Tag Archives: zionism

Nobody Can Take My Progressive Zionism Away From Me

CAMERA Fellow Fay Yanofsky.

When I studied the history of Jews and African-Americans in America, I saw many photos of our ancestors marching together for civil rights. It was evident that they were on the right side of history. Martin Luther King, courageous civil rights leader, spoke at synagogues, believed in the self-determination of the Jewish people, and marched alongside Jews at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement.

After recent events in Charlottesville, I felt a personal obligation as a member of the Jewish minority, which makes up .02% of the population worldwide, to march for racial justice and to stand against the white supremacy and discrimination that is engrained in society. My grandfather was one of the Nazis’s victims when white supremacists committed a gruesome genocide against the Jews. My grandmother was born and raised in a black and Jewish neighborhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

A Zioness Movement graphic.

When Nazis and Confederates recently chanted “Jews will not replace us”, this symbolized the evils of white supremacy trying to eradicate my grandfather’s personal identity, heritage, and values during the Holocaust, along with 12 million other victims. It was also a direct dismissal and attack on my grandmother’s neighborhood, kin, and childhood experiences. For these reasons, I attended the Post-Yom Kippur March for Racial Justice on October 1st, as well as Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson’s campaign “Stand Against Hate” which addressed the interconnectedness between racism against African Americans and anti-Semitism against Jews on October 19th.

Justice means standing with minorities struggling for equal opportunities to pursue happiness and to no longer be systematically and institutionally targeted for demise. Additionally, standing up for Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement for self-determination in Israel and preventing another anti-Semitic genocide. TaNahesi Coates’s Between the World and Me opened my eyes to the institutionalized racism against African-Americans in the United States and to the difficulty of growing up in a black body living in a white world.

In another of Coates’s books, The Case for Reparations, he referred to Israel as the model for reparations. As a Jew, I resonated even more with national black liberation movements because of the institutionalized and systemic anti-Semitism against Jews perpetrated throughout history.

My friend Natalie, who is a CAMERA Fellow herself at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and I marched with Zioness: a movement that stands for justice and fights against all forms of oppression. We stood against the marginalization, disempowerment, and demonization of Jews, people of color and other minorities. However, being both a progressive and an advocate of Zionism, the self-determination of the Jewish people, I felt my intersectional identities collide.

A male marshal wearing orange traffic control stripes came out from the tent to demand that my sign be removed. Shortly after that, a woman approached me with the marshal to demand that I put down my Zioness sign. My sign represented the movement against oppression as it had an intersection of an African-American woman wearing a Jewish Star. As a result, my hands clamped, chills rolled down my spine and my heart raced.

Other marchers try to cover up Zioness signs. [Photo: Zioness Movement Facebook page]

According to the marshals, there were too many Zioness signs in the same area and they did not want them appearing in photographs. However, as we collectively marched together against hate, there were many groups holding up other signs with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Intersectional Feminism.” The act of holding Jews to a different standard than other minority groups is anti-Semitic. For me, the experience of being singled out reaffirmed the need for a strong Zionist movement. Jews should never be targeted again and subjected to anti-Semitic double standards.

However, I stood resisting racism with my fist in the air, my jacket representing the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, along with my Zioness sign protesting racial injustice
alongside my African American brothers and sisters. I did this because who were the March for
Racial Justice Organizers to question my identity? Who is anyone to question my identity? I
identify as progressive Zionist and nobody can take that away from me!

On October 19th, Reform Rabbi Michael Lerner spoke at Brooklyn College to Stand Against Hate with President Michelle Anderson. During the talk, Rabbi Lerner said that a flaw in liberalism is viewing people who hold different opinions from one’s own through an “Us vs. Them” lens. I still have hope that Zionism, kindness, and the truth will prevail.

Contributed by Brooklyn College CAMERA Fellow and Treasurer of CAMERA-supported group Bulldogs for Israel, Fay Yanofsky.

This article was originally published in Night Call News, Brooklyn College’s student paper.

SJP UIUC Calls Zionists “White Supremacists” in Promotional Materials

CAMERA on Campus unequivocally condemns SJP UIUC​ (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) for its blatantly antisemitic action of calling Zionists, and therefore the majority of Jews, Nazis in this disturbing promotional post for their rally, happening today on campus:

“Join SJP and other amazing, radical organizations on campus at this rally next week. There is no room for fascists, white supremacists, or Zionists at UIUC. Tuesday, September 5th @ 11:30am, Alma Mater”

Post on the SJP UIUC Facebook page.

We continue to see the co-optation of the struggle for Jews to have the right to live in their national homeland in peace.

Illini Public Affairs Committee – IlliniPAC released a statement, seen below, in response to this disgusting development.

We are in contact with students at UIUC and will continue to monitor the situation closely.




Statement by IlliniPAC.

Contributed by CAMERA Staff

Ryerson Contract Lecturer Promotes Anti-Semitism Through Social Media

In December 2016, the Israeli Students Association at York University received numerous complaints from Israeli students at Ryerson concerning the social media use of a Contract Lecturer within Ryerson’s Department of Geography & Environmental Studies.

After a thorough investigation, it was concluded that the lecturer is in fact using her publicly-accessible Twitter page to spread anti-Semitism. She repeatedly uses the anti-Semitic slur “Zio”. “Zio” is an ethnic slur that has been popularized by David Duke and the American Klu Klux Klan. She calls members of the public “zio-trolls” and uses the pejoratives “zio-murderer” and “zio-fanatic”. Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, a human rights advocate and member of the House of Lords, says that “Zio” is a “modern-day racist epithet” and “a term of abuse, pure and simple”. London Mayor Sadiq Khan says “the use of the word ‘Zio’ has become a racist term against Jewish people in the way ‘homo’ was used in the 60’s and 70’s”.

Furthermore, the lecturer makes xenophobic generalizations about Israelis and shares links to infamous neo-Nazi websites. For example, one article that she shared features classic anti-Semitic imagery and asserts that the “Rothschilds and their minions” are engaged in a “planetary hostile takeover operation”.

The lecturer’s apparent anti-Semitism and xenophobia appear to be in violation of Ryerson’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy. Given her public promotion of anti-Semitism, Jewish and Israeli students at Ryerson may quite reasonably feel unsafe, unwelcome, or intimidated in her classes.

The Israeli Students Association, in conjunction with Ryerson students, submitted a complaint on December 12th, 2016. Despite acknowledging the complaint and forwarding it to the Office of Vice Provost Faculty Affairs and Human Resources, Ryerson University has made no further efforts to engage with students on this issue. Ryerson University must act immediately to correct this egregious oversight.

In fact, soon after the complaint was filed, the lecturer made her Twitter page and the offending posts inaccessible to the public. This suggests that the Ryerson administration notified her of the complaint and counselled her to make her social media accounts private. In lieu of any communication from the Ryerson administration, we can assume that their solution to this complaint was to simply sweep it under the rug.

B’nai Brith Canada has since contacted Ryerson University and is pursuing the complaint.

Contributed by York University CAMERA Fellow and member of CAMERA-supported group Israeli Students Association at York University Ben Shachar.

This article has since been re-published at The Algemeiner.

120th Anniversary of the First Zionist Congress

Today marks the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress. The First Zionist Congress was the first congress of the Zionist Organization, which became known as the World Zionist Organization. The conference was held in Basel, Switzerland, and was chaired by non-other than Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

First Zionist Congress (Wikipedia)

The Congress was attended by around 200 people from 17 countries. Of those in attendance, 69 were delegates from Zionist societies, and the remainder were invited guests.

The Congress has been most known for the publication of a document called the Basel Program, which laid out the goals of Zionism. The document consisted of the following statement.

“Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine. For the attainment of this purpose, the Congress considers the following means serviceable:

  1. The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists, artisans, and tradesmen in Palestine.
  2. The federation of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries.
  3. The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness.
  4. Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose.”

The original document of the Basel Program (Wikipedia)

Following the First Zionist Congress, the Zionist Congress met every year between 1897 and 1901, then every two years until 1939, apart from during World War 1. The Zionist Congress was an intrinsic part of Zionism and played a crucial role in the movement and eventual establishment of the State of Israel.

Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary a few days after the First Zionist Congress in 1897 that:

“Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”

Indeed, 51 years on from the First Zionist Congress, the State of Israel was born.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern.

The Hebron Massacre: 88 Years On

Eighty-eight years ago, one of the darkest events in the history of the Jewish community in pre-state Israel occurred. In Hebron, the second holiest city in Judaism, local Arabs massacred the Jewish community, murdering 67 and injuring over 50.

Arabs, hearing false rumors that Jews were planning on seizing control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and that Jews had massacred Arabs in Jerusalem, started attacking Jews. At around 8:30am on a Shabbat morning, the first attack was staged, as a mob of Arabs armed with long iron bars, long knives, and axes entered a Jewish house in Hebron and stabbed the occupants to death.

Student of Hebron Yeshiva lost his hand in the attack (Wikipedia)

Soon after, the mob entered the house of Eliezer Dan Slonim, the son of the Rabbi of Hebron, and asked if he would hand over Ashkenazi students from the Hebron Yeshiva. He declined, and in turn was shot dead along with his 4 year old son. The Arabs kept screaming that they were “going to Jerusalem to slaughter all the Jews” according to one witness. The attackers were going from door to door, slaughtering everyone who was inside. The screams and the moans were terrible. People were crying “Help! Help!”

The attack on the Jewish community did not just involve murdering Jews in their homes, the mob of Arabs looted and destroyed a Jewish hospital, which often treated Arabs. Synagogues along with Torah scrolls were also destroyed, and a Jewish library was burned down.

Synagogue in Hebron destroyed (Jewish Virtual Library)

One third of the Jewish community of Hebron were murdered, including 24 yeshiva students and numerous Americans. Some Jews were saved by local Arabs who hid them in their houses. Nineteen Arab families saved dozens if not hundreds of Hebron’s Jews, the one shining light from a terrible day.

The event marked the end of a centuries old presence of the Jewish community in Hebron. After the attack, the British authorities evacuated the 484 survivors, including 153 children, to Jerusalem. Jews were unable to then return to Hebron, barred by the British authorities. Once Israel was established, the area was under Jordanian rule, keeping the city uninhabitable for Jews.

In 1967, Israel captured Hebron along with the rest of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) from Jordan. With the city under Israeli control, Jews started moving back, 38 years after the massacre. Today there are over 500 Jews living in Hebron.

Jewish community returned to Hebron after the 1967 Six Day War (Jewish Community of Hebron)

The Hebron Massacre was a significant moment in the history of Zionism. The Massacre signified the need of Jews in Palestine to have a force to protect them, and therefore the event led to the re-organization of the Haganah, which later became the Israel Defense Forces.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern. 

Fifty Years Ago, Jews Returned to the Golan Heights

Fifty years ago today on July 14, 1967, Jews returned to the Golan Heights, building a town in the region.

Between 1948 and 1967 while the Golan Heights was under Syrian control, the Syrians used the region as a military stronghold, randomly sniping at Israeli citizens. Syria allowed the terrorist organization Fatah to operate in the region, carrying out attacks on Israelis and laying mines throughout the area. Syria was not using this region for the good of its people, but instead to terrorize Israel. In 1966, Israel requested that the United Nations denounce the Fatah attacks. In response, the Syrian ambassador said “It is not our duty to stop them, but to encourage and strengthen them.”

Four days after the Six Day War began on June 5, 1967, Israeli forces moved in on the Syrian military in the Golan. On June 10, 1967, one day after their arrival, Israel assumed complete control of the region. Israeli control of the strategic mountain region helped secure the Jewish state from the Syrian threat. Syria tried to recapture the region six years later in the Yom Kippur War but failed. After the war, Syria signed a disengagement agreement that left the Golan Heights in Israel’s control.

On December 14, 1981, the Knesset voted to extend civilian law to the Golan Heights which was previously under military authority since 1967. Syria has abided by the ceasefire agreement with Israel mainly because of the proximity of Israeli artillery to Damascus, but Syria continues to fund and harbor terrorist organizations that carry out attacks on Israel from Lebanon and other areas.

Despite the history, the international community still views this region as an “occupied territory.” For some, this stems from anti-Semitism that disregards the facts and Syria’s use of the region’s high ground to attack Israel.  

Today, there are around 17,000 Druze residents and 14,000 Jewish residents in the Golan heights. Israel invests heavily in upgrading electric and water infrastructure that was left in disrepair by successive Syrian leaders. All residents enjoy freedom of religion, the right to fair trials and to run for office, access to Israeli welfare, healthcare, and social security programs, and every other right available to citizens throughout Israel.

In fact, many of the 17,000 Druze are relieved they now live in Israel rather than Syria, especially because of the Syrian Civil War. Many maintain their Syrian ties, but so far around 30% have become Israeli citizens. The broad support for Israel among Golan Heights residents, especially the Druze majority, further bolsters Israel’s claim to the region.

The journey of the relationship between the Golan Heights and the Jewish people has come full circle. In 1891, Baron Edmonde de Rothschild purchased 20,000 acres of land from the Ottoman Empire. In 1942 the Syrian government illegally confiscated the land. In 1957 the deeds were transferred to the Jewish National Fund by Baron Edmonde’s son, Baron James de Rothschild, and from there they were transferred to the Land office of Israel. Today they are stored in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Archaeology shows clearly that Jewish ownership of land in the region dates back well before the 1890s, all the way to biblical times. It was promised to Abraham and later became part of the tribe of Menashe by Moses’s division of the Land. Many events and battles took place in and around the Golan and there are many famous sites such as the fortress of Gamla and the Jewish town of Qasrin. Ruins of around twenty-five synagogues have been discovered dating from after the destruction of the Temple; mosaic inscriptions depict peaceful and uninterrupted Jewish life in the Golan until the Middle Ages.

Today we celebrate the modern return of Jewish life to the region, but we also must remember that the Jewish history of the Golan Heights dates back millennia.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Jake Greenblatt

I am a Zionist.

CAMERA Fellow Leora Eisenberg.

I’m afraid to say it out loud sometimes because it’s become a bad word of late. I believe in Israel’s right to exist and its necessity. I put great faith in the Jewish right to self-determination and have a deep love for the State of Israel. This makes me a Zionist.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, the well-known political scientist and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein repeatedly equated Zionism with ethnic cleansing. He called Zionism a denial of historical truth and compared Zionist endeavors to Stalin’s.

But the Palestinian population in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories has increased eightfold since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. If the Palestinian population of the region has swelled since Israel’s conception, Zionism cannot possibly espouse ethnic cleansing.

Zionism, instead, is the Jewish movement for self-determination. The founders of the State of Israel were Zionists, but they did not enshrine rights for only one group of people. On the contrary, the Israeli Declaration of Independence states that Israel will “foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants [and] it will be based on freedom, justice and peace.” Israel has sometimes erred on its path, but the Zionism described in the nation’s founding document has nothing to do with the ethnic cleansing that Finkelstein mentioned.

In fact, many famous figures are proud to be Zionists, like Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel. He decried genocide — a form of ethnic cleansing itself — but was also unfaltering in his Zionism, finding no conflict between the two. Like Wiesel, I see no contradiction between Zionism and my values of human rights. I believe in Israel’s founding ideology, and like many others, see it as a movement of “freedom, justice and peace.”

In that vein, I realize that many, on campus and elsewhere, may disagree with my views. But instead of charging all Zionists with ethnic cleansing, I invite you to engage a Zionist in conversation. You will find that many of us are liberals, peacemakers, and warriors for human rights. Ask a proponent of the ideology why they continue to adhere to it. It may be that they find Israel’s existence necessary; it also may be, however, that they find Zionism good and just, even though Finkelstein might disagree.

Contributed by Princeton University CAMERA Fellow Leora Eisenberg.

Originally published at Princeton University campus paper The Daily Princetonian.

My Time at the CAMERA Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference

CAMERA Fellow Lindsey Cohen.

CAMERA Fellow Lindsey Cohen.

This summer, students from all over the world convened in Boston for CAMERA’s Sixth Annual Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference. They came from all over – from New York, Toronto, and California, to the United Kingdom, and Israel.  They came to learn how to defend Israel on campus and how to correct bias in the media, and to meet other CAMERA  Fellows and members of CAMERA-supported Israel groups.

I expected to leave with an understanding of the situation on campus and how students are fighting bias and lies about Israel. I got all of this and more: I left with the power of a network committed to truth and to  defending Israel.  Yes, the information was valuable, but more valuable still were the new connections I made with other students, all with their own perspectives and stories on Israel.

To read the full article, visit The Times of Israel.

Contributed by 2015-2016 CAMERA Fellow at Boston University, Lindsey Cohen.

CAMERA on Campus is now on Snapchat!

Playing a significant role in our daily lives, social media is of significant importance to Israel advocacy. CAMERA serves as an important source of informative and thorough articles and analyses of inaccurate reporting on the Middle East.

As a college-focused organization, CAMERA on Campus also promotes Israel through social media. Our Facebook page provides critical information and groundbreaking articles about Israel or Israel advocacy. CAMERA on Campus is on Twitter and Instagram as well.

Recently, CAMERA on Campus joined the Snapchat. At CAMERA’s annual Student Leadership and Advocacy Training Conference, CAMERA on Campus snapped some great – and hilarious – moments of students as they built up their Israel activism skills. While snaps disappear after 24 hours, the effects of the lessons and skills on the students will be long lasting.


Addressing rising anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on campuses is no simple feat. Israel activists need to strengthen their core understanding of Israel’s history and the Jewish people’s right to their land, and also need to stay updated with current events in Israel. We encourage students to advocate for Israel on social media. Lectures and events on Israel have profound effects on students, but a post on social media can be read by someone who had no prior interest in Israel and can be the beginning of their own Israel activism.

CAMERA on Campus continues to work tirelessly to defend Israel and advocate for her. Luckily for any aspiring Israel advocate, following CAMERA on Campus’s lead and joining in on Israel advocacy is now just a snap away.

Black Lives Matter in Israel

About a year ago, the world was captivated by the news of police brutality in Israel. A young Ethiopian-Israeli soldier, Damas Pakada was beaten by a policeman, and the world heard. Articles claimed that Israel is a racist state. Videos screamed that Israel cares little for black lives. Social media erupted with hatred of Israel and its racist society without bothering to examine the facts.

The fact is that there is racism in Israeli society. There is no easy way to get around that, and I would hate to sugarcoat the truth. That said, every single society in the world has racism — from the United States to France to Morocco — and to single Israel out for its problems is unfair, anti-Semitic and discriminatory.

The Ethiopian Jewish population in Israel consists of about 135,000, some 14,000 of whom were airlifted to Israel during Operation Solomon 25 years ago, when Israel carried out an operation to rescue Ethiopian Jews.  Since then, great progress has been made.

Also note that Operation Solomon was the first time in history where a Western country “imported” Africans to liberate them instead of enslaving them. 

Many hateful articles and videos seeking to delegitimize Israel focus exclusively on the negative — how more Ethiopian families live under the poverty line, work as unskilled laborers and do not receive university diplomas compared to the Israeli average. These publications neglect to mention, however, how much progress has been made.

Remember, also, how disproportionately these sites focus on Israeli problems, doing a huge disservice to other minority groups suffering around the world.

In twelve years, the percentage of Ethiopian students receiving a general matriculation diploma has gone up from 31% to 48%. For men, employment rates have risen from 62% to 73%; for women, from 37% to 69%. There have been several Ethiopian-Israeli members of the Knesset, an Ethiopian-Israeli Miss Israel, and Ethiopian-Israeli television presenters. Bringing a population from rural Africa, with no higher education and little modern technology, to a Western nation is no small feat — and to see such incredible results in just 25 years is remarkable.

Much of the media, however, chooses to only see the failures of the Israeli community to combat racism. When private Haredi educational institutions refused to take Ethiopian students, the Israeli government stopped funding them. When Damas Pakada was beaten, Police Chief Yochanan Danino established a special delegation to examine the Ethiopian community’s complaints and to find solutions to the problems. Yes — there is racism. But there is also a tremendous amount of action and hope.

What never ceases to astound me is the abundance of black student unions that are against Israel. While there is a natural tendency to oppose Israel in light of the police brutality case that came forward last year, participating students should also remember that Israel is constantly seeking to improve the status of its Ethiopian (and other African) citizens. In fact, the first non-Jewish Sudanese asylum seeker was just granted refugee status, and Ugandan converts to Judaism were also recently granted the right to come to Israel under the Right of Return.

Here is just one example of what Black Student Unions write against Israel: “10,000s of African Jews migrate to Israel to escape the Christian and Islamic persecution of their fellow Africans. But when they arrive in Israel, the Zionists and Israeli residents harass the immigrants physically and mentally, the same as the continent they left.” (Black Student Union at South Oregon University)

As previously stated, huge progress has been made. Ethiopian-Israelis have certainly experienced challenges in Israel, but over the course of 25 years, have made huge strides. Contrast that with the embarrassingly long time that it took for the United States to grant African-Americans equal rights. African-Americans were only granted the right to vote in 1965, 189 years after the country’s founding.

We must stand with Israel in its quest to become a state that enshrines equal rights for all. It has a long way still to go in its fight for Ethiopian-Israeli rights, but its progress is undeniable. Black student unions, as well as all those concerned with minority rights, should support Israel in its long-standing battle against racism and its undeniable strides in the direction of equality for its Ethiopian citizens.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Princeton University Leora Eisenberg.