Israel Advocacy News February 27, 2013: Oxford University students reject boycott Israel motion



Oxford students reject boycott Israel motion

Source: JTA, 2-27-13

A motion calling for blanket sanctions against Israel was rejected by the Oxford University Students’ Union….READ MORE

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



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.

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Israel Advocacy News February 20, 2012: London School of Economics Students clash at Israel Apartheid Week



Students clash at Israel Apartheid Week

Source: The Jewish Chronicle, 2-20-12

Jewish students have clashed with anti-Israel protesters during a fight at the London School of Economics.

A scuffle broke out between Jewish and Israeli students and demonstrators who had erected a mock “Israeli apartheid wall” as part of an Israel Apartheid Week protest.

LSE’s Israel Society condemned the violent scenes and claimed a Jewish student was injured in the melee.

Israel Apartheid Week events are held around the world annually by anti-Israel activists.

The incident at LSE was sparked when students, thought to be Israeli, threw water bombs at the protesters who then responded and a scuffle broke out.

In a statement LSE Israel Society admitted the water bombs had been thrown and added: “We condemn all violence that was seen today. Jewish students were attacked by Palestine Society protestors in response to water balloons thrown at their mock wall.

“The LSESU Palestine Society’s interpretation of an Israeli checkpoint… was intimidating for Jewish students as they held [mock] guns, called Jewish students ‘Israelis’ as they walked through, and the protests further angered students who have been directly affected by the conflict.

“Provocative acts instigated by the Palestine Society today only serve to fuel tensions on campus. Dragging women kicking and screaming along the floor, as the Palestine Society simulated, is not an accurate description of reality; rather it is a disgusting simplification of a complex situation for both sides.”

The statement called on LSE to “restore calm” on the campus, and for members of the Palestine Society to apologise for the “provocative nature” of the protest.

A Union of Jewish Students’ spokeswoman said: “UJS has consistently opposed these fake security checkpoints as being intimidating against Jewish students. These stunts reduce what is a serious and complex situation between Israelis and Palestinians into theatrical provocations that can only ever prove divisive here on British campuses.

“UJS sincerely appeals to Jewish students at LSE and elsewhere not to be provoked into aggressive actions; and hopes that university authorities will play a responsible and fair part in calming tensions at this time.”

An LSE Students Union statement said the checkpoint re-enactment had initially been “peaceful”, and that security guards had responded “instantly” when the water bombs were thrown.

“The Students’ Union believes in the right to peaceful protest but condemns the violence. The safety and welfare of students is of the utmost importance and the union will be investigating the matter immediately in conjunction with the school.”