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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘University of California’

Fliers Posted at U. of California Santa Barbara Blame Jews for 9/11

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

A number of unknown students at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California started off the new school year this past weekend with posters proclaiming that Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“911 was an outside job,” reads the flier that featured a large, blue Star of David. The leaflet asks every student to “educate yourself” by visiting websites claiming that Israel was behind the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people., including hundreds of Jews.

It also suggested that people search Google for subjects such as “9/11 Was Mossad.”

Rabbi Evan Goodman, executive director of the Hillel branch on campus, wrote in a blog post that a Muslim student leader alerted him to the fliers, of which approximately 5-10 were distributed.

He added that Hillel and university staff, along with some students, took down the fliers.

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.”

 

UCLA Chancellor: Palestinian Supporters Trying to Censor Campus Discussion

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The heads of UCLA and the University of California system criticized a student-led pledge that urged candidates for student government to refuse trips to Israel sponsored by certain pro-Israel groups.

In a statement emailed Friday to students, staff and faculty, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the pledge was protected speech under the First Amendment, but added that “just because speech is constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that it is wise, fair or productive.”

“I am troubled that the pledge sought to delegitimize educational trips offered by some organizations but not others,” Block said, weighing in on a debate that has roiled the campus for months. “I am troubled that the pledge can reasonably be seen as trying to eliminate selected viewpoints from the discussion.”

Block’s statement was seconded by Janet Napolitano, the California system’s president, who said in a statement, “I share Chancellor Block’s concerns about students at UCLA who target any student seeking to participate in student government who has a relationship with, or wants to travel to, Israel on trips sponsored by certain groups.”

Issued by five pro-Palestinian student groups, the pledge urged the candidates to agree to refuse any trips to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee and Hasbarah Fellowship, a joint venture between Aish International and the Israeli government. Two of the three major slates of candidates for student government signed the pledge, as did the student body president, but the Bruins United slate, which refused to sign the pledge, won a plurality on the council.

The issue of sponsored trips to Israel has been particularly controversial of late in connection with a February vote by the UCLA student council on a resolution urging the university to divest from certain corporations that do business in the West Bank. The resolution was voted down, 7-5, but the pro-Palestinian groups have charged that two of the council members violated the body’s conflict of interest rules by failing to abstain after having taken trips to Israel sponsored by the ADL and the American Jewish Committee. A student judicial body held a hearing last week on the case.
 

UC Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union Rejects J Street

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

The Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkley has denied membership to a college branch of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby group J Street, citing its violation of the student union’s bylaws through the hosting of speakers who demonize Israel.

J Street U’s membership was voted down 8-2, marking the second time the Jewish Student Union has rejected the group since 2011.

“A lot of people have said that they want the (Jewish Student Union) to stay a place they feel comfortable saying they love Israel,” Jewish Student Union President Daphna Torbati told the Daily Californian.

J Street’s hosting of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which works with Israeli veterans that heavily criticize Israel’s military operations, has raised concern among Jewish students that such programming “unfairly disparages Israeli soldiers” and alienates students, UC Berkeley student leaders said.

Israelis Star in Nobel Prizes, so Why Doesn’t BDS Boycott Them?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Three more Jews, two of them with Israeli citizenship, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday, bringing to two the number of professors associated with Israeli universities who have been awarded Nobel prizes so far this year. Most of the winners have been Jews.

The-three man all Jewish team of Professors Aryeh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus, won the prize in chemistry for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems.

Warshel is an Israel who was born in Kibbutz Sde Nachum, studied at Haifa’s Technion Institute and earned his doctorate at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv. Levitt, who also holds Israeli citizenship, was born in South Africa and is a professor at Stanford University. Karplus was born in Austria in 1930 and in 1938 escaped to the United States, where he earned his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology

Intentionally or not, TIME magazine’s report did not note that two of the winners were Israeli citizens.

It is doubtful that TIME was suddenly being so pro-Israel that it wanted to bury the facts from the Boycott Israel movement, which includes academics in Britain and other countries in Europe as well some in Australia who want to punish for the supposed “occupation” Israel by breaking off ties with its universities.

That would mean the Israelis would not be able share research with them, but in this childish game, it is the anti-Zionists who would lose out. Perhaps they deserve their own punishment. If the BDS folks were intellectually honest, they would protest against the Nobel Prize judges for awarding professors from Israleli universities.

There also is plenty of leeway for the anti-Semitic crowd to claim that Jews, including a Holocaust survivor, are running the world since they have won no less than six of the Nobel prizes awarded this week. A couple of non-Jews also have been recognized, and their numbers will likely rise as prizes are announced in the fields of literature and peace.

Francois Englert, a Belgian Jewish professor at Tel Aviv University and a Holocaust survivor, shared the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for their discovery of the Higgs particle, known as the “God particle,” which is said to have caused the Big Bang.

On Monday,  Jewish Americans James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, joined German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof, a non-Jew from Stanford University, in winning  the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Israeli leaders were as excited as the Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, if not more so.

President Shimon Peres called and congratulated Prof. Warshel and joked, “How does it feel for a man from the kibbutz to win a Nobel Prize?”

President Peres continued and said, “I want to congratulate you on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people and every person who hopes to overcome sickness and suffering because of your work. I am sure that your breakthrough will lead to advances in medicine and further scientific breakthroughs.”

He asked Prof. Warshel to convey his congratulations to the other prize winners, professors Levitt Karplus.

Israelis have won no less than six Nobel prizes in the past 11 years.

The BDS movement has not commented.

Court Dismisses Antisemitism Complaints against UC Berkley

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Federal complaints accusing the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Santa Cruz of failing to curb hostile environments for Jewish students were dismissed.

A complaint filed last year with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against the Berkeley campus by two recent graduates referred specifically to the annual February Apartheid Week demonstration. It charged that the demonstration violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars the recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education extended Title VI to include the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campuses.

The Office of Civil Rights investigation, which included interviews with students and observations of the demonstrations, concluded this week that events described in the complaint did not constitute harassment but rather “expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community.”

“In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience,” the probe concluded.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the claim of a hostile environment for Jewish students at Berkeley “is, on its face, entirely unfounded.”

Dirks added, “We will continue our ongoing efforts to protect free speech rights while promoting respectful dialogue and maintaining a campus environment that is safe for all our students.”

In a complaint against UC Santa Cruz, the Office of Civil Rights in a letter said it determined that the events described in the complaint “do not constitute actionable harassment.”

The investigation, opened in March 2011, focused on two events on campus in which speakers were critical of Israeli policies, on two other talks that had been planned but never took place and on several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti.

The civil rights office determined that the campus “took prompt action to investigate … and to remove the graffiti.”

“This campus values the free and open expression of ideas, and we diligently safeguard our students’ civil rights,” Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal said. “We are, therefore, pleased that these allegations have been thoroughly investigated and dismissed.”

Students for Justice in Palestine: A Pattern of Intimidation

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Students for Justice in Palestine is a radical group which is ranked as one of the top ten most anti-Israel organizations in the United States by the Anti-Defamation League.

According to the Anti-Defamation League,

Many universities have one or more groups that organize anti-Israel activity, the most ubiquitous of which is Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), with chapters at close to 75 American universities. SJP chapters regularly organizes activities presenting a biased view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including mock ‘apartheid walls’ and ‘checkpoint’ displays, presentations by sensationalistic anti-Israel speakers.

The Anti-Defamation League says that SJP chapters frequently partner with the local Muslim Student Association, and other Muslim and radical leftist organizations on campus.

Anti-Israel Groups in the University of California System

Yet, aside from hosting anti-Israel events, the Students for Justice in Palestine and other similar anti-Israel campus groups routinely intimidate pro-Israel students on campus. At times, this intimidation can lead to violence.

The first Students for Justice in Palestine chapter was founded at the University of California at Berkeley and was suspended after one year upon the school filing charges for assault and battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest against members of the SJP. Since then, the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter reopened at the University of California at Berkeley and is promoting divestment from Israel on campus. Yet, SJP members are alleged to have attacked pro-Israel students at the University of California at Berkeley upon re-establishing themselves and in 2008 SJP members reportedly interrupted a pro-Israel hip-hop concert by draping Palestinian flags at the event and allegedly physically assaulted Jewish students.

More recently, according to Tammi Benjamin, a lecturer at the University of California, a student wrote a letter to the editor in the UCSB weekly newspaper

expressing fear for her safety in the days leading up to the student senate’s vote on the SJP-sponsored divestment resolution. In her letter, she states that she was forced to request secret ballots due to “intimidating forms of coercion and fear tactics used to sway senator decisions…threats and accusations from students and community members…and slanderous and untrue accusations on social media sites,” which made her feel that “not only was her personal and mental well-being being jeopardized, but [her] individual safety as well.”

“Other students who opposed the divestment resolution at UCSB reported being spit on, having their bike tires tampered with, and being refused service at the university bookstore,” Benjamin says.

“At UC Irvine, a former Chair of the Student Judicial Board, who was the sole member of that committee to vote “no” on the SJP-sponsored divestment resolution, expressed feeling “continuously intimidated” and “repeatedly threatened” as a result of her vote. And most recently, two UC Berkeley Student Action senators who voted against the SJP-sponsored divestment resolution were allegedly subject to “death threats and vitriolic accusations.”

Anti-Israel Groups in the University of Maryland system

The University of California system is not the only one in the United States where anti-Israel groups routinely intimidate pro-Israel students. At the University of Maryland at College Park, during the spring 2009 semester, the Muslim Student Association organized a Palestinian Solidarity Week featuring a speaker named Mauri Salaakhan, who reportedly proclaimed “Israel has no more right to exist than apartheid had.” Another speaker, Allison Weir, referred to Judaism as a “ruthless and supremacist faith” in an opinion piece she wrote in the Greenwich Citizen.

In response, some members of the community posted fliers protesting the appearance of such speakers on the UMD campus. Yet Muslim Student Association member Sana Javed, who organized the Palestinian Solidarity Week on campus, accused these people of being Islamophobic in the schools newspaper, The Diamondback, even though those fliers fell under the category of free speech.

The Diamondback also referred to the members of the Muslim Student Association as victims and another article referred to them and other pro-Israel students who opposed the MSA on campus as racists, in addition to calling for action to be taken against certain pro-Israel individuals who protested against Palestinian Solidarity Week. Subsequently, an investigation by the campus police concluded that no crime had been committed. No investigation was ever conducted against the Muslim Student Association for bringing anti-Semitic speakers to campus and not a single pro-Israel article was printed in the Diamondback that semester.

Similarly, according to The Diamondback, upon the formation of the Students for Justice in Palestine on campus, one UMD SJP President, Hira Zeb, brought in a speaker who declared that the “only good Zionist is a dead Zionist” during a Palestinian Solidarity Week that included the formation of an apartheid wall on campus.

The only action taken against the SJP was the removal of campus sponsorship for Palestinian Solidarity Week. The SJP chapter at the University of Maryland at College Park, which was inaugurated by Sana Javed during the fall 2009 semester, still exists today and continues to host anti-Israel events.

At the University of Maryland at Baltimore campus, the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter threw a pro-Israel student, Ben Halpern, out of a planning meeting just because of his beliefs, resulting in the chapter not being formed on that particular campus.

According to Professor Benjamin:

A number of MSA and SJP members have been responsible for physically harassing and assaulting Jewish students, vandalizing Jewish communal property, disrupting pro-Israel speakers, and aggressively confronting Jewish students at pro-Israel events…

Some MSA and SJP chapters consistently sponsor speakers, films, and exhibits that engage in discourse or use language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department. Some MSA and SJP chapters have associated with individuals and organizations that are linked to terrorist activity and call for violence against Jews.

As a result of the hostile environment created by these chapters and their members, Jewish students have reported feeling physically unsafe, harassed, and intimidated while on campus, and some have even reported leaving the university, avoiding certain parts of campus, and hiding symbols of their Jewishness.”

Benjamin believes that it is possible to be pro-Palestinian without adopting violence, intimidation, anti-Semitic hate speech, or supporting terrorism as part of ones discourse or strategy, yet the Students for Justice in Palestine and other similar groups have not chosen this route.

Visit United with Israel.

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