“The Left’s War on Free Speech” with David Horowitz @ UCLA
July 28, 2014
The vulnerability of Jewish students on U.S. campuses
Jewish News Service
“Israeli Apartheid Week,” an annual anti-Zionist initiative, in May 2010 on the
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.
Amid the current unrest in Israel and Gaza, Jews around the world have been targeted for attack. Virulently anti-Israel demonstrations and activities in cities across Europe and around the world have resulted in frightening anti-Jewish violence.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. right now, school is out and students are safe. But there is little doubt that when the academic year commences, Jewish students on American college and university campuses will be targeted for harassment, intimidation, bullying, and worse, solely because of their actual or perceived identification with the Jewish state.
First, let’s take stock of the global picture for Israel. In Paris, a synagogue was firebombed while hundreds of worshippers were inside. And in a Paris suburb, anti-Israel rioters torched a synagogue, Jewish school, businesses, and cars. In Berlin, demonstrators charged a Jewish couple and shouted “Jew, we’ll get you” after seeing that the man was wearing a yarmulke.
In the Netherlands, the chief rabbi’s home was attacked with stones twice in one week. In Turkey, the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul and the embassy in Ankara were attacked, and an Islamist close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Muslims to target the country’s 15,000 Jews and warned that Jewish tourists to Turkey would be attacked. In Morocco, a rabbi was badly beaten in retaliation for Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza. In Australia, a Jew was punched by men screaming “Jewish dog” in Arabic as he walked in a Jewish neighborhood.
In Canada, at an anti-Israel rally organized by the President of the University of Calgary pro-Palestinian club, two Jewish women were kicked and punched by a large group of angry men, and portions of the crowd chanted “Kill Jews” and “Hitler was right.” In Los Angeles, Jews at a pro-Israel rally were assaulted with sticks wielded by four men waving pro-Palestinian flags. In Boston, Jewish students had to be extracted by police from a pro-Hamas rally, at which demonstrators chanted “Jews back to Birkenau.”
Now back to American campuses. As we all know, the college campus is a hotbed for anti-Israel sentiment. Is there any reason to believe that the global anti-Zionist surge won’t permeate U.S. campuses once the school year starts? This new flood of anti-Jewish sentiment will come to campuses already racked by the virulently anti-Israel actions of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose members are often aided and abetted by anti-Israel faculty. Last semester alone, numerous Jewish students across the country reported feeling unsafe on their campuses. Here are their firsthand accounts:
At DePaul University: “This entire campaign and entire sit-in going on in the SAC (Schmitt Academic Center) is totally unsafe for Jewish students and I have had a lot of Jewish students text me and call me today and tell me they are not comfortable walking through that part of our campus, which is really disheartening… About two months ago when SJP started the ‘DePaul Divest’ campaign, I no longer felt safe on this campus and I no longer felt I could be a proud Jewish student.”
At New York University: “Being very straightforward, [the slipping of anti-Israel eviction notices under dorm-room doors by SJP members] made me feel targeted and unsafe in my own dorm room, and I know others feel exactly the same as myself.”
At the University of California, Los Angeles: “For myself and other Jewish and pro-Israel students, the atmosphere is poisonous. We feel attacked, ostracized, and threatened. Our identities are being rejected and our right to express our beliefs endangered. Our academic performance is being harmed unjustly; and our supporters are now targets of hate campaigns, baseless accusations, and unfair political and social retaliation.”
At the University of Michigan: “It was not just individual students who were the victims of violent threats and intimidation by pro-Palestinian forces. Student government representatives were similarly targeted and, most telling, called ‘kike’ and a ‘dirty Jew.’ Both CSG (Central Student Government) representatives and ordinary students were afraid to attend their classes because they felt unsafe.”
At Vassar College: “This year, SJP has made Vassar an unsafe environment for me and for other Jewish students. From their harassment of students participating in the spring break trip, to the Nazi incident and anti-Zionist rhetoric about ethnic cleansing that verges on blood libel, SJP has done everything in its power to make Vassar an unsafe space for Jews.”
Despite the clear and present danger for Jewish students on U.S. campuses, in most cases university administrators have been unwilling to address the problem, preferring instead to defend the freedom of speech or academic freedom of the student and faculty perpetrators. Moreover, Jewish students are well aware that hateful behavior which would never be tolerated by university administrators if directed at other minority groups is perfectly acceptable when directed against Jews, and they experience this blatant double standard as yet another form of anti-Jewish bigotry.
The vulnerability of Jewish students on U.S. campuses is further compounded by the unwillingness of the federal government to protect them from the hostile environment they are experiencing. Seth Galanter, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights who was responsible for dismissing several federal anti-discrimination complaints filed on behalf of Jewish students who were being severely harassed, intimidated, and bullied by their fellow students and faculty, has stated that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will not even consider complaints in which “offensive conduct [is] based on an individual’s support for… the policies of a particular nation.” In other words, if Jewish students are being harassed because of their real or perceived identification with the Jewish state, no matter how severe the harassment—even to the point of physical assault—they cannot count on protection under federal anti-discrimination law.
In light of the alarming rise in global anti-Semitism and the unwillingness of university or government officials to protect Jewish students from campus-based anti-Semitic activity, it is fair to say that when Jewish students return to school in the fall, they will be the single-most vulnerable students on campus.
The Jewish community must act now. As university stakeholders—students, parents, alumni, donors, and taxpayers—members of the Jewish community and their supporters have every right to use their influence as consumers and funders to demand that Jewish students are protected from the growing scourge of Jew-hatred on U.S. college campuses.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization that combats anti-Semitism on college campuses.
March 26, 2014
Pro-Israel Students Successfully Fight BDS on Campuses: Michigan, Loyola, King’s College London
StandWithUs applauds the students who opposed divestment at the University of Michigan, Loyola, King’s College London, and University of Windsor. They educated their student governments about the bigoted and dangerous goals of divestment and the BDS movement, exposed the false and often slanderous anti-Israel accusations in these resolutions, and achieved milestone victories. BDS withers in the light of facts and well-reasoned opposition. More important, these students showed that one can be pro-Israel and still be sympathetic to Palestinian grievances — something the other side does not do — and that one can, and should, be pro both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, and pro-peace.
At the University of Michigan, the student government (CSG) had tabled the divestment motion indefinitely on March 18th. However, divestment proponents protested and held a sit-in at the student government building, claiming that they had been silenced because there were only 30 minutes of public comment time during the debate on their resolution. The student government then agreed to reintroduce the resolution on March 25th. After hours of debate, CSG voted through secret ballot, and put divestment to rest: it was overwhelmingly defeated 25 to 7 with 5 abstentions.
“It is deeply disturbing that several students and senators said they had been harassed and intimidated and called “kike” and “dirty Jew” after voting to table the measure. That’s why the CSG elected to vote by secret ballot. This hostile behavior is not surprising. BDS is an extremist movement that bitterly divides communities, stirs up prejudice, and serves no purpose but to build hostility to Israel and its supporters. It’s quite likely that with their extremism, intimidation, and protests, divestment activists shot themselves in the foot, alienating many students and student senators. Kudos to the students who stood up for Israel and for fairness and who refused to back down,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs whose staff assisted many of the pro-Israel students.
Divestment advocates still won’t take no for an answer. Having lost with the student body, they say they will now bring a divestment resolution to the University of Michigan Regents.
At Loyola University in Chicago, too, students who support Israel and fairness did a superb job. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had suddenly introduced a divestment resolution to the student government (USGA) with no advance warning on March 18th. It passed unanimously 26 to 0 with 2 abstentions. Pro-Israel students mobilized and spent the following week educating their senators and fellow-students. In the revote on March 25, they made their case during over four hours of debate, and the results were dramatically different: only twelve senators voted for it with ten opposed and nine abstentions.
“What is especially telling is that there are nine confirmed members of SJP on the USGA board. This means that SJP was only able to convince three non-SJP senators of their bigoted views, while pro-Israel students valiantly swayed 17 senators to change their votes to no or abstentions,” said Brett Cohen, a Loyola University alumnus and National Campus Program Director with StandWithUs.
The following day, March 26, Loyola USGA President Pedro Guerrero, vetoed Loyola’s divestment bill, writing that “if these students’ true motives are to promote socially responsible investments, they must work in conjunction with a diverse body … our university will respond to a broad coalition of student concern, not an isolated one. “ He also faulted the resolution because “it caused harm among the student community.” The USGA could overturn the veto with a two-thirds vote, but this is unlikely to happen, according to Cohen.
In London, the King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) passed a broad BDS resolution against Israel on March 26th. But even here in the UK where anti-Israel sentiment is regularly fomented, BDS did not manage much of a victory. Pro-Israel students eloquently debated against the resolution, and the final vote was 58% for the measure; 42% opposed. The vote represents only about 325 students out of 25,000 total students, and the KCLSU Trustees are likely to veto the measure.
”This is the latest petty assault on Israel and its supporters on campus. We will fight no end to overturn and ultimately defeat this divisive and one-sided motion. It is telling that the motion’s supporters celebrated the result by chanting ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, demonstrating their real aim of wanting rid of the Jewish State. The BDS movement seeks to delegitimise and ultimately dismantle the State of Israel. It is imperative that students join us to fight this,” said Jonathan Hunter, StandWithUs UK Campus Director.
At Canada’s University of Windsor [UW], a student referendum supporting BDS passed on March 1st. The Jewish Law Students Association [JSLA] and other pro-Israel groups put up a valiant fight, and raised well-documented concerns about the legality and procedures of the referendum. The UW administration took their concerns seriously. On March 27, after a thorough investigation, the administration determined that the referendum was invalid because it “failed to adhere to the bylaws, processes and constitution of the UWSA [UW Student Association].”
“The lesson is clear,” concluded Rothstein. “When pro-Israel students mobilize, they can educate sensible, fair-minded people and prevail against BDS. We are very proud of how much our campus and research staffs have done to help students battle this bigoted movement that attempts to undermine Israel and pervert our ideals. We are especially heartened that BDS is backfiring: wherever they go, new pro-Israel leaders emerge, and they will be the pro-Israel leaders of tomorrow.”
How to fight academic bigotry
Washington Post opinion page
January 9, 2014
For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.
Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.
Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?
And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecuted? Or Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?
Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has nothing to do with human rights. It’s an exercise in radical chic, giving marginalized academics a frisson of pretend anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose of edgy anti-Semitism.
And don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination.
And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.
Former Harvard president Larry Summers called the ASA actions “anti-Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.” I choose to be less polite. The intent is clear: to incite hatred for the largest — and only sovereign — Jewish community on Earth.
What to do? Facing a similar (British) academic boycott of Israelis seven years ago, Alan Dershowitz and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg wrote an open letter declaring that, for the purposes of any anti-Israel boycott, they are to be considered Israelis.
Meaning: You discriminate against Israelis? Fine. Include us out. We will have nothing to do with you.
Thousands of other academics added their signatures to the Dershowitz/Weinberg letter. It was the perfect in-kind response. Boycott the boycotters, with contempt.
But academia isn’t the only home for such prejudice. Throughout the cultural world, the Israel boycott movement is growing. It’s become fashionable for musicians, actors, writers and performers of all kinds to ostentatiously cleanse themselves of Israel and Israelis.
The example of the tuxedoed set has spread to the more coarse and unkempt anti-Semites, such as the thugs who a few years ago disrupted London performances of the Jerusalem Quartet and the Israeli Philharmonic.
Five years ago in Sweden, Israel’s Davis Cup team had to play its matches in an empty tennis stadium because the authorities could not guarantee the Israelis’ safety from the mob. The most brazen display of rising anti-Semitism today is the spread of the “quenelle,” a reverse Nazi salute, popularized by the openly anti-Semitic French entertainer, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala.
In this sea of easy and open bigotry, an unusual man has made an unusual statement. Russian by birth, European by residence, Evgeny Kissin is arguably the world’s greatest piano virtuoso. He is also a Jew of conviction. Deeply distressed by Israel’s treatment in the cultural world around him, Kissin went beyond the Dershowitz/Weinberg stance of asking to be considered an Israeli. On Dec. 7, he became one, defiantly.
Upon taking the oath of citizenship in Jerusalem, he declared: “I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state. . . . Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”
Full disclosure: I have a personal connection with Kissin. For the past two years I’ve worked to bring him to Washington to perform for Pro Musica Hebraica, a nonprofit organization (founded by my wife and me) dedicated to reviving lost and forgotten Jewish classical music. We succeeded. On Feb. 24, Kissin will perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall masterpieces of Eastern European Jewish music, his first U.S. appearance as an Israeli.
The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back. Alas, a new generation must learn to confront it.
How? How to answer the thugs, physical and intellectual, who single out Jews for attack? The best way, the most dignified way, is to do like Dershowitz, Weinberg or Kissin.
Express your solidarity. Sign the open letter or write your own. Don the yellow star and wear it proudly.
Pushing ‘Palestine’ at UCLA
February 15, 2013
The United Nations General Assembly’s decision to grant “non-member state observer” status to the Palestinians in November, 2012 was the latest salvo in the never ending quest to create a mythical state of “Palestine” unburdened by concessions to coexistence with Israel. A recent panel discussion, “Palestine & the UN,” at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) took up the subject with mixed results. Sponsored by the Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES), the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, and the Burkle Center for International Relations, the event was well-attended, with an audience of approximately 100 comprised of students and community members.
Asli Bali, a professor at the UCLA School of Law not known for providing a balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, was in this instance the more objective voice on the panel. She was the only speaker to point out that this was not the Palestinians’ first time declaring statehood at the UN and, she added, “It may not well be the last time.”
Making a solid case that the Palestinians’ bolstered status is largely symbolic, she noted that Fatah “put itself back on the map” by finding “a non-military way” to score a success. Employing a term often associated with critics of Islamism, she summed it up as a successful example of “lawfare.”
She went on to characterize Egypt as a “patron” of Hamas in the Arab-Israeli conflict, but pointed to a fissure in the relationship. Referring to Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November, 2012, she stated:
Egypt was extremely upset about the seven-day operation that took place in Gaza, and what they were upset with was Hamas. [They] were pressing Hamas to absolutely unilaterally desist in what was, at the end of the day, pinprick attacks in any case, but to unilaterally desist.
By “pinprick attacks” Bali was referring presumably to the thousands of rockets indiscriminately fired at Israel’s populace over the last decade. Southern Israel, in particular, has been hit with over 8,000 rockets since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, resulting in psychological trauma, injuries, and death.
Steven Spiegel, director of UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development, identified himself as the panelist presenting Israel’s side, but was, in fact, less neutral than Bali. He even announced at one point: “My agenda is to get Israel outside of the West Bank.”
Spiegel spent much of his time lambasting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s “right wing” for not promoting peace. “There are many Netanyahus,” Spiegel said, arguing that Netanyahu has alienated many Israeli voters and Western states. “Israelis are tired of paying for settlements,” he added, suggesting that if Netanyahu joins forces with right-wing elements “the Orthodox will be asking him for money for his Yeshivas every couple of days.”
It is worth noting that it was right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin who, along with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, reached a peace accord that would be difficult to reproduce in today’s rapidly Islamizing Middle East.
Spiegel suggested that a lack of assurance from the Palestinian Authority ultimately caused several nations to abstain from voting in the November, 2012 decision, pointing to what he characterized as a well-founded concern over how the Palestinians would use, or abuse, the International Criminal Court as a weapon against Israel.
Arguing that in the days preceding Israeli elections, Palestinians often engage in “physical violence” that sways the Israeli population to vote for the right-wing establishment, Spiegel added, “
It is true that Abu Mazen almost blew it by announcing a few days ago, right before the election, that the Zionists and the Nazis had been in cahoots in the 1930s—not something to make Israeli voters feel good about the Palestinians.”
Contradicting his original theory, he concluded that, “it wasn’t something as dramatic as a UN vote and it wasn’t a physical attack, so it does seem, from what we know, that the Israeli voters ignored that series of stupidities.”
Spiegel suggested that Israeli society is largely indifferent to, or even supportive of, the Palestinian bid: “Most Israelis of any stripe would accept, if the Palestinians wanted it, a situation where the Palestinians were the Vatican and the Israelis were Italy.” Currently, the other UN non-member state is the Holy See, also known as the Vatican.
Despite Spiegel’s claim to represent “Israel’s side,” he proffered an extremely narrow view of Israeli society, portraying right-wing elements as radical and, to some extent, tarring centrist Israelis with the same brush by suggesting that Yair Lapid—founder and chair of Yesh Atid, the second largest party in the Knesset—is “no dove.”
Although the panel discussion was indicative of the obsession in Middle East studies with blindly pushing the “Palestine” narrative—often at the expense of Israel—in contrast to the vast majority of CNES-sponsored events involving the Arab-Israeli conflict, this one was uncharacteristically subdued. At some point, reality has to set in, even in academia.
(Stand With Us)
Below is a link to a list of articles from Campus Watch. This organization critiques academics who teach and write about the middle east.
If you want to know what is really happening on the college campuses this is a must!
Surveys: University of California, Berkeley
Surveys: San Francisco State University
Manufacturing ‘Islamophobia’ at UC Berkeley
by Cinnamon Stillwell
January 25, 2013
Scholars of the Middle East would do well to follow the lead of the Associated Press (AP), which last year struck the political term “Islamophobia” from the new edition of its widely used Stylebook, explaining that “‘-phobia,’ ‘an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness’ should not be used ‘in political or social contexts,’ including ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia.'” Given that the word was invented in the early 1990s by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the Northern Virginia-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), in order to silence critics of Islamism by branding them as irrational racists and hate-mongers—according to former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad who was present at the time—AP made a wise decision.
In contrast, the field of Middle East studies—in partnership with organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit linked by the United States government to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood posing as a defender of civil rights—has become one of the key proponents of the myth that “Islamophobia” is sweeping the nation. Professors of Middle East studies regularly use the phrase in both public lectures and the classroom, while producing books, op-eds, reports, and programs devoted to the promulgation of this deliberately misleading term.
At the forefront of this effort is the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), a program of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender directed by Near Eastern studies senior lecturer and notorious propagandist Hatem Bazian. In addition to annual conferences devoted to the subject beginning in 2010 (information is available here and here), the IRDP produced the inaugural edition of its Islamophobia Studies Journal in late 2012.
As with IRDP conferences, the journal was fashioned in collusion with CAIR and Berkeley’s “Islamic University,” Zaytuna College. Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, and Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College cofounder and senior faculty member, serve on its advisory board, along with controversial Oxford University Islamic studies professor Tariq Ramadan and University of California, Davis anthropology and women’s studies professor Suad Joseph. Editorial board members include Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University associate professor of ethnic studies and race and resistance studies, and a senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative; Munir Jiwa, founding director and assistant professor of the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley; and Hatem Bazian. All share the dubious achievement of furthering the politicization of Middle East studies.
In keeping with the postcolonial, postmodern, racialist language that characterizes UC Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender, the Islamophobia Studies Journal is filled with the sort of ideological jargon that radical academics habitually substitute for reasoned debate. In the table of contents and the editorial statement alone, terms such “Otherness,” “social justice,” “speak truth to power,” “racial formations,” “the Muslim Other,” “the ‘inferior’ global other,” and “Western epistemic racisms” numb the mind and deaden the senses. Ahistorical and culturally relativistic comparisons to the Jewish experience serve to comfort those inclined to view all “Others” in the same light. Bazian’s contribution, “Muslims – Enemies of the State: The New Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO),” paints Muslim-Americans as victims of a persecutory fervor he likens to anti-communism—a trope he has been hawking furiously since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
While academic journals of this sort may have a limited audience, the IRDP has been involved with more populist ventures over the years. In 2011, CAIR and the Center for Race & Gender held a joint news conference on Capitol Hill in order to unveil a 68-page report titled, “Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States.” It falsely charged a number of public figures with contributing to the scourge of “Islamophobia,” including Middle East Forum founder and president Daniel Pipes. Both Pipes and Campus Watch were blatantly mischaracterized, while the report stretched credulity to portray a country in which Muslims live in fear. The Islamophobia Studies Journal carries on this tradition.
The entire enterprise rests on a falsehood for, in fact, “Islamophobia” as a phenomenon that results in physical harm to Muslim-Americans is practically nonexistent. According to the latest FBI hate crime statistics, the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. are committed against Jews. A study conducted by the Center for Security Policy, “Religious Bias Crimes against Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims: American Trends from 2000-2009,” shows that hate crimes against Muslim-Americans have remained relatively low and have trended downward since 2001. David Rusin, a research fellow at Islamist Watch, covered the subject extensively in a recent article, noting that:
A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities.
Why then are the number of academic programs, reports, and journals devoted to combating “Islamophobia” on the rise? Simply put, it’s in the interest of Islamists to paint a picture of Muslim victimization in order to silence legitimate voices of criticism. In the latest evidence of its years-long decline into politicized scholarship and teaching, the field of Middle East studies has become a principal vehicle for this endeavor.
UC Berkeley and the IRDP are willing accomplices. The latter’s 2011 annual conference was titled, “Islamophobia Production and Re-Defining Global ‘Security’ Agenda for the 21st Century,” an apt name as “Islamophobia production” is precisely what the IRDP has done since its inception. Brainwashing students, obscuring the true picture of life for Muslims in America and sowing the seeds of division are the inevitable result—just as the Islamists intended. Academe should demonstrate the same level of intellectual integrity as the AP and dispense with the manufactured, discredited term “Islamophobia.”
Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvard to Host Conference Promoting Israel’s Destruction
February 17, 2012
by Sarit Catz
On March 3-4, Harvard will host a two-day conference at the Kennedy School of Government focused, in effect, on dismantling the Jewish state of Israel. A number of student groups and others associated with Harvard are sponsoring “One State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution.”Those who promote a one-state “solution” advocate creating an entity which would, through its merger with the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza and an influx of Palestinians from neighboring states, lose its Jewish majority and its Jewish character. In effect, Jewish self-determination would be nullified.According to the working definition of anti-Semitism developed by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and recognized by the United States Department of State, the One State Conference, in implicitly “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” is an exercise in anti-Semitism.In a conversation recorded on February 9, 2012 at Imperial College in London, even Norman Finkelstein, who describes himself as having devoted his life to the cause of the Palestinians, told his interviewer, “You know and I know exactly what we’re talking about because if we end the occupation, and we bring back 6 million Palestinians, and we have equal rights for Arabs and Jews, there’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about.”The “Vision & Goals” section of the conference website states:To date, the only Israel/Palestine solution that has received a fair rehearsal in mainstream forums has been the two-state solution. Our conference will help to expand the range of academic debate on this issue. Thus, our main goal is to educate ourselves and others about the possible contours of a one-state solution and the challenges that stand in the way of its realization.Conference speakers and organizers include extreme anti-Israel academics, the founder of Electronic Intifada, members of the radical Jewish Voice for Peace and an ex-PLO spokesperson. No one even remotely sympathetic to Israel appears to be affiliated with the conference.The Kennedy School’s own notorious Stephen Walt, author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a work discredited for its shoddy scholarship and bigoted charges against American supporters of Israel, joins other Harvard figures, including law school professor Duncan Kennedy, in lending the event the imprimatur of the institution.
The One State Conference website boasts the logo of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and has been in the planning for a year. According to The Jewish Advocate, Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood released a statement, saying:
I want to emphasize once again that Harvard University and the Harvard Kennedy School in no way endorses or supports the apparent position of these student organizers or any participants they include. We hope that the final shape of the conference will be significantly more balanced.
Furthermore, the university is quoted saying that the event is being at least partially underwritten by “modest” funds set aside for student activities. According to Melodie Jackson, Associate Dean for Communications, also quoted in The Jewish Advocate: “Generally administrators try to be supportive of student ideas for events that they are planning.”
Increasingly, assaults on Israel’s legitimacy and survival are promoted by academics, including at the nation’s most prestigious universities.
Anti-Semitism and Sham Scholarship
Another element in the State Department-recognized working definition of anti-Semitism is “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” That is also likely to occur at the conference. Scheduled speaker Ali Abunimah has previously compared Israel to Nazis, and similar statements have been made by others. Conference organizer Ahmed Moor also accuses Jews of racism asserting, “Many Israelis and Jewish people are weaned on the idea of Jewish exceptionalism.” Marc Ellis likens Jews to Nazis and to the Egyptians of the Passover tale.
This sort of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic invective, masquerading as education, has become commonplace at these conferences. Far from being scholarly, however, many of the scheduled speakers are of dubious academic integrity and frequently disseminate misinformation and false narratives about Israel and Jews. For example:
- Ali Abunimah has intentionally understated Hamas violence and disseminated false quotations to make Israeli leaders appear cruel.
- Diana Buttu has repeatedly and falsely understated the extent of Palestinian terrorist violence and mischaracterized international law. She has even gone so far as to claim that Hamas rockets have no explosive head. This is an obvious falsehood.
- Marc Ellis wrote a column describing how a Palestinian friend of his was murdered because Jewish settlers coveted her family’s land, falsely implying she was killed by Jews when, in fact, her murderer was an Arab. Ellis is currently defending himself against charges by Baylor University that could lead to his dismissal.
- Leila Farsakh falsely asserted in a French newspaper that the PLO had agreed to share land with Israel in 1974. The truth is that in 1974, the PLO reaffirmed its rejection of a land-for-peace deal in what is known as the “Phased Plan” for the destruction of Israel.
- Ilan Pappé repeatedly published a fabricated quotation to make David Ben-Gurion appear to endorse ethnic cleansing. Pappé has so little regard for historical facts, he freely admits “I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened.”
- Nadim Rouhana was denied tenure at Boston College due to the insufficient quality of his scholarship.
- Stephen Walt is best known for his book, written with John Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. The book, which claims American Jews are a fifth column that controls American policy for the benefit of Israel, is little more than a rehash of classic anti-Semitic tropes which is also rife with falsehoods.
Denying the Jewish People Their Right to Self-Determination
The “One State Conference” seeks to promote the destruction of Israel’s Jewish character. Conference organizer Ahmed Moor says as much in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post entitled, “Israel’s Jewish Character Is Subject for Debate.”
The conference will feature a number of panels. Panel 7 deals with cultural identity, asking “What role should the state play in the maintenance of the national groups’ identities? Will it be necessary to forge a new, shared identity in the new state?” It is interesting that this question should be addressed without a single pro-Israel panelist participating.
In addition, this is how the third panel is described on the website:
Many people with an intimate understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict insist that the one-state solution is wholly impossible to implement. Worse, it is a recipe for protracted ethnic bloodshed. Could that be true?
Could it? Let’s examine this issue. With a Jewish minority in Israel, Jews would face the same fate as ethnic and religious minorities in other Arab countries. For example:
- According to human rights activist and former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities culminated in the genocide in Darfur that began in 2003. Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which charged him with three counts of genocide, and still the violence rages on.
- Saudi Arabia bars all public expressions of religion other than Wahhabi Islam and prohibits all non-Muslim houses of worship. Saudi police recently raided a private home and arrested 35 Christians who had gathered simply to pray.
- For decades, Coptic Christians have been second class citizens in Egypt where the building or even routine maintenance of a church was illegal, but since the fall of Hosni Mubarak violence against Christians has surged. Recently thousands of Muslims went on a rampage, attacking Copts, burning and looting Coptic homes and shops.
- In Iraq, church bombings are increasingly common. Since June of 2004, 70 churches have been bombed. Thousands have been killed and nearly one half of Iraqi Christians have fled the country.
- In Tunisia, the dominant political party, Ennahda, plans to institute Shariah law.
- In Libya, the head of the Tripoli Military Council once led an Islamic militia with links to al-Qaida. He intends to run for office in upcoming elections which makes Christians uneasy.
- Christians in Yemen are subject to abuse when they openly embrace their Christianity, with men being beaten and women harassed. They are not allowed even to bury their dead in the capital of Sana’a where all cemeteries are strictly Muslim.
- Since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, the Christian community has been facing severe persecution, afraid to practice their religion publicly. In November of that year, a Christian bookstore was bombed and the store’s manager tortured and murdered.
Harvard Pushing Propaganda
Perhaps little should be expected from Harvard when it comes to the subject of the Middle East. Harvard’s Middle East Outreach Center, charged with providing curriculum materials to middle and high schools, has distinguished itself mostly by disseminating propaganda instead of scholarship. In addition, Harvard accepts millions in funding from Saudi Arabian princes and other wealthy Arab donors.
Even so, Harvard’s Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood states, “Our mission is to train enlightened public leaders and generate the ideas that provide solutions to our most challenging public problems.” This conference is not likely to further that endeavor.
IN CANADA, TEACHING ZIONISM, ONE STUDENT AT A TIME
Israel Campus Beat
February 11, 2013
Five years ago, Concordia University professor Frederick Krantz noticed a lack of preparedness among Jewish students when faced with the growing anti-Zionist fervor he witnessed on his campus. “Zionism was becoming a negative term and we at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) wanted to do something about it,” he said, “so we started the Student Israel Advocacy Program (SIAP), a year-long seminar with college faculty for the public, to give them facts and data about Jewish and Zionist history, the Arab-Israel conflict and the rise in propaganda.”
Krantz, a professor of liberal arts and humanities who completed his PhD at Yeshiva University on the history of anti-Semitism, is the director of CIJR, a 25-year-old organization that is connected with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The SIAP is one of its many outreach projects.
“Frequently, Jewish students, even those who went to Jewish schools, don’t know much history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, so when they are confronted with highly propagandistic Arab students, professors and speakers, they are not prepared,” Krantz noted. SIAP aims to change that by building upon participants’ knowledge of Jewish and Middle East history, their rhetorical skills and their ability to debate and organize on campus, through seminars and workshops. The program stresses the importance of mutual support among Israel supporters.
“Our overarching goal is to provide students with the truth about the history of the conflict, facts that allow them to dispute the assertions which are made on campus,” Krantz said, adding, “we try to not only teach these skills, but provide participants with the psychological confidence to put them to good use.”
Faculty from three of Montreal’s four universities work together to lead seven workshops each year. Enrolment in the program largely consists of college and university students, but a small contingent of older participants also enrols each year. Generally, 15-20 people complete the program annually. Krantz estimated that approximately 40% of program participants are non-Jewish: “Some of these non-Jewish kids become the most sincerely committed Zionists in the groups we have educated over the years, which has been very satisfying for us,” he said.
Laura Ariza Pena Corea, 24, who studies public policy at Concordia University and is not Jewish, completed the program two years ago. She hails from Colombia, a predominantly Catholic country with a small Jewish population. “When I came here, I made some Jewish friends and expressed an interest in learning more about the history and culture, so I was referred to the program,” she explained.
Krantz emphasized that the program aims to impart facts rather than opinions, giving participants enough background and history to make informed decisions as to their views on issues related to the conflict. Ariza agreed, saying, “I’m more informed, so when I hear people talk about it, I know the two sides of the coin.”
Several participants have gone on to be successful pro-Israel advocates. Hillel Neuer, who headsUNWatch in Geneva, is an alumnus. The program’s remarkable success has pushed it to think bigger. “We’re being imitated now,” Krantz said with satisfaction. “People want to do something similar in Toronto at York University and in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba.”
In the meantime, graduates of the program continue to make positive change in their communities, armed with a new determination to combat ignorance. “A lot of people are brainwashed for such a long time,” Ariza said. “They don’t really know the story…. This program exposed me to a whole new perspective.”