Anti-Zionism is rampant on university campuses in the United States.
The US Senate has unanimously passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, introduced by US Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA). If approved by the House, the bill will give the US Department of Education the statutory tools to examine anti-Semitic incidents in the broadest and effective way possible.
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act will mirror the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism’s definition of anti-Semitism, including critical language to define where anti-Israel bias crosses the line into anti-Semitism. The new Act would enhance the Education Department’s ability to identify, investigate, and punish all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and anti-Israel harassment.
When asked about the Act, Senator Casey channeled Natan Sharansky’s “3D” definition of anti-Semitism and listed the following examples of where the bill’s tools would be helpful:
Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews,
Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust,
Demonizing Israel by blaming it for all interreligious or political tensions,
Judging Israel by a double standard that one would not apply to any other democratic nation.
Because of the bill’s potential impact on anti-Israel activities, we have seen a steady flow of hysteria and condemnation, in particular from the far left. Israel boycott groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) claim that the bill’s “overly broad language has the potential to define any criticism of Israeli policy as anti-Semitic,” and that it would prevent “frank discussions of the impact of Zionism, campus disagreements about the future of Israel/Palestine, and in fact, much of what falls under Jewish studies in all facets, including courses.”
Anti-Semitism is becoming more socially acceptable in the guise of anti-Zionism.
The irony is that JVP in particular, which supports and advocates for boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) against Israel, is only willing to have “frank discussions” through its own prism, which sees Israel as the source of all evil in the Middle East and something to be abolished.
University administrators like Chancellor Howard Gillman and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky from the University of California, Irvine also took issue with the bill, despite living on a campus with one of the country’s most hostile educational environments for Jewish students.
Earlier this year at Irvine, a Jewish student emerging from a Holocaust-related event was chased by a mob of “anti-Israel” protesters and was forced to barricade herself in a school building as her pursuers banged on the doors and windows and chanted “Long live the Intifada!” She had to be rescued by the police.
In 2010, following the shouting down of then-Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Dean Chemerinsky wrote that he has not seen “the slightest indication of anti-Semitism” at UC Irvine, nor “heard one complaint about an anti-Semitic incident on campus.”
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky is willfully blind to anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine.
Despite being a distinguished constitutional scholar, Dean Chemerinsky mischaracterized the proposed Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, claiming that the bill would “require the Education Department, when deciding whether to investigate incidents on campus, to consider the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.”
That is not what the bill says. Rather, under the proposed legislation, the Department of Education would consider the State Department definition – adopted in 2010 – when deciding whether severe, persistent, and pervasive harassment and intimidation (that federal civil rights statutes are designed to prevent) were motivated by anti-Jewish animus. That distinction is critical. On its face, the proposed legislation would not in any way encourage or permit the government to investigate or take action against protected speech-based and expressive activities.
In academia, only Jews are seen as unworthy of having a sovereign state.
In fact, Irvine provides the strongest evidence that the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is needed now more than ever. It is dismaying, but not surprising, that these two administrators and groups like JVP would rather misrepresent the text and constitutional soundness of the proposed legislation than address the culture of anti-Semitic hate that has arisen around the country, particularly at universities.
Academia has unconsciously revealed that Jews and Israelis are the canaries in the coal mine. If universities are indicators of social trends, then anti-Semitism is becoming more acceptable in the guise of anti-Zionism. Only Jews are seen as unworthy of having a sovereign state, thanks to various sins past and present.
Such attitudes are quite common on university campuses, and are protected by “academic freedom.” Yet it is also another reason for the growing gap between academia and the public; on moral issues, like defending democracy against jihadi terror, Americans and its elected officials are learning that universities are choosing their own way to define racism which may not always align with reality.
Asaf Romirowsky is the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.