Showing newest posts with label Daily Targum. Show older posts
Showing newest posts with label Daily Targum. Show older posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not-so-strange bedfellows: Rutgers University and the Palestine Children's Relief Fund

Just in case you hadn't already gotten your fill of appeasers and terrorist enablers this year, we have a story right out of that bastion of tolerance known as the United States college campus.

The following post was contributed by Tali, a regular reader of this blog and Rutgers University student. It was submitted to the Rutgers daily newspaper, the Daily Targum and (SHOCKINGLY) subsequently denied publication.

To give you some background on the topic, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey has a semi-annual "Meal Sign Away" program...

...in which Rutgers students can donate the cost of their guests’ meals toward a prearranged charitable fundraiser.

This year, the "charitable fundraiser" that was chosen was the "Palestine Children's Relief Fund" - an organization that according to Rutgers (and themselves) is

a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the medical and humanitarian crisis facing children in the Middle East.

To illustrate this, PCRF has loads of smiling children on their website to remind you of the beautiful work they do in "Palestine" and the rest of the Middle East.


Peace signs are cute and all...too bad in the Middle East this isn't a peace sign, it's a victory sign...


Now bear in mind, the mere fact that they refer to themselves as the Palestine Children's Relief Fund is in itself a pretty major political statement. Since there is no sovereign state of Palestine as of this printing, by referring to themselves in this fashion as opposed to, for example, the Palestinian Children's Relief fund, by default they are declaring their allegiance to a country that does not exist. Political and controversial, no doubt. But I can hardly say it as well as Tali did in her letter, which follows below:

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Recently, the Rutgers University Student Assembly made a controversial decision by granting its semi-annual Meal Sign Away fundraising program to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. When concerns were raised to the body regarding this decision, the body chose not to reconsider its original decision. Given the political nature of the PCRF, both the original decision and the decision not to reconsider it are ill-advised, and fail to serve the best interests of the Rutgers community.

The PCRF is a non-profit organization that claims to be non-political. Proponents of the PCRF have said that it is a strictly humanitarian organization and not a political one. When you consider the facts, however, claims that the organization is non-political couldn't be further from the truth. An examination of the organization’s activities reveals that political activism is a leading part of the PCRF’s mission.

Last year, the PCRF held a fundraising dinner dance right here in New Brunswick. Billed on the invitation as an "esteemed guest speaker" at the event was Stephen Walt, controversial co-author of a notoriously biased book entitled The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy. Walt's book demonizes Israel and rationalizes terrorism against it. It paints any lobbying effort on behalf of Israel as inimical and follows the mold of many historic instances of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories by painting Jews as having excessive power and influence. Regardless of your opinion on Walt or his book, it is undeniable that this issue is one of intense and heated political debate. How is this non-political?

Also last year, the PCRF co-sponsored a conference organized by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian organization known for using theological arguments to generate hostility against Israel, often using thinly veiled analogies tying Jews to the crucifixion of Jesus. Their conferences, such as the one co-sponsored by the PCRF, are overtly political and known for their anti-Israel themes. How is this non-political?

Most appalling, however, is how the PCRF has used the very children it serves as props to fulfill its blatant political agenda.



The organization brought two of the children that came to the United States for medical care, Salam Safi and Badwan Abu-Mayaleh, to the "United for Al-Quds" conference in San Francisco. This event described the children as "victims of Israeli brutality," as described in an article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. A leading speaker at the event was Imam Amir Abdul Malik Ali, a man who has publicly blamed Israel for the September 11 attacks. Is this non-political?

RUSA has historically shied away from taking stances on issues that may be even slightly political. The very same body that wouldn't take a stance on the New Brunswick wards issue suddenly became willing to take sides in a highly sensitive international conflict. Something just doesn't add up.

While students "sign-away" their meals at their own discretion, at the end of the day, the check that the PCRF will receive for the aggregate sum collected will be signed by Rutgers and endorsed by its student governing body. Considering the nature of the organization, this is unacceptable. Regardless of where you stand on the issues involved, RUSA should not be endorsing an organization that promotes and advocates for any political agenda.

There are many organizations that help Palestinian children without any controversy or political agenda. Some even work with Israeli hospitals in a spirit of non-political, peaceful cooperation. RUSA's decision to select the PCRF and its refusal to reconsider their decision is yet another example of the organization's failure of leadership. Rutgers students, we deserve better than the PCRF and RUSA.

Tali R. is a Rutgers University undergrad working towards her degree in Economics and Political Science

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I don't know about you, but I was sold when I visited their homepage and saw that Jimmy Carter was a major proponent of theirs.

In any case, while Tali's well-written letter was rejected by the Targum, TWO letters in defense of the PCRF were not. One of them was penned by the chairman of the Rutgers University PCRF chapter and the other by a Rutgers alumnus and peace activist. Wow, what stunningly fair journalism! In fact the only Targum report on the topic that was critical of the decision came from a regular writer who would no doubt scream censorship (and justifiably so) if his article was denied.

So instead of having an honest debate we have a chorus of "liberal" activists who scream about diversity and understanding even as they shout down or shut out the opinions of those that disagree with them.

But it's nothing new and it isn't likely to change anytime in the near future. Luckily for the pro-Israel/Jewish/Zionist community at Rutgers there are voices like Tali's that are brave enough to rise above the rhetoric and ridiculous accusations and are willing to speak up for what's right. And we'll continue to give them a podium here when the mainstream refuses to.

Keep it going guys.