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Friday, February 20, 2009

'Occupation' at NYU

Like many of you, I grew up in a typical left-leaning Jewish household. Mom and Dad supported 'Clean Gene' McCarthy for President in 1968 (the first election I remember other than having an "LBJ for the USA" sticker on the car in 1964) and later voted for Hubert Humphrey. In 1972, they even voted for George McGovern when many American Jews - especially Orthodox Jews - did not. I moved out of the house in 1974 to go to college, but I can't remember Mom and Dad ever voting for a Republican. Mom a"h (may she rest in peace) passed away three years ago, and Dad avoided registering to vote this time (he moved this past summer), so he would not have to choose between McCain and Obama.

On the other hand, I turned Republican. Not after 9/11 like so many of you, but in 1980. I couldn't bring myself to vote for Jimmy the Dhimmi in 1980, so I walked around my law school campus - where I was first-year student - with a Ronald Reagan button. That button (which unfortunately I no longer have) represented the beginnings of my conservatism. The virulent reactions to it by fellow students drove me to the right. We didn't call them 'moonbats' then, but that's what they were. My move to the right was solidified in Constitutional Law class where I argued with a flaming leftist professor that one ought to be able to read some language to be entitled to vote, and where I advised fellow students on how to argue against Nazi demonstrations through the heart of Skokie, Illinois.

At least in those days you were allowed to argue.

The university where this all happened was New York University - NYU. Even when I was there in the early '80's, NYU was a bastion of leftism, despite being called NY Jew by members of the Tribe. It was a place where students routinely turned down positions on Law Review for the Review of Law and Social Change. It was a center of everything Left. It was no secret that many gay students turned down Harvard and Yale to come to NYU because they thought it would be a more supportive environment. And it has remained a Leftist bastion to this day.

As I type this post, one of the buildings (the Kimmel Student Center) is under 'occupation' by a group of pro-'Palestinian' students (Hat Tip: Red Tulips) and it has been since about 10:00 Wednesday night. They have a web site that lists their 'demands' from the administration (if this sounds familiar to those of you who were around in the late '60's and early '70's, it should). There's a more detailed list of the demands here, and I'd like to quote them for you. Most of them are typical university issues (and I disagree with most of them, but that's a separate issue). Please note the ones I highlighted in the middle.
  1. Full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation.
  2. Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.
  3. Public release of NYU’s annual operating budget, including a full list of university expenditures, salaries for all employees compensated on a semester or annual basis, funds allocated for staff wages, contracts to non-university organizations for university construction and services, financial aid data for each college, and money allocated to each college, department, and administrative unit of the university. Furthermore, this should include a full disclosure of the amount and sources of the university’s funding.
  4. Disclosure of NYU’s endowment holdings, investment strategy, projected endowment growth, and persons, corporations and firms involved in the investment of the university’s endowment funds. Additionally, we demand an endowment oversight body of students, faculty and staff who exercise shareholder proxy voting power for the university’s investments.
  5. That the NYU Administration agrees to resume negotiations with GSOC/UAW Local 2110 – the union for NYU graduate assistants, teaching assistants, and research assistants. That NYU publicly affirm its commitment to respect all its workers, including student employees, by recognizing their right to form unions and to bargain collectively. That NYU publicly affirm that it will recognize workers’ unions through majority card verification.
  6. That NYU signs a contract guaranteeing fair labor practices for all NYU employees at home and abroad. This contract will extend to subcontracted workers, including bus drivers, food service employees and anyone involved in the construction, operation and maintenance at any of NYU’s non-U.S. sites.
  7. The establishment of a student elected Socially Responsible Finance Committee. This Committee will have full power to vote on proxies, draft shareholder resolutions, screen all university investments, establish new programs that encourage social and environmental responsibility and override all financial decisions the committee deems socially irresponsible, including investment decisions. The committee will be composed of two subcommittees: one to assess the operating budget and one to assess the endowment holdings. Each committee will be composed of ten students democratically elected from the graduate and under-graduate student bodies. All committee decisions will be made a strict majority vote, and will be upheld by the university. All members of the Socially Responsible Finance Committee will sit on the board of trustees, and will have equal voting rights. All Socially Responsible Finance Committee and Trustee meetings shall be open to the public, and their minutes made accessible electronically through NYU’s website. Elections will be held the second Tuesday of every March beginning March 10th 2009, and meetings will be held biweekly beginning the week of March 30th 2009.
  8. That the first two orders of business of the Socially Responsible Finance committee will be:
    a) An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.
    b) A reassessment of the recently lifted of the ban on Coca Cola products.
  9. That annual scholarships be provided for thirteen Palestinian students, starting with the 2009/2010 academic year. These scholarships will include funding for books, housing, meals and travel expenses.
  10. That the university donate all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
  11. Tuition stabilization for all students, beginning with the class of 2012. All students will pay their initial tuition rate throughout the course of their education at New York University. Tuition rates for each successive year will not exceed the rate of inflation, nor shall they exceed one percent. The university shall meet 100% of government-calculated student financial need.
  12. That student groups have priority when reserving space in the buildings owned or leased by New York University, including, and especially, the Kimmel Center.
  13. That the general public have access to Bobst Library.
Anyone else notice that much of the agenda that has nothing to do with the university or the education it's providing?

The 'University of Gaza' is the Islamic University of Gaza. It was destroyed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead because it was being used as a bomb-making facility.

The New York Times covers the story here. The only demands it mentions relating to Gaza are providing scholarships to Gazan students and giving supplies to Gazans. But it should be clear to all of you that the 'Socially Responsible Finance Committee' is a means for trying to divest NYU's endowment from Israel. They even say that in 8a:
An in depth investigation of all investments in war and genocide profiteers, as well as companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.
It should be clear to all of you that the results of that 'investigation' will be to divest the university's endowment from Israel, as was done at Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts recently. Regarding that divestment - the first for a college or university in the United States - Alan Dershowitz wrote:
Hampshire caved in to student and faculty pressure and as Board of Directors agreed to divest from these six companies along with a series of others that did not meet the standards of Hampshire College. The student group, supported by many faculty members, claimed total victory, issuing a press release that boasted that Hampshire has become the first college in the United States to divest from Israel. It urged other universities to follow its lead.


The six companies include General Electric, ITT, Motorola and other corporations that employ thousands of American workers. The divestment campaign applies to Israel and Israel alone. Hampshire will continue to deal with companies that supply Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Belarus and other brutal dictatorships around the world that routinely murder civilians, torture and imprison dissenters, deny educational opportunities to women, imprison gays and repress speech. Indeed many of those who support divestiture against Israel actively support these repressive regimes. This divestment campaign has absolutely nothing to do with human rights. It is motivated purely by hatred for the Jewish state. As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman put it: “Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanctions—out of proportion to any other party in the Middle East—is anti-Semitic and not saying so is dishonest.”
Read the whole thing.

In an email, Red Tulips suggests the following:
Please email NYU and express your support for Israel and humanity itself, and that you hope they remain firm against the protesters. And mention that the Islamic University of Gaza is affiliated with Hamas itself, and NYU would be supporting a terrorist group, should they support this university.

NYU may be contacted the following way:

The president is John Sexton: john.sexton@nyu.edu
The Provost is David McLaughlin: provost@nyu.edu

And please forward this to those you know have attended NYU and are as appalled by this development as I am.
Sexton was a professor at the Law School when I was there and became the dean of the Law School shortly after I left. He arrived from Harvard during my time at NYU.

I have another, additional suggestion that I wanted to make when the Hampshire story broke, but never got around to it. Now, I have another chance.

Hampshire College allegedly divested itself from six companies: Caterpillar, General Electric, ITT, Motorola, Terex and United Technologies. (As an aside, it's curious that they don't include Intel or Microsoft, both of which have more operations in Israel than anyplace else outside the United States). Where they divest we should invest. Are any of you out there licensed investment advisers? How about starting a fund that will invest in American companies that support Israel.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing seems likely to spread. Supporting the 'Palestinians' has become chic. We need to think out of the box about ways to counter it.

Exit question: Will President Obama's good friend Billy Ayers be joining them?


The students were evicted from the cafeteria by police after the Sabbath started here in Israel. Some of them may be evicted from school as well. Good riddance!


At 7:04 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Just a note.

I want to say that I think at this stage the best response is a letter writing campaign to the President and Provost in support of NYU and of Israel. Taking this to the press and inflaming the situation could very well make things worse and give these people even more publicity.

I am horrified that I live and work in a city where this 'occupation' has taken place. I only hope NYU does not capitulate to any of the demands of the protesters.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I read the site Jewssansfrontieres. It describes itself as an anti-Zionist blog - but it is really is extreme Jewish self-hatred. And guess what the real goal of BDS is - no - its not Bush Derangement Syndrome... it stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions. The aim is to isolate Israel in order to bring about its destruction. The newest aspect of anti-Semitism is to describe Israel as an apartheid state (Jimmy Carter, any one?) and the irony is that the worst practitioners of apartheid in the Middle East is the Arab/Muslim World. No one is calling for BDS against them. There is something about the Jewish State that inspires fear, loathing and hatred in a lot of people.

After having read it, one needs a shower. The truth is the Holocaust didn't kill anti-Semitism - it just drove it underground for awhile and in our time its fashionable again. The more things change...

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

How about NYU tell these assholes either they leave the building or they will be kicked out of school. That way the would get the message very clearly.

And I wonder what laws they are breaking? Prosecution could be another bonus. Try getting a job with a felony conviction on your resume.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger ZH#2 said...

Here is more at


Damn, I hate that word "Occupation"

At 1:39 AM, Blogger LB said...

So "the occupation" is now a good thing? Rebuilding the Islamic University of Gaza aka the factory for genocide tools - Where were they when students were murdered at Merkaz HaRav? When elementary school students were shot at in Sderot? When Hebrew U was bombed?

I really don't understand why the police has not gone in, forcefully and arrested these terrorists. That is what they are. How about the FBI? Logan Act violations maybe? - they want to rebuild a Hamas institution against current US policy.

I suggest their tuition money goes to rebuild the "University" in Gaza - but then they are forced to transfer to there. Let's see how long they last when they try to occupy a building there.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger christine said...

over hear in america most media outlets aren't even covering it and the ones who do don't say why the protesting.....so in other words noone knows whats going on.....

At 5:18 PM, Blogger uuu said...

`Exit question: Will President Obama's good friend Billy Ayers be joining them?'

Unfortunately, no. Ayers will be in Colorado at a rally supporting our resident Socialist/Communist/America Hater, Ward Churchill.


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