The past two years have brought a seemingly unending stream of revelations about disparaging comments made by the British Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, about Jews, Zionists, and Israel. But in recent days has come the lowest blow, with the emergence of a video from 2013. Corbyn, in speaking of people who approached the Palestine Liberation Organization representative to the United Kingdom to challenge points he had made in a talk, declared that such Zionists “clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony, either.”
Member Writings and Interviews
In an important essay-length survey, “BDS: How a Controversial Non-Violent Movement Has Transformed the Israeli-Palestinian Debate,” in the Guardian (August 14, 2018), Nathan Thrall, Director of the International Crisis Group’s Arab-Israeli Project, argues that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in recent years has achieved significant influence in reshaping how the conflict is understood and has transformed the debate.
Imagine yourself at the therapist’s office. “Doc,” you say, “there are invisible forces pressing down on me. I’m too weak to save myself!” The therapist replies, “You’re right. The danger is everywhere.” You ask, “What should I do?” The therapist replies, “Hide. But that’s a temporary solution. Unite with other victims and crush the sadistic fascists who run the show. It’s a long shot, but… sorry, our hour is up.”
For many years we’ve been documenting anti-Israel activity on U.S. university and college campuses, typically part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and carried out by student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.
In these prior posts we’ve described many instances when this Israel-related activism has crossed over the line into blatant anti-Jewish animus, including at schools as diverse as Vassar, Oberlin, and University of Illinois.
“Everything You’ve Heard About Israel’s Nation State Bill is Wrong,” David Hazony observed recently in the Forward, calling out criticism of the Basic law legislation passed in July 2018 as so much “prefabricated outrage” from American Jewish liberals, anti-Zionists and anti-Semites. Writings claiming that the legislation marks “the end of democracy,” he asserted, are just “nonsense,” and he defended the law as a reasoned statement about Israel’s reality, identifying it as neither the product of a right-wing conspiracy nor a harbinger of eroding democracy.
For the past few years, a group of Jewish students have sought to sue administrators at San Francisco State University, alleging that their college has tolerated and buttressed a pervasively hostile anti-Semitic atmosphere. The students claim they have been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs and taunts, and had their campus events disrupted and sabotaged with little to no pushback from campus leadership. Among their more striking pieces of evidence was the deliberate exclusion—conceded by university officials to have been “improper”—of the campus Hillel chapter from a university civil rights information fair.
Why are so many of America’s mainline churches partnering with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), an anti-Israel organization which allegedly has financial ties to terror groups and is a leader and mobilizer of BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) activism?
As we’ve highlighted in many prior posts, the USCPR has long played an outsized role in advancing a vehemently anti-Israel agenda in America’s Protestant churches.
Last month on the pages of The Forward I claimed the right to be a liberal Zionist in America, one who feels a deep connection with Israel, one who continues to envision a democratic Jewish state that exists alongside a free and independent Palestine — but also one who recognizes that a half-century after the Six-Day War and 25 years after Oslo, this vision remains out of step with the facts on the ground.
During the fall semester, when little was happening on the anti-Israel Hard Left on American campuses, we could have been forgiven for thinking that perhaps the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement had slowed. But as the year continued, coinciding with Israel’s 70th anniversary, the pace of BDS efforts increased and included something relatively new: efforts to mark off, isolate, and ghettoise Jews supporting Israel on campuses, while characterising Jews in ways that are deeply worrying.
The Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision ends mandatory fees for public-sector employees who don’t want to belong to a union. Previously, in 22 non-right-to-work states, such employees had to pay these fees for the union’s services on their behalf, which could include collective bargaining, but also a host of political activities to which many employees objected. Most of the debate in the case, appropriately, focused on legal questions, not the ramifications for higher education. Yet hundreds of thousands of professors teach at public universities in the 22 states affected by Janus; the example of one of New York’s largest higher-ed unions, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), shows how relevant the Court’s ruling might prove to be.