Sunday, March 24, 2013

Apartheid Week: The Modern Blood Libel

by Jerrold L. Sobel

For centuries throughout their glorious but tormented history, long before the re-establishment of the state of Israel, Jewish people have been victims of the blood libel. Through an annual rite known as Apartheid Week, this execrable phenomenon has once again reared its ugly head, this time gaining respectability in the halls of academia and on college campuses throughout the United States and Canada. Harvard is a prime example.

In an effort to publicize their vilification of Israel during libelous Apartheid Week, a vehemently anti-Israeli organization within Harvard known as the Palestine Security Committee employed a tactic becoming all too common throughout the U.S.: they posted
mock eviction notices on the doors of students claiming their dorms would soon be demolished.

Some inevitably will argue this is just an expression of their First Amendment rights. In reality, it's nothing of the sort. As stated by Robert Trestan, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Acting New England Regional Director: "This tactic is designed to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates at Harvard and campuses around the country," He continues: "Free expression has a place on campus; however targeting the dorms of Harvard students lends itself to creating tension, isolating students and fomenting hostility."

Intimidating pro-Israel advocates on campuses around the country is indeed the operative phrase here. Far from a sophomoric stunt, this is part of a nationwide movement on campus which seeks to denigrate Israel while stifling academic discourse. From Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn College, Northeastern University and far too many other universities throughout the United States, hatred of Israel and Jews in general is being spewed. Most disturbing, on many campuses this calumny is more than tacitly supported by the administration, most egregiously in Boca Raton Florida at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Dead babies, apartheid walls, and once again, mock eviction notices placed on student dorms and calls for Israel's destruction; all part of a troubling pattern of extreme activism perpetuated by the aforementioned anti-Semitic nationwide organization Palestine Security Committee, also known as Student Justice For Palestine (SJP). 

FAU is a university with an anti-Semitism problem and an irresponsible administration helping to make things worse. In January 2011 FAU's SJP, along with other chapters from universities around the state participated in an organizing conference sponsored by the American Muslims for Palestine organization (AMP). The objective of the meeting was to have SJP become more effective in its efforts by having experienced anti-Israel activists provide training, and to help regional chapters coordinate with each other and share their resources. AMP is a well-funded, professional organization with ties to Islamic radicals and supporters of terrorism against Israel. It specializes in targeting vital parts of the educational system, primarily libraries, high schools, university curricula, and student organizations. Flown in to lead the conference was one of the leaders of the now infamous Irvine 11, who were convicted of systematically harassing Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to the point that he was unable to deliver a lecture at the University of California. So much for the free interchange of ideas.

Rather than heed the warnings and evidence it received, Florida Atlantic University's administration applied no scrutiny to SJP as it increased its radical activities on campus. A steady stream of anti-Semites and anti-Israel firebrands have been reaching into campus with the goal of radicalizing the students. As a result, the activities and messaging of SJP have steadily become more aggressive. FAU's indifference to anti-Semitism appears directly attributable to Dr. Charles Brown, the University's Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. Prior to his joining FAU in 2006, Dr. Brown served in similar positions at Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of South Florida in Tampa, two of the most notoriously venomous anti-Israel universities in the country. His time at USF immediately followed the indictment of Professor Sami Al-Arian, who later plead guilty to serving as the American head of the Islamic Jihad Terror organization. Al-Arian and his cronies at USF, including his research associate and now current FAU professor Bassem Al-Halabi, cultivated a culture of anti-Semitic student radicalism that continued to be tolerated throughout Brown's tenure there.

By the spring of 2012 FAU's SJP chapter was fully out of control. Mock eviction notices were posted on the door of hundreds of on-campus residences. SJP brazenly misappropriated the seal of Palm Beach County, which was a violation of law. The Palm Beach County attorney's office immediately sent a cease and desist order. The fake eviction notice also included a seal and authorization stamp from FAU's student housing authority, which were in fact issued by the university. In response to this, Dr. Charles Brown, the school's senior vice president for student affairs, initially misled reporters by claiming that the university had not authorized the fliers. This statement was later retracted when SJP revealed that not only had it been approved, but an FAU employee actually escorted hundreds of notices on dorm rooms and elevators. If this doesn't cross the line of academic freedom into the realm of administrative complicity, what does?

To answer my own question: on Feb. 6, the Tom Trento TV/radio crew attempted to sit in on a public meeting at FAU, where Greta Berlin, a noted Jew/Israeli hater, was to speak. The crew was denied entry into this advertised, public, taxpayer-supported event and threatened with arrest by a Boca Raton police officer, who claimed he was taking his orders from "the building manager." Enough said about constitutional rights when up against a complicit school administration and ignorant civil service employees.

To push back against the administration's anti-Israel/anti-Semitic bent and the actions they are culpable for, a writing campaign of protest has begun to FAU's President MJ Saunders: Protests and letters may not stop this egregious behavior at FAU but withholding charitable donations may raise some eyebrows at the school.

Jerrold L. Sobel


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

1 comment:

Freya said...

Saudi funds and underwrites many UK universities too. This sort of egregiousness is problematic there

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