- Organization that seeks to institute “peace studies” programs at all levels of education
The San Francisco-based Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) is a product of the 2001 merger of the Peace Studies Association and the Consortium On Peace Research Education and Development. According its mission statement, PJSA aims “to create a just and peaceful world” by instituting “Peace Studies” programs at all levels of education, from kindergarten through graduate school; by “the forging of alliances among educators, students, activists, and other peace practitioners”; and through the “creation and nurturing of alternatives” to injustice, violence, and inequality.
PJSA regards the United States (and Israel, though to a lesser extent) as the villain in virtually all international conflicts. According to PJSA Secretary Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, for instance, the current War on Terror “has its roots in our refusal to be an equal part of the world community,” and results from “our having taken a fragment of life and turned it into the only way of life decreed by God, Capital, or Phallus.”
According to the summer 2003 issue of the PJSA newsletter, Peace Chronicle, the 1991 launching of Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein‘s occupation was “a day of infamy” in an American “war of aggression” that was “no different from all the wars and attacks against the U.S. that our leaders called infamous.” In the wake of 9/11, PJSA member and Georgetown philosophy professor Mark Lance penned a Peace Chronicle article warning that America’s “military police action” against the Taliban was an “attack on an already devastated populace” that would afflict Afghans with “massive death from starvation and malnutrition” and ultimately profit only “the forces of totalitarianism and imperialism.”
Anti-Israel themes are also commonplace on the pages of Peace Chronicle, where the aforementioned Professor Mark Lance, in a piece titled “Transfer By Siege,” compared the Israeli Security Fence in Judea and Samaria to the Berlin Wall; depicted Israel as a totalitarian presence in the Middle East; and called for a “massive international campaign to force Israel to end all aspects of the occupation.”
In October 2005, PJSA sponsored a National Peace & Justice Conference in Goshen, Indiana, whose participants condemned America’s alleged imperialism, militarism, and racism. The conference formally addressed the following questions: “What are the strategies, tactics and discourses for overturning the Empire? How can one effectively change the meta-narratives of imperialism and colonization? How does one engage racism/white supremacy/white privilege? What are the implications of Empire at home and abroad? What role does nonviolence play? How does one build local communities of solidarity and cultivate the grassroots culture? How does one connect with the world-wide solidarity movement?”
The Executive Director of PJSA is Simona Sharoni, a professor of Peace Studies at the University of Oregon and a founding member of Women In Black, an organization of Israeli women who sided with the Palestinian terrorists during the first Intifada. Setting the tone for PJSA’s views regarding the Middle East conflict, Sharoni has likened Palestinian refugee camps to Nazi death camps, and Palestinian suicide bombers to emotionally troubled anorexic girls and “gay teens who have to commit suicide because of rampant homophobia.”
Most PJSA Board Members are educators who teach in the U.S. and Great Britain. The organization’s Board Co-Chair is Sarah Hershey, a K-12 humanities teacher currently living in Berkeley, California. The Board Secretary is Jeffrey Paris, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco and the Managing Editor of Radical Philosophy Review.