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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘NYU’

Civil Rights Groups Urge NYU to Discipline ‘Mock Eviction’ Leafletters

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

On Friday, May 2, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law  and The Lawfare Project  urged New York University President John Sexton and his administration to “firmly and forcefully” discipline the students who shoved inflammatory materials into students’ private rooms at two New York University dormitories on April 24.

The two independent national civil rights organizations had been approached by New York University undergraduate students who are concerned about an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment in which mock eviction notices were pushed under the dormitory room doors and into the dormitory rooms of Jewish and non-Jewish students.  These flyers contain inflammatory and false accusations and were placed in a manner that created understandable anguish and alarm among the students.

In a letter to President Sexton and Vice Chancellor Linda Mills, the Brandeis Center and The Lawfare Project emphasized that the mock eviction notices raised “serious issues under federal civil rights law.”  Specifically, the groups reminded President Sexton and Vice Chancellor Mills that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs that receive federal funds.  “More broadly,” the two organizations wrote, “they raise questions about respect, civility, and mutual understanding and about sensitivity for the reasonable concerns of Jewish students.”

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2014, mock eviction notices spreading anti-Israel sentiment had been distributed throughout New York University’s Palladium and Lafayette dormitories by members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

The eviction notices state, “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state of Israel’s ongoing attempts to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants and maintain an exclusively Jewish character of the state.  By destroying Palestinian homes, the state makes room for illegal Israeli settlements.  The Israeli government itself describes this process as Judaization.”

Not only is this grossly inaccurate, but it reinforces pernicious stereotypes and defamations about the Jewish people.

The Brandeis Center and The Lawfare Project explained to Sexton and Mill that “dormitory rooms are virtually the opposite of public forums for speech and debate.  Rather, they are spaces in which students are most vulnerable.  There is no part of a university campus in which is it more crucial to protect student safety, security, and privacy.  This is particularly true during late hours of the night.”

New York University, like many other institutions, has instituted reasonable, content-neutral rules prohibiting the kind of infractions that were committed here.  The civil rights groups insisted that it is “absolutely imperative” that NYU “fully and firmly enforce these rules against the perpetrators immediately, taking fully into consideration the invasiveness of the behavior and the foreseeable harms to dormitory students.”

The Brandeis Center and The Lawfare Project also urged NYU to take into proper consideration that the offensiveness of the perpetrators’ actions was heightened by their selection of a dormitory that is well known to house an unusually high concentration of Jewish students.

“As you are no doubt aware,” they wrote, “Palladium is the only dormitory building at New York University that has a Shabbat elevator.  A university spokesman has argued that the elevator was installed at this location for reasons that are unrelated to the building’s high concentration of Jewish residents.  This is entirely beside the point. Regardless of the reason for which the elevator was initially installed, your students have made clear to us that its existence is one of the reasons that so many prominent Jewish students are known to live there.  If Palladium was targeted in any part because of its concentration of Jewish students, then this factor must be considered in determining the nature and severity of the infraction.  Either way, however, the perpetrators’ choice of this particular building has aggravated the impact of the infractions.”

NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices

Friday, April 25th, 2014

The latest distribution of mock eviction notices being distributed in the dorm rooms of students – primarily Jewish – in order to inflict upon those American students what they claim are the “horrors of life” for Palestinian Arabs took place at New York University on Wednesday evening, April 23.

The mock eviction notices were distributed in Palladium Hall, a dorm at NYU which most students acknowledge is known for having a heavy representation of Jewish students.

These notices misrepresent reality and are a cowardly method of harassment. It allows anti-Israel students and their leadership both to make themselves feel as if they are actually doing something constructive and also to make life unpleasant for Jewish students. It has happened at enough campuses -  half a dozen others already this year alone – that one would expect university leadership would be fully prepared to respond quickly and effectively.

But if you were expecting that, you’d be wrong.

NYU students at Palladium Hall woke up early on Thursday morning and found the mock eviction notices in their rooms.

A current NYU student, Laura Adkins, wrote about the matter in a blog at the Times of Israel. Variations of the story appeared throughout the day, including at the influential legal blog, Legal Insurrection.

The Jewish Press reached an NYU spokesperson mid-afternoon on Thursday and was told the school was still “investigating and preparing a statement.”

WERE JEWS BEING TARGETED BY THE LEAFLETS?

When the school finally released its official statement late in the day, the school insisted that it did not believe that Palladium Hall was targeted because it has a disproportionately large number of Jewish students (the presence of a Sabbath elevator in the building was explained by a stairway issue and security concerns).

It is unclear why the flyering took place in this particular dorm; we don’t believe there is perception of this dorm as having an a high percentage of Jewish students (the presence of a Sabbath elevator is the result of a stairway that empties to the street and cannot be entered through the lobby behind the security desk, not because of a disproportionate presence of Jewish students in the building).  However, were it to be the case that the flyering was done there because it was perceived be a dorm with a higher proportion of Jewish students, that would be troubling, dismaying  and a matter of deep concern for our community.

The notice was sent out under the name of John Beckman, who is NYU’s vice president for public affairs. The person with whom we spoke in the Public Affairs office, Philip Lentz, is the director for public affairs.

Lentz insisted that the research done by NYU revealed that Palladium is not known as a dorm known as having a large Jewish population. Students and hard evidence prove otherwise.

While NYU went to some length to explain away the existence of a Shabbat elevator in Palladium, a simple visit to the building would have revealed that it is there to serve the Jewish population in the building.

Plaque on the wall next to the Sabbath Elevator in Palladium Hall, an NYU dorm.

Plaque on the wall next to the Sabbath Elevator in Palladium Hall, an NYU dorm.

Adkins, an economics major from Springfield, Missouri who is the vice president of TorchPac, NYU’s pro-Israel advocacy organization, said that as long as she has been on campus Palladium has had, and is known as having “a large Jewish population,” even for NYU, which itself has a large Jewish population. It is listed as number one in the “Top 30 Private Universities by Jewish Population,” according to a 2013 Hillel survey. NYU’s Lentz was adamant that the school does not keep information about student housing location by ethnicity, which is good, but ignoring the facts on the ground is hard to understand.

Students Ask, ‘Where Was The NY Times During The Holocaust?’

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Last April, NYU student Emily Harrold embarked on the production of a film exploring why The New York Times under-reported the Holocaust during the 1940s. Now, a little less than a year later, the project has expanded to more than twenty students. Together the students have interviewed historians, journalists, Holocaust survivors, and American citizens who lived during the 1940s. They are currently working on finishing the project in order to submit it to film festivals across the United States.

“While the film is about The New York Times and The Holocaust,” explains director Harrold, “it is also about how American society understood and dealt with genocide in the 1940s. We are shocked today to learn that papers as well respected as The New York Times kept quiet on The Holocaust. But are we as a society reacting any differently to genocide happening today?”

The film, titled “Reporting on The Times,” was inspired by Laurel Leff’s book Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper. The film is currently fundraising on Kickstarter.com. The team has raised close to 50 percent of its $6,000 goal. Please visit http://kck.st/tq3zbv to make a donation. You can also learn more about the project and see the trailer at www.facebook.com/reportingonthetimes.

The Disingenuousness Of Divestment

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The recent call by NYU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for TIAA-CREF to divest holdings in targeted companies doing business in Israel is part of a troubling trend that exposes dangerous radicalism on campuses disguised as efforts at achieving social justice.

In 2010, for instance, student-led groups at both UC San Diego and UC Berkeley introduced initiatives to demonize Israel once again in the court of world opinion. One effort, disingenuously named “UCSD Divest for Peace,” was aimed at divesting university funds from U.S. companies which benefit Israel and which take a “non-neutral financial stance in the occupation of Palestinian territories.”

The Berkeley initiative, endorsed by 41 students groups in March 2010 and cynically named “A Bill in Support of UC Divestment From [Israeli] War Crimes” was promoted by an anti-Israel effort named the “U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

The latest NYU effort, an “Open Letter to TIAA-CREF CEO and President Roger W. Ferguson from NYU Faculty and Staff,” signed by over 70 members of the NYU community, has as its purpose “to pressure TIAA-CREF into divesting its holdings in 5 key companies which profit from the illegal Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.”

It has at its core the same baseless accusations and libels against Israel, namely, that a company like Caterpillar “sells the bulldozers used by the IDF to destroy Palestinian homes, infrastructure, and fruit and olive trees;” Elbit Systems provides “drones used to kill Palestinian and Lebanese civilians;” Northrop Grumman builds weaponry that “Israel needs to defend itself from crowds of children throwing stones;” Veolia “operates a light-rail system linking Israel’s illegal settlements to Jerusalem;” and Motorola “manufactures surveillance equipment for Israeli checkpoints” [emphasis added]. Advertisement

These companies, it is asserted by SJP, are not only complicit in the slaughter and oppression of the completely innocent Palestinians, but the firms profit, in an immoral and rapacious way, from the suffering caused by their occupation and dispossession.

Clearly, there is no historical context to these outrageous claims, no moral balance, no acknowledgement of Israel’s existential threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, and other of its genocidal neighbors – only condemnation for being an oppressive, racist, murderous colonial settler state, illegal, in the view of activists, under international law.

This core sentiment has come to define the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the notion that the repeated defamation of Israel will result in its eventual expulsion from the supposed civilized community of nations. But the call for divestment is merely a tactic through which Israel will be marginalized, and eventually extirpated, as a pariah state with no moral justification for existing.

Thus, Students for Justice in Palestine, which gives public expression to notions of “social justice” for everyone in the Middle East but actually means justice for the Palestinians alone, admits, when pushed, that the sole underlying purpose of its calls for divestment is not, as is frequently though falsely described as creating a Palestinian state that will exist “side by side with Israel in peace,” but actually as a new entity that will either economically, militarily, or demographically subsume Israel.

The moral benefit to casting the Palestinians as the perennial victims, of course, is that it makes it easy for SJP and other apologists for terror to justify homicidal aggression against Jewish targets as a legitimate means of “resistance” to occupation – a legitimacy they claim as a right under the intellectually contorted precepts of international law, which has given NGOs, stateless actors, and radical movements the same rights as democracies engaging in self-defense.

SJP and others repeatedly use this intellectual ploy to promiscuously demonize Israel, not to mention to justify terrorism as an acceptable tool in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. “Resistance is justified when people are occupied!” screamed SJP demonstrators at an NYU rally held last April.

“Divestment campaigns and requests for institutional divestment,” a University of Wisconsin guide for BDS radicals reveals, “provide debate material that places Palestine solidarity groups in the most favorable position to present their case. No other form of activism has generated as much debate and attention towards the plight of the Palestinians as does divestment. No other approach has presented the Palestinian struggle in a more positive light than does divestment.”

We’re Losing The Campus Debate

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

It’s been five years since I attended a symposium at Columbia University discussing the David Project’s documentary “Columbia Unbecoming,” a film that highlighted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements by faculty in the Middle East Arts Language and Culture MEALC program. The film ignited a debate over the prevalence of anti-Zionism on American campuses and the dangers of advocacy teaching at universities, much of it fueled by Arab funding.
 
“Columbia Unbecoming” created a furor, prompting Columbia to convene a faculty investigatory committee to look into the allegations. Former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi, known for his frequent use of the terms “racist” and “apartheid” to describe Israel, was a Columbia professor who actively defended his Israel-bashing colleagues. He continues to indoctrinate through his teaching, holding the Edward Said chair at Columbia. A $200,000 donation toward that chair was received in 2004 from the United Arab Emirates, a gift Columbia initially attempted to conceal.
 
Khalidi was featured at a debate I attended last month at NYU, a university that itself is no stranger to foreign donations, having received an unrestricted gift of $20 million from the government of the United Arab Emirates in 2008 as part of a pledged $50 million.
 
The Feb. 9 debate, held at NYU’s Skirball Center, was heard on over 200 NPR stations across the country and seen on the Bloomberg Television network.
 
Khalidi spoke for the motion “The United States Should Step Back From Its Special Relationship With Israel.” His debating partner was New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, known as much for his tirades against Israel as for his starry-eyed reports last spring on the peaceful intentions of Iran’s Islamic Republic and the blissful conditions of Iranian Jews under Ahmadinejad.
 
It would be easy to dismiss Cohen as simply na?ve if the insidious manner of exploiting his own Jewishness to further his agenda were not so manifest.
 
True to form, Cohen castigated Israel’s security barrier as the Palestinians’ “hated separated wall” which results in “an isolated, fragmented, atomized, fractured, humiliated Palestinian presence” and described his visits to the West Bank as “a kind of primer in colonialism.”
 
Khalidi, for his part, lambasted Israel, disputed America’s role as an “honest broker” in the Middle East, and urged the audience to vote for the proposition of diminishing America’s relationship with Israel because “We [Americans] are in effect engaged in supporting an occupation that has been going on for 42 years.”
 
The valiant efforts of opposing panelist Stuart Eizenstat – former U.S. ambassador to the European Union, undersecretary of commerce, undersecretary of state and deputy secretary of the Treasury – were simply not enough. Lacking the charisma of his opponents, Eisenstat was also somewhat hindered by his partner Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former ambassador to the United States. It was easy to link Rabinovich’s weak dissent with his open lament at Kadima’s loss in the most recent Israeli election and his enthusiastic embrace of the two-state solution.
 
             Even the moderator, John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News “Nightline,” at one point paused to solicitously ask an obviously pro-Palestinian student if she was satisfied with the reply she received to her anti-Israel question. When I was called on, I pointed out the failure of both Hamas and Fatah to remove from their charters the clause calling for Israel’s dismantling and stressed their continuing anti-Semitic incitement, only to have Donvan dourly interject, “I need to come home with this question, I see where you are going.”
 
I then asked Cohen how he, as a Jew, could support America’s downgrading its ties with Israel. Cohen did not answer the question but rather blamed all Middle East ills on Israeli settlements, a typical knee-jerk response that doesn’t fool the informed but does deceive college kids suffering from a woefully inadequate education.
 
That this was the case here was evident by the debate’s results. Before the debate, 33 percent of the attendees supported the motion of the U.S. stepping back from its special relationship with Israel, with 42 percent opposed and 25 percent undecided. After the debate, the results were 49 percent for, 47 percent against, and 4 percent undecided.
 
Israel bashing on campuses has become de rigueur these days. Though the NYU debate was attended by a somewhat civil audience, the same cannot be said for the reception accorded Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at the University of California, Irvine on the following day, Feb. 10. Oren was repeatedly harassed while attempting to deliver a speech.
 
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon did not fare much better the same day in England. Ayalon spoke at the Oxford Union, where he was repeatedly interrupted by protestors waving Palestinian flags and yelling anti-Israel slogans. One protester approached Ayalon screaming “itbah al-Yahud” (“slaughter the Jews”).
 
We can see from the very enemies we are confronting in the Middle East the consequences of virulent and widespread anti-Semitic propaganda. Inbred prejudices and hatred are almost impossible to erase. So long as Arabs are taught from the cradle to hate Jews, there is no chance for true peace.
 
If we allow our campuses to further the cause of our enemies by allowing anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-U.S. ranting to go unchecked, we will have a new generation doing our enemies’ work for them. There were close to a thousand people in the audience at the NYU debate on a topic of paramount importance to all American Jews, yet there were only – in New York City, no less – two yarmulkes to be found among them, one belonging to my husband.
 

With engagement being one of our last lines of defense in this dangerous battle, let us not close the door in our own faces.

 

 

Sara Lehmann is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn.

Sefer Torah Presented To NYU Medical Center

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The void in the “Mrs. Miriam Lubling Hospitality-Bikur Cholim Room” at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan has been filled. The room, honoring Los Angeles’s Rubin family, now boasts its own Sefer Torah – thanks to the generosity of Rav Shmiel Dovid Friedman.

 

The Shabbos and Yom Tov minyanim – with some 40 worshippers – complements the many respite resources used by patients’ family members at this valuable venue.

 


Holding the new Torah are (L-R) Thomas Tisch, hospital trustee; Dr. Robert Grossman, CEO and dean, NYU Medical Center; Senior Chaplain Rabbi Yakov Pollack; and Vice Dean Dr. Andrew Litt.


 

 

At the Torah dedication, witnessed by more than 100 doctors, Bikur Cholim personnel and NYU executive members, Senior Chaplain Rabbi Yakov Pollack expressed gratitude to the hospital’s CEO and dean, Dr. Robert Grossman, and hospital administration members for their true friendship to the Jewish community. He lauded their continuous efforts to improve their patients’ quality of lives.

 

On this day of convergence between the values of Torah and medicine, Grossman reiterated his and the hospital’s commitment to maintain the ever-growing close relationship between NYU and the Orthodox Jewish community. In a show of appreciation, Grossman had the zechus to hold the new Torah under the chuppah amid the singing and dancing.

 

Rabbi Boruch Halberstam has had the unique perspective of sharing his experiences at NYU and much-appreciated use of its Bikur Cholim Room both as a community leader visiting his congregants and as someone whose mother was recently cared for at the medical center. He was grateful for her care, as well as for the addition of the new Torah.

 

 



Rabbi Yechiel Kaufman, rav of the Sefardishe Shul in Boro Park (left), and Rav Shmiel Dovid Friedman, donor of the new Sefer Torah.


 

 

The selfless Miriam Lubling, whose name deservedly adorns the Bikur Cholim Room due to her 27-year dedication of tending to the needs of the hospital’s patients, was then singled out for praise and long life by Rabbi Halberstam.

 

In response, Mrs. Lubling said, “NYU’s executive leadership has amazing courtesy, kindness, compassion and, most important, sensitivity to the Orthodox Jewish needs of both the hospital patient and the patient’s family.” She cited their providing of kosher food and Shabbos needs as examples.

 

Others praised for their assistance in this realm were Dr. Andrew Litt, vice dean; Dr. Andrew Brattman, senior vice dean; Executive Director Stuart Ault; Thomas Tisch, trustee; Eileen Zenker, executive director for Social Services; and Diane Rosenstein, a director of Social Services.

 

Additional commendation was bestowed upon the honorable volunteers of Satmar, Chesed Shel Emes, Ridnick, Yad Yakov, Bobov, and others, for their enthusiastic assistance to the aforementioned worthy endeavors. Special mention was also made of the tireless labors of Rubin family member Tammy Klein and her husband, Feivel.

 

With great emotion the Torah was passed from rabbanim, doctors, hospital executives, and patients. The clergy staff of Rabbi Pollack, Rabbi Rabhan and Rabbi Katz gave those present the opportunity to participate.


 



PHOTO CREDITS: SHIMON GOLDING 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/sefer-torah-presented-to-nyu-medical-center/2008/07/23/

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