Tag Archives: antisemitism

Teen Magazine Promotes Conspiracy Theory from Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Affinity Magazine is a publication written by and for teenagers. Its Editor-in-Chief, Evelyn Woodsen, is nineteen, and its Senior Editor Alex Brown is in high school.

Its website gets between 200,000 and 600,000 views per month, and it claims that it “serves a purpose of showcasing the voices of aspiring teen journalists.” The publication aims to “mix pop culture with social justice and politics….”

Affinity Magazine (Affinity Magazine)

The young age of its writers and editors, however, does not excuse its promotion of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. In January, the magazine published an article titled, “Money and Israel Control the Media: Who Cares?” (January 8, 2017) Seventeen year-old author Zoya Wazir, relying on the antisemitic Rense website, wrote that:

Israel has political and economic ties to America of such necessity that they control the majority of the media. In fact, the big six corporations mentioned earlier all have Israeli ties and are headed by powerful Jewish families within the United States.

Given the publication’s left-wing bent, Affinity‘s editors might be dismayed to learn that in promoting this myth, they are joining former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who made the same claim last fall. One can also find similar content on the neo-nazi sites Stormfront and Daily Stormer, and in the /pol/, or “politically incorrect,” section of 4chan. (Ironically, a June 15 4chan thread asked, “If the Jews control the media (which they do), then why do they take such an anti-Israeli stance?”)

According to the ADL, the origin of the myth of Jewish control of the media can be traced back to the antisemitic forgery, the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

The document known as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, said to be the secret plans of Jewish leaders for the attainment of world domination, is, in fact, the most famous and vicious forgery of modern times. Though thoroughly discredited, the Protocols have succeeded time and time again in stirring up hatred and racism in the twentieth century. …

The seventh Protocol tells of Jewish control of the press: ‘It is in the Press that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation. But the goyim States have not known how to make use of the force; and it has fallen into our hands. Through the Press we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade.’

The ADL’s booklet about the Protocols cites many authorities that have concluded that the document is a forgery, including, in 1964, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is not only a forgery, but a plagiarized forgery, with large portions copied from the 1865 work “Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu.” Other claims made in the Protocols are that Jews control the world’s economy, and that Jews are planning to put in place a “world government,” controlled by a despotic Jewish king.

Jewish control of the media, Ms. Wazir continues, “is evidenced in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conflict that most seem to know of, but know little to no accurate information about. … While there is suffering occurring on both sides of the conflict, the Palestinian side is highly underreported because of the United States’ ties to Israel.” She then – unbelievably to many CAMERA members (and notwithstanding the commentary on 4chan) – cites an article from the New York Times as an example of pro-Israel bias.

Members and regular readers of CAMERA’s website and blogs might be scratching their heads at such a claim. CAMERA has documented countless instances of media bias against Israel, including at the New York Times.

The article was widely condemned in the comments section, though one man seemed to praise it (Screenshot)

Of course, individual Jews have been extremely successful in media as well as other businesses, and there is nothing antisemitic about acknowledging that fact. The implicit or explicit assertion, with no evidence, of collusion among them, or of a shared nefarious purpose, is the touchtone of an antisemitic conspiracy. As (Jewish) lawyer and commentator Alan Dershowitz has written,

Yes, there are many individual Jews in positions of influence in Hollywood, in network television, in sports and entertainment, and in many other areas of American public life. These individuals, who happen to be Jewish, do not act together in any kind of conspiratorial manner. There is no “Jewish control” of any of these areas — or of the many other areas, such as medicine, law, academia, finance — where there are large numbers of individual Jews in high positions. Many of these individuals are Jewish only in the sense that their parents or grandparents happen to be Jews. They do not live Jewish lives or support Jewish causes. They certainly do not conspire to exercise any sort of “Jewish control” over the areas in which they work.

It’s wonderful that Affinity‘s editors want to give young writers experience and exposure. As a magazine that serves to inform the teen community, however, the publication needs to do a better job at setting and enforcing standards that will weed out such falsehoods.

Contributed by CAMERA’s Karen Bekker

This article was originally published at camera.org.

Statement on Anti-Semitic Fliers Distributed at University of Illinois

(Photo Credit – Eva Zeltser, Facebook)

This week, a horrifying flyer was distributed in the University of Illinois, Chicago. Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director of CAMERA, made the following statement in response to this horrendous anti-Semitism.

“My grandfather fought the Nazis and their fascist allies in WWII, my father stood up against the Neo Nazis and extremist radicals through the 80s and 90s and now I, through leading CAMERA’s campus department, refuse to stay silent against targeted attacks against Jewish students. Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest hatred, and it appears in different forms. But make no mistake – even when it is dressed up in the contemporary language of privilege, anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism.

CAMERA on Campus calls upon the administration of the University of Illinois to fully investigate this matter, in order to find the perpetrator of this act, and to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken in response.”

The Guardian Whitewashes Charges of Antisemitism Against Malia Bouattia

An article in the Guardian, written by their education correspondent , focused on recent reports of hate crimes targeting Jews at Exeter, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sussex and University College London.  Among the people interviewed in the article (UK universities urged to a tackle rising tide of antisemitism, Feb. 18th) was NUS President Malia Bouattia.

Here are the paragraphs pertaining to Bouattia:

The National Union of Students has just completed a national survey of Jewish students’ experience of university life, details of which will be released later in the spring. Commenting on the incident at Exeter this week, the union’s president, Malia Bouattia, said it was another example of the spike in hate crime students had witnessed in the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election.

“This kind of blatant antisemitism should not be tolerated in our universities and colleges, and institutions need to do more to combat it. Students must be at the forefront of tackling racism and fascism in all its forms which is why NUS’s current programme of work exploring hate crime could not be more timely.”

Remarkably, the Guardian reporter completely ignored the ongoing scandal involving accusations of antisemitism against Bouattia herself – information that had previously been reported by the Guardian and elsewhere in the British media.

National Union of Students (NUS) President Malia Bouattia.

In fact, just a day before the Guardian article which quoted Bouattia, The Telegraph published an article titled ‘NUS in turmoil after internal report rules its President should not be punished despite making anti-Semitic remarks’. The article noted that, despite the NUS’s determination that Bouattia should not be punished, their report found that she did make comments that “could be reasonably capable of being interpreted as anti-Semitic”.

Here are some of the comments in question:

  • Bouattia ‘accused’ the University of Birmingham of being “a Zionist outpost in British higher education”, citing her concerns about their “large Jewish Society”.
  • Bouattia condemned “Zionist-led media outlets”.
  • Bouattia (beginning at 1:10 of this video) seemed to characterize Zionism as a form of “white supremacy”.
  • Bouattia expressed support for Palestinian terrorism and was critical of those who support ‘merely’ non-violent forms of resistance to occupation.
  • Bouattia claimed that the Government’s anti-terror programme was fuelled by “Zionist and neo-con lobbies”.

The journalist’s decision to quote Bouattia expressing her view that “blatant antisemitism should not be tolerated in our universities” without even mentioning the current row over her own use of antisemitic tropes is a classic example of how the Guardian can whitewash antisemitism even when putatively taking such hatred seriously.

Contributed by Managing Editor of CAMERA’s UK Media Watch, Adam Levick.

This article was originally published at UKMediaWatch.org.

PBS Hosts Extremist Miko Peled on Talk Show

On February 2, PBS’s Tavis Smiley hosted Miko Peled on his talk show. Peled is a radical anti-Israel activist who has, in the past, falsely described Israel as an apartheid state, referred to Israeli airport security officers as the “Smiling Gestapo,” and defended terrorists.

On Smiley’s program, Peled:

  • called Jewish history a myth,
  • called Israel an illegitimate state, saying Jews have no right to self-determination there,
  • called the Haganah a terrorist group, but justified terrorism against Israelis, and
  • perpetuated falsehoods about Israel, including the ubiquitous water libel.

Yet, his host failed to aggressively challenge his assertions.

Miko Peled (left) during his interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS.

When Smiley asked Peled how he responds to allegations that he is antisemitic, Peled responded, in essence, that he can’t be antisemitic, first, because he is Jewish, and second, because he is not racist against African Americans or other racial minorities. Peled then claims that opposing the State of Israel – not its policies, but the State itself – is not antisemitic. In fact, the Obama State Department declared that it is. This, too, is ignored by his host.

Neither Smiley nor a second guest, apparently brought on in an attempt at “balance,” unraveled the falsehoods promoted by Peled. Real journalism requires real facts, not narratives spun by advocates. PBS should do better.

If Tavis Smiley had researched his subject prior to the interview, he would have found that Peled has falsely described Israel as an apartheid state, and called Israeli airport security officers the “Smiling Gestapo.” In the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada, Peled wrote that “Israel is an illegitimate creation brought about by a union between racism and colonialism,” and that “criticizing Palestinian resistance [i.e., terrorism] is unconscionable.” He has described terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons – some for murder – as “political prisoners.”

The Obama State Department defined antisemitism to include “justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion),” as well as “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.” Prior to appearing on Smiley’s show, Peled had engaged in all three of these behaviors. Yet, during the program, Smiley failed to aggressively challenge Peled when he continued his open delegitimization of the State of Israel, when he dismissed historical fact as a “mythical narrative,” or when he promoted a narrative that is not based in fact at all.

Peled began the discussion by calling “the return of the Jewish people, the building of a Jewish state after 2,000 years” a mythical narrative. He continued,

Legitimizing the idea that Jews have a right to come from Europe, take over a land that is inhabited by other people, kick those people away and establish their own state there, I don’t see how you legitimize that. But these were different times.

These were times where Europeans thought they could come to the countries of people who are not white and do whatever they wanted, and that’s what really Zionism was about. The idea was for white European Jews to go to go to Palestine that was inhabited by Arabs, which means they’re probably just Bedouins and poor people and who cares, and establish a state for the Jewish people.

There are numerous problems with this statement. First, Peled ignores the ample historical evidence that Jews are in fact indigenous to the land of present-day Israel, and ignores that Jews have maintained a continuous presence in Jerusalem since 1004 BCE. Second, referring to Jews simply as “white Europeans” ignores the history of Jewish oppression in Europe, as well as the fact that many Jewish Israelis arrived in the country as refugees from Arab lands. And, as CAMERA has shown before, “many of those who today identify as Palestinians descend from relatively recent migrations from surrounding territories.”

It’s also inaccurate to generally describe the Arabs living in Mandatory Palestine as having been “kicked away.” While there were some instances in which the Arabs of Palestine were forced from their homes during the 1948 War of Independence, in most cases, those who became refugees fled from actual or anticipated fighting.

In one of his more disturbing comments, Peled refers to the Haganah as a terrorist group. In fact, the Haganah was formed for the defense of the Jewish communities of Mandatory Palestine, after British forces failed to protect those communities from attack. A few minutes later in the interview, however, Peled justifies terrorism when it is committed against Israelis, saying “if they’re Palestinians and they live there and you come and declare that it’s a Jewish state, what are they supposed to do, you know? They’re going to resist. They’re going to fight. You’re going to put them in prison, you’re going to call them terrorists.” Again, Smiley fails to challenge either the inaccurate characterization of the Haganah, or the defense of the murder of civilians.

Smiley gives Peled an opening for the delegitimization of Israel when he asks, “tell me why you no longer believe that a two-state solution is even viable.” Peled responds at some length, but never mentions that Palestinians have turned down Israeli offers to withdraw, allowing them to create their own state, three times since 2000. Instead, he absurdly claims that the fact that people refer to the region as “Judea and Samaria” somehow prevents the establishment of a Palestinian state. In discussing the close proximity in which Jews and Palestinians live in the West Bank, he also relies on the assumption that Jews won’t be able to live in a future Palestinian state, without questioning whether or why, this is so –namely, that they would likely be targeted with violence. Finally, he cites the descendants of Palestinian refugees, without questioning why they are the only refugee group that passes down refugee status from one generation to the next, rather than being resettled in their host countries.

During the interview, Peled says explicitly, “I don’t accept that there’s a need for a Jewish state…. You cannot have a Jewish state in an Arab country unless you are going to infringe upon the rights of the local people. You have to kick them out because they won’t have rights.” Peled – and Smiley – both ignore the fact that two million Arabs live in Israel with full and equal rights. Here, however, Peled does get a little bit of push-back from his host, when Smiley asks, “why are Jews not entitled to their own homeland, to their own state, to their own borders? Why are they not entitled to that?” Peled’s response is telling: “Because Jews have their states. They have American Jews in America. They’ve got French Jews in Germany. You’ve got, you know, Australian Jews in Australia.”

Peled’s claim that Israel is unnecessary because they’ve “got French Jews in Germany,” ignores the fact that for most of the history of European Jewry, Jews were persecuted, culminating in the Holocaust. It ignores that in the Middle East, Jews lived in second-class, or dhimmi, status. It ignores the current flight of French Jews into Israel, to escape anti-Jewish violence there.

Smiley misses those points in his response, in which he asserts “that’s like saying Americans, we shouldn’t have a US of A because there are Americans all around the globe.” His comparison to America is specious. European colonists who came to the US were not indigenous to this land, as Jews are to Israel, and there was no American nation living in exile for 2,000 years.

Finally, Peled repeats the thoroughly-debunked water libel, saying, Palestinians “get 12 hours of water per week,” and implying that this is Israel’s fault. As CAMERA has noted before, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) has dispelled this canard:

Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology. The Palestinians refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste.

At the same time, they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources, and send their sewage flowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel. In short, the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.

CAMERA’s Tricia Miller has written:

Israel supplies Palestinian communities with water from Israeli wells and has laid hundreds of kilometers of new water mains and connected hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns to the newly built water system. Villages and towns not hooked up to the new system have refused the service for political reasons, believing that acceptance of Israel’s offer of a new water supply would legitimize the “occupation.”

The guest that followed Peled on the program, Rabbi Steve Leder, was presumably intended to give an appearance of balance. Rabbi Leder did disagree with Peled about the need for a two-state solution and for Jewish self-determination, and did note that, according to former US envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Martin Indyk, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has “checked out.” Rabbi Leder did not, however, debunk any of Peled’s falsehoods and he did not note that the Palestinians have rejected three Israeli peace offers. Thus, many of Peled’s claims went unchallenged.

 

Atmosphere on Campus Influenced Our Attackers

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CAMERA Fellow Shlomo Roiter.

A number of weeks ago, Cambridge University’s Middle East and North Africa Forum, of which I am a founder and co-president, had the pleasure of hosting Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK. The event was a fantastic success.

Unfortunately, the fact an Israel-related event on a UK campus took place undisturbed is the exception to the rule and not the norm.

Universities in Britain are not known to be especially respectful of freedom of expression when it comes to Israeli speakers.

Harassment, assault, violence and vandalism is generally the currency of operation. Whether the speaker is critical or supportive of the Israeli government’s policies is irrelevant.

I would like to believe this campus obsession with Israel has nothing to do with the fact Israel is the Jewish state. I find it increasingly difficult to convince myself this is not the case.

It appears the primary way to uphold human rights on campus today is by violating the rights of both Israelis and Jews.

Disrupting Israel-related events is only one aspect of a larger scale phenomenon, which in my 18 months here have included a number of horrifying spectacles.

Cambridge campus

Cambridge campus

First was a mock checkpoint set up in the heart of the Cambridge campus, during so called Israel Apartheid Week. The experience was repeated when my friends and I were physically attacked by fellow Cambridge students, simply for wearing traditional Jewish head coverings.

But how can I blame these students for their actions when intimidation of Jewish and Israeli students is allowed for a full week every year under the guise of Israel Apartheid Week?

I appreciate Cambridge is an exceptionally comfortable place to be both a Jew and a Zionist in the UK and that, until these incidents, I never considered antisemitism to even be an issue here. But the anti-Zionist and antisemitic phenomena on campuses in the UK is concerning.

While I applaud the tendencies of Cambridge students to partake in a culture of open-mindedness with regard to Israel-related issues, the disproportionate anti-Israel sentiment on campuses is an issue that needs greater attention. Every student deserves to live in an environment free from hate, even those who support Israel. Ignoring it certainly is not going to make it go away.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow and co-founder of CAMERA-supported group Cambridge University’s Middle East and North Africa Forum at the University of Cambridge, Shlomo Roiter.

Originally published in the Jewish Chronicle.

Statement on Firing of Antisemitic Oberlin Professor

joy-karega

Oberlin College has finally fired Joy Karega following the exposure last January of her incredibly antisemitic Facebook posts.

In response to the news that Oberlin College has terminated Karega, Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director for CAMERA stated, “Joy Karega is a disgrace to academia. It’s appalling that a professor would use her platform to disseminate such extreme and vulgar sentiments against a minority group. Although the decision to terminate Karega’s position took close to a year, CAMERA applauds the Oberlin College administration for putting their students first by taking a strong stand against anti-Semitism on campus.”

The Oberlin College Board of Trustees released the following statement regarding the incident:

The Oberlin College Board of Trustees, after extensive consideration and a comprehensive review of recommendations from multiple faculty committees and Oberlin President Marvin Krislov, has voted to dismiss Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy D. Karega for failing to meet the academic standards that Oberlin requires of its faculty and failing to demonstrate intellectual honesty.

The dismissal is effective Tuesday, November 15, 2016.

As a Board, we agree with President Krislov and every faculty committee reviewing this matter that the central issues are Dr. Karega’s professional integrity and fitness.  We affirm Oberlin’s historic and ongoing commitment to academic freedom.

During this process, which began with Dr. Karega’s posting of anti-Semitic writings on social media, Dr. Karega received numerous procedural protections: she was represented by counsel; she presented witness testimony, documents, and statements to support her position; and she had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses testifying against her.

The faculty review process examined whether Dr. Karega had violated the fundamental responsibilities of Oberlin faculty members – namely, adherence to the “Statement of Professional Ethics” of the American Association of University Professors, which requires faculty members to “accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge” and to “practice intellectual honesty.”

Contrary to this obligation, Dr. Karega attacked her colleagues when they challenged inconsistencies in her description of the connection between her postings and her scholarship.  She disclaimed all responsibility for her misconduct.  And she continues to blame Oberlin and its faculty committees for undertaking a shared governance review process.

For these reasons, the faculty review committees and President Krislov agreed on the seriousness of Dr. Karega’s misconduct.  Indeed, the majority of the General Faculty Council, the executive body of Oberlin’s faculty, concluded that Dr. Karega’s postings could not be justified as part of her scholarship and had “irreparably impaired (her) ability to perform her duties as a scholar, a teacher, and a member of the community.”

In the face of Dr. Karega’s repeated refusal to acknowledge and remedy her misconduct, her continued presence undermines the mission and values of Oberlin’s academic community. Thus, any sanction short of dismissal is insufficient and the Board of Trustees is compelled to take this most serious action.

The Truth Is On Our Side – And The UCL Protesters Know It

Somehow this will become our fault.

On the evening of October 27th, London students were trapped in a room on University College London’s campus until the police deemed it safe enough to let them out. Protesters banged on the doors, jumped through the windows to get inside, tackling students on their way in, and hurled slanderous epithets against the Zionist students and their guest speaker, Hen Mazzig.

At the end of the event, Hen had to be rushed out of the room with a police coat cloaked over his body. It was only when Hen got to the street outside the university that the police announced to him that they were now safe.

Some will ask why CAMERA would host such an event if we knew this could happen.

The student union at UCL originally canceled the event, decrying Hen as “controversial” due to him being protested against heavily at King’s College London in 2014.

Why are we, Zionists causing such controversy on campus with our events supporting Israel when we know that it angers so many people? Why can’t we just be quiet? It’s bad enough, opponents will say, that we support such a country — do we need to display it so publicly?

The sad truth is that it’s not just the bigots who will be questioning us. It will be the moderates, the pacifists, even other Zionists.

But we refuse to sit idly by while Israel is slammed over and over again from the university level to the UN. The truth is on our side and these aggressive, violent protestors know it.

They know that Hen Mazzig, an openly gay Israeli of North African and Iraqi heritage, whose survival of a terrorist attack at age 12 led him to serve in the COGAT unit, hoping to connect and build relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, is exactly the kind of person that needs to be silenced. He is exactly the person who will easily unravel their web of lies against the Jewish state.

Despite the many ways the UCL Palestinian Society and their supporters worked to keep Hen off campus, they failed. The UCL Friends of Israel Society and the KCL Israel Society hosted a successful event. Hen specifically spoke against what the Palestinian Society was pushing for. He spoke for dialogue and the importance of ignoring the thugs, who, without facts, can only turn to intimidation tactics.

What’s sad is that many of those students on the outside of the room, those supporting the bigots banging on the doors, screaming in support of the Palestinians, have no idea that they have put themselves on the side against peace, on the side that hurts the Palestinian cause, on the side for continued conflict in the region.

Aviva Slomich

CAMERA’s International Campus Director

 

Campus activists silent in face of anti-Semitic author

CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux

CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux

An author accused of making anti-Semitic statements has been invited to speak at San Diego State.

On Sept. 29, SDSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine will host a discussion, “Palestine 101,” with Israeli author Miko Peled. Peled, the son of an Israeli general, has made a speaking career promoting non-violent resistance to the military occupation of the disputed territories in the West Bank.

Peled purports himself to be a “peace activist,” but he is not. Through Twitter and other social media, Peled regularly invokes ancient anti-Semitic tropes in his criticisms of Israel.

On Sept. 14, in response to the recently signed U.S.-Israeli aid package, Peled tweeted that Jews had a reputation for being “sleazy thieves.”

Peled’s tweet led to the cancellation of his speech at Princeton University. In a statement on Facebook, the Princeton Committee on Palestine wrote that Peled’s tweets were “anti-Semitic and hateful, (and) counterproductive to an educational event on the conflict.”

Leora Eisenberg, a Jewish freshman at Princeton University said that after his speech was cancelled, she was relieved.

“He is a bigot and an anti-Semite,” she said. “I was thrilled to see groups that claim to fight for human rights actually take their charge seriously by canceling his lecture.”

 miko-peled-antisemitic-tweets

In the past year, Peled has tweeted that Israelis missed the “taste of Palestinian blood,” andcomparedIsrael — the Jewish state — to Nazi Germany. He hasadvocatedfor continued missile attacks on Israel and Israelis andbrandedIsraelis who serve in the IDF as “terrorists.”

His statement calling Israelis bloodthirsty regurgitates a centuries old anti-Semitic myththat accuses Jews of killing Christian babies for religious rituals. Worse, he justified his “sleazy thieves” accusation by saying that “for centuries Jews were portrayed as sleazy money lenders.”

Peled’s remarks and his upcoming visit have not gone unnoticed by Jewish students on campus.

“There is a line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism,” ISCOR junior Hilary Cohen said. “Peled has crossed that line. One can criticize Israel without using anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Psychology junior Talia Raoufpur, who is Iranian and Jewish, said she was upset by the lack of attention his visit has garnered.

“Where are the activists who rose up against prejudice last semester?” she said.

SDSU has been the scene of several protests spurred on by activists that define the way our campus views oppression and identity.

In 2014, Take Back the Night drew attention to the violence college women uniquely facefrom rape culture.

In 2015, activists rallied to address several issues, such as faculty pay raises, racial injustice, economic inequality and Islamophobia, an intersection of issues that affect our students.

This year, when conservative writer David Horowitz posted fliers on campus branding members of Students for Justice in Palestine as “terrorists,” the hashtag #NoHateAtState became a rallying cry for students who wanted to fight back against racial profiling and Islamophobia. SDSU students were unified under a single message: Neither hatred nor bigotry would go unaccounted for and they were going to stand up against hatred and discrimination.

David Horowitz’ fliers accused SJP members of being terrorists and the campus rallied in solidarity. It is baffling and hypocritical for activists in SJP -— who know too well what it is like to be profiled -— to invite a speaker who similarly profiles Jews and Israelis.

SJP’s invitation to Peled suggests they accept and condone his anti-Semitism and that his rhetoric is something to be accepted, celebrated and pondered. Unacceptable.

This is an opportunity for a conversation and a reckoning with anti-Semitic speech and its ramifications. We are capable of having difficult, nuanced conversations about the conflict between Israel and Palestine without having to resort to anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Activists who are silent: speak up. Heed the words of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

This article was originally published by The Daily Aztec and was written by CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux at San Diego State University.

Encouraging Signs as York University Dismisses Anti-Semitic Faculty Member

CAMERA Fellow Ben Shachar.

CAMERA Fellow Ben Shachar.

On Wednesday, September 14th, York University dismissed faculty member Nikolaos Balaskas after he was found to propagate anti-Semitism on his public Facebook page.

Students from the Israeli Student Association (ISA), a CAMERA-supported group, tipped off B’nai Brith about the nature of Balaskas’ social-media use in June. ISA and B’nai Brith worked together to document Balaskas’ many instances of anti-Semitism and the applicable university policies which they breached. An investigation was launched by the university in mid-August after B’nai Brith Canada filed a formal complaint.

york-prof-screenshot

Screenshot from Nikolaos Balaskas’ Facebook profile.

Balaskas repeatedly invoked anti-Semitic tropes such as Jewish control of the media, Jewish culpability for the September 11 attacks, and Holocaust denial. Examples of anti-Semitic Facebook posts made by Balaskas included accusing “Jews” of murdering “89 year old SS hero” Johann Breyer; criticizing Pope Francis for “meeting with imposter Jews, who are really followers of the Evil One;” and asserting that “many of the concentration camps were run by Jews,” and that “most of the Jews running the camps were Zionist Jews who had cut a deal with Hitler.”

In an extremely concerning Facebook post, which many students felt constituted incitement to violence, Balaskas announced several conditions that Zionists must fulfill in order for them to be permitted “to live in peace with the rest of mankind.” These conditions included “ask[ing] for forgiveness” for the purported killing of “100 million Christians from 1917 to 1945.”

york-prof-screenshot-2

Screenshot from Nikolaos Balaskas’ Facebook profile.

In a letter notifying Balaskas of the termination of his employment, the university stated that his posts “target identifiable groups based on such factors as race, religion, and ethnic origin” and “denigrate particular religious faiths include those of the Jewish faith.” The termination letter also referenced comments made by Balaskas on September 8th in a meeting with university officials. Balaskas said that it was his “duty and obligation to post this material” and described himself as the “messenger.”

york-prof-screenshot-3

Screenshot from Nikolaos Balaskas’ Facebook profile.

Eli Razimor, the President of ISA, said that the dismissal felt like “A rare sense of justice being served on our side. York is often a hotbed for public anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities, many of which do not get dealt with appropriately by the university administration,” he said. Razimor cited the “anti-Israel and violence-promoting mural in the Student Center” as an example of the administration ignoring Jewish students’ concerns.

It is encouraging that York University swiftly took action after B’nai Brith submitted a complaint. The university should be commended for their conduct throughout the investigation. The university’s decision to terminate Balaskas’ employment should serve as a precedent – there must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and xenophobia on campus.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow and member of Israeli Students Association (ISA) at York University Ben Shachar.

Israel, the Indigenous Land of the Jewish People

Israel and the Jewish people’s right to live in their homeland, Israel, is often unfairly questioned. Today is the UN’s International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples. Especially on a day like today, it is important to remember that Jews are a people indigenous to the land of Israel.

Here are some of the main aspects of Jewish heritage that serve as testimonies to the indigenous roots of Jews in the land of Israel:

The holy sites of Israel

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

The Jewish people’s connection and longing to visit Jewish sites are a part of the ancient relationship to the land. Jews today return to their holy sites in Israel, for example the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall. The Western Wall was the only part of the Jewish Holy Temple that remained after it was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 BCE. Following the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Jews were exiled from Israel. While in exile, the Jews yearned to return to Israel and connect with their holy sites as they still do today. In 1967, when the Israeli Paratroopers breached the walls to the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, the connection to the Western Wall was reignited. The Jews celebrated their newfound freedom to once again visit a site so significant to their history in the land, and holy in their religious practice.

The Hebrew language

Image by Philippe Assouline. Taken from the blog post: http://www.israellycool.com/2014/01/09/israel-palestine-whos-indigenous/

Image by Philippe Assouline. Taken from the blog post: http://www.israellycool.com/2014/01/09/israel-palestine-whos-indigenous/

Hebrew is a semitic language, spoken in ancient Israel by the Jewish people. The Torah, the Old Testament of the Jewish people, has been preserved in its natural Hebrew form. The Jewish people lost their tradition of speaking the Hebrew language while in exile outside of Israel. In the 1880’s, Eliezer Ben Yehuda revived the ancient language of Hebrew by beginning to speak it with his family and introducing it back into Israel’s Jewish population. It was revived, and is now spoken as the modern language of Israel as well as by Jews around the world.

A knowledge system tied to the land

Source: Chloe Valdary's Twitter page

Source: Chloe Valdary’s Twitter page

The Torah, the book of the Jewish people, serves as a system of knowledge for Jews on its history and common values. Orthodox Jews read and regard the Torah a rule book and spiritual guide on how to conduct daily life. However, the Torah is studied by Jews across the spectrum-it is by no means exclusive to “religious” Jews. Advanced schools of secular Torah study, such as Bina, exist as well. The Torah is a natural part of the Jewish identity for many and its content is deeply connected to the land of Israel.

A belief that constantly unifies the people

Israeli society is diverse but core values remain among Jews. Source: yourjerusalem.org

Israeli society is diverse, but core values are shared amongst all Jews. Source: yourjerusalem.org

The idea of Zionism, the desire to return to the Jewish homeland, is a belief that unifies the Jewish people. While Jews have been dispersed around the world during times of exile, the focus on the land of Israel is at the core of the Jewish people’s identity.

Special relationship to and use of the land itself

Israel water drip system. Source: Haaretz

Israel water drip system. Source: Haaretz

Israelis appreciate the mere dirt and dust of the land. In Israel, agriculture is a significant aspect of culture. Between kibbutzim, communities highly based on agricultural work, and Ben Gurion’s legacy to make the Negev desert bloom, Israelis are culturally tied to the land itself and dedicated to making it continuously grow.

Necessity of the land for the physical and cultural survival of the people

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

Time and again, the Jewish people have been persecuted. The Jews were enslaved in Egypt, were exiled from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, were persecuted during the Farhud in Iraq, and were slaughtered throughout Europe during the Holocaust. Today, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are spreading across college campuses in America and across Europe. Jews have the right to physical and cultural survival in the land that is historically their own.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.