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.”

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…

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,…

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.

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:

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…

“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?

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.

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.