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April 23, 2015

“Israel Lobby” Conference Features Anti-Israel Rhetoric

A one-day conference titled, “The Israel Lobby: Is it Good for the US? Is It Good for Israel?” took place on April 10, 2015 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The conference featured several anti-Israel speakers who chose to focus on the alleged role that the “Israel lobby” plays in the U.S.-Israel relationship and to evaluate whether it is positive or negative for both countries.

Miko Peled

Miko Peled speaking at the conference

At the conference, there were six panel discussions on topics such as “What Is the Israel Lobby and How Does It Work?,” “Are Critical Voices Silenced?,” “Is Freedom of Speech Encouraged on American Campuses?,” and “Is the Lobby Good for Israel?” Speakers on the panels included Grant Smith, the founder and director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP); Israeli anti-Zionist author and activist Miko Peled; Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist from Ha’aretz; Richard Falk, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights; and Huwaida Arraf, a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

During the discussions, participants spoke about various aspects of the “Israel lobby” and groups that are involved with Israel advocacy work in the U.S. Below are some of the most inflammatory comments from participants at the conference:

  • Richard Falk, in his presentation titled “Weakening and discrediting the UN: The work of pro-Israel NGOs,” claimed that the United Nations is biased towards Israel and that pro-Israel groups are engaged in work to delegitimize the UN. He spoke about the recent AIPAC Policy Conference where Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly spoke negatively about the UN and stated that Graham’s remarks didn’t rest on facts, but instead claimed, “It rests on the repetition of the defamation and if you repeat, as Joseph Goebbels understood very well…If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes a kind of publicly accepted truth. And that’s where the very destructive effect of these kinds of tactics occurred.”
  • Miko Peled spoke about “How the Lobby enables Israeli Policy: Views of an Israeli in America.” In his remarks, he claimed that Israel was founded on ethnic cleansing and that Israel is an illegitimate state because “Israel was created as a result of a brutal ethnic cleansing and established itself as an apartheid regime immediately when it was formed. There was no better Israel. There was no uncorrupt Israel. There cannot be an uncorrupt Israel because it was built on a crime and has no legitimacy.”
  • Gideon Levy’s presentation, which was titled “Does unconditional support for Israel endanger Israeli voices?,” addressed whether or not the U.S.-Israel relationship is corrupt and whether it has had a negative impact on both countries. Levy stated, “We are dealing with a corrupting friendship. I think that if it wouldn’t be the Israel lobby, Israel would have been today a better place to live in. Israel would have been a more just place. And I think that if there wasn’t an Israel lobby, the United States would have been a better place and a more democratic place, but it’s not for me to judge the American politics.”
  • Grant Smith delivered a presentation titled “How big is the Lobby and what does it do? An overview of the 501(c) universe,” and in his remarks, he claimed that U.S. taxpayers are “victims” who are owed money from Israel for U.S. aid that he believes was delivered to Israel on false pretext. He also labeled pro-Israel groups in the U.S. as “Israel-affinity groups” and claimed that, “The education and training indoctrination segment of Israel-affinity groups and organizations is really involved with training within the community, Zionist education.

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March 18, 2015

Anti-Semitism On College Campuses in 2015

Anti-Semitic flyer posted at UC Santa Barbara in Sep. 2014

Update — 5/26/15: An updated list of 2015 anti-Semitic incidents on campus is available here.

After the alarming anti-Semitic incident at UCLA earlier this month, the problem of anti-Semitism on college campuses has become a national discussion.

While such incidents are certainly disturbing, it must be noted that these incidents are relatively rare, and the vast majority of Jewish students feels safe on their campuses. When such incidents do occur, they are generally condemned by administrators and the wider campus communities at their respective colleges.

That being said, the incident at UCLA was not the only anti-Semitic incident to take place so far in 2015. Other anti-Semitic incidents include:

  • A dorm at Purchase College, SUNY was vandalized on March 18 with swastikas and other hateful graffiti.
  • Swastikas were spray-painted inside the house of a Jewish fraternity (Alpha Epsilon Pi) at Vanderbilt University on March 15.
  • At University of California, Berkeley, the phrase “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was found in a campus restroom in March and a swastika was found on a university owned building in February.
  • On February 22, University of Chicago students and staff reported anti-Semitic posts on a Facebook page called UChicago Secrets, such as “People are hypocrites. This is a fact. One example? The Jews at UChicago…” and “As a Person of Palestinian descent, I don’t think it is unreasonable or horrific for me to hate Jews…”
  • Also at the end of February, threatening anti-Semitic comments were posted on Yik Yak (an anonymous social media app that allows people to send and receive posts in a localized area) for the University of Chicago area. Some posts named specific students, while other expressed more general anti-Semitic sentiments such as, “Gas them, burn them and dismantle their power structure. Humanity cannot progress with the parasitic Jew.”
  • At the end of February, three swastikas were drawn inside a George Washington University dorm.
  • On January 31, two large swastikas were spray-painted on the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house at the University of California, Davis.

If you have experienced an anti-Semitic incident on campus or elsewhere, please report it to ADL through our website.

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May 22, 2013

In Vancouver, Washington, a Cluster of Luysters

brent-luyster-tightrope

Brent Luyster

Members of the Clark County, Washington, SWAT team arrested three men this past week, at least two of them known white supremacists, in connection with a possible hate crime at a Vancouver bar in March 2013.  Arrested at their separate residences were Brent Ward Luyster, Robert Arlen Luyster, and Donald H. McElfish. 

The three men allegedly attacked a 45-year-old black man at a bar in Rose Village, punching, kicking and beating the victim while using racial slurs and threatening to kill him.  Police have charged the three suspects with second-degree felony assault and racially motivated malicious harassment.

The two Luyster brothers have a long history of white supremacy and criminal activity, dating back to at least 2000.  That summer, as racist skinheads, the two men (and two others) attacked an African-American man in a racially-motivated assault.  They pleaded guilty to assault charges in 2001.  Three years later, police arrested Brent W. Luyster again, this time for violating parole by associating with another white supremacist.  In July 2005, Vancouver police arrested Brent W. Luyster and another white supremacist on allegations of malicious harassment.

Brent W. and Robert A. Luyster have not, however, been the only Luysters to have gotten in trouble in this fashion.  In late 2004, another Brent Luyster, Brent D. Luyster (identifiable by the “white pride” tattoos on his upper arms), briefly escaped from the Larch Corrections Center in eastern Clark County.  He may be the father of Brent W. and Robert.

In early 2005, Portland, Oregon, police arrested a fourth white supremacist Luyster, Michael Lee Luyster, for not having a driver’s license while transporting a carload of white supremacists to protest at a local community center.  Portland is just south of Vancouver.

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