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Canceling The Valedictorian

The University of Southern California’s (USC) cancellation of its 2024 valedictorian, Asna Tabassum’s, commencement speech on Monday garnered attention from national and international media. Andrew T. Guzman, the provost, announced the university’s decision to cancel the speech on April 15, citing security reasons. Guzman stated: “Unfortunately, over the past several days, discussion relating to the selection of our valedictorian has taken on an alarming tenor. The intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement. We cannot ignore the fact that similar risks have led to harassment and even violence at other campuses.”

I Resigned From World Central Kitchen

At the time I resigned in early March, I was the only staff member of Palestinian descent at World Central Kitchen (WCK).1 I resigned in protest of extensive, unexplained censorship regarding Gaza at the organization. WCK leadership is taking a stand six months too late, only after 7 of its personnel were killed. World Central Kitchen is a food relief NGO, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés in response to 2010’s disastrous earthquake in Haiti. While the vast majority of the organization’s work is in response to natural disasters, WCK had made exceptions, including feeding the National Guard and law enforcement during the January 6 insurrection, and in 2022 activated wholesale in Ukraine.

TikTok And Israel

The TikTok social media platform is used by millions of people in the United States and all over the world. Most often they share videos of their families or their pets or their latest dance steps. Sometimes they share political opinions about the news of the day, and therein lies the latest ginned up panic over TikTok. The reasons that most people access TikTok seem rather harmless but TikTok’s corporate owner, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing, China, a fact which makes the company a political and economic target.

Tell Congress: Stop The TikTok Ban

The “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” would give the President the power to designate an application under the control of a country considered adversarial to the U.S. to be a national security threat. TikTok would be deemed a threat, meaning that the application would effectively be banned unless it cuts all ties with the foreign adversarial country within 180 days through a forced sale. The same could be true for other applications, like WeChat. It’s a massive problem that current US law allows for all the big social media platforms to harvest and monetize our personal data, including TikTok.

What Aaron Bushnell Had To Teach Us

On December 1, 2023 an as yet unknown person self-immolated outside of the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia. It is strange that no one was ever publicly identified, that no name, age, or gender was ever revealed. There were no follow-up stories as to their condition or whether any criminal charges were filed against them. The public hasn’t been informed as to this person’s current whereabouts. We only know that this person was taken to the hospital in critical condition and that a security guard who tried to extinguish the flames was himself burned, treated at a hospital, and later released.

Israel Lobby-Linked Group Tied To Settlements And Campus Censorship

Even as Israel pounds Gaza into rubble, carrying out what has been described as a genocide in the process, many of its supporters are attempting to change the subject, instead decrying a supposedly new wave of dangerous antisemitism across American universities. Their evidence for this is a new report from the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI). Entitled “The Corruption of the American Mind,” the study alleges that Middle Eastern funding of U.S. universities has helped unleash a torrent of anti-Jewish hatred. Yet, as we shall see, not only does the report contain numerous methodological issues, but the NCRI itself is deeply connected to the Israel lobby, as well as the U.S. national security state, and regularly publishes thinly sourced reports in service of Israeli interests and U.S. imperialism.

Study Finds Media Giants Pushing For US War In Yemen

A MintPress study of major U.S. media outlets’ coverage of the Yemeni Red Sea blockade has found an overwhelming bias in the press, which presented the event as an aggressive, hostile act of terrorism by Ansar Allah (a.k.a. the Houthis), who were presented as pawns of the Iranian government. While constantly putting forward pro-war talking points, the U.S. was portrayed as a good faith, neutral actor being “dragged” into another Middle Eastern conflict against its will. Since November, Ansar Allah has been conducting a blockade of Israeli ships entering the Red Sea in an attempt to force Israel to stop its attack on the people of Gaza.

CNN Staff Say Network’s Pro-Israel Slant Is ‘Journalistic Malpractice’

CNN is facing a backlash from its own staff over editorial policies they say have led to a regurgitation of Israeli propaganda and the censoring of Palestinians perspectives in the network’s coverage of the war in Gaza. Journalists in CNN newsrooms in the US and overseas say broadcasts have been skewed by management edicts and a story-approval process that has resulted in highly partial coverage of the Hamas massacre on 7 October and Israel’s retaliatory attack on Gaza. “The majority of news since the war began, regardless of how accurate the initial reporting, has been skewed by a systemic and institutional bias within the network toward Israel,” said one CNN staffer.

Open Letter On The Anti-Palestinian And Islamophobic Environment At Emory University

We are a coalition of community and civil rights organizations, writing on behalf of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students and students perceived to be Palestinian or Muslim at Emory University (“the University”) who have been targeted by racist, anti-Palestinian, xenophobic, and Islamophobic harassment and doxing attacks for their support for Palestinian human rights. We write to express our concern about the University’s failure to protect its students from these bigoted doxing and harassment campaigns and the lack of official, public support shown to Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students.

High School Journalists Are Fighting Back Against Censorship

From book bans to anti-critical race theory laws adopted by 28 states, youth censorship is increasingly becoming an issue in U.S. high schools, especially for young journalists. Students say school newspapers are one of the few outlets high schoolers have to report on their communities and that limiting what they can write about directly immobilizes their voices. “[Administrative censorship] firmly says that youth expression should only be at the discretion of the adults in their environment,” said McGlauthon Fleming IV, a high school student from Midlothian, Texas. Despite Tinker v. Des Moines, the historic 1969 SCOTUS ruling that states neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” student censorship finds a loophole in the precedent set by Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case.

Palestine And The Crisis Of Free Speech On College Campuses

Colleges and universities have long acted as incubators for social movements, and the movement in solidarity with Palestine is no exception. While repression against students and faculty for support of Palestine is nothing new, the upsurge in mobilization and agitation for Palestinian liberation since last fall has been met with a frenzied response from actors within and outside of university administrations. Students and faculty alike have faced retaliation from university administrators and Zionists within and beyond the student body, ranging from revocation of scholarships to expulsions, firings, and even physical assault.

Journalists Rebel Over Gaza Coverage In Australia

A rash of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) staff departures and the suppression of journalists critical of their organisations’ reporting on Gaza has been called a betrayal of the role of journalism in democracy. Former Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) presenter Mary Kostakidis says the state-funded broadcaster and other news groups in Australia have refused to hold power to account by challenging official narratives by Israel and Western states supporting its attack on Gaza since Oct. 7. Instead, the professional integrity of news staff battling to tell the truth is being challenged by their employers.

University Suspends Student Group For Supporting Palestine

The student group of Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists (CORS) has been suspended by Ohio State University. They were notified of the suspension following an event they did on campus entitled “Intifada, Revolution, and the Path for a Free Palestine.” The OSU administration sent a letter December 13 alleging that CORS’ “activities pose a significant risk of substantial harm to the safety or security of your organization’s members, other members of the university community or to university property.” How a meeting to discuss the struggle against a genocidal war by the Zionist state of Israel creates “significant risk of substantial harm” is anyone’s guess.

‘Material Support’ In The Form Of Speech Can Be Criminalized

Depending on when you hear this, the Rutgers/New Brunswick chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine might be the most recent campus group to be suspended for what administrators called “disruptive and disorderly conduct,” and “failure to comply with university or civil authority.” SJP is a student-activist network of campus groups in support of Palestinian lives and liberation, and naturally very active now in the midst of Israeli military attacks on Gaza that, as we record, have killed some 20,000 Palestinians minimally, injuring and displacing orders of magnitude more. Calls for a ceasefire, at least, are growing in this country and around the world, but that’s in the face of ever-more aggressive, top-down efforts to shut those calls, and the people making them, down.

Top Democrat-Linked PR Firm Tapped To Control Gaza War Narrative

On December 6, it was announced with much fanfare that the 10/7 Project, a new “centralized communications operation to promote continued US bipartisan support for Israel; push for accurate, complete coverage of the Israel-Hamas war,” and achieve a “stronger” media “focus” on the victims of October 7’s Al-Aqsa Flood would be launched, by a quintet of the largest Israeli lobby groups on U.S. soil. Who and what is funding the 10/7 Project isn’t at all clear. Publicity material spoke vaguely of an unnamed “coterie of philanthropists” and the organization’s interest in sourcing “more philanthropic support” moving forward. Future formal financial disclosures may make for fascinating reading, but its founders offer some clues.
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