Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer University of Palestine

Summer University of Palestine, American University of Beirut,
Beirut Lebanon, July 23 - 30

Wow! What an
incredible experience! Great dialogue on important issues for the campaign to end seige of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine. Got to meet some of the leaders and activists in the movement and learn from the intellectuals and scholars in the field of the Palestinian cause. Major topic for discussion was the resistance movement and the role of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid state of Israel. I took our University of Colorado divestment petition to the conference and collected another 50 signatures!

Beirut is beautiful -- recovered from years of civil war and Israel's invasions and occupations. This is the "Corniche" West Beirut a drive along the Mediterranean.

George Galloway (center) delivered key note, Ronnie Kasrils (left), and Salma
Yaqoob on opening panel discussion.

Dr. Ghada Karmi, Exeter University, London, and author of Married to Another Man, spoke on Al Quds and vanishing Jerusalem.

Professor Rabab El-Mahdi from the American University of Cairo and co-editor of Egypt, The Moment of Change

Evening view of Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque, downtown Beirut

15 May Memorial where 6 Plestinian activists were killed by Israeli soldiers firing into crowds of demonstrators at the border with Lebanon -- pressing for the Right of Return.

Dr. Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University and author of Traditions of War provided intelectual and legal underpinning for Right of Return and one-state solution. Kevin Ovenden (left) organizer of SUP.

Sabra and Chatilla Massacre Memorial in South Beirut, refugee camps where 3000 women and children and civilians were killed during Israel's invasion of Beirut 1982.

Abdullah Abdulla, Palestinain Authority representative in Lebanon spoke abou
t the Unity Accord with Hamas.

Ronnie Kasrils, Freedom Fighter against Apartheid and Minister for the Intelligence Services in the South African government 2004 to 2008

Osama Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon, spoke on the Palestinian Resistance and the way forward.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mobocracy at Ben Gurion Airport

Journalist Larry Derfner came to Tel Aviv airport to cover the arrival of international activists. Once in the reception hall, a small Israeli mob turned on him. In a matter of seconds, he found himself in a police van

by Larry Derfner

Jerusalem Post's Larry Derfner surrounded at Ben Gurion airport (photo: Joseph Dana)

Anybody who believes the platitude that the people want peace, it’s just the leaders who want war, should have been at Ben-Gurion Airport today. It’s a good thing those Free Palestine activists got arrested; otherwise, the little mob that formed spontaneously would have punched them up pretty good.

Only minutes after I got to the Arrivals hall, a few activists stood in front of the phalanx of reporters and cameramen, help up their little signs and started chanting “Israel Apartheid” and ”Free Palestine!” The cops tore the signs from their hands and started pushing them toward the exit. After the first couple of minutes of watching in shocked silence, people in the terminal started to boo. Men were cursing loudly – “sons of bitches,” “garbage,” and things in Arabic I didn’t understand.

A couple of dozen people, mainly men but also a few women, followed very close behind the tightly-bunched demonstrators, cops and reporters to the police van. “Throw them in the garbage,” shouted one woman. An old man tried to get at one of the activists, but the police stopped him.

I was there ostensibly as a journalist, and I was scribbling notes, but I felt cowardly not saying anything to these nationalist hooligans, so I started telling them in Hebrew, “What are these people doing?” The woman who wanted them thrown in the garbage said, “They’re hurting us!” I said, “They’re talking,” and the little mob turned on me, a couple of the men raised their fists. The woman told me, “Go back home, get out of here,” I said, “I live here.” The cops mistook me for a demonstrator, put me in the police van, but when I showed them my press card, they let me go.

Let me repeat – the police started off arresting the demonstrators, but very shortly their main task was to keep them from being assaulted. They had to hold back the herd = and that’s what these people were, a herd incited by the idea that these protesters, non-violent protesters trying to get to the West Bank, were a menace, an immediate threat to their security.

And I do not buy the idea that these people are helpless pawns being manipulated by the government, the media, the right-wing politicians. Most Israelis, even if they wouldn’t join a mob like the one at the airport, want to hear the belligerent rhetoric the opinion-makers are feeding them. They hate anybody who says anything bad about Israel, and take their words automatically as “blood libels.” The opinion-makers know this, and the ones who are popular and want to stay that way tell the people what they want to hear.

Who’s manipulating whom is a chicken-and-egg question.

Watching my enraged countrymen at Ben-Gurion, I imagined the daily headlines having been distilled into a kind of political methadrine and mainlined into their veins. Few Israelis would join them in physically going after people chanting slogans. But in their insistence that protesters like these be silenced because their words are acts of violence, acts of war, of terrorism, they represent the majority. They are an authentic expression of the national will. Theirs is the loudest voice in the land, it’s joined by the voice of Netanyahu, the government, the settlers and most of the media. All competing voices are drowned out.

Which is why these foreign activists on these flotillas, whatever I or anybody else thinks of the totality of their politics, are absolutely vital not only to the Palestinians, but to Israel. They’re bringing oxygen to a suffocating nation.

Larry Derfner is a journalist and an op-ed contributor for the Jerusalem Post. This post was published on his joint blog with 972’s Dimi Reider, Israel Reconsidered, and is re-posted here with the author’s permission.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tried the Back Door Into Israel; that didn't work either

well, I obviously didn't get into Israel. When they got my flight from London to Tel Aviv canceled I hopped on a flight to Sharm El Sheikh at the tip of the Sinai penisula in Egypt. Then I hired a taxi to the Israel border crossing at Taba. But when I announced my purpose was to travel to Palestine to meet with friends, Israel's answer was "NO".
Take a look at this article that describes the greeting the activists who did make it into Ben Gurion Airport got: .

people don't realize how much hate is boiling over in this bigoted theocracy. it's not just a small group of ultra-right politicians setting a course of intolerance and oppression.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Waiting for Flight to Tel Aviv

Luton Airport (London) -- made it through security. will see what happens at the gate.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mazin Qumsiyeh
Date: 2011/7/7
Subject: [HumanRights] ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign responds to Israel’s denial of entrance
Cc: Human Rights Newsletter

[This campaign that we have been working very hard on for months is just
beginning. The week of activities will go on with all your help. We will
plan bigger and more dramatic events in the months to come. The collusion
of the governments and corporations in Israeli oxccupation and colonization
must be further exposed.]

‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign responds to Israel’s denial of entrance to
international visitors who support human rights

Bethlehem and Jerusalem, July 7, 2011 - The Israeli authorities are
escalating attacks on anyone they suspect of participating in the peaceful
events of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign. Israeli authorities sent
hundreds of names to airline companies telling them to deny travel to
individuals on the list. Several people on the list who had booked flights
were sent letters from airline companies cancelling their reservations
‘based on a request from the Israeli authorities.’ We call on all airline
companies not to accept such provocative, blackmailing, and illegal actions
by the Israeli government. Ominously, Israeli Prime minister has directed
the interior security minister that the Israeli authorities must ‘act with
determination’ towards those who do make it to Ben Gurion Airport.

The visitors coming from the US and Europe on Friday are committed to the
principles of international and humanitarian law and believe strictly in
nonviolence. They were invited by dozens of Palestinian civil society
organizations and groups. They have stated that the only way to visit and
work with Palestinians is by passing through Israeli border controls. They
have declared their commitment to pass these border controls in an orderly,
peaceful and fully transparent way.

Before stepping onto the airplanes, the visitors will have passed through
meticulous security procedures at the various airports of origin and will
pose no threat in any way. The propaganda efforts to paint human rights
advocates as ‘hooligans’ and even ‘violent’ (an attempt to demonize and
dehumanize them in order to justify violence against them) is simply not
credible and indeed ridiculous. We are pleased that this episode further
exposes Israeli policies towards anything or anyone relating to
‘Palestinians’ as dictatorial, racist, and criminal and not complying with
basic elements of democracy or human rights.

Visitors traveling between countries have rights under international law and
bilateral travel agreements. Our foreign visitors insist that they must be
treated with respect in the same manner Israeli citizens receive when
traveling to their countries. Those who had reservations cancelled will
exercise their right of protest including bringing legal cases in their own
countries. We will also bring legal cases in Israeli courts under our
continued attempt to expose the racist policies of the Israeli government.

Several peaceful protests will be held at airports throughout Europe on the
8th of July and we urge all civilized people throughout the world to protest
these undemocratic moves to silence free speech and legal travel. We ask the
media to insist on access and fair reporting on Israeli tactics that are
against basic human rights of international solidarity activists before,
during and after they arrive at the Israeli airport. We demand Israel
publishes all instructions given to their ‘border control officials’
regarding visitors who intend to visit Palestinians.

The "Welcome to Palestine" campaign has been successful in exposing Israeli
attempts to isolate and imprison Palestinians and prevent international
visitors from coming to find out what is really happening on the ground.

Friday 8 July 2011 at 10 AM in Bethlehem Peace Center, located in Nativity
Square, we will have a Press Conference to announce further steps we will
take and to answer any questions.

Twitter: #PalSpring
Facebook: Welcome to Palestine

Contact information:
Bethlehem: Fadi Kattan, +970 (0) 595
754 100 or Skype

Jerusalem: Nikki or Laura, , +972 2 624 1159 or +972 2
624 1424

Berlin: Sophia Deeg,, +49(0) 30 88 007761
, +49 (0) 1799878414
. 13:00 Press briefing;
beginning 13:30 news center, including (if possible) direct contact with the
travelers as they land at Ben Gurion airport. Filmb├╝hne am Steinplatz,
Hardenbergstr. 12, Berlin Charlottenburg.

Paris: Nicolas Shahshahani, +33 (0)1 42 94 39
94 and +33 (0) 6
73 38 24 84 .
The press office will answer questions from the media around the clock.

UK: Sofiah Macleod,, +44 (0)131 620 0052
or + 44 (0)
7401631658 , Skype:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Press Release 2: Welcome to Palestine

Press Release 2: "Welcome to Palestine" Organizers decry Israeli propaganda
efforts and threats of mass deportation

Bethlehem and Jerusalem 5 July 2011--The organizers of the "Welcome to
Palestine" initiative decry the numerous attempts by Israeli and other media
to distort our message and planned activities. There were messages claiming
that we are attempting to reach Gaza by going to Lod Airport (aka Ben Gurion
airport) on July 8. Some claimed that this initiative came after the
flotilla was blocked. Others claimed our visitors want to disrupt things at
the airport and some even claimed they will try to take over planes. These
claims and many others being circulated are false; we urge media not to
disseminate false statements.

As stated in our first press release: we invited international guests,
including families, to visit us in Palestine. We hope and expect the
Israeli authorities to allow them safe passage in compliance with
International law and normal diplomatic bilateral protocols. We also reject
the Israeli government threat to engage in mass deportation of peace
activists and the apparent attempt justify this unjustifiable action by
using rumors that they spread.

We are accessible to the media and encourage them to speak with the actual
organizers and participants of this peaceful initiative. Journalists will
be flying with us, and we encourage more journalists to join us and to
report on what actually happens (without innuendos and propaganda efforts -
Israeli hasbara).

Our visitors are coming to Palestine with a nonviolent approach to peace
building and conflict resolution, with full respect of the universal
declaration of human rights. We urge the Israeli authorities to allow the
journalists to have access to our participants and to report the true story
of "Welcome to Palestine."

Inviting Palestinians and internationals to join us is our right as people
under colonial occupation who yearn to be free.

Some journalists are flying with our visitors and we invite all journalists
who want to exercise their right to free press to fly in of the 8th of July
to Palestine.

We will have a press conference Friday July 8 at 10 AM at the Bethlehem
Peace Center in Bethlehem.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Palestine Fly-In: July 8, 2011

On July 8th, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from around the world will stage a “fly-in” at Ben Gurion International airport in Israel. I’m proud to say I will be among them.

Inspired by the sit-ins and freedom rides of the civil rights movement, in the USA in the ‘60s, and the Freedom Flotilla that attempted sail to Gaza this week, we intend to exercise our right to travel to Palestine.

I will be traveling with a group of US citizens who have accepted an invitation from the Al Rowwad Cultural Centre in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem during July. Our delegation is responding to Palestinian civil society organizations and peace and human rights activists who have called on civil society organizations and people of conscience around the world to come to Palestine July 8 for a week of fellowship and peace-building. (See the Right to Enter Campaign at )

Israel's arbitrary and abusive control over entry into the Occupied Palestinian Territories is unlawful and must be vigorously opposed. Israel must recognize the basic human right of entering to Palestine by those who want to visit the Palestinian people. We will get a big 'Welcome to Palestine' on July 9th if we can get through Israel's illegal blockade.

I see my participation in this delegation as part of multi-faceted communication and direct action campaign with the University of Colorado called CU-Divest! CU-Divest! is asking the University of Colorado to stop investing in companies that support Israel’s oppression. People can stand in solidarity with our delegation by signing our petition on line: .

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Freedom Riders 2011

Fifty years ago this month, white and black Freedom Riders rode buses from the nation’s capitol to the South to challenge Jim Crow segregation laws and racism. It was a risky proposition; many white Americans felt so strongly about segregation that they were ready to kill to maintain their privilege. Many other “good” white people looked away from the crimes of apartheid. I know this because in 1961, I was a 14-year-old white boy living in Meridian, Mississippi.

Today, it is hard not to see the parallels between those activists who risked their lives to end segregation and the tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinians who rose on May 15, the 63rd anniversary of their ethnic cleansing from Palestine, to challenge Israel’s denial of their right to return to Palestine and to live as equals with Israeli Jews.

From Lebanon and Syria, Palestinian refugees streamed across hills and valleys on foot and, when they glimpsed the border with Israel, broke into a run, refusing to stop even when they were told that they were crossing a minefield. Israeli soldiers shot 20 dead.

Within Israel, Palestinians marched between two Palestinian villages in the north that had been destroyed in preparation for the creation of Israel. And in numerous rallies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one Palestinian was killed and hundreds injured.

For decades, the US has actively colluded with Israel to thwart Palestinian aspirations for a life with dignity. Palestinians, like blacks in the US, will not rest until they live as equals with Jews in historic Palestine, which includes present-day Israel. When that day arrives, we “good” people in the United States of America will be appalled at the shameful role our government has played in making that dream of human rights so difficult to realize.

Michael Rabb

2002 18th Street

Boulder CO 80302


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Follow-up Meeting with Rep Jared Polis Office

On March 8th I met with Rep. Jared Polis staff at his Washington DC office in the Cannon Office Building. I submitted four "asks" relating to US policy about Israel's oppression of Palestinians. On Tuesday March 29th I've got an appointment to meet with Staff at the Congressman's Boulder office. We will be discussing Jared's thoughts and response to the asks and especially his views regarding Israel's apartheid of Palestinians.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Michael on Capitol Hill -- Palestine Asks

Rep. Jared Polis – Palestine Policy Asks”, March 8, 2011

Michael Rabb

2002 18th Street

Boulder CO 80302


1. Amendments to the FY2012 Budget Request for Military Aid to Israel

We ask Members of Congress to offer amendments to the budget/appropriations bill to condition military aid to Israel to prevent U.S. weapons from being misued, as detailed in enclosed memo.

  • In February President Obama sent his FY2012 budget request to Congress, which included a record-breaking $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel. The Fy2011 budget, which has not yet been passed by Congress or signed by the President, includes $3 billion in military aid to Israel.

  • The United States cannot afford military aid to Israel. The website documents how much military aid Colorado and the 2nd Congressional District will be providing under the terms of the 2007 agreement between the United States and Israel, and what that money could fund instead to promote affordable housing, green jobs training, education programs, and health care access. Please take a look at the numbers. The research shows that military aid to Israel comes at a price that we cannot afford.

  • Military aid to Israel does not work to promote a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. In fact, it does just the opposite, by literally “fueling” the conflict (as documented in a 2009 Amnesty International report). Israel routinely misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control Act to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians and to maintain its illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. These weapons were misused by Israel to commit violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity before, during and after “Operation Cast Lead,” according to the UN-backed Goldstone Report. Since September 2000, Israel has killed more than 3,000 unarmed Palestinian civilians, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, often with U.S. weapons.

  • Since the United States cannot afford military aid to Israel, and since Israel routinely misuses U.S. weapons in violation of U.S. law, U.S. military aid to Israel should be conditioned. Our proposed amendments to the budget/appropriations bill include: conditioning aid to Israel on its freezing settlements; ending the siege on Gaza; restricting the use of U.S. weapons to within Israel’s sovereign territory; and investigating prior misuses of weapons (please see enclosed memo for details).

2. Letter to Secretary of State Clinton Requesting AECA Investigation of U.S.-supplied Tear Gas

We ask Members of Congress to send Secretary of State Clinton a letter asking for the State Department to investigate Israel’s possible violations of the AECA through its misuse of high-velocity tear gas canisters and other “riot control equipment.”

  • Members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure that the laws they pass are followed. When a country misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the State Department is obligated by law to open an investigation and report its findings of violations to this law to Congress.

  • The AECA restricts the use of U.S. Weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.” Israel misuses U.S.-supplied tear gas canisters and other “riot control equipment” to crack down on peaceful protests led by Palestinians, and often supported by Israelis and international citizens in solidarity with them. Several U.S. citizens have been killed after being hit with the canisters, and a number of Palestinians have been killed after being hit with the canisters or inhaling the gas. Each individual case detailed in the template letter enclosed.

3. Letter to the Internal Revenue Service Requesting Investigation of 501c3 Organizations

We as Members of Congress to send a letter to the Inspector General of the IRS asking it to investigate organizations that support illegal Israeli settlements.

  • Israel has established 150 settlements, populated by a hal-million Jewish Israelis, in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem in contravention of the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of civilians to occupied territories. The State Department concluded in a 1978 legal memorandum that these settlements are “inconsistent with international law” and the Obama Administration has repeatedly called them “illegitimate.” The continued expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements cast doubts on the viability of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • Non-profit organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as 501c3 organizations are supposed to be charitable and educational in nature. However, many 501c3 organizations exist to support Israel’s illegal settlements and operate in ways counter to IRS regulations to finance their distinctly non-charitable purposes. Individuals donating to 501c3 organizations are allowed by law to take a tax-deduction. Therefore, money going to these organizations deprives the U.S. Treasury of badly needed tax receipts.

  • Members of Congress have a responsibility to ensure that charitable organizations are not fraudulently taking advantage of the tax code to funnel money to non-charitable purposes that conflict with IRS regulations, U.S. law and policy, an international law.

4. Support for the Global BDS Movement for Palestine

I ask Representative Polis to support the Global Movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel’s apartheid of Palestinians.

  • The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories continue to suffer under Israel's illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid.

  • The University of Colorado invests millions $$$ in companies that support the Israeli apartheid. These companies profit from Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Some of the companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that support occupation by force. Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself. These companies are profiting from Israel’s violations of international law and international human rights standards.

  • There is serious concern among the University community that the University’s investments in these companies violate the University of Colorado’s commitment to human rights and social justice.

  • Please send a letter a letter to the Board of Regents, University of Colorado requesting they initiate a study to evaluate which of the University’s investments support Israeli apartheid and take steps to divest from such investments. (See template attached.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

University of Vermont Asked to Divest

Burlington Free

By Tim Johnson, Free Press Staff Writer • Saturday, March 5, 2011

A new divestment proposal, targeting companies that reinforce Israel's foothold in Palestinian territories, has begun making its way through the University of Vermont's lengthy review process.

The proposal calls for the university to withdraw endowment funds from all companies "contractually involved in, and directly profiting from, the occupation of Palestine." Palestine is defined as land that includes the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The companies in question would be those that supply products or services to the Israeli military or to Israeli settlements in the territories.
Drafted by emeritus research professor Ian Stokes and endorsed by UVM Students for Justice in Palestine, the proposal will be the subject of a March 17 public forum sponsored by UVM's Socially Responsible Investing Work Group. That group -- comprising trustees, faculty, students and staff -- handles the initial screening of all formal recommendations for tailoring UVM investments to social and ethical concerns.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh to Speak in Boulder March 7

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Distinguished Palestinian scientist, human rights activist,
and author of the recently published book
Popular Resistance in Palestine:
A History of Hope and Empowerment,

will be presenting 2 events:

On Monday, March 7, 4-6 PM
Lecture, “Popular Resistance in Palestine and the Arab World: Winds of Change,”
CU Boulder, Eaton Humanities, Room 250

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, March 7, 7:30-8:30 PM
Book signing, Boulder Bookstore
1107 Pearl Street (On the Pearl Street Mall)

Sponsored by: The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Middle East Collective; the CU Peace and Conflict Studies Program; the Center for the Study of Conflict, Collaboration, and Creative Governance; the CU Faculty Federation. For information, contact 303-444-6981, ext 2.

Monday, February 28, 2011


CU Asked to Divest from Israel's Apartheid

Intermountain Jewish News


A CU at Boulder alumnus asked the university’s Board of Regents to consider a resolution to divest from companies that support Israel at the regents Tuesday (Feb. 22) meeting.

Boulder resident Michael Rabb, 64, read from a prepared text summarizing the resolution, for his allotted two minutes during the public comment section of the regents meeting.

A rebuttal, also two minutes, was given by Yona Eshkenazi, Colorado director of StandWithUs, whose mission is to ensure that Israel’s side of the story is told in communities, campuses and the media.

“The concept is similar to what happened in the 70s and 80s, where institutions all over the world said, ‘We’re not going to support companies that support aparthed in South Africa,’” Rabb told the IJN.

In the resolution, Rabb asked the university to divest from stocks from those companies that support “Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians.”

The resolution also stated, “Arabs in Palestine continue to suffer under Israel’s illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid.”

It also noted that CU invests about $1.7 billion through various funds, endowments, gifts, development and pension funds and corporate and business entities, and called on CU to uphold its “proud tradition of non-discrimination and commitment to human rights.”

Amy Stein, director of the Boulder ADL, Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, and Janet Sherman, director of the Denver-based Jewish Community Relations Council, (representing 37 local and national Jewish community organizations in Boulder and Denver) were included in a group of at least 10 people who opposed the resolution. JCRC submitted a formal letter to the CU Board of Regents in opposition.

“There was a pretty good turnout of community members at the regents hearing,” said Prof. Mark Loewenstein, a CU-Boulder law professor who also attended the meeting.

“What that should indicate to the regents, if they were paying attention, is that it would be a very highly charged issue, and they would find themselves in the middle of a public controversy [if they were to consider the resolution].

“It wouldn’t benefit the university in any way. It’s almost inconceivable to me that they would consider this resolution.”

Rabb said his only supporter at the meeting was his wife.

Loewenstein added that he believed the resolution violated the Board of Regents adoption of the principle of “institutional neutrality,” in section 2.1 of the board’s policy.

This principle states that CU will maintain “institutional neutrality in social and political matters, unless it determines that the issue directly affects the university, is detrimental to the achievement of the university’s mission and purposes, and/or threatens academic freedom.”

THE proposed divestment resolution was first brought to the attention of pro-Israel students when they saw Rabb handing out anti-Israel flyers on Feb. 22 on the CU campus, said Zach Silverman, 19, a CU-Boulder sophomore and the co-president of Students for Israel.

The flyers called for interested students to meet with Rabb on the following night and to join a group he is calling CU-Divest.

In response, Jewish students quickly printed rebuttal flyers, although by that time the number of students who were passing through the UMC fountain area had dwindled, and Rabb left a half hour later, Silverman said.

“We decided we needed to battle him with information that was truth and fact,” Silverman said.

“It was just one guy handing out flyers for this divestment meeting, but one guy is too many for us.”

Tuesday night (Feb. 22) about 25 CU students gathered to re-start the Students for Israel organization, which last met early in the fall semester, Silverman said.

Some members of Students for Israel were planning to attend the CU-Divest meeting, but they were told to “listen” and “not be disrespectful,” he said.

“We are not trying to engage in any kind of opposition,” Silverman said. “We are not trying to initiate any conflict. We are simply here to advocate, educate and encourage intelligent discussion about the situation.”

RABB, who said he graduated in 1983 from CU-Boulder with a master’s degree in telecom, said he thought “a few” students would show up to the his meeting to support the divestment cause.

“There is a significant number of faculty, professors and otherwise within the university community who are very interested in this issue and concerned about the investment policies that support Israel’s apartheid,” Rabb said.

“I expect a few, not many, of the faculty to show up, although this is a student (organization) that we are trying to get started, but it’s open to the public.”

Rabb did not name the faculty members.

Rabb said he is a member of Global Boycott Divestment Sanction Movement, whose local group, Denver BDS, will sponsor an “Israel Apartheid week” in March.

The group’s Facebook page lists 32 fans, and says it is planning a “series of flashdances for Israel Apartheid Week” on Feb. 26 from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and lists the location as 1660 Ogden St. in Denver.

Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, the executive director of University of California Berkeley Hillel and a former rabbi at CU-Boulder’s Hillel, said he didn’t think Rabb was representative of the climate on the CU campus.

“While I was at CU, I found the administration incredibly supportive of Jewish studies, Hillel and Chabad,” he said.

“From my understanding this was not a student-initiated movement of any sort.”

Last spring, Berkeley’s Student Senate failed to overide its President Will Smelko’s veto of a bill calling for the university to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s engagement in the West Bank and Gaza.

If passed, the bill would have required divestment of students’ association assets from weapons manufacturers General Electric and United Technologies.

“I don’t take this guy (Rabb) too seriously,” Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm of Chabad at CU said.

“If it becomes a serious issue, and if the regents do seriously consider this, then both Chabad and Hillel will come together to get student and faculty support to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CU-Divest at the Board of Regents

2-minute Public Comment, Michael Rabb, 22 Feb 2011, Board of Regents Meeting, University of Colorado

-- -- -- -- --

The University of Colorado should divest from companies that support Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinians.

Good Afternoon, My name is Michael Rabb, I’m alum of CU Boulder, graduate school, MS Telecom, 1983, and a local Boulder resident.

I wanted to take advantage of public comment today to address the Board of Regents to communicate a serious concern among the University community, that investments held by the University of Colorado may violate the University’s commitment to human rights and social justice: that some of the University’s investments support the apartheid policies of Israel.

You know there is a global campaign of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) for Palestine. I wanted to let the Board of Regents and the University of Colorado generally know, that we (concerned members of the University community: students, faculty, employees and local citizens) are starting a campaign, we call it “CU-Divest,” to urge the University to divest from its investments that support Israel’s occupation and apartheid of Palestine.

As a first step in this campaign, I have drafted a resolution for action by the Board of Regents. This draft resolution essentially requests that the University state unequivocally that it abhors apartheid and will do all it can to show its position on apartheid within its business practices by ending its investments that support the oppression of the Palestinian people,

It also requests the Board of Regents immediately commission an examination of its investments including all funds, endowments and pension funds with an objective of identifying investments in companies, institutions and investment funds that directly and indirectly support Israel’s apartheid policies,

And finally, the resolution requests the Board of Regents commit to act on the recommendations of the study to actually divest of its holdings in such companies and funds.

I request the Board of Regents consider this draft resolution and adopt the resolution. I hope we can meet with the Board of Regents in the future to develop this action.

For more information and the full text of the resolution please go to

Thank you for your time.