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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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November 14, 2012 0

Non-Binding Student Divestment Resolution Passes at UC Irvine

The stu­dent sen­ate at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, passed a non-binding res­o­lu­tion last night call­ing for divest­ment from sev­eral com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Israel. The res­o­lu­tion, titled “Divest­ment from Com­pa­nies that Profit from Apartheid,” requires the approval of the stu­dent government’s exec­u­tive board before it may be sent to the admin­is­tra­tion for their consideration.

The res­o­lu­tion includes com­pa­nies that have long been tar­geted by the anti-Israel divest­ment cam­paign, includ­ing Gen­eral Elec­tric, Hewlett-Packard and Cater­pil­lar. It also includes lesser known com­pa­nies, how­ever, like Cement Road­stones Hold­ing which sells cement to Israel, as well as Raytheon, a defense tech­nol­ogy com­pany. Raytheon recently part­nered with an Israeli com­pany to build the highly suc­cess­ful Iron Dome sys­tem that inter­cepts incom­ing rock­ets from Gaza.

Despite the pas­sage of the res­o­lu­tion, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem already has a clear pol­icy against divest­ment.  In 2010, when the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine chap­ter at UC Berke­ley put forth a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion, the UC board and Pres­i­dent Mark Yudof issued a state­ment say­ing that the board would only sup­port a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion “when the United States gov­ern­ment declares that a for­eign regime is com­mit­ting acts of geno­cide.” The state­ment added, “The U.S. has not made any dec­la­ra­tion regard­ing the State of Israel and, there­fore, we will not bring a rec­om­men­da­tion before the Board to divest from com­pa­nies doing busi­ness with the State of Israel.” The state­ment also noted that the resolution’s sole focus on Israel “greatly dis­turbs us.”

Last night’s vote took place with what appears to have been delib­er­ate secrecy and lit­tle fan­fare. A Web site and fan pages on Face­book and Twit­ter with the han­dle “Irvine Divest” were all set up less than 72 hours before the vote. It seems not many were aware that the vote was tak­ing place until after it had occurred.

Jew­ish Voice for Peace, the largest Jew­ish anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion in the U.S., attended the meet­ing, accord­ing to reports on social media. Sup­port­ing boy­cott and divest­ment ini­tia­tives across the coun­try has become one of JVP’s pri­mary mis­sions. The group has sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to advo­cate for divest­ment on sev­eral col­lege cam­puses in the past few years. JVP also deliv­ered speeches at two church con­fer­ences over the sum­mer where the orga­ni­za­tions had been con­sid­er­ing divest­ment. A Los Ange­les orga­nizer for JVP, Estee Chan­dler, even blogged about her expe­ri­ence watch­ing the events of last night unfold and described the vote as “historic.”

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June 7, 2012 2

Anti-Israel Group Increases Outreach to High School Students

Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), a Chicago-based anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion, is plan­ning to host a joint con­fer­ence on “Pales­tine activism” with the High School Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia (HSMSA), an inter-high school net­work of Mus­lim stu­dent organizations.

The con­fer­ence is sched­uled to take place on June 24 at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, a cen­ter for vir­u­lently anti-Israel cam­pus activ­ity in recent years. It is part of AMP’s 7th annual cam­paign to com­mem­o­rate the “Nakba,” an Ara­bic term that means “cat­a­stro­phe” and is used by Pales­tini­ans and their sup­port­ers to describe Israel’s Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence.

AMP orga­niz­ers say the con­fer­ence is designed to help “train high school, col­lege, and non-student activists on issues per­ti­nent to Pales­tine activism.” The list of speak­ers invited to “edu­cate” stu­dents on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict include sev­eral anti-Israel activists known for their use of rhetoric to dele­git­imize Israel.

Speak­ers include Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Elec­tronic Intifada blog; Taher Herza­l­lah, AMP’s National Cam­pus Coor­di­na­tor and one of the 11 stu­dents arrested for shout­ing down Israeli Ambas­sador Michael Oren dur­ing a 2010 speech at UC Irvine; and Osama Abu Irshaid, an AMP board mem­ber who has pre­vi­ously expressed sup­port for Hezbol­lah and con­spir­a­to­ri­ally alleged that the U.S. gov­ern­ment makes deci­sions based on the “influ­en­tial Jew­ish community.”

AMP tar­geted high school stu­dents ear­lier this year when it held its first high school train­ing ses­sion in Villa Park, Illi­nois. The work­shop was sim­i­larly orga­nized to the upcom­ing con­fer­ence at UC Irvine and included work­shops on sub­jects such as the Islamic sig­nif­i­cance of Pales­tine, activism, and how to uti­lize the media.

This year’s AMP Nakba cam­paign con­sists pri­mar­ily of edu­ca­tional and train­ing ses­sions designed to “raise aware­ness about the occu­pa­tion” and to “help bring jus­tice and lib­erty to the Holy Land.” These events will be held through­out the month of June across the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia region, which include the cities of Hawthorne, Corona-Narco, Ana­heim, Temec­ula, and Lomita.

AMP has increas­ingly made an effort to engage in facil­i­tat­ing stu­dent activism on col­lege cam­puses and high schools nation­wide. The impor­tance of encour­ag­ing AMP’s pres­ence among stu­dents was the cen­tral theme of the organization’s 2011 national con­fer­ence, where a num­ber of ses­sions were ded­i­cated to how stu­dents can dis­cuss the issue of Pales­tine in schools and on cam­puses. AMP’s con­certed effort to engage with stu­dents has led to increased col­lab­o­ra­tion with on cam­pus anti-Israel groups, such as Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP).

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