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Lecturer: Universities Don’t Protect Jewish Students

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

A lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz has called on university administrators to wake up and protect Jewish students on campuses around the United States.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin a lecturer in the university’s Languages and Applied Linguistics department and a cofounder of the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization that combats campus anti-Semitism, says that violence against Jewish students has become acceptable at American universities because university officials refuse to act against the phenomenon.

“Who bears the most blame for the tsunami of campus anti-Semitism? University administrators,” Rossman-Benjamin told the JNS online news service.

“They routinely turn a blind eye to long-standing and pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry and (they) ignore Jewish students’ pleas for help. Language and behavior that would never be tolerated from students or faculty when directed against other campus minorities goes unchallenged by administrators when directed against Jewish students.

In a lengthy op-ed Rossman-Benjamin detailed a series of race-based attacks against African American and Hispanic students at universities around the country. University officials and local politicians reacted swiftly to those attacks, investigating the incidents and fiiling charges against assailants. In one case, California State Assembly Speaker John Perez created a Select Committee on Campus Climate to prevent racial tension at the state’s universities.

Would that Jewish students received the same consideration and protection. In recent years, pro-BDS groups have promoted their calls to boycott Israel with increasingly violent anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery. Professors use university facilities for decidedly non-academic conferences, will little censure. Anti-Israel campaigns are accompanied by talks, rallies, and exhibits containing anti-Semitic imagery, rhetoric, and actions.

Nor have the attacks been limited to hate speech or offensive cartoons. At the University of California, Berkely the head of Students for Justice in Palestine attacked a Jewish student with a shopping cart by. At Harvard and New York Universities, Palestinian students placed “eviction notices” under the dorm rooms of Jewish students at Harvard and New York Universities. At San Francisco State University, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” was the theme of an event hosted by the General Union of Palestine Students.

Rossman-Benjamin stresses that anti-Semitic attacks on campus are not limited to students.

The first major source for anti-Jewish sentiment on campus is members of the Muslim and pro-Palestinian student organizations. For more than a decade, these groups have sponsored speakers, films, exhibits, and guerrilla theater that engage in discourse or use imagery and language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department. These student groups have also been responsible for aggressively confronting students at pro-Israel events and threatening, physically harassing, and assaulting Jewish students.

Rossman-Benjamin says the ongoing siege against pro-Israel students has left many Jewish students and faculty members feeling harassed, intimidated and scarred. Many students say they feel their grades will suffer if they express pro-Israel views in class. In one case, a student at the University of California, Davis was physically assaulted for objecting to anti-Semitic banners displayed at a pro-Palestinian rally. One protestor purportedly screamed in his face, “You are racist and you should die in hell.”

Ultimately, however, Rossman-Benjamin lies the blame for the phenomenon squarely at the feet of university administrators.

“The primary responsibility for addressing campus anti-Semitism rests with university administrators. Unfortunately, they are missing in action when it comes to protecting Jewish students rights and ensuring their safety.

 

How to Turn a Campus Into an Indoctrination Center

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

If you want to understand how the far left controls campuses, consider this story.

There is no university more supportive of the Arab nationalist (historically), Islamist, and anti-Israel line in the United States than Georgetown’s programs on Middle East studies. Every conference it holds on the Middle East is ridiculously one-sided. The university has received millions of dollars in funds from Arab states, and it houses the most important center in the United States that has advocated support for a pro-Islamist policy.

One day in 1975, not long before he died, the great Professor Carroll Quigley walked up to me when I was sitting in the Georgetown University library. Everyone was in awe of this brilliant lecturer (remind me to write him a tribute explaining why he was so great).

[In fact the  classroom where Carroll Quigley taught his main class was Gaston Hall, where decades latest Obama demanded to cover up the cross before he spoke there! What would this pious Catholic have said!]

I thought he might have remembered me from my extended explanation of why I was late for class one day because I had rescued a sparrow and taken it to a veterinarian (true).   I vividly recall that detail, because I couldn’t think otherwise why he would want to talk to such a lowly person.

“May I sit down?” he asked.

“Of course!” I said, stopping myself from adding that it was an honor. Without any small talk, he launched into a subject that clearly weighed on his conscience. “There are many who don’t like your people.”

What was he talking about? I thought, is he talking about Jews?

He explained that he had just come from a meeting where it was made clear that the university had a problem. They were getting Arab money, but on the secret condition that it was for teaching about the Middle East but none of it could be used to teach about Israel. How was this problem to be solved?

Simple. They would call the institution to be created the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. It was explicitly expressed that this was how the problem would be dealt with.  Quigley was disgusted. Ever since then, I have referred to that institution as the Center for Contemporary Arab Money.

Georgetown was the place where the university accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi–who was, of course, very active in promoting anti-American terrorism–to establish an endowed chair in Middle East studies. When the president of the university backed down due to bad publicity, the professor who had been named to the post responded by calling the Jesuit university president a “Jesuit Zionist.”

This same professor–and I am not joking in saying that compared to today, he was a fine scholar and a comparatively decent man given what goes on now–was also a personal friend of Palestinian terrorist leader Nayif Hawatmeh and an outspoken Marxist.

To his credit, he told me in 1974 on a visit of mine to Lebanon, “One day we will be ashamed of all the terrorism [against Israel].” But I don’t think he ever spoke out publicly. At my Ph.D. oral exams, he said something like this as his question: “I don’t care whether you believe it or not, but give the Marxist analysis of development in the Middle East.” He did not ask me to critique it! As a Marxist, atheist though, the son of a Muslim imam, he did participate in the traditional glass of scotch after they passed me. And they did pass me, something I would never assume might happen today. These professors really did believe in scholarship and balance in the classroom.

Another professor (you can guess I was sure he was not on my board), however, was an example of the new generation of indoctrinators. One day, I was standing in the line in the campus post office shortly after I had clashed with him in class. The two girls I could overhear were talking about the disturbing incident in class. To my relief, they took my side. I guess that, too, wouldn’t happen today.

This teacher’s radicalism and knee-jerk hatred of Israel was so terrible that we used to joke about it.  A right-wing Zionist in the class did an experiment. He wrote an exaggerated version of a Marxist, anti-Israel rant. It read like a satire. He got an “A” from this professor. In retrospect, however, we should have seen that the field was getting far worse.

Chinese Fund Donates $130 million to Technion

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

A Chinese fund, bankrolled by the country’s richest man, is donating $130 million Technion University in a joint venture between the Haifa-based university and Shantou University (STU) to build a new academic facility in Guangdong Province.

The contribution from the Li Ka Shing Foundation is the largest in Technion’s history and one of the largest ever to an Israeli university.

The Guangdong Province and the city of Shantou are earmarking an additional $147 million to fund construction of the new Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT) next to Shantou University.

The donation to Technion, made possible in part by profits from the fund’s recent  sale of Waze to Google, will be allocated for the Technion’s home campus.

YU Sex Abuse Extended beyond Boys High School

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Incidents of physical and sexual abuse at Yeshiva University were not limited to its high school for boys, an investigation has found.

The investigation commissioned by the university and carried out by the New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell followed reports of sexual abuse by two faculty members at Y.U.’s high school for boys in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The report produced by investigators and released Monday confirmed that “multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place” at the high school, perpetrated by individuals in positions of authority and continuing even after administration members had been made aware of the problem. The probe also found sexual abuse at other divisions of the university but, citing pending litigation, did not describe them in any detail or specify where they took place.

“Up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the University either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all,” the report said. “This lack of an appropriate response by the University caused victims to believe that their complaints fell on deaf ears or were simply not believed by the University’s administration.”

While the report noted that Y.U.’s responses to allegations of abuse after 2001 improved significantly, it issued detailed recommendations for new policies at the school to prevent and report sexual or physical abuse or harassment. The report did not go into detail on the past instances of sexual abuse.

“There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution,” Y.U. President Richard Joel said in a statement released Monday. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims.

“Although we cannot change the past, we remain committed to making confidential counseling services available to those individual victims in the hope they can achieve a more peaceful future.”

The investigation was prompted by a Dec. 13, 2012 article in the Forward newspaper titled “Student Claims of Abuse not Reported by Yeshiva U.” that focused on abuse allegations against two Y.U. faculty members: Rabbi George Finkelstein, an administrator and faculty member from 1963 to 1995, and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a teacher from 1956 to 1983.

Finkelstein was accused of groping students and rubbing up against them, often under the guise of wrestling, at school and in his home. Gordon was accused of sodomizing boys, including in at least one instance with a toothbrush. Both men have denied the allegations.

A group of former students filed a $380 million lawsuit against Yeshiva University in early July, just days after Y.U.’s longtime chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm, acknowledged mishandling the abuse allegations decades earlier. The lawsuit has since added plaintiffs and grown to $680 million.

After Y.U. hired Sullivan & Cromwell to conduct an investigation, the school’s board of trustees appointed a special committee to manage the relationship and receive periodic reports. The investigation was led by Karen Patton Seymour, a former criminal prosecutor, and carried out with the help of T&M Protection Services, a firm specializing in preventing sex abuse.

Some 6,300 hours were spent on the investigation, including interviews with 145 people, according to the report. Investigators sought to interview the former students named in the lawsuit, but their lawyers declined to make them available, the report said. According to the report, 70 people who were contacted either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests for interviews.

Most of the report was taken up with a new set of anti-harassment guidelines recommended by T&M Protection Services, which Joel said YU will implement fully.

The recommendations include setting clear boundaries for appropriate contact between faculty and students, educating them about the rules, screening new hires, establishing clear avenues for reporting allegations and putting in place policies for investigating allegations.

Jewish Complaints Prompt University to Set Up Diversity Website

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Florida Atlantic University has launched a website promoting diversity following complaints from Jewish groups about activities on campus by a pro-Palestinian group.

The website features a video on which faculty and students describe the Boca Raton school as diverse and open to students of all faiths. The video was created after meetings between the university leadership and the Florida chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

Students for Justice in Palestine last year sent 200 students eviction notices bearing the university’s official stamp as a means of calling attention to what it said are Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. A number of Jewish students among the 200 said they felt threatened by the notices and violated university policy.

The video on the new website launches with positive impressions from Jews, including a professor of Judaic studies, the president of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and a Jewish student.

An African-American said she sought information about other minorities on campus, and named the campus Hillel House as one to which she turned.

French-Speaking Belgian Students Join the Boycott Israel Fad

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

The Federation of French-speaking Students in Belgium (FEF), a body boasting some 120,000 students in the country, has almost unanimously called for “a freezing of relations with Israeli universities.”

The move was initiated by the University of  Louvain (UCL), according to Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir.

The  2012 the General Assembly of the Louvain students last December voted for a motion requiring that their university take a “clear and progressive” stance by supporting “a freezing of relations between the UCL and Israeli academic establishments until they publicly recognize and denounce the violations of various international law conventions committed by Israel.”

The FEF decision, which was inspired by the UCL students motion, stresses “the “gestures already made by their institution in favor of Palestinian universities” .

The boycott motion was approved by 85 percent of those able to vote, and only six percent voted against the motion, while nine percent abstained.

The universities that are  members of the federation, have agreements with Israeli universities, such as Tel Aviv and the Technion, that FEF president David Méndez Yépe charges “are preferred partners of the arms manufacturer Elbit. They conduct research on the development of drones responsible for causing damage and destruction in Palestine, and their programs are used by the Israeli army.”

Monitoring Professors Who Hate and Attack their Country

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Israel Academia Monitor, an organization devoted to monitoring anti-Israel academics, hosted a conference in Tel Aviv with the goal of drawing attention to the fact that anti-Israel academics exploit their positions of influence in order to promote an anti-Israel agenda.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon does not lie solely within universities abroad, but also exists within Israel. These professors utilize their position as a means to prove the justness of their cause while the fact that they are Israeli adds a sense of legitimacy. The danger is tremendous. As Cicero once wrote, “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.”

The first speaker to address the conference was Prof. Ofira Seliktar, who noted the orchestrated campaign to delegitimize Israel utilizing soft asymmetrical conflict.

Soft components of this conflict are designed to delegitimize the target country and improve the image of the challenged group” as well as the “causes they represent,” Seliktar said.

The founders of the Neo-Marxist critical perspective, according to Seliktar, were the first to adopt soft asymmetrical conflict, which Edward Said in turn applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Michael Gross, another speaker at the conference, pointed to professor Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University, saying that Gordon has “a long track record of calling for boycotts of Israel” and has referred to “Israel as a so-called fascist Nazi apartheid-like state.” 

In addition, other professors at Ben Gurion University behave similarly, including Oren Yiftachel, who devoted “most of his career to misrepresenting Israel as an apartheid regime;” Lev Grinberg, who is best known for “accusing Israel of committing symbolic genocide” when Israel killed the leader of Hamas and compared Hamas terrorists to the “Maccabee heroes”; and Eyal Nir, who teaches chemistry at BGU and “is not only anti-Israel but was in the media in the past year for openly calling for critics of the left to be murdered.”

Panel at Israel Academia Monitor Conference, Tel Aviv

Panel at Israel Academia Monitor Conference, Tel Aviv

In the concluding session of this conference, I participated and spoke about how soft asymmetrical conflict was applied at Ben-Gurion University, where anti-Israel activism was quite widespread as part of an orchestrated campaign to educate international students to view Israel negatively.

Examples of this included the social coordinator at the time, Noah Slor, organizing anti-Israel trips, professors teaching about Israel in an anti-Israel propagandist style; and instances of pro-Israel students, such as myself, facing intimidation for having the chutzpah to speak out against the anti-Israel activism that was taking place on campus.

For example, Professor Yiftachel was teaching international students that “Israel is in a colonial situation with the Palestinians,” “the whole Israeli state is what you call an ethnocracy,” “Ashkenazis colonize the Mizrahim,” “Israeli Arabs have ghetto citizenship,” “Israel is like Sudan in ethnocratic structure,” and that “Israel imposes Judaism on her Palestinian citizens.”

When I attempted in the past to write exposés on this, Yiftachel arranged to have me intimidated by the then head of the Middle Eastern Studies department, Dr. Avi Rubin, who threatened “possible ramifications” and the involvement of the university’s legal department. While every thing turned out fine for me in the end, due to Israel Academia Monitor providing me with legal representation, not all students who are outspokenly pro-Israel at BGU are this lucky.

Here’s a brief portion of my concluding remarks:

When you combine people like [Professor] Yiftachel… [and] a social coordinator who, by the way was the one who organized the demonstrations on the campus in favor of the Gaza Flotilla … it has an indoctrinating effect.

I emphasized that choosing to speak out against this intimidation wasn’t an easy decision. Nevertheless, what the international students are taught is important, for many of these students will return to their countries and may hold prominent positions within the government as experts on the Middle East.

I concluded:

 

[I]t is important to study the Middle East; but not in the way that it is currently being done. It needs to be done in a way that you actually learn; that you actually gain some insight, a marketplace of ideas,” I explained. “It shouldn’t be only one opinion. And oh, you can’t challenge it if you don’t have a Ph.D. That’s not how it works. Students also have academic freedom and my academic freedom should be respected just as much as anybody else.

Visit United with Israel.

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