Where Was The President When He Was Supposedly In Israel?

    Alyza D. Lewin photo by Rikki Lewin                                 Menachem Zivotofsky - November 7, 2011

What a week it has been for Jerusalem. The President of the United States arrived, transformed the King David Hotel into his (and his entourage’s) home away from home, and then began a series of meetings and visits – to the official residences of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, to the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book, to the Jerusalem Convention Center, to Mount Herzl, Yad Vashem, and to the grave of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.  All of these sites are in Jerusalem.  But are they in Israel?

According to the U.S. State Department they are not.  The State Department refuses to recognize Jerusalem as being in Israel and says that the city’s status must be determined in future peace negotiations.

My father, Nathan Lewin, and I were in court this week – the day before President Obama arrived in the Middle East – on a case that concerns this very issue.  The case is Zivotofsky v. Secretary of State, and it involves the right of a Jerusalem-born American citizen to self-identify as born in “Israel” on his or her U.S. passport and birth certificate.

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If you can’t Recognize Hate Speech, the sunlight can’t penetrate

This week the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian Charity which I have the privilege of leading as its CEO, released my major new report into Hate Speech on Facebook. OHPI seeks to facilitate a change in online culture so that hate in all its forms becomes as socially unacceptable online as it is in “real life”. This post provides an over view of OHPI’s new report and its real impact, which extends far beyond exposing specific examples of hateful content.

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Simon Wiesenthal Center Issues New BDS Report

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has just issued a new report on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, authored by Dr. Harold Brackman, “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel: An Anti-Semitic, Anti-Peace Poison Pill.”  The beautifully produced report argues that the “essence” of the BDS movement can be understood in terms of Natan Sharansky’s famous “three…

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Autonomous Histories

The Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University is circulating a very interesting Call for Papers on “Autonomous Histories and Studies of the Holocaust,” which the Center is co-convening with four other institutions.  (LDB Advisor Dina Porat heads the Kantor Center.)  The impetus for the conference is the perception that Holocaust studies have developed within two separate silos: in one, historians study the perpetrators to discern their motives, while in the other, researchers develop “autonomous histories” of the persecuted (Jewish) communities.  The conveners ask what can be learned about the conflict, interplay, and meeting points between these two separate scholarly inquiries.  This is a fascinating question which is also more broadly applicable to a basic question of anti-Semitism scholarship, to wit: to what extent should anti-Semitism be considered exclusively a Jewish problem, exclusively a gentile problem, or a problem which requires that we consider the evolution of both Jewish and gentile communities?  The Call for Papers follows the jump.

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About Danit

As a young Jewish professional, activism has shaped much of my life.  I grew up in a traditional household where the civil rights of the Jewish people were a priority.  Events shaping Israel and the American Jewish community were a constant topic of conversation at the dinner table.  I also started to show a real interest in the legal field, such as completing an internship with the Nassau County Attorney’s Office.

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Welcome New Bloggers

The Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog welcomes two guest bloggers and two new regular bloggers this week: Alyza Lewin, Andre Oboler, Richard Cravatts, and Danit Sibovits.  All four reflect the Brandeis Center’s commitment to combatting global and campus anti-Semitism, while protecting free speech and academic freedom, and promoting justice for all people.

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The Apartheid Slur: An Intellectual Affront and Obstacle to Peace

Spring is here. And just as it portends the melting of snow and the budding of flowers, on campuses worldwide for the last few years spring has also brought a flurry of absurd anti-Israel activities inaccurately comparing Israel to the old South Africa with its reprehensible racist apartheid regime. We need to fight this modern blood libel passionately and intelligently, what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called this “Big Red Lie,” noting its Soviet and Palestinian origins as a propaganda play in the United Nations, not a serious intellectual analysis on universities. 

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The Evil Overlap: Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

In my first Blog post, I described Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s heroic fight against the UN’s infamous Zionism is racism resolution in 1975 – and how Americans responded, joining a chorus of righteous indignation. This post, with material directly excerpted from Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight Against Zionism as Racism, published by Oxford University Press, 2013, all rights reserved, explains the evil overlap between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. 

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Deadline Approaches for ISCA Call for Papers

Reminder for Anti-Semitism Scholars:  This Friday is the deadline for response to the Call for Papers for Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld‘s 2014 international conference on “Deciphering the ‘New’ Antisemitism” at Indiana University.  Rosenfeld serves on the Louis D. Brandeis Center‘s academic advisory board as well as heading IU’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA’s).  ISCA’s first two conferences were first-class scholarly events, so we strongly recommend that serious anti-Semitism scholars, regardless of discipline, consider submitting a proposal to Prof. Rosenfeld by the end of the week.  The official Call for Papers follows below (read more).

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Moynihan’s Moment: An All American Hero Fighting Anti-Semitism

Whoever you are, wherever you stand politically, we are all affected by living in an age when Israel is traumatized – and anyone who is Jewish or cares about the Jewish state is traumatized, to one extent or another. You can see this trauma in the defensiveness of Israel’s defenders and the viciousness of Israel’s detractors. And we are now seeing a dangerous escalation. Bad enough that, back in the 1970s, it became politically acceptable to call Zionism racism. Today, we have a Turkish premier calling Zionism a crime against humanity.  Bad enough that, even in the 1990s, as the Israelis and Palestinians were negotiating through the Oslo framework, whatever its flaws, many progressives and intellectuals were questioning Israel’s right to exist. Today, mainstream publications like the New York Times casually runs blog posts, like the recent one from Joseph Levine, saying Israel as a Jewish State lacks legitimacy. 

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Kudos to SPME

13-03-11 SPME logoEarlier today, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) issued an excellent “Statement Condemning Current Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel.”  LDB has just issued a press release applauding the SPME statement for “taking a courageous stand against anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bigotry.”  By way of disclosure, I am a former member of SPME’s board of directors and a former chair of the SPME Legal Task Force. The SPME Statement is as follows:

A Statement Condemning Current Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel

March 11, 2013

Pronouncements attempting to appeal to the conscience of academics supportive of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement often depict Israel as a Nazi-like state.  These views—once labeled extreme—have become increasingly mainstream as academics call for Israel’s destruction, not by might or power but by bad analogies and misguided ideas.

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Welcome to the new Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog

Welcome to the new Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog.  We hope that this new feature will facilitate communication about the issues that we are concerned about, including anti-Semitism, religious freedom, academic freedom and the freedom of speech.  We plan to include both entries from Brandeis Center people and also guest blogs from distinguished visitors.  Guest…

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LDB Commends Minister Jason Kenney for Hate Week Statement

hostile

WASHINGTON, DC, — The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an American civil rights organization, today commended the Honourable Jason Kenney for his forceful statement condemning international Hate Week. search engine optimize . The Brandeis Center observed that Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, had once again set an excellent leadership example in his statement against Hate Week, which is also known as “Israel Apartheid Week,” and which is observed this week on North American university campuses. International Hate Week has often been associated with anti-Semitism and discrimination against Israeli Americans.

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