Litigator Alyza Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, a member of the Brandeis Center’s Legal Advisory Board, will participate tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in an American Bar Association panel on “Advocating for Equality in the Next Generation: Religious Discrimination.” Lewin has appeared as a guest of this blog, posting the popular article, “Where Was the President When He…Details
A University of North Carolina professor, Omid Safi, has reportedly falsified a blog posting on Israel’s 1948 treatment of Palestinians at Deir Yassin by illustrating it with a photograph that was in fact taken of Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The Elder of Zioyon blog, among others, reports that Safi has used this Holocaust concentration camp photograph in posting on the Religion News Service (RNS) blog. The photograph was removed before we visited the site, but it is shown in this image captured from Safi’s posting:
This misuse of this Holocaust image illustrates the concept of “Holocaust inversion,” which is used to describe the practice of Jews, Zionists or Israelis of behaving like Nazis or having culpability for Holocaust-like crimes. Holocaust inversion is often described as an indicator of anti-Semitic expression. The U.S. Department of State, for example, has explained this phenomenon as a kind of “Holocaust denial or trivialization” in its report on Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism.”Details
In a major decision of international signfiicance, the University of Manitoba’s student union has stripped the Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) of official recognition. The Manitoba student’s union is the first such group to bar this anti-Israel campus group based on the anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination that take place each year during Israel Apartheid Week.…Details
Last week, the Brandeis Center was in touch with the Albany, New York, Superintendent of Schools, after an Albany High School teacher had assigned her class to write persuasively that Jews are evil. The Superintendent has now apologized to Albany families for the teacher’s misconduct. The Albany Times Union describes the assignment:
Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil. Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The Times Union reports that Albany’s superintendent has now issued a formal apology:Details
Students and professors: If you are aware of anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli incidents on your college or university campus, please contact lawyers at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. The Brandeis Center is an independent, nonprofit civil rights organization that combats campus anti-Semitism through legal advocacy, research and education. Through our legal initiative,…Details
After an epic battle, pro-Israel students have just scored an upset victory against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, defeating a hard-fought anti-Israel divestment resolution at the University of California at Santa Barbara. These battles are now much closer than they were just a few years ago, as the BDS movement had recently scored victories…Details
A group called “Students Against Bigotry” is circulating this petition against “anti-Israel bullying and bigotry on campus.” The campaign for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel often degenerates into hatred and smears. We oppose harassment, bigotry and bullying against any group. The petition may be found here, and its text is shown below.
STUDENTS AND ALUMNI OF NORTH AMERICAN COLLEGES CALL FOR AN END TO ANTI-ISRAEL BULLYING AND BIGOTRY ON CAMPUSES— AND CALL FOR HONEST, CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE AND ACTIONS
We represent the silent majority of students who are fed up with the anti-Israel activity on increasing numbers of North American campuses. We are tired of being subjected to anti-Israel slogans, events, and street theater. We are tired of boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns against Israel (BDS), especially the divestment resolutions that are stealthily introduced to our student governments. We are tired of the bullying of those who dare challenge these hostile tactics and messages. We are tired of the bitter divisiveness the anti-Israel campaign foments on campuses.Details
Author Nora Gold will speak tomorrow at McGill University on “‘I Don’t Know Why They Hate Us – I Don’t Think We Did Anything Bad To Hurt Them’: Jewish Girls (Aged 10-12) Reflect on Their Experiences of Antisemitism.” The talk is part of the the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy’s lecture series, which is conducted at several universities, including Harvard, Stanford, McGill and Fordham. Nora Gold is the creator of the online literary journal JewishFiction.net and the author of novels and an award-winning collection of short fiction.Details
Like much else about the 1960s, the mantra that “all politics is personal” was rather naïve compared to earlier, more pointed formulations. According to Harold D. Lasswell, who authored Psychopathology and Politics (1930) during the first wave of Freudian debunking, all politics is the displacement of private motives unto public issues, rationalized in terms of the greater good. Herman Melville—a first-hand student of the rise of “Jacksonian democracy”—put it succinctly in Moby Dick: “all mortal greatness is but disease.”
Not surprisingly, it was soon after the making and unmaking of Richard Nixon, that James D. Barber’s The Presidential Character (1977) launched a new wave of psychoanalyzing presidents. The problem with many of these studies is that they may be strong on psychology, but are weak on politics—specifically, the nexus between “presidential character” and public policy decisions. Another problem: historians have proved as prone to projecting their own agendas as politicians. It is true that liberal historians, disillusioned with LBJ, have not been reluctant to dissect his character, and that—given that they really had no other choice—they relatively soon fessed up about JFK’s peccadillos.
However, the iconic FDR and—to a lesser degree, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman—have long received kid gloves treatment.Details
Anti-Semitism researchers at Tel Aviv University have announced that anti-Semitic incidents surged by 30 percent last year. Tel Aviv’s Kantor Center, headed by LDB Advisor Dina Porat, issues the authoritative annual report on global anti-Semitism. This year’s report highlights a significant global surge, including last year’s Toulouse school massacre, and expresses concern about anti-Semitism in extreme right-wing political parties…Details
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East SPME is circulating a faculty Petition to Condemn Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel. The timing is important, as the BDS movement has recently scored a rare string of victories in North America. Student governments have lately passed anti-Israel BDS resolutions at the University of California campuses at San Diego, Irvine and Riverside. Meanwhile, Canada’s largest student government, which is at York University, last week endorsed the anti-Israel boycott. Efforts to counteract the BDS movement have also had some traction, as pro-Israel groups have succeeded in convincing UC Riverside’s student government to reverse itself and revoke its divestment resolution. In this volatile environment, SPME has intervened with an international faculty petition drive that attacks the BDS movement, rather than merely defending Israel against false charges. In its message to “All Faculty” (below), SPME charges that the BDS movement BDS “uses false premises that mischaracterize Israel in order to justify calling for sanctions against it.” Specifically, SPME argues that BDS’ real purpose is to eliminate the State of Israel and undermine Jewish ethnic identity, while its affects are to bolster anti-Semitism and undermine peace:Details
Historian Catherine Chatterley, a member of the Louis D. Brandeis Center’s Academic Advisory Board, will deliver a lecture on April 11 on “Canada’s Struggle with Holocaust Memorialization:
The War Museum Controversy, Ethnic Identity Politics, &
the Canadian Museum for Human Rights” at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research in Montreal. It is sadly true that the preservation of Holocaust memory has become an intensely polarizing political issue in some academic and political circles, not only in the Middle East and Europe but also in North America. Dr. Chatterley, the Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, is an astute social critic as well as an accomplished scholar, so this event promises to be worth attending.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland, which represents Irish secondary and post-secondary school teachers and lecturers, has voted at its annual meeting to boycott all academic collaboration with Israel, as the Jewish Chronicle (U.K.) reports. The Union’s new resolution steps up its campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against what it calls “the apartheid state of…Details
Columnist Michael Gerson has an interesting Washington Post opinion piece arguing that Iran may be culpable for incitement to genocide against Israel under international criminal law. This is not a new argument. We have made the same argument here and here and elaborated on some of the technical issues here. Mitt Romney famously endorsed the argument during the last presidential campaign. What is new is the context in which it appears. Previously, arguments about Iranian genocidal incitement have focused on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Iran prepares for a presidential transition, however, it is important to stress, as Gerson does, that Iranian genocidal incitement has been pervasive throughout its regime. Indeed, this incitement has been a constant in recent Iranian history under multiple presidential administrations. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, may also be culpable. Regardless of the fluctuations in Iranian politics, the prospect of anti-Israel genocide remains a serious issue for American foreign policy. Gerson is right to remind us of its urgency.Details
Historian Richard Landes (Boston University) announces on his Augean Stables web site that the French court has delayed its decision on the Enderlin-Karsenty trial until May 22. This case concerns the extraordinary al Dura hoax, which has been used to foment anti-Semitic antagonism throughout the world. Philippe Karsenty, a party to the case, offers the message below with some links that provide helpful background on the case.Details
Today, the Brandeis Center is announcing the appointment of our first Senior Civil Rights Legal Fellow, Joshua Sol Brewster, Esq. Mr. Brewster is a highly experienced civil rights attorney, who recently completed ten years of service at the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, where he worked his way up to Deputy Director and Chief Staff Counsel.
This is a terrific addition for the Center, and we are very pleased to have Mr. Brewster on our side as we continue to fight campus anti-Semitism as part of our broader mission to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all.
The new appointment continues the Center’s steady growth, especially in the area of legal advocacy. Less than a month ago, we announced the appointment of Danit Sibovits as our first Staff Attorney and Litigation Counsel. Our announcement of Mr. Brewster’s appointment follows the jump.Details
David Hirsh, the English sociologist, has just circulated a “preliminary response” to the UK Employment Tribunal’s controversial decision in the academic anti-Semitism case, Fraser vs. UCU. Hirsh’s piece was initially posted to the Engage website, an important English online journal which opposes the BDS movement. Hirsh, who occupies a politically interesting position as both a left-wing critic of Israeli policy and also as a defender of Israel against anti-Semitic boycott efforts, thought that our readers might also be interested in his latest thoughts. We agree, and we are x-posting his blog here. We have also recently run excellent essays on the same case by Lesley Klaff (“Employment Tribunal Sanctions Antisemitism”) and Harold Brackman (“Which is the Englishman Here, and Which the Jew? Or Is It the Zionist?”) Hirsh’s response follows right after the jump.Details
Having just blogged on Charles Small’s impressive offerings through his Institute for Global Antisemitism and Policy, it should be noted that Small’s former university has not been idle. Maurice Samuels, the scholar of French and Jewish culture and literature, heads Yale’s new anti-Semitism center, which is known as the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism (YPSA). Samuels’ Center has also been conducting interesting conferences. This week, for example, YPSA will present a panel on ”Antisemitism in the Ancient Mediterranean? Early Christianity and Anti-Judaism,” featuring several academics with impressive credentials within their respective fields. Details after the jump.Details
LDB Academic Advisor Charles A. Small (ISGAP) reports the following interesting events this week at his Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (after the jump). Impressively, this week’s events feature Israeli Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Dr. Amichai Magen, as well as Dr. Small himself. Dr. Small, as our readers will recall, was the founder and director of Yale University’s former anti-Semitism research center (YIISA), which was controversially disbanded. We are pleased to see the range and quality of ISGAP’s current offerings at a number of universities, including Harvard, Stanford, McGill and Fordham.Details
Judges on a UK Employment Tribunal have dismissed as “not well-founded” Ronnie Fraser’s case against the University & College Union (UCU) for “institutional anti-Semitism.” The UCU’s shameful track record: passing an assembly line of inflammatory anti-Israel resolutions that, in effect, created a hostile environment in which union members like Fraser sympathetic to Zionism were demonized as “racists.” Here’s these three judicial wise men’s reasoning that such hateful treatment was kosher: “a belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel cannot amount to a protected characteristic.” (Much more can and will be said about this ruling. See, for example, Leslie Klaff’s excellent post on this blog about it.)
In other words, anti-Zionist vitriol, however loathsome, is not anti-Semitism, whatever may think the overwhelming majority of world Jewry, including of British Jews. Statistics in the end may not matter, but historic heart-felt convictions do.
In the UK, as Cole Porter might have played on the piano, “Anything Goes” when it comes to defamation of Judaism and Jews—the judges left up in the air what exactly they would consider “anti-Semitism”—while any pointed criticism of Islam or Muslims may get you on the criminal docket. (If Salman Rushdie came out today with The Satanic Verses—assuming he could find a publisher in the UK—would he be in hiding or rather in custody?)
Fraser was defended by famed solicitor Anthony Julius. Julius is also a distinguished historian of English anti-Semitism—which his book, Trials of the Diaspora, argues is particularly “literary” in inspiration, from before Shylock, to Dickens’ Fagin, and beyond. Indeed today, Julius may feel as if he has just performed in a courtroom sequel to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.Details