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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Mael’

Jewish Donors Funded Harvard Students’ Trip to Arafat’s Grave

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

A college trip to the Middle East, advertised as one which “aims to engage a diverse cohort of undergraduate student leaders of all faiths and backgrounds with Israeli history, culture, and politics,” sounds like it will be a positive experience.

Now add to that, the fact that the trip is co-sponsored by Boston’s equivalent of the Jewish Federation – the Combined Jewish Philanthropies – and supported by Harvard’s Hillel, and it sounds like an amazing trip.

But on this particular Harvard college trip to the Middle East, the students who were supposed to be learning about “Israeli history, culture and politics,” made a side trip to pay homage to one of the worst terrorist leaders of modern times, someone who was single-handedly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israelis – men, women and children, Jews, Christians and Muslims: Yassir Arafat.

The students are on this ”Harvard College Israel Trek 2014” right now. They arrived in Israel on March 14, and thanks to the miracles of social media, we know that while visiting Israel, they took a detour. According to one of the participants, Awais Hussain, Harvard ’15, they spent Sunday, March 17, in “Palestine.”

tweet from Hillel and Boston CJP-sponsored Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 participant.

Tweet from Hillel supported and Boston CJP co-sponsored Harvard College Israel Trek 2014 participant.

But a tweet from a tour guide provided even more detailed information about what these Hillel and CJP-funded Harvard trekkies did while they were in “Palestine.”

They visited the burial site of arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat, which is at the muqata, located in Ramallah.

 

Harvard Students on Harvard Hillel and Boston CJP sponsored trip to Israel, visiting Arafat's grave. March 17, 2014.

Harvard Students on Harvard Hillel and Boston CJP sponsored trip to Israel, visiting Arafat’s grave. March 17, 2014.

According to the Trek’s website, “[the] Israel Trek is made possible by the generous contributions of a number of family foundations and Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies. The Trek is supported by Harvard Hillel​.”

The fact of this trip and the fascinating detour it took was discovered by a college student, Daniel Mael. The Jewish Press spoke with Mael on Tuesday evening, March 18.

“I was checking through Twitter for news stories, and I happened to check #Israel, when the tweet of the Harvard Trek students at Arafat’s grave showed up,” Mael said, explaining how he came upon the pictures of the Harvard Students.

“So I Googled ‘Harvard College Israel Trek,’ and looked through the posted information,” continued Mael. “I was horrified to see that Harvard Hillel is a supporter, and Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies is a sponsor of a trip that includes a visit to the grave of one of the world’s most notorious Jew-murdering terrorists.”

Hillel International had not responded to a request for comment before this story was published.

(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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/even-more-of-2013s-bright-pro-israel-lights-on-us-campuses/2014/01/06/

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