California’s anti-Israel college
By Lee Kaplan
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 6, 2007
If you think anti-Israel activism and support for America's enemies is limited to major universities that receive large financial grants from Saudi royals and Gulf state sheiks, think again. A case in point is Diablo Valley College, a community college nestled in the sleepy bedroom community of Pleasant Hill, California.
As previously documented on FrontPage, the college is the home of Amer Araim, a San Francisco Bay Area imam who doesn't teach relevant facts or history in the classroom about Israel and who encourages his students to oppose Israel's existence as a Jewish state. In his course, “Politics of the Middle East,” which this reporter attended for an entire semester, Araim used as the basis for his classroom instruction such documents as the Hamas charter and the anti-Semitic forgery, the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.” Araim doesn't say that this is where his information comes from. Instead, he lets his students think that he is teaching them current history and scholarly facts.
After the local Jewish community erupted in outrage over Araim’s in-class hatemongering, college administrators removed the course from the college’s catalog. However, the college did nothing to discourage the imam from his political sermonizing inside the classroom. In a telling glimpse into the misplaced priorities of at Diablo Valley College, Araim was awarded three new courses to teach.
Two of those courses are on American government. The fact that Araim has no academic background in US government -- he is considered an expert on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the politics of oil -- apparently did not influence the decision of school administrators, who seemed to rely on his putative reputation for being "well-liked." After waiting a year for things to die down, the administration also quietly brought back Araim's course on Middle East politics. In other words, it is business-as-usual as usual at the troubled college.
The same goes for Araim. Last week, for instance, Araim organized an on-campus presentation by the Resource Center for Nonviolence, part of and a recruiting venue for the US-based anti-Israel group, the International Solidarity Movement, with ISM activists Paul LaRudee and Scott Kennedy invited to preach their radical politics to the students. (In the past, Araim has offered extra credit to students to attend such events, and there is no indication that he has changed his ways.)
LaRudee, who reportedly has connections to Hamas, was deported last June from Israel while trying to enter Israel under a false identity. He immediately went to Lebanon, where he worked in cooperation with Hezbollah during last summer‘s war. Scott Kennedy, from the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, which recruits actively for the ISM, recently returned after meeting with Hamas leaders in Gaza, where he proudly posed for photos with Hamas terrorists; gave a lecture titled "Peace not Apartheid;" and screened a Palestinian propaganda movie titled “The Iron Wall.” (When I raised my hand during the question-and-answer period to tell people I had such photos of Kennedy, Araim began screaming for security to throw me out. Araim did the same thing in his class when I disputed his contention that women are not stoned to death in Iran for adultery.)
During his appearance at the college, Kennedy was in his usual extremist form. He informed students in attendance that the Saudis had proposed a peace plan "accepted by every Arab state" that if Israel withdrew to the 1949 borders there would be peace, but he claimed Israel refused to relinquish "Palestinian land" for a state. He left out that the Saudis insisted that the "right of return" is non-negotiable and would allow 5 million Arabs to unconditionally flood Israel within those 1949 borders, making the Arabs outnumber the Jews in Israel and, in effect, destroying the Jewish state. This was to occur while also having an armed Palestinian state next door in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian terrorism against Jews that has been ongoing for 60 years received no mention at all by Kennedy that evening.
Kennedy then complained that during last summer’s war with Hezbollah, Israel used "cluster bombs" supplied by the US. He never mentioned that Hezbollah, which started the war by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers who are still held hostage today, and by firing ten missiles into Israel, fired another four thousand missiles, many containing cluster bombs, into Israeli civilian neighborhoods after commencing hostilities. The audience, mainly 18 and 19 year-old students, never heard this information.
But Kennedy could come nowhere near the propaganda techniques used in the film “The Iron Wall,” which followed his presentation. Produced by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, with US and EU funds, the film equaled the best work of Josef Goebbels by attacking Jews and dealt little with actual issues.
The film's message was that Jews in the West Bank are somehow grabbing up Palestinian resources and attacking innocent Arabs by appropriating their land. To the uninitiated, the West Bank is portrayed as a Wild West locale where groups of marauding religious Jews prey on peaceful Arabs, not the other way around. Among the more outrageous portrayals of phony Jewish atrocities in the film was a statement that when a Jewish settler wanted to expand the living room of his house, he simply knocked down the wall shared with an Arab's business next door and appropriated the man's workshop for his new living room area. Israeli law enforcement would never allow this to happen and, in fact, it did not happen. The film cited no names, dates or location for its claim.
In like fashion, the film went on to claim that Jewish settlers routinely move into homes owned by Arabs in the West Bank and just take the homes for themselves with no repercussions. This was another barefaced lie. Deeds and proof of ownership are the same in the West Bank as they are in America. But this would likely come as a revelation to the audience of students at the college, many of whom do not understand the difference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as described by pro-Palestinian flacks like Kennedy, LaRudee and Araim. As a result, they would have no way of knowing that the former is a Western-style democracy that respects the rule of law while the latter is a terrorist entity governed by Islamic Shar’ia.
This pattern of accusing Israel of abusing Palestinians continued throughout the film. Thus it was explained that Arabs don't throw rocks at Jewish settlers, but apparently the 500 Orthodox Jews who live in Hebron do throw rocks at the 150,000 Arabs. One Palestinian Arab claims on film that when a bombs went off in London in July of 2005, Arabs in the West Bank were put under curfew. In fact, this never occurred. Repeatedly it is claimed that Israeli Jews seek to capture Arab land. To make this point, the film juxtaposes and quotes out of context Zionist leaders speaking about settling the land of Israel, implying they want to steal land from Arabs. Toward the end, the film tries to make comparisons between Jews and Nazis.
According to a police source, Diablo Valley College is, despite its diminutive size, one of the worst campuses in California for anti-Israel and anti-US activity. The continued presence of Amer Araim on the college’s faculty, as well as the recent ISM presentation, are just two reasons of many for the school’s unenviable reputation.