The Louis D. Brandeis Center would like to congratulate its Director of Legal Initiatives, Aviva Vogelstein, on receiving the Daniel Siegel Memorial Alumni Award from her former high school last Sunday. The award is given out every year by the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School Alumni Association to an alum who maintains a connection to…Details
On June 14, 2017, the Modern Language Association (MLA) announced that a resolution against BDS had been ratified by their members, passing by a wide margin of 1,954 votes in favor to 885 against. Resolution 2017-1 states: “Whereas endorsing the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel contradicts the MLA’s purpose to…Details
The Louis D. Brandeis Center joined the AMCHA Initiative and nearly 50 other groups in urging an immediate response from UC Irvine over a recent hostile incident in the letter below. LDB had already written to Chancellor Gilman on this matter immediately after the incident had occurred.
DetailsDear Chancellor Gillman,We are 50 Jewish, Christian, education and civil rights organizations representing hundreds of thousands of supporters. Many of our organizations wrote to you last August to express our sincere appreciation for your statement to the campus community, committing yourself to ensuring “the full implementation of all elements of the Regents’ statement [of Principles Against Intolerance].” We are writing to you now, however, to echo the serious concerns raised by UC Irvine Hillel, Hillel International, Students Supporting Israel National and other organizations regarding the university’s handling of last month’s disruption of a pro-Israel event by members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). We, too, are deeply disappointed that, despite your verbal commitment to fully implement the Regents’ statement, little on the ground has improved when it comes to addressing intolerant behavior directed against Jewish and pro-Israel students.For four years in a row now, members of Students for Justice in Palestine and other anti-Zionist groups have been permitted to intentionally and successfully disrupt a student-organized, pro-Israel event:
- On May 10, 2017, approximately forty protesters, who were granted entrance to a Students Supporting Israel event featuring five Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists, on the condition that they behave civilly and not disrupt, broke out into loud, sustained chants that purposely made it impossible for the event to continue. The reservists and the audience who came to hear them had to be escorted out of the building by campus police for their safety.
- On May 18, 2016, Jewish and pro-Israel students had to be escorted by campus police from the room in which an Israel-themed film was being screened, after an angry mob of dozens of protesters stood right outside the event, loudly chanted, pounded on the room’s door and prevented students from entering and exiting.
- On April 23, 2015, an Anteaters for Israel event was disrupted by protesters, who chanted loudly to drown out the event and blocked the walkway leading to the event.
- And on May 8, 2014, at a pro-Israel event, members of anti-Zionist student groups assaulted three female Jewish students and pushed others away from information booths set up for the event.None of these incidents was spontaneous. Rather, the disruptions and attempted shut-downs of pro-Israel events were carefully planned by members of anti-Zionist student groups, particularly SJP, as part of an ideologically motivated campaign to suppress any and all Zionist or pro-Israel expression on campus. As one SJP leader boasted the day after the most recent disruption, during an event connected with the SJP-sponsored “Anti-Zionism Week”:“Last night we disrupted their event to let them know that we refuse to allow the normalization of their presence here… And last year, we shut down an IDF panel, we shut down their panel [loud cheers and applause].”There is a clear distinction between expression that is protected by the First Amendment and harassment. We recognize that while SJP members may advocate for an anti-Zionist agenda that includes the promotion of BDS and calls for the elimination of the Jewish state — expression that our groups find hateful and deeply offensive – they are within their constitutional rights to do so. However, when SJP members engage in speech or action intended to suppress the expression of other students or to deprive them of the right to fully participate in campus life, the line between free speech and harassment has been crossed. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and cannot go unaddressed.The fact that SJP members have intentionally crossed the line between protected expression and harassment, year after year, without disciplinary measures being taken against them, is outrageous. This year’s incident is especially appalling, in light of your stated commitment to implementing the Regents Principles Against Intolerance. The most basic tenet of any implementation of these principles must be to safeguard the freedom of expression of all students, first and foremost by taking prompt and appropriate disciplinary measures against those who suppress the freedom of expression or civil rights of others. In particular, any student group whose members have openly stated their commitment to shutting down the freedom of expression of other students on campus and have carried out their malicious intentions on multiple occasions should not be allowed to operate freely at UCI. Moreover, the group’s leaders and active members should be subject to disciplinary measures commensurate with their violations of university policy.Yet it has been more than one month since the incident in question, and not only have the students who perpetrated this harassment not been disciplined, nor their student group sanctioned, your office has yet to even issue a public condemnation of SJP’s egregiously intolerant behavior. By not speaking out on this matter, you have missed a critical opportunity to educate the campus community about the unacceptable nature of SJP’s behavior, and your silence has actually contributed to the hostile climate that Jewish and pro-Israel students experience at UC Irvine.Your failure to adequately address this most obvious case of intolerant behavior is deeply troubling and suggests that your plan for implementing the Regents’ Principles may also be inadequate. We therefore ask you to tell us how UCI’s current plan for implementing the Regents Principles Against Intolerance will adequately address the current incident and ensure that Jewish students, and all students, are protected now and in the future from intolerant behavior which denies them freedom of expression and the right to fully participate in campus life.We look forward to hearing from you.Sincerely,Academic Council for IsraelAccuracy in AcademiaAlpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF)ACF – UC DavisACF – UCLAACF – UC RiversideACF – UC Santa BarbaraAMCHA InitiativeAmerican Council of Trustees and AlumniAmerican Institute for Jewish ResearchAmericans for Peace and ToleranceAmerican Truth ProjectBEAR: Bias Education, Advocacy & ResourcesBrandeis Center for Human Rights Under LawCalifornia Association of ScholarsChristians and Jews United for IsraelClub ZDavis Faculty for IsraelEagles WingsEndowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)Fuel For TruthInstitute for Black Solidarity with IsraelIAC for ActionIranian American Jewish FederationIranian Jewish Women’s OrganizationIsrael Peace Initiative (IPI)Jerusalem UJewish Israel CafeMiddle East ForumMiddle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)National Conference on Jewish AffairsNational Council of Young IsraelProclaiming Justice to the NationsRoc4IsraelRussian Jewish Community FoundationScholars for Peace in the Middle EastSimon Wiesenthal CenterStandWithUsStop BDS on CampusStudents and Parents Against Campus Anti-SemitismStudents Supporting Israel NationalStudents Supporting Israel at ColumbiaStudents Supporting Israel at UCLAStudents Supporting Israel at UC IrvineThe Coalition for Jewish ValuesThe Israel Christian NexusThe Israel GroupTraining and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)Zionist Organization of America
The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted countless resolutions against Israel throughout its history, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been very vocal about this biased trend. On June 6, Ambassador Haley addressed the Council, calling on it to end its one-sided, anti-Israel behavior as part of her remarks at the…Details
On May 24, 2017, Nevada’s House unanimously passed an anti-BDS bill that outlaws government entities from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. Last month, the Senate approved this bill in a 19-2 vote and, now, it is being sent to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is expected to sign it into law. Gov.…Details
This past Saturday, Kansas State Senate passed a bill that will prevent the state from contracting businesses that engage in discrimination either against Israel or entities doing business in Israel. Kansas’ House previously passed the bill in a 116-9 vote in April and the State Senate approved it in a vote of 28-9. Due to the…Details
On June 1st, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on European Union member states and European Union institutions to adopt and apply the working definition of antisemitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The text of the resolution further urges EU member states to “protect their Jewish citizens and Jewish institutions from…Details
On May 26th, Romania pledged to apply the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. The official statement from the Romanian governments asserts that “…Romanian society will be provided with an efficient guide that will contribute toward better understanding and definition of anti-Semitic actions as well as of the consequences deriving therefrom.” In…Details
Earlier this month, the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s (“UW”) Student Judiciary stood up for the rights of Jewish students on campus. The Student Judiciary ruled in favor of five students (the “Petitioners”) who filed a complaint against the Chair and Vice Chair of the Associated Students of Madison (“ASM”) Student Council, for violating the Constitutional rights of…Details
The Brandeis Center is happy to report on upcoming opportunities to aid in widening the breadth of scholarship and educational material related to anti-Semitism. A unique opportunity in this regard was recently issued by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This opportunity…Details
Earlier this month, H.R. 672 was received in the U. S. Senate after passing the House of Representatives unanimously. H.R. 672, the “Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017,” is a bill which “expresses the sense of Congress that it is in the U.S. national interest to combat anti-Semitism at home and abroad.” Originally introduced by…Details
On May 11th, the BDS movement suffered a major defeat at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) when a resolution to divest from Israel met with zero votes in favor. The tally on May 11th ended with 0 in favor, 15 against, and seven abstentions from the vote. This was the fourth attempt at passing…Details
Earlier this month, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry released its Antisemitism Worldwide 2016 analysis, which this year demonstrates a startling 45% increase in anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses. The Kantor Center, based at Tel Aviv University, strives to “provide an academic framework for the interdisciplinary research of European Jewry…Details
On April 19, 2017, the Associated Students at San Diego State University passed “A Resolution to Condemn Anti-Semitism.” The resolution takes a strong line against anti-Semitism, both in its addressing of a series of broad issues and its strict reliance on established definitions and law. The resolution cites both the U.S. State Department definition of…Details
On April 24th, President Donald J. Trump released a statement asking the American people to join him in observing the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, starting April 23rd and lasting through April 30th. Sunset of April 23rd marked the beginning of Yom HaShoah in Israel. Yom HaShoah is Israel’s official day of commemoration for the six million Jewish people who were killed throughout the duration of the Holocaust. The statement was also released as a short video clip on the official White House website.
The short message by President Trump reminds the American people to stand with their Israeli allies in remaining vigilant against the “hateful ideologies and indifference” which led to deaths of the six million Jews who were “brutally slaughtered.” The statement goes on to point to the Holocaust survivors who live in the United States, lauding their help in “continu[ing] to fuel our resolve to advance human rights and to combat antisemitism and other forms of hatred.”
The full statement can be read below.Details
On Wednesday, April 26th the South Carolina public will get an up close and personal look at the fight against anti-Semitism during Citizens Advocacy Day. Citizens Advocacy Day is an event intended to bring more public awareness to anti-Semitism legislation, as well as give an opportunity to meet the organizations and legislators working to fight…Details
On Sunday morning, May 7, LDB’s Director of Legal Initiatives, Aviva Vogelstein, will speak at Congregation Har Tzeon – Agudath Achim on, “Anti-Semitism on Campuses and the BDS Movement.” Vogelstein will discuss the growing problem of anti-Semitism on campuses in the U.S. Since joining the Brandeis Center in 2014, Vogelstein’s work has focused on combating…Details
The Town of North Hempstead, New York recently passed anti-boycott legislation, unanimously. The town will no longer contract with entities which boycott Israel or the territories it administers. The legislation adds an amendment to Chapter 24 – “Governmental Operations” – of the Code of the Town of North Hempstead by establishing Article IX – “Contract…Details
Earlier this month, U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL), Co-Chair of the GOP Israel Caucus, Juan Vargas (D-CA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, legislation to further combat the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. A companion bill was submitted in the United States Senate by Senators Rob…Details
Last week, the Texas House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of H.B. 89, an anti-BDS and boycott bill that seeks to deny “state contracts and investments in companies that boycott Israel.” This comes on the heels of the passage of a similar bill in the Texas senate on March 23rd. This legislation will now…Details