Jewish Federations mount campaign against Berkeley divestment measure as ‘alienating and hateful’

Israel/Palestine
on 35 Comments

Connor Landgraf, a bioengineering major at Berkeley who hails from northern California, is now at the center of the divestment struggle at the University of California. Landgraf is the president of the school’s student government; and the Israel lobby is urging its legions to petition him to veto a divestment measure passed last week.

Connor Landgraf
Connor Landgraf

You may recall that last Thursday the Berkeley student senate voted, by 11-9, to call on the University of California to divest from three companies that do business in the Israeli occupation.

Robert Birgineau, the chancellor of the University, has deprecated the bill with the sort of language that in the Vietnam era we would have called wishywashy– and then called for dialogue:

it is my personal opinion that targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence. Ultimately, we believe that engaging in dialogue on these difficult issues is the best hope that we have for achieving peace.

Meantime, the lobby has thrown itself into the case. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has been emailing its friends urging them to write Landgraf to get him to veto the measure. The last time divestment passed in 2010, that is what befell it: the student government president vetoed the measure.

Here is Connor Landgraf’s page. His email is [email protected]

The campaign is being co-sponsored by the largest Jewish charitable organization in the U.S., the Jewish Federations (which represents 154 Jewish Federations and over 300 “network communities”– the official Jewish community). The Federation/JCPA appeal praises efforts by “Jewish faculty” to block divestment. And it describes divestment, which seeks to delegitimize the settlement enterprise, “alienating and hateful”:

On Thursday, April 18 the Associated Students (ASUC) at UC Berkeley passed SB160 calling on the ASUC and the UC Regents to divest from three companies doing business with Israel. We and the JCRC [Jewish Community Relations Council] of San Francisco, the Peninusla, Marin, Sonomoa, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties are proud of the dozens of pro-Israel students, Jewish faculty members and Hillel for their tremendous efforts that fell just short. The President of the UC Berkeley Student Body has until Wednesday, April 24 to veto this one-sided and harmful bill.

What can YOU do? Email President Connor Landgraf TODAY calling on him to veto the bill.

We only have a small window of opportunity to urge him to veto the bill, so now is the time to act and spread the word – we cannot be complacent! Let President Landgraf know that the passage of Bill SB160 is alienating and hateful. Feel free to share any personal connection you may have to Cal, the Jewish community and Israel. Please refrain from using any incendiary or offensive language that may detract from this important cause.

Email President Connor Landgraf TODAY calling on him to veto the bill.

The lobby’s form letter to Landgraf includes this language. Notice the fear of BDS, and the demonization of BDS: 

Dear President Landgraf
 
I am writing to you today to encourage you to veto SB160.  This is a one sided and biased bill that is already being co-opted by the international BDS movement, whose sole aim is to delegitimize the state of Israel.  Your leadership and clear thinking is crucial at this critical time. 
 
Stand up for human rights for all the citizens of the world.  It is clear that this bill is using the guise of human rights to unfairly assign blame and tarnish the reputation of Israel, a world-leader in technology and innovation.
 
Veto SB160.
 

35 Responses

  1. seafoid
    April 23, 2013, 9:34 am

    “it is my personal opinion that targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence. ”

    It is such a pity Hannah Arendt is no longer with us. Essentially the bots are reduced to saying “we are no worse than Syria and if you try to point this out to us you are antisemitic”. It is a far cry from being a light unto the nations innit. I find it hard to believe G-d has anything to do with Israel.

    And coexistence means nothing to the bots.

    • Citizen
      April 23, 2013, 11:48 pm

      @ seafoid

      Would he say that about targeting the single nation or state of Iran? And Iran is not occupying anybody, or grabbing land, and has no war nukes and no record of any war except in defense. And Iran gets not mere BDS, but draconian economic sanctions.

  2. American
    April 23, 2013, 10:30 am

    ”It calls this effort to delegitimize the settlement enterprise “alienating and hateful”: ”

    The little zios sure do like the ‘hateful’ label. Israel oppresses people and steals their land and other people are the hateful ones for opposing it?
    How messed up is that.

    • MRW
      April 23, 2013, 1:46 pm

      American, OT (please, moderators). I’ve been meaning to chase you down to assure you that under no circumstances was I referring to you when I wrote this. I was referring to whomever you were writing about, and I was agreeing with you, albeit too briefly.
      link to mondoweiss.net
      Then I started traveling without my laptop, just my iPad with the forgotten-at-home charger and phone. But it’s been grinding on me and wanted to make sure you knew.

      • American
        April 23, 2013, 5:51 pm

        @MRW

        I didn’t think you were referring to me..thats why I didnt bother to reply.
        However feel free to call me an idiot when I am being an idiot without reprecussions….that’s my contract agreement with all my friends….LOL

  3. Shmuel
    April 23, 2013, 10:46 am

    What is “alienating and hateful” is the misrepresentation of SB160 as “calling on the ASUC and the UC Regents to divest from three companies doing business with Israel” or “using the guise of human rights to unfairly assign blame and tarnish the reputation of Israel”.

    What is “alienating and hateful” is the implication that being a “world leader in technology and innovation” somehow absolves Israel from moral and legal responsibility for its actions.

    What is “alienating and hateful” is that such a campaign in defence of human rights violations and crimes against humanity is conducted by Jewish communal institutions in the name of the entire Jewish community.

    • MRW
      April 23, 2013, 1:49 pm

      He surfaces. ;-)

      • Shmuel
        April 23, 2013, 3:57 pm

        He surfaces. ;-)

        Alternating periods of under- and over-employment will do that to a body. Now where was I …

      • Annie Robbins
        April 23, 2013, 4:55 pm

        where have you been shmeul? i was beginning to think you dumped us for good.

      • Shmuel
        April 23, 2013, 5:35 pm

        i was beginning to think you dumped us for good.

        Perish the thought.

  4. gingershot
    April 23, 2013, 11:25 am

    Being an Zionist is what is hateful – it’s a simple as that

  5. kalithea
    April 23, 2013, 12:26 pm

    Right now Israel is plugging a hole here and a hole there, but when the real downpour begins, it won’t know where to turn, because the BDS movement will be unstoppable.

    Inundate Israeli injustice and apartheid with BDS!

    • hophmi
      April 25, 2013, 2:25 pm

      “Right now Israel is plugging a hole here and a hole there, but when the real downpour begins, it won’t know where to turn, because the BDS movement will be unstoppable. ”

      American sympathy with Palestinians – 4%
      American sympathy with Israelis – 36%.

      Let me know when that downpour starts.

      • Donald
        April 26, 2013, 11:15 am

        “American sympathy with Palestinians – 4%
        American sympathy with Israelis – 36%.”

        What’s your source? Not that I have any reason to doubt it–the numbers seem plausible to me. But the reason they seem plausible is that I know what many Americans are like–ignorant and full of prejudice against Arabs and Muslims. Some of the ignorance is innocent, not the fault of the person at all. I mentioned a case of this in an earlier response–a good friend of mine, not my rightwing Christian Zionist friend, but a liberal Christian interested in social justice who once asked in all innocence “What’s all this about Israel’s right to exist?” She thought it was a funny-sounding phrase and had no idea why Palestinians might have any reason to question it. The Nakba is not a household word. There are, on the other hand, all sorts of pro-Israel cliches that many Americans have heard over and over again. That was some years ago, but I doubt it’s very different for the vast majority of Americans, most of whom do not follow this issue much and if they do, they often parrot what they hear in the press. Someone in my family the other day said that the Israelis knew what the people of Boston were going through–again, a cliche that pops up every time there’s a terrorist attack on Americans, but of course only a minority of Americans know anything about what Israel did to the Gazans or what it is like to live on the West Bank.

        It seems to me that a genuinely concerned supporter of the 2SS would be appalled by the one-sided support given by the US to Israel, and if there is this lack of sympathy for Palestinians then in the long run that’s going to be bad for both sides, unless you support the status quo and think it is sustainable and don’t care about Palestinian human rights. So are you gloating about those poll stats you cite, or do you see the problem here?

      • Citizen
        April 26, 2013, 1:13 pm

        @ hophmi
        If memory serves, those same polls show:

        Americans also believe US should treat Israelis and Palestinians in a balanced way, without favoritism: 100%

  6. David Doppler
    April 23, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Conflation and nuance: two extremes that can be put to perpetual use to obfuscate. Anyone speaking on a subject who is viewed as an “undesirable” speaker can be “nuanced” to death, attacked as incompetent and unqualified for failure to appreciate nuances and refinements that can fill pages and volumes, the recitation of which not only works to destroy the credibility of the speaker, but postpones further discussion of the main issue.

    Disconcertingly, in the middle of endless discussion and debate on nuance and refinements of nuances, a gross conflation can be stated as if it were an unarguable, obvious fact, to which the group of “nuancers” offers no objection, and the “undesirables,” discredited and licking their wounds, are hesitant to say, “wait a minute.” A very tiresome mendacity, which needs a word or phrase to describe it. Perhaps, “the old nuance/conflation whipsaw.”

    Attacking SB160 as “hateful” in calling for divestment from companies doing business with Israel, when it focuses on companies doing business in Israel’s settlement program in occupied territory, is just such a conflation. Just like objecting to Israel’s policies toward Palestinians (or hesitating to bomb Iran) is equated with denying Israel’s right to exist.

  7. MRW
    April 23, 2013, 1:30 pm

    Mr. Landgraf needs to get in touch with Jeffrey Blankfort who has been through an onslaught like this and can help him. Mr. Landgraf, if you’re reading this, contact Phil Weiss for his email address.

  8. American
    April 23, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I saw an interesting program recently on “abuse”..where the statitics said that 6 out of 10 people who are seriously abused will become abusers themselves.
    This might explain some 1940’s Jewish refugees/survivors revenge /attitudes or abuse of others.
    But the experts also said that abuse isn’t ‘transferable’…as in someone close to the abused/now abuser..won’t adopt that abusing trait unless it is deliberately fostered in them.
    It is obvious in Israel/zionism that this abused/now turned abuser is a syndrome being passed down in next generations.
    I see no actual way to stop it because any assault on this syndrome will be seen as another ‘abuse’ by those in this syndrome.

    • seafoid
      April 23, 2013, 4:27 pm

      There is something about the communal Zionist memory that has all the hallmarks of brainwashing, especially when it comes to the Mizrahim

      link to nybooks.com

      “Freud was fascinated by the slippages and errors of memory that occur in the course of daily life, and their relation to emotion, especially unconscious emotion; but he was also forced to consider the much grosser distortions of memory that some of his patients showed, especially when they gave him accounts of having been sexually seduced or abused in childhood. He at first took all these accounts literally, but eventually, when there seemed little evidence or plausibility in several cases, he started to wonder whether such recollections had been distorted by fantasy, and whether some, indeed, might be total fabulations, constructed unconsciously, but so convincingly that the patients themselves believed in them absolutely. The stories that patients told, and had told to themselves, could have a very powerful effect on their lives, and it seemed to Freud that their psychological reality might be the same whether they came from actual experience or from fantasy.

      In our present age, descriptions and accusations of childhood abuse have reached almost epidemic proportions. Much is made of so-called recovered memories—memories of experiences so traumatic as to be defensively repressed, and then, with therapy, released from repression. Particularly dark and fantastic forms of this include descriptions of satanic rituals of one sort and another, accompanied often by coercive sexual practices. Lives, and families, have been ruined by such accusations. But it has been shown, in at least some cases, that such descriptions can be insinuated or planted by others. The frequent combination, here, of a suggestible witness (often a child) with an authority figure (perhaps a therapist, a teacher, a social worker, or an investigator) can be particularly powerful.

      From the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials to the Soviet trials of the 1930s and Abu Ghraib, varieties of “extreme interrogation,” or outright physical and mental torture, have been used to extract political or religious “confessions.” While such interrogation may be intended to extract information in the first place, its deeper intentions may be to brainwash, to effect a genuine change of mind, to fill it with implanted, self-inculpatory memories, and in this it may be frighteningly successful.”

      And the Mizrahim were of course forcibly separated from most of their culture.

    • Citizen
      April 23, 2013, 11:52 pm

      @ American
      He who shall go nameless here coined a phrase for said syndrome: PTSS, pre-traumatic stress syndrome.

  9. Don
    April 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

    “the sort of language that in the Vietnam era we would have called wishywashy”

    Wishy Washy? This? “targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence”

    Phillip…you are much too kind. These are Olympic Gold Medal winning Weasel Words. So much so…I find them pretty amusing…if it were up to me…and lucky for Robert Birgineau it is not up to me…the good chancellor would have to spend some time in a Siberian VRC*

    VRC = vocabulary reeducation camp

  10. American
    April 23, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Stand up for human rights for all the citizens of the world. It is clear that this bill is using the guise of human rights to unfairly assign blame and tarnish the reputation of Israel, a world-leader in technology and innovation”

    gawd,rofl!….thats too funny…..simpleton minds and pure dumbness abounds in zionism…..who above the age of six would link those two unrelated things in a plea?

    • hophmi
      April 25, 2013, 2:24 pm

      “Stand up for human rights for all the citizens of the world.”

      Does this bill do that? Have you called on Muslim students to support bills divesting from any country that does not practice gender equality? Any money in Saudi oil companies in that portfolio?

      • American
        April 26, 2013, 10:16 am

        @ hoppie

        We arent talking about Saudi–we’re talking about you. What Saudi does has nothing to do with what Isr does.

      • hophmi
        April 26, 2013, 10:47 am

        “We arent talking about Saudi–we’re talking about you. What Saudi does has nothing to do with what Isr does.”

        Really, me personally?

        The bill’s proponents said a vote for the bill is a vote for human rights for all citizens of the world. It does not do that. It’s a vote for a pet leftist/MSU issue, and that’s all. If we’re voting for human rights, there are a lot of other places to start with a lot more potential campus impact, like, say, divesting the school from Chinese clothing made in sweatshops.

      • K Renner
        April 26, 2013, 3:26 pm

        When in doubt, complain about the “Arabs” or “Muslims”.

        Sadly for you, there’s no one fixed way of thinking that “Muslims” have on the subject of gender equality, and in the Islamic countries, there are many, many people in favour of equal rights for everyone.

        Whereas in the Green Line and outside of it, the vast majority of the Jews living there seem to have no problem with the social inequality facing Palestinians or the fact that they are harassed and murdered with impunity.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    April 23, 2013, 3:45 pm

    RE: “[I]t is my personal opinion that targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence. Ultimately, we believe that engaging in dialogue on these difficult issues is the best hope that we have for achieving peace.” ~ Robert Birgineau

    MY COMMENT: Birgineau appears to be a “two state faker”* hiding behind a call for “constructive engagement”!

    * SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman, truth-out.org, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to truth-out.org

    ** SEE: “South Africa: Why Constructive Engagement Failed”, By Sanford J. Ungar and Peter Vale, foreignaffairs.com, Winter 1985/86

    Article Summary
    Ronald Reagan’s imposition of limited economic sanctions against the South African regime in September was a tacit admission that his policy of “constructive engagement”–encouraging change in the apartheid system through a quiet dialogue with that country’s white minority leaders–had failed. Having been offered many carrots by the United States over a period of four-and-a-half years as incentives to institute meaningful reforms, the South African authorities had simply made a carrot stew and eaten it. Under the combined pressures of the seemingly cataclysmic events in South Africa since September 1984 and the dramatic surge of anti-apartheid protest and political activism in the United States, the Reagan Administration was finally embarrassed into brandishing some small sticks as an element of American policy.
    [We're sorry, but Foreign Affairs does not have the copyright to display this article online.]

    SOURCE – link to foreignaffairs.com

  12. Abdul-Rahman
    April 23, 2013, 3:51 pm

    “a world-leader in technology and innovation.” This old propaganda nonsense by the hasbara crowd!!

    Not only is much of what they claim simply false to start with (like their absolutely laughably incorrect/LUDICROUS claims such as declaring that Israel allegedly “invented” the cell phone which is actually credited to American Martin Cooper; or claiming Israel “invented” cherry tomatoes when cherry tomatoes go back as far as Aztec Mexico in the 15th century CE!) but there is also an immediate response to these pathetic hasbara claims anyway (again putting aside the simple falsehood of much of what these Zionist propagandists claim to start with)

    link to listverse.com “Top 10 Things The Nazis Got Right”

    Do all the inventions and technology that came out of Nazi Germany link to schoolhistory.co.uk (see post #3 in particular) somehow supposedly “exonerate” the Nazis of their crimes as well??! Something tells me the Zionist propagandists in question here, would respond NO very forcefully to that!

    • hophmi
      April 25, 2013, 2:23 pm

      ““a world-leader in technology and innovation.” This old propaganda nonsense by the hasbara crowd!!”

      Well, it’s not really propaganda. Israel has more tech start-ups per capita than anywhere else, so I’d say it’s the plain truth.

      It is also a good hasbara point because, well, the rest of region contributes little innovation and technology to the rest of the world. Part of the reason is that Israel is an open, free society, and the rest of the region is pretty closed.

      “like their absolutely laughably incorrect/LUDICROUS claims such as declaring that Israel allegedly “invented” the cell phone”

      I don’t remember reading that claim. I do remember seeing the claim that some of the technology behind the cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which is, of course, true.

      The Tomacchio was developed in Israel. I don’t recall anyone claiming otherwise.
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      If you want to look like a fool and argue that Israel isn’t a technologically advanced country, go right ahead.

      • K Renner
        April 26, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Of course you’d claim the reason is that “Jews are more civilized/more intelligent then Arabs” and not because Israel was the only country in the region not messed with by outside influence, or invaded, or bombed, or held under thrall by pro American or pro Soviet autocrats.

        There is also the issue of all the blood money pouring in from Europe and the campaigns by pathetic western leaders to increase economic cooperation with the “state”.

  13. Les
    April 23, 2013, 3:59 pm

    Odd isn’t it that Jewish Federation does not regard Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in the name of Judaism as ‘alienating and hateful’ to their members.

  14. RoHa
    April 23, 2013, 8:16 pm

    “alienating and hateful.”

    Who is going to be alienated? Who is hated?
    The pro-Israel students and faculty members?
    Well, tough.
    It’s the life they chose.

  15. Pamela Olson
    April 23, 2013, 11:28 pm

    “It is clear that this bill is using the guise of human rights to unfairly assign blame and tarnish the reputation of Israel, a world-leader in technology and innovation.”

    Now somebody’s just vomiting random unrelated talking points…

    • pabelmont
      April 26, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Makes you wonder if the guys who write that stuff are thinking, moralizing beings (in which case their thinking and moralizing are really dismal), or if they are mind-dead frightened automatons (who feel, no thinking to it at all, “Oh my God, the Nazis are coming, the Nazis are coming, to take me out of my soft featherbed here in America and fling me into eternal fire if Israel be not first saved”). For example, can you see this bozo calling for an end to sanctions against Iran on the grounds that Iran is a world-leader in technology and innovation? Or praising Hitler for figuring out, so very, very technologically and innovatively, how to produce and then to get rid of lots of dead (Jewish) bodies? No, confess it, you cannot imagine him doing it, and either can I.

      Anyway, the prize for real technology and innovation goes to the Palestinian who long ago first figured out how to get the mamoul out of the mamoul mold.

  16. Citizen
    April 24, 2013, 6:20 am

    On a general note on BDS v anti-BDS, the billboard wars have come to Ireland: link to electronicintifada.net

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