Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh My, What Have We Here?

It was reported that the American State Department has withdrawn all Fulbright grants to Palestinian students in Gaza hoping to pursue advanced degrees at American institutions this fall because Israel has not granted them permission to leave.

But this is even more interesting:-

But when a query about the canceled Fulbrights was made to the prime minister’s office on Thursday, senior officials expressed surprise. They said they did, in fact, consider study abroad to be a humanitarian necessity and that when cases were appealed to them, they would facilitate them.

They suggested that American officials never brought the Fulbright cases to their attention. The State Department and American officials in Israel refused to discuss the matter. But the failure to persuade the Israelis may have stemmed from longstanding tensions between the consulate in Jerusalem, which handles Palestinian affairs, and the embassy in Tel Aviv, which manages relations with the Israeli government.

The study grants notwithstanding, the Israeli officials argued that the policy of isolating Gaza was working, that Palestinians here were starting to lose faith in Hamas’s ability to rule because of the hardships of life.

Of course, it could be that Fulbright is not a popular man in Israel:

"Israel controls the United States Senate."
Senator Fulbright
April 15, 1973,
CBS televison program Face The Nation

In 1963 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright claimed that five million tax-deductible dollars from philanthropic Americans had been sent to Israel and then recycled back to the US for distribution to organizations seeking to influence public opinion in favor of Israel. This statement led to friction with the organized Jewish community in the U.S.


It was the late Sen. William J. Fulbright who first called Congress "Israeli-occupied territory."


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