Rep. Zeldin Statement Condemning Growing BDS Movement on College Campuses Across America

220px-Lee_Zeldin_official_congressional_photoWashington, DC – Congressman Lee Zeldin, co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement condemning the growing Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses across America:
“In recent years, there have been far too many incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Just recently, I spoke to a student who attends UC-Berkeley who told me that he has had multiple professors put maps up on the board in classrooms of the Middle East that say “Palestine” in place of Israel. There are even groups that fund an anti-Israel movement on college campuses, including the Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that promotes terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Just earlier this month, at San Francisco State University, members of the Students for Justice in Palestine marched into an event where the Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, was speaking to students. The students began shouting anti-Semitic statements, shutting down the event, while administrators did nothing to assist.

Sadly, this is not just an issue in other parts of the country. Many colleges right here in New York are involved in this anti-Semitic effort. Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a protest at CUNY Hunter College, which was previously promoted through anti-Semitic announcements, where students were chanting anti-Semitic phrases on campus. Administration at Hunter College even defended the rally, saying it was not anti-Semitic, until videos surfaced that proved otherwise and they were under scrutiny for not condemning the event on their campus.

Throughout my visits to synagogues here in the First Congressional District, and around the New York metropolitan area, I have met with many Americans concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism, which has clearly become a generational issue. Growing up Jewish, I didn’t experience anti-Semitism and I had once hoped that I was part of the first generation of what would be many generations that would no longer have to experience anti-Semitism. We are now going backwards instead of forwards, and my daughters, who are currently in Hebrew School, and their generation deserve better; we must right this wrong for their generation.

With the influx of the BDS Movement, and other hurtful anti-Semitic rhetoric poisoning our colleges around the nation, we must stand together to prevent the hate from spreading. In a region rife with
civil war and conflict, we must also do all we can to protect Israel and the important values of freedom and democracy it seeks to uphold. Israel is the strongest ally to the United States and our greatest strategic partner in the Middle East, which is why we must always remain committed to building a stronger relationship between our two nations.

Last August, during my trip to Israel, I met with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who all say that the BDS issue is one of the most significant challenges that must be overcome. At a time when her neighbors are unstable and Iran threatens both of our nations’ security, the U.S. should show as much support as possible. This anti-Semitic ideology, which harms Israel and her economy, as well as Jewish people around the world, should not be accepted in any manner in the United States or any other nation. No one, no group and no country should incite hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric and persuade businesses to boycott goods based off of one’s religion and culture. If there is ever a hope to resolve the dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the BDS Movement and anti-Semitism must be stopped not just in the United States, but around the world.” Congressman Lee Zeldin, the only Jewish Republican in the House, has supported several pieces of legislation condemning the BDS movement, including cosponsoring two bills, H.R. 4514, the Combating BDS Act of 2016, and H.R. 4555, the Non-Discrimination of Israel in Labeling Act, both of which condemn and attempt to resolve the BDS movement.”

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California LDB Law Students Stand Up Against Injustice

West Coast LDB law students have been influential in fighting against anti-Semitism and standing up against injustice this past month.

At the University of California Los Angeles this past Wednesday, LDB law students sent a letter in support of Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Milan Chatterjee, who had been the subject of a wrongful impeachment campaign. This impeachment campaign stemmed from his decision, and that of his GSA Cabinet, to remain neutral on the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel Movement. Since November, op-eds and articles were published against Mr. Chatterjee in the UCLA Student Newspaper, The Daily Bruin; at the prompting of UCLA students, websites such as Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss wrote articles against Mr. Chatterjee; he was attacked on social media, attacked verbally, campus petitions were circulated against him, and false statements were made against him at GSA meetings.

After months of this inflammatory rhetoric, Mr. Chatterjee’s accusers asked the GSA to impeach Mr. Chatterjee, and presented a thirty-two page document containing eight bogus charges of overwhelmingly repetitive personal statements offered as “evidence” of these charges.

LDB law student leaders at UCLA wrote a letter in support of Mr. Chatterjee, including that “ousting a student government official from office for his good faith pursuit of his responsibilities discourages student participation and sends a chilling message to the student body.” (The full text of the letter can be found below.)

At the meeting on Wednesday evening, the counsel voted to censure President Chatterjee, though thankfully not impeach him.

A bit further north, LDB law students are also standing up for what is right. At the end of March, in response to numerous anti-Semitic incidents throughout the University of California system’s ten campuses in recent years, the UC Board of Regents was deciding on whether to adopt an important new Statement of Principles Against Intolerance, along with a “contextual statement,” that included the important statement that – “Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.” The LDB law student chapter at University of California – Berkeley wrote a statement to the Regents, saying that, “[w]e, as UC Berkeley law students and leaders of the Berkeley law student chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center, call on the UC Regents to adopt not only the Statement of Principles, but also the important accompanying ‘contextual statement,’ to help address and prevent anti-Semitism on all UC campuses.” (The full statement can be found below.)

The UC Regents ultimately adopted both the Statement of Principles, along with the contextual statement.

We are proud of our UCLA and UC Berkeley law students, and all of our law students across the country, who are standing up for their beliefs and fighting against anti-Semitism and injustice.

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Selective, Biased and Discriminatory: The American Anthropological Association Task Force Report on Israel-Palestine

AAA Working Paper This document addresses the selective, biased and discriminatory nature of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Task Force Report (TFR) in respect to Public Health, the ethics of Operation Protective Edge and the effects of cradle-to-grave incitement in Palestinian society. The working paper recommends retraction of the TFR.  We assert that there is a direct…

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Indiana University to Hold Major Anti-Semitism Conference

Starting this weekend, The Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism at Indiana University (ISCA) will host its third international scholars conference, from Saturday evening, April 3 through Wednesday, April 7, on “Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization.” LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus will chair a panel on Tuesday, April 5, with Shimon Samuels,…

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UC Regents’ Condemnation of Anti-Semitism & Anti-Zionism is Timely for UC Davis

By Jennie Gross, LDB Senior Staff Attorney

Wednesday’s announcement from the Regents of the University of California is particularly timely for the Davis campus, where a disruptive protest temporarily halted a lecture by Israeli diplomat George Deek earlier this month. LDB’s legal staff sent a letter to UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi on Monday, asking her to make a strong statement condemning the acts that disrupted the visiting diplomat’s lecture.

Mr. Deek’s lecture, “The Art of Middle East Diplomacy,” might have had a positive influence on campus relations between groups with opposing views on Palestine.  The announcement of the event described Mr. Deek as an Arab-Christian Israeli who has been involved in the promotion of mutual understanding and co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Israel since he was a young man.

He was only about five minutes into the lecture when anti-Israel protesters marched to the front of room with a large banner, obstructing the audience’s view of the speaker and drowning out his voice with loud chants of “free, free Palestine,” “Allah ahkbar,” and “long live the intifada,” followed by increasingly incendiary invective, including “Israel is anti-black,” “when Palestine is occupied, resistance is justified,” and “Palestine will be free, fight white supremacy.”

Mr. Deek could not be heard (and could barely be seen) until the raucous protesters chose to leave. He later told a faculty member that he had never experienced a disruption like this while speaking.

The lecture on diplomacy might have had a positive influence on campus relations between groups with opposing views on Palestine, but the protesters that shouted him down proudly assert their refusal to engage in civil discourse.  In a statement on the website Liberation, the protesters claim that they “did not participate within the established framework of the event because [they believe] discourses about ‘dialogue’ and ‘democracy’ function to silence anti-Zionist voices.”  LDB’s legal staff note that willful disturbance of an assembly violates California Penal Code § 403.  We believe that the protestors here violated §403, as well as the UC Davis’s “Principles of Community,” reaffirmed less that one year ago.

You can read the LDB legal staff’s letter to Chancellor Katehi below.

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Maintaining Columbia’s Ties to Israel: A Letter Opposing Divestment

columbia-law-schoolIn response to a recent petition signed by 69 members of the Columbia faculty calling on the university to divest from companies that do business in Israel, David M. Schizer, Dean Emeritus and the Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics at Columbia Law School, created the following letter opposing divestment. The letter, which highlights the reasons Columbia’s ties to Israel need to be perserved, has gained the signatures of 235 full-time faculty thus far.

Fulltext of the letter can be found below:


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In Praise of Justice Alito’s Statement in Ben-Levi v. Brown

The government’s relationship with religion, if anything, means that the government may not categorically subject a particular religious group to heightened requirements for religious exercise, may not endorse and codify a particular interpretation of religious doctrine, and may not limit the religious exercise of an individual because the government disagrees with the individual’s interpretation of…

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Alabama and Georgia pass new Anti-BDS Measures

More and more state legislatures are passing measures to combat the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel, and BDS campaigns on campus often lead to increased incidents of anti-Semitism. In mid-February, Alabama passed a bill condemning the BDS movement, becoming the fifth state…

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LDB Holds Third Annual National Law Student Leadership Conference

On February 21-22, the Louis D. Brandeis Center hosted its third annual National Law Student Leadership Conference in Berkeley, California. The conference brought together 26 law student leaders from 14 law schools across the country, and educated these students on topics including civil rights law; international law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict; international anti-Semitism and the European…

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“Never Again” Conference Announcement: Jewish Cultural Heritage. Projects, Methods, Inspirations

This Warsaw conference may be of interest to practitioners, especially in Europe. This one is from the “‘Never Again’ Association”:

Conference: Jewish Cultural Heritage. Projects, Methods, Inspirations

From the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association

We invite all practitioners, museum professionals, educators, artists, and people working on a Jewish cultural heritage project to participate in the conference. We especially encourage them to contribute by submitting their abstracts in the open call. We wish to have presentations about as diverse a group of projects as possible. The conference will explore issues related to Jewish cultural heritage in contemporary Europe – preservation, animation, engagement, and impact.

The conference is organized by the POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in collaboration with HL-Senteret in Norway and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association from Poland.

The conference will be held in Warsaw on 8-10 June 2016. The call for contributions is open until 31 March 2016. The conference will be held in English and Polish.

For whom is Jewish cultural heritage being preserved and interpreted? What is its role in the renewal of Jewish life and memory? What is its impact on local and diasporic communities? How does Jewish cultural heritage figure in educational, artistic, and cultural programs? How is it deployed in wider historical and contemporary discourses?

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Borders and Borderlands: Attempting Again to Delegitmize Israel

National borders have been a fundamental issue in the Middle East for a century.  The year marks the hundredth anniversary of the secret British-French Sykes-Picot agreement which carved up Middle Eastern parts of Ottoman Empire in anticipation of a Turkish defeat in World War I.[i]  As with most Asian and African territories, twentieth century Middle Eastern borders were fixed on a basis of settlement, great power politics and war.

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Call for Papers

Our friends at the the International Consortium for Research on Anti-Semitism and Racism (ICRAR) have recently shared with us a Call for Papers for their upcoming Fourth Annual Conference.  We thought that this announcement would be of interest to our readers, and would like to share to share more information with you below: 

 logosThe Classification of Humanity: Defining and Dividing Societies in the Modern Era

Fourth Annual Conference of the International Consortium for Research on Anti-Semitism and Racism (ICRAR), November 27-28, 2016

“We are planning a major international conference focusing on the classification and categorization of human groups and individuals. Hosted by the University of Haifa’s Bucerius Institute for the Study of Contemporary German History and Society and School of History, this will be the fourth annual conference of the International Consortium for Research on Anti-Semitism and Racism (ICRAR). Like previous ICRAR conferences, the goal of this meeting is to address questions that are central to the study of anti-Semitism by way of comparison with other forms of racism. Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed volume that will appear as part of the new ICRAR book series with Palgrave, Rethinking Antisemitism.

In “The Classification of Humanity” we have in mind two separate but interrelated levels of classification. The first level concerns classifications found in various historical objects or moments that are critical for the historical understanding of anti-Semitism and racism. The second level concerns classifications employed by contemporary scholars in their analyses of topics related to anti-Semitic and racist phenomena.

For example, we are interested in various bureaucratic attempts to establish ostensibly objective definitions of subjective categories such as race, ethnicity, and nationality. How have such definitions been devised, applied, internalized and instrumentalized? How have censuses and other statistical surveys been designed, wittingly and unwittingly, to create, challenge or perpetuate specific categories? We are also interested in visual markers that have been used to represent different populations. How have these markers been coded? How have they changed over time? What categories of analysis and forms of classification are used by contemporary scholars of historical sources and material culture? What roles have folklorists, musicologists, anthropologists, sociologists and art historians played in characterizing and defining other cultures? What role have such definitions played in legal debates, especially with regard to affirmative action and other attempts to redress historical wrongs? How have broader, binary conceptions of gender shaped the categorization of humanity? And, implicit in all of these questions, how have individuals attempted to ‘pass’ between different racial, national, ethnic and gender categories?

In addition to cases that examine the relationship between classifications imposed from without and self-imposed classifications, we are also interested in tracing the creation, implementation and internalization of new categories, as well as the erosion, contraction or elimination of other, time-worn categories. Lastly, we are particularly interested in reflecting on the question of the persistence of particular categories (or their underlying definitions) long after their ostensible erosion or disappearance.

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Israel: Not Fiction but Fact

Israel exists  —no kudos to people who think acknowledging its existence is a major concession.  Few question the legitimacy of the ten new countries created in the last 20 years or the tens of countries created in the decades before.  That Israel is a Jewish state is bizarrely controversial when 30 countries proclaim Islam as their state or official religion and 19 countries are Christian.  And Israel does not need to prove itself error free or offer to commit existential suicide either.  But the BDS movement, a variant of the Arab Boycott of earlier decades, relies on historical ignorance and misinformation which internet searching does not remedy.   We must reclaim Israel’s history from those who would ben-gurion-independence-1948distort, defame or destroy it. Here follows a short guide to the creation and legal status of Israel.

If ever a country was midwifed by legal and international norms it was Israel.  The creation of Israel was approved by United Nations Resolution 181 in November 1947.  That resolution envisioned the creation of two states, a smaller Jewish state and an larger Arab state.  Jerusalem was to be an international city.  The Jewish community accepted the partition; the Arab leadership rejected it and vowed to oppose by force any Jewish state.

Israel declared its independence on May 15, 1948 and immediately faced five Arab armies and Arab violence from within the Israeli state borders.  Notwithstanding  overwhelming odds, Israeli army’s proved victorious.  During 1949 Israel signed a series of armistice agreements with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.  A year earlier, with little fanfare or international condemnation, Jordan unilaterally occupied the West Bank and banned Jewish access to the Old City of Jerusalem, site of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism.

During this period, the Egyptian government built the refugee camps in Gaza since Egypt, like the other Arab countries surrounding Israel excepting Jordan, refused to give citizenship to the Arabs who had fled Israel, many through their own choice.  Instead the ostracized Palestinian refugees served a mighty purpose by distracting other Arab domestic populations from their own nations’ failures.   The refugees were and continue to be supported by the United Nations, receiving more international aid than any other ethnic group.[i]

Approximately 1,000,000 Jews from Arab countries,  who were mercilessly despoiled and expelled, after 1948 were granted Israeli citizenship and today their descendents form nearly half of the population of Israel.  (This number is about thirty percent higher than the number of Arab refugees who left, mostly voluntarily.)

In 1967 Israel again fought Arab armies.   Israel rapidly swept away Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian forces and occupied the Sinai Peninsula,  the Golan Heights and the West Bank.  The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242, which requires the:

( i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;  [and]ebe52d16d3bf4ed7bbc3df16fea96c08

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.[ii]

In other words, Israel would withdraw from occupied territories in return for Palestinian and Arab state legal recognition of the state of Israel’s right to live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders.

Crucially, the Resolution does not say “all territories” but simply “territories” because of the general understanding that certain territorial adjustments would be made to give Israel its “secure”  borders.  Furthermore, Israel was to remain in legal occupation of the territories until the  peace demarcated in Resolution 242 emerged.  .  Unlike Jordan, Israel permitted access by Arabs to the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The hope of a majority of Israelis, that the Palestinians and their Arab state sponsors would be willing to trade land for peace, proved illusory.  In October 1973 Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon again attacked Israel.    At the war’s end, which produced no territorial change, the United Nations passed Resolution 338 which reiterated that Resolution 242 was to be the  basis for a permanent settlement.   Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979 and Israel returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt.  Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty fifteen years later.

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BDS and the First Amendment

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

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.

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Counter-BDS Movement Has a Good Month

Last week the British government issued guidance banning local government and public sector Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) actions toward any country not blacklisted by the Foreign Office. The Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the Canadian government to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS…

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An Oberlin Student’s Message to Student Zionists

The following essay was written by a current student at Oberlin College who wishes to remain anonymous. This student has requested anonymity due to “the polarizing nature/lack of discussion” about Israel/Palestine on the Oberlin campus and concerns about being “ostracized by many people involved in the Israel/Palestine conversation.”

I am publishing this essay on the student’s behalf to raise awareness of the disturbing intimidation tactics and fanaticism of student organizations which promote an “oversimplified, hateful, and demonizing” view of Israel at Oberlin and on college campuses across the United States.

Melissa Landa, Ph.D (Oberlin ’86)

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Bi-Partisan Anti-BDS Bill Introduced to Congress

This past Wednesday, Congressman from both sides of the aisle introduced new legislation to fight the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel. Sponsored by Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the Senate, and sponsored by Bob Dold (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Juan Vargas (D-CA) in the House– the Combating BDS Act of 2016 (S. 2531/H.R. 4514) “would authorize state and local…

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Harold Brackman Reports on Campus Anti-Semitism

In a recent report, “Anti-Semitism on Campus: A Clear-and-Present Danger,” Dr. Harold Brackman, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, examines the continuing issues of discriminatory cases of anti-Semitism occurring on many college campuses across the nation. The Brackman Report traces the history of the treatment of Jewish American students on college campuses and sheds light on…

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