Petition to Dominic Randolph
Protect academic freedom at RCS
*N.B. Please sign this petition if you consider yourself a member of the RCS community (e.g., student, alum, parent, faculty)! If you are not involved with Riverdale, we thank you for your support, but this petition is not for you! Dear Mr. Randolph, We, the undersigned members of the Riverdale Country School community, write to express our outrage and disappointment regarding the administration’s recent cancellation of Joel Doerfler’s seminar and to demonstrate our support for Mr. Doerfler, a beloved teacher who has inspired Riverdale students for 26 years. We affirm the urgent necessity of teaching “controversial” current events, as well as our indignation over attempts to censor teachers. In a July 2nd email, you wrote that Riverdale would “formulate more specific guidelines to foster constructive and respectful debate around controversial subjects and how we manage the teaching of facts versus interpretations.” We are deeply concerned about the implications of such guidelines for students’ intellectual growth, teachers’ academic freedom, and the school's professed commitment to “thinking creatively, critically, [and] flexibly.” In light of the circumstances, we make the following demands:1) Continue to offer a comparable biennial course on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for as long as a faculty member chooses to teach it.2) Guarantee RCS teachers the right to teach and to design their curriculum freely and with no new restrictions or guidelines3) Actively curtail any future efforts on behalf of parents to censor teachers’ course offerings.
Petition to Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, ron dermer
Bibi: Cancel Congressional Speech. You Don't Speak for Us!
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address a joint session of Congress on March 3, 2015 by House Speaker John Boehner. Neither Netanyahu nor Boehner bothered to inform the Democratic minority nor Pres. Obama of the invitation causing consternation among Democrats. Netanyahu intends to lobby Congress and the American people to oppose a possible nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers. He also intends to lobby on behalf of added punitive sanctions against Iran. These are provisions opposed by the President and most Democrats. Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman of the ADL and Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism have asked Netanyahu to cancel the speech. 14 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and two U.S. senators will not attend. Vice President will be out of the country and not attending. The President has announced he will not meet with Netanyahu due to the Israeli election coming only two weeks after the speech. Many analysts have noted that the speech is a campaign ploy to boost Netanyahu's image in the mind of the Israeli electorate. They see the entire incident as a spectacle and cynical political ploy. In Haaretz, Netanyahu has announced that he will go anywhere in the world including the U.S. Congress to "speak on behalf of the Jewish people." Tell Bibi: YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME! Cancel the speech! Call on your elected representatives to boycott the Netanyahu speech. If they do attend, ask them to show their disapproval by sitting on their hands.
Petition to Paul De Knop
Stop the Censorship of Israeli Apartheid Week at VUB
Students at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), a Dutch-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium, have organized three events this year as part of the global Israeli Apartheid Week events (https://www.facebook.com/events/667739040014750) in support of the Palestinian people and exposing Israel's apartheid nature and policies. These events are under attack and facing cancellation or the imposition of pro-apartheid speakers by the university administration because of the intervention of the Israeli Ambassador in student organizing at the University. Please sign this petition to stop the censorship of IAW at the University and defend the academic freedom and freedom of expression at VUB. IAW at VUB includes a presentation by author Lucas Catherine, a Skype address by Palestinian leftist parliamentarian, advocate and feminist Khalida Jarrar, a presentation by activist and writer Ludo De Brabander, and a presentation by former Israeli military pilot and current BDS activist Yonatan Shapira. The participation of Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar has come under particular attack. Students at the university have the right to organize and practice their academic freedom and to hear from Palestinian voices - and their supporters - about Israeli apartheid, without censorship or silencing at the behest of the Israeli Embassy. Any cancellation or change of a program as a result of external pressure is not democratic and is against freedom of speech, principles that the VUB itself defends.
Petition to Dr. Matthew Goldish, Director of Melton Center for Jewish Studies
Reject Hate Speech and Rescind Sponsorship of Professor Mordechai Kedar
On January 28, 2015, the Melton Center for Jewish Studies at Ohio State University will host an event featuring Professor Mordechai Kedar, a Middle East scholar from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. As an academic, Professor Kedar has used his prominent position to make racist and sexist statements about Palestinians and Arabs in general during Israel’s recent Operation Protective Edge. We find it unacceptable that our university should sponsor his program, given this recent hate speech. During an interview on the Hakol Diburim ("It’s All Talk") radio program on July 1, Professor Kedar openly discussed the effectiveness of rape as a tactic for deterring what he considered to be potential “terrorists.” He stated, “The only thing that deters [suspected terrorists] is if they know that their sister of their mother will be raped in the event that they are caught. What can you do? That’s the culture in which we live.” While Professor Kedar said that he was not suggesting “what we should or shouldn’t do,” his irresponsible and sexist statements endanger both Palestinian and Israeli women by discussing sexual violence as a potential military tactic. As a coalition of feminists stated in their letter to Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, Professor Kedar’s words “grant legitimacy to Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israeli civilians to commit rape, and endanger both Israeli and Palestinian women. Kedar’s words echo expressions that treat rape as a remedial practice, although it is a war crime.” Furthermore, his statement that he was simply describing the “culture” of “the Middle East” reveals outrageous anti-Arab racism. Suggesting that the diverse cultures of Palestinians and other Arabs are characterized by “violence” and “death,” responsive only to systematic rape, violently dehumanizes all Arabs. Although Professor Goldish, the director of the Melton Center, has reportedly stated that Center was aware of the controversy regarding Professer Kedar’s remarks and that they were “a little bit concerned,” the Center was “not concerned enough that we would cancel him.” The decision of Ohio State University to sponsor a talk by Professor Kedar sends a clear signal to us students, faculty, alumni, and community members that our university will tolerate anti-Arab racism and sexism. If our campus is to be a safe space for Arab students and women collectively, our university must take seriously and reject all forms of anti-Arab racism and sexism. We call on the Melton Center and Ohio State University to take a stand for justice and rescind its sponsorship of Professor Kedar.