A New Approach to Fighting Campus Anti-Semitism: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, JTA, June 12, 2018 — Campuses today are being challenged by profoundly intolerant behavior…
Why it’s a Big Deal that Argentina Canceled its Soccer Game in Israel: Ben Sales, Times of Israel, June 7, 2018 — Israelis want nothing more than for their country to be considered normal.
Will BDS win Latin America?: Daniel Laufer, Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2018— The cancellation of a World Cup warm-up match in Israel by the Argentine national football team should be a wake-up call.
The Ongoing Myth of BDS Success: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2018— Anytime that a student government votes to divest from Israel or a celebrity chooses not to perform in Israel…
On Topic Links
Giuliani: Argentina Soccer Team Let Terrorists Win by Canceling Israel Game: Chris Perez, New York Post, June 7, 2018
Talk About a Smoking Gun! BDS Umbrella Group Has Financial Ties to Palestinian Terror Orgs: Aussie Dave, Israellycool, June 4, 2018
Slew of British Musicians Join BDS Movement: Amy Spiro, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018
A NEW APPROACH TO FIGHTING CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM
JTA, June 12, 2018
Campuses today are being challenged by profoundly intolerant behavior, whose goal is to prevent some individuals and groups from expressing their opinions, beliefs or identity, or from fully participating in campus life.
For Jewish and pro-Israel students, such behavior has become especially prevalent and challenging. On many college campuses, not only are positive statements about Israel demonized and delegitimized, but individuals who express these opinions are often intimidated, ostracized and literally bullied into silence. In the past few months alone, pro-Israel events have been aggressively disrupted at New York University, Syracuse University, UCLA and the University of California, Irvine; numerous fliers, graffiti and chalking stating “Zionists Not Welcome on Our Campus” were found all over San Francisco State University after an SFSU professor wrote on her department’s Facebook page that welcoming Zionist students on campus was a “declaration of war”; and a formal complaint was filed by Jewish students at Columbia University against anti-Zionist student groups for systematically harassing and silencing them for more than a year.
In the wake of recent controversies involving the disruption and canceling of campus events, many university leaders have adopted the University of Chicago’s statement on freedom of speech—a statement that has become the gold standard on free speech for universities across the country. Not only does the statement commit to upholding students’ rights under the First Amendment, it makes it crystal-clear that to do so, it must ensure students are protected from the harassment and intolerant behavior that directly impedes this right.
In theory, the adoption and implementation of a free speech statement like the one at the University of Chicago should benefit Jewish students enormously. It promises to offer protection from the peer-on-peer harassment that has made it difficult and sometimes impossible for Jewish students to freely express pro-Israel views and fully participate in campus life. In practice, however, such a statement runs the risk of making Jewish students even more vulnerable to those same acts of aggression intended to silence them.
Here’s why. While freedom of speech is constitutionally guaranteed to each and every student regardless of opinion, belief or identity, this is not the case when it comes to freedom from harassment. In fact, federal anti-discrimination law administered by the U.S. Department of Education, which defines “harassment” as behavior that is “sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by any recipient [of federal funds],” only deems such behavior “harassment” if it is directed at individuals because of their race, color, national origin, gender or other federally protected characteristics. Identical behavior directed against students who do not share those protected characteristics is not considered harassment under federal law, and these students are denied the federal protection afforded their peers.
This inequity trickles down to federally funded colleges and universities. For example, at the University of Chicago, protection from harassment is limited to students who are targeted on the basis of their “race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information or other protected classes under the law.” Although the list is quite long, many University of Chicago students remain unprotected from the harassing and intolerant behaviors that could impede their free speech and full participation in campus life. If, in implementing its free speech statement, the university were to rely on its own harassment policy—using it as a standard for determining when a student’s freedom of expression had been impeded—it would beg the question of whether the university’s commitment to ensuring its students free speech applies to all students or only to those who share certain characteristics.
The same is true on campuses across the country. Take California, for example. Although the state’s two massive university systems—California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC)—both tout the importance of freedom of speech for all members of the campus community, they also have harassment policies that effectively limit protection from behavior that suppresses speech to only some portion of their student body. At CSU, Executive Order 1074 defines harassment as “unwelcome conduct engaged in because of a Protected Status,” and a CSU student who wishes to file a university complaint form in order to find relief from harassing behavior must indicate “the protected status(es) that was/were the basis(es) of the alleged … harassment.” UC policy on harassment is similarly limited in its scope to protected classes, and so, too, is UC’s online form allowing students to seek redress from harassing behavior.
In theory, federal anti-discrimination law and university harassment policies should afford protection to Jewish students, either by virtue of their ethnicity in the case of federal law or their religion in the case of university policy. But, in practice, Jewish students have been denied protected status in both cases when those same harassing and intolerant behaviors are motivated by anti-Zionism. This is a double whammy for pro-Israel Jewish students. They must not only suffer the routine suppression of their speech and assembly, as well as the freedom to fully participate in campus life, but must also accept the reality that their aggressors—often members of a protected class—will go unpunished and receive a free pass to carry on their unfettered, anti-Zionist-motivated harassment.
For many Jewish students, this has created a sense of egregious inequity and increased vulnerability, which has led to further suppression of their willingness to freely express themselves. It’s relevant to note that there are important efforts afoot to ensure that Jewish students are afforded legally protected status at the federal and state levels. But these efforts will take time.
There is, however, an immediate, easy and equitable solution to the problem. University leaders must make a public pledge that all students will be equally protected from behavior that violates their rights to freedom of expression and full participation in campus life. To be effective, the statement should include a description of all university policies, in addition to state and federal laws that prohibit harassment and discrimination, along with a firm commitment to their equitable enforcement for all students, regardless of identity, opinion or legally protected status.
Harassment is harassment. The effects of this intolerant and exclusionary behavior on students are the same, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim. And the abhorrent behavior that prevents students from an education free from discrimination must be addressed equitably. Students cannot freely express themselves and learn from their professors or each other if they face ongoing and pervasive intolerance, harassment and discrimination, as Jewish and pro-Israel students do now. Only once all students are secure in the knowledge that they will be equally protected from hateful, bigoted behavior can a university guarantee its students freedom of speech and the right to full participation in campus life.
WHY IT’S A BIG DEAL THAT ARGENTINA
CANCELED ITS SOCCER GAME IN ISRAEL
Times of Israel, June 7, 2018
Israelis want nothing more than for their country to be considered normal. That may have to wait. A much-anticipated soccer game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams was canceled Wednesday because, Israeli and Argentine officials say, of physical threats made to the Argentine players — including megastar forward Lionel Messi. The exhibition game was set for Saturday night in Jerusalem, less than a week before the beginning of the World Cup.
Beyond the disappointment of tens of thousands of Israeli soccer fans, the cancellation shows Israelis once again that even seemingly innocuous cultural events, like a soccer match, aren’t immune from the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israelis want to portray their country as a thriving democracy like any other — violence on the border and the occupation notwithstanding — and a full member of the family of nations.
And they appreciate when other countries treat them that way. Thousands of Israelis lined the streets for the Giro d’Italia cycling race last month, even though it’s not a popular sport in Israel. Celebrating that international sporting event, perhaps the largest to be held in Israel, one of Israel’s leading newspapers ran a full front-page photo with the headline “We’re on the map.”
Last month an Israeli, Netta Barzilai, won the Eurovision song contest, a 43-country competition that this year drew some 186 million viewers. Such signs of normalization are manna for Israelis, and a setback for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to isolate Israel internationally. So the BDS community seemed ecstatic to claim the Argentines’ decision as a result of their political pressure.
The truth seems murkier. The president of the Argentine Football Association, Claudio Tapia, apologized to Israel and said players had received threats. Protesters outside the team’s practice facility in Barcelona also waved Argentine soccer jerseys covered in fake blood — leaving it up to observers to decide whether the blood was meant to symbolize Palestinians who died or soccer players who might.
This cancellation, nevertheless, cuts especially deep. Israelis feel stung when foreigners cancel appearances because of the conflict. Earlier this year, the singer Lorde canceled a Tel Aviv concert after pressure from pro-Palestinian activists. And Natalie Portman, an American-Israeli, refused to show for a prestigious prize ceremony because of her opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Soccer is Israel’s most popular sport, and Messi’s professional squad, FC Barcelona, is the most popular international team in Israel, according to a recent survey. So watching him face off against Israel’s team on its home turf would have been an especially big deal.
Israelis are outraged — and split on who is to blame. Even if the ultimate decision was not a direct response to BDS pressure, many accuse Culture Minister Miri Regev of inflaming the opposition by politicizing the game. Regev told Israel’s Army Radio that she moved the game from the northern city of Haifa to Jerusalem, specifically to exhibit Israel’s claim to the city. She also linked the game to “our fight over the [United States] embassy moving to Jerusalem,” which happened last month amid objections from Palestinians, the European Union and the United Nations. “From my perspective, the important thing is that Argentina’s national team and Messi are coming to Israel and playing in Jerusalem ahead of the World Cup,” Regev told Army Radio on Monday, two days before the cancellation. “Jerusalem is on the map. In this era — which includes BDS — in this era nothing is more important.”
A Palestinian official also name-checked Regev, and the Jerusalem move, in a letter requesting that the game be canceled. “After political pressure took place from the Israeli government, as it was openly said by Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, the match was moved to Jerusalem,” Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association, wrote in a letter to Tapia obtained by Haaretz. “The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool.” Rajoub also called on Palestinians to burn their Messi jerseys in protest of the game. And this isn’t his first foray against Israeli soccer. In 2015, he unsuccessfully tried to get Israel kicked out of FIFA, the international soccer organization.
In an informal online poll conducted by Ynet, a news website that tends to oppose Netanyahu, almost 60 percent of respondents blamed Regev for the match’s cancellation. Ben Caspit, a journalist for the Israeli daily Maariv, tweeted that Messi visited Jerusalem in 2013 without incident “because no one turned the event into a political campaign.” The Jerusalem decision, he wrote, “woke the Palestinians up and awakened the mob.” But Regev is known for being bombastic, and she isn’t backing down. In a fiery statement Wednesday night, she blamed Palestinian terrorism for the cancellation, and compared the threats against Messi to the murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian Black September terror group. “We’re talking about an old-new terror that scares, deters and frightens players, the same teror that led to the murder of the 11 Munich victims in the 1972 Olympics,” she said. “The true story here is not Haifa and not Jerusalem. The true story here is the threats on Messi’s life.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
WILL BDS WIN LATIN AMERICA?
Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2018
The cancellation of a World Cup warm-up match in Israel by the Argentine national football team should be a wake-up call. Most anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) efforts usually focus on Europe and North America, but Latin America is emerging as a site of growing, significant anti-Israel activity.
Diplomatically, Latin America is a mixed bag. Many countries are honored with street names throughout Israel for their votes for the UN Partition Plan and subsequent recognition of Israel. But while strong relations continued for decades, Palestinian violence in the early 2000s prefigured a shift as Latin American governments declared solidarity with Palestinians and regularly condemned Israeli responses to terrorist attacks. Several even recognized a Palestinian state.
Still, countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Argentina have substantial economic or security ties with Israel, and a number of countries chose to abstain in the 2017 UN vote to condemn the US for moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Latin America in September 2017 was in many respects proof of Israel’s strong relations with the region’s governments. However, the furious public demonstrations that greeted the Israeli delegation’s arrival highlighted the growing presence of radical anti-Israel activists.
While not yet as severe as in Europe, there are a growing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Latin America actively promoting BDS, lawfare, and various other delegitimization campaigns against the State of Israel. These campaigns draw on a mix of religious antisemitism and local neo-Marxist and anti-colonialist ideologies, accompanied by demonizing, antisemitic rhetoric. They do not speak of a Green Line or two states, but instead define Israel’s very existence as a wrong to be righted.
While it appears that these organizations are not supported by area governments, new NGO Monitor research indicates that their campaigns do benefit from significant, constantly increasing assistance from international BDS groups, as well as from Palestinian, Israeli, European and American NGOs. Many of these international NGOs are themselves supported by European governments. An overall lack of transparency among both NGOs and government donors within Latin America reflects a lack of accountability.
In the case of Argentina, the phenomenon matured under the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (and earlier, under her husband, Nestor Kirchner), when numerous NGOs – including the Federation of Argentine-Palestinian Entities (FEDERPAL), the Organization of Human Rights for Palestine, and the Palestinian organization Stop the Wall – launched a campaign against the Israeli water company Mekorot.
In January 2011, the governor of Buenos Aires awarded a $170-million contract for a water treatment plant to a business consortium that included Mekorot. Over the next three years, local groups organized against the contract, falsely accusing Mekorot of “criminal actions in Palestine” and denouncing that “public Argentinian money would benefit Mekorot and, through this, finance Israeli apartheid in Palestine.” The fact that the project would improve infrastructure and access was tellingly erased. As a result, the deal was suspended and became a model for other Latin American BDS campaigns, including the one targeting Argentina’s athletes…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
THE ONGOING MYTH OF BDS SUCCESS
Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2018
Anytime that a student government votes to divest from Israel or a celebrity chooses not to perform in Israel, a cry goes out throughout the Jewish world that Israel is in danger and the antisemitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign is winning. But this is untrue. Take the example of celebrity boycotts. When Lorde cowardly gave in to pressure to cancel her Israel concert, the BDS trolls crowed and the pro-Israel activists expressed outrage. What was the impact? A lot of disappointed Israeli fans.
Meanwhile, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, the Backstreet Boys, Nick Cave, and Bryan Adams were among those who did perform in Israel. Upcoming shows include performances by Foreigner, Ringo Starr, Ozzy Osbourne, and Enrique Iglesias. Yes, some celebrities (mostly B- and C-listers) are shunning Israel, but the BDSers have failed completely in orchestrating a mass artistic boycott.
Perhaps the biggest recent celebrity news was the vigorous attack on antisemites by author J.K. Rowling, a vocal opponent of BDS. After tweeting the definition of antisemitism in response to efforts by some of her followers to contort its meaning, she asked, “Would your response to any other form of racism or bigotry be to squirm, deflect, or justify?” After revealing that Jews on her timeline were bombarded by anti-Jewish comments, Rowling said, “perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden.”
BDSers kvelled over Natalie Portman’s decision not to attend an awards ceremony in Israel. While she gave some comfort to them, her explanation for skipping the gala made one thing clear: “I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it.” Hysteria over the situation on campus is also misplaced. As I’ve written many times, the BDS movement is confined to a very small number of campuses, fewer than 3%. Also, contrary to claims that elite schools are particular targets, fewer than one-third of schools ranked in the top 50 have had a BDS vote in the last 13 years. Only 35 schools in the entire country have passed a divestment resolution and 64% of resolutions have been defeated.
Concern was justified three years ago, when it appeared the BDS movement was gaining momentum. The number of schools considering divestment resolutions jumped from 10 in 2012-13 to 19 in 2013-14 to 27 in 2014-15. Rather than continue that trend, however, the number of votes has declined. Last year, only 18 votes were held. And this academic year, which is nearly over, has seen only 11. Remember all the publicity about BDS activity on University of California campuses, such as Berkeley and Irvine? There has been only one vote this year, at UC Riverside, which failed. Last year Riverside was the only UC school to pass a divestment resolution. Irvine and Berkeley have not had votes in the last four years. School is still in session in California, so resolutions may emerge, but we will not see anything like the eight votes in 2013-14.
Make no mistake, the campus climate on the 63 schools that have had BDS campaigns is toxic. Jewish students often feel under siege and, not surprisingly, those campuses often have displays of antisemitism. Besides poisoning the environment, the drumbeat of attacks on Israel erode Israel’s image. Interestingly, students do not become pro-Palestinian, but they are more skeptical of Israel’s commitment to human rights, treatment of Arabs, and desire for peace. Worse, on many campuses the BDS advocates have succeeded in building coalitions with other student groups that buy into their propaganda. At NYU, 51 student groups pledged to boycott Israel, two pro-Israel campus organizations, and a group of off-campus pro-Israel groups…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Giuliani: Argentina Soccer Team Let Terrorists Win by Canceling Israel Game: Chris Perez, New York Post, June 7, 2018—Rudy Giuliani called out Argentina’s national soccer team on Thursday for canceling their exhibition match against Israel — saying “you should never succumb to fear induced by terrorists.”
Talk About a Smoking Gun! BDS Umbrella Group Has Financial Ties to Palestinian Terror Orgs: Aussie Dave, Israellycool, June 4, 2018—Regular Israellycool readers will know that so many members of the BDS movement are supportive of palestinian terrorists and what they do. I have time and again shown just how many BDS-holes love themselves a terrorist – Jew haters have this terrible habit of wanting Jews dead, after all (go figure).
Louisiana Becomes 25th US State to Prohibit Business Ties With Anti-Israel BDS Groups: JNS, May 24, 2018—Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting his state government from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.
Slew of British Musicians Join BDS Movement: Amy Spiro, Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2018—A number of British musicians and bands announced their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel this week. In a coordinated push by the Artists for Palestine UK group, several musical acts expressed support for BDS on social media on Tuesday, including Portishead, Wolf Alice and Shame.