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September 24, 2016 / 21 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yale University’

At ‘Liberal’ Oberlin No Speech Rights for Non-Haters of Israel

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Oberlin College holds a position at or near the apex of a universe populated by the leftist and the further leftist American colleges and universities. But Jewish students are finding that Oberlin’s liberalism does not extend to any discussion that is not unequivocally scathing about the Jewish State.

In a place where every people’s right to self-determination is revered as an ideological imperative, that same right for the Jewish people is deemed not only unworthy, but as evidence of racism itself.

This month Oberlin reappeared center stage largely for a list of demands issued by its Black Student Union, a list which is notorious for several reasons. It is: very long (14 pages), wide-ranging (hiring, firing, health, prisoners given free tuition, the list goes on) and unequivocal.

Oberlin BSU’s demands are not requests, they are non-negotiable and backed by the force of threat: “these are not polite requests, but concrete and unmalleable [sic] demands. Failure to meet them will result in a full and forceful response from the community you fail to support.”

The Demand Document – which was unsigned – was sent to Oberlin President Marvin Krislov earlier this month. On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Krislov responded with an invitation to dialogue, something already scorned in the initial move.

This Oberlin exchange arose in the context of the 2015 Revolution on American Universities. That RAU began in the fall semester, initially triggered by the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, followed by the melee at Missou, and the shrieking girl outburst at Yale. Princeton followed and eventually Oberlin joined in, with the biggest and most brazen set of demands of all.

But something else is happening at Oberlin, something that is the focus of this article. This issue was raised in the demand document. Tucked away on page 14, amidst disparate essentials, the students demanded: “Immediate divestment from Israel who [sic] has exploited many African descendant peoples seeking refuge. Furthermore, because the oppressive and violent acts towards Palestinians mirrors the anti-Blackness currently in the United States.”

This demand for an official declaration by Oberlin College denouncing the State of Israel is only the most explicit display of a campus-wide hostility to Zionism, and more broadly to Jewish religious observance, at least when it has any connection at all to Zionism or the Jewish state (which might be a bit of a problem for someone reciting, say, the entire Amidah prayer at any time of day.)

One current Oberlin student put it this way to the JewishPress.com: “at Oberlin, People of Color (POC) are on the ‘good side of the ledger,’ and they are opposed to Zionists, who are categorized as “pro-racist and harmful towards POC.”

Jewish Oberlin students and alumni have begun to speak out, albeit quietly and cautiously, because it has now become the reality for many of them that despite the many leftist, “liberal” positions shared by most students across the Oberlin spectrum, any identification with the Jewish State as even an aspect of one’s Judaism is verboten.

As a result, there is now underway a painstaking effort to create a voice that opposes what is now being described as anti-Semitism at Oberlin. That new, wavering, quavering voice is seeking to counter a pervasive atmosphere on campus that reached its stride when the Oberlin student senate voted in 2013 to approve a BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) resolution, and has been going strong ever since.

Dr. Melissa Landa, Oberlin class of 1986, is attempting to do the proverbial herding of cats by creating a coalition of current students and alumni who can speak with a single voice, and have that voice attempt to draw attention to the unacceptable wave of blatant hostility towards anyone who identifies with the Jewish State. So far, Landa has helped to form a group more than 200 strong, “Oberlin Students and Alumni Against Anti-Semitism.” They wrote, signed and delivered a letter to the Oberlin administration, staff and faculty. Landa says she is meeting with Oberlin president Marvin Krislov on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Haifa Arab Students Heckle Egyptian Lecture as ‘Zionist Collaborator’

Friday, December 25th, 2015

The Egyptian researcher spoke to psychology students at Haifa University on co-existence. One Arab student shouted, “You are dancing on the blood of martyrs.”

Arab students at the University of Haifa face a disciplinary hearing for calling a world-renowned Egyptian religious researcher a “Zionist collaborator.”

Yale University’s Dr. Omer Salem, who also operates peace organization started by California Muslims, Jews and Christians, began to speak to psychology students about coexistence when he was verbally attacked, Yediot Acharonot reported.

One heckler yelled, “Talk to the Dawabsheh family about coexistence,” referring to the arson-murder of  Arab parents and their baby three months ago in a Palestinian Authority village.

Arab students, including from the anti-Zionist Balad party and who are known to the University for their Radical Views, shouted:

The blood of martyrs is spilled and in the end you get a middle finger. They should stop the colonization in Palestine, they are silencing us.

You should be ashamed of yourself, the Zionists are protecting you. You came here to support colonization. You are dancing on the blood of martyrs.

Why do you come here? You have no respect. Go fix the situation in Egypt.

The lecturer who brought Dr. Salem to speak filed a complaint with the university’s disciplinary committee, and the university commented that it “deems this matter to be very serious and the students will be sent to a disciplinary hearing. We will not tolerate such behavior which affects the normal process of study and research.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Downplaying the Holocaust, A TEDx Talk

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

If only more members of this generation were like Anna Blech: a poised, factual and no-holds-barred truth teller.

Blech attended Hunter College High School in New York. For her 11th grade history paper, Blech chose to explore the media’s coverage of the Holocaust, while it was happening.

She chose this topic because three of her four grandparents escaped from Germany and Austria before the outbreak of World War II. They spent the war years in New York City.

Her grandparents explained to Blech that they really had no idea of the extent of the destruction of European Jewry until after the concentration and labor camps were liberated. This led her to wonder what news was available in the American media.

“The works of historians David Wyman, Deborah Lipstadt, and, especially, Laurel Leff, helped me understand how the knowledge of the Holocaust did not enter the public psyche despite the fact that the Holocaust was covered extensively in the New York Times,” Blech told The Jewish Press.

After her paper won the New York City History Day prize, Blech was invited by her school principal to give a TEDx Talk for the high school’s TEDx event.

 

When asked by The Jewish Press how her grandparents responded to the information she had garnered and presented at the TEDx Talk, Blech said they were very proud of her.

“They found the information true and painful,” Blech explained. “My grandmother said that she knew of people who almost made it out of Europe and who might have been able to, if the situation had been better publicized.”

Blech has since graduated from high school, and will be spending part of the summer in China for the Student Leaders Exchange of the National Council on U.S.-China Relations.

During this coming academic year, Blech will be on a special program called kivunim which is based in Jerusalem, but which takes participants to many different countries to explore the history of their Jewish communities and also explore all aspects of Israel.

Once finished with her year of travel with kivunim, Blech will become a freshman at Yale University in the fall of 2015.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Graffiti at Yale Threatens Arson Attack on School’s Jewish Center

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Graffiti scrawled in a bathroom in a Yale University science building threatened an arson attack on the Slifka Center for Jewish Life on the campus.

The graffiti was discovered late last month but was first reported in the local media on Tuesday. A Slifka Center board member said the news of the graffiti was not released to the public sooner in order to allow the police to do some investigation quietly.

The exact wording of the graffiti has not been released, but it reportedly threatened an attack for May 16, the second day of the Shavuot holiday.

Police in New Haven, Conn., and the FBI are investigating, the New Haven Register reported.

“This is a very disturbing incident for a community such as ours, in which tolerance of all races, religions and points of view is a fundamental value,” Yale Vice President Linda Koch Lorimer said in a statement. “A threat to any community within our university is a threat to us all.”

SlifkaCenter programs have continued on schedule, and upcoming events including Shavuot programs have not been altered.

“Difficult times can serve to remind us of our many blessings,” a statement issued by the center said. “Slifka Center is fortunate to be a vibrant hub of Jewish and interfaith life within a welcoming community, in which incidents such as this one are very rare.”

JTA

Yale Elects First-Ever Israeli Student Union President

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Yale University students have Jerusalem-born native Daniel Avraham as the first Israeli president of the Student Union.

Avraham, a 24-year-old sophomore, learned at the Gymnasia Herzliya high school and is a former IDF intelligence officer. He is studying in the university’s ethics and economics program.

Former Yale Student Union presidents include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her successor John Kerry, and former U.S. presidents George, both father and son, and Bill Clinton.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Coffin’s Mideast Conformity

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

William Sloane Coffin Jr., the left-wing Presbyterian minister who gained notoriety in the 1960’s for his militant antiwar stance and his association and identification with radicals of every stripe while serving as chaplain at Yale University, died April 12 at age 81. The coverage in the mainstream media was almost uniformly laudatory – as it invariably is for those who establish themselves as outspoken critics of the United States.

But contrary to the hagiographic obituaries (“fighter for the powerless,” “champion of the downtrodden,” etc.) and his longstanding popularity with academic leftists, Coffin was a man of absolutely no influence in the corridors of power. For the final 40 years of his life was widely viewed as the kind of naïve, self-styled “revolutionary” cleric lampooned so mercilessly by writers like Tom Wolfe and the late Malcolm Muggeridge.

Coffin was an archetype of the religious leader who viewed the world through the prism not of the Bible but of whatever was new and exciting in the pages of The Nation, Mother Jones, and other hard left publications.

When it came to the Middle East, Coffin was as drearily predictable as others of his ilk. In a 2004 interview on Beliefnet.com, he lamented that “the poor rabbis have a problem being critical of Israel because the congregations don’t want to hear it so much.” And he immediately followed that up by implying that U.S. Jewry pulls the strings of American foreign policy: “The only people who could save the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are American Jews. If they said to Bush, ‘We have to change,’ that would be it. But they’re not saying it audibly, and not in concert, that’s for sure.”

Coffin’s mindset was even more transparently on display in an interview, also in 2004, with Catholic New Times. The following statement is so offensive on so many levels – its condescending tone toward Jewish suffering, its confident assumption that Israel is obviously in the wrong, its clumsy but nevertheless offensive comparison of Israel with the pre-Civil Rights South – that no commentary is required:

As goyim (non-Jews), we have to be very sympathetic to a kind of persecution complex, a paranoia on the part of Jews. When a good WASP says “No problem,” the Jew says “There’s always a problem” (laughs). So, I am very sympathetic to the suffering. However, it is possible that the oppressed long to be oppressors or they naturally react that way. I attack Sharon and his policies in the name of Judaism as I understand it. It is anti-Judaism and to think that we must be uncritical, that’s terrible. So many Jews who know better refuse to criticize Israel and I say to them, “why don’t you speak up because every time I do I am called an anti-Semite.” It’s a little bit like a southern white in the 1950s being against segregation. Israel seems to latch on to loyalty and those who do criticize them are written out. No one will touch them.

Coffin’s Middle East views were of a piece with the major American liberal Protestant denominations, which almost without exception assumed an increasingly hostile tone toward Israel in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War and which nearly four decades later were leading the charge for divestment and other anti-Israel actions.

On July 7, 1967, not a month after the end of the Six-Day War, the executive committee of the liberal National Council of Churches released a statement lambasting Israel for the “unilateral retention of lands she has occupied since June 5.”

Also on July 7, 1967, in a letter published in The New York Times, Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, former president of Union Theological Seminary, the academic centerpiece of liberal Protestantism in America, made the equation between Israelis and Nazis that in due time would become all too familiar:

All persons who seek to view the Middle East problem with honesty and objectivity will stand aghast at Israel’s onslaught, the most violent, ruthless (and successful) aggression since Hitler’s blitzkrieg across Western Europe in the summer of 1940, aiming not at victory but at annihilation.

Coffin may have fancied himself an iconoclast, but on Israel, at least, he was a hidebound conformist, echoing the hostilities of his ecclesiastical elders.

Jason Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/coffins-mideast-conformity/2006/04/26/

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