web analytics
October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Black State Senator: Academic Boycott of Israel Antisemitic

State Senator Anthony Williams introduced a Resolution into the Pennsylvania legislature condemning the ASA boycott of Israel as antisemitic. Watch the video of an earlier Williams speech in which he explains his support for Israel and the Jewish community.
Pennsylvania state senator Anthony Williams (D)

Pennsylvania state senator Anthony Williams (D)
Photo Credit: website of senator Anthony Williams

Pennsylvania state senator Anthony Williams (D-8) is condemning as anti-Semitic the American Studies Association’s recent decision to boycott Israeli academics. Williams introduced a resolution into the Pennsylvania legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 6, in which he calls out the ASA and calls on all colleges and universities in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to reject antisemitism and refuse to participate in the ASA’s boycott of Israel.

“I’ve been greatly disappointed by recent actions taken by people lauded as ‘scholars,’ and particularly offended by them as someone who fights for equal justice for all. The only glimmers of hope I’ve seen in this debacle are the rigorous and principled retorts and rebukes of the ASA boycott by academic leaders in our area, across Pennsylvania and across the country,” Williams said in a statement released to the public on Jan. 6.

“The rationale offered for this boycott is flimsy at best; intellectually dishonest at worst, and seems to indicate an encroaching anti-Semitic sentiment that was shameful a century ago, but even more so as we enter 2014. Intolerance will not lead to acceptance or understanding. An exchange of ideas, even conflicting ones, will bring us closer to that desired outcome, which once was the goal of higher education. Let’s hope it will be again.”

In Williams’ Pennsylvania Senate Resolution 279, the background of and the backlash to the ASA Israel boycott is laid out clearly. Important facts, such as that a mere 16 percent of the ASA’s membership voted in favor of the boycott, and that so many presidents of leading universities and academic associations have condemned the ASA boycott, are spelled out.

To date, 145 college and university presidents have condemned the ASA boycott, including the president of every Ivy League institution and nearly all of the top ranked schools in America.

What is emphasized most strongly in the Resolution is that Israel is a Jewish democratic nation which promotes academic freedom and free speech and educates students from around the globe.

The Resolution Williams introduced concludes that the “practical effect of the American Studies Association Israeli boycott is a resurgence of anti-Semitism.”

If passed, Williams’ anti-boycott resolution will represent the full Pennsylvania Senate’s condemnation of the ASA’s boycott of Israel “in the strongest possible terms.”

THE RESOLUTION HOLDS THAT THE ASA BOYCOTT IS AN ‘ANTI-SEMITIC, BASE FORM OF BIGOTRY’

The resolution, if passed, will represent the Pennsylvania legislature’s view that the ASA boycott is an “intolerable, anti-Semitic, base form of bigotry and hatred” which is “unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

The Resolution was sent to the Education Committee. The Jewish Press will track its progress.

Although his district – Pennsylvania’s 8th – does not have a large Jewish population, Senator Williams has long been a stalwart friend of Israel and of the Jewish community. He introduced legislation last year, PA Senate Bill 47, which would mandate Holocaust education in Pennsylvania public schools for grades six through twelve.

ASKED PENN PRESIDENT NOT TO HOST BDS CONFERENCE, THEN CAME AND SPOKE OF HIS REJECTION OF BDS TO JEWISH STUDENTS

In the winter of 2012, the University of Pennsylvania played host to a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference. Williams opposed the university playing host.  This is what he wrote to Penn president Amy Gutmann:

While an ardent supporter of free speech, [I believe] hate speech remains an exemption from this privilege,” he wrote. “Based on prior evidence brought to my attention, that is to what BDS amounts. I would no more support this event than I would a Klan rally, a homophobia convention, a ‘birther’ march, or an Islamophobia assembly on the Penn Quadrangle.

When Penn chose to host the conference anyway, Williams showed up at Penn’s Hillel building to speak with Jewish students and express his solidarity with them.

REJECTED JVP’S CALL FOR WILLIAMS TO REJECT ZOA AWARD

At this year’s annual gala dinner of the Organization of America’s Greater Philadelphia District, held on Oct. 9, Williams was honored with the Friend of Zion Award.

Senator Williams not only gladly accepted ZOA’s award, he rebuffed a public overture made to him by Jewish Voice for Peace and other cloyingly named anti-Israel groups which urged him to decline it.

Those groups warned Williams that the ZOA is a “fringe right-wing group” which supports “the illegal – and chronically violent – settler movement,” condemns “Palestinian expressions of national rights,” and even had the temerity to “endorse Knesset legislation that could revoke the citizenship of Palestinian citizens for alleged ‘disloyalty.’”

The anti-Israel Jewish groups threatened Williams.  They warned that if he went to the ZOA event and accepted its award, they would go to the media and explain that Williams was intolerant to the Muslim community, which comprises a portion of his own district.

Williams responded to JVP both in deed and with words. The Pennsylvania state senator not only accepted ZOA’s award to him, he gave a ten minute speech about why he did. The video of that speech can be seen at the end of this article.

Williams told the crowd that “forty years ago the Jewish community and the African American community locked arm in arm and fought to provide civil rights for all citizens. So when you challenge me on the integrity of my friends, the only thing I can resort to is that you are not my friend.”

In one of many statements Williams made that brought the crowd to its feet, Williams thundered,

There is a state of Israel not just because Jews wanted it, but because the world demanded it. Israel is not a mistake, it is not an affront it is not a robbery, it is a contribution in a region that sometimes is not only sexist and racist but also ignorant about democracy.

Williams concluded his remarks by acknowledging that his appearance at the event and acceptance of the award would likely be a talked-about chapter in his political history. But, he said, “I am proud to carry this award, I am proud to be a part of this event. Shalom.”

Watch his entire speech here:

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

14 Responses to “Black State Senator: Academic Boycott of Israel Antisemitic”

  1. Myriam Obadia says:

    Good and brave man

  2. Nathan Katz says:

    Gd bless Rep. Williams.

  3. I think I love him too!!!..Thank you, sir!

  4. Alan Kardon says:

    Thank you Senator for standing up against bigotry.

  5. Pennsylvania has a history of good and honorable men. That history includes William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and Anthony Williams. More should follow their examples.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This brought tears of gratitude and respect. He is a genuine mensch. If only there were more like him and fewer of the Jesse Jackson ilk.

  7. Ellis Katz says:

    Has Temple U taken a stand on this yet?

  8. Lani Lowell says:

    This is an amazing article and thank God for men like this
    Senator

  9. Orna Musi says:

    Thank you Senator for standing up for justice. You truly are an amazing human being.

  10. Elaine Fox says:

    Having heard his speech at ZOA, he is wonderful.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) meets with Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in Halifax, Canada on November 22, 2013.
Ya’alon Scraps Purchase of US Aircraft
Latest News Stories
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) meets with Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in Halifax, Canada on November 22, 2013.

Israel decides not to go ahead with huge military purchase from U.S., likely to provoke rumors of continuing feud.

Tour guide Yehuda Glick (right) leading a group on Temple Mount.

Highlight: Exclusive Interview with Rabbi Yehuda Glick at the Foot of the Temple Mount.

Doctors reported as of 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday night that there is a “very small” improvement in the condition of Yehuda Glick, gunned down by an Arab terrorists Wednesday night, but that he still is in critical condition and his life remains in danger.

Foreign Minister Lieberman may be playing “chicken.” What happens if France follows Sweden?

Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.

Feiglin was standing next to Glick during the assassination attempt

A small caliber weapon was used to shoot at IDF troops patrolling along the border near Quneitra.

Abbas didn’t even condemn the shooting of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick.

Arab rioters threw firecrackers at Border Police in the Old City in Jerusalem Thursday and lightly wounded at least one tourist. Police arrested one Arab youth. Earlier in the day, Arabs hurled rocks at a bus in eastern Jerusalem. No property damage or injuries were reported, and one Arab was arrested. In the Jabel Mukaber […]

The Islamic Jihad was thrilled with the shooting of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick and said “he got what he deserved, the Mann reported. Daoud Shihab, Islamic Jihad spokesperson, told Ma’an that attempted murder of Glick, who is in critical condition as of this moment, was a “natural response” to defend Jerusalem” and the Al-Aqsa […]

A cartoonist has turned the tables on an attack cartoon against the PM published by the leftist daily Ha’aretz.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick’s condition has taken a turn for the worse. He needs prayers. Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Itta Breindel.

The father and brother of the Islamic Jihad terrorist who allegedly shot Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick were arrested Thursday in Silwan.

The “silent” intifada is roaring at the gates, Harriet, and threatening to bash the door in. It’s silent no more. Who’s really inciting terrorism?

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) meets with Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in Halifax, Canada on November 22, 2013.

Israel decides not to go ahead with huge military purchase from U.S., likely to provoke rumors of continuing feud.

Chairman Robert Sugarman and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Feb. 17, 2014

Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.

Female tourist injured when struck by rocks thrown by Arabs at the Kotel.

Alleged shooter of Yehuda Glick worked in the Begin Center restaurant.

Disability rights foundation calls on US to denounce using name of a disability as a derogatory term.

Jerusalem police report a shooting outside of the Begin Heritage Center. Man down in serious condition.

U.S. officials should not have called Bibi ‘chicken****,’ administration official said, all other insults OK.

Nobel Prize Winner Malala donates $50K to rebuild Gazan UNRWA schools.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/black-state-senator-slams-academic-boycott-of-israel-as-anti-semitic/2014/01/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: