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February 27, 2015

College Campuses Continue To Face Divisive BDS Campaigns

Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, a consortium of student groups have initiated campaigns on campus calling on their schools to divest from companies that they believe either profit from or aid in the Israeli occupation.BDS-campus-anti-israel

The efforts are part of the larger Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global effort to isolate and punish Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians. While supporters of the BDS movement claim to embrace the tactic as a nonviolent way to pressure Israel into negotiations, one of the principal components of the campaign calls for a full and complete right of return for Palestinians which would result in a non-Jewish majority and erase the Jewish character of Israel. The BDS campaign is clearly a biased effort to demonize Israel and place the entire onus of the conflict on the Jewish state.

While these initiatives have failed to have any practical outcomes in terms of university investment policies, it cannot be ignored that some have had a divisive and corrosive effect on the campus climate. On some campuses, divestment initiatives have left Jewish and pro-Israel students feeling beleaguered and isolated. Other students report a tense atmosphere on campuses where students and student leaders are pressured to “choose sides” on a conflict they know little about.

So far this academic year, nearly 300 anti-Israel events have been scheduled, with about 40% of them focused on BDS campaigns. In addition, BDS resolutions have been voted in student government on or initiated by anti-Israel student groups on 11 campuses.

In the coming weeks, addition BDS activity will be coordinated on campus as part of the eleventh annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which began on February 23 and is scheduled to run through March. IAW Events have been scheduled on at least 25 college campuses in the U.S. thus far. Some campuses are scheduled to host presentations on topics such as the false Gaza-Ferguson analogy and others will set up mock “apartheid walls” on their campuses, and/or distribute mock “eviction notices.”

Below is a list of current campus BDS campaigns and resolutions which have been voted on:

  • Northwestern University – The Northwestern University student government passed a divestment resolution submitted by the student-group NU Divest on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The vote was 24-22-3.
  • Stanford University – The Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University passed a BDS resolution submitted by the student-group Stanford out of Occupied Palestine on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The vote on the resolution was 10-4-1.
  • University of Toledo – The University of Toledo student government ruled that a BDS resolution submitted by the campus Students for Justice in Palestine chapter was unconstitutional on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
  • University of California-Davis – The UC Davis Student Senate passed a divestment resolution that was submitted by the campus Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on Thursday, January 29, 2015. The vote on the resolution was 8-2-2, but it was challenged and overturned by the student-led Court of Associated Students, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Student Senate.
  • United Auto Workers (UAW) 2865 – The University of California Student Workers Union (UAW 2865) endorsed a divestment resolution on Thursday, December 4, 2014 calling on the UC Board of Regents to divest from companies that are allegedly profiting from or aiding in the Israeli occupation. The resolution also called for an end of U.S. aid to Israel and for UAW International to divest from the same corporations. The vote was 1411-749.
  • University of California-Los Angeles – On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the UCLA student government endorsed a divestment resolution that was submitted by the campus Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. The vote on the resolution was 8-2-2.

Below is a list of BDS campaigns currently taking place:

  • University of Michigan –  The student-group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan announced plans to initiate a divestment campaign called “#UMDivest” on February 18, 2015. To go along with this, they are hosting a BDS symposium to discuss the campaign, read the resolution, and answer questions from the audience.
  • University of Houston – The University of Houston Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter announced plans to initiate a BDS campaign on February 12, 2015. The group sponsored a pro-BDS demonstration on their campus that day where the campaign was announced.
  • Ohio State University – A newly-founded group called Ohio State University Divest (OSU Divest) started a divestment campaign on January 29, 2015. They announced their campaign through a press release and state that they were calling on the University to divest from companies that allegedly harm and/or profit from harming Palestinians.
  • San Diego State University – SDSU Students for Justice in Palestine launched a divestment campaign and new group called San Diego State University Divest (SDSU Divest) on January 25, 2015. To go along with the campaign, they have been circulating a petition to current students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members that calls for divestment “from companies that profit from violence against the Palestinians.”
  • University of Southern Florida – The University of Southern Florida SJP chapter put up a pro-BDS billboard near campus to claim that 10,000 students were silenced because BDS was not enforced by the University Administration after the group allegedly collected 10,000 signatures calling on the university to divest from corporations that allegedly profit from the Israeli occupation.

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December 2, 2014

Hackers Post Anti-Semitism On U.S. Universities’ Websites

Update — 12/04/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “AnonG­host Team” page. The page has been removed. 

The hacker group AnonGhost Team claimed responsibility for the hacking of several American universities’ websites, including those of Portland State University, Utah State University, Olin College of Engineering, Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis and other educational institutions in the U.S.anon-ghost-hack

The hackings redirected website visitors either to pages playing a recording of the Quran and featuring a message in English that starts with an anti-Semitic pro-terror statement, “Death to All Jews…Viva Hamas, Qassam” or to a page featuring anti-Israel images and playing a pro-Qassam anti-Semitic song with the lyrics, “Teach the son of the Jewish woman how many times we will conquer him.”

These hackings represent part of a growing phenomenon of hacker groups directing website visitors to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages.

The AnonGhost Team announced these hackings on their social media platforms and also posted several statements claiming responsibility for the hacking of a number of other websites in the United States, the UK and other parts of the world.

AnonGhost includes a number of hackers, mostly from North Africa, who are active in targeting Israeli and Jewish websites and express support for terror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Hamas. In the past, group members were among the active participants in an organized campaign to launch cyber-attacks against Israel known as OpIsrael.

The group also claimed that earlier this year it hacked several Jewish institutions’ websites, including those of the Columbia Jewish Congregation, the Jewish Community Action, Jewish People Around the World and several others.

A hacker calling himself Muritania Attacker appears to lead the AnonGhost Team. Muritania Attacker is a self-described anti-Semite, writing on Twitter on November 26 that “I am proud to be Anti-semitic , Death To All Jews ! [sic].” In June 2014, Muritania Attacker was quoted in an online interview describing the hackers in the AnonGhost Team as “14 years to 35 years old” and added “they are well educated , and they all go to school … they are not brainwashed they know the truth.”

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March 8, 2013

Anti-Israel Activity Reached Fever Pitch This Week

Anti-Israel activists took a multi-faceted approach to attacking Israel in the public sphere this week. In the span of 7 days, divestment resolutions were considered at three college campuses, ten anti-Israel billboards were put up in Atlanta, over 30 college campuses hosted Israeli Apartheid Week programs and two daylong BDS conferences were scheduled.

These initiatives are formally or informally part of a global effort to advance the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. They demonstrate the anti-Israel movement’s commitment to employing multiple tactics and campaigns to attract support for its positions.

A flyer advertising the first public discussion on the divestment resolution at UCSD

Here’s a closer look at what’s taken place this week:

  • Campus Divestment Resolutions: Student governments at Stanford University, the University of California (UC), Riverside, and UC San Diego considered divestment resolutions targeting multinational companies that work with Israel like Caterpillar, General Electric and Northrup Grumman. The results were mixed: the resolution at Stanford was voted down; UC San Diego did not vote on its resolution (after a discussion that lasted until 2am) and will resume discussing it next week, while UC Riverside passed its resolution in a stealth manner reminiscent of the recent resolution at UC Irvine. The divestment resolution at Riverside was introduced without advance notice and seems to be part of an effort to ensure that pro-Israel students are left in the dark and are therefore not present at the public discussion to voice their perspective and advocate against the bill.
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: At least 35 college campuses in the U.S. are participating in IAW this year, the ninth consecutive year that the program has been held in cities around the world. Most of the events in the U.S. were formally scheduled to take place March 4-8 but some are stretching into next week as well (due to various university-related scheduling conflicts). IAW events this year have primarily included anti-Israel speakers, mock “apartheid walls” and checkpoint displays on campus, and screenings of two critical of Israel films,  the Oscar award-nominated “5 Broken Cameras” and a more extreme film called “Roadmap to Apartheid.” “Roadmap to Apartheid” is narrated by The Color Purple author Alice Walker and analogizes Palestinian refugees to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and partially condones terrorism as a “symptom” of the conflict.
  • BDS Conferences: This past Saturday the University of Texas, Austin, hosted a daylong “BDS Conference” that featured extreme speeches by Nada Elia, a faculty member at Antioch University in Seattle, and Sherry Wolf, a Jewish socialist and activist. Elia avowed that she would not reject Palestinian extremism because Palestinians “have a right to resist” and compared Israelis to American slave-owners. Wolf used the platform to claim that the notion that Israel is the Jewish people’s homeland is “bulls–t” and accused Israel of “terrorism” and institutionalized racism against the Palestinians. She further described Zionist Jews as “white supremacist racist[s].” On Saturday, March 9, a similar conference will take place on the Auraria campus in Denver. Participants will “learn about the history of both Palestine and the global BDS movement, hear what coalition groups are working on, and participate in BDS and coalition-building training,” according to the event flier.
  • Anti-Israel Billboards: The Council for the National Interest, an anti-U.S. aid to Israel group based in DC, recently started a campaign called “Stop the Blank Check to Israel” which hopes to place billboards in cities across the country. Ten such ads, which read, “$8 Million a day to Israel just doesn’t make sense! STOP The Blank Check.org,” have recently been erected in Atlanta. Ads with similar messages have appeared in the past year in Den­ver, Detroit, Los Ange­les, Chapel Hill and New York.

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