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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘University of California’

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.

Israeli Activists Win Victory against BDS in U. of California

Friday, April 5th, 2013

The student government of the University of California at Riverside has overwhelmingly rescinded a decision to divest from Israel following an appeal from pro-Israel activists.

The Associated Student Government’s Student Senate on Wednesday voted 10-2 to cancel the March 6 resolution that called on the school to withdraw funds from companies that did business with the Jewish state.

The Students for Justice in Palestine organization had presented arguments that convinced the Student Senate to originally pass the disinvestment decision.

“Their presentation was full of wild accusations, libelous, and since nobody got a chance to really answer them, the senators voted without really realizing what they were voting on,” Philippe Assouline, a research associate for the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs, told the Campus Reform website.

Activists supporting the Palestinians told the pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada that they planned to appeal the vote.

“We’re going to make sure it stays in the senate and if it is amended, that the language doesn’t change to the point that we no longer recognize our own divestment,” Amal Ali, a Palestinian activist, was quoted as saying.

To Protect Jewish Students, California University Committee Recommends Ban on Hate Speech

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Each year at many California universities, pro-Israel students dread the inevitable arrival of “The Wall,”—the centerpiece of Israel Apartheid Week. These programs, sometimes known as Justice in Palestine Week or Palestinian Awareness Week, usually take place sometime between late-winter and spring and focus on charges that Israel is an Apartheid state that illegally occupies Palestinian territories.

But what if the wall wasn’t allowed to go up?

Speculation on the future of anti-Israel demonstrations on University of California (UC) campuses has increased in recent weeks after a mid-July report compiled by the UC President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate recommended that UC consider banning all hate speech from its nine campuses.

Between October 2011 and May 2012, a group of professionals handpicked by UC President Mark Yudof travelled to six UC campuses (Santa Cruz, Davis, Irvine, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego) to assess the social conditions of Jewish students as well as Arab and Muslim students.

Jewish student leaders on the campuses were interviewed by the council, which evaluated the students’ biggest concerns as Jews on campus.

A separate report, providing background and recommendations on behalf of Arab and Muslim students was also released in mid-July.

Ultimately, the council recommended that hate speech, particularly anti-Israel demonstrations, be banned because of the unsafe and uncomfortable environment that can ensue on campus.

“UC does not have a hate-free policy that allows the campus to prevent well-known bigoted and hate organizations from speaking on campus such as the KKK,” the council wrote in the report. “UC should push its current harassment and nondiscrimination provisions further, clearly define hate speech in its guidelines, and seek opportunities to prohibit hate speech on campus.”

The council recognized that such a ban, if put in place, almost certainly would lead to legal action challenging it. Already, a petition asking Yudof to table the recommendations has gathered over 2,300 signatures.

Opponents of the recommendation claim that the report, released July 9, does not consider all viewpoints of Jewish students on campuses—particularly those of Jews who are critical of Israel.

In response, StandWithUs started a counter-petition urging the UC Office of the President (UCOP) to accept and implement the recommendations outlined in the report. While the first petition targets the hate speech ban proposal, the StandWithUs petition focuses on implementation of the entire report’s recommendations which include ensuring that kosher food options be available on UC campuses and that anti-Semitism be clearly defined and banned.

The advisory council also recommended that UC staff members receive cultural competency training and that accurate data be kept on Jewish students to better evaluate their needs.

There has been mixed reaction to the report in the pro-Israel community. Sharona Asraf, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and board member of Tritons for Israel at UC San Diego, created a Facebook event promoting the petition and said she supports the Council’s recommendation to ban hate speech.

“This will verbalize protocol and will elaborate what the consequences are for hate speech,” Asraf said.

However, Daniel Narvy, President of Movement for Peace in the Middle East at UC Irvine, said that while he thinks hate speech should not exist, banning it on UC campuses could actually make life more difficult for pro-Israel students.

“I can promise that SJP will claim the university is Islamaphobic and complain until they get their way,” Narvy said. “Do I think the hate speech, which it clearly is, should be there? No, but the university cannot use prior restraint and just censor a club just because [some members of the club] are obnoxious .” Richard Barton, who is the national education chair for the Anti-Defamation League, co-wrote the report with Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP. Barton defended the report in an Aug. 23 op-ed in the San Francisco Gate.

“By including an examination of the climate for Jewish students, the Campus Climate Council has truly advanced the notion of honest and critical examination that lie at the heart of the UC’s core values,” Barton wrote.

Though UCOP is not expected to finish evaluating both the Jewish and the Arab and Muslim reports until late October, Yudof noted that ensuring a right to free speech would remain a priority.

“The Council will continue to address issues for a broad range of campus community members,” Yudof said in an August 8 open letter to the UC system. “None of this is designed to stifle free speech, but rather to ensure that our campuses are welcoming to a broad diversity of students, faculty and staff.”

Permanent Artificial Heart Implanted in Israel For First Time

Monday, April 30th, 2012

An artificial heart has been permanently implanted in a patient in Israel for the first time.

Up until now, artificial hearts have been used in Israel to help a damaged heart continue to pump until a donor organ could be located.

The operation on a 63-year-old cardiac patient, who was also in organ failure, occurred over the weekend at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikvah, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Mechanical heart transplant expert Dr. Jack Copeland, of the University of California at San Diego came to Israel to help with the transplant, the newspaper reported.

The hospital is still searching for a human heart for the patient.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/permanent-artificial-heart-implanted-in-israel-for-first-time/2012/04/30/

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