Tag Archives: anti-semitism

CSULB Jewish Students Targeted with Hateful BDS Resolution

Sometimes we have to report about the worst of anti-Israel activity. Here is a statement from Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel, at California State University, Long Beach.

Kelsey Kimmes

“Today my campus disappointed me, it shamed me. Our student ASI voted to advance the most hateful, divisive, discriminatory, anti-Semitic piece of legislation that I have ever had the misfortune to see on this campus. I sat on the senate. During my tenure as a senator I fought endlessly to represent all of my constituents, not just a minority. I fought to make sure that everyone of my students rights were protected and validated. Today the senate decided that only Palestinian students on campus are entitled to human rights. Jewish students, Israeli students, and Middle-Eastern LGBTQ+ students, who all depend on Israel to walk free, were long story short, found not to be equally protected by our ASI.

Jewish students and their supporters gathered and spoke, passionately and from the soul, in the 45 and 30 second increments that they were allotted to speak, valiantly trying to explain their human worth. The student Senate was not swayed. When the resolution denigrating Israeli and Jewish students was forwarded, sobs echoed from the walls. This is the point when I have to point out that human rights matter. Everyone’s human rights matter. No one’s rights supersede anyone else’s. There was a bipartisan, non-divisive way that the Senate could have gone about this resolution today. The Palestinian students that comprise a large swath of the Senate had no intention of passing a resolution that didn’t target the Jewish students. They wasted no time in targeting them after the vote either.

Gathered outside, one Palestinian supporter told a Jewish girl with tears streaming down her face, that he didn’t talk to terrorists. Then some thirty of them gathered on the stairs and proceeded to chant, “Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar.” This resolution was not about human rights. This was part of long running concerted effort on university campuses to incite anti-Semitism and delegitimize the State of Israel. Never have I been so ashamed as a student at this school. Never have I, a Jewish student, ever felt so targeted. “

49ers for Israel with their peace bridge on campus following CSULB senate introducing a resolution to divest money from Israel, the Jewish Homeland. On the previous day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a group of students erected a wall on campus calling for the destruction of Israel.

Kelsey also wrote this opinion piece prior to the BDS vote passing and subsequent discrimination on campus in the Cal State campus newspaper, the Daily 49er:

From a former senator to a current position holder

As a Cal State Long Beach senior, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact our university has had on us, and in turn, what kind of impact we’ve made on the university. I leave this place with incredible memories: the good, the bad, and the many lessons along the way.

I gained a wealth of knowledge here at CSULB, thanks to my acting and political science classes, learning and sharing experiences in Jewish life, and representing my fellow classmates on our student senate. Being a student senator was one of my most memorable experiences during my time here.

So while I have always felt proud of my time on student senate, last week, my fellow representatives let me down. They brought forth a proposal for our University to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies connected to Israel.

This all might sound strangely familiar to you. That’s because this controversial and divisive issue was already debated on our campus, during the spring of last year. Last spring, wiser heads prevailed and the resolution was amended to protect marginalized people, no matter their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.

So why, when this debate has already been had, are we discussing it again just a year later? Why does the resolution only target Israel when it purports to be about universal human rights? Why are there no mentions of the atrocities in Russia, Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia? Why are there no demands to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies that prop up dictatorial regimes around the world?

If the sentiment of those bringing this motion forward was sincere, they’d have included in this debate the countless atrocities happening around the world. But they did not. And it reveals their true intentions: a veiled assault on the very right for Israel to exist wrapped up under the guise of universal human rights.

Furthermore, not only is this proposal a repeat of last year’s debate, it’s a waste of time and resources, which could be dedicated to things that directly impact student life on campus. Our student representatives could be working to address rising parking costs, tuition increases, the lack of healthy and affordable food options, our insufficient mental health services, and more. These are the issues that affect our student body, and these are the issues they should be focused on.

CSULB prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive community. This divestment resolution is counterproductive to fostering those values. BDS is extremely divisive, and it incites anti-Jewish sentiments, which we’ve already seen on our campus. This resolution marginalizes and targets Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students, which is not something our campus should tolerate. I’m grateful President Conoley condemns this hostile resolution, which makes me, a Jewish, Pro-Israel student feel targeted.

I hope that my fellow students and representatives see that this proposal is nothing but an effort to delegitimize the State of Israel. These continued attempts to boycott Israel are divisive on campus and counterproductive to any lasting peace in the Middle East. It also incites anti-Jewish sentiments on campus. BDS has no place on our campus. I hope that everyone can see through this veiled attack against Israel and question why we’re rehashing the same debate we had one year ago.

BDS simply has no place on our campus. This resolution has sparked a divisive and hostile debate from social media all the way to the senate floor. While it is comforting to see President Conoley standing up for our community, I sincerely hope that our student representatives will do the same.”

This article was originally published in the Daily 49er, the campus newspaper of CSULB.

Contributed by Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel at California State University, Long Beach

Fortifying Religious Unity at Binghamton

Dalya Panbehchi, CAMERA Fellow

On March 1st, BUZO—Binghamton University’s Zionist Organization—held their 4th annual ZED Talk event, an imitation of TED Talks geared towards Zionist education and discussion. Among the four speakers present,was Binghamton University graduate student Nadiya Al-Noor. A Muslim Zionist activist, Al-Noor told her personal journey of going from loathing Israel and believing Hamas to be an “interest group” to now being one of the largest pro-Israel voices on campus. Perhaps what was most striking and thought-inspiring however, was her exploration of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses.

As both a religious Jew and a strong pro-Israel advocate at Binghamton University, I often find it mystifying when I read about incidents of anti-Semitism on other campuses. Jewish students who attempt to express their support for Israel are viciously taunted, booed, and denigrated at schools such as Vassar College, Ohio University, and Columbia University. At the University of California, you can find graffiti reading “Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers,” Nazi flags hanging in dorm rooms at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and disruptions of Hillel events with verbal harassment such as “Get the hell off our campus!” and “Long live the Intifada” at San Francisco State University. It’s important to note that these incidents aren’t only enthused by anti-Israel groups such as Students for Justice for Palestine, Palestinian Solidarity Movement, and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions supporters, but the general student body as well. 

And if you think a significant Jewish presence on campus would deter anti-Semitic sentiment, you would unfortunately be wrong. Roughly 29% of students at Brooklyn College are Jewish, yet students have reported being messaged “I hope you don’t walk alone on campus” on social media, and verbally assaulted because they wore a kippah (customary Jewish hat). At Brandeis University, a whopping 49% of students are Jewish, however a study conducted by the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) of 3,000 students found that 75% of these students had been exposed to anti-semitic rhetoric and 33% harassed because they were Jewish.

Across schools like Northwestern University, Stanford, and UC Berkley, Jewish students are ostracized and shunned from participating in student governments, rejected from progressive social justice activities such as pro-choice rallies, anti-rape demonstrations, and racial justice conferences because of their “Jewish agenda” and support for Israel.

I find myself appalled at what my fellow Jewish students are enduring across the nation because I personally do not endure the same on my own campus. Binghamton University’s student body is unique in that we choose to celebrate our differences instead of exploiting them. Our African, Asian, Black, Latino, Muslim, and Jewish organizations are all intertwined and allied to create a beautiful and holistically accepting student body.

While Jewish students and student activists alike on Binghamton University’s campus are blessed to have such an unobstructed space for free expression, we must not become too comfortable and take this for granted; yes, we fortunately do not have to deal with the issues other campuses do, we also cannot become too complacent or stagnant in apathy.

As Nadiya said, “The Jewish and Muslim communities here are on good terms because we see each other as people. We don’t allow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to define our lives.” Just a couple weeks ago, an interfaith dinner was held and our Muslim Student Association is partnering with our Hillel for a mosque-synagogue interfaith trip.

It is possible for Jews and Muslims around the world to work and live together. Indeed, in many cities in Israel, this is already the reality.

Get involved; not just in your own cultural or religious group, but reach out and build bridges and connections with the multitudes of student groups on campus. At what appears to be the zenith of a political movement, with a surge of youth involvement in a variety of arenas and opinions it is imperative to bridge the gap between our voices, because really in the end it is our humanity that unites us.

BUZO students tabling in advance of the ZED talks event

Originally published at Pipe Dream, Binghamton’s student newspaper.

Contributed by Dalya Panbehchi, CAMERA fellow at Binghamton University

Video: London Students Express Support for Terrorists and Compare Israel to Nazis

Interviews filmed by the Jewish YouTube channel J-TV during Israeli Apartheid Week at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) reveals shocking examples of pro-terror and antisemitic views held by some students.

The video (highlighted by the The Algemeiner yesterday) comes weeks after multiple UK media reports detailing the hostile atmosphere for Jewish students at some British universities. As Baroness Ruth Deech told The Telegraph: “Amongst Jewish students there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid — definitely SOAS”.  A report in the Evening Standard included allegations that some Jewish students at SOAS are so scared that they avoid wearing the star of David, speaking Hebrew or even attending Jewish events.

While SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos continues to firmly reject accusations that SOAS tolerates antisemitism, the Charity Commission is currently investigating an incident where a SOAS Palestine Society hosted a speaker last month who linked the “cult” of Zionism to Nazism. Earlier in the year, Richard Millett reported on a SOAS event in which one speaker legitimized the charge that Israel harvests the organs of dead Palestinians.

In December, the British government adopted the Working Definition of Antisemitism, which includes as antisemitic denying Israel the right to exist as a Jewish state, drawing parallels between Israel and Nazi Germany and justifying terror attacks against Jews in the name of a radical ideology.

Originally published at UK Media Watch.

Jews Anti-Semitically Abused at London School of Economics Richard Falk Event

This is a first-person account from the launch of Richard Falk’s new book, this week at LSE in London.

The LSE event last night (Monday) with antisemitic speaker Richard Falk (nominally launching his new book) was truly horrible. Several hardcore alleged anti-Semites were there.

Falk predictably championed the paper that was removed from the UN website –its removal was a sign that Israel and her supporters “no longer want to argue on substance”. He talked about the “changing dynamics of Zionist ambition” – it used to be “limited” but now all Israelis refer to “Judea and Samaria not the West Bank, to underline the Biblical claim.” They have a “sacred relationship to the land” which “doesn’t rely on international law or colonialism – unlike any other claim in the world”. “Israel’s push back has increasingly relied on playing the antisemitic card.” “A smear tactic designed to avoid proper discussion.” “It is a test of academic freedom”.

Chris Doyle of CAABU also spoke. He played ‘good cop’ to Falk’s ‘bad cop’, saying he would not have endorsed Atzmon’s “The Wandering Who”, like Falk did.

In the Q+A 4 or 5 of us managed to speak. I asked Falk about his publication of an antisemitic cartoon in 2011,  showing a dog wearing a kipa (a Jewish head-covering) urinating on a depiction of justice and devouring a bloody skeleton.

UK British Prime Minister David Cameron “strongly condemned” it as did UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. He said he had withdrawn it quickly when he realised the true nature of it. He was asked about 9/11 conspiracy theories and a South African lady told him that nothing in Israel resembled ‘apartheid’

As Falk started his summing-up two of us held up signs in a silent protest. One sign said “Richard Falk: Shame on CAABU”, the other “Richard Falk: Condemned for Antisemitism”. There were several security guards in the room and one came and ripped up my sign even though it was a silent protest – I will be complaining. I then held up a sign saying “Richard Falk: Shame on LSE”. The meeting became rowdier and Mary Kaldor the Chair asked for the two of us to leave (apparently we were holding the signs too high…)

The Q+A was vile. One student got up and walked out upset. A man near the back of the room kept interrupting speakers, saying how awful Zionists were. Students at the back challenged him and then the man physically threatened them. Security surrounded him but didn’t remove him.

As I left the room, I held up my Israel flag. Our departure caused chaos with people complaining that silent protesters were being removed. Gilad Atzmon said “’Raus” as I left the room (it is on film though I didn’t hear it).  He was admonished by the pro-Palestinians.  Atzmon then turned around to the Jewish students at the back and said being chucked out for causing trouble, just like you lot were in Germany”.  The pro-Israel people then went ballistic at him and asked him to repeat it – which he happily did. Security was called to remove him – even the pro-Palestinians told him he had crossed a red line. Then (I was told – I was outside) the event descended into chaos as Security refused to remove Atzmon. It ended earlier than the 90 minutes planned.

Appalling. This was an official LSE event – not a student society one. Silent protesters are expelled but a vile anti-Semite is allowed to stay. Shame on LSE – and I speak as an Alumnus.

Written by Jonathan Hoffman, originally published at United for Israel, and reposted at UK Media Watch. Another first hand account from an audience member at the event can be found here.

In the aftermath of this event, another planned event with Richard Falk was cancelled at the University of East London.

The Dangers of Divestment

CAMERA Fellow Rebecca Zagorsky

Less than one year after USG voted down OSU Divest’s attempt to divest from Israel, the group has yet again pushed the issue onto the ballot. They claim the sole purpose of this bill is to fight for social justice, and to create financial neutrality by preventing OSU from using its funds to support companies that cause human-rights violations. While I respect the ballot process and OSU Divest’s democratic right to voice their opinion, the information they are providing is misguided and fails to tell the whole story. This thinly-veiled anti-Semitic campaign will only cause trouble, not bring an end to injustice. Despite OSU Divest’s insistence that they are trying to make OSU neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, voting “Yes” on Issue Two inherently means taking an anti-Israel side. Instead, there are many reasons why I encourage you to vote “No” on this dangerous ballot measure.

OSU Divest’s bill is a product of a larger campaign called the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign (also known as BDS). The BDS campaign specifically targets liberal college campuses, masking anti-Semitism as a fight for human rights. The Ohio Legislature is one of 17 states that voted to prohibit state agencies from doing business with any company that openly supports BDS, and former President Barack Obama spoke out against the BDS campaign, stating that it unfairly “targeting the State of Israel.”

Ballot Issue 2 singles out Israel in its supposed quest to fight human-rights violations, while openly ignoring the hundreds of other countries (Syria, North Korea and Russia to name a few) that are currently inflicting far more serious crimes against their citizens. It is a direct violation of the State Department’s 3D’s test of anti-Semitism: any legislation that seeks to demonize, delegitimize, or subject Israel to a double standard is no longer seen as legitimate criticism of the country.

But not only does this ballot issue promote anti-Semitism internationally, it also signals to students at home that anti-Semitism is acceptable. Campuses across the nation that have passed BDS have seen spikes in anti-Semitic acts.  Last year, here at Ohio State, members of the pro-Israel community (Senators and regular students alike) were harassed and taunted after leaving the BDS vote. I personally asked one of my friends to walk me home — I was scared of the angry protesters waiting outside the Senate chamber.

Ballot Issue 2 additionally mentions divesting from companies who supply to private prisons. It is therefore troubling that the only student group on campus, the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, was never contacted to help. The ballot’s anti-Semitism cannot be clearer, and SAPR is openly against this bill.

Many Palestinians employed at SodaStream lost their jobs due to the BDS campaign

Additionally, a pro-BDS bill has many negative financial ramifications.  Even the Palestinian Authority (the governing body of PA-controlled areas in the West Bank) does not support the BDS campaign, as boycotting these companies hurts Palestinians economically. Seriously, look up “The Palestinian Case Against BDS,” written by Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human-rights activist. A few years ago, SodaStream was boycotted, causing them to close down their factory in the West Bank, putting many Palestinians out of work.

I encourage you to vote “No” on Issue Two in the upcoming election and prevent this bill from harming Palestinians and your fellow Buckeyes. At the very least, though, ensure that you understand the issue before you vote.  Simply checking “Yes” because the ballot says it is preventing human rights violations could be one of the most dangerous things you could do.

Contributed by Ohio State University CAMERA Fellow Rebecca Zagorsky.

This article was originally published in Ohio State University campus paper The Lantern.

UCL Releases Report On Hen Mazzig Event Intimidation

Last week, University College London (UCL) released its report into an incident of anti-Israel activity that occurred in October. Hen Mazzig, a former Israeli soldier, was speaking at an event hosted by CAMERA on Campus, CAMERA – supported group UCL Friends of Israel  and CAMERA-supported group, KCL Friends of Israel, when the room was surrounded by anti-Israel protesters. They refused to allow people to get into the room, banged on walls and shouted to drown out his speech. The police were called, and attendees left the event under police escort.

UCL investigated the event, and recommended that five of the protesters face disciplinary action. The report found that protesters had breached the right to free speech of the attendees, as well as physically and verbally intimidating the participants. The report also noted that certain chants, such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” explicitly call for the destruction of the State of Israel, and “could be interpreted as anti Semitic.” This is especially significant, as it acknowledges that anti-Israel protests often are anti-Semitic, something which is often denied. It is important that UCL recognized that extreme demonization and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state cannot be described as “legitimate criticism of Israel,” and they are actually anti-Semitic.

Hen Mazzig with students at the event

The report draws light to many of the core issues that face students who stand up for Israel on campus – a breach of their right to free speech, physical and verbal intimidation, and a counter-narrative that demonizes Israel and calls for its destruction, which is anti-Semitism. Hopefully the disciplinary action taken against the UCL students can serve as a warning to students at UCL and other campuses, and the situation will improve. CAMERA on Campus hopes that the situation on campuses change, and pro-Israel students get to enjoy same rights as everyone else; to be able to express their opinions without fear of harm, and without being hated for their religion and identity.

The New Anti-Semitism

The Electoral College affirmed Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on Dec. 19, 2016. Critics of the president argued that his election would empower anti-Semitism and, unfortunately, those predictions may be correct. The Southern Poverty Law Center studied 867 hate incidents that occurred in the 10 days following Election Day and classified 100 of those as anti-Semitic. Many incidents took place on college campuses. In New York, swastikas were drawn on several suite doors in a residence hall at the New School. A swastika was also drawn in a residence hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “Heil Trump” appeared at a bus stop at the University of California at San Diego. Jewish faculty members have also been targeted. At Oberlin College, a professor found a note outside his home that said “Gas Jews Die” and a professor at Harvard Law School received a postcard that said, “We’re gonna drain the swamp at Harvard Law” and closed with a Nazi-era phrase, “Juden Raus,” meaning “Jews out.”

This overt type of anti-Semitism, however, is not the only threat. Just over six weeks after the presidential election, on Dec. 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that condemned the building of Israeli settlements in any area outside of Israel’s borders prior to the 1967 Six-Day War and defined the Old City of Jerusalem as occupied territory. The United States abstained from the Security Council vote, which prompted many Jewish organizations to emphasize that the U.N. has historically been anti-Israel and to criticize the Obama administration for failing to veto the resolution. Indeed, in her abstention statement, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said, “One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the U.N. General Assembly in September, or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the [U.N.] human rights council — more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran and South Sudan put together — to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.” And yet Power abstained.

Samantha Power abstains from voting on the motion declaring that East Jerusalem is “occupied Palestinian territory.”

The reality is that, in the 21st century, Jews around the world, including in the United States, are still targets of anti-Semitism. Some of that anti-Semitism, particularly in the aftermath of the presidential election, is overt. But much of it is more subtle, like the actions of the United Nations, which attacks the policies of the state of Israel in an effort to delegitimize the broader idea of a Jewish nation-state. This is the “new anti-Semitism” that has erupted on many campuses in the United States and Europe. What is most surprising about this form of anti-Semitism is that it thrives in part because of the widespread desire on campuses to promote political correctness.

At Dartmouth, the new anti-Semitism often manifests in regular discourse that seeks to highlight “oppression” or “inequality.” Often, it is the same students who fight for progressive causes, such as LGBTIQ and women’s rights, who choose to single out and condemn the only country in the Middle East that provides equal rights under the law to both LGBTIQ citizens and women.

On April 30, 2016, the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth invited professor Jasbir Puar, someone who I believe is anti-Semitic, to campus for its “Archipelagic Entanglements” panel. Although the stated topic for the panel was “Gender Matters: Feminist Ecologies and Materialisms,” Puar used her time to make gruesome and unsubstantiated claims against Israel. Notwithstanding the lack of evidence supporting her claims, which included the baseless accusation that the Israeli Defense Forces have a policy of shooting to cripple or maim Palestinians, Dartmouth allowed Puar a platform to disseminate her anti-Semitic vitriol as the uncontested truth. A Jewish student who sought to film Puar’s remarks was allegedly confronted by the director of GRID, threatened with arrest and required to leave the event. Neel Ahuja, an English professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was also speaking at the panel, said after Puar’s presentation that in attempting to film her, the student had “disrupted … [Puar’s] space” and “that controversy about filming and recording [Puar’s] talk fulfills a certain algorithmic militarism.” This sort of rhetoric is exactly the reason why political correctness is toxic to academia; Puar and many of her peers claim to be committed to social equality when in fact they are committed to ideological repression.

Jasbir Puar has accused the IDF of harvesting the organs of Palestinians.

By employing political correctness to silence the critics of self-proclaimed “scholars” like Puar, many universities fall prey to the rising tide of anti-Semitism hidden under the veil of anti-Zionism. Being anti-Israel is in vogue on many campuses. Because anti-Israel sentiments are popular, they are deemed politically correct. Being pro-Israel, on the other hand, is often described as racist. Political correctness serves as a veil behind which anti-Semitism can hide. When political correctness is promoted by academics and university administrators, it fuels a widespread disdain for Israel and promotes anti-Semitism.

Last October, a University College London pro-Israel organization invited Hen Mazzig to campus to discuss his humanitarian work in the West Bank. When Mazzig began to address the audience, protesters stormed into the auditorium and put an end to the lecture and barricaded Jewish students in a room. In its response to the events, a UCL spokesman said, “We regret protestors took measures to try to prevent the event from happening but stress that the protest was non-violent.” Video accounts appear to belie this statement. It was only after pressure from pro-Israel groups that the UCL administration admitted that they received “allegations of violence and intimidation” and began an investigation.

At UCL, protests against Hen Mazzig became violent.

In initially denying the potentially violent nature of the protests, the UCL administration followed in the footsteps of many American universities, adopting a public relations strategy that appeases anti-Israel protesters and does nothing to make pro-Israel students comfortable with sharing their views. These universities have capitulated to a bizarre political correctness by seldom condemning protesters who align with any supposed progressive agenda. Instead of searching for truth, these universities seek to undermine it. Academics cannot purport to be taking the moral high ground in a fight to end discrimination when they are discriminating against those who disagree with them. College campuses ought to serve their purpose as forums of intellectual diversity, rather than as spaces of free thought for only those who conform to the views of the most outspoken or to the views of the majority.

Originally published in The Dartmouth, the campus newspaper of Dartmouth College

Contributed by Josh Kauderer, CAMERA Fellow at Dartmouth College

Neo Nazi Publication “Your Ward News” appears at York University; Administration Promises Action

CAMERA Fellow Ben Shachar.

CAMERA Fellow Ben Shachar.

Students from the Israeli Students Association (ISA), a CAMERA-supported group, recently discovered copies of the virulently anti-Semitic Your Ward News being distributed on official newsstands throughout York University. The publication was found in highly-frequented areas on campus such as Central Square.

Your Ward News is a neo-Nazi publication that has been accused of spreading “racism, homophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism”. This past June, after years of campaigning by an anti-racist coalition called “Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice” (STAMP), the Canadian Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote prohibited Canada Post from delivering Your Ward News.

One example of the sickening anti-Semitism of The Ward

One example of the sickening anti-Semitism of Your Ward News

Examples of anti-Semitic content present in the publications found on campus include a vile caricature of human rights lawyer Richard Warman confined in a gas chamber. In the accompanying caption, the editor-in-chief of Your Ward News James Sears says that he “admires Adolf Hitler” and “refuses to accept…a false Hollywood narrative of six million Jews dying in homicidal gas chambers”. In the letters-to-the-editor section, Sears further describes the Holocaust as a “blood libel hoax perpetrated against the German people”.

The Ward engaging in Holocaust Denial

Your Ward News engaging in Holocaust Denial

Another cartoon in the publication depicts Bernie Farber, the former chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, with a red Star of David on his forehead and horns. Farber is a member of the STAMP coalition and has lambasted Your Ward News for its Holocaust denial, anti-immigrant xenophobia, and homophobia.

More horrific anti-Semitism from The Ward

More horrific anti-Semitism from Your Ward News

ISA members promptly alerted B’nai Brith Canada after the discovery. B’nai Brith notified the York University administration, which promised to “take appropriate steps to ensure that this publication is not being distributed or delivered to locations on campus.”

ISA President Eli Razimor said that it was “disturbing to see such hateful anti-Semitic content being distributed on campus”. Razimor also commended the university administration for their vow to ban the publication.

Contributed by Ben Shachar, CAMERA Fellow at York University.

Why Safe Spaces Still Don’t Exist at OSU

CAMERA Fellow Rebecca Zagorsky

CAMERA Fellow Rebecca Zagorsky

In the interest of creating safe spaces, some are questioning if college campuses should be allowed to restrict free speech.  The immediate answer is no; the right to say whatever we want is the very first item in our country’s Bill of Rights.  One of the best parts of college is having meaningful discussions, which rely on students being able to voice their opinions without fear of consequence.  However, an equally important part of college is ensuring that all students feel accepted after hearing others’ opinions.  A perfect safe space would balance both, so that students would feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and hearing others’.  However, that balance does not yet exist at Ohio State, and the factor holding us back is not free speech.  Instead, our problems stem from people trying to impose their viewpoint onto others and the spreading of opinions disguised as facts.

As an example of the first issue, there was recently a man preaching on the Oval about homosexuality being a sin.  This deeply offends many students, but most people simply walk by, staring at their phones and pretending not to notice.  On this occasion, however, the Ohio State immigration coordinator, Joshua Whitson (or more commonly known on campus as “The Bagpipe Guy” due to his habit of practicing the bagpipes on the Oval]) decided to take a stance.  He calmly walked over, stood next to the preacher, and drowned out the man’s words with his music.  It was incredible.  Without fighting back, Whitson clearly signaled to the preacher that his unsolicited opinions were not welcome on our campus.

There are an unfortunate amount of other examples of people sharing their uninvited, hurtful opinions.  However, even more troublesome is when people phrase their opinions as facts. I recently attended a talk given by Norman Finkelstein, hosted by OSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine club.  If they were seeking a reputable speaker, Mr. Finkelstein was a questionable choice.  While he claims to be an expert on Judaism and the conflict in Israel, he was fired from New York University and Hunter College for blatant anti-Semitism.  In one interview, he mocked and discredited the famous Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, stating “Elie Wiesel is such a ridiculous character…He’s turned [the Holocaust] into a business, where he casts himself as a person who’s doing all this from anguish and pain and personal sacrifice, while he has made a fortune out of it.”

Norman Finkelstein.

Norman Finkelstein.

Encouraged by the SJP club and his eager audience of forty listeners, Mr. Finkelstein gave a rousing speech about the crimes of Israel against defenseless Palestinians.  Only, he was not stating facts.  Instead, he was speaking his incredibly biased opinions, but doing so confidently enough that they seemed legitimate.  For example, in the middle of his speech, he stated “Hamas is not a terrorist organization”.  This is simply not true.  Any group that sends suicide bombers onto innocent civilian buses during peace time and uses their own people as human shields during war must be classified as a terrorist group.  Furthermore, the United States government itself put Hamas on its Foreign Terrorist Organizations list in 1997, where they have remained for the past twenty years.

Mr. Finkelstein also discussed the supposed atrocities Israeli soldiers committed against Palestinians during the war in 2014, otherwise known as Operation Protective Edge.  However, all of his sources came from “Breaking the Silence”, an organization that claims to provide former Israeli soldiers with an outlet to explain what really happened during the war.  In actuality, this organization harassed discharged soldiers into sharing their stories, secretly recorded their testimonies, and selectively reported their quotes out of context.  These were the kind of “facts” Mr. Finkelstein was reporting, speaking alone and unchecked for two hours.

The route to creating true safe spaces on our campus is not for the administration to restrict free speech.  Instead, it is our responsibility as students to protect each other.  Whitson has already proven that we can stop those who try to force their opinions on us.  Now it is time to push back against those who share false facts.  Take the time to research what you hear.  (We are at a research institution, after all.)  And if someone is spreading mistruths, stand up and correct them.  Otherwise nothing will change.  It is up to us to make campus a safe space, not just for people in the LGBTQ community or supporters of Israel, but for everyone.

Contributed by Rebecca Zagorsky, CAMERA Fellow at Ohio State University.

No ‘safe spaces’ for Jews? First hand account of hatred at Hen Mazzig event in London

A guest post by Harvey Garfield 

Last Thursday in London, I attended a (CAMERA sponsored) UCL Jewish Society talk given by Hen Mazzig, an Israeli activist. I was well aware that with the Palestinian Facebook reminders of his status as an ex-officer of the IDF he stood no chance of speaking anywhere on the UCL campus, and when I arrived it soon became apparent that the original venue had been changed. It was no longer Archaeology G3, but an entirely different building and it took several calls to be updated of the new venue.

I arrived at the hastily arranged venue, only to be greeted by approx 60-80 pro-Palestinian supporters, mainly young Muslim women who had somehow got wind of the venue change. I was somewhat taken aback that there were so many women and I speculated whether this was an official strategy in order to present a softer side to Palestinian activism. If it was, the strategy failed since these women were more fanatical than many of the males I have encountered as part of my grass-roots pro-Israel activism . From the start they jostled for position directly in front of the doors in order to gain access and monopolise the room. They began a loud and passionate chorus of chants: ‘ River to the Sea Palestine will be Free’, etc which, as we all understand, puts paid to the very idea of a two state solution . In fact it puts paid to Israel as an independent Jewish homeland full stop. Several of the males were wearing keffiyehs covering their faces in order to avoid identification.

There were two university security guards present who were quite clearly overwhelmed by what was happening and who subsequently called the police. At this point the room was commandeered by the Palestinian side who had entered by a side door swiftly taking over the platform. Palestinian flags were unfurled and many of the women had whipped themselves up into a frenzy of anti-Israel hate.

By this time, there were a number of ‘ mature’ pro Israel supporters alongside the Jewish student society member, myself included. We left the building together and headed off to another venue where Hen was waiting.  I’m not sure whether this was a contingency plan, but unfortunately we were tailed and once we reached the venue it was not long before the Palestinian supporters had been messaged and once again arrived in number.  Hen and some of the students were already in the lecture room while others including myself were left outside, prevented from entering by clearly confused security guards unable to distinguish friend from foe.

However, several of us joined the security team in order to identify and provide safe passage inside for those wishing to hear Hen talk. The atmosphere outside was becoming increasingly hostile with no so-called safe spaces as ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ were thrust together. One Palestinian supporter noting my particular ‘demographic ‘ said that I should not be on campus. I asked what he meant, knowing full well, but he refused to elaborate.

(Video by Craig Dillon & Jacob Diamond).

Unbeknown to those of us still outside, several maniacs had launched themselves through a window with one knocking himself out cold and lying flat-out on the floor. I dread to think what would have happened to an Israel supporter in reverse circumstances. Anyone who has seen one of the apocalyptic Zombie movies will have some idea of the scene of a suicide entity blasting its way through to reach normal beings.

Finally, once all pro-Israel supporters were ushered in, the talk began. However, the chanting and banging on windows and doors grew louder making it difficult to concentrate. Loud Arabic music was played to add a little authenticity to the fascistic behaviour of the protestors, a sort of home from home experience.

At the end of the talk there was a spontaneous rendition of Hatikva. Students and elders alike danced the Hora and it was an incredibly special and emotional moment. Here were Jews under siege answering with song and a dance. No food but you cannot have everything.

The police had already spirited Hen away via a rear entrance but wanted us to leave in threes in order to monitor and make sure no one was assaulted. I was deeply offended by this, while understanding its necessity. How could it be that I as a British Jew accept the need for extraordinary protection in order to safely depart an event held on a UK campus in 2016?

Once out, we ran a gauntlet of haters screaming ’shame shame’ with the police keeping a watchful eye . What do I have to be ashamed of? My support for a Jewish homeland existing alongside a Palestinian state in peace and prosperity?

As a veteran of many such encounters, some far worse than this, I cannot in all honesty say I felt particularly threatened or anxious. It was pretty much water off the proverbial duck’s back. However here is the rub. It was very real and intimidating for inexperienced Jewish students, especially the freshers, who had never experienced such visceral hate and nor of course should have to. The very idea that a son or daughter of mine could be labelled as supporters of colonialism and apartheid and worse leaves me incandescent. One girl was left inconsolable having had such epithets screamed in her face and unable to move away.

The attendance by some twenty or so veterans, including a contingent from Sussex Friends of Israel who made the journey from Brighton, meant the Jewish students were not alone and I believe may have even slightly tempered the behaviour of the Palestinian activists .

It is utterly outrageous that Jewish students should find themselves intimidated in this manner with an Israeli guest prevented from speaking. Jews trapped in a room awaiting police escort on a London campus in 2016 is a serious matter and totally unacceptable. Pressure must be put on the university to deal with these wretched individuals, many of whom can be easily identified from video and still.

Where were our community organisations? Why was it left to grassroots activists to pull together and stand together with our Jewish student body? Questions which need answering but I am not holding my breath.

Finally, there was no negotiation with these people. Hen had become the public face of some demonic entity – Israel – which had to be excluded and quarantined from campus life at all cost.

I tried dialogue pointing out the carnage taking place across the Islamic world and asked why they were indifferent to the slaughter of their co-religionists in industrial numbers but they were not interested. Nothing could placate them. Israel was the focus of their universe and the fount of all evil with Hen as the object of their mania.

Screenshot of above video.

Screenshot of above video.

There is plenty of  additional video footage to corroborate what took place on the Sussex Friends of Israel Facebook page. Please take a look at what is happening in our halls of higher education.

(A version of this post was originally published at Harry’s Place)