Campus Reform OP-ED: Pro-Palestinian groups don’t respect free speech on campus

I’ve penned another column at Campus Reform. This week, it is centered around a video from Portland State University featuring MSA and SJP students denouncing a pro-Israel event hosted by the College Republicans.

Here’s an excerpt:

College is meant to be a place where free speech comes alive. Different viewpoints are supposed to be welcome and intellectual diversity celebrated.

For at least one loud minority on college campuses, however, the rights and the privileges afforded by the First Amendment only extend to those who share their exact beliefs.

Let me give you one recent example.

The College Republicans of Portland State University, hosted a viewing of the 2005 documentary film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” only to leave after the pro-Palestinian group attempt a hostile takeover of the event.

Before the event began, pro-Palestinian activists attempted to route the event by storming the stage making loud announcements about a competing event in the hallway outside where students could “meet real Muslims.”

When the documentary ended things got worse. The “activists” yelled, shouted and attempted to pick fights with the organizers. The scene was reminiscent of feeding time at the zoo.

Continue reading at Campus Reform.

 

My Thoughts on UCSD Passing Divestment in The Daily Caller

My alma mater – UC-San Diego – was center stage for the Arab-Israeli conflict last week after the Associated Students passed a divestment bill condemning Israel for “so-called human rights violations.” It was passed by a secret vote 20-2. (What every happened to transparency?)

Here are my thoughts in The Daily Caller:

Student government meetings are no place for parsing out the Arab-Israeli conflict, said one recent graduate.

“Universities shouldn’t become center stage for the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Gabriella Hoffman, a 2012 UCSD graduate, in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation. She added that passing divestment resolutions gives legitimacy to anti-Semitic viewpoints on campus.

During her time at the university, Hoffman worked to prevent the ASUCSD from approving such resolutions.

“Many pro-Israel and Jewish students and community members–including professors and activists–worked together to ensure that divestment wouldn’t pass,” she wrote. “As a result, they were always rejected.”

Sister campuses UC-Riverside and UC-Irvine also passed divestment bills in their respective student government bodies. Although defeated in previous years, the passage of divestment at the University of California is a very troubling trend in higher education.

UCSD still won’t be receiving any alumni money from me.

Support Jewish Students at the University of California

StandWithUs recently launched an online petition drive in support of a July 9 report on Campus Climate at the University of California highlighting campus anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.

In response to the report, entitled “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team Report & Recommendations,” some anti-Israeli students and community members – ironically, some Jewish students -  decried the report’s findings and said that it’s not representative of the Jewish community at large. They created an online petition denouncing criticism of anti-Zionist sentiment in the UC system.

Unfortunately, this report fails to meet minimum standards for accuracy and sound methodology and offers only a partial view of Jewish life and culture on UC campuses. The report excludes the experiences and values of many Jewish students who are connected to and critical of the state of Israel; it misrepresents support for Palestinian rights and inquiry into Israeli policy as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic acts; and it suggests, in marked contrast to all available campus life surveys / quantitative evidence, that UC campuses are hostile environments for Jewish students. In short, the report distorts campus life, and it includes recommendations that threaten free speech on campuses.

StandWithUs, on the other hand, supports the report and is asking past/current UC students, faculty, and community members to sign their petition. Here’s a brief description of it:

On July 9, 2012, a report entitled “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact Finding Team Report and Recommendations” was presented by Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP, and Richard Barton, national education chair of the Anti-Defamation League, to the University of California (UC) President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion. The report was commissioned in June 2011 by the advisory council in order to identify both the challenges faced by, and positive experiences of, Jewish students attending UC campuses and to recommend steps needed to make UC campuses more inclusive and welcoming for Jewish students and the community at large.

The report followed a fact-finding process from October 2011 to May 2012, which involved a team visiting six UC campuses–Santa Cruz, Davis, Irvine, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The researchers interviewed students, faculty, and community members to paint an overview of the diversity within these campuses, especially within its significant Jewish student population. It outlined the many nuances and at times diverse political views within the Jewish community on these campuses. The report concluded with a list of recommendations, inviting the UC system to develop model institutional protocols that will ensure that bigotry, intimidation, and undue bias are marginalized, that Jewish students, faculty, and community members’ rights to free speech are protected, and that the university sets clear guidelines for responsible, reasonable debate.

It is extremely unfortunate, but not surprising, that a petition has surfaced recently within the UC system denouncing the validity and veracity of the Huffman/Barton report and calling upon the UC President’s Advisory Council to dismiss the report. Students, alumni, faculty, and parents are invited to sign a petition denouncing the claims and the recommendations articulated in the report. It is absolutely essential that this dismissive, opposing petition be countered effectively and immediately.

The opposing petition reflects the very problems that the report describes: bias and an effort to silence or deny the experiences of many Jewish students, faculty, and community members. Only the report on Jewish students is being criticized for its methodology, even though it used the same methodology as the report on Muslim and Arab students, which was not criticized. The report documented what many Jewish students, faculty, and community members described as their experiences, but opponents are trying to deny the validity of these reported experiences. The opposing petition denies that criticism of Israel can cross the line into anti-Semitism by rejecting the EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism, even though the U.S. State Department and the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education both adopted the EUMC working definition.

As someone who identified with the Jewish community during my time at UCSD, I lend my full support to StandWithUs’s petition and the UC Campus Climate report. Please sign it and share it.

Prager U Post on Why Israel Isn’t an Apartheid State

Good news: I will be guest blogging for Prager University.

In my first post, I debunked the claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

Below is the entire post, as found on the Prager University Facebook page:

By: Gabriella Hoffman, Contributor and College Senior

———————

This past week, my university – UC-San Diego – played host to “Israel Apartheid Week.” The Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) clubs unveiled an “apartheid” wall that displayed alleged human rights abuses in Israel. The wall—which can be found on college campuses—claims Israel oppresses non-Jews, commits genocide, and behaves like Nazi Germany. Moreover, the organizers of this week-long event invite notorious anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist speakers to advance their cause. Without a doubt, it’s the most hostile week on campus each school year.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause are keen to undermine the Jewish state by painting it as an “apartheid” state. While this comparison is illusory and illogical at best, it’s imperative to counter it with the truth.

The MSA’s and SJP’s use of the word “apartheid” is misleading and offensive, says the Vanguard Leadership Group – a coalition of black students that supports Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. In an article in IsraelNationalNews.com, the group said: “We request that you immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and to acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government.” (http://bit.ly/KzS52w)

Additionally, if Israel were an apartheid state, Arabs wouldn’t hold the same rights as Jews and Christians. Arabs vote, practice their religion, hold office, and live peacefully in Israel much to the chagrin of the MSA and SJP.

Dennis Prager’s video about the subject further illustrates why Israel is not an apartheid state: http://bit.ly/n5c7YE

(Note: you can follow Ms. Hoffman on Twitter at @gabby_hoffman)

Follow Prager University @prageru and “Like” the Facebook page.

 

Conservatives and Zionists: Support Young Jewish Conservatives

I have a new article out in today’s edition of TheCollegeConservative entitled “Jews and Conservatism: An Interview with YJC President David Milstein.” In it, I write about conservatism and Jewish voters. More importantly, I interview David Milstein – a colleague and fellow conservative activist about Jews moving to the Right. Milstein is the president of Young Jewish Conservatives – a newly formed group that caters to young Jewish conservatives.

Many are unaware of this, but Young Jewish Conservatives’ co-founders reached out to me and asked for my advice during the first planning stages.  I willingly obliged and offered whatever suggestions I could give.  That being said, I fully support their efforts.

You see, like conservative activism, Israel advocacy is a cause near and dear to my heart. Many of my dad’s relatives live in Israel and several of my parents’ friends immigrated to Israel from Lithuania. I live vicariously through them and their stories about Israel. Although Israel-haters will accuse me of being an Israeli propagandist (my allegiance lies with America, silly knuckleheads), many will agree with me that it’s good to morally support Israel.  In fact, we should treat this ally of ours with the utmost respect…Paging the  Obama administration?

Although I’ve yet to experience the Holy Land (I fully dedicate my time to conservative politics, so my ability to travel is limited right now), I do plan to go and visit it one day. It’s a beautiful country full of wonder and rich history. All the pictures I’ve seen and stories I’ve heard point to this. I’ve read enough to understand why Israel is unique. You should visit if you get the chance.

People always ask me about my support for Israel. First and foremost, I support a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship. Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, and it has a lot in common with the United States. Second, I support Israel’s right to exist because it is the only democracy in the Middle East. Terrorists in Hamas and Hezbollah want to destroy this beacon of freedom in this hostile region. Call me crazy, but I have no sympathy for the “Palestinian” cause after one of its proponents and suicide bombers blew up my second cousin  and 20 other  young Russian Jews in the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium discotheque terrorist attack in June 2001. When these militants  personally get under your skin, you cannot forgive them.  End of story. And third, this affinity for Israel led me to bring David Horowitz to UCSD in May 2010. You can see the infamous clip that made national headlines here:

Like conservatism, Israel advocacy is something I will never compromise on. As someone with Jewish roots, I’m proud to support a group like Young Jewish Conservatives. People need to understand why it’s important for Jews to vote Republican and be conservative.

To learn more about YJC, please read my article:

  Jews and Conservatism: An Interview with YJC President David Milstein

American Jews are re-evaluating their support for President Obama and the Democrat Party.  Although Jewish voters historically gravitate to the American Left, there is a noticeable shift in their voting behavior of late.

What best explains this?

Many Jews are disgruntled with Obama’s poor treatment of Israel. In 2011, President Obama called for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders – a move criticized by many for suggesting Israel return to “indefensible ‘Auschwitz’ borders.” This sentiment was affirmed in NY-09’s special election to replace disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner – a contest in a heavily Jewish, pro-Israel district. Bob Turner campaigned as the pro-Israel candidate and later went on to defeat his Democrat challenger.

Israel is not the only issue concerning American Jews. Although Jews voted for Barack Obama over John McCain 78% to 21% in 2008, the American Jewish Committee’s 2011 survey of Jewish opinion revealed that many are abandoning Obama. Here is a summation of the survey’s findings: Jewish voters disapproved of Obama’s job performance 48% to 45%, disapproved of his handling of the economy 60% to 37%, disapproved of his handling of immigration 49% to 43%, and disapproved of his treatment of U.S.-Israel relations 53% to 40%.

Continue reading at TheCollegeConservative.

Gilad Shalit’s 6th Birthday in Captivity: Pray for His Release!

It is important that we pray for Gilad Shalit, as he is in his sixth year of captivity.

Gilad Shalit is an Israeli soldier who was captured in a cross border raid on the crossing Kerem Shalom from the Gaza Strip by Gazan militants on 25 June 2006 and has been held hostage by Hamas ever since.

From Facebook:

Please help us remember Gilad Shalit on his 6th birthday in captivity on Sunday, August 28, 2011 and take action to help secure his release by doing the following 5 things:

1. Please LIKE the Facebook page that was launched this week, “5 Million for the Release of Gilad Shalit,” and ask all your Facebook friends to LIKE it and ask all your friends to ask all THEIR Facebook friends to LIKE it. Together we will reach our goal of making this page go viral and reach 5 million likes! http://www.facebook.com/ReleaseGiladShalit

2. Please write birthday wishes, thoughts and prayers for Gilad on the “5 Million for the Release of Gilad Shalit” page. http://www.facebook.com/ReleaseGiladShalit

3. Please sign the petition for Gilad’s release. http://www.standwithus.com/gilad/

4. Please watch these videos that were created for Gilad.

Birthday video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQasaWh9Gqc (from http://www.facebook.com/StandWithUs)

Slideshow video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8GDY2sPdJY&feature (from http://www.facebook.com/giladshalit)

5. Please copy the following and make it your status Sunday, August 28, 2011:
Gilad Shalit will spend his 6th birthday in captivity today! He must be released! Please visit http://www.facebook.com/ReleaseGiladShalit and leave your birthday wishes, thoughts, and prayers for Gilad.

Thank you for caring about Gilad and working for his release!

Glenn Beck Restores Courage in Israel, Inspires Global Movement

Cross-posted from Washington Times Communities:

Amidst criticism of his “Restoring Courage” events in Israel, Glenn Beck succeeds and inspires a new global movement.

U.N. “Palestinian” State Vote in September: Bad for Israel, Bad for the United States

Watch this video and see how the U.N. undermines Israel. Be prepared for September and pray for Israel’s safety:

 

Restore Courage and Stand with Israel Wednesday, August 24th in Point Loma

Want to Stand with Israel this August 24th in San Diego and don’t know where to go? Head over to Point Loma!

Yours truly, Christians United for Israel of California, and Eagle Forum of San Diego are hosting a “Restoring Courage” viewing party, potluck and Q&A session to stand with our greatest ally in the Middle East: Israel.

This is in conjunction with Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” event taking place in Israel and the Restoring Courage U.S. movement, which was founded by my friend Nicole Pearce and I.

The event we’ll be broadcasting is Restoring Courage: Courage to Stand this Wednesday, August 24th, 2011:

On August 24, 2011, Glenn Beck will host an event at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem. Taking place just steps from the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, this program calls for unity among all faiths, and will honor Israelis who have displayed courage in their struggle for survival and peace. It will also issue a challenge to all citizens of the world to stand with and declare their support for Israel. Joining Glenn will be religious leaders, esteemed speakers and entertainers including the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shumuel Rabinovitch, Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight, internationally renowned singer Dudu Fisher, and the Jerusalem Great Synagogue Choir. Tickets to this event are SOLD OUT; however, you can watch the program LIVE on GBTV.com!

Some important event details:

Restoring Courage US- CA

Where: Bldg 177 Truxton Road, San Diego, 92106

When: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 7:00 PM

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND  AND RESTORE COURAGE

We ask those of you who value freedom, honor and faith to stand with Glenn Beck and leaders from around the world with one united voice. Glenn’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, is hosting three events in Israel. The main event will be the evening of August 24th at The Southern Wall Excavations.
RESTORING COURAGE US-CA EVENT:
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 – 7:00pm – 10:00pm
              Bldg 177 Truxton Road San Diego, CA 92106 (NTC)
(Enter from Rosecrans/Roosevelt Rd – At the foot of the hill, turn left – you are on
Truxton Rd. Building on the corner of Truxton & Dewey; same side of street as Vons -
free parking)
Featuring GLENN BECK
Restoring Courage US from Jerusalem, Israel
Hosted by:
Restoring Courage US- Co-Founder Gabriella Hoffman, ghoffman16@yahoo.com (949) 302-8266
Christians United For Israel- CA Rep. Pastor Greg Stephens, gregstephens2010@gmail.com (619) 619 250-7685
Eagle Forum San Diego- Woody Woodrum, President, woodyfor53@yahoo.com (858) 652-9528
“And who knows that you have come to the Kingdom
for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14
MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Tables for Organizations: Cost – $25 for the entire event. If you wish to reserve one, please contact Woody Woodrum at wodyfor53@yahoo.com. Arrive at 6pm to set up your tables/booths.
Food: Potluck style! Please bring food items and necessary supplies.  We don’t want to leave anyone hungry!
Cost: FREE, but we encourage everyone to donate anything, regardless of amount, to help offset the cost of the event.
Hope to see you there!
P.S. If you’re in the media and wish to cover our event, please contact Gabriella at ghoffman16@yahoo.com.

The Cousin I Never Met: 10 Years After the Dolphinarium Discotheque Suicide Bomb Attack

I understand that this blog post is a tad premature, but given my upcoming D.C. trip and finals preparation, I thought I’d take the time to write about this and share my thoughts on this tragedy.

AP

June 1st, 2011 commemorates ten years since the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, Israel.

On June 1, 2001, a Palestinian terrorist linked to Hamas and Hezbollah detonated himself at the popular Tel Aviv night club–killing himself, 21 young Israelis and injuring 132 other club-goers.

One of those victims killed was my relative Simona Rudina, who was 17 at the time.

Although I never met Simona, her death had an impact on me. I was ten years old when my family and I learned of her death.  Our relatives in Israel informed us of this horrible attack.  I recall family there enduring a lot of strife and pain following Simona’s death.  It was inconceivable and equally saddening to hear that a terrorist killed someone in our family.

Simona’s father (my dad’s second cousin) and my dad grew up together  in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is historically regarded as the ‘Jerusalem of the North’. She and her family immigrated from Lithuania to Israel. Aside from the United States, Israel was the only  refuge for Jews facing persecution in the former Soviet Union.

Israel was their new home and the freest place imaginable at the time. They never imagined living there with the expectation to encounter terrorism with attacks like this.

Simona and 20 other Israelis (mostly children of immigrants from the former Soviet Union) were waiting in line to get into the night club. Sadly, they never got that chance.

The victims killed are mentioned below:

  • Maria Tagiltseva, 14
  • Yevgeniya Dorfman, 15
  • Raisa Nemirovskaya, 15
  • Yulia Sklyanik, 15
  • Ana Kazachkova, 15
  • Katherine Kastinyada, 15
  • Irina Nepomnyashaya, 16
  • Mariana Medvedenko, 16
  • Yulia Nalimova, 16
  • Liana Saakyan, 16
  • Marina Berkovskaya, 17
  • Simona Rudina, 17
  • Alexei Lupalo, 17
  • Yelena Nalimova, 18
  • Irina Osadchaya, 18
  • Ilya Gutman, 19
  • Sergei Panchenko, 20
  • Roman Dzhanashvili, 21
  • Diaz Nurmanov, 21
  • Jan Bloom, 25
  • Uri Shachar, 32

This event took place during the Second Intifada, the most deadliest time in Israel’s history thus far.

The ‘Palestinians’ think they can break Israel’s spirit, but they are greatly mistaken. Endless terrorist attacks unleashed on Israelis have devastated the nation. Nevertheless, this particular terrorist attack, reportedly one of Israel’s worst terrorist attacks in the 21st century, helped consolidate the need to erect the West Bank Barrier. Israel is on the defensive and will not give up without a fight.

If that ‘Apartheid’ wall had not been erected, more civilians like my relative Simona Rudina would have been killed. Shamelessly painting that security fence and Israel as a terrorist tool and nation, respectively, is insulting and equally ironic in itself. (Remember, Hamas and similar ‘Palestinian’ groups do not recognize Israel nor do they recognize the Jewish people.)

With plans underway to make a ‘Palestinian’ state in September, the need to support Israel and her right to existence is crucial. Her aggressive neighbors and our current administration want to undermine her.

Giving a hateful, anti-Semitic group like the newly formed Fatah-Hamas coalition and awarding  legitimacy to the ‘Palestinian’ cause is ludicrous. Why must Israel continue to make concessions for peace? What will the ‘Palestinians’ relinquish in order to attain peace? The answer: nothing.

Here’s evidence why peace will never be achieved in the Middle East.

Luckily, Israelis understand that a return to 1967 borders is suicide: it leaves Israel with indefensible borders that largely parallels the haunting environment found in Auschwitz.

Like many pro-Israel activists, I’m not a card-carrying member of AIPAC nor am I an Israeli spy. I have been to many pro-Israel events and have fought tireless to defend Israel here at UCSD  to supplement my conservative activism (even when unpopular to do so). Whatever it means to be Jewish, (frankly, if you look like a Jew and come from a family of Jews, you are one) I know for a fact that I am one regardless of what people eager to disparage this fact say. Moreover, I love America and our nation’s lasting friendship with Israel; it must continue to thrive against all odds. Like it or not, Israel is a personal matter for many–myself included.

My cousin and others like her were ruthlessly killed by a zealous, hate-filled jihadist. Many, albeit less frequent, similar terrorist attacks since then have occurred in Israel, with the most recent being the Itamar murders. More importantly, the Hamas Charter explicitly calls for Israel’s destruction, the submission to Shar’ia Law, and death to infidels. Simply put, the ‘Palestinians’ are not fit to negotiate peace or have our respect.

If you honestly believe that the ‘Palestinians’ are civil enough to engage in peace talks, think again.

During his recent trip to the United States, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed that Israel will maintain its current borders. He also urged the newly formed Hamas-Fatah coalition to recognize Israel.

Until the ‘Palestinians’ denounce their terrorist leaders and their respective actions, they should not be awarded a ‘Palestinian’ state.

If you wish to participate in the ‘Restoring Courage’ U.S. movement, now is the time to get on board.  Go to restoringcourageus.com to learn how to restore courage in the United States.

Stand with Israel and never forget.

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