November 14, 2018

Newly Elected Minnesota Rep. Omar’s Campaign Says She Supports BDS

Screenshot from Twitter.

Newly elected congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has now come out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, despite her stated opposition to it in the primary.

At an August forum, Omar said that BDS isn’t “helpful in getting that two-state solution.”

“I think the particular purpose for [BDS] is to make sure that there is pressure, and I think that pressure really is counteractive,” Omar said. “Because in order for us to have a process of getting to a two-state solution, people have to be willing to come to the table and have a conversation about how that is going to be possible and I think that stops the dialogue.”

However, Omar’s campaign told the Muslim Girl on Nov. 12 that Omar actually does support BDS.

Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized,” the campaign said. “She does however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”

When TC Jewfolk pressed Omar on her apparent flip-flop, Omar replied that while she supports BDS, she has “reservations” about the long-term effects of BDS in finding a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. She added that this is what she said at the forum.

As the Journal has previously reported, Omar tweeted in 2012 during Hamas’ rockets attacks against Israel, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evils of Israel.” Omar has since claimed that the tweet wasn’t anti-Semitic, tweeting, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.” She later tweeted:

As a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Omar voted against an anti-BDS bill because she didn’t want to abrogate “the ability of people to fight toward that justice and peace.”

Additionally, in January. 2016, Omar reportedly called for the University of Minnesota to divest from Israeli bonds.

Omar, along with newly congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who supports a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, will become the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress.

Indiana University Student President Vetoes Resolution Condemning Pro-BDS Speaker

Photo from Wikipedia.

Alex Wisniewsi, student government president at Indiana University, vetoed a resolution that would have condemned a pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) speaker on campus.

The speaker was Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s (ACLU) human rights program, who said on Wednesday that Palestinians are “second class citizens” in Israel, according to the Indiana Daily Student (IDS). He argued that this was because Palestinians villages aren’t being recognized in Israel.

Dakwar also objected that his critiques of Israel were rooted in anti-Semitism.

“I should not be labeled anti-Semitic just because I am defending my right to exist,” Dakwar said.

However, Rachel Aranyi, who sponsored the resolution, told IDS there was too much “complexity and nuance” in the issue for it to be presented in a personal opinion lecture format.

She also argued that Dakwar’s support of BDS “crosses the line into discrimination that targets a specific group and denies rights of a people to have self-determination – that’s when there’s issues.”

Ultimately, Wisniewsi decided to veto the resolution because he didn’t think the student government should “condemn academic discussions that promote free speech, encourage the voice of underrepresented students and allow for opportunities to learn about a different world view.”

Dakwar once tweeted in 2017, “Israeli leaders exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel” and added, “Anti-Zionism ≠ Anti-Semitism.” However, Jewish leaders such Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, have argued that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

In 2015, the Indiana University’s student government passed a resolution stating, “The Indiana University Student Association recognizes that the Jewish people, like all peoples, have a collective right to self-determination, and considers attempts to undermine these rights, including the global BDS Movement against Israel, to be a form of bigotry.”

NYU Student Senate to Vote on BDS Resolution Through Secret Ballot

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

New York University’s (NYU) student senate is planning on voting on a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution on Dec. 6 through a secret ballot.

The resolution, titled “Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians,” calls on NYU to divest from Caterpillar, General Electric (GE) and Lockheed Martin for doing business with Israel.

“NYU must dedicate itself to ethical conduct in its investment practices by divesting from companies that profit from human rights violations in Palestine and other communities globally,” the resolution states.

Among the student groups supporting the resolution include NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, NYU’s Jewish Voice for Peace chapter and NYU’s Young Democratic Socialists in America chapter.

The student senate reportedly chose the secret ballot for security reasons, as three students said “they had been threatened in the past for publicly supporting Palestinian rights,” according to the Washington Square News.

However, Hali Haber, CAMERA’s Director of Campus Programming, told JNS that having the vote be on a secret ballot show a “lack of transparency and accountability.”

“Until members of the assembly are willing to attach their own names to the resolution, nobody else should take their vote seriously either,” Haber said.

Six students will be allowed to give arguments in favor and against the resolution.

NYU President Andrew Hamilton has previously denounced BDS in an April town hall.

“The university will not participate in boycotting of academics based in Israel,” Hamilton said. “We believe in academic freedom and the free flow of ideas. Boycotting is antithetical to that vision.”

Club Cancels Israeli Water Polo Match in Spain Due to BDS Pressure

Screenshot from Twitter.

An Israeli women’s water polo match was canceled on Nov. 5 in Spain due to pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The match, which was set to occur on Nov. 6 as part of the European championship, was initially scheduled to take place at the Nautical Club in Molins de Rei, a Barcelona suburb. However, the club backed out of the event, a move that reportedly “shocked” the Israeli team, according to Haaretz.

Revital Gluska, president of the Israeli Water Polo Association, told Channel 10 that she had initially thought the cancellation was due to an “internal matter.”

But then the [Israeli] embassy in Spain contacted me, and said that the city council there caved into BDS pressure,” Gluska said.

Gluska added that the city’s mayor and the head of the Spanish Olympic Committee apologized for the matter.

The match was rescheduled to occur at a different Barcelona suburb on Nov. 6.

It is very upsetting when politics interferes with sports,” Gluska said. “We will continue to focus on our mission for this visit, promoting Israeli water polo and closing the gap with a top world [champion] team.”

As the Journal has previously reported, Spain’s courts struck down municipality BDS laws earlier in 2018 after efforts from The Lawfare Project.

Meet the Israelis Who Expose Our Country’s True Face

Courtesy of StandWithUs

This is the 11th year of one of my personal favorite projects to battle bigotry and modern-day anti-Semitism – the “Israeli Soldiers Tour. ”This project is one of the most significant counter-attacks of the notorious “Israeli Apartheid Week,” where false information about Israel is being spread by haters across North America college campuses.

In this tour, organized by the pro-Israeli nonprofit organization, StandWithUs, 14 reserve duty Israeli soldier-students travel the United States and speak on campuses, high schools, synagogues, churches, etc. They recount their personal experiences of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) upholding its strict moral code while fighting an enemy that hides behind its civilians.

They also present their backgrounds, life in Israel and answer questions. “Israeli Soldiers Tour,” puts a human face to the IDF uniform, and by doing so, trying to combat the demonization of Israel and Israelis led by anti-Israeli movements, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.)  Their in-front-of-the-lines-and-behind-the-headlines stories, which have never been heard before, try to depict the more accurate, more balanced, reality in Israel.

Two of the participants of this year’s tour, Chen and Omri, agreed to let us in this emotional, exciting, life-changing experience, and answer some questions:

Chen, 24, was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of longtime Jerusalemites.  Her family fled anti-Semitism, one side in the 15th century during the Spanish Inquisition, and the other from Yemen.

After high school, Chen participated in a pre-military program where she volunteered with at-risk youth in Sderot, a city along the Gaza border. During Operation Pillar of Defense, Chen decided to stay under the threat of rocket fire to help the youth both mentally and physically.  She served as a Navigation Instructor in the IDF, responsible for teaching soldiers to read maps and navigate in the field. Today, Chen studies Political Science and Israel Studies at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Omri is 28 years old. His mother is of Eastern European descent and his father’s family is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Omri grew up in central Israel in the town of Rishon LeZion. He now lives in Beer Sheva and studies Computer Engineering at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

At 18, Omri began a 6-year stint in the Israeli Air Force as a pilot cadet, and he later transferred to “Yahalom” a special combat engineering unit, as a bomb technician. While in the IDF he participated and commanded missions in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and on the northern border, defusing missiles, explosive belts, and booby traps.

Following his military service he enrolled at the Ein-Prat Beit Midrash, an intensive Jewish learning programs for secular and religious Israelis in their twenties. After completing his studies Omri traveled around Central and South America.

Q:  What is Israel to you, and how do you pass this message to students abroad?

Chen: Despite of all its inner conflicts, at the end of the day, it’s the most united place for me.  Israel is the only place in the world that I can truly call home.

I grew up in a house with Israel deeply embedded in our roots because my family lived here for many generations before the country was even established.

It was important to me that audiences understand that deep connection, and the relations among the people and what brings us all together as a nation.

Omri: Israel is the most normal-crazy place on earth.

On the one hand, we live our daily lives just like the American people: studying, working and focusing on having fun.   On the other, we put our life on hold for 3 years after high school in order to protect our borders by enlisting in the army.

I think I’m passing this message by just being me. I’m trying to show that Israel is not just a headline you see in the media.  It’s a real place with real people and real stories. When students see that I dress like them, watch Netflix like them, but I served in the army and dealt with bombs and some dangerous stuff. they get the message.

Q:  Walk us through the Israeli Soldiers Tour – how do you prepare? What does the tour look like?

Omri: The SWU (StandWithUs) Israel crew helped us develop our speeches, explained how to respond to friendly and hostile questions and how to properly approach Americans – they’re a bit different from Israelis, you know.

Our daily routine was 2-3 events a day in different locations. We told our stories about Israel and IDF to whoever wants to listen – Jews, Christians, Muslims, high schools, colleges, universities, local communities, synagogues and churches.  In our spare time we get acquainted with American culture. We travel the cities, eat American junk food and watch football.

I was very excited about the tour. The opportunity to meet a lot of new people and influence them seemed magical to me.

Courtesy of StandWithUs

I was happy to visit USA for the first time and explore a lot of new cities and culture that till now I’ve only saw at the movies.

My expectations from the tour partly matched the tour itself. In the good scenario, I thought we are going to talk to people who never heard about Israel and in the bad case, heard  lies about it.

I was surprised to see that we have a lot of events with only a Jewish crowd. After several conversations, I understood the relevance of those events. Jews who aren’t living in Israel experience life way differently than we do – it’s much harder to keep your Jewish identity abroad.

When we tell them about Israel, they sometime envy us and really start thinking about “Aliya” – it always comes up.

Israelis tend to take things for granted. The support of the Jewish people around the world, and the USA in particular, must not take for granted. The support we get from American Jews is vital for Israel thriving, from all aspects. There are also a lot of amazing programs in Israel that are being funded by our friends abroad.

To sum up, I understood the importance of that connection and I was glad that I could make it stronger.

Q: Share one of the most memorable moments from your recent tour.

Chen: We were protested at Oregon State University (OSU) by members of the BDS campaign. They entered the classroom with signs saying things such as, ‘End the Occupation’ and ‘Israel is committing genocide.’  They stood in front of the screen, blocking our PowerPoint presentations.

Courtesy of StandWithUs

At first, we tried to talk to them, but they refused to move; eventually we decided to continue anyway.  They heard our stories, and at the end, asked us all their questions. We really created a dialogue. The amazing thing was that it felt like they were actually listening, and although they objected to some of our answers, there were some things they were truly surprised to hear.

We could tell that they began to realize that there may be more to this than they believe and some things they didn’t know.  It was really a memorable moment because it felt like we really made a difference, that we tried and succeeded in creating a dialogue and breaking many of the misconceptions they held.

Also, the rest of the audience thanked us for that dialogue and said they learned a lot.  Jewish students relayed that after hearing us, they feel better equipped on how to deal with these campus groups.

Stanford University’s Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) protesters weren’t there to listen.  They completely disrespected us and were only there to call us liars and murderers. They laughed at us and kept interfering when we tried to answer their questions.

I think that everyone has the right to have their own opinion, but these people don’t know the first thing about the Israeli reality. As someone who grew up around Jerusalem and the West Bank, and lived next to the Gaza border for a year under threat of rockets, it’s absurd when JVP members try to tell me what my reality is.

They have no idea what Israel sometimes has to deal with, and the terrible terror that sometimes affects our life…and, they don’t even care.  They see only one side and completely disregard the other, and that’s wrong.


Omri: Shabbat dinner. Friday night. Beit Chabad. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Maya and I just told our experience in the army in a very intimate event – about 10 Jewish students from the local university.

We share about the Israeli-Palestine conflict from a personal point of view. We end by wishing for peace between the two people.

Right after we conclude, the Rabbi started singing…quietly…alone..

עוד יבוא שלום עלינו, עוד יבוא  שלום עלינו, עוד יבוא שלום עלינו ועל כולם…

(One day, peace will come to us and to everyone)

Then, he raised his voice a bit, and the whole group joined in while banging on the table.

סאלאם, עלינו ועל כל העולם, סאלאם, סאלאם..

(Salam (peace in Arabic) upon us and for all of the world.)

The rhythm of that classic song shook my soul, it felt more relevant now than ever. Our message for peace was successfully delivered.

Q: Who are you aiming for? Who is the target audience you want to reach?

Omri: As I mentioned, I am aiming for anyone who wants to listen.  I am aiming for people who want to challenge their thoughts – those who aren’t rigid in their ideas and want to hear a different opinions and different point of views.

Chen: It’s about reaching anyone who will listen.  It doesn’t matter if they are Jews or not, if they are pro-or-anti-Israel, in between or just didn’t care that much.

It is important that they know that the media doesn’t necessarily provide all the information, or sometimes not even the truth, and that there is so much more to Israel than they may know.

Courtesy of StandWithUs

Q:  What are people still missing when looking at Israel from the outside?

Chen: One of the most important things is that Israel is more than just what they see or read regarding the conflict.  It has such great culture, people, views, economy and so much more.  Sometimes, people forget to look at it as any other modern country such as their own.  Sadly, sometimes Israel must deal with a difficult reality – but that’s only part of what it is.

At the end of the day, I think that most people don’t necessarily know Israel’s reality in the conflict – they look at it from only one angle without realizing that there are always two sides to a story.  Also, people tend to regard things as “black or white,” and the Israeli story has so many different layers.  It’s much more complex than people sometimes think – one story or one fact can never really encapsulate everything.

Omri: They’re probably missing the whole picture.

It’s easy to choose a side and stick to it, especially when the press reporting from the borders twists the reality and fake news fill the social media like a swirling, out-of-control hurricane.

An outsider viewing Israel likely thinks that it is a war zone.  But, they’re missing the fun parts – our beautiful beaches, amazing ancient cities and history, delicious food and incredible people!

Q: How can we contribute to the battle against modern antisemitism and Israel’s delegitimization?

Chen: We can battle against delegitimization through education.  Once individuals have more knowledge, society will be better.  Knowledge is power.  Once people explore different sources of information than just what they see in the news, they will begin to see the other side and the complexity of the issues.

Omri: The first thing that you already did is to read this blog! Half way to go!

The most important thing is to be actively involved. Stand up and defend Israel, don’t let issues pass right you by.

Personally, I believe in education. Spread the truth about Israel, show the good and bad – we’re not perfect, but nor is anyone else. Deliver our realty as it is without any propaganda.  When people know more and are less misinformed, they will fight antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel on their own.

And, you can always ask the StandWithUs team for programs and activities in the USA, Israel, Canada, the UK and Latin America. There’s a lot of good people there that deal with these issues on a daily base.

Q: How can you tell a tour was successful? What are your indicators?

Chen: Having so many people from different places and different ages – teens, collage students or community members – asking questions and being involved and interested in Israel. At the conclusions part of our talks, hearing their reactions and their thoughts about Israel, made me feel as if we really managed to reach them and that our stories touched them.

Omri: My main indicator is the people. After each event, we’re being approached by many people who want to thank us and ask us many personal questions. You can really feel the you’ve affected someone and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Q: This is now the 11th tour. Looking at the past 10 years, do you think the attempts to delegitimize Israel and the wave of modern-day antisemitism is decreasing? 

Omri: This is my first tour, and my first encounter with the American people in America. So it’s hard for me to feel the difference.

That being said, I can feel the wind of change after each and every talk. I can feel the young students, that might never have spoken to an Israeli or even a Jewish person, enlightened  by our meeting.

In my opinion, the roots of modern-day antisemitism is ignorance. There is no place for that in the 21th century.  It’s a process, it might take time, but in the end, knowledge will overcome it.

Michael Dickson, Executive Director StandWithUs- Israel:

“There is no silver bullet for Antisemitism – we expect it to continue. What is important is that we are constantly aware of how the threat metamorphoses. The attempts to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish country remain and they morph into anti-Semitism. 

The ‘Israeli Soldiers Tour’ was created years ago by students in our Fellowship program incensed by the lies being told about the IDF and asked us to confront it.  It continues to grow and the impact the multitude of speaking engagements and interactions these Israeli young adults have – in addition to their online following – is at its peak.  One of the best antidotes to BDS is for people to interact with Israelis – in many cases it is the first time they ever met one – and realize they are just like them.”

Swarthmore SJP Calls for University to Join BDS

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Swarthmore’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter is calling on the university to divest from companies that do business with the Israel.

The Phoenix, Swarthmore’s student newspaper, reports that SJP held a rally on Oct. 9 calling on the school to divest from seven specific companies – a list that included Boeing, Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, Hyundai and Hewlett-Packard – that “are complicit in Israeli settlement of disputed land.”

“I think the goal is more broadly is several things: get Israel to end the blockade on Gaza, get Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank, and allow Palestinians the right of return, which they are guaranteed under international law,” SJP member Fouad Dakwar said at the rally.

Swarthmore Students for Israel wrote in an Oct. 10 statement on Facebook that they “vehemently condemn” SJP’s latest announcement:

Israel is an issue that supersedes religious and political lines and we firmly stand with the Pro-Israel community, both Jewish and non-Jewish alike. As such we recognize the variety of opinions within the pro-Israel spectrum but come together with the soul binding belief that Israel has the right to exist and that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination. Furthermore, Swarthmore College prides itself on critical thinking, open dialogue, and respect for each other’s humanity and right to existence. The BDS movement has proven time and time again that it strictly opposes every single one of these values.

At this time we are unaware how SJP plans to initiate this campaign or how it will manifest, but our student and alumni community can rest assured that we will do our utmost to combat it in all forms as it reveals itself. When the time comes, we hope our allies will reach out and help us defeat this.

The reality stands that pro-Israel and Jewish students are harassed and/or assaulted, both on the national level and within the Swarthmore community. It is unacceptable. The support is here. The community is here. We are here.

Swarthmore Students for Israel’s co-president, Rebekah Katz, wrote an op-ed in The Phoenix titled “BDS is a Denial of My Existence” arguing that while she is a progressive who is critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and supportive of a two-state solution, SJP seeks to destroy Israel altogether:

In my experience, however, advocates of Students for Justice in Palestine don’t necessarily see my viewpoint. They often make the claim Zionism is defined as white supremacy and colonialism, and advocate for BDS as a solution to that erroneous definition, and fail to recognize the spectrum of opinions within the pro-Israel community. If they’re going to draw these conclusions, than they also need to understand how the organizations and movements they support reflect terribly on the cause they claim to be fighting for. When I see Students for Justice in Palestine, I see their co-founder Hatem Bazian perpetuating blatant antisemitism on Twitter by retweeting memes of a foolishly depicted Hassidic men with the overlay “Mom, look! I is chosen! And now I rape, smuggle or steal the land of the Palestinians! #Ashke #Nazi;” I see aggressive and intimidating protest exhibited at UCLA’s Indigenous Peoples Unite panel discussion; I see major activists tweeting (and deleting) things like “‘I would have killed all the jews in the world, But I kept some to show the world why I killed them’ -Hitler- #PrayForGaza #PrayForPalestina.” I see support for indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza landing in civilian homes filled with mothers and children and stabbing attacks and shootings, and blatant conflations of anti-Zionism and antisemitism perpetuated by their own advocates despite my hearing their own constant assertions that they are not the same thing.

Katz added that the SJP-BDS crowd tends to view Israel as simply being a safe haven of “white European and American” Jews, yet ignore the fact that Israel is a place of refuge for “Jews of color in the Yemeni, Mizrachi, North Africa, Sephardic, and Arab communities.”

“To advocate for the disintegration of the Jewish state via BDS is to advocate for the displacement of these very people,” Katz wrote. “And so how do I disregard the reality that the Jewish people are still in danger to this day, that six million of my people were massacred no more than 80 years ago and the constantly impending fear that there’s no telling when a massacre may happen again? How am I supposed to throw away the level of protection that Israel provides by supporting its disintegration? How am I supposed to ignore the millennia of pain my own people have faced? And so, how could I possibly support a movement that, at its core, threatens to take that away?”

Swarthmore Vice President of Finance and Administration Greg Brown told The Phoenix that the university does not divest from companies based on political purposes.

“The investment guidelines of the Board of Managers clearly state that endowment investment decisions are made without regard to social issues,” Brown said.

SJP’s prior activity on Swarthmore’s campus includes protesting a Swarthmore Students for Israel and CAMERA event on campus and calling for the school to boycott Sabra hummus. The university responded to the hummus protest by offering an alternate brand of hummus in addition to Sabra hummus.

Students and Groups Protest U-M for Disciplining Professor

Several groups and University of Michigan students are protesting the university’s decision to discipline Professor John Cheney-Lippold for refusing to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel.

According to Middle East Eye, students marched and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans such as “no justice, no peace” and handed letters to University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel’s and Social Science Dean Elizabeth Cole’s offices decrying the university’s discipline of Cheney-Lippold. The students are threatening to host a sit-in at Schlissel’s floor if he doesn’t respond to their letter in three-to-five days.

Additionally, groups such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) called the university’s actions against Cheney-Lippold a violation of academic freedom.

“We regard your decision to arbitrarily impose disciplinary sanctions on Professor Cheney-Lippold, without affording him any opportunity to explain or justify his action in a fair hearing process with faculty participation, as having violated those principles and that right, as well as your university’s ostensible commitment to faculty governance,” MESA President Judith Tucker told the university in a letter.

As the Journal has reported, Cheney-Lippold will not be eligible for a salary increase this year and will be unable to obtain sabbatical credits until 2020.

However, some pro-Israel groups, such as The Lawfare Project, have criticized the university for not going far enough in their handling of recent controversies.

The Lawfare Project noted in a recent memo to Schlissel that the university has yet to discipline teaching assistant Lucy Peterson, who also refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel and wrote an op-ed defending her actions, and was dismissive of a slide in a required lecture that compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler.

Additionally, the memo called on the university to investigate their academic personnel to ensure they aren’t engaging in academic boycotts against Israel and to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

Student reactions at a recent Board of Regents meeting were mixed, according to the Michigan Daily:

Irving Ginsberg, a Farmington Hills resident, said he felt the letter was an example of anti-Semitism on campus. He said he felt the University had failed to sufficiently punish Cheney-Lippold, and on-campus discrimination continued to occur because of the insufficient response.

“The administration and President Schlissel only acted (weakly) to Professor Lippold’s violation because of widespread national criticism, in contrast to the quick and decisive actions when other minority groups are so treated,” Ginsberg said. “With regard to Lippold’s behavior, only one regent called it what it was, ‘anti-Semitism’ … Not one other regent, nor President Schlissel, nor the administration did the same.”

Another speaker on the issue was West Bloomfield resident Ed Kohl, who said he disapproved of Cheney-Lippold’s actions, but was more appreciative of the stance taken by University President Mark Schlissel and the University. In his speech, he commended past efforts by the University to stamp out anti-Semitism, and said he knew the University would respond adequately on this occasion as well.

“Anti-Jewish bias has a long history in American universities,” Kohl said. “During that history, this University has been a beacon of enlightenment that has well-served Jews and the University itself … The latest outrage is supplied by recommendation-denying graduate instructor Lucy Peterson. Her job is not the pursuit of truth — she proclaims — but is what she called ‘social justice pedagogy.’ Social justice pedagogy is not education. It is blatant propaganda, ideology and indoctrination.”

Schlissel has stated that the university is opposed to all academic boycotts against Israel in an apology to Jewish students.

More Than 30 Student Groups Announce Boycott of NYU Tel Aviv

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

More than 30 student groups are boycotting New York University’s (NYU) study abroad program in Tel Aviv, stating that they don’t want to be “complicit in the state of Israel’s targeted discrimination against activists and Palestinian and Muslim students.”

The groups, which included Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Young Democratic Socialists of America and Jewish Voice for Peace, wrote in a letter published on Medium that it wasn’t right for Israel to blacklist 20 organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering the country.

“The University, as an adoptee of AAUP [American Association of University Professors] principles of academic freedom, has the duty to uphold these standards throughout the Global Network University (GNU) and be proactive in addressing any violations of these principles,” the student groups wrote. “NYU must upgrade its commitment to ensure equal access to GNU sites and to appeal decisions of entry within the Global Network. Until then, the members of our clubs will not study away and/or visit NYU Tel Aviv.”

The groups added that NYU’s student government passed a resolution during the spring that expressed “concern over the lack of global mobility” regarding Israel’s BDS blacklist; the groups were also concerned about the University of Michigan disciplining Professor John Cheney-Lippold over his refusal to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel.

“This sets a dangerous precedent, in which departments have the ability to unjustly penalize faculty simply for their support of Palestinian human rights,” the groups wrote. “As a department, we stand within solidarity with Cheney-Lippold and any faculty and students that support the Israeli academic boycott for Palestinian human rights.”

However, NYU spokesman John Beckman told NYU Local that the university is unequivocally opposed to an academic boycott of Israel.

“While we disagree with Israel’s policy about BDS supporters for precisely the same reasons of academic freedom and scholarly mobility that cause us to oppose academic boycotts, it is worth noting that no NYU student has been prevented from going to Israel, and a case involving a student from a different school was reversed in court,” Beckman said in a statement.

Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) director of the New York-New Jersey region, told the Journal in an email statement, “This action is another indication that university-endorsed study abroad in Israel is the newest tactic in the effort to delegitimize and demonize Israel.  We should be encouraging all students to explore and investigate for themselves. This effort to shut down opportunities for New York University students to conduct academic exploration in Israel is counter to all that higher education stands for.”

Several of the same groups signing the aforementioned letter also expressed support for the BDS movement in April, calling for the university to divest from all companies that conduct business with Israel and to boycott all pro-Israel clubs on campus.

In April 2016, NYU President Andrew Hamilton stated that the university would not engage in any sort of boycott of Israel.

“A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas, and at odds with the University’s position on this matter, as well as the position of GSOC’s [Graduate Student Organizing Committee] parent union,” Hamilton said in a statement. “NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration. And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”

Israel Supreme Court Allows American Student to Study At Hebrew University

Screenshot from Twitter.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 18 that American student Lara Alqasem, 22, should be allowed into Israel and study at Hebrew University. 

Alqasem had been detained at Ben-Gurion Airport for two weeks because the Israeli government believes that she is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement due to her past membership in University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter.

The court, however, concluded that there was no evidence that Alqasem had been involved in BDS activity since April 2017 and that her desire to study in Israel is anathema to the BDS movement.

“The inevitable impression is that invalidating the visa given to her was due to the political opinions she holds,” the ruling states. “If this is truly the case, then we are talking about an extreme and dangerous step, which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy in Israel stands.”

However, the court warned that Alqasem could be expelled if she reverted back to BDS activism.

Alqasem told Haaretz in a statement, “I’m relieved at the court’s decision and incredibly grateful for the work of my amazing and tireless lawyers Yotam Ben Hillel and Leora Bechor as well as the support of my family and friends. I will be happy to say more when I’ve had a chance to rest and process.”

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan called the court’s ruling a “big victory for BDS”:

“The court minimized the extremist and anti-Semitic nature of SJP, the organization of which Alqasem served as president,” Erdan charged in his statement. “Furthermore, the justices essentially ignored the fact that she erased her social media networks to hide her activities before arriving in Israel.

“Their ruling opens the door for BDS activists to enter the country simply by enrolling in an academic program and declaring that they do not support boycotts at the present moment,” warned Erdan, who is also public security minister.

Erdan indicated that he would support legislation that prevents BDS activists from taking advantage of the court’s ruling.

COMMENTARY: One Way Gillum Can Show He Is Pro-Israel

Screenshot from Twitter.

Andrew Gillum, the Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate, say he is pro-Israel and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

A good way Gillum can show that would be denouncing former Democratic State Sen. Dwight Bullard, who chairs the New Florida Vision PAC that supports Gillum.

Gillum can follow the lead of his statewide Jewish outreach consultant, Hava Holzhauer, who criticized then- State Sen. Bullard when she was the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Florida Regional Director. In her words:

The Senator’s decision to take part in this tour led by a person apparently affiliated with a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that advocates for the violent destruction of Israel is deeply troubling and offensive. And his assertion of ignorance about this affiliation is grossly deficient. The Senator should unconditionally condemn the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] and apologize to his constituents.

We are also troubled and concerned that during the trip the Senator met with Omar Barghouti, founder of the ‘Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement’, which too often employs anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel, but failed to meet with Israelis and hear their viewpoints. By engaging with persons who wish to void the very right of Israelis to exist, the senator’s efforts were not only misguided, but harmful to those on both sides of the conflict seeking a peaceful two-state solution.

Gillum’s opponent, former Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), came under fire recently after a donor of his tweeted a racial slur toward former President Obama. Gillum’s campaign told the Associated Press at the time, “It is up to Congressman DeSantis to explain to Floridians why he has chosen to associate himself with right wing extremist groups and divisive individuals who want to pit us against one another.”

Gillum’s campaign should follow their own standards and denounce Bullard for going on a tour that was guided by a PFLP member and voicing support for the BDS movement.

Lawfare Project Warns U-M of Potential Legal Action

Photo from Flickr.

The Lawfare Project, an organization that provides legal defense for Jewish and pro-Israel students, wrote in a memorandum to University of Michigan administrators that the school could be subject to legal liability if it doesn’t properly address the recent controversies that have engulfed the campus.

The Oct. 15 memo, which the Journal has obtained, begins by noting that the university could “be subject to liability under federal anti-discrimination law as well as other provisions of federal law and the Michigan Compiled Laws and Constitution” if they don’t adequately address the “hostile environment” on campus toward Jewish students.

Two instructors at the university have declined to write letters of recommendation to students who wanted to study abroad in Israel; one of the instructors, Professor John Cheney-Lippold, has been disciplined by the school. However, Lawfare notes in their memo that the university has yet to commit to an investigation of academic boycotts within their academic personnel and has yet to take any action against the second instructor, teaching assistant Lucy Peterson.

“This is neither an issue of free speech nor an issue of academic freedom. A refusal by a state actor to write a letter of recommendation for Jewish students wishing to study in the Jewish state is not protected speech––it is unlawful conduct,” the memo states. “These principles are enshrined in American jurisprudence: one cannot refuse services to an individual based on that person’s membership in a protected class, and then attempt to hide their bigotry behind the First Amendment.”

Additionally, during an Oct. 4 lecture required for art students, former Black Panther Emory Douglas showed an image comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahut to Adolf Hitler. After University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said it was “one of nearly 200 slides,” Art & Design student Alexa Smith has revealed that Douglas had presented a second anti-Semitic slide during the lecture.

“This attempt to minimize the anti-Semitic content of the lecture suggests that President Schlissel was either unaware of, or ambivalent to, other, even more abhorrent slides that have been unearthed since his statement was released––including one that depicts Jews as pigs, drinking from bottles of money and holding a wand with a Star of David,” the memo states. “This imagery invokes history’s classical––and most genocidal––anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and all the deep-seated bigotry associated with them. The Jew-hatred inherent in this presentation cannot be whitewashed by pointing to the number of other, ‘non-Jew-hating’ slides in the lecture.”

The memo went on to cite other instances that have created the “hostile environment” on campus, including a swastika painted on the men’s bathroom at the university in November 2017, the same day that the school’s student government approved an Israel divestment resolution.

The memo concludes by suggesting that the university investigate and thoroughly sanction their academic personnel for engaging in boycotts of Israel, adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, and issue a statement condemning all forms of anti-Semitism. The memo also indicates that some students are looking into possible “legal options” against the university.

“Today The Lawfare Project urged the University of Michigan to take appropriate steps to respond to recent disturbing incidents of blatant anti-Semitism on campus,” Larry Hill, chairman of The Lawfare Project, said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation at U-M very carefully, watching to see what the university administration says and does moving forward. There is no academic benefit to the use of images invoking the most hateful and conspiratorial anti-Semitic canards, and no free speech right to impose one’s own political agenda on students under one’s control and tutelage. U-M has a moral and legal responsibility to address discrimination on campus, and we hope it will take swift action to fulfill that obligation.”

Israeli Court Denies American Student’s Appeal

Screenshot from Twitter.

An Israeli court denied 22-year-old American student Lara Alqasem’s appeal to enter the country, meaning that she can either appeal the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court or be deported back to the United States.

Alqasem has been detained at Ben Gurion Airport for the past 10 days due to her past membership and leadership positions in University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is one of the organizations on Israel’s blacklist that they have barred from entering the country.

Alqasem and her family have downplayed her involvement with the SJP chapter, stating that while she has been critical of some of the Israeli government’s policies, she is not supportive of BDS; she just wants to study at Hebrew University.

However, the district court in Tel Aviv did not find her appeal compelling, according to the Times of Israel:

The judge, Erez Yekuel, found that there was “no disputing” that Alqasem from 2014-17 was a member of an organization that called to boycott Israel, and for two years was the president of its Florida campus chapter, and that the organization allegedly urged the “boycott of Israeli society” and expressed support for those who carried out activities to harm Israel.

He cited contradictions in her testimony, noted that she had wiped her social media history, and found that the state had the right to bar someone who sought to harm the country’s economy and image.

The ruling also stated, “Any self-respecting state defends its own interests and those of its citizens, and has the right to fight against the actions of a boycott… as well as any attacks on its image.”

Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister of public affairs and security, also stated that Alqasem’s letter to him appealing his decision never actually renounced her past support for BDS.

Hebrew University, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and J Street are among the organizations that are calling for Israel to let Alqasem in.

The United States government has defended the Israeli government’s decision.

As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don’t agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said.

More background and nuance on the Israeli law in question and how it relates to Alqasem can be read here.

U Mich President Apologizes to Jewish Students Over Recent Controversies

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Mark Schlissel, the president of the University of Michigan, apologized to Jewish students in a letter sent out to the university community over the recent controversies on campus.

Schlissel first addressed the two instructors, professor John Cheney-Lippold and graduate student instructor Lucy Peterson, who refused to write letters of recommendations to students who wanted to study abroad in Israel.

Refusing to write letters of recommendation for political reasons violates university policy, Schlissel stated.

“U-M strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and no school, college, department or unit at our university endorses such a boycott,” Schlissel said. “Our view is that educators at a public university have an obligation to support students’ academic growth, and we expect anyone with instructional responsibilities to honor this fundamental university value. Our students deserve to be afforded all of the opportunities they have earned through their academic merit.”

Schlissel added that the university has established “a panel of distinguished faculty members to examine the intersection between political thought/ideology and faculty members’ responsibilities to students.”

The university is also apologized to the two Jewish students who were denied letters and is helping the two students gather everything they need to complete their applications to study abroad in Israel.

On the matter of the required lecture that featured a slide comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler, Schlissel noted that the speaker, former Black Panther member Emory Douglas, was invited to campus to discuss his artwork.

“Israel was not singled out here as imagery critical of many other political leaders was also a part of the talk,” Schlissel said. “This was the point of the talk itself – that imagery can be a powerful component of movements aimed at social justice.”

However, Schlissel acknowledged that it was understandable why students would be offended at the Netanyahu-Hitler analogy.

“We are sorry students were hurt by this experience,” Schlissel said.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised Schlissel’s statement in a tweet:

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, also praised Schlissel’s statement as well as the university’s decision to discipline Cheney-Lippold in an email to the Journal: 

“We commend President Schlissel for his strong statement and the welcomed disciplinary measures taken against Cheney-Lippold. We are pleased that U-M has recognized the serious harm that an academic boycott’s implementation causes its own students. U-M has shown leadership in curbing this discriminatory behavior and stood up for all of its students’ civil and academic rights with this precedent. While the public discussion started with one student sharing her misguided professor’s actions, there are more than two dozen U-M professors who have expressed public support for the academic boycott. The problem is bigger than just John Cheney-Lippold, as further evidenced by recent reports of a second, nearly identical incident that harmed another student. We fully commend U-M for the steps taken thus far to discipline Cheney-Lippold, and for establishing a panel that we hope will lead to a clear and comprehensive policy on professors who attempt to use their professional positions to push a personal, political agenda.  Hundreds of faculty serving on U.S. campuses have endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.  We hope other university presidents will follow President Schlissel’s leadership.”  

American Student Barred From Israel for Alleged BDS Support

Screenshot from Twitter.

Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old American student, is currently being detained in Ben Gurion Airport because the Israeli government has barred her from entering the Jewish state due to her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Alqasem is enrolled to study human rights law for a year at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. But the Israeli government has given her an ultimatum – renounce BDS or go back to the United States.

“If Lara Alqasem will tomorrow in her own voice, not through all kinds of lawyers or statements that can be misconstrued, say that support for BDS is not legitimate and she regrets what she did, we will certainly reconsider our position,” Israeli Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Israeli Army Radio.

Alqasem appealed the government’s actions, claiming before a tribunal that she is not a BDS supporter and won’t visit the Palestinian territories during her time in Israel. The tribunal denied her appeal, but gave her an extension.

“This is a 22-year-old who definitely cannot be in support of an academic boycott,” Leora Bechor, one of Alqasem’s Israeli lawyers, told The New York Times. “She wants to study here.”

Hebrew University has even weighed in and called for the Israeli government to let Alqasem study at their university.

“What’s being done regarding this student hurts our activities against BDS,” Hebrew University President Asher Cohen told Army Radio. “She wants to come here and learn … that activity of hers is against BDS.”

According to Canary Mission, Alqasem was a member of the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, serving as the chapter’s president and vice-president at one point. The Canary Mission report on Alqasem states that while she was part of SJP, she participated in an event boycotting Sabra Hummus.

During the event, the then-president of UF’s SJP accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.”

Also during Alqasem’s tenure with UF’s SJP, the chapter showed support for Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted by an Israeli court for being a key player in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two college students. They also showed support for Samer Issawi, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison by an Israeli court for shooting at Israelis and distributing pipe bombs, according to Canary Mission.

Erdan’s ministry has also reportedly said that they are suspicious of Alqasem scrubbing her social media accounts entirely.

In January, Israel blacklisted 20 pro-BDS organizations from entering the country, one of which was SJP.

Second U Mich Instructor Refuses to Write Letter for Student to Study in Israel

Photo from Flickr.

A second instructor at the University of Michigan has denied writing a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel, according to The Washington Post.

On Oct. 1, junior Jake Secker, an economics major and entrepreneurial minor, asked teaching assistant Lucy Peterson to write him a letter of recommendation. Peterson at first committed to writing the letter, only to decline when she learned that Secker wanted to study in Israel.

“Along with numerous other academics in the US and elsewhere, I have pledged myself to a boycott of Israeli institutions as a way of showing solidarity with Palestine,” Peterson wrote. “Please know that this decision is not about you as a student or a person, and I would be happy to write a recommendation for you if you end up applying to other programs.”

Secker met with LSA Associate Social Sciences Dean Rosario Caballo on Oct. 5, where she offered to write him the letter of recommendation and pledged that “some sort of change” would come.

Similarly, on Sept. 5, professor John Cheney-Lippold told junior Abigail Ingber, a Literature, Science and Arts major, that he couldn’t write her the letter because “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that the university needs to take action because such academic boycotts “have a chilling effect on Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.”

“We are strong supporters of academic freedom. Certainly everyone, including professors, has a right to openly express their views of the policies of the elected Israeli government,” Greenblatt said. “But this should not be at the expense of students seeking to broaden their academic experiences.”

Greenblatt added, “These professors indicated they had no problem writing recommendations for students who might study in any other country in the world.  Singling out Israel alone among all the nations of the world as worthy of boycott, according to the State Department working definition, potentially crosses the line from criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.”

The university has previously said that they are staunchly opposed to an academic boycott of any kind; Rick Fitzgerald, the assistant vice president for public affairs at the University of Michigan told the Post that he couldn’t comment on the matter of Secker without his permission.

U Mich Speaker Compares Netanyahu to Hitler in Required Lecture

Screenshot from Facebook.

The University of Michigan brought a speaker to campus as part of a required course for students who compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler as part of his lecture.

Alexa Smith, a student at the university, wrote in a Friday Facebook post that she was mandated to watch Emory Douglas, who is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movements and a former Black Panther, give “an overtly anti-Semitic lecture.” She shared a photo of a slide from Douglas’ lecture that juxtaposed Netanyahu and Hitler with the words “Guilty of Genocide” emblazoned across their heads.

Accompanying the slide was the definition of genocide: “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.”

“In what world is it OK for a mandatory course to host a speaker who compares Adolf Hitler to the Prime Minister of Israel?” Smith wrote.

She added, “As a Wolverine, I sat through this lecture horrified at the hatred and intolerance being spewed on our campus. As a Jew who is proud of my people and my homeland, I sat through this lecture feeling targeted and smeared to be as evil as the man who perpetuated the Holocaust and systematically murdered six million Jews.”

Smith noted that she sat through a required lecture a couple years ago in which the speaker called Israel a terror state and that Israeli soldiers were not human.

“This time I will no longer sit quietly and allow others to dehumanize my people and my community,” Smith wrote. “The administration is repeatedly failing to forcefully respond to antisemitism, and so it comes back worse and worse each time. A line needs to be drawn and it needs to be drawn now.”

Yesterday I was forced to sit through an overtly antisemitic lecture as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series, which…

Posted by Alexa Smith on Friday, October 5, 2018

The event was hosted by the Stamps School of Art & Design for their “Penny Stamps Speakers Series Presentation.” Art students are required to watch 11 specific lectures; one of those lectures was Douglas’ lecture.

The University of Michigan told The Daily Wire in a statement:

“The menu of speakers is diverse and dynamic and we do not control or censor what they say. You may find that you discover even more about yourself and the world around you from that which you debate or those with whom you find conflict in view. Discovering what you do not agree with will help you find your voice as much or more perhaps than the things you find resonance with.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that the Netanyahu-Hitler analogy was anti-Semitic:

In a statement sent to the Journal via email, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called the required lecture “beyond an outrage.”

“In the name of free speech, a public university invites a speaker who equates in word and visually Netanyahu and Hitler with the term genocide,” Cooper said. “Students are required to sit through a propaganda presentation based on an insidious lie. If Hitler was ultimate evil and Bibi = Hitler what’s the message to fellow students about Jews/Zionists on campus? Beyond an outrage.”

“Will the University apologize or take action or make a comment beyond protecting free speech of bigot?”

Amanda Berman, the co-founder and president of the Zioness movement, praised Smith on Facebook.

“I am so proud of this amazing Zioness Alexa Smith for standing up for herself amid an increasingly hostile environment for Jewish students at the University of Michigan,” Berman wrote. “Everyone should read this and be aware of what is going on — just two weeks after a professor refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student wishing to study abroad in Tel Aviv. This is anti-Semitism and we must all fight it together.”

J.K. Rowling’s New Book to Feature Anti-Semite As Villain

Photo from Wikipedia.

J.K. Rowling, author of the world famous Harry Potter series, will feature an anti-Semite as the villain in her upcoming book.

According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), the book, titled “Lethal White,” describes the antagonist, Jimmy Knight, as becoming an anti-Semite due to his hatred for Israel:

“I wouldn’t trust him if it was anything to do with Jews,” Knight’s ex-wife tells a detective. “He doesn’t like them. Israel’s the root of all evil, according to Jimmy. Zionism: I got sick of the bloody sound of the word. You’d think they’d suffered enough,” she says of Jews.

“Lethal White” is the fourth book in the Galbraith mystery series, where Rowling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, writes about the adventures of detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.

Rowling was one of 150 British artists in 2015 to sign a letter protesting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Jerusalem Post notes. Rowling explained in 2015 why she felt that that the BDS movement was unfair even though she is opposed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies:

“I have deplored most of Mr Netanyahu’s actions in office. However, I do not believe that a cultural boycott will force Mr Netanyahu from power, nor have I ever heard of a cultural boycott ending a bloody and prolonged conflict.

“If any effects are felt from the proposed boycott, it will be by ordinary Israelis, many of whom did not vote for Mr Netanyahu. Those Israelis will be right to ask why cultural boycotts are not also being proposed against – to take random examples – North Korea and Zimbabwe, whose leaders are not generally considered paragons by the international community.”

She has also called out anti-Zionists and anti-Semites on Twitter. She has also confirmed that one of the characters in Harry Potter, Anthony Goldstein, is in fact Jewish.

However, Rowling has stated that she views Harry Potter as “a Palestinian child fighting against the hardships and evil around him,” according to the Post.

Jewish Groups Call for Disciplinary Action Against Michigan Professor

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Myriad Jewish groups are calling for University of Michigan Professor John Cheney-Lippold to be disciplined for refusing to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel.

In a Friday letter organized by the AMCHA Initiative, 58 Jewish groups, including World Jewish Congress, The Lawfare Project and the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said that recent statements from University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel and the university were insufficient.

“Impeding a student’s ability to participate in a university-approved educational program in order to carry out political activism is reprehensible. Individual faculty members have the right to express public support for an academic boycott of Israel,” the letter states. “But when faculty like Prof. Cheney-Lippold go as far as implementing the boycott’s guidelines by taking action to suppress students’ ability to travel to or study about Israel, they have abrogated the most basic professorial responsibility of promoting the academic welfare of their students.

“Such discriminatory behavior that impedes the rights of students must be sanctioned to the fullest extent of university policy.”

The letter added that the Wednesday statement from the university, saying they were “disappointed” in Cheney-Lippold, but didn’t actually condemn Cheney-Lippold’s actions and gave credence to the various opinions held by professors at the university.

“Both your omission and inclusion give the impression that individual U-M professors will be permitted by your administration to discriminate against students wanting to study about and in Israel,” the letter states. “This is deeply alarming, given that there are at least two dozen U-M faculty members in a number of departments who have expressed public support for the academic boycott of Israel, including seven faculty members currently serving as chairs and directors of U-M academic departments and programs. Left unaddressed, this isolated incident could lead to unchecked discrimination, and the denial to students of their fundamental rights.”

Additionally,  in a Friday press release, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for the Department of Education to investigate the matter, as well as for the university to discipline in the professor.

“This goes well beyond criticizing Israel, disagreeing with Israeli policy or even a personal boycott of Israel, which is despicable but a protected right,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said. “Jewish students are being punished for their affinity with Israel. In denying the letter of recommendation purely on his dislike of Israel and using a double standard to justify it, Cheney-Lippold has egregiously violated this young woman’s civil rights.”

Cooper asked if Cheney-Lippold would ever refuse to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in China or Pakistan, calling it “a gross hypocrisy.”

“Jewish students need protection from the likes of Cheney-Lippold and the academic bigotry he practices,” Cooper said. “University of Michigan and other great universities must hold anti-Semitic civil rights violators accountable for undermining the academy’s core mission.”

StandWithUs and Alums for Campus Fairness also sent a letter to Schlissel arguing that Cheney-Lippold should be disciplined based on the university’s policies.

“Mr. Cheney-Lippold’s email discriminates against Jewish students based on their religion, Israeli students based on their national origin and others at the University of Michigan who wish to study in Israel,” the letter states. “Furthermore, his refusal to write a letter of recommendation based on his support of a discriminatory academic boycott adversely affected a student’s education at the university. As you know, studying abroad is an enriching educational opportunity and a vital service offered to University of Michigan students. Mr. Cheney-Lippold is creating an ‘intimidating, hostile, [and] offensive’ education environment for this student, which unreasonably interferes with her’“participation in a University activity,’ in violation of university policy.”

German Festival Rescinds Invitation of Singer Musician Who Advocated for BDS

Screenshot from Facebook.

A German music festival has disinvited musician Brian Eno from performing at its upcoming event because he signed a Sept. 7 letter calling for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be boycotted because it will be held in Israel.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer had been scheduled to appear at October’s Electricity Conference in Düsseldorf and provide an exhibition of his video paintings as well as lead a workshop, but a key sponsor rescinded support for Eno’s appearance because of his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We don’t want to invite anyone who supports activities against the State of Israel, even if you cannot agree with the current settlement policy,” Rüdiger Esch, an organizer for the Electricity Conference, told German newspaper Westdeutsche Zeitung.

Eno, as well as former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, were among the 140 artists who signed the letter, which was published in The Guardian. The letter stated, “Until Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equal rights, there should be no business-as-usual with the state that is denying them their basic rights.”

Complaint Filed Against UK Charity Over Ties to Terrorism

Screenshot from Facebook.

The Lawfare Project and UK Lawyers for Israel filed a complaint on Wednesday against a British charity over its ties to terrorism and its anti-Israel activism.

The complaint states that the charity, War on Want, bills itself as a social justice organization that works to ameliorate poverty and inequality and fight for human rights, yet it has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has been designated as a terror group by various Western countries.

The War on Want partners with various NGOs that have ties to the PFLP, such as Addameer, which has many various PFLP members. The War on Want has worked with Addameer in boycotting G4S, which has provided goods and services to Israeli prisons; they have also promoted a campaign advocated for the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons.

Additionally, the War on Want names Al Haq, which says it has been “Defending Human rights in Palestine since 1979,” as a partner of the organization in a booklet; Al Haq’s general director, Shawan Jabarin, is a part of PFLP leadership. Al Haq also champions the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-to-slay” policy of paying terrorists and their families to murder Israelis.

The War on Want also partners with the Palestinian BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] Committee, an umbrella organization for various entities with ties to a myriad of a Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas, the PFLP and Islamic Jihad.

The complaint also argues that War on Want’s frequent activism against Israel through its promotion of the BDS movement – such as its campaign for Israeli Apartheid Week at British universities – is political activism with no connection to its stated charitable goals, noting that poverty in Gaza and the West Bank has improved “since Israel imposed various controls following Gaza’s takeover by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

The last point mentioned in the complaint is that the War on Want disseminates “misleading” information on the Israel/Palestinian complaint, including false statements about Israeli prisons being mired in “poor conditions” and referring to Palestinian terrorists as “political prisoners.”

“War on Want produces and disseminates false propaganda against Israel that misleads donors and other members of the public, stokes hatred of Israel and Jews, and encourages anti-Semitism, contrary to the public benefit,” the complaint concludes.

According to NGO Monitor, the War on Want faced a complaint from Jewish Human Rights Watch in 2016 due to its ties to terror and anti-Israel activism “that has no bearings on the object of charity.” The War on Want has frequently accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “war crimes” and advocates for Britain to cease arm sales to Israel.

N.Y. State Senate Candidate Faces Questions Over Claims of Jewish Ancestry

Photo from Twitter.

Julia Salazar, a member of Democratic Socialists of America who is running for the New York state senate and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, faces questions over her claims that she is Jewish.

According to Tablet, Salazar has claimed that her father is of Sephardic Jewish descent and has frequently invoked her claim of Jewish heritage in her comments about Israel, such as stating in Mondoweiss in 2014: “Like most American Jews, I was raised with the delusion that Israel was a safe haven for me, perhaps even the only safe place for Jews.”

Salazar has also argued that the BDS movement is not inherently anti-Semitic, telling Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA): “The goal of BDS is to have some measurable effect in order to force the more powerful actor — the state [Israel] — to change course.”

Additionally, Salazar, under the name Julia Carmel, wrote in Mondoweiss that she was blocked from the Allendy border in Israel in 2014; she was also among the nine IfNotNow activists arrested in 2014 for engaging in civil disobedience protests against what Salazar deemed as the “assault on Gaza,” Operation Protective Edge.

However, the Tablet piece produced evidence calling Salazar’s Jewish ancestry into question, citing quotes from family members stating that no one in their family was Jewish:

“A 2009 funeral notice for her father, a former commercial airline pilot named Luis Hernan Salazar, indicates that the service was held at the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Ormond Beach, Florida. When reached by phone, Alex Salazar, the candidate’s older brother and the operator of a number of Florida mango farms, said that one of their father’s brothers was a Jesuit priest. (He also seemed to know very little about her campaign and seemed surprised when I told him she stood a good chance of winning.) ‘There was nobody in our immediate family who was Jewish … my father was not Jewish, we were not raised Jewish,’ he said. Their mother, Christine Salazar, indicated in a public September 2012 Facebook post that she planned on attending services at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, a nondenominational evangelical church in downtown Brooklyn.”

The Tablet article also notes that in college Salazar was active in Christians United for Israel and has past tweets referencing Christianity, such as a 2012 tweet stating, “Follow #Christ for his own sake, if you plan to follow Him at all.”

Salazar lashed out at Tablet in response, tweeting, “I virtually never speak publicly about my religion unless media explicitly ask me about it. And that’s largely because I don’t enjoy subjecting myself to Tablet-esque race science, as a person from a mixed background.”

Salazar also told JTA she took a conversion class at Columbia-Barnard Hillel in 2012, where she “learned how to read Torah and had the option of going through a b’nai mitzvah ceremony (along with two other women who studied with me) but declined to do it.”

However, JTA noted that “Halachah, or Jewish law, however, considers someone Jewish if their mother was Jewish, if they converted under rabbinical authority or, in the Reform movement, if their only Jewish parent was their father.”

Salazar has also come under scrutiny for claiming on the campaign trail that she is a Colombian immigrant, however she has since admitted that she was born in Miami.

Salazar has been endorsed by New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Linda Sarsour.

Britain’s Corbyn Reportedly Met With Hamas Leaders in 2010

Photo from Wikipedia.

A recent report from i24 News states that UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn met with Hamas leaders in 2010, back when he was a largely unknown member of parliament.

According to i24, Corbyn visited Hamas leaders Aziz Dweik, Mahmoud al Ramahi, Muna Saleem Mansour, Naser Abd El-Jawad and Omar Abdel Razeq in Ramallah, as well as Hamas leaders Ahmed Attoun, Khaled Abu-Arafah and Muhammad Totah in East Jerusalem. Corbyn did not meet with a single Jewish Israeli on his trip.

After the trip, Corbyn wrote in The Morning Star, “It is time to bring those Israelis who committed crimes against humanity to account and to end the EU [European Union] Israel Trade Agreement while the occupation and settlement policy continues.”

The trip was funded by Middle East Monitor (MEMO) and Friends of Al-Aqsa. The aforementioned groups provided Corbyn with £927 ($1,500), well above the £660 ($840) gift threshold in which MPs have to report to parliament. But Corbyn never reported the trip to parliament.

The i24 report is the latest in a series of Palestinian terror-related controversies for Corbyn. Photos unearthed by the UK Daily Mail showed Corbyn laying a wreath at a Tunisia ceremony commemorating the 1972 Munich terrorists. An August 21 Daily Mail report showed photos of Corbyn in 2015 speaking to Hamas supporters in Parliament, including one Hamas supporter who said he wished he could conduct a suicide bombing for “Palestine.”

Palestinian Ambassador Manuel Hassassian praised Corbyn and the Labour Party for being “principled” on their watered-down anti-Semitism rules. Hamas said they “Salute Jeremy Corbyn’s supportive positions to the Palestinians.”

University of Arizona Hires Hezbollah Supporter to Teach Course on Politics

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

New documents obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that the University of Arizona is paying Noam Chomsky, a long-time critic of Israel who has praised Hezbollah, at least $62,500 a year to teach a political course for the university.

According to Judicial Watch, Chomsky was initially brought on as a guest lecturer, and then became a part-time “consultant” for the university, where he was paid $10,000 per lecture and was only required to show up for six lectures. The university then signed Chomsky to a three-year deal from 2017-2020 with annual salary of $250,000; the average yearly salary for a full-time engineering professor at UA is $80,000. The university disputes the $250,000 figure, claiming that Chomsky will only receive 25 percent ($62,500) of that salary.

Chomsky is teaching a general education course at the university called “What Is Politics?”, a general education course that discusses “political analysis” and “how governments differ” as well as giving seminars on linguistics.

Chomsky has long been a critic of Israel. In 2014, he told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman in 2014, “In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel.” Chomsky also said that interview that he is “strongly supportive” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

His criticism for Israel goes as far as expressing support for the Hezbollah terror group; in 2006, Chomsky said that “Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its arms is justified” after he met with the terror group in Lebanon.

“I think [Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan] Nasrallah has a reasoned argument and [a] persuasive argument that they [the arms] should be in the hands of Hezbollah as a deterrent to potential aggression, and there is plenty of background reasons for that,” Chomsky said.

As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) points out, shortly after Chomsky’s comments Hezbollah launched “an unprovoked attack on Israel.”

Additionally, UK Media Watch’s Adam Levick noted in an Algemeiner column that Chomsky recently told the UK Independent, “Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.” Levick also cited past statements from Chomsky in which he claimed that anti-Semitism is only an issue because “Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population” and that “Hitler’s conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist commentary.”

Chris Sigurdson, The UA’s vice president of communications, has defended the decision to have Chomsky teach a class by arguing that the campus has frequently hosted conservative speakers, such as filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza.

Palestinian Congressional Candidate Has Made A Litany of Anti-Israel Statements

Screenshot from Facebook.

A Palestinian congressional candidate is being celebrated as the presumptive first Muslim woman to be elected to Congress. She also has a lengthy list of anti-Israel comments, as first reported by Algemeiner and The Daily Wire.

Rashida Tlaib, whose parents are from the West Bank, served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives before winning the Democratic primary on August 7 for the seat vacated by former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). No Republicans are challenging Tlaib for the seat, meaning Tlaib will be Conyers’ successor.

Tlaib’s history of anti-Israel statements include the following:

· Linking to an article on Twitter with the headline “How Israel Is Inciting Palestinian Violence” and writing, “This article is on point. I have witnessed it myself.”

· Tweeting support for Rasmea Odeh, who faces a life sentence in Israeli for murdering two American students in a 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem.

· Tweeting that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meant that Harris is no longer “part of the resistance to racism against ALL people.”

· Telling The New York Times that her Palestinian roots give her “strength” and that she “will fight back against racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled” as she adorned a Palestinian flag.

Additionally, a key donor of Tlaib’s, Maher Abdelqader, once called for former President Obama to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and celebrated a former Syrian Catholic bishop who funneled weapons to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as a “freedom fighter,” according to the Algemeiner.

In addition to her anti-Israel statements, Tlaib is an avowed socialist and has been endorsed by J Street.

Pro-Palestinian Group Disputes Booker’s Claim He Didn’t Know About Anti-Israel Sign

REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has faced some heat for posing with a sign that read “From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go.” Booker’s spokesperson has said that Booker didn’t read the sign; now the pro-Palestinian group associated with the sign is disputing that claim.

Here is the picture of Booker with the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) sign at the recent Netroots Nation conference:

Booker’s spokesperson, Jeff Giertz, told Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Booker “didn’t have time to read the sign.”

“From his cursory glance he thought it was talking about Mexico and didn’t realize it had anything to do with Israel,” Giertz said.

However, the USCPR told The Intercept that Booker had to have known what the sign said because they spoke to him prior to taking the photo.

“It was in this overwhelmingly supportive environment at Netroots Nation that our contingent had the opportunity to meet Sen. Cory Booker briefly and discuss our work for freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people before posing for a photo with him,” a representative for the pro-Palestinian group said.

The Intercept’s Zaid Jilani also pointed out that one of the USCPR members was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the line, “Palestine is a queer, feminist, refugee, racial justice issue.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to Booker’s photo by touting the Israeli security fence for having “successfully halted suicide bombers” and asking the senator to clarify his stance on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“We understand that the senator does not fully grasp what the sign said, but he is a leading American political figure who has been touted as a future President of our nation,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement. “Therefore, The Simon Wiesenthal Center respectfully asks Senator Booker to clarify his stance on the anti-Israel BDS campaigns and on the anti-terrorist barriers that Israel has constructed.”

Booker has previously spoken in front of and taken money from pro-Israel groups, but has differed from them lately with his support of the Iran nuclear deal and vote against the Taylor Force Act, as well as a bill that prevents United States companies from engaging in the BDS movement.

Faculty Initiatives on Israel Help to Shift the Campus Climate

On-campus BDS campaigns in 2017-18 were notable for their extremist rhetoric and isolating actions. Everything from a coalition of pro-boycott groups refusing to collaborate with Jewish and pro-Israel organizations at NYU, to a demand from pro-BDS students at SUNY Stony Brook that the campus Hillel be removed and replaced by a “proper Jewish organization…that doesn’t support Israel,” to a mob of pro-BDS protesters shutting down a student government meeting at UCSB. There is little indication that this upcoming year will see any downturn in this poisonous discourse – indeed, a Stanford University student recently stepped down as a resident assistant after threatening to “physically fight [Z]ionists” on campus.

Organizations combating BDS have a difficult road ahead in responding to these campaigns. “Fighting fire with fire” is often a divisive, exhausting and even traumatic process for many students, and might also lead to the perception among the vast majority of students who are indifferent to these issues on campus that the pro-Israel side is morally equivalent to its opponents. On the other hand, allowing campaigns filled with ugly rhetoric, double standards, and unsubstantiated claims about Israel to go unanswered would be to give pro-BDS activists an undeserved victory.

One way of transcending this dilemma is to leverage the role of supportive faculty. Unlike undergraduate students, who generally experience campus life for only four or five years, faculty have institutional knowledge, ties to administrators and other stakeholders, and, in many cases, academic expertise in relevant fields. Faculty can mentor pro-Israel students, advise on strategy and tactics and develop innovative educational programming. They can help students become more effective advocates, and shift perceptions of Israel through education, research, and dialogue. The knowledge, experience, and general role of faculty give them the unique ability to positively impact the campus climate in the longer term, beyond the momentary drama created by a divestment vote in student government or a hostile speaker invited by a pro-BDS group.

Indeed, faculty members affiliated with the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) have been doing exactly this for the last few years. With the assistance of AEN’s resources, they developed coursework on various aspects of Israeli history, politics, and society. They hosted speakers on topics ranging from the history of the BDS movement to contemporary Israeli film, leading to increased engagement and interest among students and faculty. They wrote op-eds in response to student BDS campaigns, highlighting the factual inaccuracies in the claims made by BDS supporters and emphasizing the pernicious impact of BDS on the campus climate.

They are also using the occasion of Israel’s 70th year of statehood to develop innovative programs showcasing Israel’s achievements, diversity, and complexity. In Spring 2018, AEN members hosted a talk on Israeli politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship by a former editor of AIPAC’s Near East Report at Ball State University; a lecture on national identity in Israeli art from the pre-Statehood period at USC by Dalia Manor, director and chief curator of the Negev Museum of Art and Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures; and a dialogue between two thought leaders, liberal and conservative, on current events in Israel at Ursinus College. More ambitious events are planned for the upcoming academic year, including a convening of over 30 Israel Studies scholars in a two-day-long program on modern Israel at Michigan State University, an exhibit featuring original historical artifacts from the era of the founding of Israel at UCLA, and a one-day symposium on Israel-India relations at Northeastern Illinois University.

All of these programs give students, faculty, and the broader community the opportunity to engage with Israel in innovative and academically rigorous ways. Particularly in a time of ugly, polarized discourse, there could be no greater rebuke to the BDS movement and its goals.

Raeefa Shams is Senior Communications Associate at the Academic Engagement Network, an organization of over 600 faculty members who oppose the BDS movement, support freedom of speech, and promote robust discussion of Israel on campus. She is based in Washington, DC.

Sen. Cory Booker Takes Picture With Anti-Israel Group’s Sign, Claims He Didn’t Read the Sign

Screenshot from Twitter.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is widely seen as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, took a picture with an anti-Israel organization’s sign. He later claimed he didn’t read the sign.

Booker took the picture at the yearly progressive Netroots Nation conference and held a sign that read, “From Palestine to Mexico, All the Walls Have Got to Go”:


The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights invented the aforementioned pro-Palestinian slogan; standing next to Booker on his left is Leah Muskin-Pirret, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights’ government associate.

Jeff Giertz, a spokesperson for Booker, told Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that Booker didn’t know the sign was anti-Israel in nature.

“He didn’t have time to read the sign, and from his cursory glance he thought it was talking about Mexico and didn’t realize it had anything to do with Israel,” Giertz said. “He hopes for a day when there will be no need for security barriers in the State of Israel, but while active terrorist organizations threaten the safety of the people living in Israel, security barriers are unfortunate but necessary to protect human lives.”

Booker has previously spoken at pro-Israel groups, however his support for the Iran nuclear deal and his vote against the Taylor Force Act in 2017 have put him at odds with some in the pro-Israel community.

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, according to a Tablet exposé, is the “American umbrella group of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement” and has funneled its money toward Islamic terror groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights has also celebrated convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh:

Lawfare Project Threatens to File Lawsuit Against Irish BDS Bill If It Becomes Law

Photo from Flickr.

The Lawfare Project has threatened to file lawsuit against the Irish government if they a recently passed Senate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill becomes law.

On July 11, the Irish Senate passed a bill that would criminalize the importation and sale of goods from Israeli settlements by a margin of 25 lawmakers in favor, 20 against and 14 abstaining. Those in violation would have to pay a fine or serve up to five years in prison.

The Lawfare Project explained in a press release that such a law would have detrimental ramifications on several American businesses in Ireland – Apple being among them – and would therefore violate American boycott laws.

“We are determined to expose the illegality of the Irish boycott bill under European law, as well as the unnecessary damage that it will inflict on U.S. companies operating in Ireland,” Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein said. “Commercial discrimination on the basis of nationality is shameful in any form, but it is particularly frightening when it emanates from the halls of government—from the same lawmakers who were elected to protect the legal rights of their constituents. We will do everything in our power to prevent this unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination from becoming law in Ireland.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has also issued a statement slamming the bill.

“The absurdity in the course of the Irish Senate is that the boycott will harm the livelihood of many Palestinians working in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott, and Israel will consider its steps in accordance with the developments in this legislation,” the statement read.

Jewish BDS Activist Barred from Israel

Screenshot from Facebook.

In a twist of irony, a prominent Jewish Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist has been barred from Israel and she is now whining about it.

The activist, Code Pink co-director Ariel Gold, stated on Facebook that she was turned away from Ben-Gurion Airport and sent back to New York. She claimed that she was hoping to immerse herself into Judaic studies, however, according to the Times of Israel, Israeli officials believe that she was only coming to the country to further the BDS cause.

“Whoever acts for a boycott of Israel and comes here to cause damage, will not enter the country,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted.

In an op-ed for The Forward, Gold stood behind her support for BDS “as a nonviolent means to achieve a just and peaceful end to the 70-year-long oppression of Palestinians.”

“At no point during my interrogation in the Ben Gurion airport was I even asked about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Gold wrote. “I was asked about the organization CODEPINK, of which I am the national co-director, and which endorses BDS, but this was only after they interrogated me about filming soldiers and knowing Palestinians.”

She also accused Israel of only welcoming Jews “who either support occupation and the right-wing settler agenda, or are willing to be quiet.”

According to Canary Mission, Gold has been arrested for participating in violent Palestinian riots and preventing people from entering American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC)’s conference. Gold also took a photo of herself and another Code Pink member with a #BoycottIsrael banner at the Western Wall.

Gold has also said that she is teaching her children that Zionism is “a racist ideology rooted in ethnic cleansing.”

Back in January, Israel issued a list of 20 BDS organization that were blacklisted from entering Israel. Among those is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Gold is an organizer for them.

Spanish Court Bars City Councils from Boycotting Israel

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Spanish court struck a blow against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement with a recent ruling declaring that it is illegal for city councils in the country to boycott Israel.

According to a press release from The Lawfare Project, which spearheaded legal action against BDS in this case, The High Court of Justice in Astrurias, located in the northwest region of Spain, nullified a resolution passed by the City Council of Catrillion that boycotted “Israel, Israeli businesses and companies doing business with Israel in August last year.”

“The successes we’re achieving are setting legal precedents that not only offer protection to Jewish communities but to every other minority,” Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein said in a statement. “We’ve been working in Spain for almost two years. We’ve seen that however the vicious, anti-Israel BDS campaign disguises itself, time and again it is hitting the rocks of the rock solid constitutional guarantees and legal standards of the Spanish courts.”

Lawfare Project Spanish Counsel Ignacio Wenley Palacios said in a statement, “After our string of court victories, the boycott campaign doesn’t dare use its name in Spain but hides behind motions passed in city, provincial, and regional councils that use loaded, discriminatory language. Or they run new sub-campaigns such as the ‘Space Free of Israeli Apartheid,’ or petitions for an arms embargo of Israel. In due course, these, too, will be rejected by the courts, which uphold solid legal traditions of fair play, individual freedoms, and strict accountability of government offices.”

This is the latest in a string of recent victories for The Lawfare Project against BDS in Spain, as there have been 28 BDS resolutions nullified by the courts in Spain since June 2017.