LDB Condemns Anti-Muslim Hate

Today, LDB condemned anti-Muslim hate as a reaction to reports of anti-Muslim rallies.In response to reports that extremist groups are designating October 10, 2015, as “World Anti-Mosque Day,” the Brandeis Center issued a call for tolerance, inclusion, and understanding. LDB, which was established to fight anti-Semitism on American college campus, has repeatedly denounced anti bigotry, hate,…

UC Berkeley Student explains why UC Regents should adopt Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism

The adoption of the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism is a cause that LDB has been activity advocating for, particularly in university campuses across the nation. As LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus stated, “University administrators need a uniform definition of anti-Semitism in order to make clear what the boundaries are between hateful actions and legitimate behavior.” This need can be seen on the campuses of the University of California, where a rise in anti-Israel sentiments has also come along with a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. LDB President Marcus and many of the world’s leading scholars on anti-Semitism also wrote letter to the UC Regents urging them to adopt the State Departments definition, explaining how it “offers an essential tool for identifying and educating about all forms of contemporary antisemitism.” In light of the UC Regents rejection of the Proposed Statement of Principles of Against Intolerance, as its broad language failed to deal with the issue of campus anti-Semitism, UC Berkley Student, Shauna Satnick, also recently wrote an articulate op-ed for The Daily Californian. Her article highlighted the importance of the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as well as why the regents should consider adopting it:

Regents should adopt State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism

Shauna Satnick

I cannot speak on behalf of the entire Jewish population at UC Berkeley because it is not monolithic, so I speak from my own perspective. That being said, the UC Board of Regents’ proposed statement of principles concerning intolerance and anti-Semitism is too broad and does not effectively protect Jews from hate speech and other forms of anti-Semitism. The definition should be rewritten in order to more accurately reflect how Israel has been inequitably and systematically singled out among nations and thus warranting special consideration.

The U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism, which characterizes the demonization and delegitimization of Israel as anti-Semitism, comes into play only when Israel is treated differently from any other country. If other countries or groups of individuals are not subject to comparable criticism and rhetoric, then under this definition of intolerance, Israel and its supporters should be protected from hostile speech and actions. Historically, Jews and Israel’s supporters have been habitually targeted — so much so that they feel the need for the University of California to include a clause specifically protecting the Jewish community. That the pervasive sense of hostility still exists in 2015 speaks volumes. It is time that our grievances be heard and addressed.

UC Regents Reject Weak Intolerance Statement

On September 16th UC regents decided to reject the proposed statement of principles against intolerance because it inadequately addressed the problem of anti-Semitism on UC campuses, the reason for which it was first proposed. The proposed statement has been heavily criticized as being too broad and ambiguous, simplistically defining intolerance as “unwelcome conduct motivated by…

Conflict Resolution, the Arab-Israel Conflict, and Campus Anti-Semitism: An Interview with Dr. Peter Weinberger of the Institute of Peace

Peter Weinberger is a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace who has interesting ideas about how conflict analysis tools can be applied not only to the Arab-Israel conflict but also to the resurgent problem of campus anti-Semitism. Dr. Weinberger works with the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. His primary focus at the Academy is on how to best deal with ethnic, religious and tribal groups when rebuilding countries after war and conflict.

The views expressed herein are those of Dr. Weinberger and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Institute of Peace. 

What are the most important lessons that you have learned from your work in international conflict resolution?

  1. It is possible to reframe a situation, or shift people’s perspective in a way, to help find a solution that works for them.
  1. You have to listen to people, and understand what is important and meaningful for them.
  1. If you offer to help someone, you have an ethical responsibility to give them the resources and tools so that they can be successful. (You can’t just     parachute in, give people some new ideas, and leave them to their fate.)

How has your training in neuroscience informed your perspective?  

My interest in neuroscience began when I became involved with very large project related to countering violent extremism. I spent considerable time in consultation with experts, because I recognized that there was a role for neuroscience in this program. This meant really learning to understand how the brain works, and particularly how prolonged fear, stress, and trauma play out, and how that might specifically related to conflict resolution initiatives and techniques to counter violent extremism.

I began to think about supplementing conflict resolution designs with two basic things. First, a basic education about the brain and traumatic stress- which can be an eye-opener for a lot of people who are on the front lines in their communities. This helps a lot of people to understand the reactions, in terms of fear or helplessness or anger, that is often common when there is intense conflict and violence. Second, I actively incorporate some techniques, basic techniques which are validated by new findings in neuroscience, to help calm and relax participants, and which also are known to open up the parts of the brain which are responsible for empathy and self-reflection.

Take This Poll on SCR-35 and State Department Definition

UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, is running a poll on the SCR-35 resolution and the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. The SCR-35 resolution was passed earlier this month by the California State Assembly urging the University of California (UC) to condemn anti-Semitism. UC President Janet Napolitano also encouraged the condemning of anti-Semitism and supported…

California State Assembly Passes Important Resolution

The state of California has taken another important step forward in combating anti-Semitism. On Monday, July 13, the California State General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the University of California to condemn anti-Semitism.  The resolution, originally put forward by State Senator Jeff Stone (R- CA), passed the Higher Education Committee of the California State…

Episcopal Church Votes Down BDS

Following a series of political victories against BDS, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, at the church’s General Convention in Salt Lake City, UT refused to divest from companies that do business with Israel in the West Bank, rejecting the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A committee of leaders from the Church proposed the resolution back in April, noting that without a path to peace, “Maintaining the status quo is no longer viable in the absence of the peace process.

This committee is determined to use the Episcopal Church, which has around 1.8 million members around the United States, as a way to delegitimize Israel, saying, “civilian deaths and maimings keep accumulating, while the occupation, which is its own form of violence, becomes more entrenched each day.”

They argue Christians have a moral obligation to create peace by ending the alleged Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

In a statement, the Church said,

“The House of Bishops sent a strong and clear message that divestment from companies and corporations engaged in certain business related to the State of Israel is not in the best interests of the Episcopal Church, its partners in the Holy Land, interreligious relations and the lives of Palestinians on the ground.”