Richard D. Heideman to Appear on the Brandeis Center Blog

We’re pleased to announce that Washington, D.C., lawyer Richard D. Heideman, a world-famous international lawyer, will appear as a guest on the Brandeis Center Blog in the coming week.

Heideman, the Honorary President of B’nai B’rith International,  is known as a tireless advocate for victims of terrorism around the world whose human and individual rights have been violated, as well as a strong supporter of the State of Israel.

Founder of the law firm of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik PC, Heideman serves as lead trial counsel on behalf of American victims of terrorism in claims brought against Libya, Syria, Iran and other organizations and financial institutions accused of providing material support for terrorism. In the past few years, his firm’s clients have been awarded Judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran in the amounts of $1.27 billion and $813 million; and against Syria in the amounts of $601 million, $51 million and most recently a landmark Judgment of $3.58 billion.

Alice Walker Got What She Deserves

Bravo to the University of Michigan for disinviting Alice Walker – and shame on Walker for reportedly spreading false rumors about Michigan’s reasons for doing so.  The University of Michigan recently withdrew a speaking invitation to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, who is now known not only for her literary work but also for her virulent anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.  Walker says that the university was pressured to do so, but the university denies it.

Walker and her agent are spreading an apparently false rumor, which some news outlets continue to disseminate, to the effect that Michigan had disinvited her because of pressure from rich donors.  Calling this a “censorship by purse strings,” Walker and her agent insinuate that her disinvitation was brought on by supposedly inappropriate influence by wealthy Jews.  This charge seems to have traction with some media and internet sources, because it resonates with long-held beliefs about Jewish wealth, influence, and control of major instituitons.  

IAJLJ Seeks Lawyer Signatures for European Union Petition

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists is circulating this lawyers’ letter, written by Ambassador Alan Baker, which calls upon the European Union to revoke its recent directive against Israeli settlements. The lawyers’ letter will be sent to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. If you are an attorney and would like to sign, the organizers request that you reply to as soon as possible.


[Letter begins below]

H.E. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs


Re: EU directive regarding Israeli settlements

We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in international law issues as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, respectfully call upon you and the EU to revoke the abovementioned directive which we feel is based on legally flawed and incorrect assumptions regarding both the legality of Israel’s settlements and the status of the pre-1967 Armistice lines as Israel’s border.

Anti-Semitism Returns to the House of Commons

Less than six months after the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David Ward, was accused of anti-Semitism for the equating the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews with “the Jews” treatment of the Palestinians, yet another Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Bob Russell, has equated the victims of the Holocaust with the ‘plight of the Palestinians’ since the birth of the state of Israel.

This happened last week during a debate in the House of Commons on the national school curriculum. Given that English law requires the Holocaust to be taught to all school children as part of the History syllabus, Russell asked the Education Minister, Michael Gove, the following question: “On the assumption that [coverage of] the 20th Century will include the Holocaust, will he give me an assurance that the life of Palestinians since 1948 will be given equal attention?”

Bob Russell’s statement, just as David Ward’s, has caused offence to the UK Jewish community and embarrassment to the Liberal-Democrat Friends of Israel, but as yet there has been no apology from Russell and no indication of any censure by the Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.  There has even been little, if any, media attention given to Russell’s comments. It’s as if the ‘Nazification of Israel’, the idea that ‘the Jews are to the Palestinians what the Nazis were to the Jews’, has become so commonplace that it is no longer news worthy.

Yet the idea that the plight of the Palestinians should be given the same prominence in the school curriculum as the Holocaust is not only extremely offensive, but is also absurd. Russell’s equivalence, just like David Ward’s before him, relies on the re-writing of Jewish history and the misreading of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It represents a misjudgement which, like that of the anti-Dreyfusards whose faith in Dreyfus’s guilt contradicted all evidence to the contrary, can only flow from the willingness to believe the absolute worst about Jews. This is anti-Semitism.

Brandeis Center Welcomes Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska–Grabias to the Brandeis Blog Team

agliszczynskagrabias_clip_image002The Louis D. Brandeis Center has recently had the pleasure of adding yet another impressive figure to the center’s long list of blog contributors. Polish legal scholar Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska–Grabias will now be a regular contributor to the Brandeis Center blog. Dr. Gliszczyńska-Grabias joins a team of impressive legal and historical minds who regularly contribute to the Brandeis Center Blog, including Gil Troy, Greg Lukianoff, Alyza Lewin, Harold Brackman, Andre Oboler, Lesley Klaff and Rafael Medoff. Said Louis D. Brandeis President Kenneth L. Marcus, “Dr. Gliszczyńska–Grabias is emerging as an important voice in international human rights legal scholarship, especially as it relates to anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli discrimination, and I am excited to welcome yet another truly impressive scholar to the team of bloggers at the Brandeis Center.”

As a young legal scholar with an expertise in international human rights law, Dr. Gliszczyńska–Grabias brings a long and remarkable list of accomplishments to the Brandeis Center’s blog team. After graduating from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, she went on to receive several awards and recognitions. Some of these honors include the 2012 Fellowship of the Foundation for Polish Science for outstanding achievements in science and research, the 2010/2011 Graduate Fellow of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of anti-Semitism at Yale University, and the 2010 and 2009 Felix Posen Fellowship for doctoral candidates of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of anti-Semitism of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Today’s German Question Mark

Winston Churchill famously quipped of Russia: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Twenty-first century Germany is, instead, a question mark—especially regarding its relationship to the present and future of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hatreds.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper cites a new cartoon (belatedly apologized for) in Germany’s largest mass-circulation daily, the Munich-based “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” depicting Israel as “a ravenous Moloch” as classic anti-Semitism “grotesquely beyond the pale of legitimate criticism.” Let’s put this cartoon in context:

First, the good news:

• The Bundestag has voted overwhelmingly for a resolution vowing to support the fight against anti-Semitism as well as Germany’s special relationship with Israel. It mentioned Israel-related anti-Semitism, but with no recommendations to combat Muslim extremists. The emphasis was on better education against prejudice, without concrete actions except aid to Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, which supports Holocaust survivors.

Seminar: The UCU, Antisemitism and the Boycott Campaigns Against Israel

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The Louis D. Brandeis Center was recently made aware of an upcoming conference which readers may find interesting. One of the main topics of discussion will be the recent Fraser v. UCU court case, a very important case which several contributors to the Brandeis Center’s blog have analyzed throughout the past few weeks.

Thu 11 Jul 2013

The University and College Union (UCU) has passed anti-Zionist resolutions since 2005 and Jewish members have complained about antisemitic tendencies within the union. In 2012 Ronnie Fraser brought a case against the UCU complaining of institutional antisemitism in violation of the Equality Act. However, the employment tribunal handling the case ruled that his complaints of harassment were unfounded. Despite the evidence that was brought forward the judges did not recognise antisemitism in the union and instead accused Fraser of disregarding pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression by trying to silence his political opponents. This workshop seeks to analyse this case as well as antisemitism in unions and on campus, including anti-Israeli boycott campaigns. It explores why there is a reluctance to recognise anti-Zionist forms of antisemitism in the frame of anti-racism and anti-discrimination.