Jewish Organizations Praise Tufts University’s President for Condemning Award for Students for Justice in Palestine
The Algemeiner quoted B'nai B'rith regarding its praise of Tufts University's president condemning an award given to the campus branch of Students for Justice in Palestine.
The Tufts University Hillel and major Jewish groups praised the university’s president and other top administration officials for condemning the decision to give an award to the campus branch of Students for Justice in Palestine due to its participation in a campaign many view as antisemitic.
The Tufts SJP won the Collaboration Award for its work on what it calls the “Deadly Exchange” campaign, which claims that Israel’s training of US police forces in anti-terror operations harms people of color. Critics have called the “Deadly Exchange” campaign openly antisemitic and a blood libel.
Last Thursday, Tuft’s President Anthony Monaco, Provost Nadine Aubry, and Deans James Glaser, Jianmin Qu, and Nancy Thompson issued a statement condemning the award.
“We strongly disapprove of this award in light of SJP’s concerning policy positions, including its association with the BDS movement, elements of which we view as antisemitic,” they said.
“We will be reviewing the awards process, which currently does not involve academic deans or senior university leadership and this year did not include students, in order to ensure proper oversight and review going forward,” they pledged.
“We as senior leaders take responsibility for this outcome, which should not have happened, and recognize that the award has caused a great deal of pain and concern for Jewish members of our community and others who share concerns about SJP’s policy positions, particularly in light of rising antisemitism in the US and around the world,” the statement concluded.
Tufts Hillel said in a statement to The Algemeiner that it “was naturally very upset to learn that the Students for Justice in Palestine at Tufts received an award for their collaborative efforts in their ‘Deadly Exchange’ campaign.”
“As soon as this was brought to our attention, we worked closely with the university leadership, sharing our deep concerns about its implication for the integrity of the awards system and its negative message to the Jewish community,” the group said.
“In response to these constructive conversations Tufts released a strong statement that speaks for itself,” they added. “We appreciate President Monaco’s swift response and decisive leadership on this critical issue.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, stated, “We appreciate the leadership from @MonacoAnthony & @Tufts here. It’s ironic for SJP to win an award for collaboration when they routinely alienate Jewish students and others who don’t submit to their rigid worldview and regularly foster #antisemitism.”
B’nai B’rith International also praised Monaco, tweeting, “Appalled @TuftsUniversity chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) won student Collaboration Award for what are false narrative accusations against Israel. SJP maligns Jewish students. We commend school leaders who disapprove of award to SJP.”
The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “Kudos to @TuftsUniversity President Monaco for making clear that @SJPtufts should not have received the school’s ‘Collaboration Award.’ The group promotes the antisemitic BDS movement and alienates Jewish students. They don’t care about collaboration.”
The Algemeiner quoted B'nai B'rith regarding the recent anti-Semitic attack against Rabbi Rosenstein of Yale Chabad.
A rabbi who survived a violent antisemitic attack in New Haven last week praised the swift response of the police officers who arrived to assist him as he lay battered on the ground.
The frightening attack on Rabbi Yehoshua Rosenstein — the Jewish life adviser of the Chabad branch at Yale University — took place last Tuesday night.
Rosenstein had been making a call on his cellphone while standing outside the Yale Chabad House when he was approached by two teenage boys, one of whom told him, “Give us everything you have, you f__ Jew.”
In an interview with the New Haven Independent about his ordeal, Rabbi Rosenstein said he had responded, “Guys, you don’t have to do this. I can just walk away.”
The teens immediately knocked Rosenstein to the ground while punching and kicking him. As the rabbi cried out for help, neighbors came running out — but not in time to stop one of the boys from grabbing his car keys and speeding off in an Audi.
But Rosenstein praised the four officers who arrived “within a minute” of him calling 911.
Police were able to track down the stolen Audi, but the assailant driving the car ignored instructions to pull over. After being pursued by police along the I-95 interstate highway, the car was involved in a collision in East Haven. No one was hurt, however, and when police arrested the occupants of the vehicle, they took into custody three additional passengers who had been picked up by the two assailants during the journey.
Meanwhile, Rosenstein was advised by his doctor not to go to hospital with his injuries, given the coronavirus pandemic. The rabbi set about recovering at home instead.
“I’m grateful to God for sparing my life,” Rosenstein told the New Haven Independent. “I’m grateful to God for being alive and waking up this morning to spend time with my wife and kids and community. This could have been a disaster."
On Sunday, the Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith International called for Rosenstein’s attackers to face hate crimes charges.
JNS quoted B'nai B'rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin on the overturned convictions in the murder of former Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl.
(April 3, 2020 / JNS) Jewish and pro-Israel organizations expressed shock and contempt over a Pakistani court on Thursday that overturned the four convictions related to the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl.
Three were handed life sentences, and a fourth, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was awaiting execution. The Karachi court reduced Sheikh’s sentence to seven years for kidnapping following the hearing of an appeal last month.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged by Pakistan’s acquittal of these psychopathic killers. Daniel Pearl’s father is a close friend of ours. He won CAMERA’s courage award last year. Our hope is that the media gives this harrowing injustice the full attention it deserves,” the organization’s communications director, Jonah Cohen, told JNS.
Pearl’s father, Judea Pearl, blasted the Karachi court’s decision.
“It is a mockery of justice,” he tweeted. “Anyone with a minimal sense of right and wrong now expects Faiz Shah, prosecutor general of Sindh to do his duty and appeal this reprehensible decision to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”
It is unclear if all four will be released immediately. Shah said he would appeal the decision to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The four men will remain behind bars for at least 90 days due to “public safety,” according to a ruling issued by the Home Department of Sindh province.
“We are outraged by the decision of the Sindh High Court in Karachi, Pakistan to acquit Ahmed Omar Sheikh and three others involved in the barbaric murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl [may his memory be for a blessing] in 2002,” said the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a statement. “It is unconscionable for these barbaric killers to go free.”
“We urge the U.S. government to press the government in Pakistan to reverse this injustice and hold the murderers of an American citizen to account,” added the Conference.
A Twitter post by the U.S. State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, signed with the initials of Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, read: “The overturning of the convictions for Daniel Pearl’s murder is an affront to victims of terrorism everywhere. We welcome Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict. Those responsible for Daniel’s heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice.”
“I find this action of a court filled with Muslim judges releasing Muslim murderers of a Jew to be nothing less than evil barbarism and grotesque Jew-hatred,” Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told JNS. “Polls have shown that well over half the Muslims in that part of the world to be anti-Semitic.”
“This court has just lent more validity to those polls,” he continued. “And the leaders of Pakistan and world and religious leaders are deafeningly silent.”
“The Pakistani court’s decision to free four men found guilty in Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder is an insult to victims of terrorism everywhere,” B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS. “We call for an immediate reversal of this outrageous verdict."
B'nai B'rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin responded to the festering of anti-Semitism at NYU and on other college campuses, even as colleges shift completely to online learning in The Jerusalem Post.
This is a moment in our lives — and in the history of the planet —when we are supposed to be pulling together to confront a dangerous and unseen enemy. Yet, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there are still some diehards who have time to engage in spreading another persistent virus: antisemitism.
Such was the case last week when Leen Dweik, the former head of New York University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), tweeted the following in response to the death of 88-year-old Aryeh Even, a survivor of the Holocaust and Israel’s first Coronavirus fatality: “Anyway, should I paint my nails green or red today?”
The response from NYU was quick and unequivocal. Spokesman John Beckham said that “the reported Twitter post by a former NYU student about the first Israeli death from COVID-19 was shameful and callous....NYU denounces such insensitivity; it is at odds with our campus values.”
Jewish groups, including B’nai B’rith, praised the NYU statement, but the dictum “you reap what you sow” comes immediately to mind in looking back at the activities of Dweik and her BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) fellow travelers who made life impossible for pro-Israel Jewish students during their time on campus.
Though colleges have shifted to virtual campuses, the ability for SJP to spread its hate online is perhaps more of a threat.
SJP is an organization with branches on campuses around the country. It exists only to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Its stock vernacular compares Israel to Nazi Germany and says that Israelis are war criminals. Those who support Israel, including Jewish organizations on campus, are considered to be in the same category. Its members bully other students and create an environment of fear for Jewish students and others who have the temerity to support the State of Israel and the Zionist movement which created it.
Last April, SJP at NYU was actually awarded the President’s Service Award, which is “given to students or student organizations that have had an extraordinary and positive impact on the University community, including achievements within schools and departments, the University at large, local neighborhoods, and NYU’s presence in the world.”
Responding to the announcement of its selection for the accolade, SJP noted on its Facebook page that “We are thrilled to announce that we have been selected to receive a presidential service award at NYU...we agree that we have made significant contributions to the University community in areas of learning, leadership, and quality of student life."
Like, making other students feel threatened and unwelcome.
University President Andrew Hamilton, who has spoken out against the BDS movement, was not present for the ceremony. But the award was bestowed anyway.
A year ago, a complaint was filed with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights by an NYU student who charged that the university tolerated “extreme antisemitism” to fester on campus, and looked the other way at the “hostile atmosphere” for Jewish students. The complaint asked whether the university had “responded appropriately” to the incidents in question.
The student who brought the complaint said in an interview with Fox News that Jewish students felt “threatened and targeted...the Administration essentially told me that they were supportive of the Jewish community, but that no concrete actions could be taken against SJP.”
She went on to describe incidents in which pro-Israel students were manhandled by other students at a celebration of Israel’s independence in Washington Square Park. In response to a call for disciplining the students, “NYU told me not to post on social media and to lower my own presence and the presence of my community instead of addressing a group that has harassed a minority population.”
Dweik’s Students for Justice in Palestine had been at the forefront of this reign of intimidation. It was Dweik who confronted Chelsea Clinton at an NYU event held in response to the killing of 49 people in a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. Clinton had called out Rep. Ilhan Omar for anti-Semitic comments made earlier.
“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you....Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there, ” Dweik said.
The egregious NYU example is only one of many involving SJP and similar organizations on campuses around the country. The list is a long one and includes both state universities and prestigious private colleges. Oftentimes, like-minded faculty members aid and abet the student organizations in inciting against Israel and its supporters.
College administrators, too willing to tolerate intimidation of segments of the campus community and leery of charges of not protecting academic freedom, have too often ignored, neglected or looked the other way in confronting this atmosphere of hate. Too many are willing to parse what constitutes antisemitism, leaning instead on the protestations of campus groups that they are only engaging in “legitimate criticism of Israel.”
Meanwhile, the problem of indulging such behavior has not only festered, it has grown apace.
Seeing this snowball into a critical mass of antisemitism, the US Justice Department convened a conference on antisemitism in July of 2019. Among others, its program featured Attorney General William Barr, as well as a group of experts who focused on antisemitism on campus. It gave the issue a national focus that heretofore was sorely lacking.
And in December of last year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order bringing protection from discrimination — and antiemitism — to Jewish students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The umbrella of protection had, until that point, covered students based on race, national origin and ethnicity — but not Jews.
The order not only rectified a glaring omission in the law, but put the full force of the federal government behind efforts to combat campus antisemitism and in the process, offer some measure of reassurance to Jewish students and their families that, even if college administrators were failing to act, there was not only a mechanism to bring complaints, but a law in place to impose penalties for those institutions that allowed this activity to occur.
Leen Dweik’s repulsive tweet on Aryeh Even’s tragic death from COVID-19 speaks for itself. Her hatred of Israelis, Israel and its supporters knows no bounds, even to the point of making a sarcastic comment about the passing of a survivor of the Holocaust in the midst of a raging pandemic.
But Dweik, and those on campuses just like her, have engaged in this kind of hate speech under the gaze of university administrators everywhere for years. Hate speech is not free speech, especially that which intimidates, threatens or incites against students for supporting and advocating what they believe in.
It is relatively easy to connect the dots from the hate speech of Dweik and her crowd, to a tweet that smugly dismisses the death of an 88-year-old Israeli. Not only does she lack basic decency at a time where every human being is at risk, but she continues to harbor unbridled hatred. For far too long, students have had to check their Zionism at the door for fear of the SJP retaliation. Had she and others been reined in earlier, had she been firmly told that she had crossed red lines, that fellow students who are passionate about Israel have as much right as she does to hold their views, she might have learned that free speech does indeed have limits.
The NYU statement on Dweik was welcome, and perhaps not too late. Let’s hope, in the middle of our intense focus on the coronavirus, it was not lost on college administrators everywhere.
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