Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization

January 28, 2009

Thursday 1/29: Protest AIPAC Fundraiser Dinner in NYC

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 4:06 pm

Hello to those people who we met for the first time yesterday at the rally for Gaza on campus! On Thursday evening (tomorrow) we will be going to Times Square, to join a student protest outside of a $1500-a-plate fundraiser for the American-Israeli Public Affair Committee. AIPAC is one of the major organizations that defends Israeli apartheid, both publically and in the halls of Congress. Key New York state and city politicians are likely to be present, so we want to make sure our voices are heard loud and clear!

All of the information is pasted below.

If anyone would like to meet up on campus before hand, just reply to this email ( – we would like to leave by 5:15pm tomorrow.

For people new and old, a reminder about our Columbia website.
And also, the national ISO website.
Our newspaper, Socialist Worker, updated daily online.
Our related bi-monthly magazine, the International Socialist Review.
And the press we are connected with, Haymarket Books.


Join a Student and Community Protest outside the annual

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Benefit Dinner

at NYC Times Square’s Marriott Marquis Hotel

Thursday, January 29, 6pm
Broadway between 45th and 46th
1/2/3/N/Q/R/W/S/7 trains to Times Square @ 42nd st.

Stand up to ruin the appetite for Occupation! Stand up for the people of Gaza!
Over the past month, huge protests have erupted around the world to support the people of Gaza in the face of the massive campaign of devastation by Israeli forces that killed over 1300 Palestinians, one-third of them children. This movement is continuing the political pressure to support Palestine even in the aftermath of the recent “ceasefire” that Israel has reportedly already broken. Israel’s general siege on Gaza has not stopped, as seen in the current blockades of construction supplies into Gaza to rebuild homes, schools, and hospitals, etc.

These apartheid conditions on the Palestinian people are given full political and economic support by the U.S. government, with added ongoing pressure by such groups as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This Thursday night, AIPAC will have its annual benefit dinner where New York politicians like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Zionists will be rubbing elbows over $1,500 plates while most of Gaza is still in ruins.

We want to come in full force and RUIN THEIR APPETITE.

Join a lively student and community protest this Thursday at 6pm outside the AIPAC dinner at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel. The people of Gaza must not be forgotten.

Organized by: Break the Siege on Gaza CoalitionStudent Committee, AlAwda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Campus Antiwar Network, General Union of Palestine Students, International Socialist Organization, NYC Labor Against the War, International Action Center

Interest in endorsement or general inquiries:
Conor Tomás Reed, 979.204.9253,
Raja Abdulhaq, 347.671.9135,


January 26, 2009

Tuesday 1/27: Speak-Out for Gaza at Columbia!

Filed under: ISO Events, Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 9:30 pm

A reminder about tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) rally for Gaza at Columbia – we have some great speakers lined up!

End the silence!
TUESDAY 1/27, 12 – 2PM
at the SUNDIAL, center of campus

Columbia Faculty Speakers will include:

Professor Gil Anidjar, Middle East & Asian Languages & Cultures (12pm)
Professor Rosalind Morris, Anthropology (12:10pm)
Professor Bruce Robbins, English and Comparative Literature (1:30pm)
Professor Elizabeth Povinelli, Anthropology (1:45pm)

Guest Speakers will include:
Phyllis Bennis, Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies & US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (12:30pm)
Jean Stevens, National Media Coordinator for Codepink: Women-Initiated Peace Organization (1pm)

Student Group Representative Speakers will include: Columbia Coalition Against the War / Students Against Imperialism / Muslim Students Association / Students for a Democratic Society / Students for International Indigenous Rights / Columbia International Socialist Organization / General Union of Palestine Students, City College / Break the Siege on Gaza Student Committee / City College Campus Anti-War Network

Columbia University Community Stands with Gaza

January 24, 2009

Columbia & Barnard: Stand with Gaza on campus! – Monday, Tuesday (and beyond)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 6:52 pm

On Monday 1/26/09 and Tuesday 1/27/09 the ISO will be joining members of the Muslim Student Association, the Arab Student Association, Students for a Democratic Society and many other concerned groups and individuals for a series of events in support of Gaza on the Columbia campus. (There will also be more vigils throughout the week.)

In particular, members of the Barnard-Columbia ISO will be out on Monday at Noon (Low plaza) showing our opposition to a ‘Rally for Israel’ that is taking place on campus at that time. We will also be out on Tuesday at Noon (Sundial in the middle of campus) for a speakout and rally condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza.

As always, if you have any questions:

All of the details follow:


Dear Fellow Members of the Columbia Community,

I am writing to you on behalf of a very broad coalition of Columbia students and student groups (both undergraduate and graduate) that have come together around the urgency of needing to raise awareness on Columbia’s campus about the recent Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza — their impacts, implications, and larger context.

While the international community has been remarkably vocal in condemning the most recent large scale attacks on Gaza’s civilian population, the scale of Palestinian death, injury and displacement is largely absent in accounts of the war by US government spokespersons (both the Bush and now the Obama administrations), mainstream media, and even within our own Columbia community.

We are planning a series of events on campus for the coming week of January 26-30. We want to let you know about the first three events we are organizing to kick off the upcoming week (starting Monday, 26 January) and to invite you to join us in standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza during this devastating time.

We want your support to break the silence. These are the most immediate ways in which you can help –

1. Join the Columbia Community in Standing with Gaza – *12 – 1pm on MONDAY, 26 January: LOW PLAZA*

This will be our first, day-time effort to be a physical presence in the center of Columbia’s campus. It will be a silent event to extend solidarity from the entire spectrum of communities within Columbia to Palestinians in Gaza. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has sparked the concern of an incredible range of groups who may identify with the kinds of oppression and violence that have been experienced by Palestinians there. We therefore see this as an opportunity to make visible the solidarity of that range of groups across our campus and New York City, and to hand out fact sheets and talk to our fellow students. As many of you may already know, a handful of groups here at Columbia are voicing support for Israel’s attacks on the civilian population of Gaza as well as support for continuing US aid to Israel’s military – by holding a rally at this same time on campus! For this reason we think it is all the more urgent for the rest of the Columbia Community to make it clear that these positions do not represent the majority of our views here.

  • Make and bring a sign that expresses your thoughts and feelings about the attacks on Gaza. MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN.
  • One suggestion is for as many of us as possible to make signs that will say “________ Stand(s) with Gaza.” For example:
    • “Columbia Students Stand with Gaza”
    • “Jewish Students Stand with Gaza”
    • “People of Color Stand with Gaza”
    • “Queers Stand with Gaza”                                       etc. (You get the idea.)

2. Candlelight Vigil in Solidarity with the People of Gaza – *5:30pm – 6:30pm on MONDAY, 26 January: SUNDIAL*

This will be the first of a series of vigils that we will hold for 4 nights during the week of January 26th. We are compiling the names of the estimated 1,300 Palestinian dead in Gaza from the most recent weeks of Israeli attacks. We want the Columbia community to participate in reading the names, and to light a candle, as homage to the dead, the thousands of wounded and to the tens of thousands displaced — many for the second or third time in their lives — and who are now facing a bitter winter without homes or shelter.

3. Speak Out and Learn About GAZA – Join Students & Faculty Speaking Out – *12 – 2pm on TUESDAY, 27 January: SUNDIAL.
Voice your opinion and learn more about the context, implications and ramifications of the Israeli military attacks on Gaza. This will be an opportunity for all members of the Columbia Community to voice their concerns and perspectives about the crisis in Gaza, its regional and historical context, the role of the United States as well as Columbia University’s direct and indirect involvement in the continuing Israeli/Palestinian conflict.


  • Forward this announcement widely, tell your friends, classmates and any relevant groups.
  • Send an email to Kaet at if you or your group would like to *speak* on Tues, 27 Jan.
  • Send an email to Kaet at if you or your group would like to SPONSOR the Speak-Out or vigils.

4. Tell as many people as you can

  • about Monday’s 12 – 1pm Stand with Gaza event,
  • about the Candlelight Vigils that will be going on EVERY NIGHT from Monday to Thursday (26 – 29 January),
  • about the name readings and about the SPEAK OUT out from 12 – 2pm on Tuesday, 27 January.
  • Talk to fellow professors and fellow students. If you’re an Instructor/TA, talk to students in section/class. Mail this to any list-servs you belong to. Above all, join us on the this week of action in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Above all, do not be silent. We have been silent long enough.

Join us.

January 19, 2009

TODAY: Vigil & March for Gaza in New York City, Union Square

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 2:19 am

Despite the ceasefire over Gaza, Israeli troops remain at the time of this writing. According to the NY Times today, the assault killed at least 1300 Palestinians, (many are still buried in rubble) and 13 Israelis, (mostly IDF soldiers and 3 from friendly fire). Numbers like that only make it so much clearer that this has never been a “two-sided” war, or a “defensive” war for Israel – but an attempt to destroy the Palestinian population. Untold levels of destruction and the ongoing restriction of important supplies coming into Gaza will only mean more deaths in the coming weeks from injuries, malnutrition and new illnesses – and Israel could still launch another attack.

On Saturday, the new Student Committee of the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition (BSG NY) met and we are planning to participate in todays’s demonstration at Union Square. Find our banner, which will say “Fund Schools, Don’t Bomb Them!” and join us. Please wear black, and a keffiyeh if you can. Close to a dozen colleges and high schools were represented at the meeting saturday and we’re all planning events on our campuses for the next week or two as classes go back into session.
As always, contact us for more info at

Protest Information:

Vigil & March for Justice in Gaza

Monday, January 19, 4pm

Hosted by Break the Siege on Gaza – NY
4:00 PM at 14th Street — Union Square
New York City joins National Days of Action in honor of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in this open for all action led by women and children.  Peaceful rally followed by a march to Washington Square Park.


Break the Siege on Gaza’s next town hall meeting is on Friday, January 23rd at MAS Youth Center, 1933 Bath Avenue, Brooklyn at 7:00 PM. This is where the Student Committee will be making our next plans as well.

January 16, 2009

Saturday 1/17: Student Organizing Meeting in Defense of Gaza

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 6:42 pm

Sorry for the short notice, but…earlier this week, there was a great meeting in Brooklyn for the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition. Afterward about 25 of the students there decided to form a city-wide student committee and begin organizing joint campus actions and we are meeting tomorrow (SATURDAY) at Hunter College.

Please Forward Widely…

Come to the first organizing meeting of the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition–Student Committee!

Saturday, January 17, 1pm
Hunter College
Thomas Hunter Hall, room 305B

Protests have erupted across the entire world in support of the people of Gaza, while condemning Israel’s barbaric assault that continues after 19 days and over 1000 Palestinian deaths. At NYC’s Hunter
College this Saturday, students of all backgrounds are coming together to strategize how we can bring this struggle in support of Palestine to our high school and college campuses.

At this meeting, we hope to plan future student events about Gaza at our schools this Spring, as well as immediately coordinate students marching together this upcoming Wednesday, January 21st, in the Martin
Luther King March Against Racism in NYC.

Come with questions, come with ideas, come with friends and classmates! The people of Gaza must not be forgotten! We need to join together as students NOW to help break Israel’s terrible siege. This meeting on Saturday is the first step!

The best way to get to the meeting room is to take the 6 train to 68th st. Hunter College. Once exiting the train, walk towards 69th. Thomas Hunter Hall is between 68th and 69th on the left side of the street.
You will see signs that direct you to the meeting room from there.

If you have any questions once you arrive this Saturday, please contact Conor at 979.204.9253

Sponsoring groups:
Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition–Student Committee, General Union of Palestine Students, Campus Antiwar Network, Al-Awda NY, International Socialist Organization

January 14, 2009

Thurs: Afghanistan & the “War on Terror”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 5:44 am

As always, contact us at if you’d like to take the train up with us!


Discussion of “The Case for Getting Out of Afghanistan” from the current International Socialist Review, available here.

The U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan is into its 8th year, with no apparent end in sight. The occupation has been a complete disaster for the people of Afghanistan and for the occupiers.  What was behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan? What are the real goals of the U.S. in Central Asia and the Middle East? Why does President-elect Obama want to escalate the war in Afghanistan?

Come to a discussion about Afghanistan and the War on Terror and what that it means for Central Asia and the Middle East.

Thursday, January 15, 7PM
Room 1/211 North Academic Center
City College of New York
A,C to 145th Street, 1 train to 137th Street

January 10, 2009

NYC Protest for Gaza: Sunday Jan 11th, 1pm, Times Square

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 4:56 pm

Some of us are Washington DC today at the big demo for Gaza, but for everyone who is in NYC this weekend, the ISO is also endorsing and participating in this demonstration tomorrow (Sunday) in Times Square. Hope to see you there!

Mass Rally: Stop Massacres in Gaza and Break the Siege

Sunday Jan. 11, 1 p.m. Times Square

Meet 42nd St & 7th Avenue

Endorsers include: Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition-NY, Arab Muslim American Federation, MAS-NY (Youth Center), National, Queens, NJ, Yonkers, The General Union of Palestine Students, Bayan-USA, Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, Salam Church, International Action Center, Brooklyn Cultural Center, Hudson Valley Islamic Center, December 12 Movement, New York City Labor Against the War, DRUM, Troops Out Now Coalition, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, International League of Peoples Struggle, Dawoud Mosque, Muslim Alliance in New America, Masjid Al-Taqwa, Islamic Circle of North America, F.I.S.T., Jericho Amnesty Movement, International Association Against Torture, Palestine American Congress, Green Party NYC

Professor Khalidi in the New York Times on Gaza

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 4:46 pm

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies here at Columbia,  has a great, concise op-ed in the the NY Times entitled What You Don’t Know About Gaza. He exposes the misleading discussion taking place in the media, (especially in the NY Times!), much of which seeks to place the blame for Israel’s invasion on the people of Gaza or Hamas.  For example, in addition to the  grossly disproportionate violence, and years of Palestinian subjugation and occupation, Khalidi points out that the most recent cease-fire truly broke down because of major Israeli military incursions and assassinations back in November, not because of Hamas rockets.

January 5, 2009

Professor Joseph Massad article on Electronic Intifada today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 5:15 pm

Columbia professor Joseph Massad has an excellent article published today at Electronic Intifada, an indispensable site for news and resources on the Palestinian struggle.

Massad’s article, The Gaza Ghetto Uprsising, explores how Israel has explicitly or tacitly aided the leadership of most Arab regimes and the collaborationist wing of Palestinian national politics, (most obviously led by Mahmoud Abbas right now), in suppressing popular movements and uprisings across the  Middle East. In contrast to the completely undemocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a major recipient of support from the US and Israel, Massad points out that Hamas was democratically elected in Gaza. But clearly Israel and the US care little for democracy, as they happily join hands with so many nearby dictators while attempting to destroy Gaza.

He draws comparisons to the political and class divisions within the Warsaw Ghetto, where certain wealthy leaders of the Jewish community sought collaboration with the Nazi’s, rather than organizing resistance. (For an incredible account of this, see Bernard Goldstein’s memoir, Five Years in the Warsaw Ghetto.)

And Massad ends with a great defense of the resilience of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s colonial project:

The only constant in Palestinian lives for the last century of Zionist atrocities has been resistance to the Zionist project of erasing them from the face of the earth. While Zionism sought and recruited Arab and Palestinian collaborators since its inception in the hope of crushing Palestinian resistance, neither Israel nor any of its collaborators has been able to stop it. The lesson that Zionism has refused to learn, and still refuses to learn, is that the Palestinian yearning for freedom from the Zionist yoke cannot be extinguished no matter how barbaric Israel’s crimes become. The Gaza Ghetto Uprising will mark both the latest chapter in Palestinian resistance to colonialism and the latest Israeli colonial brutality in a region whose peoples will never accept the legitimacy of a racist European colonial settlement in their midst.

*It should be noted that Professor Massad, despite his much-admired scholarship and teaching, has faced an nasty attack from a small group of Zionists wishing to stop his bid for tenure (and have him fired!) for the past four years, simply because he dares to support Palestinian self-determination and doesn’t shirk from calling out Israel’s racism and brutality.

Some background articles to read here and here – and on the attack on academic freedom and progressive professors more generally, here.

Blog at