israel.jpgCross-posted on Daily Kos here.

UPDATE: The “ardent Zionist” interim Principal is now the PERMANENT Principal. Why am I not surprised? Just  read the way the story is written in this right-wing newspaper… even these guys are shocked that something like this can happen in America. SHAME on New York. SHAME on Klein. SHAME on all the NY bigots. I hope people boycott this school, picket outside it, distribute fliers outside it and ensure that the injustice that Debbie AlMontaser was subjected to is NOT FORGOTTEN. Where are the New York Arabs and Muslims?? Why are you so quiet?? If we don't stand up to this injustice, tomorrow, they'll do this to some other Muslim official.

Here's the summary of the story:

The principal of Khalil Gibran International Academy, the yet-to-open “Arabic-themed” school in Brooklyn, Debbie al-Montaser (an Arab Muslim) resigned about a week ago under intense pressure from critics. Why?

When asked to define “Intifada”, a word written on some T-shirt, sister Debbie gave what was the “Arabic meaning” (I guess may be because she is developing an “ARABIC-THEMED” school). She was “quoted as interpreting “intifada” as a “shaking off” of oppression. She failed of course to mention “Palestinian terrorism”, and you may be able to get away with this even in Israel (heck, Haaretz may even write about it!) but NO WAY in New York (Little Likudish Israel). You can't gloss over the “violent uprising”, though you can definitely gloss over, ignore, dispel any mention of the violent state-terrorism and OCCUPATION of Palestine.

And to add salt to the wound, guess who they replaced Debbie with? “The new principal of the city's controversial Arabic-themed school is an ardent Zionist who considered moving to Israel, according to her former Jerusalem roommate.” Can you believe that? Would you imagine if the Hebrew school in Florida had a Muslim, Arab Principal forced upon it? Can you imagine the outcry that it would raise? In one word, IMPOSSIBLE. But when it comes to Muslims/Arabs, you can inflict whatever injustice you want on them.

On a related front, the long-awaited, “long-feared” (by AIPAC, ADL, and similar) book by the two Professors from the prestigious universities of Harvard and Chicago, is out. Hat-tip to Ijtema. If you do not understand the power of the Israeli lobby in America, then you MUST see the video below.

So, what do we do as Muslims? Sit on our behinds and moan about the injustice? Or take some action. Let's hope the latter. Here's what you can do:

  1. Write to Joel Klein, the NYC Department of Education Chancellor, expressing your disgust at his department's decision Use this link http://schools.nyc.gov/webforms/chancellormessage.aspx
    FYI, Klein is the same person who banned the director of Columbia University's Middle East Institute, Professor Rashid Khalidi, from participating in a NYC school teachers' training on the Middle East because of his criticism of Israel, and the one who approved a curriculum that grants graduate credit to NYC teachers who take a 30-hour course of study on Israel, written by the Israeli Consulate.
  2. Call the NYC Department of Education and speak to the Chancellor about it. Tel No. (718) 935-2000
  3. Most importantly, EMAIL & CALL DEBBIE ALMONTASER AND SHOW HER YOUR SUPPORT
    Debbie contacts are: Email: njdsa719@aol.com. Phone: 718-643-8000
  4. See the summary and video of the influence of the Israeli lobby below.
  5. Buy the book on the “Israel Lobby”. It is only $15.60 and you get free shipping on Amazon.
  6. Make sure you spread the word about #4 and #5 to to your non-Muslim friends and aquaintances. Using a book by two American Professors is a little “easier” and you can't be accused of bias!

Read more colorful commentary on “DesertPeace” blog:

______________________________________

A Must-See for Everyone, and Here's Why….

It is not propaganda, rather it counters it. Very professional, and objective. Why is it important for us to see this? Because an understanding of the 'other' perspective, and how that other perspective is formed, and more importantly, why our perspective is so different, will help increase our comprehension of world events, and it will improve our understanding of what breeds violent extremism.

Many of us in America wonder why there is such a different view of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the rest of the world (Europe, Middle East, Asia, etc.). While most Americans feel that the world is biased against Israel, this documentary will perhaps elucidate for you that things may not be quite that way. Rather, perhaps, what we see and hear is only one side of the coin.

An important note… most of the narrators in the documentary are Jewish. Why is this important to point out? In our time, any critical discussion of Israel is criticized and discarded as anti-Semitism.This phenomenon of labeling everything critical of Israel as anti-Semitic chokes discussions and critical analysis. It makes our nation an unfair arbitrator, and it leads to injustice in our dealings with the non-ally in this conflict. Injustice breeds hatred, and our nation is now more despised by the world than ever before, and by more people in the world than any other country. It is easy to dismiss this by resorting to 'who cares?'. Well, we should care. We live in an age of globalization, and if we want to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism, or win the so-called 'war on terror', we sure are not going to do it alone. And unless we understand what some of the root-causes of the hatred are, and unless we open our eyes to what the rest of the world sees and hears, we will have difficulty succeeding.

Let the learning, and hopefully the healing, begin. Pls view the documentary with an open mind… and if you believe it contained useful information, please send it to others…

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6604775898578139565

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37 Responses

  1. Hassan

    Its weird that I read many jewish authors from Israel who openly criticize Israel and its policies in academia and newspapers etc, but the same thing can not be done in US. Dr. Norman Finkelstein could not get tenure at De Paul university and in universities before because of his criticism of Israel and its policies.
    John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt had to get this work published from UK I think (somewhere in Europe, not US, they could not find any publisher here it seems)

    I remember 4-5 years ago I was watching Fox News (sorry, sometimes I watch it to raise my blood pressure). There was a lady interviewing David Duke. Now, I mean David Duke was saying all sort of bad things about USA, and she was silent and nodding, and suddenly he mentioned Israel (critically), and I was shocked at her reaction, from complete calmness to totally erratic behavior.

    Late Yaser Arafat used to say, I can deal with Israeli jews, but I can not deal with American Jews.

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  2. Amad

    Thanks Ardit… Though I’d rather pay for it and support the authors… either way, let’s read it and spread the word!

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  3. Solomon2

    Would you imagine if the Hebrew school in Florida had a Muslim, Arab Principal forced upon it?

    No problem, I guess, as long as the principal was a competant one. It’s a Hebrew school, not a Jewish one. I actually know some Muslims in Broward who may be interested in having their kids attend it, though I don’t know why.

    However, I will remind everyone that one of Padilla’s chums, a well-regarded Muslim public school administrator here in D.C., was convicted of terrorism charges last week in federal court; the man was enabling al-Qaeda during his off-hours.

    It probably makes more sense to question if this conviction influenced New York’s choice – and whether or not Muslims in America seeking greater influence in U.S. educational institutions should feel obligated to assure the larger community of their loyalties.

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  4. Amad

    No problem, I guess, as long as the principal was a competant one. It’s a Hebrew school, not a Jewish one. I actually know some Muslims in Broward who may be interested in having their kids attend it, though I don’t know why.

    Easier said than done. To place a Palestinian Muslim in charge of a Jewish school wouldn’t be taken so well. I think its disingenuous to say otherwise. It would raise so many alarms and be all over FOX Noise that you couldn’t get away from that news. As for sending kids to Jewish schools, I know some Muslims who do that in our community. Usually because there is more “morality” practiced and taught in parochial schools than public schools. I would myself prefer that than to send my child to a public school if I didn’t have an Islamic school in the vicinity.

    However, I will remind everyone that one of Padilla’s chums, a well-regarded Muslim public school administrator here in D.C., was convicted of terrorism charges last week in federal court; the man was enabling al-Qaeda during his off-hours.

    Any non-prejudiced person who actually reads the case-history, esp. regarding Padilla would be convinced that this is just another episode in the witch-hunt against Muslims. As the defense attorney stated (NOT a Muslim) that they wouldn’t be convicted, let alone tried, if they were not Muslims.

    It probably makes more sense to question if this conviction influenced New York’s choice – and whether or not Muslims in America seeking greater influence in U.S. educational institutions should feel obligated to assure the larger community of their loyalties.

    Sorry to say this.. but one word: baloney. Would you then want all the Jewish doctors in USA assure the Muslims that they wont go in a murder rampage because one of their own DID it (not on circumstantial witch-hunt type evidence for the Muslims in the trial you mentioned). If you have forgotten, I am talking about Dr. Goldstein, an American born Israeli physician who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Arab attendants of the Ibrahimi Mosque.

    This guilt by association nonsense is pathetic. Especially when it concerns a well-known Muslim woman activist in New York with absolutely NO (ZILCH) background in dealing with any of the US-accused terrorist groups. I am sorry, we feel NO obligation to assure our loyalties to anyone, just like Jewish doctors should feel no obligation in explaining theirs. Every person should be judged on his or her own merit and qualifications, not on religion, race or color. That is what America symbolizes (or used to at least).

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  5. Yusuf Smith

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum

    Thanks Ardit… Though I’d rather pay for it and support the authors… either way, let’s read it and spread the word!

    Are you sure that PDF is the whole book, and not the reduced version published in the London Review of Books a few months back?

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  6. Yasir Qadhi

    Salaam Alaikum

    I had the pleasure of meeting Sr. Debbie at a conference last year. Ma sha Allah she is a wonderful sister who is more than qulaified to assume the role that had been assigned to her. It pains me greatly to see that she has been treated in this way. These days almost anything seems to be allowed against Muslims.

    Allahul musta`aan…

    Yasir

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  7. Amad

    Are you sure that PDF is the whole book, and not the reduced version published in the London Review of Books a few months back?

    Good question.. I ordered my copy, so I’ll let you know when I am able to compare!

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  8. Amad

    MR, for once, Mona got it right. The fact that sister Debbie gets praise from the far-left and from the “conservatives” is testament to her character mashallah.

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  9. Amad

    See these article in the NY times and Dawn on the backlash these authors are facing, to the point that bookstores in NY which are selling the book are having a hard time doing so. The Dawn writer states:

    “In fact, at major locations in New York, Jewish groups held demonstrations and some walked in the store threatening managers with daily unrest if they continued to display the book. (At one store in Manhattan where one tried to buy a copy, I was told that the book is sold out. But I could see stacks hidden in the corner).”

    So much for freedom of speech, huh? Why aren’t other media outlets reporting this news. I only found this “backlash” news in NY Times. Nothing in the headlines about the attempts by Israeli supporters to muzzle information. If they truly believe that truth is on their side, then why are these supporters so fearful?

    The subject will certainly prompt furious debate, though not at the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a Jewish cultural center in Washington and three organizations in Chicago. They have all turned down or canceled events with the authors, mentioning unease with the controversy or the format.

    The authors were particularly disturbed by the Chicago council’s decision, since plans for that event were complete and both authors have frequently spoken there before.

    I think the authors will have better luck in Israel proper than Israel’s junior state (USA).

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  10. aarij

    “An article last spring in the London Review of Books outlining their argument — that a powerful pro-Israel lobby has a pernicious influence on American policy — set off a firestorm as charges of anti-Semitism, shoddy scholarship and censorship ricocheted among prominent academics, writers, policymakers and advocates.”
    NY Times

    I love it how ANYTHING criticizing a Jew or Israel are always termed as antisemitism and as “shoddy scholarship”!!

    Shoddy scholarship! These pro-Israelis talk about “scholarship” as if their baaps invented it.

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  11. Zionist Jew Mind Controller.

    You guys are silly.

    This school was – and still is – backed by one of Brooklyn’s most respected rabbis (and an outspoken supporter of Israel): Andy Bachman, along with the Jewish Forward, school chancellor Joel Klein, etc.

    Ed Koch – another outspoken Zionist – has criticized the appointment of Salzberg (http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30/33/30_33standingfirm.html) – calling it “spitting in their eye” (in reference to the people who want an Arabic speaking principle.)” (I think it’s ridiculous she’s been appointed. First of all, why the hell would she want the appointment, and second of all, she has no qualifications to run the school).

    And Rabbi Bachman still backs Almontaser.

    But you guys, no matter what happens, always stay true to form – like the rest of the Arab world. You blame the evil JOOOOOOOS whenever you don’t got your way.

    The fact of the matter is that there should be NO taxpayer funded educational schools in this country that are ethnically and/or religious based. None, folks. Zip. It’s called the separation of church and state. Plus, half the kids in the New York City school system and the rest of the country are English illiterate as it is. I know. I’ve worked in the system, and have a family member who has an important position in the New Jersey school system.

    If you want to learn Arabic – or the Muslim religion – do it in your own schools in your own community. Same goes for hebrew or judaism. Or Spanish and Catholicism.

    You can teach these subjects in normal public schools as a second language, also. That’s how it’s been done for decades.

    But an entire school funded with taxpayer dollars that’s dedicated to a single ethnicity? No way.

    And Almontaser is a bad politician. Board of Education appointed spots are the most political jobs next to the presidency. Is she really so naive to think that in America, a t-shirt with the word “intifada” in this charged political environment – when Americans are more frightened of terrorism than ever before – is not going to raise eyebrows? C’mon, folks…this is THE WEST. It’s not THE WEST BANK. One wonders if she was intentionally making a political play to test the waters, or is just plain stupid. I think the former. I think she expected this to happen. How could she not?

    In a democracy, if people don’t want her pushing her politics on kids by supporting controversial t-shirts, they have the right to voice their opinions and demand her ouster. IT’S HOW A DEMOCRACY WORKS.

    This is not a muslim country, folks. It’s America.

    Grow up. Get your acts together. And stop blaming the Jews for all your problems.

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  12. Zionist Jew Mind Controller.

    And have fun reading your book by your professors.

    Over ten years ago, a book came out called the Bell Curve, stating that blacks are genetically inferior. It was a piece of racist garbage.

    Professors mean zilch. The only reason you guys support THESE particular professors is because they are saying what you want to hear.

    I guess you need someone to say those things to help you sleep at night.

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  13. abu ameerah

    @ Zionist Jew…

    “And stop blaming the Jews for all your problems.”

    Hey, wait just a second buddy. Don’t get your yarmulkes in an uproar! I don’t blame ALL of the Jews for my problems. I mean, Seinfeld is still cool.

    “The only reason you guys support THESE particular professors is because they are saying what you want to hear.”

    Ya, you’re right. Who needs professors when you have AIPAC giving us the real “facts” on everything, right?

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  14. Amad

    I have already dealt with your brethren on dailykos, so I’ll just add a few comments I stated there:

    1. The conflation of antisemitism with anti-Israel sentiments is out of the same bag of tricks that also makes anti-war sentiments synonymous to a lack of patriotism or support of terrorism. So, just like all anti-Iraq-war folks were condemned to being supporters of terrorism, the same strategy of condemning all critics of Israel as being anti-semitic is in play in American life for a long time. That is what happened with Carter, that is what is happening with these two distinguished Professors. Until we get away from this policy of fear-mongering and touching emotional nerves in order to silence the other point of view, there will never be a fair discourse on this sensitive topic. As an American, you cannot be but anti-9/11 (rightfully so), and similarly you cannot be but anti-antisemitism (again rightfully so). So, by keying in these two sentiments with controversial topics, the attempt at silencing critics is obvious for fair-minded individuals

    2. It is amazing that not only did I not engage in any Jewish stereotyping or anti-Jewish comments (as Muslims, we face stereotyping quite often so we KNOW what it means), I also did not condemn Israelis as a whole. In fact, I implied praise by stating that that the Professors may have a better chance of discussing these things in Israel than in America!

    3. While Intifada draws some violent images for many Israelis, Zionism also draws more violent images for many Palestinians. More of the latter (civilians) have died due to the Zionist movement than the former. But both Zionists and Palestinians also have a NON-VIOLENT image of Zionism and Intifada respectively. For the former, it is a return of their homeland, for the latter, it is the return of their homeland as well. The point is that Zionists clearly make the case for their Zionism proudly every day without any fear or repercussions. But the same is not the case for Palestinians. So, when someone barely defines “intifada” even denying its connection to the Middle East (regardless of whether it was intended or not) AND does not link it to any violence AND does not have ANY history of violent statements or support of violence (I challenge anyone to find anything in Debbie’s background), then how could one definition define the woman’s whole background?

    FINALLY, “mind-controller”, I am glad some Jewish folks are standing up for justice. Jon Stewart does it all the time, and really, its the conflation in your mind which led you write what you did. So, what do you have to say about the video that I posted above? DID YOU EVEN WATCH IT? Esp. since some fair-minded folks (who were incidentally Jews as well) were behind it… Were they just self-hating Jews? Who was controlling their mind? The Palestinians?

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  15. Proud Zionist

    Amad:

    That was some first class seething!

    I pointed out that the school is supported by many Zionist Jews (see today’s Washington Post online for a quote by Rabbi Andy Bachmann), etc., and told you that taxpayer money should not fund ANY of these schools.

    You’re talking about Jon Stewart, labeling things “anti-Semitic”, etc.

    You haven’t addressed a single thing I wrote.

    That’s OK. I didn’t expect anything more.

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  16. Amad

    Actually I did address much of what you said if you had read my comments carefully.

    In any case, just because a few Zionists are fair-minded about the issue at hand, does not preclude the fact that most aren’t when it comes to Palestinian issues. Also, this post was not just about Debbie… it was about the Israel lobby in American that is controlled by the right-wing Zionist sector of the Jewish populace, and is the 300 pound gorrilla on Capitol Hill that will gnaw you up at the smallest sign of resistance to its extremist cause.

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  17. Proud Zionist

    Amad you say, this:

    “does not preclude the fact that most aren’t when it comes to Palestinian issues.”

    after writing this:

    “but NO WAY in New York (Little Likudish Israel)

    Pot call kettle.

    “Actually I did address much of what you said if you had read my comments carefully.”

    No you didn’t. You said there are, what you call, “fair minded jews”. You didn’t address:

    1. why taxpayer dollars should fund any of these schools.

    2. the fact that many Jews in what you call “likudish New YOrk”, including a prominent rabbi, support Debbie and the school.

    “it was about the Israel lobby” ”

    I have no doubt that AIPAC has lots of power on capital hill. Noone denies that.

    “that will gnaw you up at the smallest sign of resistance to its extremist cause.”

    Gnaw who up? Walt and M seem to be doing very well getting their word out there, Saudi Arabia is closer than ever to the current administration (getting billions in arms), Hamas is ruling the Palestinian territories and still getting American aid, and terrorist supporting front groups like CAIR and the HLF are still operating in this country, while the Mosques in Brooklyn (right down the street from me) preach Islamic domination.

    Amad:

    Do us all and your fellow Muslim/Arabs a favor. Be productive. Get a Patent. Pressure your fellow Arabs to do something about the genocide in Sudan.

    And stop your whining about the Jewish Lobby, ‘little Israel’, and the ADL.

    It’s tired.

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  18. Khalil

    Salaam Amad,

    Before I start this comment let me say two things: (1) thank you for taking the time to create and update this blog. I think there is a lot of good and useful information here, and (2) yes, I realize you posted this article months ago, but I only just got to it and something about it bugged me and felt like I needed to comment.

    After I read this the first time, I was left asking: what’s the point you’re trying to make about the new principal? Debbie Salzberg- a religious Jew with a strong connection to Israel (a country where Arabic is an official language)- has been made the principal of the city’s first (to be) Arabic charter school. It begs the question…so what? She’s bad because she’s a religious Jew?

    Considering Salzberg’s dedication to the school and the effort she had previously put into helping design it’s curriculum I’d say the school was fortunate to have someone installed who may actually care about the school’s mission. Salzberg, a well known liberal in the education community and others in the NY Jewish community have been lobbying for the creation of this school since before its inception. These are key points, not to be taken lightly, when discussing this.

    Don’t get me wrong, the irony is not lost on me, I get it. But I think what you- and others in our community- may not get is: ultimately this is about creating a succesful Arabic charter school in NYC. This is not a tit-for-tat power-play on the world stage. Sure, it lends itself to that sort of an analysis, but that’s the lens you choose to see it through. I personally think its cool that the first Arabic language charter school in NYC has a Jewish principal. I think Khalil Gibran would too. If we want tolerance and acceptance, let’s practice tolerance and acceptance.

    In a nutshell that’s what bothers me about this article, but for the fact that she’s Jewish, the post fails to describe any fault Salzberg may have. Let’s not do to Salzberg what was done to Almontaser. Our community, this institution and the children have so much to gain from from working together.

    If the goal of this posting is to contribute and sustain a constructive dialogue about the disgraceful- and arguably racist and Islamaphobic- way in which Almontaser was forced to resign, this falls short. If anything, injecting this sort of non-sense into the debate is something I’m sure Almontaser would want to (and should) distance herself from. We all should.

    It’s easy to spout off noisy, reactionary political rhetoric [Almontaser can tell you all about that]. It’s much harder to create beautiful poetry. And even harder still, to teach it. I wish Debbie Salzberg and the Khalil Gibran school (and most particularly its inaugural class) the best of luck.

    Happy Belated Eid and Thanksgiving!

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  19. lynn

    google = “6604775898578139565”
    Thank you. Very informative video.

    See also,

    *Media reportage (lack of) graphs:
    w.ifamericansknew.org

    *Video “Off the charts” with Alison Weir:
    vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1139517289

    *Documentary, “The Israel lobby – The influence of AIPAC on US Foreign Policy”
    google = 2894821400057137878#

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