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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘students’

Exclusive Interview: Danny Danon to Kick Off Anti-BDS Initiative at UN with 1500 College Students

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

In an interview Monday with The Jewish Press, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon outlined a plan of action aimed at leveling the playing field against the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.

In less than two weeks, Jews around the world will start getting some much needed back-up in the battle against BDS, as Danny Danon, Israel’s envoy to the UN, rolls out a plan of action designed to unite, organize, and train those on the front lines.

“Young people are being effected by the propaganda,” said Danon, “if we don’t counter it, it will become their truth and reality. We have to stand, fight back, and show the world the real face of Israel”.

The initiative’s inaugural event, entitled “Ambassadors Against BDS”, will take place on May 31st when Israel’s Mission to the UN will host 1500 students, organizations, and agencies from around the world at a summit aimed at cultivating a cadre of able young ambassadors who will carry the message back to their campuses, armed with practical advice and the resources to take on the toxic atmosphere created by BDS.

“The goal of the event is to empower students from around the world – not just from the US – by giving them the tools they need to fight back. By doing it at the United Nations, in the General Assembly, we send a clear message that we will not be silent. We are a strong nation and we will overcome this wave of incitement against the State of Israel,” explained Danon, “We can win, but in order to win, we – the State of Israel and world Jewish communities – have to work together in order to be strong and effective.”

Although the initiative is being spearheaded by Israel’s Mission to the UN, other Israeli government Ministries are also behind the trailblazing effort to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allocated record funding last summer. “The Israeli government is very aware of the threat posed by BDS”, said Danon, “the Prime Minister takes it very seriously”.

Representatives from several Ministries will be arriving from Israel to take part in the May 31st event. The day will open with a plenary session in the UN General Assembly Hall and be followed by a series of professional panels, where experts from fields such as law and public diplomacy will work with students to hammer out guidelines and provide them with “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits to help implement a new cohesive plan of action.

BDS has been operating for almost 11 years. Its attempts to delegitimize Israel by pressuring businesses, intimidating academics, bullying artists, and the spreading of lies and messages of hate against Jews and Israel on college campuses, have seen more success than previous boycott attempts due to their centralized organization. “I see the work being done by the other side, the way they are organized on college campuses. I know that we can, and we must, be united as well. It’s crucial to understand that this needs to be a joint effort in order to be effective”.

Danon knows there are some people in Israel and here in the United States who think it’s best to ignore BDS, but he’s not one of them. “We cannot and should not ignore the BDS movement, it will not go away. We cannot sit idly by and watch an organized group bashing Israel, in the process of actively trying to delegitimize the State of Israel. Our economy is strong, but we can’t ignore the chilling effect of companies that think twice before investing in Israeli businesses. I don’t think we should wait until the moment when we see the numbers going down, we need to tackle it in advance”.

Although “Ambassadors Against BDS” kits will be available online after the summit, Danon is urging all college students that face anti-Semitism on campus to attend the summit on May 31st. “Registration is free and still open. I encourage all students who can, to participate, to make the effort, to come for one day to the UN. Together, we can proceed with structure, and move forward”.
To register for Ambassadors Against BDS click here.
 

Stephanie Granot

French Jewish Students Sue Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and SOS-Racisme, on Sunday filed a lawsuit against the three social networks Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for failing to delete content deemed racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or pro-terrorism, as required by French law, The Local reported.

The two groups cited a survey carried out between March 31 and May 10 by their own members together with a third association, SOS Homophobie.

In this “first mass test of social networks,” the three groups discovered 586 instances of content they deemed “racist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying, homophobic, or defending terrorism or crimes against humanity,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

Only a small percentage of these postings was deleted by the host network within a “reasonable time,” as required under a 2004 French law: 4% on Twitter, 7% on YouTube and 34% on Facebook.

“It’s a mystery whether the moderating teams in social media are actually working,” said UEJF president Sacha Reingewirtz,.

Dominique Sopo, head of SOS-Racisme, said the social media giants are being hypocritical: “These platforms seem more shocked about content with bare breasts, which is swiftly censored, than about incitement to hatred,” she said, adding, “Our legal step aims at getting the authorities to apply the law so that these organization submit to it in full.”

According to The Local, the suit has been filed under an article of the French legal code which requires a judge to issue a fast-track preliminary ruling in a complaint.

David Israel

Ben-Gurion U Arab Students Protest ‘Occupation’ on Memorial Day Eve

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

On Tuesday, the eve of Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), Arab students at Ben-Gurion University protested against the “occupation,” Walla reported. The group, which belongs to the student faction of the Balad political party organized a protest against the “occupation,” where they held PLO flags, as well as signs protesting Israel’s security policies.

In response, Zionist students organized a counter protest where they waved Israeli flags and held a moment of silence in memory of the fallen Israeli soldiers.

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Main Memorial Day service at BGU

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, who was visiting the movement’s BGU branch at the time, said “the timing of this protest was intended to hurt the bereaved families and the citizens of Israel who are mourning for their loved ones. This shameful event is hypocrisy of the highest degree.”

Peleg added: “It is a shame and a disgrace that Arab and radical Left students at Ben-Gurion University chose ‘by chance’ to protest on the eve of Yom Hazikaron. It is only thanks to the self-sacrifice of IDF soldiers that these protesters are free to demonstrate. Such actions are highly detrimental to the majority of the Arab sector that strive to integrate into Israeli society and want to be a part of it.”

BGU has a special department dedicated to the support and promotion of Arab students, who mostly come from the Bedouin communities around Be’er Sheva. The department offers courses to help Arab students comply with academic requirements, as well as financial assistance programs targeting Arab students.

David Israel

Israeli High School Students Continue Rolling ‘Strike’

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Israeli high school students are continuing their strike in a modified version this week to protest the ongoing walkout by driving license examiners across the country.

Students in five cities are protesting the weeks’ old decision, as well as a slowdown by the Teachers’ Union that has halted field trips and extra-curricular activities.

The job action by teachers comes as part of a wrestling match between the union and the Ministry of Education.

Students plan to rotate the strike around the country, shutting down classrooms in five cities per day, in order not to disrupt preparation for the end-of-year bagrut (matriculation) exams.

Hana Levi Julian

Hillel International Publishes Guide to Perplexed Jewish College Students

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The new Hillel International College Guide which has just been released, offers articles on every facet of Jewish life on campus, including highlighting innovative programs at Hillels around the US, as well as everybody’s favorite — the latest data on the “top 60 schools Jews choose.”

Out of the top 60 Jewish-friendly state schools, here are the top ten, courtesy of the Hillel Guide:

1. University of Florida, 33,720 undergraduates, out of whom 6,500 or 19% are Jewish.

2. Rutgers university, New Brunswick, 34,544 undergraduates, out of whom 6,400 or 19% are Jewish.

3. University of central Florida, 52,532 undergraduates, out of whom 6,000 or 11% are Jewish.

4. University of Maryland, college Park, 27,056 undergraduates, out of whom 5,800 or 21% are Jewish.

5. University of Michigan, 28,395 undergraduates, out of whom 4,500 or 16% are Jewish.

6. Indiana University, 36,419 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 12% are Jewish.

7. University of Wisconsin, Madison, 31,289 undergraduates, out of whom 4,200 or 13% are Jewish.

8. CUNY, Brooklyn college, 14,115 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 28% are Jewish.

9. Pennsylvania state University, University Park, 40,541 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 10% are Jewish.

10. Queens College, 15,773 undergraduates, out of whom 4,000 or 25% are Jewish.

The guide offers information on every one of the state schools, and on its top Jewish choices for private universities (NYU, BU, YU, GWU and Cornell are the top five), including on their Jewish graduate students, Jewish courses, Jewish studies offerings, Jewish educators, Israel abroad programs, kosher options, and percentages of males and females in the Jewish student populations.

You may want to read Josh Marks’ item “Tel Aviv comes to you,” about the Israel Fellows program, which was started in 2003 by the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with Hillel International. Marks interviews Raz Tidhar, a program emissary, one of 75 Israel Fellows sent by the agency to develop Israeli content for student activities at the Hillel-serving campuses throughout Montreal.

“These programs are meant to present Israel on campus as a country that is more than what we read in the newspapers and in the headlines,” explains Mason Hillel executive director Ross Diamond. “Often, Israel is portrayed as a black and white country that has one issue, which is the conflict, and our role on campus is to educate students and present Israel beyond the conflict, because it’s a country that’s rich with culture and is exciting to be a part of.”

Don’t miss Zachary Schaffer’s article on 70 Faces magazine, a project at Pittsburgh Hillel, discussing Hillel’s building diverse and inclusive Jewish communities; Gabrielle Magid’s piece on a program she founded at the University of Florida Hillel, Stronger Than Stigma, where Hillel staff address mental illness on campus; and Tyler Grasee’s report on his experience at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and Hillel’s work to include students from interfaith families and help them explore and develop their Jewish identities.

JNi.Media

San Diego State Jewish Students Face Disciplinary Action over Anti-BDS Flyer

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

A series of posters created and disseminated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in April identified by name a number of prominent student and faculty Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists on the San Diego State University campus. DHFC, which says it “combats the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror,” described its targeted individuals as having “allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus.”

anti-BDS poster 1

The posters contained the hashtag #StopTheJewHatredonCampus, which is the slogan of the DHFC campaign seeking to confront campus anti-Semitism agents and to refute the lies spread by pro-Palestinian individuals and groups, including claims that Israel is an apartheid state.

According to Jamie Ballard of the Daily Aztec, after a protest last week regarding President Elliot Hirshman’s failure to condemn the anti-BDS fliers on campus, students met with him Monday morning to discuss what will happen next.

Osama Alkhawaja and Rachel Beck, two of the students who met with Hirshman, said they were able to share their concerns with the administration, but were not “entirely satisfied, and feel the issue is far from over.”

“I feel absolutely betrayed by my university,” Beck told the Aztec. “I pay $30,000 to go here, and they haven’t defended me from these accusations that I am a terrorist.”

“The thing that I don’t understand is, why is it so hard for you to come out and make a statement saying that your students aren’t terrorists?” Alkhawaja said. “The university continues to defend free speech, but this is hate speech.”

According to Alkhawaja, the university said it is not willing to condemn the posters by saying that they are a form of hate speech or intimidation.

anti-BDS poster 2

Here is what the fliers say:

“There is an epidemic of Jew hatred on American campuses and at San Diego State University. This Jew hatred is incited by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association and assorted leftist groups, all of whom support the terrorist organizations Hamas and Fatah.”

The fliers then explain that both SJP and MSA are products of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that they “disseminate genocidal lies about Israel whose purpose is to weaken and destroy the world’s only Jewish state.”

The posters were delivered on five California campuses, including at UCLA and UC-Berkeley, where anti-Israel activists were able to push university administrators into calling them “hate speech.”

In an email sent to San Diego State’s entire student body on Tuesday, Hirshman criticized the posters but defended their creators’ right to free speech: “First, we recognize and fully support the rights of all parties to voice their positions on political issues, whether supportive or critical. We also understand that when parties adopt a specific political position they become responsible for their actions and these actions may produce criticism.”

Alkhawaja told the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I’m shocked, I just don’t get why it’s so difficult for him to condemn the posters, to call them what they were. What we got instead was a promise to continue our conversations.”

Horowitz has been invited by the SDSU College Republicans to speak on campus Thursday. It isn’t clear whether there are any protest planned against that appearance.

“One thing that’s sometimes leveled against us is that we stifle speech,” Alkhawaja said. “We’re just not going to go. Our issue wasn’t with someone holding an opinion. The issue here was that he singled out individuals in a very threatening manner.”

Come to think of it, it’s about time somebody did.

David Israel

New UK Students Leader Malia Bouattia: I’m Not an Anti-Semitic ISIS Sympathizer

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Malia Bouattia, 28, is the first black Muslim woman elected to lead the National Union of Students. Jewish students’ groups reacted with alarm, citing her references to the influence of the “Zionist-led media,” her calling Birmingham University “something of a Zionist outpost,” and a meeting where she spoke which was advertised with a poster of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. Students at Cambridge University called her election “a horrifying message to Jewish students,” and students at Oxford, York, Durham, Edinburgh, King’s College London and the London School of Economics have called for their unions to sever ties with the national union following Bouattia’s election.

Bouattia responded to her critics on Sunday, on the pages of the Guardian, in an op-ed titled “I’m the new NUS president – and no, I’m not an anti-Semitic ISIS sympathizer.” In the piece the new NUS leader answers most of the claims against her, including the accusation that she delayed an National Executive Council motion condemning ISIS, which she claimed she did because the motion sounded like a condemnation of all Muslims.

Then she dealt with the Z word.

“I want to be clear, again, that for me to take issue with Zionist politics is in no way me taking issue with being Jewish. In fact, Zionist politics are held by people from a variety of different backgrounds and faiths. For me it has been, and will always be, a political argument, not one of faith or ethnic identity.” Which is to say, I’m not anti-Jewish, I’m only anti-Zionist.”

“Zionism, religion and ethnicity must not be seen as one and the same,” Bouattia explained, clarifying, “If the language I have used in the past has been interpreted any other way then let me make this clear – it was never my intention, although my political ideologies and beliefs remain unchanged.

“There is no place for anti-Semitism in the student movement, or in society. If any of my previous discourse has been interpreted otherwise, such as comments I once made about Zionism within the media, I will revise it to ensure there is no room for confusion,” she promised.

In a video clip of a conference on “Gaza and the Palestinian Revolution” in September 2014, Bouattia, speaking in her official role as NUS black students officer, said: “With mainstream Zionist-led media outlets — because once again we’re dealing with the population of the global south — resistance is presented as an act of terrorism.”

In the same speech, Bouattia said Middle East peace talks were a “strengthening of the colonial project.” She also said that “to consider that Palestine will be free only by means of fundraising, non-violent protest and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is problematic… My issue is that whilst at times it is tactically used or presented as the non-violent option, it could be misunderstood as the alternative to resistance by the Palestinian people.”

In other words, it’s OK if you use non-violent actions against the Zionists, as long as you remember that there’s always the violent option.

In her Guardian op-ed, Bouattia claims, “I was being critical of media outlets that unquestioningly support Israel’s actions and maltreatment of Palestinians, I was not talking about the media as a whole, or repeating despicable anti-Semitic prejudice. The first thing I did on being elected was to hold a meeting with the Union of Jewish Students, and these meetings are set to continue.”

Hopefully, she means only the non-violent kind of meetings, and not those where UK Black and Arab students lay siege to appearances of Israeli speakers and terrorize their audience.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-uk-students-leader-malia-bouattia-im-not-an-anti-semitic-isis-sympathizer/2016/04/25/

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