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.
An Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Leonhard Foeger / File.
The acting chief of the UN nuclear watchdog policing Iran‘s nuclear deal with major powers, Cornel Feruta, will meet senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.
“The visit is part of ongoing interactions between the IAEA and Iran,” the spokesman said
The headquarters of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in Tel Aviv. Photo: Screenshot.
The World Zionist Organization (WZO) on Friday opened a three-day conference in Santiago, the capital of Chile, on the topic of confronting antisemitism in Latin America.
Convened by WZO vice-chair Yaakov Hagoel, the conference will involve 150 Jewish professionals from around the region who will receive briefings from “high-level experts in the field to deal with the growing phenomenon,” the Spanish-language Jewish news outlet Diario Judio reported.
Russian immigrants (new olim) attend an event marking the 25th anniversary of the great Russian aliyah to Israel from the former Soviet Union at the Jerusalem Convention Center on Dec. 24, 2015. Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90.
JNS.org – For most olim, moving to Israel is the realization of a dream. After years of hoping and planning, making aliyah and taking root in the Jewish state is a joyous and exultant experience. Still, the big move is not without its challenges, and many new immigrants become frustrated while attempting to navigate Israeli bureaucracy, secure a job, and find the right neighborhood to call home.
Taglit-Birthright Israel trip participants visit the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, Aug. 18, 2014. Photo: Flash90.
JNS.org – “It’s so much more.” That’s the mantra of the 54 Jewish young adults from across North America who just wrapped up 10 weeks in Israel.
Sure, they had applied to the Birthright Israel Excel program for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern at Israeli offices of such top global companies as Facebook, Visa, Microsoft, Ernst & Young (EY), and Barclay’s.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announced that the State Department will consider allowing U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list “Jerusalem, Israel” on their U.S. passports.
“We’re constantly evaluating the way we handle what can be listed on passports,” he told JNS in a wide-ranging interview. “It’s something that’s actively being looked at.”
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry responded to this in a statement published in Wafa News saying the move was “an emphasis by the administration of President Donald Trump to antagonize the Palestinian people and undermine any chance for peace on the basis of a two-state solution.”
Sep 08, 2019 0Father Vladimir Tobin (courtesy: screenshot) HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – A Christian Orthodox priest in Nova Scotia was forced to retire after delivering a sermon that honored Judaism and Israel...
If you’re Jewish, how afraid should you be of being a victim of a violent anti-Semitic hate crime? In the wake of the Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shootings in the last year, many American Jews remain afraid. The specter of white-supremacist hate that fueled those and other mass shootings has become the primary focus of those tasked with fighting and monitoring anti-Semitism.
If the use of Nazi symbolism in fashion was manifested in isolated cases, there would be only slight cause for concern. But when this trend is backed or glossed over by giants such as Amazon, the biggest online sales platform in the world, we cannot remain indifferent. From home decor to clothing and accessories, the popular website is infested with products depicting Holocaust victims heading to the gas chambers and images glorifying the Third Reich.
When the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin boasted that the desire of his people for death in the service of Hamas was greater than the Israelis’ desire to live. Yassin, of course, was not referring to himself; happy to send his people off to die, he himself clung to life and even believed that his advanced age and status would protect him. But nothing lasts forever, and in March 2004, he was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Egypt’s leading authorities have reinstated a notoriously “radical” cleric and hate preacher to the pulpit (minbar), despite strong opposition.
According to Arab Weekly, “The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, which controls the mosques, gave Yasser Burhami, the deputy head of the Salafist Call, the umbrella organisation of Salafi movements, approval to deliver sermons before Friday prayers at the Wise Caliphs Mosque in Alexandria.”
This week’s Torah reading Shoftim, maps out for us, the ideal national structure, of the Jewish people in their homeland, the Land of Israel. It describes the policies that Jews should be striving to implement today: Malchut/Kingdom, Sanhedrin/Torah, Nevuah/Prophecy, and Kehunah/Temple.