Earlier this month, Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine announced a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The campaign aims to divest Cornell’s endowment from companies they allege are responsible for human rights violations against Palestinians. A wave of these campaigns has spread to campuses across the country, and they sow nothing but discord and fear in their wake. We, the undersigned members of the Cornell community, stand squarely against this campaign because it is antithetical to the values Cornellians hold dear.
BDS Prevents Thoughtful Dialogue on Campus
The goal of the BDS movement is to utilize economic pressure against Israel as a mechanism to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Supporters see Israel as the sole aggressor and obstacle toward a solution. Those who have dedicated time to studying the conflict understand that it is a complex and sensitive regional conflict in which there are many actors and perspectives. By assigning all blame to one party, BDS ignores the efforts Israel has made toward a peaceful solution including numerous offers to Palestinians to have their own state. These offers have been rejected by Arab leaders. This one-sided view shuts down any thoughtful dialogue on the role all sides must play to end this conflict.
BDS Creates Division on our Campus
During a 2014 BDS campaign, BDS activists at Cornell targeted their pro-Israel classmates for their identities and beliefs. BDS activists yelled, “fuck you Zionist scums” and “I will fucking slap you” at fellow students. This is not the type of conversation that is productive on our campus. And in 2017, Cornell SJP disrupted a campus celebration of Israel’s Independence Day with a “die-in,” accusing students of celebrating genocide. While they laid dead, pro-Israel students sang songs of peace around them. In this year’s campaign, we once again fear that thoughtful and respectful dialogue on this issue will be stifled by hateful rhetoric.
We are concerned that language being used in this campaign may devolve into the targeting of Jews and the Jewish community on this campus, as it has on others. Cornell SJP has likened Zionist ideology to white supremacy and Nazism. That is a dangerous fallacy, designed to isolate the Jewish community and link us to the same hateful movement that targets Jews in attacks like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. This kind of rhetoric creates an environment in which Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome on campus.
BDS Cannot Achieve a Peaceful Resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
BDS is often described as a non-violent means to bring about peace in the Middle East. Yet, in their letter to President Pollack, Cornell SJP makes no mention of peace. This is because BDS promotes conflict by isolating one side and brewing anger and disruption among the parties. True peace can only be achieved when Israelis and Palestinians establish enough mutual respect to directly negotiate with one another. BDS hinders the possibility for peace by impeding the confidence-building process and encouraging both sides to harden their positions.
BDS is Part of the Larger Goal to Strip Jewish People of the Right to Self-determination
Back in November, a member of Cornell SJP verified the claim made in guest column arguing that “Cornell SJP effectively endorses the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.” The demands of the current BDS campaign are designed to meet that directive.
We find this goal severely troubling. Though we may disagree with some Israeli governmental policy, the Jewish people’s right to have a state of their own in their historic homeland is not up for debate. Jews unquestionably have deep religious, historical and cultural connections to the land of Israel. As per the U.S. Department of State, attempts to “deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination” qualify as anti-Semitism. As Cornellians, we cannot and will not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form.
BDS limits thoughtful dialogue on complex issues, hinders prospects for peace, and sows division and tension on our campus. For these reasons, Cornell’s BDS resolution must be voted down. We call upon Cornell SJP to join us in positive dialogue on campus and endorse a two-state solution, so Israelis and Palestinians can live side-by-side in secure and peaceful coexistence.
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Oct 25, 2019 0People arrive at a polling station to vote in the federal election in Beauce, Quebec, Canada, Oct. 21, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mathieu Belanger. A top Jewish advocacy group said on Friday it...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.