Massachusetts » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’
November 20, 2014 1

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

July 29, 2014 5

Some Anti-Semitism In U.S. In Reaction To Israeli Operations In Gaza

As Israel’s response to the lat­est round of rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza con­tin­ues, some Jew­ish indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions in the U.S. have been tar­gets of anti-Semitism related to the cur­rent conflict.anti-semitic-graffiti-synagogue

In Florida this week, two sep­a­rate anti-Semitic hate crimes des­e­crated a syn­a­gogue and a Jew­ish family’s prop­erty. Con­gre­ga­tion Torah V’Emunah, an Ortho­dox syn­a­gogue within close prox­im­ity to other syn­a­gogues, was spray-painted with the word “Hamas” and swastikas on its front entrance. Addi­tion­ally a Jew­ish fam­ily dis­cov­ered that one of their cars was cov­ered from top to bot­tom with eggs while the other had the words “Jew” and “Hamas” smeared in cream cheese on the windows.

In Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia over the week­end, phrases such as “Jews=Killers” and “Jews are Killing Inno­cent Chil­dren” were found near the entrance to a Jew­ish sum­mer camp.

Last week, anti-Semitic leaflets, which threat­ened vio­lence if Israel does not pull out of Gaza, were left on cars in Peter­son Park, a pre­dom­i­nantly Ortho­dox Jew­ish neigh­bor­hood of Chicago.

On July 17, about two dozen anti-Israel pro­test­ers tar­geted the Florida Holo­caust Museum with graphic images of dead Pales­tini­ans and slo­gans charg­ing Israel with genocide.

Ear­lier this month, the Chabad of South­ern Nevada in Las Vegas was spray-painted with graf­fiti that read “Fre Pales­tine” [sic] and “Free Gaza.”

Sim­i­larly, in Mass­a­chu­setts, the Mon­te­fiore Ortho­dox Syn­a­gogue in Low­ell was van­dal­ized with the words “Free Pales­tine” and “God Bless Gaza” spray painted in red on its white mar­ble walls.

Amer­i­can Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have also been tar­geted online. The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group van­dal­ized the web­site of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am Israel in Penn Val­ley, Penn­syl­va­nia ear­lier this month with the phrase “end Israeli vio­lence in #Gaza” and an image of Moham­mad Abu Khdeir, a Pales­tin­ian who was killed in Jerusalem by what appears to be a group of Jew­ish extremists.

Addi­tion­ally, the pop­u­lar­ity of some dis­turb­ing Hitler-related hash­tags on Twit­ter has grown in reac­tion to Israel’s “Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge,” such as #Hitler­Was­Right and #HitlerDidNothingWrong.

Such anti-Semitism is also evi­dent at many of the anti-Israel demon­stra­tions held in cities through­out the U.S., as well as in Europe, where the State of Israel is often demo­nized with Holo­caust imagery or other anti-Semitic expressions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 11, 2013 0

Massachusetts Lone Wolf Convicted Of First-Degree Murder

keith-luke

T.Correira/The Enterprise/GateHouse Media

On May 30, a Brock­ton Supe­rior Court jury found Mass­a­chu­setts white suprema­cist Keith Luke guilty of first-degree mur­der and related charges stem­ming from a Jan­u­ary 2009 racially-motivated killing spree that was one of the most heinous of sev­eral high-profile white suprema­cist “lone wolf” attacks that year. He sub­se­quently received two con­sec­u­tive life sen­tences with­out parole, plus an addi­tional 158 years in prison.

Luke shot and killed two women, immi­grants from Cape Verde, and sex­u­ally assaulted and attempted to mur­der a third, on Jan­u­ary 21, 2009. Fol­low­ing these killings, Luke led police on a brief chase before they appre­hended him—which pre-empted a planned racially moti­vated killing spree directed at Jews and non-whites.  After his appre­hen­sion, Luke told police that he had planned to con­tinue his mur­der­ous ram­page at a syn­a­gogue later that evening.

Author­i­ties charged Luke with two counts of mur­der, two counts of armed assault with intent to mur­der, aggra­vated rape, kid­nap­ping, armed home inva­sion, unlaw­ful pos­ses­sion of a firearm, and unlaw­ful pos­ses­sion of ammu­ni­tion. Accord­ing to the police, dur­ing his inter­ro­ga­tion Luke said that he had planned to kill as many “non­white peo­ple” as he could in an effort to “fight” for his “dying race.”

Luke was a lone wolf white suprema­cist, with no ties to any orga­nized extrem­ist group.  In the weeks lead­ing up to the mur­ders, Luke was a con­stant on-line pres­ence, mak­ing racist com­ments, racially harass­ing other on-line posters, and espe­cially view­ing white suprema­cist videos on YouTube.  Luke viewed more than 2,300 videos in the two weeks before the mur­ders.  Nearly all of the videos Luke tagged as his “favorites” were anti-Semitic or white suprema­cist in nature, with titles such as “Aryans Rise – They Seek Your Death.” Luke’s com­ments on var­i­ous on-line forums were sim­i­larly typ­i­cally extreme, such as “racial equal­ity is a [J]ewish lie.” And “Hitler was right.  Fuck all non whites.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,