Tag: Anti-Zionism

UNIVERSITIES HYPOCRITICALLY CONDEMN RACISM WHILE CONDONING ANTI-ZIONISM

I'm a Student at McGill. Our Problems with Anti-Semitism are Far From Over: David Watson, National Post, Nov. 1, 2017— Last week, McGill University was thrust into the national spotlight for an unfortunate reason.

An Anti-Semitic Caricature of Me Generates No Criticism from Berkeley Hard Left: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 26, 2017— I was recently invited to present the liberal case for Israel at Berkeley.

Universities Can’t Have it Both Ways on Free Speech: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, Oct. 27, 2017— The trouble with campus speech codes is that they backfire.

I Don’t Want an Apology from Justin Trudeau: Sally F. Zerker, CIJR, Oct. 26, 2017— Canadian governmental spokespeople have been active lately in apologizing for historical wrongs.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

The Zionists are Coming! Panic at San Francisco State U.: Cinnamon Stillwell, American Thinker, Oct. 7, 2017

New Wave of Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Activity Emerges on US Campuses: United With Israel, Oct. 2, 2017

Against Faux-Feminists Who Deny the Rights of Muslim Women and Jews: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Oct. 2, 2017

Massey College Suspends ‘Master’ Title, Apologizes for ‘Completely Inappropriate’ Incident: Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail, Sept. 29, 2017

                                                           

                                

    I'M A STUDENT AT MCGILL.

OUR PROBLEMS WITH ANTI-SEMITISM ARE FAR FROM OVER                                                       

David Watson

National Post, Nov. 1, 2017

 

Last week, McGill University was thrust into the national spotlight for an unfortunate reason. Students at the bi-annual General Assembly of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) voted to remove a Jewish student, Noah Lew, from the society’s board of directors. Lew later wrote on Facebook that he had been targeted for his Jewish identity. Before the vote, Lew and two other directors were publicly accused of corruption by a student political group for their affiliation with Jewish political organizations such as the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC).

 

The vote against Lew at the general assembly last week is certainly disappointing. But what’s even more troubling is that, to anyone with a decent grasp of student politics at our university, it wasn’t in the least bit surprising. Lew’s removal is just the latest symptom of a much deeper problem in McGill student politics. Unless it can be definitively resolved, it will only be a matter of time before the next episode of alleged anti-Semitism at the university.

 

I’ve been an undergraduate student at McGill since 2014, and I’m now in my final semester. For the past two years, I’ve been writing about student politics at McGill for a student newspaper, The McGill Tribune. In that time, I’ve become familiar with a student society that is engulfed in an endless debate over whether or not to support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), a movement that calls for a boycott of Israel over its occupation of the Palestinian territories. It’s a struggle that consumes the attention of the society and its members, and generates most of the scandals that plague the university, including last week’s vote against Lew.

 

For the past three years, BDS has been the organizing principle behind most of the major controversies on our campus. Motions to support BDS were brought forward three separate times in 18 months, before they were declared unconstitutional by the Judicial Board, SSMU’s version of a supreme court. Since then, the struggle over BDS has continued through proxy debates over constitutional issues, proposed reforms, and, as we saw last week, votes on individual student representatives.

 

Incidents like Lew’s removal are nowadays generally accompanied by a semantic debate about what does or does not constitute anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, or some other form of -ism. Those who voted against Lew claim that their grievances were only political, though I’m not aware of any legitimate criticisms of Lew, since no one even bothered to speak during the allotted debate period before the vote. But whatever their intentions, what matters most is that their actions have real, damaging consequences for our university’s Jewish students.

 

By voting against board members for things like their membership in CJPAC, McGill students are forcing many of their Jewish peers to make an unfair and harmful choice. They are forced to choose between getting involved in their communities and participating in student government at our university. No McGill student should be put in such a situation, and it’s our responsibility as fellow students to ensure that no one is. That’s why, after the results of the vote against Lew were announced, I joined dozens of my peers in walking out of the general assembly. To vote against Lew for his involvement with Jewish political organizations is to imply that one’s position on the Israel-Palestine conflict should be a litmus test for student representatives at McGill. This would be an absurd requirement, and its burden would fall disproportionately on Jewish students at McGill.

 

In the days after the vote against Lew, many powerful actors voiced their concerns about the incident, and expressed their willingness to explore solutions. McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier released a statement promising an investigation and a task force. Lew was even the subject of a discussion in the House of Commons. And at a meeting on Oct. 29, the SSMU Board of Directors voted to establish its own committee to investigate anti-Semitism in the student society.         

 

If they are to make a meaningful difference, any proposed reforms will need to address the root cause of the issue: the persistence of the BDS debate at McGill. This isn’t to say that discussion of BDS or Israel should be banned on campus. Universities should be arenas for discussions on even the most controversial topics — that’s how we learn. But these issues shouldn’t come to dominate student politics, or to determine who should be able to sit on a student council.

 

One immediate fix would be for more students to take an active role in their student society. Much of the pro-BDS lobbying comes from a mobilized vocal minority — Lew’s candidacy was opposed by only 160 votes, at a school with more than 20,000 undergrads. Past online referendums suggest that most students don’t support BDS, but their inaction allows its supporters to drive the agenda. With only a few weeks left before I graduate, I won’t be around to see any of the changes I’m proposing. BDS will have defined my entire experience with student government at McGill. This can’t be allowed to continue. McGill is an otherwise great school, and its incoming students deserve a better experience than the one that the students now graduating have endured.

                                                                                   

 

Contents

AN ANTI-SEMITIC CARICATURE OF ME GENERATES

NO CRITICISM FROM BERKELEY HARD LEFT

Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 26, 2017

 

I was recently invited to present the liberal case for Israel at Berkeley. In my remarks I advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state and a negotiated end of the conflict. I encouraged hostile questions from protestors and answered all of them. The audience responded positively to the dialogue.

 

Then immediately after my address, a poster was plastered outside Berkeley Law School with a swastika drawn on my face. The Dean of Berkeley Law School, Erwin Cherwinsky, sent a letter condemning the swastika: "Several of our students expressed their disagreement with him [Dershowitz] and did so in a completely appropriate way that led to discussion and dialogue. I was pleased to hear of how this went, but then shocked to learn of the swastika drawn on a flyer that someone had posted about him."

 

Shortly after, The Daily Californian – Berkeley's student newspaper – published an anti-Semitic cartoon, depicting an ugly caricature of me sticking my head through a cardboard cut-out. Behind the cardboard I am portrayed stomping on a Palestinian child with my foot, while holding in my hand an Israeli soldier who is shooting an unarmed Palestinian youth. Above the cardboard cut-out the title of my speech – The Liberal Case for Israel – is scrawled in capital letters.

 

In a Letter to the Editor, the university's Chancellor, Carol Christ, wrote the following: "Your recent editorial cartoon targeting Alan Dershowitz was offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing. I condemn its publication. Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old "blood libel" that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder? I cannot recall anything similar in the Daily Cal, and I call on the paper's editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups. We cannot build a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome if hatred and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes become an acceptable part of our discourse."

 

It is shocking that this vile caricature – which would fit comfortably in a Nazi publication – was published in "the official paper of record of the City of Berkeley" (according to the Editor.) The cartoon resembles the grotesque anti-Semitic blood libel propaganda splashed across Der Sturmer in the 1930's, which depicted Jews drinking the blood of gentile children. Canards about Jews as predators – prominently promulgated by the Tzarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – were anti-Semitic back then and are still anti-Semitic today, whether espoused by the extreme left or the extreme right.

 

This sequence of events – by hard-left students who originally protested my right to speak at Berkeley– confirmed what I've long believed: that there is very little difference between the Nazis of the hard right and the anti-Semites of the hard left. There is little doubt that this abhorrent caricature was a hard-left Neo-Nazi expression.

 

These anti-Semitic displays against me were in reaction to a speech in which I advocated a Palestinian state; an end to the occupation and opposition to Israeli settlement policies. Many on the hard-left refuse to acknowledge this sort of nuanced positioning. That is because their hostility towards Israel does not stem from any particular Israeli actions or policies. Even if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, destroy the security barrier, and recognize Hamas as a legitimate political organization, it would still not be enough. For these radicals, it is not about what Israel does; it is about what Israel is: the nation state of the Jewish people. To many on the hard left, Israel is an imperialistic, apartheid, genocidal, and colonialist enterprise that must be destroyed.

 

Nonetheless, just as I defended the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie, I defend the right of hard-left bigots to produce this sort of anti-Semitic material, despite it being hate speech. Those who condemn hate speech when it comes from the Right should also speak up when hate speech comes from the Left. The silence from those on the Left is steeped in hypocrisy. It reflects the old adage: free speech for me but not for thee…

[To read the full article click the following link—Ed.]                       

                                                                       

 

Contents

UNIVERSITIES CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS ON FREE SPEECH

Margaret Wente

Globe & Mail, Oct. 27, 2017

 

The trouble with campus speech codes is that they backfire. That's what happened when Dalhousie University tried to discipline Masuma Khan for making rude remarks on Facebook. Ms. Khan is the black-robed student activist who got pushback after she urged people to boycott Canada Day. "F*** you all," she responded in one post. "Be proud of this country? For what, over 400 years of genocide?" For good riddance, she signed off with the hashtag #whitefragilitycankissmyass."

 

Never mind for now the remarkable ingratitude Ms. Khan expresses toward the country that took her parents in, and provided her with a first-class education. No one took offence at that. On today's campuses, the sentiments she expressed are common – and, for aspiring activists, practically obligatory. No one blinked until a white, male graduate student decided to test the system. He filed a written complaint alleging that her Facebook post was "blatant discrimination" against white people.

 

The university should have told them both to go away and grow up. But of course it couldn't do that. Dalhousie has a detailed code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits "unwelcome" actions that might make another person feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed – even if it's just a Facebook post. The vice-provost of student affairs investigated the matter and recommended that Ms. Khan should face a disciplinary hearing and be sentenced to re-education camp. What happened next was perfectly predictable. The very people who had insisted on rigid campus speech codes in the first place – left-wing professors, Indigenous and anti-racism activists and the like – suddenly discovered the importance of free speech. In an open letter, they vigorously condemned the administration, and demanded an environment in which "political speech can flourish." The university capitulated instantly.

 

These people are, of course, correct. Ms. Khan has every right to trash talk anyone she wants on her Facebook page. She should not, however, be surprised when she is trash-talked back. Nor should we expect these sudden converts to free speech to express the same zeal for protecting the free-expression rights of, say, conservative white male graduate students. For universities, the burden of policing speech creates an impossible dilemma of their own making. The requirement to create "safe" spaces, where people have a right to feel unoffended, undemeaned and undiscomfited, is incompatible with the right to free expression in the public square – for the simple reason that free expression is bound to make people feel cheesed off, threatened and unsafe. That's why it needs protection.

 

Ironically, universities have done much to institutionalize the idea that speech itself can be dangerous, and that certain speech should not be tolerated. This idea is now depressingly pervasive. In one recent survey of 800 U.S. university undergraduates, 81 per cent said they agreed with the statement: "Words can be a form of violence." Thirty per cent agreed that physical violence "can be justified" to prevent someone from espousing hateful views.

 

As intolerance spreads on campus, more and more students – and their professors – are insisting that "free speech" includes the right to shut down speech they don't like. At Columbia University, hundreds of students and professors have come to the defence of demonstrators who shouted down an address by the far-right U.K. activist Tommy Robinson last month. They insist that the demonstrators should not be disciplined by the university. By shutting down the speaker, they argue, the protesters "were providing a model of informed political engagement." As two graduate-school journalism students (!) wrote, "defining 'free speech' as a one-handed monologue full of unchallenged smears, however, is a lazy cliché."

 

These students simply echo the position of professors such as the University of Southern California's Charles H.F. Davis, who argues that students who shout down right-wing speakers are engaged in "resistance against white supremacy." Last week, anti-fascist protesters at a university in California even shut down a panel on – that's right – free speech. Universities should scarcely be surprised that campus conservatives are now using policies devised by leftists to constrain speech they don't like. People who are happy to see the leftie vigilantes get their comeuppance shouldn't be too smug. Those surveys show that students of all stripes – left, right and centre – aren't very tolerant of speech they don't happen to like.

 

As universities enthusiastically embrace a mission of expanding social justice, the tensions between their role as speech nannies and as a platform for ideas and debate will only grow. I am sorry to say that no university in Canada has yet followed the lead of the University of Chicago, which explicitly advises incoming students that it does not believe in trigger warnings, safe spaces, disinviting speakers, or presumably, in policing students' Facebook posts. The administrative time and energy that could be saved by adopting such a policy would be truly awesome. And imagine what would happen if universities stopped treating students like kindergarteners: They might grow up.

 

 

 

Contents

I DON’T WANT AN APOLOGY FROM JUSTIN TRUDEAU

Sally F. Zerker

CIJR, Oct. 26, 2017

 

Canadian governmental spokespeople have been active lately in apologizing for historical wrongs. Everybody was getting into the act; Trudeau with regard to mistreatment of Indian immigrants, Wynne with respect to exploitation of native peoples, Toronto’s chief of police for a raid on a gay bathhouse long ago. Now, Justin Trudeau is considering an apology for Canada’s turning aside a boatload of Jews seeking asylum in Canada from Nazi persecution in 1939.

 

Let me say right up front. I don’t want an apology although the Canadian government did me irreparable harm by their rejection of Jewish immigrants during the 1930’s and well into the 1940s. The refusal to allow the entry of the Jewish escapees from Hitler on the ship St. Louis was only one part of a larger discriminatory policy of the Liberal government in power.

 

What malice was inflicted on me personally by the Canadian government? It was responsible for the early deaths of my aunt, uncle, and their children—my cousins. Of course, the Canadian authorities didn’t directly murder these members of my family, but nevertheless they were responsible. How? My aunt Chaya was my father’s sister, she was married to Alter, and they had five healthy, bright children, who undoubtedly would have been a great asset to Canada.  Chaya and Alter lived in Lodz, Poland. In the 1930’s, they were all set to join their parents and siblings in Canada. By then, my father’s whole extended family, with the exception of Chaya’s, was already settled in Toronto, Canada.

 

My parents migrated to Canada in 1927, to join both their maternal and paternal parents and siblings. My father’s three brothers and one sister were newcomers to Canada. As you can imagine, these new immigrants were doing everything possible to earn a living. But they were determined to assemble enough money to bring their remaining sibling and her family to Canada. Unfortunately, it took a few years to accumulate the required amount.  By that time, in the thirties, the Canadian policy, with regard to Jews wanting to settle here, was in the hostile hands of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Frederick Blair, head of immigration, who had the support of the Liberal cabinet and the caucus. They didn’t want any Jews to enter Canada. None! The result was that Canada had the worst record for the entry of Jewish refugees of any nation during the Nazi years.

 

The application of Chaya’s family to migrate to Canada was made in the normal way, and to my father’s surprise and disappointment, their visas were denied. An expert on immigration was hired to appeal the decision, but that too failed. A reason given for the rejection was that Alter, the husband and father of the family, had a limp, and was therefore liable to have tuberculosis of the limbs, which could threaten other Canadians. I don’t know how they came up with this excuse because it was a complete falsehood.  I know this for certain, because one cousin who survived the holocaust, and who came to Canada after liberation, was able to confirm that this accusation was utter nonsense. Her father was strong and young, was fully competent to work, walk and run, and with healthy legs.

 

Why then is it that I don’t want an apology for this cruel act? Because an apology can’t right this wrong.  It will not retrieve my relatives for me nor offer me any solace. Instead, it will whitewash a government and a Liberal Party that continued to do nothing to amend the type of antisemitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s. It is a shallow, empty, meaningless act for my extended family who lost part of this family for no reason except Jew hatred. It’s not as if Canada would have known any additional cost for my aunt’s family. In those days sponsorship meant total responsibility and upkeep for those committed to the newcomers.

 

And Canada was the undoubted loser. My father’s family of Friedbergs produced a generation that contributed very well to Canada’s interests. In total my cousins and I have three Ph.Ds in various fields, one Rabbi who led the largest Conservative congregation in Canada, two outstanding medical doctors, one excellent dentist, four who earned different kinds of post-graduate degrees, and were fruitfully employed in their respective areas of expertise, and a couple of cousins who took their talents to the USA, one who was a violinist in a Chicago orchestra. I often am filled with remorse for the loss to the Jewish community and to Canada that might have been had the bigotry and hatred not impaired the creativity and talent from thousands of Jewish refugees who were rejected. If Trudeau is set on making an apology, it is owed to Canada, not from Canada, and it should be in the name of the Liberal Party.

 

Dr. Sally F. Zerker is Professor Emerita at York University and a CIJR Academic Fellow.

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

The Zionists are Coming! Panic at San Francisco State U.: Cinnamon Stillwell, American Thinker, Oct. 7, 2017 —In the fevered imagination of the academic left, these are dark days at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

New Wave of Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Activity Emerges on US Campuses: United With Israel, Oct. 2, 2017—Jewish college students returning after their summer break are encountering a wave of swastika daubings and anti-Israel activity on campuses across the country—and there are signs the hostility may intensify in the weeks ahead.

Against Faux-Feminists Who Deny the Rights of Muslim Women and Jews: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Oct. 2, 2017—I came into my feminist destiny in 1967, both as an academic and as an activist. Our original feminist vision was radical and transformative. We believed in universal human rights.

Massey College Suspends ‘Master’ Title, Apologizes for ‘Completely Inappropriate’ Incident: Simona Chiose, Globe & Mail, Sept. 29, 2017—Massey College, an independent residential college affiliated with the University of Toronto, has temporarily suspended the formal title of "master" to refer to its head, and apologized for an incident earlier this week that deeply offended and hurt members of the school.

 

Ira Robinson: Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel. MLA Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cary Nelson, Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel.  MLA Members for Scholars Rights and Indiana University Press, 2016.  396 pp. 

 

ISBN: 978-0-253-02517-3

 

It is not an exaggeration to say that the diverse community of supporters of Israel sees the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] as one of the greatest challenges it currently faces.  This is particularly so within the academy, for the BDS leadership has specifically targeted campuses in Europe and North America as well as numerous academic associations like the Modern Languages Association [MLA] with its demonstrations, proffered resolutions, and incessant propaganda.

 

Those desiring to oppose anti-Zionism and BDS in all its forms need to be armed with both the courage of their convictions and, importantly, with a base of knowledge concerning the often vexed, conflictual, and complex issues surrounding Israel and Zionism.  Even many of those who have made their business to study the subject do not always possess the full range of information and opinion necessary to counter the arguments of BDS proponents and assert their own pro-Israel positions.

 

That is why Cary Nelson’s newly published book, Dreams Deferred, is so timely.  It stems from his experience as a pro-Israel activist within the MLA opposing the BDS resolution that came before that association.  He is a leading figure in the group “MLA Members for Scholar's Rights” that in 2014 published a book of collected essays which he co-edited entitled The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.  Nelson has followed up the 2014 volume with the present book that, in effect, offers within less than 400 pages a concise encyclopedia of the ideas, places, events, movements, policies, distortions, and outright falsities that together make up current public discourse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

 

He has done so by presenting well-chosen excerpts from authoritative sources so that, for instance, anyone wishing to get the main idea of the intellectual issues surrounding the accusation that Israel is an example of “Settler Colonialism” can find an admirably concise and jargon-free exposition of the people and issues involved (284-291).  Those wishing to know more about that or any other subject covered in the book can go to the bibliography at the end of the book and find the reference to the article or book chapter that was excerpted.  The same can be said about any of the more than 60 topics covered in the book.

 

This volume is far from a simple pro-Israel narrative.  The authors Nelson utilizes are diverse in their viewpoints on Zionism and Israel but all of them tell the truth as they see it in all its complexity and do not avoid criticizing the mistakes they feel Israel has made.  They nonetheless are united in their support for Zionism and Israel and their opposition to BDS in all its forms. 

 

For Nelson, the ultimate goal of his anti-BDS activism and this publication is “to define the terms of…a progressive Zionism for our own time.  This is a Zionism that honors the reality of the Naqba…looks for ways to promote a two-state solution…Its critique of Israeli government policy is unstinting, while it embraces the right of the Jews to a nation in their ancient homeland.” (339)  

 

Whether you agree with Nelson’s Zionist philosophy or not, he has edited a book that gives pro-Zionist, pro-Israel, and anti-BDS activists, and particularly those within the academy, much food for thought and much valuable information that will be of material help in the major task of confronting contemporary anti-Zionism and BDS in all its forms.

 

Ira Robinson is a Professor of Judaic Studies at Concordia University and a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Manfred Gerstenfeld: Anti-Zionism in the Post-War USSR and Today’s Russia

“Anti-Zionism became a significant element of the Soviet Union’s foreign policy toward the end of the 1940s. The Soviet leadership had supported Israel’s creation at the United Nations General Assembly in November 1947. They believed that Israel could become an ally in the Middle East. It rapidly turned out that this would not be the case.

 

“The initial anti-Zionism of the Soviet Union was also based on other considerations. The undesirable popularity of Israel among many Jews there became obvious in their enthusiastic welcome to the first Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Golda Meir in 1948. Furthermore, from an ideological point of view communism was against every form of nationalism including Jewish versions, Zionist or not.”

 

Historian André W.M. Gerrits is Professor of Russian and International Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. One of his books is titled The Myth of Jewish Communism: A Historical Interpretation.

 

“Communists have always seen Zionism as a petty bourgeois deviant, as well as a expression of Jewish nationalism. The emphasis anti-Zionism received in the Soviet Union and other communist countries during various periods depended mainly on international developments. Anti-Zionism played a role in the communist leadership struggles at the end of the 1940s and early 1950s in Czechoslovakia, as well as at the end of the 1960s in Poland.

 

“The communist leaders in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia would not use openly anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic arguments. Anti-Zionism however, fit in well with Stalin’s foreign policy. It also seemed that Stalin and his Czechoslovak followers thought that accusing people only of Trotskyism and Titoism would have less resonance in the party than anti-Zionism.

 

"This was yet another example of the communist manipulation of anti-Zionism as an instrument of political goals – in this case the affirmation of full political control over the Czechoslovak communist party.

 

“Anti-Zionism was also a factor in the Soviet Union’s relations with the United States and its efforts to strengthen relations with Arab countries and Iran. Only late in the 1980s, when Gorbachev changed the overall direction of foreign policy, did anti-Zionism largely stop being a Soviet political propaganda tool.

 

“One might say that anti-Zionism is a traditional ideological motif which has been mainly used and manipulated as an international political instrument. Anti-Zionism has deep roots in the socialist movement, and it  should not be confused with anti-Semitism. Early Jewish socialists were also opposed to Zionism.

 

“There has been much speculation among historians about Stalin’s plans toward the end of his life to deport Soviet Jews. There is no consensus among historians about this. I have never seen proof though that Stalin had concrete plans to send all Jews to Siberia. He most probably was not interested in initiating pogroms, if only in view of his obsessive inclination to fully control Soviet society.

 

“Shortly before Stalin died in 1953, he accused nine doctors – six of whom were Jews – of a plot to poison the Soviet leadership. This infamous Doctors’ Plot was an extreme manifestation of Stalin’s mistrust of all ethnic groups which had a ‘link’ with other countries, particularly of his suspicion of the Jews. It is often asked whether Stalin was an anti-Semite. We don’t really know. Stalin allowed very few Jews into his direct environment, but his political suspicions were far from limited to Jews only.

Add the increased number of Russians living in Israel, and you have the major reasons why relations between Russia and Israel have intensified and improved considerably.
“Stalin’s successors dropped whatever anti-Jewish plans there were in the Kremlin. They realized the absurdity of the accusations of the Doctors’ Plot and did not wish to confront pogroms or deportations.

 

“To the best of my knowledge, among later Soviet leaders, relations with Israel and the Arab world never led to serious disagreements. The geopolitical environment in the Middle East and the East-West conflict did not leave the Soviet Union much choice as from the 1960s, Israel was firmly in the Western camp.

 

“Anti-Zionist publications were subject to censorship by the state body Glalvit like anything else which was printed. Several anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic books were published in the Soviet Union, until the early 1980s. Trofim Kitchko’s  Judaism Unembellished, sponsored by the Academy of Sciences, was just one notorious example. One may assume that in view of the importance of this subject, the author had received publishing permission from high levels within the communist party.

 

As to the Soviet Union pushing the “Zionism is racism” resolution which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1975, Gerrits remarks: “I have no doubt that the major reason must have been to strengthen the Soviet Union’s global position, especially among non-Western powers. ‘Zionism is racism’ was a popular slogan among many ‘Third World’ nations”, especially of course in the Arab world.

 

He concludes: “Under the conditions of post-Cold War and post-communism, Russia has more room to maneuver. Add the increased number of Russians living in Israel, and you have the major reasons why relations between Russia and Israel have intensified and improved considerably. And this is of great importance to Russia. The country does not have many reliable and trustworthy allies or even relationships — neither in Europe, where the Ukrainian crisis has further isolated Russia — nor in the Middle East.”

OBAMA & BOSTON TERROR – “ISLAMISM” TO US? —FOR JEWS, IS “PROGRESSIVE” ANTISEMITISM THE NEW CONTEXT?

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Boston Terror Update: Washington Post, April  19, 2013—Police said one suspect is dead and a manhunt was underway for a second suspect after a police officer was killed at MIT and the suspects led police on a chase and into a violent confrontation involving explosions and gunfire in Watertown, Mass. about 10 miles west of Boston.
 

Obama and the Language of Terror: Charles Krauthammer, National Post, Apr. 18, 2013—Terrorism is speech — speech that gathers its audience by killing innocents as theatrically as possible. The 19th-century anarchist Paul Brousse called it “propaganda by deed.” Accordingly, the Boston Marathon attack, the first successful terror bombing in the U.S. since 9/11, was designed for maximum effect.

 

“Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism: Alvin H. Rosenfeld, American Jewish Committee, Dec. 2006

“German fascism came and went. Soviet Communism came and went. Anti-Semitism came and stayed.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, offered these discerning words in response to a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which the president of Iran denounced Israel as “a disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.”

 

Jewish Guilt: Peter Lopatin, Commentary, April 2013—At the beginning of his new book, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, David Nirenberg makes an underappreciated point: Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, non-Jews have spilled much ink and devoted much consideration not only to the Jews in their midst but also to “the Jews” in their imagination.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Chechen Terrorism: What You Need to Know: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, Apr 19, 2013

Muslim Anti-Semitism in Western Europe: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Tundra Tabloids, Feb. 2013

Principled Dupedom: On the Moral Imperative to Be Stupid: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, April 18, 2013

 

 

 

BOSTON TERROR UPDATE
Washington Post, April  19, 2013

Police said one suspect is dead and a manhunt was underway for a second suspect after a police officer was killed at MIT and the suspects led police on a chase and into a violent confrontation involving explosions and gunfire in Watertown, Mass. about 10 miles west of Boston. The suspects were linked to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured 176 near the race finish line Monday. They are [Chechen] brothers, law enforcement officials said Friday morning. The one still at large was identified by law enforcement authorities as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge. Law enforcement officials said they believe Tsarnaev may be strapped with explosives. They are taking extreme precautions in Watertown and other nearby suburbs, where residents are being required to remain inside with their doors locked  in [an unprecedented] state of complete lockdown

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OBAMA AND THE LANGUAGE OF TERROR

Charles Krauthammer

National Post, Apr. 18, 2013

 

 

Terrorism is speech — speech that gathers its audience by killing innocents as theatrically as possible. The 19th-century anarchist Paul Brousse called it “propaganda by deed.” Accordingly, the Boston Marathon attack, the first successful terror bombing in the U.S. since 9/11, was designed for maximum effect. At the finish line there would be not only news cameras but also hundreds of personal videos to amplify the message. But what message? There was no claim of responsibility, no explanatory propaganda. Indeed, was it terrorism at all?

 

There was much ado about President Obama’s non-use of the word “terrorism” in his first statement to the nation after the bombing. Indeed, the very next morning, he took to the White House briefing room for no other reason than to pronounce the event an “act of terrorism.” He justified the update as a response to “what we now know.” But there had been no new information overnight. Nothing changed, except a certain trepidation about the original omission.

 

There was no need to be so sensitive, however. The president said that terrorism is any bombing aimed at civilians. Not quite. Terrorism is any attack on civilians for a political purpose. Until you know the purpose, you can’t know if it is terrorism.  Sometimes an attack can have no purpose. The Tucson shooter who nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was simply deranged, a certified paranoid schizophrenic. Or there might be some personal vendetta — a purpose, but not political. In the Boston case, conceivably a grudge against the marathon, its organizers or something associated with the race.

 

That, of course, is extremely improbable. (Schizophrenics are too disorganized to set off simultaneous bombs, for example.) It’s overwhelmingly likely that the Boston attack was political, and therefore terrorism. Nonetheless, the president’s non-use of the word was no big deal. Why then was he so sensitive that he came out the next morning to correct the omission?

 

Answer: Benghazi, in which the administration had been roundly and correctly criticized for refusing to call it terrorism for so long. Benghazi, however, was totally different. There, the word mattered very much. There were two possible explanations for the killing of the four Americans: a deliberate pre-planned attack (terrorism), or a spontaneous demonstration gone wild. The administration tried to peddle the spontaneous demonstration story in order to place the blame on a mob incited by a nutty Coptic American who had made an offensive video. This would have spared the administration any culpability. To use the word terrorism, meaning deliberate attack, would have undermined the blame-shifting and raised exactly the questions — about warnings ignored, inadequate security, absence of contingency plans — that have dogged the administration for months.

 

In Boston, in contrast, there is no question about deliberateness. Nor is anyone blaming the administration for inadequate warning or protection. Here, the linguistic challenge for the president is quite different. What if this turns out to be the work of Islamists? The history of domestic attacks since 9/11 would suggest the odds are about 50-50, although the crude technique and the unclaimed responsibility would suggest a somewhat lower probability.

 

But if it is nevertheless found to be Islamist, will Obama use the word? His administration obsessively adopts language that extirpates any possible connection between Islam and terrorism. It insists on calling jihadists “violent extremists” without ever telling us what they’re extreme about. It even classified the Fort Hood shooting, in which the killer screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered 13 people, as “workplace violence.”

 

In a speech just last month in Jerusalem, the president referred to the rising tide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists as the rise of “non-secular parties.” Non-secular? Isn’t that a euphemism for “religious,” i.e., Islamist? Yet Obama couldn’t say the word. This is no linguistic triviality. He wouldn’t be tripping over himself to avoid any reference to Islam if it was insignificant.

 

Obama has performed admirably during the Boston crisis, speaking both reassuringly and with determination. But he continues to be linguistically uneasy. His wavering over the word terrorism is telling, though in this case unimportant. The real test will come when we learn the motive for the attack.

 

As of this writing, we don’t know. It could be Islamist, white supremacist, anarchist, anything. What words will Obama use? It is a measure of the emptiness of Obama’s preferred description — “violent extremists” — that, even as we know nothing, it can already be applied to Boston bomber(s). Which means, the designation is meaningless.

 

 

 

“PROGRESSIVE” JEWISH THOUGHT AND THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM

Alvin H. Rosenfeld

American Jewish Committee, Dec. 2006

 

“German fascism came and went. Soviet Communism came and went. Anti-Semitism came and stayed.”1 Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, offered these discerning words in response to a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which the president of Iran denounced Israel as “a disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.” A few days after this incendiary declaration, the Iranian leader followed up with more of the same, dismissing the Nazi Holocaust as a “myth” or “fairy tale.”  Shocked by such unabashed outpouring of anti-Jewish venom and by numerous parallels to it, Rabbi Sacks confessed that the reemergence of anti- Semitism “is one of the most frightening phenomena in [my] lifetime– because it’s happened after sixty years of Holocaust education, anti-racist legislation, and interfaith dialogue.”

 

In light of this disturbing trend, this paper will reflect upon two questions: (1) What, if anything, is new about the “new” anti-Semitism? (2) In what ways might Jews themselves, especially so-called “rogressive” Jews, be contributing to the intellectual and political climate that helps to foster such hostility, especially in its anti-Zionist forms?3 Before proceeding to examine these issues, though, it will be helpful to review some of the developments that give rise to them in the first place.

 

Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the Muslim World

 

Over the past year, copies of a new Turkish translation of Mein Kampf have been selling in Istanbul and other Turkish cities at the same pace that lottery tickets go in America. The popularity of Adolf Hitler’s diatribe against the Jews is so great that eleven different publishers are currently marketing it; even so, bookstores evidently cannot keep up with the demand. New editions of Mein Kampf have also appeared in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and it is readily available in Arabic translation in London bookstores. 

 

The obvious appeal of this noxious book is one ominous sign among many that yesterday’s ghosts are once again stirring. At the same time, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, another classic work of anti-Semitic literature, is also selling well in Turkey, as it is in Arabic translation throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Long ago exposed as fraudulent, this bogus tale of a Jewish plot to take over the world has emerged from a period of dormancy and disgrace to wide circulation today in Arabic-speaking countries.

 

Two years ago, at a much-publicized exhibition of religious books in the Alexandria library in Egypt, the Protocols was prominently displayed next to a Torah scroll as one of Judaism’s “sacred texts.” A favorite in Iran, it was made available in English translation at the Iranian exhibition booth at the 2005 Frankfurt International Book Fair (as were such related titles, in Arabic, as The Jewish Role in the 9/11 Destruction of the World Trade Center, The World Jewish Conspiracy, Three Thousand Years of Jewish Iniquity, The End of Israel, etc.). The notion of a well-plotted Jewish scheme to seize power on a global scale is reiterated as well in the charter of Hamas, which cites the Protocols as an authoritative source to prove, among other things, that “there was no war that broke out anywhere without their [the Jews’] fingerprints on it.” Additionally, the Protocols has inspired recent TV serial broadcasts in Egypt, Syria, and other Arab states….

 

A Conflation of Interests: Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in Europe

 

One manifestation of the new anti-Semitism can be found right here—in a conflation of interests among those on the far right, segments of the intellectual left, and radical Islam. While formal alliances among these otherwise disparate groups are not readily apparent, they share one thing in common: a suspicion of Jews and, especially, an emphatic dislike of the Jewish state. Growing from these inclinations, an aggressive mood of censure and hostility has developed and led to an outbreak of malicious activities over the past few years that has been well documented: Jews have been beaten on the streets of European cities; scores of synagogues, Jewish schools, and other communal institutions have been set on fire or

otherwise attacked; Jewish cemeteries and sites of Holocaust commemoration have been repeatedly desecrated; and the Jewish populations of Paris, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and other cities now

live with more uncertainty about their welfare than they have felt for decades….

 

What Is New in Today’s Anti-Semitism?

 

What does all this anti-Jewish hostility tell us? Despite the huge scandal of the Holocaust, which most Jews probably thought would prevent public manifestations of anti-Semitism from ever appearing again, the genie is once more out of the bottle. Is there a new anti-Semitism today? There is, and while much of it resembles the anti-Semitism of the past, certain features of present-day hostility to Jews and sometimes also to Judaism do seem new. One is that, like so much else today, Jew-hatred has been globalized and leaps effortlessly across borders. In the past, antagonism to Jews tended to take the form of localized activities, but thanks to the Internet and other global media, anti-Semitism now belongs to the world at large.

 

With the press of a computer key, it can be accessed and distributed in a flash. Two, while often drawing on the same repertoire of fabricated claims against the Jews as in the past—that they are clannish, conspiratorial, money-hungry, manipulative, predatory, etc.—anti-Semitism is protean and evolves. As already indicated, it may, for instance, promote images of Jews as poisoners, but instead of contaminating wells, as they were said to do in the medieval period, or blood, as in the Nazi period, this time Jews may be accused of contaminating the atmosphere itself or targeting DNA. Three, some of the most virulent sources of today’s anti-Semitism are located within the Muslim world, not, as in the past, within Christendom.

 

While some of this negative passion is attributed to Muslim anger toward Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, much of it predates the violence brought on by the recent intifadas and has roots within Arab Muslim culture. To understand Muslim anti-Semitism today, one has to see it as part of a crisis within Islam itself, as well as part of its deep-seated grievances against the West. Four, and most prominently, some of the most impassioned charges leveled against the Jews today involve vicious accusations against the Jewish state. Anti-Zionism, in fact, is the form that much of today’s anti-Semitism takes, so much so that some now see earlier attempts to rid the world of Jews finding a parallel in present day desires to get rid of the Jewish state….

 

Progressives’ Complaint: Radicals, Rabbis, and Peacemakers

 

The true end point of these views is not just to force the Israelis out of the territories they have occupied since 1967, but to force an end to the Jewish state itself. This goal is suggested more implicitly than explicitly in some of the contributions to Wrestling with Zion, but it gets spelled out quite openly in Seth Farber’s collection of interviews with anti-Zionist Jews. The book’s contributors include Noam Chomsky, Steve Quester, Joel Kovel, Norton Mezvinsky, Ora Wise, Norman Finkelstein, Phyllis Bennis, Adam Shapiro, Daniel Boyarin, Rabbi David Weiss, and Marc Ellis, most of whom are identified as “progressive.”

 

Whatever substantive meaning the term “progressive” may once have had, it appears in Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers as little more than a self-validating honorific—the presumed equivalent of moral and political virtue itself. Like “peace,” “justice,” and much else in the contemporary lexicon of leftist rhetoric at its most dogmatic, “progressive” has worn badly; and in Farber’s overheated book, the term appears either as a pious gesture in the direction of utopian politics or, with reference to Zionism, signals views that can only be called regressive.

 

The Israel that emerges in Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers—a country characterized as “amoral,” “barbaric,” “brutal,” “destructive,” “fascistic,” “oppressive,” “racist,” “sordid,” and “uncivilized”—is indistinguishable from the despised country regularly denounced by the most impassioned anti-Semites. As pictured by Farber and his colleagues, Israel is guilty of every sin that a modern nation-state is capable of committing—from “apartheid” and “state terrorism” to “ethnic cleansing,” “crimes against humanity,” and “pure genocide.”

 

No convincing evidence is offered to support any of these extreme charges. Rather, as demonstrated by the contributors to this book, it is an unquestioned assumption of their collective thinking that Israel is an inherently racist, oppressive, and singularly brutal country and, ipso facto, stands guilty as charged. For what is alleged to be its racist, systematic cruelty, the Jewish state is likened to the Ku Klux Klan and South Africa during the worst years of apartheid rule. Lest these analogies be considered too tame, Farber quotes the theologian Marc Ellis, who favors references of a still stronger kind: “‘What the Nazis had not succeeded in accomplishing … we as Jews have embarked upon” (p. 15)…..

Some of the harshest anti-Israel vehemence in today’s political rhetoric is their creation, as are the now frequently heard notions that “Zionism is the real enemy of the Jewish people,” that it is subversive of Judaism, the primary source of today’s anti-Semitism, and that the dissolution of Israel—conceived of as a morally repugnant, even criminal state—would be “good” not only for the Jews, but for world peace in general. The cumulative effect of these hostile ideas, which have been moving steadily from the margins to the mainstream of “progressive” opinion, has been to reenergize ugly ideas and aggressive passions long considered to be dormant, if not dead…..

 

Alvin H. Rosenfeld is professor of English and Jewish Studies and director of the Institute for Jewish Culture and the Arts, Indiana University. 

 

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JEWISH GUILT 

Peter Lopatin
Commentary, April 2013

 

Anti-Judaism:The Western Tradition: David Nirenberg, W.W. Norton, 624 pages

At the beginning of his new book, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, David Nirenberg makes an underappreciated point: Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, non-Jews have spilled much ink and devoted much consideration not only to the Jews in their midst but also to “the Jews” in their imagination. Anti-Semitism differs from other systems of prejudice in that Judaism is an actual fetish object of those who hate Jews. Nirenberg, who teaches medieval history and social thought at the University of Chicago, asks the critical historical question:Why did so many diverse cultures—even many cultures with no Jews living  among them—think so much about Judaism?” The rest of this splendid and original book is his extended answer.

Nirenberg argues that anti-Judaism is a mode of thinking that emerges from a view of Judaism itself as “not only the religion of specific people with specific beliefs, but also a category, a set of ideas and attributes with which non-Jews can make sense of and criticize their world.” And as such, it has achieved extraordinary (if often delusional and ominous) explanatory power. Anti-Judaic hermeneutics, writes Nirenberg, lie at the heart of “one of the darkest questions of modernity: how, in the middle of the twentieth century, an astounding number of the world’s most educated citizens were willing to believe that Jews and Judaism posed so grave a threat to civilization that they needed to be exterminated.”

But his exploration of the topic begins long before the rise of the Third Reich. Nirenberg works his way through nearly 2,500 years of European history and makes the case that “anti-Judaism should not be understood as some archaic or irrational closet in the vast edifices of Western thought. It was rather one of the basic tools with which that edifice was constructed.”

In fifth century b.c.e. Egypt, recurrent themes about Jews and their religion manifested themselves, such as the Jews as imperialist agents, slaves to legalism, creatures of carnality, fanatics, and misanthropes. Judaism was often viewed as synonymous with irrationalism, self-love, particularism, and being preoccupied with contract, property, and law.

But it was with the advent of the early Christian Church that anti-Judaism first provided answers to pressing doctrinal questions and served as a strong polemical weapon in theological disputes. Though there was room for nuance, differing parties used anti-Judaism toward the same end: “to make sense of the flesh in terms of the spirit, of the earthly city in terms of the heavenly one, of the political order in terms of the prophetic oracles through the perpetual defeat of the Jews.” Judaism and its legacy stood in the way of the true kingdom of God.

Saint Paul figures prominently in Nirenberg’s analysis, for it is in Paul’s struggles with the Jewish origins of Christianity that we can discern the emergence of motifs that would form the foundations of Christian anti-Judaism. Paul attributed to the Jews, writes Nirenberg, a “misplaced attention to the world of law, letter, and flesh” (the latter exemplified by ritual circumcision). This criticism was not a trivial matter: Paul’s “logic identified with Jews a cardinal error for the believer of Jesus—that of giving excessive attention to the ‘flesh’ of the text and of the person.” As Paul declared in his second letter to the Corinthians: “The letter kills, the spirit vivifies.” This point would resonate throughout the creation of Church dogma with great and worrisome significance for Jews.

Martin Luther, by his own account, wished to free Christians from the tyranny of Church “law,” whose authority he loudly and resolutely denied. “I declare that neither pope nor bishop nor any other person has the right to impose a syllable of law upon a Christian man without his own consent,” he wrote. As Nirenberg points out, “Luther’s reconceptualization of the ways in which the language of scripture relates humans to their world and their God rewrote the roles played by Jews as figures of Christian thought.”

The Roman Church, for Luther, had become shackled to the law and had thereby moved away from the gospel. It had, as it were, become more “Jewish,” leading Luther to declare, in 1523, that “he who would be a good Christian might also have to become a Jew.” And so he recast the Hebrew Bible such that its literal meaning was to be understood as the life of Jesus. After executing this audacious move, the continued existence of the Jews became, for Luther, almost unbearably offensive to Christian sensibility: “They are given to all people in the whole world to tread down,” he wrote of Jews, “just like scum in an alley, which is thrown out because it is of absolutely no use to anyone, except to soil one’s feet.”

The “use” of the Jews, however, was very much the point—and, crucially, they need not have been real Jews at that. Nirenberg notes that in Luther’s time, Jews “had been expelled from most of the cities and territories of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as from England, France, Spain, and much of Italy.” Luther’s criticism of Judaism, therefore, was deployed not principally against Jews but rather against his Christian rivals, “whether Papists or (later) Protestants more radical than himself.”

Luther recognized that an authentic understanding of Christian scripture demanded that “its Judaizing potential needed to be contained.” For the actual Jews who remained in Luther’s Germany, the consequences were dire. As Luther’s battles with his Papist and Protestant enemies grew in rancor, his vitriol toward Jews became more overtly murderous. “Burn their synagogues…force them to work,” he wrote, “and deal with them with utter mercilessness, as Moses did in the wilderness when he struck three thousand dead.” Jews were expelled from Saxony in 1537, from Thuringia in 1540, and from Brunswick in 1543. In 1572, the synagogue of Berlin was destroyed; expulsions from Brandenburg and the (Calvinist) Palatinate followed in 1573 and 1575, respectively.

Nirenberg seeks to establish anti-Judaism as a “Western tradition,” and that tradition comprises more than the history of Christianity. Nirenberg highlights the anti-Judaism of numerous Western thinkers and writers. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare draws heavily on the chronic fear that the Christian soul and the Christian polity might become “Judaized” through a Catholic emphasis on the law. As with Luther’s Germany, what’s most telling for Nirenberg is the extreme scarcity of actual Jews in the British Isles at the time.

Similarly, in pre-revolutionary France, Jews were less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the country’s population, yet they featured prominently in the theorizing of the philosophes. In his encyclopedia, published in 1750, Diderot says of the Jews: “They are like the pegs and nails that one uses in a great building, and which are necessary to join all its parts.” Other philosophes formed what Nirenberg describes as a “unified field theory” of anti-Judaism to explain the conflict between faith and reason. They began with the Jews’ “enmity toward the spirit” and proceeded from there. As a result, the Enlightenment’s “most famous treatises on toleration and freedom of thought depended on separating Judaism from Christianity, and isolating the former in an archaic and execrable past,” Nirenberg writes.

In 1785, Immanuel Kant drew on Paul’s anti-Judaic foundation in his separation of morality and empiricism. Yet that didn’t stop Hegel, 14 years later, from criticizing Kant on further anti-Judaic grounds, writing of Kant’s recourse to the “Jewish principle of opposing thought to reality, reason to sense, [a principle involving] the rending of life and a lifeless connection between God and the world.” Thus, throughout modern European history, amid the throes of turbulent conflict, non-Jewish thinkers of enduring influence deployed depictions of Jews and Judaism as essential weapons in their internecine struggles.

Nirenberg expands upon this catalogue right through to the present. Although today, as global politics is on the ascent and religion on the decline, anti-Judaism has taken on a more political tint. “We live in an age in which millions of people are exposed daily to some variant of the argument that the challenges of the world they live in are best explained in terms of ‘Israel.’?” From Western citizens who resent being “dragged into” deadly far-off conflicts to Middle-Eastern Muslims who desire well-being and freedom, the perceived Jewish obsession with fanaticism and particularism now causes greatest offense in the simple existence of a Jewish state. 

In a way, this evolution confirms Nirenberg’s initial thesis and bolsters the significance of his excellent book. If anti-Judaism is an explanatory ideology having almost nothing to do with actual Jews who may dwell among its adherents, what purer wellspring exists than an entirely separate country of Jews? With the actual populated Jewish state perceived as a foreign and remote patch of conflict for most of the world’s citizens, the Israel of the anti-Semitic imagination is given free rein in a manner unseen for millennia.

 

 

On Topic

 

 

 

 

Chechen Terrorism: What You Need to Know: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, Apr 19, 2013—Chechen terrorism may be less familiar to most Americans than that carried out by fighters from the Middle East or Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Chechen separatists have fought a long and bloody war against Russia in the region’s long war of independence from Moscow.

 

Muslim Anti-Semitism in Western Europe: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Tundra Tabloids, Feb. 2013—European governments often avoid exposing Muslim anti-Semitism. In colonial times, Western racism far exceeded any other discrimination. With these guilt feelings, to accuse an immigrant minority group of having a high percentage of people who hate another minority – i.e., the Jews – is not done.

 

Principled Dupedom: On the Moral Imperative to Be Stupid: Richard Landes, Augean Stables, April 18, 2013

One of the major weaknesses of Westerners in the current cognitive war with Islamic imperialism is a seemingly boundless commitment to being fooled. It’s almost as if, on principle, we need to accept lies from the other side as true, lest we be accused of being racist.

 

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CAMPUS PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGNS OF LIES AND BLOOD LIBELS AGAINST ISRAEL/JEWS CONTINUE—HERE A BATTLE LOST, THERE A BATTLE WON

Download an abbreviated version of today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Battleground York University: Joanne Hill, Jewish Tribune, March 28, 2013 —Pro-Israel students were visibly upset and some were crying after the York Federation of Students (YFS) passed a motion to endorse and promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

 

Campus Blood Libel: Charles Jacobs, Front Page Magazine, March 15, 2013—It is time Jewish students stopped crowing that gays can march in Tel Aviv and started calling the propaganda crusade against us what it is: Bull! Lies! A hoax! The most inconvenient truth for our adversaries is that the horrors the Arab/Islamic world has falsely charged against Israel, are things they have actually done themselves — and are still doing….

 

Must We Combat [Campus] Anti-Semitism?: Kenneth L. Marcus, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013—I was asked the question most recently last week in the well-appointed downtown offices of a major Jewish organization. But I have heard it surprisingly often since I founded the Louis D. Brandeis Center to combat campus anti-Semitism: “Do you really think that fighting anti-Semitism is the best approach to Israel advocacy?”

 

Oxford Students Resoundingly Reject BDS Movement: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Feb. 27, 2013—Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, is an exemplar of academic elite institutions.  Tonight,  February 27, the student leadership there voted to reject the motion to join in and promote the economic and political warfare anti-Israel effort known as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

U.C. Lecturer Wages War Against Anti-Jewish Activity on Campus: Ben Harris, Campus Watch,  Nov. 3, 2011
Israel Apartheid Week: A Tale of Two Brothers: David Solway, Front Page Magazine, March 1, 2013
Israeli Apartheid Week 2013 (The Real Truth) – Video: Dennis Prager, Prager University, Feb. 14, 2013

 

 

 

BATTLEGROUND YORK U

Joanne Hill

Jewish Tribune, March 28, 2013

 

Pro-Israel students were visibly upset and some were crying after the York Federation of Students (YFS) passed a motion to endorse and promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Students felt angry, frustrated and “very dejected” following last week’s “kangaroo court,” said York student Geoffrey Aharon.

 

“To know that our union does not care about us, [that] they are more than happy to directly target Jewish, Israeli students and any student that is a supporter of Israel, and create a hostile environment at our university, is one of the most disappointing and upsetting things I’ve ever experienced at York. I am absolutely ashamed and disgusted to be a student at York University because…I am forced to be a member of the YFS.” The BDS supporters were obviously delighted by the vote.

 

“They now have their radical agenda signed, sealed and approved by the YFS,” said Chaim Lax, president, Hasbara at York. Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) presented a petition bearing more than 5,000 signatures and asked the YFS to endorse a global BDS campaign and demand that the university administration take part.

 

Five pro-Israel students, including Lax and Aharon, and five anti-Zionist students addressed the YFS before the vote. Only one board member – Ruth Johnson, director of Winters College – attempted to inject some measure of fairness into the motion. The meeting was “of interest to me because the entire student body needs to be represented and I didn’t feel like that was happening,” said Johnson. “Taking a stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to that degree and demonizing Israel wasn’t something that was conducive to the unity of our student body.”

 

It was only by chance that the pro-Israel side found out about the meeting. Johnson said she wasn’t informed of the meeting by YFS, either. Pro-Israel students have been gathering signatures for their own petition calling on the YFS to reject BDS. They were 1,000 signatures shy of the 5,000 required before a petition can be submitted. “We showed up with the petition anyway…and said, it’s true that we don’t have 5,000 but we have 4,000 of your constituents saying they don’t want this to happen, so you should take that into consideration before casting your vote,” said Lax.

 

The anti-BDS petition was ignored, according to Johnson, Lax and Aharon. Johnson proposed tabling the issue until the signatures on both petitions could undergo formal audits but no one seconded her motion. So she took another approach. “I removed the word ‘Israel’ from the motion and suggested inserting condemnation of all human rights infringements across the world,” said Johnson. That motion was not seconded, either. Johnson was told her amendment was too broad in scope. She tried a third motion. “I decided I would include Israel; however, I would also add Palestinian human rights violations to make it two-sided rather than simply demonizing Israel.” Again, no response.

 

Johnson said she and Kirsten LaBonte, director of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, voted against SAIA’s motion and everyone else voted in favour. “I think the big issue now is the Jewish students’ relationship with the YFS,” said Hillel Genesove, president, B’nai Brith on Campus. “We’re going to have to see next year how that changes or how people feel [and] if they’re comfortable with the YFS after this decision…. There’s definitely a lot more tension now, having to deal with the YFS, but I think we can work through it.”

 

Pro-Israel students are now discussing their next move, but it’s also time for donors to take a stand, said Aharon. “Donors should understand that the universities that they’re supporting financially are becoming radicalized institutions,” he said. “We know that [York] President [Mamdouh] Shoukri has said many times before that the administration would not adopt the BDS movement. But, if today’s radicals become the norm tomorrow, they won’t seem so radical anymore. The donors are supporting universities that have fostered…an environment that has become toxic for Jewish students.”

 

Hamid Osman, executive director YFS, did not respond to the Jewish Tribune’s requests for an interview.

An estimated 200 students attended the meeting. Anti-Israel activists Jesse Zimmerman, James Clark of the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, and SAIA’s Hammam Farah were present. Before the meeting started, the YFS tried to have the Tribune’s reporter ejected from the building. When the Tribune resisted, a rabbi who runs a program at the university expressed fear that the Jewish students’ good relationship with York security might have been jeopardized.

 

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CAMPUS BLOOD LIBEL

Charles Jacobs

Front Page Magazine, March 15, 2013

 

Spring’s coming. Get ready for Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses across the nation. Here in Boston last week, Harvard got off to an early start: the college’s Palestine Solidarity Committee placed mock eviction notices on students’ doors, warning students that their rooms were “scheduled for demolition in the next three days.” This was then likened to “the unlawful displacement of Palestinians.”

 

That little psychodrama is just the prelim to a full program which will include anti-Israel films, the construction of an “apartheid wall” in the Science Center Plaza, and a talk by Hizbollah supporter, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky — who just may be the American Jew most proud to be ashamed that he’s a Jew. At Northeastern University, where Professors Denis Sullivan and Shahid Alam have proudly been working for decades to foment hatred of Israel (see www.shameonneu.com) the schedule is even more fulsome: From March 11-15, students will be shown two anti-Israel propaganda films, one even narrated by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple. There will be a mock checkpoint constructed on the Centennial Commons, and all week long there will be a lighted sign flashing: “End Israeli Apartheid.”

 

NEU President Aoun, who has finally come under pressure to do something about his radical, anti-Israel/anti-Semitic professors, might find it useful now to emulate Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who condemned Israeli Apartheid Week as simple anti-Semitism.  Aoun, who is Christian Lebanese, surely knows that Middle East Christians are the ones suffering from something pretty close to apartheid – in every one of the lovely Arab-dominated states they nervously inhabit. Condemning the lie about Israel while outing the real oppressors would be a double mitzvah.  True, he’d have a tenured tantrum on his hands. Meanwhile, the silence of the Jewish Studies Department there continues to astonish.

 

At Boston University, there will be a sham conference on “The Right of Return.” Several scholars who oppose the idea that Palestinians in vast numbers should be allowed to flood into Israel, thereby extinguishing the Jewish state, have submitted proposals to give papers. As of this writing the “conference” conveners have not responded to any of them, so any pretense that their panel is “academic” is a farce. Just more political theatre. So what do we do about all this? The ADL has said it is “outraged” by the Harvard eviction notices.  Nice, but then what?

 

I attended a workshop last week at the mammoth, yearly AIPAC Policy Conference which addressed the surge of anti-Israelism on the campuses.  The two speakers representing Jewish organizations that work on campuses came to promote what has become the Jewish Establishment’s only acceptable strategy; it’s called “retail engagement.” Responding to anti-Israel activity publicly with counter arguments, they say, has been shown to be ineffective. “Debate,” they argued, “has no audience.” A better approach is to get to know other students personally, especially student leaders, to build relationships with them, to “make friends, not arguments.”

 

Much of this makes sense. Cold facts and logic don’t win over most people. So much of politics is personal. Being popular and playing on emotion is often key.  This sort of engagement is clearly necessary — but why would anyone think it’s sufficient to win? Isn’t the other side much larger? Can’t they reach out to more leaders? To be truthful — aren’t they often more charming?

 

And don’t they have a big advantage? In our leftist-dominated culture which is obsessed with victimhood, the other side continually offers students what seems the high moral road — a victimhood campaign. In a low-information age, a picture of an Israeli tank next to a Palestinian child is enough to set people’s judgment against us, sometimes for good.

 

Our problem is that they lie. Another reason that “retail engagement” alone won’t win is that there is something more emotionally powerful than personal friendships at stake: In our world, people see themselves as good and moral people if they are for the underdog, and against oppression. If pro-Israel students, no matter how engaging, are seen to be supporting a cause that people fear taints them morally, friendship with charming Zionists will not often prevail.

 

No, friendship is not the magic bullet. To win, Jewish students will have to do harder things: They have to re-capture the emotional argument that counts most:  Not that we are individually nice people, but that Israel is a decent nation that is being lied about.  Jews are being victimized. That is the central truth of the matter, but exists now as the elephant in the PR room. Winning people to this central truth– that they are lying about us – means that pro-Israel students are going to have to do something the Jewish Establishment tells them not to do: they are going to have to call the campaign of lies what it is. They are going to have to talk to their friends about the people who are doing the defaming. They are going to have to “go negative.” What we face is more than a social popularity contest: it’s a political/ideological war; surely we know by now that it will take more than being charming if we mean to win.

 

It is time Jewish students stopped crowing that gays can march in Tel Aviv and started calling the propaganda crusade against us what it is: Bull! Lies! A hoax! The most inconvenient truth for our adversaries is that the horrors the Arab/Islamic world has falsely charged against Israel, are things they have actually done themselves — and are still doing…. While the “human rights” world keeps relatively mum. Land theft? The Arab world started out in Arabia and conquered the rest by jihad. Cruelty? Take a look at how women are treated, at how Sunnis treat Shias and vice versa. Is it now 70 or 80,000 dead in Syria? How many black slaves serve Arab masters across Arab north Africa?

 

Apartheid? Jewish students should say: “glad you brought that up. Because if you are truly interested in institutionalized subjugation in the Middle East, then talk to Simon Deng, an African who was enslaved by Arabs in Sudan; or to Mohammed Yahya, an African Muslim from Darfur, whose people are being massacred by Arabs for resisting Arabization; or to Caroline Doss, a Christian women from Cairo, whose people shiver to think what may soon happen to them because of the wonderful Arab spring. (They’re all available.) Apartheid in the M.E. is not about Israel at all. That’s a scam. The real apartheid is in the Arab/Islamic states.

 

If pro-Israel students can convince their classmates that anti-Israelism is based on lies  — inversions, actually — Israel might just win on campus. Sure, it helps if pro-Israel students are likeable but only if they have the courage to state the truth and the wisdom not to listen to their establishment “leaders” might their efforts be decisive.

 

Charles Jacobs is the President of the Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

 

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MUST WE COMBAT [CAMPUS] ANTI-SEMITISM?

Kenneth L. Marcus

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 23, 2013

 

I was asked the question most recently last week in the well-appointed downtown offices of a major Jewish organization. But I have heard it surprisingly often since I founded the Louis D. Brandeis Center to combat campus anti-Semitism: “Do you really think that fighting anti-Semitism is the best approach to Israel advocacy?” The question is invariably issued as a challenge, sometimes even an admonition. Implicitly, Jewish leaders want to know whether it makes sense to focus on the “negative,” when the vogue in Israel advocacy is to be relentlessly positive. “No,” I always reply, “It is not even the second best approach.”

 

I sometimes begin by pointing out that I do not fight anti-Semitism to advance Israel advocacy.

Rather, I fight anti-Semitism because anti-Semitism is evil, and it must be defeated. If the 20th century taught us anything, it is that Jew-hatred cannot be allowed to fester. But this sometimes feels like belaboring the obvious. As far as Israel advocacy goes, the best approach is undoubtedly very different. Those who want to give Israel a better image, on college campuses or elsewhere, really should focus on the positive. In this respect, the American Jewish establishment is not wrong. Israel’s positive attributes are quite compelling, whether one focuses on the country’s extraordinary history, cultural offerings, or scientific advances. When people think of Israel, they should think first of the country’s gifts to the world. Israel advocates increasingly understand this.

 

Fighting anti-Semitism should not come second for Israel advocates either. After painting a positive portrait of Israel’s assets, Israel advocates must focus next on addressing Israel’s legitimate critics. For many reasons, Israel is continually subjected to heaps of abuse in the international community. Israel’s defenders are wise to anticipate criticisms and respond to them. Advocates should present facts which rebut the fictions that are told about the Jewish state. When combined with positive pro-active messaging, a fact-based educational campaign can be very persuasive. But it will never succeed. That is to say, Israel advocates will never prevail if they stop there.

 

The problem is that key influentials are not convinced by rational arguments, fact-based approaches, or positive-imaging campaigns. Anti-Semitism it is at the root of intractable anti-Israel animus. That is the only rational explanation for the extraordinary double standards Israel always faces in the international community. Although there are relatively few hard-core anti-Semites on Western campuses, these hard-core haters are disproportionally influential, because university culture gives disproportionate credence to radical, anti-establishment voices. These opinion leaders are not persuaded by informational campaigns because their attitudes are more psychological than intellectual.

 

There was a time during the mid-20th century when American Jewish organizations generally believed in educational campaigns to defeat anti- Semitism. They felt, as one leader put it at the time, that “lack of information was basically responsible for group hostilities.” Their assumption was that prejudiced people accepted anti-Jewish stereotypes because they lack accurate information about or first-hand experience with Jews. Jewish leaders believed at that point that they could eliminate prejudice by teaching white American gentiles about the various ethnic, racial and religious groups within the United States.

 

That naïve perspective has long since vanished from the Jewish communal world, except when it comes to Israel advocacy. By the 1950s, it was well established that anti-Semitism could not be addressed by facts alone. Psychologists explained that, since anti-Semitism is the product of psychological factors, it is unlikely to be altered by superficial educational or propaganda techniques. Educational efforts which concentrate on disseminating correct information and disproving errors fail to address the psychological and sociological roots of anti-Jewish prejudice….

 

Never mind that we must fight anti-Semitism because anti-Semitism is wrong. Israel advocates must also fight anti-Semitism because, if that fight is not won, they will be forever doomed to the Sisyphean task of swatting down myths and distortions whose source they refuse to address. Israel advocates are wise to stress positive imaging first and fact-based campaigns second. But the third prong in their strategy must be an effective plan for combating anti-Semitism. Otherwise, no amount of positive imaging or educational pamphlets will succeed.

 

So do not ask me if combating anti-Semitism is the best way of doing Israel advocacy. It may be the third-best option, but it is still the sine qua non of any successful strategy. But we must fight anti-Semitism regardless of its importance to Israel advocacy, because it is the right thing to do.

 

Kenneth L. Marcus is founder and president of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

 

 

OXFORD STUDENTS RESOUNDINGLY REJECT BDS MOVEMENT

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Jewish Press, February 27, 2013

 

Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, is an exemplar of academic elite institutions.  Tonight,  February 27, the student leadership there voted to reject the motion to join in and promote the economic and political warfare anti-Israel effort known as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

 

Students had been discussing the motion and voted in their own colleges in advance of tonight’s vote. “This boycott goes against everything the university stands for.  The idea that we are not going to read your books or articles or hear your arguments on the basis of your nationality is ridiculous,” Henry Watson, a student at Magdalen College, a constituent college of Oxford, said.  Magdalen College voted to defeat the motion 39-3, earlier this week.

 

The representatives of the affiliated Oxford colleges, who comprise the Oxford Student Union Organization, met in St. Edmund Hall tonight where the motion was put immediately to a vote.  The motion was defeated, 69 – 10.  There were 15 abstentions. Had the motion passed, Oxford would have been required to recommend to Britain’s National Union of Students that they join the global BDS movement against Israel. A representative of Brasenose College, Eylon Aslan-Levy, said, “Tonight Oxford students showed that their commitment to intellectual freedom is unshakeable.  In rejecting calls for a boycott against Israel by a seven-to-one margin, we demonstrated resoundingly that we want Oxford to continue to cooperate with Israeli academics, trade with Israeli businesses and – yes – debate with Israelis in debating societies.”

 

Aslan-Levy was in the news earlier this week.  He was slated to present the opposing side in a debate the topic of which was, “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank.” When he began his response, his opponent, British member of parliament George Galloway, stormed out of the room upon learning Aslan-Levy is Israeli. “I hope that other British universities will follow Oxford’s lead in standing up against divisive attempts to hinder academic cooperation and progress,” Aslan-Levy said.

 

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On Topic

 

 

Standing Tall in Santa Cruz: U.C. Lecturer Wages War Against Anti-Jewish Activity on Campus: Ben Harris, Campus Watch,  Nov. 3, 2011—For the past 10 years, Rossman-Benjamin has been following that same directive with single-minded determination: Focusing on "form" and "how it looks," she has been tracking incidents of anti-Israel activity at this coastal campus. Perhaps in isolation, the incidents she tracks might be considered legitimate stands against the Jewish state, even when the criticism is harsh, as it often is.

 

Israel Apartheid Week: A Tale of Two Brothers: David Solway, Front Page Magazine, March 1, 2013—Driving past the University of Toronto recently, I noticed a lone protestor on the perimeter of the campus carrying a sign objecting to Israel Apartheid Week. I was reminded that the University of Toronto was the first academic institution to host and promote the scandal of this event

 

Israeli Apartheid Week 2013 (The Real Truth) – VideoDennis Prager, Prager University, Feb. 14, 2013

 

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ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, ABUSE OF MEMORY CONTINUES, ANTI-SEMITISM (SEE SWEDEN) ON RISE

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click link for the complete article – Ed.)

 

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Jan. 28, 2013— Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.

The Abuse of Holocaust Memory in 2011-2012: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, JCPA, Jan. 27, 2013—The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.

 

Ministry Report: Attacks Against Jews on the Rise: Sam Sokol, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013—There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Sunday. The 2012 report indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.

 

What Happened to Sweden?: Michael Curtis, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013—Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

68 Yrs After 'Liberation' of Auschwitz-Lessons Learned, Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013

UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013

That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013
Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes—Via iPad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013

New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
Baruch Cohen,

CIJR, Jan. 27, 2013

 

Today, January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, proclaimed by the UN, is a daily remembrance for me. For the last 35 years I have shared my story with students in Montreal schools and universities.

 

Despite my age (93) I continue to present  whenever I am called to share my story, talking about the event that marked my life forever.

 

In 1933, when Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, my mother (we lived in Bucharest) called me to her side and said, “My dear son (I was the only boy in our family of four children), Hitler’s rise to power will mean the destruction of the Jewish People.”

 

Today’s rising anti-Semitism, which takes the form of “anti-Zionism”, is a call against the Jewish People, a call of hatred against the State of Israel, and hence of all Jews, of the Jewish People.

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a universal statement against hate and prejudice, a call to unite the world, to affirm life! Thidsday must also be a day to make alive the memory of a great human being, a unique lover of humanity, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who – in a world which allowed both the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust – shouldered his human responsibility, and in        1944, in Hungary, personally saved thousands of Jewish lives!

 

Never forget! Never Again!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.)

 

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THE ABUSE OF HOLOCAUST MEMORY IN 2011-2012

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

JCPA, January 27, 2013
 

 [Editor’s Note: the following is an excerpt of a much longer article. For the full text please click on the link or download a PDF version here.]

 

The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil in Western society. This has happened gradually over the past decades. One might have expected that more than sixty-five years after the end of the Second World War, the mention and memory of it would fade away. Indeed, “Holocaust fatigue” is widespread; many people do not want to hear anything more about the subject.

 

At the same time, many others increasingly mention and discuss the Holocaust. It took sixty years until in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly named 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Every UN member state also has an official obligation to honour the victims of the Nazi era and develop educational material about the Holocaust. In 2012, remembrance of the Holocaust was devoted to children. In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:

 

One and a half million Jewish children perished in the Holocaust – victims of persecution by the Nazis and their supporters. Tens of thousands of other children were also murdered. They included people with disabilities…as well as Roma and Sinti. All were victims of a hate-filled ideology that labeled them as “inferior.”

 

What are the main reasons for this increasing interest in the Holocaust?…One very partial explanation is the memorial meetings that take place every year in many places. Some are very emotional. An annual one is held at the location of the former Paris cycling stadium. There, more than thirteen thousand Jews who had been arrested were brought together in July 1942 before being sent to German death camps. In 2012, French president François Hollande gave a moving speech at the memorial meeting. He noted that the arrests were carried out by French policemen, and added that not a single German soldier had to be mobilized.

 

This was a very important statement, as it highlighted France’s share in the responsibility for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. It was even more significant because the last Socialist president, François Mitterrand, was unwilling to acknowledge France’s assistance in the crimes. Hollande also said at the gathering that France would act with determination against anti-Semitism. Increased anti-Semitism in Europe is yet another reason for the Holocaust remaining a subject of considerable dialogue. This is the more so as on various occasions, anti-Semites make use of Nazi terminology….

 

Simultaneously with the growing interest in Holocaust, the distortion of its history and memory increases as well. To fight this effectively, one must first understand this phenomenon….The examples of distortion of the Holocaust come from many countries and many different circles….In the last year or two, there have been so many incidents that one can only describe a limited number of them.

 

The abuse of the Holocaust has become so major that within several categories of distortion, subcategories have emerged. This can be well illustrated from the first category of distortion, which concerns Holocaust promotion and justification.

 

The most extreme form of this is the promotion of a new Holocaust. This intense hate-mongering is mainly associated with sizable parts of the Muslim world. The main actors are the Iranian government and the Palestinian Hamas movement. But there are many others. For instance, in October 2012, a video showed how Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi answered “Amen” to an imam who prayed, “Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters.”

 

The call for the murder of Jews is much more widespread in the Muslim world than many in the Western world wish to know, admit, or publicize. One reason is that from all these examples of Holocaust promotion, several conclusions can be drawn that are to a large extent politically incorrect or even taboo. The basis of the Western multicultural position is the false claim that all cultures are equal in value. A culture where many prominent people promote murder, however, is inferior to a democratic culture. This does not make individuals living in such a culture inferior human beings. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”…

 

The flawed idea that all cultures at a given time in history are equivalent has absurd implications. One is that Nazi culture in the mid-twentieth century was equal to the democratic culture of the Allies. Murdering six million Jews in the Holocaust fit German culture at the time. If there is no hierarchy of cultures, then there was nothing reprehensible about this genocide….

 

Other Holocaust promoters can be found in neo-Nazi environments. There are also individuals or small groups who scrawl “Death to the Jews” graffiti, for instance. This also occurs frequently on social networks. “A good Jew” (“UnBonJuif”), which spread anti-Semitic jokes, became the third most popular hashtag among French Twitter users in October 2012. Several of them tweeted “A good Jew is a dead Jew.”

 

Some of those comparing attitudes of movements in the Islamic world to those of the Nazis present weighty arguments. Holocaust expert Yehuda Bauer points out:

 

Today for the first time since 1945, Jews are again threatened openly, by a radical Islamic genocidal ideology whose murderous rantings must be taken more seriously than the Nazi ones were two and more generations ago. The direct connection between World War II, the Shoah, and present-day genocidal events and threats is more than obvious. The Shoah was unprecedented; but it was a precedent, and that precedent is being followed.

 

Holocaust historian Robert Wistrich writes that hard-core anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. Wistrich explains that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension.” As common elements between Muslim and Nazi anti-Semitism, Wistrich lists fanaticism, the cult of death, the nihilistic wish for destruction, and the mad lust for world hegemony….

 

Growing polarization in Western society is just one of several reasons for the increase in Holocaust abuse. More people are being falsely blamed as being or behaving like Nazis. Another, more specific reason is the explosion of anti-Semitism – often disguised as anti-Israelism – in Western society. This leads to an increase in Holocaust promotion and, above all, of Holocaust inversion – comparing Israelis to Nazis.

 

The massive abuse of the Holocaust poses the question: what can one do about it? There is no single way to fight against it. Education is very important, as are memorials, monuments, and many other activities. However, a crucial point remains that people should make an effort to prevent the abuse of Holocaust from entering into public debate. When this happens, it should be fought intensely.

 

Such actions often produce results, even if they arrive late. One example has already been mentioned: in October 2012, four years after he had said that there were no gas chambers, the extreme-conservative Catholic Society of Pius X removed Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson from its ranks.

 

An important step would be for the nations of the world to live up to their commitments under the UN Genocide Convention and bring Iranian leaders Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before an international court. The same should be done with the Hamas organization and its genocide promoters. That could become the beginning of a much wider struggle against Holocaust distortion.

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MINISTRY REPORT: ATTACKS AGAINST JEWS ON THE RISE

Sam Sokol

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 28, 2013

 

There has been “an alarming rise in the number of attacks against Jewish targets” over the past year, according to a new report issued by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry on Sunday.

The 2012 report on anti-Semitism, which was presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, indicated that the confluence of extreme rightwing political movements and Islamic radicalism have been responsible for a new wave of anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe.

 

The report’s release was timed to coincide with the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday. Based on data collected by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, Edelstein noted that “the main conclusion emerging from the document… is that compared to 2011, there was an escalation in violent incidents against Jews around the world.”…

 

Edelstein also noted that a “preliminary analysis of trends” indicates that Israeli policy “does not constitute the main incentive for anti- Semitic actions against Jews.” Delegitimation of Israel does play a role in fuelling anti-Jewish activity, he said, but “Israeli policies will not affect or reduce these effects of racial hatred against Jews.”

 

The worst increase in anti- Semitism was seen in Western Europe, according to the report, which listed a number of incidents in France and Germany, including the bombing of a grocery store in Sarcelles, France and the shooting deaths of four Jews at the Otsar HaTorah religious school in Toulouse. Many synagogues in France are now surrounded by high concrete walls and receive special police security details on major holidays. It is also common for Jews in many French cities to remove their kippot for safety reasons when walking outside.

 

The ministry’s report also detailed the rise of anti-Semitic political movements in eastern and southern Europe, including the Golden Dawn party in Greece and the Jobbik party in Hungary. Most anti-Semitic incidents, it claimed, were either motivated by far-right political ideologies or by those affiliated with radical Islam. Figures published by the French Jewish communal organization SPCJ – Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive – in October, the report further noted, show that the number of incidents that occurred in France in 2011 was 45 percent higher than in the previous year.

 

Edelstein also said that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have found fertile ground online and that Arab anti-Semitism remains prominent, although it has not seen a marked increase. A 2011 paper on anti-Semitism produced by the Kantor Center stated that while there was an increase in the intensity of violent incidents against Jews in 2011, the total number of such events worldwide during that year fell from 614 to 446. The report said France was the leading country for anti-Semitic incidents with 114 reported in 2011, followed closely by the UK with 105. Canada and Australia reported 68 and 30, respectively.

 

Dina Porat, head of the Kantor Center and the chief historian at Yad Vashem, noted that [while] “there was in 2012…a rise [in anti-Semitism],…it is not about numbers, but about tendencies,” she told The Jerusalem Post. …In tracking anti-Semitism over a period of years, Porat noted, she has seen that “the rise and decline of anti-Semitism is mainly connected to problems within Europe.” Anti-Semitic incidents in Western and Central Europe, she said, “are not necessarily [connected] to the Middle East or to the Palestinian-Israel conflict or to Israel’s conduct. They emanate from political, social and economic problems.”

 

In response to the report by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor stated that “anti- Semitism in Europe is reaching a tipping point, where certain Jewish communities on the European continent are in danger. We are also gravely concerned that the political rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe has given racists and anti-Semites a certain level of impunity. This coupled with the rise of anti- Israel delegitimization on the Left, and among extreme Muslim communities, is creating an explosive cocktail for European Jews.” The EJC, he stated, is working to formulate “a plan with senior EU and European officials to increase education, policing and action to stem the rise of hatred against the Jews.”

 

After being briefed on the report, Netanyahu told his cabinet that, “In the perspective of the almost 75 years that have passed since the Holocaust, what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews.”

What has changed, he noted, was the “ability of the Jews to defend themselves.” The prime minister also asserted that “nobody will defend the Jews if they are not ready to defend themselves; this is another lesson of the Holocaust. It is impossible to rely on separate and independent action to defend the Jews if the Jews will not defend themselves.”….

 

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WHAT HAPPENED TO SWEDEN?

Michael Curtis

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 25, 2013

 

Just as Raoul Wallenberg remains as an example of courage, Sweden's Mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu, a Social Democrat who has held the office for 17 years, does not.

 

Last October, around 300 people assembled in Raoul Wallenberg Square in Malmo, to join in solidarity the few Jews of Malmo, now numbering about 600, whose community center had just suffered an explosion, and whose cemetery had just been desecrated by antisemitic graffiti. At the same time as this demonstration, on the other side of Malmo, a celebration was taking place to commemorate the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, who, in Hungary in1944, saved thousands of Jews, from being sent to their death in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

 

From July 9, 1944 until his arrest by the Soviet army on January 17, 1945 at the age of 32, Wallenberg issued "protective passports" to thousands of Jews and rented 32 buildings, which he declared diplomatic facilities. He used diplomacy, bribery and blackmail to provide Jews with immunity from arrest. He persuaded General Schmidthuber, the Commander of the German Army in Hungary, to cancel Adolf Eichmann's plan to attack the Jewish ghetto and slaughter the 70,000 Jews there. About 120,000 Jews survived in Hungary alone as a result of Wallenberg's efforts.

 

The courage of Wallenberg is disappointingly absent in Sweden today. Once a moral superpower, Sweden cannot now claim to be seen as even an open or tolerant place. Instead, it has become a haven for antisemitic behaviour, as well as anti-Israel activity, by both Muslim activists and various political groups. Members of the Swedish parliament have attended supposedly "anti-Israel" rallies, which quickly descended into occasions for competitive antisemitic rhetoric. Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked," by "people from the Middle East," according to Malmo resident, Fredrik Sieradzik, in an interview with the Austrian paper, Die Presse. "Malmo," he said, "is a place to move away from."

 

Sweden is now a country where orthodox Jews are afraid to wear a skullcap, and where the largest tabloid paper, Aftonbladet, libellously claimed, in an August 2009 article, that Israeli soldiers were taking the organs of dead Palestinians. When the city of Malmo in 2009 hosted a tennis match between Sweden and Israel, no spectators were allowed for "reasons of security."

 

The individual most conspicuous in the denial of this reality is the mayor of Malmo, Ilmar Reepalu,. This reality consists of attacks on Jews in a city where the Jewish population has been reduced from 2,000 to about 600; where Molotov cocktails are thrown at Jewish funeral chapels, and antisemitic graffiti is scrawled throughout the town. The mayor nevertheless denies the increase in antisemitism there. When he does allude to the subject, he argues that the violence comes from right wing extremists, not from Muslims who now make up a considerable part of his Malmo population.

 

Reepalu asserts that "We accept neither Zionism nor antisemitism. They are extremes that put themselves above other groups, and believe they have a lower value." Of the small Malmo Jewish community, he says: "I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population of Gaza. Instead, it decides to hold a demonstration [in reality a pro-peace rally] which could send the wrong signals." Reepalu speaks of Israeli "genocide" in Gaza.

 

Reepalu, as is common with people in other countries in Europe in their failure to consider that government, laws and human rights partly exists to protect the minority from the majority. He blames the local Jews' use of free speech and freedom of assembly for attacks on them: If only the Jews would stop speaking and gathering peacefully, the distorted logic goes, no one would be attacking them. Historically, the opposite is true: even when Jews remained quiet, and spent years in hiding, as many often did, the only acceptable form of behaviour, apparently, was not to exist.

 

After years of unremitting antisemitic activity in Malmo, many Jews have either left or are thinking of leaving, largely for Stockholm, England or Israel. Reepalu's comment was : "There have not been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo." From time to time the mayor has claimed that his views were misrepresented, but the full recordings, published on the website of the paper Skanska Dagbladet, make clear that they were not.

 

One can only hope that the memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the exemplification of Sweden's height as a moral superpower, may lead some of those exercising power in Sweden to deal with the forces of accelerating bigotry at their doorstep, and their own bigotry inside.

 

Michael Curtis is author of Should Israel Exist? A Sovereign Nation under Attack by the International Community.

 

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68 Years After the 'Liberation' of Auschwitz –Lessons Learned and Unlearned: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Fox News Jan. 26, 2013—On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp. Actually “liberated” is the wrong word. Opened the gates of hell is more appropriate a term.  The numbers of murdered are staggering. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust nearly a quarter of the 6 million Jews killed in Holocaust were mass murdered there, most in gas chambers. Of the 400,000 political prisoners brought to Auschwitz, only 65,000 left alive; of the 16,000 Soviet POWs, 96 returned home.

 

UK Paper Posts Anti-Israel Cartoon On Holocaust Day: Jerusalem Post, Jan. 27, 2013—The Sunday Times of London marked Holocaust Memorial Day [by] running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians.

 

That Unwitting Indecency: Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2013—I wish more Israelis were with me in outlying County Kerry, Ireland, just recently. There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland. It’s all gallingly beside the point.

Seeing The World Through Anne Frank’s Eyes — Via An Ipad: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Jan. 25, 2013—Thanks to a new iPad and Nook app by the UK-based Beyond The Story, students will be able to learn about the Holocaust in a far more effective and experiential manner than ever before. Together with Viking Penguin, publisher of “The Diary,” the company has developed a tablet version of the book which includes interactive links, videos, voice-overs and historical background along with never-before released material supplied by the Switzerland-based Anne Frank Foundation. The app is being released on January 25 to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the 70th anniversary of the date on which Anne Frank started her diary."

 

New Book Exposes World’s Indifference to Nazis After World War II: The Algemeiner, Jan. 25, 2013—A new book claims that governments around the world were unwilling to track down Nazi criminals in the wake of World War II because of “vested interests.” The “Nazi Hunt: South America’s Dictatorships and the Avenging of Nazi Crimes, by German historian Daniel Stahl, calls the half-hearted efforts of postwar governments a ‘coalition of the unwilling.’ Stahl writes that the French feared prosecutions would expose their collaboration during the war, the South Americans feared a spotlight on their own murderous regimes and the West Germans wanted to help ‘old comrades’ get away."

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

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CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

FROM COLUMBIA, TO HARVARD, TO U. OF TORONTO, CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM & ANTI-ZIONISM MUST BE CONFRONTED

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

(Please Note: some articles may have been shortened in the interest of space. Please click on the article  link for the complete text – Ed.)

 

U of T Grad Students Endorse BDS: Jewish Tribune, Dec. 27, 2012—A pro-Israel student has confirmed a report by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) that the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) has passed a motion to endorse boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

 

Pro-Israel Students Criticize BDS Endorsement: Cara Stern, CJN, Dec. 28, 2012— Pro-Israel students are criticizing the process that led the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union (GSU) to officially endorse the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The motion was passed at a Dec. 10 council meeting.

 

Anti-Zionism is a Cover for Antisemitism: Mideast Expert: Alexandra Markus, Jewish Tribune, Dec. 20, 2012—Spyer’s advice for Israel advocates on campus? “Get the truth out. It’s the best way to discredit them by proving that while we have historical knowledge, facts and intellectual rigour, the other side has a lie at the centre of all its claims.” He elaborated on the nature of the extremism by saying that “the unique desire to destroy the only country in the world that is Jewish, after it was formed and ratified by the UN, is antisemitic.”

 

Yes, Anti-Semitism is Still a Problem On Campus: Roz Rothstein, Roberta Seid, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2012—Nearly half of the students interviewed for the study – 43% – reported that anti-Semitism is a problem at their schools. The authors acknowledge this is a “shockingly high” level. If a similarly high percentage of any other campus minority reported experiencing prejudice, most people would consider it unacceptable, and mobilize to take action.

 

On Topic Links

 

Atonement in the Ivy League: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Report, Oct. 31, 2012
UC Irvine Student Government Approves Anti-Israel Boycott: Arnold Ahlert, Front Page Mag, Nov. 16, 2012

Israel and the Campus: The Real Story:  Mitchell G. Bard & Jeff Dawson, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, Fall 2012 (pdf)

 

 

UNIVERISTY OF TORONTO GRAD STUDENTS ENDORSE BDS

Jewish Tribune, Dec. 27, 2012

 

A pro-Israel student has confirmed a report by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) that the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) has passed a motion to endorse boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The student, who asked to remain anonymous, described the machinations of the anti-Israel activists as a “blindside.”…The anti-Israel motion was not on the agenda, but it was accepted as additional business by the meeting chair after the meeting began. He said the room appeared to be stacked with students who supported the BDS movement and knew about the motion in advance.

 

According to the report by SAIA, which was posted on the far-left website Rabble.ca, the resolution states, “Be it resolved that the Graduate Students [sic] Union endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions by calling on the University of Toronto to refrain from investing in all companies complicit in violations of international law. This includes any company that: profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land; directly benefits from the construction of the Wall [sic] and Israeli settlements; is economically active in settlements, and profits from the collective punishment of Palestinians. “This would include the companies BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard.”….

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PRO-ISRAEL STUDENTS CRITICIZE BDS ENDORSEMENT

Cara Stern

CJN, Dec. 28, 2012

 

Pro-Israel students are criticizing the process that led the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union (GSU) to officially endorse the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The motion was passed at a Dec. 10 council meeting that included an annual general meeting (AGM), in which all graduate students who attended were allowed vote.

 

The move follows three other university student councils that officially adopted the campaign in the past year – Carleton University, the University of Regina and, most recently, York University. When the motion was brought up at a council meeting last year with due notice and fair representation of the graduate student population, it failed, said Jason Dumelie, academic and funding commissioner for the GSU.

 

This time, there was no advance notice of the motion, so nobody except the people pushing for the endorsement knew about it, said Israela Stein, a political science graduate student and Hillel spokesperson. “Obviously, that changed the balance of the vote.”

 

Dumelie said the success of the motion demonstrates the passion and conviction of the people who organized graduate students to come and vote on the motion. “However, it is not at all clear that it represents the views of a majority of graduate students at the University of Toronto, since no notice of the motion was provided prior to the meeting,” he said.

 

Stein said it’s this lack of transparency that leads to arbitrary and illegitimate decisions. And “every student should be bothered by arbitrary decisions.” The AGM is open to all graduate students, where anybody can bring forward any motion, said Erin Oldynski, the GSU’s external commissioner. The membership then decides whether to discuss a motion.

 

According to the union’s website, a general meeting “is an opportunity to discuss and guide the work of the students’ union, along with approving and scrutinizing audited statements and bylaw amendments.” Therefore, this issue was not suitable for the AGM, Stein said.

 

At the meeting, Dumelie said he raised a point of order with this concern. Additionally, he said some students questioned the lack of due notification. However, the chair allowed the motion based on the fact it was voted onto the agenda.

 

Dumelie said it isn’t clear people understood the motion had to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when they voted for it and that some thought it had to do with anti-corporatization. Even with a clear description, it was impossible for the vote to be defeated due to the sheer number of people in attendance in support of the motion, as all graduate students who attend have voting rights during an AGM, he said….

 

Shirin Ezekiel, associate executive director for Hillel of Greater Toronto, said Hillel has been in contact with university administration and is confident the university is taking the matter seriously and will “deal with the GSU in the appropriate manner to ensure procedures are followed.”

 

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is examining the GSU’s bylaws and is determining what recommendations it can make to Hillel in “pursuing the apparent violation of bylaws,” said Howard English, CIJA’s senior vice-president. Ultimately, the problem with this kind of campaign is that it doesn’t challenge Israeli policies, but rather denies Israel’s right to self-determination, said Stein. “It’s beyond radical.”

 

In response, Oldynski said the motion calls for the university to divest from all companies worldwide that violate human rights – not just Israel. However, the resolution specifically urges the university to “refrain from investing in all companies complicit in the violations of international law,” singling out companies that it says “profits from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, directly benefits from the construction of the wall [security barrier] and Israeli settlements, is economically active in settlements, and profits from the collective punishment of Palestinians.”

 

Now that the motion has passed, the GSU membership will decide the direction it will take, Oldynski said, adding that it may involve lobbying the university administration to divest from companies that violate human rights, organizing discussions on the topic and working with other organizations dedicated to promoting human rights.

 

The university’s statement to The CJN said that although the GSU resolution has endorsed the BDS campaign, “the GSU has no authority to bind its members to any particular course of action at all regarding Israel and Israeli products or academic interchanges or international companies doing business with Israel….

 

More than five years ago, university president David Naylor called academic boycotts “antithetical to academic freedom, counter-productive, and likely to do more harm than good as regards any issue of human rights and political or military conflict.” In its most recent statement on the endorsement, the university reiterated that it stands by that assertion.

 

The GSU’s endorsement focuses on economic boycotts. However, the larger BDS campaign includes both economic and academic boycotts, Stein said. Although these endorsements have been called symbolic, since student unions themselves tend not to have actual investments in Israel, Stein said students should still care about what it could lead in the future.

 

“This is a fight on public opinion and on slander,” she said, adding that they are trying to stop it before it leads to action. “Every U of T student should be deeply concerned that this is what is done with their money and, most importantly, in their name.”

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ANTI-ZIONISM IS A COVER FOR ANTISEMITISM: MIDEAST EXPERT

Alexandra Markus

Jewish Tribune, Dec. 20, 2012 |

 

Shortly before Israel engaged in Operation Pillar of Defense, and college campuses erupted in a spate of anti-Israel rallies, Jonathan Spyer, a senior fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, addressed an audience in a packed boardroom at McGill University in Montreal telling them that the notion of anti-Zionism has become a cover for antisemitism, and that pro-Israel students on campus have a duty to debunk it.

 

“The mantra in the Middle East has become ‘anyone whom I do not like is a ‘Jew,’” Spyer said.

This culture, he claimed, is brought to North American university campuses, where it is used to promote antisemitic ideology in a way that is palatable to many on the left, who see Jews as the powerful and Palestinians as the powerless.

 

“Anti-Zionism is a lie,” Spyer said forcefully. “Anti-Zionism used in 2012 is an attempt to obfuscate that fact to pretend that the desire to destroy a people and a culture is a political philosophy challenge. If you have a political movement that wishes to bring a state into existence, then you can support or opposite it, but to seek to destroy it once it exists is an extremist demand.”

 

Spyer’s advice for Israel advocates on campus? “Get the truth out. It’s the best way to discredit them by proving that while we have historical knowledge, facts and intellectual rigour, the other side has a lie at the centre of all its claims.” He elaborated on the nature of the extremism by saying that “the unique desire to destroy the only country in the world that is Jewish, after it was formed and ratified by the UN, is antisemitic.”

 

He distinguished between criticizing the Jewish state and denying its right to exist, stating that, “It is legitimate to criticize the actions of the Israeli government, for example, if you have concluded that Netanyahu’s government has made wrong decisions. But if the person wants the state of Israel to cease to be, that is antisemitism.”

 

Spyer cited a Pew Research Survey that found that about 95 per cent of people in Middle Eastern countries have unfavourable opinions of Jews. When students from these regions study on North American university campuses, he said, they often bring their hatred with them.

 

Despite the dark message that he brought to McGill, Spyer ended on an optimistic note. Ultimately, he thinks that the pro-Israel side is bound to emerge victorious. “No lie can prevail for long,” he said…. 

 

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YES, ANTI-SEMITISM IS STILL A PROBLEM ON CAMPUS

Roz Rothstein, Roberta Seid

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2012

 

Mitchell Bard and Jeff Dawson’s new study, Israel and the Campus: The Real Story, led many newspapers to trumpet that anti-Semitism is not a problem on American campuses. They pointed to the study’s finding that significant anti-Israel incidents occurred at only about three percent of schools, with most occurring in only a handful of colleges. But the headlines got the wrong take-away message from the study, given the implications of these numbers, the study’s other findings, and our experiences on the front lines of anti- Israel campus activism over the past 11 years. Fortunately, not all schools are a problem, but the challenge is serious and should not be minimized.

 

Nearly half of the students interviewed for the study – 43% – reported that anti-Semitism is a problem at their schools. The authors acknowledge this is a “shockingly high” level. If a similarly high percentage of any other campus minority reported experiencing prejudice, most people would consider it unacceptable, and mobilize to take action.

 

The authors suggest that campus anti-Semitism/anti-Israelism have been with us since the 1950s, so there is no reason for undue concern. But this long-range view misses the great difference between earlier decades and today. Israel simply had not been the burning issue on campuses in earlier decades. That changed abruptly in 2000 when Palestinians launched the terrorist war known as the second intifada.

 

Simultaneously, an alliance of extremists launched an aggressive anti-Israel propaganda campaign to disparage Israel. The campaign came to be known as the new anti-Semitism, with “Israel” replacing “Jew,” but with the same accusations, irrationality and fanaticism that characterized traditional anti-Semitism. In the West, its epicenter was college campuses. The Palestinian-Israel conflict became the most inflammatory campus issue, the focus of student activism and of panels, demonstrations and agitprop….

 

Many pro-Israel students tell our campus professionals that they have become too uncomfortable to openly admit they support Israel. The study overlooks this progressive radicalization of dialogue and atmosphere. The study seemed to suggest that anti-Israelism on campus is not so serious because there were only 674 incidents from 2010 to 2011, and they were clustered in the spring. This number, which in any case is unacceptably high, doesn’t accurately reflect the situation….

 

Nor should we take comfort from the finding that anti-Israel events occurred at “only” 108 out of 4,000 schools, and that one-third occurred at only 10 schools. These were not obscure schools. The list included some of the largest, most prestigious and influential schools in the country: Harvard, Columbia, four University of California campuses including UCLA and the University of Maryland.

 

Activities at these schools make national media headlines. When an anti-Israel student wrote a Harvard Crimson op-ed in October that accused Israel of deliberately preventing SAT tests from reaching Palestinians in Ramallah to deprive them of educational opportunity, the incident hit mainstream newspapers. The US State Department itself felt compelled to publicly explain that the tests had been held up in customs because the office was closed during the Jewish holidays, and the test had simply been rescheduled.

Indeed, anti-Israel activists try to get their events and propaganda associated with big-name schools. In November [2012], for example, Students for Justice in Palestine will hold its second national convention at the University of Michigan. One of the scheduled sessions is a video conference with Khader Adnan, a West Bank leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad who had been caught on tape in 2007 inciting a crowd, saying, “Who among you will be the next suicide bomber?”

The campus study reports that student government resolutions calling for divestment from companies doing business with Israel have been defeated at all but one school. This is good, but not reassuring. The purpose of such resolutions is not passage, but rather forcing debate to spread anti-Israel canards and make them seem familiar and even normal.

 

The study cites Dr. Sam Edelman’s observation that, “The delegitimizers have adopted Nazi Julius Streicher’s strategy of throwing mud at Israel in the expectation that some of it will stick.” In addition, pro-Israel students had to devote enormous time and effort to counter these resolutions, which were only narrowly defeated, and Jewish students keenly felt the fallout of embittered relations on campus. More divestment resolutions and boycott efforts are expected for this academic year.

 

More importantly, as Bard and Dawson point out, the most serious problem is anti-Israel faculty. Their numbers have grown for several reasons: the vogue of post-modern, post-colonial ideology leavened with the Israeli “new historians”; active recruitment since 9/11 of faculty from the Middle East to teach about the region; and the Saudis’ infusion of hundreds of millions dollars to set up special Middle East study programs.

 

Often, these professors lead the anti-Israel charge, and co-sponsor anti-Israel events, as Harvard’s Middle East Studies department has. They hire other faculty who share their views. They use their classrooms and reading lists to spread their bias against Israel, sometimes bullying students in their classes who disagree with them. Students are captive audiences, and dependent on their professors for their grades.

 

The study indirectly suggests that these professors and campus activists may have had an impact: 25% of students interviewed believe Israel is an apartheid state; 48% are not sure whether Israel protects the rights of its Arab minority while only 10% said that Israel does protect minority rights.

It would be naive to minimize the impact these professors have on broader society. Their prestigious positions lend credibility to their op-eds, textbooks, books, speeches, tours and media interviews. Many are involved in outreach programs to teachers in K-12 who take courses for continuing education credits, as they do at Georgetown University. Through these outlets, anti-Israel professors can normalize the worst canards against Zionism, Israel and Jews.

 

However, the situation is not all bleak. As Bard and Dawson point out, pro-Israel organizations and students have mobilized to respond.….In many cases, the anti-Israel campaign backfired, producing pro-Israel student leaders motivated to teach their campus communities about Israel. Several organizations now work with these students. Some pro-Israel faculty have also stepped forward to insist on restoring academic and professional standards, and to sponsor Israel education events.

 

Despite the positive developments, we should not let misleading interpretations of the study or glib headlines lull us into complacency. The challenge remains, and we must do all we can to meet it. Israel and our pro-Israel students deserve no less.

 

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Atonement in the Ivy League: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Report, Oct. 31, 2012—Yet anti-Israel sentiment continues to make its presence felt on Ivy League campuses, and American Jews, who have grown comfortable in their successes, are now faced with identifying with and defending an Israel that often seems foreign and detached. Cases have come to the fore at Princeton, Yale and Columbia universities in recent years. And the most notable of these instances have revealed a widening divergence in the Jewish community.

UC Irvine Student Government Approves Anti-Israel Boycott: Arnold Ahlert, Front Page Magazine, Nov. 16, 2012—Even as missiles launched from Gaza are killing innocent Israelis, there is no rest for the anti-Semitic, Israel-bashers at the University of California, Irvine. On Tuesday night, the student senate passed a non-binding resolution requesting that the school divest from eight companies currently doing business with the Jewish State.

 

Israel and the Campus: The Real Story:  Mitchell G. Bard & Jeff Dawson, American-Israeli cooperative Enterprise, Fall 2012—The college campus has long been the one place where anti-Israel activity and anti-Semitism have been tolerated, and colleges remain shockingly ambivalent toward the complaints of students and others about the hostility expressed by students, faculty and visitors toward Jews and their homeland. 

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

BEINART’S “JEWISH” CRITIQUE OF ISRAEL & ZIONISM—PROFOUND PRINCIPLE, OR PERFIDIOUS PETE?

PETER BEINART’S PEACE-MAKING
Daniel Gordis

Jerusalem Post, March 22, 2012

‘To save Israel, boycott the settlements,’ Peter Beinart pleaded [in March] in [the] New York Times. Israel, he says, is dangerously creating one political entity between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in which “millions of West Bank Palestinians are barred from citizenship and the right to vote in the state that controls their lives.”

Therefore, it is time to drop the phrase “West Bank.” Or “Judea and Samaria.” Rather, Beinart suggests, freedom and democracy-loving Jews should now call the West Bank “nondemocratic Israel.” Perhaps, he muses, that name and the boycotts of West Bank settlements that he hopes will follow might save whatever hope remains for a two-state solution.

Many Jews, including Zionists deeply committed to Israel, will resonate to portions of Beinart’s argument. They will agree that the conflict has lingered far too long, and that it is, at certain times, brutal and ugly.… They will certainly share Beinart’s wish that matters could be otherwise.

But Beinart’s op-ed is cavalier, and thus dangerous, on many levels.… Beinart argues that the boundary between Israel and the West Bank has become unconscionably blurred, but then ignores his own complaint in pretending that one could boycott the latter without punishing all of Israel. The whole plan is so half-baked that one knows, instantly, that it cannot be taken seriously. Why, then, even suggest it? Because of a psychology we need to understand.

A similar line of reasoning leads Beinart to place most of the blame for our morass on the Israeli side. Though he acknowledges that the Palestinians haven’t been much help, Beinart invariably spotlights Israel. “Many Israeli maps and textbooks no longer show the green line at all,” he notes. That’s true. But what about Hamas? And what about the maps distributed by the Palestinian authority? Surely, Beinart knows that they have always avoided showing the Green Line, suggesting that all of Israel will one day be theirs. Why does he never mention that? As Clinton might have said, “It’s the psychology, stupid.”

That very same dangerous psychology also leads Beinart to a complete ignoring of history and of the future. Nowhere in this op-ed…do we learn about how the “occupation” began. It’s as if Israel woke up one morning, and for want of anything better to do, grabbed the West Bank. Or why no mention of the fact that Ehud Olmert, to cite but one example, was elected prime minister on a platform of getting out of the West Bank, after the Gaza fiasco had already begun to unfold, but was stymied by the Second Lebanon War, which he, of course, did not start? In Beinart-land, the past is a blank screen.…

The future is absent as well. Beinart cannot bear the occupation, but dares not imagine what might unfold if Israel retreated tomorrow. Just last [month], the southern portion of Israel was immobilized by rocket-fire from Gaza, even with Iron Dome in place. What would Beinart have us do? Move back to the Green Line so that Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the runways of Ben-Gurion Airport would also be in range?… Does Beinart believe that pulling back to the Green Line would end the armed resistance? Hezbollah and Hamas insist that it wouldn’t. Does he not believe them? Does he understand their intentions better than they themselves do? We don’t know, because he never even raises the subject of what the future might bring. The psychology precludes that.

The seemingly noble but tragic psychological logic of Beinart’s worldview goes like this: Good Jews do not occupy people. Therefore, for this unbearable conflict to continue violates our most basic Jewish sensibilities. And since, deep down, we know that Israel’s enemies are not going to compromise (and why should they, given that time and increasing numbers of Jews are on their side?), we must do whatever it takes to end it. Better that Israel should take the moral high road—even at great danger—so that we no longer feel shamed. The less they budge, the more we must. For the conflict must end at any cost.…

What Beinart and his movement owe those of us dubious about their proposals is an answer to these questions: Do you really believe that compromise on Israel’s part now will end the conflict? Do Fatah agreements with Hamas mean nothing? If peace will not come even when Israel retreats, what do you propose that Israel should do once rockets are launched from the West Bank, too? And perhaps most damning: Is it possible that when people espouse your position they give the Palestinians ever less reason to compromise, thus making war more likely, not less?

As the American Civil War raged, John Stuart Mill had this to say to Americans wearying of the conflict: “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral…feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

Sadly, some battles cannot be ended, and when they cannot, even if they occasionally shame us, they must be fought. Neither personal safety nor even absolute moral comfort are ultimate values. Any Jew with even a smidgeon of Jewish sensibility wishes that this simmering war could end. But we ignore John Stuart Mill at our own peril. Ending a war at any cost sounds noble, but it is cowardly. For if we cannot articulate that there are things worth fighting for—and yes, killing and dying for—then tragically, we are “miserable creatures who have no chance at being free.”

It was precisely that condition that Zionism sought to end. Thinking Jews dare not knowingly embrace it now.

A MISSIONARY IMPULSE
Jonathan Rosen

NY Times, April 13, 2012

“The Jews are like rats,” Peter Beinart’s grandmother told him when he was a boy. “We leave the sinking ship.” This grandmother—who was born in Egypt and lived in South Africa but dreamed of joining her brother in Israel—believed that Israel was the last refuge of a hounded people, and she made Beinart, who was born in the United States, believe it, too.

But Beinart, a former editor of The New Republic who now runs a blog called Open Zion, has a problem: he finds Israel, morally, a sinking ship. Instead of simply swimming away, he has written “The Crisis of Zionism,” in which he sets out to save the country by labeling many of its leaders racist, denouncing many of its American supporters as Holocaust-obsessed enablers and advocating a boycott of people and products from beyond Israel’s 1967 eastern border. While saving Israel, Beinart hopes with evangelical zeal to save America from a handful of Jewish organizations that in his view have not only hijacked American liberalism but also stolen the spine of the president of the United States, who, despite having received 78 percent of the Jewish vote, is powerless to pursue his own agenda.

Like a majority of Israelis, Beinart believes that it is depleting, degrading and dangerous for Israel to oversee the lives of millions of stateless Palestinians, and also like a majority of Israelis, he thinks the solution is the creation of a Palestinian state. But because he minimizes the cataclysmic impact of the second Intifada; describes Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza not as a gut-wrenching act of desperation but as a cynical ploy to continue the occupation by other means; belittles those who harp on a Hamas charter that calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews the world over; and plays down the magnitude of the Palestinian demand for a right of return—not to a future Palestine but to Israel itself, which would destroy the Jewish state—he liberates his book from the practicalities of politics.

How you condense a thorny complexity into a short book says a great deal about your relationship to history—and to language. Beinart is especially good at invoking facts as a way of dismissing them. Thus Israel’s offer to withdraw from conquered land in 1967, and the Arab States’ declaration—“No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it”—becomes literally a parenthetical aside in which the Arabs’ “apparent refusal” made Israeli settlement “easier.”

Jews, Beinart insists, are failing what he calls “the test of Jewish power.” He does not mean by this that after millenniums of statelessness, Jews are slow to acknowledge the exigencies of force but something quite the opposite, which allows him to employ several formulations favored by anti-Semites, from the notion of a White House-crushing Israel lobby, and the observation that “privately, American Jews revel in Jewish power,” to the grotesque idea that “in the 1970s, American Jewish organizations began hoarding the Holocaust.…” In Beinart’s world…to worry about existential threats to a country the size of New Jersey, with fewer than eight million people living in a suicide-bombing nuclear age, is to surrender to “Jewish victimhood.…”

Though allowing that “there is some truth” to the argument that Palestinians have turned their back on past offers of a two-state solution, Beinart’s formula—“were Israel to permit the creation of a Palestinian state”—waves that away, establishing, through purely rhetorical means, that peace is Israel’s to bestow, and incidentally robbing Palestinians of any role in their own destiny. But then Beinart has little to say about Palestinians in any case.… He [likewise] pays scant attention to the larger Arab world, finding it easier to recast a Mideast struggle as an American-Israeli drama.…

Beinart has a missionary impulse toward Israel. His faith resides in “liberal ideals,” which he often makes synonymous with Judaism itself, or what Judaism ought to be. Thus we are told that Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t trust Barack Obama because “Obama reminds Netanyahu of what Netanyahu doesn’t like about Jews,” by which he means a sense of moral obligation. In a neat trick of replacement theology, Obama, referred to as “the Jewish president,” becomes the real Jew on whom election has fallen figuratively as well as literally. Netanyahu, meanwhile, languishes in an old and brutal dispensation, indulging in “the glorification of the ferocious Jews of antiquity.…” Beinart declares that we need “a new American Jewish story.…”

Beinart cites approvingly Israel’s declaration of statehood, read aloud by David Ben-Gurion in 1948. It promised “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” Yet Ben-Gurion also decided to eliminate from that document any reference to Israel’s borders, because the Arabs were preparing to attack and he wasn’t fighting to defend rejected borders but to save his state. The written as well as the unwritten words form a kind of text and commentary that Israel still struggles to balance amid all the brute realities of an unforgiving region. Sometimes it does this well and sometimes badly, but the struggle itself is the hallmark of a civilization far beyond Peter Beinart’s Manichaean simplicities.

PETER BEINART’S FALSE PROPHECY
Bret Stephens

Tablet, March 26, 2012

“I wrote this book because of my grandmother, who made me a Zionist. And because of Khaled Jaber, who could have been my son.” So begins Peter Beinart’s new book, The Crisis of Zionism, and already you know he’s off to a bad start. Leave aside the oleaginous appeal to Grandma. The real question is: Someone named Khaled Jaber could have been Beinart’s son?

Sorry if I just can’t get past hello, but this curious little intro tells us something about the methods—factually cavalier and emotionally contrived—of the whole book. Here’s the story: Khaled Jaber is a young Palestinian boy whose father, Fadel, was arrested by Israelis in 2010 for stealing water.… The arrest—and Khaled’s frantic efforts to reach his “Baba” as he’s being hauled away—were caught on a video and later reported in the Israeli press.

The connection to Beinart is that Beinart’s son also calls him Baba. That’s it. Yet watching the video sparked in Beinart what he describes as a kind of Damascene conversion: “For most of my life,” he writes, “my reaction to accounts of Palestinian suffering has been rationalization, a search for reasons why the accounts are exaggerated or the suffering self-inflicted.… But in recent years, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I have been lowering my defenses, and Khaled’s cries left me staring in mute horror at my computer screen.”

This is disturbing, though not in the way Beinart intends. Many people form their views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on snapshot impressions, often shorn of the most basic context. That’s a shame, but at least most of these people don’t go on to write books on the subject. Journalists, by contrast—and Beinart…currently teaches journalism at City University of New York—are supposed to, you know, dig deeper. Get the full picture. Go where the facts lead.

So, you might expect that Beinart would have made the effort to reach out to the Jabers, perhaps even by flying out and meeting them in person. Who is this family in whose name this book is ostensibly written? Are they supporters of peaceful co-existence with Israel or advocates of terrorism? Do they intend to vote for Fatah or Hamas at the next poll? Was Fadel’s arrest as unjustified as Beinart makes it seem? Is it true that Israel deprives Palestinians of their fair share of water rights? Would the Fadels be better off as farmers in a Palestinian state? What was the state of Palestinian agriculture—not to mention education, health, and infrastructure—before 1967?

These are real questions, worth exploring intelligently.… But in this book they are merely props in the drama known as Being Peter Beinart, the self-appointed anguished conscience and angry scold of the Jewish state.

* * *

…Beinart is the author of a June 2010 essay in the New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” Beinart’s basic thesis was that institutional U.S. Jewry has slavishly followed a right-wing line on Israel at the very moment when younger American Jews are becoming increasingly sympathetic to Palestinians, ashamed of the occupation, and appalled by what Zionism has become.

How many minutes elapsed between the Review publication and the signing of a contract with the publishing imprint of the New York Times I do not know. Clearly it wasn’t long enough. A few months after “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” first appeared…a team of scholars led by Brandeis’ Theodore Sasson released an exhaustive survey of American Jewish views toward Israel.… The Sasson study [found] a whopping 82 percent of American Jews feel that U.S. support for Israel is either “just about right” or “not supportive enough”—and that’s just among those Jews who describe themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal.” Among those calling themselves “middle of the road,” the figure rises to 94 percent. Regarding the settlements, just 26 percent of even liberal Jews think Israel should dismantle all of them; among moderates, the figure drops to 10 percent.…

To anyone reasonably familiar with the sensibilities of mainstream American Jewry, this finding probably comes as no surprise. How would Beinart deal with it in his book, I wondered? Would the Sasson data at least force him to tone down the thunder of denunciation he had hurled at a “failed” American Jewish establishment?… Would he dial back a little on the notion that an American Jewry that usually votes Democratic is also ripe to adopt the “progressive” line on Israel, too? Yet Beinart would not be toned down.…

* * *

Beinart’s habit of what is either inexplicable sloppiness or extreme interpretative elasticity turns out to be one of the defining characteristics of The Crisis of Zionism. In fact, one of the challenges of reviewing the book is that it practically demands a typology. Consider a few examples:

Elasticity of attribution: Describing the effects of Israel’s policy toward Gaza after Hamas’s election in 2006, Beinart writes that “the blockade shattered [Gaza’s] economy. By 2008, 90 percent of Gaza’s industrial complex had closed.” The source of this claim is a study conducted by the IMF—in 2003.

Of omission: Beinart quotes former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami telling Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that “If I were a Palestinian, I would have rejected Camp David as well.” Yet Ben-Ami said in the same interview that Yasser Arafat “was morally, psychologically, physically incapable of accepting the moral legitimacy of a Jewish state, regardless of its borders or whatever.” This goes unquoted.…

Of consistency: Beinart acknowledges that “the populism sweeping the Middle East has unleashed frightening hostility against the Jewish state.” Yet in the same paragraph he writes: “The Egyptian leaders who have emerged in Hosni Mubarak’s wake are not calling for Israel’s destruction, let alone promising to take up arms in the cause.” Maybe Beinart should acquaint himself with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Essam El-Erian, currently head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Parliament. “The earthquake of the Arab Spring will mark the end of the Zionist entity,” El-Erian said recently.

Of fact: Returning to the subject of Gaza, Beinart writes that the Strip “remains a place of brutal suffering.” This, he adds, is the case even after Israel eased its blockade following the Turkish flotilla business in 2010. Really? Here’s what New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (whose politics track Beinart’s, but who also visits the places he writes about) had to say on that score in a July 2010 column: “Visiting Gaza persuaded me, to my surprise, that Israel is correct when it denies that there is any full-fledged humanitarian crisis in Gaza.…”

There’s more of this. Much more. In fact, the errors in Beinart’s book pile up at such a rate that they become almost impossible to track. Still, the deeper problem isn’t that there’s so much in Beinart’s book that is untrue, but rather so much that is half-true: the accurate quote used in a misleading way; the treatment of highly partisan sources as objective and unobjectionable; the settlement of ferocious debates among historians in a single, dismissive sentence; the one-sided giving—and withholding—of the benefit of the doubt; the “to be sure” and “of course” clauses that do more to erase balance than introduce it. It’s a cheap kind of slipperiness that’s hard to detect but leaves its stain on nearly every page.

* * *

Typically, books that are loose with the facts at least offer thought-provoking arguments. Here again The Crisis of Zionism fails us. Its early chapters—on what a sink of oppression, religious fanaticism, diplomatic foolishness, and moral blindness modern Israel has become—read like a slightly less turgid version of parts of The Israel Lobby.

Then there is Beinart’s hysteria-fueled treatment of the Israeli political scene. His fundamental contention is that the growth of Jewish communities in the territories has effectively faded the Green Line to the point of near-invisibility. This is the sheerest bunk. The reason Ariel Sharon was reluctant to build the security barrier is that he understood it meant drawing a de facto border between Israel and the territories. But he built it anyway, just as he also decided to get Israel out of Gaza.…

The real problem for Beinart’s argument is that, in word and deed, Palestinians have repeatedly furnished good reasons for the Israeli (and American) right to argue against further territorial withdrawals, at least until something fundamental changes in Palestinian political culture. I supported disengagement from Gaza as editor of the Jerusalem Post. But it’s hard to argue that the results have been stellar in terms of what a Palestinian state portends.…

Beinart is singularly intent on scolding Israel.… To him, no Israeli misdeed is too small that it can’t serve as an alibi for Palestinian malfeasance. And no Palestinian crime is so great that it can justify even a moment’s pause in Israel’s quest to do right by its neighbor.…

In Beinart’s world, then, Israel has no real mortal enemies—other than itself. Would that it were so…but that’s not how it is. That wasn’t the hand dealt to the Jews of 1948 when they fought…their way to statehood. That hasn’t been the deal with which Israelis have lived ever since. Maybe Beinart imagines that his own treasured Zionist legacy—the one he learned on his grandmother’s knee—exists in some sealed compartment, translucent and softly glowing. I suspect his grandmother knows better.

Here, then, is the core problem with The Crisis of Zionism: It is not a work of political analysis. It is an act of moral solipsism. It shows no understanding that the essence of statesmanship is the weighing of various unpalatable alternatives. Instead, the book imagines that politics is merely a matter of weighing “right” against “wrong,” both words defined in exclusively moral terms, and always choosing “right.” This is…to misunderstand the nature of all politics. It is to completely miss the fundamental purpose of the Jewish state, which is to no longer be at the mercy of someone else’s choice of evils. Or, to put it cute: Israel exists so that the Chosen People might suffer a little less as a Choosing People.…