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November 24, 2015 0

Campus Groups Exploit Domestic Social Issues to Attack Israel

Anti-Israel groups on uni­ver­sity and col­lege cam­puses con­tinue to link the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to issues of police bru­tal­ity and dis­crim­i­na­tion in the U.S., in an attempt to gain broader sup­port for Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns and other anti-Israel ini­tia­tives from minor­ity stu­dent groups. By employ­ing this tac­tic, groups such as Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) link domes­tic issues to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, thereby couch­ing hos­til­ity towards Israel in social jus­tice terms and mak­ing Israel look like an aggressor.students-for-justice-in-palestine-suhad-khatib

Below are a few exam­ples of these events and actions from the 2015–2016 aca­d­e­mic year:

  • Linda Sar­sour, the National Advo­cacy Direc­tor for the National Net­work for Arab Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ties, spoke at Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity on Mon­day, Novem­ber 23, 2015 for an event titled “Sol­i­dar­ity: Uni­fy­ing Com­mu­ni­ties of Color to Break Cycles of Oppres­sion.” Accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers of the event, it was held to focus on a num­ber of issues, includ­ing “mass incar­cer­a­tion, mass crim­i­nal­iza­tion, struc­tural vio­lence, apartheid, racism, state-sanctioned vio­lence, police bru­tal­ity, tear gassed for fight­ing for free­dom and equal­ity– a real­ity for Pales­tini­ans liv­ing under occu­pa­tion, and for Blacks fight­ing an unjust sys­tem here in the United States.”
  • Suhad Khatib, a mem­ber of the St. Louis Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee (PSC), spoke via Skype at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 19 for an event titled “Resist­ing Oppres­sion from Miz­zou to Gaza.” In her pre­sen­ta­tion, she stated that African-Americans, Pales­tini­ans, Mex­i­cans, and oppressed peo­ple are con­nected, claim­ing that “Fer­gu­son taught me more about my con­nec­tion with Pales­tine than any­thing else because you under­stand racism and sys­tem­atic racism. We as Pales­tini­ans are brain­washed to think we are white when we are peo­ple of color and are oppressed.”
  • The Mar­quette Uni­ver­sity SJP chap­ter spon­sored a panel dis­cus­sion titled “Out­lets 4 Activism,” which fea­tured Ali Abunimah, founder and exec­u­tive direc­tor of the anti-Israel Elec­tronic Intifada blog, as a pan­elist. Other pan­elists at the event included Nate Hamil­ton, an activist from the #Black­Lives­Mat­ter move­ment and brother of Don­tre Hamil­ton; and Oscar Her­nan­dez, an immi­grant rights activist who works as an Orga­nizer for We Own the DREAM. The event was co-sponsored by Black Stu­dent Coun­cil (BSC), Youth Empow­ered in the Strug­gle (Y.E.S), the National Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple (NAACP), and Jew­ish Voice for Peace (JVP).
  • Many SJP chap­ters and other anti-Israel groups across the coun­try co-sponsored ral­lies and demon­stra­tions held in sol­i­dar­ity with African-American stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri. At one of the demon­stra­tions, which took place at Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity on Wednes­day, Novem­ber 11, Nadine Dar­wish, a mem­ber of Loy­ola SJP and Loy­ola Divest, stated “Now is the time to hold admin­is­tra­tors accountable…No longer can we remain com­pla­cent as stu­dents and stu­dent activists. We have to put an end to the poli­cies and prac­tices that con­tribute to the sys­temic trauma­ti­za­tion of stu­dents of color on cam­pus, par­tic­u­larly Black stu­dents and my peers in SJP.”

These events are a con­tin­u­a­tion of what occurred dur­ing the pre­vi­ous aca­d­e­mic year, when anti-Israel groups worked to link the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri and when SJP and its part­ners began to pub­licly back dif­fer­ent move­ments and offer sup­port to var­i­ous groups, while broad­en­ing sup­port for BDS and other anti-Israel initiatives.

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October 9, 2015 5

Terror in Israel, A Reality We Know Too Well

By: Car­ole Nuriel, ADL’s Jerusalem Office

Over the past two weeks, a wave of ter­ror has once again hit Israel. For those of us who grew up in Israel dur­ing the 1980s, this is an unfor­tu­nate real­ity we know all too well. Israelis suf­fered through two intifadas, waves of ter­ror attacks includ­ing sui­cide bombs, shoot­ings, run-over attacks, stone throw­ing and Molo­tov cock­tails. Yet there is a feel­ing now that this par­tic­u­lar wave of ter­ror is dif­fer­ent. There are a few rea­sons for this:

•       The ter­ror­ists’ pro­file: They come both from Pales­tin­ian areas in the West Bank and from Israeli Arab communities

•       Most of them are rel­a­tively young, some even teenagers

Obvi­ously, another change is the use of social media:  some of the ter­ror­ists have declared their inten­tion to carry out attacks on social media. This tool, which has become the new “city square”, pro­vides a plat­form for recruit­ment, incite­ment, how-tos, as well as for orga­niz­ing crowds to demon­strate and riot against Israeli secu­rity forces.

Israel violence

In many ways, this wave of vio­lence rep­re­sents an on-the-ground ver­sion of the recent Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, which indis­crim­i­nately tar­geted Israeli civil­ians through­out the coun­try. This wave may have started in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but quickly caught fire to the rest of the coun­try, and is now tar­get­ing cities like Kiryat Gat, Petach Tikva, Tel Aviv and Afula. Much like Hamas’ rock­ets, much of the fear Israelis are now feel­ing is because of the sense that no place in the coun­try is immune from ter­ror attacks.

Anx­i­ety is felt every­where, as is the nature of ter­ror­ism. I live in Modi’in and have taken Road 443 to Jerusalem daily for the past eight years. How­ever, dur­ing the last few months I haven’t felt safe dri­ving on 443, espe­cially with my kids, as there have been numer­ous stone and Molo­tov cock­tail throw­ing inci­dents on this road. I now feel safer tak­ing High­way 1, even though it means a longer drive to Jerusalem. Indeed, many Modi’in res­i­dents don’t drive on 443 any­more. Some­thing has def­i­nitely changed. Just today, I received a notice that secu­rity check­points will be erected at all entrances to the city, and secu­rity in all edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions will be increased.

Polls have shown that there is a gen­eral pub­lic con­sen­sus among Pales­tini­ans against ter­ror­ism. But last week we wit­nessed another kind of evil, one which greatly wor­ries me. Dur­ing Sat­ur­day night’s ter­ri­ble stab­bing in the Old City of Jerusalem, Adele Ben­nett, whose hus­band was killed and she her­self stabbed, was report­edly spat on and laughed at by Arab bystanders as she ran to get help with a knife still in her back. What can be more insult­ing, upset­ting and inhu­mane than this inde­cent act?

But this is not only about ter­ror, it’s also about incite­ment to vio­lence. Many of those riot­ing claim Israel is attempt­ing to change the sta­tus quo on Tem­ple Mount. This holy place to both Judaism and Islam has been the focus of clashes and provo­ca­tions for years. It is hard to ignore the dan­ger­ous actions and dis­course of the Islamic Move­ment in Israel, who have sup­ported the Murabitun/Murabitat group, whose sole pur­pose is to pro­voke and insult Jews vis­it­ing the Tem­ple Mount. Incite­ment has also come from senior Pales­tin­ian Author­ity offi­cials, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas who infa­mously declared in a tele­vi­sion inter­view a few weeks ago that Jews are defil­ing the Tem­ple Mount with their feet.

Today more than ever, reli­gious and polit­i­cal lead­ers must under­stand how eas­ily their incit­ing words can lead to vio­lence and terrorism.

There are ongo­ing efforts among Israeli and Pales­tin­ian lead­ers to deesca­late ten­sions. Israelis hope and pray that this will be suc­cess­ful, and that the per­sonal secu­rity will be restored.

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September 25, 2015 20

University Departments Sponsor Key BDS Advocates

Uni­ver­sity depart­ments on five dif­fer­ent col­lege cam­puses have spon­sored or co-sponsored anti-Israel pro­grams pro­mot­ing Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns so far dur­ing the 2015–16 aca­d­e­mic year. The found­ing goals of the BDS move­ment and many of the strate­gies employed in BDS cam­paigns are anti-Semitic.  Such spon­sor­ship cre­ates the per­cep­tion that spe­cific uni­ver­sity depart­ments sanc­tion these goals and strate­gies, lend­ing an added degree of legit­i­macy and cred­i­bil­ity to anti-Israel advo­cacy and cam­paigns that may alien­ate Jew­ish and pro-Israel students.omar-barghouti-berkeley-flyer

Since the 2012–13 aca­d­e­mic year, there have been at least 99 anti-Israel events that received uni­ver­sity depart­ment spon­sor­ship, includ­ing 44 events which took place in the 2014–15 aca­d­e­mic year.

On Sep­tem­ber 18, 2015, Omar Bargh­outi, a found­ing mem­ber of the Pales­tin­ian Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic and Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (PACBI), spoke at the Uni­ver­sity of California-Berkeley. His pre­sen­ta­tion, which dis­cussed the role which he believes acad­e­mia should play in BDS, was spon­sored by the cam­pus Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter and co-sponsored by eight dif­fer­ent Uni­ver­sity depart­ments, includ­ing the Cen­ter for Race and Gen­der, Asian Amer­i­can Stud­ies, Native Amer­i­can Stud­ies, Eth­nic Stud­ies, Eng­lish, Chi­cano Stud­ies, Near East­ern Stud­ies, and African Amer­i­can Studies.

Bargh­outi, a founder of the move­ment who recently stated that he believes BDS is turn­ing main­stream, has used Holo­caust imagery to con­demn Israel and its sup­port­ers in past pre­sen­ta­tions and inter­views. He also has advo­cated for a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, along with the right of return for Pales­tin­ian refugees, claim­ing that one state would mean “equal­ity for everyone–irrespective of iden­tity, eth­nic­ity, reli­gion or any other attribute.”

Barghouti’s event is not unique for this year though, as the Cen­ter for Diver­sity and Inclu­sion at Michi­gan Tech­no­log­i­cal Uni­ver­sity spon­sored a sim­i­lar pre­sen­ta­tion from Israeli anti-Zionist author Miko Peled on Sep­tem­ber 15, 2015. Over the years, Peled has made sev­eral state­ments about Jews, Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict that would not define “inclu­sion” or “diver­sity.” These state­ments include his alle­ga­tion that Israel turned Gaza into an “enor­mous con­cen­tra­tion camp” or more recently, when he stated that “nei­ther Iran, Hezbol­lah or Hamas pose a threat to Israel, they pose a threat to the Israeli occu­pa­tion and oppres­sion of Palestinians.”

Other events which received depart­ment spon­sor­ship this year include an upcom­ing per­for­mance by Remi Kanazi, an Orga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber of the US Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic & Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel (USACBI), at John Jay Col­lege. At John Jay, Kanazi’s per­for­mance is being co-sponsored by the Depart­ment of Gen­der Studies.

In addi­tion, a Sep­tem­ber 16 pre­sen­ta­tion at Drew Uni­ver­sity by Bassem Tamimi, a Pales­tin­ian anti-Israel activist who has been arrested in Israel sev­eral times, was co-sponsored by the Mid­dle East Stud­ies Depart­ment; and a pre­sen­ta­tion from Vijay Prashad, the for­mer Edward Said chair in Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity of Beirut, was co-sponsored by the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Program.

While not all advo­cates of BDS are anti-Semitic and may be dri­ven by per­ceived legit­i­mate crit­i­cism of cer­tain Israeli poli­cies toward Pales­tini­ans, many indi­vid­u­als engaged in BDS cam­paigns are dri­ven by oppo­si­tion to Israel’s very exis­tence as a Jew­ish state. Because of this, it’s unfor­tu­nate that uni­ver­sity depart­ments would lend their spon­sor­ship to events that can cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that is hos­tile to Jew­ish and pro-Israel students.

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