Action Alert: Rutgers Attempts to Shut Down Palestine Conference.

Cecilia Joulain cjoulain at
Fri Sep 12 20:19:43 MDT 2003

This is an Urgent Call to Action! Your immediate solidarity is needed!

Rutgers University Officials Cancel Palestine Conference
(Press release follows this call to action at end of post)

Today, Rutgers University officials have CANCELLED the Third National
Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement, scheduled for
October 10-12, 2003 at Rutgers University.

Yet, the students at Rutgers University are determined to hold the
conference as planned, wherever it needs to be held, in public or private
space, with or without the support of the administration.

In canceling this widely supported conference throughout North America,
the university administration has trampled on constitutional rights, muted
free speech, and has betrayed its pledge to fairness and education.

This is an attack on peace and justice activists everywhere. It is an
attack on our society as a whole and on our right to free expression and

But the university administration has gone much farther, and has taken a
shameful overt political stand in favor of Israeli Apartheid. As the
university cancels the Palestine conference, it is simultaneously
supporting an overarching pro-Israel program called "Israel Inspires",
organized by the likes of AIPAC and Hillel International along with
others, which will be held at Rutgers to "neutralize the Palestinian

According to the official website of "Israel Inspires"
(, the president of Rutgers University, Dr. Richard
L. McCormick, "pledged his support for Israel Inspires, and asked to be
personally involved in Hillel.s positive pro-active initiative." In fact,
President McCormick will appear tonight as a keynote at a pro-Israel event
hosted by Zionists groups at Rutgers University. Featured participants at
the "Israel Inspires" program during the weekend of October 10-12 will
include the arch-Zionist Richard Perle and former CIA Director, James
Woolsey.  They will join the president of the right-wing Hudson Institute,
Herbert London, and the publisher & CEO of the Jerusalem Post, Tom Rose.
On September 18, 2003, Israeli Minister, Natan Sharansky, will be featured
as the opening speaker of the anti-Palestinian year-long program.

Palestine solidarity students and activists have the same right to
assemble and hold a conference. They have the right to demand that their
university is not invested in another Apartheid system, and that they are
not party to the suppression of the Palestinian people. They have the
right to express their views and be heard without intimidation and
constant harassments.

Palestine solidarity students and activists should not be silenced by
anyone. The Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities should not be
marginalized and positioned as conspirators.

These attacks on the organizers of the Palestine conference and the
movement have mirrored the escalating assault on the Palestinian people,
and have intersected with the attacks against our civil liberties and
constitutional rights. The movement for peace and justice is at a
crossroad today, and our
society is being tested and pushed to the limits.

The Palestine solidarity movement needs your support!  The Third National
Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement must be held as

To register your objection to the university action, and to support the
students' constitutional right to hold the conference, please contact:

Richard L. McCormick, President
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
83 Somerset Street
New Brunswick
New Jersey 08901
Telephone: 732/932-7454
Fax: 732/932-8060
Email: president at

Emmet Dennis
Vice President for Student Affairs
dennis at

Marie T. Logue
Associate Dean
logue at





Paola Rizzuto
New Jersey Solidarity
Invisipoet at

Charlotte Kates
New Jersey Solidarity
ckates at


NEW BRUNSWICK - (September 12, 2003) - Dean Marie Logue of the Department
of Student Affairs at Rutgers College; Rutgers University today announced
to several student representatives of student Palestine advocacy
organization New Jersey Solidarity that the administration has deemed that
"logistics" forbid students to proceed with a national Palestine
solidarity conference scheduled for October 10-12, 2003; the student
organization is determined to continue, saying they will hold the
conference "wherever we must." This decision comes the day University
President Robert McCormick is scheduled to appear at a dinner sponsored by
Rutgers Hillel, a Zionist group on campus.

The hastily-called meeting, to which students were called on Thursday
evening, was unexplained. The organization's faculty advisor, Dr. Robert
Trivers, was unavailable, and students attempted to reschedule the
meeting, but were denied. Dean Logue stated at the meeting that
"deadlines" prevented the conference from occurring, even though students
had raised over $6,000 to be deposited in their account and met with Dean
Johnston of Rutgers College on September 5 - the day of the allegedly
missed deadlines. Organizers replied that this assertion was "ludicrous.
The deans of this University have made it clear on numerous occasions that
they do not want this conference to happen. This is political repression -
just as the Palestinian people have been repressed through history. The
University is attempting to abuse bureaucracy in order to silence student
voices," said Paola Rizzuto, a Rutgers College sophomore and President of
the organization.

"We refuse to be silenced. We will hold our conference wherever we must -
in a hotel, in a park, wherever. The Palestinian people have continued to
resist despite incredible and overwhelming force displayed against them -
and we owe them nothing less than to refuse to be silenced. We stand in
solidarity with Palestine, and we call upon this university to divest all
of its funds from the state of Israel and companies that do business with
it. To do otherwise is to support apartheid. This is an official action on
the part of Rutgers University in support of apartheid," said Charlotte
Kates, a second-year student at Rutgers School of Law in Newark.

Richard McCormick, the University's new President, is scheduled to appear
tonight at a Hillel-sponsored dinner at Brower Commons, the University
dining hall. Rutgers Hillel is sponsoring "Israel Inspires," a
counter-conference that will take place the same weekend as the student
Palestine solidarity conference. "This appearance indicates the overt bias
and discrimination displayed by Rutgers University  administration," said
Cecilia Joulain, a Douglass College senior and Treasurer of New Jersey
Solidarity. "Bureaucracy is not an excuse. This is an attempt to silence
student organizing at the University."

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