Brandeis Center Responds to the Journal of Academic Freedom

In its 2013 publication, the Journal of Academic Freedom discussed the topic of academic boycotts, primarily focusing on the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).  In her introduction, the Journal’s editor, Ashley Dawson, wrote that the “reviewers of the submitted articles. . . felt [the articles] could have the salutary effect of pushing the AAUP to discuss criteria for responding to violations of academic freedom. . .” on an international level, since the AAUP’s current policy opposes boycotts.  However, what followed was a compilation of articles presenting one-sided narrow viewpoints on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and academic freedom. 

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In response to this biased presentation, several scholars came together to present a series of response papers.  In “The Very Foundations of the University”, the Brandeis Center’s Kenneth L. Marcus and Sitara Kedilaya outline the alarming yet growing position of several academics: that the Jews are the most dangerous threat to the university.  Too many academics embrace the narrative that Zionists threaten the university by suppressing speech contrary to their nefarious interests, especially their conspiracy to hide crimes inflicted by Israelis on innocent Palestinians.  Such warnings resonate with age-old stereotypes of the Jews as fantastically powerful, diabolically conspiratorial, and cosmically dangerous.  According to these anti-Israel scholars, the Zionist threat consists of orchestrated complaints by pro-Israel students who insist that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.  To assert this position, these scholars too narrowly construe the true definition of anti-Semitism, and therefore must deny that anti-Semitism is the serious problem on many university campuses that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says it is. In other words, they must create a safe haven for those anti-Jewish bigots who cast their anti-Jewish rhetoric in terms of Israel. 

National Law Student Conference Gains Star Power

The Brandeis Center just announced two superstar additions to the faculty of our inaugural national law student leadership conference: international lawyers Richard Heideman and Abraham (Avi) Bell.

The LDB national law student conference, to be held in Los Angeles, California on January 2-3, 2014, marks the launch of the Brandeis Center’s law student chapter program. Just a few slots remain for law student leaders interested in attending the leadership conference and learning from Heideman, Bell, and other leading authorities.


Mr. Heideman, a world-famous legal practitioner and civic leader, has served as President of B’nai B’rith, Head of Delegation to the United Nations Durban Conference, and Chief Trial Counsel for Israeli victims of terrorism at hearings convened on behalf of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies by the Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel coincident with the International Court of Justice Hearings at The Hague. He authored the brief filed with the International Court of Justice regarding legal issues arising from Israel’s construction of its terrorism prevention security fence.

Professor Bell, an internationally prominent international law scholar, is Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law. Professor Bell clerked for Justice Mishael Cheshin of the Supreme Court of Israel and for the High Court of Justice Department within the Israeli State Attorney’s office.

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “We couldn’t be more delighted by the addition of Heideman and Bell to the fabulous agenda for our Los Angeles conference. Law student attendees will be very lucky to learn from these legal superstars.”

Call For Papers: Summer Institute for Law and Policy

Our friends at the Summer Institute for Law and Policy at Hebrew University have issued this call or applications:

Hebrew University in Jerusalem Faculty of Law invites applications for its three week Summer Institute for Law and Policy, June 1-20, 2014.

ABOUT HU: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) is the first and leading university in Israel (ranked 59 in the world inhttp://www.shanghairanking.com). The Faculty of Law, which has long been considered the most prestigious law school in the country and a world-reputed academic institution, is inviting applications for the first of its Summer Institutes for Law and Policy. The Program, offered in English, is dedicated to International Law and Human Rights, and the Middle East Conflict, fields for which the HU Law Faculty has been known as an international hub of academic excellence.

Academic Boycotts Are Anathema to Academic Freedom

UntitledAll too often, professors proclaim their allegiance to the principles of academic freedom and then take action that violates those very principles. Sadly, this is often the case when it comes to academia’s attitude toward the State of Israel and its institutions of higher learning.

The American Studies Association (ASA), which claims to be “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” is currently debating a proposed resolution to endorse a boycott of Israeli universities. Should the organization’s National Council, which consists of about 20 elected representatives, approve the resolution, the ASA will become the second major American scholarly organization to come out in favor of such an academic boycott.

LDB Announces Inaugural National Law Student Conference

 

The Brandeis Center announced today that it will conduct an inaugural national law student leadership training conference in Los Angeles, California on January 2-3, 2014. This inaugural national law student conference coincides with the launch of the Center’s new Law Student Chapter Initiative.  The conference will draw law student leaders together to exchange lessons on advancing civil and human rights.  Key topics will include campus anti-Semitism, international law, human rights, and freedom of speech.  Attorney mentors will also discuss career paths for law students interested in advancing the civil and human rights and combating campus anti-Semitism.

This announcement follows shortly upon the establishment of the first Brandeis Center law school chapters.  This Fall, law student leaders have formed Brandeis Center chapters at UCLA School of Law  and the American University’s Washington College of Law.  Law students are also working to form Brandeis Center chapters at other law schools nationwide.

Addressing BDS at Fordham School of Law

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On November 20, 2013, the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, presented a mini-conference on the subjects of BDS, Israel, and Academic Freedom. The Fordham Law School Jewish Students Association hosted the event. The event was also co-hosted by the Louis Brandeis Center, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and the Lawfare Project.

Fordham Law School hosted a BDS event in October which happened to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This conference provided a response to those proponents as to why the BDS movement is a sham.

The turnout to this event was fantastic. The event drew young, intelligent law school students intermingling with many professional members of the community. The panelists, Richard Cravatts, President, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and Brooke Goldstein, President, Lawfare project, consisted of two profound experts in the fields of Academic Freedom, Human Rights, and Israel. The moderator, Stephen Greenwald, IMG_5548Immediate Past President, American Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists, and introductory speaker, Kenneth L. Marcus, Founder, Louis Brandeis Center, are also very respected and prestigious scholars in regard to these topics. Talk about an All-Star lineup. The audience had no idea what they were in store for.

The conference began with Mr. Marcus, who in addition to founding the Louis Brandeis Center, was the former head of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, giving introductory remarks. Mr. Marcus shed light on the issues this conference intended to focus on by providing an excellent analogy. Comparing disparate impact with anti-Israelism because hatred isn’t always advertised, but rather it is coded. A new phenomena Jews face today is accurately depicting what anti-Semitism is because it is a grey area. Of course every individual is entitled to criticize a country, but when it comes to dealing with Israel, the only Jewish state in the universe, criticism is a grey area. When an individual carries so much hostility towards a supporter of Israel, but in defending himself, denies being anti-Semitic, one must wonder if this hatred is coded.

Brandeis Center will present a conference at Fordham University Law School

 

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law is excited to present a Fordham Law School mini-conference on “Israel, BDS, Academic Freedom and the Law,” next week.

 The event will take place next Wednesday, November 20, 2013 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. It will be held in room 207 at Fordham University School of Law located at 140 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023. The event will be hosted by the Fordham Law School Jewish Students Association. The conference is co-sponsored by LDB, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and The Lawfare Project.

UC Berkeley Student Assesses Campus Anti-Semitism

 

UC Berkeley freshman Elijah Z. Granet has written an interesting account of anti-Semitism that he has faced there and on Facebook.  Granet’s op ed in The Daily Californian relates his own personal experience with anti-Semitism before he even set his foot on UC Berkeley’s ground. He elaborates on the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ decision to dismiss claims that the university had failed to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism at that campus. Granet argues that OCR would never hold Berkeley legally liable, no matter the degree of hostility faced by Jewish students because the issues faced by Jewish students stem from the general student body and not from a single organization. Recent incidents and reports reinforce the idea that Jewish students are not welcome at UC Berkeley.  Despite these hateful events, Granet believes we can still move on. 

Government-Created Anti-Semitism (Part 3)

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In a recent article written for The Tablet, Kenneth R. Timmerman said that when he traveled to Gaza, Amman, and Damascus in 1994, he kept asking Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders whether they thought the Jews had a plan to dominate the world. Timmerman recounted the enthusiastic answer one Hamas leader: “Yes, indeed. I have a copy right here.” The man then pulled down from a shelf his copy of an Arabic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Says Timmerman: “It was a response I heard again and again.”

Why did that happen? How did a horrible anti-Semitic tract spread though the Muslim world? Once again, this was not a natural development; anti-Semitic hatred was cultivated by the Soviet government’s disinformation experts.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was re-established, Stalin hoped to fill it with Russian Jewish agents. His plan was to use them to transform Israel into a springboard from which he would launch Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In 1948, however, Golda Meir visited Moscow, and she was enthusiastically greeted by huge groups of Russian Jews. Soon, many of these Jews were promoting the idea of a mass emigration to Israel.

ACTA and Academic Freedom

From the beginning, academic freedom has been a core concern of the Louis D. Brandeis Center.  As civil rights lawyers, we are concerned both when academic freedom is violated and also when the doctrine is abused.  For example, we are concerned when anti-Israel activists suppress the ability of pro-Israel speakers to communicate their messages on campus.  We are also concerned when the doctrine of academic freedom is abused in efforts to justify or protect hateful, harassing or biased academic lectures.  LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus has presented some of these issues in the current issue of the Journal of College and University Law.  See his article on “Academic Freedom and Political Indoctrination.”

In order to share with our readers the latest research on academic freedom, we have asked experts at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) to appear as our guests on this blog.  ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities.  Under the inspired leadership of Anne Neal,  ACTA has recently issued an important trustees’ guide on “Free to Teach, Free to Learn: Understanding and Maintaining Academic Freedom in the United States.”  This guide compiles critical source materials, case studies and commentaries from leading experts.  We are pleased that two of ACTA’s key staffers, William Gonch and Avi Snyder, will be our guests over the coming weeks.