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Free Screening of Award-Winning Film, Budrus

Friday, October 21, 2016, 7:00 pm, First Unitarian Church, 1300 East 600 South, Salt Lake City

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Budrus, a true story, delves into the fraught world of Palestinian-Israeli relations in this amazing account of one family’s leadership of a movement to prevent Israel’s Separation Barrier from slicing their town in half.  The father and his fifteen year old daughter inspire nonviolent protests against the Israeli military.

See Budrus Trailer here.


Suspension of controversial Palestine class at UC Berkeley is overturned by administration; Class is Reinstated, rejecting pressure from pro-Israel Groups!

Read full story at Mondoweiss.net. The following are excerpts from this article.

“After an abrupt suspension last Tuesday, a college course about the decolonization of Palestine has earned a reprieve from the University of California on Monday. After reviewing the course material, the Berkeley campus officials decided the class promoted open discussion and didn’t push a political agenda.

The one-credit course is called ‘Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,’ and was designed by a U.C. Berkeley senior of Palestinian descent, Paul Hadweh. Online outcry and a flurry of petitions across the campus in support of the class helped save it from annihilation. Every student in the class, Ethnic Studies: 198, wrote an open letter the day after the cancellation protesting what they called an affront to academic freedom. In signing up for the class, they insisted they wanted only to learn about the world’s most vexing and important conflict.”

“We are a diverse group of students that includes Christians, Muslims, and Jews; we are white, Black, Latin@, Asian, North American indigenous, Middle Eastern, and more; we study Peace and Conflict Studies, Ethnic Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, Media Studies, Economics and Engineering. In short, we are a sample of some of the wide and varied backgrounds, beliefs, and interests that compose the campus community. One characteristic we all possess in common, however, is a genuine interest in the academic discussion surrounding Israel and Palestine,” the students wrote.

“Palestine Legal, a Palestinian advocacy group, said that free speech rights were under threat.

The First Amendment protects the right to free expression from government interference. This right ensures that students and professors are not targeted for expressing disfavored viewpoints. Any attempt by university officials to circumscribe academic content because you disagree with the perspective is impermissible ‘viewpoint discrimination,’ in violation of the First Amendment,” Palestine Legal wrote.

“After reviewing the course more thoroughly, Hesse approved it. The group also helped represent Hadweh during the week-long ordeal.

Hadweh said he and others only sought information, not activism. When he arrived at Berkeley, a school that proclaims its history of free speech activism, there was only one sporadically offered class on Palestine.

‘Unfortunately, it’s a topic that departments and faculty are too scared to touch. And you can see why with what happened with this course,’ Hadweh explained. What that means is that there was ‘not a place in the institution to critically explore the question of Palestine.’

Hadweh emphasized that the lens with which his student-led class, offered through the university’s DeCal program, was only one of many ways to talk about the issue.”

“The difference between colonialism and settler colonialism is that while colonialism seeks to exploit the native population, settler colonialism seeks to eliminate the native population,’ he said. The course would examine the pattern using the North America and Australia as examples.”

“This is a victory for Paul who spent spent 8 months going through all the recommended and mandated procedures to facilitate a course,” said Liz Jackson, a Palestine Legal staff attorney, in a statement by the group. “It’s also a victory for the 26 students who enrolled and had their academic studies severely disrupted, and for students and scholars across the U.S. who are facing a coordinated attack on the right to speak and study freely about Palestine-Israel.”

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/09/berkeley-students-palestine/#sthash.ZOKbOLQV.dpuf