“. . . How is the message to reach you, Deaf Washington . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

[NOTE: This post contains more about the U.S. than usual, but the President’s appointment is a dangerous sign for U.S.-Palestinian relations in general.]

❶ Israeli forces attack olive harvesters, supporters in village near Nablus
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian olive harvest season disrupted by Israeli settler violence – report
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) From Whom Is the IDF Protecting Palestinian Farmers?

  • Background: “Academic Freedom, Ideological Boundaries, and the Teaching of the Middle East [In the United States].” Arab Studies Quarterly.

❷ Trump taps head of anti-Palestinian group as top civil rights enforcer
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Over 100 faculty oppose nomination of Kenneth Marcus to head Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education
❸ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  ATTACK  OLIVE  HARVESTERS,  SUPPORTERS  IN  VILLAGE  NEAR  NABLUS 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Oct. 28, 2017 – Israeli forces attacked on Saturday Palestinian farmers and supporters as they harvesting olives in the Nablus area village of al-Sawiyeh, according to Ghassan Daghlas, a local official.
___He told WAFA that the soldiers assaulted a Palestinian woman volunteer and an international solidarity member as they helping the farmers harvest olives in village land located near the settlement of Eli, south of Nablus.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶  ― (ᴀ) PALESTINIAN  OLIVE  HARVEST  SEASON  DISRUPTED  BY  ISRAELI  SETTLER  VIOLENCE – REPORT  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 28, 2017 ― Olive harvest in the period between 10 to 23 October in a number of hotspots across the West Bank was disrupted by Israeli settler violence, which resulted in the physical assault and injury of two farmers, damage to 550 trees, and the theft of several tons of produce, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of  Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories said on Friday.
___In its biweekly report on Protection of Civilians in the occupied territories, OCHA said all but one of the nine documented incidents of settler violence against Palestinian olive harvesters took place in areas in the vicinity of settlements, where Palestinian access is restricted by the Israeli authorities.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) FROM  WHOM  IS  THE  IDF  PROTECTING  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS?
+972 Magazine (Blog)
By Yael Marom
Oct. 25, 2017 ― The Israeli military wants you to believe that it alone is responsible for  ensuring that Palestinians can harvest their olive trees in peace. A new video, published on the Facebook page of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) . . .  shows how COGAT, in its words, is “ensuring that Palestinian residents can harvest until the last olive this harvest season in Hebron.”
___The video shows a farmer from Hebron who describes how secure he feels while harvesting his 90 olive trees because of the Israeli soldiers sent by COGAT to protect him. According to Hebron District Coordination Liaison Safa Izz al-Din, the harvest season “continues without problems.”
___COGAT officials may be carrying out their respective roles, coordinating between farmers and security forces in order to allow them to work their land, but . . . Why do Palestinian farmers need protection in the first place? And from whom?    MORE . . .

Ismael, Tareq.
“ACADEMIC FREEDOM, IDEOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES, AND THE TEACHING OF THE MIDDLE EAST [In the United States].”
ARAB STUDIES QUARTERLY, vol. 33, no. 3/4, Summer/Fall2011, pp. 125-130.
[. . . .] Attacks on [U.S.] scholars engaged in research on the Middle East are extensive and unrelenting. In ideological terms, the field of Middle East Studies has been labeled a failure . . .  and its preeminent [U. S.] organization, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has been branded as inordinately Arab in its composition and ideological/intellectual “character.” Chiefly, it has been argued that the field of Middle East Studies and its scholars have “ill-served” America, essentially implying that academia ought to act on the behalf of US strategic interests, rather than the unfettered pursuit of truth.
___In practical terms, those opposed to developments in the field of Middle East Studies have organized formal lobbies to target offending academics . . .  Campus Watch organization, [was] launched in 2002, with a mission to “monitor and gather information on professors who fan the flames of misinformation, incitement, and ignorance.” Campus Watch, alongside similar groups as well as the traditional pro-Israel lobby, have been at the fore of successive campaigns against vulnerable academics.
[. . . .] Hostility to Middle East Studies, as well as the larger humanities/social sciences, has sometimes given way to serious efforts at attacking funding sources, including a failed effort in 2004 to amend title VI funding for area studies, putting such funding under review of an advisory board that academics feared would amount to political interference in scholarship. . .   a trend that could quite conceivably be extended to de-funding of title VI, Pell Grants, and other sources of public funding for universities.  SOURCE.  …

❷ TRUMP  TAPS  HEAD  OF  ANTI-PALESTINIAN  GROUP  AS  TOP  CIVIL  RIGHTS  ENFORCER 
The Electronic Intifada 
By Nora Barrows-Friedman
Oct. 27, 2017 ―  In a troubling move for students and Palestine rights activists, the Trump administration has tapped Kenneth Marcus as the top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education.
___He will lead the department’s Office of Civil Rights.
___Marcus is the head of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights, an Israel advocacy group that has for years worked to smear Palestine solidarity activism as anti-Semitism. It has no affiliation with the better known Brandeis University.
___Since 2010, Marcus’ key strategy has been to file civil rights complaints with the Office of Civil Rights claiming that universities were failing to protect Jewish students by not cracking down on the Palestine solidarity movement, especially the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
___The tactic was unsuccessful. But now, Marcus himself will be in charge of investigating such complaints.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) OVER  100  FACULTY  OPPOSE  NOMINATION  OF  KENNETH  MARCUS  TO  HEAD  OFFICE  FOR  CIVIL  RIGHTS  AT  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION
Jewish Voice for Peace 
Oct. 27, 2017 ― In the last 24 hours, over 100 faculty signed a statement through Jewish Voice for Peace opposing Trump’s nomination of Kenneth Marcus as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Marcus heads the Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law and has dedicated the past decade to defining criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
[. . . .] Marcus, who in 2011 founded the Brandeis Center with the express mission of promoting “the civil and human rights of the Jewish people,” has tried to silence students and faculty that advocate for Palestinian rights . . .   he has continued to equate the movement to boycott Israel with antisemitism, casting free speech, criticism and nonviolent resistance as violations of civil rights.
[. . . .] Marcus’ nomination is the latest in an ongoing campaign to equate criticism of the Israeli government with religious discrimination, a campaign that has proven to violate the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Last year, the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” failed in Congress on free speech grounds, and the American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring all state contractors to certify that they are not boycotting Israel violates the First Amendment.     MORE . . .

“THE  UNKNOWN  CONTINENT,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM 
How do we reach you
Slums of Chicago?
How is the spark to reach you?
How is the fire to be born?
Skyscrapers!
Stacked huts!
Stretch your arms out of the darkness―
For the big banner
Spreads its warmth, its light
Forever
Into the depths of night
And the big banner is
Forever
A sail for the drowning.

How are the storms to reach you
Jazzband Club in New York?
The black man is hungry and fearful,
The wolves of the KKK roam the forest
―the current overpowering
And the conscience of the statue shaken
And the heart of night.
The wind is frozen,
And the waves of the sea unmoving?
How is the message to reach you
Deaf Washington,
with the humming of the machine?
In Vietnam slaughter,
And you export
Cokes and medicine to the sad moon!
And you sweep over the blood of victims.
How is the message to reach you?

Descendants of Old Abe!
My voice has become hoarse
And the wind
Has become tired of my shouts!
Descendants of Old Abe!
Shake the marble of history,
Rise to the sky,
Rise above the band of stupid maggis
And halt ― for
The earth grumbles
The rivers of blood. . . .

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY OF THE SUN: POETRY OF THE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970. Available WORLD CAT  and ABEBooks.com     
Samih Al-Qasim 

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