Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Tripod: CAMERA Links in 3 Languages Nov. 20-26

November 27, 2013

Tripod Logo.sm Where’s the coverage?  With the exception of two media, Spanish press did not cover the murder of young Israeli Eden Atias at the hands of a Palestinian. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The order of the factors alters the product  Europa Press not only ignored the murder of Eden Atias, but used the incident as a pretext to insist portraying, once again, the Palestinians as “victims”. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Impartiality  Europa Press offers 367 words to the Palestinian version and only 27 to the Israeli. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Pattern  A brief review of the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of Europe Press shows a very striking pattern: the agency appears to officiate as a spokesman for Hamas. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Where’s the coverage? Censorship on the press by the Palestinian Authority is silenced by Spanish speaking media (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The Scary World of Uri Misgav  Uri Misgav’s column is analysed, applying the same psychoanalytic method he applies to others. (Presspectiva)

The New York Times Admits Its Error The New York Times publishes an apology for illustrating a shocking terror attack, with a picture of the terrorist’s mother (Presspectiva)

That renowned BBC accuracy and impartiality…  BBC’s man in Gaza invents an Israeli air raid. (BBC Watch)

BBC misrepresentation of Israel’s stance on Iran talks continues in Kim Ghattas’ report  The BBC’s State Department correspondent was the latest to misinform audiences about Israel’s stance on P5+1 deal. (BBC Watch)

Evidently, some Palestinian prisoners don’t evoke Harriet Sherwood’s sympathy Sympathetic portrayals of Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails are something of a specialty for the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, yet she seems strangely unmoved when Palestinians are imprisoned (and often tortured) in Arab countries. (CiF Watch)

Napoleon, Ben Gurion and the Jewish State  Was Napoleon a harbinger of Zionism? (Presspectiva)

Tel Aviv, Israel’s Eternal Capital  Why the foreign media keeps claiming that Tel Aviv is the capital city of Israel. (Presspectiva)

Brooklyn College Hosts Ben White’s Lecture on ‘Israeli Apartheid’ Anti-Israel activist Ben White was invited to speak at Brooklyn College by the college’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Event is co-sponsored by two college departments. (in Focus)

SFSU President Condemns Campus Event With Slogan “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers” This week, San Francisco State University President Les Wong publicly condemned an event held on campus in which students created posters that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” The posters were displayed in the campus square, and were created as part of a larger event celebrating Edward Said, according to AMCHA. The event was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students . . . . (in Focus)

A Return to Bias Our CAMERA Fellow at Concordia writes in her Op-Ed that “Israel was the only specific country on the agenda when the United Nations met on September 10, 2013. At this time, the world was praying for the victims of chemical weaponry in Syria. The UN made no specific or emergency condemnation of Syria at the time. It took a backseat to the permanent agenda article against the Jewish State. The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, noted that day that the same amount of time was allotted to Israel as was committed to the rest of the world. . (in Focus)

Arab Israeli Citizen Shares Minority Experience with SF State  CAMERA on Campus Is In the News! This article was written by Guadalupe González and was printed in the Golden Gate Xpress on October October 29, 2013.. (in Focus)

We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity  Eliot Hamilton of our CCAP group Claremont Colleges for Israel: “I have found that if I mention of the State of Israel, someone will not respectfully disagree with me, but will get angry with me personally for supporting something that they see as flawed. I did not expect to be disrespected so vehemently, or to experience such hatred. . .” (in Focus)

Israel’s Security Key to a Stable Middle East

Published originally on November 20th in the Triangle – The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

On Oct. 29, Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners: 21 to the West Bank and five to the Gaza Strip. The release is the second of four being made by Israel in an attempt to bring the Palestinian Authority back to peace negotiations.
CAMERA Fellow Josh Dienstman

Josh Dienstman

While these prisoners were welcomed by their families as heroes, let’s not forget that these people were prisoners for a reason.

Damouni Saad Mohammed Ahmed, one of the released prisoners, was convicted in 1990 for taking part in the murder of an Israeli Defense Forces reservist. The reservist was severely beaten and then killed when his car was fire bombed.

Abu-Dahila Hasan Atik Sharif was serving a sentence for stabbing his employer to death after working for him for 15 years on a dairy farm.

Muaid Salim was arrested in 1992 for being involved in a group that swam from Aqaba in southern Jordan to Eilat, where they shot to death a 62-year-old security guard at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences.

The men who were released are not just criminals, they are terrorists — people who have proven they are a danger to society. And yet Israel agreed to set them free for the chance to negotiate for peace. This strategic, risky move would not have even been possible without the incredible progress Israel has made in the past decade at creating relative stability with the neighboring Palestinian territories, especially with the West Bank.

In the years since the end of the Second Intifada, measures made by Israel have brought about safety to the region for both sides. According to the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the security fence has brought about a 90 percent reduction in terrorist attacks in Israel since its creation in 2003. The number of Israeli civilians murdered by Palestinian terrorists has decreased from 430 in 2005 to zero in 2012. Without Israel creating safety and stability, no peace talks would be possible.

Despite the incredible results Israel has accomplished, its security faces increased uncertainty with the recent instability seen in the surrounding nations.

The military coup in Egypt threatens the generally peaceful relationship that the two countries have had since they signed a peace treaty in 1979.

The brutal, ongoing civil war in Syria poses a strategic defense challenge for Israel, as fighting is occurring so close to its northern border.

In Jordan, which has been Israel’s most amicable neighbor, Palestinian and Syrian refugees are estimated to make up a combined 40 percent of its total population. The strain of that huge number on the kingdom’s resources will inevitably cause some drastic change in its operation.

And Iran, even though it is not Israel’s immediate neighbor, continues to place the most severe threat on Israel as it constantly works to obtain nuclear weapons for Israel’s destruction while funding Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

P.A. President Abbas with released Palestinian terrorists (Ynet)

P.A. President Abbas with released Palestinian terrorists (Ynet)

A strong Israel is the keystone holding this chaotic region together. The only true democracy in the Middle East allows for a thriving economy, which has become integral to the world market despite attempts to hinder it with sanctions.

A strong Israel means a secure Israel. A secure Israel means a stable and safe Middle East. Only when there is safety and stability in the region is there any possibility of creating a genuine, lasting peace.

Contributed by our CAMERA Fellow at Drexel University, Josh Dienstman. Josh is the education and politics chair for Drexel’s CAMERA supported pro-Israel student group, Dragons for Israel

Read more from CAMERA about who Israel released.

We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity

November 26, 2013

By Elliot Hamilton of Pamona College, who is part of the CCAP group Claremont Colleges for Israel. The piece We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity was originally published on November 15 in The Student Life.

Political discourse runs vigorously through the veins of this consortium. Claremont presents itself as a respectful community, open to people on all parts of the political spectrum without students feeling threatened by those who oppose them. Part of the reason I came to Claremont was because, as a prospective student, I was under the impression that Claremont was a safe environment where I could discuss my political opinions and have respectful, intellectual, and thoughtful conversations with my peers.

This respect is not granted, however, if you are a Zionist—or, more colloquially, pro-Israel. In my experience, I have found that if I mention of the State of Israel, someone will not respectfully disagree with me, but will get angry with me personally for supporting something that they see as flawed. I did not expect to be disrespected so vehemently, or to experience such hatred. I am not the only one who deals with this, and my story is not nearly the most troubling.

claremont

I have heard accounts of people saying “F*** you, Jews,” during Israeli Apartheid Week. Swastikas were drawn in Honnold/Mudd Library, resulting in two campus-wide bias-related incident notifications. An Israeli professor received nasty emails and was chastised for his beliefs. Two months ago, one of my friends had to rewrite the word “Israel” several times on the white board on her door because another student kept erasing it. All she wrote was “Ask me if you have any questions about Israel (clubs, trips).” What did erasing that word accomplish? But here’s the real question I want to ask, and one that I have discussed with Claremont students on many occasions: Why can’t we be civil when discussing Israel, Palestine, and the rest of the Middle East?

Eliot Hamilton taking part in a CAMERA Letter to the Editor Writing Workshop in Boston.

Eliot Hamilton taking part in a CAMERA Letter to the Editor Writing Workshop in Boston.

For some, these issues hit so close to home that they are unwilling to treat their ideological opponents as fellow human beings. What I find so paradoxical is that not only is the issue of treating people poorly so engrained as part of the greater conflict, but it is also a problem that permeates campus-wide debates. Whether you support Israel, Palestine, or both, there is always a question of whether one side believes that the other should have a right to statehood, to land, to peace, or even to mere existence. Before we can speak of hope for peace in the greater conflict, it is imperative for us, as a community, to stop the fighting words and change the dialogue.

Martin Luther King, Jr., a Zionist himself, famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If, as a community, we cannot take ownership of our collective humanity and start having dialogue with those whose opinions contradict ours, then we will not learn anything and will become the very agents of injustice that Claremont students love to fight against. This does not only go for discussions about Israel, but for discussions about everything. But if you wish to be part of a respectful, thoughtful, and intellectual dialogue on this specific conflict, then you are more than welcome to contact me. If you wish to gain a different perspective, then you are more than welcome to come to any event hosted by Claremont Students for Israel. I would love to hear what you have to say.

More by Elliott Hamilton:

Setting the Pace to Finish the Marathon (August 23rd 2013)

Arab Israeli Citizen Shares Minority Experience with SF State

November 25, 2013

CAMERA on Campus Is In the News! This article was written by Guadalupe González and was printed in the Golden Gate Xpress on October October 29, 2013.

In an underground conference room in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, a normally controversial man almost went unnoticed. At previous events where he has spoken, pro-Palestinian protestors have burst out in defiance, but Oct. 28, Ishmael Khaldi spoke to a small crowd of 15 students with no disruptions.

Khaldi was Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat and came to speak at SF State about his experience as a minority in Israel. Non-Jews make up 20 percent of Israel’s population, while Bedouins, who are traditionally nomadic Arabs, made up 3.5 percent in 2004, according to the Israeli government.

“As a minority, I think it’s very important for me to share […] the experiences of ourselves as minorities in Israel with people in the Bay Area, also [with] lots of minorities,” Khaldi said. “I think there is something that we are missing, always, not only Israel and America, but like in between countries. People focus on the relations between government and government authorities. The people, the societies don’t know enough [of] each other, academic institutions are not close to each other.”

SF State student Kayla Wold organized the event with help from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in AmericaSan Francisco Hillel, and I-Team, the Pro-Israel group on campus. She said she was inspired to have an Israeli minority to speak on campus after seeing the murals at the Cesar Chavez Student Center depicting great minority leaders like Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X.

Khaldi served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Defense Ministry, and Israeli Police, and was a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry before he was Deputy Consulate in San Francisco from 2007 to 2009.

He said those opportunities were available to him as an Israeli citizen, and during his presentation, he spoke about the misconception that Israel is a Jewish-only state. He said a lot of the younger Arab population is participating more in Israeli society.

He also spoke about the Israeli government’s attempts at integrating the Bedouins into modern society over the years.

ishmael khaldi

“You can’t make a shepherd who is a nomad living in a tent into a high-tech engineer overnight,” he said.

He did, however, credit the government for helping settle the North in the Negev, “above and beyond.”  He also said people need to choose whether they want to continue being nomadic or join modern society.

“Minorities in Israel is something that can relate to students on campus, and it’s also something that a lot of people don’t know that much about because I think people have misconceptions about Israel in general,” Wold said.  “I think that by coming in and talking about minorities, ‘cause people automatically assume it’s a Jewish state, but it’s predominately Jews, but there are many other religions and cultures and something important that I think needs to be discussed on campus.”

Although Khaldi said he would have liked to speak to other minority students, especially in the Ethnic Studies department, most of the attendees were Jewish students involved with Hillel or I-Team. Wold said invitations were made to other organizations on campus, yet no one showed up.

International Relations major Kevin Gobuty said he learned from the event.

“I’m a pro-Israel student, I’m a part of I-Team and I haven’t had more interaction with the Bedouin community so it was interesting to get a minority perspective on what goes on in Israel,” he said.  “I learned the integration is coming along at a faster rate than I thought it was, I think that it’s interesting seeing the transition going from a largely traditionally nomadic society slowly but seeing the interactions.”

A Return to Bias

November 22, 2013

Israel has returned to the United Nations Human Rights Committee with faith that the longstanding bias against the country will decimate.

By Concordia University CAMERA Fellow Michelle Soicher. Michelle is also a member of Concordia Students for Israel. This article was originally published on Journalists for Human Rights – Concordia University.

michelle

Michelle Soicher

 

The United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to replace the Commission for Human Rights. The UNCHR was condemned for its member states that had major human rights violations (e.g. Syria, the Republic of China) as well as its invasive, brutal and biased methods. One of the primary reasons that the Commission was dismantled was for the disproportionate focus on Israel. The United Nations Human Rights Committee was established in its place. This change was made to reaffirm the UN’s commitment to impartiality, fairness and justice. It promised an unbiased, productive future, presumably one that would not target Israel. In the council’s first year, Israel was condemned a total of ten times while the other 191 member countries were apparently void of human rights violations as their collective total of violations was zero. Since the establishment of the council, Israel has been condemned a total of 27 times for violations ranging from declaring settlements in the Gaza strip and an occupational siege and requesting the closing of border crossings (March 27, 2009)  to demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners (March 24, 2010). The country removed itself from committee involvement last year after it became apparent that the supposedly unbiased commission was not unbiased at all.

Israel is up for The Universal Periodic Review (UNPR). This is the Human Rights Committee’s crowning feat. On paper, this process claims that every member state will be evaluated by the others. The council has not yet finished the most recent cycle of reviews but is returning to review Israel. In this review Syria has been praised for their health care and Saudi Arabia has been noted for giving men and women equal rights. The majority of the member states are not democracies. The review allows countries to praise or condemn the others, often based on their own political agendas or biases.

Israel was the only specific country on the agenda when the United Nations met on September 10, 2013. At this time the world was praying for the victims of chemical weaponry in Syria. The UN made no specific or emergency condemnation of Syria at the time. It took a backseat to the permanent agenda article against the Jewish State. The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, noted that day that the same amount of time was allotted to Israel as was committed to the rest of the world. The remainder of the nations of the globe were to be addressed the following week. He continued that the UN’s consistent bias against Israel was hindering their ability to address global issues properly and protect the rest of the world.

Israel has been condemned at the UN for its treatment of Palestinians and their alleged denial of human rights. Taking the example of food, Israel makes sure to provide the minimum required food per person in order to prevent hunger. Egypt, which also shares a border with the Gaza Strip, has made no effort in taking similar actions. For the tax-paying, terror fearing citizens of Israel, this may be too much; for the Hamas-manipulated and neglected citizens of the Palestinian territories it is often not enough. Israel has also been criticized for attacks that kill children, women and other civilians. This is, of course, deplorable and regrettable, though it must be noted that Hamas often houses military centers in populated areas, such as schools and hospitals, increasing the probability of civilian deaths. It is a complex, multi-faceted issue, but the UN must look beyond that and see Israel within a broader context.

Israel is, in fact, a leader in human rights. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Women, Arabs, homosexuals, and people of all religions have protected rights and sanctuary in Israel. Many of the neighboring countries follow Sharia (Islamic Religious) law, and would arrest or kill these people under Sharia Law.  Israel is a leader in humanitarian aid; they were of the first countries on the ground in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and Israeli hospitals are currently treating victims of Syria’s civil war. But all of these deeds are ignored by the UN, which is in favor of finding reasons to condemn Israel.

After what can only be described as a year-long breather, Israel is returning to the UNHRC, stating, “we are open to criticism”, which they will most likely receive in abundance because of the bias against Israel which has been present and strong since the country was established.

Despite the knowledge that the bias will prevail and returning to the UNHRC will likely not win Israel favor on the international stage, they are returning. Israel is a leader in human rights, but like all countries, it is also not perfect.

If the UNHRC were to drop the heavy bias, perhaps it would help Israel and the Palestinian Authority move forward with peace talks and find a way to improve life for all citizens in the region.

Israel’s decision to return to the United Nations Human Rights Committee proves the country’s willingness to participate in the UN and to continue to be a leader in human rights.

SFSU President Condemns Campus Event With Slogan “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers”

November 21, 2013

SFSU General Union of Palestinian Students displays posters reading, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers”; University President condemns the event. 

heroes

Stencil: “My Heroes have always killed colonizers”

This week, San Francisco State University President Les Wong publicly condemned an event held on campus in which students created posters that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” The posters were displayed in the campus square, and were created as part of a larger event celebrating Edward Said, according to AMCHA. The event was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) on November 7th, 2013.

While the event celebrating Said was reported in the SFSU newspaper, there was no mention of the hateful posters, which outwardly call for the murder of Jews that live in Israel. And this isn’t the first time by any means that GUPS has exercised “free speech” to demonize Israel; indeed, in September of 2012, for example, the group resorted to cheap tactics to demonize Israel by displaying bloody dolls on campus.

A supporter of GUPS, who posted a photo from the event on Indymedia, claimed that “Rejecting normalization is not incitement to violence.” Well, as it turns out, it is. 

In his public condemnation of the event and the posters in particular, San Francisco State University President Les Wong expressed that he was “deeply disturbed by incendiary language that marred an annual commemoration of a cultural mural on campus… I am dismayed by the glorification of violence that this message conveys. There is no place at SF State for celebrating violence or promoting intolerance, bigotry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering. We are a university community committed to furthering civil dialogue. Each of us must remain vigilant in working to achieve this goal.”

GUPS has made its deadly desires perfectly clear. While President Wong has responded very seriously to the group’s promotion of murder, much work needs to be done on the SFSU campus to combat poisonous incitement, and to actually work productively towards peace and stability in Israel and the region.

Contributed by Ariella Charny

The Tripod: Links in 3 Languages Nov. 13-19

November 20, 2013

Tripod Logo.smThe everlasting accused
The Swiss report on the death of Yasser Arafat is used by the Spanish press to point a finger at Israel. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

The attacker portrayed as a victim
Spanish news agency Europa Press published several articles attempting to address Israeli “violence” against the Palestinians while ignoring or downplaying Palestinian violence. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

A look at information bias
The release of Palestinian prisoners and the announcement by Israel of the construction of housing in East Jerusalem reflected how the majority of Hispanic media covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Conceding Peace
CAMERA-supported Students Supporting Israel at the University of Minnesota publish an op-ed in their campus paper. (in Focus)

Brandeis Breaks with Al Quds University After Nazi-Style Rally
Al-Quds University President Nusseibeh tries to explain Nazi-Style rally on campus, warning of the “vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists.” (in Focus)

University of Massachusetts Amherst Hosts Sgt. Benjamin Anthony Lecture
Over 80 students attend CAMERA sponsored event at UMass-Amherst. (in Focus)

BBC misrepresents Israel’s stance on P5+1 talks yet again 
Despite having heard the contrary first hand from a senior Israeli minister, the BBC claims that Israel is opposed to talks with Iran. (BBC Watch)

Why we need to talk about the BBC’s promotion of Middle East conspiracy theories 
It’s time to join the dots between irresponsible Middle East reporting and the rise in antisemitism in Europe. (BBC Watch)

Silence in Media in Face of Eden Atias’s Brutal Murder 
An Israeli soldier is murdered by a Palestinian and the media focuses on settlements. (in Focus)

Drexel Event on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations
Drexel students bring a Middle East expert to campus in a CAMERA supported event. (in Focus)

Guardian columnist blames the persecution of Mid-East Christians on Israel’s creation 
The Guardian columnist views the disturbing news of anti-Christian persecution in Muslim countries within the Middle East – resulting in Christian communities fleeing the region in large numbers – and argues that the root cause is Israel’s creation. (CiF Watch)

Iran and the media blame Israel for Beirut attacks 
EFE, Bolivia’s La Razón and Mexico’s Milenio published a false accusation by Marzie Afjam, of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and did not correct it. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)

Brooklyn College Hosts Ben White’s Lecture on ‘Israeli Apartheid’

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Ariella Charny.

Anti-Israel activist Ben White was invited to speak at Brooklyn College by the college’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Ben White, who describes himself as a writer, journalist and researcher on Twitter, gave a lecture at Brooklyn College on November 14th called “Israel: Apartheid not Democracy.” This lecture is part of a tour of several colleges in the area. 

White actively advocates for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel). He defended former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, as well as the former president’s call to “wipe Israel off the map.” He also defended German politician Jürgen Möllemann when he compared Israeli policies to those of the Nazis, an act which is classified as anti-Semitic by the US State Department.

What’s more is that this event comes after a BDS event held at Brooklyn College last February, in which four Jewish students were forced to leave the venue. Brooklyn College investigated the case, and stated that “there was no justification for the removal of the four students.”

Recent graduate Melanie Goldberg, one of the students who was evicted from the BDS event, told the Algemeiner that Jewish students at Brooklyn “feel as if they have no power over the situation.” She says that, given White’s statements, she considers him to be anti-Semitic.

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a CUNY trustee, told the Algemeiner with regards to White’s lecture that “no academic setting of which I am aware would tolerate open racism directed against any other group in such a forum. In the very least, we would hear hearty condemnations left and right…I will state plainly: his [White’s] relativism on the Holocaust and his other pronouncements make him an out-and-out anti-Semite. His appearance is a black mark at Brooklyn College, which follows several others and is outside the realm of measures by the board and Chancellor which continue to advance CUNY.”

Yet Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are not alone in the event: The Political Science and the Sociology Departments at Brooklyn College also co-sponsored White’s talk. According to the Algemeiner, Paisley Currah, who heads the Political Science Department, claimed prior to the event that the department “is not a ‘supporter,’ advocate, champion, or endorser of these events and the views that will be expressed there…We co-sponsor events because we as a department value the open and free exchange of ideas.” Meanwhile, Brooklyn College cited the First Amendment as its reason for allowing White to speak on campus.

Kenneth L Marcus, President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, spoke out against White’s talk, stating in the lead-up to the event that “Federally funded colleges must promptly and effectively respond to hateful incidents that are so severe or pervasive that they deny equal educational benefits to students based on race, color or national origin. This is the case when a hostile environment is created for Jewish, Israeli, or other minority students.”

Brooklyn University cannot simply cite the First Amendment in defense of the event. While the university should certainly strive to protect free speech, it should not tolerate prejudiced and hateful speech of the kind offered by White. Its departments certainly should not be encouraging and co-sponsoring such speech.

ben white

Brandeis Breaks Ties with Al Quds University After Nazi-Style Rally

November 19, 2013

Brandeis University is in the spotlight this week as it has severed ties with its sister institution, Al Quds University, after Al Quds held a Nazi-style rally on campus, and failed to condemn it.

On November 5th, Palestinian Al Quds University, which has campuses in Jerusalem, Al-Bireh, and Abu-Dis, held a Nazi-style military rally on its main campus. At the rally, Al Quds students, dressed in black military gear and masks, brandished fake weapons while marching, waving flags, and raising the Nazi solute. Actors dressed as Israeli soldiers were seen sprawled on the ground, while other students trampled on banners depicting the Star of David. Images of suicide bombers were displayed at the rally. The student faction of the Islamic Jihad at Al Quds had organized the event.

Brandeis, which established a partnership with Al Quds in 1998, did not issue a public response immediately after the rally, something which promoted outcry from students and faculty. However, Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence did immediately contact Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh, requesting that he issue an unequivocal condemnation of the rally in English and Arabic.

However, Brandeis reported on November 18th that, unfortunately, Nusseibeh’s response was “unacceptable and inflammatory.” As a result, Brandeis announced that it will be severing ties with the Al Quds University, expressing that while “Brandeis has an unwavering commitment to open dialogue on difficult issues, we are also obliged to recognize intolerance when we see it, and we cannot – and will not – turn a blind eye to intolerance.”

Indeed, far from condemning the rally in his statement to Al Quds students, Nusseibeh warned of the “vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists” to “capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies. Without these ideologies, there would not have been the massacre of the Jewish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.” He went on to say that “these opportunists are quick to describe the Palestinians as a people undeserving of freedom and independence…they cite these events as evidence justifying their efforts to muster broad Jewish and western opinion to support their position.”

Brandeis University states that it would reevaluate its relationship with Al Quds University in the future, and noted that, while these recent events call for an immediate suspension of ties, the partnership with Al Quds had been productive in many ways over the years, as it offered faculty and student exchanges that aimed to advance peace and dialogue.

alquds

November 5 rally at Al Quds University

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Ariella Charny

University of Massachusetts Amherst Hosts Sgt. Benjamin Anthony’s Lecture

November 18, 2013

Brett Hausler, CAMERA fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, reports back on Sgt. Benjamin Anthony’s most recent lecture at UMass entitled “The Israeli Arab Conflict.” The event took place on November 7th. Sgt. Benjamin Anthony is the founder of Our Soldiers Speak, an organizations that brings the truth about the Israel Defense Forces to university campuses.

Brett says that the room was filled to capacity, meaning that some 80 students came to the event. The crowd was quite diverse, although many participants had gone on Birthright or were involved in Jewish organizations on campus. Brett says that he saw many new faces, too. Some students from SJP attended the event as well, and were handing out fliers.

Sgt. Benjamin Anthony discussed his experience in IDF; his captivating oratory skills and the power of what he had to share made for an excellent talk. He spoke for about 30-45 minutes and then answered questions from the audience.

The goal of the lecture was to expose students to a different perspective on Israel and Middle East affairs. Brett hoped to empower and educate students through the lecture, and to encourage them to learn more about Israel and the mission and values of the IDF. Brett wanted students to leave the venue carrying with them valuable information about Israel, as well as the motivation to advocate for accuracy in the media.

Sgt. Anthony made it clear that he speaks for himself when presenting his view points on the two-state solution and other issues. Some students from in the audience strongly disagreed with Sgt. Anthony; indeed, a few students from SJP and J-Street walked out abruptly in the middle of Benjamin’s talk. Brett says that “after the event, Benjamin told me he was disappointed that they [the students who walked out] would not stay to debate the topic, and I think this is because the students heard what they didn’t want to hear. I believe that these interactions should be cherished in the academic setting. This is how people learn.”

Several members of the audience did ask thoughtful questions. Questions spanned a spectrum of topics, from the occupied territories and the two-state solution to questions about Benjamin’s personal experience moving from the UK to Israel.

Overall, Brett was pleased with the event, and is working on building relations with attendees to ensure the success of future events on Israel and the Middle East.

Nov7_SgtBenjamin