web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brandeis University’

Brandeis Senior Makes $5k Challenge to Apartheid Week Promoters

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Why is the ardently pro-Israel Jewish senior at Brandeis University, Joshua Nass, offering $5000 to promoters of anti-Israel propaganda?

The answer is, Nass wants whoever deceitfully inserted a news clip of him into a promotional trailer for Israeli Apartheid Week to come out of hiding, admit his wrong doing, and debate Nass in the public square.

Joshua Nass, a native New Yorker, is now in his senior year at Brandeis University, located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Nass is unusual in many ways. He began his own non-profit organization – Voices of Conservative Youth – he has appeared on Fox News dozens of times, and he has his own YouTube channel.

On national television, Nass has debated such hot topics as whether or not Obamacare will lead to job loss, how the Republican party needs to focus more on smaller government and less on social wedge issues, and on the marketing of Obamacare.

On Jan. 2, 2014, Nass was on Varney & Company with Stuart Varney, on the Fox Business Channel.

Nass was on air speaking about the decision of the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and the response by (at that time, it’s now well more than doubled) more than 90 university presidents, who rejected the ASA’s boycott.

Varney was incredulous that the boycott of Israel proponents had gotten a toehold onto the American college campuses. Nass explained that this effort was rooted in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which had met with some success in Europe.

“The BDS movement is rooted in intellectual dishonesty. They try portraying the Israelis as occupiers, there is no such thing as Israeli occupiers, there is no such thing as occupied territories, there is no such thing, in my opinion, as disputed territories,” Nass explained.

Varney says, “Five thousand American academics voted to boycott Israel? It is absolutely incomprehensible, that the only democracy of any sort in the Middle East, the only one, and they are going to boycott it?” and Nass responds, nodding, “it is astounding.”

The clip goes on a bit, with Nass ultimately ending the segment by calling on the universities to fire every academic who voted in favor of the boycott.

Nass thought he was done with that segment, until he was riding in a bus on his way back to Brandeis this past Sunday, Feb. 23. As he was riding, he received an email from someone he knew back in sixth grade. Nass hadn’t heard from the guy in all those years, so when he read the email, which said “Josh, when did you start working for the other side?” he was doubly confused.

The friend from his past forwarded a promotional clip for the upcoming Israel Apartheid Week. In it, Nass appears, nodding, as if he is in agreement with the views of those promoting BDS and Apartheid Week.

Nass was incensed.

Since Sunday, Nass has received dozens of emails, asking him how he could be promoting the BDS movement and supporting those that say Israel is an Apartheid state.

“To be honest, it has been gratifying to publicly and resoundingly reject any association with that despicable movement,” Nass told The Jewish Press on Tuesday afternoon, “and it is helpful to be able to show, point blank, how desperate and despicable are the people behind the BDS movement.”

“Still, it is beyond distasteful to in any way be associated with those who spew such thinly veiled anti-Semitism.”

When asked why he thought the clip of him was inserted into footage that include such outspoken opponents of Israel as Roger Waters, Stephen Hawking and Fareed Zakaria, Nass had an interesting reply.

Mandela Grandson at Brandeis Disses US, Israel, Insults China

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

It was the kind of opportunity most Jewish institutions are incapable of passing up. Two of the grandsons of the iconic Nelson Mandela,  Ndaba Mandela and Kweku Mandela-Amuah, agreed to share the keynote speech at Brandeis University’s annual celebration of “social justice,” in an event known as the “Deis Impact.

It happened on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the ballroom of the school’s student center. The two grandsons gave the keynote speech(es) in collaboration with the Ruth First Memorial Lecture, which is sponsored by the Brandeis African and Afro-American Studies Department.

The topic of the talks was “Africa Rising: The Mandela Legacy and the Next Generation of African Leadership.”

Africa Rising is the name of the foundation created in 2010 by the two Mandela grandsons to “create a new legacy and understanding of Africa as a continent showcasing the tremendous potential and unprecedented growth.”

Andrew Flagel, the school’s senior vice president for students and enrollment, sounded elated as he gave a preliminary introduction to the event. He talked about the social justice festival, begun 3 years ago, which is distinctive because it is “university funded, but student organized.”

Flagel talked about the incorporation of the arts, music, film, global justice, ethnicity, into Deis Impact, and how it is all about delving into the meaning of social justice.

Following Flagel, the student union president, Ricky Rosen, introduced the two speakers. Rosen spoke about what distinguishes Brandeis from other small liberal arts schools in the Boston area.

What did the Brandeis Student Union president come up with? That Brandeis is “unconventional.” Not only is Brandeis unconventional, but the students are intensely proud of being that way.

Rosen described Brandeis students’ unconventionality by comparing what they do with walking the wrong way on an escalator, or swimming against the tide, working harder to get anywhere. That sounds admirable. It’s really hard, especially for young people, to swim against the tide.

But do they?

What does not sound so great is the kind of reaction the Brandeis audience gave to one of the Mandela grandsons, when he went through a litany of the kinds of discrimination to be challenged in the world.

The Mandela grandsons are not the great orators their grandfather was, but they are young and they will get much more practice as they continue on their lofty quest.  Their goal is nothing less than to create the great African Dream.

First Kweku Mandela-Amuah spoke. He is the less forceful speaker of the two cousins, but he is a film producer and director, with his own production company, Out of Africa Entertainment.

The second Mandela grandson to speak, Ndaba, is a more relaxed, natural speaker. He was a political consultant at the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria, and his attempts to engage and energize the audience met with some success.

Ndaba Mandela started with a classic public speaking rhythm: you give the crowd a tagline, and then wait for them to understand it comes after every pause.

The tagline this Mandela was teaching at the Brandeis Social Justice event was “That is discrimination.”  He preached a descriptive line about governmental authority or oppression, and the tagline was “That is discrimination.” This is what he said:

Discrimination is the enemy of social justice.

Multinational companies mining gold in Australia, on land that historically belongs to the indigenous  people, the Aboriginals, which are making billions, while the Aboriginal people make nothing and the government says zero….That is discrimination.

When Africans from North and West Africa and France are consistently harassed, victimized and searched on the streets by police…That is discrimination.

Brandeis Paid Former President Reinharz $811,000 for Unused Sabbatical

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Brandeis University disclosed that it paid former university president Jehuda Reinharz $811,000 for accumulated sabbatical leave that he never took during his 17-year presidency.

The payment was part of a $4.9 million lump sum payment Reinharz received Jan. 2 as deferred compensation, according to a statement issued by Brandeis.

The amounts paid were set aside in previous years’ budgets and will not impact the university’s current finances, Brandeis said.

The voluntary announcement came as part of changes to the school’s executive compensation policies, unanimously approved on Jan. 22 by its board of trustees. Among the changes are a commitment to full transparency about compensation and inclusion of a faculty representative on the compensation committee.

The changes follow a harsh and vocal backlash against the school by alumni, faculty and students after disclosures about Reinharz’s pay since leaving the presidency in 2010.

Reinharz reportedly receives more than $600,000 a year in retirement pay. According to the Boston Globe, Reinharz has earned at least $1.2 million for part-time advisory work since stepping down as president at the end of 2010.

“Our new policies set very high standards,” said Perry Traquina, the university’s board chair.

Addressing the controversial payments for the first time, Brandeis University president Frederick Lawrence said, “I welcome the thoughtful approach taken by our board. Our intention is that these changes will put Brandeis on the leading edge in terms of governance best practices.”

Faculty Senate president Eric Chasolow told the Boston Globe that while the accumulated payment is a “very bitter pill for the faculty to swallow,” he hopes the changes will help avoid a similar situation in the future.

The Trustees also announced that Reinharz, who it credits with an unprecedented campus expansion and more than quadrupling the school’s endowment, will maintain his half-time appointment on the faculty through 2024, at an annual salary of $180,000.

Reinharz is also director of the Tauber Institute and also chairs the advisory board for Brandeis’ Crown Center for Middle East Studies.

J Street, Marginalized in D.C., Leeching into the Hillels

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The controversial organization J Street had its first annual conference in 2009.  The organization initially snagged a large number of members of congress to speak at the conference, and an even larger number to merely allow their names to be used as “co-sponsors” of its Gala. But when word got out that despite its self-description as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, most pro-Israel folks – including the actual Israeli government – had quite the opposite view of the organization, many congressional members beat a hasty retreat.

J Street has had its public ups, and even more public downs, with Americans who believe themselves to be pro-Israel. There was the revelation that while J Street said the virulently anti-Israel George Soros was not a donor, in fact J Street’s tax records proved that not only he, but members of his family were bankrolling the organization. There was also the J Street claim that the vast majority of its donors were American Jews, when it was later revealed that there were quite a few non-Jewish donors, and actually the largest donor for at least one year was neither Jewish nor American.  The list goes on.

J Street has recently been reduced to publicly crowing not about how many members of congress were willing to speak at its conference, but instead how many were willing to take its money. Imagine that! your biggest achievement is that a politician was willing to take your money.

But as J Street was slowly eased out of its comfort zone in Washington, D.C., it proved itself to be very adaptable. It oozed out into the countryside, where it was harder to mobilize a critical mass of knowledgeable critics.  At least in part because of that diffusion, J Street found homes at the municipal level. The Big Tent approach of most mainstream Jewish Federations was a tremendous boon, even more so are the fecund, ultra-liberal, anti-authoritarian pastures known as university campuses.

While some Hillels were initially wary, others were welcoming.

One Hillel which initially responded to J Street’s approach very gingerly was the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, a Hillel whose campuses include not only the University of Pennsylvania, but also Temple University, Drexel University, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College, as well as some smaller schools.

J Street approached HGP and asked to have the roll-out of its local J Streets hosted at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, on Feb. 4, 2010. The roll-out was going to be webcast to 20 other cities across the country. The HGP leadership, anticipating the objection of at least some board members, extracted a firm commitment from J Street Chief Jeremy Ben-Ami. That commitment was an element of an agreement to rent the space to J Street as part of a business transaction. It was affirmatively not an ideological vote of confidence.

Not to worry, said J Street to the local Hillel leadership: “We promise not to mention that we’re using your facility, and to make clear in our written and oral statements that Hillel does not endorse us.”  That condition was agreed upon—it was “not just a promise, it was an agreement”—according to Rabbi Howard Alpert, the executive director of all the Philadelphia area Hillels.  On the strength of that essential agreement, Hillel went ahead and rented J Street its space.

And then? Within seconds of beginning his welcome to the live audience in Philadelphia and to all those listening and watching through the livestreaming, J Street’s Ben-Ami said exactly what he’d promised not to say—that he was speaking “here at Penn Hillel.” He failed to say a word about what he’d promised solemnly to make clear: that Hillel does not endorse J Street or its message.

(Even More of) 2013′s Bright Pro-Israel Lights on US Campuses

Monday, January 6th, 2014

There were so many new and/or successful pro-Israel initiatives on U.S. campuses in 2013, that, in order to explain how creative and successful each one was, we had to divide the article into a two-part series.

This is the second part, the first ran on December 31, “Guess What: 2013 was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

Most of the stars reported here were born out of some stalwart’s refusal to allow the anti-Israel forces to get away with the kind of mischief they have enjoyed for far too long on far too many campuses.

Hat’s off to the initial seven and to the following five:

8.  A brand new, student conceived of and run organization was created in late 2013 in response to a specific event, but so generalizable, it’s a surprise it took this long for pro-Israel students on U.S. campuses to create.

The name of this new initiative is Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. According to Daniel Mael, co-founder and Brandeis University junior from Newton, Massachusetts, SAIPA was not created as a “hasbara” organization. Instead, it is intended to ensure that public conversations or events about the Arab-Israeli conflict take place before an audience that has been provided with accurate facts and appropriate context.

Think of SAIPA as a CAMERA-like organization that deals with campus events about the Middle East, rather than with media coverage of the Middle East.

Mael, whose op-ed in The Jewish Press described a pro-Israel event at Brandeis last spring that went wrong and which was one of the main inspirations for SAIPA, and co-founder and fellow Brandesian Guy Morag launched SAIPA in October. It became an approved student organization at Brandeis in December.

9. Tammy Rossman-Benjamin teaches Hebrew Language at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  A few years ago she and a colleague, Leila Beckwith, started the AMCHA Initiative, the mission of which is to  investigate, document, educate about, and combat antisemitism on U.S. college campuses.  If this list were not year-specific, the AMCHA Initiative would be on the list. But what Rossman-Benjamin did in her personal capacity in 2013 has earned her a spot.

The Hebrew professor originally filed a Complaint alleging anti-Jewish discrimination by California colleges in 2009.  But the Office of Civil Rights, the entity which has jurisdiction over such claims, rejected Rossman-Benjamin’s complaint and two others alleging anti-Semitism at California campuses this summer.  Rossman-Benjamin refused to accept the dismissal.

The mistakes made by the OCR which Rossman-Benjamin pointed out in the appeal she filed in October – ones that are made constantly and nearly universally by academic institutions – is the confusion between “free speech” and “academic freedom” to make horrible, false statements about Jews and/or the Jewish state, and support of such events by the academic institutions themselves.  The latter constitutes an element of discriminatory harassment, one that is not blanketed with immunity with constitutional protections, even when those may at times may be applicable for individual speakers.

So whether the Office of Civil Rights is willing to recognize Rossman-Benjamin’s painstakingly thorough appeal as valid, her efforts to require academic institutions as well as the U.S. Office of Civil Rights to apply appropriate legal standards and offer legal protection to victims of anti-Semitic activities on U.S. campuses is heroic and a model to be emulated.

10. An example of pro-Israel (or simply anti-anti-Semitic) activity similar to Rossman-Benjamin’s was undertaken by several pro-Israel Brooklyn College students who refused to accept their ouster from an anti-Israel event on campus.

On February 7, Brooklyn College hosted an event co-sponsored by its own political science department promoting the economic and legal warfare movement against Israel known as BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel).  Efforts to remove the school’s official promotion of the event went unheeded.

Guess What: 2013 Was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

For years those engaged on the pro-Israel side of the battle for hearts and minds of American college students have watched in horror as anti-Israel forces – whether they call themselves “pro-Israel” or not – metastasized on campuses.

The Israel-demonization events, the infiltration by Israel vilifiers into what were formerly at least moderately pro-Israel institutions, and the disruptions of Israeli or pro-Israel events, were met almost always with either complicity or a hands-off response from the academic administrations, faculty, and often eventhe organized Jewish leadership on campuses.

Things were so bad that Arab Israeli journalist Khaled abu Toameh famously wrote that on his speaking tours of U.S. campuses, he found more sympathy for Hamas than he does in Ramallah.

This is how abu Toameh analyzed the ugliness spread across American academia:

What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

But things were beginning to look quite different in 2013.

There has been a sea change on U.S. campuses this year, carried out by those who refused to back down when false claims of Palestinian Arab victimhood or Israeli brutality were raised.

Hallelujah. So we are fortunate to be able to write a list of Top Twelve Pro-Israel Bright Lights on U.S. campuses. What follows is the first installment. Part II will run later this week.

*******

1. Far and away the most significant example of this refusal to accept the tired meme of Israel As The-Worst-Human-Rights-Abuser -And-Biggest-Enemy-of-Peace is The Backlash to the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli Academic Institutions.  We now know that 95 universities across the United States have rejected and publicly condemned the ASA boycott of Israel.

That includes the most prestigious private schools, state schools, schools at which anti-Israel activity had been flourishing, and almost every other kind of American academic institutions. Condemnations poured in from the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Yale, University of Chicago, Penn State, Northwestern, Goucher, as well as industry-wide associations of professors and of universities. Several schools, such as Brandeis, Penn State, Kenyon and Indiana University summarily withdrew their membership in the ASA because the boycott so clearly reflected a loss of the association’s mission, an affront to academic freedom and a discriminatory singling out of a single nation for condemnation.

2. and 3. A tie for second place goes to two relatively new leaders of at least nominally Jewish institutions, each of whom staked new ground, rejecting their predecessors’ policies for tolerating abusive positions towards Israel.

Eric Fingerhut became president and CEO of Hillel International this past summer.  For years, many Hillels across the United States have chosen an aggressively passive response to anti-Israel events on campuses, choosing to have their own quiet events instead of confronting viciously anti-Israel events filled with misinformation and lies about the Jewish State. Hillels have even welcomed some of the worst offenders into their buildings or even their own events, in the hopes of showing the enemy that they are really good people. It’s been a disaster.

This past fall the Hillel group at suburban Philadelphia’s Swarthmore College decided it would publicly challenge the pro-Israel guidelines set by Hillel International.  Students bridled against being forbidden the “right” to invite speakers who engage in “demonization, delegitimization or applying double standards to Israel,” or support the economic and legal warfare movement known as the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel.  Swarthmore Hillel students voted unanimously to reject the guidelines and declare theirs an “Open Hillel.” And then they received a surprise.

Brandeis Alumni, Students Protest Pay to Reinharz

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

More than 1,600 alumni and students of Brandeis University and others with ties to the institution have signed an online petition protesting pay to former university president Jehuda Reinharz.

Reinharz reportedly receives more than $600,000 a year in retirement pay and at least $800,000 a year from the Mandel Foundation, which he serves as president. The Boston Globe reported last month that Reinharz has earned at least $1.2 million for part-time advisory work since stepping down as president at the end of 2010.

The petition calls on the university’s board of trustees to institute a policy of transparency regarding past, current, and future executive compensation, and to overhaul its compensation policies.

“We owe a great deal to the university, which taught us the tenets of social justice that continue to influence our lives and careers. We expect to see these values reflected in the decisions the university makes,” the petition says. “The gulf of inequality at Brandeis University is growing.”

The petition also accused the university of undermining “its own values when it prioritizes donor relationships and institutional prestige over student access to scholarship and good stewardship of our communal resources.” It warns: “This path is financially unsustainable and irresponsible.”

Brandeis spokeswoman Ellen de Graffenreid told the Globe that the board is considering making changes to its compensation policies and could vote on a proposal at its next meeting in late January.

The university also acknowledged last week that it paid Reinharz’s wife, Shulamit Reinharz, an extra $30,000 a year for hosting university events and fundraising, in addition to her salary as director of the Women’s Studies Research Center and as a professor of sociology.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brandeis-alumni-students-protest-pay-to-reinharz/2013/12/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: