GEORGIA: Israeli Consul General─ Rising Anti-Semitism Must Be Tackled From the Top Down

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From Global Atlanta:

Back from a trip to Israel last week, Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer made a troubling observation while attending Holocaust memorial ceremonies in Atlanta: Attendance was down, and those who did turn out were generally older.

That was followed by an April 24 audit by the Anti-Defamation League noting that anti-Semitic attacks and threats in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama more than doubled in 2016.

Nationally, the organization counted 1,266 incidents — from bomb threats to harassment to outright attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions — an increase of 35 percent over 2015.

To Ms. Shorer, the daughter of Holocaust survivors and the top diplomat for Israel in the Southeast, the confluence of these issues presents a challenge: Only by presenting the lessons of history clearly to the younger generations can present-day discrimination be fought effectively.

“That’s my biggest fear — that remembrance somewhere will be cut, not because it’s being planned ahead of time, but because that’s the nature of people,” she said during a Global Atlanta Consular Conversation luncheon interview Tuesday.

Ms. Shorer was clearly troubled after a recent visit to North Carolina, where government officials revealed accounts of college-student harassment other anti-Semitic incidents.

“It bothers me, because this area was considered the best for Israel and the Jews,” she said, referring to the Southeast U.S.

Based in Atlanta with responsibility for seven states, she recently visited North Carolina and is headed again to Tennessee soon.

So far in 2017, anti-semitic incidents around the U.S. are up 86 percent compared to the same period last year, and the South is no different.

“We have already seen a doubling of the number of incidents in just the first quarter of 2017 in our region, jumping from 16 incidents to 32,” said ADL Southeast Interim Regional Director Shelley Rose. “It is particularly disturbing to see the number of incidents directed toward Jewish youth. I have received several reports of Holocaust ‘jokes’ being shared and offensive comments directed at Jewish youth.”

Ms. Shorer wouldn’t venture a guess as to why such incidents are on the rise, but the ADL report had no problem pointing fingers.

The organization highlighted the 2016 elections as a contributing factor, citing multiple examples where aggressors cited Donald Trump, who won the presidency despite alienating many minorities.

Mr. Trump during the campaign was criticized for retweeting anti-Semitic messages circulated by white supremacist groups. He was also slow to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who endorsed him. Then, just after his inauguration in January, the new president failed to mention the Jewish people in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On Tuesday, however, Mr. Trump unequivocally denounced the systematic murder of 6 million Jews in Europe during a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington attended by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer.

He labeled Holocaust deniers as “an accomplice to this horrible evil” while addressing other forms of anti-Semitism that he said must be rooted out.

Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world. We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens. Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction.

This is my pledge to you: We will confront anti-Semitism We will stamp out prejudice. We will condemn hatred. We will bear witness. And we will act. As President of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people — and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel.

For Ms. Shorer, whose parents eventually made their way from wartime Hungary to Israel, these statements should be a promising sign. Speaking around the same time as Mr. Trump and unaware of his exact remarks, she said clear messages by American leaders are key to stamping out prejudice.

“The administration and Congress have to speak against the phenomenon,” said Ms. Shorer, who in one of her many jobs during a 40-year diplomatic career worked with U.S. Congress in the Israeli embassy.

Beyond official denouncements of the Holocaust, diplomats and civil society and citizens must continue raising the issue more and more, in hopes that it will never be forgotten or repeated, she said.

Ms. Shorer is no stranger to this kind of frank dialogue. As a Hungarian-speaking ambassador for her country to Hungary during the early 2000s, she remembered speaking openly about the way the country’s alliance with Nazi Germany directly affected her family.

“There is no drawing board, there is pushing awareness all the time — speaking and listening.”

United Nations: Secretary General─ Denial of Israel’s right to exist is ‘modern form of anti-Semitism’

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From JTA:

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed to take action to end anti-Semitism and called the denial of Israel’s right to exist a modern form of anti-Jewish hatred.

Speaking Sunday night at the World Jewish Congress’ Plenary Assembly in New York, Guterres said he could not control all expressions of bias against Israel at the United Nations. But he said Israel has the right to be treated like any other U.N. member state.

“A modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist,” Guterres said. “As secretary-general of the United Nations, I can say that the State of Israel needs to be treated as any other state, with exactly the same rules.”

Israeli and U.S. officials, along with supporters of Israel, have long accused the United Nations of irredeemable bias against Israel. According to U.N. Watch, a pro-Israel group that monitors the international body, the U.N. General Assembly condemned Israel 20 times in 2016, compared to six condemnations for the rest of the world combined.

But Guterres emphasized that treating Israel fairly “does not mean I will always be in agreement with all the decisions made by any government position taken by any government that sits in Israel,” but adding he supports “the absolutely undeniable right of Israel to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors.” He also advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The secretary-general, speaking ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime in the history of mankind” and promised to marshal the U.N. to eliminate anti-Semitism.

“You can be absolutely sure, as secretary-general of the United Nations, I will be in the front line of the struggle against anti-Semitism, and to make sure the United Nations is able to to take all possible actions for anti-Semitism to be condemned, and if possible, eradicated from the face of the earth,” he said.

Speaking the same day that right-wing populist Marine Le Pen advanced to the final round of France’s presidential election, Guterres decried rising anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe, which he said was fueled by populism.

“We see today anti-Semitism alive and well,” he said. “We see it in acts of physical aggression, murders of Jewish people in different parts of the world, destruction of property, destruction of monuments, destruction of centers. And very unfortunately we have seen the multiplication of forms of populism, of xenophobia, of hatred.”

PJTN IN THE NEWS: BOYCOTT THIS!

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From The Jerusalem Post:

The documentary puts BDS in its place: If you don’t know what it stands for, remove the ‘D’.

The three most popular letters of the Latin alphabet over the past decade have been “B,” “D” and “S.”

Go to any college campus across the United States and ask students what it means when those three letters are combined and most won’t know the answer. But it doesn’t stop them from taking it up as a cause.

“If you don’t know what BDS stands for, remove the ‘D,’” conservative Christian comedian Brad Stine says in the new film Boycott THIS! which had its initial theatrical release at the end of March.

In the Proclaiming Justice to The Nations “docu-tainment,” Stine and the animated “Facts Man” travel around Israel and the rest of the world speaking to those on the front lines of those targeted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Colored with clips from comedic films and popular songs, Stine takes his act to Palestinians working in Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria, students on American college campuses and Israeli rescue teams such as ISRAID, speaking to a wide array of leading figures who help make sense of this anti-Jewish crusade.

“I have no agenda. I’m a truth-seeker – no matter where that leads, because remember, the moment I can say there is no truth I can control you. I can create a fantasy world and I can demand that you live in it,” he was quick to point out in the first minutes of the 44-minute version of the film released to The Jerusalem Post – Christian Edition.

The humorous film doesn’t shy away from contentious issues or any sides in the conflict. He visits Palestinians living in the West Bank who all their lives have had an anti-Israel position, speaks with everyday Jews, Christians and Muslims in Israel to see if there is any legalized discrimination in hospitals, schools and other public institutions, and finds out the truth about the history of the land of Israel, touching on the biblical period, the Roman renaming of the area to Syria Palaestina, the era of the Palestinian Jews and the 1947 Partition Plan.

“I really don’t know a lot about Israel, but I have a connection to it based on my faith… I feel I have a biblical obligation to understand, and even an obligation to defend her,” Stine said in the beginning of his stand-up routine, which, in a Seinfeld-esque manner, fed off of the interviews he conducted over the course of the film.

For example, while trying to discover if Israel really is an apartheid state, the comedian finds out that the 1999 Miss Israel was Arab, there has been an Arab Supreme Court judge and more than 75 Arabs have been members of Israel’s national legislature, the Knesset. Then, Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid confirms that Israel is not an apartheid state, and Kenneth Meshoe, a leading South African politician, implores the world that by calling Israel an apartheid stated “you are destroying the memory of the real apartheid.”

Back on the stage, Stine jokes, “When it comes to apartheid, Israel sucks. For people who ‘rule the world’ you’d think they’d do a better job.”

The general conclusion is straightforward. He finds out that Israel, like any other country in the world, isn’t perfect. But Stine can’t help but highlight Israeli innovations and projects that have positively impacted, and sometimes completely changed, the lives of millions of people around the world, including Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians.

By being a true “BDS-er,” one would have to give up cellphones, laptops, life-saving drugs, and essentially go back to the Stone Age. In other words, as Stine pointedly quips, “They have the audacity to be in the Middle East and be a democracy – that has got to stop.”

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, told the Post that the goal is to take the documentary to churches, synagogues, university and college campuses and community centers, and to encourage people to spread the word about the truth behind the BDS movement.

“The goal is to present a narrative to show that the Jewish people are not a people who have hatred in their DNA,” Cardoza-Moore says. “These are a people who are constantly creating to make the world a better place, to actually fulfill what it says in the Scriptures, that they would be a light to the nations. And to present that story to Christians.”

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TEXAS: Passes Anti-BDS Bill

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From the Forward:

The Texas House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill on Thursday banning state entities from dealing with businesses that boycott Israel or its settlements.

The bill follows the state Senate’s approval of a similar bill in March by overwhelming numbers. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a reconciled version of both bills next month.

In statements, pro-Israel groups that lobbied for the bills praised its passage.

“The relationship between the Jewish state and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty – especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism,” Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel, said in a statement.

Josh Block, CEO of The Israel Project, sounded a similar note.

“The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation – ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination – Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship,” he said.

The House bill requires that Texas maintain a list of companies boycotting Israel. Civil liberties groups have objected to such provisions in other states, saying they amount to a blacklist.

In some cases the lists, drawn from the media and other open sources, have proven inaccurate, including companies not boycotting Israel.

Liberal pro-Israel groups say that including prohibitions on boycotting settlements undercuts efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Texas would be the 20th state with laws or executive orders banning state business with BDS-compliant companies.

BDS FAIL: Scientists Take a Stand Against Academic Boycotts of Israel

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From The Wall Street Journal:

How can scholars reconcile opposition to the Trump travel ban with blacklists aimed at the Jewish state?

More than 100 Boston-area researchers in health care and life sciences released a statement April 13 in defense of “the liberal ideals which have shaped our democracy” and in support of “the free flow of ideas and information” that is central to their work. Why affirm something so obvious? To stop academic blacklisting by the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, which targets Israeli universities and scholars.

Attempts to isolate Israel and its educational institutions aren’t new. In 1945 the Arab League declared that all Arab institutions and individuals must “refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products of manufactured goods.” The original boycott soon extended to entities that traded with Israel. This did great economic and political damage until the U.S. Congress in 1977 prohibited American companies from cooperating with it, as some were doing. Only U.S. prohibition of the prohibition had the force to guarantee free international trade.

In 2002, a group of professors from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were among the first academics to advocate divesting from Israel. Two years later the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was founded with the explicit purpose of isolating Israeli academics and institutions. Its goal was to deny Israeli scholars access to scholarly conferences, journals and employment opportunities. The boycott also includes keeping unwelcome speakers and information from campus to maintain Israel as the permanent object of blame.

The campaign’s efforts paid off in the U.S., where the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association approved boycotts in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Academic associations that have so far voted such resolutions down—the American Anthropological Association, Modern Language Association and American Historical Association—introduce new ones every year. Only through a concerted effort by school administration can universities remain free spaces. Jewish students should not be expected to bear the full brunt of attack by those who import the Arab-Muslim war against Israel into the American campus.

Researchers in science and medicine have a special interest in opposing a boycott that tries to destroy the benefits of shared ideas and knowledge. Although people in the sciences do not normally issue collective political statements, signatories of the recent letter cite the collaboration of Israeli scientists in lifesaving treatments as reason enough to protest the blacklist. Their statement condemns boycotts that contravene core democratic values and threaten “the free flow of information and ideas,” which functions as “the lifeblood of the academic world.”

The Boston group’s aim is similar to those of recent academic protests against President Trump’s temporary travel ban. A friend-of-the-court brief filed by 17 universities affirms that students from the six suspect countries could have much to contribute by “making scientific discoveries, starting businesses, and creating works of literature and art that redound to the benefit of others” far beyond university campuses.

If universities are willing to fight the government’s travel ban against students from Muslim-majority countries, why are members of their faculties fighting to prevent exchange with academic counterparts in the Jewish homeland? American academics ought to entertain pluralistic and multicultural perspectives and refrain from cutting themselves off from those with whom they disagree. Universities cannot pretend to be protecting the free flow of information while their faculty members try to prevent interaction with the most dynamic academic center in the Middle East.

The restrictions the Trump administration placed on potentially hostile immigrants were intended to prevent attacks on America’s liberal democratic way of life. Meantime, the goal of the BDS campaign is to attack the freest democracy in the Middle East. Not coincidentally, Iran and Syria, two countries singled out by the travel ban, are also dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The repressive tactics of BDS proponents resemble the strategy and destructive aims of those who threaten the U.S.

Perhaps the academics who signed the statement in defense of liberal ideals can help stop the aggression against Israel in academia, a place that, in their words, promotes “the dialogue and cooperation essential to advancing knowledge, solving problems, and promoting understanding.” The rest of the academic community and all who benefit from its labors would be grateful.

Vast archive of Holocaust evidence made public for first time since 1940s

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From Jewish News:

The enormous trove of United Nations’ War Crimes Commission documents are being opened at the Weiner Library this week.

An archive of Holocaust evidence long closed to public view has been made available in London for the first time since the 1940s, when it was used by the United Nations’ War Crimes Commission.

The vast UNWCC trove of documents, most of which were smuggled out of Eastern Europe during the early 1940s and later used to convict leading Nazis, are being opened at the Wiener Library this week.

Until now, only researchers with special permission from their governments and the UN were able to view them, and even then they were not allowed to take copies.

It shows how Britain, the U.S. and Russia were slow to press for leading Nazis to face trial for crimes against humanity, with countries such as Poland leading the call.

In another bundle of documents built up to indict Adolf Hitler for war crimes in Czechoslovakia, there is an affidavit from British soldier Harry Ogden, who was imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp next to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The release shows how the Polish government in exile was able to provide extraordinary detail of the camps in which Jews and others were held and killed, with one 1944 description documenting how victims were forced to strip and how “the terracotta floors in the chambers… became very slippery when wet”.

The London library was originally founded in the Netherlands and is named after Alfred Wiener, who shipped his collection to the UK in 1939, subsequently working with British authorities to chart the crimes of the Nazi government.

Archivist Howard Falksohn said the release meant scholars “may be able to rewrite crucial chapters of history using the new evidence”.

The online release has been timed to coincide with the launch of ‘Human Rights After Hitler,’ a book by Dan Plesch, a London-based researcher who has had access to the archive for ten years. He helped convince diplomats to open access.

Plesch describes how the changing geopolitical landscape of the late 1940s meant that prosecuting Nazis became less important than rallying support for America’s anti-Communist offensive at the start of the Cold War.

What the NY Times didn’t say about Barghouti

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From The Times Of Israel:

Op-Ed: Publishing an opinion piece full of invented horror stories, the Times neglected to tell its readers that the author is a murderer, convicted on multiple counts in a civilian court.

The thing which stands out most – and is most infuriating – about the opinion piece published by Marwan Barghouti in the New York Times is the single sentence below the article identifying the author. “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” it says dryly. That isn’t an error, that is an intentional deception.

Nothing is further from the truth. The missing part of the previous reports is that Marwan Barghouti is a murderer. He was convicted in a civilian (not military) court on five separate counts of murder of innocent civilians. He was involved in dozens of attempted terror attacks. He caused people to lose their families and led to people being maimed. He destroyed lives.

Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that its permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within.

The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth.

So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws.

The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.

The peak of Barghouti’s violent ‘career’ came during the Second Intifada. It’s worth remembering that it broke out immediately after Israel’s prime minister at the time, Ehud Barak, made the Palestinians an offer that the whole world, including president Clinton, thought was impossible to refuse: a withdrawal to 1967 lines, a division of Jerusalem, a humanitarian solution to the refugee issue. Yasser Arafat said “no” and sent Barghouti and his people to murder Israelis in suicide attacks on buses and in shopping malls.

That’s why Barghouti is in prison. Not for his views, not for his desire for a Palestinian state, not for his right to freedom of expression. He could have – along with the prisoners who are with him – been a free citizen of an independent Palestinian state long ago. He chose the path of terror, murder and violence.

But the New York Times neglected to tell its readers that.

Young ANC leader defies Israel-apartheid comparisons

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From The Times Of Israel:

Nkululeko Nkosi’s dreams of a career in South Africa’s ruling party died when he started speaking out for Israel. His belief in eventual détente between Jerusalem and Pretoria lives on.

Comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa is all the rage again. A United Nations agency recently published (and the United Nations secretary general rejected) a report accusing the Jewish state of having “established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Campuses around the world are currently marking Israel Apartheid Week to “raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system.”

The question of whether today’s Israel is akin to the old South Africa was forcefully rejected by former anti-apartheid activist Benjamin Pogrund in an op-ed in The New York Times last week, once more triggering passionate discussion over the question.

The African National Congress, Nelson Mandela’s revolutionary movement that freed South Africa from apartheid and currently rules the country, endorses the Israel-apartheid comparison. In 2012, ANC chairperson and former South African deputy president Baleka Mbete accused the Jewish state of being “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.”

But in recent months, a growing number of young black South Africans — including members of the ANC’s youth division — have visited Israel and now forcefully reject the parallels drawn between the racist regime under which their parents suffered and the current reality for Palestinian Arabs — in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Prominent among them is Nkululeko Nkosi, a 23-year-old member of the ANC Youth League.

“Precisely because we South Africans know intimately what apartheid involved, we have a duty to question whether it is an appropriate term to be used in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Nkosi wrote in a recent article for a pamphlet published by “Africans for Peace,” a group trying to change the narrative about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Put simply, because nobody knows the pain of apartheid better than we do, we are able to guide the rest of the world on when to describe a situation using that term and when to avoid doing so.”

Nkosi, who hails from Kathlehong township in Johannesburg and recently obtained an undergraduate degree in law, went on to argue that apartheid was about race, while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict encompasses both religious and territorial disputes.

“On my last trip to Israel, I found that unlike apartheid South Africa, there is no deliberate effort by the government to segregate a specific group in Israel,” he wrote. “In day-to-day discussions with ordinary Israeli citizens, I learned from Arabs and Jews, and I sensed their burning desire to live together as harmonious neighbors. In apartheid South Africa, Afrikaners disdained black South Africans, and these sentiments are still in evidence today.”

Nkosi ended his article with a plea to fellow South Africans not to “steal” the term apartheid by inaccurately applying it to the Middle East.

“For black South Africans, apartheid was more than just systematic discrimination against our people. It was a project that aimed to rob a specific race of its history, culture, dignity, and humanity,” he wrote. “Those who apply the term ‘apartheid’ to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse are guilty of perpetuating that same theft, by denying the uniqueness of the racism and hatred that we faced, and which we have overcome with much blood and tears.”

Israelis and Palestinians may feel that one group hates the other, but this reality “is very different from the legally-blessed racism, based on the discredited idea of white supremacy, that once reigned in my country,” he posited.

Nkosi, who once hoped to run for national office for the ANC but has been shunned by the party for his pro-Israel views, first learned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2013, when a group of students disrupted a performance by a famous Israeli pianist.

“For a while, I held the view that Israel was an apartheid state and suspected that something was amiss when a couple of colleagues visited Israel only to face backlash here at home,” he told The Times of Israel in a recent interview. “I then also wanted to visit Israel for myself and develop my own views on the matter. It was after my trip to Israel that I started to question a lot of things and sought more information and made comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel.”

Even though the ANC officially discourages travel to Israel, thousands of South Africans visit the country every year. According to Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria, Arthur Lenk, the number of South African tourists who visit the Jewish state “significantly” increased in 2016.

“Many are Christians who come as pilgrims, others are business leaders of all faiths looking to boost trade or tourists to discover Israel or to visit friends or family,” Lenk said. “I am glad so many South Africans are seeing Israel for themselves instead of believing politically motivated rhetoric of some who gain from divisiveness.”

Nkosi’s all-expenses-paid visit to Israel in 2016 was organized and sponsored by the South African-Israel Forum, a nonprofit seeking to promote bilateral relations. “I got the opportunity to meet with Israelis and Palestinians,” he said, recalling that he visited universities with “vibrant Arab student populations,” as well as the Qalandia refugee camp.

In 2015, the ANC publicly denounced the South African-Israel Forum’s work, calling it a “campaign by Israel to distort our stand on Palestine” that will put the party “in disrepute.”

Ironically, perhaps, it was the ANC’s encouragement to think differently that impacted Nkosi. “My view differs from the ANC’s because I have been taught by the ANC to discuss and question everything,” he said.

Nkosi joined the ANC Youth League in 2012, during his first year as a law student at Wits University. Having been inspired by the party’s “radical stance on various societal issues,” he eventually became the chairman of its chapter at Wits.

“I used to have hopes of ascending the ANC ranks,” he told The Times of Israel, but its current politics “suggest that there may not be an ANC to inherit for young people like myself.”

The disdain is mutual, as the party not only officially discourages travel to Israel but also publicly shames members who speak positively about the country.

Last week, the ANC Youth League’s secretary-general issued a statement condemning a “certain individual [who] is parading around, on a pro-Israeli trip in the USA, claiming to be a youth leader of the ANC.” He and “other foreign agents” who “advance the agenda of the imperialist Israeli regime,” automatically lose their membership, according to the statement.

“Any South African caught in bed with the enemy should be distanced by progressive forces,” the text read. “He or any person parading around as an ANC youth leader at counter-revolutionary pro-Israel events must consider their membership revoked as they have placed themselves outside the organisation and the movements policies and resolutions.”

Nkosi, too, has been insulted and intimidated due to his pro-Israel activism, he said.

“What is clear is that my political career in the ANC and youth structures is finished. In addition to my discontentment with the ANC and its leadership, it seems my trip to Israel and my subsequent views translate to the end of any [political] ambition.”

And yet, Nkosi is optimistic regarding the future of Israel-South Africa relations. While he acknowledged that the ANC, which is closely affiliated with the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, is unlikely to engage in constructive political dialogue with Jerusalem, he hopes that Pretoria’s current economic worries will lead to some sort of rapprochement down the line.

Standard and Poor this week downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to “junk status,” he noted, hoping this could compel the country to look to establish new relations, including reaching out to the Israeli government “for help with innovation and more importantly, water and agriculture technologies.”

“The recent credit rating downgrade means our government must find innovative ways to strengthen our economy and Israel may be one of the answers,” he said. “I am one of the optimistic people.”

OHIO: Cleveland State University Student, “I’m gonna finish what Hitler started.”

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From Algemeiner:

The latest report issued by a covert campus watchdog group revealed a string of highly offensive social media statements made by students at six Cleveland schools over the past few years.

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The dossier, released on Thursday, highlighted dozens of antisemitic, homophobic and racist comments, including, “I’m gonna finish what Hitler started,” and “I’m bringing rocks to school…that Jew better run.”

According to the report, compiled by Canary Mission – which anonymously monitors anti-American, anti-Israel and antisemitic activity on US college campuses — the remarks were made by current and former students affiliated with branches of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the Arab Student Union (ASU) at the Cleveland schools.

Bahaa Falweh, the former president of the Cleveland State University (CSU) ASU, who is currently pursuing an MBA in health administration, tweeted in 2012, “Goodnight everyone, tonight ill be keeping gaza in my thoughts and prayers, inshallah Jews die.”

Earlier that year, he had commented: “If those dirty Jews invade [Gaza] tonight then I will personally hop on a plane, fly there and start killing them my self #realtalk.”

Walaa Mohammad, the current treasurer of the CSU SJP who is also affiliated with the campus MSA branch, tweeted in July 2016, “allah yin3an al yahood [May Allah curse the Jews].” Mashhour Shehadeh, in his last year at CSU, wrote in March 2016: “When life hands you rocks, throw them at yahood [jews].”

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Some of the comments were directed at David Blatt, the Israeli-American coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, with Deanna Silmi — a former student activist with CSU’s SJP and current employee at an Ohio gym — tweeting in June 2015 for Blatt to “go to Hell this win was for Palestine you Zionist.”

Other schools represented in the report include Tri-C and Lorain County Community College. Moe Hamdan — affiliated with Tri-C’s recently organized MSA — wrote in 2012, “Whats the difference between a pizza & a jew? A pizza doesn’t scream in the oven…best joke I’ve heard in a while.” He has also expressed Holocaust denial on a number of occasions.

A report released earlier this week by a second campus watchdog, the AMCHA Initiative, claimed that anti-Israel activities continue to be one of the strongest markers indicating antisemitic incidents on campus.

Blacklist of U.S. Professors Who Back Academic Boycott of Israel Released

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From HAARETZ:

AMCHA’s list, which includes hundreds of names, comes weeks after Israel barred entry to supporters of boycott. ‘Knesset travel ban is toothless, unless there are lists,’ professor says.
Barely three weeks after the Knesset passed controversial legislation that would deny entry into Israel to any foreigners who publicly support a boycott of the country, a small but vocal Jewish organization that fights anti-Israel activism on American college campuses published a list Wednesday of all the professors in the United States who have ever called for an academic boycott of Israel.

The AMCHA Initiative, which operates out of the University of California Santa Cruz, unveiled several interactive maps designed to give viewers what it said was “the ability to visually understand the distribution and geographical patterns of anti-Semitic activity on U.S. college and university campuses.”
One of these maps, the “Interactive Academic Boycotters Map,” identifies with different colored markers the institutions of higher education in the United States with faculty who support an academic boycott of Israel. The universities are divided into categories according to the number of boycott supporters they employ. Each category is assigned a different colored marker.

By clicking on any marker on the map, a viewer can obtain a list of all the names of faculty members who have signed a public document endorsing the academic boycott of Israel. The list only provides names and not department affiliations. It does not specify what documents the faculty members signed.
The universities with the largest number of boycott supporters, according to the interactive map, are both in the California state system: UC Berkeley with 47 names on its list and UC Davis with 46. Altogether, the lists contain hundreds of names.
Among the other interactive maps published by the AMCHA Initiative today is one called “The BDS Scorecard Map,” which documents the voting results of campus BDS resolutions dating back to 2012.
The AMCHA Initiative, founded in 2011, is a non-profit that monitors anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities on U.S. university and college classes. A year ago, the University of California became the first public university in the United States to issue a statement condemning anti-Semitism on its campuses, though it stopped short of a blanket denunciation of anti-Zionism. The AMCHA Initiative was the driving force behind this landmark declaration. The group has frequently come under attack, however, for conflating anti-Semitism with condemnation of Israel.

“The anti-Semitism plaguing our nation’s colleges and universities continues to grow,” said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative founder and director, in a statement. “One of AMCHA’s main goals, one we take very seriously, is documenting and exposing the threat. We hope these new education and research tools will prove helpful to advocacy organizations, government officials, university administrators, researchers and concerned parents, students and university stakeholders.”
Lila Corwin-Berman, a professor of Jewish studies at Temple University and a leading activist in the newly formed Jewish Studies Activists Network, expressed shock at the publication of the list of academic boycotters. “It’s not new to create these kinds of lists of so-called enemies of the Jewish people who are professors – but this initiative seems to me to be technologically more sophisticated. It puts information into a form that allows people to believe that certain universities are bastions of anti-Semitism.”
The AMCHA Intiative, which considers all initiatives to boycott Israel anti-Semitism, has long been treated with suspicion by Jewish-American progressives. In a letter published in The Forward in Octobers 2014, many prominent Jewish studies scholars denounced the organization for urging Jewish students to avoid taking classes with a long list of Middle East studies scholars it had compiled, whom it deemed anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic.

“Its technique of monitoring lectures, symposia and conferences strains the basic principle of academic freedom on which the American university is built,” they wrote. “Moreover, its definition of anti-Semitism is so undiscriminating as to be meaningless. Instead of encouraging openness through its efforts, AMCHA’s approach closes off all but the most narrow intellectual directions and has a chilling effect on research and teaching. AMCHA’s methods lend little support to Israel, whose very survival depends on free, open, and vigorous debate about its future.”

United Nations: Report Compares Israeli ‘Occupation’ to US Slavery

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From Algemeiner:

After the United Nations-affiliated Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) last month released a controversial report describing Israel as an “apartheid regime,” the same UN agency is set to release a new report equating the Israeli “occupation” with slavery in the US.

ESCWA’s Beirut-based council is comprised of 18 Arab members. The agency’s recent “apartheid” report — authored by Richard Falk, a discredited former UN special rapporteur for human rights with a record of vehemently anti-Israel rhetoric — was rejected by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who forced its withdrawal.

According to an ESCWA resolution passed in December 2016, the new slavery-themed anti-Israel report seeks to establish “premises and approach for calculating the cumulative cost of the occupation.”

Although it has yet to be clarified when the latest anti-Israel report will be published, Israeli media have reported it may symbolically be released in June on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. The UN Conference on Trade and Development is set to collaborate with ESCWA on the report.

NY bans school project asking students to argue in favor of Holocaust

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From The Times Of Israel:

Jewish politician calls for NY State education chief’s resignation for comments defending assignment as ‘critical thinking.’

A homework assignment that asked students in an upstate New York school district to argue for or against the Final Solution, from the perspective of a Nazi official, was withdrawn and will not be assigned again.

High school students in an advanced class in Oswego County were given a project to pretend they were members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party in order to argue for or against the Holocaust’s Final Solution.

“This is an exercise on expanding your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe,” the instructions for the assignment said.

Two students who complained about the exercise were given an alternative task.

But the students, Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April, took their complaint further and called for the teacher to apologize and for the school district to permanently ban the assignment, the Syracuse.com website reported. Neither of the students, both 17, is Jewish.

On Monday, New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the assignment has been permanently scratched.

“Since first learning of the assignment, I’ve done my homework to determine the facts in this situation,” Elia said in a statement. “I spoke with district officials about this serious matter. We agree the assignment should not have been given. The teacher apologized and the assignment will not be used in the future.”

Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s New York regional director, praised the district and Elia after saying in a statement, “There is no assignment that could ever be given to students that even hints at a balanced perspective to the horrors of Nazi actions during the Holocaust….

“The notion that students were asked to engage in such thinking trivializes the horrific experiences of the victims and we are pleased that it will no longer be part of the curriculum,” he added.

But State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn called for Elia’s resignation, noting that last week, she defended the assignment as “critical thinking,” according to the New York Daily News.