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March 15, 2013 9

“So What Are You DOING About it?”… How ADL Counters Anti-Israel Activity on College Campuses

Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses con­tinue to be a prov­ing ground for var­i­ous anti-Israel cam­paigns, tac­tics and mes­sages. Last week, our blog reported on sev­eral dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives we’ve seen recently, includ­ing non­bind­ing Boy­cott Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) res­o­lu­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, River­side and Irvine; Israeli Apartheid Week and, of course, uni­ver­sity spon­sor­ship of anti-Israel pro­grams.

So what role did ADL play to counter these mes­sages and advo­cate for Israel?

Out­reach to Uni­ver­sity Admin­is­tra­tors: ADL encour­aged the Chan­cel­lors at Irvine, River­side and San Diego to speak out against the non-binding divest­ment res­o­lu­tions that passed on these cam­puses and reas­sure the Jew­ish and pro-Israel com­mu­nity that the uni­ver­si­ties intend to fol­low the UC-wide pol­icy against divest­ment. The chan­cel­lors at all of these schools have com­mend­ably done so.

In a few days, Naim Ateek, the direc­tor of a “Pales­tin­ian Lib­er­a­tion The­ol­ogy” orga­ni­za­tion called Sabeel, is sched­uled to speak at Grand Val­ley State Uni­ver­sity and West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity. Ateek fre­quently uses Chris­t­ian imagery to demo­nize Israel and Zion­ism, includ­ing claims that Israel is engaged in a “cru­ci­fix­ion” cam­paign against Pales­tini­ans. Sim­i­larly, he has accused Israel of com­mit­ting a Holo­caust against the Pales­tini­ans. His appear­ances are spon­sored by aca­d­e­mic depart­ments at the two uni­ver­si­ties. ADL has com­mu­ni­cated to both uni­ver­si­ties that the school’s spon­sor­ships of Ateek are inap­pro­pri­ate and that the uni­ver­si­ties should con­sider host­ing pro-Israel speak­ers as well.

In the past few months, ADL staff has also met with high-level admin­is­tra­tors at a vari­ety of cam­puses to talk about how Jew­ish stu­dents expe­ri­ence anti-Israel activ­ity on cam­pus. We have brain­stormed with them about ways to make the col­lege cam­pus a true “mar­ket­place of ideas” where all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict are ade­quately rep­re­sented. Over the past 100 years, ADL has devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as an hon­est and cred­i­ble voice for the Jew­ish com­mu­nity. ADL is there­fore uniquely posi­tioned to edu­cate uni­ver­sity offi­cials about the Jew­ish and pro-Israel community’s per­spec­tive and encour­age them to speak out against extreme anti-Israel activ­ity and anti-Semitism.

Expres­sions against Divest­ment: ADL responded to a non-binding Asso­ci­ated Stu­dents Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion urg­ing divest­ment at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, by sub­mit­ting a state­ment against divest­ment to the stu­dent sen­a­tors con­sid­er­ing the res­o­lu­tion. The state­ment, read dur­ing the pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the res­o­lu­tion, described how BDS doesn’t advance the cause of peace because it “deep­ens the divi­sions between Israelis and Pales­tini­ans” and places all the blame for the con­flict on Israel. The state­ment also warned that the res­o­lu­tion tar­geted com­pa­nies that help Israel bet­ter pro­tect its cit­i­zens and that a call for divest­ment would illus­trate the UCSD stu­dents’ lack of com­mit­ment to Israel’s legit­i­mate right to self-defense.

Expos­ing and Edu­cat­ing: In this week’s edi­tion of J., a Bay Area-based news­pa­per, the regional direc­tor of ADL’s Cen­tral Pacific office con­tributed an op-ed about how the three stated goals of the BDS move­ment demon­strate that the movement’s objec­tive is to iso­late Israel, not cre­ate the con­di­tions for peace. ADL reg­u­larly exposes anti-Israel activ­ity through op-eds, as well as our blog, web­site and other platforms.

Train­ing Stu­dents: In San Diego, ADL runs a pro­gram called I-Pitch for Israel which helps train pro-Israel stu­dents on cam­pus to lobby against divest­ment and other anti-Israel cam­paigns. Train­ing also includes infor­ma­tion about free speech rights and the myths and facts of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Sev­eral I-Pitch par­tic­i­pants spoke out against divest­ment at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion as well.

As anti-Israel cam­paigns con­tinue to play out on col­lege cam­puses across the coun­try, ADL will stand with our part­ners in the local Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties and with stu­dents to counter these ini­tia­tives and advo­cate on behalf of Israel and the Jew­ish peo­ple. Do you have any other ideas for respond­ing to anti-Israel activ­ity? Use the space below to let us know!

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March 8, 2013 1

Anti-Israel Activity Reached Fever Pitch This Week

Anti-Israel activists took a multi-faceted approach to attack­ing Israel in the pub­lic sphere this week. In the span of 7 days, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were con­sid­ered at three col­lege cam­puses, ten anti-Israel bill­boards were put up in Atlanta, over 30 col­lege cam­puses hosted Israeli Apartheid Week pro­grams and two day­long BDS con­fer­ences were scheduled.

These ini­tia­tives are for­mally or infor­mally part of a global effort to advance the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Israel. They demon­strate the anti-Israel movement’s com­mit­ment to employ­ing mul­ti­ple tac­tics and cam­paigns to attract sup­port for its positions.

A flyer adver­tis­ing the first pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at UCSD

Here’s a closer look at what’s taken place this week:

  • Cam­pus Divest­ment Res­o­lu­tions: Stu­dent gov­ern­ments at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia (UC), River­side, and UC San Diego con­sid­ered divest­ment res­o­lu­tions tar­get­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel like Cater­pil­lar, Gen­eral Elec­tric and Northrup Grum­man. The results were mixed: the res­o­lu­tion at Stan­ford was voted down; UC San Diego did not vote on its res­o­lu­tion (after a dis­cus­sion that lasted until 2am) and will resume dis­cussing it next week, while UC River­side passed its res­o­lu­tion in a stealth man­ner rem­i­nis­cent of the recent res­o­lu­tion at UC Irvine. The divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at River­side was intro­duced with­out advance notice and seems to be part of an effort to ensure that pro-Israel stu­dents are left in the dark and are there­fore not present at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion to voice their per­spec­tive and advo­cate against the bill.
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: At least 35 col­lege cam­puses in the U.S. are par­tic­i­pat­ing in IAW this year, the ninth con­sec­u­tive year that the pro­gram has been held in cities around the world. Most of the events in the U.S. were for­mally sched­uled to take place March 4–8 but some are stretch­ing into next week as well (due to var­i­ous university-related sched­ul­ing con­flicts). IAW events this year have pri­mar­ily included anti-Israel speak­ers, mock “apartheid walls” and check­point dis­plays on cam­pus, and screen­ings of two crit­i­cal of Israel films,  the Oscar award-nominated “5 Bro­ken Cam­eras” and a more extreme film called “Roadmap to Apartheid.” “Roadmap to Apartheid” is nar­rated by The Color Pur­ple author Alice Walker and analo­gizes Pales­tin­ian refugees to Jews in the War­saw Ghetto and par­tially con­dones ter­ror­ism as a “symp­tom” of the conflict.
  • BDS Con­fer­ences: This past Sat­ur­day the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, Austin, hosted a day­long “BDS Con­fer­ence” that fea­tured extreme speeches by Nada Elia, a fac­ulty mem­ber at Anti­och Uni­ver­sity in Seat­tle, and Sherry Wolf, a Jew­ish social­ist and activist. Elia avowed that she would not reject Pales­tin­ian extrem­ism because Pales­tini­ans “have a right to resist” and com­pared Israelis to Amer­i­can slave-owners. Wolf used the plat­form to claim that the notion that Israel is the Jew­ish people’s home­land is “bulls–t” and accused Israel of “ter­ror­ism” and insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism against the Pales­tini­ans. She fur­ther described Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racist[s].” On Sat­ur­day, March 9, a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence will take place on the Auraria cam­pus in Den­ver. Par­tic­i­pants will “learn about the his­tory of both Pales­tine and the global BDS move­ment, hear what coali­tion groups are work­ing on, and par­tic­i­pate in BDS and coalition-building train­ing,” accord­ing to the event flier.
  • Anti-Israel Bill­boards: The Coun­cil for the National Inter­est, an anti-U.S. aid to Israel group based in DC, recently started a cam­paign called “Stop the Blank Check to Israel” which hopes to place bill­boards in cities across the coun­try. Ten such ads, which read, “$8 Mil­lion a day to Israel just doesn’t make sense! STOP The Blank Check.org,” have recently been erected in Atlanta. Ads with sim­i­lar mes­sages have appeared in the past year in Den­ver, Detroit, Los Ange­les, Chapel Hill and New York.

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November 26, 2012 1

ADL Report on Campus Anti-Israel Activity in 2011-12

In the past two weeks, close to 40 anti-Israel demon­stra­tions and ral­lies took place on Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses in reac­tion to Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense. These ral­lies, most of which were orga­nized by anti-Israel stu­dent groups like Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine, com­prised more than 1/3 of the total anti-Israel ral­lies that took place across the country.

But this lat­est burst in anti-Israel activ­ity did not take place in a vac­uum. In fact, anti-Israel stu­dent groups are increas­ingly orga­nized and deploy a vari­ety of tools to spread vit­riol about the state of Israel and encour­age other poten­tially like-minded stu­dents to join the cause.

A new ADL report, which looks at the state of anti-Israel activ­ity in the 2011-12 aca­d­e­mic year, high­lights sev­eral new trends and ini­tia­tives that have devel­oped on Amer­i­can cam­puses, includ­ing accu­sa­tions that Israel engages in “pinkwash­ing,” calls for a one-state solu­tion, Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns, com­par­isons between Israel’s secu­rity fence and the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, and anti-Semitic events that took place under the guise of anti-Israel activism.

Make sure to check out the new report on our web­site: Anti-Israel Activ­ity on Cam­pus, 2011–2012: An ADL Annual Review

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