Israel Advocacy News August 10, 2012: Hate Speech & Anti-Semitism Controversy Shakes the University of California



Hate Speech Controversy Shakes the University of California

Source: The Atlantic, 8-10-12

In response to concerns about incidents of discrimination on the campuses in its system, a UC fact-finding team has issued a report recommending bans on hate speech and campus-backed protests against Israel as a means of curbing anti-Semitism….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News April 20, 2012: Zionist Organization of America urges Rutgers University president to combat campus anti-Semitism



ZOA urges Rutgers president to combat campus anti-Semitism

Source: JTA, 4-20-12

The Zionist Organization of America sent a letter to the president of Rutgers University urging him to do more to combat anti-Semitism on the campus.

The ZOA was responding to an incident in which a Jewish student was skewered by a university-funded, student-run satirical newspaper.

The ZOA leadership in an April 17 letter praised Rutgers President Richard McCormick for his actions to condemn the attacks on Jewish student, Aaron Marcus, but told McCormick that “additional steps are necessary.”

“As we wrote to you on April 4th, we believe that Rutgers must take responsibility for having allowed an environment to take seed and grow at Rutgers, where Jewish students — particularly when they speak up against anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing — are perceived as permissible targets, because the university will not take the necessary steps to protect them,” the ZOA wrote.

The ZOA began its correspondence with McCormick after The Daily Medium released a parody column “What About the Good Things Hitler Did?” in its April 4 edition and attributed it to Marcus, a Jewish student who writes a regular column for the mainstream student publication, The Daily Targum.

ZOA originally criticized Rutgers University for the attack on Marcus, who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors.

“We hold Rutgers responsible for what Mr. Marcus suffered today and demand that you finally take action. It is your moral duty as the leader of the university to stand up for the safety and well-being of Mr. Marcus and other Jewish students who have been unacceptably victimized on the campus,” the ZOA April 4 letter said.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez spoke out about the dangers of anti-Semitism in a speech before the Hillel Student Leadership Gala 2012 at Rutgers University on April 15.

“The fact is that history teaches us that words matter. Words matter. They can be hurtful, thoughtless, but even beyond that, even when intended satirically, they can step over the line to anti-Semitism. When taken too far or too seriously, they can be dangerous and lead to anti-Semitic hate crimes and real violence,” Menendez said in his speech.

Menendez also called on the Rutgers campus to avoid its “demonization” of Israel and the Jewish people.

Israel Advocacy News April 4, 2012: Anti-Semitic grafitti mars Jewish studies poster at Indiana University



Anti-Semitic grafitti mars Jewish studies poster at Indiana U.

Source: JTA, 4-4-12

A Jewish studies poster in a lecture hall at Indiana University was defaced.

The word “Hitler” and a swastika were drawn on the poster in black marker, the Indiana Daily Student reported.

The vandalism was discovered earlier this week. Campus police believe the incident occurred last weekend, according to the student publication.

Campus police said in a statement Tuesday that the incident is still under investigation, but that several juveniles not associated with the university may have vandalized the sign.

In November 2010, a university employee used a rock to break the staff directory glass display case for the Robert A. and Sandra B. Borns Jewish Studies Program. Mark Zacharias, the scholarship coordinator of IU’s Hutton Honors College Scholarship, was dismissed after working at the university for seven years. On March 27, he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service.

The following month, rocks were thrown through the windows of two campus Jewish student centers and a rock was thrown through the window of an apartment above the Chabad Jewish student center just off the university campus. In the latter incident, the rock nearly hit a student and put a hole in the opposite wall. Also, eight religious volumes in Hebrew removed from shelves at a university library were urinated on in eight bathrooms in the library area.

Approximately 4,000 Jewish students attend Indiana University.

The state of Indiana does not have a hate crimes statute.

Israel Advocacy News November 23, 2011: Cal State University’s Israel program under attack — again



Cal State University’s Israel program under attack — again

Source: JWeekly, 11-23-11

Jewish groups are weighing their response to a recent attack on Cal State University’s decision to reinstate its study abroad program in Israel — an attack some Jewish leaders consider “outrageous” and politically motivated.

CSU cancelled its Israel study option in 2002, mainly due to security concerns and a State Department warning on travel to Israel. This past May, after a year of concerted effort by the Jewish Community Relations Council and other Jewish groups, CSU decided to reinstate the program beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.

Two weeks ago, an open letter was sent to CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed asking him to reverse the decision. The letter, signed by 70 CSU faculty members and many current and former students, states that American students face grave bodily harm in Israel, including the possibility that they will be shot and killed by Israeli military forces.

The letter calls Israel an “apartheid” regime, and says Palestinian students from CSU wishing to take part in the program would face discrimination or worse.

Finally, the letter suggests that CSU’s Israel study program, run in cooperation with universities in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, is “one-sided” unless similar programs are created with Palestinian universities.

“The letter made outrageous charges that could not go unaddressed,” said Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the S.F.-based JCRC, which is coming up with a response strategy together with the Anti-Defamation League, the Israel on Campus Coalition, the S.F.-based Israeli consulate, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California and the state’s Hillel chapters….READ MORE