Tag: Campus Activism

AS ISRAELIS CELEBRATE YOM YERUSHALAYIM—COLLEGE CAMPUSES RECEIVE FAILING GRADES FOR LOGIC & SANITY

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.

 

Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities: Jennifer Medina & Tamar Lewin, New York Times, May 9, 2015 — The debates can stretch from dusk to dawn, punctuated by tearful speeches and forceful shouting matches, with accusations of racism, colonialism and anti-Semitism.

This Pro-Israel Student Leader Lets Alan Dershowitz ‘Sleep at Night’: Maayan Jaffe, Algemeiner, Apr. 26, 2015— Jewish organizations and leaders have been racking their brains trying to address the issue of skyrocketing antisemitism on college campuses.

The Modern University Risks Becoming a Cocoon of Self-Indulgence and Anti-Intellectualism: Rex Murphy, National Post, Mar. 27, 2015 — Lighthouses of reason, or beacons of  folly?

Jerusalem Day: City of Peace: Shlomo Riskin, Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2015— What is so special about Jerusalem?

 

On Topic Links

 

Jerusalem Then and Now: A Journey in Photos: Noam Chen, Times of Israel, May 14, 2015

Re-Liberating Jerusalem: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, May 15, 2015

Draft International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Anti-Semitism: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, May 6, 2015

Anti-Semitism Goes to School: Ruth Wisse, Mosaic, May 4, 2015

         

                            

CAMPUS DEBATES ON ISRAEL DRIVE

A WEDGE BETWEEN JEWS AND MINORITIES                                     

Jennifer Medina & Tamar Lewin

New York Times, May 9, 2015

 

The debates can stretch from dusk to dawn, punctuated by tearful speeches and forceful shouting matches, with accusations of racism, colonialism and anti-Semitism. At dozens of college campuses across the country, student government councils are embracing resolutions calling on their administrations to divest from companies that enable what they see as Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians.

 

And while no university boards or administrators are heeding the students’ demands, the effort to pressure Israel appears to be gaining traction at campuses across the country and driving a wedge between many Jewish and minority students. The movement is part of the broader Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, or B.D.S., which has spread in recent years both in Europe and the United States. The issue has received intense attention on campus particularly since the conflict in Gaza last summer, which killed hundreds of Palestinians. The movement’s goal is to isolate and punish Israel for its policies toward Palestinians and its occupation of the West Bank.

 

There are now Israel-related divestment groups at hundreds of major colleges, including the University of Michigan, Princeton, Cornell and most of the University of California campuses. Their proposals are having mixed success: So far this year, students have passed them on seven campuses and rejected them on eight.

 

College activists favoring divestment have cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a powerful force’s oppression of a displaced group, and have formed alliances with black, Latino, Asian, Native American, feminist and gay rights organizations on campus. The coalitions — which explicitly link the Palestinian cause to issues like police brutality, immigration and gay rights — have caught many longtime Jewish leaders off guard, particularly because they belonged to such progressive coalitions less than a generation ago.

 

At Northwestern University this year, for example, the student government debated a divestment resolution for more than five hours, as students with clashing views sat on opposite sides of the room. Some of the talk was openly hostile, with charges of racism and colonialism. “Discomfort is felt by every person of color on this campus,” said an Egyptian-American senior, Hagar Gomaa. “To those who say this divestment bill makes you uncomfortable, I say: Check your privilege.”

 

A speaker who identified herself only as a Chicana student said she was there to support Palestinians on campus. “We have seen the racism of people who get mad that so many empowered minorities are recognizing how their struggles are tied to the Palestinian struggle,” she said. “Students have accused us of conflating many cases of oppression. To these students, I have a couple of words for you: What you call conflation, we call solidarity.” A student who said she had family in Israel was among those who shot back for the other side. Voting for divestiture, she said, is “pointing fingers, it’s aggressive, it’s misinformed, it’s unjust, and — most important for this campus — it’s totally one-sided.”

 

When the vote was finally taken by secret ballot, the tally was close, with 24 in favor of asking Northwestern’s administration to divest — which it did not do — and 22 against. As the debates spill from undergraduate council to dorm room, students and college officials are grappling with where to draw the line between opposition to Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza — a position shared by many Jews — and hostility toward Jews. Opponents of divestment sometimes allude to the Holocaust. “What bothers me is the shocking amnesia of people who look at the situation of American Jews right now and say, ‘You’re privileged, you don’t have a right to complain about discrimination,’ ” said Rachel Roberts, a freshman at Stanford who is on the board of the Jewish Student Association there. “To turn a blind eye to the sensitivities of someone’s cultural identity is to pretend that history didn’t happen.”

 

Everywhere, the discussions are long and tense: At Michigan, where the student government narrowly defeated a divestment resolution this year for the second time, university staff members were on hand to talk to students and help if they needed a break from the debate. At several schools where divestment proposals have been considered, swastikas have been painted on the doors of Jewish fraternities. “There’s more poison in the rhetoric than we’ve ever felt before,” said Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, the executive director of Hillel at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has worked on college campuses for more than four decades. “There are so many students who now see Israel as part of the establishment they’re against. What’s alarming is this gets deeply embedded and there’s no longer room for real discussion.”

 

But where many Jews say they worry about anti-Semitism, divestment activists say they are concerned about retaliation and the stifling of their views. Sometimes, the specific aims of campus divestment campaigns can get lost in broader debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At Barnard College, which is one-third Jewish, a group called Students for Justice in Palestine put up a banner last year saying, “Stand for Justice, Stand for Palestine,” showing a map of the area with no internal border demarcating Israel. The banner was taken down the next morning after Jewish students complained that it made them feel threatened. Jannine Salman, the member of Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine who made the banner, said that anti-Zionism, not anti-Semitism, was the motive — and that the recent formation of a campus chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, which favors divestment, should drive home the point.

 

“There is a bifurcation: Zionism is a political identity, Judaism is a religious identity, and it does a disservice to both to blur the line,” Ms. Salman said. “When there was the anti-apartheid boycott in South Africa, was that anti-white? Absolutely not. This is like that.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

                                                                       

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THIS PRO-ISRAEL STUDENT LEADER LETS

ALAN DERSHOWITZ ‘SLEEP AT NIGHT’                                                                               

Maayan Jaffe                                                                                             

Algemeiner, Apr. 26, 2015

 

Jewish organizations and leaders have been racking their brains trying to address the issue of skyrocketing antisemitism on college campuses. But at least one prominent pro-Israel activist is reassured by the presence of a student more than five decades his junior. “Justin Hayet lets me sleep at night,” says Alan Dershowitz, the 76-year-old former Harvard Law School professor.

 

The laundry list of recent antisemitic incidents on college campuses isn’t pretty. Swastikas were painted on the building of a Jewish fraternity house at University of California, Davis. Jewish candidates for student government at University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford University have been grilled about their religion. A Jewish professor at Connecticut College has been persecuted over false accusations that he called for the annihilation of the Palestinians. “Right now is a time of fear,” says Gilad Skolnick, director of campus programming for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). “We continue to see an uptick in antisemitism on campus and it scares students from doing what they are supposed to do at university—engage in educational and open discourse.”

 

Enter Justin Hayet, a 21-year-old student at Binghamton University – State University of New York, who says that while many of his peers “run away and try to ignore” anti-Semitism, he is “running toward it.” “I want to fix it,” Hayet tells JNS.org. On May 3, Hayet will receive CAMERA’s David Bar-Illan Award for Outstanding Campus Activism award at the media watchdog organization’s annual gala dinner. Chloe Valdary, a pro-Israel student at the University of New Orleans, will receive a similar award. The David Bar-Illan Award is given in memory of the renowned Israeli editor, musician, and policy leader to students who are making Israel’s case on campuses that are often ideological battlegrounds.

 

“Who is going to replace us?” Dershowitz tells JNS.org, speculating on a day when well-known Jewish leaders like himself, Irwin Cotler, and Elie Wiesel are no longer part of the picture. “Justin Hayet—this is a guy who can really become a major leader in the pro-Israel community.”

 

Hayet has deep black hair, an inquisitive brow, and a personality that CAMERA’s Skolnick describes as “passionate” and “optimistic.” Originally from Pikesville, Md., Hayet served as a CAMERA Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year. He hosted a pro-Israel event that drew more than 135 students from diverse backgrounds to hear Israel Defense Forces Lt. Colonel Anat Berko discuss the motivations of suicide bombers who are women and children. He penned multiple pro-Israel letters to the editor in his college newspaper, was published in The Jerusalem Post, and was interviewed by Israel’s Channel 1 network about the pro-Israel movement on college campuses. He is featured in the Jerusalem U film Crossing the Line 2, which provides an in-depth look at the rise of antisemitism on college campuses, the vitriol of organizations such as SJP, and the steadfast determination of Jewish students in the face of such attacks.

 

All this, and Hayet was not even raised in a particularly Zionist family, says his mother, Cheryl Hayet. But Cheryl says she “always encouraged my son to follow his dreams.” In 2008, Hayet decided he wanted to visit Israel. He enrolled in a leadership development opportunity through the local Jewish Community Center. In 2009, he traveled to Israel with that group. “When he got back, the next words were, ‘How do I get back?’” Cheryl Hayet recalls…

 

Hayet looked for an organization that would give him a vehicle for his passion for Israel advocacy. CAMERA was that match, offering him the creative platform to be as expressive as possible on his campus. He later signed on as a recruiter for The Jewish Agency for Israel’s MASA (Israel Journey) program. Amid the abundance of negative messaging about Israel on campuses, getting students interested in studying abroad in the Jewish state is no easy task, says Samantha Robins, recruitment manager for MASA. But Hayet has been among the program’s most successful recruiters. When the students don’t come to him, “he goes and finds them,” Robins tells JNS.org.

 

To be an Israel advocate, Dershowitz says, “You have to know everything.” He explains that pro-Israel activists are constantly bombarded with false information. A true voice for Israel needs to be on top of every news story, have the resources to respond to false allegations, and be a flexible thinker, according to Dershowitz. Moreover, there is an imperative to present the facts in a compelling way and with unbounded energy. “For pro-Israel advocates, there is no vacation,” says Dershowitz, who met Hayet through Israel advocacy work. Israel advocates also need a thick skin, he says. “There will be people who attack you, hate you, demean you, try to destroy you at every point,” Dershowitz says…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

                                                                     

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THE MODERN UNIVERSITY RISKS BECOMING A COCOON OF SELF-                                    

INDULGENCE AND ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM                                                                               

Rex Murphy                                                                                                         

National Post, Mar. 27, 2015

 

Lighthouses of reason, or beacons of  folly? Which more readily applies to some modern universities? If you have been happy enough to read a New Statesman piece recently, there would be little hesitation in opting for the latter. The column discussed that only-in-a-university puffball of a controversy over The Vagina Monologues. The VM, for those fortunate enough not to have heard of it, is an Eve Ensler opus/art project that offers soliloquizing genitals as an avenue to feminist empowerment, a concept kitten-cute in all its daring and originality. Not surprisingly, it’s been a huge hit on all sorts of enlightened campuses, its combination of vulgarity and Spice Girls feminism being a sure winner with those wishing to storm the barricades of privilege from a front-row seat.

 

The New Statesman piece contained this jewel of progressive reporting: “A U.S. women’s college recently announced it would be discontinuing its annual performance of The Vagina Monologues: it’s exclusionary to talk about vaginas when some women do not have one.” The “women” in question were, by all the ancient indications we have so sturdily relied upon until the blaze of reason started to flicker and dim, men. But the men — on whose behalf students at the all-women university in question, Mount Holyoke, were protesting — were identifying (this is the term of art) as women, but had not yet “transitioned.” They were still, as it were, biologically on the other side of the fence. As was explained by the theatre board that cancelled Ms. Ensler’s vaginal ventriloquism:

 

“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

 

And there you have it. Biological and anatomical distinctions are described by the highly progressive as offering “extremely” narrow perspectives on what it means to be a man or a woman. And they make some people “uncomfortable.” If you were fortunate enough right now to be standing over George Orwell’s grave in the sweet garden of the churchyard at Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, you would hear, piercing the roar of his revolving corpse, a plaintive, despairing voice crying out: “Bury me deeper. Now. Please.”

 

Literally, you could multiply the instances of silly thinking and foolish actions by the hundredfold that now burden universities across the West, as the institutions that have carried the light of intellect from the earliest days of Athens, through the Renaissance, right to our present day, have surrendered to every passing fad and fancy of ever-more trivial and mentally bankrupt causes. Such as the Occupy the Syllabus farce at the University of California at Berkeley, which lamented the presence of such feeble intellects as Socrates, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke and Hegel in a course, they being that terrible triune of white, dead and male.

 

What is more dismal than the modern campus, with its litany of “safe spaces,” its protection from offence, its bleats about micro-aggressions, the chatter of white privilege and the spate of hysteria over the “rape culture?” The new model of the university risks becoming a cocoon of self-indulgence and actual anti-intellectualism. Administrators, in particular, take a craven posture before any challenge that might land them in the minefields of identity or gender politics.

 

The universities, under the banner of hollow diversity and the even more hollow and self-contradictory banner of tolerance, are mutating into thought-suppressing machines. Any flag raised in the name of identity or marginalization has them prostrate in anxiety and fear. The idea of undergraduate life as a rooting out of intellectual predispositions, of history as anything but a huge case file of oppression, of testing minds as opposed to flattering feelings, is lost.

 

The universities are running a risky race. The more they quiver before the onslaught of the cause-mongers, refuse to take clear and bold stands against protest intimidation tactics, the more they lose their centuries-old prestige. It is a situation that should concern everybody. The ability to think clearly, and the absorption of the best that has been thought and said, have given the world all the moral and scientific progress — real progress — it has ever known. As universities become more and more the willing hostages of the anti-thought brigades, the more they will diminish in both esteem and worth.                                                                                                                              

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JERUSALEM DAY: CITY OF PEACE

Shlomo Riskin                                 

Jerusalem Post, May 14, 2015

 

What is so special about Jerusalem? The fact is that Jerusalem – unique among the cities of Israel – is completely identified with our Jewish national mission, expressing by its very name “City of Peace” our prophetic vision for the world. When the Almighty initially elected Abraham, he gave him a mandate: “Through you shall be blessed all of the nations of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). It was for this universal purpose that Abram’s name was changed from Av Ram (exalted father of one nation, Israel) to Avraham; father and teacher of a multitude of nations.

 

Abraham’s descendants will eventually erect a Temple to which all the nations will flock in order to learn and accept the Torah of peace: “To beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, so that nation will not lift up sword against nation and humanity will not learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4). Jeru means “city” in ancient Semitic languages and Shalem means “peace” (wholeness). Abraham was chosen because he was uniquely committed to ethical conduct, the only true path to peace: “For I have elected, loved and appointed him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do compassionate righteousness and moral justice” (Gen. 19:19).

 

Hence, the very first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible is in the context of a meeting between Abraham – immediately after he had defeated the four terrorist kings who captured the innocent Lot – and Melchizedek (literally, the King of Righteousness), the ruler of Shalem. Our Sages identify Shalem with Jerusalem and Melchizedek with Shem, son of Noah – a righteous gentile who served as priest to the Universal Lord of peace, morality and righteousness. Melchizedek brought out bread and wine – reminiscent of the showbread and wine libations of the laterto- be-built desert sanctuary and Jerusalem Temples as well as of our present-day hallot and kiddush wine. He then blessed Abraham to the Lord Most High, Maker of Heaven and Earth, who had delivered Abraham’s foes unto his hands.

 

Abraham reciprocated by giving this gentile priest tithes of everything he owned (Gen. 14:18–20). Nahmanides derives from this episode that Jerusalem is the one place in the world which had always maintained faith in ethical monotheism – in the God who created Adam and Eve in His image. So it is no accident that Abraham met his gentile counterpart in Jerusalem, to declare their joint acceptance of the God of righteousness and peace. Our Holy Temples were (and will be) built on Mount Moriah, Jerusalem, and from there a message of peace will be communicated throughout the world. This is the very place to which God sends Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Abraham acquiesces, but God stays his hand – and this entire incident may well have come to teach that although it will sometimes be necessary to make the ultimate sacrifice for our faith, God does not want innocent human beings to be killed in His Name. The God of ethical monotheism is not Moloch.

 

Abraham calls the place of the binding “God shall be seen,” that is to say that from Mount Moriah the God of ethical monotheism shall be seen and accepted by all the nations of the world. Jeru, or Yeru, is a cognate of the verb to see, Yera’eh, will be seen; the Bible will later teach that on the three pilgrim festivals, every Jew must go up to the Temple Mount “to be seen” by God (Deuteronomy 16:16). And the story of the binding of Isaac concludes with a repetition of the Divine mandate to Abraham, “And through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”

 

Let us fast-forward 4,000 years. In 1978, at the end of the Camp David peace talks between US president Jimmy Carter, Egyptian head of state Anwar Sadat and prime minister Menachem Begin, Carter pressed Begin to sign a letter in which he would “merely” agree to place the final status of Jerusalem on the negotiating table. Begin refused. With great emotion he explained that in the Middle Ages there lived a beloved, wise rabbi: Rav Amnon of Mayence, who was pressed by the bishop at least to consider converting to Christianity.

 

After a lengthy argument, the rabbi agreed to ponder the issue for three days. As soon as he returned home, the rabbi was smitten by deep despair; at the end of the three days, he returned to the bishop. “Punish me, O bishop,” he cried. “I should never have agreed to think about such an egregious act against my faith. The tongue which said I would ponder, the hand that shook yours in acquiescence, the leg that came to do your bidding – remove them from my body.” The bishop gladly did as the rabbi requested. The next day was Rosh Hashana, and racked with pain, Rav Amnon was brought to the synagogue, where he cried out before the congregation the U’Netaneh Tokef prayer he had composed the day before.

 

Begin told the American president, “I understand that we may sacrifice a limb to save an entire body. But Jerusalem is Israel’s heart, the focus of our mission. Our Psalmist declared, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be removed from my body, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not’ (Psalms 137:5-6). Please don’t ask me to sign your letter; I would rather forfeit my right hand and my tongue. I cannot repeat Rav Amnon’s transgression….”

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

No Daily Briefing Will Be Published Monday

 

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Jerusalem Then and Now: A Journey in Photos: Noam Chen, Times of Israel, May 14, 2015—Israel is about to mark what I believe is one of the country’s most important national days: Jerusalem Day.

Re-Liberating Jerusalem: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, May 15, 2015—It's been almost 50 years since Israel unified Jerusalem and turned it from a dusty and depressed backwater into a truly radiant international capital city sparkling with energy and creativity.

Draft International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Anti-Semitism: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, May 6, 2015—Clearly, and sadly, the issue of anti-Semitism has always been and remains a major recurring aspect in the international arena and narrative.

Anti-Semitism Goes to School: Ruth Wisse, Mosaic, May 4, 2015 —I never dreamed that it could come to this!”

 

26TH ANNIVERSARY GALA II: THE “SPIRIT OF MAHAL” LIVES ON THROUGH THE COURAGE OF THE IAF & OF THOSE WHO FIGHT ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS ON CAMPUSES

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Israel’s Air Force to Increase Operational Capability by 400 Percent: Algemeiner, June 8, 2014—  The Israeli Air Force chief stated last week that the IDF’s offensive capabilities will quadruple by the end of 2014.

1981 Operation Opera (Strike on Iraq’s Nuclear Reactor): IDF Blog, June 7, 2014: On June 7, 1981, a squadron of IAF fighter planes took off on their way to Iraq to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor and put a halt to the Iraqi nuclear program, which President Suddam Hussein had used to openly threaten Israel. 

The Volunteers: Gail Lichtman, Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2008— Sixty years ago, during Israel's War of Independence, some 3,500 men and women from 44 countries around the world left the comfort of their homes and families to help the fledgling Jewish state in its struggle for survival as part of Mahal (the Hebrew acronym for "overseas volunteers").

Sarah Bernamoff: "Don't Accept What is Becoming The Status Quo": Ilana Shneider, Shalom Toronto, June 5, 2014— Sarah Bernamoff is a 33 year old Calgarian, born to an Israeli mother and Canadian father.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones: Yochi Dreazen, New Republic, Mar. 26, 2014

5 Most Innovative Weapons the IDF Has to Offer (That We Can Tell You About): IDF Blog, Apr. 20, 2014

Stanley Medicks – The Man Behind the Mahal Memorial: Elana Overs, Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2013

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014

 

ISRAEL’S AIR FORCE TO INCREASE OPERATIONAL

CAPABILITY BY 400 PERCENT

Algemeiner, June 8, 2014

                         

The Israeli Air Force chief stated last week that the IDF’s offensive capabilities will quadruple by the end of 2014. In a single day, Israeli planes will be able to strike thousands of terror targets and expand the IDF’s achievements during extended operations. Major General Amir Eshel, commander of the Israel Air Force, spoke last week at the Tenth Annual Conference for National Security on the contribution of air power to Israel’s strategic capabilities. Maj. Gen. Eshel discussed the air force’s attack and defensive capabilities during times of war and routine operations.

 

“I believe our capabilities are only second to the United States, from both an offensive and defensive standpoint,” the IAF commander said, referring to a significant leap in capabilities over the past two years. He based his assessment on an evaluation of IDF abilities and conversations with officials from foreign militaries. “We have an unprecedented offensive capability, which allows us to accurately strike thousands of targets in one day. We have doubled our abilities twice in the past two years. By the end of 2014, we will see an improvement of 400 percent to our offensive capabilities relative to the recent past, as a result of a long improvement process.”

 

To illustrate Israel’s advancements, the IAF Commander compared the air force’s new efficacy to other achievements in recent years. “The air force at the end of 2014, in less than 24 hours, can do what it did in three days during the Second Lebanon War, and can do in 12 hours what it did in a week during Operation Pillar of Defense.” Maj. Gen. Eshel stated that “Israel can not afford lengthy attacks. We need to win quickly. A short time, in my opinion, is a few days. I do not believe in conducting long wars.” The air force chief argued that accurate and quality firepower is the main variable in achieving victory. To do so, he said, “It’s not enough to have just technical ability – we need to adopt an approach. We’re talking about an operation with full power; all of the air force, all encompassing, from the opening of the offensive effort in order to strike as powerfully as possible and shorten the war.”

 

“We can destroy the military capabilities and infrastructure that support the activities of Hezbollah on a scale that would require decades to rebuild. We could achieve a direct hit on the terror organization and all that supports it on an unimaginable scale,” the IAF commander said. “Unfortunately Hezbollah took its assets and moved them into the cities,” he added. Hezbollah terrorists position themselves deep within civilian urban areas, where they use homes and civilians as shields against Israeli counterattacks. In recent years, they have also mastered the technique of disappearing underground. “This is a very significant challenge because we do not want to hurt innocent bystanders.”

 

In the face of these challenges, the IDF uses precision strikes to eliminate terror targets, a method which also prevents operations from spiraling into wars. “What characterizes our air power is our ability to control its impact, and this is very important during incidents of combat between wars,” Maj. Gen. Eshel explained. “Everything is flexible and subject to change. This is the advantage of the air force: the ability to take the hammer that was made for wars and use it in a more limited capacity.”

 

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1981 OPERATION OPERA (STRIKE ON IRAQ’S NUCLEAR REACTOR)         

IDF Blog, June 7, 2014

 

On June 7, 1981, a squadron of IAF fighter planes took off on their way to Iraq to destroy the Osirak nuclear reactor and put a halt to the Iraqi nuclear program, which President Suddam Hussein had used to openly threaten Israel. The operation was not simple. To neutralize the threat, Israeli fighter planes would have to fly all the way to Iraq. The  operation had many obstacles, which the Air Force overcame with a combination of great planning and pure good luck. The main problem was flying such a huge distance –almost 1,000 miles— undetected while in enemy airspace.

 

For this they prepared eight heavily-fueled F-16 fighter planes and six F-15s just for backup. Among the F-16 pilots was a young Ilan Ramon, who would later go on to be the first Israeli astronaut. The squad left Israel’s Etzion Airbase on June 7 at 3:55 PM. While flying in Jordanian airspace, the team spoke to ground control in Saudi-accented Arabic, pretending to be flying aircraft that simply went off course. They successfully passed through unchallenged.

 

The plan was almost thwarted by King Hussein of Jordan, who was on vacation in Aqaba at the time, and noticed the planes flying overhead. He ordered an alert to warn Iraqi forces, but the message was never received because of a communication error. Another bit of luck came at the hands of the Iraqi military itself. The soldiers in charge of Iraq’s anti-aircraft defenses left for lunch 30 minutes before the attack and turned off their radars. Though some of the Israeli aircraft were eventually detected, they avoided any anti-aircraft fire. In all, the strike itself took less than two minutes and accomplished its objective of neutralizing the Iraqi nuclear threat.

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THE VOLUNTEERS                                                            

Gail Lichtman                                                                                                                  Jerusalem Post, May 1, 2008

 

Sixty years ago, during Israel's War of Independence, some 3,500 men and women from 44 countries around the world left the comfort of their homes and families to help the fledgling Jewish state in its struggle for survival as part of Mahal (the Hebrew acronym for "overseas volunteers"). Mainly World War II veterans with military training and experience, their contribution was decisive in helping Israel establish an army and win its fight for existence against an invading force of five Arab armies.

 

The Mahalniks, as they were known, brought with them the military expertise, familiarity with equipment and arms, combat experience and knowledge of military frameworks that proved vital to the newly formed IDF on the ground, at sea and in the air. Mahalniks served in every branch of the IDF, including artillery, infantry, armored corps, medical corps, engineers, signals, radar and the navy – many in key positions of command. The 425 Mahalniks who flew in the Israel Air Force and air transport command made up 95 percent of the air crews. In addition, 450 served in the Palmah and 200 were doctors and nurses in hospitals and frontline casualty stations. Some 250 Americans and Canadians manned the 10 Aliya Bet (illegal immigration) ships that ran the British blockade before the establishment of the state, bringing more than 31,000 Holocaust survivors to Palestine. And Mahalniks also paid the price of war – 121 of them (117 men and four women) fell during the War of Independence. Many more were injured and some went missing in action.

 

Mahalniks were overwhelmingly from English-speaking countries, but also included volunteers from Latin America, Europe and even some Arab countries. They were mainly Jews, motivated by Jewish solidarity and concerns for the security of the Yishuv in its struggle for survival, as well as by the historic reestablishment of a Jewish state after 2,000 years. But there were also non-Jews among them, horrified by the Holocaust, who wanted to aid the Jewish people. The most famous Mahal volunteer was American Col. David (Mickey) Marcus, who was recruited to serve as prime minister David Ben-Gurion's military adviser, and helped lay the foundation for transforming the pre-state defense forces into a regular army. His role in the construction of the Burma Road, which helped break the siege of Jerusalem, was critical. Killed by friendly fire in June 1948, Marcus was laid to rest at West Point, the only American soldier to be buried there who died fighting for a foreign country.

 

Ben-Gurion called the Mahal volunteers "the Diaspora's most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel." In May 1993, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin said at the consecration of the Mahal Memorial in the Sha'ar Hagai Forest: "You came to us when we needed you most, during those dark and uncertain days of our War of Independence. You gave us not only your experience, but your lives as well. The people of the State of Israel will never forget, and will always cherish this unique contribution made by you – the volunteers of Mahal." Nevertheless, for much of Israel's history, Mahal's contribution has remained one of the best kept secrets of the War of Independence. It took 45 years before the Mahal Memorial was set up. And thousands of archival Mahal documents and photographs are still housed in the Kfar Shmaryahu home of former Mahalnik, David Teperson, who came from South Africa in 1948. One reason for the lack of publicity about Mahal is that most Mahalniks returned to their countries of origin after the war. Another was fear of the embargo policies and legal consequences the volunteers could face in the home countries (especially the US). Moreover, in the wake of the war, Israeli leaders believed that it was important for nation-building to emphasize the role of the Yishuv in the struggle for independence. In Jerusalem met with three local former Mahalniks, all octogenarians, who answered the call of 1948, and remained to make Israel their home…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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SARAH BERNAMOFF: "DON'T ACCEPT WHAT IS

BECOMING THE STATUS QUO"                                                                            Ilana Shneider                                                                                                                  Shalom Toronto, June 2, 2014

 

Sarah Bernamoff is a 33 year old Calgarian, born to an Israeli mother and Canadian father. Her family is of Yemenite, Greek, Spanish and Russian background. Sarah lived in Israel for 10 years, where she completed her BA in International Relations from Hebrew University. She recently graduated with an MBA from the University of Calgary and is commencing Law School this fall.

 

Sarah, you are the co-founder of Calgary United with Israel (CUWI), as well as Canadians for Human Rights (CHRME), a relatively new and very dynamic group of young pro-Israel advocates. Tell us how these organizations came about and what their mission is.

 

The organizations are a response to mounting hateful activity against Israel supporters, coupled with the perceived irresponsiveness of our “official Jewish community" to this activity. We asked for help and we were told to ignore the hateful activity; we asked to help, and we were told to donate to UJA. We are a group of students and other stakeholders who felt bullied on campus, abandoned by our Jewish leadership and ultimately that we had no voice. In response we established our grassroots organizations, which are now comprised of students, university alumni, professionals and community members at large – locally, nationally and internationally. Our members are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Native and more. Our mission is to promote justice and human rights for all, in an overt fashion, with a focus on Israel and her Nation. Our values are moral and intellectual integrity, pro-activeness and camaraderie.

 

A founding member of CUWI is Ryan Bellerose, a Métis from Northern Alberta, founder of Canadians For Accountability (a Native rights advocacy group), an Idle No More movement organizer and a self-proclaimed Zionist. It's not very often that you see pro-Israel advocacy and Idle No More thrown together in the mix. How did this unlikely coalition come about?

 

We do not see this coalition as unlikely. We believe that the “right” and “left” political paradigm is currently a confused construct and that people can have views from different points along the political spectrum. It is a fallacy that issues of human rights and the environment should be on the left, while a pro-Israel stance should lay on the right. It can be boiled down to what is truthful, moral and intellectually honest. Jews have a moral, legal and historical right to self-determination in their indigenous land.

 

Furthermore, every human has the right to safety, freedom and basic wellness within his border. Therefore, any person with moral integrity who stands for true human rights, justice and democracy should feel aligned with Israel. Furthermore, for Ryan Bellerose and increasingly more Natives, there is a natural alignment with Jews and Israel as a successful indigenous project. As Naftali Bennet proudly stated recently on CNN, as he lifted a 2000 year old coin from Judea: “one cannot occupy his own home”. I recommend everyone read Ryan’s articles where he explains these points cogently (see www.cuwi.ca/ryan-bellerose).

 

CUWI's brand of Israel advocacy is fundamentally different from other Jewish organizations. You are an outspoken critic of “non-confrontational” stance and prefer to take direct and immediate action when faced with a rising tide of anti-Zionism, which often spills into overt anti-Semitism by well-funded and well-organized anti-Israel groups. Why do you think your hands-on approach is more effective than the traditional type of Hasbara in today's hostile campus environment?

 

I do not believe we are fundamentally different, but a cross-section. Many stakeholders feel exactly how we do; we are just one of the outspoken platforms for this growing public sentiment favoring overt advocacy.

 

In regards to “anti-Zionism”, the BDS and Apartheid Week hate campaigns carefully employ the word “Zionist” and not “Jew”. The goal is to artificially sever the inextricable bond between the Jewish Nation and Israel. The threat of BDS is not an economic one; the threat is the dehumanization and vilification of Jews and Israel supporters, for which the result is normalization of hatred. Normalized hate leads to actions of hate, as in the recent case at the University of Windsor where a hate crime against Jews was enacted the day before their BDS referendum. It is said that “possession is nine-tenths of the law”: in the absence of any voice declaring otherwise, the repeated vilification of Jews and Israel Supporters starts to become the version of truth that people accept. The largely unchallenged “disappearing Palestine” bus adverts did not help this. Of note, to bring up issues of “free speech” in this context is fallacious and shifts the real issue at hand…

 

You recently partnered with the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) on the Canadian Freedom Alliance, a national coalition group that supports pro-Israel students. Can you tell us about this initiative?

 

The goal of this initiative is to align Israel activists nationally who have a similar Israel advocacy approach and share the Canadian values of freedom, peace and moral integrity. Through unity, collaboration, exchange of information and alignment of resources we will be stronger in tackling our advocacy goals.

 

You are being featured at this year's Canadian Institute of Jewish Research gala, together with honouree Joe Warner, a Torontonian who was with the second Canadian Mahal Group in the anti-tank wing of the Givati Brigade (a group of volunteers which fought alongside Israelis in the 1948 War of Independence). How does it feel to share the stage with a veteran of Israel's War of Independence?

 

Of note, at the Montreal gala, Dr. William H. Novick with the Montreal Mahalniks will also be honoured. It is extremely humbling and inspiring to speak beside esteemed guest speakers who are the epitome of fighting for morality and justice, and that embody unapologetic Israel pride

 

As a young but seasoned activist, what is your advice to students who are faced with rising tide of anti-Zionism?

 

Don’t accept what is becoming the status quo. Attempts of bullying and intimidation, and regular attacks on your identity as a Jew or Israel Supporter are not acceptable and we are fighting it. Speak up. Verbalize your concern to people who can help. Don’t accept it as a norm. You have the right to study in a peaceful environment, not exposed to hatred, and with an equal chance for academic success. Deepen your bond with Israel. Travel to Israel. Know what it is and what it stands for. The Judean People are indigenous to the land of Israel and have had uninterrupted presence there for over 3200 years. The so-called “Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights” campus club has been systematically acting for the violation of Jewish Human Rights, deviously wrapping the club’s anti-Semitic agenda in the pseudo-fashionable politically correct guise of anti-Zionism. In the recent words of PM Harper: “[T]his is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable to a new generation”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

The Next Arab-Israeli War Will Be Fought with Drones: Yochi Dreazen, New Republic, Mar. 26, 2014 hortly after 7 a.m. on a chilly morning at the Rosh Hanikra military base in northernmost Israel, Lieutenant Colonel Yogev Bar Sheshet was already on his third Diet Coke.

5 Most Innovative Weapons the IDF Has to Offer (That We Can Tell You About): IDF Blog, Apr. 20, 2014 The IDF is one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world. Check out our five most innovative weapons, (at least the ones that we can tell you about) which help IDF soldiers in the battlefield every day.

Stanley Medicks – The Man Behind the Mahal Memorial: Elana Overs, Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2013Stanley Medicks, who died in England earlier this month at the age of 82, was a commander in Mahal (Volunteers from Abroad) during the War of Independence and later served as chairman of British and Scandinavian Mahal.

The Spirit of Mahal Lives On: Smoky Simon, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2014For me, at the age of almost 94, this evening presents an outstanding opportunity to express my profound gratitude for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me along my life’s journey.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CIJR In the News:

 

IN CANADA, TEACHING ZIONISM, ONE STUDENT AT A TIME
Alexandra Markus

Israel Campus Beat, February 11, 2013

 

Five years ago, Concordia University professor Frederick Krantz noticed a lack of preparedness among Jewish students when faced with the growing anti-Zionist fervor he witnessed on his campus. “Zionism was becoming a negative term and we at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) wanted to do something about it,” he said, “so we started the Student Israel Advocacy Program (SIAP), a year-long seminar with college faculty for the public, to give them facts and data about Jewish and Zionist history, the Arab-Israel conflict and the rise in propaganda.”

 

Krantz, a professor of liberal arts and humanities who completed his PhD at Yeshiva University on the history of anti-Semitism, is the director of CIJR, a 25-year-old organization that is connected with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The SIAP is one of its many outreach projects.

 

“Frequently, Jewish students, even those who went to Jewish schools, don’t know much history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, so when they are confronted with highly propagandistic Arab students, professors and speakers, they are not prepared,” Krantz noted. SIAP aims to change that by building upon participants’ knowledge of Jewish and Middle East history, their rhetorical skills and their ability to debate and organize on campus, through seminars and workshops. The program stresses the importance of mutual support among Israel supporters.

 

“Our overarching goal is to provide students with the truth about the history of the conflict, facts that allow them to dispute the assertions which are made on campus,” Krantz said, adding, “we try to not only teach these skills, but provide participants with the psychological confidence to put them to good use.”

 

Faculty from three of Montreal’s four universities work together to lead seven workshops each year. Enrolment in the program largely consists of college and university students, but a small contingent of older participants also enrols each year. Generally, 15-20 people complete the program annually. Krantz estimated that approximately 40% of program participants are non-Jewish: “Some of these non-Jewish kids become the most sincerely committed Zionists in the groups we have educated over the years, which has been very satisfying for us,” he said.

 

Laura Ariza Pena Corea, 24, who studies public policy at Concordia University and is not Jewish, completed the program two years ago. She hails from Colombia, a predominantly Catholic country with a small Jewish population. “When I came here, I made some Jewish friends and expressed an interest in learning more about the history and culture, so I was referred to the program,” she explained.

 

Krantz emphasized that the program aims to impart facts rather than opinions, giving participants enough background and history to make informed decisions as to their views on issues related to the conflict. Ariza agreed, saying, “I’m more informed, so when I hear people talk about it, I know the two sides of the coin.”

 

Several participants have gone on to be successful pro-Israel advocates. Hillel Neuer, who heads UNWatch in Geneva, is an alumnus. The program’s remarkable success has pushed it to think bigger. “We’re being imitated now,” Krantz said with satisfaction. “People want to do something similar in Toronto at York University and in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba.”

 

In the meantime, graduates of the program continue to make positive change in their communities, armed with a new determination to combat ignorance. “A lot of people are brainwashed for such a long time,” Ariza said. “They don’t really know the story…. This program exposed me to a whole new perspective.”

 

(Please Note: Professor Krantz obtained his Ph.D. from Cornell University and did his post-graduate work at Yeshiva University – Ed.)