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June 19, 2013

Anti-Israel Groups Organize Youth Summer Camps

As summer nears for millions of students across the country, anti-Israel organizations are recruiting them to spend some of their free time being indoctrinated in anti-Israel advocacy and a one-sided narrative of Palestinian history and culture.boycott_divestment_sanctions

The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that has long engaged in efforts to delegitimize Israel, has teamed up with the notoriously anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace to hold a four-day-long “Summer BDS Institute” in late July for college-age students who are already involved in pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigning on their college campuses or are interested in launching a BDS campaign on campus next year.

Proponents of BDS, an almost decade-old movement, seek to demonize Israel, delegitimize Israeli policy and, in its most extreme forms, promote the destruction of the Jewish character of Israel in an effort to turn public opinion against the Jewish state.

The program will train students about organizing and implementing a campaign, dealing with media requests, “direct action” planning and more. The program, which will take place in New York, is cynically being promoted as “fun in a summer camp-like environment!” on AFSC’s website. It is the latest effort by off-campus anti-Israel groups to provide students with the tools to better organize and initiate programs attacking Israel on campus.

JVP is one of the leading pro-BDS organizations in the United States and is the primary group behind, thus far unsuccessful, efforts to pressure TIAA-CREF, a major financial institution, to disinvest from multinational companies that work with Israel. AFSC has also, to a lesser extent, played a part in promoting BDS in the U.S. and sponsors dozens of anti-Israel events and programs across the country.

In September 2008, AFSC members met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he was visiting New York for the UN General Assembly. AFSC was one of five religious groups to sponsor a dinner and conversation – billed as an “international dialogue between religious leaders and political figures” – with the Iranian leader, one of the world’s most prominent anti-Semites. ADL forcefully condemned the meeting as a “perversion of the search for peace.”

Separately, American Muslims for Palestine, the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country, plans to hold a summer camp for youth aged 8-12 in Chicago on Saturdays throughout the summer.

AMP, which had previously been in the business of training high school and college students and adults to engage in anti-Israel campaigns, has a highly political agenda and regularly demonizes Israel. At times, the group has also provided a platform for anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about “the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination.”

A description for the camp notes that the children will be taught about “Palestine and its history,” which will likely be a much distorted version of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The description also notes that the children will learn about Palestinian arts, culture and history and “participate in fun activities.”

ADL described the summer camp programs as venues to “indoctrinate the next generation of activists with biased messages intended to single out Israel” and criticized AMP’s “cynical calculation that there is no such thing as being too young to start learning how to hate Israel.”

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April 15, 2013

Anti-Israel Organizations Attack Israel with Tax Day-Themed Campaigns

Today, April 15, is “Tax Day,” the date by which all Americans are required to submit their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While it is an appropriate day to spend a few minutes thinking about what our government spends our tax dollars on, there are several anti-Israel organizations that are capitalizing on today’s deadline to initiate campaigns about what the U.S. government should not spend its money on: aid to Israel.

In the past week, two prominent anti-Israel organizations have launched a new website and a new report calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Although a priority that has long been at the forefront of the domestic anti-Israel movement’s agenda, it has picked up steam in recent years due to economic concerns caused by the Great Recession, sequestration and budget deficits.

The first campaign, titled “Demand a Refund,” was initiated by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in coordination with American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and CODEPINK. The campaign’s website features a petition from taxpayers to President Obama which reads, in part, “As a taxpayer, I am outraged that your administration is reportedly opening negotiations to give Israel up to $40 billion in U.S. taxpayer-financed weapons,” an apparent reference to defense weaponry and technology that the U.S. sells to Israel.

The petition claims that Israel uses American weapons to “commit systematic human rights abuses” and “oppress Palestinians.” It also criticizes President Obama for increasing the amount of aid to Israel during his administration. The organizers of the petition hoped to gain 10,000 signatures by today (the campaign was launched last week). At present there are a little more than 3,000 signatories.

And just last week, the anti-Israel organization If Americans Knew (IAK) released a new report titled “The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans” to coincide with Tax Day. Originally published in 1998, the new version of the report was written by Pamela Olson, a new analyst for IAK.

Although the report makes similar allegations to the anti-aid petition highlighted above – noting, for example, that “it is critical to examine why we lavish so much aid on Israel” – the language cited in this report is far more egregious. It claims that U.S. aid to Israel is a result of the “Israel lobby” and insists that the U.S.-Israel relationship harms the U.S. because Israel causes “rage and resentment among billions of people… and sells America’s military secrets to its enemies.”

In its mention of the “Israel lobby,” the report goes so far as to allege that the U.S. and Israel do not enjoy a strong relationship because of shared values or interests but because “Congressmen receive payments and support from the lobby in exchange for their loyalty.” The report also asserts that U.S. aid to Israel makes the possibility for peace between Israel and the Palestinians “even more distant.”

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March 29, 2013

ADL Releases Report On American Muslims for Palestine

AMP press conference at a Metro North station

The Anti-Defamation League today released a new report on American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the anti-Israel organization behind this week’s ad campaign appearing on 25 Metro North train stations in New York.

The ad, which was announced on the first day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, shows an image of an Israeli aiming a weapon at a Palestinian child amid a background of the separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank. The ad is indicative of the organization’s continuing efforts to promote its extreme anti-Israel views to a wider American audience.

ADL’s report details AMP’s continuous efforts to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state while providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organization throughout the country.

Since its founding in 2005, AMP has at times provided a platform for anti-Semitism under the guise of estudents for justice in palestine, adl, ducating Americans about “the just cause of Palestine.” In more recent years, it has placed heavy emphasis on providing support and helping coordinate the activity of campus anti-Israel student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the primary organizer of anti-Israel events on campus, as well as high school students.

Check out the full AMP report here.

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