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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘CAMERA’

Non-Jewish Groups Join Protest against Campus Anti-Semitism

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

A group of 14 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations has issued a letter to more than 2,500 U.S. colleges and universities urging them to protect Jewish students on campus in light of rising anti-Semitism in America and abroad.

The organizations include Alpha Epsilon Pi, AMCHA Initiative, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Christians United for Israel, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), David Horowitz Freedom Center, Hasbara Fellowships, Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center Campus Outreach, StandWithUs, and the Zionist Organization of America.

“None of us should tolerate a campus climate of fear or disrespect, which can seriously impair the physical and psychological health of students and create conditions that negatively affect their learning and their ability to achieve their full potential,” the letter states.

The signatories raised concern over the actions of the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which the letter notes has a history of “harassing and intimidating Jewish students.”

The letter goes on to cite several incidents on campuses, including a recent one at Temple University in which a pro-Israel student was physically and verbally assaulted by SJP members, as well as SJP’s planting of anti-Israel mock eviction notices under students’ dorm rooms.

“While justifying its hatred and bigotry as protected under the First Amendment, the SJP employs tactics geared to silencing and marginalizing the views of Jewish students who support Israel,” the letter says.

The letter also cited that these schools are responsible for protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

“Jews around the world are being held collectively responsible for Israel’s actions, which are defensive and undertaken to protect its people,” says the letter. “This is anti-Semitism, according to U.S. government standards.”

 

Jewish Student Assaulted by ‘Pro-Palestine’ Student at Temple University

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

It happened before the school year even officially began.

A group of students were seated at an organizational table at Temple University’s orientation on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The group represented Students for Justice in Palestine, and were handing out literature attacking Israel.

A Jewish, pro-Israel student, Daniel Vessal, attempted to engage in a dialogue with the SJP students, but dialogue is not what they were interested in.  Instead, they started laughing at Vessal, and calling him a “baby-killer,” according to a report at TruthRevolt.

Vessal, a campus fellow for the pro-Israel organization Committee for Accuracy in Media Reporting in America (CAMERA), told TruthRevolt that he attempted  to engage the SJP students in conversation about the conflict, but their response was simply laughter, curses, and then violence.

I said, ‘when Hamas stops sending the rockets, that’s when there can be peace. That’s when we can start.’”

“This one girl sitting at the end of the table was just laughing and laughing at me,” he explained “As she was laughing at me, people at the table were calling me a ‘baby killer,’ I said when she stops then maybe we could have a genuinely peaceful conversation.”

“And then this kid just rocks me in the face as hard as he can. My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened.

As Vessal explained to Temple University security what happened, the SJP students were shouting at him, “Zionist pig!” Other witnesses told TruthRevolt they heard the SJP students yelling “Kike” at Vessal as he lay on the ground.

According to Vessal, Temple’s head of student activities immediately stated that the SJP table should be shut down, but Temple campus security refused, stating that the student who sucker-punched Vessal had already been sent home.

Vessal was taken to Temple University Hospital for evaluation following the assault. He intends to pursue legal action.

Students for Justice in Palestine has been responsible for the vast majority of the most heinous anti-Israel acts on U.S. campuses over the past several years, whether at Brooklyn College or Northeastern University, at Florida campuses and at Michigan. But now that the actions of the group have become violent, perhaps what passes for leadership at Jewish campus organizations and campus administrations will take steps to shut down the organization.

New Project to Revive Zionism as a Source of Pride in Diaspora Youth

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Since bursting on the national scene just two years ago, Chloé Simone Valdary has become a constant fixture in the pro-Israel world. First she created a pro-Israel group, Allies of Israel, on her University of New Orleans campus. Then she started writing about Israel and calling out the hypocrisy of the anti-Israel crowd. Soon thereafter Valdary became a much-in-demand motivational speaker and writer for many different pro-Israel organizations and websites. And she keeps expanding the areas in which she comes to the forefront of the pro-Israel youth movement in America.

This summer Valdary was an intern at one of the most successful and well-established pro-Israel organizations, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), in Boston.

During her stint with CAMERA, Valdary worked on many different projects, but she also created one of her own. It’s called “My Zionism.”

My Zionism” is a vehicle for reaching American youth and helping them to learn about Zionism:  “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and one of the world’s greatest civil rights causes of all time.”  The project went live on Wednesday, August 13.

Valdary spoke with The Jewish Press the night before the official launch of  “My Zionism.” We asked her about the goals of the project.

“The goal is to take back the term Zionism and really own it and begin to explain what it really is a liberation movement,” Valdary explained. She said that the short-term goal is to “take back the language and celebrate Zionism.”

One of the ways “My Zionism” works is through reintroducing the art and the poetry of the early phases of the Zionist movement. There have already been several generations of Diaspora Jews who are completely ignorant of the development of the movement. “My Zionism” intends to change that.

“The ‘My Zionism’ project is part of CAMERA’s overall campaign to instill in students the inspirational messages of Zionism. They need to know about our heroes and their incredible achievements,” Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director told The Jewish Press. “Chloe Valdary, who authored this project, has been a brilliant addition to our team during this challenging summer.”

MZ.jpg

TED Publishes Anti-Israel Lies in Interview With Arab Photographer

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Who doesn’t love TED?

For those who don’t know, TED is the phenomenally popular series of lectures that began as a one-off conference in 1984 showcasing the convergence of Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED now encompasses almost every conceivable category, so long as people In The Know deem it is, or will be, great.

TED is run by a non-profit foundation and is best known for the 18 minute talks given by the hundreds of presenters chosen by the TED staff. TED also hosts conferences, sells books, encourages independent “TEDx” events and takes on “TED Fellows.”

There is an in-depth interview with a Gazan female photojournalist chosen as a TED fellow in 2014. It was posted on the TED Blog on April 25, 2014. The now-26 year old Eman Mohammed spoke with Karen Eng, part of the TED writers team.

Much of what Mohammed discusses during the interview has to do with the wildly misogynistic culture of Middle Eastern men. Mohammed insists that the misogyny is not dictated by Islam, but is instead an oppressive cultural norm.

In Islam, you’re allowed to work, you’re allowed to be in the field. And men have to respect you because you’re a woman, regardless of what you do, as long as it doesn’t go against Islamic rules. You can’t be, say, an escort or something like that. That goes against modesty rules. But you can be anything else, if you want to. Photography doesn’t offend Islam in any way. So it was never an issue religiously speaking, but it was a huge issue culturally speaking.

Mohammed also discusses, naturally, her work. Her truly spectacular photographs have been used by such major players as Getty Images, The Washington Post, Le Monde, the Guardian, UNICEF and Save the Children.

On the TED blog, Mohammed was allowed to caption her own pictures. In those captions and during brief sections of the interview, Mohammed provided wildly inaccurate accounts of the activities, ethical standards, and operating procedures of the Israel Defense Forces.

In discussing how she was injured while photographing an incident during the Cast Lead Operation in Gaza in 2008, Mohammed attributed to the IDF a particularly heinous practice for which Palestinian Arab terrorists are notorious.

There had been an air strike on a police compound, and I was there afterwards. The thing about the Israeli military, when they start an air strike, they wait for civilians and medical teams to arrive, and then they strike again, so they can have biggest number of casualties.

Before the erection of the Security Fence, when homicide bombers were regularly terrorizing Israel, it happened that an initial bombing was followed by a second one, timed so that it would explode when rescue workers and onlookers had rushed in to help the wounded at the initial bombing site.

The IDF, in stark contrast, dropped over two and a half million leaflets throughout Gaza, and phoned and texted the residents there, warning them of impending attacks.

As the media watchdog organization CAMERA, which was the first to notice the problematic TED interview and wrote about it in an article published in its Hebrew publication, Presspectiva, continued,

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009, praising the “extraordinary measures” that Israel took in Cast Lead to avoid civilian casualties:

I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy’s hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks.

Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.

There is other misinformation provided as fact by Mohammed which the TED writer and/or editor failed to suggest were anything but fact. She discusses as fact, the highly disputed use of white phosphorous by Israel in the 2008-09 Cast Lead Operation, and the specific targeting of civilians and residential areas. Several of those points are addressed in the CAMERA article, which has been translated into English.

J Street Seeking a Seat at the Conference

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

In a move that will surprise nobody, for its effort to become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street has the backing of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The JCPA has long been clamoring to include J Street as part of its “big tent” approach to Jewish communal life. And no wonder, the two organizations are closely aligned on most issues, domestic and foreign.

What should also come as no surprise to anyone, those American pro-Israel organizations which see their major focus as global security, including Jewish communities worldwide generally and the Jewish state in particular, such as the Zionist Organization of America, are opposed to ushering in yet another organization into the 50 strong member group which they see as engaging in moral equivalency between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

The issue comes to a vote April 30. And members on both sides of the vote are busily lobbying people to make their voices heard by those who will be voting.

The Conference of Presidents includes most of the major Jewish organizations with which most people are familiar, but there are others who are members that would probably surprise most people.

For example, everyone expects such groups as the ZOA and the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League to be members, the same goes for the offices of the major branches of Judaism. But what Workman’s Circle (a blend of “workers’ rights” mit a bissel Yiddish?) Not to mention the Jewish Labor Committee(“The Jewish voice in the labor movement, and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.”)  Then there’s the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which is still very much involved in the needs of immigrants, but not too many of whom are Hebrews.

Other organizations such as CAMERA (which deals with media bias against Israel) and Hadassah and Americans for Peace Now and the Jewish Federations and the National Council of Young Israel all also have seats at the Conference of Presidents.

Early word was that the J Street leadership came in for heavy grilling by members, especially with respect to their support for and frequent partnering with organizations which advocate for various forms of economic and legal warfare against Israel, known as the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) movement.

An article in the Forward earlier this month revealed that J Street failed to garner the approval of a critical committee which would have smoothed the way to membership. That article explained that in order for J Street to gain admission there would have to be a 75 percent quorum present, and a two thirds vote.

According to the mission statement of the Conference of Presidents, at least one of the two primary issues on which the Conference focuses should signal a serious battle regarding the admission of J Street, the other one, only slightly less so: “The Conference is at the forefront mobilizing support to halt Iran’s nuclear program and to counter the global campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people.”

J Street was an early and consistent opponent of sanctions against Iran and when it ultimately was flanked to the right by the U.S. administration, it only slowly and very begrudgingly accepted the need for sanctions. J Street was once again a major cheerleader against enacting legislation that would provide for the immediate resumption of sanctions should Iran fail to comply with the obligations the U.S. understood it to have undertaken in the agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1.

There also continues to be a matter of say one thing, do another, with respect to the BDS movement. Although J Street consistently publicly claims to oppose the use of BDS, the J Street U members have been amongst the biggest cheerleaders of divestment resolutions on U.S. campuses (with Cornell University being a notable exception.)

Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

With the help of many friends, on Sunday, March 30, that African American Christian Zionist college student the pro-Israel world has been marveling over for more than a year, Chloé Simone Valdary, pulled off another huge student-led pro-Israel event in New Orleans.

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Declare Your Freedom 2.0 was held at Tulane University, with over 400 in attendance. Last year, Valdary organized the first DYF, and held it at her school, the University of New Orleans.

The purpose of DYF, Valdary told The Jewish Press, was “to continue to say without compunction or regret that we are Zionists, and also to celebrate Zionism – the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”

Valdary is a dynamo, but she also had lots of help from fellow Zionists Maor Shapira, Becca Leifer and Nicki Etseckson, all three of whom are students at Tulane.

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

The four Zionist college students put together a program which included speakers such as Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project; Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American, founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy  and CAMERA on campus’s Samantha Rose Mandeles and Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society.

The day-long event interspersed music and serious speakers. The music included a beautiful jazz rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah performed by Assaf Kehati. Other performers were Los Rakas, Pep Love, Zion I, Shi 360 and the Ori Naftaly Band.

As a victim of the true horrors of genocide in his native Sudan where he was a child slave, Deng spoke powerfully about the grotesque irony of people who claim to be human rights activists and focus their ire on Israel, yet completely ignore real genocide in places like the Sudan.

Jasser spoke about the need for reform in the Muslim world, while Mendoza also addressed the hypocrisy of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine who pay not attention to the complete deprivation of civil and human rights for so many in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

 

CAMERA on Campus coordinator Samantha Rose Mandeles talked about the great work CAMERA does with pro-Israel students on campuses all across the country. In particular, Mandeles was full of praise for the DYF festival in carrying on the torch for freedom.

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

The student organizations which helped make DYF 2.0 happen were Allies of Israel (Valdary’s group), Tulane United for Israel and McNeese State’s Israel Alliance.

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Sponsors of Declare Your Freedom 2.0 included CAMERA, the Zionist Organization of America, Standwithus, The Israel-American Council and the Leadership Institute.

The murals were created by Artists 4 Israel.

 

‘Future Leaders for Israel’ Hold Conferences on Campuses

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Sometimes you just have to let the students do it.

There have been increasing reports of the poisonous anti-Israel atmosphere on U.S. campuses over the past half dozen or more years. And with those reports there has been a growing number of pro-Israel organizations which have, some more successfully than others, pivoted to address that battlefield.

There have also been a few organizations which students themselves have begun, some with faculty or organizational support, in order to address the difficulties many pro-Israel students have encountered on their increasingly hostile campuses.

One of the student-initiated groups started out with the name Florida Loves Israel. It held its first conference three years ago and the response was so tremendous, not only within Florida, but beyond, that the organization had to change its name to Future Leaders for Israel. They kept the initials and the acronym, FLI, but the horizon expanded exponentially.

This spring the new FLI is hosting not one but two conferences just one week and 1100 miles apart.

FLI self-describes as a “student-founded, student-led and student-focused organization.” It acts as a bridge, bringing together pro-Israel students and the different organizations on different campuses, through conferences that appeals to different interests and attention spans.

FLI’s goal is to provide educational and engaging information, but also a social and positive experience. It creates conferences which include programming from lots of different pro-Israel organizations. In this way, organizations that may not otherwise work together do so, and the individual interested students get what amounts to a smorgasboard of pro-Israel programming. Not only that, but students from different campuses who share an interest in supporting Israel have a unique opportunity to join forces.

The funding comes from the different organizations which seek to participate in the FLI Conferences.

A rough sketch of how this works is the FLI leaders get together and figure out the general topics which should be included, then pro-Israel organizations are contacted and invited to lead some of those programs. The organizations which choose to participate become sponsors of the whole conference, and then the entire range of events and activities is opened up to interested students from different campuses who participate in the three day conference. The conference includes lots of exciting social and educational pro-Israel activities, along with peers from many different schools.

The Jewish Press spoke with Daniel Ackerman, one of the founders of FLI. He described how the concept began, how it developed, and what its leaders see as its future.

FLI’s first conference this year takes place at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. This conference begins Friday, March 28, and continues through Sunday, March 30.  The second conference is being held in Pittsburgh, and is a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. That one takes place from Friday, April 4 through Sunday, April 6.

Both conferences begin on Friday night. There will be Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Kabbalat Shabbat services. Kosher food will be an option at every meal, and during Shabbat there will be programming that does not violate Shabbat, for Shomer observant students.

FLI FLORIDA

The keynote speaker at FAU will be Yishai Fleisher, “Israel’s only English language broadcast-radio talk show host.” Fleisher was a guest at FLI’s first conference, and he was such a hit FLI brought him back for this year’s Florida conference.

During the Boca Raton conference there will be sessions on “Unpacking the Jewish Narrative: Who are the Jewish People,” and “How to Talk about Israel in a Way that Brings People Together,”  and “The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Campus Organization.” There will also be sessions on “Campus AntiSemitism, Know Your Legal Rights,” and “What to Expect When You are Expecting (BDS).”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/future-leaders-for-israel-hold-conferences-on-campuses/2014/03/28/

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