Print


Tackling Anti-Semitism and BDS

30.05.19

Editorial Note

 

With the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents on a global scale, a number of initiatives to tackle the problem have emerged, drawing a link to the BDS movement. 

 

Earlier this month, the Florida Senate has unanimously approved a bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in Florida public schools and universities. The legislation determines that students or employees or "institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitic intent [should be treated] in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.”  Based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, the bill describes anti-Semitism as following: A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people; Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities. Like the IHRA definition, the bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism, such as: Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion; Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations. The bill also provides examples of anti-Semitism related to the State of Israel, such as: Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist. The American version, in addition to the IHRA definition, also includes: Peace or human rights investigations focusing on Israel alone.

 

The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law.  DeSantis referred to the bill in a recent appearance, stating "we have an anti-Semitism bill, which is one of the strongest in the nation, that I’ll sign into law, actually I think I will sign it into law when we’re in Jerusalem doing a Cabinet meeting."  DeSantis, however, has met with strong opposition to signing the bill in Israel, when a watchdog group and a number of media outlets, filed a lawsuit against him and the members of the Florida State Cabinet, because meeting in Israel violates the Florida state constitution and state open government laws requiring Cabinet meetings to be held with public access. DeSantis arrived in Israel for a few days with some 90 members of the state trade delegation and signed agreements with various Israeli companies in a number of fields such as space, agriculture, water, and cybersecurity. DeSantis also visited Ariel University to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Ariel University and Florida State University.  In Israel, DeSantis joined Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Florida, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Miami Dade College, as they signed an MOU with the University of Haifa.

 

The University of Haifa has also recently hosted Prof. Melvin L. Oliver, the president of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, who defied internal pressure to boycott the exchange agreement with Haifa and vetoed the vote. Oliver has given a keynote lecture at the University of Haifa annual board of governors meeting. In an interview, Oliver notes that the BDS motion began when Prof. Dan Segal, the adviser of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, has led the campaign to suspend Pitzer’s program with Haifa. Segal’s BDS motion was one of the first and was faculty-led. Shortly afterwards, an initial BDS vote was passed by the Pitzer faculty, and then the students' governance body has voted to suspend the following semester of the Haifa program. At the same day, Oliver announced that he would veto the resolution. Oliver adds that a boycott of Israel "sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission." Oliver notes it was an uncomfortable situation for Jewish students who felt singled out for "having positions that SJP gave to them or were assumed to have as defenders of Israel." 

 

But drawing a direct link between BDS and anti-Semitism occurred on May 15, when the German Bundestag became the first parliament to pass a resolution designating BDS as anti-Semitic. The resolution states that the campaign to boycott Israeli goods along with the “Don’t Buy” stickers, recalled "the most terrible chapter in German history." It argues that the pattern of arguments and the methods used by BDS activists is anti-Semitic. It resolved not to fund an organization which questions Israel’s right to exist, calls for a boycott of Israel, or actively supports BDS. 

 

The resolution comes after a “growing unease” of the German Jewish community, as anti-Semitism has increased tremendously in recent years.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union party, and it's Social Democratic coalition partner, along with the liberal party and the Greens, have brought the resolution to the Bundestag. 

 

In response, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a statement condemning the "anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional resolution." They urged "people of conscience" to defend the "sanctity of universal human rights and freedom of expression by protecting the right to BDS". The BDS Committee also declared that BDS “rejects all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism" and that the academic and cultural boycott of Israel is "strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis.”  But contrary to these claims, IAM noted in April, individual Israeli scholars were in fact targeted when they were disinvited to a conference in South Africa, due to pressure from BDS activists on the organizers. None of the Palestinian BDS leadership intervened to oppose the targeting of individual Israelis which contradicts the published goals of BDS. 

 

Interestingly, some radical academics joined the criticism of the German parliament. Some sixty Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of them who research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, signed an open letter, "A Call to German Parties not to Equate BDS with Anti-Semitism."  According to the group, supporting BDS is actually supporting Palestinian human rights and the conflation between supporting BDS and anti-Semitism is "incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany." The group insisted that Palestinians "refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations."

 

To isolate BDS from the Palestinian violence against Israelis and Jews is misleading. The group also failed to warn the BDS leadership that the South African conference which boycotted Israeli individuals breached the published goals of the BDS movement, making such incidents anti-Semitic.





German parliament slams boycott Israel movement as 'anti-Semitic'
AFP
news@thelocal.de 
@thelocalgermany
18 May 2019
09:19 CEST+02:00
antisemitism

Germany's parliament on Friday condemned the BDS movement that demands a boycott of Israel as anti-Semitic, warning that its actions were reminiscent of the Nazis' campaign against Jews.

The Bundestag condemnation came with Israel battling a growing chorus led by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to shun the Eurovision Song Contest which Tel Aviv will host on Saturday.

US superstar Madonna has signed a contract to perform during the interval of the high-profile event, it was finally announced on Thursday, ending uncertainty after calls for her to boycott the event.

In its rare multi-party resolution, the German lower house said Friday that the campaign run by the BDS was "reminiscent of the most terrifying phase of German history" under Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

"'Don't buy' stickers of the BDS movement on Israeli products remind one of inevitable associations with the Nazi call 'Don't buy from Jews', and other corresponding graffiti on facades and shop windows," said the non-binding resolution.

"The methods" of the BDS movement "are anti-Semitic," added the resolution put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU-CSU bloc, coalition partner Social Democratic Party, plus the liberal FDP and the Greens parties.

With the vote, German MPs pledged to reject any financial support for the boycott movement.

The Bundestag will also refrain from allowing BDS and its partners to host events on its premises.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to praise what he termed an "important decision".

"I salute the Bundestag for the important decision which recognises the BDS as an anti-semitic movement," Netanyahu said.

He added he was particularly pleased with the decision ruling the group cannot receive state financing as a move to "stop funding organizations that act against Israel's existence."

The BDS movement describes itself as a Palestinian-led action, and urges the boycott of Israeli goods, services and culture because of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

However, for Sebastian Brehm of the CSU, "this is an action that has nothing to do with the criticism of the Israeli government.

Rather it is clearly motivated by anti-Semitism".


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


Academics oppose motion against Israel boycott campaign

Sixty Jewish and Israeli academics from Israel, Europe and North America wrote an open letter, condemning efforts by the German parliament or Bundestag to equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions or BDS movement which campaigns for Palestinian human rights with anti-semitism. 

The letter was published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, prior to a vote in the Bundestag on 17 May passing a resolution designating BDS as anti-semitic. 

The resolution, which is non-binding, was hailed as a first by a parliament in Europe.

It said the economic, academic and cultural boycott campaign was “reminiscent of the most terrible chapter in German history” and triggered memories of the Nazi slogan, “Don’t buy from Jews”.

The parliamentary motion stated that “the pattern of argument and methods of the BDS movement are anti-semitic” and pledged not to fund any organisations that questioned Israel’s right to exist, call for a boycott of Israel or actively support BDS.

It was brought to parliament by the partner parties in the coalition led by Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), along with the liberal party (FDP) and the Greens, in the context of growing unease in the German Jewish community about increasing anti-semitism.

Sebastian Brehm of the CDU said: “Israel may be criticised, but its right to exist is not negotiable.”

Helge Lindh of SPD said: “Foundations should support peace in the Middle East, but only if they are not anti-semitic.”

Felix Klein, Germany's first commissioner to combat anti-semitism, appointed last year, said: “We have to oppose any form of anti-semitism, even if it seems harmless. Implementing the BDS campaign goals would call Israel’s right to exist into question.”

Conflation ‘incorrect’

But the academics in their letter said the “conflation” of BDS with anti-semitism is “incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal democratic order in Germany”.

The BDS movement campaigns to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, dismantle the security wall separating Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank and recognise the right to return of Palestinian refugees.

The signatories to the academics’ letter include 10 professors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, seven each from Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and five from the University of Haifa, which are all Israeli universities.

They said they are concerned about the rise in anti-semitism around the world, including in Germany, and view all forms of racism and bigotry as a “threat that must be fought”. 

But, “at the same time we wish to sound alarm about a parallel trend: the growing tendency of labelling supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-semitic.”

BDS explicitly opposes anti-semitism

The academics argued that BDS, which was inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, is a non-violent movement that protests serious human rights violations, does not advocate for a particular political solution and does campaign for the implementation of international law. 

It is also explicit – as evidenced by a statement on its website – about its categorical opposition to “all forms of racism, including anti-semitism”, they said. 

They added that it would be highly detrimental to Palestinian society and to the role and reputation of Germany if the respected human rights organisations, associations of lawyers and engineers, committees of farmers and health workers and unions of the disabled and teachers were to be excluded from German funding “simply for exercising their right to free speech and their choice to resist the entrenching Israeli occupation by peaceful means”.

Palestinian society had already suffered a “severe blow”, they said, when the United States government ended its funding to the Palestinians, a decision which Europe deplored, the academics said.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee said in statement in response to the parliamentary resolution that it rejects “all forms of racism, including anti-semitism” and described the resolution as “anti-Palestinian, McCarthyite and unconstitutional”.

It said: “We call on people of conscience in Germany and beyond to defend the sanctity of universal human rights and freedom of expression by protecting the right to BDS.”

They added: “The academic and cultural boycott of Israel is strictly institutional and does not target individual Israelis.” 

‘Right-wing agenda’

The academics said the equating of BDS with anti-semitism had been promoted by “Israel’s most right-wing government in history” and is “part of persistent efforts to delegitimise any discourse about Palestinian rights and any international solidarity with the Palestinians suffering from military occupation and severe discrimination”.

They urged Germany’s political parties to fight anti-semitism and all forms of racism “without aiding these malign efforts”. 

“We ask you to safeguard free expression and protect democratic spaces in Germany rather than to isolate and silence those who non-violently express their political beliefs,” they said.

In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the resolution as an "important decision".

"I salute the Bundestag for the important decision which recognises the BDS as an anti-semitic movement," Netanyahu said in a tweet, adding that he was especially pleased with the decision to "stop funding organisations that act against Israel's existence".

New figures published by the German Interior Ministry on 14 May indicate that anti-semitic crime and hate crimes rose by 20% last year – but almost nine in 10 anti-semitic offences were committed by far right extremists.  



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



A CALL TO GERMAN PARTIES NOT TO EQUATE BDS WITH ANTI-SEMITISM
May 2019
We, Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of whom research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, express concern about the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, including in Germany. We view all forms of racism and bigotry as a threat that must be fought and encourage the German government and parliament to do so.
At the same time, we wish to sound alarm about a parallel trend: the growing tendency of labeling supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic.
This trend is now escalating in Germany. Two German parties, the FDP and AfD, have tabled resolutions at the Bundestag that equate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement with anti-Semitism. Coalition parties CDU/CSU and SPD are preparing a joint resolution that does so, too. This conflation is incorrect, unacceptable and a threat to the liberal-democratic order in Germany.
The opinions about BDS among the signatories of this statement differ significantly: some may support BDS, while others reject it for different reasons. However, we all reject the  deceitful allegation that BDS as such is anti-Semitic.
One should be considered an anti-Semite only according to the content and the context of one’s words and deeds and not according to any institutional affiliation. We should protest against any anti-Semitic utterances and deeds – whether they come from BDS supporters or not. But BDS as such is not anti-Semitic. We therefore defend the right of any individual or organization to support it.
Israel and the international community insisted that the Palestinians refrain from violence when opposing the occupation of their land and the ongoing discrimination and oppression they are exposed to. BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations. The BDS movement does not advocate for a particular political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it campaigns for the implementation of international law, often with regard to Israel’s occupation and settlements. The movement is explicit about its categorical opposition to “all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism”. Many Jewish and Israeli groups either support BDS explicitly or defend the right to support it. One can debate and disagree with BDS, but a categorical de-legitimization of such non-violent means is wrong and counterproductive.
We call on all German parties not to submit and not to support any resolutions that equate BDS with anti-Semitism. In particular, we call on the democratic mainstream parties FDP, CDU and SPD to adjust their draft resolutions accordingly.
We also call on all German parties not to exclude NGOs that endorse BDS from German funding. As also confirmed by the European Union, statements and actions in the context of BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of association, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
Among the more than one hundred Palestinian civil society organizations that signed the call for BDS are respected human rights organizations, associations of lawyers and engineers, committees of farmers and health workers and unions of disabled and teachers. It would be highly detrimental to Palestinian society as a whole and to the role and reputation of Germany, if these organizations were to be excluded from German funding – simply for exercising their right to free speech and their choice to resist the entrenching Israeli occupation by peaceful means.
If they were excluded, this would contribute to a further weakening of the entire Palestinian society, which already suffered a severe blow when the US government ended its funding to the Palestinians – a decision which Europe deplored.
Furthermore, a decision by the Bundestag to equate the Palestinian-led BDS movement with anti-Semitism offends and stigmatizes Palestinian citizens of Germany and prevents them from freely expressing their opinions, their grief and sorrow. This could also alienate them and other groups in German society and elsewhere from the fight against antisemitism, rather than recruiting them into it.
The equation of BDS with anti-Semitism has been promoted by Israel’s most right-wing government in history. It is part of persistent efforts to delegitimize any discourse about
Palestinian rights and any international solidarity with the Palestinians suffering from military occupation and severe discrimination.
We urge you to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of racism without aiding these malign efforts.
We ask you to safeguard free expression and protect democratic spaces in Germany, rather than to isolate and silence those who non-violently express their political beliefs.

Prof. Gadi Algazi, Institute of History, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Merav Amir, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Queen's University Belfast
Dr. Hila Amit, freie Wissenschaftlerin, Israel
Prof. (emeritus) Yonathan (Jon) Anson, Chair for Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Seth Anziska, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London
Prof. Lisa Baraitser, Dept. for Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Dr. Moshe Behar, University of Manchester
Prof. Avner Ben-Amos, Dept. of History, Tel-Aviv University
Yaara Benger Alaluf, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin, Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung, Berlin
Prof. Gabriele Bergers, Dept. of Oncology, University of Leuven
Prof. Louise Bethlehem, Dept. of English and Cultural Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. David Blanc, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Prof. Daniel D. Blatman, Head, Avraham Harman Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry, The Max and Rita Haber Chair in Contemporary Jewry and Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Paola Canarutto, freie Wissenschaftlerin
Prof. (emerita) Jane Caplan, Modern European History, University of Oxford
Prof. Stephen Clingman, Dept. of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Prof. Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Prof. (emerita) Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Dept. of Social Science, University Paris Diderot
Prof. (emerita) Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Tommy Dreyfus, Pädagogische Hochschule, Tel Aviv University
Prof. David Enoch, Faculty of Law & Philosophy, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Yuval Eylon, Dept. of History, Philosophy and Jewish Studies, The Open University of Israel
Prof. (emeritus) Gideon Freudenthal, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Elizabeth Freund (emerita), Dept. of English Literature, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. (emeritus) Chaim Gans, The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science
Prof. Neve Gordon, Dept. of Politics and Government, Ben Gurion University
Prof. Rebecca Gould, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, University of Birmingham
Dr. Erella Grassiani, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Lev Grinberg, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University
Prof. David Harel, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Vice President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Dr. Shir Hever, Politikwissenschaften, Freie Universät Berlin
Professor (emerita) Susan Himmelweit, Faculty of Social Science, Open University Milton Keynes
Prof. Eva Illouz, Dept. of Social Science and Anthropology, Hebrew University Jerusalem, The European Centre for Sociology and Political Science, Paris
Dr. Itamar Kastner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Dr. Brian Klug, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Prof. (emerita) Vered Kraus, Dept. of Social Science, University of Haifa
Prof. (emeritus) Micah Leshem, Dept. of Psychology, University of Haifa
Dr. Mark Levene, Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, University of Southampton
Prof. Joseph Levine, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Revital Madar, Dept. of Cultural Studies, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Rela Mazali, freie Wissenschaftlerin und Schriftstellerin
Dr. Dana Mills, Oxford Brookes University
Dr. Sheryl Nestel, Independent Scholar, Toronto
Prof. Isaac (Yanni) Nevo, Dept. of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Kobi Peterzil, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Haifa
Dr. Noa Roei, Dept. of Comparative Literature and Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
Na’ama Rokem, Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature & Comparative Literature, University of Chicago
Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Co-director Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Prof. Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, University of California
Dr. E. Natalie Rothman, Dept. of History and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
Prof. Catherine Rottenberg, Foreign Literature and Linguistics, Ben Gurion University
Dr. Ilan Saban, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa
Dr. Hannah Safran, Feminist Research Center, Haifa
Prof. Lynne Segal, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck Institute, University of London
Dr. Itamar Shachar, Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Nava EtShalom, poet and writer, PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Prof. (emerita) Alice Shalvi, Hebrew University Jerusalem/Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Dmitry Shumsky, Head of the Cherrick Centre for the Study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Dr. Itay Snir, The Open University of Israel and Minerva Humanities Centre/Tel-Aviv University
Prof. Tamir Sorek, Social and Jewish Studies, University of Florida
Dr. Anya Topolski, Associate Professor Ethics and Political Philosophy, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Dr. Yair Wallach, Head of the Centre for Jewish Studies, SOAS, University of London
Prof. Niza Yanay, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben Gurion University
Prof. (emeritus) Moshe Zuckermann, The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University



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

 

Germany sees 'extremely alarming' rise in racist and anti-Semitic hate crime

Xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crime rose by nearly 20 percent in Germany last year, according to the latest Interior Ministry data published Tuesday.

In its report, the ministry listed 7,701 xenophobic criminal acts, a jump of 19.7 percent compared to 2017.

Anti-Semitic offences totalled 1,799 after a similar increase. Almost 90 percent of perpetrators had a right-wing extremist background, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told a press conference.

Despite a post-war culture of repentance for the Nazi era and Holocaust, Germany has not bucked a European tend of increasing hate speech and attacks against Jews.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his concern at the Berlin launch of a European network called Combating Anti-Semitism Through Education.

All over Europe, hatred of Jews and violence against minorities are now rampant, Maas said.

Historical awareness is the best shield against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism, he said, urging efforts to close "gaps in knowledge".

The challenges had increased with the arrival of migrants who grew up with anti-Semitic stereotypes, he said, stressing however that anti-Semitism is "not an imported product".

Tolerance

Maas urged tolerance toward all minorities, saying that "in a free and tolerant Europe, we must protect a woman with a headscarf from insults and assaults just as we must protect a man with a kippa".

Felix Klein, Germany's commissioner for Anti-Semitism said he was "extremely alarmed" by the sharp rise.

"Against the background of falling inhibitions and brutalisation of the social climate in Germany, I had expected an increase in anti-Semitic crimes in 2018," Klein told German daily Welt.

"However, I consider the fact that the increase was so high to be extremely alarming."

Klein said Germany must now "mobilise all our forces in politics and civil society" to counter "this trend".


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

 

Report: Israeli Academics Tried to Kill German Anti-BDS Law

15 Iyyar 5779 – May 20, 2019

 

By 
 David Israel 

A group of 56 Jewish and Israeli academics last week tried to persuade Germany not to pass a motion defining BDS as anti-Semitic.

The motion, “Resist the BDS Movement – Fighting Anti-Semitism,” was sponsored by the Bundestag’s two largest parties – the Christian-Democratic Union and the Social Democrat party – as well as the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party.

The motion stated that “the German Bundestag is unwavering in its commitment to condemn and combat anti-Semitism in all its forms,” and will oppose “anyone who defames people because of their Jewish identity […] questions the right of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel to exist or Israel’s right to defend itself.”



The “Call to German Parties Not to Equate BDS With Anti-Semitism” was issued by Jewish and Israeli scholars, many of whom research Jewish history and anti-Semitism, who expressed their “concern about the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, including in Germany.”

Nevertheless, the same group of Jews and Israelis said they “wish to sound alarm about a parallel trend: the growing tendency of labeling supporters of Palestinian human rights as anti-Semitic.”

According to the signatories, “BDS is essentially a non-violent movement, which protests serious human rights violations. The BDS movement does not advocate for a particular political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, it campaigns for the implementation of international law, often with regard to Israel’s occupation and settlements.”

This notion of a peaceful BDS is belied by many sources, including NGO Monitor, which argued that “contrary to NGO claims that they are engaging in ‘legitimate criticism’ of Israel, the NGO rhetoric, publications, and activities often violate accepted standards. The rhetoric used in BDS campaigns explicitly violates a number of precepts of the United States State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism. In particular, BDS activists denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination; using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis; and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

According to the Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “working definition of anti-Semitism,” one of the definitions is using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis; and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

Here are but three pro-BDS NGOs involved in anti-Semitism (source: NGO Monitor):

BADIL, which focuses on promoting the so-called “right of return,” and accuses Israel of “slow genocide” and regularly issues posters and caricatures demonizing Israel, some of which are virulently anti-Semitic. BADIL uses demonizing language such as “Israel’s colonial apartheid regime,” and “systematic ethnic cleansing.” In 2015, BADIL published a cartoon depicting a tsunami of keys rising up and washing over what is supposed to be the “negotiation table” and two people, one of whom is wearing a kippah with a Jewish star on it. Another 2015 cartoon shows a clenched fist rising up through a map of the State of Israel with the caption reading “Return is our Right and our Destiny.”

MIFTAH, which utilizes anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric including “resistance fighters” to describe terror groups, and accuses Israel of perpetrating “massacres,” “cultural genocide,” “war crimes,” and “apartheid.” In March 2013, MIFTAH published an article written by Nawaf al-Zaru that repeated the anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews use Christian blood to bake Passover matzah.

ELECTRONIC INTIFADA is one of the most virulent platforms for promoting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campaigns. Co-founder and executive director Ali Abunimah claims Zionism “is one of the worst forms of anti-Semitism in existence today,” that it “dehumanizes its victims, denies their history, and has a cult-like worship of ethnoracial purity.” He also wrote: “That is something Zionism shares with anti-Semitism, a disdain for actual Jewish culture and life as it existed.” Holocaust references appear frequently in Abunimah’s comments. He also calls Gaza a “ghetto for surplus non-Jews,” compares the Israeli press to Der Sturmer, and claims “supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.” He calls Gaza a “concentration camp” and repeated a claim that IDF statements are the words “of a Nazi.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, issued a statement saying “there is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ungratefulness, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them.”

Im Tirtzu recently launched a website listing dozens of Israeli professors who are employed at publicly funded universities yet engage in anti-Israel activity (See: New Website Outs 85 Israeli Anti-Israel Professors), stressed the harm caused to Israel by these professors.

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

German Bundestag printed paper 
19/10191 
19th legislature oppose 5/15/2019 request of the CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP and Alliance 90 / The Greens 
decided: 
The BDS movement - anti-Semitic
the Bundestag resolve: 
I. The German Bundestag notes: the German Bundestag is committed irrevocably to its promise, anti-Semitism in all its forms to be condemn and combat, and expressly strengthens the proposal adopted by the CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP and Alliance 90 / the Greens' anti-Semitism to be fought against, of 17 January 2018. 

According to the working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred against Jews. Anti-Semitism directed in word or deed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property, so-as against Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. Moreover, even the state of Israel, which is understood as a Jewish collective, is a target of such attacks. 

There is no legitimate justification for anti-Semitism. The unconditional No to hatred of Jews of any state is part of the German raison d'etre. Anti-Semitism has proven to murderous consequences as the most devastating form of group-related xenophobia in the history of our country and all over Europe and is still a threat to both people of Jewish faith and for our free democratic order. It is not unacceptable that anti-Semitism has increased in recent years and the Jewish community is increasingly uncertain. Whoever defames people because of their Jewish identity, they want to restrict the right to existence of the Jewish and democratic State of Israel, or calls into question Israel's right to national defense, will meet with our strong opposition. Through a special historical responsibility Germany is committed to Israel's security. Israel's security is part of the raison d'etre of our country. We remain committed to the two-state solution, as it has been strengthened in numerous resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations: a Jewish democratic state of Israel and an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state. 

For years, the "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" movement (abbreviated BDS) calls in Germany for a boycott of Israel, against Israeli goods and services, Israeli artists, scientists and athletes. The all-encompassing term boycott with its radicalism on the denunciation of Israeli citizens, and citizens of Jewish faith as a whole. This is unacceptable and be roundly condemned. The reasoning patterns and methods of BDS movement are anti-Semitic. The calls for the campaign to boycott Israeli artists and labels on Israeli commercial goods that are to discourage the purchase, also recalls the terrible period of German history. "Do not Buy" label of the BDS movement on Israeli products inevitably evoke associations with the Nazi slogan "Do not buy from Jews!" And corresponding graffiti on walls and shop windows. The German Parliament condemned all anti-Semitic statements and incidents that are formulated as alleged criticism of the policies of Israel, but in fact are an expression of hatred against Jewish people and their religion, and will face them with determination. 

II. The German Bundestag welcomes the fact that many communities have already decided the BDS movement or groups that pursue the objectives of the campaign to deny financial support and the allocation of communal spaces. 

III. The German Bundestag decides 
1. condemn any form of anti-Semitism as they arise in the utmost determination, oppose the BDS campaign which is calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and companies as well as Israeli scientists, artists and athletes; 
2. Premises and facilities that are under federal administration will not be provided to organizations who speak anti-Semitism or make the existence of Israel in question. The German Bundestag calls on the Federal Government not to support events organized by the BDS movement or groups who actively pursue their goals; 
3. unabated continue its support for the Federal Government and the Commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism both in prevention and in the resolute to fight against anti-Semitism and any extremism; 
4. not to promote any organization which questions the existence of Israel; 
5. not to support projects financially, which call for a boycott of Israel or actively supporting the BDS movement; 
6. calling countries, cities and municipalities and all public actors not to adhere to this attitude. 

Berlin, May 15, 2019 
Ralph Brinkhaus, Alexander Dobrindt and fraction 
Andrea Nahles and faction 
Christian Lindner and fraction 
Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Dr. Anton Hofreiter and fraction 
preliminary version - is replaced by the proofreading version.  


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


CS/CS/HB 741 — Anti-Semitism
by Education Committee; Criminal Justice Committee; and Reps. Fine, Caruso, and others (CS/SB 1272 by Judiciary Committee and Senators Gruters, Galvano, Albritton, Baxley, Bean, Benaquisto, Berman, Book, Bracy, Bradley, Brandes, Braynon, Broxson, Diaz, Farmer, Flores, Gainer, Gibson, Harrell, Hooper, Hutson, Lee, Mayfield, Montford, Passidomo, Perry, Pizzo, Powell, Rader, Rodriguez, Rouson, Simmons, Simpson, Stargel, Stewart, Taddeo, Thurston, Torres, Wright, and Cruz)
This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Judiciary Committee (JU)

The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion in the K-20 public school system. Additionally, the bill requires public K-20 educational institutions to treat discrimination “by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitic intent in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.” The bill provides that, for the purposes of the anti-Semitism provision, anti-Semitism includes:

A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.
The bill also provides many examples of anti-Semitism, including:

Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.
The bill also provides that examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:

Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect upon becoming law.

Vote: Senate 40-0; House 114-0


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


Governor Ron DeSantis Applauds Historic MOU Agreements Between University of Haifa and Florida Colleges and Universities
On May 27, 2019, in News Releases, by Staff
Tel Aviv, Israel – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the University of North Florida (UNF), Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) and Miami Dade College as they signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Haifa.

“The partnerships being established here today reflect our shared belief that research and teaching go hand in hand,” said Governor DeSantis. “I cannot think of a better way to partner than for these Florida institutions to harmonize their efforts with the remarkable work being done at the University of Haifa.”

“University of Haifa is proud to strengthen its international collaboration with colleges and universities in the USA and particularly in Florida,” said Professor Gad Barzilai, Former Dean, Faculty of Law, Vice-Provost and Head of International School, University of Haifa. “University of Haifa is a leading research and teaching institution that is the biggest in the Israeli north and a cutting edge university worldwide in Marine Sciences, Education, Social Sciences and Management, Humanities and Law, Social Welfare and Public Health, as well as Natural Sciences. It’s International School is hosting more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 50 countries worldwide. Our academic ties with institutions of higher education in Florida would be of great mutual value.”

Florida Atlantic University and the University of Haifa will collaborate on research focusing on the fields of marine science and engineering, invasive species and harmful blooms and other opportunities. In a second MOU, the two schools agreed to collaborate on exchange programs for faculty and students, especially in support of marine sciences and diplomacy programs.

The University of North Florida and the University of Haifa will focus on an academic collaboration including cooperation in education and research, exchange of scholars, and seeking opportunities for joint research projects.

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and the University of Haifa’s Student Abroad Agreement will formalize and expand academic cooperation between the universities and provide additional learning opportunities abroad for FAMU students.

Miami Dade College and the University of Haifa will seek ways to engage in exchange of scholars, joint research projects, joint teaching and/or supervision of students, as well as study abroad programs, student mobility and prospective exchange of students.

Governor DeSantis was joined by the following individuals for the Memorandum of Understanding signings:

Professor Gad Barzilai, Former Dean, Faculty of Law, Vice-Provost and Head of International School, University of Haifa
Ms. Hila Elroy, Head of Government Affairs, University of Haifa
Professor Dan Tchernov, Vice President for Resource Development and External Relations, University of Haifa
Dr. John Kelly, President, Florida Atlantic University
Dan Flynn, PhD., Vice President, Research, Florida Atlantic University
Lenore Rodicio, Executive Vice President & Provost, Miami Dade College
Dr. Daniel Mon, Professor and Interim Associate Provost, University of North Florida
Dr. M. Malek, Professor and Department Chair, Construction Management Department, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction, University of North Florida
Heather Duncan, Vice President, Governmental Affairs, University of North Florida
Dr. Larry Robinson, President, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

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


https://forward.com/fast-forward/425051/florida-ron-desantis-jerusalem-israel/  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Sued Over State Cabinet Meeting In Jerusalem
May 29, 2019 By Marcy Oster


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An open-government watchdog group and several news outlets filed a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida State Cabinet over a meeting being held in Jerusalem.

The Cabinet meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was scheduled to be held on Wednesday afternoon.

The lawsuit said that the meeting violates the Florida state constitution and state open government laws which require Cabinet meetings be open and accessible to the public.

The meeting was to be livestreamed on The Florida Channel.

Judge Angela C. Dempsey of the Second Circuit Court of Florida on Tuesday denied an emergency motion to stop Wednesday’s meeting from happening, since DeSantis and the Cabinet members could not be served with a summons, according to Florida news reports.

Meanwhile, DeSantis on Monday said that “Holding a meeting of the Florida Cabinet in the embassy in Jerusalem, that is going to be a real neat thing.” He made the remark to members of the business delegation during a reception at the residence in Herzliya of U.S. Amb. David Friedman.

DeSantis and a 90-person state trade delegation arrived in Israel on Sunday. He has so far signed agreements on working with Israel and Israeli companies in space technology, agriculture, protecting water, and cybersecurity.

On Monday DeSantis visited Ariel University, becoming the first sitting state governor to visit the West Bank. During the visit he signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Ariel and Florida State University. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, major donors to the university, were present during DeSantis’ visit.



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


American and Israeli college presidents unite to oppose academic boycotts
Two academic institutions—Pitzer College and the University of Haifa—have been at the center of a highly publicized BDS debate in recent months.
BY ELIANA RUDEE
(May 29, 2019 / JNS) Professor Melvin L. Oliver, president of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who defied pressure to boycott Israeli academia by vetoing the vote by a Pitzer governance body to suspend the college’s study-abroad exchange with University of Haifa, gave the keynote lecture at University of Haifa’s 47th annual board of governors meeting on May 28.

The two academic institutions have been at the center of a highly publicized BDS debate in recent months.

According to Oliver, BDS motions began as the campus Students for Justice in Palestine adviser, Professor Dan Segal, led a campaign to suspend Pitzer’s direct-enrollment program at University of Haifa in northern Israel. Following a trip to the Jewish state one summer, Segal returned to campus and held meetings with other professors “to supposedly teach them about what life was like for Palestinians in the occupied territories,” Oliver told JNS.

Although most directives come from students, said Oliver, Segal’s BDS motion was one of the first to be faculty-led.

Following last November’s initial BDS vote by the Pitzer faculty, which Oliver strongly opposed, students at Pitzer College voted to suspend the semester at the University of Haifa program on March 14. However, on the same day, Oliver swiftly announced that he would veto the council’s recommendation because ending the study-abroad program “puts in place a form of academic boycott of Israel and, in the process, sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy’s ability to fulfill our educational mission.”

“It was an uncomfortable situation,” said Oliver, who said Jewish students on campus felt singled out for “having positions that SJP gave to them or were assumed to have as defenders of Israel.”

“As a deep believer in liberal arts education, which allows people to think independently,” he said, “we found [these motions] of people who support the BDS movement profoundly confounding.”

Professor Ron Robin, president of the University of Haifa, expressed his gratitude to Oliver’s “principled defiance” of the BDS-motivated call to suspend study-abroad ties in Haifa.

“It takes bravery and guts in the face of very aggressive opposition to take the position he took,” Robin told JNS. “It was a position of principle; he stood his ground against heavy pressure. It’s easy to preach and more difficult to practice, and we are eternally grateful for his position.”

‘A teachable moment’

While Israel does not profess to be a perfect society by any stretch of the imagination, noted the college presidents, as educators, they said “we understand our fallibilities and weaknesses, but consider ourselves as part of higher education where dialogue is not barred.”

If the motion had passed, Oliver imagined that “it would have made it difficult to create trust, sociality and community” for Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus. “You cannot bring people together when there are winners and losers,” he said.

He added that the opportunity for a transformative educational opportunity would have been lost for students, many whom later return to Israel after graduation to work on behalf of issues of cooperation across lines.

“This is what inspired leadership looks like—in academia or in any setting,” said Robin of Oliver’s defense of academic freedom and standing against discrimination. “That is why it is so crucial that President Oliver [took] the stage at our board of governors meeting, in order to further articulate these indispensable values to Israel and to the world.”

At the meeting, the board lamented that many universities have lost their mission of teaching critical thinking skills and broadening minds. According to Robin, “You can’t teach people how to think if you teach them what to think.”

Similarly, said Oliver, educating students about diverse cultures and histories, and offering a cross-cultural study-abroad experience, teaches students to think critically. “We must preserve critical thinking over political issues,” he declared.

“Once you go down that line, you are privileging certain kinds of thinking and excluding others, and sometimes you have to make decisions to stand on a higher level of principle to defend the university’s core mission,” Oliver said, defending his decision to veto the BDS vote.

The board also considered University of Haifa’s goals—namely, to “practice tolerance, diversity and justice,” according to the university president. Considering these goals, Robin questioned, “How on earth did they pick on us? Our relationship with Pitzer is all about social justice,” he said, calling the boycott “ludicrous.”

He believes that the University of Haifa’s excellent report card is the very reason why Segal singled it out.

“We contradict the narrative of BDS,” he explained. “Forty percent of students on campus are Muslims, Christians and Druze. They study, work and play beside Jewish students, and this is the epitome of social justice, equality and opportunity for education. Removing that from the map is important to the BDS movement because people often ask [while challenging BDS’s claims], ‘What about Haifa?’ ”

Looking on the bright side, Robin said “this is a teachable moment—an opportunity to educate our students and ourselves about issues that impinge on colleges. It’s something to reflect upon in the context of our mission as educators. We talk about the ivory tower, but no college is an island.”
Boycott Calls Against Israel

    Print