Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not-so-strange bedfellows: Rutgers University and the Palestine Children's Relief Fund

Just in case you hadn't already gotten your fill of appeasers and terrorist enablers this year, we have a story right out of that bastion of tolerance known as the United States college campus.

The following post was contributed by Tali, a regular reader of this blog and Rutgers University student. It was submitted to the Rutgers daily newspaper, the Daily Targum and (SHOCKINGLY) subsequently denied publication.

To give you some background on the topic, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey has a semi-annual "Meal Sign Away" program...

...in which Rutgers students can donate the cost of their guests’ meals toward a prearranged charitable fundraiser.

This year, the "charitable fundraiser" that was chosen was the "Palestine Children's Relief Fund" - an organization that according to Rutgers (and themselves) is

a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the medical and humanitarian crisis facing children in the Middle East.

To illustrate this, PCRF has loads of smiling children on their website to remind you of the beautiful work they do in "Palestine" and the rest of the Middle East.

Peace signs are cute and all...too bad in the Middle East this isn't a peace sign, it's a victory sign...

Now bear in mind, the mere fact that they refer to themselves as the Palestine Children's Relief Fund is in itself a pretty major political statement. Since there is no sovereign state of Palestine as of this printing, by referring to themselves in this fashion as opposed to, for example, the Palestinian Children's Relief fund, by default they are declaring their allegiance to a country that does not exist. Political and controversial, no doubt. But I can hardly say it as well as Tali did in her letter, which follows below:


Recently, the Rutgers University Student Assembly made a controversial decision by granting its semi-annual Meal Sign Away fundraising program to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. When concerns were raised to the body regarding this decision, the body chose not to reconsider its original decision. Given the political nature of the PCRF, both the original decision and the decision not to reconsider it are ill-advised, and fail to serve the best interests of the Rutgers community.

The PCRF is a non-profit organization that claims to be non-political. Proponents of the PCRF have said that it is a strictly humanitarian organization and not a political one. When you consider the facts, however, claims that the organization is non-political couldn't be further from the truth. An examination of the organization’s activities reveals that political activism is a leading part of the PCRF’s mission.

Last year, the PCRF held a fundraising dinner dance right here in New Brunswick. Billed on the invitation as an "esteemed guest speaker" at the event was Stephen Walt, controversial co-author of a notoriously biased book entitled The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy. Walt's book demonizes Israel and rationalizes terrorism against it. It paints any lobbying effort on behalf of Israel as inimical and follows the mold of many historic instances of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories by painting Jews as having excessive power and influence. Regardless of your opinion on Walt or his book, it is undeniable that this issue is one of intense and heated political debate. How is this non-political?

Also last year, the PCRF co-sponsored a conference organized by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian organization known for using theological arguments to generate hostility against Israel, often using thinly veiled analogies tying Jews to the crucifixion of Jesus. Their conferences, such as the one co-sponsored by the PCRF, are overtly political and known for their anti-Israel themes. How is this non-political?

Most appalling, however, is how the PCRF has used the very children it serves as props to fulfill its blatant political agenda.

The organization brought two of the children that came to the United States for medical care, Salam Safi and Badwan Abu-Mayaleh, to the "United for Al-Quds" conference in San Francisco. This event described the children as "victims of Israeli brutality," as described in an article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. A leading speaker at the event was Imam Amir Abdul Malik Ali, a man who has publicly blamed Israel for the September 11 attacks. Is this non-political?

RUSA has historically shied away from taking stances on issues that may be even slightly political. The very same body that wouldn't take a stance on the New Brunswick wards issue suddenly became willing to take sides in a highly sensitive international conflict. Something just doesn't add up.

While students "sign-away" their meals at their own discretion, at the end of the day, the check that the PCRF will receive for the aggregate sum collected will be signed by Rutgers and endorsed by its student governing body. Considering the nature of the organization, this is unacceptable. Regardless of where you stand on the issues involved, RUSA should not be endorsing an organization that promotes and advocates for any political agenda.

There are many organizations that help Palestinian children without any controversy or political agenda. Some even work with Israeli hospitals in a spirit of non-political, peaceful cooperation. RUSA's decision to select the PCRF and its refusal to reconsider their decision is yet another example of the organization's failure of leadership. Rutgers students, we deserve better than the PCRF and RUSA.

Tali R. is a Rutgers University undergrad working towards her degree in Economics and Political Science


I don't know about you, but I was sold when I visited their homepage and saw that Jimmy Carter was a major proponent of theirs.

In any case, while Tali's well-written letter was rejected by the Targum, TWO letters in defense of the PCRF were not. One of them was penned by the chairman of the Rutgers University PCRF chapter and the other by a Rutgers alumnus and peace activist. Wow, what stunningly fair journalism! In fact the only Targum report on the topic that was critical of the decision came from a regular writer who would no doubt scream censorship (and justifiably so) if his article was denied.

So instead of having an honest debate we have a chorus of "liberal" activists who scream about diversity and understanding even as they shout down or shut out the opinions of those that disagree with them.

But it's nothing new and it isn't likely to change anytime in the near future. Luckily for the pro-Israel/Jewish/Zionist community at Rutgers there are voices like Tali's that are brave enough to rise above the rhetoric and ridiculous accusations and are willing to speak up for what's right. And we'll continue to give them a podium here when the mainstream refuses to.

Keep it going guys.


Rachiemoo said...

great piece, thank you for writing and sharing!

Unknown said...

What's ironic is that there are children starving in our own country yet they go completely ignored.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miriam. Not that any child is undeserving, but we have more homelessness, more children going without food in OUR country and the numbers are growing every day.

The political statement that this questionable charitable donation choice makes is just un-fucking-believable.

I am just shocked.

RonMossad said...

I think that's a very valid point...there are plenty of very worthwhile charities that feed starving children in our own backyards that I don't see any need to dump money into a situation where it will very likely end up in the hands of the Palestinian governing body which also happens to be run by terrorists.

And if you think I'm making that up, look no farther back than soon-to-be-last-year's Gaza war during which Hamas executed Palestinian civilians and HIJACKED aid supplies intended for the very children PCRF is attempting to help.

See that's the thing...let's even say you ignore the politics and just want to get your money to starving children...there are PLENTY of Israeli charities that exist SOLELY to assist Palestinians and their children that avoid having to deal with terrorists who often steal the money for themselves. And by the way I won't even mention what most Palestinian charities' views on Israeli children are.

But like Miriam and Cat both mentioned, why not help out the kid in your own backyard before worrying about the kid 10,000 miles away? I don't know how well you all know the geography of New Jersey, but Rutgers happens to be located in the rather impoverished city New Brunswick. You only need to walk two or three blocks off campus (sometimes only one block in certain directions) to see plenty of homeless people who could use a meal...not to mention children who are well below the poverty line.

Why not spend these resources working on repairing the city your program is located in, Rutgers? What, it's easier to just demand that taxpayers handle that while you dole out money from naive, idealistic kids to a place where you have almost no way of guaranteeing that it actually ends up getting to who you want it to get to???


Walk outside of Brower commons, head to the other side of Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and stand on the corner of French and Handy Streets and I PROMISE you, there will be PLENTY of people (who also don't speak English like in "Palestine") who could use a meal to feed their families.

OR...instead you can send MONEY to a place where every movement of every truck, car and donkey is monitored by a brutal, terrorist regime that at any time can just choose to seize the cash and use it to buy more AK-47s for a Jew-hunting posse.

THAT'S why this is SUCH an OBVIOUS political statement. There's NO REASON to spend this money ANYWHERE outside of the eternally, perpetually rotting city of New Brunswick...to force the issue with a group that as Tali rightly pointed out is so clearly populated and supported by anti-Israel zoo-dwellers is




As the Targum would say, that's a big fat dart for RUSA and whoever else is a part of this fiasco.

Lebron James said...

It's not really that big of a deal...it's pretty clear that Israel violates the human rights of Palestinian children day after day, just ask the UN. If this organization is going to feed them, then good. If they have a political agenda, good for them, they have the right, It's about time people began to realize the oppression and apartheid going on in Israel and the suffering that the Palestinians deal with. There's a reason why Israel is one of the top 5 least liked countries in the world...

RonMossad said...

Wow, Lebron James! Let me first welcome you to the site and say what a huge huge fan I am of yours. I sincerely hope that you'll be wearing a Knicks jersey next year and not like in an ironic "haha, in your dreams New York" kind of a way.

With that out of the way, I have some questions about your statements, which I'm extremely honored that you've taken the time outside your busy schedule of destroying the Bulls to post here.

1. When you say that it's "pretty clear that Israel violates the human rights of Palestinian children day after day" - are you referring to the fact that Israel provides Palestinian children with things like electricity, water and gasoline - things their Palestinian parents (nor their Egyptian cousins) cannot seem to figure out how to provide for them? If so, I'm confused as to how that's a violation of their rights.

2. When you say that it's ok for the PCRF to have a political agenda...how would you feel if say there was a group of white supremacists...let's say the KKK... that had a charity that raised money for poor, starving white kids (and white kids ONLY) in Arkansas... and that Rutgers chose THEM to run this program, how would you feel about that? What, it's just a political agenda...they have the right to it! So what if they're burning crosses here and there.

3. When you talk about "oppression and apartheid going on in Israel" are you referring to the fact that ONE side wants their country to be entirely devoid of members from the other side? Or that ONE side has members of the other side serving in high ranking military and Parliament positions? Or that ONE side oppresses its females, gays, minorities and regularly executes its own civilians for doing things like drinking alcohol or selling land to the other side?

Blogger won't let me post everything I typed in one post so I'll have to break it up into two...

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

RonMossad said...

Here's a little education for you, kid.

Palestinians in Fatah REFUSE to absorb ANY Jewish residents of Gaza or the West Bank (places that had Jewish populations long before they had Palestinian populations, look it up). Hamas REFUSES to absorb ANY Jewish residents ANYWHERE, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Eilat, ANYWHERE...Hamas-run Palestine will be Judenrein. Kind of like Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries where nearly a MILLION Jews were forcibly evicted from in the 40's and 50's. ISRAELIS on the other hand HAVE absorbed an Arab population that numbers over 1.5 million today.

Arabs sit in the Israeli Parliament. Several of those Parliamentarians were even allowed to demonstrate in FAVOR of the Intifada, despite it clearly being a treasonous act in any other country in the world. Can you imagine a US Senator demonstrating in favor of Timothy McVeigh and keeping his job? Furthermore, Arabs in Israel have all the same rights as Jews. They are entitled to the same free education and healthcare that their Jewish brethren receive, they even play on the Israeli national soccer team. How many Jews serve in the Palestinian government exactly? Or ANY Arab government for that matter. Can you tell me? I'll be right here, anxiously awaiting your response.

In Israel, Arabs (and all minorities) are afforded the same protections as Jews in all aspects of society. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arab women (or any woman) are not the targets of honor-killings and the kind of discrimination that would make your head spin. There is an annual gay pride parade in Israel. Ask your Palestinian buddies in Hamas what they do to gays in Gaza...I'll give you a hint...there's no Palestinian Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Which brings me to my final point - EVEN IF PCRF was a perfect organization and everything they did was really in the best interests of suffering Palestinian children...HAMAS STILL REGULARLY HIJACKS RELIEF VEHICLES and then sells the medicine and food (price gouged of course) to their OWN PEOPLE - in order to take the money and use it to buy rockets that THEY shoot DIRECTLY at innocent children in Sderot and other cities within Israel proper.

You're right there is a reason why Israel is amongst the least liked countries in the world. Actually it's two reasons:

A) Ignorance
B) Anti-Judaism

Which one applies to you?

Stick to dunks and fadeaways Lebron, politics doesn't suit you.