Tag Archives: boycott

Dartmouth Dean Must Retract Support for BDS

Statement by Gilad Skolnick, Director of Campus Programming for CAMERA, on the appointment of Professor Bruce Duthu as Dean of Faculty at Dartmouth College:

“CAMERA calls on Professor Duthu to publicly retract his support for the BDS campaign, and in the event that he does not do this, calls on the Dartmouth College to retract his appointment. The BDS movement breaches the principle of academic freedom, and is in total contradiction to the values expressed by President Hanlon, who stated in January that “the engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experience is critical.” By his actions, President Hanlon is demonstrating that he believes all people and views should be welcomed, unless they are Israeli. Racism is built into the BDS campaign, which is run by radicals who wish to see the end of the state of Israel. This decision is a black stain on the long and proud history of Dartmouth College.”

Professor Bruce Duthu

BDS is a one-sided campaign of demonization, lead by radical Palestinians whose goal is the destruction of Israel. Hiding behind the cloak of human rights and justice, they single out the one free nation in the Middle East for condemnation, simplifying and warping a complex conflict, in order to demonize and harm the State of Israel.

One would assume that universities, whose aim are to spread knowledge, and protect academic freedom, would not be places that give any support to a movement which calls to boycott academics. But Dartmouth University has recently caused outrage by appointing a new dean who is an outspoken supporter of BDS.

Professor Bruce Duthu, a professor of Native American Law, who signed a declaration supporting BDS in 2013, has been appointed as the new Dean of Faculty. (Quite absurdly, the BDS declaration that he signed claims that the signatories are proud supporters of academic freedom, yet they then go on to call for a boycott of Israeli academics!)

The condemnation has been quick in coming, with Dartmouth Professors, Jewish groups and national media outlets criticizing the appointment. Attention has also been drawn to the hypocrisy shown by the university’s administration. A few months ago, the President of Dartmouth issued a condemnation of the immigration policies of the newly elected President Trump. In that letter, President Hanlon called for the policies to be revoked, and made the following proud statement:

“Dartmouth’s commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas, global research, and education manifests itself in dozens of partnerships and in international study and exchange programs. Our engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences is critical—to both the strength of the Dartmouth community and the effectiveness of Dartmouth’s learning and leadership. We recognize, value, and celebrate the essential contributions of our international students and scholars.”

Yet now, the University has appointed a supporter of BDS as a dean. What happened to the engagement with a full range of perspectives and backgrounds? Does the President no longer believe that international scholars are important? Are we meant to understand that Dartmouth will “recognize, value and celebrate” the essential contributions of absolutely everyone, except for Israelis?

This is simply untenable. The BDS campaign is a sham, lead by radicals, which stands for the exact opposite of what a university stands for. Either Professor Duthu should publicly pull his support from such a movement, or he should de facto be considered ineligible for the role of Dean of Faculty.

Contributed by CAMERA intern Aron White.

Palestinians are Hurt by BDS

CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov.

“All the people who wanted to close SodaStream’s West Bank factory are mistaken… They didn’t take into consideration the families,” Ali Jafar, a Palestinian SodaStream employee stated back in 2015. He had been working at the Israeli company’s West Bank factory which produced home carbonation drink machines for two years before it was shut down due to pressure from the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign.

Palestinian workers react to the SodaStream in the West Bank being shut down.

The BDS campaign aims to prevent people around the world from buying Israeli products, and even has targeted celebrities and educational institutions for their support for or representation of anything related to the Jewish state. The campaign claims that Israel practices apartheid in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank – similar to that which was practiced in South Africa. However, SodaStream and its employees contradict such lies about Israel. The factory had been bringing Palestinians and Israelis to work together happily, and today also employs Arabs and Bedouins. Management and staff had shared that benefits and salaries were the same for employees in the same job setting, regardless of whether they were Jewish, Bedouin or Palestinian. In some cases, Palestinian workers were even given higher positions than their Jewish counterparts. In a video made by the SodaStream employees, you can see them introducing each other and working side-by-side in peace.

Following SodaStream’s fall in sales, the factory had to be relocated to Southern Israel and as a result, had to lay off the 500 West Bank Palestinians it had employed. In the end, the global campaign intended to delegitimize Israel had in fact hurt the Palestinians. It had hurt the opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to work together and build relationships.

Regardless of the progress and happiness felt by the workers, the fanatics of the BDS campaign squandered a wonderful opportunity for Palestinians and Israelis alike. This is just one example of the BDS campaign attacking Israel with blind, unjustifiable hatred; and the torment continues. In response to the boycotts and protests, SodaStream will now be placing stickers that read, “Made is in Israel: This product is produced by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony” on all of its products.

New SodaStream labels

The question is, what are the real goals of the BDS campaign? Is it to help the Palestinians, or is it to use the Palestinians as a reason to target Israel? Either way, it has neither been helping Palestinians, nor has it been using factual claims as a basis for its Israel hatred. Innocent people working towards peace should not have to suffer because of the hatred spewed out by the ignorant.

Contributed by Rutgers University CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov.

Divestment at UCSB: Round Three

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow Jeremy Ginsberg

For the third year in a row, BDS came during spring quarter at UC Santa Barbara, and I am glad to say that it was defeated in only one meeting instead of in the multiple senate meetings my fellow students have seen for the past two years.

This defeat came after nine hours of public comment and senate deliberations, which were filled with misinformation and straight-up lies about Israel. While this can be thought of as a victory, it feels hollow after the AS Senate vote ended in a 12-12 tie, broken only by Internal Vice President Angela Lau. It disgusts me that students think it is okay to spew anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments while claiming to champion human rights.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) even had the audacity to claim their bill wasn’t anti-Semitic. What is bothersome is that the week before, UCSB passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, yet a disturbing amount of the pro-divestment comments which fit that definition in the resolution were included in the bill. A student senator even claimed that other senators were afraid of voting for divestment so they wouldn’t lose the “Jewish vote.”

Divestment vote at UC Santa Barbara.

Divestment vote at UC Santa Barbara.

The pro-Israel community was prepared to defeat this bill; ready for whatever could happen. Once we got word of divestment coming, we convened a meeting of the Jewish student leaders right after Spring Break. Due to the uncertainty of when the bill would actually come to a vote, we prepared for multiple scenarios. We set up multiple meetings with community members and students to keep them aware of the situation, and when we found out that the divestment meeting was to be held, we made sure that we disseminated and mobilize our supporters to attend the meeting. After months of lobbying senators, and weeks of prepping for the actual meeting, the anti-divestment students seemed very confident in the bills defeat.

Many that had never attended a divestment meeting were horrified at the slanderous remarks of the pro-divestment students. For a side that claims to want peace and rights for all, it seems that they do not care for the security of any Israeli. SJP only claims human rights for all when they want to be endorsed by any organization that champions human rights. They only want the headlines, as every student knows that the UC system will not divest any funds from Israel or companies in Israel but they continue this assault every year in hopes one day it passes. They do this so that they can claim a victory for the BDS movement, and in the meantime poisoning the minds of any student that shallowly believes what they are being told.

BDS must be stopped and can only be stopped when SJP is exposed for being the poisonous anti-Semitic organization that it is and not allowed on campus. The Jewish and Israel community on our campus has always been open to dialogue with the other side of this conflict but all SJP has done is bring bill after useless divestment bill.

They continue to harass our students and increase the rift between us, behavior that only breeds anti-Semitic sentiment and may lead to actions such as the swastikas that were painted on Jewish buildings at Stanford and UC Davis. Fortunately I will not be here next year to see a fourth attempt at divestment at UCSB, but I am confident the anti-divestment students here are strong, confident, and ready to defend Israel on campus for yet another year.

To learn more about BDS, visit the Divest This blog.

CAMERA Fellow at U Florida Corrects SJP Lies

CAMERA Fellow at the University of Florida, Naor Amir, just published an article in The Alligator refuting false claims made by SJP student Amanda Nelson. In her piece, Nelson advocated the boycott of companies that do business with Israel. Naor contradicted her claims and advocated, instead, for a more comprehensive understanding of the conflicts in the Middle East.

Naor’s piece is reproduced in full below.

Response to previous letter urging UF to cut ties with anti-Palestinian groups

On the very day that political cartoonists in France were murdered by Islamic radicals simply for exercising their right to freedom of speech, Students for Justice in Palestine member Amanda Nelson wrote an opinion piece urging the boycott of the only free country, according to Freedom House’s rankings, in the Middle East: Israel. Aside from her absolute lack of empirical evidence for any of the allegations she hurls at Israel, she provides no proof whatsoever that boycotting companies such as Elbit Systems or Caterpillar will have any sort of tangible, positive effect on even one Palestinian-Arab. 

On the contrary, boycotting companies such as SodaStream will lead to and has led to

The author at CAMERA's 2014 student conference

The author at CAMERA’s 2014 student conference

hundreds of Palestinians losing their only opportunity to an honest, well-paid living working for Israeli companies. While extremism and war spread throughout the Middle East like wildfire, SJP would have UF boycott the only country in the region with academic institutions where Jews and Arabs peacefully live and study together in coexistence. 

  Nelson’s column last week made specific mention of the plight of Palestinian refugees — many of whom have resettled in the West. Of those who haven’t, many are kept in festering refugee camps by other Arab governments. SJP would have you believe that there is, in essence, no conflict, just a one-sided struggle in which Israel bears all fault. Mention of the Palestinian terrorist groups that repeatedly blew up innocent civilians across Israel is entirely absent. Checkpoints and walls seem unnecessary when the ruthless attacks against Israeli civilians that left thousands dead are conveniently brushed aside. 

Nelson shows no understanding of Israel’s unique situation as the only democratic nation surrounded on all sides by the likes of the Islamic State group, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (a nasty, Sinai-based terror cell) and the list goes on. No mention was made of the fact that the Palestinian refugee problem is a direct consequence of the Arab rejection of a two-state partition peace plan in 1947 and the Arab state’s refusal to incorporate Palestinians into their host countries as equal citizens. 

Were+Jews+from+Arab+countries+all+refugeesAdditionally, the column made no mention of the almost 1 million Jewish refugees, including members of my own family, who were robbed and exiled from Arab countries simply for being Jews after 1948. According to the author, “the plight of the Palestinians is one of the greatest human rights tragedies in modern history.” With all respect to the hardships of the Palestinians, the United Nations 2014 Human Development Report ranks Palestine number 107 out of 187 countries in human development. Palestine is ranked above countries such as Egypt, South Africa and India, and it is considered above the average for Arab states in the Middle East. However, we have yet to see any articles from SJP addressing these human rights concerns. 

When will we see them mention the 9 million and counting Syrian refugees and displaced families fleeing the civil war? Or the Yazidis and Kurds facing genocide at the hands of the Islamic State group? What about the occupation of territory by Russia, China and Turkey? As tends to always be the case with SJP, the narrow focus on a distorted view of the Arab-Israeli conflict is an injustice to the millions of victims of tyranny across the globe. 

With the Middle East in shambles, it is clear where the future of the region lies: becoming more like Israel, not less. This university should continue to work alongside Israel to further the technological and scientific advancements that will make our world better.

Naor Amir

Keeping Track of Biased Professors

The AMCHA Initiative is an organization that monitors anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses. Judea Pearl, friend of CAMERA, professor at UCLA, and father of the tragically murdered journalist, Daniel Pearl, wrote this piece in support of the quest to monitor professors’ anti-Israel activity and keep a current list of professors who signed on to the academic boycott of Israel.

For more information on the academic boycott, click here.

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AMCHA’s map of anti-Israel professors

Professor Pearl’s article first appeared in the Forward, here.  It is reproduced in full, below. 

In early October, a number of prominent Jewish studies professors signed a letter stating their opposition to the AMCHA Initiative, a group with the mission of monitoring anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America. A study just released by AMCHA indicates, among other findings, that the Center for Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, may have violated the law by promoting anti-Semitic discourse and anti-Israel bias.

As a long time professor at UCLA and a first hand witness to the politicization of CNES, I was keenly interested in this reaction of Jewish studies professors to the AMCHA report.

I was disappointed that they chose to postpone a substantive discussion of AMCHA’s findings and focused instead on attacking the motivation for conducting the study in the first place and the character of AMCHA’s organizers. They were also perturbed by AMCHA’s decision to circulate a list of Middle East studies professors that the organization considers anti-Israel.

It was disappointing, because the letter could have been more credible had it been supported by a counter study showing AMCHA’s findings to be invalid or, at least, less alarming than reported. No such study was cited.

Alternatively, the 40 professors could have reported to the Forward’s readers about their own efforts to curb anti-Israel propaganda on their campuses, the methods they applied, and how successful those efforts were. I wish they had.

The professors’ letter focuses instead on AMCHA’s technique of monitoring lectures, symposia and conferences, saying that this “strains the basic principle of academic freedom.” I take issue with this statement. Such studies based on first-hand witnesses are extremely valuable, and are often used by universities to gauge the impact of their programs.

Last year, when I presented the UCLA chancellor, Gene Block, with my personal observations of how Israel was being demonized in CNES programs, he asked whether I have “supporting documentation” of such activity over an extended period of time.

I wish I could have handed him the results of a study like the one AMCHA organized, which, theoretically, should have been conducted by the university itself. It wasn’t. Nor was it conducted by the Center for Jewish Studies, though the issues involved threaten to change Jewish life on campus. AMCHA went to the trouble of producing such documentation, and sure enough, 40 professors rose up to scold the organization for documenting open public symposia, instead of paying attention to the anti-Zionist rhetoric used in those symposia.

Another interesting thing I learned from the UCLA chancellor was that, with the exception of a few professors like me, leaders of the Jewish community on campus have not complained about the CNES program.

Indeed, I do not recall the Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA discussing whether it is appropriate for an academic unit that calls itself “Center for Near East Studies” to take an entire country, a home to about 50% of the Jewish people, and to claim it as illegitimate, obsessively denying Jews the right to a homeland in the Middle East. The co-directors of CNES, Gabriel Piterberg and Sondra Hale, are active promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and have signed several petitions to boycott Israeli academics (including me).

I do not recall the Center for Jewish Studies conducting sit-ins or teach-ins or writing protest letters when two notorious Israel demonizers were chosen to co-direct the CNES, replacing Susan Slyomovics, who started CNES on its persistent anti-Israel campaign.

This silence by Jewish studies professors may have been a major contributor to the wait-and-see attitude of the UCLA administration towards the drastic deterioration of campus climate, with CNES consistently providing BDS speakers and activists academic cover and legitimacy.

The professors’ letter expresses grave concern over “stifling of debate” and over “the importance to provide opportunities to students to consider the world around them from a wide range of perspectives.” This concern is real and should be guarded vigilantly. However, I have seen how CNES stifles debate in its programs. And when pointing this out I have been told that the Israel Studies Center would be a better home for “alternative views.” But let us recall, the Higher Education Act, Title VI, obligates each academic center to present diverse perspectives; it is not enough that the university as a whole offers such opportunities.

Once we agree on the importance of open debate, we should also agree that the anti-Israel character of programs like CNES should be a subject of discussion. I believe there is now substantial evidence for characterizing the BDS movement as racist, one that uses genetic lineage and other immutable characteristics to deny Jews that which is granted to other collectives. So the appropriateness of BDS activists to serve as directors of academic centers at UCLA and other colleges and universities should be broached. I fail to see why my esteemed colleagues consider these topics taboo, bordering, heaven forbid, on “witch hunting” or “black listing.”

There remains therefore one unanswered question: If the BDS movement is indeed racist, what do we call its leaders and how should we guide students who are confronted with them on campus?

Judea Pearl is the Chancellor Professor of Computer Science at UCLA and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

ASA Boycott Is Not Really A Boycott?

asa_logoThe American Studies Association’s supposed boycott of Israeli academics and institutions of education has landed it in hot water yet again.

According to Eugene Kontorovich‘s summary of the controversy, which surrounds the upcoming ASA annual meeting in Los Angeles,

So according to the ASA, scholars who are “representatives or ambassadors” (whatever that means) are barred; but according to their executive director, a “representative” would not be “turned away.” Of course, this could just mean that the ASA has decided to selectively enforce its discriminatory rules – even the notorious Arab League Boycott of Israel is porous.

JNS.org reported:

About a year after the American Studies Association’s (ASA) widely condemned vote to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, the organization’s policy on Israel is receiving renewed scrutiny over a practical application of that vote.

Editor-in-Chief of CAMERA on Campus, Samantha Rose Mandeles, said:

The recent backtracking and dishonesty by the ASA is not surprising and represents another example of the disingenuousness that characterizes BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) efforts as a whole. As is common for BDS supporters, the ASA did not honor their own boycott policy—they invited several Israelis to participate in the conference, showing that, yet again, Israel BDSers will only abide by their own injunctions when it suits their needs,” she said. “BDS proponents will claim to boycott Israel, but actually only do so halfheartedly, when it is convenient and part of symbolic, theatrical gestures that have no effect on the conflict.

In summation, Professor Konotorovich wrote,

So here is the short history of how the boycott has played out for the ASA. First, it leads them have a policy that discriminates against scholars based on their national origin. Second, it got them to engage in an embarrassing and artless spinning of their actual policy. And finally, it leads them to abandon the policy. They got the worst of both worlds: exposure to liability and embarrassment for past discrimination, without the pleasure of continued discrimination.

The ‘Science’ of Israel on Campus: CAMERA Preps Students for Upcoming Challenges

By Sean Savage/JNS.org

While Israel has been engaged in a seemingly endless summer war with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which is indiscriminately firing rockets at Israeli cities, pro-Israel students are about to re-enter an increasingly hostile environment for the Jewish state on their college campuses.

Just a couple of weeks before the start of the 2014-15 school year, 53 pro-Israel student leaders prepared for that challenge by convening in Boston this week for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) annual Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference. The varied three-day event included lectures such as “Less Hamas, more Hummus,” training on how to craft a personal narrative, mastering debate tactics, and gaining knowledge on some of the anti-Israel campus groups students may need to confront.

conference2014

The 2014 CAMERA Conference

Allison Moldoff—a rising junior at Simmons College who led a battle on her campus to allow study abroad to Israel—described learning about how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) “are not only anti-Israel, but that there’s a lot of anti-Semitism hidden there as well.”

“We also learned how to react to these groups on campus,” she told JNS.org. “Whether it be body language or what words you choose or the tone of your voice, there’s really a science to answering these groups, so your point can be made and you are accurately defending Israel.”

Elliott Hamilton, a rising senior at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who was attending CAMERA’s summer conference for a second time, said the gathering helped “reinvigorate his love for Zionism and defending Israel.”

conference2014  A

The 2014 CAMERA Conference

Hamilton, who has attended other pro-Israel conferences, praised CAMERA’s unique approach to teaching students how to confront anti-Israel programming on campus. The students “were given the tools and the information to combat the various anti-Israel programming and how to address the bias in a powerful way,” he said.

“Everyone at the conference got hands-on experience that will be necessary to fight the information battles we face in the coming year,” said Hamilton.

Click photo to download. Caption: A mock debate on an Israel divestment resolution at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) annual Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference. Credit: Sean Savage.

Click photo to download. Caption: A mock debate on an Israel divestment resolution at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) annual Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference.

An increasing number of schools have faced anti-Israel divestment votes by student governments. During the 2013-2014 school year, such votes took place on 15 campuses, a nearly 100-percent increase from the previous academic year.

At the same time, only one-third of the divestment proposals passed. CAMERA made it clear that it hopes to continue that trend. On the last day of the conference, a two-hour mock divestment vote gave students an opportunity to act out both sides of the debate in front of a mock student government panel consisting of CAMERA staffers.

Despite the mock vote’s student-unfriendly 8:30 a.m. start time, the undergrads appeared energetic and eager to apply the knowledge they had accumulated over the previous two days of the conference. The students were divided into two sides—one pro-Israel and the other pro-Palestinian—and volunteered to present their case to the student government. Students were judged not only on their ability to draw on facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict, but also on their presentation style.

Echoing the real-life debates that have taken place on dozens of campuses, the students engaged in a discussion of frequently made accusations against Israel, such as the apartheid analogy.

The mock divestment debate was a new addition to this year’s conference. CAMERA also invited students other than the conference attendees to share their experiences on campus and “to provide [the attendees] with a variety of tools ranging from social media training to combating BDS resolutions,” said Aviva Slomich, director of CAMERA’s campus department.

Hali Haber, a student at the University of Central Florida and president of her school’s pro-Israel club Knights for Israel, felt that the mock BDS debate was the best part of the conference.

“I think practicing how to talk to the other side is extremely important,” Haber told JNS.org. “I hoped that I would take away the confidence it takes to advocate on campus, and I did.

Haber, like fellow conference attendee Elliott Hamilton, had attended a number of other seminars run by pro-Israel organizations and felt that CAMERA’s program stood out for its straightforward approach with students.

“I think CAMERA’s conference is really unique,” she said. “They explain their goal up front and they also take everything that other conferences specialize in and put it all into one amazing conference.”

“What [CAMERA] stands for is not anti-Palestinian or anti-Arab, it is pro-peace and pro-facts,” said Allison Moldoff.

The Simmons College student added, “I can say very confidently that I am happily a CAMERA fellow because I know what I am doing is factual and true.”

The piece The ‘Science’ of Israel on Campus: CAMERA Preps Students for Upcoming Challenges was originally published in jns.org.

The Unbecoming Appropriation of “Apartheid”

This piece was written by the president of the CCAP (CAMERA Supported) group Claremont Students for Israel, Elliott Hamilton. The full version of this piece is available on The Times of Israel, and the link is below.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organization that consistently preaches anti-Semitism on college campuses, frequently compares the security situation in Israel to South African apartheid. Anti-Israel propagandists use images of the security barrier and the checkpoints to demonize Israel as an “occupying power” and to equate it to one of the worst instances of state-sponsored segregation in the 20th century. The comparison is seen as so atrocious that even citizens of South Africa find it morally reprehensible.

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“The comparison is disgusting,” says Nkosi Kennedy, a native of Johannesburg. “It brings out the emotions and the trauma that South Africans do not wish to revisit and does so in a very unacceptable way.”

Kennedy represents the first generation in his family in over a century not to live under the brutal regime that separated people on the basis of skin color. His grandfather and father, for example, were born in one-room shacks because the apartheid regime did not allow black South Africans into hospitals. Those were reserved for the white minority.

“My entire family was oppressed throughout the apartheid era and my parents were freedom fighters. The stories they tell about the brutal oppression and the poverty levels they faced are incomparable to what is happening in Israel,” Kennedy continues.

Kennedy’s parents were politically active and took part in active protests against the apartheid system. He grew up hearing about the brutal conditions his family and his people went through, as well as learning the story of how the African National Congress (ANC) eventually brought down the state-sponsored segregation. For him, even though he was born during the twilight years of the regime, he knows what separates the former reality in South Africa to the current situation in Israel and the disputed territories.

Read more: The Unbecoming Appropriation of “Apartheid” | Elliott Hamilton | Ops & Blogs | The Times of Israel 

Letter to the Editor: Why the ASA Boycott is Wrong

The following piece is by CAMERA Fellow Lauren Barney. Lauren Barney is a Chinese and Political Science double major and junior at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article “Boycott Sparks Debate on Role of Academic Group” published Jan. 13, 2014. As a student at Pitt who has visited the Middle East on various occasions and has entered into both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, I would like to shed some light on the atrocity of the Academic Studies Association boycott and the ‘detrim’ent it will bring to the student body at any university.

Lauren Barney

Lauren Barney

Professor Mazin Qumsiye~ parallels his trip through Israeli checkpoints effect on interregional academic integration with the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ASA boycott is unparal- leled. It is based on an ideology of false condemnation of a sovereign people. Checkpoints were implemented beginning in 2000 to prevent terrorists (i.e. suicide bombers) from entering heavily populated Israeli neighborhoods. When traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, my passport was checked routinely by an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier. No harm was done and I was grateful for the service of the IDF in halting terrorism across the Green Line.

Additionally, he comments that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel is analogous to the human rights fight in Apartheid-era South Africa. Human rights exist in Israel. Ramallah, Palestine, is a gorgeous city with constant imports of Israeli produce. According to online economics news source Trading Economics, 70 percent of all Palestinian imports are from Israel.

I am grateful to attend an academic institution that enables me to study freely in Israel and allows other students to grow academically while abroad in various countries. Every student at every American university should be provided with this opportunity.

Lauren Barney
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Campus Fellow, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Borders, Danger, and Human Rights: Israel’s Dynamic Role in Tumultuous Times

This piece was written originally by Meytal Chernoff, a sophomore studying at the College of Arts and Sciences and published in the Washington University Political Review. Meytal is a proud CAMERA Fellow and an Israel activist on her campus, Washington University at St. Louis. 

The past few years have seen large-scale changes in the Middle East. In particular, escalated violence in Syria has forced the world’s eyes toward the region and raised the issues of alliances, human rights, and the potential for the conflict to spread beyond Syrian borders. The state of Israel sits in the physical center of this conflict and serves as an example for social justice work, even as diplomatic relationships shift and border tensions escalate. As the situation progresses, Israel works to provide aid to its neighbors while protecting itself, demonstrating a unique balance between defense and a concern for human rights.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the Syrian government has been using deadly and wide-ranging weapons against its own citizens, a trend that can be best exemplified by the use of chemical weapons against the Damascus countryside this past August. The conflict has also seen indiscriminate attacks on civilians and incidents of kidnap, torture, and execution. This has caused millions of people, many of whom are in need of medical attention, to flee Syria for its neighbors, which include Israel.

Israel sits at a unique position within this conflict. Technically, Israel and Syria have been at war for four decades, and the violence in Syria threatens to spill over the border and into Israel. However, as a nation concerned with human rights, Israel cannot sit quietly as 2.5 million new Syrian refu-gees suffer. The country must find a balance between humanitarian work and defense, and the results offer a unique glimpse into a country that is both focused on humanity and aware of the harsh realities of war.

One example of this balance can be seen in the case of IsraAid, an Israeli non­profit organization that provided medical, psychological, and food services following the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti. Since the beginning of this year, the organization has provided over $100,000 worth of supplies to the Syrian refugees in Jordan. They have also brought in Israeli medical professionals and social workers to help the displaced to cope with the physical and mental scars of the war. Additionally, Israeli field hospitals have been treating refugees who come across the border in need of care. These efforts show an incredible dedication to human rights, made all the more impressive given the current political tensions between Israel and Syria.

IsraAID helping the victims of disasters worldwide

IsraAID helping the victims of disasters worldwide

As the war in Syria has progressed, Israel’s Syrian border has seen an increase in violence, and there is no end in sight. Cross-border attacks included a bombing on March 18 that wounded four Israeli soldiers. This latest incident prompted an Israeli airstrike against military targets in Syria. Complicating matters is the fact that the Syrian border is under fractioned control, with 60 percent controlled by the opposition and the remaining parts being controlled by the Syrian governmental regime. This confusion has Israel on high alert and has forced a state of constant preparedness to defend against possible invasion or attacks. “Our policy is very clear,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “we attack those who attack us.”

Incredibly, this policy and the threat to the safety of Israeli citizens have not prevented Israel from working to help and protect the lives of Syrian refugees and citizens hurt during the violence. It is incredible to see a country that manages to prioritize human rights for people outside its borders, even while at war. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This statement holds true, but unfortunately few countries take it to heart. As most countries turn a blind eye to the suffering of Syrian refugees and citizens, Israel works to help them, even while at war with their government.