March 18, 2009
NEW YORK (JTA) — Toronto Jewish leaders welcomed the establishment of a task force to review concerns about the student environment at York University. Continue reading
WHAT Is anti-Semitism, and how does it differ from the so-called “new anti-Semitism” that’s currently proliferating on the country’s college campuses? Is being anti-Israel the same as being anti-Semitic? Does constitutionally protected free speech cover hate speech too?
On Sept. 10, the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center presented a talk by Roz Rothstein, executive director of Stand With Us, an international education organization founded by Rothstein in 2001 in response to the Palestinian Second Intifada. With her was Roberta Seid, a colleague, and together, the two women spoke on “The New Anti-Semitism on Campus, on the Internet and in Churches.” They’re particularly concerned that college students, many of whom have little or no knowledge of Jewish or Israeli history, are vulnerable to misleading and fabricated statements made by anti-Semites. They regard education as the key to combating what they call this new anti-Semitism.
A definition of anti-Semitism that’s widely used today is that it’s hatred of Jews simply because they’re Jewish. This has certainly been the case historically.
Also historical is that for thousands of years, Jewish prayers have included a fervent plea to God for a return to Israel, which was considered the promised land. Jews who still identify strongly with Israel feel that being anti-Israel is the same thing as being anti-Semitic. A more widespread view is that condemning individual acts of Israel is not the same as anti-Semitism, but condemning the state of Israel without justification constitutes anti-Israelism – and that stems from anti-Semitism. Continue reading
Independent Task force to delay release of final report
Huntington Beach, CA, December 12, 2007- In light of the release of findings from the U.S. Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights (OCR), The Orange County Independent Task Force has decided to delay issuance of its final report pending review the OCR findings, as well as to study recent information and testimony that it has obtained. The Independent Task Force anticipates release its report and recommendations early in 2008.
The Independent Task Force was formed early in 2007 to investigate alleged incidents of anti-Semitism at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). The goal of the Independent Task Force is issue a thorough and objective report with findings and recommendations to the community and to the UCI administration.
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When the Hillel Foundation of Orange County dropped its investigation into anti-Semitism at UCI, the task force assembled to do the inquiry was “surprised and shocked,” according to its leader Jesse Rosenblum.
So were we. Even more shocking was when the foundation decided instead to promote Jewish life on campus sometime “over the summer.”
“We wanted to focus more on the campus and improving Jewish life at the university,” said Jeffrey Rips, Hillel’s executive director in Orange County.
That’s nice. But we wouldn’t have had any idea if a reporter hadn’t just asked Hillel officials.
When Hillel officials announced the review early this year they cited “an alarming increase in anti-Semitism” at UCI. Rips at that time put the blame on the Muslim Student Union. That organization jabbed back that the investigation was “an intimidation tactic” to curtail the union’s criticism of Israel.
Those are strong words from both sides. They signal how toxic tensions had grown on campus.
So how is it that the investigation could just fizzle without any sort of an announcement or an explanation? We haven’t even been given any results of the investigation. We expect more from such a well-established leader in the Jewish community.
We’re grateful that the task force has chosen to continue the investigation even without Hillel’s support and hope that the university offers as much support as possible. Clearly there’s something amiss on campus when the task force members have been so adamant about soldiering on with the review.
In related news, UC Irvine officials acknowledged this week that they will no longer support student organizations that want to prohibit the recording of their meetings or events on campus.
Speaking of intimidation tactics, previous Muslim Student Union leaders told event visitors that they cannot record their speakers. They say they want to stop critics from taking comments out of context and using them against the organization.
That’s just bunk. Worse, it’s a trampling of the 1st Amendment, and university officials should have known better.
“…Last February, Hillel of Orange County formed a task force to investigate what it viewed as a troubling number of anti-Semitic speeches and incidents on the UCI campus, including complaints by Jewish students that they were being followed and harassed by their Muslim classmates. That was before UCI’s Intifada week this past spring, which included speakers supporting the terrorist group Hamas and a speech entitled “Zio-Nazis.” That was before the infamous Ward Churchill, defender of the 9/11 attacks, was invited to speak on campus.
This past June, at a meeting attended by hundreds of concerned members of the Jewish community in Irvine, Dr. Drake told one parent, whose children don’t want to attend UC Irvine because of the virulent expressions of hatred, not to worry because these incidents “are not every other day. It’s a couple times a year.” Asked why he didn’t exercise his own right to free speech to “speak directly to statements made on campus” (as former Harvard President Lawrence Summers did when he opposed calls for divestment from Israel by terming such actions “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent”), Dr. Drake ducked. “We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”
Read the commentary here: the-most-corrupt-man-in-california.html
Chancellor encourages community involvement against incidents of perceived hate speech on campus.
By JORGE BARRIENTOS
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
IRVINE – UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.
Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.
“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”
The meeting comes after a February decision by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, a Jewish group, to form a task force to investigate what it called “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.
Drake, who maintained throughout the night that presentations on campus sponsored by Muslim student groups constituted free speech, was invited by several Orange County Jewish groups.
Here are a few questions, with responses by Drake:
Why is it that you personally don’t exercise your right to free speech and speak directly to statements made on campus?
“We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”
Right now, my kids don’t want to go to your school. With the activity on campus, why should my kids go to your school?
“It’s an outstanding educational institutional. If you talk to our students, they will tell you how much they love their experience here. (These incidents) are not every other day. It’s a couple of times a year. And they’re from people coming from off campus. It just got more media attention.”
Is there a place on campus that does not tolerate anti-group speech on campus?
“There are 26,000 students on campus. I want every student on campus to know that this is their home. I want them to feel secure, and feel that is their home.”
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