2013 February » ADL Blogs
February 27, 2013

University Sponsorship Of Anti-Israel Programs On The Rise

Update 3/14/13:  Two more uni­ver­si­ties in Michi­gan plan to host anti-Israel pro­grams in the next few days. Naim Ateek, the founder and direc­tor of the Sabeel Ecu­meni­cal Lib­er­a­tion The­ol­ogy Cen­ter in Jerusalem, is sched­uled to speak at West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity and Grand Val­ley State Uni­ver­sity.

In recent years, the number of highly politicized anti-Israel programs that have been sponsored by university departments has increased quite dramatically. To date, 22 anti-Israel events have been sponsored by universities and/or academic departments across the U.S. during the current school year. In the 2011-12 school year, the total was 10; and in the school year before that, it was just five.

The university-sponsored event that has received the most attention was the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) event at Brooklyn College three weeks ago. But other events that are almost as controversial have gotten much less attention. Miko Peled – an Israeli who advocates for BDS campaigns against Israel, calls for a one-state solution and holds Israel culpable for Palestinian terrorism – has been sponsored by academic departments at the University of Southern California and Haverford College in Pennsylvania in recent months. Peled, a draw as an anti-Israel speaker because of his nationality, has also been invited to speak at Central Connecticut State University in two weeks.  His presentation there is being sponsored by the International & Area Studies Committee and Peace Studies, two interdisciplinary programs at the university.

In his recently published book, The General’s Son: Journal of an Israeli in Palestine, Peled calls Gaza an “enormous concentration camp,” an inaccurate and offensive effort to cheapen the memory of the Holocaust.

While not all anti-Israel speakers that have been sponsored by academic departments hold views as hostile as Peled’s, many use the opportunity to call for out-and-out anti-Israel advocacy like BDS, which renders the support they receive from academic departments even more reprehensible. Some of these events have drawn controversy in the past, including the “one-state solution” conference at Harvard University last year (which was sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Office of the Provost) and a March 2011 conference at the University of California Hastings College of the Law called “Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights.” Although the title of the conference sounded benign, the conference was actually meant to be a strategy session about ways to bring Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC), issue arrest warrants for Israeli diplomats traveling abroad, and engage in international BDS campaigns.

The approximately two dozen university-sponsored anti-Israel events this school year have also included performances by Remi Kanazi, an anti-Israel poet who is a leader of the BDS movement; a panel discussion featuring only anti-Israel speakers talking about how the “Jewish-American relationship with Israel” is at a “crossroads;” and a screening of a new film called “Roadmap to Apartheid,” which analogizes Palestinian refugees to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and partially condones terrorism as a “symptom” of the conflict.

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February 27, 2013

“Khaiber” Writer: Now Is The Time to Expose The Jews

An interview with Yusri Al-Jindy, the writer of “Khaiber,” an upcoming television series com­mem­o­rat­ing the geno­cide of Jews in Ara­bia, reveals both the anti-Semitic and political agenda behind the production.

In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, an Egypt-based daily newspaper, on January 16, Al-Jindy said, “The goal of the series is to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they cannot be trusted.”

Commenting on the recent changes in the region, Al-Jindy described the importance of recognizing the parallels between “the era of the Khaiber battle” and “contemporary times.”

Al-Jindy also seemed to suggest that the series will have a global effect. “I think it is time to expose them [the Jews] even in America itself. I am confident that the United States will realize that it paid a high price for supporting them.”

Predicting that he will be accused of anti-Semitism after the series airs, Al-Jindy added, “The charge of anti-Semitism is an outdated trend, and in fact it is a lie that Jews use against anyone who tries to expose their naked truth and their conspiracies.”

“They have already accused me of anti-Semitism when I presented The Wandering Jew,” Al-Jindy added. “Therefore, I don’t care for the accusation.” Al-Jindy’s play, The Wandering Jew about the 1967 war, was banned in Egypt in the 1980s. 

Various Arab media has reported the names of Syrian and Egyptian actors selected to for the series, which is set to start film­ing next month. Media reports also indicate that the show will be marketed to Turkey, Spain, France, Malaysia and various Arab countries.

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February 26, 2013

Al Shabaab Highlights Global Role in New Video

Al Shabaab, the Somalia branch of Al Qaeda, released a new English-language and English-subtitled video yesterday directed at Western audiences. 

The video, “Mujahideen Moments,” highlights the role of foreign fighters in the terrorist organization, featuring statements and speeches by two Kenyans and an American, identified only as “Abu Ahmed al-Amriki.”

Abu Ahmed’s face is obscured in the video and it is impossible at this point to verify his true identity.  Abu Ahmed urges listeners to join the battlefronts “whether it’s here in Somalia, whether it’s in Mali, whether it’s in Afghanistan, whether it’s in Iraq, or whether it’s in Al-Maghrib Al-Islami [North Africa],” saying that they should fight because there are no excuses from the obligation of jihad.  He also promises victory and that “America is going down, and the Khilafah [Caliphate] is rising.”

The video encourages foreigners to join jihad, or if they cannot travel, to “fight the enemies of Allah where you find them.”

While Al Shabaab has long used foreign fighters in its propaganda to attract Western recruits, the video seems to be, in part, a response to its former American spokesperson, Omar Hammami. Hammami apparently split with the group over his belief that it was interested only in local politics and the fight in Somalia, rather than the cause of a global ”jiahd of the entire Ummah [Muslim nation].” In messages released late last year, Hammami highlighted the tensions between “the muhajireen [Arabs and foreign fighters] and the Ansar [local supporters of Al Shabaab].”

By featuring foreign fighters in the video, especially Abu Ahmed, Al Shabaab may be trying to counter Hammami’s allegations and show that it maintains a significant international support base.

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