Press Release – End of Occupation

In Demands on February 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Final Press Release – Edinburgh University Student Occupation for Gaza

At 8:45 on the morning of Monday 16/02/2009 the student occupation of George Square Lecture Theatre came to an end.

We, the occupying students have secured the following…

•    A complete end to Eden Springs bottled water on campus by the start of the next academic year (2009/10).

•    An opportunity to bring our case regarding the university’s unethical investments directly to the University Court.

•    Scholarships for 5 Palestinian students in Gaza to study at Edinburgh University, with consideration for fee waivers, reduced accommodation fees, travel allowances and visa support.

•    A collaboration between the university management, student body and an NGO to collect various materials for shipping to Gaza and to fundraise for the implementation of this.

•    A lecture and debate series, involving university staff and guest speakers, on various subjects relating to the Palestine/Israel conflict. There has already been interest in this from prominent scholars Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky.

We feel that this is only the beginning of the movement to end the university’s role in the occupation and oppression of Palestine by the Israeli government and military. There remain serious issues to which the university’s response was completely inadequate, including the active role of arms and defence companies in university research and on-campus recruitment.

The occupation also provided a place to stage educational events, encouraging active engagement and participation about the issues in question. Highlights included a discussion on the ongoing occupation of Palestine, with the participation of the President of Scottish Jews for a Just Peace and a workshop on ‘direct action’ with ways of defusing confrontational situations. As the week progressed, we at times numbered over 60 students, with a total of several hundred passing through the theatre doors.

We feel it’s important to emphasize that the student occupation should be understood not simply as a tactic or a bargaining chip in getting our demands. Within the space that we took control of, we used consensus decision making to initiate a radically non-hierarchical way of making collective decisions. At it’s best, the occupation provided a space for a process far more democratic than what conventional university structures are able to achieve. The changes we want to see will be attained through our direct action but also by creating such spaces, and expanding them indefinitely.

Two key outcomes of the occupation…
•    A planned open forum for reflection and discussion on the student occupation and the university’s reaction in the context of the Gaza conflict.

•    An online network to consolidate the occupation group, welcome all who wish to be involved in future action and to take the movement forward immediately and effectively.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the countless groups and individuals who provided us with material and moral support.

Lastly, we wish to assure Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank that we will struggle alongside them in solidarity until such time as they are a free and sovereign people.

Watch this space for imminent mailing list, website and networking details for future action… This is only the beginning!

  1. I’m cooking food for the people at the occupation.

    If you’re free to help, please give me a ring on 07512930335

  2. brilliant, well done Edinburgh – can’t keep up with you students – Goldsmiths occupied today but no log yet but on Facebook:

  3. “apartheid state of Israel”

    goodbye credibility

  4. Hey everyone, I wish you all the greatest success in your occupation, stay strong and peaceful.
    Lauren (Glasgow University occupier)

  5. As a graduate of Edinburgh in 1962 and one-time human shield in Rafah I applaud your action. Best wishes.

  6. Well done Edinburgh! Greetings from Swansea!

  7. […] the risk of sounding unsympathetic, perhaps they should be doing maths after this little error.  Or maybe it’s all part of an elaborate propaganda trick to claim that they only had one […]

  8. As a 60-year old graduate of this university and a resident of this city, lemme just say 8 initial words…


    now I’d like to just ask you “occupants” this:
    as future movers & shakers of this sorry dystopian world we live in, are you content with the prospects of graduating into a political-economic neoliberal free market system that domestically makes most people ILL [whether they know it or not], whilst abroad its making millions, [repeat] MILLIONS of people stone cold DEAD…?

    Think hard on that kids whilst you continue this highly moral and principled action, and be assured that I aint some tired old Marxist soak — just an aging “Alter-Mondialista” who at this late stage of my life retains the belief that another world is not only possible — but absolutely ESSENTIAL…!

    Keep on keepin on kids…
    the web world-wide is buzzin with yours and other UK student actions, and the fact that you CARE about others a lot less fortunate than you are is makin’ this ol’ dood more than extremely happy…



  9. Hey Edinburgh Occupiers

    Stay strong, united and organised. Don’t take any shit from management – stick your guns, get everything in writing. Glasgow Uni students are coming through tomorrow afternoon to help in any way we can. We not long out of ours and want to come through to show our support for you.

    In solidarity

  10. Keep on doing the great job!
    God bless you all.

    Free Palestine!

  11. “STUDENT SIT-IN – Lastly, we demand that no legal, financial or academic measures be taken against those participating in, or supporting, a peaceful sit-in to ensure our calls are answered.”

    Good to see another group unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. Makes me proud to see a bunch of cowards protesting as long as they don’t get affected.

    “SCHOLARSHIPS – That the university make full scholarships available to at least 5 students in Gaza, allowing them to attend Edinburgh University. This is a response to the destruction of their universities by the Israeli military, and to other barriers, physical and psychological, which restrict their right to education. ”

    The concept of education being given by nationality rather than merit is surely a sign that logic is being negated.

  12. Your positive action triumphs over the typical cynical comments. I salute you.

  13. There are still only 30 of you…. 😉

    I think Lenin’s description ‘useful idiots’ is apt.

  14. I agree with the aims of this protest, but not the protest itself. Why should a tiny minority be allowed to disrupt my lectures?

    In any case, offering scholarships to Gazans alone is patently ridiculous – scholarships should be awarded based on ability, not nationality. If Gazans should get scholarships because their universities have been destroyed, why not students from the DRC or Zimbabwe? Their causes not interesting enough?

  15. Nice to see that justice and political action come before any harm to the protesters pockets or uni places… oops silly me. Nice to see no discriminaion of Uni access on basis of nationality… oops silly me. Great to have seen the occupations when Hamas was firing rockets into Israel… oops silly me. Protesters just hypocrits…

  16. The Scholarships demand is unrealistic and to be honest, very much betrays what you’re trying to do. Positive discrimination in any form is always a bad idea. Scholarships should be granted to those worthy. By guaranteeing them to students from Gaza, students from other disadvantaged areas, who are more worthy of a Scholarship from an education post of view, could miss out on something they deserve. You would be better with something like:

    “Assist with applications for Scholarships.”

  17. To clarify, there are thousands of different scholarship programs made available to students of specific nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Most universities, including Edinburgh, offer a range of such programs. There are those for instance that exist between the US and the UK (e.g. Fulbright), which are only available to UK and US students. Within that of course each student must qualify on individual academic merit and financial need.

    The issue of positive discrimination is irrelevant in this instance.

  18. I agree with all your demands except aid and scholarships. Just because the uni offers scholarships based on nationality doesn’t mean we should be encouraging them to extent it to Gaza. A more logical demand would be scholarships based 100& on merit, promoted as best as possible across the world. Merit meaning those with the academic potential but without the means to fulfill it. With the aid demand, I don’t see it as the uni’s role. It is a charitable body but supporting world wide education, I suspect is not it’s role. That doesn’t mean to say that this is a bad/wrong demand, it’s just misplaced. Go ask the companies pouring money into Israel to provide it or some other rich capitalists. Or is it better to stick within the safety of the lecture theater?

    I do respect what you are trying to do. I don’t doubt for a second your hearts aren’t in the right place but a word of caution. Does the notion of being populist meaning anything? I’m sure you’re all intellectual and aware individuals with many other political concerns. But why have you mobilised on this issue? I understand that because it is popular you will have wider support than if you were protesting some other issue but fighting for small victories gets concessions. There’s a limit to concession because it is not change.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters and to come by and visit but unfortunately I have to go to work so I can eat next week.

  19. The issue of divestment, people can make up their own minds on who they want to work for, it is there life, the uni does not offer exclusivity for the companies BAE Systems and QinetiQ, they merely offer a platform to share that companies prospects and workability, so what that their products are in use by the Israelis, they could of been sold on by a third party, making them oblivious to the sale in such a volotile area. The university is a platform for views to be shared and discussed, not for something as drastic as you actions should be needed.

  20. Also, a bit of a slap in the face for several hundred graduates of Edinburgh, who currently work for BAE, QinetiQ, Thales etc. Oh but wait according to SPSC opinion they are – “murderers and killers”.

  21. A slap in the face may be perfectly polite for anyone who works within a system of capitalism. But again targeting specific companies because of the situation in Gaza is missing the big picture and is dancing on the line of populist. Nestle? Walmart? Exxon? Shell? BP? Toyota? Sony? Pepsi? Bacardi? Rebok? Nike? Electrolux? ect ect ect

  22. The university has already divested from Coke a Cola and Nestle after lengthy, research intensive individual campaigns. One at a time.

  23. […] Edinburgh is the latest. I’ve added their blog to the sidebar so you can get updates. Their demands are here and include divestment from military research with BAe Systems and […]

  24. OK, all of you should stand up, take a bow and after reformulating the words, sing this old Dylan chorus…

    “Come along tuh LEARN,
    Come along tuh THINK,
    Coz you aint seen nothin’ like the MIGHTY FINK…”

    Yup — Glasgow got the venerable Noam Chomsky’s support statement [big congrats GU] yet now somehow you’ve managed to get on the best US website — namely — that of “The Mighty Fink” — who graced the EU campus with his presence on that unforgettable night last January 2008 in the very George Square theatre I’m told yoo is now occupying …


    Rock On….!


  25. “A slap in the face may be perfectly polite for anyone who works within a system of capitalism.”

    I assume that you’ve never held a job, then, and never intend to do so? Bloody commies.

  26. They do not expect to work – but they expect to tell us what to do.

  27. If you’ve read the whole comments you’d see I have a job, in fact I have 2. I work in the voluntary sector.

    But that’s beside the real point

  28. There are reasons for Scholarship programs with countries like the US, and they have nothing to do with positive discrimination. Stop clutching and straws and accept the Scholarship demand is never going to be accepted. It’s the exact same as British Jobs for British Workers, just in reverse. It’s not how this World functions, and indeed, not how it should function.

  29. I’m not sure how to break this to you, but the scholarship demand has been accepted in writing by the university. I guess I should tell people the world doesn’t actually function as Anonymous says it should. I’ll get to work.

  30. If the Uni has agreed to discriminate in favour of Palestinians on the grounds of nationality… it’s a sad day for this institution.

  31. It is indeed but it’s the system of scholarships that is to blame, it’s another fight to be had.

  32. Regardless of if the occupiers wish to accept it or not, there is a great degree of student poverty existing in the UK, and within this university. There are many students for whom the day to day management of living costs is too much. These students suffer academically and discretionary hardship funding cannot bridge the gap between student loan/grant income and how much it costs to live.

    Now, if there are students currently at this university struggling, would a student from Gaza cope? Would a full scholarship extend to accommodation costs, travel expenses and living, or simply fees? Is it fair to lure students to the university without being able to provide fully for them? Is it fair that university funds be put aside for scholarships based upon nationality whilst the current funding situation leaves many in great hardship?

    I’m all for the donation of equipment etc to schools in the Gaza strip – but not for university money to be spent in such a manner. In addition, many of the scholarships available at the university allocated on the basis of nationality are from funds donated by individuals or institutions – not directly from the university’s coffers, much of which comes from us who are here or taxpayers cash. That money should be reinvested in OUR education.

  33. This will have about as much of an effect on world affairs as a cotton ball would have on a charging elephant. You are wasting your time and disrupting thousands people’s education just to reaffirm your self worth. Nobody really gives a shite about what you are doing, you just want attention. Don’t you think you should lobby the government rather than a uni that has nothing to do with the conflict?

  34. You must remember that one thing these occupiers have done well is NOT disrupt education. My lectures have been moved by ADMINISTRATORS. The echoing of lectures in McEwan hall isn’t at all useful. But I don’t doubt if my lecture was in George Sq then I’d be having a normal, echo free lecture as the occupiers sat quietly.

    Your other point is perfectly valid though. Action towards the government would make much more sense if you wanted real change. But the difference is likely achievement. Changing the uni isn’t that hard. Changing government policy is.

  35. re. a coupla posts [above]

    If the Uni has agreed to invest in favour of corporate arms companies on the grounds of “national security…
    [yeah exactly who’s damn security — yours, mine, the Man-on-the-Moon’s, or the Neoliberal global Empire’s “security” that’s actively supplying Israel …?]
    it’s a sad day for this institution.

    That’s WHY this uni has “something to do with the conflict…”

  36. In response to ‘annoyed’, who likens the occupation to a cotton ball and a charging elephant, this is the difference that will be made:

    In September 2009 5 Palestinians will travel to Edinburgh to learn at our ‘great’ institution. 4 years later they will return to Palestine, where maybe they will teach 5 more, who will teach 5 more. Perhaps they will speak with those awarded scholarships at Goldsmiths or SOAS or the 27 other occupied universities, together they might teach 100 more, and suddenly the cotton ball unravels and wraps itself around the legs of the charging elephant and down it falls. You claim that nobody else gives a ‘shite’ about the occupation, but i assure you those 5 Palestinians do, and thats why its being done. Not for the people who live in a country where education (for the moment) is a right, but for those who live in the other world, the world where education is only a dream.

    to give this argument some weight for those of you who like to see results, in the 1980’s over 50 U.K. universities awarded scholarships to South Africans as a direct response to their inability to access education under the Apartheid state. In 1994, armed with the tools that education provides, they joined forces with a man named Nelson Mandela and formed a government and a new South Africa was born.

    Finally, in response to John, “what about the students in Zimbabwe and the DRC” I totally agree. Why don’t you let this occupation inspire you to change the lives of 5 Zimbabweans. Make some noise, print some fliers, find a building…DEMAND THE NEXT 5 SCHOLARSHIPS, if every 50 students at Edinburgh University did the same, imagine what the world might look like?

    In Solidarity

  37. Anonymous,

    That’s not really an answer to my point, is it? Why did you demand and indeed win scholarships based on the suffering of just one group? The students of the D.R.C. and Zimbabwe live in conditions far worse than in Gaza, but you picked Gaza because it’s a trendy cause.

    In any case, I don’t believe in hijacking the democratic process for the purposes of an ego-boost. The A.G.M. is next week. If you’d tabled a motion in the approved democratic manner, I would congratulate you. Instead, you decided, in a wonderfully Soviet style, that democracy is an irrelevance in advancing your aims. If you have the support you claim, you could easily get 300 students to go to the A.G.M. to pass your motion.

    You did not. You decided that the force of the minority should overwhelm the voice of the majority,

  38. what voice john? Unfortunately, the majority remained silent while Israel bombed gaza, and so the minority had to speak out.

    I find it deeply inappropriate that you label Gaza a ‘trendy cause’. I also find it laughable that what are very obviously humanitarian concerns about free and fair access to education get likened to Soviet policy. i am not a communist, I’m a human being.

    Now, why don’t you go and table a motion with EUSA in support of those students from the DRC? I’d imagine you haven’t got quite that far yet, its far easier to sit at a computer criticizing others that try and make the world a better place in whatever small way you can…

  39. here is another manifestation of “a trendy cause” at this link…


    and here’s what I’ve just posted on their blogsite ————————————————–

    dee said,

    February 16, 2009 at 2:10 am

    I write from Edinburgh, Scotland where I caught the link to these photos on Prof. Norman Finkelstein’s website.
    And I’m certain I can say on behalf of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multireligious and plain secular students occupying a lecture theatre here in a series of UK-wide post-Gaza protests —
    GOD BLESS ALL the noble HUMAN BEINGS in these photos…!
    And, from across the Atlantic Ocean, we extend to them an enormous fraternal HUG to keep their spirits UP and their bodies WARM…
    As the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote despite those who will deny it:
    “Its comin’ yet for All that…”
    Freedom, Equal rights, and Mutual Dignity for all PEOPLES
    That’s whats coming…!

    SALAAM-SHALOM-PEACE — and most of all — JUSTICE…!

  40. […] University of Edinburgh since Wednesday, and after negotiations with the administration, have won considerable concessions including scholariships, the organisation of aid collections, a lecture series about the history of […]

  41. As in the Glasgow uni ocupation, you’ve acheived nothing that could not have been gained from negotiations with the university. Oh, except a bit of self-publicity of course.

    Congratulations on turning even more of the student body off from helping with your cause.

  42. Of course, none of the people who took part in the occupation will play on it in the forthcoming EUSA elections… oh but they will…

    Best of luck from me on disappearing back into ignominy, occupiers.

    “Viva la Intifada” – viva la murder of innocent civilians in cafes.

  43. We shall never know about the voice of the majority, because you never bothered to ask them.

    In any case, it’s not a valid argument to suggest that inaction on my part justifies undemocratic action on your part. If I could, I would raise a motion at the AGM. However, motions had to be submitted last week, so too late, unfortunately. Besides that, an ad hominem attack on me in not a valid counter to my arguments.

    If you had read my comment, you would have noted that I do not consider your aims Soviet. I support your aims. I find your means of action deeply Soviet – the undemocratic, unelected minority using force to achieve what the majority did not want, while maintaining a fig-leaf of democracy.

    I would also submit that Gaza is a trendy cause – There has been active genocide in the Sudan and In The DRC for years now. The conditions are many magnitudes worse than those in Gaza, which are terrible themselves. Yet there have been no occupations for the victims of these slaughters. Why is that?

  44. What the majority did not want? what didn’t you want? the scholarships? the informative lectures?

    What you seem to miss is that the occupation was carried out by people who care about other people, all over the world, and here in Scotland too. It might shock you to here that those 50 people are all involved in other causes, ‘trendy’ and not. I could send you my CV if you like.

    The student occupiers never claimed to speak for the majority. they claimed to speak for themselves. People who payed money to the University and thus had a right to know what that 1,200 pounds per anum was being spent on. Even that should appeal to your neo-liberal democratic loving brain.

    Now, if you do support the aims of the occupiers, and not the methods, great. You go and do your thing, i’ll do mine, and maybe we can make the world a better place together. Might I suggest you pen that motion for next year.


  45. “There has been active genocide in the Sudan and In The DRC for years now. The conditions are many magnitudes worse than those in Gaza, which are terrible themselves. Yet there have been no occupations for the victims of these slaughters. Why is that?”

    might I suggest that the reason why there’s been no occupations re. the DRC and Sudan whilst there has been for the Gaza victims is quite simply this…

    The rampaging killers in both these devastated countries are NOT in receipt of billions of dollars of US taxpayers money, nor are they supplied with state-of-the-art fighter weaponry (including component parts made in this country) to better ensure the kill-rate, nor is their state apparatus and its spoke-persons protected at every turn from world-wide critical rage by complicit Western political leaders and a nodding-dog mass media kommisariat… whilst it must be evident — even to you — that the Israeli state quite clearly HAS…!

    Goodbye [twice]

  46. I agree – the blind support for Israel is wrong and shocking. However, I am not going to continue this discussion – My arguments are met with assumptions about my political views, histrionics and ad hominum insults.

    Have I been free from that? Probably not. However, I did not and will not make assertions about the intelligence of the occupiers. I cannot say that I have received the same courtesy in return.

    That said, I applaud you for engaging in discussion, rather than simply deleting my views and posts. I hope that the next time you choose to stand up for Palestinians that you do it in a more democratic manner.


  47. OK dee, so Hamas rockets are OK because they’re cheap and homemade?

  48. John, if you’re still around:
    despite your “trendy cause” faux pas, I withdraw my “Goodbye.”

    Feelings are running very high on this issue and another place & time, I’m sure there’s much we could agree on, including a need to form study & pressure groups to better understand and to actively oppose the DRC and the Sudanese killings.

    In the case of Israel-Palestine, I supported this sit-in because I for one no longer even regard this as “a conflict”.
    What’s been documented between Lebanon 2006 and Gaza 2008-9 is more akin to a culling of numbers — like that of baby seals or overgrazing deer — to [A] ensure the Jewish state’s ‘domestic’ demographic supremacy,
    and [B] to thin out via periodic displays of its “deterrence capacity” the massive and omnipresent resistance to it both there and in adjacent states.

    A state that must continuously cull local population numbers in order to survive is frankly doomed, which begs the question why the insane 100-plus years old Zionist project was ever allowed to take root in a region in which it has never once been wanted…
    If this blog is winding up, I’ll take the opportunity to pay tribute to all activists, both inside and outside the GSLT, but especially the ‘glorious Greeks’ (who know what foreign occupations are all about), and specifically Leela & Margarita — who froze their bits off on the LT concourse on nights I was proud to stand alongside them…!

    Lotta Continua

  49. Dee: so you’d support chucking ‘Zionists’ out of the Middle East I take it? And if so – is that not just another form ‘culling’ that you so dislike – just removing an entire nation, race and relgion?

    Its also ludicrous to suggest that Israel is deliberatly going out and culling the Palestinins for some kind of ‘population control’. Many people on these comment boards have made reasonable arguments (which I may disagree with, but still I recognise their validity). To suggest that Israel goes out to commit genocide is crazy, and does nothing but further damage the reputation and standing of the people you were “so proud to stand alongside”. Yes, a few thousand people died which is tragic – it was not culling, it was defending itself. If it defended itself over-zealously, then you have a case.

    But to somehow try to slither Israel into being the SS, committers of genocide, treating Palestinians like animals, carrying out some kind of Holocaust – suggests to me that, in your case, it has more to do with dislike of Israel and Jews than issue with their action.

    The situation is very simple. Israel exists in the Levant. It will exist forever more. It has a right to defend itself against rocket attack from murderous extremist terrorists, pledged to destroy all Jewish people and wipe their state off the face of the earth. Fact.

    The Palestinians also exist in the Levant. They will exist forever more, although politically they do not have their own state. While they continue to demand the destruction of Israel (which they will never achieve), they’ll never get their own state + freedoms. Fact.

    Campaign for a peaceful settlement. Don’t campaign against Israel, and its right to exist, or somehow claim that the Israeli people and state are committing a genocide, culling, or Holocaust. They are not. They are being heavy-handed, uncompromising – campaign against that. But recognise that the Palestinians are identically uncompromising, heavy-handed – and deliberately target civilians.

    Israel is not going away, fact. Palestinians need to realise this. Israel exists, and will forever more. No matter how much you wish it didn’t. Let’s have a 2-state solution, without Hamas terrorists.

  50. Also I’d suggest that (even in your ‘culling deer’ fantasy) Israel is far from doomed. Some of us have long memories, and think back to when every one of Israel’s neighbours invaded to *exterminate* them. How long was the war again? Oh yes, Six Days long… So the Israelis can look after themselves – but should do so responsibly.

  51. Apparently there’s now a clairvoyant on this blog…

    Perhaps he/she also converses with those ‘on the other side’, or blogs to ‘spirits beyond the grave’ with the sole intention and purpose of gathering “facts” …?

    How else is one to explain such remarkable voice-throwing abilities — other than as clear cut, flat out attempts to put HIS words into MY voice to buttress and to uphold his…erm…
    “fact”-based ‘argument’…

    Lets take a closer look — viz.

    Fact A:
    I would [allegedly]
    “support chucking ‘Zionists’ out of the Middle East.. removing an entire nation, race and relgion.” [sic]

    Fact B:
    I also suggest [seemingly]
    “that Israel goes out to commit genocide…”

    Fact C:
    My “case”, [its supposed]
    “has more to do with dislike of Israel and Jews than issue with their action.” [sic]
    [pass the sick bag Alice… …Barf… …Thanks babe…]

    Fact D:
    I also [presumably]
    “campaign against Israel’s right to exist, or somehow claim that the Israeli people and state are committing a genocide, culling, or Holocaust…”

    [note how the original term used i.e. “culling” is now conjoined on either side with the terms “genocide” and “Holocaust”
    — for extra “factual” effect one can assume…]


    Fact E:
    “Israel exists, and will forever more. No matter how much “I”
    — [repeat — “I”] — “wish it didn’t…” [sic]

    A whole lotta other “facts” are then offered to firm up the post, till one might suggest how impartial, open-minded or non-particularly aligned students will be a mite curious to know exactly where the “facts” originated from to support the five hilarious, sides-splitting whoppers — cited A to E [above]…

  52. But you think Israel goes out to ‘cull’ Palestinians. Do explain…

  53. “Facts”
    A >>> F ?

    no rush; take your time — ‘Einstein’

  54. Something i posted to the facebook group:

    there’s a pretty angry post about the student’s coverage up on our blog. I’m not sure it’s that accurate or smart. having skimmed through student, the coverage seemed pretty good, not what i’d call a ‘whitewash’. we’re on the front page as a subheading, stating McWirther’s support for us. There’s a big really well written piece by Kath, next to a small badly written piece against us with a stupid headline. the headline may trivialise, but i think it trivialises the opposition’s views rather than our own. the scottish jews for a just peace are on student’s website.
    Finally, although i wouldn’t court the media – fucking waste of time – pissing them off unnecessarily is probably not wise. who knows maybe next time we’ll appear under the stupid headline, with an article that looks like it was thrown in as an afterthought. that would have been a whitewash.

    rant over. I’m not sure what i think of the front page blog post, i would probably put it in the comment section as it’s well opinionated and not a collective statement…


  55. I believe the following should go into the post-EU Sit-in-for-Gaza archive: will someone please pass this on to the occupants…?

    I’d only add that Michael Neuman’s final paragraph cooda said “cull, cull, cull”, but “kill, kill, kill” sums up Gaza 2008-9 and Lebanon 2006 just about fine to me…
    February 20, 2009
    To the President of the State of Israel and the Director of the Yad Vashem Memorial.
    Remove Our Grandmother’s Name from the Wall at Yad Vashem


    Following the example of Jean-Moise Braitberg, we ask that our grandmother’s name be removed from the wall at Yad Vashem. Her name is Gertrud Neumann. Your records state that she was born in Kattowitz on June 6, 1875 and died in Theresienstadt.

    M. Braitberg delivers his request with excellent reasons and eloquent personal testimony. His words are inspiring, but they give you – and those who stand with you – too much credit. I will instead be brief. Please take this as an expression of my disgust and contempt for your state and all it represents.

    Our grandmother was a victim of that very ideal of ethnic sovereignty in whose cause Israel has shed so much blood for so long. I was among the many Jews who thought nothing of embracing that ideal, despite the sufferings it had inflicted on our own race. It took thousands of Palestinian lives before, finally, I realized how foolish we had been.

    Our complicity was despicable. I do not believe that the Jewish people, in whose name you have committed so many crimes with such outrageous complacency, can ever rid itself of the shame you have brought upon us. Nazi propaganda, for all its calumnies, never disgraced and corrupted the Jews; you have succeeded in this. You haven’t the courage to take responsibility for your own sadistic acts: with unparalleled insolence, you set yourself up as spokesmen for an entire race, as if our very existence endorsed your conduct. And you blacken our names not only by your acts, but by the lies, the coy evasions, the smirking arrogance and the infantile self-righteousness with which you embroider our history.

    In the end, you will give the Palestinians some scrap of a state. You will never pay for your crimes and you will continue to preen yourself, to bask in your illusions of moral ascendancy. But between now and the end, you will kill and kill and kill, gaining nothing by your spoilt-brat brutality. In life, our grandmother suffered enough. Stop making her a party to this horror in her death.

    Michael Neumann

    I join my brother, Michael Neumann, in asking that any reference to our grandmother be removed from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial.

    I have been to this memorial. Its buildings, paved courtyards and plazas spread themselves authoritatively over many landscaped acres. It frames the Holocaust as a prelude to the creation of the state of Israel. It embalms memorabilia of the death camps and preserves them as national treasures. That treasure does not belong to Israel. It is a treasure only if it serves as a reminder never to permit any nation to claim an exemption for its chosen people from the bounds of morality and decency.

    Israel has twisted the Holocaust into an excuse for perpetrating more holocausts. It has spent the treasure of the world’s sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust on a fruitless effort to shield itself from all criticism as it massacres and tortures Palestinians and suffocates them under a brutal occupation. I do not wish to have the memory of my grandmother enlisted in this misbegotten project.

    I grew up believing that Jews were that ethnic group whose historical mission was to transcend ethnicity in a united front against Fascism. To be Jewish was to be anti-Fascist. Israel long ago woke me from my dogmatic slumber about the immutable relationship of Jews to Fascists. It has engineered a merger between the image of Jewish torturers and war criminals and that of emaciated concentration camp victims. I find this merger obscene. I want no part of it. You have forfeited the right to be the custodian of my grandmother’s memory. I do not wish Yad Vashem to be her memorial.

    Osha Neumann
    The Braitberg letter, in French can be found at

    and the translaton here:

    Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at a Canadian university. He is the author of What’s Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche and The Case Against Israel. He also contributed the essay, “What is Anti-Semitism”, to CounterPunch’s book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at mneumann@live.com

    Osha Neumann is a defense lawyer in Berkeley and author of Up Against the Wall MotherF**ker: a Memoir of the 60s with Notes for Next Time.

    source: http://www.counterpunch.com/neumann02202009.html

  56. Thank you for posting this letter Dee. It’s been published on the Comment page.

    In solidarity.

  57. I thank YOU for archiving the Neumann bros. powerful and eloquent statements on your site, tho I’m unsure where the post-sit-in discussion is now actually occurring, web-wise…
    Nor was I able to attend your Forest & Teviot meetings this week as I’d intended to.
    Also, unable to enter the GSLT, I made that short PA address to you from the concourse re. Finkelstein’s support — prompted by the ‘Glorious Greeks’ and others…
    So please feel free to put me on your contact list [via my e-mail] for future post-sit in events. I’ll be happy to meet you all sometime soon…

    yours, autonomously
    & in solidarity

  58. message received…
    so its goodbye to all the little comment boxes on this page — it was fun…
    tho’ I am left to ponder:
    whatever happened to ‘Israel’s finest’
    — a.k.a. ‘Uncommonly Dense’ — and his array of “facts” as porkies…?
    I’ll just hope he’s making a full recovery…


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