ASMEA: Association for Study of Middle East & Africa

Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

October 4, 2016

Failing to name Islamic terror has cost Turkey hundreds of lives and will likely cost it hundreds more, as the country's leaders -- and many others,especially in the West -- are still too demure to call Islamic terror by its name.

In the above quote Turkish columnist Burak Bekdil succinctly states what should be obvious to all but isn’t for reasons of fear, ignorance, or political correctness. This failure to name Islamist terror as the main source of modern-day terrorism leads to confusion in the classroom and disaster elsewhere including wanton savagery against women, the destruction of indigenous communities (the real “first nations” of the M.E. region), and persistent attacks around the globe. Yet, little has changed among those who pontificate on the subject.

For example, among those who deny the leading role of Islamism is Michael Scheuer, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, and formerly the head of the CIA’s Usama bin Laden Unit. His state of disbelief allows him to conclude that the Islamists have legitimate grievances against the West, especially American support for Israel. Fortunately, his view is neatly dissected simply by referring to the Islamists’ own statements.

A related, and no less distorted, view of Islamist terror is held by Prof. Gilles Kepel of SciencesPo in Paris who predicts civil war across Europe as more young Muslims facing poor job prospects turn to radical groups. Never mind that there are all sorts of poor people in the world that don’t follow this path. 

Despite the prevalence of this view on campus there remains a small number of scholars, usually tenured, who are willing to confront the threat of Islamism. They include Prof. Franck Salameh of Boston College who will address the Islamic authenticity of ISIS at the ASMEA conference next month. Another, is our conference keynote speaker, Prof. Martin Kramer of Jerusalem’s Shalem College, and author of the forthcoming War on Error: Israel, Islam and the Middle East. Fittingly, he will be speaking on “The Pathology of Middle East Studies.”

Corruption and bias in Middle East studies is nothing new but it has received unique exposure in the wake of the coup attempt that took place in Turkey 2.5 months ago. Our principal rival, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has been speaking out since President Erodogan beganpurging his opponents including firing tens of thousands of teachers and professors, and revoking the travel rights of many more. In MESA’s most recent letter to the Turkish government they made the following request: “We respectfully ask that your government take immediate steps to reverse the dismissals announced…. We also ask that your government desist from broadening the definition of terrorism to encompass…academics, journalists and NGO advocates.”

The letter is spot on. But why can’t MESA bring itself to support an academic boycott against Turkey as it does against Israel? After all, MESA has issued  eleven letters of protest against Turkey for what it considers to be violations of academic freedom and only 7 against Israel since the beginning of the year. While I’m at it, why do they oppose the State of California’s efforts to fight the boycott of Israel and discourage anti-Semitismon campus through economic measures when their concern is the field of Middle East studies (similar letter to NY Gov. Cuomo here)? And, why have they written letters in support of violent protesters that have disrupted pro-Israel events on campus (here and here)?

MESA isn’t alone in insinuating anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views into the campus debate, and, with the start of the academic year many are following their lead. For example, at UC-Berkeley a course titled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis“ was offered at the beginning of the semester, thencancelled, and finally reinstated under the amended title “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Inquiry” (see syllabus). Sponsored by a notorious anti-Israel activist and co-founder of the group Students for Justice in Palestine, the objective of the course was to “explore the connection between Zionism and settler colonialism….”

The retired professor from U. Cincinatti who first exposed the course has an interesting take on the matter.

But good will come of this. Since there are no constraints on what universities do, they are increasingly moving toward the extremes. In doing this, they undermine their own legitimacy and their bogus claims of serving a societal good or promoting civic virtue. Eventually, such a system will collapse because the larger society will recognize that it is paying for its own delegitimation and destruction through courses that view America and Western Civilization as the roots of all evil in the world.

Amen. Of course, the trick will be to ensure that whatever replaces the higher educational system we know and often loathe (Middle East studies included) will be an improvement rather than the faster, cheaper regurgitation of biased scholarship that appears ready to take over.

Meanwhile, Syracuse U. disinvited filmaker and Israeli citizen Shimon Dotan from a proposed campus lecture and screening of his very left-wing film “The Settlers” because of a perceived threat of trouble from campus anti-Israel activists. Dotan is an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Journalism (more here).

At Swarthmore College, swastikas were spray-painted in a “gender neutral” bathroom prompting the campus “Bias Response Team” to conclude the incident reached a “critical level” necessitating a campus-wide email describing the incident. The good news is the school condemned the vandalism. The bad news is that when grown-ups feel compelled to use ridiculous language to describe a nasty bit of vandalism then it’s clear the rot runs deep and wide on that campus (more here). Swastikas also were found at San Jose State University.

At Georgetown U., a panel discussing the career of P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu was disrupted by protesting students who waived signs and yelled slogans before being led away by police. At Oberlin College, the student senate condemned an alumni group that combats campus anti-Semitism. The City University of New York issued a report documenting recent anti-Semitic incidents including a litany of extreme anti-Israel activity. And, at UCLA, a law school student who made the mistake of opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel was forced to transfer elsewhere citing a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish and non-Jewish.

Of course, all of this comes on top of the tendentious lecturesnasty op-eds, and related campus demonstrations of anti-Israel/anti-Semitic bias in Middle East studies and elsewhere on campus.

Aside from dishonesty in M.E. studies what drives students to adopt such bizarre views and what do they want? For the members of Students for Justice in Palestine franchises (a major driver behind such views) it is a combination of narcissism, ignorance, radical left-wing politics, bigotry, and faculty support. For example, at UC Berkeley the SJP franchise believes that:

Zionism’s core idea is establishing a Jewish state that excludes, oppresses, and denies the rights of Palestinians in various ways. While we undoubtedly oppose Zionism and Israel’s occupation, we prefer to think of ourselves as a group that promotes a positive alternative vision—in which indigenous rights will be recognized and Israel’s racist foundations will be dismantled for the benefit of all people living in the area.

The UC Santa Cruz franchise is even bolder in its public stance:

We have only ever focused on broader anti-Zionist politics, because our group politics are further left than the broader Palestine solidarity movement. We have never been in a situation where we have to eschew a broader critique of Zionism in favor of just highlighting the occupation.

At one point we tried to actually do some actions with J Street. The reasoning behind this was that we had become so powerful on campus that the norm was anti-Zionism and by participating in events with us they would be normalizing with us.

At Temple U., the SJP is no less outspoken:

Our SJP chapter focuses on anti-Zionism, which is the principle guiding our organizing, and the other side of the coin of our ultimate goal, national liberation for the people of Palestine. We do not believe anti-occupation politics are sufficient in addressing Israeli settler-colonialism, which encompasses not just the West Bank, but also historic Palestine. We understand that Zionism is not just an oppressive ideology, but a system of racism and colonialism….

Click on the links above to read the interviews in their entirety.

With Turkish scholars under assault from their own government, Israeli scholars effectively threatened everywhere, and the search for truth held hostage to political correctness one might be tempted to ask what the future holds for schools that entertain Middle East studies and its various offshoots. For the immediate future it’s likely to be more of the same.

But as suggested above good will come of this not just because of M.E. studies but because too many universities have devolved into unserious, outrageously expensive institutions that offer a decreasing return on investment. At a time when Georgetown U. is offering priority admission to slave descendents (Jewish descendents of Egyptian-held slaves, Christian descendants of Turkish-held slaves, descendents of Russian serfs, and slaves currently held in Saudi Arabia need not apply); Brown U. is providing free feminine hygiene products in all campus bathrooms (to avoid gender discrimination); Cal. State-L.A. provides segregated housing for blacks at their request, and; 9/11 memorial posters are torn down by facultymembers because they weren’t in a “free speech zone” then it becomes clear that Middle East studies isn’t the only problem. Let’s hope that a change for the better is quick in coming.

Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, Jewish students and failed policies

By Seth J. Frantzman | September 7, 2016 | Flashpoint 32

A new article at The Washington Post by Molly Harris claims that liberal Jewish students are being “actively excluded” from social justice organizations.  Jewish college students will find that those active in BDS are also active in other left-wing groups and “as a Zionist this can be extremely disheartening.”  Her article goes to the heart of the intersection between Jewish students, Zionist students and types of antisemitism.  In a similar vein Alan Dershowitz has claimed that progressive supporters of Israel are finding themselves unwelcome unless they “reject Israel.”

Major Jewish Groups Bitterly Rebuke UCLA Over Departure of Student Leader Due to BDS Harassment

The Algemeiner
September 2, 2016

The heads of major Jewish groups told The Algemeiner on Friday that they were outraged over the handling by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) of the harassment and relentless attacks against a former student leader by anti-Israel activists.

Earlier this week, now former UCLA Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Milan Chatterjee announced that he was leaving the university over the “hostile and unsafe campus climate” fostered by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups and the UCLA administration.

Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law who provided legal aid to Chatterjee — told The Algemeiner, “This is a very dark day for the University of California, and a bad day for America.”

He continued: “The Milan Chatterjee affair reflects the insidiousness of the anti-Israel movement’s new strategy, which is to suppress pro-Israel advocacy and intimidate not only Jewish pro-Israel students but also anyone who even remains neutral. Good, conscientious students will be driven away from student government and replaced by extremists of the sort who victimized Mr. Chatterjee.”

Aron Hier, director of Campus Outreach for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, criticized UCLA for what he described as its “implacable and unethical approach” to the situation. “It is one thing to have the BDS movement tar and smear you,” Hier said, “But once the university chose to side against Chatterjee, it becomes too much to ask of any student to bear this responsibility. UCLA has doubled down on its wrongdoing and continues to dig the pit even deeper.” 

Hier, whose organization acted as a mediator at times between Chatterjee and the UCLA administration, also told The Algemeiner that when raising the issue of Chatterjee’s treatment and issues of campus antisemitism in general, he was told by the university, “Let this be a teaching moment.”

“I ask the public at large: would any other minority group accept this answer from a university? This ethos is everything that is wrong with how the UCLA administration tackles campus antisemitism,” Hier said.

On Friday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued a statement calling on the US Department of Education (DOE) to “conduct a thorough investigation” of UCLA’s conduct regarding Chatterjee.

AJC General Counsel Marc D. Stern wrote in a letter to the DOE that the leaking of a confidential university report on Chatterjee and UCLA’s subsequent actions constituted “a blatant violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).” Should UCLA be found to have violated FERPA, the university could lose federal funding.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — and a former instructor at UCLA’s business school — said in a statement that regardless of one’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “no student should have to endure the kind of bullying and vitriol [Chatterjee] describes.”

“If the allegations are true,” he said, “it is troubling that anti-Israel student activists are creating an environment where students do not feel safe.”

As reported by The Algemeiner on Thursday, Chatterjee — a third-year law student — said he had “no choice” but to leave UCLA due to the harassment he suffered at the hands of BDS groups and activists.

“It is very scary how BDS activists will go to any measure to destroy people’s reputations and careers,” Chatterjee told The Algemeiner in an interview. “UCLA should be ashamed of themselves for refusing to take action, and rather joining in the harassment I endured by BDS groups. I am not the first student nor will I be the last.”

Chatterjee — who is Indian-American and a Hindu — became the focus of a four-month investigation by the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) for distributing GSA funds for a November 2015 diversity event based on a stipulation that the event not officially associate itself with the BDS movement and the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter.

Over the course of the investigation, BDS groups began a “deadly, malicious campaign against me,” Chatterjee told The Algemeiner. “They wrote defamatory articles in the media, circulated petitions and tried to remove me as GSA president three times. A lot of venom was spread around campus against me.”

The DPO investigation concluded that Chatterjee — who said he was maintaining the GSA’s unanimous “zero engagement/endorsement policy” towards supporting any BDS-related organizations — “violated University policy requiring viewpoint neutrality,” and accused him of concocting the “zero engagement” policy.

The result of the investigation, Chatterjee told The Algemeiner, was the “straw that broke the camel’s back, adding that “the report is a clear cover-up by the UCLA administration for its own mishandling of the situation.”

“I am absolutely grateful for the support from groups like the AJC, the Louis D. Brandeis Center, the Israeli-American Council and the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” he said. Since news broke of his exit from UCLA, Chatterjee said he has received a “stream of messages from people around the world expressing their solidarity.”

Chatterjee will complete his final year of law school at New York University. UCLA has yet to respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment on his departure. 

UCLA student president leaves due to pro-BDS harassment


Chatterjee says that he has been harassed and discriminated against because he "refused to support anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist activity."

Milan Chatterjee, former UCLA student president and recipient of the American Jewish Committee's inaugural Campus Courage Award, informed UCLA on Aug. 24 that he would be leaving the university due to a "hostile and unsafe campus climate" created by pro-BDS organizations.

Via phone interview with the Jewish Journal, Chatterjee stated that the UCLA campus had "become so hostile and unsafe" that he just couldn't stay there anymore. 

During his tenure as president, Chatterjee distributed Graduate Students Association (GSA) funds for a UCLA diversity event contingent on its sponsors not being associated with the BDS movement. 

The UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office concluded that Chatterjee violated the university's policy of viewpoint neutrality. 

Chatterjee says that he has been harassed and discriminated against because he "refused to support an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist activity, organization and position while serving as President of the UCLA Graduate Student Association."

UCLA released the following statement on the matter: 

“Though the university does not support divestment from Israel, and remains proud of its numerous academic and cultural relationships with Israeli institutions, supporters and opponents of divestment remain free to advocate for their position as long as their conduct does not violate university policies.”

Chatterjee is planning to finish his law degree at the New York University School of Law.

Help SPME fight the cognitive war against Israel and Jews on campus.

Working diligently to rid academia of bias, radicalism, and politicized scholarship in discussions about the Middle East.

Dear Friend of SPME:

With the new academic year fast approaching, SPME is gearing up to continue its fight against BDS and campus anti-Semitism. We are working daily to BDS research, and education.

We know that BDS is directly tied to the anti-normalization strategy that plays out time and again as SJP chapters have exercised a hecklers' veto over campus events organized by Jewish and Israeli organizations, including those that highlight Israeli-Palestinian co-operation. Without communication, and normalization, peace is impossible. And that's precisely their goal.

A recent report by the Amcha Initiative, came out with a new report underscoring as it did in 2015 that:

[A]nti-Semitism was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign] was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters. In fact, schools with more faculty boycotters and more BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic activity.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) was founded precisely to confront this dilution of scholarship and the exploitation of academia— and not only in relation to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Through our network of over 40,000 faculty members, we seek an honest assessment of developments—political, cultural, economic, and social—across the entire region, moving beyond the current academic obsession with Israel to help insure that an honest debate can take place about the changing face of the Middle East. 

At this time, we would like you, especially those of you who have never ever given before, to go to and give generously, so that we can continue our critical work. 

Previous donations to SPME have enabled us to move quickly on a number of critical initiatives and programs, including on-campus efforts to defeat BDS resolutions, academic conferences, a law deans missions to Israel, traveling panels of pro-Israel scholars, communications with administrators to protect Jewish students from hostile conditions, and other targeted, important work.

So your continued help is critical.  

To assist in any way, please visit: to learn how you can support SPME with a tax deductible contribution or get involved. 

Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Jonathan Adelman, PhD

Asaf Romirowsky, PhD
Executive Director


Gil Troy Newsletter

The new school year is approaching.  Jewish students are returning to campus or starting their university adventure. Unfortunately, rather than simply celebrating, we also must gird for another fight over the nefarious movement to boycott democratic Israel.

While this remains a golden age for Jews on campus, with Jews feeling more comfortable than ever in the university, the anti-Israel obsession on campus is mushrooming. In an age of ISIS and lone wolf terrorists, with Iran aspiring to go nuclear and Russia busy manipulating U.S. elections, somehow Israel is considered the world’s big problem.  There are four essential moves to make in fighting this scourge.

First, don’t let the haters win by making the conversation about Israel solely about boycotts, delegitimization and anti-Zionism. We need a new Zionist conversation on campus, building on the excitement that Israel trips generate and looking at Israel as an inspiration and a model of three-dimensional Jewish living rooted in the past, seeking meaning in the present and building toward a better future. We should use a new appreciation of Israel to revitalize our Jewish identities, and look at Judaism as a process of becoming not just being, as well as one of growing, stretching and challenging assumptions, values and lazy habits of thought. If we start by seeing Zionism as the movement to improve Israel and create a new Jew – one who’s prouder, stronger, freer, more comfortable, more self-critical and more dynamic – we can start looking at Israel, Zionism and Judaism as opportunities, not burdens.

Next, once we solidify our ties to Israel, we will indeed naturally, easily and happily defend it. Don’t claim  Israel is perfect – no country is. But Israel is eminently defendable. Make the democracy argument, that as one of the few countries in the world with free elections, free press and free thought, it has built-in mechanisms for self-improvement. Make the peace-making argument, that it’s a country surrounded by enemies, one that has repeatedly made risks for peace and responds better to encouragement than delegitimization, meaning that all these libels against Israel make matters worse.

And make the proportionality argument, that Israel’s flaws are exaggerated, Palestinian responsibility is overlooked – in a condescending and bigoted way – and singling out the only Jewish state for the kind of obsessive condemnation not only feeds anti-Semitism, but is itself anti-Semitic. One aspect of Jew hatred traditionally has been singling out, demonizing and obsessing about the Jew. Now the academic left does this about the Jewish state.

Connected to this proportionality argument should be a classic Jew-jitsu. If people want to make a difference in this world, let them fight true evil and oppression. Why not mobilize academics to fight to free Homa Hoodfar, a Concordia University anthropology professor recently jailed by the Iranian mullahocracy? Every academic body and academic should be challenged to stand up for this colleague who is suffering at the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Hoodfar is one of at least five westerners currently being held by the Iranian regime, but as a Canadian and an academic, she should stand out as a natural cause for Canadian students. Wouldn’t it be healing for Jews and non-Jews to work together on this clear case of oppression, which literally could save a person’s life?

Finally, I reiterate my call from last spring. Pro-Israel students are traumatized by the constant attacks on Israel, which last year spilled over into anti-Semitic expressions. Every Canadian academic should sign a petition denouncing the academic boycott movement as an assault on academic values and the kinds of campuses we wish to have.

In short, we need to fight, cleverly, honourably and aggressively. But before, during and after the fight, and more important than the fight itself, is the celebration and appreciation of the great opportunities to grow and stretch that Israel, Judaism and Zionism have to offer.

The Gulag Comes to Houston, by Jonathan Rosenblum

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha Magazine
August 12, 2016

The Gulag Comes to Campus

Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawk's all-pro cornerback, doesn't think too much of Black Lives Matter. Last September, he spoke about growing up in the ghetto, and losing his best friend as a teenager. His friend, however, was not killed by a policeman, but by two 35-year-old black men. "If black lives matter, they should all matter all the time," said Sherman, and not just when a cop is involved. He called for the black community to internally address black-on-black crime first.

Nor did he back down when subjected to BLM's familiar intimidation. "I stand by what I said that all lives matter, and that we are all human beings. [Just as] I want African and Americans and everybody else treated like human beings. I also want police treated like human beings. I don't want police officers getting knocked off in the street who haven't done anything wrong."
Sherman first spoke out in response to a BLM activist named King Noble, who posted a photo of Sherman and teammate Marshawn Lynch over the caption: "When we gonna kill these KKKrackas, Bro." In an accompanying video, Noble proclaimed "open season on killing white people," and predicted that "we will witness more executions and killing of white people and cops than ever before."

In confronting BLM, Sherman showed more courage than any Democratic politician this election season, and he apparently lived to tell the story. Certainly he fared better than Rohini Sethi, Student Government Vice-President at the University of Houston, who tweeted after the gunning down of five Dallas policemen, "Forget #Black Lives Matter; more like #All Lives Matter." The furies were promptly released upon her.

The Student Government Senate conferred on its president Shane Smith unilateral power to determine Sethi's punishment for her heinous crime. Smith quickly discovered that being a tyrant wielding absolute power can be fun. He explained to the Washington Post why Sethi must be made an example of: "Her post and subsequent actions were very divisive. . . . It caused some in our student body to become very upset with her . . . because they felt she did not understand or respect the struggles of their lives."

Besides suspending Sethi from her post, Shane sentenced her to a thorough-going re-education reminiscent of the Mao's Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot's Cambodia. She is required to attend a Libra Project diversity workshop, whose curriculum is a laundry list of victimology. In addition, she must attend three cultural events each month and write a letter of "reflection," presumably to demonstrate that her mind is now free of whatever demons possessed her to tweet in the first place. Failure to comply would result in her impeachment.

Even before her sentence was pronounced, Sethi had already written an abject apology reminiscent of the confessions at the 1937 Moscow show trials. She had been elected, she wrote, "to represent the voice of every single one of you," and she confessed that she had failed "to act as your vice-president" by responding in her "flawed way" to the murder of the Dallas policemen. She did, however, naively continue to express the belief that "we are all human . . . thus all lives matter." Perhaps, that was her subsequent crime in Smith's eyes.

Sethi was thus forced to recant for the mildest possible dissent from the slogan of BLM, which is itself a second-generation race hustle. BLM was born in fraud: The slogan chanted in Ferguson two summers ago – "Hands Up Don't Shoot" – was a flat out lie about how Michael Brown was shot. Even the highly politicized Obama Justice Department agreed with that. It is no surprise that several of the BLM leaders have been convicted of fraud.

The skyrocketing homicide rates in inner cities across America are directly attributable to police withdrawal in the face of hostility stirred by BLM – the "Ferguson effect" documented by Heather Macdonald. And as the King Noble video described above makes clear, the group's anti-police rhetoric occasionally boils over into straight incitement to murder. The BLM platform is comprised of a long list of reparation demands. In short, BLM is an organization from the far left of the political spectrum – not one that should be sacrosant and above the mildest word of criticism on a 40,000 student campus.

The "unity" that Sethi says she wants to reach through conversation is an illusion, as is the idea that she or any other politician can represent the voice of "every single" student. Only in totalitarian societies do politicians win 100% of the vote, and only in such societies do all citizens think, or pretend to think, the same. One of the reasons for the bitter divides in American society today, Yuval Levin points out in The Fractured Republic, is that the federal government seeks to resolve once and for all too many arguments that are inherently incapable of resolution and should never have been started.

Rohini Sethi's fate at the University of Houston should chill us all. For it demonstrates how effortlessly the progressive mindset slips into totalitarian mind control, and how little understanding and respect America's young have for the moral autonomy of the individual. In the past totalitarian regimes always came to power through force. In the future, we may simply slip into the totalitarianism through failure to attend to the warning signs along the way.

The Washington Post: Anti-Semitism spikes on U.S. campuses

By Jennifer Rubin
July 26, 2016
The Amcha Initiative, a nonpartisan group focused on investigating and combating anti-Semitism on college campuses, is out with a new report. The news is horrifying: “The study, which examined anti-Semitic activity from January – June 2016 on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.”
Moreover, the study finds, as it did in 2015:
[A]nti-Semitism was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign] was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters. In fact, schools with more faculty boycotters and more BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic activity.
This is not merely a robust debate about Israel, but shows ongoing efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State and intimidate American Jewish students, which belies the myth that anti-Israel efforts aren’t anti-Semitic. They are, as the evidence shows. Incidents of targeting Jewish students (defined as “incidents involving conduct that targeted Jewish students for particular harm based on their Jewishness or perceived association with Israel”) were up 64 percent from 2015.
The report goes on to explain:
 “Anti-normalization” is a known tactic employed by those promoting BDS on campus. Its goal is to stifle all pro-Israel expression. Adherents of “anti-normalization” target not only pro-Israel students, but anyone presumed to support Israel, first and foremost Jewish students, regardless of their actual personal feelings on Israel. As a result, Jewish students engaging in Jewish activity having nothing to do with Israel — wearing their Jewish sorority or fraternity letters, displaying Star of David necklaces, walking to Hillel for Sabbath dinner — report fearing for their safety and wellbeing. In addition, because of their support, or even just presumed support, for Israel, Jewish students report being rejected from progressive social justice activities such as pro-choice rallies, anti-rape demonstrations, Black Lives Matter events and racial justice conferences.
In addition to ostracizing and alienating Jewish students from certain areas of campus life, anti-Zionist students repeatedly attempt to shutdown events organized by Jewish students and suppress their free speech about Israel and other topics. Sadly, because of strong emotions on Israel, Jewish students are being targeted, discriminated against and ostracized, and their civil rights are being egregiously violated.
Mind you, all this occurs as college campuses are going to excruciating lengths to restrict “offensive” speech and set up “safe zones.” The delicate minds of students are apparently too fragile to undertake exposure to ideas they do not like. Oh, but Jewish students are a different matter. It would be wrong to ask for the same speech codes and anti-free speech nonsense for Jewish students, but the fact that none of the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activity seems of concern to the offense police tells us much about their agenda. Some minorities are more deserving of protection and respect, apparently.
There is a piece of good news: “This past spring, the University of California took a critical stand against the rising antisemitism plaguing its 10 campuses. Its Board of Regents issued a statement acknowledging that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism which incites additional Jew hatred and, like other forms of discrimination, has no place at the University of California.” Perhaps the federal government should stop subsidizing universities that don’t follow suit and that allow rampant violation of Jewish students’ civil liberties to go unaddressed.

First Half 2016: Anti-Semitism Skyrockets on U.S. College Campuses

The worst offenders are Columbia University, Vassar College and the University of Chicago

By Paul Miller • 07/26/16 2:30pm

Anti-Semitic activity on college campuses with the largest Jewish undergraduate enrollment drastically increased during the first half of 2016 compared to the same time last year, reports anti-Semitism watchdog group AMCHA Initiative.

After examining over 100 public and private colleges and universities from January through June of 2016, the study found 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools, compared to 198 occurrences that took place during the same time last year, reflecting a 45 percent increase.

“The growing problem of campus anti-Semitism is no doubt a serious threat facing the Jewish community. But this disturbing and dangerous spike and the bolder, more brazen methods of those perpetrating this hate are particularly alarming,” warned Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative director and co-founder.

Suppression of free speech is among the more disturbing trends revealed in the study. The report cites “14 incidents in which Jewish students’ civil rights were violated by suppressing their speech, blocking their movement or hindering their assembly. Found on 12 campuses, these incidents reflect a significant increase from the first half of 2015, in which eight incidents of suppression occurred on seven campuses.”

‘Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students.’

The AMCHA report, which uses the definition of anti-Semitism established by the U.S. State Department, revealed that campus events denying the right of Israel to exist—which nearly tripled in 2016 compared to 2015—correlate directly with “conduct that targeted Jewish students for harm.”

The study confirmed the rapidly-growing correlation between anti-Semitism and activism on the part of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
This year, the student governments of 10 schools in the study took up anti-Israel divestment resolutions. Of these 10 schools, eight showed the largest increase in anti-Semitism from 2015 to 2016. Conversely, 7 of the 9 schools in the 2015 study that considered or voted on divestment resolutions showed a drastic decrease in anti-Semitic activity this year when no divestment resolution was considered.

“Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students,” stated Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers.
“Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled.  To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.”

The report findings—especially the relationship between BDS activity and anti-Semitic incidents—came as no surprise to David Brog, Executive Director of the anti-BDS education group, Maccabee Task Force.

Brog told the Haym Salomon Center, “BDS is fueling an all-out effort to portray Israel as the world’s most monstrous abuser of human rights. For the idiots who believe this, it is but a short logical leap to the conclusion that those who defend Israel—primarily Jewish students—must themselves be monsters. The link between BDS and anti-Semitism is crystal clear. BDS is an inherently anti-Semitic movement that multiplies anti-Semitism wherever it goes.”
The schools with the largest increase in anti-Semitic activity are Columbia University, Vassar College and the University of Chicago.

Columbia and Vassar each had 20 documented incidents of anti-Semitism, increasing from two and three, respectively from the same time last year. University of Chicago jumped from two to 14 incidents. New York University and the University of Minnesota rounded out the campuses with the largest increase in anti-Semitic activity.

The study looked at 113 schools identified by Hillel International as the public and private colleges and universities in the United States with the largest populations of Jewish students. The schools investigated in the 2015 study were included in the latest report.

AMCHA’s report included recommendations for university administrators on how to combat anti-Semitism and protect Jewish students. Their recommendations included adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that identifies all forms of bigotry toward Jews, including when criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism. They also recommended allocating resources to educate students and faculty about contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination.

With First Amendment rights of Jewish students also being thwarted, AMCHA suggested schools establish clear guidelines about free speech protected under the First Amendment and conduct which violates others’ civil rights—including disrupting or shutting down campus events and interfering with the rights of those you disagree with to assemble.

Paul Miller is president and executive director of the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on twitter @pauliespoint

NYU Graduate Student Union repeals pro-BDS resolution

"Whatever 'pledges' union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott," said the group's parent union.

NEW YORK – Two months after the Graduate Student Union at New York University voted to join the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel, the decision was repealed by the group’s parent union, the United Auto Workers.

The decision made this week was the result of some members of the NYU student union (GSOC) filing an official appeal against the April decision, claiming it violated the UAW constitution’s own bylaws.

The appeal, signed by Ilana Ben-Ezra, member of GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, pointed out that the resolution is illicit because it violates the UAW’s pledge “to maintain free relations with other organizations.” Ben-Ezra also noted that the resolution goes NYU’s official position and “vilifies” companies that are members of the parent union.

The UAW decision in favor of Ben-Ezra stated that no subordinate body of the parent union can endorse BDS, which affects graduate student unions at more than 15 universities, including others which have passed similar resolutions. It noted that GSOC’s resolution was indeed “contrary to the position of the International Union” and is void of “force or effect.”

In response, GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine said it “applauds and thanks” UAW for “being the first international labor union to take a strong moral stand against BDS, openly denouncing the movement’s discriminatory practices.”

Informed Grads, a student group at the University of California, which also saw its pro-BDS decision overturned, also thanked UAW for “not tolerating academic and cultural discrimination against union members based on national origin and religion, and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage.”

In April, when the NYU student union voted in favor of the BDS resolution, university President Andrew Hamilton expressed opposition to the decision.

“A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas,” he said at the time. “NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration. And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”

ADL Audit: Anti-Semitic Assaults Rise Dramatically Across the Country in 2015

Anti-Semitic Incidents on American College Campuses Nearly Doubled

New York, NY, June 22, 2016 … The number of violent anti-Semitic assaults taking place in the United States rose dramatically last year, contributing to a three (3) percent rise in the total number of anti-Jewish incidents reported in 2015, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, recorded a total of 941 incidents in the U.S. in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014.

Fifty-six incidents were assaults, the most violent anti-Semitic category – representing a more than 50 percent rise from the 36 assaults reported in 2014.

Another troubling finding: anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities nearly doubled last year. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014.

Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total incidents reported in the U.S. in 2015.

“We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning.”

Overall, anti-Semitic incident totals in the U.S. are historically low, according to ADL, which has been keeping track of anti-Semitic incidents since 1979.  During the last decade, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents peaked at 1,554 in 2006 and has been mostly on the decline ever since.

“The good news is the number of anti-Semitic incidents overall are much lower than we witnessed in the mid-2000s,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair.  “While that decrease is encouraging, it is troubling that on average there is one anti-Semitic assault reported in this country every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day. These numbers do not even account for all of the online harassment we see every hour on social media, which is so widespread it is difficult to quantify.”

ADL witnessed an explosion of hate online, especially on social media platforms in 2015. While the Audit includes incidents of online anti-Semitism reported to ADL in which an individual or institution is explicitly targeted, it does not count general anti-Semitic expressions online.

“Online hate is particularly disturbing because of the ubiquity of social media and its deep penetration into our daily lives, plus the anonymity offered by certain platforms which facilitates this phenomenon,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “The issue has grown exponentially in recent years because the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions. We plan to adapt future versions of the Audit to account for such online harassment.”

ADL has been monitoring the recent spike on such harassment, which seems to have corresponded to the political season, with a large amount of this vitriol directed at journalists and other public figures. ADL recently launched a Task Force on Online Harassment and Journalism to investigate the issue of anti-Semitism directed at journalists through social media and to develop recommendations on how to respond to it. Advisors to this group include thought leaders from academia, industry, journalism, law enforcement and non-governmental organizations. The Task Force will report publicly on its findings and recommendations in the next three months.

In 2015, anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Those incidents are categorized in the ADL Audit as follows:

  • Assaults: 56 incidents reported in 2015, compared with 36 in 2014
  • Vandalism: 377 incidents in 2015, compared with 363 in 2014
  • Harassment, threats and events: 508 incidents in 2015, compared with 513 in 2014


Continuing a consistent trend for many years, the states with the highest totals of anti-Semitic incidents were those with large Jewish populations. Once again, New York and California topped the list:

The complete list of state-by-state figures is available on the League’s web site.


ADL reported a total of 56 anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived as Jewish) in 2015, up from 36 in 2014. Incidents involved the use of physical force and/or violence, spitting and thrown objects.  Forty-four of the 56 assault incidents (79 percent) were reported in New York State.

The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic assaults in 2015:

  • Brooklyn, NY: A Hasidic man and his son were walking home from synagogue when they were shot at with paintballs. Two other Hasidic males were shot by paintballs earlier on the same day in the same area. (March)
  • Staten Island, NY: A man walking home was struck in the head with a rock. The man asked a group of teenagers if they threw the rock, and one of the perpetrators approached him and yelled, “Yeah motherf-----, we threw the rock at you…Let’s knock the yarmulke off his head. Let’s kill this motherf-----. Should we beat him?” The three perpetrators were arrested. (June)
  • Denver, CO: A high school student wearing a kippah was approached by two other high school students who made statements including “Hey Jewboy, come over here,” and “Hey Jewboy, do my bills for me.” One of the assailants then shouted, “Hey you kike, when I talk to you, you talk back,” before throwing a large rock hitting the victim on his back. (July)
  • Brooklyn, NY: A group of three men on bicycles approached a Hassidic man, struck him in the foot, and yelled “Heil Hitler” before fleeing the scene. (August)
  • Queens, NY: During the High Holy Days, two Jewish victims wearing garb that would identify them as Jewish were shot with BB gun pellets. (September)
  • Boca Raton, FL: A rabbinical student was walking when an assailant on a bike shouted at him that “Jews should go back to Auschwitz. Hitler was right.” The student replied, “Why don’t you come back here and say that?” The cyclist rode back to the rabbinical student, repeated the remark and then began to strike the student, who hit his head on the pavement before the assailant fled. (November)
  • Brooklyn, NY: Two people were walking home from synagogue when four unknown perpetrators approached them and threw eggs at them. The perpetrators stated, “You f------ Jews, I’m going to kill you!” (November)


The ADL Audit reported a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus in 2015.  A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses, compared with 47 such incidents reported on 43 campuses in 2014.

“Despite the increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus, such incidents are still relatively rare and the vast majority of Jewish students report feeling safe on their campuses,” said Mr. Greenblatt. “When such incidents do occur, they are generally condemned by administrators and the wider campus communities at their respective colleges.”

The following is a list of selected anti-Jewish incidents that took place on campuses in 2015:

  • Davis, CA: Vandals spray-painted swastikas on the exterior wall of a Jewish fraternity (AEPi) at UC Davis on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz from the Nazis. (January)
  • Washington, D.C.: Three swastikas were drawn inside a George Washington University residence hall. (February)
  • Berkeley, CA: The phrase “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was found in a campus restroom, not long after a swastika was found on a university owned building. (March)
  • Nashville, TN: Swastikas were spray-painted inside the house of a Jewish fraternity (AEPi) at Vanderbilt University. (March)
  • Philadelphia, PA: At Drexel, a student came back to his residence hall to find a swastika and the word “JEW” taped next to his Israeli flag. (May)
  • New Brunswick, NJ: On Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish Rutgers University student wearing a yarmulke was approached by two other students on campus, one of whom stated, “Yeah, I’d wear a yarmulke too…If I wanted to burn in Auschwitz!” (September)
  • New Haven, CT: A sign was discovered near Yale’s campus that read “YALE IS A JEW HOLE –LET’S ROUND THEM UP.” (October)
  • College Park, MD: A swastika and anti-Semitic epithets were drawn on a dry-erase board on a student’s door at the University of Maryland. Two of the three residents of the room were Jewish. (November)
  • New York, NY: Anti-Semitic slogans were chanted at a protest at CUNY-Hunter College in Manhattan after organizers on Facebook called for participants to oppose the school’s “Zionist administration.” Protesters, who ostensibly gathered to fight for free tuition and other benefits, shouted, “Zionists out of CUNY! Zionists out of CUNY!” (November)


The ADL Audit recorded 377 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2015, up slightly from 363 in 2014. Vandalism incidents are individually evaluated by ADL and are categorized as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known; and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.

The 2015 Audit includes in its totals swastikas and hate symbols that targeted Jewish property or communal institutions. Swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted.

The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2015:

  • Brooklyn, NY: “All Jews Must Die” written in marker on an advertisement on a subway station platform. (February)
  • Lakewood, NJ: A Jewish man’s store was vandalized with the word “JUDE” painted numerous times on the store’s windows and signs. (February)
  • Dallas, TX: A swastika was drawn on the back of the rabbi’s car parked at his synagogue. (March)
  • Northumberland County, PA: Two swastikas, two crosses, and the word “b----” were written in chalk on the side of a synagogue. (April)
  • Hennepin County, MN: A Jewish institution had a swastika and “Heil Hitler” scratched into its playground equipment. (May)
  • San Diego, CA: A woman returned home to find swastika graffiti on her mezuzah and graffiti on the floor of a Star of David and the words “Jew Pig.” (August)
  • Bergen County, NJ: A swastika was painted on a Jewish family’s driveway. (October)
  • Denver, CO: A Jewish man had a swastika painted on the back of his truck. (November)
  • Austin, TX: Graffiti including swastikas, “f--- Jews,” and other derogatory statements were found on two bus stops near a Jewish institution. (December)


The ADL Audit recorded 508 cases of anti-Semitic harassment in 2015, down slightly from 513 in 2014. Incidents included verbal attacks and slurs against Jewish individuals (or individuals perceived to be Jewish); anti-Semitism conveyed in written or electronic communications, including anti-Semitic cyberbullying; and anti-Semitic speeches, picketing or events.

The following is a list of selected instances of anti-Semitic harassment in 2015:

  • Washington, D.C.: A series of anti-Semitic threats were made to employees of a Jewish owned business. Some calls threatened to carry out a mass murder. (January)
  • Fulton County, GA: A synagogue received a voice mail in which a male voice said he would deliver a furnace to the synagogue and asked how many people it could contain. He also called the congregation roaches. (February)
  • Las Vegas, NV: A woman’s property manager referred to her as “Jew b----.”(May)
  • Ozaukee County, WI: In a voicemail to a Jewish facility, a man said, “You should have all been killed in the Holocaust.” (August)
  • San Diego, CA: Three Jewish institutions received similar hand-written letters threatening Jews with death and telling Jews to get out of “our white country” and to “take the Muslims with you.” The letters also blamed wars on “scumbag, grimy Jews.” There were other threats and assertions about Jews and the letter was signed “W.A.R.-White Aryan Resistance.” (December)
  • Albuquerque, NM: A middle school student defaced a teacher’s photo with a swastika and another student greeted the teacher with a Nazi salute and the word “Heil.” (December)

About the ADL Audit 

The Audit identifies both criminal and non-criminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs.  Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the Audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

Mosaic: Is Anti-Zionism on Campus a Passing Nuisance, or a Fundamental Threat?

The answer might come down to how well America can resist the influence of European-style anti-Semitism.

"The subject is gloomy, but the food will be good—and the music spectacular.”

Thus, in late January, spoke Alvin Rosenfeld, a professor at Indiana University and director of its Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism. He was describing a four-day international scholars’ conference scheduled for late spring on the university’s Bloomington campus. In the event, the conference did not disappoint in its food, its music—or its gloom, which rose like a miasma from the days-long rehearsals of the varied and abundant forms of anti-Semitism, particularly in the form of anti-Zionism, in today’s world.

As if to reinforce the gravity of the occasion, the conference took place in the interval between the November 2015 terrorist massacres in Paris and the disclosure in April of the social-media posts by Naz Shah, a Labor member of the British parliament, advocating the forcible “relocation” of all Israeli Jews to America and the even greater uproar a month later over anti-Semitism among senior party leaders. Although the focus of the conference was mainly on Europe, both the academic setting and the topic, “Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization,” inevitably launched attendees into the middle of an issue that many American Jews have strenuously tried to avoid: namely, the anti-Israel activity now rampaging through U.S. universities. Is this a fundamental threat, or a nasty but passing nuisance?

The answer suggested by the conference deliberations—“both of the above”—may sound like another evasion, but reflects an understanding of the still-relevant distinction between the seemingly ineradicable persistence of European anti-Semitism and the contrasting benignity of American social and political institutions. It also suggested the need to exploit that distinction before it becomes too late.

I. The European Scene

That today’s anti-Semitism is intimately connected with anti-Zionism is a virtually axiomatic proposition. Still, there are variations, and Europe specializes in them. The scholars at the conference—mostly from outside the United States—did a thorough job of filling in the European background, anatomizing the beast’s profile in individual countries, and connecting it in each case with the details of local politics. Without pretending to do justice to the richness of these presentations, it’s possible to sketch a few main themes before returning to the American scene.

That Old-Time Religion         

There are places in Europe—and especially in Eastern Europe—where anti-Semitism is still so unreconstructed, and the sanctions against its open expression so few, that it doesn’t bother to cloak itself in “mere” anti-Zionism. One of these places appears to be the Czech Republic.

Thus, according to Zbyněk Tarant, an expert in cyber-hate at the University of West Bohemia, anti-Semitism on the Czech Internet, once chiefly a staple of neo-Nazi websites but now also part of the arsenal of more general conspiracy theorists, has recently specialized in resuscitating more ancient tropes in order to “explain” current events.

Serving as just such an occasion was the 2014 outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which soon gave rise to anti-Semitic postings on both sides of the divide (though in the web offerings the pro-Putin side has eventually dominated). Anti-Zionist statements do appear, but Israel is mainly a collateral target in an openly anti-Semitic propaganda war featuring pre-Nazi images of a perfidious Jewish hand poisoning the wells to control the course of history and the fate of peoples.

Islamist Reinforcement

If the resurfacing of more venerable forms of anti-Semitism constitutes one aspect of today’s European reality, a better known ingredient, especially in Western Europe, is traceable to the now-50-year-old Muslim immigration. And this, too, has its twists. Remco Ensel of Radboud University in Holland described the way in which the influx of a quarter-million Muslims helped to inject an anti-Israel element into an already receptive Dutch political culture. Then, beginning in 2000 with the second intifada, a new wave made its appearance: Islamist or Islamist-inspired activists armed with a specifically religious identity and vocabulary and eager to invoke the stereotype of the treacherous Jew, this time rooted in the framework not of Christian but of classical Islamic teachings. Daniel Rickenbacher of the University of Zurich told of a similar change in Switzerland, where a new generation of Turkish Muslims has Islamized anti-Zionist politics to the point where recent anti-Israel demonstrations have featured more Caliphate than Palestinian flags.

True, there is more to this story. Throughout Western Europe, an anti-immigrant reaction has made itself felt, notably in the well-documented rise of populist movements and parties of the right. In both France and Germany, the surge has been accompanied by a deliberate effort on the part of a new generation of leaders to downplay or even repudiate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, once a hallmark of the right. In Holland, the ascendant Freedom party led by Geert Wilders is openly pro-Israel.

Still, anti-Semitism among the general Dutch population remains not only palpable but quite stunning, evidenced in, among other places, schools and sports arenas. This year’s official government report on Dutch anti-Semitism cites the chant of one soccer club: “Father was a commando, Mother was SS. They burned Jews together, because Jews burn best.”

Migration of the Elites

A third element in today’s European anti-Semitism, more closely related to Israel, is the evolution of “polite” or acceptable attitudes toward Jews over the past 50 years. In describing it, Marlene Gallner of the University of Vienna reached back to the writings of Jean Améry (born Hanns Chaim Mayer), a fighter in the anti-Nazi resistance, a survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and the author of a classic book on the Holocaust, At the Mind’s Limits. In the 1960s, Améry bitingly identified the anti-Zionism then already developing among European elites as an “honorable [form of] anti-Semitism.” Its singular virtue, he wrote, lay in the sense of relief it provided to Germans who could now, finally, blame the Jews for something. In Améry’s memorable phrase, this type of anti-Zionism contained anti-Semitism “as a cloud contains a storm.”

Fifty years later, the storm had well and truly broken. One especially resonant thunderclap was an anti-Israel diatribe in the form of a 2012 poem by the best-selling German novelist and international idol (and SS veteran) Günter Grass. Responding sympathetically to Grass’s outburst, the German public intellectual Jakob Augstein wrote in Spiegel Online:

Israel’s nuclear power is a danger to the already fragile peace of the world. This statement triggered an outcry because it’s true—and because it was made by a German, Günter Grass, author and Nobel Prize winner. . . . One must, therefore, thank him for taking it upon himself to speak for us [emphasis added].

For this, Augstein’s column made the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual list of “top ten anti-Semitic slurs.” But, as explained at the conference by Marc Grimm of the University of Augsburg, Augstein was correct in his characterization: if both he and Grass had broken a taboo, it was by saying what much of the German public already thought. Indeed, most German media defended Augstein, claiming that the Wiesenthal Center’s accusation had “devalued” the charge of anti-Semitism—presumably, by applying it where it didn’t belong.

This, then, is not the open anti-Semitism of East European discourse or of the Islamists and their sympathizers. In Germany and Austria—as also in France and elsewhere—strong anti-hate-speech laws and social conventions limit such unadorned forms of expression. Instead, anti-Zionism in this context takes its place in a very particular progression of postwar German (and not just German) feelings toward Jews: the progression, in brief, from guilt to resentment. And from there, it is but another short step to the charge that Israelis are the new Nazis.

II. American Attitudes

What does all this have to do with the United States? In Europe, attitudes toward Jews, while affected directly by events and developments on the ground, simultaneously draw rich nourishment not only from a long history of hate but from, as it were, the ambient air. That the disease is infectious is clear from the example of Britain, where, despite the generally more salubrious atmosphere, anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism flourishes both in the academic world and within the “progressive” politics of a Labor party anxious to appease and accommodate an increasingly radicalized Muslim constituency.

To American ears, however, both contemporary European particulars and the history they carry in their train can seem to be taking place in a truly foreign language. Yes, an American might say, there has been open anti-Semitism here, and there has also been open anti-Zionism (including among Jews). But has there also been, at least since the end of World War II and the establishment of the Jewish state, the sort of anti-Zionism that, in Améry’s words, contains anti-Semitism “as a cloud contains a storm”? If so, it would seem to be confined to certain precincts of the far left and—what can amount to the same thing—the universities. As serious and as dismaying as it is, many observers, including a number of the American and Canadian participants in the conference, appear convinced that in the American context it is both aberrant and—so far—non-contagious.

Of course, there is no denying its toxicity on college campuses. So-called BDS campaigns to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state and its people and to demonize its supporters; annual weeklong protests against “Israel Apartheid”; clamorous and abusive anti-Israel demonstrations; the shouting-down of speakers, disruption of classrooms, smearing and “outing” of pro-Israel professors and students—all ugly stuff. In one recent incident, demonstrators shouting “Long live the intifada!” outside a showing of an Israeli film at the University of California-Irvine tried to push their way into the screening room; at film’s end, police escorts were needed to ensure the safety of exiting students. Such events are usually made uglier by the disinclination of university administrators to restrain or supervise them with anything like the requisite force.

But is the ferocity of BDS and the rest only and entirely an excrescence of the last few years, unconnected with larger and existentially more ominous currents?

Not really. The roots go back much farther than that. We have here, you might say, a history of successive imports from abroad that in the course of decades have become increasingly naturalized, including in American politics.

To this history I can testify from personal experience. In the 1970s, when I worked with Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the United Nations, we witnessed the foreign toxicity close up, if still with very little idea of what it ultimately portended. By the time Moynihan was named U.S. ambassador to the UN in 1975, he had already analyzed (in his Commentary article, “The United States in Opposition”) the degree to which America and American values were coming under assault in international bodies dominated by the international Marxist-socialist left. In the same essay, he called for an active defense of those values on the part of American spokesmen, representatives, and intellectuals. But in our early days at the UN we still thought we could triangulate, locating points of convergence between American principles and founding UN doctrines and, together with likeminded friends and self-interested others, forging links of at least partial consensus on key issues.

The relevance of the Moynihan game plan to the position of Israel was obvious. Yet, preoccupied as we were with the cold war and with East-West problems more generally, we were surprised by the seemingly sudden and anomalous introduction of Resolution 3379 denouncing Zionism—of all national-liberation movements!—as a form of racism and racial discrimination. We were even more shaken by the dawning realization that the resolution stood every chance of succeeding in the General Assembly.

As we soon discovered, the scurrilous charge against the Jewish nation-state had been bubbling through the sludge of international-forum-speak for almost a decade, and had been extensively peddled by the Soviet Union. In that light, things began to make more sense. Having located the prime agent of the disease, we were confident we also had the means of isolating and combating it—including by mobilizing American public opinion. And indeed, although the resolution passed, Americans reacted to it in a burst of what Gil Troy has called “patriotic indignation,” almost as if the country were a collective immune system bracing to expel a foreign body.

That sentiment helped to direct subsequent American policy on the issue. In the long run, steady pressure by the U.S. government, and especially the administration of George H.W. Bush, led to the UN’s repeal of its infamous anti-Israel resolution in 1991, the same year the Soviet Union fell. The end of Soviet totalitarianism, many of us had reason to believe, would deprive the anti-Zionist obsession of its motive force.

We were wrong. Among other things, we’d overestimated the degree to which the idea was the exclusive property of the USSR and its third-world clients and therefore containable. In fact, long before the introduction of the Zionism-racism resolution, and with mounting ardor after Israel’s victory in the June 1967 Six-Day War, the European left had begun adding indictments of Israel—“expansionist,” “imperialist,” “racist”—to its standing catalogue of Western, mainly American, sins. Here at home, elements of the radical and eventually the liberal left dutifully began to follow suit, with, over the next decades, modified or partially modified versions of the anti-Israel catechism making their appearance on editorial pages and in journals of liberal opinion, in foundation programs, in the preachings of mainstream churches, and in the universities. The virus has even, though still rarely, affected American party politics—most sensationally, in the wild eruption of “No!”s from the floor when, at the 2012 Democratic party convention, a boilerplate reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was reintroduced into the party platform. Compared to what may yet ensue at this year’s convention, given Bernie Sanders’s representatives on the platform committee, that earlier disturbance could yet seem tame.

But the locus classicus of the movement remains the universities—and there, too, it sports a historical pedigree. In Resurgent Anti-Semitism, a volume edited by Rosenfeld, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of the University of California-Santa Cruz has described a specific instance of the process by which anti-Israel and anti-Jewish ideas have infiltrated campus activity from as far back as the 1960s.

San Francisco State University, which today has a well-earned reputation for quite venomous anti-Semitism, was first radicalized in the 1960s by a breakaway group from the existing student civil-rights organization. Calling itself the Black Students Union (BSU), the new group adopted the slogans and doctrines of the Black Panther party, a self-declared revolutionary socialist movement embracing armed resistance to America’s racist, capitalist, and imperialist oppression of blacks. To the extent that Jews figured in BSU’s litany of vituperation, they were one group of malefactors among others. In due course they would emerge into the spotlight: BSU’s successor, the Pan-African Student Union, a group indebted ideologically to both the Organization of African Unity and the Nation of Islam, denounced Jews specifically as quintessential white bloodsuckers preying on black communities.

By the 2000s, leadership of the campus’s anti-Jewish “struggle” passed seamlessly from the Pan-African Student Union to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS). This group, officially created in Cairo in 1959 and long an arm of the PLO, fell into dormancy with the signing of the Oslo Accords but was revitalized following the 2001 World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa—a coming-out party for today’s trope of Israel as an apartheid state. Since then, by fair means and foul, GUPS has striven with notable success to turn the Jewish state and its supporters into still more specific objects of universal campus odium.

Here, in short, is a textbook case of the melding of eliminationist anti-Zionism with racial grievance politics, Marxist-tinged liberation ideology, anti-colonial discourse, and the residual energies of the anti-apartheid movement to create a new, overarching cause for “progressive” souls on American campuses. And the term “progressive” is key: as a number of observers have noted, the striking success of campus anti-Israelism, a reactionary movement if ever there was one, owes much to its ability to insinuate itself into the cluster of approved causes, from environmentalism to feminism to gay rights to Black Lives Matter to “peace,” that constitute the certified progressive mindset.

That same success, moreover, is what has cast so many Jewish youngsters into a profound crisis as they struggle to reconcile their Jewish loyalties with the lockstep dictates of political correctness. As the contradictions become ever more heightened, some Jewish students, who remain stubbornly pro-Israel, find themselves isolated, vilified, forced out of what they have assumed to be their “natural” home on the liberal left; a few fight back; most keep silent. But such is life in the university, the most Europeanized of American institutions and one that has been diligently insulated from most of what goes on in ordinary American politics.

The question is: for how long will ordinary American politics remain insulated from it? How far will the poison spread, and what can be done to contain or stop it?

III. What Can Be Done?

In 2014, an American academic named Andrew Pessin became the object of a campus-wide vendetta. A professor of philosophy at Connecticut College, Pessin had written a Facebook post describing Israel’s efforts to deter Hamas terrorists as akin to “keeping a rabid pit bull chained in a cage.” Within days, coordinated student newspaper editorials charged him with advocating genocide, and from there the mob rage spread. Soon he was being heatedly accused of hate speech, denounced by fellow faculty members, and left hanging by the college administration, which pointedly took no disciplinary action against the students responsible for defaming and terrorizing him. Death threats were not long in coming. Shortly thereafter, he petitioned for a medical leave of absence.

Incidents like this one and others no less harrowing have convinced Rossman-Benjamin, who was a participant in Rosenfeld’s conference, that a generation of Jewish college students may end up being intimidated into denying or suppressing their identities simply in order to get by. In a grotesque irony, such imposed silencing of free discourse is happening at a moment when universities are expending tens of millions of dollars to satisfy the “non-negotiable demands” of every grouplet of allegedly aggrieved undergraduates, and creating “safe spaces” to protect the sensitivities of every ethnic, racial, and sexual identity—except that of pro-Israel Jews, who (as presumptive co-conspirators in evil) appear to have forfeited their rights. No wonder Rossman-Benjamin concludes that things can only get worse.

And so they undoubtedly will—unless the anti-Jewish aggression is confronted and stopped. On this point, Pessin himself, who is scheduled to return to teaching in 2017, brings interesting news. At the nadir of the campaign against him, he reports,

[P]eople outside campus started reaching out to me. . . . A petition on my behalf was circulated with 10,000 signatures. . . . When you see there are thousands of virtual soldiers ready to support you, you start to feel strong enough to fight back and to reach out to other individuals to help them.

More generally, Kenneth Waltzer, formerly of Michigan State, has helped organize a movement, the Academic Engagement Network, explicitly to combat BDS; despite everything we know about the campus climate, he says he has found surprising success in recruiting faculty to his campaign.

No one who has lived through this year’s primary season can doubt that American political culture harbors its own characteristic corruptions and threats to civilized discourse. Still, on the issue of anti-Zionism, the forces here are not arrayed as they are in Europe. Private colleges have donors. Public universities are governed by public bodies, including federal and state legislatures. Courts and administrative agencies are more willing to entertain legal actions. Media are diverse enough to provide channels of communication. Strong traditions of private voluntary action produce advocacy groups.

These relative advantages won’t make the fight easy, but they help to make it possible. Last week, the Israeli mission to the UN teamed up with a number of Jewish organizations to sponsor “Ambassadors against BDS: An International Summit at the UN.” To the 1,500 attendees gathered in the chamber of the General Assembly, a succession of speakers brought encouraging news about the means available for fighting the BDS onslaught, from court challenges to hotlines for reporting harassment and intimidation. It is doubtful that the event’s organizers, or audience, had a full sense of the bitter incongruity of the moment, assembled as they were in the very hall and in front of the very podium to which Yasir Arafat came in 1974 bearing, as he was careful to stipulate, “an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun”; at which Israel’s ambassador Chaim Herzog tore up the “Zionism is racism” resolution; and by means of which a massively corrupt international organization has over the decades made itself into one of the globe’s foremost propagators of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

But, formidable as the challenge rightly appears, at least those present in the hall were mobilizing the not-insignificant resources that lie at hand. Even if the universities are a lost cause intellectually, it remains plausible to try and limit the damage they do to their students and by extension to the mental and moral health of other Americans. Otherwise, what will be the condition of American political discourse a decade from now, when the current generation of students, having passed through the anti-Israel grinder and internalized its falsehoods, will have entered the professions and be both consuming and producing the national attitudes and positions of the future?

The most recent survey of American opinion related to that question, by the Pew Research Center, finds overall support for Israel holding steady. But Pew also reports the share of millennials who sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel at 27 percent, three times higher than in 2006.

What the Indiana conference helped to clarify is that Americans rightly appalled by the climate on U.S. campuses have at their disposal many more assets with which to fight than do their European counterparts. What history and survey data suggest is that these advantages cannot be expected to last indefinitely. There is every reason to use them now.

About the author
Suzanne Garment, who was the chief operating officer of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, is a visiting scholar at Indiana University. She is writing, with Leslie Lenkowsky, a book about the politics of American philanthropy.

Here and There: BDS – the enemy within (Jerusalem Post)

Fri, 03 Jun 2016, 01:58 PM

The connection between the BDS campaign, Nakba Day and Tel Aviv University can be made through academics employed by the university.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has stated that calls to boycott the Jewish State fall within the limits of free speech.

His statement comes in the wake of Israel’s annual State Comptroller’s report highlighting Israel’s abysmal failure to confront the ever-growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Blame is placed on the Foreign Ministry as well as the new Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations, set up in 2013 with a hefty budget to deal specifically with BDS. This campaign is making powerful inroads, especially in the world of academia – a matter that should be of deep concern, recognizing that leadership, both national and Jewish, will evolve via campuses.

It was interesting to read the recent front-page interview in The Jerusalem Post with Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University, who expressed concern about the spread of the BDS movement and its detrimental effect on students. He noted that a BDS campaign, which started in the UK, “was initially on a small scale, but now that it is widespread in the US, it has grown to be very worrisome.” However, he felt it had not affected Israeli faculty members.

Contrary to the views of his “boss,” Israeli anthropologist Dan Rabinowitz, who heads Tel Aviv University’s prestigious school of environmental studies, feels the cold wind of isolation.

He states that many Israeli professors are being shunned at a personal rather than a university level. They experience snubs at academic conferences and struggle to have their work published in professional journals.

This year, as in previous years on May 15th (the day after the State of Israel was declared in 1948), a commemorative demonstration took place at the entrance to Tel Aviv University for “Nakba” Day (seen by the Arab population as a day of catastrophe).

The connection between the BDS campaign, Nakba Day and Tel Aviv University can be made through academics employed by the university. Dr. Anat Matar, a faculty member in its philosophy department, is one of the first Israelis to endorse BDS as well as being a longstanding proponent of army refusal.

She launched Israeli Apartheid Week in Helsinki Finland in March of this year and participated in a conference on BDS that took place in Nazareth in February.

She told the Mondoweiss website, “Israeli academia is integral to the oppression of Palestinians, with strong ties between the universities and Israel’s various security industries.”

She went on to say, “Sympathetic academics should refuse to organize international conferences in Israel.” She prefers to participate in conferences abroad, claiming, “I am freer to say what I really think of BDS when abroad.” This statement in itself should make warning bells ring within Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Rachel Giora is head of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Linguistics.

She has been associated with the “BOYCOTT” website since its inception in 2008. An article she wrote in 2010 states, “Start practicing the boycott on a personal level immediately and make sure that the steps taken are known in the community” (for example tell your shopkeeper why you will not buy Israeli products; avoid leisure travel to Israel). Her article concludes by asking her readers to add their names to the signatures already at the bottom of her article. Of the 35 signatures, 22 were Israelis (the vast majority Jewish), plus others, such as Israeli Prof. Moshe Machover currently teaching at Kings’ College London. Machover appeared, last month, on the BBC program “The Big Question” where the topic was “Is anti-Zionism anti-Semitism?” He was the most vociferous proponent for the delegitimization of Israel.

What is the attitude of Klafter to pro- BDS employees of his university? He has told members of his International Board of Governors who over the years expressed concern as to the views of BDS-supporting academics that it is important to retain freedom of speech.

Could this extend to academics conveying their overt boycott Israel message to their students? On one occasion when a member of the board, Mark Tannenbaum, attempted to bring a proposal to the vote on the subject of academics that use the university’s name while pursuing BDS activities, Klafter, who chaired the meeting, refused, saying he would not tolerate any infringement on academic freedom.

Tannenbaum’s response was, “While he was blathering on about the right of free speech, he ironically denied me, a member of the board of governors, a former student whose late father was one of the founding members of Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University, the right to free speech, and this is absolutely unacceptable.”

Tannenbaum resigned.

Prior to my aliya, I chaired the Hillel Foundation in the UK working closely with the UK’s Union of Jewish Students.

Then, as now, Jewish students faced challenging battles in defense of Israel.

With the advent of BDS, however, the battle has intensified, with the fear of turning today’s students into tomorrow’s anti-Israel leaders.

Yes, we do require our government to take meaningful steps toward combating this frightening phenomenon. It is not enough to form yet another useless committee. We must urgently begin defining free speech and root out those Israelis who use their university to call for boycotts against the very institution that pays their salary. We have many enemies outside, but there can be none worse or more destructive than the enemy within. 

The writer is co-chairperson of ESRA, which promotes integration into Israeli society. She is also active in public affairs.

Kean U Panel on Anti-Semitism - LINKS

A discussion of the causes of contemporary anti-Semitism and the failures of the Jewish home and community to address the problem. With Prof Deborah Lipstadt, Jonathan Tobin, Mark Weitzman, Daniel Guadalupe and Rabbi Joe Potasnik. From Kean University.

Irwin Cotler, former Justice Minister of Canada, describes the growth of the anti-Semitism world-wide and suggests strategies to combat it. JBS’s exclusive coverage of Kean University’s Conference on Global Anti-Semitism, March 2016

Jerusalem U Film Attacked on UCI Campus

As you know, a Beneath the Helmet screening was violently disrupted last week. We are executing a detailed plan to push back and take advantage, involving media, campus screenings, social media, free streaming films ('free speech-free movie', 'see the film they don't want you to see'), and exploring legal.

There was much media today, including:

If you have ideas on how to help, please share. 

Here is an overview, and our press release, so you can know how to communicate with those who may ask you.  

We will also need a few dollars to execute our plan, if you have any ideas. 

 Here’s what happened
A scheduled film screening for the Jerusalem U film “Beneath The Helmet” – a documentary about the personal stories of five Israeli soldiers – was attacked at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Protestors identified as being from the Muslim Student Union and SJP shouted “Intifada, Intifada, Long live the Intifada” at Jewish students on campus, in an apparent reference to the many campaigns of murder and terrorism carried out against Jews in Israel, under the name “Intifada.”
Police escorted the Jewish students away from the event “for their own safety.”
UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said the incident “crossed the line of civility” and “We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely—without fear or intimidation—and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.  The Chancellor also said that UCI is “investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.”
Here’s what we are doing
We will not be silenced.  American campuses should be a ‘safe space’ for free speech, a safe space for young Jews, and a safe space for Jerusalem U’s films.
That’s why we are organizing a return screening of Beneath The Helmet at UCI, to show the academic world that free speech is alive and well at the University of California Irvine – and before the film we will screen our short film Crossing The Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus – about protests on US campuses which are “crossing the line” into anti-Semitism.
Here’s what you can do
WATCH Beneath The Helmet – to show that you will not be intimidated by those who aim to shut down free speech.
Please also SHARE the film with 10 friends now, to show that when the enemies of free speech try to shut down 1 of us – 10 more of us will spring up.
Beneath The Helmet is available here:
Crossing The Line 2 is available here:
Stay tuned for more developments, and please contact us if you would like to be a part of Jerusalem U’s free speech response team.

May 20, 2016

Free Speech Alert: Muslims Attack Film on UCI Campus

Muslim group “crossed the line of civility” to attack film about Jews

NEW YORK, NY – In yet another case of free speech being attacked on US campuses, a scheduled film screening for the acclaimed film “Beneath The Helmet” was attacked this week at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Protestors identified as being from the Muslim Student Union and SJP shouted “Intifada, Intifada, Long live the Intifada” at Jewish students on campus, in an apparent reference to the many campaigns of murder and terrorism carried out against Jews in Israel, under the name “Intifada.”
Police escorted the Jewish students away from the event “for their own safety.”
“American campuses are where ideas and the arts are embraced, not censored,” said XXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX of Beneath The Helmet, a documentary about the personal stories of five Israeli soldiers.  “Americans value free speech.  We should tolerate different points of view, not shut them down.”
UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman issued a statement that said “While this university will protect freedom of speech, that right is not absolute…threats, harassment, incitement, and defamatory speech are not protected.  We must shelter everyone’s right to speak freely—without fear or intimidation—and allow events to proceed without disruption and potential danger.”
He also noted that UCI is “investigating whether disciplinary or legal actions are appropriate.”
“American campuses should be a ‘safe space’ for free speech, and a safe space for Jews,” said XXXXXXX. 
JerusalemU, which produced the film Beneath The Helmet, also produced the film Crossing The Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus – about protests on US campuses which are “crossing the line” into anti-Semitism.
Beneath The Helmet is available here:
Crossing The Line 2 is available here:
 XXXXXXX XXXXXX is available for media interviews.
To interview Wayne Kopping, please contact:
Karen Jones

MUST WATCH: Portland State University students raise money for Hamas

By Ami Horowitz

I recently went to Portland State University to raise money for a “worthy” cause.

I wanted to see just how far America's liberal students in the Pacific Northwest were willing to take the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement) against our ally, Israel.

In about one hour I raised hundreds of dollars for Hamas.  No, not the tasty chickpea spread, but rather the terrorist organization responsible for the death of thousands of Israeli civilians. When explained that donations would help fund targeted attacks on Israeli schools, hospitals and cafes, some of Portland State University's students were 'feelin' the burn' drop some coin.

Watch the video above and retch …

Ami Horowitz is a filmmaker. His "U.N. Me" film debuted in 2011. Visit the "U.N. Me" Facebook page or check out the website:

‘Don’t the Jewish Students Have Rights?’ — Asks IDF Veteran at UC Irvine Event Disrupted by Anti-Israel Protesters (VIDEO)

The Algemeiner
MAY 24, 2016 7:13 AM – The night of May 18 was supposed to be an evening of learning and conversation for Eliana Kopley. The University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) sophomore, who had just attended a lecture about the Holocaust and was walking a short distance to another campus building that was hosting a film screening about Israeli soldiers, found herself confronted by an angry mob.

“I was terrified. There is no other word to describe how I felt,” Kopley told the Haym Salomon Center.”

Kopley had intended to join 10 classmates and guests of the private event hosted by Students Supporting Israel. When she arrived, approximately 50 anti-Israel activists convened by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were pounding on the doors and windows, and shouting violent chants targeting Israel, Jews and the police.

As the mob tried to gain entrance to the event, one protester yelled, “If we’re not allowed in, you’re not allowed in!”

With the angry mob physically barricading the entrance, the 20-year-old Kopley, who stands less than five feet tall, was forced to leave the scene amid taunts of “intifada, intifada — long live the intifada! F**k Israel and f**k the police.”

But Kopley was not alone. A group of female students accompanied her as she escaped to safety in a nearby building.

“When I turned back, at that moment, I looked at one of the girls and wanted to hide and cry,” Kopley said.

While the UC Irvine sophomore was hiding in darkness, the scene inside the movie screening was equally frightening.

Veteran Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Eran Izak moved to the United States three years ago. The recently married construction worker was on hand May 18 to answer questions from the audience about his life in the IDF and the film “Beneath the Helmet.” What he experienced was something he never thought he’d see in America.

“As the film was playing we began hearing a lot of shouting outside,” said Izak. “It was immediately clear what was happening. The woman in charge of the event was literally holding the door closed with her hands as the mob tried to break into the classroom. As the shouting grew louder, it became apparent that we would not be allowed to leave, so we called campus security and the police.”

Meanwhile, the film was still playing even though nobody was paying attention by that point, as a sense of fear gripped the room.

“They were banging on the glass and the door and we could hear screaming outside,” Izak said. “The students had a look of panic on their faces — they were terrified. Finally the police arrived, pushed the protesters back a little, and escorted us to our cars.”

Izak added, “Before we left the classroom the police told us not to talk back to the protesters. I wanted to talk back and sing a song in Hebrew as an answer to their screaming about the intifada. But the police said, ‘Don’t say anything, don’t look at them and go straight to your car.’”

While he was grateful for the police protection, Izak was angry at the situation. He was mostly mad about how the students were intimidated — and he wondered where the First Amendment rights are for Jewish and pro-Israel students. Where is their right to peacefully assemble and their freedom of speech? The military veteran felt that the wrong people were escorted away from the scene.

“They can protest whatever they want, I understand that,” he said. “But don’t we have the same rights? Don’t the Jewish students have freedom of speech? I can’t believe this is happening in 2016 in America!”

Izak took direct aim at the protesters, noting that what happened May 18 “was not a peaceful protest.” He described the situation as an “ambush” by people not interested in any political change or peaceful resolution, claiming that “anyone with common sense knows this was nothing other than antisemitism from the people who spread lies about the IDF killing little kids or Jewish people drinking Palestinian blood.”

UC Irvine alum Sharon Shaoulian agreed with Izak’s perspective on the protesters’ motivation. The former president of Anteaters for Israel (the predecessor of Students Supporting Israel on the UC Irvine campus), Shaoulian had hoped to attend the screening and drop off supplies that she still had from her time with the pro-Israel student group, which ended with her graduation last December.

“When I arrived, they were screaming at the top of their lungs ‘intifada, intifada,’ banging on the windows, and I could see women — Jewish students who were desperately trying to keep the door closed from inside,” Shaoulian said.

Shaoulian sees the cries supporting the “intifada” as incitement to violence against Israelis. The usual chant by anti-Israel protesters, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is commonly regarded as a call for ethnic cleansing. She also echoed Izak’s concerns about the First Amendment rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students.

“SJP and MSU (the Muslim Student Association) have a documented history of violence on this campus, specifically violence against Jewish students, myself a victim numerous times, [and my] friends victimized, and their history of sabotaging Jewish events and intimidating Jewish students,” Shaoulian said. “Although I am grateful the police were there to do something, the wrong students were escorted out.”

Shaoulian places much of the blame on Dr. Thomas Parham, UC Irvine’s vice chancellor for student affairs and past president of the National Association of Black Psychologists.

“He speaks out against any speech that can be borderline offensive to African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, women, and any other group. But every single year when Jewish students sit down with him, he gives the impression that what the protesters are doing is not anti-Semitic or hate speech, that they have a right to be there, and that he has an obligation and a desire to protect them,” explained Shaoulian. “Parham tells us every single year, ‘Look at their crowd, look how diverse they are ethnically, racially. What does that tell you? Who do you think is in the wrong here?’”

Shaoulian continued, “He says to us, ‘Look at their crowd, at their numbers, and their diversity. They are not all Muslim students. The protesters are black students, Hispanic students, Asian students — what does that tell you, Sharon?’ He said it this year, he said it last year and the year before last….It’s very clear where he stands on this issue and why he never makes any statement supporting Jewish students.”

In response to Shaoulian’s allegations, Parham said in a statement provided to the Haym Salomon Center, “My Student Affairs team and I constructively engage all students on campus — as individuals and as groups — and provide advice, consultation and support on a range of issues. We are vocal in our reminders about civility whenever speech assaults someone’s humanity, ethnicity, gender, age, religious affiliation, physical ability or disability, or sexual orientation. Indeed, our chancellor issued a statement critical of the protest less than 24 hours after the Wednesday, May 18, incident.”

“I have never told students that support for Israel is wrong, and I strongly support the recent decision of the Regents of the University of California condemning antisemitism and antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism as types of discrimination,” added Parham. “Regarding [the May 18] protest, an investigation is in progress. Any disciplinary actions will be determined once the investigation is complete.”

—Shani Shahmoon contributed to this article.

Palestinian schools honor the killers of my father, a teacher.

The Anti-Israel Poisoning Starts Young

Palestinian schools honor the killers of my father, a teacher.  This would break his heart.


May 17, 2016 7:03 p.m. ET

My father, Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old retired elementary-school principal from Connecticut, was on a bus in Jerusalem last October when two young Palestinian men boarded and began shooting and stabbing passengers indiscriminately. Two passengers were killed that awful day and 16 injured, including my father. Despite the efforts of first responders and the nurses and doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, my father died two weeks later. He had been shot in the head and stabbed multiple times in the head, face, chest and stomach.

Over the past seven months I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what would cause two educated Palestinian men in their early 20s to board a public bus and butcher a group of innocent civilians, many of them senior citizens. I’m sorry to report that the Palestinian reaction to the attack has led me to believe that the “peace process” is more one-sided than ever.

My father grew up a fighter for civil rights in America. He took those values with him in 1984 when he emigrated to Jerusalem, where he taught English to Arabs and Jews. He was a kind, gentle-hearted man who dedicated his life to education and promoting peaceful coexistence.

Yet Palestinian newspapers praised Baha Alyan, one of the terrorists who murdered my father, as a “martyr and intellectual.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the families of the attackers and praised them as “martyrs.” A Palestinian scout leader said Baha Alyan, who was shot and killed by a security guard before he could kill more innocent passengers, was “an example for every scout.”

Muhammad Alyan, the father of Baha Alyan, has been invited to speak at Palestinian schools and universities about his son the “martyr.” He recently spoke to children at Jabel Mukaber Elementary School in East Jerusalem, about a half a mile from where my father lived. Tragically, many Palestinian children, perhaps most, are still taught to honor terrorists and fight for the destruction of Israel.

All of this would break my father’s heart. In 2007 he published a book called “Teaching as an Act of Love” summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love. After Baha Alyan’s father visited Jabel Mukaber Elementary School, I asked school officials if I could come and share my father’s message of peace and coexistence. My offer was rejected.

As long as Palestinian leaders nurture a culture of hate, encouraging school children to go out and kill, more violence is inevitable. By encouraging hatred, they distance all of us from the love and belief in peaceful coexistence for which my father stood.

My father’s book begins with a quote from William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

My father lived by those words. If only his murderers had as well.

Mr. Avni is the CEO of Peninsula Group Ltd., a publicly traded Israeli commercial finance institution.

Why are Jews the only group not protected on our campuses?

Why Are Jews the Only Minority We Don’t Protect On College Campuses?

 05/05/2016 12:29 am ET | Updated May 05, 2016

Last week, some students at University of Chicago, where I attend, proposed a resolution to our College Council to divest from Chinese weapons manufacturers, in protest of China’ssevere human rights abuses and its long-standing occupation of Tibet.

Members of the council were quick to condemn the resolution, and for good reason. The members noted it was political, and disrespectful to Chinese students. Other members noted that Chinese students should be given time to respond to the presenters with a counter-presentation. One representative even suggested that the College Council issue an apology to Chinese students for even considering the resolution. The resolution was tabled indefinitely.

Curiously, when a few weeks earlier the same College Council passed a nearly identical resolution condemning Israel, no one suggested an apology. These same representatives argued why it was their moral imperative to condemn Israel. They were determined to push this through at all costs, and despite requests, they didn’t even offer the other side an opportunity to present.

Over the past few weeks I have been told that Jews “don’t count” as a minority. I have been accused of using anti-semitism to justify oppression. All I want to know is why my campus doesn’t treat anti-semitism with the same rigor with which it treats any other forms of bias.

When Jews stood before the council, and asked that it recognize the Jewish right to self-determination, a basic right for all people, people in the room laughed. One representative noted that “If we were to affirm the right to Jewish self-determination … it takes away from the intent of the resolution”.

Students in the room that day called us racists and murderers and “apartheid supporters”, for even thinking we, as Jews, could have a voice in the discussion over the one small state we call our own. A Jewish student was chided “You are racist and you are against me and my family’s existence”. It was uncivil, and unproductive, but the council-members did not once that day condemn the personal nature of these attacks, or defend the rights of the opposition to make their case.

At one point, a student questioned the presenters, members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), about their organization allegedly holding a moment of silence for Palestinians who were killed while trying to murder Jewish Civilians. One of the presenters confirmed the moment, then responded without missing a beat “Palestinians have a right to honor their martyrs”.

If the killing of any other ethnic group had been celebrated, the University would make grief counselors available. It would send out mass emails of condemnation. They would suspend the organization responsible, and possibly the students involved in it. The organization would certainly not have any credibility to present to the student government. Since the victims were Jews though, their celebration of murder went unchallenged. The representatives never even brought the issue up.

On the third slide of the presentation in favor of the resolution, presenters claimed that voting against the resolution would mean “maintaining a system of domination by Jews”. The presenters were relying on one of the most common, long-standing, overtly anti-semitic tropes to make their case, and our representatives said nothing.

On the very next slide, the presenters shared a series of maps which MSNBC once famously referred to as deceptive, and “completely wrong“. The maps (inaccurately) depict border changes between Israelis and Palestinians from 1946-200. What’s most striking is the label though: “Jewish land versus Palestinian land over time”. Not one representative questioned the label. Not one representative questioned the map. The only thing they were willing to question was the right for some state of Israel to exist, and the right to Jewish self-determination.

There were about 500,000 Jews in Israel in 1948, but if you saw this map you would never guess that. This also uses “Jewish” in place of “Israeli”.

Student after student at that first meeting stood to explain to representatives how political and contentious the BDS movement was. They pointed out the movement’s ties to terror and anti-semitism. Some suggested the representatives compromise and call for divestment, but drop the explicit ties to the BDS movement. On this issue, finally, our representatives spoke out.

“As a voting member, I don’t think it’s my job to appease people who don’t support BDS”.

On the China resolution, representatives were quick to point out that it “minimize[d] this issue into a political ploy”. When it came to Israel though, the Council was happy to attempt to speak for its 5,000 constituents without hearing from the other side. They even violated procedure to shut out student voices one meeting, to expedite the vote. The one student they allowed to speak at the meeting was an activist in favor of the resolution.

One representative pointed out to the council that “this [BDS resolution] is being passed a week after a presentation for 15 minutes from one side of the debate, and the opposition ... was never formally given time before College Council”. Another pointed out that “it is disingenuous to say that we have moral voice to represent the students and speak on this issue”. That didn’t stop the same representative who seemed so concerned about minimizing the struggles of the Chinese people as a political ploy, from voting for another political ploy. 

Their coldness in minimizing the struggles of Jews, living with a legacy of being expelled and exterminated, was mind-boggling to me.

Then again, these biases, and suppressions of speech shouldn’t surprise me, given the system that these Representatives work in. They control $2 million in funding for events and clubs, and they wield that power to silence dissenting voices.

When SJP held events in support of the divest resolution, one of the sponsors was University of Chicago’s own Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

This week is Yom Hashoah, which commemorates the six million Jews that were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. On this day of remembrance, we say “Never forget. Never again”. Yom Hashoah also commemorates an international commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past. 

Sadly, fifty-three years after this day was first honored, we seem to be forgetting those lessons. As a campus we’re remarkably tolerant of gender, race, and sexuality in general. Why is it that we’re so uncaring about this one, very real form of racism?

Update (4/05): One thing I didn’t originally emphasize enough is how grateful I am to the 4-5 representatives on the council who genuinely recognized what this resolution was, and spoke and stood against it. I’ve tried my best throughout this article not to name names, but I do want thank those representatives.