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BDS Tag

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a non-Jewish organization that gives cover to the anti-Israel boycott movement (BDS) and its political war on Israel by washing away the stains of anti-Semitism that are central to the BDS movement’s founding, actions and identity. As we noted in a prior post, JVP operates in multiple arenas to exploit Jewish culture and traditions, putting them into service for a vehemently anti-Israel propaganda campaign:
In its written materials and presentations, JVP reinforces that its anti-Israel positions are consistent with Jewish values. Toward this end, it usurps the Jewish life cycle and religious holidays by incorporating anti-Israel themes into traditional celebratory and commemorative events”.
This JVP identity theft of Jewish heritage and narrative is particularly visible at Passover, which begins April 22 this year.

The American Studies Association (ASA) was the first significant-sized faculty association to implement the academic boycott of Israel. A lawsuit just filed by several distinguished members challenges the ASA boycott, seeks damages against individual officers and National Council members who advanced the boycott, as well as injunctive relief, arguing that ASA exceeded its purpose defined under its constitution and bylaws. A copy of the Complaint is embedded at the end of this post. The lawsuit could serve as a model for litigation against other faculty organizations which have been hijacked by anti-Israel activists.

One of the most common questions I get when I give speeches about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has to do with its funding. BDS, including in the U.S., has plenty of money to organize, fly people around, and coordinate efforts across dozens of campuses and multiple countries. Yet BDS portrays itself as just a bunch of concerned people seeking to do social justice. The money angle, though, is barely exposed. Some of the funding comes from the fundraising efforts of tax-exempt groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation. Some of it comes from churches and church-related groups like Sabeel North America and American Friends Service Committee, which use their tax exempt status to fund anti-Israel activities. Meanwhile, faculty groups like the American Studies Association exploit and arguably violate their tax exempt status by promoting academic boycotts.

This post is an update on the upcoming vote to boycott Israeli universities at the American Anthropological Association (AAA). For previous coverage, see here and here. As a reminder, at the Denver meeting on November 20th, attendees passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions. The resolution is now being voted on by the general membership, starting April 15, through May 31. Passage of a boycott means, among other things, that AAA will not cooperate with Israeli universities or the Israeli Anthropological Association (IAA), will not supply journals and databases to them and will not allow graduates of Israeli universities to partake in career fairs. It calls upon its membership to do the same, and more: e.g. not attend conferences at Israeli universities, not accept grants from them; this in addition to the “common sense” boycotts that are probably already in place.

Steven Salaita, you may recall, was the controversial anti-Israel professor whose hate-tweeting caused the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to decline to hire him for a tenured position. The University asserted that Salaita only had a contingent offer subject to Board approval, and that approval never happened. Salaita is active in the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement and literally wrote a handbook for faculty to use to spread BDS within universities. There was rich irony in the person who sought a worldwide boycott of Israeli academics complaining when he allegedly was boycotted for his noxious views which played upon historical anti-Semitic stereotypes: https://twitter.com/stevesalaita/status/486703517751869440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Even a faculty supporter of Salaita, Prof. Feisal Mohamed, wrote (emphasis added):

In a recent post, we highlighted how Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is being promoted in America’s liberal Protestant churches. As we discussed, a malicious strain of anti-Israelism has taken root in these progressive churches largely because of a deep-seated organizational dysfunction:
A vocal and strong minority within the church have led the charge, aided and abetted by a host of venomously anti-Israel Palestinians and their useful fools—a coterie of Jewish enablers. Together, they’ve pushed hard for divestment and boycott initiatives against Israel, gaining an institutional footing by exploiting the language of human rights, monopolizing the discourse, and drowning out dissenting voices”.
UCEIO, Huge News on church divestment Our focus in the prior post was on three U.S. mainline churches—the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (Church) (UUA). All three will feature a number of anti-Israel resolutions at their annual meetings this spring. "Officials" of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) recently decided to divest from three companies in its portfolio that do business in Israel and allegedly assist in the violation of Palestinian rights. That investment decision is not the end of the story, however.

We have been documenting a clear shift in tactics by anti-Israel campus activists, led by Students for Justice in Palestine joined by other groups. The shift is towards disruption of Israeli and pro-Israeli speakers on campus in order to create a hostile campus environment. We have reported on several such recent disruptions, including at UC-Davis, University of ChicagoUniversity of Minnesota Law School, UT-Austin, Kings College (London), U. Windsor, University of South Florida, and anLGBTQ Shabbat Event in Chicago. Even events that are not disrupted are protested, such as the appearance of actor Michael Douglas and human rights hero Natan Sharansky at Brown University. It happened again yesterday at San Francisco State University, where anti-Israel activists have co-opted student protests over proposed budget cuts. International Business Times reports:

On March 28, 2016, I gave a lecture at the University of Chicago Law School, When Does Anti-Israelism Turn Into Anti-Semitism. The lecture was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and the Louis D. Brandeis Center, Inc. The video is embedded below and includes PowerPoint slides, which also are embedded below. After laying out the background on the rise of anti-Semitism tied to the gross demonization of Israel by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, I discussed the Sharansky 3-D Test, and the State Department guidelines, as to when anti-Zionism crosses into anti-Semitism. I then used various images as a Rorschach test. Here are a couple of the images (all the images are in the video and slide show). Slide - Carlos Latuff Octopus

We wrote earlier about the upcoming academic Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) vote at the New York University graduate student union. In that context we mentioned similar efforts underway at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Columbia. Well, it didn’t take long! The Doctoral Students Council at the CUNY Graduate Center has just announced that a vote on a resolution calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions will take place at their meeting on April 15th. CUNY Graduate_Center_Flags_460px_306px

British civil and governmental societies are undergoing a soul searching as to the role Britain plays in funding terrorism against Israel and the BDS movement. As Jonathan reported, Britain Rocked By Revelation Of Taxpayer-Funded Palestinian Terror:
Great Britain’s Foreign Office and Department for International Development (“DFID”) have funneled million of Pounds, at least, to terrorists.  The report from the Daily Mail details how the UK’s policy of spending .7% of revenue on foreign aid distorts priorities and leads it to fund terror.  The Daily Mail report builds on a broader investigation from Palestinian Media Watch (“PMW”) evidencing the Palestinian Authority’s (“PA”) attempts to hide banned payments to terrorists from Western donors.
Anti-Semitism acting under the banner of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement also has garnered attention recently in Britain, British Campus Anti-Semitism on Display During Israel Hate Week:

We reported previously on the deceptive anti-Israel Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign at NYU, in which BDS supporters try to co-opt unrelated divestment movements, such as fossil fuel. This campaign has now morphed into a boycott petition at NYU’s Graduate Student Union (GSOC-UAW Local 2110). Meanwhile the deceptive tactics continue. This episode illustrates, yet again, the strategy of pro-Palestinian activists in taking over student governments and other associations and hijacking them for their own agenda. If all goes according to plan, there will be a referendum on a Boycott and Divestment petition that includes a call for Academic Boycott and a call to shut down NYU-Tel Aviv). The referendum, open to all union members, is tentatively scheduled for April 18-22. NYU GSOC Logo We cover below the following: I. Some background on anti-Israel activity at NYU II. Background on SJP's Divestment campaign at NYU III. Background on BDS at the University of California's union last year IV. Background on NYU's new radicalized union. V. Discussion of the petition itself (including (a) the process; (b) campaigns and (c) the substance of the actual resolution) VI. The opposition campaign and counter-petition (which NYU faculty, students, and alumni can still sign) VII. Conclusion

Illinois has become the first U.S. state to identify specific companies it will no longer invest state assets in because they engage in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction ("BDS") campaign.  LI has discussed various state anti-BDS laws here. The Illinois Investment Policy Board included eleven companies on its new "Prohibited Investment List" because those companies boycott Israel.  The list also includes five companies for their business in or with Iran and dozens of companies for their activities in Sudan. The listed companies have a grace period before the state actually begins divesting.  Under Illinois General Statute 1-110.16:
(e) The Illinois Investment Policy Board shall adhere to the following procedures for companies on the list of restricted companies:

In a post on Monday I noted a Report (pdf.) suggesting "Principles Against Intolerance" and containing a condemnation of anti-Semitism, was coming up for vote today at the University of California Board of Regents, UC Regents should seize its Moynihan moment on anti-Zionism. The key language in controversy was both the general condemnation of anti-Semitism, but most specifically a mention of anti-Zionism in a "contextual statement" that was not part of the Principles themselves (emphasis added):
"During the 2014-15 academic year, the Regents received correspondence and public comment from a variety of sources expressing concern that there has been an increase in incidents reflecting anti-Semitism on UC campuses. These reported incidents included vandalism targeting property associated with Jewish people or Judaism; challenges to the candidacies of Jewish students seeking to assume representative positions within student government; political, intellectual and social dialogue that is anti-Semitic; and social exclusion and stereotyping. Fundamentally, commenters noted that historic manifestations of anti-Semitism have changed and that expressions of anti-Semitism are more coded and difficult to identify. In particular, opposition to Zionism  often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture. Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California...."
In that post, I noted the arguments for and against the Report. Those arguments played out today before the Regents in a public comment period.

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at Vassar College has been unusually ugly and aggressive in the two-plus years I've been covering developments there. In my first post on March 27, 2014, Anti-Israel academic boycott turns ugly at Vassar, I detailed -- based on interviews with professors who witnessed the events first-hand and documents provided to me -- the picketing of a course because it involved travel to Israel, and the vitriol directed not only at the professors at a campus-wide Open Fourm, but also at Jewish students who spoke out in defense of Israel:
What transpired was anti-Israel vitriol directed at Professors and students taking a course that involved travel to Israel and the West Bank, an intimidating protest outside a classroom, and a campus forum in which the Professors and Jewish students were belittled, heckled and mocked in such crude ways that it left even critics of Israel shaken.
The two professors targeted, Jill Schneiderman and Rachel Friedman, later wrote in the Vassar student newspaper about the "climate of fear" that had descended on campus:

On November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed the infamous “Zionism Is Racism” Resolution 3379:
"Determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination"
The Resolution came on the heels of the failed 1973 Yom Kippur attempt by Arab armies to destroy Israel with Soviet backing, and the 1973 Arab oil embargo to pressure the West to abandon Israel. Resolution 3379 was not phrased as anti-Jewish hatred. It was framed in terms of anti-Zionism, a rejection of the Jewish people's right to self-determination in the homeland of the Jewish people. But the anti-Zionist phraseology did not fool anyone, least of all United States Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In what would become one of his most famous speeches, Moynihan rose to denounce the Resolution as anti-Semitic and to declare it a "great evil... loosed upon the world."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is holding its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C. There are 18,000 attendees. Today was a rally for Palestine, and the marchers (200-300 based on the videos posted online) marched to the AIPAC conference location where protesters heckled people trying to enter. There also were the usual Code Pink antics, such as trying hard to get arrested by blocking doors (so far this year, no arrests). The main Code Pink protest is Monday, and I'm sure they will try hard to get arrested for publicity, as they did last year. But there were far more aggressive and dangerous people in the crowd, as this video shows.

Language Warning on all videos

(Video Via The Right Scoop via Townhall)

Shutting down major highways as a protest tactic is extremely dangerous. Not only does it create the possibility of car accidents, it also traps motorists behind the road blockage, making it impossible for emergency vehicles or vehicles with people in distress to pass. This tactic was used by anti-Israel protesters who hijacked a Martin Luther King Day protest on the San Mateo Bridge and blocked the span at its highest point, trapping hundreds of motorists. [caption id="attachment_113857" align="alignnone" width="600"]https://twitter.com/farah_salazar/status/558214869648814080 (via Farah Salazar Twitter)[/caption] In that instance, there were in fact motor vehicle accidents and at least one report of a vehicle with a child in medical distress who could not pass.

At one level, you could put this post in the "tell me something I don't already know" category. For several years I have been documenting anti-Israel activity on campus, typically part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and carried out by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). At the same time, I've pointed out many instances where such anti-Israel activity crossed-over into overt anti-Semitism, including at places like Oberlin and Vassar. (And that's putting aside whether the radical extremist anti-Israelism itself is anti-Semitic.) So the correlation between anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism seems obvious. When the only Jewish-majority nation in the world is demonized and dehumanized based on factual falsehoods and distortions under standards applied to no one else, it is no surprise that the hate manifests itself in hatred not just of Israel, but of Jews.