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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘University of California’

Campus Warrior Tells High School Seniors About College Anti-Semitism

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Last Wednesday, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative which combats campus anti-Semitism in America, spoke with 25 Brighton High School students in Rochester, NY. Later, in the evening, she spoke to an audience of 150 concerned parents, educators and community members. Both events were organized by Roc4Israel.

In early November, the Rochester Campus Times reported confrontations between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students at an event organized by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) after the screening of “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.”

Noah Spivak, president of the Jewish Student Union at the high school, told JNi.media via an email from an AMCHA activist: “Soon we will each be applying for colleges and we are very concerned by the recent rise in anti-Semitic behavior on campuses across the country. Thanks to today’s meeting with Tammi, many of us feel better prepared for what we might encounter.”

Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick of Congregation Beth Sholom in Rochester, also told JNi.media via the same email: “Recently our campuses have become the battleground for anti-Semitic and anti Israel activities, mostly  by pro-Palestinian protests orchestrated by experienced hate groups — under the blind eye of University administrators. This has left our Jewish students vulnerable and exposed to  hatred and under attack.”

“Last evening, Tammi Rossman Benjamin of AMCHA provided us with leadership and offered us a selection of opportunities to engage in, so that we can be able to approach this challenge successfully. We encourage all who are concerned for our Jewish children to become involved.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin summarized her message, saying: There’s bad news and there’s good news. The bad news is that as a result of BDS and other anti-Zionist activity, Jewish students are experiencing alarming and unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism on campuses across the country.  The good news is that the Jewish community and its allies are uniting at last to do something about it, and you can help.”

Following is a portion of Tammi Rossman-Benjamin’s talk, generously transcribed for JNi.media.

●  ●  ●

As you might imagine, anti-Zionist sentiment and activity have had extremely negative consequences for many Jewish college and university students. The injection of the anti-Zionist movement, and particularly BDS, onto campus in the past decade has fueled a significant resurgence and increase in anti-Semitism.  The lines between appropriate political discourse on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students have become blurred. Jewish students report that anti-Zionist activists single out, harass, intimidate, and even assault them, regardless of their personal feelings on Israel. And far too often, anti-Zionist expression is laced with centuries-old classic anti-Semitic stereotypes. The anti-Zionist activists target not only pro-Israel students, but anyone presumed to support Israel, first and foremost Jewish students, regardless of their actual personal feelings on Israel. As a result, Jewish students engaging in Jewish activity having nothing to do with Israel — wearing their Jewish sorority or fraternity letters, displaying Star of David necklaces, walking to Hillel for Sabbath dinner – report fearing for their safety and well- being. In addition, because of their support, or even just presumed support, for Israel, Jewish students report being rejected from progressive social justice activities such as pro-choice rallies, anti-rape demonstrations, Black Lives Matter events and racial justice conferences.In addition to ostracizing and alienating Jewish students from certain areas of campus life, anti- Zionist students repeatedly attempt to shutdown events organized by Jewish students and suppress their free speech about Israel and other topics. Sadly, Jewish students are being targeted, discriminated against and ostracized, and their civil rights are being egregiously violated.
That’s the view from 30,000 feet.  Now let’s get down to what I hope will be helpful specifics.

Anti-Israel student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, whose very mission includes the promotion of BDS, are found on hundreds of U.S. campuses. (I know that at University of Rochester, the group Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, has spearheaded considerable anti-Zionist activity on campus, most recently the screening of an the film “Occupation of the American Mind,” a film which not only demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state, its whole premise is based on the classic anti-Semitic tropes popularized in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” of Jewish wealth, power and mendacity being used to control the government and media). SJP and similar groups, besides promoting BDS on their Facebook pages and other social media, on the large “apartheid walls” they build, in op-eds they publish in student newspapers and at events they host quite regularly, groups like SJP are responsible for organizing campaigns to get their own schools to boycott Israeli products like Sabra humus, to terminate their school’s academic exchange programs with Israel, and, most frequently, to have their student governments vote on resolutions demanding that the university divest from any of its financial holdings in businesses which do business with Israel. More than 90 anti-Israel divestment resolutions have found their way to about 50 U.S. campuses across the country.  About half of all resolutions have passed, but this number is, frankly, irrelevant, because any school whose student government or student body even considers such a resolution is racked with divisiveness, hostility, and animosity for weeks on end. And whether a resolution ultimately passes or not, the anti-Israel forces have used these campaigns as opportunities to inject enormous amounts of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment onto campus.

And it’s not just student groups like SJP, whose members are devoted to anti-Israel activity, that are involved in these efforts.  In this age of “intersectionality,” where the grievance of one group is opportunistically linked to the grievance of other groups, SJP has deliberately forged alliances with many other minority student groups on campus, who frequently add their groups’ names to the sponsorship of BDS-promoting events and the endorsement of anti-Israel divestment resolutions. For example, SJP has made common cause with Black Lives Matter, and students from both groups frequently co-host rallies and events linking Blacks and Palestinians and promoting BDS. Last year at the University of Rochester a talk by Reverend Graylan Hagler entitled “Connecting the dots: From Ferguson to Palestine,” which demonized and delegitimized Israel and promoted BDS, was sponsored by several student groups, including an Arab group, an Indian group, a Muslim group, the Black Students’ Union, and a multi-ethnic fraternity.

In addition to that, thousands of faculty on hundreds of campuses have also publicly endorsed BDS efforts, especially the boycott of Israeli universities and scholars, as well as the divestment resolutions of students on their own campus. Some faculty boycotters bring their anti-Israel animus and activism into their classrooms, and it is not unusual for academic departments to sponsor virulently anti-Israel talks and symposia, some of them even including calls for the boycott of Israel.  For example, earlier this year at Vassar College, a talk by women and gender studies professor Jasbir Puar, in which she falsely accused Israel of maiming and murdering Palestinians and harvesting their organs, and she actively encouraged her audience to endorse the BDS movement, was sponsored and funded by 6 academic departments, including Women’s Studies, English, International Studies, Political Science, Africana Studies, and Jewish Studies.  Indeed, since 2015 we have documented more than 60 departmentally sponsored events like this, on campuses across the country.

Given the sheer number of students and faculty who have positioned themselves squarely against Israel, even to the point of opposing its very right to exist, it’s no wonder that many Jewish students who identify with the Jewish state feel like the whole campus community is united not only against Israel, but against them.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. In a recent study that our organization carried out, looking at the prevalence of anti-Semitic activity and the factors that affect it on more than 100 US campuses with the largest Jewish students populations, we found that on close to half the campuses we investigated, students are threatened because of their Jewish identity, sometimes regardless of their personal feelings on Israel. They are assaulted, harassed and intimidated, their places of residence defaced with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti, their participation in campus activities shunned, the events they organize disrupted and shut down, and more.

If you are a member of a Jewish or pro-Israel organization — perhaps Roc4Israel or a synagogue-affiliated group — or if you would consider forming an organization, perhaps an alumni group concerned about anti-Jewish hostility at your alma mater, please consider spearheading or participating in a campaign, say, to get the president of the University of Rochester or of your alma mater, to follow in the footsteps of the UC Regents.  We can help!   AMCHA will work with your group to develop a plan, provide you with our research on anti-Semitic activity at your school, advise you as you carry out your plan, and help you network with other groups across the country.

Together, we can make a real difference.

JNi.Media

UC Berkeley Responds to Pressure, Suspends Anti-Semitic Course

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Responding to pressure from dozens of Jewish and education advocacy organizations who over the past few weeks have expressed their objections to a blatantly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic course titled, “Palestine: A settler Colonial Analysis,” that was being offered by UC Berkeley, the school announced it would suspend the course because it was not adequately vetted to ensure that it met Berkeley’s academic standards.

In a letter to Tammi Rossman Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative, who coordinated the protest effort, an assistant to UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, wrote:

“It has been determined that the facilitator for the course in question did not comply with policies and procedures that govern the normal academic review and approval of proposed courses for the Decal program. As a result, the proposed course did not receive a sufficient degree of scrutiny to ensure that the syllabus met Berkeley’s academic standards before it was opened for enrollment to students. For that reason, approval for the course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process. It should also be noted that the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science is very concerned about the offering of any course, even a student-run course, which espouses a single political viewpoint and/or appears to offer a forum for political organizing rather than an opportunity for the kind of open academic inquiry that Berkeley is known for.”

The September 13 letter from 43 Jewish, civil rights and education advocacy organizations to Chancellor Dirks said, among other things: “We believe that this course violates the Regents Policy on Course Content, which specifically prohibits using the classroom ‘as an instrument for the advance of partisan interest’ or for ‘political indoctrination.’ Furthermore, it appears that compliance with the Regents Policy is not even a requirement of the present procedure for vetting DeCal courses, allowing for the unbridled misuse of the classroom by politically motivated instructors. This state of affairs requires rectification.”

The letter suggested that the offending course’s objectives, reading materials and guest speakers were politically motivated, and met the US government’s criteria for anti-Semitism, in an effort to “indoctrinate students to hate the Jewish state and take action to eliminate it.”

The course learning objectives made it clear that a key goal of the class was to encourage students to accept unquestioningly the false and defamatory idea that Israel is an illegitimate settler colonial state, the letter argued, noting that “by the end of the course students are required to have ‘researched, formulated, and presented decolonial alternatives to the current situation,’ which, in the context of the other course objectives, means that a significant part of the course will be devoted to thinking about ways to ‘decolonize’ — that is, eliminate — Israel.”

The letter pointed out that Both guest speakers listed in the course syllabus, Keith Feldman and Hatem Bazian, have publicly supported an academic boycott of Israel, and Bazian, who is also the course’s faculty sponsor, “is himself a well-known leader of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement as well as campaigns to eliminate the Jewish state.”

“This is a great day for students at Berkeley,” wrote Benjamin in an email message Tuesday night, adding that “our classrooms should never be used to spew hate or push political propaganda aimed at indoctrinating students.”

Benjamin said she and the rest of the groups involved in the protest effort “applaud UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Dirks and his staff for their swift and appropriate response regarding this course,” cautioning that “there is still work to be done to ensure that all new courses at UC Berkeley are adequately reviewed for compliance with university policies prohibiting misuse of the classroom for political indoctrination.”

JNi.Media

California Resolution Urges Action on Campus Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The California State Assembly on Monday passed a resolution urging action on the increasingly rampant anti-Semitism on University of California (UC) campuses.

The resolution urges each UC campus to “adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.”

The bipartisan measure was introduced by State Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County) follow-ing a series of events that targeted Jews and Israel on UC campuses, including an incident at UC Davis in which a swastika was painted onto an Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Jewish fraternity build-ing and the UCLA student government’s probing of a Jewish student’s religious identity during a hearing on her application for a judicial board position.

The resolution was previously passed unanimously in May by the California State Senate, 35-0, and by the California Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, 8-0, in June.

JNS News Service

Swastikas Painted on Shabbat at Jewish Frat House at Univ. of California

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Two large swastikas were found spray-painted on the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Jewish fraternity house at University of California (UC), Davis during Shabbat.

“Jewish people still can’t feel safe on their own campuses and in their own houses,” Nathaniel Bernhard, vice president of the UC Davis AEPi chapter, told the Sacramento Bee. “Anti-Semitism still exists today. It’s not a fairy tale.”

Bernhard said the swastikas were spray-painted on the building sometime between 3-9 a.m. on Saturday.

Barry Broad, board president of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, called the swastikas “especially heinous” given the recent commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.

“Unfortunately, the lessons that history has taught us about the culture of hate have not been heeded by everyone,” Broad said in a statement.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said, “Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members.

JNS News Service

Video Exposes Massive and Violent Anti-Semitism on US Campuses [video]

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Jews on American campuses from coast-to-coast are trying to wake up Americans to be aware that violent anti-Semitism is spreading plague, but the students are a weak voice, living in fear and asking, “Never again?”

The Jewish Voices on Campus’ Aaron Goldenberg posted a video this week on the Legal Insurrection website that exposes widespread hate and violence that have become so common place that, in the words of one California student, “it is expected.”

The Jewish Press this past year has published dozens of reports of racist and violent anti-Semitism, including here, here, here, and here. The reaction of American Jewish leaders, let alone non-Jews, has had zero effect. Even worse, there is no lack of American Jews, totally detached from Israel and from Judaism, who throw fuel on the fires of hate by damning Israel for its very existence.

It is totally un-American even to suggest that the United States is not a freedom-loving country.

It is not acceptable to think aloud that Nazism could dominate America.

The American psyche, still imagining that God, Mom, and Apple Pie are the foundations of the country, cannot even consider that the radical Muslim revolution in Europe has sown its seeds of hate and anarchy in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Jews on campus are too afraid to be brave. The same goes for Canada, where a University of Calgary student says he is “paranoid” and sometimes “afraid to walk by myself” on campus.

“Being against Israel has become the cool thing to so,” according to Harvard University student Michael. [No last names were used in the video – ed.]

At Kent State University, a professor freely calls his students his “little jihadists” and teaches them that Israel is the spiritual heir to Hitler.

The same professor is on the terrorist watch list.

It is not very re-assuring to know he is being watched.

Violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rallies have sent dozens of Jewish students to hospitals.

Gideon of the University of Arizona relates that after he refused entry to his residence to someone whom he did not know and who had brought alcohol with him, he was faced a few minutes later with a gang of 20. “I was struck from behind and was unconscious,” he says. “I was in the hospital for three weeks…with a skull fracture and concussion.”

His conclusion is frightening: “It is sad to see,” he moans.

That’s it? Sad?

Anti-Semites, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Muslim – you name it – are cursing and physically attacking Jews and burning Israeli flags, and it is “sad?”

Is anyone listening?

Campus officials utter empty statements “condemning” violence. Jewish leaders rant and rave. And violence continues.

The Jewish Press reported this week that one university suspended the Students for Justice for Palestine group for one whole week for violating the civil rights of Jews. One week.

SJP was re-instated because it promised to behave nicely.

Put that in the “items to remember” folder.

Wllliam Jacobson wrote on Legal Insurrection, “We have posted many times about how the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, through faculty and Students for Justice in Palestine branches, has turned campuses and classrooms into political battlefields in the worst way.

“When Northeastern University SJP marches to the chant of “Long Live the Intifada,” they are celebrating the bloody suicide bombing campaign.

“When Vassar College SJP pickets a class and forces a professor to walk the gauntlet just because the course involved a trip to Israel, and anti-Israel students jeer Jewish students who spoke up for Israel, they are sending a message of continued conflict — so it was no surprise when Vassar SJP tweeted out a Nazi cartoon….

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

Jewish Press Staff

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.”

 

JNS News Service

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/non-jewish-groups-join-protest-against-campus-anti-semitism/2014/10/02/

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