Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel

Cary Nelson has published his latest book Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel. Nelson is a professor of English at University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign and has published a wide array of works, Dreams Deferred marking his second book after The Case Against Academic Boycotts of…

LDB Responds to UC Irvine’s SJP Decision and Calls for Stronger Action

uci.eduOn Friday, the UC Irvine Office of Student Conduct announced that it had concluded a three-month investigation into an aggressive and disruptive incident on the UCI campus last May.  The  incident involved an anti-Israel mob that disrupted a small event held by a Jewish student group on campus.  The angry mob of about 50 students blocked the entrances and exits while loudly chanting angry, anti-Israel, anti-police, and pro-Palestinian sentiments that promoted violence, anti-Semitism, and hate.  One Jewish student, Eliana Kopley, attempted to get away, but was chased and hounded by members of the angry mob, forcing her to hide in a kitchen while a UCI staff member protected her.
According to yesterday’s announcement, the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (“SJP”) is responsible for violation of the UCI Code of Conduct’s provision prohibiting “Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other University activities.”  As for sanctions, SJP was issued a written warning, effective immediately and continuing until March 29, 2017.   SJP must also host an educational program by November 18, 2016.
LDB President and General Counsel Kenneth L. Marcus expressed his concerns about the university’s announcement, stating, “I am disappointed in the outcome, which fails to hold SJP accountable for the harassment and physical intimidation of Eliana Kopley – or to even acknowledge that anything happened to her that night.”  Indeed, the statement yesterday makes no reference to any student being chased, followed, or needing to hide from attendees of SJP’s “protest” gone wrong.
Marcus further stated, “I do believe that it is a step forward for UC Irvine to finally acknowledge that SJP’s disruptive behavior violates university polices.  We are pleased that the university has implicitly rejected the spurious claims by the National Lawyers’ Guild and Palestine Legal that such disruptive behavior is protected by the First Amendment, when it clearly is a violation of the freedom of speech.  We are also glad that the Office of Student Affairs has – at a minimum – issued SJP a warning, and we hope that administrators will closely monitor SJP’s activities over the coming year and respond quickly to any further crimes, infractions or violations that they commit.”
However, Marcus described the weak sanctions as “a slap on the wrist for SJP, and a slap in the face to the Jewish community.”  Ms. Kopley agreed, stating, “I feel like their punishment is not enough to keep the pro-Israel and Jewish students on campus safe.  It isn’t guaranteeing our safety.  What happened that night does not warrant just a ‘warning’.  There should be a real, visible action by the school to ensure safety to all students on our campus.”

Indiana University Holds Important Conference on “Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization”

The following piece was written in collaboration with Emma Dillon and Juan Pablo Rivera Garza:

In April, the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism (ISCA) organized an important International Scholars Conference at Indiana University, on the topic of “Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization.” The conference sought to explore what informs contemporary anti-Zionism as well as to clarify the ties such thinking may have with anti-Semitism and broader ideological, political, and cultural currents of thought. The conference brought together some 70 scholars from 15 countries over the course of several days for intense deliberation and discussion about some of the most pressing issues today. LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus chaired a session of the conference, and LDB is proud to have close ties with many of the distinguished speakers and participants at this great event. Videos from the conference have recently become available for viewing online.

Students’ Society of McGill University Labels BDS “Unconstitutional”

The Judicial Board of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) recently declared in a board decision, called a “Reference,” that BDS and “similar motions” are “unconstitutional.” The Reference was created in response to an earlier petition filed in March by a “student upset over the third BDS motion proposed at the university” in 18 months.

Gil Troy, a history professor and anti-BDS advocate at McGill University, was enthusiastic, telling Algemeiner, “[t]his decision is huge! It means that Jewish concerns are respected with all others, and that antisemitism is also recognized as bigotry, as well as something that triggers macro-aggressions.” Professor Troy was among 150 academics at the University who recently signed a letter condemning BDS.

Although an initial General Assembly voted in favor of the BDS motion, SSMU’s Membership ultimately voted down the motion by a margin of 57-43%. The reference declared the “BDS Motion, and similar motions, incompatible with SSMU’s by-laws, internal regulations, and legal structure more generally.”

The document also notes that “[d]uring the period that led to the GA vote and the general Referendum there was a sharp increase in harassmentaround campus.” The Judicial Board went on to state that those who campaigned against the BDS motion were subjected to a “barrage of hostilities”.

According to an article by the Montreal Gazette, many students reported that they had been “targeted for their opposition” to the BDS motion, and that social media was “chock-full of anti-Semitic remarks” following the initial General Assembly vote. One such post from the anonymous social networking site Yik Yak read, “[l]ittle Zionist jewboys not happy that McGill students don’t support their genocide.” In another report, one student was “followed home and verbally harassed” after speaking once the result of vote was announced.

In the Reference, the Judicial Board explained the framework of SSMU’s Constitution to illustrate how BDS conflicts with the university’s legal structure. The preamble succinctly describes the Society’s three broad goals, which BDS would violate: Service, Representation, and Leadership. These goals reiterate the Society’s mission to serve all student groups equally, act in their best interest, and act without discrimination.

Next, the Judicial Board explained how BDS would violate the “Equity Policy, which recognizes SSMU’s long-standing commitment to leadership on issues of equity and social justice.” The Judicial Board also added, “SSMU dedicates itself to creating an ‘anti-oppressive’ atmosphere where all of its membership feels included.”

The Judicial Board noted that BDS contradicts the below listed SSMU regulations and policies, as it would call on the SSMU to discriminate on the basis of national origin, and thus violate the Constitution:

Upcoming Scholarly Periodical – Antisemitism Studies

We have more exciting news for our readers! The Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism (CISA) and Indiana University Press has announced that they are releasing a new scholarly periodical Antisemitism Studies in April 2017. Antisemitism Studies will join The Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism and the Journal of Contemporary European Antisemitism in rounding out the field…

Invitation to ‘Protecting and Offending Jews: Speech, Law and Policy’ Symposium in London

image001 (1)Our friends at the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism – Birkbeck, in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, will host a symposium entitled  ‘Protecting and Offending Jews: Speech, Law and Policy’ on June 28. The event take place from noon to 4 pm in the Jubilee Room, Westminster Hall, House of Commons, London.

The symposium aims to consider the aspects of discourse which offend Jews. It will address the questions, “Is offensive discourse necessarily antisemitic? Do people take offense too readily and endanger free debate? At what point does criticism of Israel become offensive?” Secondly, the symposium will ask whether, in view of growing concern over antisemitism, the law should be augmented or amended to protect Jews further or whether current laws that target discrimination and prejudice give adequate protection. The presentations will be short and will allow for plenty of time for discussion.

Call for Papers for the Journal of Contemporary European Antisemitism

academicstudiespress_logoOur colleagues at the Academic Studies Press have recently announced a Call For Papers for the new issue of The Journal of Contemporary European Antisemitism (JCEA), set to publish in spring 2017. Lesley Klaff, senior lecturer of law at Sheffield Hallam University, serves as an editor for JCEA and is also a member of LDB’s Academic Advisory Board. We are happy to share this announcement with our readers who may be interested in contributing. The deadline for submissions to the first issue is August 1, 2016.

The Institute for Law and Policy Summer Program for Lawyers and Law Students

LDB is pleased to once again partner with our friends at The Israel Forever Foundation in co-sponsoring the upcoming Institute for Law and Policy Summer Program for International Students and Attorneys, hosted by The Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem. The program will span three weeks from June 27 to July 14, and will offer timely and informative…

Upcoming Conference in Berlin on Anti-Semitism in Europe Today

Our friends at Indiana University have alerted us to a conference on “The New Unease: Antisemitism in Europe Today – Variations, Impact, Counter-Strategies,” which will be held in Berlin, Germany on July 7. The event is sponsored in cooperation with The Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) at Indiana University, Indiana University Europe Gateway, the Moses Mendelssohn Center (MMZ)…