This week will provide opportunities to see Brandeis Center lawyers in action in Boston, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. At noon today, LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus will address “The New Anti-Semitism” at St. Louis University School of Law. This event, in which Marcus will discuss legal approaches to contemporary Jew-hatred, kicks off a particularly busy…
The “You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye” ad debuted 50 years ago this year. Of course, you also don’t have to be Irish to march at the front of the official St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Unlike David Dinkins in 1993 and Bill de Blasio this year, New York’s Jewish mayors have never boycotted the Parade despite the running controversy over its exclusion of organized gay participants.
Irish-Jewish relations in New York City, this time of year—and not only this time—are usually bathed in a hue of shamrock-colored bagels and nostalgia. Relations between Irish and Jews in the old country also have their stock repertoire of feel-good images, including two father-and-son Jewish lords mayor of Dublin, nineteenth-century “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell’s declaration that “Ireland is the only Christian country I know of unsullied by any act of persecution against the Jews,” Home Rule Crusader Michael Davitt’s journey to Czarist Russia in 1903 to expose the Kishinev Program, Ze’ev Jabotinsky journey to Ireland to model his movement to drive the British out of Palestine on the IRA, and Yitzhak Shamir the taking the guerrilla code name “Michael” after the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins.
Even so, the Irish—including Irish Jews—have long memories. Even if it were not for the anti-Israel bias of the IRA and former Irish President Mary Robinson, Irish Jews would remember the Limerick Pogrom of 1904, supported by Sein Fenn founder Arthur Griffith, and Irish President Éamon de Valera’s signing of the official book of condolence on Hitler’s death on May 2, 1945, despite de Valera’s prewar friendship with Chief Rabbi of Ireland (and later Chief Rabbi of Israel) Isaac Herzog.
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law is happy to announce the launch of its Northeastern law student chapter, located in Boston. Danit Sibovits, LDB Staff Attorney heading the legal advocacy initiative, will be speaking at the launch. The law school chapter initiative is the newest phase in the Brandeis Center’s campaign…
Brandeis Center Welcomes Brooklyn College Administration’s Apology for its Handling of 2013 Anti-Israel Event: Jewish Pro-Israel Students Vindicated by Apology, Further Action to Protect Civil Rights Will Be Pursued
The Brandeis Center welcomes some good news for three of our clients. On Friday, Brooklyn College President Karen Gould publicly apologized for the school’s forcible ejection of four Jewish pro-Israel students from a 2013 anti-Israel event sponsored in part by the school. The Brandeis Center, which represents three of the students removed from the lecture, had called for a public apology from Brooklyn College, and was pleased when the apology was issued late Friday afternoon.
LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus lauded the apology in a press release issued this morning:
“This apology reflects the fact that the university violated the constitutional and civil rights of our clients at a public event. This was a shameful incident, and we are pleased that the university has accepted responsibility,” said LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus. “We appreciate the apology and look forward to working with the school to ensure that other Brooklyn College students will not have to endure what happened to our clients.”
Here’s a summary of the case, which many readers will recall from last year:
On February 7, 2013, the Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine chapter – with official sponsorship from the school – hosted an event promoting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which is aimed at Israel. The event featured Judith Butler … and Omar Barghouti….
Shortly after the four Jewish students – including LDB clients Melanie Goldberg, Michael Ziegler, and Ari Ziegler — arrived at the event, they were forcibly removed by two public safety officers of Brooklyn College at the urging of an event organizer unaffiliated with the school.
Brooklyn College President Karen Gould directed the school’s apology, reprinted in full below, to the four students. In the wake of the BDS event, the students had been falsely accused of wrongdoing and subjected to intense scrutiny from school officials and the media, but were vindicated by a two-month investigation into the incident conducted in March and April, 2013 by the City University of New York, of which Brooklyn College is a part.
The CUNY investigation, which included interviews with more than 40 witnesses, found that the non-campus-affiliated event organizer was motivated by a “political viewpoint” in removing the students as he had heard Melanie Goldberg’s pro-Israel views at a prior campus event; that the administrators and public safety officers at the event wrongly deferred to the event organizer; and concluded that “there was no justification for the removal of the four students.”
In the Brooklyn College apology, Gould stated that a College spokesperson had released “an erroneous” statement to the press after the event saying that the students were being disruptive. Gould acknowledged that the university’s statement was false.
The Brandeis Center has emphasized that more work remains to be done:
Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi, both well-known academics and high-profile supporters of the BDS movement campaigning for “boycotts, divestment and sanctions” against Israel, have issued a statement that was originally circulated under the dramatic title “Support Freedom of Expression! Oppose Intimidation!” They claim that there are “accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS.”
Since both Butler and Khalidi are prominent academics, they obviously have many opportunities to voice their views in prestigious venues and media outlets. However, both recently faced protests against scheduled appearances at Jewish institutions, and the events were eventually cancelled. Their call to “oppose intimidation” should therefore also be seen as part of the currently ongoing debate about the question if Jewish institutions should welcome speakers who advocate the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state, which is the openly acknowledged goal of BDS. As Omar Barghouti, who is widely regarded as the founder and most prominent leader of the BDS movement, declared already ten years ago: “Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.”
Rethink2014 is a clever movement to oppose Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) on Twitter. Specifically, the group’s Twitter feed last week consisted of photos of young people holding up signs that explain why they are against the annual anti-Israel hate week which is put on in different parts of the world throughout the months of February in March. The group’s Twitter site explains, “Students challenging the apartheid smear and bringing the real Israel to you. Don’t believe the hype…. Re-educate. Re-assess. Rethink.” Some of the best are presented in this YouTube video.
These photos, collected on the Rethink2014 Facebook page, reflect the variety of reasons for resisting IAW. Some student statements are personal and emotional, although they express very different perspectives:
- I love Israel.
- Although I am not Israels [sic] biggest supporter, this week singles out the Jewish state and once again chooses to ignore the human rights violations of surrounding Arab states.
- Someone needs to stand up for Israel’s right to exist.
Many statements focus on the dishonesty of the IAW campaign or the need for genuine education as opposed to propaganda:
- It is an ignorant, unhelpful campaign.
- A week is too long to devote to a lie.
- It ignores Israel’s security needs to promote a one-sided story.
- Calling Israel an Apartheid state is inaccurate and insulting.
- Racial supremacy does not exist in Israel.
- It can wrongly influence those people that are undecided
- People shouldn’t be bullied into a biased, untrue belief.
- Let’s educate others not just on the definition but on the reasons why Israel isn’t an apartheid. Let’s strive to educate and learn!
Others offer specific reasons why the comparison between Israel and South Africa makes little sense, including the rights that Palestinians enjoy in Israel but may be denied elsewhere throughout the Middle East:
- Israel is the only country in the Middle-East where a Palestinian can criticise the government.
- Arabs in Israel have democratic rights and are represented in the Knesset.
- Israel has universal suffrage, unlike its neighbours.
- Muslims have freedom of religion in Israel.
- I see more of a rainbow nation in Jerusalem’s streets than in London.
- I, a former South African living in Israel, have proudly voted alongside Arab citizens in the last Israeli election.
- I interact with Arabs on daily basis. This would not be possible under Apartheid.
- I see more of a rainbow nation in Jerusalem’s streets than in London.
- Otherwise a Muslim would not be able to work in the Israel Embassy in London.
This week, yet another divestment vote took place on an American university campus, this time at UCLA. However, the divestment failed, partly thanks to efforts by members of UCLA’s law school chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center. Members of the LDB law student chapter at UCLA law school attended the strategy session this past…
This week, on American and English university campuses, anti-Israel activists celebrate the series of hateful events variously known as “Anti-Israel Hate Week” or “Israel Apartheid Week.” These events, which often feature the use of classical anti-Semitic defamations and stereotypes, occur throughout March in other parts of the world. If the haters harass Jewish students on…
LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus has published this article in the Jerusalem Post today:
Ten ways that BDS is different now
Four academic associations have now also endorsed anti-Israel boycotts.
After years of defeat, the BDS campaign scored victories recently at the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Irvine and San Diego, among others. BDS resolutions are still mostly losers. These victories have been largely symbolic, since universities inevitably reject such student resolutions. Still, the wins license anti-Israel extremists to smear Israel with falsehoods and distortions. With each victory, extremists are emboldened.
Worse, four academic associations have now also endorsed anti-Israel boycotts, including the American Studies Association (ASA). Fortunately, several faculty organizations oppose them. The American Association of University Professors, hardly a pro-Israel organization, opposes all academic boycotts. Three other faculty groups now forcefully advocate against BDS: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the Israel on Campus Coalition’s Center for Academic Engagement, and the new International Grass Roots Faculty Committee For Academic Freedom and Integrity.
3. The map is wider
This is not just a West Coast issue anymore, if indeed it ever was. More East Coast and Midwest campuses are involved. Indeed, there has been recent notable anti-Israel activity at colleges and universities in nearly every corner of the United States.
4. The groups are smarter
Instead of just hosting an “apartheid wall,” BDS activists will now typically host a series of anti-Israel events. This requires better organization, more manpower, and greater resources.They are also less likely to use explicit anti-Jewish epithets like “kike,” instead derogating pro-Israel Jews as “Zio-Nazis” or “ZiZis.”5. The battle is moving to the law schools
Increasingly, anti-Israel groups are moving beyond the main campus and conducting BDS events at law schools. Fortunately, some law students are now organizing to oppose this. The Louis D. Brandeis Center, for example, has recently established active law school chapters at UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania and American University, with more in formation.
Recently, anti-Israel activists have become active on several American law school campuses, conducting controversial events at Columbia, Fordham, Davis, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, activists have created hostile environments for Jewish students at several universities. If you are a Jewish law student, or a non-Jewish law student who cares about justice, should you be concerned? Here are…