U.K. Anti-Semitic Attacks Reach New Levels

Record levels of anti-Semitism were reported in the UK in 2014 by the The Community Security Trust, a Jewish security charity, according to The Guardian. The charity runs an incident hotline that reported 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents against British Jews, which has doubled since 2013. Last month, the UK released a report that indicated anti-Semitic activity was on…


AAJLJ Speaker Series: Is Jerusalem in Israel?

Join the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists’s (AAJLJ) DC Chapter for an exciting luncheon event on Monday, February 23, 2015. This installment of the AAJLJ’s speaker series, called “Is Jerusalem in Israel? The Zivotofsky (Jerusalem Passport) Case,” features a member of our legal advisory board, Alyza D. Lewin. Ms. Lewin is AAJLJ’s president, a partner…


More’s at Stake Than Manners

Just listen randomly to the lyrics of rap songs, and you’ll graphically understand that the age of Miss Manners—which started in this country when nineteenth-century Americans read etiquette books in imitation of their English Victorian betters—is long past. Yet there seems to be an attempt to revive the Court of Good Manners in at least…


Fighting the Satanic Jew for Palestine

The title of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s book on the resurgence of anti-Semitism in our time, “The Devil That Never Dies,” can also be read as a not-so-veiled allusion to the centuries-old demonization of Jews as devilish or satanic. What began in the Middle Ages was revived by the Nazis, and remains popular among today’s neo-Nazi Jew-haters.

Crush Zion Der Sturmer

Screenshot from the blog “Crush Zion!” with a reproduction of a page from the Nazi publication Der Stürmer
describing Jews as “enemy of the world” and “Satan;” posted on June 5, 2014.

Unfortunately, however, one doesn’t have to venture into the darkest recesses of the Internet to encounter the contemporary expression of this age-old demonization of Jews: prominent Palestinians are not ashamed to denounce Jews or Israelis as “Satan,” and neither are supposedly progressive “pro-Palestinian” activists.

One of the most recent examples emerged when campaigners for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the University of California, Davis, celebrated a student government resolution to divest from Israel by harassing their opponents. Several reports on the incident highlighted the role of Azka Fayyaz, a member of the UC Davis student senate, noting that she had previously “helped display a poster likening Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler.”

Netanyahu=Hitler Satan

A closer look at the poster reveals that Netanyahu’s picture was not only defaced with a Hitler moustache, but also with red horns. The poster thus combines the among self-described “pro-Palestinian” activists popular association of Israel/Zionism with Nazis and the on social media widespread demonization of Netanyahu as #Satanyahu. Other examples of this double demonization include tweets by Mary Hughes-Thompson, the co-founder of the “Free Gaza Movement.”


Who’s Behind the Rise of ISIS?

According to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei: “It is a few years now that it has been revived and strengthened with the plots of arrogance, with the money of some regional governments and with the schemes of the intelligence services of colonialist countries such as America, England and the Zionist regime… There is an undeniable point which…


Former Harvard President Larry Summers on Academic Freedom and Anti-Semitism

Remarks of Lawrence H. Summers Columbia Center for Law and Liberty January 29, 2015:
I am delighted to help inaugurate this forum on academic freedom. Academic freedom is essential if universities are to succeed in their missions of creating and disseminating knowledge. Universities excel when they are governed by the authority of ideas rather than the idea of authority. And more perhaps than at any other moment in history, the work of universities–transmitting knowledge and values from one generation to the next, and creating new knowledge — determines the future of nations.
It speaks to the importance of universities in the life of nations that George Washington very much wanted to devote his farewell address to a proposed American national university until he was dissuaded from the idea by Alexander Hamilton, not because Hamilton did not like the idea but because he thought the farewell address was the wrong occasion for its presentation. So Washington instead bequeathed a substantial part of his not inconsiderable fortune to the proposed university.For this reason, I have always had an ambivalent reaction to the famous observation about academic politics that “the fights are so vicious because the stakes are so small” which is variously attributed to Henry Kissinger, Woodrow Wilson, and Columbia’s own Wallace Sayre. On the one hand no one who has lived in a university and certainly no one who has presided over one can deny that much energy is dissipated over matters of little ultimate moment. On the other hand because the ideas universities produce and pass on are so important the stakes in what they do and therefore in what they fight about are actually immense.This is how I feel about the issue of academic freedom in general and about issues involving Israel and possibly anti-Semitism in particular. I have chosen to speak about academic freedom and anti-Semitism for three reasons. First, discussions of academic freedom without a particular context are doomed to be platitudinous and unhelpful. It may be that hard cases make bad law, but easy cases provide little insight for those who must make difficult decisions. In any event as a meat-eating, number crunching economist I have little capacity for abstract philosophical doctrine. Second, my labeling of initiatives and statements advocating for Harvard to divest from any company that invested in Israel as “anti- Semitic in effect if not intent” was the source of more academic freedom controversy than any other academic freedom issue (though certainly not any other issue) that took place while I was President of Harvard. Third, I believe that the general failure of American academic leaders to aggressively take on the challenge posed by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) movement represents a consequential abdication of moral responsibility.No one, including me, come to academic freedom matters in a purely abstract way so just a few words about my background here. I am Jewish and identified but not seriously observant. During my lifetime I have never felt that there was prejudice against me, members of my family, or close friends. I support and feel affinity with the State of Israel. While such expertise as I may possess is in economics not international security, it has been my instinct that Israel has made consequential policy errors particularly in regards to settlements. I have often wondered whether Israeli intransigence regarding settlements has made the achievement of peace with the Palestinians more difficult and has hurt Israel’s security position. During my time in government I worked, I wish with more success, to promote prosperity in the West Bank and Gaza for its own sake and because I believed it would contribute to the peace process.

I’d like to do two things this afternoon. First, I will explain why looking back I spoke out in the way I did against proposals advocating for universities to divest from Israeli companies or companies transacting with Israel, and comment on the debate my remarks engendered. Second, I will offer some observations on the BDS movement and a range of current controversies.


The First of its Kind: UNGA Informal Plenary on Anti-Semitism

By: Kayla Green, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Class of 2015

“It is up to you who are the faces of the world to be the architect of the house in which the Mother of all hates will see its face reduced”  —Bernard-Henri Lévy, Keynote Speech at the General Assembly Meeting on the Rise of Anti-Semitism

On 22 January 2015, the United Nations General Assembly met to address the concerns of a rise in anti-Semitic violence worldwide. This informal meeting was the first of its kind and began with a keynote speech by Mr. Bernard-Henri Lévy, French intellectual, philosopher and writer, Keynote speaker, who implored those in attendance that “when a Jew is struck, humanity falls to the ground.”

On the subject of the new European wave of anti-Semitism, the Representative of the European Union to the United Nations noted, in a statement reaffirmed by all EU representatives, that the several incidents in Europe culminating in the “attacks in Brussels and Paris” assault the heart of the European Union’s “common values.” On that note, H.E. Harlem Desir, State Secretary for European Affairs, France stated that combatting anti-Semitism is combatting hatred, ignorance and impunity. H.E. Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, reiterated that “any Jew in France, in Europe, or anywhere in the world who fears wearing a kippah, shopping in a [kosher] market, putting up a mezuzah, or fears living in a Jewish community is a victim of anti-Semitism,” and reminded the GA that “when the human rights of Jews are repressed, the rights of other groups are often not far behind.”


UK Report on Anti-Semitism Highlights Rising Tide and Government’s Strides

By Dilia Zwart and Kenny Liebowitz

The UK Home Secretary Theresa May recently proclaimed, “We must all redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism.” Her call to action came during a memorial service in London to remember those killed in the terror attacks in France this month, including four people in a kosher supermarket.

May urged the UK to increase efforts to combat anti-Semitism so that Jewish citizens would feel safe in the country. Her call to action reaffirms the UK’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism – seen also in a report on anti-Semitism the UK government issued last month.

UKPostPictureThe report detailed the government’s strategy for and progress in stemming the rising tide of anti-Semitism within Britain’s borders. Yet while the report and May’s affirmation are important steps forward in the fight against anti-Semitism, thegovernment should be criticized for not going far enough in defining the contours of anti-Semitism.

The report summarizes the UK government’s past and ongoing efforts to address five aspects of anti-Semitic activity: anti-Semitic incidents, anti-Semitic discourse, sources of contemporary anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism on campus, and addressing anti-Semitism. Furthermore, it details the UK government’s efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of hate crime prosecution, combat the use of the Internet to spread hate messages, and address anti-Semitism on school campuses.

But to assess and effectively fight anti-Semitism, it is important to define what constitutes actionable offenses; yet the report asserts the government has no intention to formally adopt the working definition it encourages other government and law enforcement agencies to adopt from the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

The EUMC, now named Fundamental Rights Agency, is an organization that provides data on racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism in Europe, developed and disseminated a working definition of anti-Semitism in 2005. The definition included several examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere, as well as examples of ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel. Although EUMC’s successor agency no longer includes the definition on its website, the definition and its examples remain influential throughout the world.


CFP: “Music as Resistance to Genocide” International Workshop — 26 October 2015, Los Angeles

We have received the following CALL FOR PAPERS which may interest our readers: International Workshop “Music as Resistance to Genocide” Organized by the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in collaboration with the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 26 October 2015, Los Angeles, CA The Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the USC…


University of Chicago and Free Speech on Campus

Earlier this month, the University of Chicago released a praiseworthy update to its policy on freedom of speech.  The policy protects free academic discourse and speakers’ rights to address controversial topics, while also setting forth principles about students’ responsibilities to respect guest speakers and fellow students, and about the University’s need to prevent disruptions to…


Moses, Mohammed, “Charlie Hebdo”—and Glenn Greenwald

Blogger Glenn Greenwald vicariously shares Edward Snowden’s immortality for publishing the NSA leaks that ultimately led the ideologically-confused Snowden to become an intelligence asset of Vlad Putin. Not satisfied with this second-hand claim to fame, Greenwald then took it upon himself to repackage Snowden’s embarrassing revelations about the U.S. intelligence services into a bizarre expose…


Brandeis University, Daniel Mael, and Freedom of Speech

As the Washington Free Beacon reports, and as others have reported here and here, Brandeis University issued a “No Contact Order” (NCO) to student journalist and outspoken Israel-supporter Daniel Mael last week, which would have restricted his movements on campus.  This order, which was immediately revoked this past Friday following an intense media outcry, comes…


The NYT Publishes “All the News That’s Fit to Print” Except That Which Offends a Muslim Family in Brooklyn

French President Hollande has just finished his address to the nation on the tragic finale of the new terrorist attacks expressing condolences to the hostage victims at the Parish kosher butcher shop, condemning anti-Semitism, and of course declaring that France’s latest national horror had “nothing to do with Islam.” In fact, there is no evidence…