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Universities Aflame

Universities Aflame

Jewish students gear up to battle Israel Apartheid Week, an annual hate-inspired phenomenon that is spreading at an alarming rate.

by

March 1-8 marks the fifth annual hate-fest known as Israel Apartheid Week. Originating as a singularly disturbing display in Toronto in 2005, anti-Israel propagandists are expected to hold events and demonstrations in nearly 50 cities around the world this year. According to IAW organizers, these events will liken democratic Israel to apartheid South Africa, allege that Israel committed a massacre during its recent defensive incursion into Gaza, and call for sanctions against and divestment from Israel.

If past IAW events, and the hostile activity against Israel since Operation Cast Lead are any indication, we can also expect open displays of explicit anti-Semitism, physical harassment of Jews, and vigorous attempt to curb freedom of expression among Israel supporters.

The university campuses have long been a front line for this propaganda war, but in the past month anti-Israel and anti-Semitic occurrences on campus have reached unprecedented heights. In the last eight weeks, there has been significant anti-Israel activity at more than 200 college campuses in the United States. This includes many schools with large Jewish populations, as well as universities where we have never seen such activity before.

Here are a just a few alarming incidents:

  • At schools including Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Texas, University of southern California, Georgetown University, American University, Syracuse University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Cincinnati, University of North Carolina and many others, there have been graphic displays, die-ins and vigils, alleging Israeli massacres and genocide, replete with mock coffins, black flags, dirtied Israeli flags, and confrontational organizers.
  • The Student Government at UCLA passed a very lop-sided resolution condemning Israel; similar resolutions were attempted but thwarted at several other California schools, while many Canadian universities passed motions condemning Israel.
  • Last week, Hampshire College made headlines when it divested from several companies doing business in Israel after a vigorous boycott campaign by the Students for Justice in Palestine there. Hampshire has since denied that the move was meant to specifically target companies doing business with Israel, but the anti-Israel movement has claimed the decision as a significant victory for boycott attempts against Israel.
  • There have been reports of physical assaults against Jewish students and fraternity houses at the University of British Columbia, Emory University, and York University.
  • At San Jose State university, the Israeli consul general was literally booed off the stage during a Q&A session, virtually shut down by protestors. A similar incident occurred at Ohio State University.
  • At UC Berkeley, the student government has launched a recall vote against an openly pro-Israel Student Senator, despite his not having violated any Student Government rules – and has tried to sanction the Jewish Student Union there for supporting him.
  • Anti-Israel demonstrations have occurred for the first time in years at schools like Arizona State University, Michigan State University, Louisiana State University and Alabama State University.
  • At New York University, a student group called Take Back NYU seized control of the Kimmel Center cafeteria and staged a 40–hour protest, demanding greater transparency of university investments, scholarships for students to study in Gaza, and donations of supplies to the Islamic University in Gaza, started by Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
  • Lack of protection for Jewish students remains an issue at York University. While continuing to remain silent on the recent entrapment of Jewish students inside a Hillel building by anti-Semitic protestors, York University has now informed Hillel and Hasbara Fellowships at York that they will be fined and suspended from campus for holding a pro-Israel rally, despite any clear violation of university rules.
  • CUPE, Ontario's largest trade union, passed a motion to boycott Israeli universities and academics.

Large Israel Apartheid Week events are slated to take place next week on university campuses in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and smaller versions are set to occur at many other schools across North America.

If you are a student or concerned community member, we urge you to take action via the following steps:

1. Answer the lies head on -- go to protests and speakers, hand out accurate information, and speak up!

2. Launch a strategic initiative to engage important people on campus, including the media, the administration, student leaders, professors, coalition allies.

3. Organize demonstrations of solidarity with Israel, such as rallies and educational campaigns.

4. We can't stop anti-Semitism, but we can send a message of our own. What is your plan to get the pro-Israel message out there? Choose from an array of programs and campaigns offered by Hasbara Fellowships.

5. Most importantly, if you are on a campus with anti-Israel activity, contact us (director@israelactivism.com) to help you through it!

Published: February 28, 2009


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Visitor Comments: 29

(29) richard sandler, December 12, 2010 3:19 PM

time to fight back

It is time to get out the message on tv and in the newspapers. What goes on throughout the universities is news. Not just college news,not just Jewish news...its American,Canadian and national news.

(28) gary fouse, January 10, 2010 9:25 PM

UC-Irvine

I teach part time at UC Irvine, which is one of the worst campuses for this type of agitation. I attend, listen then challenge the speakers, after which I report on my blog (fousesquawk). As a result, the MSU hates me. The university refuses to do anything about the hate speech (they say it is free speech.) I have publicly criticized them on many occasions. Many Jewish students feel intimidated on campus especially during the apartheid week. Fortunately, the local ACT for America chapter is quite concerned about the UCI situation. I encourage you to reach out to them and let them know about this problem nationwide.

(27) Anonymous, March 8, 2009 4:34 AM

THIS IS A MONSTROUS CRIME. I CAN'T GET MY MIND AROUND THIS INSANITY. MAY GOD HELP US ALL--------

(26) Larry, March 8, 2009 4:14 AM

Dear Aish Thank you for keeping me aware. That is is happening in Canada and U.S. or anywhere else for that matter is frightening. Many of us felt safe particularly in North America. WW II having ended almost 65 years ago. Although many of us had nightmares for many years after the war, eventually we became lulled into a sense of security, the past becoming part of history. Once again antisemitism rears its ugly head. There are incidents in schools, in synagogues, and on the street. It is getting worse and perhaps we will once again be prisoners in our own homes. The difference today we have Israel. What I do not understand is why are we on the defensive - trying to explain to the world what we are doing, and why we are doing it. I think it is a misconception to think that the world out there doesn't know, or wants to know or cares. As well we are dealing with incidents of antisemitism such as the York University incident, the Cupe incident and many other situations as only Jewish issues and Jewish problems. These problems are problems for all Canadians not just Jews or Canadian Jews. Do non Jewish Canadians want Canada to look like Iraq, or Syria or Saudi Arabia? Are Canadians prepared to give up freedom of thought or of speech? Are the curriculums , discussions, thoughts in our schools to be controlled by other countries? This fight is everyone's fight and unless everyone is involved in this fight we will again be the losers. thank

(25) Ken, March 4, 2009 1:53 PM

Muslim students: committed to destroying Israel

Many of us who attended large universities shared campus with Muslim radicals who had two goals: graduate and persuade as many students as possible to join their quest to destroy Israel. Except for graduation, Jewish students' goals are very different and (during my time at school) rarely included spending time defending Israel. The hate-fest continues, and it seems as though the on-campus battles are being lost. When Jewish students decide it's no longer safe for them to attend certain schools, will those schools lament their absence?

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