Monday, January 08, 2007

Mort Klein Takes On Israel on Campus Coalition

Zionist Vs. Zionist

Controversy breaks out within the Israel on Campus Coalition.

A national pro-Israel campus group took a risk when several of its chapters brought former Israeli soldiers to their campuses to expose their country's military practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Now, it might be paying the price.

The Union of Progressive Zionists, some of whose chapters and affiliates brought the "Breaking the Silence" tour to places like the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Maryland, is a part of the Israel on Campus Coalition. This December, the 30,000-member Zionist Organization of America (an ICC member) sent a letter to the ICC demanding that the UPZ be removed from the coalition because of this tour. Other ICC members include the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). UPZ is an affiliate member.

The speaking tour, which was covered in the mainstream media, featured former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied Palestinian territories. The project has also interviewed former combat soldiers and has drafted testimonials of what goes on in the occupied territories. During the tour, participants also showed photos of what they considered excessive force and unethical military behavior.

This is a big problem for Morton Klein, the president of the ZOA. In reference to "Breaking the Silence," Klein maintains that when Israeli soldiers talk about the brutal things their military does to innocent Palestinians, they are only reporting isolated incidents and are painting an inaccurate, unfair picture. "Israel has the most humane army on earth," he says.

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