Judd Serotta Elected to Brandeis Center Board

The Brandeis Center has just announced the election of Philadelphia litigator Judd Serotta to its board of directors.  Mr. Serotta is a distinguished litigator, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ New Jersey Advisory Committee, and an active member of the Jewish community.  The press release announce his election appears below:

Philadelphia Litigator Judd Serotta Joins Louis D. Brandeis Center Board

WAHINGTON, DC (PRBuzz) December 13, 2013 The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a public interest advocacy organization established to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all, announces the election of Philadelphia litigator Judd Serotta, Esq., to the Center’s Board of Directors. Mr. Serotta previously served as a member of the Brandeis Center’s legal advisory board.

The LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “Judd Serotta’s addition further strengthens the Center’s strength in civil rights legal advocacy.  I have known Mr. Serotta for several years and consider him to be an outstanding lawyer.”  Serotta joins Richard Cravatts, Adam Feuerstein, Rachel Lerman, Marcus, and Tevi Troy on the Brandeis Center’s governance board. “The timing is auspicious,” Marcus observed.  “The Brandeis Center has just formed its first three law school student chapters this Fall and is actively pursuing legal matters on several university campuses.”

Brandeis Center Responds to the Journal of Academic Freedom

In its 2013 publication, the Journal of Academic Freedom discussed the topic of academic boycotts, primarily focusing on the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).  In her introduction, the Journal’s editor, Ashley Dawson, wrote that the “reviewers of the submitted articles. . . felt [the articles] could have the salutary effect of pushing the AAUP to discuss criteria for responding to violations of academic freedom. . .” on an international level, since the AAUP’s current policy opposes boycotts.  However, what followed was a compilation of articles presenting one-sided narrow viewpoints on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and academic freedom. 

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In response to this biased presentation, several scholars came together to present a series of response papers.  In “The Very Foundations of the University”, the Brandeis Center’s Kenneth L. Marcus and Sitara Kedilaya outline the alarming yet growing position of several academics: that the Jews are the most dangerous threat to the university.  Too many academics embrace the narrative that Zionists threaten the university by suppressing speech contrary to their nefarious interests, especially their conspiracy to hide crimes inflicted by Israelis on innocent Palestinians.  Such warnings resonate with age-old stereotypes of the Jews as fantastically powerful, diabolically conspiratorial, and cosmically dangerous.  According to these anti-Israel scholars, the Zionist threat consists of orchestrated complaints by pro-Israel students who insist that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.  To assert this position, these scholars too narrowly construe the true definition of anti-Semitism, and therefore must deny that anti-Semitism is the serious problem on many university campuses that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says it is. In other words, they must create a safe haven for those anti-Jewish bigots who cast their anti-Jewish rhetoric in terms of Israel. 

“Knockout Attacks” Don’t Bode Well for African Americans, Jews, or Anybody Else

The lid has finally blown off the simmering cauldron. For about a month, there have been reports of “knockout attacks,” mostly in Northeastern cities. These reports have not looked too closely at the ethnicity of the attackers while generally characterizing the attacks as “random” and lacking the specificity of “hate crime” targeting.

But now Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section—a combustible mosaic of African Americans, mostly Hasidic Jews, and Latinos mostly “people of color” of Caribbean descent—has produced stories about ten attacks that recall the paradigm of black-on-Jewish violence indelibly imprinted on the neighborhood’s history back in 1991 when rabbinic student Yankel Rosenbaum was fatally stabbed during what amounted to an anti-Semitic pogrom in the wake of the accidental death of an African American child run over by a Jewish limousine driver. Back then, Reverend Al Sharpton was stirring up the cauldron. Fortunately, today he is calling for an end to “knockout attacks.”

In terms of violent street crime involving Jewish victims and African American perpetrators—almost never the reverse—the history goes back a hundred years to when Eastern European Jewish immigrants first interacted with mostly southern black migrants to New York City. (Some would consider as a counter-example “subway vigilante” Bernhard Goetz who in 1984 shot four black teenagers he targeted as muggers.)

National Law Student Conference Gains Star Power

The Brandeis Center just announced two superstar additions to the faculty of our inaugural national law student leadership conference: international lawyers Richard Heideman and Abraham (Avi) Bell.

The LDB national law student conference, to be held in Los Angeles, California on January 2-3, 2014, marks the launch of the Brandeis Center’s law student chapter program. Just a few slots remain for law student leaders interested in attending the leadership conference and learning from Heideman, Bell, and other leading authorities.


Mr. Heideman, a world-famous legal practitioner and civic leader, has served as President of B’nai B’rith, Head of Delegation to the United Nations Durban Conference, and Chief Trial Counsel for Israeli victims of terrorism at hearings convened on behalf of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies by the Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel coincident with the International Court of Justice Hearings at The Hague. He authored the brief filed with the International Court of Justice regarding legal issues arising from Israel’s construction of its terrorism prevention security fence.

Professor Bell, an internationally prominent international law scholar, is Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law. Professor Bell clerked for Justice Mishael Cheshin of the Supreme Court of Israel and for the High Court of Justice Department within the Israeli State Attorney’s office.

LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus commented, “We couldn’t be more delighted by the addition of Heideman and Bell to the fabulous agenda for our Los Angeles conference. Law student attendees will be very lucky to learn from these legal superstars.”

US Legal Tools to Fight Anti-Jewish Discrimination

“There is an essential paradox at the heart of the current resurgence of campus anti-Semitism. Universities should be centers of reason and tolerance, yet in the United States, they are the main source of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

“There are many ways to address this problem, but one of the most important approaches is based on civil rights law.  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary legal tool available to protect Jewish and Israeli university students against discrimination. It is critically important because young people are more vulnerable and more impressionable than others. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs on the basis of race, color or national origin.

LDB Announces Inaugural National Law Student Conference

 

The Brandeis Center announced today that it will conduct an inaugural national law student leadership training conference in Los Angeles, California on January 2-3, 2014. This inaugural national law student conference coincides with the launch of the Center’s new Law Student Chapter Initiative.  The conference will draw law student leaders together to exchange lessons on advancing civil and human rights.  Key topics will include campus anti-Semitism, international law, human rights, and freedom of speech.  Attorney mentors will also discuss career paths for law students interested in advancing the civil and human rights and combating campus anti-Semitism.

This announcement follows shortly upon the establishment of the first Brandeis Center law school chapters.  This Fall, law student leaders have formed Brandeis Center chapters at UCLA School of Law  and the American University’s Washington College of Law.  Law students are also working to form Brandeis Center chapters at other law schools nationwide.

Addressing BDS at Fordham School of Law

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On November 20, 2013, the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, presented a mini-conference on the subjects of BDS, Israel, and Academic Freedom. The Fordham Law School Jewish Students Association hosted the event. The event was also co-hosted by the Louis Brandeis Center, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and the Lawfare Project.

Fordham Law School hosted a BDS event in October which happened to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. This conference provided a response to those proponents as to why the BDS movement is a sham.

The turnout to this event was fantastic. The event drew young, intelligent law school students intermingling with many professional members of the community. The panelists, Richard Cravatts, President, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and Brooke Goldstein, President, Lawfare project, consisted of two profound experts in the fields of Academic Freedom, Human Rights, and Israel. The moderator, Stephen Greenwald, IMG_5548Immediate Past President, American Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists, and introductory speaker, Kenneth L. Marcus, Founder, Louis Brandeis Center, are also very respected and prestigious scholars in regard to these topics. Talk about an All-Star lineup. The audience had no idea what they were in store for.

The conference began with Mr. Marcus, who in addition to founding the Louis Brandeis Center, was the former head of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, giving introductory remarks. Mr. Marcus shed light on the issues this conference intended to focus on by providing an excellent analogy. Comparing disparate impact with anti-Israelism because hatred isn’t always advertised, but rather it is coded. A new phenomena Jews face today is accurately depicting what anti-Semitism is because it is a grey area. Of course every individual is entitled to criticize a country, but when it comes to dealing with Israel, the only Jewish state in the universe, criticism is a grey area. When an individual carries so much hostility towards a supporter of Israel, but in defending himself, denies being anti-Semitic, one must wonder if this hatred is coded.

Brandeis Center will present a conference at Fordham University Law School

 

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law is excited to present a Fordham Law School mini-conference on “Israel, BDS, Academic Freedom and the Law,” next week.

 The event will take place next Wednesday, November 20, 2013 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. It will be held in room 207 at Fordham University School of Law located at 140 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023. The event will be hosted by the Fordham Law School Jewish Students Association. The conference is co-sponsored by LDB, the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and The Lawfare Project.