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Thursday, January 08, 2015

[haw-info] Report on HAW at the AHA

Members and supporters of HAW,

By now, many of you have read about HAW's very active presence at the AHA Annual Meeting in New York over the past weekend.  We have waited until the dust settled before reporting back to you in detail; at the bottom of this email are links to a range of coverage, from accurate reports in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education to less reliable stories from several Israeli newspapers. 

We began with a Roundtable sponsored by MARHO: The Radical Historians Organization (an AHA affiliate) on January 3, discussing "What Is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel-Palestine Conflict." Speakers included Joel Beinin of Stanford, Barbara Weinstein and Linda Gordon of New York University, and Leena Dallasheh of Rice.  The moderator was Steering Committee member Carolyn Eisenberg of Hofstra.  HAW members present agreed it was very successful—from the large, engaged audience, which included former AHA President Natalie Zemon Davis, incoming President Vicki L. Ruiz, and other prominent historians, to the quality of the discourse. Carolyn led off by evoking the debates in AHA over Vietnam forty years ago, when she had just joined, followed by analysis of the "silencing" of Palestinian history (Leena), the many ways in which Palestinian scholarship and intellectual life have been attacked and undermined since the founding of Israel (Joel), how in Europe BDS has led to meaningful economic sanctions whereas here it focuses on cultural boycotts (Linda), and how those of us not teaching the Middle East can incorporate its history into our pedagogy (Barbara).  Even if you have discussed and read about Israel/Palestine for years, there were new and powerful insights, and we urge you to go to this HAW page with links to the various presentations:  http://historiansagainstwar.org/aha15

The Roundtable was also attended by a group calling itself "Historians Against Academic Boycotts" (or, sometimes, the Alliance for Academic Freedom), which put flyers on all the chairs objecting to the resolutions HAW had sent in on December 22, asking for consideration at the Business Meeting. More generally, these historians disagreed with the premise of the Roundtable that, as historians, we have a responsibility to discuss and, when necessary, criticize Israel, including its violations of academic freedom.  It was clear that they would mobilize heavily for the Business Meeting, to oppose a suspension of the rules allowing our resolutions to be debated. As it turned out, they were successful, and by a vote of 144 to 51 (with 3 voting "present"), the meeting on Sunday voted against permitting debate on our resolutions.

At the meeting itself, it was clear as soon as Executive Director James Grossman read the AHA Council's rationale for not adding our resolutions to the agenda (that they had arrived too late to permit full discussion, after people had already decided whether or not to attend) that we would lose.  A two-thirds vote would have been required, in any case, a very high bar.

Some observers have suggested that we made our resolutions in blithe ignorance of AHA rules.  This was hardly the case:  the idea of proposing these two resolutions first came up during a Palestine-Israel Working Group phone meeting in late November. A resolution (not ours) in favor of BDS had been circulating among some historians already, and the Working Group members who had seen it thought it was not likely to pass the AHA. The group all, however, agreed that a positive resolution, explaining the actual difficulties faced by Palestinian scholars and West Bank and Gazan universities because of the Israeli occupation, might be more able to open the discussion, and garner support even of AHA members who were wary of BDS.  We were well aware that the deadline to guarantee consideration (November 1) was past.  Acting on advice from persons familiar with AHA's past practice, that indeed such a suspension of the Business Meeting agenda was allowed in the rules and has happened before, we decided to go ahead.  At the least, we thought, we could guarantee some discussion, and prepare the ground for further action in the future.  And that is what has happened. Instead of waiting a full year, we have gained a great deal of publicity, stimulated ample debate, and (not the least) seen in detail the arguments against our work within the profession to criticize Israel's denial of Palestinian rights. On that front, it is clear that we need to produce detailed, well-sourced reports on how international standards of academic freedom are routinely violated in Israel/Palestine, to answer those colleagues who felt they were being asked to vote on unproven allegations.  So, no matter how much crowing there is about the actual vote, that was a temporary victory for the opponents of free discussion. Crucially, AHA President Vicki Ruiz has announced that she will devote half her presidential sessions at next year's Annual Meeting to historicizing the Israel/Palestine conflict. 

In descending order of importance and factual accuracy, here is the press coverage of what happened last weekend.  You will note in many cases the false assertion that our resolutions on academic freedom were linked to an earlier resolution proposing that AHA endorse BDS.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/scholars-effort-to-condemn-israel-fails/?ref=arts

http://chronicle.com/article/Historians-Decline-to-Take-Up/151035/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/05/historians-reject-vote-controversial-anti-israel-resolutions 

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/158070

http://www.timesofisrael.com/american-historical-association-rejects-anti-israel-resolutions-vote/ 

http://forward.com/articles/212086/american-historical-association-rejects-push-for-a/

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-israel-resolution-fails-at-american-historical-association/2015/01/05/ 

http://www.jpost.com/International/American-historians-vote-against-BDS-resolution-on-Israel-386698

http://www.meforum.org/4957/inside-account-how-anti-israel-resolutions-were 

Van Gosse
Department of History
Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster PA 17604-3003
717-615-4708
@vangosse


For scholarly, political, and musical writings go to:

For all kinds of useful material, including Portside and the Radical History Review, go to the website of the Post-Capitalist Project:










Tuesday, January 06, 2015

[haw-info] HAW Notes 1/6/15: AHA links; links to recent articles of interest

Note: At the recent AHA convention the History News Network (HNN) videotaped presentations at the Jan. 3 roundtable entitled "What Is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?" Links are as follows: Carolyn Eisenberg; Leena Dallasheh; Joel Beinin; Linda Gordon; Barbara Weinstein. At the AHA's annual business meeting the next day, attendees voted not to add two late-submitted resolutions critical of Israeli practices bearing on academic freedom to the meeting's agenda. Links to a number of documents and stories regarding the convention are being posted on the HAW website.


Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Andrew J. Bacevich, The Spectator (UK), posted January 3
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston University, is a fellow at Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs.

By James Fallows, The Atlantic, posted December 31

By John Dickson, History News Network, posted December 22
The author is a former senior Foreign Service officer and a recent public history graduate from the University of Massachusetts.

By John Prados, History News Network, posted December 22
The author is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and head of its CIA Documentation Project.

By John H. Coatsworth, History News Network, posted December 22
The author teaches history and Latin American Affairs at Columbia University.

By Alfred W. McCoy, History News Network, posted December 21
The author teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has written two books on US torture policy.

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted December 21
The author is a former State Department official and former University of Chicago historian.

By Greg Grandin, TomDispatch.com, posted December 21
The author teaches history at New York University.

By Nicolas J. S. Davies, Huffington Post, posted December 17
The author wrote Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

By Jon Wiener, The Nation blog, posted December 15
The author teaches history at the University of California, Irvine

The above list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

 



Saturday, January 03, 2015

[haw-info] If you are at the AHA convention ...

The roundtable entitled "What Is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?", sponsored by MARHO: The Radical Historians Organization, will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 today (Saturday) in Concourse G of the New York Hilton. It will be chaired by Carolyn Eisenberg and panelists include Joel Beinin, Leena Dallasheh, Linda Gordon, and Barbara Weinstein.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

[haw-info] HAW at the AHA: January 3-4!

Dear HAW supporters,

We have a very full agenda coming up, at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in New York next weekend.  

1.  The MARHO roundtable, "What is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?" will be held on Saturday, January 3, 2:30-4:30 pm, in Concourse G of the New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas (at 53rd Street, not 52nd, as previously stated).  As you know, it includes Joel Beinin (Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, Stanford University), Leena Dallasheh (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, Rice University), Linda Gordon (Professor of History, New York University), Barbara Weinstein (Professor of History, New York University).  It will be moderated by Carolyn Eisenberg (Professor of History, Hofstra University).  We hope to see many of you there; it will also be recorded for later viewing by the History News Network.

2.  HAW sent two resolutions to the AHA on December 22, regarding academic freedom in Israel/Palestine.  I attach them here, including the impressive list of signers. As you may know, AHA President Jan Goldstein responded in a formal letter, which was posted along with our resolutions on the members-only section of the AHA website;  we are very grateful for the prompt and professional response from Executive Director James Grossman, Parliamentarian Michael Les Benedict, and President Goldstein.  We have met all the criteria for consideration, other than timeliness, since the official deadline was November 1.  The AHA Council will meet on January 2, and will consider whether to put our resolutions on the agenda of the Business Meeting, to be held Sunday, January 4, 4:45-6 pm in the Beekman Parlor of the New York Hilton.  If the Council does not take that action, which is certainly possible, we will move to suspend the rules so that our resolutions can be considered. In either case, it is vital that all HAW supporters who are attending the AHA plan to attend and vote at the business meeting.

A note:  it has come to our attention that some historians believe that one of our two resolutions calls for an academic boycott of Israel, and on that basis are calling on colleagues to attend the Business Meeting to oppose our resolutions, or a suspension of the rules to allow them to be considered.  That is certainly their right, and we welcome an open debate, but it would facilitate such a conversation if the substance of our resolutions were addressed, rather than inaccurate reports.  We also note our presumption that if our resolutions were passed in the Business Meeting, the Council would then send them out to the full membership for an online vote, as happened when HAW previously submitted resolutions to the AHA.  Such an online discussion and vote involving the full membership would be ideal, facilitating the widest possible consideration of our professional roles and responsibilities regarding this aspect of U.S. foreign policy.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 12/18/14: Links to recent articles of interest

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By John Prados, History News Network, posted December 14
The author is a senior fellow of the National Security Archives and director of its CIA Documentation Project.

By Andrew Cockburn, The Independent, posted December 14

By Rebecca Gordon, TomDispatch.com, posted December 14
The author's book Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States was published this year by Oxford University Press.

By Andrew Sullivan, ReaderSupportedNews.org, posted December 13

By James Carroll, TomDispatch.com, posted December 11

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston Globe, posted Demember 10
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston University, is a fellow of Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs.

By Kara Breandeisky and Sisi Wei, ProPublica, posted December 9

The above list was compiled by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to an anonymous reader for suggesting one of the articles. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[haw-info] Location for HAW Roundtable at AHA, January 3: "What is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?"

Dear HAW members,

Our roundtable will meet in Concourse G of the New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas (at 52nd Street) at 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 3.  This event is officially sponsored by MARHO: The Radical Historians Organization, which publishes the Radical History Review, and is an AHA affiliate.

Please note also that we are still collecting signatures from current AHA members to submit our two resolutions on academic freedom in Israel/Palestine.  I attach them here.  

Thank you, and we hope to see many of you on January 3!

Van Gosse

Saturday, December 13, 2014

[haw-info] Resolutions to the AHA on Academic Freedom in Israel-Palestine

Dear HAW members,

The Steering Committee has voted to submit the following two resolutions to the Business Meeting at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, January 2-5, 2015.  Time is very short, and we urgently need fifty signatures from current members of the AHA, to make this possible.  If you are willing to become an official signer of either or both of these resolutions, please write me and Jeri Fogel by Noon on next Saturday, December 20.  We have no assurance that the AHA leadership will place this on the agenda, since we are past the December 1 deadline, but we will make a strong push, with your support.

Thank you,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 12/10/14, including links to recent articles of interest

To members and friends of Historians Against the War,

Here are a couple of notes, followed by our occasional listing of recent articles of interest.

1. The Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee is continuing to accumulate signatures on its open letter to the head of the Pentagon's official Vietnam War commission. The letter, along with a form for signing and an alphabetized list of the 1,000-plus signers so far, is available here.

2. The Peace Studies Journal is soliciting papers for an issue on "Confronting the Environmental Impacts of War"; information is available from Joel Helfrich at helf0010@umn.edu.


Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Adam Hochschild, TomDispatch.com, posted December 9

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted December 7
The author is a former State Department official who has written widely on the recent history of the Middle East.

By Daniel L. Davis, The American Conservative, posted December 1.
The author is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Stanley Kutler, History News Network, posted November 26
The author is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Wisconsin; the article concerns the Pentagon's depiction of the history of the Vietnam War.

By Gary Leupp, CounterPunch.org, posted November 26
The author teaches history at Tufts University.

By Tom Hayden, The Nation, posted November 26
On the CIA and the National Student Association

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted November 25

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Tom Dispatch.com, posted November 23
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston University, is a fellow at Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs.

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted November 23
Makes comparison between the Vietnam and Iraq wars

By Nicolas J. S. Davies, AlterNet.org, posted November 20

The above list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien with thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall and Mim Jackson for suggesing articles that are included. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

[haw-info] MARHO Roundtable at AHA, January 3: "What is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?"

Dear HAW supporters,

MARHO has organized the following roundtable, one month from today, at the American Historical Association meeting in New York city.   Please plan to come if you will be at the AHA, and publicize as widely as you can.  We will send out the final meeting room assignment closer to the date.

"What is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?"

Saturday, January 3, 2:30-4:30 PM
A Roundtable with Joel Beinin (Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, Stanford University), Leena Dallasheh (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, Rice University), Linda Gordon (Professor of History, New York University), Barbara Weinstein (Professor of History, New York University).
Moderator: Carolyn Eisenberg (Professor of  History, Hofstra University).
Thank you,















Van Gosse
Department of History














Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster PA 17604-3003
717-615-4708
@vangosse

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 11/19/14: Links to recent articles of interest


Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted November 16
A, eloquent, historically based article by a former State Department official and history professor

By Fredrik Logevall and Gordon M. Goldstein, Politico, posted November 16
Fredrick Logevall teaches history at Cornell University; both authors have written books about the US war in Vietnam.

By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted November 16
The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany.

By the National Security Archives, posted November 16
Includes links to newly released US documents from November 1989, showing an effort to deflect blame from the Salvadoran military hierarchy.

By Bekah Wolf, Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), posted November 14

By David Vine, TomDispatch.com, posted November 13

By Colleen McGuire, Mondoweiss.net, posted November 11

By Jerry Lembcke, CounterPunch.org, posted November 10
The author is a Vietnam veteran who teaches sociology at the College of the Holy Cross.

By Trita Parsi, Foreign Affairs, posted November 5

By Andrew J. Becevich, Los Angeles Times, posted November 1
The author, retired from teaching history at Boston University, is now a fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

This list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[haw-info] Thursday November 13 National Call-in Day -HAW Alert

Call Congress Today:
Toll-free number to Capitol Switchboard:  877-429-0678
 
President Obama announced last week that he was sending another 1500 troops to Iraq and would be calling on Congress to issue a new "authorization for the use of force" (AUMF) against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He is also asking for $5.6 billion to pay for this new war.
 
It's already clear that this policy isn't working. After months of American bombing in Iraq and Syria ISIS is stronger than ever, controlling roughly the same territory they did when the first strikes occurred. Instead of being degraded ISIS has seen a massive increase in recruitment,
 
Another American-directed war is not a solution to the challenge of ISIS. There are less violent alternatives available with greater prospects for success.
 
Recognizing the urgency of this situation, Historians Against the War is joining together with more than twenty national peace and justice organizations to build Congressional opposition to this new war.
 
You can help. Pick up the phone and call your Representative and two Senators. Use Toll-free Number to Capitol Hill Switchboard: 877-429-0678 *(provided by Friends Committee on Legislation)
 
Let them know you are opposed to this new war.
Emphasize  that as a constituent you want them to Vote Against Any Authorization for the Use of Force (AUMF) in Syria and Iraq.
 
Ask the staff member where the member of Congress stands on the issue. Please report results to:  Carolyn.Eisenberg@hofstra.edu 

We are now facing an uphill struggle in mobilizing members of Congress. But it is helpful to remember that every member of Congress who votes AGAINST this counter-productive, dangerous and costly  effort is laying the foundation for an ongoing mobilization on behalf of peace.

Please copy and forward widely.
Carolyn Rusti Eisenberg and Margaret Power for the HAW-SC
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 11/7/14: opposing US bombing campaign; links to recent articles of interest

Note: This message was to be sent last Friday, Nov. 7 but did not go out due to problems with the email server.

The HAW Steering Committee has signed-on to a campaign by more than twenty national peace and justice groups to oppose the current US bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. The joint statement (at http://winwithoutwar.org/alternatives-to-war) poses a range of nonmilitary options for countering the growth of ISIS. It urges people to contact members of Congress, preferably during the period November 11-16 after a lame-duck session of Congress convenes.


Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Juan Cole, History News Network, posted November 3
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan.

By Noam Chomsky, In These Times, posted November 3

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted October 31
A lengthy article rich in historical background

By Patrick Cockburn, London Review of Books, posted October 24

By David Bromwich, TomDispatch.com, posted October 23
The author teaches English at Yale University.

By Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, posted October 23

By Jerry Lembcke, CounterPunch.org, posted October 22
The author is a Vietnam veteran who teaches sociology at the College of the Holy Cross.

By Nicholas J. S. Davies, AlterNet.org, posted October 20

By Mark Engler and Paul Engler, In These Times, posted October 17

By Jeremy Kuzmarov, CounterPunch.org, posted October 1
The author teaches history at the University of Tulsa.

The above list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien with thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, and Jerry Lembcke for suggesting articles that are included.