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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’

AntiSemitic Experiences of American Jewish College Students Chronicled Online

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An organization has set up a webpage which catalogues, by university, testimony by Jewish students who have experienced antisemitism on their campuses.

The AMCHA Initiative, which monitors, investigates and fights against antisemitism at institutions of higher learning in America, set up the webpage a year and a half ago.

Called “Student Voices,” the webpage reveals experiences of Jewish students on America’s campuses who have been targeted, intimidated and/or frightened because they are Jewish.

AMCHA reports that it has collected testimonials from more than 100 students, located at 47 different schools, in 20 states.

“Campus antisemitism is widespread and it’s escalating at an alarming rate,” said AMCHA director and cofounder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin.  “Students should know they are not alone.  We hope the compilation of concerns shared by brave Jewish students over the past year-and-a-half will help university leaders and elected officials understand the breadth of the problem and take action.”


All of the personal declarations on the AMCHA webpage, “Student Voices” were stated publicly at student government meetings or quoted in news stories, and the testimonials include links to those sources.

Here are just some examples:

♦ The Jewish flag was ripped off the dorm door and the mezuzah was torn off the doorway of a Jewish student at Claremont-McKenna College in California.

♦ Swastikas were spray painted on the walls of the Jewish fraternity at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

♦ At Loyola University in Chicago, Jewish students reported being “peppered with hostile questions such as “How does it feel to be an occupier?” and “How does it feel to be guilty of ethnic cleansing?” One member is worried about attending future Hillel events for fear of being attacked.”

♦ Mock eviction notices were shoved under the dorm room doors of a predominantly Jewish dorm while students slept at New York University.

♦ A Northeastern University (Boston) professor, “demonizes Israel, delegitimizes Jewish history and infringes on his student’s free speech by shutting down any differing views.”

♦ A Jewish student at Northwestern University in Chicago described being “terrified knowing I may not be able to discuss my Judaism without taunts, or worse, violence,” and that she is “told when I try to talk about anti-Semitism in the West to “check my privilege,” or that we are part of the machine fueling inequality.”

♦ A student at San Diego State University said that as a “Jewish student on this campus, and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I was disgusted and horrified by the anti-Semitic comments.”

♦ There are students who tuck their Star of David necklaces inside their shirts to hide that they are Jewish, according to a Jewish student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

♦ Stanford University’s Hillel staff reported hearing from Jewish students that they no longer feel safe at Stanford, that they feel ostracized and targeted, and are unable to express their identities and opinions in the dorms and around campus.

♦ Students with a clear Zionist perspective are labeled and excluded from the discussion at Swarthmore University in Pennsylvania, a Jewish student explained. “We have been told we do not belong at this school, that our voices do not belong in the dialogue. We have been accused of supporting apartheid and of being racist.”

♦ A student at UCLA said, “Jewish students are being attacked — not because they are Jewish but because the Jewish state is Jewish, and they as Jews, have somehow become extensions of the Jewish state and its policies.”

♦ About the University of California, Davis, one student said, ““It’s an absurd reality that many Jewish college students have to question: is my college safe for me?”

Echoes Of McCarthyism In UCLA Anti-Israel Campaign

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

UCLA has some proud moments in the history of civil liberties.

After World War II, UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, were hotbeds of opposition to an anti-communist loyalty oath that California tried to impose on academics. Ultimately the professors won in court in 1954.

Sixty years later, a different pressure group purportedly speaking for the “progressive” grassroots wants to impose on UCLA students a loyalty oath of sorts – a pledge foreswearing going on trips to Israel sponsored by certain Jewish organizations.

Issued by five pro-Palestinian groups, the call demanded that candidates for student government take the pledge.

Who would have thought that McCarthyite tactics would be used to target, harass and intimidate pro-Israel students, Jewish and non-Jewish, at UCLA? There are ominous echoes here of both the medieval witch hunts against Jews and Stalin’s show trials.

Leading the charge is Students for Justice in Palestine, which is funded in part by two organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel, American Muslims for Palestine and Al-Awda.

SJP is using cyberbullying to punish Jewish students in the UCLA student government majority who voted against a recent resolution to divest from and boycott Israel. Jewish students who opposed the resolution reportedly feel uncomfortable even walking on campus because of the hate mail they have received.

Adding insult to injury, SJP has introduced an initiative calling for a judicial board investigation of student council members who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Hasbara Fellowships; the SJP deems the groups have “political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus.”

On other campuses across the country, SJP tactics include mock eviction notices against Jewish students, “die-ins,” and promotions of virulently anti-Israel speakers and events.

The SJP initiative demanding that candidates for student government positions sign a pledge not to take certain trips to Israel violates both the UCLA Principles of Community Conduct and the Student Conduct Code against harassment of all kinds.

Unfortunately, what’s happening at UCLA is not an aberration but part of a national trend. Here are examples from a coast-to-coast report compiled by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a founder of the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit group that combats campus anti-Semitism:

  • At UC Davis, a student who expressed concern about anti-Semitic banners displayed at an anti-Israel “occupation” rally was physically assaulted by a protester who screamed in his face, “You are racist and you should die in hell.”
  • At UC Berkeley, a Jewish girl holding an “Israel wants peace” sign was ramrodded with a shopping cart by the head of the local SJP chapter.
  • At San Francisco State University last fall, the General Union of Palestine Students hosted an all-day event where participants could make posters and T-shirts that said, “My heroes have always killed colonizers” – meaning Jews.
  • At Harvard, the Palestine Security Committee frightened Jewish students by placing mock eviction notices on their dormitory rooms.
  • At Northeastern University in Boston, SJP vandalized a menorah and disrupted Jewish events.
  • At the University of Michigan, anti-Israel student activists hurled death threats at Jewish student council members and called them “dirty Jew” and “kike.”

Why is it that so many university administrators and academics seem paralyzed to act if the victims of campus bullying are Zionist Jews?

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s reactions to the developments on his campus have been unsatisfactory. First, according to the Daily Bruin, he wanted to “leave the matter to be resolved by students.” Later, he said, “I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion,” but he nevertheless stood up for the pledge as free speech protected by the First Amendment.

California Taxpayer Money Hijacked for Faculty Terrorist Meetings?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Once again painstaking work done by supporters of Israel reveal that public universities are paying to support, encourage and promote terrorists by faculty or students of American universities. This time what it means is that American taxpayers are paying for radical professors to travel to the Middle East in order to show solidarity with and support people who promote the murder of Americans and Israelis.

The scam this time went like this: a professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi submitted a series of documents for SFSU administrators to sign so that she could get funding to attend an academic conference in Lebanon, to “conduct research,” and to meet with “potential collaborators towards [establishing a] memorandum of understanding with San Francisco State University” in Jordan and the West Bank.

After her trip and the funding was approved, Abdulhadi sent a memo stating that “her name was dropped from the academic conference.”

But Abdulhadi went on the pre-approved and publicly funded trip anyway, with the $7000 she was given by SFSU for her “academic” trip.

And then, not only did Abdulhadi not obtain academic enrichment from attendance at an academic conference, she instead used the money to meet with and show solidarity with various known terrorists in order to support those terrorists by establishing “working relationships” with Palestinian Arab activists “engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.” This astounding information was not obtained through clandestine espionage. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and her colleagues at the AMCHA Initiative, along with several other pro-Israel groups, simply read public documentation of  the funding provided to those who went on the trip with Abdulhadi. Those faculty members proudly bragged on public websites about their activities in furthering the delegitimization of Israel – paid for with taxpayer money. The fact that the trip was paid and signed for by SFSU officials was easily revealed through a California Public Information Act Request.

For example, in an event on March 6, 2014 that was advertised on the SFSU Ethnic Studies website, Prof. Abdulhadi and two other members of the “Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine 2014” — SFSU Ethnic Studies Professor Joanne Barker and Abdulhadi’s husband Jaime Veve — discussed their trip to “the West Bank and the 1948 areas of Palestine [sic, i.e. Israel].”

In her presentation at the March 6 event, Abdulhadi called the trip to Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel, which she had led, a “political solidarity tour,” and she went on to say: “This was not ‘solidarity light,’ this was not ‘pre-Solidarity 101’.”

Prof. Barker, in her blog documenting the trip, corroborated Abdulhadi’s statement, writing that the delegation “established working relationships and furthered their solidarities with Palestinian scholars, artists, and activists engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.”  The event announcement also confirmed that the purpose of Abdulhadi’s University-funded trip was not to engage in University-related business but rather to pursue her own personal political goals: to promote “resolute actions in support of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.”

Why Abdulhadi was not required to provide documentation that the funds disbursed by the university – public funds consisting of taxpayer money – were used in accordance with the funding request is unknown. Or if, perhaps, there was documentation after the trip that was provided by Abdulhadi to SFSU, and if it did not accurately reflect the manner in which the money was used, Abdulhadi must reimburse the community funds.

For example, did the documentation reveal that the SFSU employees met with people who are known terrorists, including ones who are members of organizations on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations?

Pro-Israel Groups Blast SJP for Racism and UCLA for Fecklessness

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Seven staunchly pro-Israel organizations told the California Board of Regents at a hearing on Thursday, May 15, that its failure to stand up to the thuggery and blatant racism of the UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine against pro-Israel students was a failure of leadership and of morality.

What was so egregious that these pro-Israel organizations were protesting?


The UCLA-SJP introduced an initiative which calls for a Judicial Board investigation of student council members who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by groups which the SJP deems to have “political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus.” The groups on SJP’s hit list are the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Hasbara Fellowships.

As Dumisani Washington, the Pastor-leader of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, said in his remarks at the hearing Thursday morning, the SJP’s denunciation of pro-Israel groups for having a political agenda is not just hateful, it is hypocritical.

“One wonders exactly what SJP assumes itself to be, if not an organization with a ‘political agenda,'” Washington told the Regents.


The second initiative promoted by the SJP to deprive pro-Israel students of a voice in campus discussions was its demand that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging that they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by the three Jewish organizations.

Washington boldly labeled SJP’s efforts reminiscent of the worst racism in American public life.

SJP’s wanton arrogance and blatant antisemitism in this manner is telling.  I am beyond appalled.  As an African-American, I could only imagine an anti-Black student group attempting to restrict my travel to Ghana or Senegal.  Such gall is reminiscent of the grotesque persecution my people suffered earlier in America’s history, when the US government restricted everything from which schools we could attend to which public restrooms we could use.

The SJP, as everyone knows who closely follows the way the Middle East is discussed on U.S. Campuses, is the most aggressively anti-Israel of any of the many anti-Israel organizations on campuses. The SJP’s antics include the mock eviction notices, “die-ins,” and promotions of virulently anti-Israel speakers and events.  In addition, the SJP, aided by lawyers happy to write intimidating letters to academic institutions, consistently claims that the behavior of its members is protected by free speech, whereas any criticism or objection to their activities is a violation of academic freedom and are constitutional violations.

Sadly, most school administrators and even some Jewish campus professionals are cowed by the lofty-sounding legalese. As a result, the views and sensibilities – and sometimes even the Constitutional rights – of pro-Israel students have been a casualty as administration after administration has caved to the outrageous positions and behaviors engaged in by SJP members.


Perhaps the best example of SJP’s stranglehold over the better judgment people expect from university officials was a forum held at Brooklyn College last year. At that event, two promoters of the legal and economic warfare against Israel, the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel movement, were given free rein at an unbalanced forum which was co-sponsored and co-endorsed by the College’s Political Science Department.

Four pro-Israel Brooklyn College students who came to ask questions were ejected from the event on the say-so of the SJP event organizer, someone who was not even a student and had no affiliation at all with Brooklyn College. The leader claimed the four students were disruptive and disrespectful, and college administration and security personnel did his bidding despite being in the room and knowing full-well, as later proven in audio recordings, that the pro-Israel students were sitting quietly when they were ejected.

California Students Testify About Anti-Semitism on Campus

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Last week the new California Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate held its first hearing.

AMCHA Initiative urged members of the committee to examine campus antisemitism and take the proper steps to ensure Jewish students feel safe and welcome at California’s colleges and universities. AMCHA provided a full packet of information to the committee members about incidents of campus antisemitisim throughout California, including incidents from UC Davis, SFSU, UC Riverside and more.

You can see AMCHA’s unabridged remarks to the committee HERE.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) announced the creation of the Select Committee in January. March 21 was the first of four public hearings the Committee will hold over the next few months. The Committee was tasked with investigating issues pertaining to student welfare on college campuses. Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who worked as a San Diego State University professor, chairs the Committee.

With antisemitism at U.S. colleges, and, especially, in California, growing at an alarming rate, campus antisemitism is a concern AMCHA Initiative hears about daily from members of California’s Jewish community, including university alumni, rabbis, professors, religious school principals and, of course, students, parents and grandparents.

Students have reported to AMCHA that they feel uncomfortable speaking freely about their support for Israel and have felt unsafe at times in their classrooms and on campus because they are Jewish.

Similar student concerns were expressed at the Campus Climate meeting when two students provided personal examples of the antisemitism they are subject to on their campuses – furthering AMCHA’s resolve to continue fighting campus antisemitism.

The first student, Avi Levine from UC Berkeley, was a presenter on the panel regarding student experiences on campus. He made resounding statements such as:

“I would argue campus climate is a reflection on whether or not students feel comfortable on campuses being themselves and expressing their true identity as Jews…”

“Just because someone is allowed to say something doesn’t mean that we need to tacitly endorse it. And that’s what we need from our leadership. We need to be able to, when there is a hateful divestment resolution that’s labeling me as a Zionist Nazi when my grandfather has a number tattooed to his arm. to say that this is not OK… it’s not acceptable and we don’t stand by it. That’s what we need from our leadership.”

You may see Avi Levine’s exceptional message to committee members from the video below.

The other student who testified was Omer Hit, a second year Neuroscience major at UCLA. Hit spoke during the public comments section. He provided compelling remarks to the committee members which included strong statements such as:

“…the discourse about Israel on my campus degenerates into hate speech on a far-too-regular basis.”

“We were condescendingly told that divestment does not threaten us, as if others have the right to define how student government actions do or do not affect us.”

“We were told that by opposing divestment, we are tying Jewish identity to oppression, racism, and human rights violations – an extremely dehumanizing accusation which silences and caricatures our actual concerns about the issue.”

“We constantly hear the term “Zionist” used as a dirty word, as if supporting the liberation and self-determination of a historically oppressed minority in its homeland is something to be ashamed of.”

“And worst of all, we heard speakers attempt to put down our objections by falsely redefining the term “anti-Semitism,” extending it beyond hatred of Jews. Attempting to change the meaning of this term is more than just a blatant misuse of language. It effectively minimizes the 1,900 year history of racism and oppression targeted specifically against Jews in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere.”

Jewish Advocacy Group: California Must Address Campus Anti-Semitism

Friday, March 21st, 2014

The leadership of the Jewish advocacy group the AMCHA Initiative, will testify on Friday, March 21, before a California Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate.

AMCHA Initiative will be urging members of the state committee to examine campus antisemitism and to take the proper steps to ensure Jewish students feel safe and welcome at California’s colleges and universities.

“Unfortunately, antisemitism at U.S. colleges, and, especially, in California, is growing at an alarming rate,” stated Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a UC professor and AMCHA Initiative cofounder.

“It is a concern we hear about daily from members of California’s Jewish community, including university alumni, rabbis, professors, religious school principals and, of course, students, parents and grandparents.”

“Students have reported to us that they feel uncomfortable speaking freely about their support for Israel and have felt unsafe at times in their classrooms and on campus because they are Jewish,” explained Leila Beckwith, a UC professor and AMCHA Initiative cofounder.

“In addition, we believe that a number of professors and departments are inappropriately using taxpayer dollars to promote their personal anti-Israel and antisemitic agendas, contributing to, and sometimes, inciting a hostile and potentially dangerous environment for Jewish students.”

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) announced the creation of the Select Committee in January. March 21 is the first of four public hearings the Committee will hold over the next few months. The Committee was tasked with investigating issues pertaining to student welfare on college campuses. Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who worked as a San Diego State University professor, chairs the Committee.

Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith will provide information to the committee members about the following recent incidents:

• UC Davis, February 2012: Students for Justice in Palestine interrupted, heckled and physically threatened speakers at a pro-Israel event, causing it to be shutdown. The attendees reported fearing for their safety at the event and for weeks after.

• UC Davis, November 2012: Forty protestors blocked Jewish students from entering a university administrative building and bullied and harassed Jewish students who slipped through the blockade.

• San Francisco State University, November 2013: General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), hosted an event where participants could make posters that said, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers,” referring to Jews, as well as posters of the convicted hijacker Leila Khaled holding a gun. Leila Khaled is a member of the State-Department designated terrorist group, the PFLP, which is responsible for 159 violent terrorist acts.

• San Francisco State University, 2013-2014: The President of GUPS repeatedly threatened SFSU Jewish students, Israelis, and anyone who supports Israel. He also glorified the PFLP. For example, this student was shown wielding a knife on social media with the caption, “I love this blade…it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier” and “the only peace I’m interested in is the head of this [expletive] scum on a plate, as well as the heads of all others like her, and all others who support the IDF.” He also stated that he hopes members of the SFSU student group Hillel “trip down the stairs and break their necks.”

• UC Davis, UCLA and UC Riverside, January 2014: Three University of California campuses hosted known anti-Semitic speaker Omar Barghouti. At the events, Barghouti spewed classic anti-Semitic rhetoric and lies.

SFSU Student Continued Posting Violent Threats Against IDF, Jews

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Back in December, The Jewish Press ran a story about Mohammad Hammad, the San Francisco State University student and president of SFSU’s General Union of Palestine Students.

Hammad had posted a picture and a message on the social media site Tumblr, which shows Hammad with a knife, beneath which is the caption, “I seriously can not get over how much I love this blade. It is the sharpest thing I own and cuts through everything like butter and just holding it makes me want to stab an Israeli soldier.”

The California-based AMCHA Initiative, which brought Hammad’s original threats to the public’s attention, released another statement today. This statement links to many more violent and threatening statements by Hammad which he made after the one that was the original focus of the group’s concern. The AMCHA Initiative is dedicated to documenting, exposing and eradicating anti-Semitism on American campuses.

In its Feb. 18 statement, AMCHA said that although its documentation of Hammad’s violent postings had been submitted to SFSU president Leslie Wong in mid-January, there had been no response.

Because Wong had not responded to AMCHA’s documentations, and due to serious concern about the health and safety of SFSU students, earlier on the day it released its statement, AMCHA alerted San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, and the San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascòn, about Hammad’s violent predilection. They also provided copies of the many threatening and hostile public statements issued by Hammad.

The lurid messages continued right through November 22, when the student posted a public message in which he wrote:

You know what?
Israelis ARE colonizers, there is literally no way around it
And you know what else?
My heroes have always killed colonizers
I literally see nothing wrong with this
and my only regret is that not all colonizers were killed

In Hammad’s other violence-glorifying posts, he targeted not only members of the IDF and all Israelis, but anyone who is pro-Israel, as well as American soldiers. He also posted several more general paeans to murder, decapitation and depraved violence.

Something that AMCHA found particularly troubling was that Hammad revealed his excitement about being made the president of SFSU’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), because then, he wrote, he hopes “to radicalize half of our population and bring them back with me as fighters.”


Although Robert Nava, SFSU’s vice president for university development, initially told The Jewish Press by telephone that SFSU was engaged in the process of discipline with respect to Hammad, he later called back to provide a far more definitive statement.

Nava said that the student we had been discussing – Mohammad Hammad –  “is no longer a student on campus.” Hammad no longer is in student housing and he is no longer enrolled at SFSU.

When Tammi Benjamin-Rossman, co-founder of AMCHA, was told that SFSU officially stated that Hammad was gone from the SFSU campus, she expressed both relief and continued concern.

“The GUPS students knew who Hammad was, what kinds of things he said and has done, and yet they selected him as their representative,” said Rossman-Benjamin. “SFSU cannot just breathe a sigh of relief and end its diligence with the dismissal of Hammad.”

“What steps is SFSU taking to protect students who remain in harms way?” Rosmman-Benjamin wanted to know. “Their continued silence suggests they have done nothing more than get rid of one problem, without ensuring that it won’t be repeated.”

Officer Albie Esparza, the spokesperson for the San Francisco Chief of Police acknowledged that the office had received a packet of material earlier in the day and told The Jewish Press that the office was “looking into the matter.”  He said that an investigator had already contacted the person who provided the department with the information.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/sfsu-student-continued-posting-violent-threats-against-idf-jews/2014/02/19/

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