Zionist group fails to disrupt Ilan Pappe’s tour at California state universities

The California State University (CSU) system has sent a letter in response to a Zionist group, rejecting their claim that Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian and a frequent contributor to The Electronic Intifada, should not receive CSU sponsorship during his upcoming campus tour because of his criticism of Israeli policies. 

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and Leila Beckwith, professors and co-founders of the AMCHA initiative, appealed to the CSU chancellor and the presidents of CSU-Northridge, Cal Poly, and CSU-Fresno, urging them to “revoke sponsorship of Ilan Pappe’s tour.” 

As I reported last month, Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith are at the forefront of a campaign to discredit and punish professors who speak out against Israeli policies. Their targets include CSU-Northridge professor David Klein, who has been under attack from AMCHA for his outspoken support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and for his organizing against CSU’s resumption of the Israel study abroad program.

In their appeal to the CSU administration, AMCHA wrote

As you may know, Ilan Pappe is an Israeli Jew who harbors deep animus towards the Jewish state, has publicly called for its elimination, and engages in activities to harm its citizens, such as a campaign to boycott Israeli academics, which he helped to found.  In addition, he openly supports the terrorist organization Hamas and falsely accuses Israel of “crimes against humanity,” including “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

Pappe has readily acknowledged that his “scholarship” is driven by his anti-Israel political agenda, and his historical writings have been repudiated by numerous eminent scholars of Israel and the Middle East. Moreover, much of the rhetoric Pappe uses to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state is anti-Semitic according to the working definition of anti-Semitism employed by the U.S. State Department, as is the academic boycott which he promotes in his talks and writings.

Although we are dismayed that Ilan Pappe is coming to speak at three CSU campuses, our concern is not with the events per se, but rather with the fact that these events are being organized and promoted by faculty and administrators of the California State University system, using the name, resources, and imprimatur of CSU, in order to vilify and harm the Jewish state and its supporters.

The letter included dramatic claims that professors who have organized Pappe’s lectures “have been permitted to exploit their University positions and taxpayer-funded University resources to promote their hatred of the Jewish state and their efforts to harm it.”

Additionally, the AMCHA initiative wrote that the lecture tour is in “clear violation of the will and intention of the CSU Trustees who formally resolved that ‘outside speakers brought to the campus will contribute to educational values, that is the pursuit of truth and citizenship values, and not be brought in for propagandizing purposes.’ Indeed, this resolution of the CSU Trustees introduces CSUF’s 2005 policy on outside speakers and events.”

They go on, wanting to appear as though they’re not asking to censor Pappe:

Please understand that we are NOT asking that these three events be cancelled or that Ilan Pappe be censored. Rather, we are calling on you to rescind all CSUF, Cal Poly, and CSUN sponsorship and support from the Ilan Pappe events, for the following reasons:

… These events are in violation of CSU policy and the California Education Code (89005.5), which prohibit the use of the name of any CSU campus for the support, endorsement, or advancement of political or partisan activity or program, with “boycott” specifically named.

The fact that events which will undoubtedly foment hatred of the Jewish state and its supporters are being organized and promoted by University faculty, senior administrators, departments, and colleges cannot help but create a hostile environment for Jewish students at CSUF, Cal Poly, and CSUN, in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

However, despite their hysterical pleas and citation of codes to fit their specific purpose of silencing dissent and discussion on campuses, CSU decided to unanimously stand up for academic freedom and dismissed AMCHA’s pressure. CSU officials stated in a letter, posted below:

Universities are charged with teaching students how to think for themselves. This includes accessing and processing knowledge and ideas and considering, discussing and debating them. 

… There is no danger to a free society in allowing opposing views to be heard. The danger, instead, is in censoring them. It is easy to support free speech when we agree with what is being said. The real test is when we are asked to defend the expression of views with which we disagree. 

Ilan Pappe’s CSU tour begins next week. 





Zionists are terrified of Ilan Pappe, because he speaks the truth.


Truth is an subjective opinion because there is no absolute truth and many ideas holds some truth even thoughts they are contracting each other and many man who said that they are holding the truth were facists.
US is an democratic state and many opinions must be heard in Public therefore those Zionists have no case to cancel his speach cause the public needs to hear many views .The problem of us media that is not liberal media and only cares about not insulting people like GOP candidates who speaks about Jesus even though they are disproving any opinions of Jesus and they media are not confronting them


A dark day for zionism. What's the world coming to? There was a time when there would have been no need for a letter to the Trustees because the College would have known better than to invite someone like Pappe.
A few buzz words uttered in a soft voice, like "controversial," "hurtful to the jewish sensitivities" would have sufficed.
All this work trying to prevent him from speaking was wasted and now there will be even more work to disparage his speech. A zionist's work is never done.


Of all the books i have read about Nakba,not a one comes close to telling the truth with archival documentation. This is why Illan is feared. The truth is always feared by those who live by lies. This book should be in every school all over the planet and should be required reading in the Knesset.


I understand the author's position, but she is not being truthful. They are not asking to censor or silence Pappe, in fact they specifically state that is NOT their purpose. They are not making "hysterical pleas". Please point out where you see that. You are exaggerating and expressing falsehoods. Universities always talk about the need to discuss and debate different ideas, which I believe is correct and desirable. However, we see how quickly opposing ideas are mocked, exaggerated, and vilified rather than debated by those who disagree. If you read AMCHA's letter and then read how the above article has completely misrepresented it, you will see that there can be no discussion or debate, because the author is not being truthful in her editorial.


Every Congress member, every MSM gives the Zionist point ot view, so Ilan Pappe gives a rare change which students and others could use as a thinking point. Not supporting it means the University makes it less accessible.


Clearly the good ol' days of an unrestrained Reign of Terror enjoyed and exercised by Zioscum and their enablers in university administrations against Palestinian political activists and their supporters are over.

Back in those "good" [actually: very bad] ol' days, the local Red Squads, FBI and all their little neofascists circulated a poisonous little read called "Red Channels" listing all manner of folk as communist, crypto-communist, liberal-communist and you-name-it-communist to be shunned and-or disrupted by all Americans good and true. Maybe it's time for an accurate counter-tool to be compiled by the BDS and other activists, called "Muddy Channels," listing [accurately, with supporting references] all the AMCHA and similarly [David] Horowitz-ian type fronts and committees.


The zionist attack on Ilan Pappe is indicative in that they are worried about him exposing the fabricated history about the creation of Israel that the Israelis like to present to the world.

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).