Update: Great. The State Department doc I linked to yesterday has a virus. See here if you opened it.
The State Department erases the evidence
I missed this story over the weekend of an appalling U.S. State Department-subsidized University of California business training program that explicitly barred Israeli Jews from applying. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have heartily approved of this until the State Department reversed it:
A U.S. State Department-funded University of California program which provides business training for residents of the Middle East specifically excluded Israeli Jews – until Jewish journalists protested.
The University of California has now altered the program’s eligibility requirement that initially barred Israeli Jews. The turnaround in policy also may have saved the State Department, whose Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) finances the program, from having to provide an embarrassing explanation. MEPI also selects the participants.
The program was open to citizens of “Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel (limited to Israeli Arab citizens), Jordan…”
Jerusalem-based marketing specialist and businesswoman Miriam Schwab uncovered the bias last week when she checked into applying to the university’s San Diego branch Beyster Institute program for Middle East Entrepreneur Training (MEET). She discovered that the program was open to citizens of “Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel (limited to Israeli Arab citizens), Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen.”
The Beyster Institute, which manages the program, offers three 10-day seminars, each one with 20 eligible participants. The program includes professional coaching and offers opportunities to make new contacts and “to help promising leaders realize their aspirations to build successful [businesses]… The participation of women is highly encouraged.”
The Canadian-born Schwab, who moved to Israel 10 years ago, said she was interested in the program because she employs two women in her Illuminea company in Jerusalem. “This program sounded really interesting until I got to the part about eligibility for application,” she wrote on an e-mail list.
The MEET program ostensibly “does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, or handicap.”
In response to an IsraelNationalNews.com question for confirmation of the restriction in Israel, program manager Mona Yousry verified, “It is only for Arab Israelis.”
The blogger at the Illuminea was the original whistleblower, and in an update to her original Sept. 21 post, she observes:
In the past, if I had noticed this and wanted to protest it, I would have had to write letters and fax news outlets, politicians, etc. and hope that someone cared. Chances of making change would have been slim to none for a mother-of -five-small-business-owner sitting in Jerusalem, and if any change were made, it would have taken weeks or months. But the Internet has changed all that. I started writing about this yesterday afternoon, and in less than 24 hours the injustice was resolved. I can’t prove that it’s not coincidence, but assuming it’s not, then apparently we all have the power to make change. A single letter or blog post CAN make a difference.
Hat tip: Omri at Mere Rhetoric, who calls out the State Department weasels:
The State Department will begin walking this back, and they’ll no doubt insist that any applications from Israeli Jews will be treated fairly – treated fairly by the very same people who wrote an explicitly anti-Semitic application in the first place. So in addition to having a perfect example of institutional anti-Semitism, we’ll no doubt be treated to a paradigm case of nudge-nudge wink-wink “no bias against Israeli Jews here” diplomatic pretense.
State Department culture is obviously a complex and multileveled thing, but it does seem to produce officials who reflexively denigrate Israeli Jews in order to such up to Arabs and Muslims. Sure there’s all the stuff about the peace process, but we suppose that’s at least somewhat debatable. Less debatable: the time that they wouldn’t accept Israeli aid for post-Katrina New Orleans because they were afraid it would piss off Arab and Muslim donors.
Yid with Lid asks:
Where was the ACLU? How come Congressman Ellison isn’t screaming about profiling. Here we go again with another example of how the PC police only cares when things are convenient for them.
Yid was alert enough to spot and save the State Department’s application form that shows, via Word’s “track changes” feature, the deletion of the phrase banning Israeli Jews. Here’s the letter on a US Embassy website. [Link removed due to computer virus.] Click for more screenshots:
Preserved for posterity.
Shame, shame on the State Department and UC.