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  • Claremont Police Arrest 20 Activists at Pomona College

    This article was published in conjunction with The Claremont Independent . On Friday, Claremont Police arrested 20 demonstrators from the Claremont Colleges during a protest for Palestinians in Gaza. Over 100 protesters followed the arrested students from Alexander Hall to the Claremont Jail. Some protestors were released later that evening, and the rest were released just after midnight. The arrests came as student groups including Pomona Divest Apartheid and Students for Justice in Palestine have been demanding that Pomona College divest from all companies with ties to Israel. According to a press release by Pomona Divest Apartheid, over the past week, demonstrators built a “mock apartheid wall on Pomona College’s Marston Quad” as a piece of “protest art.” At just after 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Pomona College administrators and campus safety personnel began to dismantle the mock apartheid wall. Shortly after 4:00 p.m., protestors entered Alexander Hall, an administrative building at Pomona. At least 18 students occupied Pomona President Gabrielle Starr’s office, with dozens more occupying the hallway outside of her office. Over 100 additional protesters congregated around the building and began to chant: “Israel bombs, Pomona pays, how many kids did you kill today?” “Stop the killing, stop the slaughter, Gaza has no food or water” and “Up, up with liberation, down, down with occupation.” At 4:26 p.m., President Starr sent an email to the student body affirming the college’s commitment to students’ “right to protest,” though she expressed concern over protestors wearing masks and refusing to identify themselves. According to Starr, Pomona administrators and campus safety removed protestor materials from the Smith Campus Center in preparation for a Sunday event. Starr wrote that at this point, students began to “verbally harass staff” and used “a sickening, anti-black racial slur in addressing an administrator.” Starr stated that Pomona students involved in the Smith Campus Center or Alexander Hall events would be subject to “immediate suspension” and that other demonstrators would be “banned from campus.” A recording  shows President Starr making the same consequences known to students in Alexander Hall. Shortly thereafter, more than a dozen squad cars from the Claremont, Pomona, Azusa, La Verne, and Covina police departments arrived on the scene. The officers were dispatched with riot gear and tear gas launchers. At 5:20 p.m., all Claremont College students were notified  via text about “Police activity at Pomona Campus, Alexander Hall.” Despite being warned to “stay away from the area where law enforcement personnel are present,” students began to congregate around Alexander Hall to spectate. Shortly after 6:00 p.m., police began arresting demonstrators. They escorted  protestors out of Alexander Hall in several small groups with their hands zip-tied behind their backs while other protestors jeered and cursed at the officers. In total, the police charged 18 students with misdemeanor trespassing. During one of the arrests , a female student obstructed an officer’s path. The officer grabbed her arms and pulled her along with him. One of his colleagues then shoved her. The officers took her behind police lines, zip-tied her hands, and loaded her into a white van with other arrested protesters. The officers charged the student with misdemeanor delaying or obstructing a law enforcement officer, making for 20 total arrests. Shortly after 7:00 p.m., after the police finished taking the 19 students into custody, protestors migrated to the Claremont Jail, which is less than a mile away. According to the City of Claremont , the jail typically only houses up to 18 inmates. Around this time, local television crews and news helicopters arrived on the scene. For over 4 hours, over 100 protestors stood outside the gate of the jail. Protestors chanted more slogans: “Instead of divesting, Pomona is arresting,” “We smell bacon.” Other chants compared the Claremont Police Department to the Ku Klux Klan. Protestors provided snacks and honked car horns. According to student journalist Samson Zhang, police began to release protestors from custody around 9:30 p.m. The released students were greeted with applause and hugs from their fellow demonstrators. At 12:07 a.m. on Saturday morning, the Claremont Police Department announced over loudspeaker that all Claremont Colleges students arrested for trespassing had been released. Shortly thereafter, protestors announced their intention to continue their activism until Pomona divests from all companies with ties to Israel. They dispersed around 12:30 a.m.

  • With 31% Voter Turnout, CMC Students Vote in Favor of ASCMC Resolution

    From 8 a.m. Thursday morning until 8 a.m. Friday morning, CMC students had the opportunity to vote on a resolution   passed  by the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC). The header of the resolution describes its purpose: On April 5, 2024, Pomona College’s administration called for the arrest of Claremont Colleges students as they exercised their right to free speech and assembly in support of divestment from ‘Israeli apartheid and weapons manufacturing.’ We condemn the escalation of violence on campus by Pomona College and the administration’s subsequent institutional retaliation due to their chilling impact on discourse, free speech, and the principles of Open Academy. We also reject the use of police due to their presence causing particular risk for Black, Indigenous, brown, Undocumented, and other students. In light of these findings, we call for the 7C Demonstration Policy and CMC FAQs to be revised to protect students’ right to protest and speech. The resolution was approved by 22% percent of the student body and rejected by 9% of the student body. Out of a student body of 1362 students, 419 submitted ballots for a voter turnout of 31%. Of students who submitted a ballot, 70% voted to approve the resolution and 30% voted to reject.  According to ASCMC Chief Ethics and Procedural Officer Paloma Oliveri, “Approval of this resolution means that ASCMC will continue to collaborate with the authors and DOS to determine next steps. We will be in touch shortly with further updates.”

  • Inside Out 2 Review: A Touching Allegory of Redemption

    Riley teaches us that we must first recognize our flaws to experience the true joy of forgiveness. On Wednesday, Inside Out 2  became Pixar Studio’s highest grossing film , bringing in over $1 billion in revenue. Inside Out 2  is also the top grossing movie of the year and the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time. Since 2020, Pixar has struggled to produce box office hits (Credit: TheWrap) Since Pixar’s 2020 flop Onward , the studio has struggled  to please audiences, with no film earning over $200 million until Inside Out 2 . While some have declared Inside Out 2  to be a continuation  of Pixar’s slump, the film’s box office success, amazing animation, stellar score, and standout storytelling say otherwise. Director Kelsey Mann delivers a story that speaks powerfully to the human condition—spoilers ahead. The film introduces new features to the landscape of Riley’s (Kensington Tallman’s) mind. The five cardinal emotions—Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira)—discover a belief system (represented by an aquifer) at the core of Riley’s mind. Memories (represented by marbles) placed in the aquifer create beliefs (represented by strings). These beliefs cohere into Riley’s “sense of self,” depicted as a plant. Initially, Joy, the chief emotion and the protagonist of Riley’s psyche, curates the set of memories that enter the belief system. Joy keeps “good” memories—like Riley assisting the game-winning hockey goal—and relegates “bad” memories—like Riley earning a penalty that almost cost her team the game—to the “back of the mind.” In the words of Joy, “We keep the best and... toss the rest!” As a result, Riley develops a stunted sense of self. Riley expresses her sense of self in her own words—"I'm a good person.” This declaration reeks of a pelagian naiveté—Riley only thinks that she is a good person because Joy has suppressed the memories of her bad actions. When Riley hits puberty, several new emotions arrive, including Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Anxiety, with her eerie planning capabilities, quickly establishes herself as the ringleader of the new emotions. Anxiety claims her job is to protect Riley from “the scary stuff she can’t see.” When Riley’s best friends and hockey teammates Grace (Grace Lu) and Bree (Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green) tell her that they will be attending a different high school, Anxiety reveals an unseen danger—a friendless four years of high school. Anxiety plans for Riley to abandon Grace and Bree to make friends on the varsity hockey team. When Joy interferes, Anxiety banishes the cardinal emotions from headquarters and sends Riley’s original sense of self to the back of the mind. As the cardinal emotions embark on a journey to rescue Riley’s former sense of self, Anxiety, like Joy before her, begins curating beliefs for Riley. While Joy curates declarative beliefs (“I'm a really good friend”), Anxiety curates conditional beliefs (“If I'm good at hockey, I'll have friends”). To fulfill Anxiety’s conditions, Riley commits several transgressions—she lies, excludes her friends, and sneaks into the coach’s office. Anxiety eventually cultivates a new sense of self for Riley. With echoes of Riley’s former sense of self in the background (“I’m a good person”), Riley develops a new sense of self that makes your stomach drop—”I’m not good enough!” Taken one way, Anxiety’s sense of self is false—Riley’s worth does not hinge on her hockey successes. Taken another way, Anxiety’s sense of self is damningly true. After all, at the back of Riley’s mind is an Everest of failures and immoral actions that Joy has quarantined from Riley’s understanding of herself. While Anxiety reckons with Riley’s flaws, Joy has a similar reckoning as she excavates Riley’s former sense of self from the mountain of bad memories. Joy realizes that the only way back to headquarters is to create an explosion and ride an avalanche of bad memories to the belief system. Amid the avalanche, Joy experiences a quasi-baptismal moment of submersion, overwhelmed by the deluge of Riley’s flaws and need for redemption. Meanwhile, Anxiety attempts to redeem Riley through her own efforts. Anxiety desperately tries to score three goals in a scrimmage to impress the coach and earn a spot on the varsity roster. Anxiety, consumed by this monomaniacal endeavor, has Riley steal the puck from her teammate and collide with Grace, earning Riley a two minute trip to the penalty box. As Anxiety works herself into a frenzy and causes Riley to have a panic attack, Joy surfs to the belief system on a tidal wave of bad memories, which begin to sprout beliefs. Upon arrival at headquarters, Joy admonishes Anxiety, saying, “You don't get to choose who Riley is.” But this admonition also convicts Joy, who realizes that she, like Anxiety, had been trying to dictate who Riley was. Joy discovers that she cannot make Riley good by her will alone. Recognizing her mistake, Joy discards Riley’s former senses of self and allows a new one to grow with bad memories in tow. As the bad memories flood Riley’s sense of self, Riley for the first time gains a painful consciousness of her utter imperfection. But this consciousness ultimately equips her to ask for—and receive—unmerited forgiveness from her friend Bree and her (aptly named) friend Grace. This beautiful act of forgiveness allows Riley to experience unalloyed joy, which Pixar represents as sparkles beckoning Joy to the control console. After Riley’s redemptive experience, her mind is once again governed by Joy, but a transformed Joy—a joy aware of Riley’s inadequacy and need for forgiveness. Inside Out 2  teaches an important lesson for children of all ages—we must first recognize our flaws to experience the true joy of forgiveness.

  • Students Call for Pomona College President's Resignation after 20 Arrests

    This article was published in conjunction with the Claremont Independent. On Friday, 20 students were arrested at Pomona College after refusing to identify themselves while occupying a campus building during a protest for Palestinians in Gaza. All of the protesters have since been released. On Saturday morning, members of the Claremont chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine began calling for Pomona President Gabrielle Starr’s immediate resignation for what they called her “fascistic” and “absolutely reprehensible” conduct. Starr characterized the protest as part of a series of escalating incidents on campus in recent months. The activists, on the other hand, said that tensions rose after Pomona College administrators and campus safety personnel began to dismantle the mock apartheid wall on Friday around 1:00 p.m. In the days leading up to the protest, some students had been sleeping in tents in front of the wall outside the Smith Campus Center Lawn. According to President Starr, the activists had consistently targeted campus tour groups in recent weeks. Shortly after 4:00 p.m., protestors entered Alexander Hall, an administrative building at Pomona. At least 18 students occupied Pomona President Gabrielle Starr’s office, with dozens more occupying the hallway outside her office. A video posted by Pomona Divest Apartheid shows President Starr addressing the protesters inside Alexander Hall. Starr can be heard saying: “Everyone in this building is immediately subject to suspension. Harassment is following me with a camera; that is now clear. If you do not leave within the next ten minutes, every student in this building is immediately suspended from this institution… If you are from elsewhere, you will immediately be banned from this campus.” Starr authorized a call to the police, and more than two dozen officers arrived on campus, many wearing riot gear. The officers informed protesters they would be arrested if they did not leave. Shortly after 6:00 p.m., police began arresting demonstrators. They escorted protestors out of Alexander Hall in several small groups with their hands zip-tied behind their backs. The next morning, SJP organizers discussed their next steps in a Telegram group chat. One wrote, “A faculty member informed me that they need at least 30 tenured and tenured track professors to have an emergency meeting to prevent [President Starr] from suspending the students. Right now they have at least 35…” Another responded, “[As far as I know,] they do not have the power to stop the suspensions but will be trying to do a vote of no confidence with her / possibly push out a statement” SJP members also circulated email templates calling for President Starr’s resignation. The templates read: "The public has been made aware of egregious transgressions done against students at Pomona College following their college sit-in in protest of the institution’s involvement with the genocidal state of Israel. Despite their peaceful demonstration and very reasonable demands by virtue of the currently inconsolable brutality being committed by the settler state’s regime against Palestinians." "As a result of your contribution to normalizing this genocidal settler state’s existence and the repression of students on your campus calling for justice by calling a riot squad for their arrest and removal, students and the public demand the following: Should you demonstrate any semblance of having learned from your transgressions, as your final act as president, you will agree to your institution’s divestment in all regards from the genocidal state of Israel." "As a supposed representative of your institution, your conduct has been fascistic in nature and absolutely reprehensible. Should you have any shame for your conduct, you will resign, drop the charges made on students, and revoke their suspensions immediately." "Following these acts in this order, students and the public demand for your immediate resignation as president of this institution." Activists are encouraging members of the community to send these templated emails to the Pomona administration. Claremont Faculty for Justice in Palestine expressed their support for the demonstrators but stopped short of calling for President Starr’s resignation. They called upon Starr and Pomona to: “Immediately drop all charges against students; refrain from suspending students, who were exercising their protected rights to free speech and protest…" “Immediately reinstate any students who have been suspended already; refrain from banning non-Pomona students from campus…" “Apologize to the students and the Pomona College community for this violent and inappropriate escalation and police intervention on campus.”

  • Smooth Demagogue

    Typically, it takes ⅔ of Congress and ¾ of state legislatures to amend the Constitution; Vivek Ramaswamy decided to skip the hassle. Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1, Clause 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. At last night's GOP debate, Vivek Ramaswamy showcased his flair for oratory eloquence, even if, perhaps, not his aptitude for constitutional understanding. He announced with gravitas, “I favor ending birthright citizenship for the kids of illegal immigrants in this country.” Then, in a move reminiscent of a student who proudly answers a question in class only to get it wrong, he stated, “Now, the left will howl about the Constitution and the 14th Amendment. The difference between me and them is I’ve actually read the 14th amendment.” To prove it, he did what most people do after bragging that they’ve read the Constitution –– misquote it. Ramaswamy's confidence would be admirable if it weren't undermined by a fundamental misunderstanding. He claims that no child of a Mexican diplomat in the U.S. enjoys birthright citizenship and equates that child with the child of an illegal immigrant. While drawing loose comparisons might be effective in rhetoric, it's a perilous slope in legal matters. Vivek wants to connect his nativist approach to a constitutional interpretation espoused only by lawyers on the fringes. John Eastman, the Claremont Institute lawyer who tried to overturn the 2020 election, has argued that the 14th amendment prohibits Kamala Harris from serving as VP because her parents are immigrants. Adding to the confusion is that Vivek mentioned on NBC that at the time of his birth, neither of his parents were citizens –– implying he benefited from the birthright citizenship he now wants to abolish. It's seemingly consistent for a candidate who didn't vote in a presidential election until his 30s, yet wants to stop people younger than 25 from voting. Vivek’s misinterpretation becomes glaringly evident when one revisits the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark. Ark, an American by birth but of Chinese heritage, was denied re-entry into his homeland, the U.S., under the shadow of his parents' nationality. The court declared Ark a U.S. citizen by birthright. Why? Because he was born here and wasn't a child of foreign diplomats or officials from China. Seems straightforward enough. A deep dive into the 14th Amendment clarifies that anyone “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is a U.S. resident. In layman’s terms, this includes anyone who has to follow U.S. laws—with the rare exception of a diplomat’s child and some specific cases of Native Americans. Ramaswamy would perhaps benefit from a more in-depth study session on this topic, as the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" debate was settled long ago. The framers of the 14th Amendment, in their debates, expressed a clear intent to grant citizenship to all born on U.S. soil, irrespective of their parents' heritage or nationality. During discussions on the ratification, Sen. Edgar Cowan from Pennsylvania voiced his reservations about the birthright-citizenship proposal, posing the question, “Is the child of a Gypsy born in Pennsylvania a citizen?” Further, he queried, “Is it proposed that the people of California are to remain quiescent while they are overrun by a flood of immigration of the Mongol race?” Sen. John Conness of California answered that the children of these immigrants “shall be citizens” and he was “entirely ready to accept the provision proposed in this constitutional amendment.” While the Wong Kim Ark case specifically examined a child born to legal residents, it's imperative to note that anyone subject to U.S. laws, including those termed as “illegal aliens,” is under U.S. jurisdiction. The very terminology “illegal” implies their subjection to U.S. laws. Thankfully, the 14th Amendment solidified citizenship beyond the whims of political gamesmanship of people like Vivek.

  • Don't Ban Haifa

    The following is an updated version of an article from April 2023 President Joe Biden has grown increasingly frustrated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his attempts to rein in Israel’s military campaign. In their latest phone call on Thursday, Biden “reiterated his view that a military operation should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the civilians in Rafah,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Yet student activists still act as though their colleges can have more sway than the American President. JVP and SJP’s pressure to ban Haifa is part of the larger Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to punish Israel to incite political change. Israel’s policies, particularly its blockade of Gaza, its retaliation against Hamas, and its settlements in the West Bank have inspired punitive action by American students and academics. The boycott advocates liken modern-day Israel to South Africa under Apartheid. If boycotts, divestment, and other economic sanctions helped to end Apartheid, the same tactics can work to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories – so goes the argument. But let us ask a simple question: on whom would a boycott put pressure? For one, it would make Jewish and Israeli students on campus feel ostracized, but the obvious answer is Israeli institutions of higher education, the ostensible targets of the boycott. Yet that answer unveils the confused logic of this SJP effort. Israeli universities, like American ones, are overwhelmingly liberal and opposed to the Netanyahu government. An analogy would be trying to put pressure on an incoming Trump Administration by boycotting Pitzer. An academic boycott is the least effective of weapons. It punishes SJP’s natural allies while leaving the intended target unaffected. It would also prevent American students opposed to Israeli government policies from seeing and learning about their impact in person. Can you think of a better opportunity for 5C students interested or concerned about Israel-Palestine than a semester in Haifa? The program is an opportunity for students to travel to the region and learn first-hand from Palestinians about their experiences while attending the most diverse school in the Middle East. Among Pitzer’s core values is the promotion of intercultural understanding. Central to this is its robust study abroad program that, in the words of former Pitzer President Melvin Oliver, “enables students to reach their own conclusions about the world’s most vexing challenges through on-the-ground, face-to-face experience.” There is also an issue of consistency and double standards. Pitzer’s study abroad program sponsors students to travel to places that include Kunming, China, and Beirut, Lebanon. China is among the most egregious violators of human rights in the world, a non-democracy without basic rights for its citizens, charged with genocide against the Uighur minority and terrible oppression in Tibet. According to Amnesty International, Lebanon discriminates against women, migrants, and LGBTQ+ people. Certainly, Pitzer’s study abroad programs in those countries do not amount to endorsements of the human rights violations of their respective ruling regimes. Just as those programs are not endorsements, the banning of a study abroad program in Israel is not a meaningful act of criticism or an effective approach to changing government policies or military strategy in Israel. It’s a symbolic posture that would accomplish nothing other than increasing our own ignorance of what’s really happening there.

  • In Defense of Complexity

    I’m surprised to find myself as The Forum’s resident Israel defender. Growing up, I shied away from my Jewish identity: I never had a bar mitzvah and felt Jewish holidays were a burden. My parents and sister sometimes teased me for being one of those ‘self-hating’ Jews. Yet, since October 7th, my Jewishness has been inescapable. I grapple with the weight of Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions, feeling an unwarranted personal culpability. I'm equally disturbed by some stances on the pro-Palestinian side, namely those veering into tacit or explicit support for Hamas. The instinctive alliance that many American liberals, including a notable Jewish contingent, have traditionally maintained with Israel has been in decline for some time. Just look at the evolution among American Jewish commentators, like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who this past summer, suggested a reassessment of U.S. aid to Israel—a stance with which I agreed. This shift was marked, though not initiated, by the exasperation various officials in the Obama administration expressed about Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Biden Administration’s vociferous assertions that relations remain unaltered are less than fully convincing. The primary cause of this estrangement is Israel's enduring occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza, a consequence of the 1967 war. The protracted and oppressive occupation has cast Palestinians, many of whom have been in favor of a two-state solution, in a sympathetic light. The West Bank settlements, fueled by Biblical territorial claims, have tremendously tarnished Israel's moral image, alienating liberal allies who view the settlements policy as impractical and unjust. In some analyses, Israel serves as a stand-in for American power, or for bygone colonial struggles. Jewish leaders and organizations wonder why human rights abuses in, say, Syria or Afghanistan—where the perpetrators as well as the victims are Muslim—stir less concern from the Left. One should be able to call out the double-standards, hypocrisy, and rhetorical excess that prevail in leftist circles without being accused of being in favor of Netanyahu and all Israeli policy. The Claremont SJP and Claremont Jewish Voice for Peace, along with a dozen other groups, issued a statement in the wake of the October 7th attacks—a statement that, to me, seems not only offensive but factually unsound. Here is my response: On War With Hamas Dissecting the decolonization narrative, one finds many ways in which Gaza doesn’t fit. To begin with, it is not under conventional occupation—for nearly twenty years, no Israeli soldiers have patrolled its streets. Israel withdrew from the Strip in 2005, dismantling its settlements. Two years later, Hamas usurped power, exterminating its Fatah opponents in a brief but brutal armed conflict. It instituted a draconian Islamist regime that suppresses dissent within Palestinian society, criminalizes same-sex relationships, subjugates women, and promotes the extermination of Jews. When anti-Israel demonstrators declare their quest for a secular democracy with equal rights, it seems only fair to take them at their word. Yet the most vehement detractors of Israel may be losing sight of the core issue: Hamas’ aspirations are utterly at odds with their own. Hamas doesn’t want a pluralist state. It wants an Islamic theocracy with all the Jews removed. For a time, Israel sought to maintain an uneasy peace with Hamas, disrupted by the attacks on Oct 7. These provocations legitimize self-defense, though the resultant civilian casualties are no less tragic. On ‘Genocide’ Jews, who have themselves been victims of horrific crimes throughout history, now stand accused of crimes they once suffered. Among these accusations is the charge of “genocide” against Palestinians, a term that does not accurately describe the reality on the ground. The blockade on Gaza by Israel and Egypt was instituted following Hamas' seizure of control there, and Israel has conducted military operations in response to the barrage of rocket attacks from the territory. The 2014 Gaza War, for example, erupted after over 4,000 rockets were launched into Israel by Hamas and its affiliates, leading to a tragic loss of life with more than 2,000 Palestinians killed. According to reports from Hamas, the number of Palestinian deaths in the current conflict has reached over 8,000, including a heartbreaking number of children. But that’s not genocide, which means the systemic attempt to eliminate an entire people. The Palestinians have been victimized in many ways, both by Israel and their own brutal and corrupt leaders, who have never been willing to agree to a compromise that would create an independent Palestinian state. The discourse often deteriorates into what journalist Matt Yglesias calls “discourse lawyering,” (which I have been guilty of) where the rhetoric is confined to legal justification or condemnation, rather than seeking tangible solutions. This manner of debate can shroud the pressing humanitarian crises, where civilians are unable to escape due to sealed borders—a stance maintained by Egypt for its own reasons, but also, unfortunately, contributing to the portrayal of Israel as the sole aggressor in Gaza. On ‘Settler-Colonialism’ The radical narrative that presents Israel as a colonial power or a byproduct of European colonialism applies a crude ideological overlay to a complex history. It ignores the continuous Jewish presence in Palestine, which arguably dates back millennia and certainly suggests a form of indigeneity. Immigration from the 19th century onwards meant a return to an ancestral homeland. The ensuing conflict arose not from an inevitable trajectory but through failed land-sharing arrangements and a series of missed opportunities for peaceful resolution. Despite the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Great Britain powerfully resisted Zionist aspirations in the 1930s and 1940s, supporting an Arab state in Palestine without a Jewish one. It was an armed Jewish revolt, from 1945 to 1948 against British colonial power, that forged the state. The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 broke out when five Arab nations invaded territory in the former Palestine mandate immediately following Israeli independence. In this brutal war, Israelis did drive many Palestinians from their homes; others fled the fighting; and many others stayed. They and their descendants are Israeli citizens with the right to vote. To say this displacement of approximately 700,000 Palestinian Arabs occurred because of settler-colonialism is false. It occurred because Arab states attacked Israel. It is also notable that a higher number of Jews – approximately 900,000 –- fled and were driven from Arab countries as a result of the same war. As in the partition of India and Pakistan, there was an exchange of populations. On Israeli ‘Apartheid” Labeling Israel as an apartheid state has become widespread in leftist circles that it is just taken as a given. While there is an aspect of truth to this analogy, it also amounts to a crude simplification. Israelis do not have different rights based on race or religion. Twenty percent of Israel’s citizens are Arabs with full democratic rights. Residents of the occupied territories of course lack those rights and have been subjected to shameful and humiliating treatment. But under the two-state solution long supported by a majority of Israelis, they would have citizenship in an independent Palestinian state. To demand an end to Israeli “apartheid” without a peace agreement is to demand a one-state solution that would effectively mean the end of Israel. The analogy also glosses over and misconstrues the political ambitions of Hamas. In South Africa, the ANC earnestly pursued a multi-racial democracy, a commitment that eventually won over many white South Africans who feared it. Hamas, however, has not embarked on a similar campaign of reassurance. It supports not racial and religious equality, but ruthless theocratic oppression on an Iranian model. Viewing the world through a stark dichotomy of good versus evil offers the solace of clarity. But bifurcating the world into rival teams – colonizer against the colonized, oppressor versus the oppressed, white versus other races – isn’t just an oversimplification of complex realities. It applies an American political framework as its own distorting lens. As the political theorist Yascha Mounk observes in his book The Identity Trap, “The American brand of anti-colonialism” is ironically colonialist in nature.

  • CMC Students to Vote on Demonstration Policy Resolution

    This morning at 8:00 AM, all CMC students received an email inviting them to vote on a resolution calling for a revision of 7C and CMC demonstration policies. Voting will close at 8:00 AM on Friday, April 19. Why are CMC students voting on this resolution? On April 5, 2024, Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr called the Claremont Police Department on student demonstrators at Alexander Hall, leading to the arrests of 20 students. President Starr also issued interim suspensions to the Pomona students who were arrested, revoking their building access. The arrests followed a series of escalations between protestors and administrators, which began when Pomona Divest From Apartheid (PDFA) initiated a sleep-in in front of Pomona’s Smith Campus Center eight days earlier. Campus staff began removing demonstration materials on April 5, including PDFA’s “mock apartheid wall,” attracting demonstrators who attempted to prevent the removal of the wall. Later that afternoon, protestors moved to Alexander Hall to voice their demands directly to President Starr. Soon after, Starr authorized the call, citing protestors’ refusal to identify themselves or leave the building as justification. Pomona administrators’ decision to call the police on demonstrators and subsequent disciplinary prosecutions drew criticism from organizations across the Claremont Colleges. The Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC), Executive Board of the Pitzer Student Senate, and Scripps Associated Students (SAS) all issued statements demanding that disciplinary measures be lifted. On April 7, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) Executive Board discussed issuing a statement themselves. During an ASCMC  Senate meeting the next day, the Executive Board heard student opinions on the pending statement. Some students vehemently expressed their concern with the lack of transparency that accompanied the Executive Board’s decision to draft and release it themselves. After a lengthy discussion period, the Executive Board agreed to incorporate a list of items agreed upon by those present into their statement. The Executive Board released their statement on April 10. It said that ASCMC was “deeply disappointed” by Pomona’s response, expressed “solidarity with students and their right to free speech,” affirmed CMC’s commitment to open dialogue, and called for a revision of the 7C demonstration policy. Some students, dissatisfied  with the Executive Board’s statement, submitted their own statement, the proposed resolution sent out to the CMC student body this morning. According to ASCMC’s Constitution, the Senate has the authority to pass “resolutions reflecting the opinion of the student body on topical issues,” but it must be approved by a majority vote of Senators and the entire student body. On Monday, the Senate approved the resolution in a 11 to 3 vote. Now, all CMC students have the opportunity to assert their opinions on the statement. What does the resolution say? The resolution strongly condemns the Pomona administration’s response to the protests on April 5, argues that it is in direct opposition to CMC’s ethos of open dialogue, and calls for the revision of the 7C demonstration policy (and CMC’s interpretation of the policy). The resolution denounces the arrests and interim suspensions of students on the grounds that they caused a “chilling” effect on free speech. The decisions to call the police and issue interim suspensions, the authors of the resolution argue, were intended to silence opinions in opposition to the college and deter students from criticizing administrators in the future. They contend that, because CMC has a unique commitment to open dialogue between opposing viewpoints, Pomona’s actions directly contradict CMC’s values. The authors claim that CMC’s administration could justify consequences of a similar nature against its own dissenting students because the 7Cs share a single overarching demonstration policy. Thus, it argues that the policy — and CMC’s interpretation of the policy — needs to be revised to specify the circumstances that allow for administrators to call the police and make justifying interim suspensions of demonstrators more difficult. To do so, the resolution proposes a 7C-wide “committee that is comprised of students, administrators, and all relevant stakeholders” tasked with reviewing and modifying the policy so that it “can better protect the safety and rights of all.” To revise the CMC interpretation, it urges the formation of a similar CMC-specific committee that includes student activists. The resolution also underscores the disproportionate risk police presence poses to marginalized students. Citing a video of a student being shoved by police and the 2022 HEDS survey results, it suggests that the calling of police officers created a climate of fear for minority students who already feel unsafe on campus. Why does voting on this resolution matter? Whether the resolution passes or not will be interpreted as a reflection of the sentiments of CMC’s student body as a whole. The more informed students are and the more students vote, the closer it will reflect our true opinions. What will happen if the resolution passes? The results will be sent to the Dean of Students Office as a demonstration of the student body’s beliefs. What will happen if the resolution doesn’t pass? It will be eligible to be reissued for a vote after the Senate substantially alters it.

  • A Postmortem on Girlhood

    Everything I learned about being a woman I first learned by being a girl. On walks with a wiser older sister, in hushed voices at sleepovers, between the pages of trashy teen-romance novels. Being a girl was a necessary education—for everything which existed on the other side of adolescence. Lessons were gradual—before lipgloss and the push-up bra, there was chapstick and camisoles from The Gap. Before you knew you wanted to kiss anyone, you wanted to hurl at the thought. Before you were a woman, you played an internal match of tug-of-war: dollhouses and playdates on one side, the additions and losses of grown-up existence on the other. Often, it felt as though these lessons came at you in slow-motion; girlhood threatened to stretch on forever. Adolescence was purgatory: a half-way place, a pit-stop on the way to adulthood. Find in the diary of any teenage girl: “Are we there yet?” Just a few more stops! Girlhood is desperately wanting to pick up the pace with all of your growing up, and feeling instead the red–hot eternity of every humiliation (side-part, your first hopeless crush, failed attempts at winged eyeliner). And then, seemingly without warning, you’re there: an adult, on the other side. An entirely predictable, and yet totally unexpected development. How did you wind up here? You look back with sudden horror—where did she go? Wasn’t she just braiding hair at her seventh-grade birthday party? Now, she’s a decade out from a mortgage, maybe a marriage. Turning twenty a few weeks ago struck me as some small catastrophe. Not for the usual reason (pressing eschatological anxiety). Everyone’s afraid of death. With girlhood now fully in the rear-view, it occurred to me: part of me had already died. You’ve got to be careful with nostalgia. It isn’t memory, and in fact, it gets memory wrong. It couldn’t exist without the hazy–headed amnesia which seems to afflict most adults—the mechanism by which the past’s “bad parts” are excised from recollection. Nostalgia really is dis–orientation: the posture of misremembering. Knowing this, the new urge to reminisce about adolescence seemed suspect, maybe even unfair to a younger version of myself. Girlhood wasn’t a “better time.” All of the great tragedies of the period might seem trivial, now—well, that’s only because you’re through it. But the rotten parts, and all of the heartache, were real. And when you were there, it wasn’t at all clear if any of it was going to end. Isn’t it strange: you can be nostalgic for hell. Part of me really was—and still is. What explained the feeling of sudden loss—of mourning for the little girl who went away, and was glad to? So much of girlishness is oriented toward the promise of womanhood. Girls listen to Taylor Swift songs before their first love ever comes for them, and feel them way-down. Girls understand fairytales as representations of nearby realities—love isn’t fictional, and it really will happen to her. Playing dolls is practice. You watch your mother getting ready for the day, and then play dress-up in your room in sincere imitation of her. You wait for it to be your turn. Maybe, if the nostalgia was saying anything, it was this: don’t forget how badly she wanted to be you. If you do, you forget to notice just how wonderful it is to have arrived. In some ways, little girls have a better sense of the power of womanhood than women do. From her covetous vantage point, she could see it all: that being a woman is a magical thing. How nice for you, to be where she’d hoped to end up. You always get told: it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey. And it’s true, the journey matters. But it’s about the destination, too. You set out for a reason, and you used to have a sense of what your reason was. And if the journey was long, and tough, and if you were in a great hurry to get to where you were going, you might as well know you’re here, when you are. Girlhood is over. But here’s something you can still do: celebrate it, mourn its passing, and resolve to hold onto a bit of it for the rest of your life.

  • Encampment Moves to Pomona Commencement Stage

    Early in the morning on May 6, students at Pomona College began to rearrange the commencement fences on Marston Quad, transforming the graduation stage into a barricaded encampment for ‘Palestinian Liberation.’ The students announced plans to stay until the administration agrees to divest from arms manufacturers accused of complicity in what they call 'Israeli war crimes and settler-colonialism.' The group Pomona Divest Apartheid put it bluntly on Instagram: “NO COMMENCEMENT UNTIL DIVESTMENT.” This protest follows the recent disbanding of a similar encampment at Pitzer College, where President Strom C. Thacker promised on May 3 to reveal any investments in military and weapons manufacturing by June 30. The action at Pomona also comes after a campus-wide referendum in February, showing over 80 percent support from respondents for divesting from companies tied to what they perceive as the apartheid system in Israel. On May 2, 64 percent of Pomona’s faculty supported a similar divestment resolution. President Gabriel Starr of Pomona assured the faculty that the police would not interfere with the protestors and announced plans to address divestment issues in a faculty meeting scheduled for today. Meanwhile, Avis Hinkson, Vice President for Student Affairs, advised students via email to avoid the encampment area while the administration was handling the situation. Within the encampment, the mood was one of calm determination — no shouting or chanting. Wearing black masks and keffiyehs, participants quietly brought in supplies and set up tables with vegan and halal food. As press members, we were asked to wear N95 masks for “COVID” precautions before being allowed inside, where a press liaison detailed the strategic goals for an "escalatory" campaign until the administration agreed to divest. The demonstrators, she explained, were a mix of students and community members, backed by legal counsel. When asked about potential compromises, the liaison rejected negotiating any further with what she called "settler-colonial institutions on Turtle Island." This is a developing story…

  • Protesters Disrupt Alumni Weekend

    On April 26, over 200 students and alumni marched into Pomona’s Alumni Dinner to call on the school to divest from weapons manufacturers supplying Israel. The protest took place in Marston Quad, outside Big Bridges Auditorium. Three alumni gave speeches on stage, addressing Pomona administrators and the dinner attendees. They all commented on Pomona’s student body activism and the arrest of 20 Pomona students at the Alexander Hall sit-in earlier this month: “The sense of urgency shown by these students is precisely what the moment calls for,” said  David Berkinsky PO’19. Amid the speeches, the dinner continued, with some guests stopping to watch while others continued conversations. “Join us tonight, this weekend, and beyond as we act in solidarity with the 20 arrested students and… the vast majority of the Pomona study body, to tell Pomona to do the right thing,” said aid Katie Duberg PO’10, before urging other alums to join the walk-out. The protests moved outside Little Bridges but continued on past the end of the dinner. The following day, around 3 p.m., before Pomona’s Alumni parade, protesters gathered again—though this time in a much smaller crowd. Protestors attempted to blockade Sixth Street to keep alumni from participating in the parade. The two groups met at the intersection of Sixth Street and College Avenue, where protestors drove the paraders away after some time. Similar protests occurred on the 27th at Pitzer and Harvey Mudd College. At Pitzer, protestors planted themselves at Pitzer’s “Taste of Pitzer” music and food event – where they called on Pitzer to divest. Alumni stood by as students chanted on stage. At Harvey Mudd, student and alumni protestors from Mudders Against Murder interrupted President Harriet Nembhard’s speech to alums.

  • Pomona Students Vote for Boycotts of Israel

    Between February 19 and February 21, Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) conducted a referendum on divestment from companies linked to Israel, disclosure of college endowment details, and an academic boycott of Israeli universities. The initiative, led by Divest Claremont Colleges, received endorsements from 34 student organizations on campus. The TSL reported that 1,035 students (around 60% of the Pomona student body) cast their votes in the survey. The students voted overwhelmingly in favor of divestment and disclosure, yielding the following results: 91% supported disclosure of investments in weapons manufacturers, while 9% were against. 85% voted for divestment from all weapons manufacturers, with 15% opposed. 78% voted for an academic boycott of institutions related to the ‘apartheid system within Israel,’ with 22% dissenting. 86% favored disclosure of investments in companies supporting ‘the apartheid system within Israel,’ with 14% opposed. 82% voted for divestment from companies ‘aiding the apartheid system within Israel,’ with 18% against. Pomona students were not deterred by President Gabrielle Starr's pleas against the referendum. In the days leading up to the vote, Starr sent a college-wide email sharing her concerns about the referendum’s impact on Jewish students at the school: “For many years now, the only nation on which ASPC has focused its activity is the world’s only Jewish state,” Starr wrote. “This singling out of Israel raises grave concerns about the referendum’s impact on members of our community. For this reason, and even though I know our students do not intend this, the referendum raises the specter of antisemitism.” When some Pomona students in the dissenting minority wrote a TSL opinion criticizing the language in the referendum and the campaign methods used by its proponents, Instagram commenters promptly denounced them as “white men” and “Zionists.” Ultimately, the results of this referendum, like the recent Pitzer academic boycott vote, do not bind the college administration.

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