YouTube Twitter Facebook

CAMERA Helps Successful Planning Kickoff at the University of Michigan

October 2, 2014

university-michigan-logo

On September 3, CAMERA’s Fellow at the University of Michigan, Lindsay Hurwitz, helped to host a kickoff meeting of pro-Israel organizations on campus. The meeting included student representatives from CAMERA, AMI, ILEAD, StandWithUs, WolvPac (AIPAC), Hillel, and Tamid, all coming together to plan united pro-Israel efforts on campus for the coming year!

The University of Michigan’s Dean of Students, attended, interested to learn about the efforts of student Israel activists.  As a co-host of the event, Lindsay was able to deliver a presentation about CAMERA, and our work on campuses all over the world.

Lindsay reported:

I presented the CAMERA PowerPoint to those present, along with my 62 sorority sisters, and received excellent feedback! Afterwards, the president of ILEAD, as well as the StandWithUs Emerson Fellow approached me in order to plan a meeting in which we could organize a joint event for later in the semester. I have since been invited to several club events to explain CAMERA and gain support. I am very lucky to be surrounded by many who are ready and excited to support this organization!

CAMERA is so excited to be working in partnership with such dedicated organizations! We can’t wait to see what this semester will bring!

VALDARY: This is Our Year

October 1, 2014

Chloe

The author, Chloe Valdary: a proud Zionist.

This piece was contributed by the founder and president of CCAP group Allies of Israel at the University of New Orleans, Chloe Simone Valdary. 

This Is Our Year

As soon as I came out of my European History class last Thursday morning, I saw the grass in the distance littered with white papers. Right then and there, I immediately knew. I didn’t even have to approach the field because I had spoken with student government days before and they had told me Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was planning something.

Yet while my heart dropped a bit, I tried to convince myself that maybe this display was about something else. Maybe it was celebrating something, honoring something, teaching something. Maybe it had something to do with real justice, a concept I had found elusive in this god-forsaken conflict. So I approached the display, with feelings of equal parts dread and hope, fear and optimism.

But my initial predictions were confirmed.

The display on the grass at my university consisted of roughly 577 pieces of paper. Each paper was meant to represent a child killed in the war against Hamas this past summer. (I should note here that 577 children did not die in Gaza so that was the first and oh-so-expected lie that SJP peddled.) A large sign in front of the papers read, “In memory of the 577 innocent children who were killed during Israel’s 51 day recent assault on Gaza.”

10610652_877194425638994_1770910793533840966_n - Copy - Copy IMG_101563755144831 - Copy

This display had all the right words and touched all the right nerves. The objective was clear: Exploit the compassion of impressionable students passing by who would assume the information they were receiving was valid and who would not have time to question it.

Immediately my thoughts began to race. How would we respond to this? Should we even respond to this? Should we fill the grass with some symbol representing the number of rockets launched at Israel? The number of Jews killed in Intifadas? Place a sign next to the display saying Hamas killed these children?

I was going frantic. Surely the situation called for some sort of response. I called my friends and my mentors. How could we stop this propaganda from spreading on my campus?

It took me some hours later to figure out that everything I learned this past summer interning for CAMERA had taught me that it was in these moments that one needed to pause. And breathe. What seemed to last an eternity was but for a moment. It was fleeting.

This political demonstration would come and go. This too would pass. What mattered was not them but what we did with our own demonstrations. That we did not calibrate our projects to respond to them — giving them credence in the process — but to educate the greater campus community, to expose SJP on our own terms, and to transcend this tired conversation rooted in tit-for-tat maneuvers.

I spoke with my good friend Dumisani Washington that day and he reminded me that “we do not punch down.” He told me that SJP and its ilk were probably nervous because of advocacy events that happened this summer. Good. They should be. They spent a great deal of time writing rebuttal articles and tweeting defensively and trying to cover their tracks when their hypocrisy was exposed this summer.

And yes, they will do their old, usual, demonstrations on campus that we are used to. But the pro-Israel community awoke from its slumber this summer and came together in, arguably, unprecedented collective fashion to show support for the Jewish state. And now, plans are in the making. Wheels have been turning. Groups have been brainstorming, creating, and growing. Thousands of people are protesting anti-Semitic operas; Students are demonstrating against the bigotry and hypocrisy of Israel bashers. SJP and its ilk cannot even begin to imagine what is coming.

My initial apprehension at the pitiful demonstration they set up was misplaced. Their mask is peeling away. Their racism, which they cloak in the veneer of social justice, is being exposed for all to see. Their demise has begun. All of their displays are merely morose commentary trying to delay the inevitable.

If you wake up one day to unexpectedly find some of their mishagas displayed on your campus, remember to first breathe. Pause and breathe. Remember this summer and how we rose together. And remember that ultimately your task is not to explain away to SJP the fake flaws of Israeli society. Your task is to proclaim the beauty of your people’s heritage and that great movement for emancipation known as Zionism.

As Rosh Hashanah descends upon us, let us echo the sound of the blast from the shofar. Let us rouse the dawn, and let those who are our enemies tremble in trepidation.

Because this is our year. And we are not afraid.

Georgetown Professor Joins Israel Boycott, Tweets CounterPunch, and Condemns Israel’s so-called “Massive Slaughter of Civilians.”

September 30, 2014

626

Notoriously anti-Israel (and, dare we say, anti-Semitic?) Georgetown University professor John Esposito has struck again.

According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Esposito has become one of six Middle Eastern Studies directors at American universities to publicly embrace a total academic boycott of Israel:

Georgetown University Professor John Esposito is one of six Middle East Studies directors at American universities to embrace an academic boycott of Israel, according to a Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch report. The letter first was reported by Campus Watch last week.

The six directors signed a public letter vowing “not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions,” a move that ArabianBusiness.com says could conflict with promises the directors made for federal funds.

As heads of U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers, Esposito and the other directors assured that they will “maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education and other organizations that may contribute to the teaching and research of the Center.”

This type of behavior is common for Esposito, who has issued statements in support of the Muslim Brotherhood:

But the move is quite consistent for Esposito, who, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has documented, has long supported the Muslim Brotherhood and its front groups in the United States. His Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University was staked with $20 million from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal in 2005.

Esposito served as an expert defense witness in the Hamas-financing prosecution against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation and five of its former officials. He describes Sami Al-Arian, a man documented as a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s governing board, as “a proud, dedicated and committed American … a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice.”

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are committed to Israel’s destruction.

Esposito has repeatedly defended terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizballah. In a 2000 interview in the Middle East Affairs Journal, Esposito was asked if they were terrorist organizations. “One can’t make a clear statement about Hamas,” he said… Some actions by the military wing of Hamas can be seen as acts of resistance, but other actions are acts of retaliation particularly when they target civilians.”

In the same interview, Esposito defended Hizballah for operating “within the Lebanese political system functioning as a major player in parliament. But when it comes to the south it has been primarily a resistance movement…”

Esposito not only openly supports terrorist organizations, but also sees fit to cite and quote historically anti-Semitic publications, such as CounterPunch. He recently tweeted a link to a CounterPunch article attacking Shoa-survivor Elie Weisel for being “anti-Palestinian” and claiming (with no substantiating evidence) that Israeli soldiers have used Palestinian children as “soccer balls.”

According to the Middle East Forum, Esposito even recently participated in a panel on ISIS, during which he claimed that the group is comprised somewhat alienated Muslim Democrats and “disaffected youth” who feel that they “must act” because of reluctance to “‘speaking out and condemning’ the ‘things that are devastating’ of ‘traditional allies’ like Israel or Arab regimes.”

With so much evidence that Esposito is not an honest academic, and instead a polemical purveyor of distortion, we wonder: Is this really the type of “scholarship” with which Georgetown wants to be associated?

CAMERA’s Published Letter to Ohio University Paper On Anti-Israel “Blood Bucket Challenge”

September 29, 2014

Last week, CAMERA’s scathing Letter-to-the-Editor regarding Ohio University student senator Megan Marzec’s “Blood Bucket Challenge” publicity stunt was published in the student paper, The Post!

OhioUBucketChallenge.jpg

Megan Marzec dumps fake blood on herself.

Marzec’s Declarations to Support Palestine Full of Contradictions

By Eric Rozenman, a 1969 graduate of Ohio University and a former staffer at The Post. He is the Washington Director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Please allow me to add my comments to those already published on the clash between Student Senate President Megan Marzec and her “Free Palestine” supporters and Bobcats for Israel. I do so as a long-ago Student Congress representative and former Post staffer and in my current capacity as Washington director of CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

According to reports by The Post and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ms. Marzec, in her role as OU Student Senate President, hijacked the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to produce a narcissistic “blood bucket” video in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. She also is quoted as declaring, after her confrontation with Bobcats for Israel, four of whom were arrested by campus police, that she would “never apologize for standing up for the people of Palestine” and “I will never stand up for fascists.” Ms. Marzec apparently doesn’t recognize the contradictions.

The BDS movement does not advocate Arab-Israeli peace or a two-state Israel-Palestine compromise. Though none of the 22 Arab states are Western-style democracies and bloody upheavals in many of them currently have taken literally hundreds of thousands of lives in Arab-against-Arab, Muslim-against-Muslim and Muslim-against-Christian violence, BDSers obsessively seek the delegitimization and destruction of the one Jewish state. That country is rated by Freedom House as the Middle East’s most free for its treatment of Jewish, Muslim and
Christian citizens alike. The polite word for the BDS, anti-Israel obsession is hypocritical.

Ms. Marzec also imagines she is “standing up for the people of Palestine,” assuming she means the Arabs of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The former are used as human shields and otherwise oppressed by Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, Israel, Canada, Australia, Japan and other nations and last seen murdering dissidents it labeled “collaborators” in the streets. The latter are under the thumb of Fatah, a kleptocracy that doesn’t usually murder critics; it more commonly beats and jails them. So in bravely “standing up for the people of Palestine,” Ms. Marzec is anti-Hamas and anti-Fatah and seeking regime change?

And from a perch on a Student Senate table, Ms. Marzec theatrically declared, to some applause, she “will never stand up for fascists.” Hmm. Though now under its theocratic dictates, Palestinian voters elected Hamas in 2006. Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jewish people. That document, and other Hamas propaganda, echoes World War II Nazi publications and broadcasts. This is not a coincidence, as University of Maryland Professor Jeffrey Herf demonstrates in Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World.

As for Fatah movement, its leaders rejected Israeli-U.S. two-state offers in exchange for Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2000 and 2001, and launched the bloody second intifada instead. They spurned a similar Israeli-only proposal in 2008. Meanwhile, they continued lionizing terrorist murderers of Jews and inciting further violence, in violation of the 1993 Israeli-Palestine Liberation Organization Oslo accords and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement.

If Ms. Marzec and her supporters — including, according to the reports, some fellow Student Senate members, OU faculty and at least one or two administrators—want to fight fascism’s ideological-theological heirs in the Middle East, they have plenty of choices. The list includes not only the Iranian and Syrian governments, but also ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Resistance Committees, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and many more.

But that would take real courage and creativity, and put them on the same side as Israel. Oh, the cognitive dissonance!

When my own children were visiting colleges a dozen years ago, I encouraged them to look at O.U. They eventually went elsewhere, but were they to be looking at schools today, I’m not sure I could suggest my alma mater, not before what sounds like some necessary ventilation.

 We also sent the letter to the president of the University.  Here is his reply:

Dear Mr. Rozenman,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent issues on our campus. To be sure, Ohio University is not being dismissive of the issues. Our focus is where it needs to be – on the safety and security of our students and university community and in helping our students work through this important teachable moment.

I am disheartened to see Ohio University being portrayed through images of Ms. Marzec’s “Bucket Challenge” and of student arrests. I hope that I can share a different picture with you: the big picture. It is one in which all members of the Ohio University community are supported, cherished and embraced. It is this atmosphere of inclusivity that has defined our campus community during my 10-year tenure and one that I intend to uphold.

In my recent message to the campus community, I acknowledged how difficult these past weeks have been for members of our community as well as our alumni and friends. Please know that Ohio University is making every effort to support a safe forum for open discourse and education on the complex issues of our times. As we do so, I encourage you to not let one idea expressed by one student influence your perception of Ohio University.

I believe that any lasting resolution on this matter must be made by students and for students. We were pleased by the calm and constructive manner in which our Student Senate came together this week, and we are actively supporting our students, as they work to identify pathways to peace. It is my hope that you will join with Ohio University in supporting student efforts to promote healing.

Our University comprises many student leaders, all of whom deserve our support. I respectfully ask for you to understand and support our educational mission and our need to allow our university community to address the current discourse—as we help our students hold constructive dialogues about issues and viewpoints that are deeply meaningful to them.

Cordially,

Roderick J. McDavis 

L’Shana Tova u’Metuka!

September 24, 2014

10507060_835388466524747_8594348347123567323_o - Copy

 

This evening, Jews around the world celebrate the beginning of the Jewish new year, Rosh HaShana! 

As Rosh HaShana 5775 approaches, may our commitment to truth, and to one another, be stronger and more powerful than ever, and may we thus be able to sweeten our world and the lives of all people.

A sweet, healthy, happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at CAMERA on Campus!

 

Why I Wanted to Work For CAMERA

September 23, 2014

CAMERA is pleased and proud to welcome the newest member of our Campus Team, Ben Einsidler! As part of his first week at CAMERA on Campus, Ben wrote a piece about his decision to join CAMERA. Ben’s piece was just republished in the Algemeiner!  Honey 024

It was a pleasant day this past summer, until I heard the news. Three Israeli boys — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah — were kidnapped in the West Bank. I turned to my wife and said, grimly, “There’s going to be a war.” Sure enough in the coming days, the boys, their memories should be a blessing, were found murdered; rocket attacks against Israeli civilians continued; Israel launched an offensive against HAMAS in Gaza; and Operation Protective Edge was underway.

Throughout this past summer, I followed every development of the conflict, sometimes to the point of mental exhaustion. I became a one person Israeli public relations firm on social media, and was outspoken both in my support of Israel’s actions and my condemnation of Hamas’ ongoing terrorist activities. I got in sometimes heated arguments with people both virtually and in person regarding the conflict, and agreed more than once to “agree to disagree.” I also was able to marshal support for Israel, as I made connections on social media and joined up with others concerned for Israel’s safety, not to mention the growing specter of anti-Semitism both here and abroad. It was this strong love for Israel and Judaism that led me to ultimately join the team at CAMERA On Campus.

I’ll admit that this was not the career path I originally envisioned for myself. I studied Spanish and International Relations at Salisbury University (GO SEAGULLS!), and am currently writing a thesis for my dual Master’s degree in Jewish Education and Jewish Studies at Hebrew College. I’ve worked for the last several years as a high school Spanish teacher, as well as a Hebrew high school teacher at Prozdor at Hebrew College, and feel myself very much an educator. However, the events of the past summer made it plain that I could not sit idle while Israel was under attack. In another twist, I had been privileged to travel to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine this past February (yes, right when Kiev was in chaos) on a Prozdor trip with students, and had seen firsthand the power that activism could wield. I had visited the “Old Country” and spent ten days among one of the strongest and most interesting Jewish communities in Europe How could I go back to teaching Spanish literature and stem-changing verbs (as much as I love both) after such a visceral experience?

Israel holds a special place in the heart of Jews, but it should also serve as a beacon for those who prize humanity and decency everywhere. No, I do not necessarily agree with every action taken by the Israeli government, nor do I hesitate to criticize Israel should it be warranted, but I’ve reached the point of critical mass in terms of how much I’m willing to let others smear Israel baselessly.

I’m sick of Israel being held to an impossible double standard with regards to national defense.

I’m sick of hearing of unending “Red Alerts” in Sderot and Ashkelon, forcing men, women and children to take shelter from rockets fired from Gaza.

I’m sick of hearing of a generation of Israelis growing up in the Negev afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after enduring so many rocket attacks.

I’m sick of wondering if my cousins in Tel Aviv will be called up to IDF service this week.

I’m sick of how those who call themselves pro-Palestinian strategically ignore Hamas’ illegal use of civilian shields, and using hospitals, schools and neighborhoods as launching pads.

I’m sick of having to correct people when they present disputed and incorrect ideas regarding Israeli history.

I’m sick of hearing of increasing cases of anti-Semitic demonstrations and attacks, both in the United States and around the world.

I’m sick of hearing about groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, whose purpose is ostensibly peaceful but whose events devolve into hate speech and physical violence.

For all of these reasons, and others, I eagerly begin my work at CAMERA On Campus on the cusp of the new year, still very much an educator, and am thrilled to be here. If you want to learn about Israel, ask me. If you want to form a campus group, call me. If you want to know what you can do to help Israel, talk with me. I’m looking forward to connecting. Shanah tovah u’mtukah.

CAMERA Staff Has a Blast With the Network Boston

September 22, 2014

CAMERA Staff had a great time tabling at Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ Network Open House Event in Boston on September 10! CAMERA’s delegation included representatives of the Campus Team and of our Boston Young Leadership Team.  Check out the photos below to see CAMERA doing our thang, and having a blast educating Boston’s Jewish community together!

10590405_10152296087592407_3063571524674069220_n

Editor-in-Chief Samantha Mandeles and Director of Student Programming Gilad Skolnick discussing CAMERA with young professionals at The Open House Party! Photo courtesy of CJP’s The Network Boston and Nir Landau Photography.

10689506_10152296087187407_1422458586302486325_n

…while Samantha discusses CAMERA on Campus!

10614240_10152296086442407_1931721412643764691_n

Development Officer Josh Mellits explains CAMERA Boston Young Leadership programming…

For more of CJP’s photos of the event, check out their Facebook page!

And, to learn more about CAMERA’s upcoming Young Leadership event, visit the event page on our national website!

Network CJP Open House Sept 2014 003

Photos courtesy of CAMERA staff

Network CJP Open House Sept 2014 005 Network CJP Open House Sept 2014 008

 

Pro-Israel Students on Social Media

September 19, 2014

This post was contributed by Simmons College CAMERA Fellow, Allison Moldoff.Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 5.05.19 PM.

In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, pro-Israel college students have taken an active stance on social media. While members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) plaster hate throughout their social media channels, pro Israel groups have a different approach.

In the new campaign, “Waiting For A Real Peace Partner,” created by Cal Poly Pomona students and Broncos for Israel leaders Dana and Doron Feuer, the message is simple: find Israel a real peace partner. The campaign points out the real aggressor in the Arab-Israel conflict-Hamas. With the trending hashtag, #FreeGazaFromHamas, these students are hoping that their voices will be heard and their message will be clear. Israel is not the enemy. Hamas is.

Dana Feuer, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, states that, “students who support Israel on campus have been fighting an uphill battle against the hate groups and I really hope that this social media campaign gives campuses across the nation a positive boost.”

During and after Operation Protective Edge, there was an evident rise in the expression of anti-Semitism, not only in Europe, but also throughout college campuses in the United States. There have been countless incidents throughout the country where members of SJP and anti-Israel students have harassed and assaulted Jewish students. In fact, just last month, a CAMERA Fellow at Temple University was attacked by a student who did not agree with his beliefs.

These acts of aggression and the violence of Israel’s enemies need to stop. Jewish and pro-Israel students around the country hope that these new social media campaigns promoting peace and the fact that Israel wants peace will stop them from being targeted and harassed for their beliefs.

The “Waiting For A Real Peace Partner” Facebook Page states that, “the Palestinian people have been caught in the terrorist agenda of their own government for over a decade. It is time to stand up for peace and recognize that responsibility for suffering in Gaza belongs to Hamas.”

Other pro-Israel social media campaigns like, “This Is What a Zionist Looks Like” have been gaining major traction online. CAMERA Consultant, Chloe Simone Valdary, created the campaign, which incorporates iconic images of well-known actors, activists, and musicians who identify (or did, during their lives) as proud Zionists.

These social media campaigns are critical messages for pro-Israel students to express. Valdary says that the “’This Is What a Zionist Looks Like’ campaign represents our collective conscious decision to take ownership of who we are: Zionists. Unafraid and proud. In taking back this term, we seek the end of the cultural appropriation of our heritage by racist student organizations that seek to deny our people civil rights.”

Feuer adds that, “the ultimate goal and intent of our campaign is for the pro-Israel community to share a united message. We want to make it very clear that Israel wants peace and always has.”

These messages are quite relevant, given the recent behavior of SJP founder Hatem Bazian, who made a statement calling for a complete academic and cultural boycott of Israel on September 23rd, the Eve before the Jewish New Year. As TruthRevolt.org author and University of Minnesota CCAP student, Ron Feingold, states, “The attempt to isolate Israel extends to a boycott of Jewish and Israeli on-campus organizations as well. Professor Bazian has also commanded his group to demand “No to University Coordination and Strategizing with the ADL, JCRC, AJC, Stand With US, ZOA, Israeli Consulate to Limit Students Pro-Palestine Constitutionally Protected Activities.”

In response to Bazian’s statement, CAMERA along with 14 other organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Israel hatred sent a letter to the administrators of the University of California at Berkeley alerting them of the “call to action” posted by SJP founder and Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian.

It is the hopes of CAMERA, Valdary, Feuer, and many other students that the pro-Israel and Jewish community will stand a united front against aggressive students who want the destruction of the Jewish State.

CAMERA and Partners Send Letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor

September 18, 2014

Cal

On September 2, CAMERA and 14 other organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Israel hatred sent a letter to the administrators of the University of California at Berkeley alerting them of the “call to action” posted by SJP founder and Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian.

The text of the letter is reproduced in full below. It was originally posted at the Amcha Initiative.

To: Chancellor Dirks


September 2, 2014

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

We represent 15 organizations with hundreds of thousands of members and supporters nationwide, who are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of Jewish students on campuses across the country, particularly in light of the current unrest in the Middle East.

We would like to bring to your attention a matter that directly affects Jewish students at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley lecturer in Near Eastern Studies, has posted to his Facebook page an announcement of an “International Day of Action on College Campuses: Free Palestine and End the Siege on Gaza,” which is to take place on September 23. The posting includes the following message:

A call for activists and organizations on campuses across the world to organize massive protests on every college and university campus. Make Free Palestine and Ending the Siege on Gaza part of campus education by holding teach-ins, rallies, sit-ins, civil disobedience, and push for BDS activities.

No to Academic Complicity with Israeli Occupation
No to Study Abroad Programs in Israel
No Investments in Apartheid and Occupation Supporting Companies
No to University Presidents’ Visits to Israel
No Campus Police Training or Cooperation with Israeli Security
No Joint Research or Conferences with Israeli Institutions
No Cooperation with Hasbara Networks on College Campuses
No to Targeting Faculty for Speaking Against Israeli Crimes
No to Administrative Limits on Free Speech Rights of Palestine Activists
No to University Coordination and Strategizing with the ADL, JCRC, AJC, Stand With US, ZOA, Israeli Consulate to Limit Students Pro-Palestine Constitutionally Protected Activities.

Free Palestine, End the Siege on Gaza and Build the Movement on Your Campus!

We are deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Jewish students around these events. In the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict, global antisemitism has reached levels not seen since the Holocaust. Jews throughout the world are being targeted for threats, physical assaults and murder, and Jewish property for desecration and destruction. While we fully support academic freedom and students’ freedom of expression, these types of demonstrations can result in antisemitic rhetoric and violent behavior, creating a hostile and unsafe environment for Jewish students. Just days ago, a Jewish student at Temple University was punched in the face and called “baby-killer, racist, Zionist pig” and “kike” as he stood next to a table run by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

As you may be aware, the UC Berkeley SJP group, which was in fact founded by Dr. Bazian himself when he was a graduate student in 2001, has a long history of engaging in antisemitic behaviors targeting Jewish and pro-Israel students for harassment, intimidation, bullying and even assault. Dr. Bazian’s call for students to engage in aggressive and potentially illegal actions against Israel and its campus supporters — actions that include “civil disobedience” — can only exacerbate the already hostile environment for pro-Israel Jewish students and create the conditions that could well lead to violence on your campus.

Moreover, Professor Bazian is promoting an academic boycott of Israel which calls for shutting down opportunities for students to study in Israel and severing all ties with Israeli universities and scholars — a boycott which more than 250 university presidents, including yourself, have called a subversion of academic freedom, and which has been decried as antisemitic by government officials and Jewish leaders. Furthermore, we believe that it is highly inappropriate for Dr. Bazian, a faculty member at UC Berkeley, to incite students to engage in “civil disobedience”, behavior which is potentially illegal and may lead to adverse consequences for the students and others.

We wanted to bring this to your attention immediately so you could monitor the behavior of SJP and other student organizations involved in the September 23 Day of Action, and ensure, through the use of campus police and administrative oversight, that behavior which violates university policy or the law will be swiftly and appropriately addressed, and that Jewish and pro-Israel students will not be harassed, intimidated, bullied or assaulted.

Sincerely,

Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi)
AMCHA Initiative
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Hasbara Fellowships
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Simon Wiesenthal Center
StandWithUs
The Lawfare Project
Zionist Organization of America

Cc: UC President Janet Napolitano
UC Regents
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
California Senator Carol Liu, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education
California Assembly Member Das Williams, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education
California Assembly Member Shirley Weber, Chair of the Select Committee on Campus Climate
California State Senator Marty Block, Chair of Legislative Jewish Caucus

The IDF’s Unsung Heroes

September 17, 2014

Izzy Ezagui

Oftentimes, CAMERA speakers are those who have personal connections to the Arab-Israeli conflict and can share their unique perspectives with students. One such speaker, Izzy Ezagui, has spoken for CAMERA about his personal sacrifices, but also recently reflected on the sacrifices made by a group whose stories are much less publicized– the American mothers of Lone IDF Soldiers.

Check out an excerpt from Izzy’s beautiful, heart-wrenching article below, and read the full article here. To learn more about Izzy, visit his page. And, finally, remember to be grateful for the sacrifices of a soldier’s mother.

I pen these words in honor of an alpha pack of American women who incomprehensibly find the strength to allow their offspring to travel across the globe, so that they may partake in a battle they could easily justify ignoring. How they find this strength will forever remain a mystery…
Friends try to comfort you. Family tries to remain nearby. Their efforts are futile. They do not and cannot understand that peace, for you, is a foreign concept, that you won’t find any solace until he is back in your arms, until he is close enough that you can again see your smile on his face.Few know and even less stop to think about the difficulties of being a mother warrior. With the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, I find it fitting to stop and give thanks.To the brave sons who protect us: your battle is hard, and we are all indebted to you.To the brave mothers who sit at home not knowing: your battle is harder; not knowing the fate of a loved one can be scarier than battle itself. For that fortitude, we are all grateful.

For Max.

For Sean.

For David.

For their mothers.