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Thursday, April 24, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 4/24/14: May 3 conference on World War I and present-day dangers; links to recent articles of interest

To members and friends of Historians Against the War,

The American Friends Service Committee and several other groups are sponsoring a free conference in New York on Saturday, May 3 relating the centenary of World War I to the danger of a great-power war in the present day. At the end of this message, please find the text of a flyer for the conference, including links to the full conference agenda and registration.

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch.org, posted April 22
An argument on "the perils of intervention" based on recent history in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Rebecca Gordon, Informed Comment blog, posted April 22
Based on the author's newly published book, Mainstreaming Torture

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com, posted April 21
On the erosion of accountability, except for the one crime of whistleblowing

By Cynthia Hooper, History News Network, posted April 20
The author teaches Soviet and post-Soviet history at College of the Holy Cross.

By David Lee McMullen, History News Network, posted April 20
The author teaches history at the University of South florida.

By Arno J. Mayer, CounterPunch.org, posted April 18
The author is a professor of history emeritus at Princeton University.

By Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz, posted April 18
Pessimistic argument on the trajectory of internal Israeli politics regarding Palestinian rights

By Julianne Fuerst, History News Network, posted April 13
The author teaches history at the University of Bristol, U.K.

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted April 13
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post, posted April 11
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University.

Thanks to Mim Jackson, Steve Gosch, and Rosalyn Baxandall for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.

Flyer for May 3 conference:

"Facing the Dangers of 21st Century Great Power War - A Conference on the Centenary of World War I"

Saturday, May 3, 2014, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Assembly Hall, Judson Memorial Church

229 Thompson St., Manhattan, South of Washington Square Park

This conference will provide an opportunity for reflection and discussion on the world wars of the last century, and about the risks of great power war today.  The conference will be held alongside the 2014 preparatory committee meeting for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. We hope as well to spark discussion and awareness about the dangers posed by nuclear weapons in the context of new rounds of great power competition and arms racing. 


The conference will bring together activists and academics with knowledge and experience relevant to emerging dangers in key regions, from wars, resource conflicts and profound ongoing political realignments in Ukraine, Russia and Europe, and in the Middle East, to growing tensions in the Western Pacific over territory and resources, as well as the U.S. strategic "pivot" to Asia.  Speakers will address the risks of great power war, the implication of those dangers for peace and disarmament efforts, the lessons to be learned from chemical and other arms control growing out of World War I, and the kinds of movements we will need to build to forge a path to a more peaceful world.


Speakers include Michael Klare, Irene Gendzier, Paul Walker, Erhard Crome, Andrew Lichterman, M.V. Ramana, Joseph Gerson, Emira Woods, Zia Mian and others with knowledge and insight.  For the program and a full list of speakers, see



For the call to the conference, see



Registration information:  There is no charge for the conference.  An inexpensive lunch will be available on site at cost. We would appreciate pre-registrations indicating whether people wish to purchase lunch.  Please indicate whether you would like a vegetarian meal. Register by writing to Jennifer Sherys-Rivet at JSherysr@afsc.org. For more information, call 617-661-6130. 

Conference conveners and sponsors: American Friends Service Committee, Peace and Economic Security Program; International Peace Bureau; the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation;  and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and its U.S. affiliates, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy and Western States Legal Foundation.


Endorsing organizations:  Peace Action, Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.  Our intention is that the Facing the Dangers conference will contribute to discussion and planning at the Abolition 2000 annual general meeting  to be held the next day, Sunday, May 4. See http://www.abolition2000.org/?p=3225

Thursday, April 17, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Proposes Work on Israel/Palestine and BDS

Dear members and friends of HAW,

Following the American Studies Association's endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and the ongoing debate in the Modern Language Association over a resolution to censure Israel's violations of academic freedom, the Steering Committee of HAW began considering what (if any) action we should take.

After an extensive discussion, we agreed that the most appropriate process was for the Steering Committee to vote on whether HAW as an organization should publicly endorse BDS ("a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights" -- BDS movement website, http://www.bdsmovement.net/).

The majority of the SC has voted "yes" on this motion, committing us to begin work. This was not a simple decision; some members spoke strongly in favor of the position taken by historians Linda Gordon, Alice Kessler-Harris, and Elaine Tyler May, that an academic and cultural boycott was counter-productive and would be divisive, and that US activists should focus on US policy, in particular its military support for Israel's illegal occupation.  Others countered that we can, in fact, do both, that the boycott was the call of Palestinian civil society which deserves to be heeded, and that it will have the greatest effect inside Israel, in terms of motivating a turn to real negotiations and an end to the occupation.

We support an academic boycott (of institutions & their funding streams, not of individuals) because most large universities in Israel have been helping the Israeli government to use academic research as a cover for propaganda. Israel's government has pushed ahead aggressively on archaeological excavations that expropriate Muslim holy sites and Palestinian village lands, and much "archaeological research" in East Jerusalem and elsewhere has proceeded with the financial backing of right-wing Israeli foundations, through university conduits. The area around the Western Wall, e.g., has been designated an "Archaeological Park" by the Israeli government, consolidating Israeli ownership of a space that has in the past been shared with Arabs; Hebron has similarly designated nearby Palestinian lands "archaeological sites." The trick is well known and understood by Israelis (see, for instance, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.567898). We as historians need to counter this falsification of academic research.

What shall we do now?  How should this decision be implemented? Actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott, and more generally against the occupation of Palestinian lands, are an entirely new arena of work for HAW, and we need to recruit a group of members who want to develop a program.   We propose the following steps:

1. Form a working group of people interested in challenging the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and US support for Israel, including work on an academic and cultural boycott;

2.  If you are interested in participating in this group, please send an email to Jeri Fogel (fogelj@mail.montclair.edu) and/or Van Gosse (van.gosse@fandm.edu);

3.  Once HAW's Israel/Palestine Working Group (temporary name) is formed, we will generate an online discussion of its process and goals, and then hold a conference call to discuss more in-depth;

4.  The result will be a plan of work for this and the coming academic year, including possible subgroups.

We welcome your thoughts and queries, and we hope many of you will sign up for the new working group.

Van and Jeri

Thursday, April 10, 2014

[haw-info] HAW Notes 4/10/14: Lemisch book available on-line; Links to recent articles of interest

First, a note: Jesse Lemisch’s long-out-of-print On Active Service in War and Peace: Politics and Ideology in the American Historical Profession (1975)based on a paper he delivered at the 1969 AHA convention, is now available on-line. Here are links to it on the History News Network site and Academia.Edu.

Links to Recent Articles of Interest

By Nicolas J. S. Davies, AlterNet.org, posted April 8
Traces a pattern of US interventions, drawing a parallel with happenings in present-day Venezuela

By Lawrence S. Wittner, Huffington Post, posted April 8
The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany. This article concerns the soon-to-be restored Golden Rule and its predecessors.

By Zbigniew Brzezinski, Frank Carlucci, Lee Hamilton, Carla A. Hills, Thomas Pickering, and Henry Siegman, Politico, posted April 8
Calls on the Obama administration to resist unreasonable Israeli demands in the current negotiations

By Chris Hedges, Truthout.org, posted April 7
Lengthy review of Hasan Blassim's new book of short stories, which Hedges calls "the most important book to come out of the Iraq War"

By Richard Sale, Truthout.org, posted April 1
On the dynamics of the Syrian civil war, and how they have changed over time

By Richard Baldoz, Truthout.org, posted April 1
On the background of US legislation agreeing to the independence of the Philippines

By David Stockman, "Stockman's Corner" blog, posted March 26
The author was director of the Office of Management and the Budget under President Reagan.

“Brown Is the New Black”

By John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted March 26

On the rise of far-right influences in Russia

"A Review of Manufactured Crisis"

By Edward S. Herman, Z Magazine, posted March 26

Review essay on Gareth Porter's new book Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

By Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, posted March 21
Brings together all five parts of the author's detailed  series on the failure of the War on Terror, with special focus on Saudi Arabia

Interview with Russ Bellant, Foreign Policy in Focus, posted March 18

Thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall, Steve Gosch, Larry Wittner, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.