BDS Defeated at Washington Supreme Court

In a major setback to the BDS campaign, the Washington State Supreme court reversed a lower court’s ruling yesterday and struck down the state’s anti-SLAPP statute as unconstitutional. The Olympia Food Co-op, based in Olympia, Washington, provides “wholesome foods and other goods and services . . . through a locally oriented, collectively managed, not-for-profit cooperative…

At Bowdoin College, BDS Defeated

Earlier this month, in glorious fashion, students at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine voted to defeat the notorious BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement against Israel. According to a piece in Legal Insurrection by Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson, the referendum, which called for the economic, cultural, and academic boycotts of Israel, was rejected…

Tennessee first, then Indiana condemn BDS as anti-Semitic movement

For the first time in the U.S., a state legislature condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The Tennessee General Assembly approved the resolution overwhelmingly, declaring that BDS is “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and advocating the elimination of the Jewish state”. The resolution condemns similarly the BDS activities…

Anti-Zionism Week at UC Irvine

The Louis D. Brandeis Center joins the AMCHA Initiative and twenty other groups in writing a letter to UCI Chancellor and Vice Chancellor about the “Anti-Zionist Week 2015” at UC Irvine.


May 1, 2015

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman
UCI Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Thomas Parham

Dear Chancellor Gillman and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Parham:

The 22 organizations below are extremely concerned that two UCI registered student organizations—the Muslim Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine—have announced that on May 4-7, 2015, they will be hosting “Anti-Zionism Week 2015.”

This means a week of events, speakers, discussions, displays and possibly street theater that are meant to create animosity towards Israel and anyone who supports it.

Please be aware that many UCI students, faculty, and community members self-identify as Zionists.  An “Anti-Zionism Week” will be offensive, divisive, and hurtful to them, and could create a hostile campus environment.

If past years of anti-Zionism weeks offer any guidance, these events, individually and/or collectively, will in great likelihood include statements and create an atmosphere that is not only anti-Zionist but also anti-Semitic under the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. In particular, the State Department’s definition notes the ways that anti-Semitism manifests itself in regard to speech about the State of Israel:

  • Demonizing Israel: using symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis; comparing Israeli policies to that of the Nazis; blaming Israel for all political tensions.
  • Double Standards toward Israel: requiring of Israel behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; focusing only on Israel for peace or human rights investigations.
  • Delegitimizing Israel: denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland; denying Israel the right to exist.

Recently, the student senates of UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara responded to the escalation of anti-Semitic activity on UC campuses by unanimously passing resolutions condemning anti-Semitism, citing this above definition. These resolutions resolved to use the State Department’s definition to help identify anti-Semitic activity.  In 2014, the student government at UC Irvine passed a resolution affirming its “strong opposition” to anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and discrimination. Link to that resolution: HERE.

Concern about University of California’s definition of anti-Semitism

The Louis D. Brandeis Center joins the AMCHA Initiative and twenty other groups in writing a letter to Senator Stone on urgent concerns about SCR-35.

Dear Senator Stone,

We are 22 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of supporters and members who are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Jewish students at the University of California. 
We are grateful for your role in authoring SCR-35. However, we are extremely troubled by the efforts of some groups to remove from the resolution any reference to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, or worse, to replace it with the Merriam Webster dictionary definition.  We think that doing so would be disastrous, and would completely undermine and pervert the original intent of this very important resolution.jeff-stone-headshot-214x300
As you know, there has been an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents on UC campuses, which have included swastikas drawn on a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis and the inappropriate questioning of a candidate for student judiciary board about her Jewishness and Jewish affiliations at UCLA.  What these antisemitic incidents have in common is that they are an inevitable consequence of pervasive anti-Israel activity, particularly Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, being promoted on UC campuses.  For example, the swastikas drawn on the Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis appeared less than two days after a contentious vote in the student senate on an anti –Israel divestment resolution sponsored by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).  Just after the vote, an SJP-affiliated student council member who had sponsored the divestment bill wrote on her Facebook page: “Israel will fall insha’Allah  #UCDDivest”.  And the four student senators who challenged the candidate for the judicial board based on her Jewishness and Jewish affiliations were authors, sponsors and supporters of the most recent anti-Israel divestment bill at UCLA.
Student leaders on UC campuses have themselves recognized the clear connection between virulent anti-Israel expression and these recent antisemitic incidents.  In response to the alarming increase in anti-Jewish bigotry, resolutions condemning anti-Semitism were unanimously approved at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UCSB.  Importantly, in identifying anti-Semitic activity, each resolution invokes the U.S. State Department’s definition, which recognizes certain kinds of anti-Israel expression that demonizes or delegitimizes Israel by denying it the right to exist, or that applies a double standard requiring of Israel behavior not expected of any other democratic nation, as anti-Semitism.  In addition, all three unanimously-approved resolutions resolve that their student governments will adopt the State Department’s definition of antisemitism.

LDB and Decalogue Join Forces to Train Illinois Law Students

This article about LDB’s National Law Student Leadership Conference was published in the Spring 2015 Edition of the “Decalogue Tablet,” a publication of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. The Decalogue Society is a Chicago-based organization founded in 1934 to promote justice in society and to advance and improve the law, administration of justice and legal…

Twenty-Six Groups Write to Stanford University

The Louis D. Brandeis Center joined the AMHCA Initiative and twenty-four other groups in writing a letter on anti-Semitism at Stanford University to its President, John Leroy Hennessy.

President John LeRoy Hennessy
Office of the President
Stanford University
Stanford, CA  94305-2061

Dear President Hennessy,

We are 26 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people who are very concerned about the safety and well-being of Jewish students at Stanford University.

hennessy_biographyWe understand from several on-line reports that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house was spray-painted with swastikas on Saturday night. We commend you for issuing a statement the next day in which you affirmed that the university “will not tolerate hate crimes” and that the incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under Stanford’s Acts of Intolerance Protocol. However, we strongly encourage you to publicly acknowledge that a swastika is an antisemitic symbol associated with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people, and that although it affects the entire campus community, it particularly targets Stanford’s Jewish members for hatred and discrimination.

Campus antisemitism is a serious and growing problem.
A recent study published by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law reveals that 54% of Jewish American college and university students report experiencing or witnessing antisemitism on campus in the recent school year. The research reveals that this is a much more widespread problem than most realized.

In the last year, more than 20 college and university campuses around the country have been defaced with swastikas, in each case causing particular distress to Jewish students.  There have also been multiple reports of antisemitic name-calling, threats, assaults and other acts of hate and discrimination.  These acts are often linked to anti-Israel activity on campus, particularly boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaigns, such as the extremely divisive anti-Israel divestment vote in the Stanford student senate last quarter.