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Efforts to suppress Palestinian activism on US campuses won’t work

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What do you do if you are a committed American supporter of Israel and find that everywhere you look campaigns for Palestinian rights are gaining ground? You could, as a number have done, use whatever resources and platforms you possess to try to persuade Israel to change course and negotiate a settlement with the Palestinians that is at least relatively just and practical. Along these lines you could vigorously encourage American efforts to impose on Israel a two state solution. Alternatively you could double down on repeating various Israeli talking points—villa in the jungle, children as human shields, America’s best friend, what about Tibet and Darfur? Or you could escalate  your financing of American politicians who will do Israel’s bidding automatically, and pray that Palestinian activism somehow runs its course like a bad fever.

But there is fourth, more innovative and indeed daring alternative, which was analyzed at a fascinating Institute for Palestine Studies forum held last Friday at the SEIU conference center near Washington’s Du Pont Circle: initiate active measures to suppress Palestinian activism. This tactic is bold because it seems obvious that in most respects, it comes into direct conflict with the First Amendment, and thus is based on the premise that forced to choose between Israel and the American Constitution, Americans will choose Israel.

I believe this premise is almost certainly incorrect, and that the activism suppression movement will eventually be seen as a wild and desperate overreach. But before that, there will be a long and grinding political fight: the suppression movement has had some successes, and Palestine activists need lawyers to defend themselves and journalists  to expose these activities for what they are.

Dima Khalidi

Dima Khalidi

For me the heart of Friday’s event was the elucidation—by Dima Khalidi of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support—  of the numerous avenues  pro-Israel groups have opened up in attempts to hinder, entangle or actually suppress activists who advocate for Palestinian rights on American college campuses. It is here of course, in the battle  for the sympathies of educated young Americans, where Israel has lost the most ground in the past fifteen years.  Khalidi’s group provides legal advice to activists, and finds attorneys for individuals and student groups which need them. In the past year her organization fielded a staggering 215 requests for legal assistance – from matters as relatively minor as a student group being barred from holding an event and as grave as activists facing criminal prosecution. While most cases fall in the harassment category,  their volume points to a coordinated effort to target and harass pro-Palestinian young people.  Khalidi provided several examples: pro-Palestinian campus  groups being unable to reserve spaces to hold meetings, or being forbidden to publicize an event until it receives official approval, (which is not forthcoming until the last minute)  or being told that because the views presented at their events are controversial, they have to pay fees for additional “security”.  Occasionally widely-ignored campus regulations  – such as one prohibiting distribution of flyers in dormitories –are  resurrected and treated as terribly important when they can be used as a basis to punish pro-Palestinian students. One such case involved students who leafleted dorm rooms with mock eviction notices – representative  of the very real evictions that Israel regularly gives Palestinian homeowners whose property Israel desires or finds inconvenient.  Palestinian students are regularly accused by Zionist ones of supporting or raising money for Hamas—and though of course such charges are typically baseless, they serve their purpose if they catalyze formal federal investigations, chilling to anyone, much less a college student.

Then there is the unintentionally comic tactic: an eruption of complaints by pro-Israel students that pro-Palestine banners and street theater make them feel “unsafe.”  Thus a banner at Barnard College, calling for an end to the occupation and  portraying a map of whole Palestine, implying support of a non-religious state—was removed by administrators because some Barnard women allegedly felt menaced. More amusing still was the complaint of a young pro-Israel woman from the University of California at Berkeley who claimed in a lawsuit that she felt threatened and intimidated by a mock checkpoint, the kind of thing where students go through the motions of asking passers  their religion and demanding to search them. It  was of course transparently obvious that the “soldiers” manning the checkpoint were students playacting as Israelis.  Was this young woman who filed the suit, a Berkeley alumna no less, genuinely, as she claimed, “terrified for weeks” by the experience?  What a delicate flower she must be!  Other Zionists have likened make-believe checkpoints to passion plays of medieval Europe.  One can contemplate that if a make believe checkpoint on a University quad has such an impact, what must it be like for Palestinians who are subjected to the real thing, manned by young Israelis with real guns,  every day of their lives.

Another case was the Hillel complaint at Berkeley when pro-Palestinian students signed up to register at its Birthright Table. Of course a campus regulation was found to accommodate Hillel—the Students for Justice in Palestine had failed to register their demonstration fourteen days in advance. (And the nerve of kids whose parents or grandparents were, in many cases, ethnically cleansed from Palestine, trying to claim  that they have as much right to a Birthright trip as American Jews.)

Yet after all this, one gets the impression that the wave of campus activism is essentially irrepressible. Yes, groups like Students for Justice in Palestine constantly face petty harassment, and in many cases college administrators, scared themselves, will bend campus regulations to favor  Zionist groups.  But in many cases they won’t.  And on campus the activism has reached a critical mass, and thus has passed  the point where Israel’s insistence on no equal rights for Palestinians in what used to be Palestine has begun to sound kind of un-American.  There are now thousands of politicized Palestinian American kids on American campuses, and perhaps nearly equal number of American Jews who find Israel a racist embarrassment.  Beyond these two core groups, are more students going to empathize with the side that is bombing and bulldozing houses and enforcing the checkpoints, or the victims? Twenty years ago, before there were a significant number of organized, visible and thoroughly-Americanized Palestinian kids on campuses, the Zionist narrative pushed aggressively by a relatively small number of students was  unchallenged and could prevail by default. That era is gone  forever.  The new means used to suppress Palestinian campus activism surely makes things more difficult, but my sense is that these difficulties might be viewed by many young men and women as a worthwhile challenge. The petty regulations administrators used to harass pro-Palestinian groups have an echo: perhaps not so obvious  as the regulations deployed by the storied racist voting registrar of Missisippi in 1960’s, but they nonetheless convey the sense of a tilted playing field. Meanwhile the torrent of complaints by Zionist students that campus protests make them “feel unsafe” may arouse some college administrators with nanny state attitudes or extreme readiness to cater to the desires of some major university donors.  But won’t these claims simply be laughed out of court?    You don’t need to have gone to college in the sixties (though many did) to realize that campus politicking can be tough and challenging. Former Mayor Bloomberg (actually a major supporter of Israel) brought an instant halt to New York politicians whining about a pro-BDS event at Brooklyn College by saying, look, we don’t live in North Korea here. I would wager that the “this makes me feel unsafe” tactic will get enough well-deserved derision that  its proponents will be forced to drop it.

The above is my opinion, but at the forum Dima Khalidi was similarly, if more guardedly, optimistic.  After cataloging instance after instance of efforts to suppress pro-Palestinian activism, she came to this conclusion: “While the effect of all this is damaging and chilling, it is not working that well. A lot of these efforts are failing, because of the First Amendment, and because people refuse to be intimidated.”

I think she’s right, and I also think that to the degree pro-Zionist organizations resort to tactics transparently opposed to the spirit of the First Amendment, they will embarrass and eventually marginalize themselves.  None of this to say that the burdens and stress these tactics put on Palestinian groups are not considerable. The various legal groups working to defend political speech desperately need more attorneys, more resources. But in the American context, they hold the winning cards.

I’ve given short shrift to other important parts of the forum, including efforts to target Mideast studies departments which receive Title VI funding, using the argument that the departments are not “balanced” because their course offerings are too critical of Israel; legislative efforts are afoot to compel the Department of Education to defund academic departments which don’t toe the line. Yet at a  moment when the United States shows no sign of not being inextricably involved with the Mideast for years to come, it’s hard to believe that that even the Congress will agree to sever America from its main sources of academic and linguistic and cultural knowledge about the region on Israel’s say so.

There was also a presentation on the selective prosecution of individuals—especially the case of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman now being prosecuted on a visa violation which is at once revelatory and mysterious.  The mystery to me, and to the panelists, is who decided to prosecute this case and why. The case’s pettiness (Odeh failed to state her past imprisonment in Israel forty years on a visa application) is breathtaking.

But so long as Palestinian activists –on campus and outside—know their rights and can access attorneys to advise and defend them, their ascent will continue. As Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi stated in his introduction to the forum, those who oppose Palestinian equal rights do not have an easy time making their case in America when the story is fully debated. Few want to identify as advocates of colonization, or supporters of the house demolitions and checkpoints and unequal rights which are the foundation of the Israeli occupation.  Defenders of the status quo have run out of persuasive arguments; their resort to debate suppression can mean nothing else.  America has many flaws, but respect for the First Amendment is deeply embedded in its political culture.  The Israel lobby has chosen a tactic which will profoundly discredit it.

Scott McConnell

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of the American Conservative. The former editorial page editor of The New York Post, he has written for Fortune, The New Criterion, National Review, Commentary and many other publications.

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78 Responses

  1. John O on November 25, 2014, 1:21 pm

    I have this (scientifically untested) theory – that the worst atrocities are committed by retreating armies. Scorched earth, etc.

  2. bilal a on November 25, 2014, 1:59 pm

    a christian conservative on mondoweiss.

    must feel like a lunch counter sit-in in greensboro.

    • Krauss on November 27, 2014, 3:02 am

      I don’t believe in territorial pissing. I don’t agree with Ron Paul on basically everything except on foreign policy and when there are issues where two strands of each base can come together; we should come together on that basis.

      On some issues, foreign policy, wall street banksterism, the two party establishments have a much more solidified world view in common than they do with the respective base of their own party.

      You should keep up with the times, man.

  3. seafoid on November 25, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Zionism flourished for 2 generations post nakba because of many factors including white guilt over ww2 but also because Palestinian society was still traumatised by the nakba.
    And now it’s 3-4th generation and the kids are as good as if not better than their Bot opponents (in large part because they aren’t lashed to a dud set of memes)

    So tough titty, Zionism. you had your chance and you fluffed it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU02tyBAp4A

    • just on November 25, 2014, 2:50 pm

      Agreed. That poem shook me to my core~ Rafeef, another great and gifted Palestinian in the greatest tradition of great Palestinians. Teaching Life. Thank you for sharing this with me, seafoid.

      Israel has had a hasbara campaign for a long time now… they pay students to spread pro- Israel propaganda and talking points. There was a great article in Haaretz earlier this year about plans/methodology/training for the upcoming academic year on US campuses. (I can’t find it in my bookmarks!)

      The Palestinian activists are not paid, afaik. They have something much more valuable/precious, though. Truth. A heaping helping of a dedication to justice and freedom boosts them and their cause, as well.

      They will prevail.

      Thanks, Scott.

      • seafoid on November 25, 2014, 3:27 pm

        They pay people to spread hasbara but it doesn’t work any more, Just.
        It didn’t work when it really counted, this August.
        Israel has zro respect for human dignity and Zionists can’t defend that competently .
        What makes perfect sense in Hebrew comes dripping with cruelty in English, French, Spanish etc

    • pabelmont on November 25, 2014, 3:12 pm

      seafoid: I cannot hear that poem about life (and what a life!) without shaking. Thanks so much for bringing it back again.

  4. pabelmont on November 25, 2014, 3:00 pm

    I’m so glad that there is a coordinated legal defense. This means, inter alia, that there is a coordinated LIST of where the same tactics have been used.

    However, as to: “unintentionally comic tactic: an eruption of complaints by pro-Israel students that pro-Palestine banners and street theater make them feel “unsafe.” ”

    Comic? To us, perhaps, but so far it seems to work. And what needs to be done is to challenge these folks to explain exactly how they feel unsafe. Get them to expand, to talk. (And look for directions from Brand Israel suggesting this “unsafe” ploy.) Are they physically attacked? Menaced? Are bad words said to them? What words? etc. How does it measure up to the feelings of Muslims under attack by Islamophobes? And ask university administrators wheter they typically demand evidence to back up complaints of unsafeness or whether the mere “feeling” sufficies.

    And ask if Palestinian students can make a claim to “feel” “unsafe” due to the presence of vocal Zionists on campus.

    • RoHa on November 25, 2014, 6:29 pm

      Exactly. They should be asked what exactly it is that makes them, as Americans in America, feel unsafe, why it makes them feel unsafe, and why they think their fear and trembling is more important than freedom of speech for Americans or freedom of any sort for Palestinians.

      • Horizontal on November 25, 2014, 7:57 pm

        Wonderful.

        Fake checkpoint = Couldn’t sleep for weeks.

        Real checkpoint = Can sleep like a baby.

        Something’s wrong here.

  5. DoubleStandard on November 25, 2014, 4:44 pm

    The choice ain’t gonna be between Zionism and the Constitution; it’s going to be between Islam and the US Constitution.

    Everywhere where Palestinian “solidarity” rears its ugly head, support for terrorism and anti-Semitism isn’t far behind.

    • just on November 25, 2014, 7:14 pm

      Total bs.

      Hate speech, too. Hyperbole much, DS? You sound quite fearful, and definitely fear mongering.

      • DoubleStandard on November 26, 2014, 6:45 am

        Fear mongering? So saying zionism is going to be the end of free speech is thoughtful analysis, but saying Islam is is just fear mongering? You’re living in a fantasy land, ie Europe.

      • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:27 pm

        “So saying zionism is going to be the end of free speech is thoughtful analysis, but saying Islam

        One (Muslim) is a religion, the other (Zionism) is an ideology. Big difference.
        You should have called yourself Macintosh-Tangerine.

    • lonely rico on November 25, 2014, 7:54 pm

      Mr. DoubleStandard
      The choice ain’t gonna be between Zionism and the Constitution
      Right, and it’s good of you to mention it – because the choice IS between Zionism and JUSTICE in Palestine.
      Easy to remember. Please try not to forget it.

    • Horizontal on November 25, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Please define terrorism and anti-Semitism for us, please. It should provide hours of merriment.

      • DoubleStandard on November 26, 2014, 12:41 am

        Islam is a religion not a race. Intolerance of it is no less acceptable than dislike of communism.

      • Horizontal on November 26, 2014, 11:28 am

        Nothing you’ve said justifies Zionism.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:25 am

        “Islam is a religion not a race. Intolerance of it is no less acceptable than dislike of communism.”

        “Islam is a religion!” Okay, you’re going good now! Oh, whoops, “communism” is an ideology! BZZZZT!!!! You did it again.

        Oh, BTW, MacintoshTangerine, “communism” means a lot of different things to different people, no matter what Marx or Engels said. Do you think maybe “Islam” being a religion, means a whole lot of different things to different people?

        Of course, when you come from a centralized, authoritarian, hierarchical religion like Judaism, with a unified theology, practices and customs (and costumes, “proper attire”) world-wide, something like that diversity might be hard to conceive of.

    • ziusudra on November 27, 2014, 4:28 am

      Greetings DoubleStandard,
      …Paestinian solidarity= support for terrorism…..
      The Israelis are living high on de hog. Pal. terrorism doesn’t touch anyone in Zionistan.
      Psst, what’s goin’ to happen to the Israelis when the 500k illegals in Jerusalem lose their stolen priveleges?
      …Islam & the Constitution…..
      Bubala, when did you last read your Talmud & Mitzvot? Its contents are even against an Israeli State. The Seculars & Zionists don’t want them. You should have taken the great Moses Mendelssohn seriously.
      ziusudra

  6. seafoid on November 25, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Pandora’s Box should really be translated into Hebrew

    • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:27 am

      “Pandora’s Box should really be translated into Hebrew”

      Closest thing they’ve got is the Burning Bush.

  7. just on November 25, 2014, 4:57 pm

    “The Jewish campus life organization Hillel came under fire in the Knesset on Monday from an unlikely direction: the Israeli right.

    MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) expressed deep concern that representatives of what she termed “post-Zionist groups” had been invited to addresses students at Hillel functions held on campuses around the United States, where they were influencing student opinion.

    “I have heard testimonies that the BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanction] movement and the New Israel Fund have infiltrated some campuses, and this is happening under the supervision of Hillel and with the funding of Hillel,” Shaked told a session of the Knesset Committee for Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, which met to discuss growing anti-Israel sentiment on American college campuses. Participating in the session were Eric Fingerhut, the president of Hillel International, representative of the Israeli Hillel organization and students active in Israel advocacy groups.

    The participants at the Knesset session were shown excerpts from a new documentary that accuses Hillel, the largest Jewish campus life organization in the world, of providing a platform to groups that it claims demonize and delegitimize Israel.

    “Many kids who grow up in pro-Israel homes end up joining anti-Israel movements as a result of their influence,” he charged. As a graduate student at Berkeley, Nestel served as chairman of the Israeli Students’ Organization in North America. He has spent the past few years making this film.

    According to Hillel guidelines, organizations that “delegitimize” and “demonize” Israel are banned from participating in functions it sponsors. Nestel claimed, however, that Hillel violates its own guidelines.

    MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) urged the Hillel director to be less “even-handed” and more “aggressively pro-active on Israel’s side.”

    Rebecca Caspi, director of the Israel office of the Jewish Federations of North America, noted that the number of anti-Israel incidents on American college campuses had increased “100 percent” this fall, as she praised the leaders of Hillel for promoting “a courageous discourse” about Israel.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.628271

    Some folks are shaking in their boots… heh.

    • seafoid on November 25, 2014, 5:03 pm

      Fruitcakes in Israel turning on Hillel and the ADL sniping at Netanyahu over the Jewish state law- sit back and get some popcorn in.

      • just on November 25, 2014, 6:25 pm

        Seriously! Should also get out the mulling spices…

      • Horizontal on November 25, 2014, 7:59 pm

        Isn’t this guy’s timing just glorious?

        +1 on the popcorn.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:31 am

        Mark my words, when a new, non-Zionist denomination of Judaism arises, it will be because the establishment kicked them out, not because they wanted to leave. They will not have that said of them, and it will be very effective.

    • RoHa on November 25, 2014, 6:34 pm

      “Many kids who grow up in pro-Israel homes end up joining anti-Israel movements as a result of their influence,”

      As a result of their experience in institutions of higher education, many young adults develop attitudes and opinions which differ from those of their parents.

      Shocking!

      The safest thing to do is to keep them out of those institutions, if you can.

      • eljay on November 25, 2014, 7:56 pm

        “Many kids who grow up in pro-Israel homes end up joining anti-Israel movements as a result of their influence,” he charged.

        Any influence that causes people to stop supporting supremacism – or any other form of injustice or immorality – is a good influence, I charge.

      • Rusty Pipes on November 25, 2014, 8:48 pm

        A strategy maintained by fundamentalist Christian parents for generations — protect the delicate minds of your children from critical thought by sending them to a private college that promotes your ideology. So what, if there’s a problem that its science classes can’t be accredited for pre-med students? Zionist parents can protect their children’s delicate sensibilities with a similar academic strategy!

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:34 am

        “A strategy maintained by fundamentalist Christian parents for generations — protect the delicate minds of your children from critical thought by sending them to a private college that promotes your ideology.”

        Oh, not that many generations. As I remember, the big turn toward “Christian” private schools came after the Civil Rights legislation, which started efforts toward public school desegregation.
        All of a sudden, lots of people got religion.

    • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:30 pm

      Oh, my freakin’ God eating a Popsicle, why doesn’t he just come out and say Hillel is a Zionist recruiting and propaganda outfit, wholly owned by the Israeli right! Yes, sir, American Jewish parents, just the place for your college kids.

  8. just on November 25, 2014, 5:07 pm

    “Leading Mideast studies group allows members to support BDS

    Israeli academics present at Middle East Studies Association’s AGM in Washington call the move unprecedented and a game changer.

    The Middle East Studies Association approved a proposal on Monday adopting the rights of its members to support an academic boycott and end cooperation with Israeli academic institutions.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.628227

  9. RoHa on November 25, 2014, 6:24 pm

    An excellent account of the methods being used to suppress activism on behalf of the Palestinians. (Though it needs an editor who understands commas.) Pro-Palestinian groups should study this to see if they can find ways to forestall the various moves that could be used against them.

  10. Horizontal on November 25, 2014, 8:12 pm

    Finally, a way forward . . .

    I read this article with a big, goofy smile on my face. Really.

    Seeing the desperation that Zionism exhibits in this article, crumbling in 20 directions because the usual BS isn’t working, all because of a bunch of young, brash, swashbuckling activists armed with nothing more than a couple of signs and a notion of the truth, is a tonic to the soul that can only be enjoyed and marveled at.

    Sooner than we think, that old Churchill quote may be relevant again:

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

  11. JWalters on November 25, 2014, 8:13 pm

    A very interesting and heartening article. The job of universities is to seek the truth and teach people to seek the truth. These students are performing a valuable service to humanity by defending this function. Conversely, the efforts to suppress facts and discussion, especially at universities, are efforts to push humanity back into the dark ages. Justice can only based on the truth.

    The Zionist story of Israel omits key historical facts highly relevant to the disagreements today. These omitted facts are given at
    http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

  12. JeffB on November 25, 2014, 11:37 pm

    What a facile analysis. Let’s assume the Jewish students don’t really believe what they are saying and then extrapolate …. OK sure. If widespread anti-Jewish demonstrations have no effect then sure the Jewish kid’s fears will be laughed at. But you are assuming that all the fear is completely in their heads. I can get why a McConnell might think that way since there never was much anti-Scottish activism in America, or anywhere else in the last 350 years since God Save the Queen had this verse:
    Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
    May by thy mighty aid,
    Victory bring.
    May he sedition hush,
    And like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush,
    God save the King.

    Jews however are still being regularly bombed so they take it less lightly.

    Mind you I don’t think the BDS escalation is going to happen. I think BDS has been about the same size for the last 10 years or so, and the same size as its predecessor movements before that. The last time anti-Jewish movements were really powerful in America was during the 1930s and 40s when Jews were an ascending minority and the minorities we were trailing behind (mainly Irish and Italians) hadn’t yet achieved their full political equality into the mainstream so were trying to keep their place by preventing Jewish acceptance into the mainstream.

    But let’s say I’m wrong and BDS style demonstrations do become common and Jews are still upset by them. I want you to think how a college administrator is going to respond when a paragraph like the below appears in Insider’s Guide to the Colleges or US News and World Report College rankings. “College X has a severe problem with ethnic tension. Anti-Israeli demonstrations are frequent with regular anti-Jewish sentiments being expressed. Jewish enrollment has plummeted. The remaining Jewish organizations have moved off campus for safety and most Jewish students and faculty stay away from isolated parts of the campus during these demonstrations and at night. While ethnic violence has been limited so far police report dozens of minor incidents per year….”

    That’s best case. Let’s make it worse. Newspaper article “Yesterday at college X a hand grenade was thrown into a popular bar where Jewish students congregate … 2 dead 13 injured in the worst on campus bombing…” Want to watch tuitions really fall off a cliff, ethnic tension will do it.

    When BDS moved to France there was violence When BDS moved to Sweden there was violence. If BDS takes root in USA campuses, an armed society mind you, and though I doubt it will, that’s the very least of what will happen.

    • annie on November 26, 2014, 12:37 pm

      . If BDS takes root in USA campuses

      earth to jeff, don’t you read the israeli press? bds has already taken root in US campuses and nothing in your fear mongering comment is happening and there’s no indication it will happen.

      widespread anti-Jewish demonstrations

      your argument is so weak you resort to these ridiculous hypothesis. even hillel admits they serve only about 1/2 the jewish kids on this one campus (as i recall from one of the articles). so BDS is not an anti jewish movement. you should try building your analysis based on reality, not some comic book fiction.

      • JeffB on November 26, 2014, 1:41 pm

        @Annie

        earth to jeff, don’t you read the israeli press? bds has already taken root in US campuses

        There are fringe groups doing low levels of demonstrations. There isn’t a widespread political movement in the USA. Most of the students are indifferent and at most campuses actively hostile to the idea. Which is not to say at some campuses there are some small wins for BDS but they don’t run deep and they so far they usually quickly get overturned with the groups burning out within a year or two.

        So no. Far from having taken root.

        uses and nothing in your fear mongering comment is happening

        Well yes. They haven’t yet taken root. That’s like saying none of the fallout from the elections of 2020 have impacted the USA yet.

        Even hillel admits they serve only about 1/2 the jewish kids on this one campus

        So what? I wasn’t active in Hillel when I went to college or graduate school. I don’t think there was a Hillel affiliated organization at my college, though there was some very light Jewish community support. That doesn’t mean had their been an active anti-Jewish movement on campus I wouldn’t have been harmed. The same way the NBGSA doesn’t serve a high percentage of black graduate students but racism still harms them.

      • annie on November 26, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Most of the students are indifferent and at most campuses actively hostile to the idea.

        dream on

        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.628271

        Rebecca Caspi, director of the Israel office of the Jewish Federations of North America, noted that the number of anti-Israel incidents on American college campuses had increased “100 percent” this fall, as she praised the leaders of Hillel for promoting “a courageous discourse” about Israel.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:40 am

        “That doesn’t mean had their been an active anti-Jewish movement on campus I wouldn’t have been harmed.”

        “Active anti-Jewish movement”? Where’s my dachshund? That’s his job, I’m too big to crawl down holes after weasels.

    • oldgeezer on November 26, 2014, 12:56 pm

      “Jews however are still being regularly bombed”

      No they aren’t. They may be targeted by civilians who they oppress, and murder, on a daily basis but they are not the victims in that situation. God forbid that someone fight back against their murderous onslaught.

      BDS is not an anti-jewish movement. It is aimed against the Israeli occupation. It targets businesses that profit from illegal activities which is the morally right thing to do. It targets businesses that profit from assisting in the performance of those illegal actions. It targets both of those groups of business regardless of the ethnicity of the ownership. It does not target businesses involved in those illegal activities and more particularly does not target Jewish owned businesses not involved in those illegal activities.

      In my opinion it should target all Israeli businesses, regardless of ethnicity of the ownership, and as well major enablers of the state regardless of the ehtnicity as the state of Israel is the supporter, facilitator and proponent of the illegal activities.

      In case I didn’t mention it the root is illegal activities.

      get over it.

      • JeffB on November 26, 2014, 1:51 pm

        @oldgeezer

        No they aren’t. They may be targeted by civilians who they oppress, and murder, on a daily basis but they are not the victims in that situation. God forbid that someone fight back against their murderous onslaught.

        You need to separate:

        a) Civilians are not being bombed
        b) Civilians are being bombed but you fully approve of the reasons they are being bombed.

        Those are not the same things. They in fact completely contradict one another. More of less everyone who gets bombed gets bombed for some “good reason” that some large group of people agree with. That you just happen to like anti-Jewish bombings doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

        BDS is not an anti-jewish movement. It is aimed against the Israeli occupation

        Anti-zionism has had little if any impact on Israel and arguably quite a bit of that has been positive for Israel. It has been successful in many countries in clearing out the domestic Jewish population. So saying it isn’t an anti-Jewish movement is ignoring a long standing proven track record in favor of hypotheticals which have never proven true.

        It targets businesses that profit from assisting in the performance of those illegal actions

        Not really. There is some level of annoyances for business that perform “illegal activities” but mostly the business move involved in assisting “illegal activities” are immune to grassroots boycotts they simply don’t sell products to general European / American consumers so they can’t be boycotted by them.

        It targets both of those groups of business regardless of the ethnicity of the ownership.

        White citizens councils targeted businesses that supported desegregation regardless of the ethnicity of their ownership as well. That doesn’t mean they weren’t anti black.

      • annie on November 27, 2014, 12:22 pm

        Even hillel admits they serve only about 1/2 the jewish kids on this one campus

        So what? I wasn’t active in Hillel when I went to college or graduate school.
        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/palestinian-activism-campuses/comment-page-1#comment-725792

        so what? the so what means this has nothing to do w/an “anti-Jewish “movement, something you refuse to acknowledge. your entire shpeel up there is prefaced around “anti-Jewish “. it’s completely irrelevant whether you were or were not active in hillel. what is relevant is the voice of movement and what they are saying and what they are opposing, something you evade and divert for your own safety to hide behind a crutch of victimhood or to shield those you which to defend w/the crutch of the anti semitism accusation and you do that by claiming your ideological opponents are against jews when the reality that lots of jewish kids are not zionistists and hillel, as a zionist organization, does not represent them.

        you wish it was anti jewish because then you could claim it’s a racist movement. that is a crutch. so your whole ‘let’s pretend there are “widespread anti-Jewish demonstrations” ‘ is a bunch of bull.

        You need to separate:

        a) Civilians are not being bombed
        b) Civilians are being bombed but you fully approve of the reasons they are being bombed.
        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/palestinian-activism-campuses/comment-page-1#comment-725792

        no, you need to separate:

        a) providing a source for your allegations
        b) doubling down on those allegations sans any evidence/source/argument and then claiming your opponent approves of that which you’ve not shown

        and quit spamming the threads with your illogical allegations and accusations.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:42 am

        “entire shpeel ”

        I love hearing the shpeeling of the bells on Christmas morning.

    • scott9854958 on November 26, 2014, 5:42 pm

      Let’s listen to Jeff and suspend the First Amendment because donations might take a hit.

    • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:33 pm

      “Jews however are still being regularly bombed so they take it less lightly.”

      Well, why don’t they go back where they came from?, That is, Israel. Remember, Israel, as agreed to by the Israeli government? Instead, they settle illegally on Palestinian land.

      • RoHa on November 27, 2014, 5:15 am

        “Jews however are still being regularly bombed”

        Where?

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:44 am

        “Where?”

        Come on over to Moosehall and we’ll get bombed.

      • Walid on November 28, 2014, 12:46 pm

        “Come on over to Moosehall and we’ll get bombed.”

        Are these like BPOE halls? Never been to a Moosehall. Must be more serious.

  13. ivri on November 26, 2014, 7:41 am

    This obsession with Israel will end up harming Palestinians (and Arab supporters) in the most inclusive country in the world where national origins of people didn`t matter. It will add the US to the huge range of countries today where they are already under duress, mainly in their home countries in the Middle-East and in Europe. It will set against them many of the US Jews and many others there that sympathize with Israel in its conflict or those that have sharp negative views on what they see goes on in the Arab world today and very much don`t want to see that imported to the US.

    • eljay on November 26, 2014, 12:06 pm

      >> ivreee: This obsession with Israel will end up harming …

      …non-Zionist Jews. Which is unfortunate, because they should not be made to bear any responsibility for the seemingly insatiable greed of, or the past and ON-GOING acts of injustice and immorality committed by, Zio-supremacists and the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel.

      That responsibility should fall fully and squarely on the shoulders of Zio-supremacists like you.

      • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:36 pm

        Wow, doesn’t ol’ “ivri” get tongue-tied and inarticulate when he tries to say something masquerading as liberal.

    • oldgeezer on November 26, 2014, 5:14 pm

      “This obsession with Israel will end up harming Palestinians (and Arab supporters) in the most inclusive country in the world where national origins of people didn`t matter. ”

      Your clearly principled concern for the Palestinian would be better spent in some place where it will actually benefit. Perhaps in removing the heel of Israeli boots from their throats might be a good starting point?

    • RoHa on November 27, 2014, 5:06 am

      “in the most inclusive country in the world where national origins of people didn`t matter. ”

      Do you mean Australia or New Zealand?

  14. American on November 26, 2014, 10:15 am

    Gaining, gaining….

    Landmark victory in North Carolina

    Thank Durham County for ending million dollar contract with occupation profiteer G4S

    [ http://org.salsalabs.com/o/301/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16798 ] _________________________________________

    Many of us were in the streets last night: protesting the injustice done in #Ferguson, demanding that #blacklivesmatter, re-committing to fighting against this system of injustice. A system we know will come down brick by brick. We know that Ferguson is everywhere, and that battles against racism, white supremacy, and state violence everywhere must be fought.

    One brick fell on Monday night when Durham County became the first U.S. municipality to drop G4S because of its role in perpetuating injustice in Israel/Palestine.

    We truly felt the strength of organizing last night as community members gathered to once more tell the County Commissioners to drop the county contract with G4S Secure Solutions. Our jaws dropped when they agreed to end the $1 million contract they’ve held for 11 years and re-open it new bidders.

    Please join us in thanking the county commissioners for responding to the voice of the community and make SURE they don’t give the contract back to G4S.

    [ http://org.salsalabs.com/o/301/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16798 ]

    Nearly a year ago our JVP-North Carolina chapter, leading a coalition of faith groups, social justice organizers, students, and peace activists, decided to respond to the call to boycott G4S by Palestinian political prisoners in 2012. We weren’t sure how the commissioners would react when we wrote our first letter demanding they end the contract. We didn’t know if anti-Palestinian opposition would attack us. But we knew we had to do something and respond to the Palestinian BDS call; to act in our own community.

    One member of our coalition, Ahmad Jitan, described personally the role G4S plays in supporting the Occupation — supplying equipment used in the military checkpoints: “When I visit my family in Palestine, when I go through those checkpoints, I do not feel secure. I feel like I am the threat. I feel like I am the threat not because of anything I’ve done, but because of who I am. Because I’m Palestinian, because my name is Ahmad, because I am Muslim. Durham needed to take a principled stance + drop this contract, because G4S is complicit in this system.”

    In researching the role G4S plays in our community, reading the fine print of county documents, and talking to African American community leaders and activists working against police profiling, we also began to ask: why do we need private guards at our libraries at all? These security guards have no accountability to our community and they carry guns and have the power to arrest people: further making our community unsafe for many. We discovered cases where G4S guards arrested people for making too much noise while they were waiting in line to apply for food stamps and where G4S guards chased and assaulted a community member.

    When the commissioners voted on Monday night, within minutes of the announcement of the terrible news from Ferguson, we felt clear that along with our win we’ve gained even more responsibility to step up, to speak out. As one of our close interfaith allies, Presbyterian Pastor Mark Davidson, said to me after the vote: “This is another hole in the wall. One day the whole system of domination and oppression will collapse under the weight of its own hubris, cruelty, and wrongdoing.”

    G4S may put up a fight by re-bidding for the contract, and now that we’ve have booted them from our community we’ll have to fight even harder to keep them out. Please sign our thank you letter now to ensure prison and occupation profiteers stay out of our communities.

    [ http://org.salsalabs.com/o/301/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16798 ]

    From Ferguson to Palestine to Durham, to knocking holes in the wall, to shutting this system down,

    Jade Brooks
    Jewish Voice for Peace North Carolina

    PS: If you’re interested in starting a campaign against G4S in your local community, please visit durhamdropg4s.wordpress.com (or write to [email protected]) — we’d love to share out our resources and experience!)

  15. hophmi on November 26, 2014, 2:41 pm

    No one’s trying to suppress pro-Palestinian activism on campus. It is exactly the opposite. SJP students are attempting to suppress pro-Israel activism on campus by harassing Jewish students and by attempting to restrict pro-Israel voices from campus through advocating academic boycotts.

    But, opposition to SJP on campus has born some fruit. The UCLA resolution, as some of its proponents argued, was not a resolution calling for divestment from Israel. Instead, it targeted American companies. So now, the SJP is favoring the tertiary boycott the Arabs have always tried to promote. Palestinian-led my foot.

    • annie on November 26, 2014, 2:56 pm

      SJP students are attempting to suppress pro-Israel activism on campus

      black is white and white is black, could you be anymore obtuse?

      • hophmi on November 26, 2014, 3:13 pm

        Could you be any more dishonest? SJPers have this habit of breaking the rules, and then claiming persecution when they’re called on it.

      • annie on November 26, 2014, 5:24 pm

        SJPers have this habit of breaking the rules

        whose rules? example please.

      • wondering jew on November 26, 2014, 9:27 pm

        I haven’t done much research on this issue, but here is a column that was just sent to me.

        http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/leaked-sjp-plans-illegal-activity-against-jewish-students-and-israel/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:39 pm

        “pro-Israel activism on campus”

        You mean support for Israeli intransigence and criminal actions? And of course, a nice big endorsement of the right-wing religious hysteria gripping the power structure in Israel. That kind of “pro-Israel activism”?

      • Mooser on November 26, 2014, 9:44 pm

        “Could you be any more dishonest….”

        Hophmi, you do understand, of course, that saying “I have come to the conclusion that Israel, if it continues as we know it, will fail, and is failing” is not the same thing as saying ‘I wish every Jew in Israel is dead and buried’, right, Hophmi?

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:51 am

        This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content here are presented solely by the author, and The Times of Israel assumes no responsibility for them. In case of abuse, report here”

        Right at the top of the column, Yonah. Do you know what “tendentious” means?

        BTW, Yonah, can you explain to me why Zionists are so quick to treat other Jews as their enemies? Never have understood that. Tribal unity, you know.

    • eljay on November 26, 2014, 3:33 pm

      >> hophmeee: SJP students are attempting to suppress pro-Israel activism on campus by harassing Jewish students …

      Is all pro-Israel activism being conducted by Jewish students? If it isn’t, why the anti-Semitic conflation of Jews with Israel?

      • JeffB on November 26, 2014, 6:41 pm

        @eljay

        Is all pro-Israel activism being conducted by Jewish students? If it isn’t, why the anti-Semitic conflation of Jews with Israel?

        Is all PETA? activism being conducted by livestock? If it isn’t why the anti-bovine conflation of cows with PETA?

      • eljay on November 27, 2014, 12:25 pm

        >> JeffB: Is all PETA? activism being conducted by livestock? If it isn’t why the anti-bovine conflation of cows with PETA?

        If one attempts to suppress pro-PETA activism, one harasses PETA members, not cows or hippies or Jews.

        Similarly, if one attempts to suppress pro-Israel activism, one harasses pro-Israel students, not Jews.

        To suggest that only Jews are pro-Israel is to be anti-Semitic.

  16. JeffB on November 27, 2014, 1:41 pm

    @Annie

    You aren’t even making sense. There are groups here

    A) Jewish college kids.
    A’) Jewish college kids represented by Hillel.
    Hillel is the Jewish student organization. Jewish college kids are in a vague sense represented by Hillel whether they agree with it or not. The same way I’m represented by the USA government whether I personally agree with their position or not. The only way they wouldn’t be is if there was a meaningfully large alternative organization playing the same role.

    • annie on November 27, 2014, 5:43 pm

      Jewish college kids are in a vague sense represented by Hillel whether they agree with it or not. The same way I’m represented by the USA government whether I personally agree with their position or not

      lol, you wish. actually it doesn’t work like that. when jewish kids enter a campus environment, just like all other kids, they are not incumbent to join any groups like this. whereas, everyone in the US comes under the purview of the US gov whether they like it or not.

      a jewish kid is under as much obligation to have some overriding group represent them on campus as i was when i was at school, meaning none. zilch,not at all. iow, hillel can’t just plop themselves down on a campus and claim they represent jewish kids. and kids don’t need “meaningfully large alternative organizations”. you’re living in a fantasy world. only in a world where kids have been brainwashed into thinking they need to join “meaningfully large..organization” would they do so. i wasn’t a member of any club in college and i had lots of friends. kids don’t need to join sororities either as far as i know. or churches or political parties.

      where do you come up w/these crazy ideas? you sound bonkers.

      if you have any evidence to the contrary, that hillel is authorized by universities to represent all the jewish students without any prior consent by the student, by all mean present your evidence.

      • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:56 am

        “Jewish college kids are in a vague sense represented by Hillel whether they agree with it or not.”

        Okay, okay, I was going to laugh at that, but maybe, just maybe, you are right. So why then, if Hillel claims this authority and representative power over college Jews, don’t they represent all the Jews? Why does Hillel work for the right-wing of Israel? Why can’t Hillel represent anti-Zionist though and actions among Jews?

    • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 12:03 pm

      “The only way they wouldn’t be is if there was a meaningfully large alternative organization playing the same role.”

      Oh, baby, you are going to eat those words one day soon. I hope you like the taste of ’em. Start saving your appetite.

  17. just on November 27, 2014, 8:37 pm

    I never thought I would laugh so hard upon my return to this article…JeffB and ivri and hophmi are sooo funny!

    • Mooser on November 28, 2014, 11:59 am

      “JeffB and ivri and hophmi are sooo funny!”

      I can sort of see it as a SNL skit.

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