Israel Advocacy Op-eds May 24, 2013: Asaf Romirowsky: The voices of BDS

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

The voices of BDS

Source: YNet News, 5-24-13

Op-ed: Pro-Palestinian groups hijacked narrative of peace and justice, yet in reality they yearn for Israel’s destruction

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s biggest success is rooted in its ‘soft power.’ The ability to influence behavior through values, policies, institutions and culture, as opposed to ‘hard’ or coercive power exercised through military or economic pressures, plays a tremendous role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-eds February 9, 2013: Alan Dershowitz: Will Brooklyn College now co-sponsor an anti-BDS event?

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Will Brooklyn College now co-sponsor an anti-BDS event?

Source: Haaretz, 2-9-13

Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Times willfully distorted the opposition to Brooklyn College’s BDS event. It was not about academic freedom: It was a principled objection to departmental sponsorship of BDS’ hate speech – one whose goal is blacklisting all Israeli, Jewish institutions and ultimately the end of Israel’s right to exist….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-eds February 3, 2013: Alan M. Dershowitz: Does Brooklyn College Pass the ‘Shoe on the Other Foot’ Test?

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Does Brooklyn College Pass the ‘Shoe on the Other Foot’ Test?

Source: The Jewish Press, 2-3-13
Shoe on the Other Foot
The decision by the Brooklyn College political science department to endorse the BDS movement—which includes the boycotting of Jewish-Israeli academics—has been “justified” on freedom of speech and academic freedom grounds by the chairman of the department. Brooklyn College’s President has said that departments have the right to sponsor one-sided partisan events. Let’s see if these “justifications” pass the “shoe on the other foot test.”

What would these administrators say if the department of philosophy were to officially endorse the right to life and oppose a woman’s right to choose abortion? What if the economics department had officially endorsed Mitt Romney during last year’s election? What if the Spanish department had voted to endorse an academic boycott against Cuban or Venezuelan professors? What if the department of religion were to officially condemn homosexuality?

I can assure you that both the lyrics and the music would be very different. The chairman of the political science department, a radical leftist, would be complaining that his academic freedom is being denied by these departments officially endorsing positions with which he disagrees. The president of the college, known for her feminist views, would not likely remain silent in the face of an official departmental endorsement of the right to life. Nor would many faculty members justify a departmental condemnation of homosexuality on the ground of academic freedom or freedom of speech….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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

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 Op-ed February 21, 2012: Natan Nestel: Groups that demonize Israel in college & university campuses should put themselves outside the tent

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Natan Nestel: Groups that demonize Israel put themselves outside the tent

Hillel leaders should enforce National Hillel guidelines forbidding Israel-demonizing events and groups.

UC Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union’s decision to deny membership to J StreetU created controversy. Opponents of the decision claim that J Street is pro- Israel, no Jewish group should be excluded, and that any exclusion is undemocratic and alienates students.

Yet those who oppose J Street’s inclusion have good cause for concern. Consider some of the groups and speakers that J Street has brought to US campuses:

• “Breaking the Silence” (BTS-Shovrim Shtika) is a fringe Israeli group touring US campuses accusing the IDF of “war crimes.” This New Israel Fund (NIF) supported group claims that Israel commits “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing” and “violates human rights.” BTS is quoted 27 times in the infamous Goldstone Report, which Goldstone himself has disavowed. BTS still promulgates it.

This is the same BTS that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which leads the delegitimization campaign against Israel on campuses, lists on its website as an advocacy group for its anti-Israel campaign. BTS programs have been used during “Israel Apartheid Week” on US campuses.

• J StreetU arranged talks by John Ging, former director of UNRWA in Gaza. He is known for promoting political warfare against Israel and supporting the pro-Hamas flotillas.

• J StreetU promotes the NIF-funded Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM). The Jewish Agency describes the SJSM as “opposing the idea of Israel as a Jewish homeland and promoting an anti-Zionist agenda.” The group collaborates with the anti-Israel Global Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement, and defames Israel as a “fascist state.” They talk about victories over “cowardly Zionists” who are perpetrating an “apartheid state” and “ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” and urge liquidation of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.

• J StreetU also presents B’Tselem, funded by a BDS group and NIF. B’Tselem spearheaded the international campaign against Israel’s right to build the security fence to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel. B’Tselem “provided assistance to the investigative staff of the Goldstone mission from the beginning to the end of its research.” It is cited 56 times by Goldstone. It praised his report as “the result of a serious, professional investigation, reflecting a deep and genuine commitment to ensure that justice is done.”

B’Tselem has been lobbying foreign governments to adopt the Goldstone report. The chair of B’Tselem’s board, Oren Yiftachel, called for “effective sanctions” against Israel during the war against Hamas in Gaza, and supported the Palestinian “right of return,” which means the destruction of the Jewish state. Their CEO, Jessica Montell, has stated: “I think the word apartheid is useful for mobilizing people because of its emotional power.” The SJP, which delegitimizes Israel, lists B’tselem on its website as an advocacy group. B’Tselem programs have been used during “Israel Apartheid Week” on the US campuses.

What’s common to J StreetU events is not balanced, thoughtful discussion of Israel but the defamation of Israel, the spreading of falsehoods and one-sided attacks. According to Alan Dershowitz, “J Street has harmed Israel more than any American organization.” Its pro-Israel claims constitute “fraud in advertising.” “It has made a generation of Jews ashamed to be pro-Israel, and has made it politically correct among young people to single out Israel to a double standard and for fault.”

J Street is already entrenched at Berkeley’s Hillel and the JSU. The Hillel group, Kesher Enoshi (KE), is its proxy there. This year KE, along with J StreetU, brought the founder of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in to speak at Hillel. He demonized Israel, proclaiming, “Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.” Berkeley’s Hillel director argued that this was “within the framework of national Hillel’s Israel policy.” However, National Hillel guidelines explicitly state that “Hillel will not partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel.” Hillel also funded its members’ trip to J Street’s national conference in Washington.

The toxic consequences of KE’s Israel-bashing events – organized in the past three years under the guise of “progressive Israel activism,” – demonstrate why groups that demonize, or collaborate with groups that do so, should be excluded….READ MORE

The immense potential of over 400,000 Jewish students on US campuses is not only untapped to advocate for Israel against the “industry of lies” advocated by the delegitimization network on campus, but that the students themselves are influenced by it, and consequently many of them have become alienated from Israel.

Would people who advocate the inclusion of demonizing groups, under the guise of promoting a “big tent,” welcome a Kahanist group or Jews for Jesus? In “Is J Street in the tent, or out?” Dr. Daniel Gordis observes: “It’s one thing to put ‘pro-Israel’ in your tag line, and another to be ‘pro-Israel.’ …Even a big tent, though, has its limits.”

Hillel leaders should enforce National Hillel guidelines forbidding Israel-demonizing events and groups. Demonizing groups and events place themselves outside the tent.

The writer, as a graduate student at UC Berkeley founded the Jewish Student Union and co-founded the Israel Action Committee (IAC) there. He also served as chairman of the Israeli Students Organization in North America and was on the executive board of the North American Jewish Students Network, the umbrella organization of Jewish Students in North America.

Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 20, 2012: The demonization of Israel

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

IsraelAdvocacy101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

The demonization of Israel

Op-ed: For anti-Israel Palestine fans, Jewish state has become shorthand for all manner of evils

Source: YNet News, 2-2o-12

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement more commonly known as BDS is the new abbreviation stalking American campuses. But at least for the University of Pennsylvania, the immediate crisis has presumably passed. The BDS Conference arrived and left the campus without untoward incidents.

Passions were inflamed and rhetoric heated up, but University President Amy Gutmann and Chair of the Board of Trustees, David L. Cohen, announced they would not be moved by the call to boycott Israeli educational institutions or divest the university of its securities in companies that do business with the Jewish State even as they wrapped the decision to host the conference as a commitment to academic freedom.

Does this mean the Conference failed in its proclaimed strategy of mobilizing the campus around a set of actions to end what they call Israel‘s occupation of Arab lands? With its stated objectives rejected even before the conference began, one might be tempted to dismiss this movement as marginal despite the relatively large numbers of students and faculty attending its workshops and lectures. And its calls for one state of Palestine presumably in accordance with what was proclaimed as a clear and universal consensus on international law might be described as either utopian or wildly out of touch with reality and most especially, with the terms of the rulings so glibly but selectively cited.

While the notion of a single Palestine is not new and has been rejected not simply by most Israelis but also by almost all officials trying to broker an agreement, it has been resurrected to provide a common stock of references and allusions primarily to delegitimize the idea of the Jewish state as illustrated now by the forthcoming conference at Harvard University entitled “One State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution.”

Radically recasting the language conventionally deployed to talk about Israel and the conflict, BDS leaders remove words that might engender a favorable view of Israel or promote the kinds of compromises that take Israel’s interests as seriously as those proclaimed by the Palestinians. How can one be reconciled to a Jewish state that is described – wrongly – as practicing apartheidREAD MORE