Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 29, 2012: Dan Diker: Laundering anti-Semitism at Harvard — The “One-State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One- State Solution”

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Dan Diker: Laundering anti-Semitism at Harvard

The implications of the “One-State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One- State Solution” at Harvard are far reaching.

Source: JPost, 2-29-12

US Treasury secretary Larry Summers
By REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang
Perhaps the single most important lesson I took from a Harvard education in the early 1980s came at the end of a course entitled, “A Literature of Social Observation and Moral Reflection” taught by renowned child psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize winner Dr Robert Coles, beloved by students and admired by faculty for almost half a century. Recalling the Harvard graduation speech by the great American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1838, Coles urged us always to understand the difference between our character and our intellect, particularly in the “everydayness” of our personal and academic conduct.

It seems that these moral lessons that Coles, Emerson and other people of letters urged us to recall may have been lost at Harvard recently, hopefully only temporarily.

The upcoming symposium, “The One- State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution,” due to convene at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on March 3 and 4 2012, transforms Harvard’s longstanding tradition of free and fair academic debate into anti- Semitic theater. Under the guise of free academic expression, the One-State Conference advances the notion that Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people should be dismantled and replaced by a state that would be flooded with and governed by Palestinian Arabs and in which Jews would once again live as an insecure minority in their own land.

The conference’s cast of nearly 20 prominent speakers underscores the point. It brings together a “dream team” of well-initialed academics who share an antipathy to the existence of the Jewish state.

Keynote presenters include Ali Abunimah, author of the Israel-bashing online “Electronic Intifada” and an enthusiastic Hamas supporter who, as some may remember, publicly branded former prime minister Ehud Olmert as a murderer guilty of war crimes and prevented him from speaking at a 2009 University of Chicago forum.

Other speakers include the virulently anti-Israel academic Ilan Pappé, an Israeli and a long-time public apologist for Palestinian terror, who somehow was underwritten as a guest professor of Middle East history at Harvard.

The conference also features Dianna Buttu, former legal advisor for the PLO and another Hamas supporter who, as Middle East scholar Richard Cravatts noted recently, “denied that thousands of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza into Israel actually had warheads on them, unlike Israeli weaponry.”

The “good” news is that there may be at least one advocate of a two-state solution. Keynote speaker Steven Walt, Harvard professor and co-author of the now infamous tome The Israel Lobby, which accused American Jews of dual loyalty and branded them with the sinister “Israel firsters” label, is slated to be the conference’s primary advocate of the two-state solution….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 29, 2012: Barbara Kay: Israel’s worst enemies

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Barbara Kay: Israel’s worst enemies

Source: National Post, 2-29-12

George Orwell once said, “England is the only great nation whose intellectuals are ashamed of their country.” Orwell never met Israeli intellectuals.

As the Post noted in its Saturday editorial, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is declining in vigour on North American campuses. But at Israel’s four secular universities – Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Ben Gurion University (BGU) – robust anti-Zionism continues to flourish, as it has for decades.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War, and with mounting stridency, the majority of Israel’s already leftist intelligentsia have identified themselves with enemies sworn to their nation’s annihilation.

Every day, anti-Zionist literature pours forth from Israel’s tenured radicals. Every week, an article condemning Israel as an apartheid nation appears. Every month, Israeli academics attend conferences expanding on the evils of the occupation and the moral bankruptcy of the Jewish state. Every year, Israeli historians make their annual pilgrimage to IAWs all over the world, including an one at TAU.

The tone of their attacks can’t be rivalled outside Israel for viciousness. Under the auspices of the University of Haifa, for example, anti-Semitic discourse is distributed by ALEF, an anti-Israel chat forum. It includes endorsements of terrorism, calls for the extermination of Israel and even support for Holocaust deniers….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 29, 2012: University of Cincinnati students observe Israel Peace Week

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Promised land peace: University of Cincinnati students observe Israel Peace Week

Source: The News Record, 2-29-12

For more information…

On Thursday, the group is presenting a viewing of “Israel Inside” at 7 p.m. in McMicken Hall, Room 26.

Israeli Foreign Minister Uri Palti will be present throughout Thursday’s Bearcats for Israel
activities.

University of Cincinnati students scribbled what peace means to them on small sheets of white paper. According to them, peace means “no war with Iran”, “accepting others despite our differences”, “compromising and giving a little to achieve something bigger”, “no nuclear bombs” and “coexistence and good relationships with everyone.”

With the intent of promoting and spreading the idea of a peaceful Israel, colleges across the United States launched Israel Peace Week from Feb. 27 through March 1. Israel Peace Week is a grassroots campaign to counter anti-Israel propaganda with the simplistic and positive idea that Israel wants peace and is willing to make sacrifices for the ideal.

In 2010, a group of four pro-Israel students developed the campaign to educate their campus peers about Israel’s efforts for peace.
“To be pro-Israel is to be pro-peace,” said Bearcats for Israel President Judith Wertheim.

Throughout the week, the Bearcats for Israel group organized a table of information in the Tangeman University Center to educate students about the cause.

“We think it’s important to provide easy access to education about Israel Peace Week,” Wertheim said. “We have the Hasbara Fellowship Israel Peace Week handouts to explain a little bit more about what we’re about.”

Hasbara Fellowship is a leading pro-Israel campus activism organization working with approximately 120 campuses in North America.

“It’s a program where leaders, like myself, go to Israel for about 10 days to meet with foreign ministers and reporters,” Wertheim said. “We’re taught the basics of everything that has to do with Israel and how to advocate for Israel on campus.”…READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 28, 2012: Ruth Wisse: Harvard’s Latest Assault on Israel

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Harvard’s Latest Assault on Israel

Promoting the Jewish State’s destruction at a school dedicated to ‘democratic governance.’

Source: WSJ, 2-28-12

In 1948, when the Arab League declared war on Israel, no one imagined that six decades later American universities would become its overseas agency. Yet campus incitement against Israel has been growing from California to the New York Island. A conference at Harvard next week called “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution” is but the latest aggression in an escalating campaign against the Jewish state.

The sequence is by now familiar: Arab student groups and self-styled progressives organize a conference or event like “Israeli Apartheid Week,” targeting Israel as the main problem of the Middle East. They frame the goals of these events in buzzwords of “expanding the range of academic debate.” But since the roster of speakers and subjects makes their hostile agenda indisputable, university spokespersons scramble to dissociate their institutions from the events they are sponsoring. Jewish students and alums debate whether to ignore or protest the aggression, and newspapers fueling the story give equal credence to Israel’s attackers and defenders.

A featured speaker at Harvard’s conference is Ali Abunimah, creator of the website Electronic Intifada, who opposes the existence of a “Jewish State” as racist by virtue of being Jewish. A regular on this circuit, he also keynoted a recent University of Pennsylvania conference urging “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) of, from and against Israel. Ostensibly dedicated to protecting Palestinian Arabs from Israeli oppression, BDS has by now achieved the status of an international “movement,” some of whose branches exclude Israeli academics from their journals and conferences….READ MORE

 

Israel Advocacy News February 27, 2012: Israel Apartheid Week in Great Britain What has it achieved?

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Israel Apartheid Week: What has it achieved?

Source: The Jewish Chronicle, 2-27-12

Israel Apartheid week. The one week in the year when the rules of genuine engagement, constructive dialogue and all forms of moderation, are dispensed with.

It is the one week where it is acceptable to stop and harass students on a British university campus in fancy dress as Israeli soldiers; where speaker events, which are often an orgy of self-congratulation and hysteria, are packed to capacity with people who have turned up to hear people bashing the Jewish state, where fist-raising replaces applause as a sign of support for speakers in a way that not even Orwell could have imagined would become a reality. It is the one week where the word “Apartheid” is thrown around mercilessly as merely another adjective in the inventory of vulgarities with which to describe Israel.

Devastatingly, this week is the time when Palestinian societies around the country waste rare opportunities to raise awareness and engage a wider body of students with the harsh realities that exist within the Palestinian territories and Israel. Instead they seek to erode any kind of legitimate debate. My wish for Palestinian societies is that their efforts and energies will be focused instead on creating tangible ways to improve the lives of Palestinians on the ground.

Our Jewish values dictate the necessity of protecting human rights and, Jewish students, despite being called “Nazis”, “racists” and “occupiers”, still continue to work to better the lives of those living in the region. Last week, Birmingham Jewish Society raised money for a Palestinian child in Gaza to receive life-changing heart treatment; this week members of the Jewish community are on a UK Taskforce trip, attempting to find ways to proactively challenge discrimination within Israel. I seriously question the credibility of anyone that suggests that we are blind to the suffering of others within the Middle-East.

The frustration felt by many Jewish students about this week is that repeatedly JSocs are doing their best to promote both the dialogue of peace and tangible action to secure this goal. Fake walls, mock-checkpoints and flotillas (glorified cruises) in a handful of the roughly 280 higher education institutions are merely theatrical stunts which do nothing to help bring about an end to the conflict. So, at the end of this week, I can’t help but ask myself what has been achieved?

The answer: the continued condemnation of the state of Israel. They say we don’t get it – it is because we do get it that we continue our efforts on campuses to ensure there is fair and constructive debate. It is because many of us have family in the region, many of us have invested time speaking to people that are affected daily and because it is our homeland that we have such a vested interest in obtaining peace. We know the price at stake and we are not prepared to let that slip away to make room for extremism, theatrics and destruction – both in the region and on campus.

No doubt the planning for the next Israel Apartheid Week has already started. It promises to be bigger and better than this year’s festivities – more checkpoints, more walls and more mocktillas. These will be staged irrespective of the political situation and irrespective of the difference these will make to the Palestinian people. They just don’t get it.

Alex Green is a law student at Birmingham University, a former campus relations officer for Birmingham JSoc and the UJS president-elect. Follow him on Twitter here.

Want to write for Campus Comment? It’s your chance to see your words published. Whether you’re a budding journalist, a political thinker or simply have an idea you want to share, send in opinion pieces of up to 600 words on topics of interest to Jewish students and young people. Email jenniferlipman@thejc.com for more details.

Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 26, 2012: Natan Sharansky: Legitimizing Israel on US campuses

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Natan Sharansky: Legitimizing Israel on US campuses

Jewish Agency programs are helping to create a generation of young Jews who are more robustly involved in Jewish life.

Source: JPost, 2-26-12

In the coming days, thousands of people will descend on Washington, DC, for the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference, where they will spend three days celebrating and strengthening the US-Israel relationship.

Accompanying the hundreds of student participants will be no fewer than 20 of our 50 Israel Fellows, who are posted on campuses across North America in a wonderful partnership with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in order to offer Jewish students a personal connection to Israel and Jewish life. And just hours after addressing the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors in Jerusalem, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein will board a plane along with dozens of young Israelis from all walks of life, who will be hosted by many of these same Israel Fellows in order to help counter the odious “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus.

I remember when I first talked about expanding the Israel Fellows program during my first months as chairman of the Jewish Agency I found that I was often asked whether I viewed the Jewish Agency as a political organization.

The answer, of course, is no, but it is an interesting question and it bears addressing.

The heart of the debate on college campuses in North America is increasingly not between Left and Right – whether or not certain policies are acceptable, certain negotiating positions legitimate, or certain concessions justified.

The debate on North American campuses is about the very legitimacy of Israel – whether the Jewish state has the very right to exist, and whether Israel is something to which Jewish young people ought to be connected….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 26, 2012: Israeli Apartheid Week marked in US campuses

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Israeli Apartheid Week marked in US campuses

Pro-Palestinian campaign, marked in European universities last week, arrives in US. CEO of pro-Israeli organization says there is hostile environment toward Israel in 60-80 out of 4000 American universities

Source: YNet News, 2-26-12

The Israel Apartheid Week, a pro-Palestinian international campaign which includes films, lectures, demonstrations and calls for a boycott of Israel, commenced in US campuses on Sunday. The anti-Israel event was initiated in Europe eight years ago. This year’s event will last six days in the US and then move to Canada.

Related Stories:

Contrary to alarming headlines in local media, US students are not as troubled by Apartheid Week events as it would seem. A survey among American students reveals that 80% are in fact not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The survey also indicates that 15% students are pro-Israeli compared with only 5% of students who are pro-Palestinian.

In fact, many students regard Apartheid Week with its rallies and “checkpoints” as mainly annoying. Out of roughly 4,000 campuses in the US, almost all do not have an anti-Israel atmosphere. Only a few dozen campuses hold a prominent debate on the issue.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry assists some 10 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in their efforts to promote a pro-Israel discourse in these campuses. One of them is the the David Project, which was founded in Boston in 2002 during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The organization aims to promote the idea that Israel plays the part of “David,” of the David and Goliath story, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"80% לא מתעניינים בסכסוך". הפגנה פרו-ישראלית בלונדון (צילום: רועי גולדמן)

 Pro-Israeli demonstrations in England (Photo: Roi Goldman)

In a new report on the state of anti-Israel sentiment in the campuses, the David Project determines there is anti-Israel hostility in 60-80 US campuses, mainly in art programs. These colleges don’t necessarily have a hostile environment for Jewish students, but there is a spillover effect of anti-Israeli opinions, especially among student leadership that are dangerous in the long-run.

“The main challenge is not to stop de-legitimization, but to prevent it from rising in the first place”, said Executive Director David Bernstein….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy 101: JUF’s Israel Education Center Tackling the Delegitimization of Israel on Campus with Programs & “The Playbook” Manual

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Tackling the Delegitimization of Israel on Campus

Over the last ten years the battle for support of Israel has been fought on college campuses across the country.  During that time, Israel’s detractors have become more nuanced, coordinated and hateful.  “Occupy” style protests, boycott divestment and sanctions movements, cultural activities and Israel Apartheid Week (scheduled for the last week of February) are tactics used to achieve one goal: to delegitimize the existence of a Jewish state.

For that reason, JUF’s Israel Education Center has crafted a comprehensive manual entitled “The Playbook” JUF’s Israel Education Center to tackle the delegitimization effort head-on.  The goal of  The Playbook, is not only to provide students with a resource they can turn to when different forms of anti-Israel activity flare up, but ultimately to serve as a comprehensive tool that will motivate students to take back the conversation about Israel with tenacity, perseverance, and professionalism. If student advocates throughout the nation are equipped with a game plan that addresses the movement as a whole, they will be empowered to stand up and speak out for Israel. The Israel on Campus Coalition and the Israel Action Network have signed on as co-sponsors.

JUF’s Israel Education Center (IEC) supports year-round programming for initiatives which promote the positive aspects of Israel and is on the front-lines with students when anti-Israel activity occurs.  It is because of the positive, constant stream of pro-Israel activities that we are not losing hearts and minds on campus.  In the next two weeks DePaul University, Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, Bradley University, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and University of Chicago will be holding Israel Peace Weeks.  The programming is a grassroots initiative, in concert with Hasbara Fellowships, to counter anti-Israel propaganda with a simple, positive message: Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace.

Activities including movie screenings, tabling with educational materials, social media campaigns, lectures, and petitions are scheduled to occur across the state.  The majority of these programs are co-sponsored by multiple non-Jewish student groups, an effective tool for gaining wide-reaching support for Israel.  The efforts of Israel Peace Week are designed not only to educate students, faculty and staff but to off-set any negative messaging presented during Israel Apartheid Week.

The Israel Education Center is an arm of JUF’s Department of Campus Affairs and Student Engagement

Israel Advocacy News February 22, 2012: The David Project: Anti-Israel attitudes spreading at U.S. universities, report says

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Anti-Israel attitudes spreading at U.S. universities, report says

The David Report says that while anti-Semitism is less of an issue for U.S. Jewish college students, negativity about Israel threatens to erode bipartisan support.

Source: Haaretz, Forward, 2-22-12

A report released February 8 by The David Project, one of a handful of Jewish groups devoted to campus activism on Israel, paints a nuanced picture of the challenges Israel faces on U.S. university campuses. Called “A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges,” the paper claims that universities are host to the worst anti-Israel behavior in America, even as the American public, more broadly, is supportive of the Jewish state.

But veering from the Israel advocacy world’s frequent position, the report makes a strong distinction between “anti-Israelism” and anti-Semitism on campus. Conflating the two does not “jive” with the experience of Jewish students who feel largely comfortable in American universities, the report warns. The problem, it stresses, is not anti-Semitism; it’s a “drip-drip negativity” about Israel that, according to the David Project’s Executive Director David Bernstein, threatens to erode support over the long term.

U.S. university students. University students in the U.S.
Photo by: Courtesy of the David Project / Forward

“The chief concern, therefore, is not the welfare of Jewish students,” the report states, “but that a pervasively negative atmosphere will affect the long-term thinking of current college students, negatively affecting strong bipartisan support for Israel.”

The way the new David Project sees it, a subtle problem deserves a subtle response. Its new agenda focuses on selling Israel rather than on reaming out its critics. Rather than counter anti-Israel speech on campus with flashy events featuring big-name speakers, the group proposes a kind of pro-Israel diplomacy in which students “map” their campuses to find and influence thought leaders — namely, other students and faculty members….Read more at the Forward.

Israel Advocacy News February 21, 2012: Boycott of Israel Hits Campuses and Churches

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Boycott of Israel Hits Campuses and Churches

Source: Algemeiner, 2-21-12

University of Pennsylvania campus. Photo: wiki commons.

First came an entire conference dedicated to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, the Presbyterian Church approved a report calling for divestment from three companies because of their sales to Israel. All in all, February has seen the anti-Israel BDS movement gain significant steam.

On Feb. 17, the General Assembly Mission Council of Presbyterian Church USA decided to receive a report from the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), including a resolution recommending that Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Motorola Solutions “be placed on the General Assembly Divestment List until such time as they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine.” The recommendations will now go before the church’s 220th General Assembly, set for June 30-July 7.

From Feb. 3-5, a national BDS conference at Penn armed was an anti-Israel training ground for college students, including sessions such as “The Economics of Israeli Occupation” and “Connecting with Grassroots Palestine,” with the stated goal of “touching on every aspect of the multifarious global effort to heed the BDS Call and bring an end to Israel’s system of oppression, segregation and dispossession.”

Don’t think BDS activity within the church and on campus takes place in respective vacuums, said Ethan Felson, vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the organization’s expert on divestment.

“When we take a look at the pro-BDS groups in the churches, they all were reporting on the Penn BDS conference, and the campus BDS movements are looking closely at what’s happening in the churches, each eager to trumpet a success of the other,” Felson said during a Feb. 14 conference call with reporters.

The recent growth of BDS hasn’t been limited to Penn and the Presbyterian Church within academic and religious spheres. At its quadrennial General Conference in April, the United Methodist Church will also consider a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, HP, and Motorola. At Harvard University, it won’t be surprising if BDS is a hot topic at a March 3-4 conference on the “One State Solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Paul Beran, a noted BDS activist, chairs the outreach center of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies….READ MORE