LDB authors are active in a wide range of research publication. These opinion pieces are some of the most recent contributions in areas relevant to LDB's mission." The following opinion pieces may illuminate issues of interest to LDB readers, although they do not necessarily reflect the views of LDB.
New Books in Jewish Studies: Interview with Kenneth L. Marcus
November 18, 2015
Recently, LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus gave an enlightening interview to Jason Shulman for the New Books in Jewish Studies podcast series. The interview focused not only on Marcus’ new book, The Definition of Anti-Semitism, but also on the troubling resurgence of anti-Semitism in American higher education.
European Sociological Association Passes New Anti-Boycott Guidelines
November 5, 2015
In August, the European Social Association (ESA), an academic association of sociologists and a non-profit Europe-wide association made up of over 2000 member scholars, approved ethical guidelines holding that “its members, conference participants and partners are not to be discriminated against in any way, direct or indirect, including boycott of themselves or their institutions, based on their ethnic, national [or] religious…backgrounds.”
The Spooky New Face Of Anti-Semitism
October 30, 2015
On Wednesday, Pope Francis waded into the ongoing discussion about anti-Semitism. He told a Jewish audience, “To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism.”
Activists campaigning for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel recently called for an “international wave of action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle” and promoted the planned events on social media under the hashtag #SolidarityWaveBDS.
The Continuity of the New Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitic Hate Acts and Terrorism
October 26, 2015
The Times of Israel reported last week that according to the latest annual US State Department Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, the level of anti Semitic incidents continues to rise in Europe. That report found that the rise in European anti Semitism was tied to criticism of Israeli policy.
Rabbi Finman Interview with LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus: The Definition of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitism on Campus
October 26, 2015
Earlier this month, LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus had an online interview with Rabbi Herschel Finman for his radio show, The Jewish Hour, to discuss his latest book, The Definition of Anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism on American college campuses.
UC Regents Reject Weak Intolerance Statement
September 24, 2015
On September 16th UC regents decided to reject the proposed statement of principles against intolerance because it inadequately addressed the problem of anti-Semitism on UC campuses, the reason for which it was first proposed.
When an obsession with Israel enters the abyss of anti-Semitism
September 12, 2015
The California Legislature recently took a courageous step and unanimously passed a resolution that "urges each University of California campus to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism."
The Red Herring of the Definition Debate
September 2nd, 2015
As we all know, anti-Semitism is on the rise globally. Here in the U.S., it is our campuses and students that are experiencing the brunt of it. A recent study published by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law found that 54% of Jewish college students had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism in the past year.
Leading Anti-Semitism Scholars Urge Adoption of Anti-Semitism Definition
August 31, 2015
Many of the world’s leading scholars of anti-Semitism, including LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus, have just issued the following joint letter urging University of California President Janet Napolitano and the University of California regents to adopt the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism:
Conflict Resolution, the Arab-Israel Conflict, and Campus Anti-Semitism: An Interview with Dr. Peter Weinberger of the Institute of Peace
August 14, 2015
Peter Weinberger is a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace who has interesting ideas about how conflict analysis tools can be applied not only to the Arab-Israel conflict but also to the resurgent problem of campus anti-Semitism.
Why universities need a definition of anti-Semitism
July 2, 2015
Does it matter how we define our words? Sometimes it does. The U.S. Department of Education understands this point, as do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Universities need to learn it, too.
No issue on American college campuses today is more toxic and divisive than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For a decade now, “Israeli Apartheid Weeks,” which posit Israel as another South Africa, have featured extreme anti-Zionist events.
LDB Makes Higher Education Act Case to Congressional Staffers
June 8, 2015
On Wednesday, Brandeis Center President Kenneth L. Marcus and Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) President Sarah Stern educated congressional staff and others on the history, current status, and problems of Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act.
Kantor Center Reports on Surging Global Anti-Semitism
April 26, 2015
The 2014 Kantor Center annual report highlights a 38% worldwide increase in violent anti-Semitic incidents compared to 2013. The Kantor Center, based at Tel Aviv University, specializes in contemporary European Jewry and publishes an annual detailed report on anti-Semitism worldwide.
Understanding and Addressing Anti-Semitism on College Campuses
March 25, 2015
Anti-Semitism is a combination of religious, ethnic, and racial prejudice aimed at those who are or are thought to be Jewish. It can take many forms, including bigotry, bullying, defamation, stereotyping, hate crimes, acts of bias, or scapegoating.
Last year, the British scholar Alan Johnson spoke up against a resolution to boycott Israel at the National University of Ireland, Galway. As he recounts the experience, “Anti-Israel student activists tried to break up the meeting by banging on the tables, using the Israeli flag as a toilet wipe, and screaming at me, again and again, ‘Fuck off our fucking campus you fucking Zionist!’”
Viewpoint: I choose not to be silent
March 12, 2015
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
ASUC Senate Passes Bill Condemning Anti-Semitism
February 26, 2015
Fantastic news for UC Berkley’s Jewish students came this week. On Wednesday, February 25th, the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) unanimously passed a bill in their senate that condemns campus anti-Semitism.
Academic Progressivism Descends into Moral Madness
February 16, 2015
In the campus war against Israel, the all too familiar refrain from anti-Israel activists, many of whom form the loose coalition of groups and individuals spearheading the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, is that their quarrel is only with Israelis and their government’s policies, not with Jews themselves.
Promoting diversity isn’t trying to stifle free speech
December 8, 2014
Who wants to “stifle” free speech on campus, and who wants to protect it? In their Nov. 21 op-ed on The Hill’s Congress Blog (“Stifling of free speech on campus”), Sondra Hale and Bekah Wolf criticize the Louis D. Brandeis Center’s efforts to ensure that federally funded Title VI outreach programs provide the “diversity of perspectives” that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) already requires.
Ode to the Anarchists Among Us, Then and Now
December 3, 2014
In the U.S., “anarchist” was once a dirty word. Following the 1886 Haymarket Bombing in Chicago, in which 11 including seven policemen were killed by anonymous bombers, cartoons appeared nationwide of wild-eyed, suggestively Germanic anarchists blowing America to hell.
Terrorism, “Lone Wolves,” and “Virtual Wolf Packs”
December 2, 2014
Violence to change or impact the existing order may be as old as humankind. In terms of collective violence—let’s use the term “mob” for a phenomenon that may start small but can even morph into a revolution—it has had varied political, economic, and religious-ethnic motives over the course of the last thousand years in western societies.
Jewish students have the right to feel safe on campus
November 25, 2014
It all started when I took out some anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) information sheets at a Brooklyn College-sponsored event last year that featured Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS movement. You’d expect that of any student opposed to the speaker’s anti-Israel views.
The Return of the Malevolent Jew: The Academic Nazification of Israel
November 16, 2014
“What if the Jews themselves were Nazis?,” mused French philosopher, Vladimir Jankélévitch in 1986. “That would be great. We would no longer have to feel sorry for them; they would have deserved what they got.”
The recasting of Israelis, and, by extension, Jews as Nazis has, in fact, taken place, just as Jankélévitch envisioned.
Writing shortly after the publication of Max Blumenthal’s anti-Israel screed “Goliath” a year ago, Eric Alterman noted that it would be “no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed).”
Is the academic boycott against Israel anti-Semitic?
Variations of that question come up again and again in a new book of essays, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, edited by Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm.
As Congress considers measures to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), members should know that academic integrity on U.S. college campuses is under assault, and so is our national security – from the same source.
JOINT STATEMENT ON THE MISUSE OF FEDERAL FUNDS UNDER TITLE VI
September 17, 2014
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the misuse of federal funds under Title VI of the Higher Education Act (“HEA”). Despite congressional reforms adopted during the 2008 reauthorization of the HEA, many recipients of federal aid under Title VI continue to use taxpayer funds to support biased, politicized, and imbalanced programs of Middle East Studies.
While everyday anti-Semitism has become part of the fabric of Western European life in a way it has not been since the 1930s, the situation in the U.S. is also becoming troubling. I would compare American manifestations of anti-Semitism to ugly boils on the body politic whose poisons have not yet entered the bloodstream.
What a Year for the Launch of Our Law School Chapters
August 1, 2014
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law launched law student chapters that will fill an important gap in American legal education, offer the opportunities that members seek, and provide a resource to other members of the university community.
Europe’s Three-Rings Circus of Israel and Jew Hatred: Latest Roundup
July 23, 2014
UK: In a post that appeared on his Twitter feed, Liberal Democratic MP David Ward wrote, “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”, followed by another tweet shortly thereafter, that reads “Ich bin ein #palestinian – the West must make up its mind – which side is it on?” Later, facing discipline by how own party, he offered a tepid apology: “I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza.”
Brief of the Day — Zivotofsky v. Kerry
July 23, 2014
This morning, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to file an amicus brief co-written with Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the “Jerusalem passport case.” We filed on behalf of the Brandeis Center for Human Right Under Law, on whose Legal Advisory Board I serve, and twelve leading professors of foreign relations and constitutional law from across the ideological spectrum
Terrorism and Anti-Semitic Violence: Complex New Realities Defy Simple Ideological Labels
June 10, 2014
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that we live in an age when almost every headline story has become a Rorschach Test for spin doctors on cable news or in cyberspace. Their purpose is not to promote dialogue leading to some sort of shared understanding but to further fuel current political polarizations with wildly different, ideologically driven interpretations.
Over the last few weeks, the Holocaust has appeared surprisingly often in the news. In most cases, the reason has been the surprising degree of ignorance or denial that so many people have about this cataclysmic event. The most disheartening reports have addressed the role of educators in spreading misinformation. Worse, they have illustrated that Holocaust denial is not just an ordinary form of ignorance but rather a modern cloak for the return of old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
When I was six years years old, my parents taught me not to say “the baddest word in the world.” Not being exactly Victorian prudes, the word they had in mind was not “sex.” But it was closely related and started with an “f.” Today, that word in politically correct circles starts with an “r.”
Brandeis Center Presses Vassar College to Hold Student Group Accountable
May 23, 2014
The Brandeis Center has urged Vassar College President Catherine Bond Hill to take penalizing action against the college’s chapter of SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine. In a letter to Vassar President Catherine Bond Hill on May 19th, 2014, “We believe that this incident may raise serious issues concerning federal civil rights law.” SJP recently posted a Nazi propaganda poster on their Tumblr page.
Recently, there have been disturbing developments at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Students for Justice in Palestine, or SJP, has been making moves to block pro-Israel, Jewish groups groups from getting a fair voice in campus policy-making. What is even more surprising, and maybe even sickening, is that no other groups are being targeted.
Polls Apart: The ADL’s First Survey of “Global Anti-Semitism”
May 14, 2014
Such eye-popping ADL findings as that 26 percent of the world’s population qualifies as “anti-Semitic” (i.e., harbors at least 6 of 11 core anti-Semitic attitudes) and that 35 percent has never heard of the Holocaust are receiving blanket media coverage. They are available in detailed strokes—but with a Methodology section that I suspect will leave statisticians wanting more—at: http://global100.adl.org/public/ADL-Global-100-Executive-Summary.pdf
Pro-Palestinian Anti-Semitism at Vassar
May 8, 2014
Vassar College, which describes itself as “a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college,” has recently attracted a lot of attention because of the energetic activism of so-called “pro-Palestinian” groups like Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) who were apparently supported by dozens of faculty members.
Ali Abunimah’s Orwellian Definition of Anti-Semitism
May 2, 2014
Veteran anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah is currently touring US campuses to hawk his recently published book “The Battle for Justice in Palestine.” As anyone even vaguely familiar with Abunimah’s prolific writings at his Electronic Intifada blog will know, his idea of “justice in Palestine” requires doing away with the world’s only Jewish state, and the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns against Israel that he champions so tirelessly are designed to help achieve this goal.
Anti-Semitism From Ukraine to the U.S.
April 23, 2014
Few recent news articles captured more attention than reports that Jews in Ukraine were being ordered to register. Then it turned out that the pamphlets ordering Jews to register might be something of a hoax or a political stunt.
The anti-Zionist – and sometimes also anti-Semitic – website Mondoweiss recently published a lengthy report by the site’s founder Philip Weiss about a meeting that took place at Vassar in early March. According to Weiss, the meeting had been scheduled by the school’s Committee on Inclusion and Excellence in order to discuss guidelines for activism after persistent protests by Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) against a trip to Israel planned by Vassar’s International Studies program.
Why the Jews Did Not Always Love St. Patrick's Day
March 14, 2014
The “You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” ad debuted 50 years ago this year. Of course, you also don’t have to be Irish to march at the front of the official St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Unlike David Dinkins in 1993 and Bill de Blasio this year, New York’s Jewish mayors have never boycotted the Parade despite the running controversy over its exclusion of organized gay participants.
BDS Supporters Worry About Freedom of Speech
March 7, 2014
Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi, both well-known academics and high-profile supporters of the BDS movement campaigning for “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel, have issued a statement that was originally circulated under the dramatic title “Support Freedom of Expression! Oppose Intimidation!”
Ten ways that BDS is different now
February 25, 2014
Four academic associations have now also endorsed anti-Israel boycotts.
On American university campuses, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is different in many ways and stronger than it was just a few semesters ago. Here are 10 ways that things have changed lately:
Should Jewish Law Students Be Complacent?
February 20, 2014
Recently, anti-Israel activists have become active on several American law school campuses, conducting controversial events at Columbia, Fordham, Davis, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, activists have created hostile environments for Jewish students at several universities.
The backlash continues against the anti-Israel boycott resolution that the American Studies Association adopted last month. Over 200 university presidents have distanced themselves from it. Numerous other organizations, including the American Association of University Professors, have condemned it too.
Jewish students and activists are claiming victory this morning after beating back yet another anti-Israel boycott resolution at the University of California at Riverside in the early hours of this morning. Professionals at StandWithUs, a leader in the battle against Israel boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS), report that the final vote on this divisive measure was six in favor, seven against, and one abstention.
BDS Returns to Campus — And it is Time to Fight Back
February 11, 2014
BDS is back on American college campuses, especially on the West Coast — if indeed it ever left. For the last several months, public attention has been focused on successful boycott campaigns staged by anti-Israel groups at American academic associations such as the American Studies Association and the Asian American Studies Association.
I was saddened this morning to learn that Barry Rubin, a brilliant and prolific scholar of Israel and Middle East Studies, had passed over the weekend. Barry had been struggling with cancer for quite some time, and his continued surge in productivity over the last year, while battling serious illness, was nothing short of heroic. I had been privileged to know him through our work for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
The Misplaced Crusade to Circumcise Moby Dick—and Make “White Racism” Quintessentially Jewish
January 16 , 2014
Last Purim, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind “blacked up” in an incredible display of bad taste. Jews in particular were appalled, but there’s a subgroup of Jewish professors who may have felt vindicated. Practitioners of “the whiteness school”—prominent names include the late Michael Paul Rogin, Edward L. Goldstein, Jeffrey Melnick, and Karen Brodkin—argue that for performers like Al Jolson applying burnt cork was a strategy of ethnic assimilation.
The MLA’s Top Five BDS Blunders This Week
January 9 , 2014
The Modern Language Association (MLA) has blundered repeatedly over its treatment of Israel in the run-up to its annual conference this week. Technically the 30,000 member association is not contemplating a resolution to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel (BDS) per se at this week’s upcoming confab. I
The Brandeis Center Hosts Its First National Law Student Conference
January 9 , 2014
The Brandeis Center held its first National Conference for Law Students in Los Angeles on January 2nd and January 3rd. This is part of the new initiative for law school chapters of the Brandeis Center.
“Knockout Attacks” Don’t Bode Well for African Americans, Jews, or Anybody Else
December 5, 2013
The lid has finally blown off the simmering cauldron. For about a month, there have been reports of “knockout attacks,” mostly in Northeastern cities. These reports have not looked too closely at the ethnicity of the attackers while generally characterizing the attacks as “random” and lacking the specificity of “hate crime” targeting.
The Very Foundations of the University
December 4, 2013
The modern Western university faces an existential threat. The danger is not what you think. It is not the cuts in government funding, the skyrocketing cost of tuition, the explosion of student debt, the rise of massive open online courses, the decline of residential learning, or the death-spiral of the humanities.
Academic Boycotts Are Anathema to Academic Freedom
November 27, 2013
All too often, professors proclaim their allegiance to the principles of academic freedom and then take action that violates those very principles. Sadly, this is often the case when it comes to academia’s attitude toward the State of Israel and its institutions of higher learning.
US Legal Tools to Fight Anti-Jewish Discrimination
November 25, 2013
There is an essential paradox at the heart of the current resurgence of campus anti-Semitism. Universities should be centers of reason and tolerance, yet in the United States, they are the main source of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.
Addressing BDS at Fordham School of Law
November 22, 2013
On November 20, 2013, the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, presented a mini-conference on the subjects of BDS, Israel, and Academic Freedom. The Fordham Law School Jewish Students Association hosted the event. The event was also co-hosted by the Louis Brandeis Center, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and the Lawfare Project.
A few months ago in this Blog (in “Europe’s Toxic Anti-Semitism Problem,” July 10), I used a somewhat misleading headline debate between Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of “Demonizing Israel and the Jews,” and Robert Wistrich, in my view the world’s leading authority on the history of anti-Semitism.
Earlier today, as we begin the weekend marking the seventieth anniversary of Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency issued a stunning report detailing the extent of anti-Semitism in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Brandeis Center Announces Formation of Law Student Chapters
At the Brandeis Center we are thrilled to be launching an important, brand new initiative: law student chapters at select law schools throughout the United States. The new chapters will advance the organization’s mandate to combat campus anti-Semitism through legal means.
Brandeis Center’s Newest Short Video
October 30, 2013
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law is excited to announce the creation of a new short film. Produced and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Gloria Greenfield, and edited by two-time Emmy Award winner Raoul Rosenberg, the film highlights the mission of the Louis D Brandeis Center.
Anti-Semitic Group Hate Speech Permeates Facebook
September 19, 2013
Very recently, Facebook Inc. has come under scrutiny for allowing certain hate groups against the Jewish community to stay online, while blocking other hate groups that target other minority communities.
Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 3)
September 12, 2013
In a recent article written for The Tablet, Kenneth R. Timmerman said that when he traveled to Gaza, Amman, and Damascus in 1994, he kept asking Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders whether they thought the Jews had a plan to dominate the world.
University Trustees Must Step Up and Defend Real Academic Freedom
September 11, 2013
In ACTA’s last post here at the Brandeis Center Blog, we noted several examples of how professors abuse and violate the principles of academic freedom. How has the landscape of academic freedom changed over the years and who is best positioned to stand up and fight for it today?
Judd A. Serotta, Esq. Judd A. Serotta is a litigation partner at Blank Rome LLP. He has over 16 years of experience successfully litigating complex commercial disputes in a host of different federal and state jurisdictions throughout the United States, as well as through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).