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California students resist authorities’ attempt to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism

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The University of California (UC) Board of Regents, the governing body that oversees 10 campuses and approximately a quarter of a million students, is considering adopting the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. A variety of student organizations have pushed back against the regents’ initiative.

United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865, the union which represents over 13,000 student workers in the UC system; Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP); and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have publicly opposed the attempt to adopt the State Department definition.

In a message to UC President Janet Napolitano, who supports the initiative, UAW “voice[d] strong opposition to the proposed adoption.” The letter (embedded below) was endorsed by the UAW 2865 Joint Council and represents the official position of the union local.

JVP urged the UC Regents “to stand for academic freedom and to reject the ‘State Department definition’ of anti-Semitism.” SJP West, a coalition of West Coast SJP chapters, also wrote a letter to President Napolitano, “strongly oppos[ing] its adoption.”

David McCleary, Head Steward and Executive Board Trustee of UAW 2865 and a molecular and cellular biology PhD candidate who is also involved in JVP and SJP, spoke with Mondoweiss about the campaign.

McCleary says there has been a “long and planned” campaign against UC Palestinian solidarity activism. The present attempt to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is spearheaded by the pro-Israel organization AMCHA Initiative. On the homepage of its website, AMCHA Initiative claims the peaceful Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is anti-Semitic and implores readers to sign a petition calling on UC to adopt the State Department definition of anti-Semitism.

AMCHA Initiative has helped pass numerous resolutions on university campuses disguised as condemnations of anti-Semitism, yet with the State Department definition “sneaked in,” McCleary explained, in order to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

The definition is based on the concept of the “new anti-Semitism,” formulated by the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League and other fervent supporters of Israel, which conflates Israel and Zionism with Jewishness and Judaism. This “new anti-Semitism” is based on “the three Ds”: alleged demonization, delegitimization, and double standards vis-à-vis Israel.

For decades, scholars such as Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappé, and others have argued that there is no “new anti-Semitism,” and that it is an explicitly politically motivated redefinition of anti-Semitism in order to prevent criticism of Israel.

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The California Legislature’s SCR 35

For months, the California state legislature has deliberated Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) No. 35, a measure that “would urge each University of California campus to adopt a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and racism, and would condemn any act of anti-Semitism augmenting education programs at all publicly funded schools in the State of California.”

Non-profit advocacy group Palestine Legal has condemned the resolution for “perpetuat[ing] the conflation of anti-Semitism and protected free speech critical of Israel.”

“We applaud the Senate’s efforts to confront racism and bigotry on college campuses, including anti-Semitism,” Palestine Legal says. “However, SCR as currently written is unduly vague.”

The California Senate Education Committee deliberated the resolution on 29 April. The California State Assembly Higher Education Committee then met on 23 June to debate SCR 35. McCleary attended the two hearings; in both, he said, deliberators tried to “openly conflate university divestment and anti-Semitism.”

A UC regent testified at the Higher Education Committee hearing in favor of the resolution. He did not identify himself, yet said “I’m here as a private citizen, not in my capacity as a member of the UC Board of Regents” (his statement begins at 4:40 in the government’s official audio recording of the hearing). UC regents are not legally permitted to lobby on behalf of legislation that will affect their university; the unnamed man was aware of this, yet brought up the fact that he was a regent anyway.

Jack Mizes, president of the UC Davis chapter of JVP, publicly testified against the measure.

If you disagree with Iran’s nuclear program, as many US politicians vehemently do, you are not considered anti-Iranian or anti-Muslim, Mizes argued. But if you criticize Israel, you are often dubbed anti-Semitic.

“If we adopt SCR 35 in reference to the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, then we are clearly adopting a partisan bias,” Mizes said, and, in so doing, “further silencing an already marginalized voice in the debate.”

“Original Intent”

Carol Sanders, who identified as a member of the Jewish community, voiced strong opposition to the measure. “Central to our beliefs is opposition to all forms of bigotry and racism. Therefore we strongly support efforts to confront anti-Semitism when it occurs,” she said. “But we vigorously reject assertions that speech critical of Israeli policies and supportive of Palestinian rights is inherently anti-Semitic.”

Sanders notes that the original text of SCR 35 references the State Department definition, but unquoted “is that part of definition that condemns critical of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism.”

Proponents of the resolution sent a letter to the legislature after the Senate committee hearing, insisting on the importance of maintaining the State Department’s definition. The pro-Israel AMCHA Initiative called organizations that oppose the adoption of the State Department definition “anti-Israel groups.” It admitted that the “original intent” of the resolution is to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, writing

we are extremely troubled by the efforts of some groups to remove from the resolution any reference to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, or worse, to replace it with the Merriam Webster dictionary definition. We think that doing so would be disastrous, and would completely undermine and pervert the original intent of this very important resolution.

“A major purpose of the resolution was to combat what the proponents called anti-Israel activity, and particularly BDS,” Sanders explained. “Such intervention would strike at the heart of the First Amendment. It would have the government stigmatize and ultimately silence political speech by officially intervening,” she warned.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of AMCHA Initiative and a UC, Santa Cruz lecturer, has openly said that her next step is to go to the legislature and to ask them to defund public universities that do not adopt the State Department definition. She has also admitted that her ultimate goal is to pressure the legislature to legally classify any boycotts, divestment, and sanctions of Israel as acts of anti-Semitism.

Rossman-Benjamin has a history of making anti-Arab and Islamophobic remarks. In 2013, UC students circulated a petition calling on the university president to condemn what they characterize as Rossman-Benjamin’s “racist and defamatory claims” and “hate speech.”

Opposition from the Definition’s Author

Kenneth Stern, the longtime former director of anti-Semitism and extremism for the American Jewish Committee, published an op-ed in the Jewish Journal warning against universities adopting the US government’s definition. Stern served as lead author of the European Monitoring Centre’s “working definition on anti-Semitism,” upon which the State Department definition is based.

Stern notes that two dozen groups have lobbied the UC in favor of the measure, but cautions that “official adoption of the State Department’s definition would do more harm than good.”

To “enshrine such a definition on a college campus is an ill-advised idea that will make matters worse, and not only for Jewish students; it would also damage the university as a whole,” Stern wrote.

Stern continued:

Those who want the university system to adopt the definition say it isn’t a speech code (presumably because they recognize that speech codes are likely unconstitutional and anathema to the ideals of academic freedom). But that is precisely what they are seeking. You don’t need a university endorsement of a particular definition in order to increase careful thought about difficult issues, such as when antisemitism is present in debates about Israel and Palestine. AMCHA’s leader, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin rather wants a rule of what is hateful to say and what is not. She has said that advocacy in favor of Boycotts/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) against Israel would be classified as antisemitic, as would the erection of fake walls imitating Israel’s separation barrier. So if the definition is adopted, presumably administrators would be expected to label such political speech as antisemitic, or face challenges (political and perhaps legal) from AMCHA and its colleagues that they were not doing their jobs.

[O]n a college campus, do we really want a student (imagine yourself as a Palestinian student) to fear that anti-Zionism on their part (even if they are quoting Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt to make their case) will violate an administratively-imposed definition of what is ok to be said?

Further, if a university adopts an official definition of antisemitism, how long would it be until other groups demand an official definition of Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian animus, homophobia and so forth, with the built-in expectation that speech transgressing such definitions requires an administrative response too? Consider what speech might run afoul of an official definition of “anti-Palestinian.” Perhaps when a student says that he does not believe Palestinians have a right to a country of their own, and that the West Bank instead should be part of a Greater Israel?

Amendments to the Resolution

Through working with the legislature, JVP and Palestine Legal managed to get vague language removed from SCR 35.

In the 29 April California Senate Education Committee hearing, the Asian Law Caucus; the Center for Constitutional Rights; JVP; and the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles condemned the measure. The committee agreed, in response, to remove the ambiguous phrase “augmenting education programs” from the resolution.

Legislative staff also agreed to add “Nothing in this resolution is intended to diminish the rights of students or anyone else to freely discuss or engage in any legal speech or other activity protected by the Constitution of the United States.”

Students are still afraid, nonetheless, that were the measure to pass, UC will clamp down on not just Palestinian human rights activism, but even on teaching and research.

Academic Freedom

The majority of the 13,000 workers represented by UAW 2865 are teaching assistants. A grad student who asked to remain anonymous told Mondoweiss she is worried that, if the State Department definition is adopted, she would have to bias her teaching in favor of Israel, in fear of being labeled an anti-Semite for teaching about Israel’s illegal activity and what the world’s leading human rights organizations and legal bodies have classified as war crimes.

“Student teachers need to be able to criticize any country in order to teach students,” the graduate student stressed, particularly when discussing contemporary political issues. “That is the most crucial part of academic freedom,” she said.

McCleary, the student union trustee, explained UAW 2865 has “members who literally wouldn’t be allowed to do their research if this was actually enforced, because their research is focused on Israel.”

SCR 35 is “completely antithetical to the First Amendment,” he said. It poses “a really dangerous precedent for academic freedom.”

McCleary, who got the New York Times to apologize for applying a “Jewish litmus test” to American Jews who are critical of Israel, says he finds the UC regents’ and legislature’s attempts to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism to be insulting.

“It’s really offensive to me as a Jewish student,” McCleary explained. “I support BDS, and I don’t for one second think that’s incompatible with my Jewish identity. That is my Jewish identity in fact. I don’t support BDS in spite of my Judaism; I support it because of my Judaism.”

UAW 2865 Letter Opposing Adoption of State Dept. Definition Letter

Dear President Napolitano,

United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents over 13,000 student workers in the University of California system, wishes to voice strong opposition to the proposed adoption of the State Department definition of anti-Semitism by the UC Regents. As members of the union local’s Joint Council, we write to ask that you withdraw your personal support for its adoption and ensure that this does not end up on the agenda for the July Regents Meeting in San Francisco. The State Department definition conflates legitimate, first amendment-protected criticisms of policies of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism, which is commonly defined as discrimination against Jewish people.

The State Department definition includes a section declaring that “demonizing”, “delegitimizing”, or applying a “double-standard” to Israel are examples of anti-Semitism. These terms are extremely vague and could be applied to virtually any criticism of any Israeli policy. In addition, we are concerned that by adopting such a measure, the UC Regents would in fact be treating Israel as exceptional and applying a double standard to the values of the University, which is supposed to foster free intellectual exchange and which prides itself on commitment to academic freedom, free speech and student leadership.

UAW 2865 understands that many Jews find the conflation of Judaism with Israel and the decisions of its government anti-Semitic in itself. The growing movement of Jewish communities who have spoken out against war crimes and human rights violations by the Israeli state highlights this, and to deny their legitimate grievances against policies claiming to speak on behalf of world Jewry is unethical and tells them their Jewish identity does not matter. In December, our union local endorsed divesting from corporations complicit in violations of International law by Israel and ending US military aid to Israel, by a nearly two-thirds majority. Many Jewish students unhappy with Israeli policies toward Palestinians joined in that campaign, not for a second thinking their criticisms of Israel were an attack on their own Jewish identity. As this vote specifically targeted Israel without calling for divestment and ending military aid to other countries, this could be characterized as applying a “double-standard” to Israel, and therefore declared anti-Semitic. One could argue that students seeking to boycott and divest from Israel weren’t the ones applying the double-standard, but in fact US foreign policy does so through the outsized amount of military aid provided to Israel. The double-standard isn’t applied by those seeking recognition of Israeli violations of International law, but by the US government which prevents any action at the United Nations against Israel for these violations.

The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has clearly ruled that criticism of Israel is protected campus speech. In 2013, the Office for Civil Rights dismissed three separate Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints against UC campuses which claimed that several events critical of Israel fostered an anti-Semitic campus climate. In rejecting these claims, the office stated that the events in question “constitute expression on matters of public concern directed to the University community. In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience. In this context, the events that the complainants described do not constitute actionable harassment.”

Kenneth Stern, the lead author of the European Union Monitoring Center’s working definition on anti-Semitism, which served as the basis for the State Department definition, opposes enforcing the definition on college campuses. In a recent Jewish Journal op-ed, Stern characterizes efforts by outside groups like the AMCHA Initiative to apply the State Department definition as a transparent ploy to establish unconstitutional “speech codes” that are “anathema to the ideals of academic freedom.” He says that enshrining this definition in the UC system “is an ill-advised idea that will make matters worse, and not only for Jewish students; it would also damage the university as a whole.” He continues:

The Regents would be better advised to think of ways to increase the teaching and scholarship about antisemitism and hatred in general rather than adopt a definition that was never intended to regulate speech on a college campus.

If the university were to officially brand critical views of Israeli policy as “anti-Semitic,” many of us would wake up the next day with a stamp of condemnation on our academic work. Many would have to change our academic focus, or wonder if we should to avoid controversy and undue scrutiny. Many would change their course curriculums to avoid the topic all together. Many would be afraid to ask questions about Israel and Palestine. Many would choose to avoid campus debates on the topic, keep our heads down and decide to stay away from essential learning opportunities that campus activism and controversial programming afford. Many would change our resumes, hide our passions, and decide not to speak our conscious or ask questions. This would be devastating to the learning environment at what should be a world-class university. As a body that represents thousands of student teachers for the work they do in classrooms, we see this redefinition of anti-Semitism as a serious threat to the academic freedom of our members.

Lastly and most importantly we ask the UC regents consider the legal, ethical and academic implications this has on its Palestinian and Arab student and faculty constituency. Many students are here in the US studying in the UC because opportunities for education, to live in freedom, dignity, safety and peace has been denied to them because of persistent Israeli occupation, wars and the denial of Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homeland. To conflate a critique of Israel with anti-semitism first does not account for the fact that Arab people are also Semitic people and secondly it criminalizes the very existence, experience and narratives of one of your already most underserved and marginalized communities. This measure would signify a new form of institutional racism that would consolidate and strengthen Islamophobia, anti-semitism, anti-Arab racism which will surely be reflected in campus climate. As a union committed to justice, equity and collaborative exchange, we strongly urge you to not consider adoption of the State Department definition of anti-Semitism.

We hope you will do the right thing and not attempt to stifle protected speech on campus.


United Auto Workers Local 2865

UAW 2865 Letter Opposing SCR 35

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is

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58 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on July 7, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Hopefully, when the first defamation case is brought before a US court, the result will be the same as one decided here in the UK.
    “Ronnie Fraser, a further education lecturer and founding director of Academic Friends of Israel, argued that the UCU was institutionally anti-Semitic owing to motions passed in favour of a boycott of Israel.

    Despite enlisting the services of Anthony Julius, best known as Diana, Princess of Wales’ divorce lawyer and a partner at Mishcon de Reya, all of his 10 claims of harassment have been “dismissed in their totality”. The court also said.. Scorn is also invoked for Mr Julius’s decision to pursue certain points, with complaints variously dismissed as “palpably groundless”, “obviously hopeless” and “devoid of any merit”.

    The “sorry saga” had also acquired a “gargantuan scale” that required a 20-day hearing and a 23 volumes of evidence which was “manifestly excessive and disproportionate”, the tribunal adds.

    “Our analysis to date has despatched almost the entire case as manifestly unmeritorious,” it concludes.

    • on July 7, 2015, 8:07 pm

      The amount of media attention and time and effort spent on accusing people of anti-Semitism, denying charges of anti-Semitism, defining anti-Semitism, claiming anti-Semitism is rising, etc. is pure BS and insanity.

      No other group of any type in the world devotes so much time (any time really) to claiming people hate them and creating groups to sniff out anyone who may hate them and to dwelling on events from hundreds and thousands of years ago that enforce this worldview. This is pure cultural sickness.

      • RoHa on July 7, 2015, 8:38 pm

        “No other group of any type in the world devotes so much time (any time really) to claiming people hate them and creating groups to sniff out anyone who may hate them and to dwelling on events from hundreds and thousands of years ago that enforce this worldview. -”

        Just shows how lazy the rest of us are.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 12:22 pm

        “Just shows how lazy the rest of us are.”

        That’s right, “RoHa”! I’m sure you have heard the old apothegm which begins, “Jesus saves….”

      • Keith on July 8, 2015, 6:21 pm

        GILES- “This is pure cultural sickness.”

        Well, this “sick” culture has been remarkably successful in acquiring wealth and power. Perhaps there is a method to their madness?

      • on July 8, 2015, 8:35 pm

        Well, this “sick” culture has been remarkably successful in acquiring wealth and power. Perhaps there is a method to their madness?

        No doubt.

        Which I think says more about how corrupt and sick our society is than anything else.

        I think there is little doubt that this bunker mentality has been a very important component of the success of the Jewish people in supplanting the WASPs as the ruling elite.

      • Chu on July 9, 2015, 8:57 am

        great point.

        Last month I read an article by Rabbi Alissa Wise of JVP , explaining in her youth she visited 3 extermination camps in her Jewish youth program. (and explains that her mentors blamed Christianity in part for it). This is more common than I thought for America Jewish kids to engage in this victim/indoctrination, as it solidifies their Zionist character development. Israel students also make annual trips to Auschwitz for similar indoctrination (see film Defamation).

        Alissa Wise: “In High School, I visited Auschwitz, Majdonek and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps with my Jewish youth movement. We were told stories of how the Christian world was complicit in Nazism and their crimes. I sobbed and wailed at each visit to the camps, horrified and disturbed. I knew then my life would be about interrupting today’s violence and hatred however I could.”

      • Froggy on July 9, 2015, 8:01 pm


        That woman is some piece of work.

        I always find it strange how people like this rabbi somehow manage to make the that particular mid-20th century slaughter all about them, when millions more gentiles were killed.

      • Chu on July 9, 2015, 9:02 am

        No other group of any type in the world devotes so much time (any time really) to claiming people hate them and creating groups to sniff out anyone who may hate them and to dwelling on events from hundreds and thousands of years ago that enforce this worldview.

        And now with hate crime laws in effect, pushed by the ADL, we are in a new realm of reality.
        Seems like the hate charge lurks everywhere in the MSM, Huff Post type commentary, and youth freely lob accusations of who is a hater. What a pre-programmed society we live in.

        I suppose BDS will be associated with hate soon enough. Wait for it…

      • Lillian Rosengarten on July 9, 2015, 11:39 am

        This is NOT anti-Semitism. It is opposition to apartheid . Netanyahu, threatened by BDS uses his ministers of propaganda and revisionist history of the Holocaust to frighten people into submission. We MUST say “NO” to apartheid . We cannot be silent!

    • RoHa on July 7, 2015, 8:37 pm

      Scorn? The court’s language was the legal version of peeing all over Julius and Fraser.

      • HarryLaw on July 8, 2015, 6:06 am

        Johnathan Rosenhead in a reply to a comment on the Tribunal proceedings said..
        “The judge sat through 20 days mostly taken up with a parade of 29 witnesses called by Ronnie Fraser, including MPs Dennis MacShane and John Mann (described as ‘glib’ and ‘arrogant’ by the judge). Jeremy Newmark CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council was found to have given untrue evidence. And so on. UCU’s 5 witnesses on the other hand were noted in the ruling as having given factual, careful and accurate evidence. What it comes down to is that those who see anti-Semitism wherever Israel’s policies are criticised have had their day in court – and lost”, I like that.
        As for the ex jailbird and MP Dennis MacShane accused of being ‘glib’ and ‘arrogant’ I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    • lysias on July 8, 2015, 10:17 am

      And the court decided that despite the UK’s lack of a First Amendment. How much more predictable the result of a U.S. court case.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 12:25 pm

        The thought of Zionism reacting and interacting with British class consciousness gives me the willies! May G-d grant I never see such a thing first-hand!
        Think Yiddish, dress British, that’s as far as I go!

      • Froggy on July 8, 2015, 12:42 pm

        Mooser : “dress British”

        In Alaska?

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 1:25 pm

        “In Alaska”

        Look, after that Jacques Perrin French sailor suit, I rather fancy myself in a sola topee, puttees and swagger stick. In short the very model of a modern Major General, that’s me. Well, if he started in a regiment from the Lower east Side.

      • Froggy on July 8, 2015, 3:08 pm

        The Jewish Lads’ Brigade Band in the 1930s.

        The Jewish Lads’ Brigade (JLB) was formed in 1895 in London. The first Glasgow branch was established in 1903 and was particularly active in the Gorbals. By June 1904 there were 125 members and an increasing membership mean that there were soon three groups in operation. The JLB had the same discipline as other youth organisations such as the Boys’ Brigade and its members were trained in rifle drill, foot drill, map reading, Morse code and so on. There were also summer camps which enabled the boys to have a holiday away from the city.

        One major difference between the JLB and other youth groups was the intention that JLB membership would help the children of immigrants integrate themselves into their new surroundings and learn to be good citizens. Accordingly the Glasgow JLB adopted a number of Scottish traditions including establishing what was claimed to be the world’s only all-Jewish pipe band.

        Mooser, you have to go to the Website and look at the blowup photo of these Jewish lads in their kilts.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 4:41 pm

        “Mooser, you have to go to the Website and look at the blowup photo of these Jewish lads in their kilts.”

        Well, that depends on what they’re wearing under them. I wouldn’t want to see anything I’d regret.

      • Froggy on July 8, 2015, 5:04 pm

        They’re Scots, Mooser. They wear nothing under their kilts, as one does.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 9:50 pm

        “They’re Scots, Mooser. They wear nothing under their kilts, as one does.”

        Thanks. I’ll go take a look!
        I’ve always liked these pictures from the “Lawrence of Cyberia” website These pictures are also on the website “Palestine Remembered” but they are presented very well in the “Lawrence of Cyberia” post.

        I went to the link, I’d give anything to hear their arrangement of “Hava Negila” or a medley from “Fiddler”

      • Froggy on July 9, 2015, 6:13 pm

        Och, Mooser. You can always go to the Kosher Burns Supper that is held yearly in Glasgow.

  2. amigo on July 7, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Perhaps pro Palestinian activists should form anti Syrian/Sudan/Saudi Arabia etc, groups and stage some protests in prominent venues from time to time.This might negate the accusations of the focus being strictly on Israel .It would certainly put a damper in the zionists legal argument.

    Just a thought.

    • Boo on July 8, 2015, 1:14 pm

      One need not even target a particular regime, since according to the “logic” that underlies the proposed initiative, a protest against US use of fossil fuels would constitute an explicit protest against the Gulf oil states and their financial and security interests!

    • yesspam on July 8, 2015, 5:00 pm

      Perhaps Zionists should form groups to campaign for the ‘national home’ for Basques, Tibetans, Kurds, etc, from time to time. Just a thought.

      • biggerjake on July 13, 2015, 10:39 am

        Perhaps atheists should manipulate the US and England into giving them a homeland because of the painful discrimination they have endured through the centuries.

        Greece would be nice.

        Of course they would have to drive out the Greeks because none of that Greek Orthodoxy could be allowed as it would dilute the “atheist-ness” of the new state.

        And how about Gays????????

      • yesspam on July 13, 2015, 2:04 pm

        Since the majority of Jews are atheists what’s your point

      • biggerjake on July 13, 2015, 3:02 pm

        My point is that the last thing the world needs is a “Jewish state”.

        First of all, can someone be both a Jew and an atheist at the same time? Doesn’t the classification as “Jewish” imply a religious choice? One certainly can’t be a Christian and an atheist or a Muslim and an atheist…

        Which brings us to the real point: The very idea of a “Jewish state” is so ridiculous that it can’t even be defined. And Netanyahu’s claim that the “Palestinians are ruining the Jewishness of Israel” is so far beyond the pale that it is laughable.

  3. yesspam on July 7, 2015, 4:42 pm

    The State dept does NOT state that it is a definition of anti Semitism see Wikipedia There have been a number of efforts by international and governmental bodies to define antisemitism formally. The U.S. Department of State states that “while there is no universally accepted definition, there is a generally clear understanding of what the term encompasses.” For the purposes of its 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism, the term was considered to mean “hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.”[9]

  4. Blownaway on July 7, 2015, 6:04 pm

    They Want To Use ‘Hate Speech Laws’ To Destroy Freedom Of Speech In America
    Hate speech laws are going in all around the world, and progressive activists in the United States want to use these kinds of laws to destroy free speech in America. You see, the truth is that these hate speech laws that are being implemented all over the planet are not just about preventing speech that promotes violence or genocide against a particular group of people. Instead, these laws are written in such a way that anyone that says something that “offends” or “insults” someone else is guilty of “hate speech”. Even if you never intended to offend anyone and you had no idea that your words were insulting, in some countries you can be detained without bail and sentenced to years in prison for such speech. Today, there are highly restrictive hate speech laws in Canada, in Mexico and in virtually every single European nation. The United States is still an exception, but the truth is that our liberties and freedoms are being eroded every single day, and it is only a matter of time until “hate speech laws” are used to take away our freedom of speech too.
    See full article at

    • Sibiriak on July 7, 2015, 9:22 pm

      Blownaway: [] Hate speech laws are going in all around the world, and progressive activists in the United States want to use these kinds of laws to destroy free speech in America…


      Many “progressives” have certainly promoted the “hate-speech” concept, and the idea that offensive speech can be intolerable–and now it’s coming around to bite them in the ass.

  5. JWalters on July 7, 2015, 7:36 pm

    My profound thanks to these students for fighting back against this financial evil and its attempt to destroy honest discussion, destroy democracy, and provoke continuing conflict in the Middle East for profit.

  6. Citizen on July 8, 2015, 5:39 am

    The subject conflation issue even invades a tiny mind in a tiny place in rural Pennsylvania: Jewish Zionist says her Quaker neighbors are anti-Semites because they support Palestinian rights:

    • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 12:28 pm

      Oy, rural Pennsylvania. I’ve read about it. Nothing but acres and pains up there.

  7. Chu on July 8, 2015, 8:28 am

    So the international zionists that work for Israel abroad, deem it necessary to change the US law instead of telling Israel to adhere to international laws & ending their 6 decade occupation?

    Seems like the actions of a desperate cult, who scoffs at the current system of US laws, but yet we have the leading democratic candidate Hillary joining hands with Republicans to publicly oppose BDS.

    What kind of world will we live in 15 years time? It’s frightening to think about it if nothing changes.

  8. [email protected] on July 8, 2015, 8:41 am

    The UCLA and these comments are downright silly in that they recognize no such thing as anti-Semitism . They never tell us what in their own view, defines the anti-Semite. They just accuse everyone else of having the wrong definition. Well, you guys, see how you wriggle out of this one:
    We may distinguish between the two: critics of Israel and anti-Semites posing as critics. Look at the demands they make on Israel. Critics demands that Israel adopts different policies or changes the way it implements policies. Anti-Semites demand that Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, even if that means – especially if that means – self-destruction.

    • a blah chick on July 8, 2015, 9:23 am

      Okay, I’ll bite.

      “We may distinguish between the two: critics of Israel and anti-Semites posing as critics. Look at the demands they make on Israel. Critics demands that Israel adopts different policies or changes the way it implements policies. Anti-Semites demand that Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, even if that means – especially if that means – self-destruction.”

      So, the “legitimate” critics just want changes IN THE WAY the policies are implemented. But anyone who advocates that those policies are racist or discriminatory are anti-semitic.

      Look, I get it. Zionists believe that Jews should have the right to live in Israel and treat the population, including the indigenous people, anyway they want. But I do not believe that someone, just because they were birthed by a Jewish mother, should have rights or privileges or responsibilities that others do not have. I believe that EVERYONE must be treated with dignity and respect. And if Zionism can’t respect human dignity and human rights then it is Zionism that has to go, not the people.

      And if that makes me a anti-semite in your eyes then I shall wear that badge with honor.

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 12:34 pm

        Gosh, “anti-semite” may lose it’s force as an epithet, a condemnation! I remember another term which did that. Used to be used a lot to indicate a white person who was for Civil Rights. Once a terrifying and possibly deadly indictment, it became a very bad joke.

    • echinococcus on July 8, 2015, 9:28 am

      demand that Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, even if that means – especially if that means – self-destruction

      You gave yourself away. Read what you say: what you call “Israel” has nothing to do with Jews and anyone, including any Jews, could bring about the end of an invading inhuman dictatorship without in the least motivating it by the religion of the invaders; they may have been Wiccans for all you know. So you are officially attributing the crimes of what you call “Israel” to the Jews. You are officially an antisemite. On top of all your other racism…

      • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 10:29 pm

        Zionists always blame the Jews to excuse themselves.

    • lysias on July 8, 2015, 9:59 am

      Anti-Semites demand that Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, even if that means – especially if that means – self-destruction.

      Did South Africa destroy itself?

      • Sibiriak on July 8, 2015, 10:36 am

        lysias: Did South Africa destroy itself?

        Yes. And a new, very different South Africa was born.

        Look, if a new democratic polity were born in Palestine, incorporating Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and allowing a significant inflow of Palestinian refugees— a new polity with a Arab-Palestinian majority–then Israel would cease to exist, literally and in every significant sense. What would remain? The name? No. The flag, the national anthem? No. The Basic Laws? No. The demographics? No. The social, political, and military structures? No. None of the essential features of Israel as a polity would remain.

        I’m not saying that would be a bad thing; it’s simply a fact. Israel would cease to exist.

      • Misterioso on July 8, 2015, 12:12 pm

        Actually, I believe anti-Semites are quite pleased with Israel’s behavior as it feeds the fires of anti-Semitism. What is patently obvious is that an ever-increasing number of people around the world, including Jews (especially, their all important youth), rightfully demand that Israel comply with hard won international humanitarian law and end its belligerent/illegal/brutal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands and its ongoing/accelerating dispossession and oppression of the native inhabitants.

      • Keith on July 8, 2015, 6:41 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “Yes. And a new, very different South Africa was born.”

        I would suggest that it was/is not as new and different as you seem to be suggesting. The transnational corporations and white oligarchs still run the place.

      • Sibiriak on July 8, 2015, 10:03 pm

        Keith: I would suggest that it was/is not as new and different as you seem to be suggesting. The transnational corporations and white oligarchs still run the place.


        Agree. Apartheid died, and a new, terrible neoliberal South Africa was born.

    • justicewillprevail on July 8, 2015, 10:21 am

      You may distinguish people in that hasbrat way. You’re on your own, though.

    • talknic on July 8, 2015, 12:11 pm

      @ [email protected] “Anti-Semites demand that Israel gives in to Palestinian demands, even if that means – especially if that means – self-destruction”

      Well the Anti-semites are wrong.

      Palestinian demands for RoR are based on UNGA res 194 (1948) adopted AFTER Israel became a state and before UNRWA was formed in 1949. The UNRWA definition of a refugee has nothing what so ever to do with RoR under UNGA res 194.

      Under UNGA res 194 there’s no demand for any Palestinians return to Israeli territory.

      Under UNGA res 194, non-Jewish Israeli citizens who were dispossessed have a Right of Return to Israel.

      The remainder, who were not Israelis, only have RoR to what remained of Palestine after Israel’s sovereign extent was proclaimed and recognized.

      The truth of the matter is that Israel has created so many illegal facts on the ground in non-Israeli territories it has illegally acquired by war since proclaiming its borders effective at 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) , it can not now afford to adhere to the law and withdraw from all non-Israeli territories and repatriate all its illegal settlers back to Israeli territory. The costs would be astronomic and there’d very likely be a civil war (in illegally settled non-Israeli territory what’s more). The result would be a failed rogue state

      67 years of purposefully creating illegal facts on the ground, illegal settlements, illegal razing of non-Jewish, non Israeli villages, homes, towns, farms in territories the Israeli Government itself claimed were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”, is one mighty big hole Israel has dug for itself

  9. Citizen on July 8, 2015, 9:26 am

    Netanyahu thinks his product is right–just needs rebranding!

  10. Kay24 on July 8, 2015, 9:36 am

    This is what it is all about. Israel deserves to be held accountable for the endless crimes against humanity, especially children. If the US will not initiate accountability and hold it responsible, then the people of the world should. BDS is one way to go. There are innocent babies in Gaza who have NEVER known what being free from the wrath of and violence inflicted on them by Israel, in fact there are generations who do not. What a hopeless situation.

    “LONDON, July 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The majority of children living in areas of Gaza hardest-hit during last year’s conflict are showing signs of severe emotional distress and trauma, including frequent bed wetting and nightmares, a global children’s charity said on Monday.”

    • Mooser on July 8, 2015, 12:39 pm

      “LONDON, July 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The majority of children living in areas of Gaza hardest-hit during last year’s conflict are showing signs of severe emotional distress and trauma, including frequent bed wetting and nightmares, a global children’s charity said on Monday.”

      Gosh, known traumatic events (the military attacks by Israel) in Gaza, and sadly enough, symptoms known to be associated with emotional trauma in Gaza’s surviving children.
      Well, well, well, I am going to see if I can’t get the rubber-sheet concession for Israel. I figure they must use them exclusively, huh? Trauma and all, right?

  11. RobertHenryEller on July 8, 2015, 9:54 am

    As an American, we have the right to criticize our own country, and any of our elected or non-elected officials.

    But we do not have the right to criticize Israel?

    So, has Israel become the State Religion of the United States?

    Clearly, many elected officials, past present and future, are bowing to their AIPAC/Likud/Zionist paymasters.

    Apparently, no matter who we “elect,” the U.S. is a Zionist oligarchy.

  12. Froggy on July 8, 2015, 10:52 am

    Land of the Free… huh.

  13. Misterioso on July 8, 2015, 11:50 am

    Hi Giles

    “No other group of any type in the world devotes so much time (any time really) to claiming people hate them and creating groups to sniff out anyone who may hate them and to dwelling on events from hundreds and thousands of years ago that enforce this worldview. This is pure cultural sickness.”

    Well said. I have often thought the same thing – a constant search to find past and present examples of Jewish suffering in order to cover up Zionist crimes against Palestinians and other Arabs.

    Ignoring historical reality such as the magnificent civilization created by Muslims, Jews and Christians in Al Andalus, Zionists trot out the canard that Jews suffered terribly and regularly under Muslim/Arab rule.

    The following quotations come to mind;

    Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

    Audio of lecture:

    “So, what did the Muslims do for the Jews? – How Islam Saved the Jews.”

    Lecture by Professor David J Wasserstein.

    David J Wasserstein is the Eugene Greener Jr. Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. This article is adapted from last week’s [May, 2012] Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

    “Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

    “By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman Empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

    “Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman Empire.

    “A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

    “Had Islam not come along, Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance and Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult. This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian Empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

    “Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule. Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.”

    • Froggy on July 8, 2015, 5:25 pm

      Small addition to your excellent comment :

      The Grand Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquée de Paris)

      The mosque was founded in 1926 as a token of gratitude, after World War I, to the Muslim tirailleurs from France’s colonial empire, of whom some 100,000 died fighting against Germany. The mosque was built following the mudéjar style, and its minaret is 33 meters high. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926. Ahmad al-Alawi (1869–1934) led the first communal prayer to inaugurate the newly built mosque in the presence of the French president. He was an Algerian Sufi, founder of the modern Sufi order Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Shadhiliyya whose original founder is a Moroccan Sufi.

      During World War II (when France and Paris were occupied by Nazi Germany), the rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit managed the mosque to serve as a secret refuge for Algerian and European Jews. He ensured they were provided shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.

  14. tony greenstein on July 8, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Of course the Zionists, who realise they don’t have a case any more (not that they ever did!) and find it increasingly difficult to convince anyone except fellow Republican and Conservative bigots, are desperate to restrict the free speech of supporters of Palestinians.

    They choose to use that old time-worn tactic of crying ‘anti-semitism.’ There are 2 points that need to be made.
    i. Like the boy who cried wolf, what they do in the process is legitimise real anti-Semitism because people become confused between fake anti-Semitism i.e. support of the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism and the genuine article. That is how people like Gilad Atzmon have gained a hearing. However the Zionist movement does’t care about this because:

    ii. Zionism is and always has been a Jewish version of anti-Semitism. Whereas most people rejected the idea that Jews did not belong in the countries where they lived, were citizens of and were born, Zionism held that they were strangers who should go ‘home’ to their ‘real home’. Hence the Law of Return in Israel allows me, as a Jewish person, to emigrate when I want to Israel and claim citizenship but denies the same right to Palestinians who were born there and expelled.

    Zionism historically adopted the same anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews, in the words of Jacob Klatzkin, Jews in the diaspora were hideous and deformed. Or as Pinhas Rosenbluth, Israel’s first Justice Minister remarked, Palestine is an institute for fumigating Jewish vermin. [Studies in Israel 4, Journal of Israeli History 8]

    Alone of Jewish groups in Nazi Germany, the Zionists welcomed the Nuremberg Laws. In the words of Joachim Prinz, the Chairman of the German Zionist Federation ‘it was everything we dreamed about’.

    Those interested in reading on Zionism’s record on these matters can consult the free, on the web, book of Shabtai beit Zvi, Post-‘Ugandan Zionism on Trial’ or Ben Hecht’s book Perfidy. Both are right-wing Zionists.

  15. Les on July 8, 2015, 1:45 pm

    It’s time to ask California’s Jewish politicians who support this why they think Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is good for Judaism.

  16. Hostage on July 8, 2015, 5:09 pm

    So just file a Federal lawsuit under 42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights:

    Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

    I don’t see how this new anti-Semitism is supposed to work under existing US or California statutes, since Anti-Zionism is still a valid Jewish religious or secular fraternal creed that used to be endorsed by the majority of Secular and Reform Jews in this country, e.g.:

    We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel’s great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.

    — Reform Judaism: The Pittsburgh Platform (November 1885)

    If the California Legislature and the UC Regents can’t prescribe the terms of orthodox American nationalism, then it’s damned certain that they can’t prescribe the terms of orthodox Jewish nationalism either:

    The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures-Boards of Education not excepted. … The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections. … Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. … If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.


    The Jewish Defense League has been deemed a right-wing terrorist group by the federal government; The Anti-Defamation League has engaged in illegal domestic spying and intimidation of Arab refugee charities and Anti-Zionist groups; Stand With US has admittedly disrupted Jewish Voice for Peace meetings using pepper spray.

    Israelis and Zionists have utilized California state public meetings in the past to advocate or defend unlawful violent acts that have resulted in serious bodily injury and death to Palestinians and destruction of their communities, based upon their nationality or religion. The US State Department reports on human rights in the occupied territories have highlighted Israeli acts that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. So it’s also important to enforce the statutory legal protections applicable to any person who has an Anti-Zionist religious or fraternal creed. There are 26 such statutes highlighted in the California Attorney General’s handbook on “Unlawful Discrimination- Your Rights and Remedies,” e.g.:

    Penal Code section 186.21 declares that it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, or handicap, to be protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. (This is part of the “California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act,” enacted in 1988.) … Penal Code section 11410 (terrorism) expresses the Legislature’s intent that it is the right of every person, regardless of his or her race, color, creed, religion, gender, or national origin, to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. This section also contains the Legislature’s express finding that the advocacy of unlawful violent acts by groups against other persons or groups where death and/or great bodily injury is likely, is not constitutionally protected, poses a threat to public order and safety, and should be subject to criminal and civil sanctions. … Education Code sections 51501 and 60044 prohibit the State Board of Education and local school boards from adopting any instructional material for use in schools which contains any matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, handicap, or occupation.

    • JWalters on July 9, 2015, 4:55 pm

      “Anti-Zionism is still a valid Jewish religious or secular fraternal creed that used to be endorsed by the majority of Secular and Reform Jews in this country”

      This is a VERY powerful point. It DESTROYS the claim that all Jews should support Zionism and the “Zionist project”.

      Excellent post.

  17. Shmuel on July 9, 2015, 3:14 am

    “We must first liberate ourselves from the censorship that weighs on the mouths of your critics, by your wonderful ploy … calling yourselves ‘Zionists’…. Thus, anyone who dares to criticise your movement in the slightest is immediately branded a Hater of Zion [=anti-Semite] – vilified and forever disgraced. Who, then, will risk confronting you?”

    –Aharon Shmuel Tamares, Yahadut ve-herut [Judaism and Freedom], Odessa, 1905

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