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

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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?

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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 News January 31, 2013: Brooklyn College forum hosting controversial anti-Israel group sparks major debate, irate pols

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College forum hosting controversial anti-Israel group sparks major debate, irate pols

Source: NY Daily News, 1-31-13 

Political science chairman Paisley Currah emailed 33 of the college’s other departments to get their support for a forum featuring the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) forum, which has called for a boycott of the state of Israel, and has been supported by Hamas and Hezebollah. The event is scheduled for Feb. 7.

Brooklyn College

Heidi Schumann

Brooklyn College will host a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) forum on Feb. 7. BDS is said to be an anti-Israel organization. The event was organized by political science professor Paisley Currah, calling it a “free expression of ideas.”

 ….The campus forum has sparked a major debate.

Four Democratic mayoral candidates have condemmed the forum  and more than a dozen local pols slammed the college sponsorship, citing BDS’s “hate-mongering” message calling for a boycott of the state of Israel…..READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News May 16, 2012: A Look Back: 2011-2012 in Campus Israel Advocacy

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A Look Back: 2011-2012 in Campus Israel Advocacy

Source: Israel Campus Beat, The Jewish Press, 5-16-12

israel+in+the+mirror
Photo Credit: Israel Campus Beat

UN vote reactions. BDS efforts. Anti-Israel Conferences. Gilad Shalit’s release. Social media advocacy. Failed and successful collaborations.

It’s been an eventful year on campus, and through it all, Israel Campus Beat has been reporting on the Israel-on-campus reality. Here’s a look at the 2011-2012 academic year through the keen eyes of ICB.

In the Beginning

The year began with the debate over Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly (GA) in September. In preparation for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for statehood at the GA, Hillel’s Center for Israel Engagement led an initiative, Tents for Israel, to educate students about Israel and enable them to ask questions about Israel in a secure space.

Even prior to Hillel’s initiative, however, the Israel on Campus Coalition and partners launched the Real Partners. Real Peace (RPRP) campaign in July to prepare students on campus to deal with questions about the Palestinian statehood bid. The RPRP campaign promoted the need for direct negotiations between responsible partners to end the conflict by encouraging students to write op-eds on campus, circulate petitions, and undertake other efforts to raise awareness in the campus community. At the launch, students gathered from across the nation, sharing ideas for effective campus advocacy, and used ideas from their discussions not only for the RPRP campaign but also for larger Israel advocacy efforts. To help spread the campaign and keep students connected, RPRP relied heavily on social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Advocacy

Social media was a major tool for Hasbara Fellowships, who created the “Friend Request Pending” campaign (as part of RPRP). Using Facebook as their theme, Hasbara created a YouTube video to spread the message that Israel wants to become “friends” with Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and others, but the friendship requests are rejected.

Activists on other campuses, such as Brandeis University, have also used video to promote pro-Israel messages. Other students attended the David Project’s Video Production Seminar back in November to learn more about promoting Israel through video; one video, created by a David Project video intern, has been viewed more than 20,000 times.

Social media is quickly becoming a top tool for Israel advocacy. When IDF soldier Gilad Shalit’s release (after more than five years in captivity) was announced in October, Israel supporters turned to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread the good news and share their support. Campus Israel groups use Facebook and Twitter to keep students informed of upcoming meetings and events on campus. Students are taking advantage of the technology of the 21st century and using it for Israel advocacy.

Reaching Out

As important as social media is, it does not replace the fundamental need for building relationships. In the past year, pro-Israel students have sought to establish relationships with pro-Palestinian student groups, though the efforts are fraught with challenges. Early in the school year, ICB reported on a coalition between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Noles for Israel (NFI) at Florida State University (FSU). Such efforts are so rare that they can seem too good to be true, and in this case, it was. A mere month after the start of this new, hopeful coalition, FSU’s SJP invited Norman Finkelstein, a notoriously anti-Israel speaker, to campus and the partnership ended bitterly.

A successful partnership, however, blossomed this year at a different Florida university. At the University of Miami, an MZ-Grinspoon Intern started a new pro-Israel organization on campus, the I-Team, that includes Jewish, Palestinian and Christian members who work together harmoniously.

Countering anti-Israel Sentiment

In response to a conference at the University of Pennsylvania that sought to advance the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort, Israel supporters galvanized to offer a broad range of activities designed to counter the anti-Israel activity. Student activists from all over traveled to Penn to engage students in discussions about Israel. With Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz as the keynote speaker and over 800 students attending Friday night dinners devoted to discussing the conflict, the effort succeeded in creating a positive view of Israel on campus and yielded an Ivy League joint leadership statement condemning the BDS movement.

Later in the year, Dershowitz shared his views with ICB about the Harvard University student conference in March, entitled “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution.” Student activists and the professionals who support them have learned a lot from the encounters with anti-Israel activity on and off the campus over the past year. But the most prominent lessons to be learned may be the importance of building and maintaining coalitions and partnerships with diverse groups.

The Collaboration Key

Israel groups are learning that their events are most successful and best received when they utilize cross-cultural programming that engages a wide cross-section of the campus community. Long gone are the days when Jewish students are seen as the only Israel advocates; nowadays, Israel advocates span a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds, whether they are Christians who are trained on a summer tour or students who attend advocacy leadership training in Texas, Jewish and Latino students in a coalition at the University of Texas, or non-Jewish fraternity brothers keen on helping their Jewish fraternity brothers advocate for Israel on campus.

The 2011-2012 academic year has been filled with ideas, challenges, and successes for the campus Israel community. Israel advocates have strengthened their resolve to build partnerships and share information, and they have become increasingly aware of the many organizations and networks that are available to assist them.

Israel advocates can reflect on a successful year of activity, but are not wasting time to plan for the future. Summer offers many opportunities to gain insights and build skills that will serve Israel on the nation’s campuses next fall, when the cycle begins again.

Israel Advocacy News February 13, 2012: Alan Dershowitz warns Democrats to drop Media Matters

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Dershowitz warns Democrats to drop Media Matters

Source: Fox News, 2-13-12

Harvard University Professor Alan Dershowitz recently warned Democrats that they will lose the presidential election this year if they stick with Media Matters for America.

Dershowitz, a strong defender of Israel, reportedly made the remark during a press conference earlier this month in which he defended Israel against a group at University of Pennsylvania that is urging the university to boycott, divest and sanction the Jewish state for its longtime dispute with Palestinians over borders and security.

Among the speakers at a conference held by PennBDS (Pennsylvania boycott, divest and sanction) was Max Blumenthal, son of Sidney Blumenthal, a powerful Washington attorney and Bill and Hillary Clinton ally.

Max Blumenthal, a UPenn graduate who used to work with Media Matters, wrote a scathing op-ed for the school newspaper about Dershowitz in which he called the professor “an open advocate of torture” and suggested Dershowitz could be responsible for violence against Israel’s critics.

Asked about the article, Dershowitz reportedly recounted the many fallacies in it and then remarked about its author….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 12, 2012: Alan Dershowitz at Unniversity of Pennsylvania — BDS of Israel Merely Pretext for Hatred

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Dershowitz at U. Penn: BDS of Israel Merely Pretext for Hatred

Alan Dershowitz speaks at U. Penn, in efforts to counter BDS; becomes target of Max Blumenthal’s undue slander

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz
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As part of the efforts to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the University of Pennsylvania, pro-Israel groups including Hillel and the Philadelphia Jewish Federation invited renowned lawyer, writer and Harvard University professor, Alan Dershowitz, to speak at an event, held February 2, entitled: “Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A conversation with Alan Dershowitz.”

The American Thinker noted that, “while the left believes Dershowitz to be reflexively and unquestioningly pro-Israel, the right frequently sees him as reflexively pro-Obama Democrat and rigidly anti-‘settlements.’”

Yet, in response to a question posed by a member of the audience as to whether Prof. Dershowitz would oppose the Penn BDS conference if it only targeted Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, he proclaimed, “Absolutely. If they are interested in human rights, then what is the excuse for not applying BDS to China for occupying Tibet, and Russia, for its occupation of Chechnya, or to Hamas or Hezbollah for their brutality and murders of civilians. The BDS of Israel, any part of Israel, is merely a pretext for hatred.”

In other words, as the American Thinker explains, “partial boycotts don’t pass muster with Dershowtiz.”

In response to the pro-Israel event on campus, Media Matters’ Max Blumenthal wrote an article for the Daily Pennsylvanian, the university newspaper, entitled, “Torture, Violence Advocate to Keynote anti-BDS Event,” with the sub-heading, “Alan Dershowitz, supporter of bulldozing Palestinian towns and torturing criminal suspects, is coming to campus.”

In his article Blumenthal accuses Dershowitz of being “an open advocate of torture who has urged Israel to destroy entire Palestinian villages, attack civilians and bulldoze their homes.” He goes on to state that, despite “Dershowitz’s professed concern for political dissidents living under autocratic regimes, he has called for personal retaliation against Israeli academics who speak out in favor of BDS. Meanwhile, Dershowitz routinely smears high-profile critics of Israel’s 45-year-long occupation as evil anti-Semites — and worse.”….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 3, 2012: Alan Dershowitz Strikes Back at U Penn’s National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS Conference

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Dershowitz Strikes Back

Source: The Jewish Exponent, 2-3-12

A day before the National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference was set to begin at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz called Penn the “model campus” when it comes to pro-Israel activism.”You guys have stood strong, you have stood hard. You don’t just let anti-Israel people get away with silence,” said the 73-year-old Dershowitz, a noted lawyer, author and prominent defender of Israel in academia and the public sphere.

Alan Dershowitz (right) spoke at Penn about why he supports Israel. Political journalist Robert Traynham served as the moderator for the program.
Photo by Scott Weiner

On Thursday night, Feb. 2, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel and a host of other Jewish groups sponsored an evening with Dershowitz. The goal was to galvanize pro-Israel students in light of the expected anti-Israel message of the BDS conference. During a dinner at Hillel, Dershowitz addressed about 50 student leaders — including a few from Drexel and Temple universities — and about 50 Federation donors.

Later, he spoke to about 900 people at Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Hillel had organized an “Invest in Israel” party following the Dershowitz speech and had also planned about 80 Shabbat meals across the campus where more than 800 students were expected to take part in informal conversations about the Jewish state.

At the same time, pro-Israel students worked on circulating a petition blasting the conference, and Jewish groups from all the other Ivy League schools submitted a statement opposing the conference.

Dershowitz repeatedly told the students that Penn president Amy Gutmann has been handling the controversy in an exemplary manner. She has upheld the principle of freedom of expression while stating emphatically that the university values its relationship with Israel and does not support the goals of the BDS movement.

“I don’t think Penn should have banned a conference. I think it is wrong for a university to be in the business of banning,” Dershowitz said during the leadership dinner. “You should have a single standard. Universities should be open places, and the BDS conference gives us an opportunity to respond to hate with positive messages.”…READ MORE

See Also: BDS Reveals Its Real Agenda

See Also: BDS Bars Exponent

Israel Advocacy News February 1, 2012: National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference at the University of Pennsylvania Reveals Its Real Agenda

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BDS Reveals Its Real Agenda

Source: The Jewish Exponent, 2-1-12

A controversial online video promoting this weekend’s National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference at the University of Pennsylvania was pulled by organizers at the height of their effort to advance their agenda targeting Israel.The flap over the video highlights the charged nature of the issue and suggests the tenor likely to be heard at the conference, which is sold out, with more than 300 people expected to attend.

The video contained a clip of the Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi, who called for a boycott of “all Israeli goods”; in other venues, he’s called for a full cultural boycott of Israel.

At least one professor, Eve Troutt Powell, withdrew her participation after the video went live. It is no longer available online, and Powell declined to comment.

The speakers on the agenda include some of Israel’s most strident opponents, with activists who claim that Israel’s occupation in the West Bank “recalls the Jim Crow laws of the American South” and that Israelis are “incapable of empathy and compassion for other people.”

The fact that the national movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is holding its conference here, at the region’s most prestigious university, has set off alarm bells in the local Jewish establishment. In response, pro-Israel groups on campus have organized dialogues and programs to help better educate students about Israeli society. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with Hillel and other groups, organized an event featuring Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

The long-term impact of the conference, if any, remains to be seen, including whether it will affect the Middle East debate, the efforts of pro-Israel students on campus or the decade-long attempt to liken Israel to apartheid-era South Africa….READ MORE

The Feb. 2 “We Are One With Israel” event featuring Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz is at full capacity due to an overwhelming response. Community members interested in participating in this program can go to www.livestream.com/jewishphilly at 7:30 p.m. for a live streaming from the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

See Also: Clergy Condemn BDS

See Also: Dershowitz Comes to Penn

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

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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

JerusalemOnlineU.com and Alan Dershowitz Gather Organizations and Individuals Around the World to “Step Up For Israel”

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JerusalemOnlineU.com and Alan Dershowitz Gather Organizations and Individuals Around the World to “Step Up For Israel”

JerusalemOnlineU.com to Launch an International Step Up For Israel Campaign at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City

Source: Business Wire, 10-3-11

JerusalemOnlineU.com ( http://www.JerusalemOnlineU.com ), a leading online source for Jewish and Israel learning worldwide, announces the launch of “Step Up For Israel,” a national, grassroots Israel education campaign ( http://www.StepUpforIsrael.com ).

The campaign launch will take place on October 3rd at 7pm, at Park Avenue Synagogue, 50 E. 87th St., New York City. It will feature a screening of Crossing the Line, a short film produced by Raphael Shore that exposes the organized movement on North American campuses to delegitimize Israel. Shore will introduce the film, and Professor Alan Dershowitz will speak after the screening. The event is free and open to the public.

Step Up for Israel, chaired by Professor Dershowitz and former Israel Ambassador Dore Gold, is designed to create broad awareness of the growing anti-Israel movements on college campuses and hopes to provide all Jewish high school students with a minimum 4 hours of basic Israel education.

“Anti-Israel propaganda, pressure, and intimidation are the norm in college, not the exception, and it has become vital that parents and their children understand what is occurring and know how to respond effectively before they experience it themselves, as was the case for me and many others,” said Jessica Felber, West Coast Director, JerusalemOnlineU.com.

Amy Holtz, president of JerusalemOnlineU.com, advises, “Many parents don’t realize that their children could be confronted by a one-sided, anti-Israel perspective when they get to college.” While Holtz says that the problem does not exist on all campuses, she believes that “responsible Jewish parents must prepare their kids for what they might see and hear about Israel, just as they prepare them for other challenges they might face on campus.”

Recognizing how crucial it is that American Jews actively confront the movement to delegitimize Israel, leaders from the successful Soviet Jewry movement are actively promoting the campaign. “We have great hopes for this campaign, the film, and for the recognition it can drive home to the public…” said Pam Cohen, Former National President of The Union of Council for Soviet Jews.

The campaign is receiving broad participation. Step Up For Israel is being run by The Greater Miami JCRC; The United Jewish Communities and JCRC of Metro-West; The Albuquerque Federation; the Atlanta community; and synagogues, churches, and organizations across the world.

About JerusalemOnlineU.com

JerusalemOnlineU.com reconnects students to their Jewish identity and teaches the importance of Israel through engaging and stimulating online, film-based courses. They currently offer courses in Judaism, Israel, and Positive Psychology and Judaism. College students may be eligible for college credits or a stipend upon completion of the course. Breaking beyond the bounds of the traditional classroom and embracing the power of technology, JerusalemOnlineU.com has had over 3,000 students on more than 300 college campuses take its courses. JerusalemOnlineU.com is headquartered in New York with offices in Philadelphia and Jerusalem. For more information, visit www.JerusalemOnlineU.com .

SOURCE: JerusalemOnlineU.com