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May 19, 2014 2

Vassar College President To Investigate Anti-Israel Student Group Activity

In response to a series of anti-Semitic posts pub­lished on social media accounts affil­i­ated with Vassar’s Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter, Catharine Hill, the Pres­i­dent of Vas­sar Col­lege, announced that “the col­lege is ini­ti­at­ing a full inves­ti­ga­tion and action on the mat­ter” and that she will be ask­ing the Vas­sar Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion (VSA) to review SJP’s pre-organization sta­tus; the group is a “pre­lim­i­nary orga­ni­za­tion” on campus.vassar-sjp

Anti-Semitic and racist mes­sages allegedly dis­sem­i­nated by the Vas­sar chap­ter of SJP included an arti­cle that was reposted from The Occi­den­tal Quar­terly, a racist print pub­li­ca­tion that in its own words, hopes to “defend the racial group that cre­ated and sus­tains our civ­i­liza­tion.” Another post that appeared on Vas­sar SJP’s Tum­blr page was of a car­toon that used offen­sive Holo­caust imagery to con­demn alleged Israeli poli­cies. It depicted a so-called “Holo­caust” in Gaza, with a pile of human skulls topped with a sign that read “Gaza.”

On May 13, a day before Hill’s state­ment, Vas­sar SJP posted a state­ment on its Face­book page claim­ing that, “Up until this point, the social media plat­forms (tum­blr and twit­ter) asso­ci­ated with SJP Vassar’s name have been man­aged by one per­son and the SJP gen­eral body was not involved in deci­sions made about what was being posted.” The group also con­demned hate speech and apol­o­gized for the offen­sive posts.

Con­cern over Vas­sar SJP’s activ­ity first began in Feb­ru­ary when the group orga­nized a protest out­side of an Inter­na­tional Stud­ies class, whose pro­fes­sor co-led a trip to Israel to explore water issues as part of the course. The protest report­edly lasted for at least 30 min­utes, as stu­dents enrolled in the course attempted to enter the classroom. 

As the stu­dents tried to make their way into the class­room, the pro­test­ers called on them to drop the class because of the orga­nized trip to Israel. They also handed out fly­ers, which apart from call­ing for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel, also claimed that “The sim­ple act of enter­ing and mov­ing within the state of Israel is a free­dom denied to over 5 mil­lion Pales­tin­ian refugees who were eth­ni­cally cleansed from their homes…The indige­nous peo­ple of Pales­tine do NOT want you to come.” 

Hill’s state­ment is an impor­tant step toward ensur­ing that Jew­ish and pro-Israel stu­dents on cam­pus are made to feel com­fort­able and that bla­tant anti-Semitism and hos­tile rhetoric will not be tol­er­ated on campus.

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May 15, 2014 7

“Jews Vs. Nazis” Drinking Game Controversy

An offen­sive new Holocaust-themed ver­sion of the pop­u­lar “beer pong” drink­ing game has become a sub­ject of intense dis­cus­sion online and in domes­tic and inter­na­tional media. The game, dubbed “Jews vs.Jews vs  Nazis beer pong drinking game Nazis,” is played by set­ting up two groups of cups, one in the shape of a swastika and the other in the shape of a Star of David.

While the game has report­edly been played across the coun­try in the last few years, the most recent instance came to light after a Twit­ter feed ded­i­cated to anony­mous high school con­fes­sions tweeted a photo of cups set up for “Jews vs. Nazis” on April 27. The photo, which appeared to be from a high school in Florida, was sub­se­quently retweeted 1,800 times, favor­ited over 3,000 times, and cov­ered by the local news.

There are doc­u­mented instances of “Jews vs. Nazis” beer pong on var­i­ous social media sites going back to at least 2011. These pho­tos are fre­quently recir­cu­lated by peo­ple claim­ing they are from a recent event.

The photo from the sup­posed recent game actu­ally first appeared in March 2013 on Red­dit, a user-generated news site. It has since shown up on other blogs and web­sites where drink­ing games are a com­mon topic, as well as on a food blog and the web­site of a Col­orado radio sta­tion, which described five new ver­sions of beer pong for its lis­ten­ers to try.

The March 2013 photo, the most com­monly cir­cu­lated on social media, often also includes the game’s rules. In addi­tion to hav­ing the teams shape their cups into a swastika and a Star of David, the game’s over-the-top insen­si­tiv­i­ties include giv­ing the “Jews” the abil­ity to hide one of their cups as the “Anne Frank” cup and the “Nazis” the abil­ity to “Auschwitz” their oppo­nents, mean­ing that one of their play­ers must tem­porar­ily sit out.

Not only is this game pro­foundly offen­sive, its rules also encour­age anti-Semitism against the “Jew” team. The rules state: “Through­out the game you are sup­posed to talk a lot of s–t and say as many racist things as pos­si­ble to make it more enjoy­able. My Jew­ish friends actu­ally love this game haha.”

This game under­scores once more the crit­i­cal need for Holo­caust edu­ca­tion. A recent global poll on anti-Semitism con­ducted by ADL revealed that only a lit­tle more than half of the respon­dents had heard of the Holo­caust, though that num­ber was much higher in the U.S. where 89% of peo­ple acknowl­edged aware­ness of the Holocaust.

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May 7, 2014 0

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Zarif: We have taken away Netanyahu’s com­fort*
(Mehr News Agency – May 6, 2014)

Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif appeared before a par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion on Tues­day over his remarks on the verac­ity of the Holo­caust. Zarif, who stated in sev­eral inter­na­tional inter­views that the Holo­caust did hap­pen, told the com­mis­sion, “I have spo­ken to [the Supreme Leader] per­son­ally about his speech on the Holo­caust and he has con­demned the killing of the Jews and has refuted his state­ment on the issue.”

Iran rejects restric­tions on nuclear facil­i­ties ‘free trans­fer’
(Mehr News Agency – May 6, 2014)

In a meet­ing with the Prepara­tory Com­mit­tee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Con­fer­ence in New York, Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said, “All coun­tries have the right to set their national agenda for access­ing full nuclear fuel chain and should be respected.” Najafi also rejected mea­sures to restrict and ban the trans­fer of nuclear facilities.

Supreme Leader meets with offi­cials of Soci­ety of Mid­wifery
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 5, 2014)

 In a speech mark­ing the Inter­na­tional Day of the Mid­wife, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei stressed Iran’s need for pop­u­la­tion growth in accor­dance with his Per­sian New Year mes­sage from March. “A coun­try with­out youth means a coun­try with­out inno­va­tion, progress, excite­ment and enthu­si­asm. There­fore, the vital plan of increas­ing pop­u­la­tion should be fol­lowed up in a seri­ous way.”

hossein-dehqan-iran

Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Dehqan

Israel dis­ar­ma­ment a demand by all nations: Min­is­ter
(Mehr News Agency – May 5, 2014)

Iran’s Defense Min­is­ter, Brigadier Gen­eral Hos­sein Dehqan, said dur­ing an offi­cial visit to China this week, “The dis­ar­ma­ment of such war­mon­ger a regime as the Zion­ist regime is a demand by all nations in the region which should set a pri­or­ity to inter­na­tional organizations.”

Iran’s influ­ence has reached the Mediter­ranean*
(Fars News Agency – May 2, 2014)

Major Gen­eral Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a for­mer com­man­der of the IRGC, addressed a cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion from the Iran-Iraq war, and said: “Cer­tainly, the strat­egy of Amer­ica, Saudi Ara­bia, Turkey, Qatar and the Euro­pean coun­tries for the over­throw of Bashar Assad has faced defeat. This defeat is a strate­gic fail­ure for the West­ern front, the Arabs and Zion­ists, and was a great vic­tory for the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran.” Safavi added, “Iran’s influ­en­tial power stretches from the axis of Iran, Iraq and Syria to the Mediter­ranean, and this is the third time that Iran’s influ­ence has reached the Mediter­ranean. Our line of defense is no longer Sha­lam­cheh. Our bor­der defense is south­ern Lebanon with Israel and our deep defen­sive strat­egy has reached the Mediter­ranean above Israel’s head.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran­ian FM: I won’t allow offi­cial Holo­caust denial
(The Times of Israel – May 6, 2014)

Dur­ing his ques­tion­ing in par­lia­ment over his recent com­ments on the Holo­caust, For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif said that he will not allow Iran’s rep­u­ta­tion to be dam­aged with state­ments about “Holo­caust Denial.” Zarif also added, “We shall not allow the Zion­ist regime – who is ille­gally in pos­ses­sion of chem­i­cal and nuclear weapons and is the biggest vio­la­tor of non-proliferation laws – to por­tray Iran as a danger.”

The right way to press Iran
(The New York Times, Op-Ed – May 6, 2014)

Ken­neth Pol­lack from the Brook­ings Insti­tute writes that the Obama admin­is­tra­tion should focus on “con­duct­ing intru­sive inspec­tions, design­ing a mech­a­nism to eas­ily reim­pose sanc­tions if Iran cheats, and extend­ing the dura­tion of the agreement.”

Inter­na­tional inspec­tors to visit two nuclear facil­i­ties in Iran
(The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – May 4, 2014)

Offi­cials from the Inter­na­tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit two nuclear sites in Iran, ful­fill­ing a series of demands made by the nuclear watch­dog agency. “Fol­low­ing the visit, Iran will be able to say that the seven-agreed mea­sures struck between the Iran and the agency have ful­filled,” Behrouz Kamal­vandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic depart­ment, said to reporters.

Iran bans What­sApp due to ‘Jew­ish own­er­ship’
(Haaretz – May 3, 2014)

The Com­mit­tee for Deter­min­ing Crim­i­nal Web Con­tent announced that it is ban­ning the pop­u­lar mobile phone app, What­sApp, and “the rea­son for this is the adop­tion of What­sApp by the Face­book founder Mark Zucker­berg, who is an Amer­i­can Zionist.”

Beat­ings, tor­ture, and impris­on­ment: It’s not easy being a jour­nal­ist in Iran
(Vice News – May 3, 2014)

The leader of the “World’s Most Pro­lific Jailer of Jour­nal­ists” was announced this week dur­ing World Press Free­dom Day. Replac­ing Turkey, who has claimed the title for two years, is the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran with its cur­rent impris­on­ment of 35 mem­bers of the press.

Pol­i­tics, mar­kets com­pli­cate Rouhani’s res­cue of Iran econ­omy
(Reuters – May 1, 2014)

Iran’s national cur­rency con­tin­ues to suf­fer, adding pres­sure to Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s plan to res­cue Iran’s fal­ter­ing economy.

White House says it has ‘wide range of options’ if Iran talks fail
(The Jerusalem Post – May 1, 2014)

Jake Sul­li­van, the deputy assis­tant to Pres­i­dent Obama, told the Jerusalem Post, “If talks break down, and if Iran is not nego­ti­at­ing in good faith, we are pre­pared to work with Con­gress to impose more sanctions.”

Brain drain blights Iran’s econ­omy as investors wait in wings
(Bloomberg – April 28, 2014)

Accord­ing to Iran’s National Elites Foun­da­tion, over the past two years at least 40 per­cent of top-performing Iran­ian stu­dents in sci­ence and engi­neer­ing have left Iran. Most stu­dents end up leav­ing for greener pas­tures in Canada, Aus­tralia, Ger­many and Sweden.

Ahmadine­jad denies return to pol­i­tics
(Al-Monitor – April 28, 2014)

Dur­ing a recent visit to the city of Mash­had, for­mer Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad reit­er­ated that he does not plan to reen­ter pol­i­tics. “I do not intend to enter pol­i­tics,” Ahmadine­jad told the crowd of supporters.

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