Wrong-Headed Initiative

Dr. Diane B. Kunz, Esq. Wrong-Headed Initiative Equal treatment before United States law and government. That is a foundational American principle. Its aspirational neutrality, usually achieved, is one reason why people from so many nations with different ethnicities and differing religious beliefs have thrived in this country. Now J Street would challenge this basic principle…

The Brandeis Center Responds to Departure of UCLA Graduate Student Leader

Earlier this week, UCLA law student and former Graduate Student Association (GSA) President Milan Chatterjee announced his intention to leave UCLA and finish his studies at New York University School of Law. This announcement came after Chatterjee had been subjected to nearly 10 months of harassment by anti-Israel activists in the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at UCLA. This morning, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law expressed concern about the deleterious signal that this message will send not only to both sides in pending campus controversies regarding Israel and BDS but also to all conscientious students who are considering taking an active role in student government and civic engagement.

LDB President & General Counsel Kenneth L. Marcus explained, “It is disgraceful that anti-Israel extremists have managed to drive out this courageous and conscientious student leader for failing to capitulate to the demands of the BDS movement. The Milan Chatterjee affair reflects the insidiousness of the anti-Israel movement’s new strategy, which is to suppress pro-Israel advocacy and intimidate not only Jewish pro-Israel students but anyone who remains neutral. We cannot allow anti-Israel extremists to harass, silence, suppress, and banish those who refuse to support the anti-Semitic BDS movement.”

This disturbing turn of events reportedly traces its origins to the decision by Chatterjee and his GSA Cabinet to take a neutral stand on the anti-Semitic BDS movement. They reasoned that the GSA represents the entire graduate student body, rather than any one particular faction. Given their observation that the BDS movement, as described by Chatterjee, was “rampant” at UCLA and “created a great deal of division” on campus, Chatterjee allocated funds for a November 2015 ‘Diversity Caucus,’ with the stipulation that the caucus remain neutral on BDS. This choice to unite the student body rather than to foster division was met by an outpouring of virulent harassment towards Mr. Chatterjee both online and in person.

Following months of inflammatory rhetoric, Mr. Chatterjee’s accusers pressed the GSA to impeach then-GSA President Chatterjee, and presented a 32-page document containing what the Brandeis Center described as “bogus charges of overwhelmingly repetitive personal statements offered as “evidence” of these claims.” The LDB law student chapter at UCLA wrote a letter of strong support for President Chatterjee, denouncing his unjustified impeachment campaign. “Ousting a student government official from office for his good faith pursuit of his responsibilities” LDB law students explained, “discourages student participation and sends a chilling message to the student body.” Owing to the efforts of LDB law students and the Center, as well as an outpouring of support from other organizations and individuals, these impeachment efforts were foiled. However, Chatterjee received an official “censor” for his stand.

Chatterjee’s troubles did not end with the uncalled for censure.  Chatterjee faced an investigation by the UCLA administration, for which he had to acquire pro bono legal counsel. In July, the Brandeis Center released a statement of support for Chatterjee after the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) issued a report which alleged that his refusal to fund either side of the BDS debate was a violation of university policy. Chatterjee has recognized the Brandeis Center for its support of him throughout this turmoil.

As Kenneth L. Marcus reiterated today, “Good, conscientious students are being driven away from student government and replaced by extremists of the sort who victimized Mr. Chatterjee. This is a very dark day for the University of California, and a bad day for America. UCLA remains a great university, but it is diminished by Mr. Chatterjee’s departure.”

Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel

Cary Nelson has published his latest book Dreams Deferred: A Concise Guide to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the Movement to Boycott Israel. Nelson is a professor of English at University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign and has published a wide array of works, Dreams Deferred marking his second book after The Case Against Academic Boycotts of…

Canadian Jewish Student Group Files Discrimination Complaint

On August 3, Hasbara Fellowships Canada, a pro-Israel campus activism organization and the country’s largest grassroots campus advocacy organization, announced that a complaint had been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against both the Student Association and the Faculty Association of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College. Hasbara filed…

Karega Not Teaching at Oberlin this Fall

Today, Oberlin College announced that professor Joy Karega will not be teaching this Fall, a much-delayed decision following the revelation of a series of her highly anti-Semitic Facebook posts this past March. Karega’s posts (*which have since been deleted) included a series of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic content, including blaming “Israel and Zionist Jews” for the…

New Anti-Semitism Journal Seeks Papers

The Journal of Contemporary European Antisemitism (JCEA) recently announced that it is seeking original research articles for its first issue. JCEA is the first journal of its kind, covering all forms of anti-Semitism found in today’s Europe. It will be published bi-annually, beginning spring 2017.

academic studies press logo

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus serves on the editorial board of the journal among a group of international and highly distinguished scholars. LDB greatly looks forward to the first issue of JCEA.

JCEA is inviting scholars from all relevant disciplines across the social sciences and humanities to send their original research articles. Overseen by an international team of editors and editor-in-chief Clemens Heni (Director of the Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism), the journal hopes to become a forum where scholars from diverse political and intellectual backgrounds can analyze, debate, and formulate effective responses to the ever-evolving and insidious threat of Jew-hatred in Europe.

JCEA defines the anti-Semitism of today in three different forms: 1) traditional anti-Semitism, including anti-Judaism, blood libels, and conspiracy myths, among other tropes; 2) Holocaust denial or distortion, which has a particular meaning in Eastern Europe; and 3) hatred of Israel or anti-Zionist anti-Semitism. The journal also emphasizes the European context and the contemporary nature of possible submissions, meaning that topics should be at least related to the time after 1945, but it is much better to be to the 21st century.

JCEA generally aims to publish articles of 5000-7000 words of text, including notes, and reviews not exceeding 1200 words. Articles will be peer-reviewed anonymously, so submissions should not include any identifying information.

Earlier this summer, another new journal issued a similar call for papers. The Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism (CISA) and Indiana University Press announced that they are releasing a new scholarly periodical Antisemitism Studies in April 2017. JCEA and Antisemitism Studies will join the existing Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism (JSA), of which LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus is also an editorial board member.