New Jewish Studies Zionist Network is Taking a Stance

30.06.22

Editorial Note

On June 16, the IAM received an announcement from a group of scholars titled “The Jewish Studies Zionist Network.” 

The group comprises scholars and educators in the field of Jewish Studies who “affirm that Zionism is a legitimate movement for the national self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland.”

Members embrace a “commitment to the peace and welfare of all communities in Israel, the world’s sole Jewish State, we reject characterizations of Zionism and Israel that seek to discredit their legitimacy and that judge them according to standards not applied to any other nation. The uncritical use of concepts such as ‘European settler colonial project,’ ‘genocidal,’ ‘Jewish supremacist,’ or ‘apartheid,’ to describe Zionism and Israel is agenda-driven, manipulative, and therefore antithetical to promoting knowledge and scholarship in our communities.”

Their mission is: 

“1) To reaffirm as scholars and educators intimately familiar with the history of the Jewish people and Zionism, to our colleagues, our students, and the wider community the legitimacy of Zionism as the historical movement of Jewish self-determination and of the State of Israel as a Jewish State in the community of nations. 

2) To thwart efforts to demonize Zionism and Israel, via such charges as “apartheid,” “a racist endeavor,” “genocide,” and “Jewish supremacy,” which are driven by ideological rather than scholarly considerations. 

3) To foster scholarship in our respective disciplines that gives voice to multiple approaches and perspectives contributing to better intellectual and educational outcomes. 

4) To ensure that a safe space exists on college campuses for Jewish students and faculty to express their identities as Jewish Zionists in public, just as this safe space is provided to members of other minority communities.”

The announcement was also posted on the Facebook page of Bashaar Academia-IL, the Israeli network of scholars, and on H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online.

Interestingly, however, the mainstream media has ignored the new group. The only two outlets to report on the issue are Israel National News and JNS, which interviewed the founder, Jarrod Tanny, an associate professor of Jewish History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Tanny said, “As a professor of Jewish history I grew troubled at the extent to which anti-Zionism has become pervasive in academia. The animosity directed against ‘Zionists’ and Israel on college campuses, fueled by frequent condemnatory statements and petitions issued by scholarly associations and departments, BDS resolutions, and ‘Apartheid Week’ events, has led to an alarming uptick in antisemitism. Rather than speaking out against this, numerous Jewish studies scholars have publicly endorsed this trend, or at the very least have looked the other way… So we created the Jewish Studies Zionist Network to show the world that there are scholars and professors of Jewish and Israel studies who will no longer remain silent. We are speaking out, collectively, as experts in the history and culture of the Jewish people and Israel.”

Adam Fuller, a coordinating committee member, is an associate professor of Politics and International Relations at Youngstown State University. He noted, “It is our responsibility as educators to offer diverse perspectives to our students… But unfortunately, students are getting a very distorted picture of the Middle East conflict. They aren’t being exposed to Israel’s side of the story. And major academic organizations are going along with it, such as the Middle East Studies Association, which has now officially adopted BDS. It is unbelievable that the most prominent association of scholarship of the region is boycotting scholars and institutions from one of the countries that it is supposedly devoted to studying.”

Naya Lekht, an independent scholar, is also a member of the cordoning committee. Lekht said, “If once the epicenter of anti-Zionism was to be found in universities, today Jewish teens encounter anti-Israel bias in the classroom. How did this happen? It happened because for far too long anti-Zionism has remained unchecked in academia. This is why JSZN is such a vital initiative.” Other than its members’ unified belief that Zionism is a valid political movement and legitimate expression of Jewish peoplehood, the network is non-partisan and has a politically diverse array of signatories. 

The mission statement states, “We have no unified position on Israeli or Jewish politics generally, or on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict specifically, other than to uphold the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination and of Israelis to craft their own future.“ We believe that the double standard to which Israel is held in the academy has not only stifled scholarship but has created a climate of fear among faculty and students who wish to express their Jewish identity – a Zionist Jewish identity – in public.” 

Over 80 scholars have signed this announcement.

As IAM reported, for more than a decade now, the campuses have been a hotbed of anti-Zionist activity. The new group should provide a much-needed push back against the academic crusade to delegitimize the Jewish State.  

References:

https://jsznetwork.weebly.com/

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-YlnODOO_-YZC_XneRPnjGNOPnFQZzN7/view

The Jewish Studies Zionist Network
Mission Statement
The Jewish Studies Zionist Network is composed of scholars and educators in Jewish Studies who affirm that Zionism is a legitimate movement for the national self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland.

As experts in Jewish studies with a commitment to the peace and welfare of all communities in Israel, the world’s sole Jewish State, we reject characterizations of Zionism and Israel that seek to discredit their legitimacy and that judge them according to standards not applied to any other nation.

The uncritical use of concepts such as “European settler colonial project,” “genocidal,” “Jewish supremacist,” or “apartheid,” to describe Zionism and Israel is agenda-driven, manipulative, and therefore antithetical to promoting knowledge and scholarship in our communities.

Higher education plays a crucial role in shaping the minds and attitudes of younger generations.
It is therefore incumbent on higher education to deepen and enhance younger generations’ understanding of the history of Zionism and the Jewish State in ways that do justice to their nuance and complexity.

We have no unified position on Israeli or Jewish politics generally, or on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict specifically, other than to uphold the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination and of Israelis to craft their own future.

We welcome scholars of all religious, national, and ethnic backgrounds who seek to advance Jewish and Israel studies, and who accept the existence of the State of Israel as a legitimate expression of Jewish peoplehood.

Our mission is the following:
1) To reaffirm as scholars and educators intimately familiar with the history of the Jewish people and Zionism, to our colleagues, our students, and the wider community the legitimacy of Zionism as the historical movement of Jewish self-determination and of the State of Israel as a Jewish State in the community of nations.
2) To thwart efforts to demonize Zionism and Israel, via such charges as “apartheid,” “a racist endeavor,” “genocide,” and “Jewish supremacy,” which are driven by ideological rather than scholarly considerations.
3) To foster scholarship in our respective disciplines that gives voice to multiple approaches and perspectives contributing to better intellectual and educational outcomes.
4) To ensure that a safe space exists on college campuses for Jewish students and faculty to express their identities as Jewish Zionists in public, just as this safe space is provided to members of other minority communities.

Coordinating Committee*
Dr. Jarrod Tanny, Associate Professor and Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Dr. Adam L. Fuller, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, Youngstown State University
Dr. Naya Lekht, Independent Scholar

Signatories*
Dr. Victoria Aarons, O.R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature, Trinity University
Dr. Baruch Alster, Senior Lecturer, Givat Washington Academic College of Education, Israel
Michael Bazyler, JD, Professor of Law and The 1939 Society Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
Dr. Raphael BenLevi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Haifa
Dr. Moshe Y. Bernstein, Independent Scholar
Dr. Corinne E. Blackmer, Professor of English and Judaic Studies, Southern CT State University
Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Professor of English and World Literature, Northern Michigan University; Senior Research Fellow, Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism, University of Haifa
Dr. Justin Cammy, Professor of Jewish Studies, World Literatures, and Middle East Studies, Smith College
Dr. Ellen Cannon, Professor of Political Science and Jewish Studies at Northeastern Illinois University
Dr. Zvi Y. Cohen, Independent Scholar and Educator at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community (High) School
Dr. Avram Davis, Independent Scholar
Dr. Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Professor Emerita of Jewish Studies and Professor Emerita of Government, Smith College
Dr. Stanley Dubinsky, Professor of Linguistics, University of South Carolina
Dr. Miriam F. Elman, Associate Professor, Syracuse University
Dr. Ari Engelberg, Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem
Dr. Norman J.W. Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida
Stanley Goldman, JD, Professor of Law, Founder and Director of The Center for the Study of Law and Genocide, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. David Hazony, Independent Scholar
Dr. Yoram Hazony, President, The Herzl Institute, Jerusalem
Dr. David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr. Motti Inbari, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Dr. Oleg Ivanov, Independent Scholar
Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish, Oranim Academic College of Education, Kiryat Tivon
Dr. Olga Kirschbaum-Shirazki, Independent Scholar
Dr. Nancy Koppelman, American Studies, The Evergreen State College
Dr. Phyllis Lassner, Professor Emerita Northwestern University
Dr. Holli Levitsky, Director of Jewish Studies, Professor of English, Loyola Marymount University
Dr. David A. Meola, Director of Jewish & Holocaust Studies, Meisler Assistant Professor of History & Jewish Studies, University of South Alabama
Dr. Natan Meir, Lorry I. Lokey Professor of Judaic Studies, Portland State University
Dr. Meir Muller, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina
Dr. Josef Olmert, Adjunct Professor, University of South Carolina
Dr. Monica Osborne, Independent Scholar; Editor-at-Large, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles
Jon Papernick, MFA, Senior Writer-In-Residence, Emerson College
Dr. David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas
Dr. Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy, Connecticut College
Dr. Joshua Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography of Ancient Israel, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel and, Chair, Board of Directors, Israel Antiquities Authority
Dr. Andrey Shlyakhter, Postdoctoral Fellow, Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich, Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies, Director of Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union
Dr. Saba Soomekh, Independent Scholar
Dr. Nehemia Stern, Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ariel University of Samaria
Dr. Gil Troy, Professor, Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University
Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf, Associate Professor, Talmud Department, Bar Ilan University

*Any referenced titles or affiliations are included for identification purposes only. Signing this statement reflects personal views; we are not speaking for or in the name of any university, department, or program.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADDING YOUR SIGNATURE:
If you would like to sign the mission statement, please email us at: jsznetwork@gmail.com Please write that you would like your signature added.
You must include, besides your name, your institutional affiliation. If you would like to include your title (associate professor, postdoctoral researcher, etc.) then that is fine as well. If you are presently unaffiliated with a university or a think tank or a Jewish publication of record, but otherwise meet the criteria for membership (hold a doctorate and do Jewish-related scholarly/educational work) then you may write “independent scholar.” I would recommend putting Dr. Before your name if applicable. See the above signatures.
And if you are affiliated with an institution, please email us from your institutional email address.

==============================================================

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bashaaracil/posts/5102724913189818/

Joshua Schwartz

24 June at 12:24  · 

The Jewish Studies Zionist Network Mission Statement The Jewish Studies Zionist Network is composed of scholars and educators in Jewish Studies who affirm that Zionism is a legitimate movement for the national self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland. As experts in Jewish studies with a commitment to the peace and welfare of all communities in Israel, the world’s sole Jewish State, we reject characterizations of Zionism and Israel that seek to discredit their legitimacy and that judge them according to standards not applied to any other nation. The uncritical use of concepts such as “European settler colonial project,” “genocidal,” “Jewish supremacist,” or “apartheid,” to describe Zionism and Israel is agenda-driven, manipulative, and therefore antithetical to promoting knowledge and scholarship in our communities. Higher education plays a crucial role in shaping the minds and attitudes of younger generations. It is therefore incumbent on higher education to deepen and enhance younger generations’ understanding of the history of Zionism and the Jewish State in ways that do justice to their nuance and complexity. We have no unified position on Israeli or Jewish politics generally, or on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict specifically, other than to uphold the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination and of Israelis to craft their own future. We welcome scholars of all religious, national, and ethnic backgrounds who seek to advance Jewish and Israel studies, and who accept the existence of the State of Israel as a legitimate expression of Jewish peoplehood. Our mission is the following: 1) To reaffirm as scholars and educators intimately familiar with the history of the Jewish people and Zionism, to our colleagues, our students, and the wider community the legitimacy of Zionism as the historical movement of Jewish self-determination and of the State of Israel as a Jewish State in the community of nations. 2) To thwart efforts to demonize Zionism and Israel, via such charges as “apartheid,” “a racist endeavor,” “genocide,” and “Jewish supremacy,” which are driven by ideological rather than scholarly considerations. 3) To foster scholarship in our respective disciplines that gives voice to multiple approaches and perspectives contributing to better intellectual and educational outcomes. 4) To ensure that a safe space exists on college campuses for Jewish students and faculty to express their identities as Jewish Zionists in public, just as this safe space is provided to members of other minority communities

Coordinating Committee* Dr. Jarrod Tanny, Associate Professor and Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History, University of North Carolina Wilmington Dr. Adam L. Fuller, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, Youngstown State University Dr. Naya Lekht, Independent Scholar

Signatories* Dr. Victoria Aarons, O.R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature, Trinity University Dr. Baruch Alster, Senior Lecturer, Givat Washington Academic College of Education, Israel Michael Bazyler, JD, Professor of Law and The 1939 Society Scholar in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies, Fowler School of Law, Chapman University Dr. Raphael BenLevi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Haifa Dr. Alan L. Berger, Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair in Holocaust Studies, Florida Atlantic University Dr. Moshe Y. Bernstein, Independent Scholar Dr. Corinne E. Blackmer, Professor of English and Judaic Studies, Southern CT State University Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Professor of English and World Literature, Northern Michigan University; Senior Research Fellow, Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism, University of Haifa Dr. Justin Cammy, Professor of Jewish Studies, World Literatures, and Middle East Studies, Smith College Dr. Ellen Cannon, Professor of Political Science and Jewish Studies at Northeastern Illinois University Dr. Zvi Y. Cohen, Independent Scholar and Educator at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community (High) School Dr. Avram Davis, Independent Scholar Dr. Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Professor Emerita of Jewish Studies and Professor Emerita of Government, Smith College Dr. Stanley Dubinsky, Professor of Linguistics, University of South Carolina Dr. Miriam F. Elman, Associate Professor, Syracuse University Dr. Ari Engelberg, Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem Dr. Norman J.W. Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida Stanley Goldman, JD, Professor of Law, Founder and Director of The Center for the Study of Law and Genocide, Loyola Marymount University Dr. David Hazony, Independent Scholar Dr. Yoram Hazony, President, The Herzl Institute, Jerusalem Dr. Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park Dr. David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London Dr. Motti Inbari, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Dr. Oleg Ivanov, Independent Scholar Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish, Oranim Academic College of Education, Kiryat Tivon Dr. Olga Kirschbaum-Shirazki, Independent Scholar Dr. Nancy Koppelman, American Studies, The Evergreen State College Dr. Phyllis Lassner, Professor Emerita Northwestern University Dr. Berel Dov Lerner, Associate Professor, Western Galilee College Dr. Holli Levitsky, Director of Jewish Studies, Professor of English, Loyola Marymount University Dr. Natan Meir, Lorry I. Lokey Professor of Judaic Studies, Portland State University Dr. David A. Meola, Director of Jewish & Holocaust Studies, Meisler Assistant Professor of History & Jewish Studies, University of South Alabama Dr. Meir Muller, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina Dr. Josef Olmert, Adjunct Professor, University of South Carolina Dr. Monica Osborne, Independent Scholar; Editor-at-Large, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles Jon Papernick, MFA, Senior Writer-In-Residence, Emerson College Dr. David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas Dr. Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy, Connecticut College Dr. Joshua Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography of Ancient Israel, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel and, Chair, Board of Directors, Israel Antiquities Authority Dr. Andrey Shlyakhter, Postdoctoral Fellow, Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich, Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies, Director of Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union Dr. Natan Slifkin, Director, the Biblical Museum of Natural History Dr. Cherryl Smith, Professor Emerita, California State University, Sacramento Dr. Saba Soomekh, Independent Scholar Dr. Nehemia Stern, Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ariel University of Samaria Dr. Gil Troy, Professor, Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf, Associate Professor, Talmud Department, Bar Ilan University *Any referenced titles or affiliations are included for identification purposes only. Signing this statement reflects personal views; we are not speaking for or in the name of any university, department, or program.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADDING YOUR SIGNATURE: If you would like to sign the mission statement, please email us at: jsznetwork@gmail.com Please write that you would like your signature added. You must include, besides your name, your institutional affiliation. If you would like to include your title (associate professor, postdoctoral researcher, etc.) then that is fine as well. If you are presently unaffiliated with a university or a think tank or a Jewish publication of record, but otherwise meet the criteria for membership (hold a doctorate and do Jewish-related scholarly/educational work) then you may write “independent scholar.” I would recommend putting Dr. Before your name if applicable.

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https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/355625

Jewish studies educators start new ‘Zionists’ Alliance’

Over 80 college educators and researchers have established a new alliance advocating balance and combatting bias in Israel education

Israel National News

27.06.2220:50

Over 80 college educators and researchers have established a new alliance advocating balance in Israel education. The Jewish Studies Zionist Network, as it is called, is specifically for individuals within Jewish Studies, Israel Studies, and adjacent fields who believe that academia has become unjustly hostile to Israel. Its mission statement reads, “As experts in Jewish studies with a commitment to the peace and welfare of all communities in Israel, the world’s sole Jewish State, we reject characterizations of Zionism and Israel that seek to discredit their legitimacy and that judge them according to standards not applied to any other nation.”

The network was founded by Jarrod Tanny, associate professor of Jewish History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Explaining why he started the movement, Tanny said, “As a professor of Jewish history I grew troubled at the extent to which anti-Zionism has become pervasive in academia. The animosity directed against ‘Zionists’ and Israel on college campuses, fueled by frequent condemnatory statements and petitions issued by scholarly associations and departments, BDS resolutions, and ‘Apartheid Week’ events, has led to an alarming uptick in antisemitism. Rather than speaking out against this, numerous Jewish studies scholars have publicly endorsed this trend, or at the very least have looked the other way.”

Also on the coordinating committee are Adam Fuller, associate professor of Politics and International Relations at Youngstown State University, and Naya Lekht, an independent scholar. Fuller said that the network is vital for promoting balance in higher education.

“It is our responsibility as educators to offer diverse perspectives to our students,” he said. “But unfortunately, students are getting a very distorted picture of the Middle East conflict. They aren’t being exposed to Israel’s side of the story. And major academic organizations are going along with it, such as the Middle East Studies Association, which has now officially adopted BDS. It is unbelievable that the most prominent association of scholarship of the region is boycotting scholars and institutions from one of the countries that it is supposedly devoted to studying.”

Lekht highlighted the impact academic anti-Zionism has had on Jewish youth even before they begin college. She said, “If once the epicenter of anti-Zionism was to be found in universities, today Jewish teens encounter anti-Israel bias in the classroom. How did this happen? It happened because for far too long anti-Zionism has remained unchecked in academia. This is why JSZN is such a vital initiative.”

Other than its members’ unified belief that Zionism is a valid political movement and legitimate expression of Jewish peoplehood, the network is non-partisan and has a politically diverse array of signatories. The mission statement states, “We have no unified position on Israeli or Jewish politics generally, or on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict specifically, other than to uphold the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination and of Israelis to craft their own future.

“We believe that the double standard to which Israel is held in the academy has not only stifled scholarship but has created a climate of fear among faculty and students who wish to express their Jewish identity – a Zionist Jewish identity – in public,” Tanny said. “So we created the Jewish Studies Zionist Network to show the world that there are scholars and professors of Jewish and Israel studies who will no longer remain silent. We are speaking out, collectively, as experts in the history and culture of the Jewish people and Israel.”

===================================================================

https://www.jns.org/more-than-80-scholars-form-group-to-fight-anti-zionism-on-campus/

More than 80 scholars form group to fight anti-Zionism on campus

“We believe that the double standard to which Israel is held in the academy has not only stifled scholarship, but has created a climate of fear among faculty and students,” Jarrod Tanny, associate professor of Jewish history, said.

(June 29, 2022 / JNS) 

More than 80 scholars of Jewish and Israel studies have joined together to form an initiative to combat on-campus anti-Zionism: The Jewish Studies Zionist Network.

The organization is the brainchild of Jarrod Tanny, an associate professor of Jewish history at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

The scholars who signed up for the initiative include Israeli political philosopher and author of The Virtue of Nationalism Yoram Hazony of the Herzl Institute, the University of Florida Holocaust historian Norman J.W. Goda and Georgetown University Center for Jewish Civilization Director Bruce Hoffman.

“As experts in Jewish studies with a commitment to the peace and welfare of all communities in Israel, the world’s sole Jewish state, we reject characterizations of Zionism and Israel that seek to discredit their legitimacy and that judge them according to standards not applied to any other nation,” the scholars wrote in an open letter published on the project’s website.

Tanny said that he founded the network after being “troubled at the extent to which anti-Zionism has become pervasive in academia,” according to a news release.

“We believe that the double standard to which Israel is held in the academy has not only stifled scholarship, but has created a climate of fear among faculty and students who wish to express their Jewish identity—a Zionist Jewish identity—in public,” Tanny said, adding that the network would “show the world that there are scholars and professors of Jewish and Israel studies who will no longer remain silent.”

The organization has a four-part mission to achieve its goal, according to its website. The plan includes stressing to the academic community that Israel is a legitimate state and that Zionism is a national self-determination movement like any other.

To that end, the network seeks to combat academic portrayals of Israel and Zionism that rely on misinterpretations of social science concepts such as apartheid, genocide and racial supremacy.

“It is our responsibility as educators to offer diverse perspectives to our students,” said Youngstown State University Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Adam Fuller, who is also a member of the group’s coordinating committee.

The organization also seeks to ensure that campuses remain a “safe space” for students and scholars who identify as Jews and Zionists, according to its website.

Boycott Attempt of BGU Honorary Doctorate to European Commissioner

 

 

23.06.22

Editorial Note

Last week, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, received an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beer-Sheva.  

BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz told her, “We bestow the doctorate honoris causa upon individuals who exemplify the characteristics that we wish to hold up as inspiration to our students, and as role models for our own community of scientists, scholars and supporters… President von der Leyen, when I look at your myriad accomplishments, and your priorities, I am pleased to see some of the directions that we as a university have also committed to. Your “roadmap for a green transition” to battling climate change is perfectly aligned with our new Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change. For over 50 years we’ve been learning how to live in our desert, and now the world comes to learn from our experience,” he said.

“I feel honored and humbled by this recognition,” President von der Leyen began her speech, “The fact that the honorary doctorate comes from this prestigious institution, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has a very special meaning for me. This is not only because the list of your doctors honoris causa is truly impressive – from Simone Veil to Yitzhak Rabin. There is also a more personal reason for me. I am a European woman of German nationality. And no longer than 80 years ago, millions of Jewish people were murdered by Germans, in the greatest crime of all human history. We, in Germany, take historical and enduring responsibility for this inhuman disruption of civilization. It is an indelible stain on my country’s conscience, which we must never and will never forget. So, it feels like a miracle that a German like me is welcomed and honored here, in the State of Israel, as a friend among friends, only a few generations after the Shoah. But it is no miracle. My being here is the consequence of a choice made by the State of Israel, and by one man above all: The great David Ben-Gurion. It was he who took the first, historic step towards reconciliation with the Germans. He believed that the best way to honor the victims’ memory was to build a better future… Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies. Because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people… Today, almost 80 years after the Shoah, Jewish life in Europe is thriving again… And yet, European Jewish life is also embattled and endangered. Antisemitism has not disappeared. It still poisons our societies. And antisemitic attacks happen, today, in Europe. It is a new threat but it is the same old evil. Every new generation must take responsibility so that the past does not return. This is why, I have put the fight against antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe at the core of the European Commission’s agenda. Our democracy flourishes if Jewish life in Europe flourishes, too. Throughout the centuries, the Jewish people have been ‘a light unto the nations’. And they shall be a light unto Europe for many centuries ahead.”

 

Not surprisingly, the Palestinian BDS movement did not sit idle. In response, Dr. Ramy Abdu, a Palestinian financial expert and the chairman of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, a pro-Palestinian human rights group based in Geneva, sent a letter to the European Parliament demanding that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen withdraw her acceptance of an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University. The letter charged that von der Leyen’s “acceptance of the BGU doctorate signals condoning the role Israeli academic institutions play in the occupation of Palestine.”

 

Abdu also demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to von der Leyen’s acceptance of the doctorate. The Euro-Med Monitor questioned whether the EU Commission was “aware of the moral and political controversies surrounding the university.”

 

The letter addressed Marie Arena, the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Chair. It detailed alleged “BGU’s complicity in enhancing the Israeli army’s capabilities and increasing its recruits” of the army’s function as an “instrument of systematic oppression, and its violations against Palestinians.” This is a “whitewashing the role Israeli academic institutions play in supporting the occupation of Palestinians and collaborating with the Israeli army despite its track record of egregious human rights violations.” Euro-Med Monitor argued that “in collaborating with Israel’s army and providing support to its soldiers, BGU can be accused of aligning its policies and practices with the Israeli state’s restrictions on academic freedom and the right to protest and voice dissent,” Ramy Abdu wrote.

 

Interestingly, in September 2020, Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Minister, signed four seizure and restriction orders related to Hamas funds and property in Gaza and worldwide. It included an order restricting the transfer of property and funds to Ramy Abdu, who also serves as a member of the board of IPALESTINE, an organization operating in Britain that belongs to Hamas, which was designated as a terror organization in Israel. Also, According to another website, “The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch,” created to monitor the Global Muslim Brotherhood, Ramy Abdu was formerly the Regional Director of the Council of European Palestinian Relations, the pro-Hamas lobbying group for the European Union. Before that, Abdu was known as the spokesperson for the European Campaign To End The Siege On Gaza, a central player in the two Hamas-backed Gaza flotillas of 2010 and 2011. 


Hamas’s activities in Europe did not go unnoticed. In 2014, a report published by the Israel Security Agency (aka the Shabak) stated that “Hamas intends to create an alternative civilian infrastructure that will enable the replacement of the PA’s secular government with an Islamic government whose ideology will be similar to that of Hamas… The Dawa network – Hamas’ socio-economic infrastructure – is a central element in Hamas’ activity and a principal method employed to achieve its goals… Hamas’ goal is to expand and strengthen its status among the Palestinians, bring them closer to its ideology, including the notion of Jihad against Israel, and recruiting on its behalf supporters and partakers in terrorist activities.” According to the Shabak, some of the charities in Hamas’ global financial network are: Interpal – Palestinian Relief and Development Fund in Britain; The Al Aqsa Fund and its European branches; Le Comité de Benfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP) – France; Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) – USA (until the US announced it an unlawful foundation and stopped its activity); The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) – Saudi Arabia; Many other foundations in the Gulf Emirates. Specific Hamas societies in Europe include Sweden (Sanabil Al Aqsa), Denmark (The Al Aqsa Fund), Netherlands (The Al Aqsa Fund, Al Israa Foundation), Switzerland (ASP, SHS), Italy (ABSPP: Associazione Beneficia di Solidarieta col Popolo Palestinese), Austria (PHV: Palestinian Humanitarian Association, PVO), Belgium (The Al Aqsa Fund), the report stated.

 

Despite the frantic lobbying, von der Leyen received the honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva without interference. In her acceptance speech, she praised Israel as a democracy in an autocratic region and pointed out BGU’s important work in environmental research, notably greening the environment. Von der Leyen also focused on three challenges that Europe faces, “The first is the challenge stemming from autocracies, the second is climate change, and the third is democratic backsliding. The most direct challenge comes from authoritarian regimes outside our borders.” 

While the two challenges she mentioned focus on autocracies and democratic backsliding, in reality, the EU generously supports the undemocratic Palestinian regime. According to a media report, just a day before the honorary doctorate award, the European Commission voted to release some delayed $220 million funding to the Palestinian Authority. Sums which were held up in a fight over whether to condition the aid on reforms to PA textbooks. The decision to release the funding came as von der Leyen began her three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank. 

According to the media, the European Union is the PA’s largest donor. It helps to pay the salaries of the PA’s many civil servants, constituting a significant chunk of the West Bank economy. Between 2008 and 2020, Brussels sent around $2.5 billion in direct budget support to the PA. 

 

While ostensibly the honorary doctorate ceremony has a “happy ending,” the episode highlights how Islamist groups have penetrated academic, human rights, and political circles in Europe and beyond. As well known, Hamas and its junior partner, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are terror groups with strong links to Iran. 

References

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen awarded Honorary Doctorate from BGU

Jun. 14, 2022

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen received an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva. 

“We bestow the doctorate honoris causa upon individuals who exemplify the characteristics that we wish to hold up as inspiration to our students, and as role models for our own community of scientists, scholars and supporters,” Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz told her. 

“President von der Leyen, when I look at your myriad accomplishments, and your priorities, I am pleased to see some of the directions that we as a university have also committed to. Your “roadmap for a green transition” to battling climate change is perfectly aligned with our new Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change. For over 50 years we’ve been learning how to live in our desert, and now the world comes to learn from our experience. 

“And your long-term commitment to women’s rights, gay marriage and an inclusive democratic society is built into the DNA of our university, which sees its mission as building a shared academic society that uses higher education as a tool for societal transformation,” he said during the ceremony. 

“I feel honoured and humbled by this recognition,” President von der Leyen began, “The fact that the honorary doctorate comes from this prestigious institution, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has a very special meaning for me. This is not only because the list of your doctors honoris causa is truly impressive – from Simone Veil to Yitzhak Rabin. There is also a more personal reason for me. I am a European woman of German nationality. And no longer than 80 years ago, millions of Jewish people were murdered by Germans, in the greatest crime of all human history. We, in Germany, take historical and enduring responsibility for this inhuman disruption of civilisation. It is an indelible stain on my country’s conscience, which we must never and will never forget. So, it feels like a miracle that a German like me is welcomed and honoured here, in the State of Israel, as a friend among friends, only a few generations after the Shoah. 

“But it is no miracle. My being here is the consequence of a choice made by the State of Israel, and by one man above all: The great David Ben-Gurion. It was he who took the first, historic step towards reconciliation with the Germans. He believed that the best way to honour the victims’ memory was to build a better future.” 

Turning to Jewish life and history in Europe, “The very reason why the European Union was founded lies in two simple words: Never again. As long as I can remember, I was convinced of two very simple facts. First, there is no Europe without European Jews. And second, Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies. Because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people. Europe is Simone Veil and Hannah Arendt. Europe is Mahler and Kafka, and Freud. Europe is the values of the Talmud, the Jewish sense of personal responsibility, of justice and solidarity. 

“Today, almost 80 years after the Shoah, Jewish life in Europe is thriving again. Countries like Portugal and Austria are rediscovering their Jewish heritage. I see it in Brussels, too. Just a few months ago, I had the honour to light the Chanukah Menorah in the heart of the European quarter. What an experience. And yet, European Jewish life is also embattled and endangered. Anti-Semitism has not disappeared. It still poisons our societies. And anti-Semitic attacks happen, today, in Europe. It is a new threat but it is the same old evil. Every new generation must take responsibility so that the past does not return. This is why, I have put the fight against anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe at the core of the European Commission’s agenda. Our democracy flourishes if Jewish life in Europe flourishes, too. Throughout the centuries, the Jewish people have been ‘a light unto the nations’. And they shall be a light unto Europe for many centuries ahead.” 

Shifting to the threat to democracies and Russian aggression, “Today more than ever before, democracies like Europe and Israel should come closer together. Not because our democracies are perfect. They are not. No democracy is. Democracies offer the environment in which diverse societies can thrive. And they are challenged like never before. And we can help each other overcome these challenges. Together, we can get one step closer to the ideals of our founding fathers and mothers. 

“Russia’s aggression of Ukraine is a war against democracy itself. It is a war against the idea that the people of Ukraine can take sovereign decisions about their own future. Year after year, Ukraine’s diverse and vibrant civil society has pushed for positive change and has strengthened the country’s democratic institutions. This is exactly what the Kremlin is fighting against. It could not be more symbolic that the first Russian bombs on Kyiv fell right by the gate of a Holocaust memorial and that the Russian propaganda is built on the abominable rhetoric of ‘denazification’ against a democratic Ukraine. We see with great worry the age-old threat of scapegoating the Jewish people in times of war. I know that Israel has helped Ukraine with tons of humanitarian aid and a field hospital, and you have welcomed tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees to your land. 

“In a war against democracy, we all have a stake. And for us, Europeans, the stakes could not be higher. The Kremlin has used our dependency on Russian fossil fuels to blackmail us. And since the beginning of the war, Russia has deliberately cut off its gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland, and Dutch and Danish companies, in retaliation for our support of Ukraine. But the Kremlin’s behaviour only strengthens our resolve to break free of our dependence on Russian fossil fuels.” 

President von der Leyen highlighted two future projects with Israel, “For instance, we are exploring ways to step up our energy cooperation with Israel. We have two major projects in preparation: The world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable, connecting Israel with Cyprus and Greece. This will eventually come from renewable sources. And a gas and clean hydrogen pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is an investment in both Europe’s and Israel’s energy security. And this infrastructure will also contribute to decarbonising our energy mix. It is a great example of democracies sticking together not only in times of conflict but mostly to fight this huge enemy, the climate crisis.” 

She stressed the climate crisis and the role Ben-Gurion University and Israel could play, “Climate change is indeed the second great challenge that our democracies must face. And no one understands this better than you, here in the Negev. David Ben-Gurion believed that here in the Negev, Israel’s creativity and its pioneering spirit would be tested. He always spoke about ‘the duty to make the desert bloom’. And that is exactly what you have done ever since. As we can see in your School of Sustainability and Climate Change. I marvel at how you are testing new building materials that can withstand the desert heat, nature-based solutions, and how you have managed to adapt food crops to the desert climate. With the looming food crisis, we know that these will be the solutions that will determine if countries have independent food production capabilities. You have, quite literally, made the desert bloom. Today, the solutions that you have been researching for decades can change the life of millions across the world.” 

President von der Leyen delivered a ringing endorsement of democracy, especially its ability to make corrections in its path, “We must strengthen our democratic way of life every single day. We must nurture our openness, and our diversity. We must defend the freedom of our media, the independence of our judges, the equality of all people before the law. Keeping democracy in good health is hard work. But it is worthwhile work. Imperfect though it may be, this is the best thing about democracy. Autocrats cannot admit mistakes. Democracies can always improve and correct. Because we, the people, can always make it better. Because we, the people, are the ultimate guardians of democracy,” she told the audience. 

Link to the full text of President von der Leyen’s speech 

 

The scroll President von der Leyen received reads: 

“In recognition of an exceptional stateswoman, President of the European Commission, guiding the European Union towards a promising future by promoting democracy, peace and unity among its members; in acknowledgement of her inspiring leadership, confidently steering the Union through upheavals and storms, including during the current war on the continent; with appreciation for the extraordinary skills she has applied in service of the public throughout multiple cabinet appointments in Germany, including as federal Minister of Defense, Minister of Family Affairs and Youth and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs; with sincere regard for her contributions to Germany’s security and social justice, and her efforts on behalf of its women, children and youths in particular; in gratitude to a true friend and ally, for her uncompromising efforts to eradicate antisemitism and ensure the wellbeing of Jews throughout Europe, as well as her commitment to enhancing the standing of the State of Israel and deepening its ties with the EU; and with great esteem for her dedication to environmental protection and economic growth, and for her dauntless perseverance in advancing equal rights and opportunities for all people and for future generations.”

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EU Commission President must return Ben-Gurion University honorary doctorateAR

20 Jun 2022

Geneva – In an urgent letter to the European Parliament on Friday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor demanded that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen withdraw her acceptance of an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel.

The Geneva-based human rights organization explained that von der Leyen’s acceptance of the BGU doctorate signals condoning the role Israeli academic institutions play in the ever-entrenched occupation of Palestine, as evidenced by BGU’s deep and multifaceted relations with the Israeli military and its discriminatory practices against pro-Palestinian activists.

The letter, addressed to Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Chair Marie Arena, details at length BGU’s complicity in enhancing the Israeli army’s capabilities and increasing its recruits—its condoning of the army’s function as an instrument of systematic oppression, and its violations against Palestinians.

The list of examples provided by Euro-Med Monitor includes the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) being one of BGU’s main donors; BGU being the first Israeli university to create a nearby “Advanced Technologies Park” for the benefit of the IDF; its constructing a new “IDF Technology Campus”; and its incentivising Israelis to join the military by providing them with technology-related education to enhance their quality of service in Israeli intelligence units.

    It is wholly unjustifiable to contribute to whitewashing the role Israeli academic institutions play in supporting the occupation of Palestinians and collaborating with the Israeli army despite its track record of egregious human rights violations   

Ramy Abdu, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor

The letter argues that “BGU offers space, facilities, education, and research collaboration opportunities to IDF units implicated in violations against Palestinians”, including the signal intelligence Unit 8200, which maintains covert listening units in the Palestinian territories that gather people’s private information with the intent to abuse Palestinians.

Euro-Med Monitor has documented further examples of how BGU provides financial aid and scholarships to active duty and reserve soldiers, in order to encourage Israelis to join the army. During the 2008 war on Gaza—also known as Operation Cast Lead—in which Israel killed about 926 Palestinian civilians, BGU offered scholarships and extra tuition to students serving in active combat units. The university similarly offered a special grant for each day of service to students who went on reserve duty, in addition to other benefits.

“Such exclusive benefits for Israelis serving the army not only provide incentive for enlisting in the IDF, including units in the occupied territories, but also discriminate against Arab citizens of Israel who do not serve in the IDF”, the letter reads.

Moreover, Euro-Med Monitor argues that “in collaborating with Israel’s army and providing support to its soldiers, BGU can be accused of aligning its policies and practices with the Israeli state’s restrictions on academic freedom and the right to protest and voice dissent.”

The letter provides multiple examples of the university or its personnel cracking down on pro-Palestinian speech, including reprimanding students for protesting the Israeli state’s actions, as well as prohibiting or restricting certain pro-Palestinian activities. The letter also points out BGU’s collaborating with the Weitzmann Institute, Israel’s Public Affairs Department, and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs to counteract pro-Palestinian activities abroad, such as Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) in the UK and elsewhere.

“It is wholly unjustifiable to contribute to whitewashing the role Israeli academic institutions play in supporting the occupation of Palestinians and collaborating with the Israeli army despite its track record of egregious human rights violations”, said Euro-Med Monitor Chairman Ramy Abdu. “The EU Commission President’s acceptance of Ben-Gurion University’s honorary doctorate gives a stamp of approval to BGU’s complicity and support for the IDF”.

Euro-Med Monitor also demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to von der Leyen’s acceptance of the doctorate and whether the EU Commission is aware of the moral and political controversies surrounding the university.

Full letter

image.png
Subject: Protesting the EU Commission President’s acceptance of Ben Gurion
University’s honorary doctorate
EU Parliament,
Bâtiment Paul Henri Spaak
Rue Wiertz 60, 1047
Bruxelles, Belgium
email: maria.arena@europarl.europa.eu
H.E. MEP Maria Arena, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights
19 June 2022
Dear MEP Arena,
I am writing, on behalf of Euro-Med Monitor, regarding the EU Commission
President Ursula von der Leyen’s acceptance of an honorary doctorate from the Ben
Gurion University (BGU) in Israel last week. We fear that this could regrettably
signal condoning the role Israeli academic institutions, particularly BGU, play in the
ever-entrenched occupation of Palestinians. We believe that Ms. Von der Leyen
should return the honorary doctorate to BGU.
BGU and the Israeli military complex are deeply intertwined, where the former is
strongly complicit in enhancing the army’s capabilities and increasing its recruits
while condoning its systematic oppression and violations against Palestinians.
Aiding and Collaborating with Israel’s Army
In a clear example of collaborations and resource sharing between the University
and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), BGU has Israel’s first technology park situated
on a university campus. The park is divided into civilian and military sections, with
a portion set aside to house a government-developed training facility for the IDF.
The BGU technology park also houses Intelligence, Communications and Training
bases of the IDF and has served to initiate the transfer of major army bases from
the center of Israel into the Negev.
In 2019, Israel’s Defense Ministry and BGU inaugurated the first building of the IDF
Technology Campus in Be’er-Sheva, next to the BGU Advanced Technologies Park.
This is part of a project aimed at building a 150,000 square meters campus that
would serve the needs of thousands of soldiers from the most elite IDF units, which
according to IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Itzik Cohen, would have “the ability to reinforce
the military’s operational capabilities,” and “turn the Negev into Israel’s cyber
capital.”
The year before, Israel’s government allocated $15 million to Ben-Gurion University
to specifically accommodate and absorb thousands of active Israeli soldiers into
technology-related subjects, as the IDF continues to transfer it technology units to
the Negev region, where the university is located.
The IDF’s technology units include the Negev-based Unit 8200, which specializes
in collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. Unit 8200 is known
for maintaining covert listening units in the Palestinian territories, which in 2014,
prompted 43 veterans of the unit to sign a protest letter decrying the 8200 unit’s
abusive gathering of Palestinians’ private information.
In that sense, not only is BGU offering space and facilities to IDF units implicated
in violations against Palestinians, but BGU is also working with the Israeli defense
establishment to incentivize Israeli students who undertake academic studies while
serving in IDF intelligence and computer corps to enroll in technology-related
subjects to enhance their qualities and expertise during their military service.
Providing Exclusive and Discriminatory Benefits to IDF Soldiers
Furthermore, BGU has traditionally aided and provided academic scholarships and
support Israeli army reservist students and active-duty soldiers. For instance,
during Israel’s 2008 war on Gaza, known as operation Cast Lead, in which Israel
killed about 926 Palestinian civilians, BGU offered scholarships and extra tuition to
students who served in active combat units. The University similarly offered a
special grant for each day of service to students who went on reserve duty, in
addition to other benefits.
BGU provides “Application Fees Refund” to students who possess a “Certificate of
Fighting” issued by the IDF. The university is one of higher education institutes
falling on the periphery of the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria that provides the
first schooling year free to students who have completed military or national service
in the IDF. It also provides a specialized fast-tracked program to Israeli Airforce
Pilots to obtain bachelor’s degrees in one year.
Such exclusive benefits to Israelis serving the army not only provide incentive for
enlisting in the IDF, including in the occupied territories, but they also discriminate
against Arab citizens of Israel who do not serve in the IDF.
These issues have prompted the University of Johannesburg in 2011 to sever its
ties with BGU after a lengthy investigation has shown damning evidence of BGU’s
institutional complicity and active collaboration with the Israeli occupation, its
military and apartheid practices.
Silencing Legitimate Criticism of Israeli Actions and Policies
While collaborating with Israel’s army and providing support to its soldiers, BGU
has been accused of aligning its policies and practices with the Israeli state’s
restrictions on academic freedom and the right to protest and voice dissent.
For instance, in 2009, BGU Professor Neve Gordon, who then headed the politics
department, faced opposition from the University’s president, Professor Rivka
Carmi, for supporting the non-violent boycott of Israeli companies and institutions
which profit from or are complicit in the Israeli occupation. Professor Carmi argued
that Professor Gordon’s views threaten the existence of BGU as a “proudly Zionist
Institution” and compromise its sources of funding, and consequently worked on
passing a resolution through BGU’s senate that sets boundaries on lecturers’
freedom of expression. The said resolution states that “the university is entitled to
control the lecturers’ political or religious expressions, even though they are part
of their civilian liberties, so that teaching and research will not be used for the sake
of political or religious goals.” This sets a prohibition on lecturers that prevents
them from voicing their political opinions during classes, as well as using their
university titles when speaking publicly about politics or their personal opinions.
In late 2010, two BGU students were reprimanded by a disciplinary tribunal for
taking part in a protest over Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom flotilla that was
seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. The BGU tribunal stated that it would
suspend the students if they repeated their actions. In December of the same year,
BGU prohibited students from the “Solidarity Against Fascism” student organization
from distributing flyers that criticized a series of proposed Israel laws while other
Israeli universities had permitted the flyers to be distributed. Furthermore, multiple
BGU students have complained about the university’s security guards
photographing and intrusively monitoring anti-occupation political activists.
Finally, BGU has been collaborating with the Weitzmann Institute and the Public
and Diaspora Affairs department in Israel to counteract the activities of Israeli
Apartheid Week (IAW) in Britain. For instance, in 2011 BGU was amongst
stakeholders that funded a student delegation to go together with local pro-Israeli
groups and Israeli representatives in Britain to counter the IAW week of activities.
In light of such concerning facts and many other examples of BGU’s complicity and
active collaboration with the Israeli military and occupation, we demand that the
European Parliament exerts pressure on Ms. von der Leyen to return the honorary
doctorate to BGU as a statement of support for Palestinian rights and opposition to
their oppression. We also demand that you question the commission over the
circumstances that led to Ms. von der Leyen’s acceptance of the doctorate in the
first place.
Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration.
Kindest regards,
Dr. Ramy Abdu
Euro-Med Monitor Chairman
Ramy@euromedmonitor.org
===================================

Speech by President von der Leyen at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

 14.06.2022  
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva, Israel

 Press and information team of the Delegation to ISRAEL

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave a speech at Ben-Gurion University where she received an honorary doctorate.

Thank you very much, mazel tov,

President Chamovitz,

Professor Hames,

Professor Pardo,

Professor Mizrahi,

Excellencies,

Dear faculty,

Dear students,

Shalom,

I feel honoured and humbled by this recognition. The fact that the honorary doctorate comes from this prestigious institution, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has a very special meaning for me. This is not only because the list of your doctors honoris causa is truly impressive – from Simone Veil, as we have seen, to Yitzhak Rabin. There is also a more personal reason for me. I am a European woman of German nationality. And not longer than 80 years ago, millions of Jewish people were murdered by Germans, in the greatest crime of all human history. We, in Germany, take historical and enduring responsibility for this inhuman disruption of civilisation. It is an indelible stain on my country’s conscience, which we must never and will never forget. So it seems like a miracle that a German like me is welcomed and honoured here, in the State of Israel, as a friend among friends, only a few generations after the Shoah.

But it is no miracle. My being here is the consequence of a choice made by the State of Israel, and by one man above all: The great David Ben-Gurion. It was he who took the first, historic step towards reconciliation with the Germans. He believed that the best way to honour the victim’s memory was to build a better future. It is also to the credit of David Ben-Gurion that my country looked the victims of our crimes in the eyes for the first time. The young German democracy grew stronger because of its developing friendship with the new State of Israel. We faced our guilt and our responsibility. And all this while the European project was taking its first steps. The very reason why the European Union was founded lies in two simple words: Never again. A new generation of Germans was raised with that premise, including myself. I can say, without reservation, that I would not be here today if it was not for David Ben-Gurion.

As long as I can think, I was convinced of two very simple facts. First, there is no Europe without European Jews. And second, Europe and Israel are bound to be friends and allies. Because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people. Europe is Simone Veil and Hannah Arendt. Europe is Mahler and Kafka, and Freud. Europe is the values of the Talmud, the Jewish sense of personal responsibility, of justice and of solidarity.

Today, almost 80 years after the Shoah, Jewish life in Europe is thriving again. Countries like Portugal and Austria are rediscovering their Jewish heritage. I see it in Brussels, too. As the little film showed: Just a few months ago, I had the honour to light the Chanukah Menorah in the heart of the European quarter. What an experience. And yet, European Jewish life is also embattled and endangered. Anti-Semitism has not disappeared. It still poisons our societies. And anti-Semitic attacks happen today in Europe. It is a new threat, but it is the same old evil. Every new generation must take responsibility so that the past does not return. This is why I have put the fight against anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe at the core of the European Commission’s agenda. Our democracy flourishes if Jewish life in Europe flourishes, too. Throughout the centuries, the Jewish people have been ‘a light unto the nations’. And they shall be a light unto Europe for many centuries ahead.

We have more in common than the geography would suggest. Our shared culture and values have created a deep connection between Europe and Israel. And I am not just talking about Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest and the Champions League. The strongest bond we share is our belief in democracy and in democratic values. And here again, Ben-Gurion’s legacy is enduring. Ben-Gurion believed that Israel’s strength depends on its democratic institutions. And only in a democracy, would citizens feel compelled to take responsibility for their common home. He is so right. Thanks to this conviction, the State of Israel has flourished ever since. You have become a prosperous nation, even in the most challenging of circumstances and in a complicated region. You championed women’s rights in unlikely times, and Golda Meir’s leadership inspired women across the world. Me, as a young girl, too. Your freedom of thought has turned a small country of just a few million into a global trailblazer for science and innovation. And democracy has strengthened our special bond of friendship through the decades. Today, more than ever before, democracies like Europe and Israel should come closer together. Not because our democracies are perfect. They are not. No democracy is. Democracies offer the environment in which a diverse society can thrive. And they are challenged like never before. And we can help each other to overcome these challenges. So together, we can get one step closer to the ideals of our founding fathers and mothers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, I would like to focus briefly on three of these challenges. The first is the challenge stemming from autocracies, the second is climate change, and the third is democratic backsliding. The most direct of these challenges comes from authoritarian regimes outside our borders. And indeed, what we witness in these days, Russia’s aggression of Ukraine, is a war against democracy itself. It is a war against the idea that the people of Ukraine can take sovereign decisions about their own future. Year after year, Ukraine’s diverse and vibrant civil society has pushed for positive change and has strengthened the country’s democratic institutions. This is exactly what the Kremlin is fighting against. It could not be more symbolic that the first Russian bombs on Kyiv fell right by the gate of a Holocaust memorial and that the Russian propaganda is built on the abominable rhetoric of ‘denazification’ against a democratic Ukraine. We see with great worry the age-old threat of scapegoating the Jewish people in times of war. I know that Israel has helped Ukraine with tonnes of humanitarian aid and a field hospital, and you have welcomed tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees to your land.

In a war against democracy, we all have a stake. And for us, Europeans, the stakes could not be higher. The Kremlin has used our dependency on Russian fossil fuels to blackmail us. And since the beginning of the war, Russia has deliberately cut off its gas supplies to Poland, to Bulgaria, to Finland, to Dutch companies, to Danish companies, in retaliation for our support to Ukraine. But the Kremlin’s behaviour only strengthened our resolve to break free of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels. For instance, we are now exploring ways to step up our energy cooperation with Israel. We have two major projects in preparation: The world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable, connecting Israel with Cyprus and Greece. This will over time be electrification from renewable energies. That is where the investment has to go into. You have an abundance of these natural resources to produce renewable energy. And the second is a gas and clean hydrogen pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean. This is an investment in both Europe’s and Israel’s energy security. And this infrastructure will also contribute to decarbonising our energy mix. It is a great example of democracies sticking together not only in times of conflict but mostly to fight this huge enemy we have, and that is climate change. This is the big looming crisis in the background. And we have to take all our knowledge, all our engineering and entrepreneurial spirit that we have to innovate, to bring about the innovative technologies, to work to fight climate change, to make this world a better place, and to hand it over to our children with still a spring, a summer, a fall and a winter to experience.

Climate change is the great challenge that our democracies are fighting. And no one understands that better than you, here in the Negev. David Ben-Gurion believed that here in the Negev, Israel’s creativity and its pioneering spirit would be tested, as he said. He always spoke about ‘the duty to make the desert bloom’. And that is exactly what you have done ever since. And I have listened to what I was told about this university, as we can see in your School of Sustainability and Climate Change. I marvel at how you are testing new building materials that can withstand the desert heat – nature-based solutions – and how you have managed to adapt food crops to the desert climate. With the looming food crisis, we know that these will be the technologies that will make the difference whether we will master the food crisis and over time have independent production in the vulnerable countries, or not. You have with all that, quite literally, made the desert bloom. Today, the solutions that you have been researching for decades can change the life of millions across the world.

A few weeks ago, I was in Davos, where President Herzog spoke exactly about that. It was an important speech, which resonated well beyond our region. President Herzog called for a new alliance – and I quote – ‘to shape not only a new Middle East, but a renewable Middle East. A Middle East that thrives as a global hub of sustainable solutions in food, water and health, and as a source of solar energy to Europe, Asia and Africa.’ I could not agree more with his vision. For decades, Europe and Israel have cooperated closely on science and innovation. Just last December, Israel joined the EU’s massive research and innovation programme. It is called Horizon Europe and has a budget of almost EUR 100 billion. It is now time to put our cooperation at the service of the ones who need it most, and at the service of the fight against climate change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The third and final challenge to democracy that I would like to address is perhaps the most subtle one. This challenge is within. It is the risk of backsliding that all our democracies face. Democracy is necessarily a work in progress. It must be exercised and renewed, each and every day. Each of our democracies is different and unique. But ultimately, democracy in all its forms comes down to the same thing. As Ben-Gurion always said: ‘The outstanding attribute of democracy is not government for the people. It is government by the people.’ Democracy gives people a voice. It gives them the power to change things with their vote. In democracies, we even fight for other people’s freedom to disagree with us. The freedom to speak your mind; the freedom to change your mind. The freedom to be yourself – so that if you are different from the majority, you are always equal before the law. And this is what binds democracies together. The recognition that we are all different, yet all equal.

Today, this is challenged in many ways. Societies are becoming more fragmented. Public debate has become more polarised, and it gets harder and harder to focus on the common good. From the attacks against the rule of law and free press, and free research in some parts of Europe, to minority rights and coexistence here in the region. Democracies must have room for everyone, including those who think differently, who believe differently, or who come from a different region.

Israel is a vibrant democracy, its resilience is admired worldwide. Israeli society is incredibly diverse. For example, I was impressed to learn that over 800 students from the Bedouin community are studying here at the Ben-Gurion University. Israel is a small slice of land where people of all faiths and born on all continents live together. Families who have lived here for generations, and families who have just arrived. Diversity can be an immense strength. Yet the path towards peaceful coexistence is long. And democracy is never accomplished once and for all. This is also true for the European Union. Like other democracies, Europe faces external threats ranging from disinformation to interference in our elections; as well as challenges from within our societies, ranging from nationalism to xenophobia, from revisionism to anti-Semitism. We must strengthen our democracies and democratic way of life every single day. We must nurture our openness, and our diversity. We must defend the freedom of our media, the independence of our judges, the equality of all people before the law. Keeping democracy in good health is hard work. But it is worthwhile work. Imperfect though it might be, this is the best thing about democracy. Autocrats cannot admit mistakes. Democracies can always improve and correct. Because we, the people, can always make it better. Because we, the people, are the ultimate guardians of democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On each one of the challenges that I have addressed today, I feel my generation’s responsibility to leave you a better world than the one we inherited. But it is you – the young generation that I see here in the room –, each and every one, who will write the next chapter. It is your energy, your empathy, it is your knowledge, your tolerance, it is your hard work, your love that will shape the world and the democracies of tomorrow. And that makes me confident. Because your generation is also the most educated, the most climate-conscious and the most open-minded the world has ever seen.

Ben-Gurion said in the early days of the State of Israel: ‘Independence does not mean only liberation from a foreign yoke. Independence has a positive meaning, and that is the most important. The positive content of independence means responsibility. It is independence of the heart. And it is independence of the will.’

Long live Europe.

Am Israel Chai.

====================================================


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david-cronin/will-dirty-eu-deal-israel-really-tackle-climate-change

Will dirty EU deal with Israel really tackle climate change? 

David Cronin 

15 June 2022

Honorary doctorates sometimes get handed to the least honorable people.

This week the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev gave such an award to Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s head. Based on her acceptance speech, the only degree which von der Leyen really deserved was an “MD” – a master’s in deception.

Von der Leyen had the audacity to present cooperation with Israel as a step towards “decarbonizing our energy mix.”

The “world’s longest and deepest underwater power cable, connecting Israel with Cyprus and Greece” will “over time” result in “electrification from renewable sources,” she claimed. Both the cable and a “gas and clean hydrogen pipeline” for the Eastern Mediterranean were, von der Leyen added, a “great example of democracies sticking together not only in times of conflict but mostly to fight this huge enemy that we have, and that is climate change.”

It would be foolish to trust von der Leyen’s assurances.

The companies taking part in the projects she praised include ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell. All of those firms profit from fossil fuels – the single largest cause of global warming.

Environmental destruction is indeed a huge enemy for humanity. But why would fossil fuel giants want to fight it?

Breaking free?

Von der Leyen portrayed energy cooperation with Israel as a way to “break free of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels.”

Not everyone is so enthusiastic. Victoria Nuland, a US State Department veteran, does not believe that the EastMed pipeline will allow Europe to find a replacement for Russian gas swiftly enough.

Nuland has long been determined to keep Brussels bureaucrats in their place.

Back in 2014, a recording was leaked of Nuland dictating whose opinion mattered about Ukraine. “Fuck the EU,” she said at that time.

Von der Leyen displays the kind of deference which Nuland demands. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Commission boss has stressed her “unity” with the US.

By groveling to Israel this week, von der Leyen will surely have pleased Joe Biden’s administration. Her comments involved the kind of duplicity that American politicians have got away with for way too long.

At Ben-Gurion University, she complained about “authoritarian regimes beyond our borders.” To avoid any doubt about which regime she was focusing on, von der Leyen then singled out Russia.

Selective

The EU and the US have a selective approach to authoritarian regimes. Authoritarian regimes which buy Western arms and humor Western businesses are regarded as valued partners.

As part of her trip, von der Leyen signed a trilateral agreement on energy cooperation between the EU, Egypt and Israel.

Under Abdulfattah al-Sisi, Egypt is the epitome of an authoritarian regime. Thousands are now in jail for expressing views with which al-Sisi and his handlers disagree.

Egypt plays an essential role in blockading Gaza, too, but that does not appear to have been on von der Leyen’s agenda.

Von der Leyen also paid a visit this week to Mohammed Shtayyeh from the Palestinian Authority, which detains and tortures Palestinians to keep Israel and the EU happy.

Shtayyeh patted von der Leyen on the back over Europe’s nominal commitment to the search for peace and justice.

That was a sick joke.

For the past year, the EU has withheld funding for Palestinian hospitals. There is nothing just about depriving cancer patients of treatment.

Although von der Leyen has trumpeted a decision allowing the funding to resume, she has never denounced – at least not publicly – the man who blocked the funding, Hungary’s EU commissioner Olivér Várhelyi. Her silence is inexcusable considering that she is Várhelyi’s boss and could exert considerable pressure on him if she so desired.

Cowardly

Palestinian rights barely got a mention from von der Leyen this week. The only notable exception was when she stated that the EU “strongly condemns” the killing of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

As condemnations go, it was a cowardly one. Von der Leyen did not acknowledge that there was a clear culprit in this killing – the Israeli military.

Nor did von der Leyen say anything this week about the violence of the Israeli police during Abu Akleh’s funeral.

Von der Leyen has described aggression ordered by Vladimir Putin as “barbaric” and called Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine “terrifying.”

But she would never dare to use such strong words when alluding to Israel.

That said, every EU criticism of Israel rings hollow. The same police force which baton charged Abu Akleh’s pallbearers participates in EU-financed research activities.

In her Ben-Gurion University speech, von der Leyen praised Israel as a “global trailblazer for science and innovation.”

Eager to embrace the “global trailblazer,” the EU gives research grants to Israel’s weapons industry and even a firm established by a former head of Mossad, the spying and assassination agency.

Von der Leyen did not draw attention to the murky aspects of the EU-Israel partnership this week. Rather, she advocated that the partnership should be put to use in the fight against climate change.

Once again, von der Leyen omitted some important details.

The Israel Electric Corporation is a major participant in the energy projects that von der Leyen endorsed. The same company is actively involved in Israel’s theft and colonization of the West Bank.

If the projects are completed, energy generated in settlements which violate international law will be imported into Europe.

There is something obscene about suggesting that Israel is keen to solve the world’s environmental problems. That kind of obscenity is exactly what we should expect from someone who merits a master’s in deception.

===================================================================
https://www.timesofisrael.com/eu-releases-aid-to-palestinians-held-up-over-textbook-reform/
EU releases aid to Palestinians held up over textbook reform

European Commission votes to send over $200 million to PA; unclear if funds sent on condition alleged incitement be removed from curricula

By AARON BOXERMAN

13 June 2022, 11:47 pm  

The European Commission voted on Monday night to release some long-delayed funding to the Palestinian Authority, after months in which hundreds of millions of euros were held up in a fight over whether to condition the aid on reforms to PA textbooks, three sources told The Times of Israel.

A vote was held in the European Commission to release aid for the year 2021, reportedly about $220 million in direct budget support to the PA. EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi had proposed conditioning some of the money on reforms to Palestinian textbooks to remove alleged incitement, sparking a months-long battle in Brussels as officials argued for and against.

Palestinian officials claimed the funding was ultimately released without any strings attached. But the vote’s results are not yet public, and the EU’s envoy to the Palestinians declined to comment.

The decision to release the funding comes as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen begins a three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank. She is set to meet with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Tuesday in Ramallah.

The European Union, the PA’s largest donor, helps to pay the salaries of the PA’s many civil servants, constituting a significant chunk of the West Bank economy. Between 2008 and 2020, Brussels sent around $2.5 billion in direct budget support to the PA.

But PA textbooks have long been a subject of controversy. Watchdogs have slammed the curricula for allegedly promoting violence and glorifying terrorism. The PA defends them as a faithful reflection of their national narrative.

In late 2021, senior EU Commission official Oliver Varhelyi – a conservative appointee close to Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban – proposed conditioning about $10 million of the EU’s aid to the PA on reforming the textbooks.

Ramallah has been plagued by repeated financial difficulties and dwindling international support, making the loss of EU funding a serious blow.

Both Palestinian and Israeli officials have warned that the PA could face fiscal collapse, in part due to the lack of aid.

Many PA civil servants had to get by on partial or delayed wages for months. Meanwhile, the PA has fallen ever further behind on payments to Israel for electricity and water, and has struggled to pay medical costs for Palestinians seeking treatment in Israeli hospitals.

European states have been debating Varhelyi’s proposal heatedly ever since, with strong feelings for and against it in Brussels. The delay compounded a two-year period in which the funds were already frozen for technical reasons.

“The broader question is: Should such substantive financial aid be linked to one element of the relationship between Europe and the Palestinians?” one European diplomat critical of the proposal said in a February interview.

By contrast, the IMPACT-se nonprofit, which regularly issues reports analyzing Palestinian curricula, hailed the proposal.

“There is now too much opposition from the European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council itself to transfer massive sums of money to the PA while it brazenly continues to produce antisemitic and violent textbooks,” IMPACT-se director Marcus Sheff said in March.

Palestinian Authority officials have repeatedly said that they will not accept conditioning the aid on changes to Palestinian textbooks. The PA has also consistently rejected the accusation that its textbooks promote violence and terrorism.

“We are made to explain and justify what appears in our educational materials, even though it explains our narrative and our national identity. Meanwhile, no one demands to review Israeli curricula and media, so the world can see the true incitement by Israeli institutions,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to the United Nations last year.

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https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/54/1247/467924/War-in-Ukraine/Economy/Facing-gas-;blackmail;-by-Russia,-EU-turns-to-Isra.aspx

Facing gas ‘blackmail’ by Russia, EU turns to Israel: AFP

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jun 2022

The European Union wants to strengthen its energy cooperation with Israel in light of Russia’s use of gas supplies to “blackmail” its members over the Ukraine conflict, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

“The Kremlin has used our dependency on Russian fossil fuels to blackmail us,” she said in a speech at the Ben Gurion University in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

“Since the beginning of the war, Russia has deliberately cut off its gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland, and Dutch and Danish companies, in retaliation for our support to Ukraine.”

But Moscow’s conduct “only strengthens our resolve to break free of our dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” she said, noting the EU was “exploring ways to step up our energy cooperation with Israel,” with work on an underwater power cable and a gas pipeline in the eastern Mediterranean.

Israel exports gas to Egypt, some of which is then liquefied and shipped to Europe. A significant increase in gas exports would require major long-term infrastructure investments.

In talks with Energy Minister Karine Elharrar on Monday, von der Leyen reiterated “the EU need for Israeli gas,” the minister’s spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said there had been talks since March on establishing the legal framework to enable more Israeli gas exports to Europe via Egypt.

Another option would be the EastMed project, a proposal for a seafloor pipeline linking Israel with Cyprus and Greece. But US President Joe Biden’s administration has questioned the viability of the project, given its huge cost and the time it would take to complete.

Another proposal is a pipeline connecting Israel to Turkey.

Israel’s ties with Ankara have thawed in recent months after more than a decade of frosty relations and analysts have said Turkey’s desire for joint energy projects has partly triggered its outreach to Israel.

That pipeline project would cost $1.5 billion and take two to three years to complete, according to estimates.

Israel is estimated to have gas reserves of at least one trillion cubic metres, with domestic use over the next three decades expected to total no more than 300 billion.

Von der Leyen was due to hold talks with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett later Tuesday, before travelling on to Egypt.

Ariella Azoulay Promoting the Boston Mapping Project

16.06.22
Editorial Note

Prof. Ariella Azoulay, a former Israeli academic at Brown University, has promoted the highly controversial Boston Mapping Project. Azoulay, a radical pro-Palestinian activist who even adopted the name Aisha, was offered a position at Brown, where she has engaged in countless anti-Israeli activities, including BDS.  

By far, the Boston Mapping Project has been egregious. According to media reports, the group alleges sinister connections between Jewish and pro-Israel groups across Massachusetts and the US government, politicians, the police, and the media and blames these groups for various nefarious activities. The group’s map draws links between the Jewish groups and the institutions they are supposed to influence.

BDS Boston, the local chapter of BDS is backing the project, which some progressive Democrats have also embraced in the region.  BDS Boston proclaimed: “From our friends at the Mapping Project! Their map and articles illustrate how local support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing, evictions, and privatization locally, and to US imperialist projects worldwide.” 

A perusal of the project reveals its anti-American and anti-Israel purposes. 

The Mapping Project claims it aims to expose “policing and systemic white supremacy here where we live, and to US imperialist projects in other countries.”

The Mapping Project explains it is a “multi-generational collective of activists and organizers on the land of the Massachusett, Pawtucket, Naumkeag, and other tribal nations (Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding areas) who wanted to develop a deeper understanding of local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine and harms that we see as linked, such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing. Our work is grounded in the realization that oppressors share tactics and institutions – and that our liberation struggles are connected. We wanted to visualize these connections in order to see where our struggles intersect and to strategically grow our local organizing capacities.”

To achieve their goals, the group constructed an interactive map to illustrate the “connections between harms such as privatization and medical apartheid, which are often facilitated by universities and their corporate partners. Since local universities engage in these multiple forms of oppression and produce much of the ruling class, and because they are major land holders in our area.”

For them, “the university as a central nexus that ties together many of the harms traced on the map.”

The group adds, “The map is not a complete representation of local institutions responsible for the colonization of Palestine or other harms such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement.”

They provide several examples:

“Boston’s Colonial Universities Grab Land for Profit, War, and Medical Apartheid: Universities in Cambridge and Boston colonize land and put it to work for private profit, imperial war, and perpetuation of medical apartheid. These land grabs increase property values and rent, fueling the displacement and ethnic cleansing of local communities. Yet history shows that this colonial loop can be disrupted, and has been challenged at every stage by organized resistance of the people it seeks to push out.

Zionism, Policing and Empire: A Dispatch from the Mapping Project: Examines the networking of police agencies across Massachusetts as highly militarized forces that share resources and information to enforce the intersecting systems of white supremacy and capitalism, and reveals their connections to universities, weapons companies, and certain NGOs. It highlights the role of the Department of Homeland Security, with its use of “counterterrorism” as a catch-all for programs of surveillance and militarization, in organizing and funding these networks, often using Israel as a point of reference for ideology, policy, technology and organization.

Mapping US Imperialism: US imperialism is the greatest threat to life on the planet. This article explores the vast and complicated network of US imperialism, both hard and soft power, then turns its focus to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a local institution that demonstrates the level of ideological and material cooperation required for the machinery of US imperialism to function. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) brings together police executives from across the country for yearly meetings at Boston University, and also organizes meetings between US police executives with their counterparts in Israel and in other colonial and repressive regimes. This article looks at their 2018 handbook The Police Response to Mass Demonstrations as an example of a counterinsurgency doctrine aimed at isolating leaders and radicals, and reveals the role of the ACLU in helping police to develop policy.

Charity is Theft: The Gann Foundation and Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit: Charity is fundamentally misconstrued as a selfless and generous act. In reality, charitable donations are supporting the colonization of Palestine and violence worldwide. This article provides an introduction to united states tax law as it applies to charitable donations, highlighting legal tax evasion, the ways in which taxes nurture wealth building, and the transfer of wealth to the political darling projects of the rich.”

The group received a lot of criticism. Jake Auchincloss, representing a Boston area with a large Jewish population in Congress, denounced the Mapping Project in the strongest possible way: “It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling … to name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible.” 

Azoulay is one of the many radical Israeli academics who migrated to the West, where they lend legitimacy to anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic projects. As IAM repeatedly noted, they are in high demand in the Palestinian advocacy circles because they are Jewish and Israeli. Some critics call them “useful idiots,” a term allegedly coined by Lenin to describe people who “propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause’s goals, and who is cynically used by the cause’s leaders.”  This is a misrepresentation of these cohorts. Azoulay and her ilks, such as Ilan Pappe, Eyal Weizman, and others, are sophisticated players in the soft war waged against Israel, which produced the bulk of the work claiming Israel is an apartheid state whose military engages in Nazi-like practices against the Palestinians.  

IAM would continue reporting on these issues.


Refereces
References:


From our friends at the Mapping Project! Their map and articles illustrate how local support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing, evictions, and privatization locally, and to US imperialist projects worldwide.
Check it out: 
mapliberation.org

The Mapping Project

Screenshot of the Mapping Project's map (geographical view).

What is the Mapping Project?

Welcome to the Mapping Project. We are a multi-generational collective of activists and organizers on the land of the Massachusett, Pawtucket, Naumkeag, and other tribal nations (Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding areas) who wanted to develop a deeper understanding of local institutional support for the colonization of Palestine and harms that we see as linked, such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing. Our work is grounded in the realization that oppressors share tactics and institutions – and that our liberation struggles are connected. We wanted to visualize these connections in order to see where our struggles intersect and to strategically grow our local organizing capacities.

Our interactive map illustrates some ways in which institutional support for the colonization of Palestine is structurally tied to policing and systemic white supremacy here where we live, and to US imperialist projects in other countries. Our map also shows the connections between harms such as privatization and medical apartheid, which are often facilitated by universities and their corporate partners. Since local universities engage in these multiple forms of oppression and produce much of the ruling class, and because they are major land holders in our area, we’ve emphasized the university as a central nexus that ties together many of the harms traced on the map. (For more on what we think the map reveals, see What We See page and read our articles.)

We acknowledge that our map is not a complete representation of local institutions responsible for the colonization of Palestine or other harms such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement. We also recognize that the struggles of local Indigenous nations against US colonization are underrepresented on our map. We would be grateful for suggestions and knowledge shared with us by those who engage with our map, and hope it can continue to grow and improve through your contributions.

This map is intended first and foremost to cultivate relationships between organizers across movements and deepen our political analyses as we build community power. Building community power, for us, has meant seeking the knowledge of those organizing in community with us and highlighting the radical analyses and resistance of earlier generations which have been suppressed.

Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them. Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.

View map

total of 482 entities, 1351 links

Articles

  • The Architecture of Banishment
  • Displacement (or “gentrification”) is often incorrectly conceptualized as an unintentional consequence of inevitable transformations which occur in urban areas over time. The Berklee College of Music’s “homeless spikes” are a stark reminder of the intentionality behind the efforts of local universities and tech, biotech, and pharmaceutical corporations to reshape the Boston area into a haven for majority white and professional populations, through the planned banishment of preexisting (Black and Brown, working-class) communities deemed undesirable.

  • Boston’s Colonial Universities Grab Land for Profit, War, and Medical Apartheid
  • Universities in Cambridge and Boston colonize land and put it to work for private profit, imperial war, and perpetuation of medical apartheid. These land grabs increase property values and rent, fueling the displacement and ethnic cleansing of local communities. Yet history shows that this colonial loop can be disrupted, and has been challenged at every stage by organized resistance of the people it seeks to push out.

  • Zionism, Policing and Empire: A Dispatch from the Mapping Project
  • Examines the networking of police agencies across Massachusetts as highly militarized forces that share resources and information to enforce the intersecting systems of white supremacy and capitalism, and reveals their connections to universities, weapons companies, and certain NGOs. It highlights the role of the Department of Homeland Security, with its use of “counterterrorism” as a catch-all for programs of surveillance and militarization, in organizing and funding these networks, often using Israel as a point of reference for ideology, policy, technology and organization.

  • Mapping US Imperialism
  • US imperialism is the greatest threat to life on the planet. This article explores the vast and complicated network of US imperialism, both hard and soft power, then turns its focus to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a local institution that demonstrates the level of ideological and material cooperation required for the machinery of US imperialism to function.

  • Massachusetts’ Imperialist Landscape
  • Visualizing Massachusetts’ imperialist landscape with a few maps.

  • The Police Executive Research Forum, the ACLU, and Counterinsurgency
  • The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) brings together police executives from across the country for yearly meetings at Boston University, and also organizes meetings between US police executives with their counterparts in Israel and in other colonial and repressive regimes. This article looks at their 2018 handbook The Police Response to Mass Demonstrations as an example of a counterinsurgency doctrine aimed at isolating leaders and radicals, and reveals the role of the ACLU in helping police to develop policy.

  • Charity is Theft: The Gann Foundation and Boston’s Zionist NGO circuit
  • Charity is fundamentally misconstrued as a selfless and generous act. In reality, charitable donations are supporting the colonization of Palestine and violence worldwide. This article provides an introduction to united states tax law as it applies to charitable donations, highlighting legal tax evasion, the ways in which taxes nurture wealth building, and the transfer of wealth to the political darling projects of the rich.

Most connected entities by type

Screenshot of the Mapping Project's map (graph view).Weapons/Robotics: Raytheon   Lockheed Martin   General Dynamics   Boeing   Lenco Armored Vehicles   Elbit Systems  

University: MIT   Harvard University   Harvard Kennedy School of Government   Tufts University   Boston University   The Broad Institute  

State/Local Government: State of Mass.   City of Cambridge   City of Boston   Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)   Newton Public Schools   Massachusetts Technology Collaborative  

Real Estate: BioMed Realty Trust, Inc.   DSF Group   Small Property Owners Association (SPOA)   Cruz Management Co   Harvard Real Estate Inc.   Maloney Properties  

Prison/Prison-Industrial Complex: MCI-Framingham Prison   Suffolk County Jail   Aramark   Middleton Jail and House of Correction  

Politician: Ed Markey   Elizabeth Warren   Charlie Baker  

Police: Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (CEMLEC)   Greater Boston Police Council   Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC)   Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)   Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (Metro LEC)   Department of Homeland Security  

NGO: Anti-Defamation League (ADL)   Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP)   Ruderman Family Foundation   Kraft Family Philanthropies   Seth Klarman, and the Klarman Family Foundation   Joseph and Rae Gann Charitable Foundation  

Military: U.S. Navy in Massachusetts   U.S. Air Force in Massachusetts   U.S. Army in Massachusetts   Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University   U.S. Air Force: Hanscom Air Force Base   Fort Devens Army Base  

Media: JewishBoston   The Jewish Journal   Boston Globe  

Lifestyle: Puma   CYBEX INTERNATIONAL   Harpoon Brewery  

Labor: AFL-CIO (Massachusetts)   International Union of Police Associations   New England Regional Council of Carpenters   UNITE-HERE (Massachusetts)   International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)   The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)  

Israeli Government: Consulate General of Israel to New England  

Healthcare/Pharma: Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)   Pfizer   Millennium Pharmaceuticals/Takeda Oncology   Novartis   Tufts-New England Medical Center   Biogen  

Finance: Fidelity Charitable   Citigroup   Baupost Group   MassMutual   RTN Federal Credit Union   Fidelity  

Cultural: Boston Museum of Science   Jewish Arts Collaborative   Israel360   BOMBYX Center for Arts & Equity   Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston   Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)  

Consulting: McKinsey   Boston Consulting Group (BCG)   Gemini Industries   Odyssey Systems Consulting Group   Deloitte   Nixon Peabody LLP  

Construction/Engineering: CDM Smith   Kleinfelder Northeast   Excelitas Technologies   Elkus Manfredi Architects   HDR Architecture   Finegold Alexander & Associates  

Computing/Logistics: IBM   Amazon   Microsoft   Google   Hewlett Packard Enterprise   Apple  

Agribusiness: DuPont  

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The intersections between agents of oppression offer possibilities for connecting our struggles. They study us and are networked; we need to study them and form our own networks of resistance.

Zionism, Policing and Empire: A dispatch from the Mapping Project The intersections between agents of oppression offer possibilities for connecting our struggles. They study us and are networked; we need to study them and form our own networks of resistance.
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https://jewishinsider.com/2022/06/jake-auchincloss-mapping-project-bds-boston-israel/

Boston BDS map of Jewish groups has ‘potential to incite violence,’ Auchincloss says

A Boston BDS group released a chart alleging Jewish groups were connected to a network of government, media and police and linking them to a range of malign activities

By Marc Rod
 June 9, 2022

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) said on Wednesday that a report released last week by a Boston-area Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement group plays on millennia-old antisemitic tropes and could inflame violence against the Jewish community.

The group, calling itself the “Mapping Project,” alleges sinister connections between Jewish and pro-Israel groups across Massachusetts and government, politicians, the police and the media, and blames these groups for a range of nefarious activities. The group plotted the locations of the organizations on an interactive state map — drawing lines between the Jewish groups and institutions the project claims they influence — and released the addresses and names of some of the groups’ staffers.

The project’s organizers accuse the groups — which include the local Jewish Community Relations Council and Synagogue Council, the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Community, a Jewish high school, local philanthropies, an arts group and J Street  — of ties to “harms that we see as linked, such as policing, US imperialism, and displacement/ethnic cleansing.”

“Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them,” the organizers wrote in an op-ed published on Mondoweiss. “Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.” Local Jewish leaders have said this amounts to a call to “dismantle” the entire Massachusetts Jewish community.

“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling,” Auchincloss, who represents an area in the Boston suburbs with a large Jewish population, and is himself Jewish, told Jewish Insider. “To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”

Auchincloss tied the release of this project to current debates in the House over gun violence, explaining that he believes history shows that previous efforts to “keep lists” of Jews “can incite violence” and “inflame the deranged among us to take the next step from contemplating to acting upon violence.”

The Mapping Project’s organizers did not respond to a request for comment.

“[The organizers] need to recognize actions that have the potential to incite violence, especially in a moment of heightened antisemitism and gun violence,” Auchincloss continued.

He said that the project carries echoes of “a very sinister vein of Western history” — efforts to identify and keep rosters of Jews, including, but not limited to, the Holocaust.

Auchincloss said he plans to raise the issue with colleagues and with groups in the area that have promoted the Mapping Project, and will urge his colleagues to do the same.

“I will give direct and stark feedback about how inappropriate and unacceptable this is,” he said.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), tweeted on Wednesday that “Targeting the Jewish community like this is wrong and it is dangerous. It is irresponsible. This project is an anti-Semitic enemies list with a map attached.”

The other members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), who are named in the Mapping Project — did not respond to requests for comment.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has been endorsed by the advocacy group Peace Action, whose local chapter, Massachusetts Peace Action, has amplified the Mapping Project.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) also called out the project, saying that it “accuses Jewish and ‘Zionist’ institutions of various evils in American society,” adding, “Scapegoating is a common symptom of antisemitism, which at its core is a conspiracy theory.”

The project has caught the attention of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose spokesperson, Lior Haiat, tweeted earlier this week, “This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions.”

Jeremy Burton, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, told JI, “We see this as an explicit effort name and identify and put a target on physical Jewish spaces in Greater Boston, with the purpose, explicitly in their own words, of dismantling our Jewish community here in Boston,” which could “inspire others to dangerous action.”

Burton urged lawmakers with ties to groups like Massachusetts Peace Action that have amplified the project to enact “consequences in those relationships.”

==============================
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/us-israeli-officials-bds-mapping-project

US, Israeli officials call out Boston group over ‘mapping project’ linking Jewish groups to media, government

One Massachusetts congressman called it ‘an anti-Semitic enemies list’

By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News

Fox News
June 9

A Boston-area group that opposes Israel is facing accusations of antisemitic “scapegoating” and conspiracy theorizing after it promoted a project that alleged ties between Jewish groups, the media, and government institutions, while posting their addresses online.

BDS Boston, which supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, posted an endorsement of the Mapping Project, claiming that various organizations and institutions are “structurally tied” to police, American imperialism, evictions, and the oppression of Palestinians.

The project features a map with markers for 482 agencies, organizations, media outlets, and politicians, including local police departments, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, the Boston Globe, and groups such as the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston, Jewish Arts Collaborative, and the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts.

“Our goal in pursuing this collective mapping was to reveal the local entities and networks that enact devastation, so we can dismantle them,” the project’s website says. “Every entity has an address, every network can be disrupted.”

Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., a Jewish member of Congress who represents a district with a large Jewish population, was appalled by the project.

“This is just chilling to me. It is tapping into millennia-old antisemitic tropes about nefarious Jewish wealth, control, conspiracy, media connections and political string-pulling,” he told the Jewish Insider website. “To name names and keep lists, which has a very sinister history in Judaism, in terms of how we are targeted, is very irresponsible. [The group] needs to take this down and apologize.”

NEWTON – AUGUST 23: Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat vying for the fourth Congressional Democratic nomination in the primary race, poses for a portrait in Newton, MA on Aug. 23, 2020. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., tweeted that the project is “wrong” and “dangerous,” calling it “an anti-Semitic enemies list with a map attached.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., rebuked the project for accusing Jews “of various evils in American society,” noting that “[s]capegoating is a common symptom of Antisemitism, which at its core is a conspiracy theory.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also weighed in upon learning of the mapping project. A spokesperson for the ministry said in a Twitter threat that Israel “strongly condemns” it.

“This whole project is reminiscent of a dangerous antisemitic pattern of activity known from antiquity through the horrors of the 20th century: a pattern which has led to violence against Jews and their institutions,” ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat tweeted.

Academic Boycotts: The Technion

Editorial Note

08.06.22

Last month, the Israeli media reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry prevented a boycott of researchers from the Technion at an international conference on civil engineering in Jordan earlier in May. The conference was organized by the International Association of Civil Engineers in collaboration with Al-Zaytoonah University in Jordan, the host of the conference.

Three researchers from the Technion were invited to present their research. However, nine days before the opening, the head of the Israeli delegation, Professor Rafael Sacks, received a message from the Association informing him that the Jordanians did not want the Israelis to come. The Technion contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which updated the Israeli consulate in Chicago, where the International Association of Civil Engineering is based. After talks with some of the Association members, it became clear that the local sponsors of the conference threatened Al Zaytoonah University to discontinue their support should the Israelis participate. As a result, the US State Department, the Israeli Consulate in Chicago, the Technion, and the Association of Heads of Israeli Universities (VERA) worked together to solve the issue. The American chapter of the Association decided to deny the right of al-Zaytoonah University to host the conference, which was transferred to the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman. Indeed, some sponsors canceled their contribution, prompting the American Association branch of the International Civil Engineers to pitch in with the finances.

Unfortunately, last year, there were several other attempts to boycott the Technion.

In Canada, Richard T. W. Arthur, emeritus professor at McMaster University who specializes in History and Philosophy of Science, announced on his website in June 2021 that he: “regretfully informed Ohad Nachtomy that I am WITHDRAWING from giving the keynote address at the conference on Science and Philosophy in the Early Modern Period at the Technion (Israel Institute for Technology) in Haifa on July 26-28. It has recently been brought to my attention that the Technion has been proactive in helping the state of Israel to develop the military technology used to repress the Palestinians in the recent attacks on Gaza (including destruction of a hospital and universities), and to bulldoze their homes in the occupied territories, through its close cooperation with Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Systems. I have therefore withdrawn my participation from this conference.”

In Australia, the local BDS group urged the University of Technology Sydney to stop the partnership with the Technion, particularly the webinar “Exploring the Dark Web – Cybercrime and Cyber Security in the Digital Age” in May 2021. BDS Australia claimed that the “Technion has played an active developmental role in Israel’s military-security-surveillance complex… Technion’s involvement in the violation of Palestinian rights,” among other claims.

The following day, the Vice President of UTS responded as follows:

“Thank you for your email regarding the upcoming webinar event with the Technion Institute of Technology (Australia) and your request that UTS cancel all ties with Technion. UTS has a commitment to academic freedom and international knowledge exchange, and as a public university we base our partnerships on advice from the Australian Commonwealth Government. We acknowledge the enormous human impact the recent conflict is having and as a university committed to social justice our sympathies are very much with all of those affected. The UN Security Council has not, to date, made any sanctions against Israel regarding the conflict and we are not aware of any international law violations. At this point in time UTS is not aware of any new information that leads us to conclude that Technion is not an appropriate partner and that the event should be cancelled. With kind regards, Celia Hurley.”

It is worth noting that the Palestinian BDS groups have never condemned grave violations in Palestinian universities by their leadership. For that matter, the poor human rights record of the PA in the West Bank, let alone the brutal dictatorship of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, has not been discussed. Equally important, they also never condemn the violent attacks against Israeli civilians. Such hypocrisy strips all vestiges of legitimacy from the BDS groups.

References

https://www.ynet.co.il/news/article/sybfgxuwq

משרד החוץ מנע חרם על חוקרים מהטכניון בכנס בינלאומי בירדן

ימים ספורים לפני כנס להנדסה אזרחית התבקשו החוקרים להישאר בישראל מחשש לביטחונם. במשרד החוץ פעלו מול האגודה שארגנה את הכנס וגילו כי האיום אינו ביטחוני – אלא הגיע מנותני חסות שאיימו למשוך את תרומתם. לאחר מסע לחצים והשתתפות אמריקנית במימון – ישראל השתתפה בכנס

איתמר אייכנר|אתמול | 21:20

משרד החוץ מנע חרם על חוקרים ישראלים מהטכניון בכנס בינלאומי להנדסה אזרחית שהתקיים בשבוע שעבר ברבת עמון, שארגן האיגוד העולמי להנדסה אזרחית בשיתוף אוניברסיטת אל-זייתונא בירדן שאירחה את הכנס.
לכנס הוזמנו שלושה חוקרים מהטכניון על-מנת להציג את ממצאי המחקרים שלהם, ותשעה ימים לפני פתיחתו קיבל ראש המשלחת הישראלית, פרופסור רפאל זקס, הודעה מהאיגוד העולמי שמארגן את הכנס שמודיע שהירדנים מבקשים שהישראלים לא יגיעו. הסיבה: חוסר יכולת לערוב לביטחונם בשל אירועי הר הבית, ומחשש להפגנות והתפרעויות של אנשי סגל באוניברסיטה.
הטכניון פנה למשרד החוץ ועדכן אותם בפנייה מצד מארגן הכנס. החטיבה לדה-לגיטמציה במשרד החוץ, גוף שהיה עד לאחרונה במשרד לנושאים אסטרטגיים שבוטל ומוזג למשרד החוץ, הפעיל את הקונסוליה הישראלית בשיקגו, שהאיגוד הבינלאומי להנדסה אזרחית נמצא בתחום שיפוטה. לאחר שיחות עם אנשי האיגוד התברר למשרד החוץ שהסיפור כלל אינו נוגע לחשש לביטחונם של הישראלים, אלא שמדובר באירוע חרם לכל דבר. הספונסרים המקומיים של הכנס איימו על האוניברסיטה הירדנית שאם המשתתפים הישראלים ישתתפו בכנס – הם ימשכו את תמיכתם.
משרד החוץ והקונסוליה בשיקגו, בשיתוף הטכניון ועד ראשי האוניברסיטאות, הפעילו לחצים על האיגוד הבינלאומי ודרשו ממנו שלא יתפשר עד שתאושר השתתפותם הפיזית של החוקרים הישראלים. בשלב מסוים הציעו באיגוד, בתור פשרה, שהחוקרים הישראלים ישתתפו דרך הזום – אך ישראל התנגדה בתוקף.
לאחר מסע לחצים האיגוד האמריקני קיבל החלטה משמעותית ושלל את זכותה של אוניברסיטת אל-זייתונא לארח את הכנס – שהועבר למלון אינטרקונטיננטל בעמאן. האיום של הספונסרים מומש וחלקם אכן ביטלו את חסותם לכנס. כתוצאה מכך, האיגוד האמריקני מימן את ההוצאות שאבדו לאחר ביטול החסות.

לבסוף הגיעו החוקרים הישראלים לרבת עמון, בהם גם שני דוקטורנטים בעלי אזרחות קולומביאנית וירדנית, והשתתפו בכנס. במשרד החוץ ציינו כי אירועי חרם מתרחשים כל העת והחטיבה לדה-לגיטימציה נאבק על בסיס יומיומי ביוזמות דומות. עוד ציינו כי לאחר מיזוגה של החטיבה למשרד החוץ השתפר מאוד התיאום עם נציגויות ישראל וזאת מאחר שבתקופת המשרד לנושאים אסטרטגיים הייתה יריבות מובנית בין המשרדים.
סגן שר החוץ עידן רול אמר כי “נחשפנו במשרד החוץ בזמן אמת לניסיונות מצד גורמים אנטי ישראלים לעשות שימוש לרעה בהסלמה הביטחונית בהר הבית לאחרונה, כדי לקדם חרם אקדמי מסווה על חוקרים מהטכניון”.
רול הוסיף כי “טיפלנו באירוע הזה מיד בכל הכלים שיש לנו, בגלוי ובערוצים חשאיים, ומנענו את החרם. חוקרי הטכניון, הטובים בתחומם בעולם, השתתפו בכנס ואף בלטו בו. לא נאפשר חרמות מכל סוג נגד ישראל, בין אם מדובר בחרם גלוי, או חמור מכך, חרם מוסווה”.  

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https://bdsaustralia.net.au/uts-must-end-partnerships-with-technion-university/

UTS must end partnerships with Technion University

Action AlertTechnion

Professor Atilla Brungs
Vice Chancellor
University of Technology Sydney

Celia Hurely
Vice President (Advancement)
University of Technology Sydney                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                          25 May 2021

RE:  UTS partnership with Technion University

We write to express our concern at the University of Technology’s partnership with the Israeli Technion University. We are appalled at your decision to yet again,[1] partner with Technion Institute of Technology, to host the webinar “Exploring the Dark Web – Cybercrime and Cyber Security in the Digital Age” on the 27 May. Technion directly contributes to what has been described as Israel’s military-security-surveillance complex, which includes systematic digital and cyber oppression.[2]

It is May 2021 and yet again Palestinians in Gaza have faced the full onslaught of Israeli military and chemical devastation. Across the rest of historic Palestine, protestors face live & rubber tipped bullets, tear gas, stun grenades, skunk water spray tanks, home raids, arrests, beatings, fortified checkpoints, extreme systems of surveillance, religious based extremist militias and neighbourhood gangs.

Technion has played an active developmental role in Israel’s military-security-surveillance complex. An example is the remote-controlled Caterpillar DR: a gigantic, armoured bulldozer used to demolish Palestinian homes.[3] Technion also operates in a symbiotic relation with Israeli weapons manufacturers, such as Elbit and Rafael, accepting their grants, while dedicating research & education to developing tools of colonial warfare, such as drone systems used for surveillance, intimidation, and murder of Palestinians (and Lebanese). These technologies are sold to many governments who also use them in the oppression of their people. See below for more information about Technion’s involvement in the violation of Palestinian rights.

All around the world, including here, boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns have successfully exposed the collaboration and crimes of Elbit and Rafael, and Technion has also been the subject of similar protest campaigns[4].

After completing webinar registration for this forthcoming event, participants receive an email containing statements from the heads of Technion and Technion Australia, claiming a commitment to diversity while “Israel is under attack.” Palestinians are never named but referred to as “those nearby” or “Arabs:” divided into categories of religion, consistent with the sectarian and apartheid policies of the state. In practice, Technion provides special educational benefits for students who serve in the Israeli army, which overwhelmingly privileges Jewish students.

These types of partnerships, even if they build careers, budgets, and scientific discoveries, are in fact a danger to the very heart of what education should be and violate UTS’s professed commitment to social justice. They transform the university into an ally of power and hegemony,[5] where the colonised and poor serve as “laboratory” for immoral profit making.

Along with the various other links that UTS maintains with Technion, these partnerships implicate UTS in violations of international law, including the apartheid practices of military occupation, annexation of land and resources, and theft of homes across Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

We stand with Palestinians in their historic and dignified uprising. As they forge histories, educators must cease to make alliances with those who oppress them.

We demand, unequivocally, that UTS cancel its involvement in the webinar and cease to partner, promote, or contribute to any institution or event involved in Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, and crimes against the Palestinian people.

BDS Australia

Further Information about Technion

Association of Academics for the Respect of International Law in Palestine. (September 2014). Petition to oppose the agreement between the École Polytechnique and the Technion. Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
Extracts:

…For a number of years, the Technion has practiced discrimination against the Palestinian citizens of Israel while, at the same time, supporting the Israeli Army (1); it has enrolled its know-how in the service of the Israeli military-industrial complex (2). In doing so, it has become an important part of the Israeli system of occupation of the Palestinian territories and of its long train of illegal acts there (disproportionate use of force, colonization, expropriations, destruction of houses, expulsions, arbitrary arrests, assassinations, etc.)

1. The Technion, like a number of Israeli universities, maintains a discriminatory policy with respect to Palestinian students citizens of Israel. These constitute nearly 20% of the student-age population in Israel but only 5% of those pursuing a Masters and 3% of those studying for a Ph.D. At the same time, the Technion is the Israeli university which has the highest proportion of students and professors coming from the military, former military and reservists. Those students who are serving in the military or in the reserves benefit from advantages aimed at facilitating their academic career; the Technion even proposes special training in mechanics for officers in the Israeli army.

The freedom of expression and to demonstrate of Palestinian students citizens of Israel is limited: those who demonstrate peacefully their disapproval of Israeli policies on campus are sometimes arrested. They are not authorized to form student associations or to organize events on campus which criticize Israeli policy towards Palestinians. On the other hand, associations favourable to Zionism and demonstrations in favour of the Israeli army are authorized on campus.

2. The Technion maintains solid research relations with companies in the Israeli military-industrial sector. For decades it has contributed towards the development of technologies used in the armament and systems of armament used against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. In recent years, the Technion’s students and researchers have participated in work on the creation of an armoured, remote-controlled bulldozer (IDF Caterpillar D9) which has been used to destroy the homes of the Palestinian civil population (25,000 houses destroyed since 1967). They have also participated in the development of drones, conceived, and used for military purposes in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Technion has close links with the computer science and telecommunications corporations: Verint, NICE Systems, Amdocs, Check Point and Comverse, which furnish the Israeli army with surveillance and monitoring programs aimed at the Palestinian population; but also programs used to assist airplanes and drones in the course of military operations.

Finally, Technion works in close collaboration with two of the largest Israeli arms manufacturers, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems.

In 2001 the Technion announced the creation of an MBA program, conceived specifically for managers of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, further reinforcing the already-existing links between the university and the arms company. Starting in 2006, joint research has been carried out in developing missiles. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems thus benefits from the research carried out by students and scientists at the Technion. The company makes not only missiles but also the electronics for Israeli armored units. The armament and systems of armament produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are employed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Similarly, in 2008, Elbit Systems created within the Technion a joint research center for electron optics. Elbit Systems recruits an important part of its managers and engineers from the Technion. Its CEO has even declared that the relationship that exists between his company and the Technion played an essential role in guaranteeing the success of Elbit Systems in the competitive and globalized world of armament manufacturers.

Elbit Systems produces not only drones but also a whole series of arms and munitions (for artillery, armored units and aircraft) used by the Israeli army in its military operations in Gaza and the West bank, during which numerous unpunished war crimes have been committed. Moreover, Elbit Systems provides and maintains surveillance and spying material for the Israeli army along the Wall of Separation and around a number of Israeli colonies in the West bank and East Jerusalem. In 2004, the International Court of Justice declared the Wall, like the colonies, contrary to international law; as in apartheid, they give rise to discriminatory measures against Palestinians. A certain number of European pension funds and banks have withdrawn their participation in Elbit Systems because of its implication in violations of international law.

3. Through its close and long-standing links to the Israeli military-industrial complex, the Technion has contributed to the elaboration and implementation of armament and systems of armament. Now all this has been and is still being used by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, subject to a blockade that is illegal under international law and to intense bombings and incursions of the Israeli army, such as:

  • Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 and January 2009) which provoked the death of 1,350 Palestinians of which nearly two-thirds were civilians—men, women and children;
  • Operation Pillar of Defense (November 2012) which provoked the death of 160 Palestinians of which at least 70 were civilians—men, women and children;
  • Operation Protective Edge (July–August 2014) which provoked the death of 2,150 Palestinians of which nearly two-thirds were civilians—men, women and children.

These armaments and armament systems have been and still are being implemented by the Israeli army in the West Bank—subject to an active policy of colonization, illegal under international law, just as are the numerous repressive measures taken against the Palestinian population—not to mention their use during the murderous 2006 war in South Lebanon of unhappy memory with its bombings of the village of Cana which caused the death of 28 civilians, including women and children.

Now international law considers that the supplying of arms and material to the perpetrator of a war crime amounts to aiding and abetting the criminal act and thus incurring criminal responsibility of the supplier as an accomplice (Art. 25, §3 and §30 of the Statutes of the International Criminal Court: Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone, Judgements of 16 March 2006, §40, and of 26 April 2012, §149).

It follows that a strong presumption of complicity in war crimes falls on Israeli arms corporations but equally on Israeli universities and laboratories such as the Technion. This presumption may indeed concern French professors, researchers and students having participated in scientific programs which facilitate the development or the use of armaments and armament systems used by the Israeli army and, of course, those who have supervised or financed their research. Such a presumption would be liable to give rise to criminal complaints in France and to the opening of a preliminary inquiry or a judicial investigation. The presence of students of École Polytechnique or of French researchers at the Technion poses a criminal risk for them.

Further Reading about Technion

IDF surveillance project

Cyber Security Research Center – “in collaboration with the national cyber bureau in the prime-minister’s office. ” (pg34)

Joint IDF program in mechanical engineering

Aerospace engineeringjoint program and training with IAF and arms producers

Industrial engineering, joint IDF program

Course on how to market Israeli arms producers

Materials science, joint IDF program

Partnerships with IAI, Rafael, Elbit

Elbit scholarships (pg45)


[1]  https://austechnion.com/event/covid-19-impact-on-business-how-do-we-reinvent-ourselves/ and https://www.tau.ac.il/news/webinarAIhttps://id.tau.ac.il/news/webinarAI

[2] Dawes, S. (2015). The digital occupation of Gaza: An interview with Helga Tawil-Souri. Networking Knowledge 8(2). http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar_url?url=https://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/download/374/204&hl=en&sa=X&ei=uCuqYODSC9iR6rQPnuCzWA&scisig=AAGBfm2ZYauKwjG5TAWRh8yK1KyQE7l7lQ&nossl=1&oi=scholarr

[3] White, B (13 September 2012 ).Why a boycott of Israeli academics is fully justified. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/sep/12/boycott-israeli-academics-justified

[4] https://stoptechnionitalia.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/170-academics-at-italian-universities-call-for-boycott-of-israeli-institutions/

[5] Vlazna, V (2 May 2012). Israeli Hawkademia in Australian universities. Palestine Chroniclehttps://www.palestinechronicle.com/israeli-hawkademia-in-australian-universities/

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https://bdsaustralia.net.au/uts-does-not-see-israels-human-rights-violations-as-an-issue

UTS does not see Israel’s human rights violations as an issue

Action AlertTechnion

May 26, 2021

BDS Australia wrote to the UTS Vice Chancellor,Professor Attila Brungs and the Vice President (Advancement), Celia Hurley about the UTS series of webinars hosted by the Israeli Technion university and other partnerships UTS has with this institution – see details here. We received a response which indicates that UTS does not take these issues seriously and does not intend to address them.

This is the response from Celia Hurley to our letter which was shared as an online petition to her and the Vice Chancellor as well.

“Thank you for your email regarding the upcoming webinar event with the Technion Institute of Technology (Australia) and your request that UTS cancel all ties with Technion.
UTS has a commitment to academic freedom and international knowledge exchange, and as a public university we base our partnerships on advice from the Australian Commonwealth Government.
We acknowledge the enormous human impact the recent conflict is having and as a university committed to social justice our sympathies are very much with all of those affected.
The UN Security Council has not, to date, made any sanctions against Israel regarding the conflict and we are not aware of any international law violations. At this point in time UTS is not aware of any new information that leads us to conclude that Technion is not an appropriate partner and that the event should be cancelled.
With kind regards,
Celia Hurley”

BDS Australia does not accept this response from the University of Technology Sydney – this is our reply:

We note your response to our call that UTS cancels its involvement in the forthcoming Technion sponsored webinar and to cease all partnerships with any institutions that contribute to the oppression of Palestinians and violations of international law.

We do not accept the arguments you have provided for not withdrawing from your association with the Israeli Technion University.  You note that UTS is committed to social justice however your actions in partnering with this university raise serious concerns about whether UTS can legitimately make this claim.

It is extraordinary that you refer to the UN Security Council and the lack of sanctions against Israel regarding this conflict especially given that every academic employed by UTS with the vaguest understanding of this issue, would be able to refer you to the ongoing veto that the United States has used and again most recently in relation to Israel’s ongoing grave violations of international law. The United States this month repeatedly blocked the adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to the current hostilities despite the fact that all other 14 members of the Security Council were in favour of issuing this statement. In addition, since 1947, Israel has been the subject of almost 300 UN General Assembly resolutions – the most censured state in the history of the UN.

Regarding violations of international law, we draw your attention to this recent submission by the Australian Centre for International Justice and the Palestine Human Rights Organisations Council, which details Israel’s breaches of international law and also to the Human Rights Watch report on the Israeli crimes of apartheid and persecution. Israel’s violations of international law are well documented and have been on the public record for many years.  Again, any academic at UTS with basic knowledge could provide them for you and any other decision maker who is ignorant of these facts.

You state that you base your partnerships on advice from the Commonwealth Government which we presume means that unless a country is sanctioned by Australia, UTS will not consider ongoing violations of international law,  human rights and UN Resolutions alone, as a reason to cease partnerships. We would like to point out that as a high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions, Australia has accepted the full scope of obligations under these Conventions which oblige it to respect and apply them in ‘good faith’.

The fact that the Australian Commonwealth Government is in breach of its duty under these Conventions, does not relieve UTS of the responsibility to thoroughly investigate its partnerships with institutions and bodies implicated in grave breaches of international law through their support for states like Israel.

The Israeli government’s actions to deny and hinder the right of Palestinians to an education are well documented. This Norwegian Refugee Council report shows that there were an average of 10 attacks per month on West Bank kindergarten and school students, staff and facilities between 2018-2020. Unicef documented that in 2016 alone, 256 education-related violations were documented in the West Bank, affecting nearly 30,000 students. This World Council of Churches / Unicef report offers detailed analysis and documentation of the way the Israeli Occupation and illegal settlement enterprise has impacted many thousands of Palestinian children’s education.

The UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Save the Children reported on May 19th that 50 schools in Gaza were damaged by Israeli airstrikes over the past week, impacting some 41,897 children. Three schools were reportedly damaged in Israel by rockets from Gaza.

Technion’s collaboration with the Israeli government and with Israeli weapons manufacturers
is well documented. Elbit Systems have partnered with Technion in numerous ways including a joint vision systems research agreement, through which Elbit offered grants to selected Technion undergraduate and graduate students and researchers in the electrical engineering department. Elbit uses vision systems in its helmet-mounted displays for pilots in combat aircraft. Many employees of Elbit Systems are Technion graduates, including the current CEO.

The euphemisms used in your response, such as “the enormous human impact” and “sympathies are very much with all of those affected” are familiar tropes used by the corporate media and other unofficial spokespeople for the Israeli state. They imply that this is an equal ‘conflict’, which is grotesque when one considers the asymmetry, the enormity of Palestinian suffering and the fact that Israel is an occupying power with the fourth largest army in the world.

We look forward to UTS actions which demonstrate that this institution takes its commitment to social justice and human rights seriously.

We will continue to advocate for UTS to cease all partnerships and affiliations with Technion and any other company or institution which supports Israel’s violations of the human rights of Palestinians and their right to justice under international law.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sign the petition to UTS Vice Chancellor, Professor Attila Sprungs and Vice President (Engagement) Celia Hurley HERE.

Israeli Academics Call Belgium to Boycott West Bank Goods

02.06.22

Editorial Note

Several prominent Israeli academics sent a letter addressing Belgian officials: Prof. Miki Kratsman, Prof. Moty Heiblum, Prof. David Shulman, Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, Prof. Emeritus Elie Barnavi, and Prof. Oded Goldreich. The letter urged Belgium to cut economic ties with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, stating that: 

“Whilst we are encouraged by Belgium’s commitment to upholding EU policy to correctly label products made in illegal Israeli settlements, we believe that further steps must be taken to generate a meaningful shift in the Israeli government’s actions. As such, we were pleased to hear of the recent discussions in Belgium regarding the banning of trade with illegal settlements. Israeli settlements are the leading cause of human rights violations against Palestinians, and settlement expansion is destroying the possibility of a two-state solution. To continue to pursue economic ties and trade with them is not only unethical, it serves to strengthen Israel’s settlement project.”

The letter was first reported on Twitter on May 30 by Simon Moutquin, a member of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium, who wrote in French the following: “9 Israeli personalities, including the former speaker of the Knesset @Avrumburg, ask Belgium to continue its efforts in terms of differentiation by banning products from Israeli settlements.” In response to his own tweet, he even stated in French that the “Murder of #ShireenAbuAkleh, population displacement, repression of protesters, the situation in #Palestine has been worsening for months. I will ask in Exterior Comm. to pursue differentiation and take sanctions against the war crimes committed by Israel.” 

Last month, Moutquin published a video clip calling to ban trade with the Settlements. But as can be seen, his views of Israel have deteriorated since then.

Clearly, these Israeli academics are working against Israeli government policies. In November 2021, Idan Roll, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, canceled meetings with Belgian officials during his visit after the decision by Brussels to begin labeling products made in Jewish West Bank settlements.

Interestingly, when Israeli activists publish a call against Israel, the call is usually posted on many Palestinian and pro-Palestinian websites. However, this letter was sent directly to the Belgian officials without going first through the Palestinians.  

One of the signators of the letter is Goldreich. IAM had recently reported that he won a Supreme Court case against the Ministry of Education, which refused to grant him the Israel Prize for Academic Excellence in the field of computer science. Two Ministers of Education declined to award Goldreich the prize because he was a signatory of a petition asking the EU not to fund Ariel University because it is situated in Judea and Samaria. 

As IAM reported in January during Goldreich’s first appeal to the Supreme Court, the Judge stated the petition Goldreich signed raises a “certain difficulty” in light of the definition in section one of the Boycott Law.

The Judge read the Law: 

“Boycott of the State of Israel – Intentional avoidance of economic, cultural, or academic contact with a person or entity, only because of its affiliation with the State of Israel, its institutions, or an area under its control, which could harm it economically, culturally or academically.”  

The Supreme Court Judge then stated that “the Boycott Law imposes tort liability and denies certain administrative benefits as specified by the Law. I am correct in assuming that a call for a boycott of the State of Israel or a boycott of academia in the State of Israel, especially from the mouths of those whose prestige and achievements grew in the academy in Israel, may fall within the extreme and exceptional cases of ‘external’ consideration. It is hard to grasp that an Israeli academic, who works within the framework of the Israeli academy and enjoys its protection, will participate in the call for a boycott of the academy in Israel. Such a situation is absurd and difficult to imagine.” 

More to the point, the Supreme Court Judge noted that Prof. Goldreich has “repeatedly stated that he does not support the BDS movement.” 

However, in Goldreich’s second appeal to the Supreme Court, the Court ruled that Goldreich must be granted the Israel Prize. 

The final Supreme Court ruling raised some eyebrows concerning the 2011 Boycott Law because it was never enforced. The final Supreme Court ruling all but nullified the Boycott Law. The irony, in this case, is jaw-dropping. Pro-Israel advocates have been fighting BDS on campuses in the United States and the United Kingdom, among other places. The Goldreich ruling sent a message that students and faculty can espouse BDS and even be awarded the highest prize for academic merit.

References:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FUA2P65WQAENcrH?format=jpg

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FUA2QMaXwAEO29J?format=jpg

=======================

https://m.jpost.com/bds-threat/article-708219/amp

Israel Prize winners call for Belgium to boycott West Bank products

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF 

Published: MAY 31, 2022 21:51

Updated: MAY 31, 2022 22:21

A Palestinian man walks by a grafitti sign calling to boycott Israel seen on a street in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on February 11, 2015. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

A group of Israel Prize winners and former officials led by Prof. Oded Goldreich called on Belgium to lead a boycott of Israeli West Bank goods.

2021 Israel Prize winner Prof. Oded Goldreich, along with three other recipients, has sent a letter to the Belgian foreign minister calling for Belgium to boycott goods from the West Bank.

The letter, which was reportedly sent earlier in May, praised Belgium’s decision to place consumer labels on West Bank settlement products back in November of last year.

Belgium’s move garnered strong condemnations from Israeli politicians and even led to Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll canceling scheduled meetings with Belgian officials.

Belgium ‘must take leadership’ against settlements

Now, according to Goldreich and others, Belgium must “take leadership” by leading a boycott of Israeli settlement products from the West Bank.

“As Israeli citizens, we are worried by the Israeli government’s commitment to de facto annexing occupied Palestinian land,” the letter continues.

Those who signed the letter along with Prof. Goldreich include Israel Prize recipients Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, Prof. David Shulman and Alex Levac, former MK and Jewish Agency chairman Avraham Burg and other former officials and professors.

Prof. Goldreich’s previous battles with the Israeli government

Goldreich, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, was awarded his Israel Prize in mathematics and computer science in April after a year-long battle with two different education ministers who refused to award the professor due to his political beliefs.

In April, the High Court of Justice overruled Education Minister Yifat Shasha Biton’s decision to block Goldreich from receiving the prize. Shasha Biton expressed her “sorrow” over the decision but promised to abide by it.

Goldreich has in the past also called for the boycott of colleagues at Ariel University, because of its physical location, beyond the Green Line in the settlement of Ariel.

========================================

https://news.walla.co.il/item/3509623

אחרי הסערה סביב הזכייה: חתן פרס ישראל פנה לבלגיה בקריאה לעצור סחר עם ההתנחלויות

2 שרי חינוך ניסו למנוע את זכייתו של פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך בפרס לאחר שקרא להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל. כעת, לאחר שקיבל את הפרס, הוא ו-3 זוכים נוספים חתמו על מכתב הקורא לממשלת בלגיה להחרים מוצרים מההתנחלויות: “המטרה – ליצור שינוי משמעותי בפעולות ממשלת ישראל”

אורי סלע
31/05/2022
האזינו לכתבה4 דקות

ארבעה זוכים בפרס ישראל, בהם פרופ’ עודד גולדרייך, חתמו על מכתב הקורא לממשלת בלגיה להחרים מוצרים מההתנחלויות. לצדו של גולדרייך, בין החתנים שחתמו על המכתב נמצאים פרופ’ דוד שולמן, פרופ’ יהושע קולודני והצלם אלכס ליבק. לצדם חתמו על המכתב חבר הכנסת לשעבר אברהם בורג, היועץ המשפטי לממשלה לשעבר מיכאל בן יאיר, פרופ’ מוטי הייבלום והצלם מיקי קרצמן. המכתב נשלח לפני כשבועיים לשרת החוץ של בלגיה ולחברי ועדת החוץ בפרלמנט.

“הבנו שבלגיה נקטה לאחרונה צעדים חדשים וחשובים לחיזוק מדיניות ההפרדה בין התנחלויות ישראליות לא חוקיות בשטחים פלסטיניים כבושים לבין מדינת ישראל בגבולות 1967. כאזרחים ישראלים, אנחנו מודאגים ממחויבות הממשלה להחיל את הכיבוש ולספח דה-פקטו שטחים פלסטיניים כבושים”, כתבו. “אנחנו מברכים על הצעדים הנחוצים לעצירת השחיקה של האפשרות להקמת מדינה פלסטינית לצד מדינת ישראל”.

“אנחנו מאמינים שיש לנקוט צעדים נוספים כדי ליצור שינוי משמעותי בפעולות ממשלת ישראל. בין היתר, שמחנו לשמוע על הדיונים בבלגיה על החרמת הסחר עם ההתנחלויות”, הוסיפו. “אנחנו מקווים שבלגיה תיקח מנהיגות ותקדם את הנושא מול מדינות נוספות באיחוד האירופי במהלך 2022”.

“נהיה יותר ויותר ברור שהכיבוש לא רק גורם נזק בלתי ניתן לתיקון לפלסטינים, אלא משחית את המוסריות של ישראל ומאיים על עתידה כמדינה דמוקרטית”, כתבו. “ההתנחלויות הישראליות הן המקור העיקרי להפרת זכויות אדם של פלסטינים, והרחבתן מחרבת את האפשרות לפתרון שתי המדינות. לא רק שהמשך הקשר הכלכלי והסחר עמן אינו מוסרי – הוא גם משמש לחיזוק מפעל ההתנחלויות הישראלי, הופך את אירופה לשותפה למעשה לא חוקי ומרחיק אותנו מפתרון של שלום לסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני. כישראלים, אכפת לנו מאוד מעתיד המדינה שלנו. אנחנו מקווים ששותפינו בקהילה העולמית ישתפו איתנו פעולה בבניית עתיד של שוויון וכבוד לכל האנשים, ישראלים ולפלסטינים כאחד, שרואים במקום הזה בית”.

המכתב עליו חתמו הזוכים בפרס(צילום: אתר רשמי, צילום מסך)

לפני כחצי שנה, קיבלה ממשלת בלגיה החלטה להתחיל ולסמן מוצרים מההתנחלויות הישראליות בגדה המערבית שמיובאים למדינה. בעקבות המהלך הוחלט לבטל בזמנו את כל הפגישות שתוכננו לסגן שר החוץ עידן רול עם נציגי הממשלה והפרלמנט בבריסל.

הנציבות האירופית – הזרוע המבצעת של האיחוד האירופי – הנחתה כבר בשנת 2015 את כל המדינות החברות בארגון להתחיל ולסמן מוצרים מההתנחלויות. אלא שמאז מעט מאוד מדינות באיחוד האירופי יישמו את ההנחיה ואימצו תקנות בנושא.

גולדרייך כבר עמד בלב סערה ציבורית כאשר ועדת פרס ישראל החליטה להעניק לו את הפרס על פועלו בנושא סיבוכיות חישובית. לאחר ששר החינוך דאז יואב גלנט גילה שגולדרייך חתום על פנייה לפרלמנט הגרמני לבטל את ההכרה בתנועת ה-BDS כתנועה אנטישמית, לצד חתימה על עצומה הקוראת להחרים את אוניברסיטת אריאל, הוא פנה לוועדת הפרס בבקשה לבחון מחדש את הענקתו.

באוגוסט שעבר ביטלו שופטי בג”ץ את החלטת גלנט והורו להחזיר את ההחלטה לשרה הנוכחית שאשא ביטון. בחודש נובמבר הודיעה שאשא-ביטון כי אין בכוונתה לשנות את החלטת גלנט. “אינני יכולה להעניק את פרס ישראל למי שקורא לחרם על מוסד אקדמי בישראל”, אמרה אז.

עם זאת, בית המשפט העליון הפך לפני כחודשיים את החלטת שרת החינוך והחליט להורות לה לפעול לפי המלצת ועדת פרס ישראל לשנת ה’תשפ”א, ולהעניקו לפרופ’ עודד גולדרייך בתחום תחום חקר המתמטיקה ומדעי המחשב. בעקבות ההחלטה, פרופ’ גולדרייך מסר: “אני שמח שבית המשפט הגבוה לצדק החליט לבטל את החלטת השרה ומקווה שהדבר יתקן ולו במעט את הנזק האדיר שגרמה הפרשה הזו לחופש הביטוי וליוקרתו של פרס ישראל”.  

Van Leer Jerusalem: The Institute of Enabling Antisemitism

26.05.22

Editorial Note

Several months ago, IAM reported that the Van Leer Institute had espoused the so-called Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) to respond to the widely accepted definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The IHRA definition has proved to be a valuable tool for all those concerned by the alarming rise of antisemitism around the world.

However, Palestinians and their Israeli academic backers mounted a virulent attack against IHRA. The JDA text is full of misrepresentations of what IHRA’s definition stands for, as noted in an IAM article published by the BESA Center of Bar-Ilan University, “The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism Is Itself Antisemitic.” 

The JDA authors claim they intend to fight antisemitism but then target Israel alone for abuse of human rights. The human rights abuses of the Palestinian Authority and the brutal dictatorship of Hamas are not mentioned. The JDA also defines Israel as a “settler-colonial state,” a false description of the Jewish settlement in Palestine. Applying such double standards can be construed as anti-Semitic according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Denying the Jews the right to self-determination while granting it to everyone else is also antisemitic, according to IHRA.  

As a follow-up to its JDA, Van Leer will host a three-day conference on Monday, 30 May, titled “Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics.” The conference questions “What is antisemitism? Is it important to define antisemitism? Is anti-Zionism a case of antisemitism? Is antisemitism a form of racism? This international conference aims to address such questions from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.”

The conference notes, “The question of how to define and combat antisemitism divides both the Jewish world and global opinion, with Israel and Zionism at the heart of these disputes. This roundtable brings together voices from diverse perspectives to take a closer look at what is and is not antisemitism today.”

Many of the participants belong to the radical camp, as the conference’s call for papers suggests:

“The working definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016 was endorsed widely but quickly became a site of controversy. In recent months this controversy has become more intense. In November 2020, 122 Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists, and intellectuals issued a statement that declared their opposition to antisemitism and to the IHRA’s working definition thereof, which purportedly promotes the suppression of Palestinian rights. In March this year, the IHRA definition confronted a new challenge in the form of two alternative definitions: the Nexus Document, ‘Understanding Antisemitism at its Nexus with Israel and Zionism,’ and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA)… In this conference we wish to address one of the most controversial issues, namely, the relationship between different forms of criticism of the State of Israel – its existence, its constitutional foundations, its identity as a Jewish state, its history, policies, or practices – and antisemitism.”

Worth noting that the IHRA definition of antisemitism has been adopted or endorsed by the following countries: Albania (22 October 2020) Argentina (4 June 2020) Australia (13 October 2021) Austria (25 April 2017) Belgium (14 December 2018) Bulgaria (18 October 2017) Canada (27 June 2019) Cyprus (18 December 2019) Czech Republic (25 January 2019) Estonia (29 April 2021) France (3 December 2019) Germany (20 September 2017) Greece (8 November 2019) Guatemala (27 January 2021) Hungary (18 February 2019) Israel (22 January 2017) Italy (17 January 2020) Lithuania (24 January 2018) Luxembourg (10 July 2019) Moldova (18 January 2019) Netherlands (27 November 2018) North Macedonia (6 March 2018) Philippines (18 February 2022) Poland (13 October 2021) Romania (25 May 2017) Serbia (26 February 2020) Slovakia (28 November 2018) Slovenia (20 December 2018) South Korea (4 August 2021) Spain (22 July 2020) Sweden (21 January 2020) United Kingdom (12 December 2016) United States (11 December 2019) Uruguay (27 January 2020). The following international organizations have expressed support for the working definition of antisemitism: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed. European Union: Council, Parliament Commission. Organization of American States: Secretary-General, Council of Europe: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

As noted before, denying the Jews the right to self-determination is antisemitic according to IHRA, which explains why the JDA works so hard to undermine it. For example, one of the conference sessions is described as “Senior scholars with diverse views will discuss the questions of whether anti-Zionism is antisemitic. Is it right to link the fight against antisemitism to other struggles against racism and xenophobia? Can antisemitism be defined, and do existing definitions advance the fight against it?” The speakers include Prof. Adi M. Ophir of Brown University, (Emeritus) Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Raef Zreik from the Ono Academic College and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Both defamed Israel through their critical theory scholarships. Ophir, one of the most vehement critics of Israel, once described Israel as the “garbage heap of Europe.”

IAM reported before on these and other participants, Prof. Amos Goldberg and Prof. Alon Confino, who subscribe to the notion that the Holocaust and the Palestinian self-inflicted Nakba can be equated. Another participant, Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, once called Jews living in Judea and Samaria Hitler’s youth.

While other legitimate institutions that research antisemitism have taken part in this conference, one problem stands out: A group of radical anti-Israel scholars is taking over this field of research, enabling antisemitism to flourish. The Van-Leer Jerusalem Institute is providing them with the platform.

References

https://www.vanleer.org.il/en/events/on-campus-online-opening-session-defining-antisemitism/

On Campus | Opening Session | Defining Antisemitism

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

For the Series >

Monday | 30.05.22 | 17:00

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

International Workshop |

What is antisemitism? Is it important to define antisemitism? Is anti-Zionism a case of antisemitism? Is antisemitism a form of racism?
This international conference aims to address such questions from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

Greetings: Shai LaviThe Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Why has the definition of antisemitism led to a heated public controversy?  What are the challenges and negative effects of existing definitions and of definitions in general? Two keynote speakers will offer their insights on the politics of antisemitism today.

Chair: Prof. Alon Confino, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Prof. Moshe Halbertal, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and New York University

“Discourse on Antisemitism, Its Uses and Abuses”

Prof. Esra Özyürek, University of Cambridge

“An Exponential Increase in Antisemitism Accusations in Three Cultural Shifts: The German Case”

https://www.vanleer.org.il/en/events/on-campus-online-reflections-from-and-on-the-field/

On Campus & Online | Antisemitism on the Ground

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

For the Series >

Tuesday | 31.05.22 | 16:15

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

International Workshop |

Roundtable

What is antisemitism? Is it important to define antisemitism? Is anti-Zionism a case of antisemitism? Is antisemitism a form of racism?
This international conference aims to address such questions from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

The question of how to define and combat antisemitism divides both the Jewish world and global opinion, with Israel and Zionism at the heart of these disputes. This roundtable brings together voices from diverse perspectives to take a closer look at what is and is not antisemitism today.

Chair: Prof. David Feldman, Birkbeck InstituteUniversity of London

Participants:

Dr. Seth Anziska, University College London

Saba-Nur Cheema, Frankfurt University

Prof. (Emeritus) Moshe Zimmermann, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Adv. Michal Cotler-Wunsh

https://www.vanleer.org.il/en/events/on-campus-online-closing-session-defining-antisemitism/

On Campus & Online | Closing Session | Defining Antisemitism

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

For the Series >

Wednesday | 01.06.22 | 16:30

Defining Antisemitism between History and Politics

International Workshop |

What is antisemitism? Is it important to define antisemitism? Is anti-Zionism a case of antisemitism? Is antisemitism a form of racism?
This international conference aims to address such questions from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

Chair: Prof. Shai Lavi, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Understanding Antisemitism: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Religion

The plethora of explanations of antisemitism is testimony to the complexity of “the longest hatred.”  Can we outline theoretical trends that remain constant in antisemitic bigotry?

Prof. Bruno Chaouat, University of Minnesota

“Understanding Antisemitism: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Religion”

Roundtable: Antisemitisms: A Variety of Meanings?

Senior scholars with diverse views will discuss the questions of whether anti-Zionism is antisemitic. Is it right to link the fight against antisemitism to other struggles against racism and xenophobia? Can antisemitism be defined, and do existing definitions advance the fight against it?

Dr. Danny Trom, CNRS, France

Prof. Karma Ben Johanan, The Humboldt University of Berlin

Prof. Adi M. Ophir, Brown University(EmeritusTel Aviv University  

Dr. Raef Zreik, Ono Academic College; The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

=================================================

Defining
Antisemitism
between History
Monday, 30.5.2022 and Politics
17:00–19:00 Opening Session
Greetings:
Shai Lavi
Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven
Chair: Alon Confino
Keynote Lectures:
Moshe Halbertal
The Discourse On Antisemitism, Its Uses And Abuses
Esra Özyürek
An Exponential Increase in Antisemitism Accusations
in Three Cultural Shifts: The German Case
Tuesday, 31.5.2022
10:00–10:30 Gathering
10:30–12:30 Anti-Zionism, Zionism and Jewish History
Chair: Amos Morris-Reich
Kenneth Stow
An Illicit Community: Some Things Don’t Change
Joshua Shanes
The Definition Debate Is About Equality vs. Power
Yossi Kugler
Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in the Israeli Discourse
Emilie Wiedemann
On the History of the New Antisemitism Concept and the 1980s
12:30–14:00 Lunch break
14:00–16:00 Defining and Disciplining Antisemitism
Chair: Amos Goldberg
Nike Naina Löbrich and Ann-Kathrin Steger
Antisemitism in German Courts since 1945: Striving for a Definition?
Lena Salaymeh
The Coloniality of Recent Antisemitism Definitions
Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias and Talia Naamat
Defining Antisemitism with the Language of Law
Nira Yuval-Davis
Antisemitism Is a Form of Racism—or Is It?
16:00–16:15 Coffee break
16:15–18:00 Roundtable: Reflections from and on the Field
Chair: David Feldman
Seth Anziska | Saba-Nur Cheema
Moshe Zimmermann | Michal Cotler-Wunsh
Wednesday, 1.6.2022
10:00–10:30 Gathering
10:30–12:30 Perspectives from Sociology: Concepts and Data
Chair: Dafna Schreiber
Peter Ullrich
With and Without Jews: Two Concepts of Antisemitism
Sergio DellaPergola
Semites’ Perceptions of Antisemitism: A Social-Structural Analysis
Ashley Mayer-Thibault
Defining and Organizing against the Anti-Semite Menace: Horizontal
and Vertical Alliances within French Public Jewish Life
12:30–14:00 Lunch break
14:00–16:00 Antisemitism Decentred: Comparisons, Ambiguities, Evasions
Chair: Manuela Consonni
David Mednicoff
The Comparative Politics of Defining Bias: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Hinduism,
and Islamophobia in the US
Thomas Weber
The Canary in the Coalmine: The Flourishing of Language and Actions
that are Neither Anti-Semitic nor Free from Anti-Semitism
Moshe Behar
IHRA’s Conflations, White Privilege, Non-Jewish Minorities and Arab
Exclusivity in Reverse?
16:00–16:30 Coffee break
16:30–19:00 Closing Session
Chair: Shai Lavi
Keynote Lecture:
Bruno Chaouat
Understanding Antisemitism: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Religion
Roundtable: Antisemitisms: A Variety of Meanings?
Danny Trom | Karma Ben Johanan | Adi M. Ophir | Raef Zreik
International
Workshop
May 30 – June 1, 2022
at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Dr. Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Associate Professor
of Jewish-Muslim Relations, University College London
Dr. Moshe Behar, Program Director Arabic and Middle Eastern
Studies, School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures, The University of
Manchester
Prof. Karma Ben Johanan, Professor of Jewish-Christian
Relations, The Faculty of Theology, The Humboldt University of
Berlin
Prof. Bruno Chaouat, Department of French and Italian, Center
for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota
Saba-Nur Cheema, Head of Education, Anne Frank Educational
Center; Department of Social Work, Frankfurt University
Prof. Alon Confino, Director, the Institute for Holocaust,
Genocide, and Memory Studies (IHGMS), University of
Massachusetts Amherst
Prof Manuela Consonni, The Vidal Sassoon International Center
for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Adv. Michal Cotler-Wunsh, International Law and Human Rights,
Senior Public Policy and Strategy Adviser, Former Member of
Knesset
Prof. (Emeritus) Sergio DellaPergola, The Harman Institute of
Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. David Feldman, Birkbeck Institute for the Study of
Antisemitism, University of London
Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias, Institute of Law Studies,
Polish Academy of Sciences
Prof. Amos Goldberg, Department of Jewish History and
Contemporary Jewry in the Research Institute of Contemporary
Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Moshe Halbertal, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and
New York University
Dr. Nina Keller-Kemmerer, Franz von Liszt Institute, Justus Liebig
University Giessen
Yossi Kugler, PhD Candidate, The School of Jewish Studies and
Archaeology at Tel-Aviv University
Prof. Shai Lavi, Director, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; Tel Aviv
University
Nike Naina Löbrich, PhD candidate,
Justus-Liebig University Giessen
Dr. Ashley Mayer-Thibault, University of Montreal
Prof. David Mednicoff, Department of Judaic and Near Eastern
Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Prof. Amos Morris-Reich, The Stephen Roth Institute for the
Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, The Lester and
Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University
Adv. Talia Naamat, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Adi M. Ophir, Cogut Institute for the Humanities, Brown
University, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Esra Özyürek, Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths
and Shared Values, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Dr. Reut Yael Paz, Franz von Liszt Institute, Justus Liebig
University Giessen
Dr. Anna Pingen, Justus Liebig University Giessen
Prof. Lena Salaymeh, University of Oxford and École Pratique des
Hautes Études
Dr. Dafna Schreiber, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Prof. Joshua Shanes, Jewish Studies, College of Charleston
Ann-Kathrin Steger, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen
Prof. (Emeritus) Kenneth Stow, University of Haifa
Dr. Danny Trom, CNRS, France
Dr. Dr. Peter Ullrich, Center for Research on Antisemitism
Technische Universität Berlin
Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven, Head of Jerusalem Office
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Prof. Thomas Weber, Department of History, University of
Aberdeen
Emilie Wiedemann, PhD candidate, Birkbeck, University of
London
Prof. (Emerita) Nira Yuval-Davis, Honorary Director of the
Research Centre on Migration, Refugees, and Belonging (CMRB) ,
University of East London
Prof. (Emeritus) Moshe Zimmermann, Richard Koebner Minerva
Center for German History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Raef Zreik, Ono Academic College; Senior Research Fellow,
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Participants
The Van Leer
Jerusalem Institute
43, Jabotinsky St., Jerusalem
Vanleer.org.il
Tel. 972-2-5605222
OPEN
TO THE
PUBLIC
OPEN
TO THE
PUBLIC
OPEN
TO THE
PUBLIC
THE VAN LEER JERUSALEM INSTITUTE
מכון ון ליר בירושלים
Thanks to the International Consortium for Research on Antisemitism and Racism
for the support and partnership in the developing of the conference
Academic Committee:
Prof. Alon Confino, Prof. Manuela Consonni, Prof. David Feldman, Prof. Amos Goldberg,
Prof. Shai Lavi, Prof Amos Morris-Reich, Dr. Dafna Schreiber

=====================================

Defining antisemitism has become a battleground. Advocates and opponents of contending
definitions confront one another in the printed press, online, and in social media. The working
definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016 was
endorsed widely but quickly became a site of controversy. In recent months this controversy
has become more intense. In November 2020, 122 Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists,
and intellectuals issued a statement that declared their opposition to antisemitism and to the
IHRA’s working definition thereof, which purportedly promotes the suppression of Palestinian
rights. In March this year, the IHRA definition confronted a new challenge in the form of two
alternative definitions: the Nexus Document, “Understanding Antisemitism at its Nexus with
Israel and Zionism,” and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA).
This conference aims to provide a space for scholars from different disciplines (including
political science, law, philosophy, linguistics, and history) to examine the current debate over
definitions of antisemitism and to explore what is at stake in this debate. In this conference
we wish to address one of the most controversial issues, namely, the relationship between
different forms of criticism of the State of Israel – its existence, its constitutional foundations,
its identity as a Jewish state, its history, policies, or practices – and antisemitism. The
conference will address questions pertaining to definitions of antisemitism from diverse
historical, theoretical, methodological, and political points of view. It aims to give historical
and theoretical depth to a heated political debate.
At the same time, the issues raised by the debate over the definition of antisemitism ramify
widely. By addressing not only the relationship between antisemitism and antizionism but
also these broader questions, this conference aims to promote new scholarly perspectives
and better understanding of current debates and discontents.
• How does one account for the relatively recent appearance of public/formal/legal
definitions of antisemitism and their turning into a subject of intense contention?
• How do these different definitions shape and reshape the meaning of antisemitism and
how do they affect social and political relations between Jews and various non-Jewish
groups?
• To define or not to define? Are definitions necessary for combating discrimination,
prejudice, and hate?
• What functions do we expect a definition of antisemitism and its attendant examples to
perform? How has the question of definition developed in different national contexts,
within intergovernmental bodies and in civil society?
• What’s in a “definition”? What role do tropes, analogies, and examples play in definitions
of antisemitism?
• How have definitions of antisemitism emerged and changed over time?
• As a matter of practice, what has been the role of the IHRA working definition in
identifying, recording, and combatting antisemitism?
• As a matter of practice, what has been the role of the JDA definition, if any, in providing
an alternative to the IHRA definition to be used in social, political, and educational
settings to frame the debate on antisemitism?
• What implications does the striving for a definition have for other racisms, forms of hate
speech, racialization, and political hostility? Do we need a portfolio of definitions? Why
is it that Islamophobia, alongside antisemitism, has been the main site of similar activity
and controversy?
• What impact do definitions and, more broadly, the regulation of speech have on the
public sphere in liberal societies and on the tension between freedom of speech and its
social and legal regulation?
• How do definitions address or affect possible entanglements between criticism of Israel
and antisemitism?
• In what ways is the debate over the definition of antisemitism related to the Palestine
Question?
• In what ways does this debate over definitions relate to other controversies, such as
those over colonialism and postcolonialism? Does this debate express structures
of political power and processes of marginalization? Who is eligible to
participate in this discussion over definitions and whose voices are
heard/not heard in it?
Scholars of all disciplines are invited to submit proposals
for lectures to be delivered at the conference.
Proposals (500–700 words) and a curriculum
vitae should be submitted by email to
dafnas@vanleer.org.il
by November 15, 2021
CALL FOR PAPERS
Defining
Antisemitism
between History
and Politics
International
Workshop
Monday, May 30 –
Wednesday, June 1
2022
at the Van leer
Jerusalem
Institute
Academic Committee:
Prof. Alon Confino
Prof. Manuela Consonni
Prof. David Feldman
Prof. Amos Goldberg
Prof. Shai Lavi
Prof Amos Morris-Reich
Dr. Dafna Schreiber
THE VAN LEER JERUSALEM INSTITUTE
מכון ון ליר בירושלים

===================================================================

https://en-humanities.tau.ac.il/definitionsantisemitismbroadcast

The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism


Broadcasts of Workshop “Defining Antisemitism between history and politics”

The Stephen Roth Institute for Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, in collaboration with leading institutions for the study of antisemitism, is cordially inviting you to the International Workshop titled “Defining Antisemitism between history and politics”.

23 May 2022

The workshop will provide a space for leading scholars from different disciplines (including political science, law, philosophy, linguistics, and history) to examine the current debate over definitions of antisemitism and to explore what is at stake in this debate. In this workshop we will address one of the most controversial issues, namely, the relationship between different forms of criticism of the State of Israel – its existence, its constitutional foundations, its identity as a Jewish state, its history, policies, or practices – and antisemitism. The workshop will address questions pertaining to definitions of antisemitism from diverse historical, theoretical, methodological, and political points of view, aiming to give historical and theoretical depth to a heated political debate.

The workshop will take place on May 30 to June 1, 2022, at Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Please note that not all talks will be open to the public, as specified on the poster attached to this email. 

A number of events will be broadcast live. Those interested will be able to watch the broadcasts here. The closing session will be broadcasted here.

The two greetings and the lecture by Moshe Halbertal will not be broadcast but it will be recorded and made available for the public at a later date.

Nakba Day Demonstrations at Tel Aviv University and Academia for Equality

18.05.22

Editorial Note

A few days ago, Arab students and staff demonstrated at Tel Aviv University’s Antin Square, marking Nakba Day. Nakba Day is set to express anger at the foundation of the State of Israel, describing it as a “catastrophe.” Protesters demand Palestinians’ right to return to their former homes in what is now known as Israel. In the demonstration, the large crowd waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans. Jewish right-wing activists held a small counter-demonstration. The event turned violent when the protesters scuffled; three people were arrested for attacking protesters and police officers and rioting on the campus.

Academia for Equality (A4E), a political-academic group based at Tel Aviv University, wrote on their Facebook page on May 12: “This coming Sunday, May 15, at 11:30 in Antin Square, we will join the Nakba Day ceremony at Tel Aviv University, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian faculty and students. Feel free to join us.”

Three days later, they posted on Facebook in ArabicHebrew, and English: “Academia for Equality strongly condemns the grave incidents that took place on Sunday, May 15 at Tel Aviv University, and on Friday, May 13 at Ben Gurion University, in which police and GSS forces attacked students demonstrating on university grounds, arresting some, with the sole purpose of sowing fear and undermining student organizing. These incidents further deepen the worrying trend of curtailing the academic and political freedom of Palestinian students, of violence and incitement against Palestinian students on campuses and on social media by right-wing organizations; and further evidence of the lax and negligent response of higher education institutions towards such events. We call on university administrations to ensure the safety and security of Palestinian students, to protect their freedom of expression, to act immediately to restore the peace and to prohibit arrests on their grounds.”

As can be expected, A4E provided a one-sided view of the event, putting the blame entirely on the Israeli police.

To a casual observer, A4E may seem like a tiny fringe group. In reality, A4E has been receiving the backing of mainstream academics, as can be seen by their posts on Facebook. On the 25th of April, A4E wrote, “We were happy to attend the Sociological Association’s conference held in early March – and we were also happy to read the positive reviews of the sessions attended by members of the Academy for Equality.” The list of speakers included Orly Benjamin, Areej Sabagh Khoury, Lev Grinberg, Dani Maman, and Zvi Ben-Dor Banit.

IAM reported on A4E before, when on January 23, 2021, Academia for Equality voiced its reservations about a collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the academic institute in Ariel. In a public declaration, A4E wrote a letter to the TAU administration claiming that “this institutional cooperation, obtained without open debate in the University Senate, is alarming for a variety of moral, legal, professional and technical reasons. First and foremost, the very existence of this institution, which stands on occupied land and serves the population of the occupying nation exclusively, is a war crime and a clear example of apartheid. The recognition of this institution by far-right forces around the world which overlook its inhuman aspect is neither a victory nor an achievement for Israeli society but the opposite. We keep working against this cooperation and call upon our colleagues worldwide to join us.” 

As IAM repeatedly argued, boycotting Ariel University has been illegal in Israel since the anti-Boycott Law was enacted in 2011.

Academia for Equality is an anti-Israel group composed of primarily Jewish Israeli followers of the neo-Marxist critical paradigm. They fuel violence against Israeli Jews by depicting Israel negatively. They serve their peers on western campuses – the Palestinian diaspora activists. 

A lot has been written about the anti-Israel agitation on campuses. Those who call for a vigorous effort to fight this phenomenon need to look at the contribution of radical Israeli academics like A4E, whose writings legitimize the BDS movement. 

For future Nakba Days, Tel Aviv University should hold lectures in Antin Square by Tel Aviv University experts who teach the evidence-based history of the Nakba. For those unfamiliar with the topic, the self-inflicted catastrophe was the responsibility of the Palestinian leaders with their allied Arab states to crush nascent Israel.

References

https://jpost.com/israel-news/article-706728/amp

Jerusalem Post  

Clashes between Arabs, right-wing activists at TAU Nakba Day rally

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF   Published: MAY 15, 2022 13:25

Three people were arrested at the rally after they attacked protesters and police.

Clashes broke out between Arabs and right-wing activists at a Nakba Day rally at Tel Aviv University on Sunday, with police arresting a number of suspects amid the violence.

A large crowd of Arab students and supporters rallied at Tel Aviv University to mark Nakba Day, when Palestinians mark the establishment of the State of Israel as a “catastrophe” and demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Demonstrators at the university waved Palestinian flags and chanted slogans. A portrait of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was recently killed during clashes in Jenin was set up at the site as well.

Three people were arrested at the rally after they attacked protesters and police officers and rioted at the site, according to Israel Police.

The right-wing Im Tirtzu organization reported that the three were Arab students who had physically assaulted Jewish activists who were holding a counter-demonstration nearby. The Jewish activists waved Israeli flags, chanted pro-Israel slogans and distributed T-shirts displaying a key with a Star of David alongside the verse “And the children [of Israel] shall return to their borders.”

Im Tirtzu activists also put up banners reading “Nakba Nonsense.” According to the organization, a number of activists suffered head injuries after being attacked by Arab students.

“We cannot afford the luxury of allowing this anti-Israel propaganda to go unchallenged,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg. “We are here sending a clear message that we will not be silent in the face of this deceitful attempt to rewrite history. If the Jewish community in Israel would’ve lost the war, the Holocaust would have been continued via Haj Amin al-Husseini and his antisemitic thugs. It is important to unapologetically call the Nakba what it is: nonsense.”

Joint List MK Ayman Odeh responded to the arrests on Sunday, saying “students are marking Nakba Day and not submitting to the arrests and police brutality.”

================================

אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

12 May at 18:43· 

ביום ראשון הקרוב, ה-15 למאי, ב11:30 בכיכר אנטין, נצטרף לטקס יום הנכבה באוניברסיטת תל אביב, ונעמוד בסולידריות עם אנשי הסגל, הסטודנטים והסטודנטיות הפלסטינים. מוזמנים להצטרף אלינו

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אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

15 May at 23:20 

تستنكر منظمة اكاديميون من اجل المساواة بشدة الأحداث الخطيرة التي وقعت اليوم في جامعة تل أبيب ويوم الجمعة الماضي في جامعة بن غوريون، حيث هاجمت قوات الشرطة والشاباك الطلاب والطالبات الجامعيين الذين تظاهروا في محيط الجامعة، واعتقل عدد منهم بهدف دبّ الخوف والترهيب واعاقة تنظيم الطلاب/ الطالبات.

تنضم هذه الحالات الى نمط مُقلق من المسّ بحرية الطلاب/ الطالبات الفلسطينيين/ات الأكاديمية والسياسية في الجامعات، واللجوء الى العنف والتحريض على الطلاب/الطالبات الفلسطينيين/ات في الحُرم الجامعية وفي شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي من قبل اليمين، مقابل رد متهاون واستهتاري من قبل المؤسسات التعليمية على هذه الحالات.

ندعو إدارات الجامعات لأن تضمن سلامة الطلاب والطالبات الجامعيين/ات الفلسطينيين/ات، حماية وضمان حريتهم/ن بالتعبير، والعمل بشكل فوريّ على تهدئة الخواطر وعلى منع اجراء اعتقالات في محيط الجامعات وعلى مداخلها.

Academics Organization for Equality strongly condemns the dangerous events that took place today at Tel Aviv University and last Friday at Bin Gurion University, where police forces and nets attacked university students who demonstrated in the surroundings of the university, and arrested a number of them aiming to bear Kho Q, Intimidation and Disability of Student Organization.

These cases join a disturbing pattern of touching the academic and political freedom of Palestinian students in universities, resorting to violence and incitement against Palestinian students on campus and social media by the right-wing, in response to a defiant response. N and reckless by educational institutions on these cases.

We call on university administrations to ensure the safety of Palestinian university students, protect and guarantee their freedom of expression, and act immediately to calm down and prevent arrests in the surroundings and their entrances.

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אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

15 May at 19:30

אקדמיה לשוויון מגנה בחריפות את האירועים החמורים שהתרחשו היום באוניברסיטת תל אביב וביום שישי באוניברסיטת בן-גוריון – בהם התנפלו כוחות משטרה ושב״כ על סטודנטי.ות שהפגינו בתחומי האוניברסיטה, ועצרו אחדים מהם במטרה לזרוע פחד ולשבש את התארגנות הסטודנטים.ות.

מקרים אלה מצטרפים למגמה המדאיגה של פגיעה בחופש האקדמי והפוליטי של סטודנטים.ות פלסטינים.ות באוניברסיטאות, של אלימות והסתה כנגד סטודנטים.ות פלסטינים.ות בקמפוסים וברשתות החברתיות מטעם גורמי ימין, ושל תגובה רפה ורשלנית של מוסדות הלימוד כלפי מקרים אלה.

אנו קוראים להנהלות האוניברסיטאות להבטיח את שלומם של הסטודנטים והסטודנטיות הפלסטינים.ות, להגן על חופש הביטוי שלהם.ן, לפעול באופן מידי להרגעת הרוחות ולמנוע מעצרים בתחומיה ובשעריה.

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אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

16 May at 11:30  · 

Academia for Equality strongly condemns the grave incidents that took place on Sunday, May 15 at Tel Aviv University, and on Friday, May 13 at Ben Gurion University, in which police and GSS forces attacked students demonstrating on university grounds, arresting some, with the sole purpose of sowing fear and undermining student organizing.

These incidents further deepen the worrying trend of curtailing the academic and political freedom of Palestinian students, of violence and incitement against Palestinian students on campuses and on social media by Right-wing organizations; and further evidence of the lax and negligent response of higher education institutions towards such events.

We call on university administrations to ensure the safety and security of Palestinian students, to protect their freedom of expression, to act immediately to restore the peace and to prohibit arrests on their grounds.

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https://www.b7net.co.il/%D7%94%D7%A7%D7%9E%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A1/3751

היום: ההפגנה השנתית לציון יום הנכבה באוניברסיטת בן גוריון


מנהל האתר

16.05.17 / 20:22
   


כמדי שנה, התארגנו היום הסטודנטים הערבים באוניברסיטת בן גוריון להפגנה לציון יום הנכבה. במקום לא נרשמו אירועי אלימות או התפרעויות.

יום גדוש במחאות באוניברסיטת בן גוריון: בצהריי היום התארגנו עשרות סטודנטים ערבים מאוניברסיטת בן גוריון והפגינו לציון יום הנכבה מול שער סורוקה כמדי שנה. במקום לא נרשמו הפרעות ולא נצפו גילויי אלימות, זאת בניגוד להפגנה בשנה שעברה, אותה קיימו הסטודנטים הערבים בערב יום הזיכרון לחללי צה”ל, אירוע שהביא לחילופי קללות וצעקות בין הצדדים.

בהפגנה קראו המוחים לסיום 69 שנות הכיבוש ולשחרור פלסטין. ” יש את יום הנכבה, שאנחנו מאמינים בו ומאמינים שנעשה עוול לאוכלוסייה שלמה” אומר מחמוד אבו סלאח, אחד המשתתפים בהפגנה. “כמו בכל שנה אנחנו בהפגנה אומרים אמירה קולקטיבית, אשר השנה היא חשובה במיוחד, לאור הריסת הבתים באום אל חיראן ולאור כך שמאשימים את הערבים על ימין ועל שמאל ברצח. עכשיו זה המקום והזמן לצאת ולהגיד את האמירה שלנו כמיעוט במדינה הזאת”.

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אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

25 April at 11:02

שמחנו להשתתף בכנס האגודה הסוציולוגית שנערך בתחילת חודש מרץ – ושמחנו גם לקרוא את הביקורות החיוביות על המושבים בהם השתתפו חברי אקדמיה לשוויון 🙂

Drawbacks to BDS in Canada, Germany, and Britain

12.05.22

Editorial note

Some crucial developments concerning Israel that occurred in the last few days are worthy of attention.

In Canada, McGill University has warned the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) after students voted overwhelmingly for the “Palestine Solidarity Policy last month.” The resolution commits SSMU to take a stand against “Israel’s system of racial discrimination.” In response, B’nai B’rith, the Jewish organization in Canada, released a statement labeling SSMU’s behavior as antisemitic. B’nai B’rith called on McGill University to “immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.” The administration responded to the resolution by threatening to terminate its Memorandum of Agreement with SSMU, which regulates fees, the use of the name, etc. The administration claimed the Palestine Solidarity Policy encourages “a culture of ostracization and disrespect due to students’ identity, religious or political beliefs.”

In turn, pro-Palestinian activists announced that Mcgill “waged a multiyear campaign against student democracy and Palestinian solidarity” because SSMU calls for divesting from and boycotting “corporations and institutions complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians.” Pro-Palestinians now urge the community to act. “It’s important for outside forces to publicly embarrass McGill’s administration, pressure wobbly student representatives and embolden the student organizers driving the struggle on campus. As the Israel lobby fully understands, the struggle for Palestinian rights runs through student activism.”

There are also battles in Germany, where pro-Palestinian activists complain that Germany’s foreign policy is pro-Israeli. For this, they recruited Ilan Pappe, an Israeli professor and former lecturer at the University of Haifa, a notorious Israel-hater. Pappe wrote an appeal to the German government, asking it not to be “twice on the wrong side of history.” He claims that Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians is “racist to its very core… You would have expected Germany to lead the anti-racist campaign, not only in Europe but in the world at large, instead of leading the support, as a state, to one of the longest racist projects in our times in the historical land of Palestine.” For Pappe, “There is no telling when and how this erroneous and immoral German position will come back to haunt Germany.”  

Pappe has a long history of using academic writings to trash Israel while whitewashing Palestinian conduct. For instance, in The Rise and Fall of a Palestinian Dynasty: The Husaynis, 1700–1948, he downplayed several well-documented examples of Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Palestinian Mufti’s incitement to violence and especially his high-profile advocacy of the Nazi Final Solution, and his contribution to the Nazi war efforts. Pappe complained that “Israeli historiography would claim, with very little evidence, that by this time the Mufti endorsed the Nazi ideology.” But later admitted that the “Palestinian historiography was long uncomfortable” with discussing the Mufti’s and Nazi Germany’s “ill-fated liaison.” Pappe explained that the Mufti and his pro-Nazi associates were “a few individuals who were detached from Palestine and its politics.” Pappe emphasized that the Mufti’s “identification with the Nazi death machine made it difficult for him to reintegrate into Palestinians politics.” Still, Pappe lamented that “many historians in the world, especially in Israel, have depicted him as a mini Hitler, unjustifiably and inaccurately.” Pappe’s lack of moral integrity is especially galling because he calls himself the son of Holocaust survivors. 

Throughout the years, whitewashing the Holocaust earned Pappe admirers in Iran, where the regime has engaged in a decades-long effort of Holocaust denial. As well known, the Iranian authorities had invited notorious Holocaust deniers from Europe and the United States to frequent Holocaust denial conferences. Pappe’s writings on how Israel exploited the Holocaust to subjugate the Palestinians have been translated into Farsi and featured on some of the regime’s propaganda platforms. 

In the UK, the BDS movement has encountered some strong headwinds. The Queen’s Speech marking the opening of the British Parliament announced that legislation would be introduced to stop BDS policies that target Israel. The annual address to parliament, outlining the government’s plan for the next session, confirmed the inclusion of the anti-BDS Bill this year to “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion.” The Bill would empower the government to ban public bodies from conducting boycott campaigns against foreign countries or officials “inconsistent with official UK policy.” The British government has argued that the “boycotts may legitimize and drive antisemitism” by too much focus on Israel. Once the Bill is passed, Britain would lead in this regard, and other countries might follow.

References

https://www.palestinechronicle.com/mcgill-university-administration-amps-up-anti-palestinian-campaign/
McGill University Administration Amps up Anti-Palestinian Campaign

May 7, 2022 Articles, Commentary

By Yves Engler

The McGill administration and Israel lobby have waged a multiyear campaign against student democracy and Palestinian solidarity and recently threatened the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) financial arrangement after students voted overwhelmingly for the “Palestine Solidarity Policy”.

A month ago, 71% of students voted for a resolution that commits SSMU to take a stand against Israel’s system of racial discrimination. The resolution called for a host of measures including SSMU divesting from and boycotting “corporations and institutions complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians.”
In response, B’nai B’rith released a statement labeling “SSMU’s behavior…antisemitic”. It “called on McGill University to immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.”

The administration responded by threatening to terminate its Memorandum of Agreement with SSMU, which regulates fees, use of name and other matters between the university and student union. The administration claimed the Palestine Solidarity Policy encourages “a culture of ostracization and disrespect due to students’ identity, religious or political beliefs.” But the resolution does not mention any ethnicity or nationality.

The administration’s bid to portray their student body as anti-Jewish is not new. As students have sought to express support for the long-oppressed Palestinians, they’ve repeatedly made similar claims.

Between 2014 and 2016 there were three votes inspired by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement at biannual SSMU general assemblies. Fearing students at the prestigious institution would support BDS, the Israel lobby went into overdrive. Among a slew of pressure tactics, they got Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau to tweet that “the BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a McGill alum, I’m disappointed. Enough is Enough.”

In February 2016 a motion mandating the student union support some BDS demands passed the union’s largest ever general assembly. But after the McGill administration, Montreal’s English media and pro-Israel Jewish groups blitzed students the online confirmation vote failed. The resolution’s constitutionality was subsequently challenged by Zionists who sought to have SSMU’s Judicial Board outlaw any motion that expressed support for BDS.

Students challenged the effort to block their ability to collectively challenge Israeli apartheid. An October 2017 challenge of the SSMU Judicial Board’s decision to declare a BDS resolution unconstitutional prompted Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee activist Noah Lew to smear other students. After failing to be re-elected to the Board of Directors Lew claimed he was “blocked from participating in student government because of my Jewish identity and my affiliations with Jewish organizations.” Lew’s claim received international coverage and McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier sent out two emails to all students and faculty concerning the matter.

But an investigation by the administration found no basis for Lew’s claim.

The principal form of racism on display on this subject is the university power structure’s deep-seated anti-Palestinianism. As I previously detailed, McGill administrators openly associated with the Jewish National Fund, an explicitly racist organization that excludes Palestinian citizens of Israel from living on land stolen from Palestinians.

Fortunately, students have persevered in campaigning for Palestinian rights despite the smears, underhanded moves and outside attacks. The large margin that voted for the recent Palestine Solidarity Policy suggests that support for Palestinian rights is growing.

But Israel lobby and administration pressure led SSMU’s unelected judicial board to reject the constitutionality of the Palestine Solidarity Policy. They also impeached the elected president of the student union, Darshan Daryanan, in part due to his sympathy toward student democracy and Palestinian rights.

Happily, there’s some pushback. Students have organized rallies and outside groups have petitioned the administration. Rock legend Roger Waters, author Yann Martel, former MP Libby Davies, author Chris Hedges and 200 others signed a recent public letter criticizing the administration’s threats as anti-democratic and anti-Palestinian. Signed by 40 organizations, the letter also applauds McGill students for pushing their union to fulfill its stated commitment to leadership in “matters of human rights and social justice.”

It’s important for outside forces to publicly embarrass McGill’s administration, pressure wobbly student representatives and embolden the student organizers driving the struggle on campus. As the Israel lobby fully understands, the struggle for Palestinian rights runs through student activism.

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com.

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https://www.jewishnews.co.uk/queens-speech-includes-bds-bill-to-stop-public-bodies-targeting-israel/
Queen’s Speech includes ‘BDS bill’ to stop public bodies targeting IsraelPlanned government 

bill aims to prevent boycotts which ‘may legitimise and drive antisemitism’

By LEE HARPIN May 10, 2022, 11:45 am  

Legislation aimed at stopping local councils bringing in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policies that target Israel have been announced in today’s Queens Speech marking the state opening of parliament.

The yearly address to parliament, which outlines the government’s agenda for the next session, confirmed the inclusion of the government’s anti-BDS proposals which would “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion.”

The BDS and Sanctions Bill follows a 2019 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to preventing local authorities from “adopting their own approach to international relations.”

It was one of 38 Bills announced by the government on Tuesday, alongside moves to bring in criminal offences against protesters who cause serious disruption, and the replacement of the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.

Prince Charles took on the head of state’s ceremonial duty on Tuesday, reading out the Queens Speech on behalf of the Queen, who “reluctantly” announced she would miss the state opening of parliament the previous day.

Reading the speech, the Prince of Wales confirmed the inclusion of the anti-BDS Bill which would ban “boycotts that undermine community cohesion.”

Last year former Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told a communal event it was his New Year wish for parliament to pass a law imposing “an absolute ban” BDS.

Jenrick’s successor in the role, which now includes Levelling Up duties, Michael Gove has long been an outspoken opponent of BDS.

Speaking to MPs in the Commons in March, Gove said that one way of tackling the “evil of antisemitism” was to “stand up to the BDS campaign.”

Arguing the case for an anti-BDS Bill, the government has now argued “boycotts may legitimise and drive antisemitism” by focusing so much on Israel.

The Bill aims to empower government to ban public bodies who conduct their own boycott campaigns against foreign countries or officials, when they are “inconsistent with official UK policy.”

It would also prevent public institutions from using BDS to target the sale of goods and services from foreign countries, and UK firms which trade with such countries or territories.

The government has responded angrily to motions passed by councils such as Lancaster City Council, which in June 2021 passed BDS motions against Israel, and Leicester City Council, who voted to boycott goods from Israeli settlements in 2014.

The Bill has also taken into consideration evidence suggesting boycotts have gone beyond targeting just the state of Israel and have “contributed to the horrific rise of antisemitism in the UK.”

It is claimed kosher food had been removed from supermarket shelves, Jewish films have been banned from festivals and Jewish student societies have been blocked as a result of “unofficial boycotts.”

Boris Johnson has included similar commitments to tackle the BDS movement over claims they “overwhelmingly target Israel” in the last two Queens Speeches.

The Duke of Cambridge was also alongside Prince Charles at the state opening of parliament.

The decision to allow Charles to read the speech with Prince William required a special rule change in the form of a legal instrument known as Letters Patent.

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https://www.palestinechronicle.com/germany-and-palestine-twice-on-the-wrong-side-of-history/
Germany’s Position on Palestine: Twice on the Wrong Side of History?

May 9, 2022
Activists protest against the anti-BDS resolution adopted by German parliament. (Photo: Courtesy of BDS Website)

By Ilan Pappe

There is no doubt that Nazi Germany was on the wrong side of history, and it took an enormous amount of international effort to bring Germany over to the other side of history after the end of the Second World War. A noble way of doing it was by strengthening the democratic basis of post-Nazi Germany, and by re-writing its educational curricula as well as granting it a leading role in the struggle against racism at the heart of the continent. This was complemented by a noble attempt to regulate the local arms industry and arms exports so as to ensure as a comprehensive restitutive process as possible.

However, one important element of this restitution, still believed to be crucial by the German political system, is unconditional support for Israel. A position that creates the impression that Germany, as a State, might err again. This time, it is much less dramatic than the previous deviation from normalcy and humanity but, nonetheless, is highly worrying and deeply disappointing that Germany as a State – and hopefully not its society – did not deduce fully and honestly the moral lessons its darker history should have taught it.

Germany, that is West Germany until the late 1980s, and the West in general, believed that the road to West Germany’s rehabilitation and re-admission to the “civilized nations” had to go through the legitimization of the colonization of Palestine. Thus, within three years after the end of the Second World War, the West was asking the world to grant, simultaneously, legitimacy for the new Germany and for the creation of a Jewish State over much of historical Palestine, as if the two demands were logically and, worse still, morally connected. Hence, Israel became one of the first states to declare that there was a “new Germany”, in return for unconditional support for its policies, complemented by huge financial and military aid from West Germany.

After the unification of Germany and the hegemonic role it played since then in the EU foreign policies, the German position on Israel and Palestine became paramount and influenced the continent’s overall policy. It is only recently that those of us who are active for, and on behalf of, Palestine noted the slippery road on which Germany – as a state – slides once more onto the wrong side of history.

It was unavoidable that large sections of the German Civil society, especially among the younger generation, would navigate successfully between their acknowledgment of the Nazi past and their contemporary local and international moral agendas. In fact, the past produced a generation of conscientious young Germans joining others in the West in fighting for human and civil rights, wherever they are violated.

For any German with a modicum of decency in them, it would be impossible to exclude from this moral conversation the racist Israeli policies. The inevitable result was the emergence of a strong German solidarity movement with the Palestinian people and their just struggle for liberation.

As happened elsewhere, in particular after the First Intifada, and even more so in this century, Israel reacted forcefully to this shift in European public opinion. When this original solidarity impulse swelled into a massive social movement, galvanized and encouraged by initiatives such as the BDS – Israel went to war. Israel weaponized anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in order to prod the German political system to do its utmost to silence the more conscientious voices in its civil society.

I experienced the result of this campaign. Every now and then, my lectures in Germany were canceled at the last moment, and the organizers had to move me and other speakers to alternative venues, organized in haste and with little time to re-publicize the events, which was the main purpose of these acts of intimidation from above.

German politics deteriorated further and even deeper into a moral abyss when, on May 17, 2019, almost three years ago to date, the German federal parliament – the Bundestag – passed a resolution in which the BDS movement was condemned as anti-Semitic. Governmental institutions of Germany were called on not to support any activities of the BDS movement or any groups that “are anti-Semitic and/or demand the boycott of Israelis and Israeli companies and products”. This unusual move of the parliament was consensually endorsed by all the political parties: the Christian Union parties (CDU and CSU), the Social Democrats (SPD), the Liberal Party (FDP) and the Green Party.

The distorted logic of this resolution is based on equating anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel and Zionism. Since it was passed, it led to the cancellation of academic and cultural events associated with Palestine or – which is more draconian – it applied to any event organized by people known to be pro-Palestinian. Moreover, German citizens were in danger of losing their jobs and jeopardizing their career prospects if they take part in pro-Palestinian demonstrations or any act of solidarity.

In its overall foreign policy, Germany is no different from other member states of the EU. A policy which is a mixture of indifference towards Israel’s abuse of Palestinian rights, while solidifying strategic, military and economic ties with Israel. At the same time, it succumbs to pro-Israeli lobby groups in an attempt to bring down politicians who dare to identify with the Palestinian cause and stifles any significant debate on Zionism and Israel’s policy. In Germany, however, the policy of silencing is even more draconian, and the military aid and economic connections are even stronger than of any other EU member State.

This is not just fear of Israel or guilt about the Holocaust. These factors are important but there is another darker history that official Germany does not want to face. Even a relatively cursory discussion on Germany’s responsibility for the suffering of the Palestinians will show clearly that it was post-Nazi Germany that enabled the world to absolve, not only West Germany but Europe as a whole, from the Holocaust, by fully supporting the dispossession of the Palestinians. It was much easier to choose this road to rehabilitation than to properly deal, not only with anti-Semitism, but with all forms of European racism, manifested mainly nowadays as Islamophobia, but also as racism against “non-European” or “non-white” minorities all over the continent.

Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians is racist to its very core, and one cannot create hierarchies of racism or a club of “accepted” racism, or a legitimate one. You would have expected Germany to lead the anti-racist campaign, not only in Europe but in the world at large, instead of leading the support, as a state, to one of the longest racist projects in our times in the historical land of Palestine.

There is no telling when and how this erroneous and immoral German position will come back to haunt Germany. What is clear, and encouraging, is that there are a large number of Germans who do not want to slide on this slippery road and are doing all they can to stop this immoral deterioration and demanding the making of a real “new” Germany, which we are all craving for as conscientious and moral human beings.

– Ilan Pappé is a professor at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, The Modern Middle East, A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Ten Myths about Israel. Pappé is described as one of Israel’s ‘New Historians’ who, since the release of pertinent British and Israeli government documents in the early 1980s, have been rewriting the history of Israel’s creation in 1948. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Abusing Academic Position: Anat Matar as a Case in Point

06.05.22

Editorial Note

Dr. Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, has recently hit the news with her Facebook post ahead of Independence Day. Her post referred to the many Israeli flags hanging from the ceiling of the Library of Humanities at Tel Aviv University, and she stated, “this is what a disease looks like.”

IAM has been reporting on the anti-Israel activities of Matar since 2004.

Matar has abused her academic position because she did not publish enough in her field; as a result, she was never promoted above senior lecturer. At the same time, Matar remade herself as a “legal expert,” without having the academic qualifications, fighting for the rights of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons where she described them as political prisoners. Tel Aviv University should have renounced such a breach of conduct but failed to do so.

Matar is a pro-Palestinian activist who never renounced terrorism against the Israeli public and never complained that Palestinian flags are a disease, only Israeli flags.

Matar is a busy pro-Palestinian activist. She has recently moderated a lecture by Dr. Honaida Ghanim, a lecturer from Bir Zeit University in the Palestinian Territories, on “Post-justice, exceptionalism, and the normalization of Apartheid.” Matar opened the event by saying (03:51): “the oppressive Israeli occupation has put innumerable obstacles which made research and study they are practiced in every academic institution throughout the world utterly impossible, yesterday we got the news of an army raid into the Palestine technical university in Kaduri in Tulkarm 51 students were injured two in live bullets nine with metal bullets and the rest suffocated from gas, a month ago we have learned from Amira Hass’s report in our outlets of a set of procedures issued by the occupation’s so-called defense ministry according to which the coordinator of government activities in the territories has the full authority to approve the entry of academic academic visitors judging among other parameters their academic contribution so the military is to decide about the academic worth of people, these are only the very recent news we have grown accustomed to read on students and faculty’s arrests raids into campuses like we had yesterday roadblocks hindering free movement and so on but these violent interruptions actually make it difficult to see the harsher everyday reality of an academic life under oppression the scarcity of means difficulties in keeping contact with colleagues abroad etc the Bisan Center for Research and Development is part of the Palestinian research community last october it was one of six of the six organizations declared by Benny Ganz as terror organizations and later on it was revealed that the Iphone of Ubai Aboudi, the center’s head, was hacked through the NSO spyware this is the context in which we in Scientists for Palestine have decided on the prestigious monthly lecture series the first first lecture was given by Nobel Prize laureate George Smith was with us today and can be found in Scientists for Palestine site.”

Matar has also been among the signatories of a recent petition, the “Declaration of solidarity with the administrative detainees.” Pledging to “boycott the Israeli legal system for as long as Palestinian prisoners remain on strike.” The declaration states, “We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Israel, hereby declare that in solidarity with the Palestinian administrative prisoners’ strike, we will refuse to cooperate with the Israeli courts in any event in which the authorities will arrest or charge us for resisting the occupation and Apartheid. The strike of administrative prisoners who refuse to cooperate with the Israeli military courts is intended to bring to light the simple fact that the courts serve as a rubber stamp for illegal arrests and are absent even from the appearance of a fair trial. Administrative arrests are another tool of the occupation, a tool that the military courts – also part of the occupation mechanism – use regularly. In solidarity with the striking prisoners, and as long as their strike continues, we will refuse to appear, accept conditions or cooperate with the Israeli courts in any way. We call on the citizens of Israel to join us in calling for an immediate cessation of the wholesale use of administrative detentions.”

In November 2021, Matar participated in a webinar titled “In Defense of Palestinian Civil Society,” discussing the Israeli Minister of Defense’s decision to designate six Palestinian organizations as terrorist organizations. Matar is a member of the group Scientists for Palestine, which published the webinar online and announced hosting Matar, an “Israeli professor and long term activist for Palestinian rights, who will discuss the response of Israeli academia. We believe that as member of the international scientific and academic community, we must respond firmly to this unprecedented attack to academic freedom. Join us in this opportunity to learn first hand, how best to connect, and no longer remain silent!”

Not only that Matar participates in the Bisan Lecture Series, an organization accused of having ties to terrorism, but she also has been pushing for BDS for many years. She got away with it because it is considered part of her academic freedom. Her radical academic cohorts, i.e., the group Academia for Equality, have supported and enabled her anti-Israel stand. Tel Aviv University refuses to act, leaving the Israeli taxpayers to pay the bill. 

References

https://time.news/a-lecturer-at-tel-aviv-university-called-the-flag-disease-and-attacked-enemy/

A lecturer at Tel Aviv University called the flag: “disease” and attacked: “enemy”

May 1, 2022

Dr. Anat Matar, one of the senior lecturers at Tel Aviv University, managed to upset quite a few media people after claiming that hanging Israeli flags: “This is what a disease looks like.” Meter received many condemnations and harsh statements about the style she presented regarding one of the country’s symbols.

Journalist Irit Linor validates: “Dr. Anat Matar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. A review of Wikipedia shows that she is active in Ta’ayush, in 2010 she signed an open letter to the Boston Science Museum, whose signatories called the Technion a “university that prepares murder tools” and condemned the museum’s decision to present an exhibition of Israeli inventions, arguing that the exhibition is a propaganda tool. From “Israel’s war crimes.” In May 2021, she was among the signatories to a letter addressed to the International Criminal Court in The Hague regarding the Israeli government in Judea and Samaria, calling on the court not to trust the official bodies of the State of Israel, and to investigate what happened. “

She wrote: “I am not a doctor, nor is it a meter, but speaking of diseases, I will make two diagnoses: one, a country that pays a salary from the public coffers to those who work against it, may not be a sick country, but also not one hundred percent in the health line. “I did not read it, but it seems to me that moral poverty is to be disgusted by state flags, but to have fun taking state money.”

Shai Golden added: “Meanwhile, between Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Day of Remembrance for the Martyrs of Israel and the Victims of Hostility, and Independence Day – perhaps the holiest week for seculars (if there is any element of sanctity in Israeli civil secularism, that’s it) a lecturer at Tel Aviv University encounters this demonstration. And feels sick. “Illness”, she calls it. And does not understand that the illness is hers. And with her. And the mental and intellectual problem is hers. On the eve of Independence Day, Dr. Anat Matar and her friends do not understand some of what they are at all, and why they teach at an Israeli university in the State of Israel in general. People like Dr. Anat Matar are in general the enemies of Israeli education and progress. Certainly also their own enemies and their people and their country and their country. ”

He further claimed: “A group of suicides took over the academy in Israel. A group of suicides. We will not commit suicide together with them. It will not happen. We are objects of life and objects of identity, and love for your nation and proud externalization of your identity Human. And as for the identity of the “disease” and the identity of the “sick” by the meter, we will leave it to the reasonable eye and the basic mind to decide. Either way: we will not commit suicide. “They want us all to commit suicide with them. And that will not happen. In fact, he will.”

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https://www.mako.co.il/news-politics/2022_q2/Article-8e21a2a8b8e7081027.htm

מרצה באוניברסיטת ת”א על דגלי ישראל: “ככה נראית מחלה”

ד”ר ענת מטר מהחוג לפילוסופיה התייחסה בחשבון הפייסבוק שלה לדגלי ישראל שנתלו בקמפוס לקראת יום העצמאות • אוניברסיטת תל אביב: זה חשבונה הפרטי, אין לכך קשר לאוניברסיטה

ניצן שפירא|N12| פורסם 01/05/22 10:50 

  • “ככה נראית מחלה” – התבטאות חריגה של ד”ר ענת מטר, מרצה בכירה באוניברסיטת תל אביב עוררה סערה בסוף השבוע. המרצה התייחסה לדגלי ישראל שנתלו בספריית מדעי החברה, חינוך וניהול בחשבון הפייסבוק שלה.

באוניברסיטת תל אביב התנערו מן הדברים של ד”ר מטר ומסרו ל-N12: “כנהוג לקראת יום העצמאות, קמפוס האוניברסיטה נצבע בכחול לבן. האמירה נאמרה בפייסבוק הפרטי של המרצה ואין לכך קשר לאוניברסיטה”.

לד”ר מטר פעילות אקדמית ופוליטית ענפה בעשורים האחרונים. בשנת 1994 היא קיבלה את תואר הדוקטור שלה, על עבודת דוקטורט שעשתה באוניבריסטת אוקספורד ובתל אביב על השקפת עולמו של הפילוסוף מייקל דאמט. היא מזוהה בדעותיה הפוליטיות עם מפלגת חד”ש, ופעילה בתנועות רבות שמתנגדות לכיבוש, בהן קואליציית נשים לשלום, תעאיוש ואקדמיה לשוויון. פעילותה מתמקדת בתמיכה באסירים הפוליטיים הפלסטינים ובסרבני גיוס, וכן ביחס העולם לאקדמיה הישראלית.

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https://www.facebook.com/100069169630866/posts/301081745540811/
אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة

لمساواة אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من

1 May at 17:24

אקדמיה לשוויון תומכת בחברת א”ש ד”ר ענת מטר ובזכותה לומר את דבריה לגבי הטעם הרע שיש בקישוט מסיבי ומתריס של חלל הספרייה של מדעי החברה והניהול באוניברסיטת ת”א. אנו ״אקדמיה לשוויון״ רואים כי יש לענת זכות להביע את דעתה על ״הקישוט״ שנעשה בצורה בוטה ומוגזמת. יש לומר כי ענת הובנה לא נכון, היא לא מחתה על עצם הצבת הדגלים אלא על ״המחלה״ שבהצפת הדגל כל כך הרבה פעמים בחלל אחד סגור. יחד עם זאת, אנו מציינים את הטעמים הפגומים והמוגזמים שיש ב״קישוט הכיתה” בדגלים בחלל האוניברסיטה באופן אשר מטרתו הברורה הינה הכרזתו של המובן מאליו כאלימות מדירה ויצירת פרובוקציה מיותרת.

האוניברסיטה ככלל וספריית האוניברסיטה בפרט הן מרחבי לימוד, מחקר וחופש אקדמי. אלו מרחבים שאמורים לקבל ולהכיל את מגוון הדעות ללא הבדלים של גזע, דת ולאום. כאשר מגבילים את תכולת המקום באופן משתמע אך ברור באמצעות סמלים לאומיים המדירים או קובעים הבחנה בין קהל משתמשי הספרייה והאוניברסיטה, יש מקום לערער על “הלגיטימיות של הקישוט”. יש מקום להרהר בקול, באמירה כתובה ובביטוי סמלי, על הקשר הישיר שבין הדרה באמצעות המובן מאליו שנקרא ״קישוט״. להדרה כזאת אין מקום במוסד שאמור להיות מודל של הכלה ומחקר, המשלב חופש מחשבה והתרועעות.

על הנהלת הספריה להבין כי הצבת מאות דגלים בחלל הלימוד המשותף עלולה לפגוע בחוויית הביטחון ובחירות האקדמית של סטודנטים/ות פלסטינים/ות בקמפוס ועלולה לתרום לתחושת הניכור. עבור סטודנטים אלה הדגל עלול לבטא לא חירות ועצמאות אלא עליונות יהודית מתמשכת שבאה לשלוט גם במרחב האקדמי שלהם. לא ניתן לצפות מהם לשבת ללמוד תחת ים הדגלים אשר מדירים אותם, בעוד שהם יודעים שאם יעזו להביע דיעה בנדון או להניף דגל פלסטין הם עלולים למצוא את עצמם מוזמנים לדין משמעתי או גרוע מכך.

האסיפה השנתית של ״אקדמיה לשוויון״ מתעתדת לדון, בין היתר, באוניברסיטה כמרחב שבו אמור להתנהל שיח חופשי, פתוח ומכיל ללא אפליה או גזענות. ההתנפלות על דבריה הלגיטימיים של ד״ר ענת מטר, היא דוגמה מצויינת כיצד המובן מאליו הלאומי ובעיקר ההתרסה הלאומנית, מהווים איום ממשי על פרטים וממשטרים את היכולת לחקור, לדבר, לדון ולהציג בחופשיות תפיסות עולם הנוגדות את אלימותו של ״המובן מאליו״ של קול ההמון שבמקרה זה אינו קול שדי.

#WestandwithAnatMatar

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Scientists for Palestine@Scientists4Palestine  · Science, technology & engineering


scientists4palestine.com

Scientists for Palestin10 April at 17:59

  · 

Wednesday’s lecture about “Bisan Lecture Series: Post-justice, exceptionalism, and the normalization of Apartheid”, by Dr. Honaida Ghanim, will be moderated by Anat Matar!

There’s still time to register! Register here: https://bit.ly/3LnoTka

#BisanLectureSeries#StandWithTheSix

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International Solidarity Movement 

13 April at 13:08  ·

50+ Israelis, including renowned academics Dr. Anat Matar, Yehouda Shenhav, activist Jonathan Pollak, and ISM co-founder Neta Golan, have publicly pledged to boycott the Israeli legal system for as long as Palestinian prisoners remain on strike.

Their statement joins calls from Palestinians and internationals, for the Israeli apartheid regime to #EndAdministrativeDetention, a cruel and colonial practice under which Palestinians can be imprisoned indefinitely without charges or a trial. Palestinians like teenager Amal Nakhleh have spent months or even years in prison, without ever being told why.

bit.ly/3jAiUwI

#FreeThemAll#FreeAmalNakhleh

 הצהרת סולדריות עם שביתת העצירים המנהליים

للغة العربية ، قم بالتمرير لأسفل
English follows Arabic

לחצו כאן לחתום על הצהרת סולדריות עם שביתת העצירים המנהליים

אנו החתומים מטה, אזרחי ואזרחיות ישראל, תושבי ותושבות ישראל, מצהירות ומצהירים בזאת כי בסולדריות עם שביתת האסירים המנהליים הפלסטינים נסרב לשתף פעולה עם בתי המשפט הישראלים בכל מקרה בו המשטר הישראלי יעצור אותנו או יפתח מולנו בהליכים בעקבות התנגדותנו לכיבוש ולאפרטהייד.
שביתת האסירים המינהליים המסרבים לשתף פעולה עם בתי המשפט הצבאיים הישראלים, נועדה כדי להציף את העובדה הפשוטה כי בתי המשפט משמשים חותמת גומי למעצרים בלתי חוקיים ונעדרי אפילו מראית עין של הליך הוגן. המעצרים המנהליים הם כלי נוסף של הכיבוש, כלי שבתי המשפט הצבאיים – גם הם חלק ממנגנון הכיבוש – מכשירים באופן קבוע.

בסולדריות עם האסירים השובתים, וכל עוד שביתתם תמשך, נסרב להתייצב, לקבל תנאים או לשתף פעולה עם בתי המשפט הישראלים בכל דרך. אנו קוראים וקוראות לאזרחי ואזרחיות ישראל להצטרף אלינו לקריאה להפסיק את השימוש הסיטונאי במעצרים מנהליים לאלתר.

מוזמנות לחתום ולהפיץ (ניתן גם לחתום עם שם פרטי בלבד).

חתמו על הצהרת סולדריות עם שביתת העצירים המנהליים

بيانٌ تضامنيّ مع المعتقلين الإداريين في سجون الاحتلال الإسرائيليّ

نحنُ، الموقّعون أدناه، سكّان الكيان الصهيونيّ وسكّان مدينة القدس المحتلّة، وتضامنًا مع المعتقلين الإداريين، نعلن رفضنا التعاون مع المحاكم العسكرية الاستعمارية الإسرائيلية في حال اعتقالنا ومحاكمتنا بتهمة مقاومة الاحتلال. إنّ إضراب الأسرى الإداريين الذين يرفضون التعاون مع المحاكم العسكرية الاستعمارية هدفه تسليط الضوء على طبيعة المحاكم التي تشرعن الاعتقال التعسّفيّ بحق المقاومة، حيث أنّ الاعتقال الإداريّ والمحاكم العسكرية من الأدوات التي يستخدمها الاحتلال بشكلٍ اعتياديّ ضد الذين يقاومونه. تضامنًا مع الأسرى المضربين، وما دام إضرابهم مستمرًّا، سوف نرفض المثول أمام المحاكم، التعاون معها، أو الموافقة على شروطها. نطالب سكّان الكيان الصهيونيّ بالانضمام إلينا في المطالبة اجتثاث منظومة الاعتقال الإداريّ.

رجاءً التوقيع على البيان التضامنيّ أدناه:

Declaration of solidarity with the administrative detainees
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Israel, hereby declare that in solidarity with the Palestinian administrative prisoners’ strike, we will refuse to cooperate with the Israeli courts in any event in which the authorities will arrest or charge us for resisting the occupation and Apartheid. The strike of administrative prisoners who refuse to cooperate with the Israeli military courts is intended to bring to light the simple fact that the courts serve as a rubber stamp for illegal arrests and are absent even from the appearance of a fair trial. Administrative arrests are another tool of the occupation, a tool that the military courts – also part of the occupation mechanism – use regularly. In solidarity with the striking prisoners, and as long as their strike continues, we will refuse to appear, accept conditions or cooperate with the Israeli courts in any way. We call on the citizens of Israel to join us in calling for an immediate cessation of the wholesale use of administrative detentions.

Sign the solidarity declaration

חתימות:

  1. יוסף מקייטון
  2. סהר ורדי
  3. Neta Golan
  4. יונתן הם
  5. עמית בן
  6. אליוט
  7. ים ניר-בז’רנו
  8. קרן זק
  9. דרור דיין
  10. נוני טל
  11. מאיה יבין
  12. שירלי נדב
  13. אריאל ברנשטיין
  14. Tal
  15. אורה סלונים
  16. Edith Breslauer
  17. Tal Berglas
  18. Haim Schwarczenberg
  19. סיגל קוק אביבי
  20. מעין אמרן
  21. רוחמה מרטון
  22. אסתר רפפורט
  23. נעמי טאובר
  24. טלי ברונשטיין
  25. צידונה בן דור טל ע”וד
  26. ענת מטר
  27. יונתן פולק
  28. Meira Asher
  29. Yehouda shenhav
  30. חניתה הנדלמן
  31. סימה ששון
  32. Ohal Grietzer
  33. צ’סקה כץ
  34. אליאן ויצמן
  35. הרצל שוברט
  36. אירית סגולי
  37. קרן אסף
  38. תרצה טאובר
  39. בלהה גולן
  40. טל שפירא
  41. שושנה קאן
  42. חנה ספרן
  43. אירה קונטורובסקי
  44. אור בן דוד
  45. Debby Lerman
  46. גיא ספירשטיין
  47. נדב פרנקוביץ’
  48. דניאלה הלוי
  49. Stan Squires
  50. מיכל שווארץ
  51. Rachel Benjamin
  52. הדס פארי
  53. michal peleg
  54. מליסה דאנז
  55. Mary
  56. meital yaniv
  57. עופר ניימן
  58. דב באום
  59. איריס שטרן לוי
  60. מתן כהן
  61. Majd shahin
  62. עמית כהן
  63. זוריה חדד
  64. Simon Vrouwe
  65. שמרי צמרת
  66. Layla NK
  67. מחמוד ספאדי
  68. יסמין ערן- ורדי
  69. נתנאל קנדלר
  70. דיאנה דולב
  71. עופר ג.
  72. דורון בן דוד
  73. טניה
  74. ג׳ואנה
  75. אדם קלר
  76. Haim Bresheeth
  77. איתמר שפירא
  78. גדי שניצר
  79. יניב
  80. מיקי פישר
  81. גלי הנדין
  82. גילי פריברג
  83. שאול צ’ריקובר
  84. נופר שמעוני
  85. רועי חן
  86. Martin Goldberg
  87. אבי ליברמן
  88. Avi Berg
  89. שרה מירון
  90. ליאור
  91. ניצה אמינוב
  92. מיכל זק
  93. dina hecht
  94. חן עוזרי
  95. אבשלום רוב
  96. גיא דוידי
  97. לולי
  98. סיגל רונן
  99. סיגל
  100. זהר עתי
  101. מיכל מרגליות
  102. עידית
  103. אורית יושינסקי
  104. כליל טרופין
  105. דבי פרבר
  106. נחשון עמיר
  107. נעמה ק.
  108. אביב ליפליס
  109. אורלי נוי
  110. מיה אובר
  111. רננה יונס
  112. Alex Cohn
  113. זהר רגב
  114. יתרב
  115. Rotem Levin
  116. רבקה פרל אתקין
  117. מירי באר
  118. ענת אבן
  119. Christoph Bugel
  120. רמי חלד
  121. Isaac jarden
  122. חיטין א
  123. יונתן שפירא
  124. Jessica Gambash
  125. נטע
  126. גפן
  127. Sage Brice
  128. גיורא ב.
  129. אודי אדיב
  130. Sherryne Ben hassine
  131. Irina
  132. אופק
  133. צביה שפירא
  134. יואב בירך
  135. Lily Traubmann
  136. ענת
  137. Haley Firkser
  138. שירה ביתן
  139. אורן לם
  140. עלמה גניהר
  141. אורית
  142. הלל ברק
  143. יוסי חננאל
  144. Shlomit
  145. רחל חיות
  146. מארה גולדמן
  147. טליה רוזן
  148. יהודית הראל
  149. עמית פיצר
  150. רבקה ויטנברג
  151. Tzvi Markovitz
  152. אופירה פולקוב
  153. ארזה קוטנר
  154. מיכל ורטהים
  155. נאוה טולדנו
  156. מיכל ברודי ברקת
  157. نسرين مرقس
  158. ואדי וליד
  159. זוהר אלון
  160. איתי נבו
  161. Kerstin Södergren
  162. דובי מורן

======================================================================

In Defense of Palestinian Civil Society

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS  •  November 21, 2021

A conversation with Ubai Aboudi, director of the Bisan Center in Ramallah, and Sahar Francis of Addameer, two of the six Palestinian civil society organizations labeled “terrorist” by the Israeli government.

On Friday October 22nd, Israel’s Ministry of Defense, in a troubling decision, designated six prominent Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist organizations.” This move has sent shockwaves across Palestinian civil society and raised alarms throughout the international community. The decision was made based on so-called “secret evidence” that is essentially impossible to verify. Opposition to the extremely alarming decision has been remarkable, including among Israeli civil society and academics.

Among the organizations included in this designation, is the Bisan Center for Research and Development, one of Scientists for Palestine main partners in Palestine. The Bisan Center has many international partners and an exemplary reputation among scholars and educators. The other five organizations are Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International-Palestine, The Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

  • Moderated by Mario Martone, co-founder of Scientists for Palestine.
  • Ubai Aboudi from the Bisan Center and Sahar Francis from Addameer. As directors of some of these organizations, they discuss the consequences of this decision.
  • Anat Matar is an Israeli professor and long term activist for Palestinian rights, who discusses the response of Israeli academia.

We believe that as member of the international scientific and academic community, we must respond firmly to this unprecedented attack to academic freedom. Support the campaign #StandWithThe6.

Recorded 6 November 2021, by Scientists4Palestine.

Perspectives on BDS: UK Initiatives

28.04.22 

Editorial Note

After years of advocacy, the BDS, which initially focused on the Israeli “occupation” and “apartheid policies,” has evolved into effort to discredit the existence of the Jewish State.

The United Kingdom, a country with dozens of BDS initiatives is a case in point. The SOAS Palestine Society, which works within the School ofOriental and African Studies (SOAS) University, recently published an announcement on Twitter, stating that, “Acknowledging Israel as an Apartheid state didn’t start with recent Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch & B’Tselem reports – all of which turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel’s Apartheid practices are tools of maintaining its settler-colonial regime since the 1948 Nakba.” 

In other words, the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, that is, the failure of the Palestinians and their Arab allies to dismantle the nascent State of Israel, is the real focus behind BDS. It is not about the consequences of the Six Days War but rather Israel’s founding. 

The SOAS’ Palestine Society has also urged SOAS University to end a partnership with Israel’s Haifa University because it provides degrees to the Israeli army. The school administration ordered the security personnel to forcibly remove the students who occupied the university premises. The university’s Palestine Society demanded a boycott of Haifa University and for SOAS to cut ties with a “settler-colonial state.”

Worth noting that the University of Haifa is also the home of a large number of Arab students.

Particularly glaring is the involvement of academics in spreading initiatives through Arab media. For example, the New Arab, also known as Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, is a pan-Arab media outlet headquartered in London. It was launched in 2014 by the Qatari company Fadaat Media, by former MK Azmi Bishara who succeeded in escaping Israel after espionage allegations.  

The Young Arab published the following articles, written by academics and students in the past month. 

In “BDS is the key to academic freedom,” Samar Saeed, a PhD candidate in the History Department at Georgetown University, wrote.  “The historic passing of BDS by The Middle East Studies Association should be celebrated for strengthening academic freedom and countering Israel’s implication of institutions within the oppression of Palestinians.”

Samar Saeed published another article, “Standing with Palestine requires challenging the myth of ‘non-political’ institutions Perspectives.” In this view, the MESA vote for BDS provides “a framework for MESA to uphold the BDS call released by Palestinian civil society in 2005, which includes enforcing an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.” MESA’s scholars and students have been actively laying the groundwork for this moment for many years, according to Judith Tucker, professor of history at Georgetown and former MESA president. “In 2015, we passed a resolution which aimed to position BDS as a central theme of conversation in MESA’s organized conferences, panels, and debates,” Tucker said. Amending MESA’s bylaws was also necessary. “MESA’s bylaw stated that the institution was non-political and therefore when we started debating BDS, the bylaws did not allow us to adopt it. We started working on changing that.” 

Yara Derbas is a Palestinian undergraduate student in Social Anthropology at SOAS. Her dissertation focuses on the fragmentation of the Palestinian political movement in Britain. Derbas published the article “Defending the radical tradition of Israeli Apartheid Week.” She wrote that “In the face of rampant government and institutional repression, university students across the UK must uphold the political roots of Israeli Apartheid Week and sustain the struggle for Palestinian liberation year-round.” For her, “The time comes every year for students to begin planning for Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) at their respective universities, with the intention of raising political consciousness around Palestine on campuses.”   In other words, delegitimizing Israel is a tool for preventing the fragmentation of the “Palestinian political movement.”

The Young Arab also published articles on BDS efforts beyond the UK, such as BDS struggles in Leiden University in the Nederlands and a call to boycott a cultural festival in Australia that hosts Israelis.   

An analysis of the initiatives clarifies that BDS is a dual-purpose tool.  Its propaganda masquerading as scholarship serves to delegitimize Israel in the community of nations.  But it also serves as a tool to build identity and cohesion among the Palestinian diaspora in the West.  Maligning the “other” is a time-honored way to stop the identity erosion of second and third-generation Palestinians who have no personal recollection of their “lost homeland.” Paradoxically, without the “Palestinian struggle for national liberation,” nothing would be left to tie them together.

References:

SOAS Palestine Society

@SOAS_Palestine

Acknowledging Israel as an Apartheid state didn’t start with recent Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch & B’Tselem reports – all of which turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel’s Apartheid practices are tools of maintaining its settler-colonial regime since the 1948 Nakba

10:59 AM · Mar 17, 2022·Twitter

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/opinion/bds-key-academic-freedom

BDS is the key to academic freedom

Samar Saeed

19 Apr, 2022
The historic passing of BDS by The Middle East Studies Association should be celebrated for strengthening academic freedom and countering Israel’s implication of institutions within the oppression of Palestinians, writes Samar Saeed.

Student activists have been crucial in BDS victories within academic institutions.

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) last month endorsed the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel. MESA, the most prominent association representing scholars and students studying the Middle East and North Africa, ratified the resolution by referendum. Nearly half of all members participated, which is the largest voter turnout in MESA’s history, and 80% of those who did voted in favour of BDS.

The historic vote is a testament to collective organising carried out by faculty and graduate students over the past decade—producing critical knowledge on Palestine and Israel across academic disciplines, educating colleagues about Israeli settler-colonial policies in Palestine including at Israeli universities, and insisting that academic freedom for all also means academic freedom for Palestinian students, teachers, and academics.

Opponents of BDS have previously accused MESA members who support the movement of “violating the key tenets of academic freedom” and “prohibiting faculty from engaging their Israeli counterparts.” Both claims distort the strategies and intended aims of BDS, and of its supporters within MESA.

”In a recent attack on Palestinian academic freedom, Israel’s defence ministry decided it will be the sole attributor of who can and cannot teach in Palestinian universities, and what disciplines are permitted to be taught. Such infringements are compounded by the fact that Israel already controls who can leave Palestine.”

At its core, the BDS resolution is about ensuring academic freedom for all, including Palestinians. It is not, after all, an abstract or neutral concept; it does not exist in a vacuum. As Amahl Bishara notes in her work on news production on Palestine, invocations of neutrality and “balanced objectivity,” including within academia, often obscure unequal relations, institutions, and power brokers constantly shaping the production of knowledge. Facts and knowledge are products of specific political contexts.

In Palestine, Israel’s settler colonialism implicates academic institutions in the process of subjugating Palestinians. These institutions are not free from state politics but are entangled within a broader system of settler colonialism. When BDS opponents speak of academic freedom they obscure the enormous power asymmetry between Palestinians and Israel and conceal the role Israeli academic institutions play in silencing Palestinian speech, ideas, and knowledge. They decontextualise colonialism and mischaracterise the strategies of political resistance against it.

The BDS movement does not target individuals. It instead focuses on institutions implicated in the ongoing hindering of Palestinian freedom, through land theft, dispossession, and holding hostage Palestinian bodies.

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) systematically raid university campuses in Palestine and arrest and shoot students. In January 2022, the IOF raided Birzeit University campus and arrested five students. They shot and injured Ismail Barghouti as he tried to escape.

In a recent attack on Palestinian academic freedom, Israel’s defence ministry decided it will be the sole attributor of who can and cannot teach in Palestinian universities, and what disciplines are permitted to be taught. Such infringements are compounded by the fact that Israel already controls who can leave Palestine. In 2021, Israel prohibited more than 10,000 Palestinians from traveling abroad, including students and academics.

These restrictions on Palestinian academic freedom are not new and Israeli universities play a central role in the colonisation of Palestine and the violence that it entails. One example is the “Dahiya Doctrine,” which was developed by the Tel Aviv University-affiliated think-tank Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Its name comes from Israel’s indiscriminate attack on military and civilian infrastructure in Beirut’s southern neighbourhoods in 2006. This doctrine of disproportionate force was subsequently adopted in the Israeli military attacks against Gaza. In 2014, several Israeli universities also publicly supported Israel’s war on Gaza, joining the bombardment efforts by collecting donations in support of the operation.

Additionally, contrary to claims made by BDS opponents, MESA’s resolution on BDS does not infringe on scholars’ academic freedom in North America. It instead protects the academic freedom of scholars of Palestine who have long been targeted in the academy through personal and professional reprisals.

Examples of academic freedom violations include denying tenure to Norman Finkelstein at DePaul University, firing Professor Steven Salaita from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, denying tenure to Cornel West at Harvard University, and withdrawing an offer of employment from Valentina Azarova at the University of Toronto.

The BDS resolution also highlights the value and importance of student activism on campuses across North America. Student groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, continue to push for divestment campaigns targeting companies and institutions complicit in Israel’s colonisation.

”The vote by MESA shows that many of its members are committed to scholarly work grounded in collective freedom, liberation, and justice. They acknowledge that their work has social and political implications. The vote offers a way to build and nurture active solidarity with other groups experiencing injustice and violence.”

At colleges and universities where divestment campaigns have taken root, school administrators often try to quash these initiatives—ironically infringing on students’ academic freedom that their institutions purport to uphold. At McGill University, for instance, the administration threatened to suspend funding to its student society that passed a BDS resolution, further exposing the persistence of the Palestine exception to academic freedom.

MESA’s vote not only helps advance BDS but also supports and further legitimises student expressions of activism and solidarity with Palestinians through BDS campaigns.

The vote by MESA shows that many of its members are committed to scholarly work grounded in collective freedom, liberation, and justice. They acknowledge that their work has social and political implications. The vote offers a way to build and nurture active solidarity with other groups experiencing injustice and violence.

In the past few years, university administrators have been forced to reckon with decades of various forms of institutional racism including anti-black, anti-Asian, and anti-indigenous. The MESA BDS resolution and the Palestine student activism taking place on US campuses should be seen as part of this reckoning.

Faculty and students are demanding that university administrators no longer punish those who speak for Palestinian freedom. The BDS vote reinforces commitment to academic freedom for all. It gives us hope that persistent collective organising connecting Palestinian, black, and indigenous liberation will continue to challenge administrators’ biased, exclusionary, and distorted treatment of minority and oppressed groups in the academy.

Hope is a radical act, maybe especially in academia. We should insist on being hopeful that more tangible outcomes will materialise to demand that academic freedom applies to all.

Samar Saeed is a PhD candidate in the History Department at Georgetown University.

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/opinion/defending-radical-tradition-israeli-apartheid-week

Opinion 

Perspectives Defending the radical tradition of Israeli Apartheid Week Perspectives 

Yara Derbas 

25 Apr, 2022

In the face of rampant government and institutional repression, university students across the UK must uphold the political roots of Israeli Apartheid Week and sustain the struggle for Palestinian liberation year round, writes Yara Derbas.

The time comes every year for students to begin planning for Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) at their respective universities, with the intention of raising political consciousness around Palestine on campuses.

Along with political education, IAW was initially established to carve out time during the year for grassroots organisers and organisations to mobilise people to join political campaigns, such as campaigns for BDS.

For students, creating this space on campus on an annual basis has mobilised a significant and tangible shift in the discourse around Palestine over the years, with various issues surrounding Palestine/Israel now finding themselves on the tips of tongues.

“In the span of my time at university and the IAWs I have attended and organised, I would argue that there has been a decline in the desire to politicise and mobilise students on campuses across Britain”

Events on the ground in Palestine now regularly influence student activity in Britain, the most recent catalyst being the Palestinian uprisings that sparked last summer. However, based on my own observations of the way student organising for IAW has unfolded in recent years, I feel that there is a disparity between the intended purpose that this week was meant to serve and the current reality that IAW has become.

In the span of my time at university and the IAWs I have attended and organised, I would argue that there has been a decline in the desire to politicise and mobilise students on campuses across Britain. I have noticed that Palestine societies tend to focus on “raising awareness” about Palestine, but often this seems to be the extent of the work that the societies do.

This seems to be a rising phenomenon in student politics, particularly given the value we place on social media and visibility, but I think there are more pressing factors which are contributing to this issue. 

I would attribute much of this depoliticisation to the increasing repression of Palestinian activism by the UK government, which has manifested in the forms of fear-mongering, hyper-securitisation, silencing and censorship.

The implementations of the Prevent Duty (2015) and the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism have attempted to stifle political dissent when it comes to speaking out about Palestinian liberation, and the links between government policy and university procedure are crucial for us to connect.

To give an example, a recent student occupation at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) to pressure management to adhere to student and staff demands, including those relating to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestine, was violently shut down by private bailiffs who were called by SOAS management. The recent Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a stark example of this and how our universities operate in a microcosm of the state’s wider agenda to crush the right to protest.

Another budding governmental policy designed to extinguish Palestinian activism, which would undoubtedly be enforced at universities, is the anti-BDS legislation, which has been looming over us for a while. While students have remained steadfast in the face of such extensive repression tactics, it has been essential for us to account for the specific local context of each university when it has come to planning for IAW this year.

The opposition that Palestine societies face from hostile bodies such as university administrations or student unions is more severe at certain universities than others, and these organisations therefore require more support and alternative avenues for organising IAW. This hinders students’ ability to participate in, and promote, a more radical political orientation, which then coerces many Palestine societies to adopt a softer stance and appeal to the concept of “neutrality”. 

While this violation of free speech and academic freedom has affected students’ ability to organise freely, I would differentiate between the ability to organise and the desire to organise. Without a doubt, these repression tactics can be very demoralising, however, I identify this as separate to the lack of effort students are willing to put in to politicise and mobilise other students on campus during the year.

For IAW, Palestine societies plan events throughout the week, which often garner lots of attention during the week itself, but there will be little to no sustained activity in the society throughout the academic year. There is a pattern of unsustainability in student politics, due to the nature of changing student bodies every year, which I think is a key reason that many students have little desire to build and grow campaigns at the start of the academic year.

“For IAW, Palestine societies plan events throughout the week, which often garner lots of attention during the week itself, but there will be little to no sustained activity in the society throughout the academic year”

I am a strong advocate for students to be proactive about prioritising longevity of their society. Archiving the work being done by the Palestine society should become integral to the functioning of the society and its campaigns, allowing for lessons to be learned from present and past mistakes.

This is essential for students who want a long-term vision and focus, rather than sporadic events which are planned purely out of obligation. Sustaining a campaign is also difficult to do unless there is collective power in the group that is sustaining it. Campaigns cannot be singlehandedly run by one or two individuals, otherwise this leads to the campaign eventually fizzling out, and the leaders experiencing burnout.

In activism, burnout is an important issue that is often overlooked and neglected, due to the very nature that it is only the select few who experience it, by taking on all the work. IAWs can and often do turn out to be incredible for the masses who get involved with it, and this year we definitely managed to reinvigorate some of the energy that has been lost, but it tends to come at the expense of the welfare of its organisers, which is not sustainable.

Ironically, the more students volunteer to take on small tasks to help contribute to the realisation of IAW, the more desirable organising the week becomes for the collective – a vision I would trace back to the original aspirations of IAW. 

While these are difficult conditions under which students are organising, it is inspirational to see the resilience that continues among us. The UK government and the Israeli lobby have been persistent in their attempts to wipe out solidarity with Palestine for decades, but students have remained consistent in their message that the struggle for Palestinian liberation from Zionism will not be compromised.

Students have historically been at the forefront of social and political movements, and we will continue to confront these obstacles head-on so that we can experience our movement for justice to thrive.

Yara Derbas is a Palestinian student organiser, studying for her undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology at SOAS. She has been running the SOAS Palestine Society for the last few years and is involved with various other campaigns. Her dissertation research focus is on the fragmentation of the Palestinian political movement in Britain.

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/opinion/palestinians-arent-neutral-enough-do-their-jobFor Leiden University, Palestinians aren’t ‘neutral enough’ to do their job

Dina Zbeidy 

08 Apr, 2022

Last month, to mark Israeli Apartheid Week, Students at the Leiden University, in the Netherlands, organised an event on racism, apartheid and intersectionality. However, the university decided not to allow them to book a room for the event. The main excuse they used was that the chair of the event, me, did not possess a ‘neutral’ profile. The event therefore did not adhere to the household rules and could not take place at the university.

While the institution insists that the decision was made by the university board, the rejection first came from the security officer. I emailed the security officer asking him for clarification. At first, he informed me that he would not engage, then after I insisted, I received a long email arguing that due to my ‘outspoken’ profile he would not be able to guarantee the safety/security of all attendees. He ended our email exchange with an invitation for us to meet on neutral grounds, a place where I would feel comfortable, and talk over a cup of coffee.

Since then, a lot has happened. Students and professors started a petition calling for the university to reverse their decision and apologise to me. Newspapers have published about the incident, and an elected Parliament member raised questions to the Dutch minister of education.

”I have noticed that often, when an academic speaks out against global injustice, basing arguments on research and facts, they run the risk of tainting their professional reputation – especially when it comes to Palestine and Israel.”

In my email to the security officer I made clear that I am indeed not a neutral person, especially when it comes to topics such as racism and apartheid. Is a person who claims neutrality when it comes to social injustice actually neutral? What does a neutral profile even mean?

Nevertheless, I was sure that I would be able to fulfil my role as a chair in a professional manner. My job is to facilitate a productive discussion, ask the right questions, keep things running on time, and welcome critical questions and comments.

They apparently were not convinced.

I have noticed that often, when an academic speaks out against global injustice, basing arguments on research and facts, they run the risk of tainting their professional reputation – especially when it comes to Palestine and Israel.

I grew up with a Dutch mother and a Palestinian father in the Galilee, in a Palestinian town. I grew up under occupation, as part of a minoritised group that faced discrimination in most facets of life.

When it was time for me to decide what to study, I chose political science, sociology and anthropology. Now, 18 years later, I have a doctorate in anthropology. My academic career has always been part of my activism. I decided to study anthropology because I was critical of power. I studied Zionism, world history, feminism, indigenous politics and settler colonialism. Every bit of research I conducted was in order to expose injustice and oppression.

This is also why I decided to focus on teaching. I teach because I hope to play a part in educating critical students who think further than what they see in front of them. I don’t impose my own ideals on them, but hope to expose them to ethical dilemmas, and acquaint them with (in)justice. I talk to my students about the role of the Netherlands in slavery, LGBTQI rights, sexism, refugee predicaments. My work, my research and my teachings are my activism.

Why should academics continuously be pushed into showing their ‘neutrality’? Isn’t the university where revolutions and social change have often started? Why should standing up for a cause be a stain on you as a professional?

Or maybe the question should be – why does standing up for Palestine become a stain on your reputation? And how is this tied to global inaction in the face of Israeli aggression and the dehumanisation of Palestinians?

The fact that I was accused of not having a neutral profile did not bother me that much. What bothered me was the claim that I am not professional enough to act as a good chair, while I have ample experience and (as far as I know) never received any complaints. Additionally, the grave, and unsubstantiated, accusation that I was making people feel unsafe was very painful to me.

The idea of safe spaces on campuses has been historically important for racialised groups and minorities. I can identify with the need to feel safe on campuses, as a Palestinian Arab student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Not only was it difficult to study rhetoric that treats me and my people as inferior, but my actual safety was also put in danger. One example of this is when I was attacked by campus security and arrested for voicing my opposition to the siege on Gaza on campus.

Nowadays however, it seems that the claim of ‘safety’ has been appropriated in favour of accommodating any and all political opinion. Should it be a university’s concern to make racists or supporters of apartheid systems feel safe? I don’t think so. Should such people be able to ask questions at an event on racism and apartheid? Sure! They might learn a thing or two from the responses of the panellists. Is it my responsibility as a chair to ensure that exchange goes respectfully and smoothly? Certainly.

”I grew up with the taste of teargas in my throat, and the bruises from clashes with police and soldiers on Palestinian bodies. The accusation of making others feel unsafe by speaking truth to power and standing up for oppressed people – that is the true violence.”

Leiden University denies considering me un-neutral due to my Palestinian background. What they fail to understand though, it that even if my Palestinian identity didn’t play a part in their decision, they have contributed to the violence committed against Palestinians.

My father was a political prisoner for many years. On my ancestral land that the nearby Israeli settlement confiscated, I grew up in a house that had a demolition order on it. We were always unsure of when the police would show up again to arrest my father, or when the bulldozer would show up to destroy our house.

I grew up with the taste of teargas in my throat, and the bruises from clashes with police and soldiers on Palestinian bodies. The accusation of making others feel unsafe by speaking truth to power and standing up for oppressed people – that is the true violence.

Leiden University is complicit in creating an unsafe environment for exactly those people it should create a safe space for.

The security officer’s invitation to meet somewhere I would feel comfortable highlights what privileged people often overlook, that for many of us the world is not a comfortable place. For women and people of colour, among others, the most important skill we learn is how to stay true to ourselves despite the constant sense of insecurity. What I need is not a cup of coffee and a nice ‘neutral’ chat, but a serious engagement with the issues of oppression, inequality and power. And, an apology.

Dina Zbeidy is an anthropologist. She teaches social sciences at the Leiden University of Applied Sciences and is senior researcher Access2Justice.

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/dutch-university-attempts-ban-discussion-israel-crimes
Dutch university ‘tried to ban’ discussion on Israeli crimes against Palestinians

The New Arab Staff 23 March, 2022

A student-organised panel discussion titled ‘Apartheid, racism & intersectionality’ on Israeli crimes against Palestinians was barred by Leiden University in the Netherlands.

A student group at the  Netherlands‘ Leiden University was barred from organising a panel discussion on Israeli crimes against Palestinians on Monday, forcing them to conduct the event off- campus.

The university had initially agreed to host Students for Palestine’s ‘Apartheid, racism & intersectionality’ discussion, before backtracking on their decision just days before the event, according to Alice Garcia, Advocacy and Communication Officer at the European Legal Support Center (ELSC).

The event eventually took place at a cultural venue in the Hague, while other students protested in front of Leiden University.

A key difference between the students and university was reportedly the panel’s chair – Dr. Dina Zbeidy, an anthropologist with experience working for human rights groups in Palestine and the Netherlands, according to activists.

It is unclear why the university opposed Zbeidy’s attendance.

Leo Harskamp, head of security at Leiden University, who is reportedly close to the pro-Israel group Christians for Israel, claimed she was not neutral on the issue and therefore was unsuitable.

University rector Hester Bijl endorsed the decision to bar the event, despite tweeting: “Academic freedom lies at the heart of our university.”

Garcia slammed the university’s decision as an “arbitrary restriction to the rights of freedom of expression and of assembly of the students”.

“They (the university) provided no evidence on why Dr. Zbeidy would not be a good chair. They only vaguely referred to the university house rules without explaining why Dr. Zbeidy is not a ‘good chair’ as required per the house rules. Excluding her could amount to discrimination if the university did not apply the same standards to events recently organised on campus on other topics, such as Ukraine for instance,” she told The New Arab.

This is not the first time Students for Palestine has clashed with the university’s administration for organising events to raise awareness around the Israeli occupation, and is emblematic of a larger culture of censorship of pro-Palestinian voices, as detailed in an ELSC report from last year.

Layla, a Leiden University student and member of Students for Palestine, told The New Arab that the event was likely “not going to take place from the outset, and that the problem with (the chair) was just an excuse”.

“They (the university authorities) will never talk about the content of an academic panel, but they will find an issue with the structure of the panel – what they have power over,” she said.

Israel and pro-Israel activists have long dismissed accusations of Apartheid, however, the word has become increasingly associated with the Jewish state in public discourse.

Israeli forces have displaced thousands of Palestinian families from their homes since the country’s creation in 1948 and continue to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.

Israel has built hundreds of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, and its occupying forces routinely detain and violate the rights of Palestinians.

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/opinion/palestine-and-myth-non-political-institutions
Standing with Palestine requires challenging the myth of ‘non-political’ institutions Perspectives 

21 Mar, 2022 

Samar Saeed 

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in the US will soon vote on whether it will answer the call for BDS. As the largest academic body of its kind, the outcome could set the tone for the institutions worldwide, writes Samar Saeed

A boycott, divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution is currently being voted on in the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in the United States. The association, established in 1966, is the largest academic body in the world that focuses on the study of the Middle East.

On 2nd December 2021, during the MESA annual conference, 93% of the 444 voting members present at the business meeting voted to advance a resolution endorsing BDS, to a full membership vote in early 2022. The voting ends tomorrow, 22nd March 2022. If ratified, the resolution would provide a framework for MESA to uphold the BDS call released by Palestinian civil society in 2005, which includes enforcing an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

Passing this resolution was not a forgone conclusion. According to Professor of history at Georgetown and former MESA president, Judith Tucker, over the years, scholars and students in MESA have been actively laying the groundwork for this moment. “In 2015, we passed a resolution which aimed to position BDS as a central theme of conversation in MESA’s organised conferences, panels, and debates,” says Tucker. The resolution facilitated open conversations on BDS, despite the external political context that was actively demonising BDS and vilifying its advocates. The second concrete effort was amending MESA’s bylaws. According to Tucker, “MESA’s bylaw stated that the institution was non-political and therefore when we started debating BDS, the bylaws did not allow us to adopt it. We started working on changing that.”

”Academic institutions function within the social and political contexts in which they are emplaced. They are deeply embedded in the state’s systems of power and are implicated in its politics.”

In 2016, a resolution was passed to remove the wording of “non-political” from its by-laws. For the legal scholar Noura Erakat, the whole premise of a non-political organisation needed to be challenged. Not taking a stand should itself be seen as a political stance. As such, this was an incremental process that was concerned with transforming the association.

The BDS vote is a continuation of a trend that has been transforming US academia on the question of Palestine. Since 2013, the Association for Asian American Studies, the American Student Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and the Middle East Section of the American Anthropology Association have endorsed BDS.

Meanwhile, the swift and popularly supported sanctioning of Russia’s war in Ukraine has prompted activists to point out the hypocrisy when it comes to the US sanctioning of Israel. It demonstrates that the notion of boycotts being antithetical to our values, an argument commonly used by those who oppose BDS, is only true when it comes to Palestine. Indeed, unlike the Palestinian-led BDS movement which advances an ethical approach to targeting institutions and not civilians, we have seen discriminatory boycotts imposed on ordinary Russians, because of their identity. Some suggested expelling Russian students in the US. Russian athletes, musicians, and performers are also being punished. This is not meant to draw a parallel between Palestine and Ukraine but to highlight how the BDS movement is organised and targeted.

Academic institutions function within the social and political contexts in which they are emplaced. They are deeply embedded in the state’s systems of power and are implicated in its politics. An academic boycott acknowledges the place academic institutions uphold in politics and exposes the explicit role Israeli institutions play in Palestinian subjugation.

Israeli universities are built on confiscated Palestinian land and are the pipelines for knowledge, technologies, and weaponry that are systematically used to murder and uproot Palestinians from their lands. Even after death, they are utilised in the punishment of Palestinians by serving as a site to keep their bodies hostage. An example of this is the Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine, part of Tel Aviv University.

Furthermore, the Israeli occupation forces systematically target Palestinian professors, students, and educational institutions. Students are arrested because of their activities on campus and their affiliation with student councils. According to the Right to Education Campaign, a group established at Birzeit University, 58 students were arrested by Israeli forces between September 2020 and July 2021. Beyond Birzeit, MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom has stated that Israeli authorities continue to detain more than 300 Palestinian students. Israel also punishes Israeli scholars who support the BDS movement.

As scholars of the Middle East who explore the relationship between knowledge and power, legacies of colonialism, and decoloniality, we should be explicit in our stance against the ongoing colonisation of Palestine and take concrete action against it, especially when we are asked to by Palestinians. Acting otherwise, while materially benefiting from producing knowledge on Palestine and the region, is not only self-serving but raises ethical questions about the purpose of the knowledge we produce.

Marya Hannun, a Palestinian-American historian on Afghanistan and the Middle East, says that “We are all complicit because we are all working at institutions that, in absence of taking a vote, normalise apartheid and occupation. To me, being a scholar of a region and not being invested in its future and in social justice is suspect. If we as scholars, think of our work as having some social good and some potential for impact then we have to take a stance.”

For Ahmad al-Sholi, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Stony Brook, the MESA vote is critical for its potential impact on Palestinian activism in the US. “Israel’s propaganda machine that fosters exclusions and accusation of antisemitism are working tirelessly to stop the vote. I received at least four emails from different Israeli groups and institutions, including the Hebrew University, against it. This resolution is part of an infrastructure that we as Palestinians should build in the US to advance the Palestinian narrative moving forward. We want a political solution and our demand for boycotts and sanctions aims to pressure Israel to move in that direction.”

A just political solution for the Palestinian struggle remains far away. However, MESA’s vote and its passing will be an important step forward. The academic field in the US has radically shifted over the question of Palestine in the past decade. The vote will be a testament to this change.

Samar Saeed is a PhD candidate in the History Department at Georgetown University. 

Have questions or comments? Email us at: editorial-english@alaraby.co.uk Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff, or the author’s employer.

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/opinion/lessons-sydney-festival-boycott-grassroot-activism

Beyond BDS ‘victories’: The lessons of the Sydney Festival boycott for grassroot activism

Randa Abdel-Fattah 

07 Mar, 2022

The recent success of the boycott of the 2022 Sydney Festival not only reveals the power of BDS, but also how solidarity and community building is always necessary for victory, writes Randa Abdel-Fattah.

The cultural boycott of one of Australia’s major annual cultural events, the 2022 Sydney Festival is being described in international circles as the most effective, impactful and creative since the inception of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in 2005.

The boycott was launched in December 2022 because Sydney Festival refused artist and community calls to divest from its sponsorship sought from the state of Israel for the Sydney Dance Company’s production of Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s Decadence.  

The response to the boycott call was unprecedented. Over a thousand people signed our Artist Statement calling on artists, workers, organisations and affiliates to withdraw their participation in Sydney Festival for its partnership with an apartheid regime.  

In just three weeks, more than 100 artists, creatives and companies withdrew in solidarity, many patrons cancelled tickets. Publicly, there was an outpouring of support across social media platforms, and extensive national media coverage.

“From the outset, the campaign was based on grassroots organising and transnational movement-building, all underpinned by a praxis of anti-colonial, anti-racist resistance among allies”

Palestinians in Gaza who were literally being bombed by Israel when Sydney Festival’s board made the sponsorship deal in May 2021, were following the campaign on social media and sent photographs holding up messages of solidarity.

An anonymous artist painted a mural depicting the festival’s logo on a wall in Gaza, the word ‘complex’ painted above as an ironic gesture to the rhetorical avoidances deployed by so many. First Nations’ artists, arts organisations and communities in solidarity with Palestinians in a genuinely intersectional, intergenerational coalition were some of the first to boycott and produced the most compelling arguments for accountability of cultural institutions.  

Literally two days after the Festival closed, on 1 February, Amnesty International published its landmark report: ‘Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians, Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity’. Sydney Festival’s board had tried ‘both-sides’ and ‘it’s complex’, and doubled-down on partnering with an apartheid state.

Whilst there are many, particularly in the “progressive except Palestine” camp, who confidently dismiss Palestinian voices, not so many would dare dismiss Amnesty International, a recognised human rights agency that enjoys the support in the liberal mainstream.  

2/3 @sydney_festival has officially crossed the human rights picket line and so Palestinian civil society and allies call on artists, organisations and festival goers to withdraw their support from the 2022 Sydney Festival and join the cultural boycott. pic.twitter.com/9LeNxayPib — Arab Theatre Studio (@ArabiStudio) December 21, 2021

From the outset, the campaign was based on grassroots organising and transnational movement-building, all underpinned by a praxis of anti-colonial, anti-racist resistance among allies who did not need an Amnesty report to remind them of what Palestinians had been experiencing and documenting for decades.

The boycott was a striking example of how activists negotiating multiple and inseparable identities on sovereign Indigenous land work together to formulate political demands and build transnational alliances in the service of justice.  

Praxis is key here. Transnational social movements share an intellectual and political language, but language is about more than fluency in vocabulary.   

Many academics, artists and self-labelled progressives parrot the vocabulary of social justice activism: ‘decolonial’, ‘intersectionality’, ‘anti-racist,’ ‘solidarity’. But if ‘solidarity is a verb’, the language of justice is practice. It is intellectual labour forged in concrete struggle. There is a difference between those who appropriate knowledge and theory, and those who produce it through action and experience, not mere academic citations or blue ticks.  

Language as praxis, even as it draws on the rich lexicons of global transnational struggles, will only make sense if it operates through local grammars. This was critical for us. Arab, Palestinian and non-Indigenous artists, organisers and academics understood that we campaign as racialized settler minorities on stolen land.

This is not to romanticise solidarity work. It is impossible to square the circle of fighting settler colonialism there as we live in an ongoing settler colony here.

Supporting a decolonisation project in Palestine means confronting settler colonialism and the task of decolonisation on this continent and holding ourselves accountable to a foundational principle: dismantling oppressive local and global power structures by pursuing transformative justice that centres Indigenous sovereignty.   

In our communications and meetings with Sydney Festival’s board, we were unequivocal in calling out the Festival’s performative co-option of the contemporary language of ‘acknowledgment of country’ and ‘Indigenous sovereignty’.

“Withdrawing from Sydney Festival— after two years of a global pandemic and funding cuts to the arts— came at a significant, painful cost for artists and arts companies”

The Festival insisted on doing business with an apartheid regime even as it applauded itself for programming Indigenous artists and performed a solemn acknowledgment of country on its website. In rejecting calls to divest from the partnership, the board claimed it was a ‘non-political’ organisation.   

In the Artist Statement calling for a boycott call consequently issued, such a claim was promptly exposed: ‘Existing on stolen land is political. Making art is political. Accepting funding from a settler-colonial apartheid regime is political’. Calling out the board’s obvious cynical performativity was not the point.

The point was to reclaim the political, decolonial and intersectional approach from progressives who treat these words as platitudes, rather than embodied practice. ‘Solidarity’, the boycott call proclaimed, ‘is a practice and an ongoing commitment’.   

Key to this commitment is ethics and practice of care. Withdrawing from Sydney Festival— after two years of a global pandemic and funding cuts to the arts— came at a significant, painful cost for artists and arts companies whose withdrawal meant losing the publicity, reviews and exposure that comes with participation in a major festival.

Solidarity as practice meant supporting artists who had withdrawn their shows from the festival but were performing in other venues: using social media platforms and word of mouth to publicise the alternative shows, organising donations of tickets to encourage people to attend, organising tickets for reviewers to attend the shows, write and publish reviews.   

Arab Theatre Studio (ATS), a Sydney-based theatre company and the first arts organisation to withdraw from the Festival, put in practice an ethics of care in both visible ways and behind-the-scenes labour. One example of this embodied care was organising a group of First Nations Elders, First Nations artists and people seeking asylum to see the renowned Indigenous-intercultural dance company Marrugeku’s world premiere of Jurrungu Ngan-ga.

Extending on this sense of care and solidarity, a group of poets of colour publicly offered to support companies and artists boycotting shows by buying tickets, so through interconnected networks of artist activists, ATS was able to invite Indigenous Elders, artists, friends and allies to Marrugeku’s stunning performance that was now being independently performed outside the Festival.

“Whilst the boycott campaign is officially over, solidarity and community building is always ongoing for, in the words of Toni Morrison, ‘If we serve, we last'”

ATS organised transport to travel across Sydney and, in true Arab style, organised a pre-and post-performance charcoal chicken banquet lunch from one of Sydney’s renowned Lebanese restaurants for invited guests, allies, and Marrugeku artists and crew.   

Social movements based on relationships and commitments will always share a language that is real, embodied and impactful. Recently, Arab Theatre Studio, joined by organisers and allies, hosted a picnic to celebrate bonds forged and relationships renewed. Whilst the boycott campaign is officially over, solidarity and community building is always ongoing for, in the words of Toni Morrison, ‘If we serve, we last’.

Community is the alter-space, the place we go to imagine and dream; renew our intentions, reflect on our practices. It offers us the why for what we do, and will keep on doing, until we achieve justice and liberation from Gaza to Gadigal.  

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a DECRA Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University researching the generational impact of the war on terror on post 9/11 youth and the award winning author of over 11 novels

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https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/uk-university-removes-protesters-calling-israel-boycott-0

UK’s SOAS university ‘forcibly removes’ students protesting academic partnership with Israel 

The New Arab Staff 

04 March, 2022 

SOAS’ Palestine Society have called for an academic boycott, urging the London university to end a partnership with Israel’s Haifa University, which provides degrees to the Israeli army.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University has forcibly removed students who were occupying university premises in protest over the London-based university’s ties with Israel’s University of Haifa.

The student demonstration was undertaken on February 23 by a number of societies  – each of whom had been protesting for their own demands to be met by the university – as the protesters occupied the management wing of the university building.

The university’s Palestine Society demanded a boycott of Haifa University and for SOAS to cut ties with a “settler-colonial state”.

The university confirmed to The New Arab on Friday that “bailiffs removed the protesting [students] from the Main Building without injury or incident”, adding that “the [protesters] were given the opportunity to leave of their own accord and 10 were escorted out”.

SOAS is currently partnered with Haifa University – which provides academic training to Israeli army personnel – for a year abroad programme, in which students can study Modern Hebrew.

The university’s Palestine Society says the partnership is “insulting” to many students, with SOAS “[maintaining] material ties to a settler-colonial state”.

“Through the Haifa University contract, not only is SOAS complicit in the settler-colonial and apartheid practices of the Israeli state, but [it] is also actively involved in sending its students to a militarised zone,” SOAS Palestine Society said in a statement to The New Arab on Thursday.

“The student occupiers demand that the institution respects the call from Palestinian civil society for BDS by applying this directly to SOAS’ partnership with Haifa University and committing to an academic boycott,” the statement continued.

The society’s statement also said the university’s management “abused students physically and emotionally” during the student occupation, stating protesters had been “refused access to the toilets” unless they agreed to leave.

When The New Arab asked for more details on physical violence mentioned, the society referenced a report from The View Magazinewhich said that student protesters were “dragged… by their neck and by their hoodies”.

SOAS University maintained that the protesters had access to food, water and toilet facilities and were “treated without injury or incident”.

“SOAS is committed to retaining the Year Abroad as part of the Hebrew pathway, and decisions on this matter are taken on academic considerations,” the university statement said. “The Directors Group have sought to meet with the Students’ Union and the Palestine Society on this question.”

The University of Haifa was awarded in 2018 the first ever tender established by Israel’s ministry of defence, allowing it to be the first college to grant degrees to Israeli military officers.