Israel Advocacy News March 6, 2012: One-state conference at Harvard signifies possible new front in campus Israel wars

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ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

One-state conference at Harvard signifies possible new front in campus Israel wars

Source: JTA, 3-6-12

To critics, the one-state conference held at Harvard University was a thinly veiled assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

To organizers, the condemnations and calls on Harvard to cancel the conference amounted to thinly veiled attempts to silence any criticism of Israel.

In the end, “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution” — arranged by a group of graduate students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and held at the university — held few surprises.

Activists and academics came together over the weekend to talk about how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a colonizer-settler relationship. A handful of pro-Israel activists stood outside the Kennedy School bearing signs that read “Shame on Harvard, Haven for Jewish Hatred.” Organizers declared the conference a success, while critics denounced it as a sham.

“The reality is, no matter what the conversation, if it’s critical of Israel, the response is the same,” Israel-born Elisha Baskin, one of the conference organizers, said of criticism of the event. Baskin is a research fellow at the Kennedy School and a graduate student at Brandeis University.

The fact that the conference took place at all — and at Harvard, of all places — may have signified a possible new front developing in the campus wars over Israel.

Until now, most of the campus agitation over Israel has centered on the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel known as BDS. But the Harvard conference, and the intensity with which opponents fought to derail it, suggests a great anxiety among pro-Israel groups about the one-state solution turning into a new anti-Israel rallying cry on U.S. campuses.

“To the extent that the idea of a one-state solution is gaining currency, it is important to fight this line of thinking,” said Rob Leikind, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Boston office.

In the weeks leading up the event, pro-Israel groups sought to discredit the conference as an exercise in delegitimizing Israel, and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called on Harvard to cancel the forum….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 2, 2012: Harvard Kennedy School of Government “One-State Conference” on Israeli-Palestinian conflict draws fire

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ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Harvard conference draws fire

Source: Boston Globe, 3-2-12

An upcoming conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on the “one-state solution’’ to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is drawing ire from organizations who believe it promotes the elimination of Israel.

The “One-State Conference,’’ which will take place this weekend at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, is meant to investigate the feasibility of a creating a unified Israeli-Palestinian political state as a potential solution to war in the region.

But the event has caused some to criticize the Kennedy School for failing to adequately distance itself from the conference’s controversial subject matter….

Officials from the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization, have lambasted the event, saying that it has dangerous implications for the Middle East’s lone Jewish state.

Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he fears that attaching Harvard’s name to the conference will legitimize the one-state solution movement, which he called “a euphemism for eliminating the state of Israel.’’

“When something so egregious takes place at Harvard, it really merits our attention,’’ Jacobson said….

Last week, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote a letter to Harvard president Drew Faust, asking the university to denounce the conference’s subject matter.

“There can never be any legitimate discussion of a concept which, by its very nature, will result in the end of the Jewish character of Israel,’’ Foxman wrote.

Jacobson said the organization does not want Harvard administrators to censor the event, but instead wants the school to renounce its theme….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 1, 2012: ‘Israel Apartheid’ Week Reaches Brandeis University

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‘Israel Apartheid’ Week Comes to Brandeis

Fiery Pro-Palestinian Speaker Promotes ‘One-State’ Solution

One-State Speech: Last month, Boycott Israel protesters held a conference at the University of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ came to Brandeis for the first time.

peter tobia
One-State Speech: Last month, Boycott Israel protesters held a conference at the University of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ came to Brandeis for the first time.

Source: The Forward, 3-1-12

The protest movement known as Israeli Apartheid Week is well underway at campuses across the U.S. And this year, there’s a new college on the roster: Brandeis University.

Heated discussion over Israel is not new to the predominantly Jewish school, but this is the first time that the campus’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter has organized a series with the controversial moniker.

“In the past, we were worried about using the word ‘apartheid,’” said Noam Lekach, a Brandeis sophomore who helped plan the event. “We decided we wanted to tell the truth.”

Ali Abunimah, a rising pro-Palestinian speaker and activist, delivered the keynote speech at Israeli Apartheid Week, speaking Wednesday night to about 80 students and faculty members in a room on the Brandeis campus that was two-thirds full.

Abunimah is a proponent of the one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which calls for Jews and Palestinians to live with equal rights in a single, secular state encompassing the borders of present-day Israel and the occupied territories.

He called the two-state solution, calling for independent Israeli and Palestinian states side by side, a “political science fiction” that is proving increasingly unworkable by the day.

“The reality of a single state is one that is inexorably going to dawn on more and more people,” said Abunimah. “The only questions will be how to resolve it. Will it end in catastrophe? Or will we move toward a democratic outcome in which the status of Israeli Jews is changed from that of settlers to citizens and Palestinians from native colonized people to equal citizens as well?”

The one-state solution, which Israel advocates say will spell the end of the Jewish state, will also be discussed at the Harvard Kennedy School this weekend at a conference featuring Palestinian academics and activists. The “One State Conference” has raised the hackles of mainstream Jewish groups, with the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman writing in a letter to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust: “This conference links Harvard and the Kennedy School with a discredited concept having a singular outcome: the elimination of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.”…READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-ed March 1, 2012: Dore Gold: Now playing on a campus near you Israel Apartheid Week ignorance, lack of regard for facts

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ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Now playing on a campus near you: ignorance, lack of regard for facts

Source: JWeekly, 3-1-12

Anti-Israel hatred on campus crests each year during an event called “Israel Apartheid Week.”

With its ominous name and programs that thrive on ignorance and blind disregard for the facts, tens of thousands of college students are urged to rise up against Israel — painfully evoking the types of racist characterizations of the Jewish people that defined attitudes once heard in Europe in the middle of the last century.

This year’s display of anti-Israel fervor is currently occurring on or near campuses around the United States and Europe. In Berkeley, there were two main events this week, and three more next week. Starting Monday, March 5, IAW will also crank up in Canada, the Arab world and South Africa.

These campus initiatives were incubated in 2001 at the first Durban Conference, proclaiming “no apartheid South Africa in the 20th century and no apartheid Israel in the 21st.” This battle cry sparked the BDS movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish Israel, and it all evolved into an invective-loaded campaign that found a degree of favor on campuses coast to coast, not to mention among some labor unions, churches, media and cultural institutions.

But it is based on a lie.

Typically, those hurling these charges against Israel hope that their audiences are ignorant of the facts. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were not allowed to use white hospitals, they could not attend white universities and they could not participate in the South African parliament.

Visit Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem today, or any other hospital or health facility in Israel, and see Jewish and Arab doctors caring for Jewish and Arab patients. Witness for yourself at Hebrew University or any institution of higher learning as Jewish and Arab professors teach students of different backgrounds. Go to the Knesset, and observe the debates involving both Jewish and Arab parliamentarians.

Given this reality, Justice Richard Goldstone, a former judge on the South African Supreme Court, wrote in the New York Times on Oct. 31, 2011: “The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.”…

Two posters from the “Step Up For Israel” campaign, which is designed to counter  activities such as Israel Apartheid Week   images/courtesy of jerusalemonlineu.com

Two posters from the “Step Up For Israel” campaign, which is designed to counter activities such as Israel Apartheid Week images/courtesy of jerusalemonlineu.com

No nation has fought racism more consistently than the Jewish people, whether through the anti-apartheid activists in the South African Jewish community or through those American Jews who joined the civil rights movement. When Israeli medical teams rushed to international disaster zones in Turkey (1999), Kosovo (1999), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2008) and Haiti (2010), helping the afflicted regardless of their race or creed, they were driven by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam….READ MOR

Israel Advocacy News March 1, 2012: Pro-Israel Student activists preempt Israel Apartheid Week

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ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Pro-Israel Student activists preempt Israel Apartheid Week

Campuses around the nation, including in Illinois, are confronting the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week, arranged by anti-Israel organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine. Apartheid weeks have included mock check-points meant to hassle students, apartheid walls erected to misrepresent Israel’s anti-terror barrier, and speakers touring campus calling for boycotts, divestments, and international sanctions of the Jewish State.  This week of activities is yet another tactic created by Israel’s detractors to demonize the State and delegitimize the very existence of Israel.  Other tactics including “occupy” style protests and cultural activities occur regularly throughout the academic year….

In an effort to preempt Israel Apartheid Week, pro-Israel activists on campuses across Illinois decided on a different approach. Instead of responding, reacting, or countering the rhetoric of Israel Apartheid Week, students produced their own series of events to highlight the Israel they know, love, and defend entitled Israel Peace Week.READ MORE