Israel Musings November 27, 2014: Concordia voting on BDS contradicts Canada’s staunch support for Israel



Concordia voting on BDS contradicts Canada’s staunch support for Israel

Source: Times of Israel, 11-27-14
Concordia University’s student union in Montreal, Canada is deciding between Nov. 25 to 27, 2014 whether they will officially support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel…….READ MORE: Bonnie K. Goodman | The Blogs | The Times of Israel

Israel Advocacy News March 8, 2013: Israelis combat Apartheid Week with words



Israelis combat Apartheid Week with words

Source: The Catholic Register, 3-8-13

A week before Israeli Apartheid Week is set to send Canadian universities into their annual turmoil over the Middle East, a group of young Israelis are storming campuses armed with a capacity for conversation….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



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 News February 3, 2012: University of Pennsylvania students prepare to counter BDS conference



Penn students prepare to counter BDS conference

Students mobilize against conference that they say is a clear effort to delegitimize Israel.

Source: JPost, 2-3-12

BDS Israel

By Courtesy

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference scheduled to be held February 3-5 on the University of Pennsylvania campus has mobilized pro-Israel student groups, as well as off-campus organizations, to counter the anticipated torrent of anti-Israel activity.

Penn’s administration has distanced itself from the conference, but it maintains that student groups have a right to hold events, even if many in the community do not endorse the views expressed.

PennBDS, a registered student group that was established earlier this academic year, seeks to advance a BDS agenda among members of the Penn community.

Pro-Israel student leaders at Penn say the conference is a clear effort to delegitimize Israel, and they are working to counter it.

Penn Hillel director Rabbi Mike Uram said the conference provides an opportunity to “dramatically increase and deepen the pro-Israel campus coalition for Jews and non-Jews to help better understand Israel and give positive messages.”

He said the BDS movement has limited support, while the pro-Israel response will involve thousands of students in the coming weeks. The organized response to the conference sets the scene for a semester of programs and activities that “will create fertile ground and an up-kick for pro-Israel sentiment on the Penn campus.”…READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News January 31, 2012: Jewish students react to University of Pennsylvania BDS Conference



Jewish students react to BDS Conference

Hillel representatives plan to spread awareness about Israel in anticipation of the conference

Jewish students plan to use this weekend’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference as an opportunity to spread awareness about Israel.

Though many Jewish students see the views of the BDS conference against Israel as inflammatory, they do not plan to respond in a hostile manner.

Friday evening, when the conference is set to kick off, Penn Hillel and other students will have already begun their own programs to “educate and engage with students about Israel,” said College sophomore and Hillel’s Israel Sector Intern Josh Cooper, who is helping to coordinate some of the programs.

However, the activities are not meant to be a “direct response to the BDS conference,” Cooper said. “We don’t want to make [our response] about who can ask the angrier questions, or who can make the louder point.”

On Thursday, Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz will deliver a lecture — titled “Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn” — at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. Hillel serves as one of the event’s many sponsors, and over 750 members of the Penn and Philadelphia communities are expected to attend the public lecture, according to Cooper.

The event will comprise of a keynote speech followed by a question-and-answer session. A small dinner reception will precede the lecture, giving campus leaders an opportunity to speak personally with Dershowitz.

Though Dershowitz criticized BDS initiatives as being “far too broad a tactic to be used both fairly and morally,” he still encouraged an open-minded discussion.

“Let’s have a conversation,” he said. “Let’s see if we can change each other’s minds.”…READ MORE

University of Miami: Students support Israel through art, advocacy for Buy Israel Week



Students support Israel through art, advocacy

Source: Florida Jewish Journal, 11-16-11
UM’s Hillel has hosted Israel advocacy events in the past. During Buy Israel Week, a group within Hillel, the I-Team, will host an advocacy event.

Israeli artists and art work will be featured at the University of Miami during Buy Israel Week.

The I-Team Fellowship, a selective Israel advocacy group within UM’s Hillel composed of students dedicated to generating and sustaining a positive Israeli sentiment on campus, will host an advocacy event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Whitten University Center’s “The Rock,” 1306 Stanford Drive in Coral Gables. The event will include art, music, food and a discussion on Israel’s culture through the perspective of artists.

Jordan Magid, the I-Team’s chair and a student intern at UM Hillel, was both surprised and excited to hear that the event fell on the same week as Buy Israel Week when contacted by the Jewish Journal.

“It added a whole new dynamic to the event and will give us more opportunities to provide an interactive and engaging environment on campus with more of a purpose to motivate people to buy Israeli products,” he said.

Magid added that the event will now have potential to be a platform for Israeli goods to be promoted….READ MORE