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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Boycott Divestment Sanctions’

USA Today Joins Effort to Persuade Alicia Keys to Boycott Israel

Friday, June 14th, 2013

As if it wasn’t enough to have the once-famous novelist Alice Walker publicly claim that the young rhythm and blues singer Alicia Keys will suffer mortal soul decay if Keys goes ahead with her plan to sing in Israel, which Walker and her minions refer to as an Apartheid State, and a huge Internet and petitioning effort to similarly dissuade her, now the national American newspaper USA Today has lent a helping hand.

In a “news article” printed on Wednesday, June 12, USA Today‘s music critic, Steve Jones, cut and pasted nearly the entire press release sent out the day before by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

The press release/news article told USA Today‘s readers that a “delegation representing more than 500 organizations” delivered a petition with “12,000 signatures” to the New York office of Keys’ non-profit Keep a Child Alive which provides support to children and families devastated by AIDS in Africa and India.

The USCACBI petition lists many of the worst-lies-about-Israel-that-Israel-haters-love-to-repeat, such as that Israel is an Apartheid State and that it is a systemic abuser of “Palestinian human rights, and even that Keys’

performance is legitimizing a country that systematically undermines her nonprofit’s mission, that ‘every person has the right to health care and that all children deserve a future.’ Israel routinely denies Palestinians health care and systematically destroys the futures of Palestinian children, denying their rights to education and health care, and regularly arresting Palestinian children and then torturing the vast majority of them.

There is no mention in the USA Today article that Israel routinely treats not only hundreds of Arab Palestinian children and adults a year, but that it does so even for the children of terrorists as well as the terrorists themselves, as any quick Internet search would quickly reveal.

An Internet search that took less than five seconds produced information that more than 100,000 Arab Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals in 2011.  More than 4 million other results also showed up for the simple search “Israel treats Palestinians hospitals.”

Incidentally, that same search revealed that more than 100 Arab Palestinian doctors work in Israeli hospitals – there goes the Apartheid lie, for anyone who might be interested in truthful reporting.

The USA Today article does not put quotes around the following, which is in Jones’s “article”:

In response to Israel’s large-scale abuses of Palestinian rights, Palestinian Civil Society launched a call for a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel in 2005, modeled on the call by black South Africans for a boycott of apartheid South Africa that helped bring an end to the racist system.

The press release/USA Today article goes on to recount the names of other artists who have been successfully intimidated – eagerly or otherwise – into believing the worst about Israel and who have cancelled their performances in Israel.

Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg was apparently the first to notice the similarity between the press release and the article, and tweeted it on Thursday.  The Algemeiner also took note.

Thus far Keys has remained firm and plans to perform in Tel Aviv on July 4.  There are some social media efforts to support Keys in this position, including this Facebook page, “Alicia Keys Plays for Peace in Israel,” and an inspired effort by a New Jersey woman described in an earlier Jewish Press article, urging supporters to buy Keys’ music worldwide on the day of her Tel Aviv concert.

Roger Waters Proves Hypocrisy of Israel Boycott Advocates

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Well, well, well.  Roger Waters, formerly of rock band Pink Floyd fame, has learned how absurd it is to demand that speech be shut down, and has come to see the virtue of open-mindedness and tolerance.  At least when it comes to his own speech and tolerance for his own brand of intolerance.

Waters was scheduled to speak later this month at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.  The 92nd Street Y, formerly known as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, engaged Waters to appear on April 30.  The event was billed as “A Conversation with Roger Waters.”

As a rock star for more than 40 years, Waters is probably the best known of those engaged in the global economic warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment From and Sanctions against Israel) Movement.  A constant refrain of his is to compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa, facts be damned.

Waters is not only a committed supporter of BDS, he bragged about having been instrumental in convincing Stevie Wonder to renege on his agreement to perform at a pro-Israel benefit in California that took place last year.  He also spoke at the United Nations on November 29, 2012, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.”

In addition to these efforts to convince others that Israel must be shunned for committing “human rights violations,” Waters also was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in October of 2012.

Just recently he proudly insisted that boycott of the Jewish State was “the way to go.”  He did this by asserting that Israel – which has an Arab Supreme Court Justice, Arab members of its parliament, Arabs serving in every profession -  is a violent, vicious Apartheid state.

I think that the kind of boycott that was implemented against the apartheid regime in South Africa back in the day is probably the most effective way to go because the situation is that the Israeli government runs an apartheid regime in Israel, the occupied territories and everywhere else it decides. Let us not forget that they laid waste most of Lebanon around the time I started getting involved in this issue. They destroyed airports, hospitals, any public buildings they could.

But once word got out about the many utterly false anti-Israel statements made and actions taken by Waters, a tsunami of pro-Israel support washed over the Y and, eventually – though sheepishly and silently – the Y disengaged from Waters.

Rather than recognizing that there was a strong pushback from their base and that the invitation had been made without understanding the significance of his hatred for Israel, however, the Y slipped out the back door, as it were.  What the Y said when inquiries were made, to the extent it said anything at all, was that Waters had a “scheduling conflict” when the event was finally cancelled.  This was after a long series of “yes he will, no he won’t, he’ll be there later, Waters? we never heard of him, oops he’s gone, now he’s back, and then, finally, on April 4 : Event Cancelled.”

How do we know that? Because Roger Waters has now issued an official statement about what happened.

Incredibly, as the EoZ site notes, Waters is moaning about how wrong it is to shut him down, because “Not to Talk is Not an Option.”

Really.  Roger Waters, the biggest name BDS advocate on the planet wrote that.  It’s the title of his entry on his official site: “Not to Talk is Not an Option.”  Here is his version of what happened:

I was invited by 92Y to take part in an interview at the Theresa L. Kaufmann Concert Hall on the 30th April this year. I checked out a couple of previous talks on YouTube, and as they appeared to be serious and measured discourse, I accepted the invitation to take part.

Things were complicated when the Opera House in São Paulo, Brazil requested my presence for four full productions of Ça Ira, my opera on the French Revolution, around conflicting dates. In the end, the date for the dress rehearsal of Ça Ira fell on the 30th April, and so, reluctantly and very apologetically, I asked the team at 92Y if my appearance could be re-scheduled. Assistant Director Jennifer Hausler, who had been helping all along, couldn’t have been more understanding, gave me some alternative dates in June and I accepted June the 19th. Everyone was happy. Well, perhaps not quite everyone.

Israel Hater Waters Washed Out of NYC 92nd Street Y

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

So far no one is saying for sure how it happened or who made the final decision, but there are many supporters of Israel who are breathing a big sigh of relief that Roger Waters, former front man for the 1970′s rock band Pink Floyd, and currently best known for being a rabid hater of Israel, will not be performing at New York City’s 92nd Street Y on April 30th, as had been scheduled.

Waters is still a popular musician, particularly for the aging boomer crowd.  His one night appearance, “A Conversation with Rogers Waters” at the 92nd Street Y had been sold out for some time.  With a mere 900 seat capacity, however, the Kaufman Concert Hall is hardly the size of the mega-theaters Waters used to fill in his prime during his Pink Floyd days.

When news of Waters’ appearance at the 92nd Street Y first began circulating among Jews supportive of Israel, the man behind JCCWatch.org, Richard Allen, sent an email to Sol Adler, executive director of the Y.  Allen suggested perhaps Adler was not aware that Waters is a fanatical supporter of the economic warfare movement against Israel, known as BDS (Boycott of, Divestment From and Sanctions against Israel).  That email was sent on March 24, 2013.

Waters is not only a committed supporter of BDS, he bragged about having been instrumental in convincing Stevie Wonder to renege on his agreement to perform at a pro-Israel benefit in California that took place last year.  He also spoke at the United Nations on November 29, 2012, condemning Israel as an Apartheid state, and blaming Israel for denying the “Palestinian” people their “inalienable right” to “self-determination.”

In addition to these efforts to convince others that Israel must be shunned for committing “human rights violations,” Waters also was a leader of the effort to get Carnegie Hall to cancel the scheduled appearance by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in October of 2012.  Given his role in attempting to prevent the Israeli Philharmonic from giving a purely musical performance, it should be difficult for Waters’ supporters to complain about efforts to prevent Waters from appearance at the 92nd Street Y, where he was going to talk about his Israel-hatred.

The Y holds itself out as a center for Jewish life that offers learning opportunities, multigenerational holiday celebrations, and “talks on a broad range of Jewish topics encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own special meaning in Jewish tradition and find joy in Jewish life and culture.”

92nd Street Y Concert of Roger Waters, huge promoter of economic boycott of Israel, has been cancelled.

92nd Street Y Concert of Roger Waters, huge promoter of economic boycott of Israel, has been cancelled.

The Jewish Press ran a story on March 25 about Waters’ scheduled appearance at the 92nd Street Y, noting that the Y had begun nearly 140 years earlier as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, and how ironic it was that it was going to host one of the biggest haters of Israel west of the Middle East.

And then things became a little strange at the 92nd Street Y website.

On March 26th, the Waters event at the Y was listed on the website as “postponed.”  Then, sometime during the first days of Passover, all mention of the Waters concert was removed from the Y’s website, including from its calendar listing.  However, curious callers to the box office were told that the concert was going on as planned.  By late in the evening of March 28, the event once again was listed on the website.

On March 29, the box office staff told curious callers that they should keep their tickets and they would be called with information about a new date, but later that same day a new date for the Waters’ concert – June 19th – was posted on a British website.

The turmoil continued for the 92nd Street Y management, scheduling office, and webmaster, as the public outcry continued, reaching a crescendo on April 3.

Emails were sent to Adler at the Y and to John Ruskay, the chair of New York City’s United Jewish Appeal – Federation, asking how they could provide a forum at the Y to someone with such a visceral hatred for Israel, someone who has publicly stated his commitment to do everything within his power to destroy Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens from terrorism.

The NYC United Jewish Appeal-Federation provides more than $800,000 to the 92nd St Y.  JCCWatch’s Richard Allen told The Jewish Press that “it is unforgivable for someone who recently said ‘total BDS is the way to go,’ someone who is a clear cut enemy of Israel, to be given a platform at an institution paid for, in part, using Federation resources.”

Lionel Leventhal, a Manhattan healthcare private equity fund manager, explained to The Jewish Press why he sent an email to Federation’s Ruskay and Adler from the Y, asking them to explain, or better yet just undo, the disastrous decision to host Waters at the Y.

“How is it possible,” Leventhal asked, “that Israel, the only country in the region in which artists are given the total right of self-expression is the one being targeted for abuse…by an artist?!”

Leventhal was particularly incensed because he grew up in Manhattan, and has attended cultural events at the 92nd St Y for more than 40 years. While declining to categorize himself as a particular kind of Jew – “I’m just really proud to be Jewish,” he said, there were three things that he found particularly irksome about the Waters’ gig.

“First, Waters is engaged in an organized effort to misinform artists,” Leventhal explained.

“Second, Waters has his facts upside down – he is completely mischaracterizing Israel,” he continued, “and third, the 92nd Street Y is a center for education, a center for all things Jewish, to host someone like Waters is completely antithetical to the mission of the institution.”

Craig Dershowitz is another New Yorker in high dudgeon that the 92nd Street Y booked an Israel vilifier to appear at its venue.  Dershowitz is a graffiti artist whose organization, Artists 4 Israel, promotes positive information about Israel. Dershowitz was a bit less temperate than Leventhal or Allen in his suppositions regarding the role the Y and the NYC Federation played in this drama.

“The UJA, like so many other Jewish organizations, are not only simply consorting with the enemy, they are now justifying and even promoting what is in this case, at least, the metaphorical slaughter of our people.”

Dershowitz offered less benign explanations for the Waters event to have been scheduled in the first place.  While Allen believed that the Y leadership simply did not know about Waters’ Israel hatred, and Leventhal seemed pretty sure it was an error, Dershowitz had this to say:

“Either the Y did no due diligence, which is pathetic; or, because as an institution it is becoming more and more irrelevant the management decided to go for something controversial to draw attention to the venue; or, the leadership simply thought Waters was awesome, but then so was black and white television when it first came out, which reveals how irrelevant the Y is to contemporary arts and culture.”

Repeated phone calls by The Jewish Press to the 92nd Street Y media relations director over the course of the past week were not returned, but callers to the box office were told the event was cancelled because Waters has a “scheduling conflict.”

An article in the Jewish Daily Forward suggests the Y cancelled the event because of “heat” and quotes an April 3 statement issued by JCCWatch, but then reveals it has not received any official explanation for the cancellation.

A British Pink Floyd fan site, “Brain Dead,” seems to suggest that the event was cancelled because “certain parts of the Jewish community were not happy with the event, due to Roger’s views on Israel,” but then it links back to the Forward article which doesn’t contain any independent basis upon which to determine who was responsible for cancelling the event.

 

Brooklyn College Students Explain Academic Freedom to BC Profs, Admin.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Yesterday The Jewish Press ran a story about an upcoming anti-Israel event that will take place on the Brooklyn College Campus next week.  The article explained that while the university administration has not endorsed the event, it supports its political science department which has both endorsed and is co-sponsoring the event, the goal of which is to encourage everyone to embrace the movement to Boycott, Divest from and employ Sanctions against the State of Israel. It is a means of “economic warfare” employed by the enemies of the Jewish State to punish Israel.

In particular, the article noted, BDS seeks to bar Israeli academics from participation in journals, research, public lectures and teaching, yet the Brooklyn College political science department is not only a co-sponsor but has officially endorsed the event, all in the name of “academic freedom.”

Today the president of Brooklyn College’s Assembly (the undergraduate government), Abraham Esses, released the following statement:

“Dear students, faculty members, and administrators,

Over the past few days, there has been much confusion as to exactly why students are upset about the upcoming BDS event on campus. Although the controversy first became public last week, each of Brooklyn College’s student governments have not been directly involved until the past few days. The reason for CLAS’s involvement, accordingly, has nothing to do with the event itself, but instead the recklessness in which faculty members and administrators have approached the event.

The department’s approach to the issue is far from constructive; knowing well in advance that such sponsorship would insult and isolate a large portion of its students, it chose to express its own opinions through a venue that inhibits open dialogue and honest debate. Far from being receptive to students’ concerns, I regret to inform you that they have repeatedly turned down students’ requests to meet and discuss the issue further. Student leaders with questions about the intent of the sponsorship were repeatedly denied meetings, which does worry me as to their original intent. The consequences of these decisions are clear; a growing number of students on campus feel isolated from the very professors whom they once looked to for guidance, and unnecessarily divided against a large portion of the student body. What’s worse, the cause of this rift stems from administrative and faculty bodies who have, throughout the years, frequently stressed the importance of cultivating campus unity.

Along with their right to promote certain opinions comes the responsibility to convey these opinions in a proper manner. This is not an opinion of mine, but rather that of the AAUP, a body responsible for defining what exactly academic freedom rights entail. Professors, according to the AAUP, “should exercise appropriate restraint” when speaking about controversial matters, and “should show respect for the opinions of others”. In endorsing a divisive, controversial event while failing to do so in a way that allows our students and faculty to engage in constructive dialogue, the Political Science Department has failed its students miserably. Like the right to free speech, academic freedom rights are not unbounded; the department has basically yelled “fire” on campus, and locked the doors to their department after doing so. By doing so, it has failed to accomplish one of the main benefits of academic freedom rights, that is, the approach of all ideas and issues with an open mind. Such a failure constitutes as a gross abuse of such rights.

Moreover, I find the administration’s slow, halfhearted response to the issue to be appalling. Without any support or sympathy for students’ complaints, the administration seems complacent in a department’s clear abuse of its rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, the administration has failed to consult any student group before issuing its statement in support of the Political Science’s sponsorship decision. I believe this approach to be indicative of the respect, or lack thereof, which they have for students on campus. Whereas I understand its hesitation, the administration has clearly failed to represent and act for its own constituents.

While fully cognizant of the academic freedom rights enumerated to Brooklyn College faculty members, I truly regret the divisive attitude with which both the Political Science Department and the Administration have approached the department’s recent decision to sponsor a BDS event. I sincerely hope that, should a similar scenario occur in the future, the administration act in a more responsible, sensible manner. Regardless of those involved, more respect is due to the students of Brooklyn College.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/brooklyn-college-students-explain-academic-freedom-to-bc-profs-admin/2013/01/30/

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