Showing newest posts with label campus activism. Show older posts
Showing newest posts with label campus activism. Show older posts

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And I ran... Iran's so far away...

Right now, as you are reading this, there is a group of religious fanatics who are actively and aggressively seeking nuclear weapons. Right now this second, as these words are entering your brain there is a country whose government regularly interferes with oil prices...driving them up and with them the price of what you pay to fill your car with gasoline. Then they complain that they don't have enough access to cheap energy.

This same government has violently and ruthlessly suppressed any internal opposition to itself. This government has regularly made threats against you, your family, your country and your soldiers. This same government has already been indirectly (and sometimes directly) responsible for the deaths of scores of your soldiers. This same government has and will continue to target you at home and abroad. Furthermore this government has the CAPABILITY to reach you even as you go to work or school or take a bus or go to the mall.

You already know that I'm talking about Iran but what if I told you that the target I'm referring to isn't Israel?

It's America. It's you.



Well hey, at least there is some good news...apparently Ahemdinejad has discovered the cure for AIDS! Unfortunately it means destroying all of us...

Meet United Against Nuclear Iran or UANI for short. My friends over there are very serious about the Iranian threat to the entire Middle East and beyond. And they have very good reason to be concerned right now as everyday there seems to be a new article about how crazy Ahmedinejad is or that Iran has achieved another step toward producing a nuclear weapon or now an actual ICBM!! What peaceful purpose could an ICBM have? Only the ayatollahs must know the answer to that question.

But even if you're not worried about a new Cold War on the horizon (this time with a government run by truthers and suicidal lunatics) or doubt that Iran would ever actually use their nuclear device (that they spent decades of time and hundreds of billions of dollars developing) UANI wants you to know that the threat to America is not only very REAL but very CURRENT. Here is a summary from UANI of some of the ways Iran has ALREADY been attacking Americans:
• Iran has provided material and financial support to anti-U.S. forces in Iraq (as well as Afghanistan).

• According to U.S. State Department, Iran is already a major proliferator of conventional weapons and it has exported rocket and missile technology to terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Hezbollah has taken U.S. citizens hostage and caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians and military personnel through its various campaigns—including the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that took the lives of 241 American servicemen

• Iran already has the ballistic missiles necessary to hit U.S. and allied troops stationed in the Middle East and parts of Europe. If Tehran were allowed to develop nuclear weapons, the threat to American military personnel would increase dramatically.

• During the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran violated two of the most sacrosanct principles of international relations: 1) by invading the American embassy, a violation of basic state sovereignty, and 2) by taking hundreds of American diplomats hostage—a violation of the principle of diplomatic immunity.



• “Death to America” rallies are a common sight in the streets of Iranian cities.

• A nuclear-armed Iran poses a threat to America’s allies in the Middle East.

• A nuclear-armed Iran would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
And lest you think it's all about nuclear doom and gloom, here are some fun facts about how Iran deals with its own citizens:
• The Iranian regime persecutes members of a wide range of minorities, social, and religious groups, including Christians, Bahais, homosexuals, women, labor activists, and student groups.

• Under Iran's strict apostasy laws, conversion to Christianity is a crime punishable by death.

• Since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed more than 2,000 Bahai leaders, arrested and imprisoned thousands more, and dismissed more than 10,000 Bahais from government and university jobs. (By the way, guess which Middle East country loves the Ba'hai)

• Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and gay sex is considered a capital crime. The Iranian government targets gays with beatings, lashings and execution.

• The June 2009 presidential elections in Iran were marked by a fierce and massive campaign of government repression...hundreds of thousands of Iranians participated in the initial protests against the disputed results of that election. The ensuing crackdown killed at least 20 people, and some protesters claim that the actual death toll was closer to 250...over a thousand students and other protesters were detained, and many have yet to be released.
So if today the world is unwilling to stand up to this horrendous behavior, how will we do so when Iran can threaten us with nuclear reprisals? Think about it, any country with nuclear weapons can essentially guarantee that they CANNOT lose a war without their enemy (and/or its allies) losing a massive portion of their own population - if not all of it, as was the case during the Cold War. You think there are any Western leaders that would take action to defend gay Iranians if they knew they could lose a few million of their own civilians in the process? You think there's even one?

How many Russians were purged by Stalin for not being in line with Soviet ideology? How many free European nations fell behind the iron curtain? How many millions of Asians, Arabs, Jews, Christians, Cubans and others on every continent and in every hemisphere were enslaved by the horror of communist dictatorships while the West was powerless to stop the nuclear-armed Bolsheviks in Moscow?



How many innocent people will find themselves enslaved under the harsh ideology of the Supreme Leader of Iran?

This is what we are talking about here. It's not just about Israel...it's not just about nuclear fireballs...it's about anyone and everyone that would fall under Iran's growing, nuclear-powered sphere of influence. It's about the millions of people who do not subscribe to the extremist, intolerant Shi'a ideology of the ayatollahs and would be trampled under the boots of these oppressors. As we have seen, this applies to women, homosexuals, Ba'hais, Jews, Christians, "impious" Muslims, people who like rap music...in other words roughly 95% of the living, breathing world.

And make no mistake, the plan for Iran does not end with Iran. Or even Israel. We are talking about a movement that is very aggressive, very expansionist and has a very long memory that dates back to the times of the Crusaders. As we have seen, Iran has killed Americans in the past and is rapidly progressing towards building an ICBM. That's an Inter-CONTINENTAL Ballistic Missile by the way. The only reason you need one of those is to be able to hit a target on another CONTINENT.



Suddenly doesn't seem so far away does it?

Iran is also engaged in a massive disinformation campaign about its intentions. Despite the protestations from Ahmedinejad (and certain naive people who think he can be talked to) that ICBMs and long-range Shahab missiles are actually going to be used to rain flower petals over their targets instead of death and detruction, the evidence mounts everyday that Iran's facilities are too small for civilian use and too large to simply be research facilities.

Then, in addition to the usual dog and pony show about its nuclear program being only for peaceful purposes - that even the IAEA isn't buying anymore - Iran, through fronts like the Alavi Foundation, regularly funds politicians and universities all while raising charitable donations for - you guessed it - the Iranian government and by extension their nuclear program.

If you clicked on the universities link you would have read a CAMERA article about the Alavi Foundation giving over $100,000 to Columbia University and $351,600 to the Rutgers University Persian language program. This isn't the first time that we've reported on this site that Rutgers has been involved with questionable charities either. The $100,000 was only handed over to Columbia after they agreed to host Ahmedinejad for his 2007 exercise in cognitive dissonance (he declared at Columbia that there were no gays in Iran despite his regime regularly hanging them) - I wonder what Rutgers had to agree to in order to receive their donation. Aside from the obvious lunacy of a liberal college campus playing host to the biggest violator against liberal ideals alive in the world today, there is the disgrace of giving such a hate-monger a public forum to perpetuate his lies and infect the minds of students who likely have little to no background on the history of the region.

So what can we do about it? Well, for one thing if you are a student at one of these universities (or any college for that matter) you can form a local UANI chapter like they are doing at Rutgers as we speak. You can also write a letter to your university demanding an explanation for why they would accept funding from a terrorist regime like Iran.

If you're not a student you can join UANI's boycott of corporations that do business with Iran or accept funding from them. UANI has something they call the Iranian Business Registry - a list of these companies (some of which have received taxpayer handouts during the recent economic nuclear meltdown!) that you can stop buying from and tell your friends/family to do the same. You can demand answers from your representative in Congress about why you are funding the Iranian nuclear program with your taxes. Make sure you VOTE for politicians who recognize how dangerous of a crisis this really is...and if you choose NOT to vote for someone based on this issue - make sure they (and everyone else) know it. There's a lot you can do, but there's not really very much time to do it.




Check out the UANI site for additional ideas about how to raise awareness on this crisis. Remember, it may seem like it's too big of a task for an individual but so was the Berlin Wall and South African apartheid! Make enough noise and you'll be heard.

The alternative may seem like it's too horrible to even consider, but you must consider it and you must act on it. The people of Iran and the Middle East need you to speak up for them because they get killed for doing it themselves. But perhaps most importantly, your soldiers who fight, bleed and die everyday to defend your rights need you to speak up for them. Your children need you to speak up for them. YOU need to speak up for yourself. What are you waiting for?


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:

_________________________________________________________



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

_________________________________________________________


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.