Monthly Archives: January 2015

Northeastern Univ. Professor Abuses Platform To Preach Anti-Semitism

January 30, 2015

This piece was contributed by CAMERA’s Simmons College Fellow, Allison Moldoff and Northeaster University Huskies for Israel student Allie Glushanok. It was originally published at TruthRevolt.

An alarming video posted by Americans for Peace and Tolerance on YouTube shows Muhammad Shahid Alam, a Northeastern University professor, boasting about violating free speech of pro-Israel students at the university. Toward the end of the video, Alam is recorded stating, “if there are one or two people who want to say it [pro-Israel comments], they don’t because they sense that they will get no support from the class.” Pleased to have stifled free speech in the classroom, he proudly states that the “young people know the truth” — or perhaps, are too intimidated to contradict his version of it.

Unsurprisingly, many Jewish students have reported feeling targeted and intimidated in his classroom, not feelings typically associated with an allegedly open academic environment. This is not the first time that a professor has silenced a pro-Israel student in campus. CAMERA’s past article, Anti-Israel Professors, delved into the significance of this serious problem that pro-Israel students are facing throughout the country. In fact, due to the increase in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks made by professors, the AMCHA Initiativewas created. The organization recently published a list of over 200 anti-Israel Middle East Studies Professors.

Stephen Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, wrote an article for Campus Watch in which he noted that Alam denies the continuity of Jewish history and, therefore, the Jewish association with the land of Israel, to justify the destruction of the Jewish state. In Alam’s book, Zionism: An Abnormal Nationalism, he wrote:

In the 1890s… a small but determined cabal of European Jews proposed a plan to abrogate the history of global Jewish communities extending over millennia. They were determined to accomplish what the worst anti-Semites had failed to do: to empty Europe and the Middle East of their Jewish population and transport them to Palestine, a land to which they had a spiritual connection — just as Muslims in Bangladesh, Bosnia, and Burkina Faso are connected to Mecca and Medina — but to which their racial or historical connections were nonexistent or tenuous at best.

Alam freely preaches his “truth,” a stance that not only one-dimensionally vilifies Israel, but also displays an overarching ignorance toward Jews and Judaism, painting the culture as merely a “tenuously connected” people. In fact, Alam was famously quoted saying, “if you are an academic or an activist, if they call you an anti-Semite, wear that as a sign of distinction. This proves that I’m working for the right side, for the just cause.”

In April 2014, NBC News reported that 66 percent of hate crimes in the US were perpetrated against Jews as anti-Semitic attacks. This number has only increased throughout the years, most significantly after Operation Protective Edge this past summer. Yet to Alam, the term “anti-Semite” is an affirmation of justice.

In addition, Alam silences non-Jewish students who disagree with his views of Israel. One non-Jewish student, who chose not to name himself, dropped Alam’s Contested Issues In The Global Economy class after the third lecture. He reported, “It starts as a typical free form lecture. Then, he makes certain points and just expects us to agree with them and move on. If someone does raise a counterpoint, he uses semantics to twist it around and try to tear whoever asked the question apart.” By the end of the third class session, Alam’s tactics of intimidation and resistance to healthy discussion become fairly obvious to students. Many have stated that they have essentially two choices — silence or the risk of public humiliation and potentially lowered grades. As almost all students choose to stay silent in fear of getting a poor grade, they endure, as one student calls it, “[Alam’s] attempts to completely discredit Jews living in Israel and their plight. He basically says that Jews are not a real religion or culture.”

Professors should not be instilling their personal prejudice and one-sided viewpoints toward their students, especially those they disagree with. This concept holds especially true in an institution like Northeastern University, that prides itself on diversity and international presence. Unfortunately, in Alam’s classroom, as well as many others across the nation, these standards do not apply.

Allison Moldoff is a CAMERA Fellow at Simmons College and currently serves as an active member of the Political Affairs Chair for Huskies for Israel, the pro-Israel student organization at Northeastern University. Allie Glushanok is a sophomore at Northeastern University and serves as the Social Media Chair of Huskies for Israel (HFI). She created and continues to lead the “Humans of HFI” campaign.

Zionism: The Realization of ‘Never Again’

January 29, 2015

The following piece was written by CAMERA’s consultant, Chloe Simone Valdary, president and founder of UNO’s Emet Israel group, Allies of Israel. This piece was originally published at Times of Israel on January 27, and is reproduced in full, below.

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On one cool Sabbath afternoon, an elderly lady sat at lunch surrounded by many who were waiting in line to shake her hand. They wanted to tell her how much she meant to them, how much her message had touched them. When she graced the podium in Shul only a few hours earlier, she spoke of how *it* was happening again. She spoke of how Jews were coming under attack in France, Israel, Argentina, and elsewhere. She spoke of how we needed to stick together, to be strong, to hold each other up. I reflected on her words and glanced out the window of the Shul. A guard kept watch at all times during the service. A police car was parked across the street to ensure our safety.

Today, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; yet there are guards outside the places of worship where Jews congregate. Today we remember the tattooed arms, the lamp shades made out of human flesh, and the gas chambers; yet there are debates on the BBC on whether or not we should “lay the Holocaust to rest,” as though our memorialization were some science project we should have grown tired of dealing with. Today we think back to the time when Jews were forced to wear yellow badges of ignominy and we proclaim, “Never Again.”

“Never Again.” But a dozen Jews were stabbed on a bus in Tel Aviv last week.

“Never Again.” But Jews who were peacefully praying in their synagogue in Israel were butchered last year.

“Never Again.” but an 11-year-old girl was wounded in a firebomb attack last year, when a Palestinian Arab attempted to lynch her and her father.

Yet, all is not lost. Where anti-Semitism spread in the past — and still continues to do so with impunity in many areas of the world — Zionism remains the political embodiment and the true realization of the very concept of ‘Never Again.’

Though many claim that Jews should be powerless, Zionism proclaims that Jews should be empowered.

Though many claim that Jews should be disenfranchised, Zionism proclaims that Jews should have political representation.

Though many claim that Jews should be murdered, Zionism proclaims that Jews should not only live but should prosper.

“Never Again,” thus did not fall on deaf ears. Every year, we should take pride in knowing that the slogan was actualized in the reestablishment of the state of Israel. It is actualized in every policy Israel takes to ensure its people are secure and self-sufficient. It is actualized by the very existence of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 1024px-Flickr_-_Israel_Defense_Forces_-_IDF_Witnesses_in_Uniform_Delegation_March_Into_Auschwitz-Birkenau_Concentration_Camp

We were never meant to stop at commemoration; at sloganeering; at 24 hour days of dedication where we mourned the desolation and slaughter. We did not simply remember what occurred in the 1930s. We responded to it and continue to do so today. Our response to Auschwitz is unified Jerusalem. Our response to the gas chamber is the roar of the IDF fighter jet. Our response to the Dreyfus Affair is the very presence of the Israeli Knesset.

Zionism, then, is both an affirmation of and a response to “Never Again.”

This past Shabbat, I sat beside Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis — the woman who had graced the podium just a few hours before lunch;the survivor of Bergen-belsen who had just warned us of the growing anti-Semitism  and who told us to be strong. I looked at her and told her how much I appreciated her words. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. It was the first time I had met her, but immediately, she felt like family. She stroked my face gently and said she would always be there for me.

The feeling is mutual.

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The author is a consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and a fellow at the Lawfare Project.

Threats Can’t Silence Israel Canada Talk

January 28, 2015

This piece was contributed by Bradley Martin, our CAMERA Fellow at Concordia University in Montreal.  It was originally published in The Concordian, and is reproduced in full, below.

Marc Garneau Israel-Canada talk will be rescheduled!

On Jan. 12, Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, Marc Garneau was scheduled to speak to university students on the subject of Canada-Israel relations. The event was to be presented as a co-sponsorship by both the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR). The morning of the event, CIJR received a call from the Montreal Police saying that there was a threat of violent protest from a demonstration estimated to comprise of at least 60 individuals.

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MP Garneau

These threats were very real and can be corroborated by several officers. It was indeed a cause for concern, considering that the police saw the need to call CIJR in the first place. The National Chairman of CIJR, Jack Kincler, therefore decided to postpone the event due to concerns over whether the building could be secured as well as to ensure the safety of attendees.

This comes at a very dangerous and sensitive time. The right to freedom of speech as well as religion recently came under attack with the horrific massacres that took place in France earlier this month. Twelve people were murdered in an attack against the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Known for its strongly secularist, anti-religious and left-wing views, the paper was targeted for its satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. A French police officer was killed shortly afterwards. Two days later, another gunman entered a kosher food supermarket in east Paris and murdered four Jewish hostages.

Because of Quebec’s close cultural and national relationship with France, these attacks have resonated strongly with us. This is especially true with regard to the Jewish community, since so many have family and friends in France. This event was meant to be an opportunity to present a forum for Marc Garneau, a respected and accomplished Member of Parliament, to present his views concerning Canada-Israel relations and interact with students. It would not have been postponed had there not been a real concern over the safety of attendees. The fact that university students could be in danger for simply attending an event and meeting with their representative of government is an egregious violation of their civil liberties.

On Jan. 20, a similar situation arose at the University of York. Luke Akehurst, a Labour Party activist, was scheduled to speak about the Israel-Palestine conflict. That lecture was cancelled, due to fears of security risks. This only serves to highlight the seriousness of the situation we face and how even the mere mention of subjects pertaining to the State of Israel are under attack on campuses by those who oppose its existence. Proper security precautions must be made in order to ensure the right of free assembly for all people, especially in the wake of these massacres.canada israel

“We will not be intimidated. [The supressing of] freedom of speech must be opposed on and off campus,” says Director of CIJR, Dr. Frederick Krantz. It must be stressed that this event has not and will not be cancelled. To do so would be to give in to the whims of weak-minded fundamentalists, whose sense of self can be easily compromised by different opinions and something as trivial as cartoons. To value freedom in the form of expression and religion and not surrender to terror is the best way to send out a clear message that such thuggish tactics are not acceptable in civilized discourse.

As of now, another venue is in the process of being finalized and MP Marc Garneau has announced a willingness to reschedule. The event has been rescheduled to take place next month, at a location where the security of all participants can be ensured. One thing is certain: while this turn of events has been unfortunate and threats of violence should not be considered legitimate forms of expression, this is anything but a victory for bullies who seek to silence discussion on Israel.

Bradley Martin is a Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Fellow and student at Concordia University.

CAMERA Fellow at the University of Michigan Hosts Izzy Ezagui

January 26, 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 5.31.56 PMIn mid-November, CAMERA Fellow at the University of Michigan, Lindsay Hurwitz, hosted Izzy Ezagui, who shared his positive experience as an IDF soldier with a disability, and how he overcame the adversity associated with it.

Hurwitz’s goal was to help inspire students to keep their passion for Israel strong even in the face of adversity. She states, “I hoped to keep the love of Israel alive and strong on this campus despite recent SAFE events and demonstrations. I wanted the students to hear from someone with such an incredible story so that they would recognize that nothing can stop you from fighting for Israel if you put your whole heart into it.”

photo 4Throughout Izzy’s presentation, he told the story of his passion for Israel and his desire to return to the army even with such a severe injury– Izzy’s left arm was blown off my a Hamas rocket during Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Additionally, Izzy, also spoke about his struggle to return to an active combat unit, even with only one arm.

Hurwitz recounted that hosting an inspiring figure like Izzy on campus would give the attending students the confidence to continue to fight for Israel at all costs on a campus that can, at times, be hostile.

Well done, Lindsay! We commend you on your first successful pro-Israel event this fall semester!

Bulls for Israel Bring New Students In

January 23, 2015

Bulls for Israel, our Emet for Israel (formerly CCAP) group at the U10807042_741820409227311_1626151971_nniversity of South Florida, hosted a successful event entitled Understanding Israel this past fall semester, with the hopes of educating students about Israel’s culture and the impact it has on the world. The event consisted of three “stations” between which students rotated. The stations each had different themes, which included Jerusalem, Israeli culture (Bedouin, Tzfat), and Israel’s advancement in medicine, agriculture, and technology.

Emet (CCAP) Representative Julianna Konsulian said that multiple professors invited their students, so the majority of people who attended were new to the pro-Israel groups’ events. Konsulian also stated that, “the day after the event, a professor forwarded us an email from a Muslim student saying how much they enjoyed our event and that they learned a lot about Israel’s culture.”

10807006_741820345893984_91342130_nOver 60 students attended this event, and the majority of them were not very familiar with Bulls for Israel. Understanding Israel was so successful that multiple students in attendance expressed interest in joining Bulls for Israel.

Konsulian couldn’t be happier with the event. “We had a fantastic reaction from the audience, as students sent their professors positive emails after the event. There was a general agreement that the event was educational and enjoyable too.”

Great job to Bulls for Israel for hosting this incredible program!

My Brother’s Keeper: The Human Responsibility

January 22, 2015

This piece was contributed by Clark University CAMERA Fellow, Seth Greenwald.

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Cain slaying Abel by Peter Paul Rubens

We often hear the religious statement “Am I to be my brother’s keeper?”, a biblical reference to the story of Cain and Abel where Cain murdered his brother in cold blood and failed to take responsibility for his actions. In modern times however, one is not only responsible for actions taken by him or herself, but one is often further responsible, justly or unjustly, to condemn acts taken by his or her community. In a sense, failure to do so amounts to silent acceptance, thereby following in the footsteps of the biblical villain of Cain, the first murderer.

It was said after the Shoah, the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews and a total of 11 million people were murdered based on their faith or identity, that those individuals who stood against the horrors of the Nazi regime must be honored. In fact, in the Jewish State of Israel, at Yad Vashem, a world famous Holocaust memorial, the Garden of the Righteous memorializes over 2,000 individuals who stood against the genocidal Nazis. These righteous individuals took responsibility to protect their fellow man, not only by speaking out, but by physically risking their own lives to do so.

In recent times, there has been great controversy as to whose responsibility it is to condemn acts of terror or hatred, and who can be held culpable for these actions. I can settle this controversy in a single statement: leaders, insiders, within a community who stand with those who commit atrocities by failing to speak up, condone such actions by their silence. This does not mean that an individual who does not speak up is to blame for their community, but the silence of leadership in and of itself can often be deafening. Furthermore, an individual loses nothing by speaking up against atrocities within their own community and can only create a greater opportunity for mutual dialogue by doing so.

It has been the responsibility of Pope Francis to actively speak about the ‘leprosy’ of pedophilia that has infected the Catholic Church. According to the highest voice of authority in the Catholic community, 1/50 Priests has committed child abuse of some kind; it is an epidemic. However, the Pope has been acting with full authority to take actions against these disgusting individuals. As a light skinned, Jewish, American citizen, an outsider, I could speak against the injustices perpetrated within the Church, but would my voice really make an impact? Rather, the highest voice of the community speaking out, an insider within the community itself, is creating change.

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Eyal, Gilad, Naftali

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Muhammad Abu Kheidr

When Jewish racists  and extremists in Judea and Samaria commit atrocities against Arabs, attacking for no reason other than identity, it is the responsibility of Jewish leaders, and the government of Israel to condemn such attacks. This past summer, following the brutal kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “I do not distinguish between terrorism and terrorism.” Just as the kidnappings of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel were immediately investigated and responded to by the Israeli government, so too the perpetrator of this “reprehensible murder”, to quote the Prime Minister, was brought to justice by the Israeli government. While the revenge killing was a response to the deaths of the Fogel family and the kidnapping of the boys, the murder was no less reprehensible. In fact, the broader Jewish community as a whole spoke against the murder, among those, the Chief Rabbinate who came out with swift and broad condemnations.

As a member and insider of said community, I have the unique ability to speak out as strongly as I can against such injustices; recognizing that bigotry and hatred exists in my community like any other, allows me to take a proper stand in defending other aspects of Jewish or Israeli history. Failure to do so not only undermines my own arguments, but by my own logic, would place full responsibility on my leadership for condemnations of violence rather than allowing me to address such atrocities myself.

So too do Muslims, and in specific, the highest authorities of Islam, have the responsibly to condemn the string of terror attacks that have been perpetrated by the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror radical Islamist organizations. Just as a few radical extremists do not define my community, and just as pedophilia does not define the entire Catholic community, neither does terrorism define the Islamic faith. However, a concerted effort by a small percentage of individuals claiming to represent the entire faith, has hijacked Islam and attempted to make it into a religion of hatred. Condemning such individuals not only serves the greater global community in regards to reaching towards a greater sense of acceptance and a reduction of Islamophobia, but considering the fact these Islamist groups target Muslims eight times more often than non-Islamic targets, doing so is in the self-interest of Islamic leaders.

To be sure, following the recent string of terror attacks; a few Muslim leaders in local communities have come out against the terror, explaining that this is not the nature of Islam. Unfortunately, such condemnations have been insufficient in changing the representation of Muslims worldwide, and such attacks have only led to an increase in Islamophobic sentiments, thereby endangering the entire community of 1.8 billion Muslims. In order to create true change, the highest Muslim authorities, just as the Pope has made sure to do, must condemn these acts of terror. This includes but is not limited to leaders like Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the Ayatollah’s, and the Waqf on the Temple Mount, to name a few.

For our own part, we can all be insiders, condemning violence, hatred, prejudiced and lack of acceptance within our own communities; outside voices only have the ability to guide as a third party, not to create initial change. Change must come internally. We must all be the keepers of our own communities, and we must seek to be accepting of others attempting to create change within their communities. We must be our brother’s keepers if we truly want to create change.

Terror Attack in Tel Aviv

January 21, 2015

This post was contributed by CAMERA Boston Intern, Chaiel Schaffel.

The CAMERA on Campus team was deeply saddened to learn of yet another terror attack tel-aviv-bus-attack.jpg.size.xxlarge.promoperpetrated against innocent civilians in Israel today. The attack occurred in Tel-Aviv this morning, when a 23-year-old Palestinian Arab named Hamza Matrouk began stabbing commuters on bus #40 travelling through Tel-Aviv. The terrorist first targeted the bus driver, and then began an assault on the commuters. After the bus stopped, Matrouk started to attack passersby on the street, pursuing and stabbing at least three more.

Accounts of the total number wounded varies between 12 and 17.  Matrouk’s actions are the first major terror event in Israel since a spate of terrorism rocked the country this past fall. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the stabbing on media incitement by the Palestinian Authority, reporting that “The terrorist attack in Tel Aviv is the direct result of the poisonous incitement being disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against the Jews and their state,” according to the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser.

ShowImageThe PA remains notably silent on the assault, (though Palestinian cartoons praising the attack were published a mere two hours after it took place) but has a history of perpetrating hate speech against Israel and the West. For example, after the November 18th synagogue attacks in Har Nof, which killed four, the Fatah main Facebook page issued the following statement: “I’m coming towards you, my enemy, We’re going down from every house with cleavers and knives, With grenades we announced a popular war. I swear, you won’t escape, my enemy.”

A rash of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel terrorism has exploded onto the world stage in recent months, including an early January attack on a Kosher upermarket in France that dominated world headlines and sent the French government scurrying to reassure its Jewish citizens.  In any case, these most recent attacks add weight to the growing concern over anti-Israel sentiment, and global terrorist activity as a whole.

CCAP’s Anteaters For Israel Spreading the Word at UC Irvine

January 20, 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.22.58 PMAnteaters For Israel (AFI), our CCAP  group at UC Irvine, has been conducting successful events throughout the Fall 2014 semester. The group started the year off by tabling on campus to attract potential new AFI members while promoting a positive image of Israel after an extremely tumultuous summer.

The group took a creative approach to promoting a positive image of Israel by running a photo campaign where students passing by could fill out a poster with the words “I love Israel because…”

The tabling was a hit with approximately 65 new students who chose to sign up to learn more about AFI! The group proceeded to organize an interactive trivia event at a pub to welcome their new members.

Later in the semester, AFI attracted new and old members to a tabling event, which was held to build awareness and raise money for the Israeli charity, Save a Child’s Heart. That same night, AFI also held a vigil for the victims of the terrorist attack in the Israeli town of Har Nof and their families. CCAP representative and AFI president, Sharon Shaoulian, explained that, “AFI is doing our best to attract new members using a healthy balance of politics and culture to make supporting Israel feel like a privilege rather than a burden.”

On Martin Luther King Day, We Remember His Legacy and Love

January 19, 2015

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Martin Luther King Street in Israel

In the United States, we set aside a day in January, on or near his birthday, to commemorate the life and work of one of the greatest leaders in American history.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a dedicated Zionist.  He remains an inspiration to the Jewish people and to all those who continue fighting for Jewish civil rights and self-determination.

Read more about Dr. King’s legacy and love for the State of Israel herehere, and here.

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Dr. King with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and other civil rights leaders from the Jewish and Black communities

 

 

 

CCAP Dragons For Israel Hosts International Photojournalist: Gil Cohen-Magen

January 16, 2015

In the beginning of November 2014, our CCAP group at Drexel University, Dragons for Israel, hosted the well-known Israeli Photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen. The group hoped that Cohen-Magen would stir interest in the State of Israel as well as bring out a crowd of Drexel students.

The event was quite a success! Over 20 students came, including students from the Arts Institute of Philadelphia as well as unaffiliated students interested in photography and photojournalism.

IMG_1661Our CCAP Representative, Mia Smith, was very excited about this event, saying, “It was awesome to see those new faces and receive their contact information in order to get them to come to more DFI events in the future. Gil Cohen-Magen’s ability to connect and get his message across to the audience was incredible. He’s a truly remarkable human being and an incredible speaker.”

Smith had the opportunity to talk with Cohen-Magen before he spoke and took care to note his genuine, hardworking spirit to us at the CAMERA offices.

CAMERA is so excited that DFI had a successful event with Gil Cohen-Smith, and are prouder and prouder of DFI every day. After four years as a successful CAMERA Campus Activist Project group, they show no signs of slowing down!