JBuzz News August 21, 2014: Jewish Student Assaulted at Temple University

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Jewish Student Assaulted at Temple University

Source: Jewish Exponent, 8-21-14

The school did, however, receive significant negative attention in June after an adjunct professor made inflammatory statements in an online forum about the Holocaust and Jewish influence in academia. A Temple University spokesman initially told a….READ MORE

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JBuzz News July 14, 2013: Hillel taps Eric Fingerhut, former congressman, as CEO and president

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Hillel taps Eric Fingerhut, former congressman, as CEO and president

Source: JTA, 7-14-13

Eric Fingerhut, a former U.S. congressman and leader of Ohio’s system of public universities and colleges, has been tapped to serve as the next president and CEO of Hillel….READ MORE

JBuzz News February 10, 2013: Alexander H. Joffe: BDS and the Jewish Studies Trap on Brooklyn College’s Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Event

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For more on the controversy over Brooklyn College’s Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Event see complete news coverage on Israel Advocacy 101

Alexander H. Joffe: BDS and the Jewish Studies Trap

Source: The Algemeiner, 2-8-13

The recent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) event at Brooklyn College featuring professional Palestinian Omar Barghouti and celebrity anti-Israel academic Judith Butler was true to form. A dual purpose was served. For one, students and staff were treated to calls for the destruction of Israel, conducted in a quasi-academic setting, with the implicit endorsement of the institution. Second, as always, trap was sprung on opponents of such campus abuses. Having successfully planned the event and represented it as an intellectual exploration of the one state solution, in which Israel is made extinct, the inevitable complaints regarding its one-sidedness and borderline antisemitism were met with the usual howls of censorship and demands for academic freedom. Politicians became involved on both sides. City Council members were opposed to the campus and tax dollars supporting an anti-Israel recruitment rally. Mayor Bloomberg then came out in favor, and with characteristic tact and insight, condemned the event’s content and scolded the presumably close-minded opponents, wittily telling them to apply to school in North Korea….READ MORE

JBuzz News December 12, 2012: Bar-Ilan University student kicked out of class for not wearing kippa

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Bar-Ilan student kicked out of class for not wearing yarmulke

Source: JTA, 12-12-12

A Bar-Ilan University Talmud professor kicked a male student out of his class for not wearing a yarmulke.

The incident reportedly occurred last week and later came to light on the Bar-Ilan Facebook page. A complaint posted on the page over the weekend by a classmate and the stream of comments following it were removed on Tuesday but then circulated by screenshot….READ MORE

JBuzz News November 23, 2012: Julien Bauer: Office of Canadian Pro-Israel Université du Québec à Montréal professor vandalized

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Office of Canadian Pro-Israel professor vandalized

Source: JTA, 11-23-12

A pro-Israel lecturer from Montreal found the words “Heil Israel” scrawled on his office door.

The paraphrased Nazi slogan was scrawled Tuesday on the door of the office of Julien Bauer, a political-science professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, according to the Montreal Gazette….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 14, 2012: Hillel’s new plan: Programming for and by students not so involved in Hillel

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Hillel’s new plan: Programming for and by students not so involved in Hillel

Source: JTA, 8-14-12

Hillel leaders used a recent conference in St. Louis to roll out the organization’s recently approved strategic plan, which pushes the organization even further from relying solely on the traditional model of improving programming inside the walls of campus Hillels for Jewishly engaged students….READ MORE

Student’s efforts launch Hillel at John Carroll University

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Source: Cleveland Jewish News, 7-8-11

“To me, if I get 10 out of 50 (Jewish) students to show up, that’s a success.” — David Markovich

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Hillel at a Catholic school? Really?

For John Carroll University (JCU) sophomore David Markovich, the answer is a resounding yes. Really.

“I’d like to see Jewish students at John Carroll be able to relate to each other, to use each other as a means of support, and to have fun,” said Markovich, 19. “There’s a good amount of Jews here. I don’t want people to come in and think they’re the only Jew here. Because I did. (They’re) not alone.”

During the previous school year, Markovich teamed with The Cleveland Hillel Foundation and supportive faculty and friends to establish an official Hillel branch at JCU. The Catholic and Jesuit university of 3,700 students has some 25 students who officially list themselves as Jewish, although there may be as many as 25 more among those who do not list a religion.

The idea to launch a Hillel came to the Beachwood resident while he was attending one of the monthly gatherings JCU hosts for its commuter students. The commuter meetings are “basically a shmooze,” he said as he relaxed on couches outside the Student Union office on campus. Markovich began to wonder if there was a similar offering for Jewish students. When he found there wasn’t, he thought, “At the very least, Jewish students should be able to meet,” he said.
As he began his second semester, Markovich enlisted Jewish professor Gail Bass Arnoff and Gary Coleman, executive director of The Cleveland Hillel Foundation, to help develop his idea of a Jewish group on campus. Although warned that others “have tried and failed” to establish an organized Jewish presence at JCU, Markovich was determined he could make a go of it, he said.

“I try to stay active in the Jewish community,” he said. “I feel my duty is to represent the Jewish community the best I can” on a predominantly Catholic campus. “To me, if I get 10 out of 50 (Jewish) students to show up (to Hillel events), that’s a success.”

Markovich went through a series of applications and school requirements to establish a new student group and a series of Hillel organizational requirements to be officially affiliated with the national Jewish agency. Arnoff agreed to be his faculty adviser, while a Jewish grad student friend agreed to function as treasurer.

“I was very excited when David contacted me,” said Arnoff, who has taught freshman composition at JCU for six years. “It will be helpful for Jewish students and even Jewish faculty to have a group to come together and talk about issues relevant to them. We’re in such a minority on campus.”

Arnoff, who discusses her own Judaism in class to help educate her students and has offered to host Hillel gatherings in her home, thinks the “visibility” of a JCU Hillel will go a long way toward making unaffiliated Jewish students more willing to embrace their identity on campus.

Once Markovich completed the process to establish a new Hillel student group, JCU offered him funding to help ensure its success….READ MORE

Jewish Studies Professors “Stand With” Muslim Violence and Against Free Speech

Source: Hudson New York, 5-3-11

It appears that contagion of politicizing Middle East Studies programs currently raging in our universities has metastasized to Jewish studies as well. Campus Watch editors report that in March 2011, an open letter was signed by 30 University of California Jewish Studies faculty members attempting to rationalize the disruption by Muslim students of a lecture by Michael Oren, Israeli’s Ambassador to the United States, at the University of California Irvine campus a month earlier.

Posted as “Stand With The Eleven” (the 11 being the offending members of the radical Muslim Student Union charged with a misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting), the letter states:

“As faculty affiliated with Jewish Studies at the University of California, we are deeply distressed by the decision of the District Attorney in Orange County, California, to file criminal charges against Muslim students who disrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech on the UC Irvine campus last year. While we disagree with the students’ decision to disrupt the speech, we do not believe such peaceful protest should give rise to criminal liability. The individual students and the Muslim Student Union were disciplined for this conduct by the University, including suspending the MSU from functioning as a student organization for a quarter. This is sufficient punishment. There is no need for further punitive measures, let alone criminal prosecution and criminal sanctions.”

You might assume that in the interests of a free and open campus, a college administration and faculty would recognize the implicit danger to the academic enterprise when force is employed to prevent a speaker from delivering his lecture. Despite the claim in the letter, the protest was not peaceful, and the penalties imposed are mild by any standard. But what is particularly notable, based on the research of Campus Watch editors, is that the signatories to the letter all share antipathy to the state of Israel. One is an apologist for Hamas; another supports an Israeli divestment bill; a third refers to Israel as “an apartheid regime;” and a forth claims the Israel lobby “has the power to silence its critics.”

Moreover, these same professors have averted their gaze to the rising tide of anti-semitism on campus. Jewish students reportedly have been subjected to swastikas, anti-semitic graffiti and physical and verbal aggression. Yet the response on campus has been restrained (arguably, non-existent).

Kenneth Marcus, head of the Anti-Semitism Initiative at the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, wrote that the examples cited have “become sadly emblematic of a wave of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents that have rippled across the county, nowhere more so than in the ‘Golden State,’ which has become an epicenter for the new Anti-Semitism in America.”

It is surprising that the professors in Jewish Studies are more concerned with the status of Muslim students than the attacks against Jews.

On second thought, this may not be surprising. In this instance, the radical sensibility trumps religious affiliation. By invoking attitudes toward Muslim students in their letter, these Jewish Studies professors, by implication, are addressing values detrimental to the academic environment. Yet curiously, anti-Semitic hatred and violence do not get their attention.

One of the signatories, UC Davis professor David Biale, criticized a Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ statement protecting Jewish students from ethnic or racial based harassment. He said, this is “a very bizarre tactic,” because, as he noted, “the Jews are a group with power.” Apparently Professor Biale has overlooked the growing influence of Muslims in the U.S. and elsewhere, or the oil card played by Muslim-dominated states, or the 57 Muslim nations in the UN that vote as a bloc, or even equal justice under law.

Of course, none of this makes any difference to those driven by an ideological aversion to Jews and Israel. Jewish self hatred is not new, but it is no less nauseating in its present form.

Cinnamon Stillwell, Judith Greblya: USA: Anti-Israel Jewish Studies

Cinnamon Stillwell, Judith Greblya: USA: Anti-Israel Jewish Studies

Source: Arutz Sheva, 4-26-11

The field of Middle East studies is notorious for producing apologias for radical Islam, particularly where anti-Israel and, at times, anti-Semitic sentiment is concerned.

These same tendencies are also increasingly common in an unexpected sector of university life: Jewish studies. An open letter dated March 3, 2011, and signed by 30 University of California Jewish studies faculty members, is a case in point.

The letter to the Orange County District Attorney concerns the orchestrated disruption of a lecture by Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the United States, at the University of California, Irvine on February 8, 2010.  The D.A.recently charged the 11 offending students—all members of the radical Muslim Student Union, a branch of the Muslim Student Association—with one count each of misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting and misdemeanor disturbance of a meeting.

Posted at the “Stand with the Eleven” website, along with a similar statement by 100 UC Irvine faculty members, the letter states:

As faculty affiliated with Jewish Studies at the University of California, we are deeply distressed by the decision of the District Attorney in Orange County, California, to file criminal charges against Muslim students who disrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech on the UC Irvine campus last year. While we disagree with the students’ decision to disrupt the speech, we do not believe such peaceful protest should give rise to criminal liability. The individual students and the Muslim Student Union were disciplined for this conduct by the University, including suspending the MSU from functioning as a student organization for a quarter. This is sufficient punishment. There is no need for further punitive measures, let alone criminal prosecution and criminal sanctions.

While it might seem counter-intuitive for Jewish studies academics to support such an endeavor, a closer look demonstrates that many of the signatories are harsh critics of Israel. For example:

·       –Mark LeVine, a Middle East studies professor who is affiliated with Jewish studies at UC Irvine, is an apologist for Hamas and blames Israel solely for the ongoing violence. In a June 2005Al-Jazeera op-ed, LeVine described the Turkish terrorist supporters who were killed on the Gaza Flotilla ships as “martyrs,” “heroes,” and “warriors every bit as deserving of our tears and support as the soldiers of American wars past and present.” In a 2010 History News Network op-ed, LeVine described the MSU’s disruption of Oren’s speech as a “teachable moment.”

·       –Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the departments of Near Eastern studies and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, signed a statement from University of California faculty members urging the UC Berkeley student senate to vote “yes” on an Israel divestment bill. In a June 2006 article at the Arabic News website titled, “U.S. Professor on How Zionism and Apartheid Are Alike,” Boyarin labeled Israel an apartheid state wherein the “destruction of human rights and democracy is at least as severe as that of the South Africans.”

·        –David Theo Goldberg, a professor of comparative literature who is affiliated with Jewish studies at UC Irvine, signed a 2009 open letter to President Obama describing Israel as “an apartheid regime” that is committing “one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times.” In a 2009 article, Goldberg compared Gaza to a “concentration camp” and “the Warsaw Ghetto at the time of its encirclement” and argued that the Jewish state should be replaced with a bi-national state. In 2002, he signed a petition calling on the University of California to divest from Israel.

·        –Emily Gottreich, vice chair for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)atUC Berkeley and a specialist in Moroccan Jewish history and Muslim-Jewish relations, labeled a Berkeley Jewish Journal article questioning Saudi funding for CMES, “the most extreme form of right-wing Zionism.”

·        –David N. Myers, professor and chair of history and former director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, employed all the usual clichés—“cycle of violence,” “disproportionately harsh”—to single Israel out as “the most responsible party” for the “escalating violence” in a July 2006 Los Angeles Times op-ed. In a piece titled, “Rethinking the Jewish Nation” in the Winter 2011 edition of the Havruta Journal, Myers argued that “Statist Zionism,” or a Jewish state, should give way to a “global Jewish collective.”

·        –David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis—and co-author of the “Irvine 11” letter, according to an email sent to Jewish studies faculty by Diane Wolf, chair of Jewish studies at UC Davis—writing in the October 2008 edition of the online journal Perush, referred to “the very real power that Jews and their allies . . .  exercise, especially in the Congress, around Israel” and claimed that the so-called Israel lobby “has the power to silence its critics.” In the same piece, Biale criticized Ruth Wisse’s 2007 book, Jews and Power, for being “an unabashed neo-conservative brief for Zionism and the State of Israel.”

Although Jewish studies academics should not be expected to provide unquestioning support for Israel, the extremism exhibited by these signatories—culminating in the demonization and delegitimizing of the Jewish state—is startling.

What’s worse, they turn a blind eye to campus anti-Semitism. None of the UC Irvine signatories who expressed support for the Muslim students disrupting Oren’s talk thought to do the same for Jewish students suffering from harassment and violence on their own campus. Their names are conspicuously absent from a May 10, 2010, open letter expressing concern—on behalf of UC Irvine faculty—over “activities on campus that foment hatred against Jews and Israelis.”

Moreover, none of the signatories signed a similar letter in June, 2010, to Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, highlighting the rise of anti-Semitism throughout the UC system. Penned by pro-Israel organizations and supported by an online petition signed by over 700 students, the letter states:

Bigotry against Jewish students has occurred over many years and on many University of California campuses. Over the last several years, Jewish students have been subjected to: swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti; acts of physical and verbal aggression; speakers, films and exhibits that use anti-Semitic imagery and discourse; speakers that praise and encourage support for terrorist organizations that openly advocate murder against Israel and the Jewish people; the organized disruption of events sponsored by Jewish student groups; and most recently, the promotion of student senate resolutions for divestment that seek to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish State.

Two ongoing investigations into anti-Semitism on UC campuses provide further evidence of this disturbing trend. Jewish student Jessica Felber is suingUC Berkeley for failing to provide a safe atmosphereafter being assaulted by Husam Zakaria, a Berkeley student leader of Students for Justice in Palestine. The assault took place during a campus rally in which Felber, paradoxically, was carrying a sign that read, “Israel Wants Peace.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigatinga June 2009 complaint filed by Hebrew lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin detailing the poisonous atmosphere at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The complaint alleges “a long-standing and pervasive pattern of discrimination against Jewish students . . . emanating from faculty and administrators at UCSC.”

Summing up the problem, Kenneth Marcus—former OCR chief and now head of the Anti-Semitism Initiative at the Institute for Jewish and Community Research—in his March 28, 2011, article, “Fighting Back Against Campus Anti-Semitism,” writes that such examples have become sadly emblematic of a wave of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents that have rippled across the country, nowhere more so than in the ‘Golden State,’ which has become an epicenter for the New Anti-Semitism in America.

Yet the Jewish studies signatories to the “Irvine 11” letter are more concerned about Muslim students facing the consequences of their actions—something they decry as“detrimental to the values exemplified by the academic and intellectual environment on our university campuses”—than about the rising tide of anti-Semitic hatred and violence in their own backyard.

Unbelievably, one of the signatoriesactually opposes efforts to combat the crisis. When the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights reinstated protection for Jewish students from ethnic- or race-based harassment in October 2010, UC Davis professor David Biale criticized the decision, calling it “a very bizarre tactic” because, as he put it, “the Jews are a group with power.”

This obstructionism may stem from the fact that the majority of the anti-Semitic incidents and sentiment on California campuses and beyond originate with Muslim student groups. Indeed, UC Irvine’s MSU is widely recognized as one of the worst offenders in this regard, to the point where even the Anti-Defamation League, which has been reticent to recognize Islamic anti-Semitism, has seen fit to single them out.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Jewish studies academics remain oblivious or unconcerned and, as a consequence, complicit. Oren—himself an accomplished scholar of the Middle East—is deemed less important than what is, in effect, a gang of thugs.

Perhaps such behaviorshould be expected from those who sign petitions to divest from Israel, call Israel an apartheid state, compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto, devote conferences and research to undermining Zionism, and falsely accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing.