Litigation

BDS and the First Amendment

Marc Greendorfer : March 3, 2016 2:26 pm : Anti-Israelism, Freedom of Speech, General, Litigation

As part of its public relations campaign to lure unwitting American citizens into supporting unlawful activity, the BDS movement, through affiliated groups, has published a number of quasi-legal memoranda that wrongfully portray BDS support as being absolutely protected by the First Amendment. In a recently published analysis, The Lawfare Project effectively exposed the flawed and misleading BDS legal claims as they relate to New York State law.  Lawfare’s analysis also touched on the Constitutional issues that are involved, which are discussed in greater detail herein.

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The Institute for Law and Policy at Hebrew University

Michelle Yabes : February 25, 2016 12:35 pm : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, General, Litigation, Religious Freedom

LOGO-Institute-for-Law-and-Policy-BLUE-300pxThe Institute for Law and Policy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law has recently announced their Summer Program for international Students and Attorneys. The program, to take place during June 27-July 14, 2016, is co-sponsored by the Brandeis Center along with several other groups such as StandWithUs and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Fulltext of the Institute’s announcement can be found below:


(Jerusalem, Israel) Yuval Shany, Dean of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law in Jerusalem, and Richard D. Heideman, Chairman of the Institute for Law and Policy, are pleased to announce the 2016 Institute Summer Program “Legal Aspects for the Middle East Conflict,” focusing on International Law, Human Rights, the International Criminal Court and Global Technology Law.

The Institute, originally created in 1970, was re-established three years ago by Dean Shany and Heideman, in keeping with their common commitment to provide a high-level academic exposure for law and public policy students from multiple countries to the complexities of legal issues inherent in ongoing Middle East conflicts.

More than forty students from 10 countries including Armenia, United States, Canada, Norway, Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Singapore and Israel have gleaned instrumental knowledge and experience provided by the expert lecturers and educators of the Institute.

Opening on June 27, 2016, the 3-week program will provide in-depth analysis of Israel’s most important and exciting law and policy challenges, in fields such as the Middle East conflicts, human rights, economic globalization, and law and technology.

The Institute is pleased to announce that Professor Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, will be lecturing this year in a special course focusing on the Role of the International Criminal Court and Other International Institutions in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Lecturers previously appearing at the Institute include noted Human Rights advocate Professor Irwin Cotler, now head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center in Canada, and Professor Robbie Sabel, noted international law scholar at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law. 

At a time when Israel plays center-stage in controversies related to these issues, participants will not only engage in important analysis and debate, but will also experience the multicultural and multidimensional reality of the Jewish State. Professor Yuval Shany, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University, emphasizes the value of the learning environment: “Jerusalem, with its rich history, religious diversity and political centrality, is one of the most exciting places in the world to study international law, conflict resolution and human rights. Our Summer Institute offers oversea participants a rich introduction to the issues confronting us here in Israel in the top-notch and pluralistic academic environment of Hebrew University.”

Richard D. Heideman, Senior Counsel of the Washington DC global law firm Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC which focuses on protecting the rights of victims of terror, is the Co-Founder and Chairman of The Israel Forever Foundation and was the impetus behind the re-establishment of the Institute drawn from his experience as a student at the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University in the summers of 1970-72, Heideman stated today in Washington: “We believe the Institute for Law and Policy will have a lasting impact on influential legal and public policy minds of the future. Not only will participants again this year undergo a unique study program in a prominent academic setting, they will also return to their home countries with a greater understanding of Israeli society and the many issues and challenges facing the State of Israel in the context of the multiple ongoing Middle East conflicts.”

The annual Institute for Law and Policy is an engaging summer program for international lawyers, law and public policy students at the Faculty of Law co-sponsored by The Israel Forever Foundation, Heideman Nudelman & Kalik PC, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, Jewish Federations of North America, StandWithUs and the Rothberg International School. The Institute program is supported by the American Bar Association Section of International Law. Students and lawyers attending the program may be eligible to receive course and/or CLE credit. more »

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Lawfare Project Refutes BDS Legal Arguments

Michael Kleinman : February 4, 2016 1:04 pm : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Litigation

LawfareProject_logoThe Lawfare Project has just published a legal analysis paper it believes will “demolish the claims of Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights” that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed against Israel is impervious to legal threat. The New York based non-profit legal organization is dedicated to fighting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic “lawfare,” which it defines as “the use of the law as a weapon of war,” and “the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends” against Israel.

The paper, entitled “The Illegality of BDS in New York State: Response to Frivolous Arguments of Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights,” observes that “BDS advocates claim that any boycott of Israel, Israeli goods, or Israeli persons is protected by the First Amendment, and that the application of state anti-discrimination laws to prohibit or penalize BDS activities is consequently unconstitutional.” However, the paper demonstrates the “fatal flaws” of their arguments, and warns business contemplating the implementation of BDS practices that they must understand these flaws, “lest they find themselves subject to potentially crushing legal liability.”

The paper first analyzes false claim that BDS is entirely protected under the Supreme Court’s landmark 1982 decision in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. It points out that while that decision foreclosed certain boycotters from facing liability under a theory of tortious and malicious interference with business, it did not foreclose their liability under, for example, New York State law, whichexpressly prohibits boycott activity targeting persons and entities because of their national origin.” It also notes that Claiborne only declared it unconstitutional for government to completely prohibit speech and advocacy promoting boycotts; the decision left it perfectly constitutional for a government to forbid actual boycotts. Thus, the paper emphasizes that New York’s anti-boycott statute is perfectly constitutional under Claiborne, as it is “limited to business activity [actual boycotts] and, notably, does not forbid advocacy, picketing, or other forms of speech in furtherance of boycotting.” Later, the paper also notes that according to the Second Circuit’s opinion in Jews for Jesus, Inc., a suit brought under New York’s anti-boycott statutes will withstand a First Amendment challenge, as the statute “easily satisfy [the] criteria” necessary for states to “constitutionally regulate conduct even if such regulation entails an incidental limitation on speech” and, further, “[t]hese statutes are plainly aimed at conduct, i.e., discrimination, not speech.” more »

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The Academic Council for Israel Anti-BDS Petition

Michelle Yabes : January 5, 2016 2:56 pm : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Litigation, Religious Freedom

PostPicThe Louis D. Brandeis Center is joining with the Academic Council for Israel (ACFI) and other groups on this important petition.


Please Join More than 400 of Us in Signing This Anti-BDS Petition

http://www.academiccouncilforisrael.com/anti-bds-petition.html

Join more than 100 of your academic colleagues in opposing anti-Israel BDS resolutions being considered or already voted on by some academic professional associations.

We, the Undersigned College and University faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees, oppose academic boycotts and specifically condemn the most recent attempts at boycotting Israel by the American Anthropological Association, National Women’s Studies Association, and other associations.

​Understanding that academic, cultural, and commercial boycotts, divestments, and sanctions of Israel:
            Are counterproductive to the goal of peace,
            Represent an anti-democratic process intent on undermining the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland, Israel,
             Seek to commandeer our educational system and professional societies for political ends and are thus a travesty of professional ethics and conduct, and
            Are antithetical to genuine academic freedom,

We stand united in our condemnation of calls and campaigns for boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israeli academic institutions, professors, products, and companies that do business in or with Israel.

We recognize that individuals and groups may have legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. Criticism becomes antisemitism, however, when it demonizes Israel, applies double standards to Israel, denies Israel the right to defend its citizens, or questions Israel’s right to exist.

The BDS misrepresentation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs is one-sided and untruthful, and therefore unworthy of the academic community. Moreover, by pursuing delegitimization campaigns on campus and in academic professional organizations, anti-Israel proponents provoke harmful divisions among students and have created an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred.

BDS resolutions will not contribute to peace or justice. Political wisdom and moral good will require that they be resoundingly rejected.

​THEREFORE WE OPPOSE ALL BDS RESOLUTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS.
 

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AT

http://www.academiccouncilforisrael.com/anti-bds-petition.html

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Students Supporting Israel at Indian University Passes Resolution Adopting the U.S State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism in Student Government.

Michelle Yabes : December 4, 2015 2:45 pm : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, General, Litigation, Religious Freedom

IndianaOn Tuesday, December 2, Students Supporting Israel at Indian University passed a resolution in its student government that adopts the United States’ State Department’s Definition of Anti-Semitism.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that the resolution passed at the Student Association Congress meeting by a vote of 22-6, with six abstentions.

The resolution states that, “the Indiana University Student Association adopts the definition of anti-Semitism as stated above as well as the State Department’s understanding of Anti-Semitism relative to Israel” The Indiana University Student Association commented, stating they recognize “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”

It also cites the Marcus Policy, initiated by LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus in 2004 during his tenure at the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights. This policy extended Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects students from discrimination based on their race, color, or national origin at federally funded post-secondary educational institutions, to protect Jewish students based on their ethnic or ancestral background. more »

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Academics Call for a Stop to Boycott Votes of Israel

Michelle Yabes : November 23, 2015 12:44 pm : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Litigation

1bds-e1404682913186-300x225On November 20, The Academic Council for Israel, The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Stand With Us and the Louis D. Brandeis Center issued a statement in advance of the shocking vote that was in favor of boycotting Israeli academy by members of the American Anthropological Association during its annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The resolution passed with an overwhelming 1,040 to 136 margin on Friday evening.

The coalition of organizations represents more than 100,000 students, scientists, engineers, medical and business and computer science professors, librarians, social scientists, historians, political scientists, librarians, administrative leaders, and others. The coalition opposed the efforts of AAA members who were expected to vote in favor of a boycott of Israel today, Nov. 20th, during the business meeting that was scheduled for Friday, November 20th, from 6:15-7:30pm in the Mile High Ballroom 2 & 3.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Executive Director of ACFI, Samuel Edelman said, “Boycotts of Israel have become so virulent in the United States, serving to foster hatred in the halls of our universities instead of the education that comes from respectfully exchanging ideas. In addition, the boycotts represent flawed teaching because they are based on poor critical thinking and a reliance on fallacies of argument and out right falsehoods instead of provable, supported facts and data. We don’t send our young people to college to be indoctrinated. We want to have the facts presented to them with evidence to back them up. It is time to put a stop to the flagrant misuse of universities for ideological aims.”

The members of our respective organizations submitted the following statement on the issue of academic boycotts of Israel.

Understanding that academic, cultural, and commercial boycotts, divestments, and sanctions of Israel:

Are counterproductive to the goal of peace,

Represent an anti-democratic process intent on undermining the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland, Israel,

BDS seeks to commandeer our educational system and professional societies for political ends that constitute a travesty of professional ethics and conduct, and Antithetical to basic human freedoms including academic freedom.

We stand united in our condemnation of calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment from, and sanctions against Israeli academic institutions, professors, products, and companies that do business in or with Israel.

We recognize that individuals and groups may have legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. Criticism becomes antisemitism, however, when it demonizes Israel, applies double standards to Israel, denies Israel the right to defend its citizens, or questions Israel’s right to exist.

The BDS misrepresentation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians is one-sided and untruthful, and therefore unworthy of the academic community. Moreover, by pursuing delegitimization campaigns on campus and in academic professional organizations, anti-Israel proponents provoke deep divisions among students and have created an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred.

BDS resolutions will not contribute to peace or justice. Political wisdom and moral good will require that they be resoundingly rejected.

THEREFORE WE OPPOSE ANY AND ALL BDS RESOLUTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS.

To read the original statement, please click here.

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Rachel Lerman Elected Vice President of Louis D. Brandeis Center

Michelle Yabes : November 20, 2015 1:20 pm : Anti-Semitism, Litigation

Rachel.LermanThe Brandeis Center is pleased to announce that Rachel Lerman was elected Vice President during the organization’s Annual Meeting on October 26, 2015. Rachel Lerman is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Los Angeles office, a member of the firm’s Litigation Department and co-chair of the Appellate Practice Group. 

Formerly a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Rachel Lerman focuses on appellate practice and trial strategy in complex civil cases. She has handled writs and appeals in commercial, bankruptcy, patent, trade mark, trade secret, labor, insurance defense, white collar, and family law cases in state and federal courts nationwide. Ms. Lerman has also taught, lectured, and wrote articles on different aspects of appellate practice.

Additionally, Ms. Lerman has served on LDB’s Board of Directors since December 2012 and LDB’s Legal Advisory Board since July 2012. Ms. Lerman commented, “The Louis D. Brandeis Center has done outstanding work in its efforts to end anti-Semitism on campuses across the nation. I am honored to be a part of an organization that is so dedicated to the cause of justice, and I am proud to continue our work to fight against anti-Semitism as we take the next step forward.”

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus stated, “I have known Rachel Lerman since law school, and she has always shown that she is a person of exemplary character and has become a brilliant lawyer. She has been a terrific addition to the Brandeis Center’s advisory board and a vital member of our team. Her contributions have helped strengthen our organization.”

During the Annual Meeting, Kenneth L. Marcus was reelected as LDB’s President, Adam Feuerstein as treasurer, Judd Serotta as secretary, and Richard Cravatts and Tevi Troy as directors. LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “Our board of Directors has helped us to make great progress throughout the years, and their skills and expertise have been invaluable assets in our fight against anti-Semitism on college and university campuses nationwide. We have made great strides so far, and as the rates of anti-Semitic incidents increased both nationally and internationally, we are more determined than ever to combat anti-Semitism and end injustice and discrimination.” more »

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UC Berkeley Student explains why UC Regents should adopt Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism

Michelle Yabes : October 9, 2015 11:00 am : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, General, Litigation, Religious Freedom

UC President Janet Napolitano at the UC Regents meeting in Irvine

UC President Janet Napolitano at the UC Regents meeting in Irvine

The adoption of the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism is a cause that LDB has been activity advocating for, particularly in university campuses across the nation. As LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus stated, “University administrators need a uniform definition of anti-Semitism in order to make clear what the boundaries are between hateful actions and legitimate behavior.” This need can be seen on the campuses of the University of California, where a rise in anti-Israel sentiments has also come along with a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. LDB President Marcus and many of the world’s leading scholars on anti-Semitism also wrote letter to the UC Regents urging them to adopt the State Departments definition, explaining how it “offers an essential tool for identifying and educating about all forms of contemporary antisemitism.” In light of the UC Regents rejection of the Proposed Statement of Principles of Against Intolerance, as its broad language failed to deal with the issue of campus anti-Semitism, UC Berkley Student, Shauna Satnick, also recently wrote an articulate op-ed for The Daily Californian. Her article highlighted the importance of the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as well as why the regents should consider adopting it:

Regents should adopt State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism

Shauna Satnick

I cannot speak on behalf of the entire Jewish population at UC Berkeley because it is not monolithic, so I speak from my own perspective. That being said, the UC Board of Regents’ proposed statement of principles concerning intolerance and anti-Semitism is too broad and does not effectively protect Jews from hate speech and other forms of anti-Semitism. The definition should be rewritten in order to more accurately reflect how Israel has been inequitably and systematically singled out among nations and thus warranting special consideration.

The U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism, which characterizes the demonization and delegitimization of Israel as anti-Semitism, comes into play only when Israel is treated differently from any other country. If other countries or groups of individuals are not subject to comparable criticism and rhetoric, then under this definition of intolerance, Israel and its supporters should be protected from hostile speech and actions. Historically, Jews and Israel’s supporters have been habitually targeted — so much so that they feel the need for the University of California to include a clause specifically protecting the Jewish community. That the pervasive sense of hostility still exists in 2015 speaks volumes. It is time that our grievances be heard and addressed. more »

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EndBDS Hotline

Michelle Yabes : September 10, 2015 11:51 am : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, General, Litigation

 

 

7/23/06 REALLY FOR ISRAEL

LDB is partnering with several other groups on EndBDS, a new hotline aiming to help those being harassed or targeted by the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. EndBDS is able to aid anyone facing the extremism and anti-Semitism that follows the anti-Israel movement. If you or someone you know are being targeted by the BDS movement, call today and EndBDS will connect you to the kind of legal assistance you need.

Contact EndBDS at: 1.844.ENDBDS.7

 

Visit the EndBDS site

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The mighty stream and the Jewish trickle

Michelle Yabes : September 10, 2015 11:43 am : Anti-Israelism, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, General, Litigation

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus is publishing this op-ed in Washington Jewish Week discussing the increased need for a better definition of anti-Semitism, as well as further protection in the face of rising levels of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses:

_________________________________________

Israel-Apartheid-WeekThis summer, the Jewish community was rightly focused on the existential threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This fall, as Jewish college students return to campus, our attention must return inward.

On college campuses, students routinely hear calls to dismantle the Jewish state. In some cases, these calls are interspersed with anti-Jewish epithets, like “dirty Jew” or “kike.” In others, they are combined with anti-Jewish stereotypes and defamations. Jewish students have been assaulted, battered, threatened, and harassed.

Earlier this year, the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College published a report that found that 54% of self-identified Jewish students on 55 campuses experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism during 2013-2014. Things may be worsening. Recently, a Brandeis University study found that nearly three-quarters of Jewish college student respondents had been exposed during the past year to anti-Semitic statementsIf any other minority faced this level of bias, the federal government would step in. After all, President Barack Obama has repeatedly pledged his commitment to equal rights. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has eloquently stated, on behalf of the Administration, “that what we will always insist on is nothing less than equal justice; comprehensive justice; justice that ‘rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”

When it comes to Jewish college students, however, they have not provided a mighty stream of justice. They have not given these students even a trickle.

While most Jewish college students have faced some form of anti-Semitism, federal officials have not found a single statutory violation in the last decade.

Bupkis.

So where is our mighty stream? more »

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