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November 20, 2014 0

Anti-Israel Activity Prevalent On Massachusetts Campuses This Year

With recent anti-Israel activ­ity at mul­ti­ple uni­ver­si­ties in Massachusetts,the state has become a hotspot for cam­pus events pro­mot­ing Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns and the use of con­fronta­tional tac­tics to protest pro-Israel events.students-for-justice-in-palestine-2014-national-conference

Nine anti-Israel events have been held in Mass­a­chu­setts so far this aca­d­e­mic year, more than dou­ble the four events that took place last year dur­ing the same time­frame. This aca­d­e­mic year’s events fol­low the nine anti-Israel demon­stra­tions that were held in Mass­a­chu­settsover the sum­mer dur­ing Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge, some of which fea­tured signs with slo­gans like “Not even the Holo­caust gives you the right to do this!” and “Do you think that Israel is a vic­tim? Zion­ism = Nazism.”

In Octo­ber, the fourth annual National Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) Con­fer­ence took place at Tufts University.SJP, a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion with over 110 chap­ters at Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties, held the con­fer­ence so that stu­dents from around the coun­try could unify for a week­end to learn about SJP’s stance on the con­flict. The con­fer­ence was titled “Beyond Sol­i­dar­ity: Resist­ing Racism and Colo­nial­ism from the U.S. to Pales­tine,” a ref­er­ence to SJP activists’ efforts to con­nect vary­ing strug­gles and move­ments to the Pales­tin­ian cause, and it fea­tured work­shops such as “Noth­ing Nor­mal about It: Coun­ter­ing Nor­mal­iza­tion of Israeli Oppres­sion on Cam­pus,” and “Israeli Apartheid: Real­ity on the Ground after the Pro­tec­tive Edge Mas­sacre and End­ing Geno­cide in Gaza.”

Open Hil­lel, a student-run cam­paign call­ing on Hil­lel Inter­na­tional to alter its “Stan­dards for Part­ner­ship,” held its first con­fer­ence at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, call­ing on Hil­lel Inter­na­tional to allow “free dis­course” on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Orga­niz­ers claimed that the con­fer­ence would allow cer­tain view­points to be voiced that would be excluded from a Hil­lel build­ing because of Hil­lel International’s “Stan­dards for Part­ner­ship,” which do not allow for speak­ers that dele­git­imize Israel or deny its right to exist. The Open Hil­lel con­fer­ence fea­tured dis­cus­sions such as “Unpack­ing Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions,” and “Anti Nor­mal­iza­tion Work­shop: Open Dis­course in the Con­text of Power Dif­fer­en­tials.”
Both the SJP and Open Hil­lel con­fer­ences focused on top­ics such as BDS cam­paigns and the tac­tic of anti-normalization, which advises stu­dents against dia­logue and rejects any attempt to engage in a debate of the con­flict with pro-Israel students.

Speak­ers at the con­fer­ences rep­re­sented a net­work of groups that have worked to demo­nize and dele­git­imize the Jew­ish State. Those speak­ers included Rebecca Vilkomer­son, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Jew­ish Voice for Peace (JVP) who spoke at the Open Hil­lel con­fer­ence; Rashid Kha­lidi, Edward Said Pro­fes­sor of Mod­ern Arab Stud­ies at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and an Advi­sory Board mem­ber of the US Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion who also spoke at the Open Hil­lel con­fer­ence; and Sara Ker­sh­nar, a cofounder of the Inter­na­tional Jew­ish Anti-Zionist Net­work who has made false alle­ga­tions includ­ing that Israel uses “Nazi tac­tics” against Pales­tini­ans, spoke at the SJP conference.

Other recent anti-Israel events in Mass­a­chu­setts orga­nized by stu­dents include:

  • A panel dis­cus­sion about the BDS move­ment took place dur­ing the Har­vard Arab Week­end, which is spon­sored by the Har­vard Arab Alumni Asso­ci­a­tion and sev­eral cor­po­rate spon­sors, includ­ing Bank Audi, Shell, and the Boston Con­sult­ing Group. The BDS dis­cus­sion, which took place to “high­light recent suc­cesses from the BDS move­ment, dis­cuss approach, and exam­ine its tra­jec­tory,” fea­tured Noam Chom­sky, an Amer­i­can scholar who has a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Israel state­ments; Andrew Kadi, a mem­ber of the US Campaign’s Steer­ing Com­mit­tee; and Yousef Munayyer, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Jerusalem Fund; as guest speakers.
  • On Novem­ber 1, at the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT), Omar Bargh­outi, a co-founder of the Pales­tin­ian Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic and Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (PACBI), a group that works to bring about a com­pre­hen­sive eco­nomic, cul­tural and aca­d­e­mic boy­cott of Israel,delivered a pre­sen­ta­tion about BDS cam­paigns to stu­dents. In past state­ments, Bargh­outi has used sen­si­tive Holo­caust imagery to con­demn Israel and its sup­port­ers and has alleged that an “Israel lobby” con­trols U.S. pol­icy and sup­presses debate.
  • In late Octo­ber, mem­bers of var­i­ous Boston SJP chap­ters protested a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) fundraiser out­side of the Westin Boston Water­front Hotel where the event was tak­ing place.  Pro­test­ers led chants and held signs that read, “The IDF is GENOCIDAL,” “From Fer­gu­son to Pales­tine racism is a crime,” and “Friends don’t let friends com­mit war crimes.”
  • At Smith Col­lege in Northamp­ton, the “Fes­ti­val of Resis­tance” fea­tured an anti-Israel rally out­side of Northamp­ton City Hall that led directly into a day-long teach-in about the BDS move­ment in late September.

In addi­tion to orga­niz­ing such events, anti-Israel stu­dents also oppose pro-Israel pro­gram­ing through con­fronta­tional tac­tics. This past Mon­day, stu­dents from the Tufts Uni­ver­sity Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter, con­ducted a die-in to protest a pre­sen­ta­tion from a pro-Israel speaker. In a more extreme exam­ple of protest­ing against pro-Israel pro­gram­ming on campus,anti-Israel sen­ti­ment crossed the line to anti-Semitism when swastikas were drawn on fly­ers adver­tis­ing a pro-Israel event at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity.  North­east­ern University’s swift con­dem­na­tion of the inci­dent was clear, timely, unam­bigu­ous, and served as an impor­tant reminder of effec­tive uni­ver­sity responses to acts of hate and intol­er­ance on campus.

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August 7, 2014 0

Hypocrisy of ‘Condemn Israel’ Campaign

by Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

When Israel is forced to defend its cit­i­zens from Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ism orig­i­nat­ing from Gaza, we’ve come to expect out­rage around the world. Crit­ics are quick to con­demn Israel’s mil­i­tary actions — some with such heavy-handed charges as “war crimes,” “atroc­i­ties” and even “geno­cide,” while remain­ing silent about the ter­ror­ists who started the conflict.

At anti-Israel protests around the world, vio­lent anti-Semitism is on full dis­play, thinly veiled as crit­i­cism of Israel. Demon­stra­tors in Turkey have attacked Israeli embassies. In Ger­many, France, Italy and Spain and other Euro­pean coun­tries, the protests have led to anti-Semitic attacks on Jew­ish peo­ple, com­mu­nity cen­ters and synagogues.

Read the full op-ed on CNN.com

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August 6, 2014 5

More Extreme Rhetoric at National Anti-Israel Protest in DC

Approx­i­mately 10,000 peo­ple took part in a demon­stra­tion against Israel in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on August 2. The demon­stra­tion, billed as the “National March on the White House,” was orga­nized by ANSWER and fea­tured sev­eral speak­ers, along with anti-Semitic signs and chants sim­i­lar to those that we have seen at other recent anti-Israel demon­stra­tions.

Cor­nel West, Pro­fes­sor of Afro-American Stud­ies and Reli­gion at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, claimed that Israel is guilty of “not just occu­pa­tion, not just humil­i­a­tion, but more and more every day: anni­hi­la­tion.” He alleged that “Ben­jamin Netanyahu is a war crim­i­nal not because he’s Jew­ish, but because he has cho­sen to pro­mote occu­pa­tion and anni­hi­la­tion.” West did not speak favor­ably of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama either who he claimed “is a war crim­i­nal, not because he’s black or half African and white, but because his drones have killed 233 inno­cent chil­dren and because he facil­i­tates the killing of inno­cent Pales­tini­ans in Gaza.”

Nihad Awad, the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and Founder of the Coun­cil on American-Islamic Rela­tions (CAIR), also spoke to the crowd, insist­ing that Israel is a “ter­ror­ist state” and that AIPAC con­trols the U.S. Con­gress. He told the audi­ence “Do not accept Israeli talk­ing points. AIPAC should have its hand off the United States Con­gress. They have cor­rupted our for­eign pol­icy; they have cor­rupted our polit­i­cal leaders.”

anti-israel-protest-holocaust

 

Many of the anti-Israel demon­stra­tors shouted insults such as “Baby killers” at a small group of pro-Israel demon­stra­tors. At one point, when a pro-Israel sup­porter showed up and tried to enter the blocked-off pro-Israel area, one man shouted “We’ve got a Nazi here!” and “more pigs, more pigs!”

Ten­sions even­tu­ally became so high that the pro-Israel demon­stra­tors had to be escorted away by law enforce­ment, pre­sum­ably for their own safety. After the pro-Israel sup­port­ers were escorted out, the rally par­tic­i­pants marched around the White House and through the streets of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

An Israeli flag was also burned by par­tic­i­pants at the rally.

anti-israel-protest-flag

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