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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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April 12, 2012 0

The Persistency of “Pinkwashing” Allegations at Columbia University

Colum­bia University’s Cen­ter for Gen­der and Sex­u­al­ity is the lat­est insti­tu­tion to jump on the “pinkwash­ing” band­wagon and claim that Israel’s pro­mo­tion of its pro­gres­sive record on LGBT rights is an attempt to divert atten­tion from its alleged human rights vio­la­tions against Palestinians. 

 On April 10, the Cen­ter – in con­junc­tion with Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) – held an event titled, “The Ethics of Pinkwash­ing: LGBT Rights in Israel/Palestine,” the sec­ond of two pinkwash­ing events at the uni­ver­sity in less than a week.

On April 4, the Cen­ter had spon­sored an event fea­tur­ing three pro­fes­sors and pro­fes­sion­als employed at the uni­ver­sity who trav­eled on an LGBT del­e­ga­tion to the West Bank sev­eral months ago.The Center’s deci­sion to sin­gle out Israel for crit­i­cism seems counter-intuitive given their shared com­mit­ments to pro­mot­ing sex­ual equal­ity rights. Indeed, this rel­a­tively new “anti-pinkwashing” cam­paign, which seeks to min­i­mize Israel’s LGBT val­ues and solely judge it within the con­text of the Israeli occu­pa­tion, appears to be an attempt to dis­credit any and all pos­i­tive aspects of Israeli society. 

The lead speaker at last week’s event, Kather­ine Franke (the direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Gen­der and Sex­u­al­ity), crit­i­cized Israel’s alleged exploita­tion of LGBT peo­ple, describ­ing it as a “self-conscious” and insin­cere pro­pa­ganda effort to divert atten­tion from the occu­pa­tion. Franke argued that “the one has noth­ing to with the other” and that Israel’s record on LGBT peo­ple should be kept dis­tinct from the occu­pa­tion. In fact, pro-Israel advo­cates com­pletely agree, albeit from the oppo­site per­spec­tive: Israel has the right to be proud of and pro­mote its LGBT record, which indeed has absolutely noth­ing to do with the occupation.

Franke also claimed that Israeli secu­rity orga­ni­za­tions often pres­sure gay Pales­tini­ans to col­lab­o­rate with the Israeli gov­ern­ment in exchange for asy­lum or promises of safety. She then accused Israel of cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion where gay Pales­tini­ans are viewed with sus­pi­cion and are iso­lated by Pales­tini­ans because it is assumed that they are col­lab­o­ra­tors, rather than hold­ing Pales­tini­ans account­able for their treat­ment of LGBT people.  

Franke’s co-panelist, Pro­fes­sor Kendall Thomas, claimed that the sit­u­a­tion in the West Bank reminds him of the era of seg­re­ga­tion and Jim Crow laws in the U.S. Thomas also asserted that Israel’s Jew­ish char­ac­ter and democ­racy are on a “col­li­sion course” and can­not be rec­on­ciled with each other.

Claims of Israeli pinkwash­ing gained main­stream atten­tion after an op-ed on the sub­ject was pub­lished in The New York Times in Novem­ber. Pinkwashing-related events have since taken place dur­ing this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week pro­gram, and at sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties and other venues in recent weeks. 

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April 5, 2012 6

Jewish Voice for Peace Promotes Anti-Israel Hagaddah

As Jews around the world pre­pare to cel­e­brate Passover this Fri­day night, one Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tion has opted to use the hol­i­day as an oppor­tu­nity to pro­mote an anti-Israel agenda.

Jew­ish Voice for Peace, a Jew­ish anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion, recently pub­lished an alter­na­tive Hagad­dah that com­pares the Jew­ish people’s exo­dus from Egypt to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, replete with assert­ing that the third of the four cups of wine rep­re­sents the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paign against Israel, the Ten Plagues rep­re­sent the “Ten Plagues of Israeli Occu­pa­tion” and that the maror (bit­ter herbs) rep­re­sents the “bit­ter­ness of life under occupation.”

While some ele­ments of the alter­na­tive text focus on social jus­tice and pro­gres­sive causes (and includes texts and poems from some of the moral lead­ers of our time), much of the Hagad­dah tries to exploit the text to advance anti-Israel ini­tia­tives. The intro­duc­tion, for exam­ple, com­pares Moses’s famous dec­la­ra­tion to Pharoah, “Let My Peo­ple Go!” to the efforts of the Gaza Flotilla to “free” the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple by break­ing Israel’s block­ade of Gaza.

Accord­ing to JVP, the third cup of wine, which is tra­di­tion­ally con­sumed after the meal por­tion of the Seder, rep­re­sents BDS and Seder par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to “make a L’Chayim” to BDS.

The con­stant supremacy of the Pales­tin­ian cause is also star­tling. When the text, for exam­ple, reaches Yachatz, the break­ing of the mid­dle matzah, the text reminds par­tic­i­pants to acknowl­edge the “break that occurred in Pales­tin­ian life and cul­ture with the estab­lish­ment of the State of Israel in 1948.”

JVP had trou­ble insert­ing two addi­tional core parts of its agenda into the Hagad­dah text and instead included them as “Adden­dums” at the end. The first is a let­ter about “pinkwash­ing,” which details a recent suc­cess by anti-Israel activists in Seat­tle to can­cel an event with Israeli LGBT peo­ple. The sec­ond is a let­ter signed by JVP’s Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil oppos­ing a war against Iran.

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