Ali Abunimah Justifies the Murder of Two Israelis

October 2, 2015

Yesterday Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were murdered in front of their children in a disputed area of Samaria, in the West Bank. Most people are shocked and horrified that such an event like this could happen and their responses have been full of sympathy for their family, including their four children who witnessed the murder.

Not everyone responded as most would to a murder. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, whose organization, Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack, has said nothing, even after talking about making peace with Israel.

Another person who responded to the murder inappropriately was notorious anti-Israel activist, Electronic Intifada founder, and frequent speaker for Students for Justice in Palestine, Ali Abunimah. His tweet about the two murders was not surprising, given Abunimah’s stance on Israel, however it was incredibly unsettling.

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Abunimah appears to justify the murder of these two Israelis.

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Some Twitter users were quick to bring up the inaccuracies in his post.

Abunimah doesn’t see the difference; he wages false charges of “colonialism” not only against the state, but against the people. This is why he feels that these “colonialists” were murdered, to Abunimah this was not a young couple, this was a symbol of the State of Israel.

Below are the victims. As of the time of publication, Amnesty International has not yet condemned these murders.

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Palestinians in Bethlehem celebrated the murders on the streets. The sparse coverage by the media of this is concerning.

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BBC Blur, a Stirring Reality

October 1, 2015

First thing in the morning, we, the participants on CAMERA’s Annual Leadership and Advocacy Training Mission to Israel departed our hotel to Kfar Haruv, a kibbutz located in the southern Golan Heights to meet Hadar Sela, the managing director of BBC Watch. Before hearing from Sela, we were entranced by the ambiance of the charming village and the majestic view of the Sea of Galilee.


Students visiting Hadar Sela’s kibbutz during the CAMERA trip.

Engaged in Sela’s talk on western media distortions, we couldn’t help but think about all the times we have been unknowingly led astray by the media. Prior to Sela’s talk, we would have thought that it would be fair to assume such a renowned and profound international broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter, would be a valid and credible source of information and news, but after Sela’s talk we changed our minds.

According to Sela, the BBC is guilty of using incorrect and unrelated photographs, misleading headlines and excluding vital parts to a story, and much more in order to distort public opinion.


Hadar Sela showing the students the view from her kibbutz

Immediately after returning to London, Sela’s voice echoed into my head. On the 8th of July the BBC broadcasted a documentary on the Children of the Gaza War, portraying the lives of Israeli and Gazan children during and after Operation Protective Edge last year. Mirroring the BBC’s normal fashion, the audience was given incorrect information. For example, the seemingly peaceful beach filled with children in Gaza, which was a regular rocket target, was actually a well-known Hamas-inhabited territory. The BBC is infamous for using statistics given by Hamas, an EU-designated terrorist organization, as a reliable and credible source for data, information and statistics.

This time however, something else was striking. There was a deliberate mistranslation in the subtitles. A Gazan child in the program says that the “yahud are massacring the Palestinians.” The word yahud  is the Arabic word for “Jew.” The BBC made the conscious decision to replace the translation in the subtitles; with the word “Israelis” for “yahud,” making the sentence read “the Israelis are massacring the Palestinians.”

After complaints of this mistranslation, the BBC then defended its decision, claiming that the children meant to say “Israelis” and that they were given advice by the translators to make it read that way as well. In changing this word the BBC clearly ignored the difference between the words “Jew” and “Israeli.” The assumed interchangeability of the words “Jew” and “Israeli” is a major problem that needs to be highlighted. By the BBC’s standards, if Jew and Israeli can be interchanged, could the words anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism be interchanged? I hope not.

What the boy was saying versus what the BBC interpreted brings up the question of how we associate the two words and why we do so. Anti-Zioinism is the hostility toward the Jewish state, whereas, Anti-Semitism is the hostility toward Jewish people, which are very different. Anti-Zionism is  seen as politically correct versus anti-Semitism, which is deemed socially unacceptable, especially in the West. Is one simply widely accepted disguise of the other, or are they two different doctrines that need to be distinguished?

Giving the BBC the benefit of the doubt, this boy was expressing his hatred for Israel and not the Jews, but because of the blurred lines between these two words nowadays,the hatred of Israel could give rise to the hatred of Jews and vice-versa.

Clearly, we are faced with a rise in anti-Semitism acreoss Europe, not to mention an increase in anti-Zionist sentiment, the latter masked by glamorous titles such as BDS or pro-Palestine. The world was shocked by the Chrile Hebdo shootins in January, followed by violent shootings by the Hyper Kacher supermarket in Paris’s porte de Vincennes-home to one of France’s more prominent Jewish communities. A legal neo-Nazi rally was carried our in Richmond Terrace, London only weeks ago; a city that boasts and accepting, multi-cultural environment suddenly shocked by individuals campaigning against the “Jewification of Britain.”

Interestingly, what is denominated “far-right” in the political spectrum was very obviously disclaimed by the presence of a Palestinian flag in the protest.

Should we not be making up our minds? Are we anti-Semitic or pro-Palestine?


This was contributed by King’s College London CAMERA Fellow, Joelle Reid.

Great Danes for Israel’s Block Party

September 30, 2015

University of Albany’s Emet for Israel group, Great Danes for Israel, held a General Interest Meeting for a new and old students last year, to inform students all that they had planned so far for the academic year, and teach them the mission of Great Danes for Israel. The prospective members were very interested in trips to Israel, as well as the Great Danes for Israel’s leadership banquet, which attracted 80 students.

Campuses Have Become Breeding Ground for Hate

September 29, 2015

As a new school year begins, the familiar chill of malicious, unbridled anti-Semitism is being felt by Jewish university students across the country.

Today, a university student’s intellectualism and tolerance are gauged by the ferocity of his or her Israel hatred. To be a humanitarian, you must deny the humanity of Israelis by portraying them as ruthless racists and baby killers. To be a historian, you must rewrite history so that the Jewish People have no historical, legal, or ancestral ties to the land of Israel. To be a physicist, you must reverse the laws of time and space so that the Jews of Europe are the Palestinians of Gaza and the Jews of Israel are the Nazis of Germany. In the halls of academia, these are the indicators of the most cerebral, enlightened scholar.

In my three years as a student at York University in Toronto, I’ve witnessed the mutation of the Canadian campus into a breeding ground for violence, hate, and discrimination against Israel and its student supporters. During multicultural week in 2013, the Israeli flag was vandalized with red paint. A mural depicting a Palestinian man throwing rocks as an act of “peace and justice” was prominently hung in York’s student centre. The incoming student union president posted an image online of the Jewish star with the instructions to “smash Zionism,” while the campus group Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) overtly promoted terrorism by lauding the “beloved Rasmea Odeh,” the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member found guilty of murdering two Israeli university students in 1970.

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) hosting a protest during York Univerity's Red & White Day (November 2014)

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) hosting a protest during York Univerity’s Red & White Day (November 2014)

What were the consequences of these actions? The student government president kept his position. The mural remains in the student centre. And in one of the most worrying developments in university anti-Semitism to date, the Centre for Human Rights at York ruled that Odeh’s actions were subject to interpretation. Although the Canadian government describes the PFLP as a terrorist organization, York ruled that SAIA had the right to offer an alternative point of view.

The university further mitigated the severity of online terror incitement by arguing that students would have needed to deliberately access the online post in order to be exposed to this subject matter. It is under this ridiculous logic that the Jewish students who monitor the proliferation of online terror incitement are troublemakers deliberately seeking to be offended, while the radicalized students who intentionally seek this type of content as justification and exoneration for violence are considered insignificant.

The age-old philosophical question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” becomes “If terror is promoted on the Internet but Jewish students are instructed not to look at it, does the university still get to pretend that it hasn’t turned a blind eye?”

For those still confused as to whether anti-Zionism is unadulterated anti-Semitism or legitimate criticism of Israel, I ask this question: would there be consequences for a student union president who advocated the “smash[ing]” of the black civil rights movement or any other non-Jewish liberation movement? What would happen if a student group continued to receive university funding after celebrating the killer of two students who were of any nationality other than Israeli?

If a double standard exists whereby these acts would be unequivocally condemned if directed at any group other than the Jewish nation, then this is the purest manifestation of anti-Semitism.   

So how is it possible that anti-Semitism continues to thrive in academia without consequence or condemnation?

The excuse proffered time and again by university administrators is free speech. But too often they forget free speech is not a one-way street. Just as anti-Israel student groups and union executives may exercise their freedom by posting or promoting anti-Semitic content, university administrators should be obliged to exercise their freedom of speech by condemning actions and speech that lead to the harassment and discrimination of Jewish students. The fundamental essence of free speech is to discuss and debate ideas so that the evil ones might be weeded out, not ignored.

A vicious campaign against Israel and its student supporters is gaining legitimacy on many Canadian campuses. University administrators and professors who speak out against the bigotry of the anti-Israel movement are sending a clear message that propagandistic anti-Semitism has no place in civil society. Those who remain silent are sending an equally clear message: it doesn’t matter if every single tree is being felled in the forest. If you’re blocking your ears, you won’t hear it anyway. 

This was originally published in Canadian Jewish News and was written by York University CAMERA Fellow, Danielle Shachar.

CAMERA Presents: Noam Bedein at University of Florida

September 25, 2015

117noamOn November 18th at 6:00 PM, Noam Bedein was hosted at the University of Florida. Noam is a photojournalist and the founder and director of the Sderot Media Center. This event served as a debriefing for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, with the goal of educating students about the realities faced by Israelis living in Southern Israel, Sderot in particular. In addition, this event sought to provide context for why it was imperative that Israel take military action to prevent attacks from Gaza on its civilian population. The event was successful in educating students who were not previously informed about the suffering of Southern Israel’s population due to Hamas’s incessant rocket attacks.


In order to publicize the event, professors in the Middle Eastern Studies department were contacted and asked to spread the word. Many of the attendees expressed shock at discovering what life is like for residents of Southern Israel. Audience members were engaged and asked questions about specific individuals that Noam mentioned during the course of the event, as well as about the overall peace process and how Israel’s retreat from Gaza and the subsequent rocket attacks in Sderot led to a political shift in Israel to the right. All of the students who attended the event were added to the group’s list serve and will be informed of future events.

The most effective aspects of the event were the videos that Noam showed of children of Sderot running to the rocket shelter. The weakest aspect of the event was the fact that there was not enough time reserved for questions at the end.

The University of Florida’s Emet for Israel group, Zionist Gators, will continue to bring speakers similar to Noam Bedein in order to educate the student body about the current situation in Israel.

This piece was contributed by former University of Florida CAMERA Fellow Naor Amir.

CAMERA Participates in Amazing Israel Race

September 24, 2015

12002277_10153188200796818_3983847518400141483_nThis past Sunday Tatiana-Rose Becker, CAMERA’s Southern Region Campus Coordinator, and I, CAMERA’s Midwest and West Coast Campus Coordinator, volunteered at the CJP “Amazing Israel Race” based at Boston University’s Hillel, and drawing students from surrounding schools. The race consisted of 40 teams who were all competing for an amazing prize, money towards a flight to Israel.

11987089_10153188200806818_1279618987622898970_nThe teams ran around the Boston University campus reading clues and completing tasks at eight different stations. I, along with Tatiana and ZOA’s New England Campus Coordinator, Jonathan Ginsburg, ran the mock “IDF Basic Training Station.” In order to receive a stamp on the teams “passport,” all team members had to participate in some physical activities including jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and much more.

The “Amazing Israel Race” was a large-scale, well-planned event that can be altered into a smaller scale version that you can do on your campus. It was fun and exciting, and a great way to spend all day outside in the beautiful weather.


This was contributed by CAMERA’s Midwest and West Coast Campus Coordinator, Hali Haber.

Yom Kippur: Reflecting, Repenting and Mourning

September 22, 2015

Tonight the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur starts. For the Jews it is a time for introspection, reflection and repentance. However, during the Yom Kippur of 1973 the soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were not afforded the luxury of observing the holiday. They were fighting to prevent the destruction of Israel as both the Syrian and Egyptian military broke through Israel’s defensive lines in the Golan Heights in the North and the Sinai in the south.

The Egyptians and Syrians strategically planned to attack Israel because of the holiness of Yom Kippur, correctly predicting that it would catch the IDF by surprise. Many bloody battles took place in the Golan Heights, because the northern point was vital to Israel’s security as the elevation would have provided the enemy with a strategic advantage.

The Yom Kippur war has become a large part of Israel’s cultural history and has been discussed in films like Oz 77, which tells the story of how the IDF defended Israel against the Syrian attackers. This war made Yom Kippur in Israel not only a day of self-reflection, but a day of national reflection and national mourning.

In order to fight this war, soldiers put aside their religious obligation and defend their homeland. In this war 2,688 soldiers perished in defense of their people and their land. Their sacrifice and hard work allowed Israel to stay safe.

Many of Israel’s critics today talk about Israel as a combination of its military choices, and often denounce the state for having a strong military and strong borders. They quickly forget how vulnerable Israel was 42 years ago and the necessity of its military in order to defend the country against an onslaught of hostile enemies who wanted to do anything but make peace.

This was contributed by former American University CAMERA Fellow, Rachel Wolf.

Canadian Jews: Make Your Pro-Israel Voice Heard in Every Political Party

September 21, 2015

Trevor Sher  As the Canadian federal election approaches, Canadian Jews are faced with a serious dilemma. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative party have consistently voiced strong support for Israel and have backed up this rhetoric in their voting pattern at the UN, the Liberals and NDP have taken more equivocal stances. Although these two parties officially support Israel’s right to exist and its right to defend itself, their support on other related issues is inconsistent at best, and some of their candidates have even voiced outright anti-Israel positions.

The dilemma is: what’s a Jew to do? With global anti-Semitism on the rise and with many European countries taking increasingly anti-Israel positions, the well-being of the Jewish State is one of the top concerns for many Canadian Jews who have a strong connection to their homeland. A number of Jews take the position that, with the Conservatives as the only party that wholly and consistently takes a moral stance on Israel and the Middle East, how can any principled Canadian Jew justify voting for any other party? This approach has the benefit of validating the Conservatives’ pro-Israel position and ensuring that there is a dominant Jewish voice in one of Canada’s leading parties.

I vehemently disagree with this approach.

Read the full article here

This was originally published in the Times of Israel and was written by Trevor Sher, President of University of Windsor’s Emet for Israel group.

Building a Better Fence: A Firsthand Look at Israel’s Security Barrier

September 18, 2015

Maria Lilly at the CAMERA Conference

Maria Lilly at the CAMERA Conference

As I laid my hand on the wall portion of Israel’s security barrier I heard Colonel (Reserve) Danny Tirza say, “I want to be the first one to take down this wall.” Moved and a little startled, I turned to look at him. The man who engineered Israel’s famous security barrier looked mournful, as he said the barrier was a tragic necessity. But a glimmer of hope appeared in his eye and a soft smile on his lips as he shared his hope for a future without a barrier, a future of peace between Israel and her neighbors.



On a mission to learn the truth about Israel and the security barrier I had the privilege of meeting with Colonel Tirza in Jerusalem on August 2, 2015. I heard the sorrow in his voice as he spoke about the death and destruction that necessitated the Israeli security barrier. As he described the horrors of the Second Intifada, the seemingly endless stream of terror attacks like the attack of July 31, 2002 where over 90 people, the majority of whom were adults under 30, including some Americans, were either killed or injured because a bomb was detonated at lunchtime in the cafeteria of the Hebrew University, I quickly became aware that the reality I know is not the reality Israel knows.

Maria Lilly with the other CAMERA Interns and Fellows at the 2015 CAMERA Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference

Maria Lilly with the other CAMERA Interns and Fellows at the 2015 CAMERA Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference

Read the full article here.

This was originally published in the Times of Israel and was written by CAMERA Intern Maria Lilly, President of the University of Alaska Emet for Israel group.

SAIPA Spins the Wheel at Brandeis

September 17, 2015

Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs (SAIPA), the Brandeis University Emet for Israel group hosted, Wheel of Misconceptions: A Game Show Style Discussion about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. The event was very successful and was attended by nearly 50 students! The idea of the game was to bring together people who are already interested in the topic and new students who wanted to learn more.


During the game the students split off into teams to play the game. CAMERA student, Misha Vilenchuk, said, “By chance, the wheel was spun on topics such as ‘The United Nations‘ and ‘History of Israel.’” Challenging questions were asked, such as “do you believe the UN treats Israel fairly…” After the questions were finished the students had a discussion in their small groups in which they reflected on the questions from the game and began asking each other more questions.

11949387_1660943397451513_5018680625319232025_nWhen reflecting on the successful event, Vilenchuck said, “I believe SAIPA met one of our main stated goals. We brought out a significant amount of underclassmen that wished to get involved—the majority of our audience.”

SAIPA’s event was successful because it was widely attended, made the attendees excited about SAIPA’s future events and ensured that the attendees learned something about the conflict.