Ben Scribner

individual

Overview

Born in New Mexico in the 1970s, Ben Scribner earned a BA in Economics and Sociology from the University of New Mexico, followed by an MA in Sociology (1998) from the University of Oregon, where his areas of focus were Political Economy, Sociology of the Environment, Social Inequality, and Sociology of Gender. Scribner then spent five years


Born in New Mexico in the 1970s, Ben Scribner earned a BA in Economics and Sociology from the University of New Mexico, followed by an MA in Sociology (1998) from the University of Oregon, where his areas of focus were Political Economy, Sociology of the Environment, Social Inequality, and Sociology of Gender. Scribner then spent five years teaching courses titled “Communities and Race Relations,” “Gender in Global Perspective,” and “Sociology of Everyday Life” at Emerson College in Boston; he also served as a teaching assistant at Harvard University, in courses like “Social Psychology,” “Human Sexuality,” and “Positive Psychology.”

In 2002 Scribner and John Petrovato co-founded Boston to Palestine (B2P), an International Solidarity Movement (ISM) affiliate describing itself as “a group of Boston-based activists who work in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their non-violent struggle to resist and end the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF].” Scribner and his fellow B2P members, along with their ideological kin in the ISM, repeatedly traveled to Israel to demonstrate against, and to disrupt the anti-terrorism activities of, the IDF.

In February 2002, Scribner wrote: “We as U.S. citizens play a huge role in the [Arab-Israeli] conflict by pumping billions of dollars in tax-bought weapons into the occupation, where they are used to mow down Palestinian children, demolish Palestinian homes and carry out political assasinations [sic].”

In June 2003, Scribner and John Petrovato co-authored an article from an apartment where they were staying in the West Bank. Specifically, they detailed their effort to help dismantle a roadblock which the IDF had set up as part of its anti-terrorism efforts outside the city of Nablus: “Sometimes I feel like we are the hospice for a dying [Palestinian] society. We are writing … from the ISM apartment in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. The apartment is upstairs from a martyr’s home, now slated for demolition [by the IDF]…. We managed to enter through a small checkpoint where we claimed to be child psychologists visiting the hospital.…”

In July 2003, Scribner wrote that the northern West Bank agricultural village of Jayyous was “slowly being choked to death by Israel’s ‘security fence’ or ‘Apartheid Wall’,” which, in that particular location, “cuts well into the West Bank, wraps in around Jewish settlements, and cuts off land from Palestinian farmers.” As a result, said Scribner, “Palestinians are literally awakening to find their land, homes, and even whole villages suddenly on the ‘Israel’ side of an illegal, defacto border.” Scribner also lauded “many Palestinians” for being able to “maintai[n] a calm, undisturbed manner” in the face of Israel’s alleged abuses.

At a January 2005 event outside the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church in Somerville, Massachusetts, Scribner led a B2P presentation that emphasized the suffering of the Palestinians while minimizing the impact of Arab terrorism on Israel. One observer, Dexter Van Zile of the “David Project,” an initiative that seeks “to understand the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict by promoting critical thinking [and] historical accuracy,” reported the following:  “Astonishingly, ISM activist Ben Scribner was unable answer simple, obvious questions: [W]hat is the status of gays and lesbians in Palestinian controlled areas? How many Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians during the second intifada? (hundreds — three quarters of whom, by the way, were Christian). Scribner was unable to provide a cursory explanation the events leading to the wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 — all of which were started by Israel’s Arab neighbors. I asked him about this in response to his description of Israel ‘conquering territory’ in 1948 and 1967. Scribner didn’t know …”

In 2013 Scribner earned a Ph.D. in Communications at La Sapienza University of Rome. His thesis concerned “media representation and the political construction of space in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Further reading: “Ben Scribner” (Arcadia.edu, PeaceAndJustice.it); “As Jayyous Struggles to Live, Jawal Wants to Die” (by Ben Scribner, 7-17-2003, pp. G3-G6).

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