Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Mehmet Sahin

As the first night of Passover approaches, we are delighted that Rabbi Abraham Cooper has joined guest blogger Harold Brackman in appealing for solidarity with Mehmet Sahin, a young Muslim man who is now in hiding over death threats because he has take a stand against anti-Semitism.  Rabbi Cooper, who serves as Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and who has been described as one of the most influential rabbis in America, joins this Blog for the first time in making this joint appeal.  We are inspired by Mr. Sahin’s courage and thank Rabbi Cooper and Dr. Brackman for their important insights, which we are confident will be remembered and discussed at many seder tables tonight.   (More about Rabbi Cooper appears after the “jump”).

The Shame of the Netherlands: A Young Muslim Must Go Into Hiding for Fighting Anti-Semitism

Post by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harold Brackman:

Passover. This week, Jews will eat more matzo then we ever thought possible, hear more commentary about the Haggadah and its multiple messages for our time, and sit back in awe and (hopefully) love at the site at of our extended family circle.

But this Pesach, let’s all of us leave some space for one young Muslim who deserves the world’s attention and support. He is not a martyr and desperately wants to avoid becoming one. But as of now, he and his family are in hiding in an undisclosed location in the Netherlands, because of death threats.

His name is Mehmet Sahin, a doctoral student, who has volunteered to reach out to street youth in the city of Arnhem. A few weeks ago he interviewed a group of Dutch-Turkish youth on Nederlands TV2 (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_h5s1yjsTI) during which several declared their unabashed hatred of Jews and open admiration of Hitler. “What Hitler did to the Jews is fine with me,” said one. “Hitler should have killed all the Jews,” said another.

Legal Scholar Lesley Klaff to Join Brandeis Blog

We’re delighted to welcome English legal scholar Lesley Klaff to the Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog.  Klaff, who is also a member of the Louis D. Brandeis Center’s Legal Advisory Board, will give an international perspective to the Blog, which thus far has featured bloggers from the United States and Canada.  Klaff’s expertise ranges from legal…

Historian Harold Brackman to Guest Blog on BDS and Other Topics

On Thursday, I blogged very briefly about the Simon Wiesenthal’s interesting new report on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.  SWC’s report really deserves more attention, so I am pleased to announce that its author, Dr. Harold Brackman, has agreed to join us as a guest blogger over the next couple of weeks.  Dr. Brackman will blog on the SWC report, the BDS movement, and other topics that I am sure that our readers will find informative and interesting.

If you can’t Recognize Hate Speech, the sunlight can’t penetrate

This week the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian Charity which I have the privilege of leading as its CEO, released my major new report into Hate Speech on Facebook. OHPI seeks to facilitate a change in online culture so that hate in all its forms becomes as socially unacceptable online as it is in “real life”. This post provides an over view of OHPI’s new report and its real impact, which extends far beyond exposing specific examples of hateful content.

Autonomous Histories

The Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University is circulating a very interesting Call for Papers on “Autonomous Histories and Studies of the Holocaust,” which the Center is co-convening with four other institutions.  (LDB Advisor Dina Porat heads the Kantor Center.)  The impetus for the conference is the perception that Holocaust studies have developed within two separate silos: in one, historians study the perpetrators to discern their motives, while in the other, researchers develop “autonomous histories” of the persecuted (Jewish) communities.  The conveners ask what can be learned about the conflict, interplay, and meeting points between these two separate scholarly inquiries.  This is a fascinating question which is also more broadly applicable to a basic question of anti-Semitism scholarship, to wit: to what extent should anti-Semitism be considered exclusively a Jewish problem, exclusively a gentile problem, or a problem which requires that we consider the evolution of both Jewish and gentile communities?  The Call for Papers follows the jump.

About Danit

As a young Jewish professional, activism has shaped much of my life.  I grew up in a traditional household where the civil rights of the Jewish people were a priority.  Events shaping Israel and the American Jewish community were a constant topic of conversation at the dinner table.  I also started to show a real interest in the legal field, such as completing an internship with the Nassau County Attorney’s Office.

Welcome New Bloggers

The Louis D. Brandeis Center Blog welcomes two guest bloggers and two new regular bloggers this week: Alyza Lewin, Andre Oboler, Richard Cravatts, and Danit Sibovits.  All four reflect the Brandeis Center’s commitment to combatting global and campus anti-Semitism, while protecting free speech and academic freedom, and promoting justice for all people.

The Apartheid Slur: An Intellectual Affront and Obstacle to Peace

Spring is here. And just as it portends the melting of snow and the budding of flowers, on campuses worldwide for the last few years spring has also brought a flurry of absurd anti-Israel activities inaccurately comparing Israel to the old South Africa with its reprehensible racist apartheid regime. We need to fight this modern blood libel passionately and intelligently, what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called this “Big Red Lie,” noting its Soviet and Palestinian origins as a propaganda play in the United Nations, not a serious intellectual analysis on universities.