The BDS Solidarity Wave

Activists campaigning for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel recently called for an “international wave of action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle” and promoted the planned events on social media under the hashtag #SolidarityWaveBDS. One can only speculate if the image of the wave was an entirely coincidental choice or if it was…

The Continuity of the New Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitic Hate Acts and Terrorism

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According to the latest annual US State Department Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, the level of anti Semitic incidents continues to rise in Europe. That report found that the rise in European anti Semitism was tied to criticism of Israeli policy.

Secretary of State John Kerry presented the report together with Ambassador At Large for Religious Freedom David Saperstein at the State Department. According to the Times of Israel, Saperstein stated at that time that “in Europe, many governments are struggling to cope with the aftermath of terror attacks such as those in France, Belgium and Denmark, along with increased anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim actions and sentiments.”

Saperstein continued stating that such criticism of Israel, “has often crossed the line when groups try to argue that Israel is an inherently illegal state and doesn’t have a right to exist as a Jewish state here and takes actions to delegitimize those fundamental rights,” and that such statements are “right on the cusp of that line when it holds one country to different standards than it would hold any other country.”

Apparently linking hateful anti Semitic terrorism and discourse together, the Report states that “countries such as France and Germany witnessed a wave of anti-Israel sentiments that crossed the line into anti-Semitism,” which “left many pondering the viability of Jewish communities in some countries,” and that while “most anti-Semitic incidents consisted mainly of hate speech and the desecration of institutions, monuments and cemeteries, others turned violent.”

The Report likewise noted an upswing of anti Semitic incidents in Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, often in connection with Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge campaign against rocket attacks from Gaza. Likewise, in the midst of that conflict, the Netherlands’ government-sponsored Independent Registration Center for Discrimination on the Internet (MDI) recorded the highest spike in anti-Semitic incidents in its history.

France reported a 101 percent increase in anti-Semitic acts during the year in comparison with 2013, likewise also as a result of the 2014 conflict, including “numerous cases of physical violence against the Jewish community where individuals were targeted and beaten and synagogues were firebombed.” The State Department wrote that anti-Semitic speech and actions likewise increased in Germany.

Information gathered from this report echoes earlier reports on anti-Semitism from prior years. Already in January 2005, the State Department’s 2005 Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism Report mentioned that “demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue,” and that “strong anti-Israel sentiment [often] crosses the line between objective criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism.”

Rabbi Finman Interview with LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus: The Definition of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitism on Campus

Earlier this month, LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus had an online interview with Rabbi Herschel Finman for his radio show, The Jewish Hour, to discuss his latest book, The Definition of Anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism on American college campuses. As Marcus describes in his interview, one of the biggest obstacles LDB has had to face when dealing with…

UC Berkeley Student explains why UC Regents should adopt Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism

The adoption of the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism is a cause that LDB has been activity advocating for, particularly in university campuses across the nation. As LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus stated, “University administrators need a uniform definition of anti-Semitism in order to make clear what the boundaries are between hateful actions and legitimate behavior.” This need can be seen on the campuses of the University of California, where a rise in anti-Israel sentiments has also come along with a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. LDB President Marcus and many of the world’s leading scholars on anti-Semitism also wrote letter to the UC Regents urging them to adopt the State Departments definition, explaining how it “offers an essential tool for identifying and educating about all forms of contemporary antisemitism.” In light of the UC Regents rejection of the Proposed Statement of Principles of Against Intolerance, as its broad language failed to deal with the issue of campus anti-Semitism, UC Berkley Student, Shauna Satnick, also recently wrote an articulate op-ed for The Daily Californian. Her article highlighted the importance of the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as well as why the regents should consider adopting it:

Regents should adopt State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism

Shauna Satnick

I cannot speak on behalf of the entire Jewish population at UC Berkeley because it is not monolithic, so I speak from my own perspective. That being said, the UC Board of Regents’ proposed statement of principles concerning intolerance and anti-Semitism is too broad and does not effectively protect Jews from hate speech and other forms of anti-Semitism. The definition should be rewritten in order to more accurately reflect how Israel has been inequitably and systematically singled out among nations and thus warranting special consideration.

The U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism, which characterizes the demonization and delegitimization of Israel as anti-Semitism, comes into play only when Israel is treated differently from any other country. If other countries or groups of individuals are not subject to comparable criticism and rhetoric, then under this definition of intolerance, Israel and its supporters should be protected from hostile speech and actions. Historically, Jews and Israel’s supporters have been habitually targeted — so much so that they feel the need for the University of California to include a clause specifically protecting the Jewish community. That the pervasive sense of hostility still exists in 2015 speaks volumes. It is time that our grievances be heard and addressed.

USHMM: Call for Applications

 

downloadThe United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is holding two seminars in early January, applications are due in October:

Seminar for Advanced Undergraduate, MA, and Early PhD Students
A Research Introduction to the Holocaust in the Soviet Union
January 4–8, 2016
Applications due October 11

The Mandel Center invites applications for a seminar designed to acquaint advanced undergraduate, MA, and early PhD students with the central topics, issues, and sources related to the study of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, including evacuation, mass shootings, rescue, forced labor, and issues of commemoration and memory. Mandel Center scholars will lead discussions, and the seminar will include group analysis of many of the types of primary-source material available in the Museum’s collections. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to explore the Museum’s extensive library, archival, and other collections.

Please address inquiries and applications to Elana Jakel, program manager of the Initiative for the Study of Ukrainian Jewry, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, at ejakel@ushmm.org. For further information about this program and to view the full Call for Applications, please visit ushmm.org/soviet-union-seminar.

 

2016 Jack and Anita Hess Faculty Seminar
After the Holocaust: Teaching the Postwar World
January 4–8, 2016
Applications due October 30

Most courses in Holocaust studies end with liberation in 1945, making only passing reference to the long shadow thrown by the Holocaust on the postwar world. Faculty and students are very interested in the aftermath, however, including problems of survival; political wrangling over displaced persons; integration of the experience of soldiers and evacuees into the history; issues of postwar justice and restitution; and the challenge of representation for future generations. This seminar will explore how these issues were confronted (and not confronted) in postwar Europe, the United States, and Palestine/Israel, based on the growing literature in these fields. office for rent In addition to lecture and discussion, the seminar will devote time to specific pedagogical strategies concerning these issues.

The seminar will be led by Michael Berkowitz, Professor of Modern Jewish History at University College London, and Norman J. W. Goda, the Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida.

Applications can be sent to university_programs@ushmm.org. For complete competition guidelines and eligibility requirements please visit ushmm.org/hessseminar. Decisions will be announced in mid-November 2015.

Please direct inquiries to Leah Wolfson, senior program officer, University Programs, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, at lwolfson@ushmm.org.

 

“Deciphering the New Antisemitism” Reviews

 

9780253018656_medAlvin Rosenfeld’s latest book “Deciphering the New Antisemitism”, is due for release early next year. The book is comprised of 18 essays written by an international group of scholars, including LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus, that discuss a wide-range of topics about the increasing occurrences of anti-Semitism around the world. This analyzes the various forms of anti-Semitism across the globe, its roots, and its relationship to other bodies of society. Rosenfeld is the director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at the University of Indiana and professor of Jewish and English studies, as well as a member of LDB’s Academic Advisory board. In 2014, he hosted a conference in which LDB President Kenneth L. cheapcarrent Marcus and numerous other scholars presented their research and ideas on the rise of contemporary anti-Semitism.

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The following are reviews by Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly about the forthcoming book:

“An old, noxious contagion of prejudice is on a rapid, virulent rise.
These scholarly essays, collected by Rosenfeld (English and Jewish
Studies/Indiana Univ.; The End of the Holocaust, 2011, etc.),
review the epidemiology of anti-Semitism and seek to determine
the etiology, roots, and history of this special form of bigotry.
Throughout history, many of the world’s problems have been blamed
on the Jews. As this anthology’s contributors report, renewed
Holocaust denial, naked prejudice in sectors of England, France, and
the rest of Europe, calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions,
the rise of militant jihad, and the unique standards applied only to
Israel since the start of the 21st century all attest to what has
come to be know! n as “the New anti-Semitism.” Zionism and the
establishment and achievements of the Jewish state in the Muslim
heart of the Middle East are central to the rise of hatred of all things
Jewish. Notions that were once limited to the lunatic right are now,
frequently, proud badges of the left. Certain precincts of academe
accommodate the myths and misanthropy of anti-Semitism,
supported by spurious public intellectuals. Ignorant entertainers,
as well, have their say, and the notorious forgery The Protocols
of the Elders of Zion sells quite well everywhere. International
organizations and national governments allied with Hamas and
Hezbollah threaten a minuscule spot on the planet, Israel, as
well as Jews worldwide. These various essays, fully footnoted,
consider each of these matters and others in detail in an effort to
parse and tease out the history and historiography of today’s
anti-Semitism. Some are stunningly perceptive, some explore new
dimensions, and while not all offer! lapidary prose (they are written
by academics, after all), each offers new insights about the thoughts
and activities of current anti-Semites and the evil they purvey.
A source book that will be of special value to those who see and are
concerned about the new anti-Semitism.”

-Kirkus Reviews

UC Regents Reject Weak Intolerance Statement

On September 16th UC regents decided to reject the proposed statement of principles against intolerance because it inadequately addressed the problem of anti-Semitism on UC campuses, the reason for which it was first proposed. The proposed statement has been heavily criticized as being too broad and ambiguous, simplistically defining intolerance as “unwelcome conduct motivated by…