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Friday, March 31, 2006

JINSA Report #561 Don't "Weep for Palestinian Suffering"

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JINSA Report #561

Don't "Weep for Palestinian Suffering"

Western governments are coming to grips with the reality of the Hamas
victory. On the plus side:
- Canada's government was the first to suspend assistance to and order
no contact with the Hamas Cabinet.
- The U.S. government told its diplomats and contractors to sever
contact with Palestinian ministries and forbade contact with all
Hamas-appointed officials whether the officials themselves are or are
not Hamas members. This expands the original American position.
- UN Ambassador John Bolton announced that Washington would redefine the
role of Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, as liaison to the PA for security
matters. Gen. Dayton has been asked to end all contact with Palestinian
security forces reporting to any member of the Hamas Cabinet.
- The Quartet said aid would "inevitably" be affected and called on the
Hamas "to commit to the principles of non-violence, recognition of
Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations… Future
assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against
that government's commitment to the principles."

But the full Canadian position in instructive. Ottawa said the
Palestinian people should not be penalized over the actions of Hamas
will continue to provide $22 million in annual humanitarian aid through
various UN and non-governmental agencies. Washington and the Quartet,
too, will continue to finance humanitarian projects and are considering
how to move projects from the PA to NGOs in order that they continue to
receive money.

There is, in this, an unwillingness to grasp that Hamas was the CHOICE
of Palestinian voters in open competition (not a "democratic election,"
but a competitive choice). They knew what they were doing and knew what
they were risking and Hamas is what they picked. How can Western donors
defend rejecting Hamas for being the choice of "the people", but not
penalize the people who made the choice?

"I weep for the Palestinians' suffering," President Bush said yesterday.
"They've been ruled for years by a disappointing government, but we
can't fund a nation that seeks to destroy its neighbor."

Yes, Mr. Bush, the Palestinians have been poorly led and for years it
was possible to say they had no hand in the lousy leadership that
beggared the people and took them to an unnecessary and particularly
brutal terrorist war; lousy leadership that devoured its young, teaching
them that death was preferable to life; rotten leadership that stole the
treasure and the soul of the people. We funded them all that time while
they tried to destroy Israel. But that was then and this is now. "The
people" picked this government and should not be allowed to expect that
the civilized world will feed, house and shelter them while Hamas picks
up its check from Iran and uses it to enhance its terrorist capabilities.

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JINSA Article Digest for March, 31st

Articles added to JINSA Online from March, 24th to March, 31st.

#559 Israel as a Security Asset for the United States

(2006-03-27) In a volatile region so vital to the U.S., where other states
cannot be relied upon, it would be foolish to disengage - or denigrate - an
ally such as Israel. The war against terrorists and the states that harbor
and support them will be long and hard, and success will depend in no small
measure on the allies who stand with us and with whom we stand. Read the
analysis in JINSA Report #559.

Read more @

#560 Israels Election

(2006-03-29) It is almost impossible to expect that Israel - in the face of
practical European and American acceptance of Hamas - remain committed to a
future negotiated with its enemies who are helped by those who should be
Israels friends. The only comfort we take is that elections in Israel are a
regular feature of life in a democracy - and that if life changes
appreciably, Israelis will take another look at their leadership. Read the
analysis in JINSA Report #560.

Read more @

Underground Facilities Thwart Americas Probing Eyes

(2006-03-30) Americas ability to gather needed intelligence on contemporary
threats from its current constellation of reconnaissance satellites and
aircraft is increasing challenged by the growing sophistication and sheer
prevalence of underground facilities (UGFs) used by many states to conceal
weapons development programs, especially those associated with nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons.

Read more @

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

ADL Headlines: A Bi-Weekly News Bulletin from the Anti-Defamation League

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March 30, 2006   

The Vote in Israel: Post-Election Analysis from Jerusalem
The Israeli voting public has spoken and chosen the direction it wishes the country to follow for the next four years. The results demonstrate the public support for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policy of unilateral disengagement as a means to secure Israel’s interests in the absence of a Palestinian peace partner.  More >>

In the News:
The Jerusalem Post

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Anti-Semitism In The Arab World
Cartoon of the Week

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  • ADL in China
    A delegation of 25 key ADL leaders visited Jewish historical and cultural sites in Shanghai and Harbin and held meetings in Beijing with the Ministers of Culture, State Council Information and Foreign Affairs as part of an ADL mission to China.  

    In the News:
    Xinhua News Agency
    United Press International

  • Anti-Israel Screed ‘Relentless Assault’ in Scholarly Guise
    The article by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of the Kennedy School at Harvard is an amateurish and biased critique of Israel, American Jews and American policy. It is a classical conspiratorial anti-Semitic analysis invoking the canards of Jewish power and control.  More >>

  • Report: Anti-Semitism Rife in Arab Press
    In the weeks during and after the violent protests across the Muslim world in reaction to the Danish caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, the demonization of Jews in the Muslim and Arab press reached a fever pitch. ADL amassed more than two dozen examples of editorial cartoons with outrageous and deeply offensive anti-Semitic caricatures and themes. 

  • Where is Europe’s Voice Against Genocide?
    In an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, Kenneth Jacobson, ADL Associate National Director, calls attention to the “disgraceful role” of Western Europe in response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan.

  • Syria’s Assad Gives Comfort to Holocaust Deniers
    Asked for his views on the Holocaust during his March 27 appearance on The Charlie Rose Show, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria compared the extermination of six million Jews during the Holocaust to “what is going on in Palestine.” Assad also repeatedly demurred when asked if he believed that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.”  More>>

  • Afghan Convert Released
    An Afghan man who faced a possible death sentence for converting to Christianity was released and granted asylum by the Italian government after international appeals for clemency. ADL joined the chorus of those calling on the Afghan government to intercede on behalf of Abdul Rahman, labeling his trial “an alarming example of religious persecution.”  More>>

  • Hezbollah TV Gets “Terrorist” Designation
    ADL welcomed the Treasury Department’s designation of Hezbollah’s satellite television station Al-Manar as a global terrorist organization for broadcasting incitement.  More>>

  • Publication Celebrates Pope John Paul II
    To commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II and honor his unique relationship to the Jewish people and Judaism, ADL issued a new publication focusing on the Pontiff's historic visit to Israel and the Middle East in 2000.  More>>

  • London Mayor’s Latest Anti-Semitism
    ADL strongly condemned the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, after he made remarks urging two leading Jewish property developers to “go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs, if they don't like the planning regime or my approach.” 

  • Florida: “The Real Cartoon War”
    A panel of leading experts discussed the Mohammed cartoon controversy and the hypocrisy in much of the Muslim and Arab world when it comes to stereotypical depictions of Jews in the media. The League’s “The Real Cartoon War” caravan brought Yaakov Kirschen, the internationally renowned and syndicated Jerusalem Post editorial cartoonist, and Kenneth Jacobson, ADL Associate National Director, to three locations in South Florida for discussions moderated by Arthur Teitelbaum, ADL Southern Area Director.

  • Los Angeles: Early Childhood Workshops
    In an effort to promote bias-free learning environments in San Fernando Valley, The Miller Early Childhood Initiative of the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute held free trainings for early childhood educators and families of preschool aged children. Thirty teachers and 20 parents were present for the workshops, which were co-sponsored by the Child Development Department and Child Development Center of Los Angeles Valley College.

  • Media Watch
    NY Times: Biased Approach to Jericho 03/17/06
    The New York Times’ approach to the events at the Jericho prison confuses tactical with strategic judgments.

    Financial Times Blames Israel 03/16/06
    In the Financial Times' view, everything Israel does is wrong and intended for a cynical purpose and everything the Palestinians do, including terrorism, is rationalized.

    ADL to Fox News: Why Give Bigot a Platform? 3/14/06
    On at least four occasions Malik Zulu Shabazz, the racist and anti-Semitic leader of the New Black Panther Party, has been a featured guest on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes.

    Abortion-Holocaust Analogy Offensive 03/17/06
    In an opinion column in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Melissa Jones wrote that abortion makes the Holocaust appear "mild" in comparison.

    Editor's Note: The next edition of ADL Headlines will appear on April 6, 2006.

©2006 Anti-Defamation League. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

AJC News Update

American Jewish Committee News Update

Update 201  |  March 29, 2006

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Israeli Elections

AJC expressed confidence in the leadership of newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. AJC Executive Director David Harris and President E. Robert Goodkind, in a congratulatory letter to Olmert, wrote, "These elections stand as yet another tribute to Israel's vibrant democracy and commitment to free and fair elections." The letter acknowledged Israel's present challenges, foremost among them, the Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority and Iran's nuclear threat, and pledged AJC support of the government and people of Israel.

Centennial Board Institute

AJC kicked off its centennial year celebrations with a gala dinner in Jerusalem, where Foreign Minster Tzipi Livni was the keynote speaker.

Highlights in Europe included:

Berlin: A gala dinner with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Steinmeier commended AJC for its commitment to promoting transatlantic dialogue, the German-Israel relationship, Jewish life in Germany, and its work in fighting anti-Semitism. In other Berlin activities, members were treated to an insightful presentation and panel discussion on the European effort to fight terror and confront Islamic extremism. After opening remarks by Ernst Uhrlau, president of the German Federal Intelligence Service, three parliamentarians, representing the Greens, the SPD and the CDU, joined the discussion.

Brussels: Board delegations held discussions with NATO authorities, including Secretary General Jaap De Hoope Scheffer and the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland. Members also were briefed on European Union issues and concerns by top level EU officials.

Geneva: Trip participants met with Dr. Jacob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee for the Red Cross, to discuss the emblem issue. They also held meetings with key UN officials, including Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Paris: AJC met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phillippe Douste-Blazy and a delegation was also hosted by the former Prime Minister of France Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Board members spent time with members of the French Jewish community, and they also heard a panel of experts discuss the image of Israel in France.

Rome: In addition to the private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the AJC delegation met the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to Italy and with Ambassador Francis Rooney, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. A festive Shabbat dinner was held with Vatican and Catholic leaders.

Warsaw: The Board of Governors met with top Polish officials, including President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. AJC also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the AJC-Polish Exchange Program at a gala lunch in the company of Foreign Minister Stefan Meller. On a more somber note, members marked the 60th anniversary of the first deportation of Belzec, a Nazi death camp.

Papal Audience

Pope Benedict XVI gave a private audience to an AJC Board delegation led by President E. Robert Goodkind at the Vatican, becoming the first American Jewish organization to have this opportunity. "I trust this meeting will further encourage your efforts to increase friendship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church," the Pope told the AJC delegation. In his remarks, Goodkind saluted the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect of Catholic-Jewish relations today, recalling the historic Nostra Aetate document, adopted in 1965, which called for dialogue among Jews and Christians. Click for news release.

President Katsav Salutes AJC

Israel President Moshe Katsav hosted 200 AJC Board members at his residence in Jerusalem for a discussion on the World Jewish Forum and pressing issues confronting Israel and world Jewry. "I praise the AJC for 100 years of constant struggle, devotion, dedication and determination to defend the Jews in the world," said Katsav, addressing the gathering.

Chief Justice Receives High AJC Honor

AJC presented its American Liberties Medallion, AJC's highest award, to Chief Justice Aharon Barak of Israel's Supreme Court. Barak is known for staunchly upholding the democratic ideals of the state of Israel. Most recently, Barak ruled that the route of Israeli's security fence did balance the security concerns of the Israeli population with the quality of life and well-being of the Palestinians.

Israel Defense Minister Addresses AJC

The greatest present-day challenge to Israel is Iran's threat to destroy it. That's the message that 200 AJC leaders, traveling in Israel, heard from Israel Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz stressed that not only Israel would be threatened, but much of the world. "Iran will continue to support terrorism activities and be a leader of the Axis of Evil, all under a nuclear umbrella," he said, addressing the AJC Board of Governors luncheon in Tel Aviv. Mofaz also discussed the Hamas electoral victory, the threats posed by Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, and potential Al-Qaeda dangers to Israel. Read news release.

AJC Board Visits Gaza Border

The Board's three-day visit to Israel included a visit to Erez, one of the crossings between Gaza and Israel. The opportunity to see the facility first-hand and to discuss it with an Israeli military officer provided clarity and perspective to the challenges Israel faces. The Board also learned about Israel's ongoing efforts to ease the passage of Palestinians through the crossing without compromising security concerns.

Treasury Department Action on Hezbollah TV

AJC praised the U.S. Treasury Department's decision to designate al-Manar, Hezbollah's television station, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). For more than a year, AJC has worked with senior Treasury officials, as well as with a coalition of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, to achieve the goal. As a result, Americans are prohibited from doing business with banks or financial services working with Hezbollah media. Al-Manar is based in Lebanon and broadcasts worldwide via satellite. Click for news release.

AJC Report: Iranian Presence in Latin America

AJC's Latin American and Latino Institute has warned of expanding relations between Iran and a number of Latin American nations. "Latin American countries are playing with fire," said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC's Latin America and Latino Institute, and author of a new briefing paper, Iran's Presence in Latin America: Trade, Energy and Terror. "Not only do some Latin American nations weaken international resolve to curb Iran's nuclear program, but they also are allowing Tehran a foothold for terrorism in the Western Hemisphere." Click for news releaseand access to publication.

AJC Katrina Fund's Final Donations

Eight synagogues and four churches in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi received a total of $432,000 from the American Jewish Committee's Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. It is the final disbursement from the AJC fund, which had raised more than one million dollars. Click for news release.

Xavier University Thank You

In a letter to AJC, the president of Xavier, based in New Orleans, wrote in appreciation of the $100,000 donation from AJC's Katrina Relief Fund. "We deeply appreciate this support as we undertake the difficult task of rebuilding our campus. The generosity of donors to the Xavier Hurricane Relief Fund will be acknowledged on a special plaque to be dedicated in our University Center."

Chile Bus Tragedy

AJC expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic bus accident in Chile. Twelve American tourists on a trip from a B'nai Brith chapter in New Jersey were killed when the bus they were riding in swerved off a highway and plummeted down a mountainside. The victims were on a cruise in South America and had been returning from a day tour when the accident occurred.

Advocacy Workshop for Mexican-American Leaders

AJC co-sponsored an intensive workshop to help train Mexican-American leaders in the fields of advocacy, fundraising, and media outreach. The seminar took place in Washington, D.C., with 30 Latino community leaders. AJC's Latino and Latin American Institute worked on the program with the Consulate of Mexico and the Institute of Mexicans Living Abroad. The effort was part of AJC's goal of building coalitions between the Latino and Jewish communities in the U.S.

AJC Position in Missouri Abortion Issue

AJC has joined other civil liberties groups in urging the Missouri Supreme Court to find a Teen Assistance Ban unconstitutional. In the case, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, Inc. v. Nixon, clergy would be prohibited from counseling minors who are considering abortions. AJC believes this would be unconstitutional by denying the right to free speech in addition to the freedom of religion. "It is critical that women, particularly minors, be able to consult with both their doctors and clergy in making such decisions," stated AJC in an amicus brief.

AJC Radio Message: America's Achilles' Heel

In this week's national radio message, AJC Executive Director David Harris called on America to wean itself from its dangerous dependence on oil from unstable and unfriendly countries. "It's bad for our national security, economy, and environment. But we can do something about it," said Harris. Listen to message.

AJC Hosts Canadian Students

A group of over 30 students and faculty members visited AJC headquarters in New York to hear a survivor's story of the Holocaust. Bill Donat, a board member of Thanks to Scandinavia, an AJC institute, addressed the students visiting from Vanier College in Canada. The students were part of a class which deals with issues of tolerance.

New Action - AJC Advocacy Center

Visit and let your government officials know where you stand. A new action item focuses on ending U.S. aid to Hamas. Other items deal with immigration policy and stopping genocide in Sudan. The Advocacy Center provides background materials on each issue and makes it easy to send letters to government officials.

New York Times Thanks AJC

In a quarter-page ad in the New York Times, the paper's Knowledge Network program thanked AJC for our America's Table program, which provided more than 50,000 copies of the Thanksgiving initiative to school children. This was the second year AJC sponsored the program. It proved so successful in November that the Times Knowledge Network extended it and reissued copies of the booklet in early 2006. America's Table is an AJC project celebrating diversity.

Obituary: James Freedman

AJC is profoundly saddened by the death of James Freedman, former President of Dartmouth College and former chairman of AJC's Domestic Policy Commission. He was the co-author of a major national statement, published by AJC, decrying intimidation against pro-Israel students on college campuses. AJC proudly honored him in 2003 with the National Distinguished Leadership Award. Educator, scholar, and author, Freedman's impassioned voice against all forms of bigotry helped to shape a more tolerant society for us all. We send our heartfelt condolences to his grieving family.

In the Media

The AJC Board visit to Israel was extensively covered in the Israeli media, including Maariv, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Israel Radio, and Israel Television.

The Jerusalem Post quoted AJC President E. Robert Goodkind in a story about the World Jewish Forum. David Harris was quoted in articles in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz and was interviewed on Israel Radio and appeared on an English-language program on Israel TV. Eran Lerman was quoted in Maariv.

Shula Bahat appeared live on a popular late night news show on Israel TV.

In Germany the AJC Board visit received coverage in major newspapers, including Der Tagesspiegel, Berliner Morgenpost, Berliner Zeitung, Taz-Die Tageszeitung, Die Welt, Judische Allgemeine and Judische Zeitung. In addition to interviews with these papers, Deidre Berger was interviewed on Bloomberg TV and ARD Radio.

The Associated Press, Reuters, Catholic News Service and the Jerusalem Post quoted Rabbi David Rosen in articles about the papal audience.

The Polish Press Agency quoted AJC Executive Director David Harris in a story on the AJC meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

The International Herald-Tribune published a letter to the editor by David Harris reacting to the paper's flawed coverage of the Jericho prison raid.

The New York Times, Westchester Edition, published an op-ed written by Kenneth Bandler, AJC Director of Communication, on electric cars and energy.

A letter to the editor in the New York Times on New Orleans cited the AJC relief mission over President's weekend. The writer, who participated in the mission, now works in AJC's Transatlantic Institute in Brussels as a Farkas Fellow.

Bloomberg quoted Barry Jacobs, AJC Director of Strategic Studies, on Turkey's decision to host Hamas.

The New York Jewish Week wrote a column about Rabbi James Rudin, AJC senior interreligious affairs director, and his new book, The Baptizing of America.

The New York Jewish Week quoted Richard Foltin, AJC Legislative Director and Counsel, on lobby reform.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency cited Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Advancement of Human Rights, on UN refugee camps.

Agence France Presse and the Associated Press, in reports on Condoleezza Rice's meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, said the talks are in part preparation for Merkel's May visit to Washington, which will include an address at AJC's centennial dinner celebration.

CNN Radio, KQV-AM radio in Pittsburgh and Dateline America interviewed Executive Director David Harris on the Israel elections.

Please contact Kenneth Bandler, AJC's Director of Communications,
at with any questions or comments.

© 2006 American Jewish Committee

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JINSA Report #560 Israel's Election

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March 29, 2006

JINSA Report #560
Israel's Election

After Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election, JINSA wrote that
relations with Israel were not a big part of the Palestinian
decision-making process.

Neither Fatah nor Hamas was going to make a serious "peace agreement"
with Israel; both Fatah and Hamas conduct terrorist operations and are
planning to continue to do so; neither Fatah nor Hamas accepts the
legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East; and neither can be
induced to do so by piecemeal Israeli concessions. The Palestinians knew
that and voted for the party they wanted to deal with their domestic

For different reasons, or maybe the obverse reason, relations with the
Palestinians do not seem to have been a big part of Israeli electoral
decision-making. The Kadima (28 seats) platform was to unilaterally
determine the future shape and composition of Israel. There were big
gains for the "Russian" party (11 seats) and seven seats for the
"Pensioners," plus advances for Labor under the leadership of an
unabashed redistributionist. Labor has announced its intention to form a
"social bloc" with the Pensioners and Shas to negotiate with Kadima on
economic issues. Nearly 40 percent of the electorate didn't vote at all
in a country that routinely sends nearly 80 percent to the polls. The
right-of-center Russian party and left-of-center Labor both plan to join
a Kadima government.

The polite version of events is that Israelis believe a negotiated
settlement with the Palestinians is impossible for the foreseeable
future. The less polite version is that Israel is tired of holding out a
legitimate avenue for continuing talks with either Fatah or Hamas, both
of which believe the creation of Israel was a mistake that needs to be
rectified either by the political will of the international community or
through bloodshed. (Fatah takes the first view; Hamas the second.) As
long as Israel presents itself as a willing partner, there are those
willing to push it for ever greater concessions.

We note that the Subcommittee on the Middle East at the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe has decided to invite a delegation
from the Palestinian Legislative Council, which will include Hamas
representatives. The meeting will take place next month in Strasbourg.
The Subcommittee said the Palestinian elections were fair and free and
made no objection to the goals of Hamas vis a vis Israel. The Council of
Europe is not beholden to any individual European government's objection
to meeting with Hamas - oh, come to think of it, most of those have
quietly faded away, amid continuing blather about how best to funnel
ever more money to the Palestinians despite their choice of terrorists
as leaders (the U.S. is a full participant in these discussions). You
would think the Europeans might have at least some hesitation about
Hamas because it is allied with the swamp of radical Islamists as much
determined to do away with European democracy as with Israel. But maybe not.

It is hard to blame Israel for a sort of turtle response to the
cowardice around it. It is almost impossible to expect that Israel - in
the face of practical European and American acceptance of Hamas - remain
committed to a future negotiated with its enemies who are helped by
those who should be Israel's friends. The only comfort we take is that
elections in Israel are a regular feature of life in a democracy - and
that if life changes appreciably, Israelis will take another look at
their leadership.

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FIRE News: NYU Surrenders to the Heckler's Veto in Mohammed Cartoon Dispute

Dear Mr. Levy:

New York University (NYU) is attempting to stifle a student group’s panel discussion on the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. At the last minute, an NYU administrator has ordered the students to choose one of two unacceptable options: not displaying the cartoons, or excluding 150 off-campus guests who have registered to attend. NYU’s actions violate its own policies, not to mention its moral obligation to stand up against the heckler’s veto. The panel is scheduled for tonight, and FIRE is calling upon NYU to immediately cease its attacks on liberty. In fact, I will do so in person tonight, as I will be on the panel.

FIRE’s full press release on this case appears below, but if your e-mail client does not support HTML, you can view a link-rich version at


Greg Lukianoff, President
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-717-3473; Fax: 215-717-3440

NYU Surrenders to the Heckler’s Veto in Mohammed Cartoon Dispute


NEW YORK, March 29, 2006—In violation of its own policies, New York University (NYU) is refusing to allow a student group to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammed at a public event tonight. Even though the purpose of the event is to show and discuss the cartoons, an administrator has suddenly ordered the students either not to display them or to exclude 150 off-campus guests from attending. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is urging NYU’s president to reverse course and stand up for freedom of speech.


“NYU’s actions are inexcusable,” declared FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, who is slated to speak at the event. “The very purpose of this event is to discuss the cartoons that are at the center of a global controversy. To say that students cannot show them if they wish to engage anyone outside the NYU community is both chilling and absurd. The fact that expression might provoke a strong reaction is a reason to protect it, not an excuse to punish it.”


Earlier this month, the NYU Objectivist Club decided to hold a panel discussion entitled “Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons,” at which the cartoons will be displayed. Similar events, sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), have taken place on several other campuses. Like previous NYU Objectivist Club events, the discussion was to be open to the public.


However, on Monday afternoon, NYU Director of Student Activities Robert Butler sent an e-mail requesting a meeting with the leaders of the Objectivist Club the next day. He also informed them that NYU would now “require that this event be open only to members of the NYU community.” Butler cited “the campus climate and controversy surrounding the cartoons,” ordering the students to inform the “non-NYU people” who had already registered that they “should not plan on attending.” He concluded, “This is not negotiable.”


Following the meeting, Butler sent another e-mail clarifying that the students have two choices: they must either not display the cartoons, or not allow anyone from off campus to attend the event. Approximately 150 off-campus guests are currently registered to attend.


“This is a classic case of the heckler’s veto,” noted FIRE’s Lukianoff. “NYU is shamelessly clamping down on an event purely out of fear that people who disagree with the viewpoints expressed may disrupt it. These immoral, last-minute restrictions must be lifted.”


FIRE was informed of NYU’s actions just yesterday. Hours later, Lukianoff called NYU President John Sexton to remind him that NYU’s own policies recognize student groups’ right to open events to the public and proclaim that “the use of physical force or other disruptive means to obstruct and restrain speakers” is “destructive of the pursuit of inquiry and learning in a free and democratic society.” FIRE has not yet received a response.


NYU’s actions notwithstanding, Lukianoff still plans to speak at the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. tonight in the Eisner and Lubin Auditorium of NYU’s Kimmel Center.


FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve freedom of expression on college campuses across the country during the cartoon controversy can be viewed at



Greg Lukianoff, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

Yaron Brook, President, ARI: 408-206-7756;

John Sexton, President, NYU: 212-998-2345;

Robert Butler, Director of Student Activities, NYU: 212-998-4718;




FIRE's work is made possible by the generosity of our individual supporters. Please click here to make your tax-deductible contribution.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ADL continues the fight over cartoon hypocrisy

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Act Now Against the Hypocrisy!

The cartoon war is not over. We need your donations to keep fighting back.

The sad truth is extremists have just been looking for an excuse to carry their hatred into the streets.

The reality is vicious, anti-Semitic cartoons continue to appear in the Muslim and Arab media almost daily.

Arab and Islamic leaders have misled their fellow Muslims and deliberately fanned the flames.

  • A Muslim boycott of a Danish dairy producer forced the layoffs of hundreds of innocent workers
  • Deliberate, violent riots were orchestrated from Europe to Asia
  • Iran inserted itself into the fray to escalate matters by running a Holocaust denial cartoon contest.

Last month we we asked you to sign ADL's petition of solidarity against this hypocrisy. You heeded the call and ADL received over 10,000 signatures. In the meantime Islamic leaders call for another “day of rage.”

For the next fight in this war, ADL will bring a special seminar on the real cartoon war to local communities across America. This unique program will cover:

  • The real story about Arab anti-Semitism
  • What it means to you personally
  • How to fight back and protect the future

Represent Your Community In the Battle Against Hypocrisy by Funding this Fight