soldiers.' While Netanyahu does not support resettling the Gaza Strip, he says will not give up security control over it 'under any circumstances'

Israeli security cabinet member and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter (Likud) was asked in a news interview on Saturday whether the images of northern Gaza Strip residents evacuating south on the IDF’s orders are comparable to images of the Nakba. He replied: “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. From an operational point of view, there is no way to wage a war – as the IDF seeks to do in Gaza – with masses between the tanks and the soldiers.”

When asked again whether this was the “Gaza Nakba”, Dichter – a member of the security cabinet and former Shin Bet director – said “Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.”

When later asked if this means Gaza City residents won’t be allowed to return, he replied: “I don’t know how it’ll end up happening since Gaza City is one-third of the Strip – half the land’s population but a third of the territory.”

The Gaza Strip’s settlements were evacuated by Israel in 2005 during a unilateral disengagement helmed by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon. Following coalition members’ declarations regarding reversing this move,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked on Friday if he supports Israeli resettlement in the Gaza Strip after the war. “No, I don’t think so,” he answered, “I said I want full security control. Gaza must be demilitarized. I don’t think (resettlement) is a realistic goal, I’m saying it plainly.”

Netanyahu, who spoke at a press conference alongside Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister Benny Gantz, added that he won’t give up control over security in Gaza “under any circumstances.”

In response to a question about the war’s aftermath and the possibility of the Palestinian Authority controlling the Strip, he said: "I repeat, we will have total security control, with the ability to enter whenever we want to eliminate any terrorists who re-emerge. I can say what won’t happen – there will be no Hamas."

"I can say what else will not happen – there will not be a civil authority there that educates its children to hate the State of Israel, to kill Israelis, to eliminate the State of Israel. There cannot be an authority there that pays the families of murderers. There cannot be an authority there whose leader has not yet condemned the terrible massacre more than 30 days after it occurred," added Netanyahu.

Riaz Haq said…
The majority of demonstrations (worldwide)— about 86% — recorded by ACLED were pro-Palestinian, while a small minority were neutral, calling for peace and a ceasefire without taking an explicit pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian stance


Infographic: Global Demonstrations in Response to the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Riaz Haq said…
Arnaud Bertrand
This has got to be a first in France's history. A former Prime Minister saying that France is becoming "a very diminished nation" ("un très petit pays"), notably due to the country's reduction in freedom of thought and speech with regard to Israel.

This was Dominique de Villepin, who was responding to accusations of antisemitism made against him, because he'd been very critical of Israel and of the censorship of Israel's critics. Here's a complete translation of what he said, as always extraordinarily well expressed:

"All roads lead to Rome, but not all paths of criticism lead to antisemitism. It is possible to criticize the United States without being necessarily antisemitic. One can criticize the messianic Zionism of a part of the Israeli government without being antisemitic. One can support the idea of justice for the Palestinian people without being antisemitic. One can question an economic, cultural, financial system... As far as I know, a former [french] president of the republic campaigned denouncing the power of finance, he was not antisemitic!

Essentially, in all the questions you ask me, what is the goal? What is the purpose behind you and those who prepare this kind of questioning? It is to make sure that I remain silent... By constantly wanting to limit our ability to express ourselves, by no longer being able to say anything in the media under the pretext that it might mean [this or that] or be inconvenient, by tracking all forms of thought that can overshadow a strategy or policy, we are becoming what we are turning into, that is, a very diminished nation.

Look at the United States, what is happening there? In the United States, within the Democratic Party, which is not known for its antisemitism, a major revolt is taking place regarding Israel. A generational revolt, a political revolt. And within the Jewish community itself, linked to the relationship between Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, there is also a revolt organizing.

You know, what I think about first and foremost by telling you this is the interests of Israel, the interest of the Jewish community: it is necessary to help oneself, that is, not to put oneself in a situation where one risks fueling criticism. So I believe it takes a lot of lucidity, a great deal of rigor, a little bit of courage, to try to assert one's ideas and convictions."

Riaz Haq said…
Pro-#Palestine Protests at #US Colleges Open a Generational Divide. Young #Americans are learning of long #Israeli occupation of Palestine and history of #European colonial oppression from fellow students from countries such as #Pakistan. #GazaGenocide

College brought new encounters with students from a range of backgrounds, which Little said was eye-opening. With a double major of French studies and fine arts, he signed up for classes about areas colonized by the French empire, Islamic art and theology. He became best friends with a Pakistani American student and joined a South Asian student group, and more recently the Arab Student Union and Muslim Student Association.


Three years ago, Erin Mullen arrived at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst exhausted by the pandemic and without any appetite for political demonstrations. Last month she sat in a holding cell in an Amherst jail with her hands cuffed behind her back, one of 57 students arrested while protesting the conflict in Gaza.

Mullen is white, her parents were raised Catholic and she grew up in an upper middle class Boston suburb. Her political awakening—along with those of tens of thousands of her generation now enrolled at college—is fueling a surge of campus unrest not seen since the Vietnam War.

A wave of pro-Palestinian protests has swept college campuses, leading to heightened tensions, counterprotests and, in some cases, violence. The conflict has also exposed a generational divide, with many older Americans surprised at the protests’ scope and intensity.

Mullen and other pro-Palestinian college demonstrators say their activism is rooted in a deeply held conviction that the world is divided between the oppressed and their oppressors.

That view frames the suffering of an array of populations, they say, including low-income families being evicted from their homes, Black and brown people who encounter brutal treatment by the police, migrants turned away from safe haven at the border and, in the current conflict, Palestinians struggling to wrest control of territory from the Israelis.

“Gaza is not a two-sided war,” said Mullen, who is 21. “What is happening is the resistance of the oppressed against their oppressor.”

The protesters’ sympathy for Hamas, designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group, sometimes astonishes and rankles bystanders. Roughly half of Americans 18 to 24 years old think Hamas’s October attack was justified by grievances of the Palestinians, according to a Harvard Harris Poll. Just 9% of people aged 65 and older feel the same.

The activists at pro-Palestinian events include a range of student groups who say they can draw a direct line from the causes they support to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza.

In one protest earlier this month, University of Pennsylvania Students Against the Occupation were joined by groups including Fossil Free Penn, Police Free Penn, Save UC Townhomes and Students for the Preservation of Chinatown at a demonstration outside a board of trustees meeting.

Participants seamlessly shifted between calls for a cease-fire in Gaza and concerns about fair wages for graduate students, the police presence on Penn’s campus, the university’s endowment choices and opposition to the construction of a new 76ers basketball arena in center-city Philadelphia.

“Occupation is a crime, from West Philly to Palestine!” the group of about 50 students and others shouted.

“All oppressed and displaced people are fighting for their right to return,” declared one speaker, who, like most people in the audience, wore a mask covering his face. “From 40th and Market to Palestine, this is the same struggle.”

Riaz Haq said…
Pro-#Palestine Protests at #US Colleges Open a Generational Divide.

Last month, Brown University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter issued a statement that said the group held “the Israeli regime and its allies unequivocally responsible for all suffering and loss of life, Palestinian or Israeli.” It was endorsed by more than 40 other student groups, including the Teaching Assistant Labor Organization, Burlesque at Brown, Brown Beekeeping Society and Poler Bears, a pole-dancing performance group.


Noah Thompson, a 24-year-old senior at the University of Oregon, works in a university dining hall to put himself through school. Raised by a single mother, he believes too much of the nation’s wealth has accrued to the most affluent, and capitalism is skewed to help the rich and exploit the poor. He said he’s troubled by war profiteers selling arms to Israel, who then use the weapons to kill children, and has helped organize a “No Money for Massacres” campaign to promote a cease-fire in Palestine.

“There always seems to be enough money, bombs, for war, for intervention abroad, and never enough money for education, for healthcare, for creating a better and secure society for us here now,” he said.

Some student protesters have minimized the brutality of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, when militants killed more than 1,200 Israeli civilians, including concertgoers and children, and took 240 hostages. Health authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza say more than 13,000 people had been killed there in the war.

Some protesters have referred to the attack in demonstrations and public statements as an “armed uprising” or “act of resistance.” That framing has been particularly abhorrent to Jewish leaders, who have called on campus administrators to denounce such language as antisemitic.


College presidents are struggling to navigate between championing free speech, mollifying outraged alumni and protecting Jewish and Arab students from harassment. Universities in recent weeks have announced advisory committees, task forces and research centers to address rising antisemitism.

Mullen, from UMass, said criticism of Hamas is often used to undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian movement. She said she feels “deep sympathy for everyone involved” and doesn’t approve of the Oct. 7 attack, but said it wasn’t unprovoked.

Israel set the stage for violence by condemning Palestinians to live in “an open air prison or a concentration camp,” she said. “I think the way that the media portrays it makes it very difficult to understand but in reality it is a pretty straightforward conflict.”

Mullen began following the conflict in Israel and Gaza in October, after a few years mainly on the sidelines of political movements. She said she was confident in her understanding of the power dynamics in the Gaza Strip since Israel pulled out in 2005, but less familiar with the historic events that led to that point.

Friends from school showed her the Instagram feeds of several Palestinian journalists and she began reading Al Jazeera’s website. She saw photographs of Palestinian families buried in rubble and Gazan women holding their dead children. The carnage propelled her to act, she said. Mullen now wears a denim patch on her jacket that says “Free Palestine.”

Last month, Mullen was among about 500 UMass students who protested the school’s connection to an arms manufacturer and demanded the school condemn Israel’s actions in the war. Roughly 100 lined the hallway outside the university chancellor’s office, draping themselves with Palestinian scarves known as kaffiyehs and sporting Palestinian flags and signs like “Stop U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel!”

A UMass Amherst spokesman said students were warned to leave or risk facing arrest when the building closed at 6 p.m.

Riaz Haq said…

Arnaud Bertrand
There's no overstating how extraordinary such a statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is, warning Israel it's heading towards "strategic defeat":

"In this kind of a fight the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat."

Essentially saying what is obvious common sense: you create more Hamas than you destroy by killing civilians. And as such what Israel has been doing so far is nothing but dig the hole it's in deeper and deeper...

After, obviously, it's doing all this with Pentagon weapons and support in a myriad of ways, so Austin's words are pretty disingenuous... BUT they see Israel as their "unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the region so they must feel that were they to stop this active support it'd "sink" pretty quickly, which they aren't ready to do.

Which actually goes to illustrate just how deep the hole Israel - and America - have put themselves in. The "unsinkable aircraft carrier" is taking water and needs constant US support to avoid sinking but the US is now telling them publicly - in very frank terms - that their actions are actually accelerating the sinking...
Riaz Haq said…

Kenneth Roth
Israeli officials are worried that a South African lawsuit could lead the International Court of Justice to find that the Israeli government is committing genocide. The solution: stop killing and starving Palestinian civilians.


The International Court of Justice has great influence in shaping international law. Its recognition of South Africa's claim may cement the perception that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, says Dr. Shelly Aviv Yeini, an expert on international law

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort