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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘university’

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.

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Obama Wants to Preach to Young Israelis during Visit

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

President Barack Obama hopes to address young Israelis on his visit to Israel, a senior administration official said.

“The president’s speech is an opportunity for him to speak directly with the Israeli people, in particular to young people, about the broad nature of the U.S.-Israeli relationship,” the official told JTA ahead of a White House briefing Thursday with Jewish community leaders about the trip scheduled for later this month.

The president’s agenda has not been revealed, but reports last week indicated he favors speaking at Tel Aviv University. The White House did not comment on Wednesday’s report that he might speak to students at the Jerusalem Convention Center.

President Obama’s visit to Jerusalem during the 2008 presidential campaign was carefully staged to prevent any negative questions.

If he addresses an audience youth that is screened for a favorable reception, he will be not be speaking to the consensus. Most polls show an increasing rightward move by youth.

Israeli Haredim Becoming Black Hat Professionals

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Besides becoming more like their “Agudah” counterparts in the United States, thousands of Israeli Haredim also have enlisted in special fields in the IDF, belying accusations that they are “draft dodgers.”

“The move from the yeshiva to the university is based on economics, not ideology,” explains Israeli journalist Yisrael Gellis.

He told The Jewish Press, “Young married yeshiva students reached the conclusion they have to work to support their families.

“Approximately 25,000 Haredim have been learning as far back as five years ago, but the media always disparage them and do not report the new trend.”

The “Open University,” which allows students to learn at home, has attracted more than 600 Haredim, according to Gellis. Significantly, 150 of them are from what Gellis calls one of the most “fanatic” Haredi sects. Yeshiva rabbis have encouraged the new trend  but “without force,” Gellis said.

He added that many Haredim have found themselves without work after receiving university degrees because some secular employers are prejudiced against them.

A study by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, cited by the Globes business newspaper, sheds light on the “new Haredim.”

The students include more than 2,000 Haredim, approximately half of whom said their choice of a profession to study was personal and not based on market demand or the potential for career promotion.

The students are attending universities and colleges to learn professional skills through the Kemach Foundation for Promoting Haredi Employment. The organization, heavily financed by the Wolfson Foundation and other philanthropic contributors, offers scholarships to 6,000 Haredi students, almost all of whom are married with children. Women account for 20 percent of the students.

The Ministry of Industry has a long-term plan to being Haredim as well as Arabs into the work force.

An overwhelming majority of the Haredi students’ families have support from their families and spouses, according to the study.

However, a sizable minority of 30 percent said they are studying despite lack or support or outright opposition towards a new lifestyle.

The government report unintentionally noted the center-left and secular bias against Haredim, stating that the growth in the number of Haredi students studying contradicts “pessimistic assessments.”

Gellis also told The Jewish Press that despite the popular secular claim that Haredim avoid the military draft, an increasing number of Haredi youth have opted for the IDF’s special programs that trains them for technical skills.

More than 5,000 Haredi youth have enlisted in the IDF’ Shakhar KaKhol (Blue Dawn) program that offer Israeli youth an 18-month study program to acquire technical skills that are then used in the Air Force and which give them employment opportunities after completing military service.

Muslims Murder Jewish Doctor in Ukraine

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

On Saturday morning, three Muslim murdered Jewish Professor Leon Freifeld, the Chief Orthopedist in Lviv, Ukraine.

The murder occured near his home, and the police managed to capture the three killers.

The three were apparently former students of the doctor, and were expelled from the university due to their generally poor grades. They decided to take out their revenge by killing the doctor.

The doctor had a reputation in the Jewish community of helping anyone who asked.

The doctor’s brother, a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, flew to Ukraine.

Source: Chadarei Chadarim

Emory University Apologizes for 2 Decades of Anti-Semitism at Dental School

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Emory University issued a formal apology to Jewish dental students who attended the school between 1948 and 1961 and faced anti-Semitism.

University President James Wagner delivered the apology at a special event Wednesday night that included 32 former students, now in their 70s and 80s, of the Atlanta school. The students had received failing grades, were thrown out of school or were forced to repeat classes only because they were Jewish.

“I hereby express in the deepest, strongest terms, Emory’s regret for the anti-Semitic practices of the dental school during those years,” Wagner said. “We at Emory also regret that it has taken this long for those events to be properly acknowledged. I am sorry; we are sorry.”

Among the 450 people present was Perry Brickman, a retired oral surgeon from Atlanta who was kicked out of Emory in 1952 along with his three Jewish classmates and whose subsequent research about anti-Semitism at Emory was an impetus for the apology. Brickman spent many years interviewing fellow Emory students who faced discrimination, and his work was featured in the documentary film “From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory’s Dental School History.”

The documentary was shown last year to Emory’s board of trustees, who decided there needed to be a public apology, Emory University Vice President Gary Hauk told JTA.

“When we saw Brickman’s documentary, it was evident he had a story about discrimination — one that needed to be confronted and needed an apology,” Hauk said. “It’s a regrettable part of the institution’s history, and it’s shameful that it did happen. But there’s a renewed agreement to make sure discrimination like this doesn’t happen at our school again.”

The documentary film also was shown at Wednesday’s event.

“I was a good student, I did my work and got good grades, but I still got a letter that I was kicked out,” Brickman told JTA in an interview. “The whole thing was so embarrassing. But there was nothing we could do about it, so we just moved on and didn’t speak to each other. Nobody in the community wanted to do anything. We were dealing with immigration issues and hate speech from the KKK, so we didn’t want to make waves.”

The anti-Semitic policies at the dental school have been attributed to its then-dean, John Buhler. In 1962, the Anti-Defamation League presented the university with data showing that 65 percent of Emory’s Jewish students faced trouble – a sign, the organization said, of obvious discrimination. The university at the time denied being anti-Semitic, but shortly after Buhler resigned as the school dean.

“We are grateful to President Wagner for his forthright leadership in acknowledging and apologizing for a policy that has haunted many of the Jewish students throughout their long lives,” Bill Nigut of the ADL said in a statement this week. “We are now hearing powerful, painful stories of how they came to doubt their own abilities, were viewed as failures by parents and friends, and had to rethink careers — all because the dental school dean at the time was an anti-Semite, and other administrators and faculty either ignored or abetted his prejudice.”

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/to-protect-jewish-students-california-university-committee-recommends-ban-on-hate-speech/2012/09/12/

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