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.

 

Times of Israel Column: Remembering the Dolphi Disco Terror Attack

In my first column at Times of Israel, I wrote about the 12th anniversary of the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv. The attack left my cousin Simona Rudina (Rodin) and 20 other young Israelis dead.

Here’s an excerpt from my column:

This Saturday marks 12 years since the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, Israel.

On June 1, 2001, the Dolphinarium discotheque – once a popular nightclub frequented by young Israelis, especially Soviet émigrés – became center stage for one of the deadliest suicide terror attacks in Israel’s history. It occurred at the height of the Second Intifada and subsequently changed the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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Suicide bomber Said Khutari, 22, came to the Dolphinarium discotheque with the intent of causing mass destruction. Reports allege Khutari taunted his victims before the attack. He then banged on a drum laced with explosives and ball bearings, and went on to blow himself up, kill 21 youngsters, and injure 132 club goers. He carried out the attack in the name of Islamic Jihad and had ties to Hamas.

One of Khutari’s victims was my cousin Simona Rudina (Rodin).

Continue reading at The Times of Israel.

 

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.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Wishes Christians Merry Christmas

The Likud Party led by Benjamin Netanyahu wins...

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The hawkish and equally revered Benjamin Netanyahu released a video wishing all Christians a Merry Christmas.

Although Israel maintains that it is a Jewish state, Christians and Muslims can equally practice their faiths there.

It is refreshing to hear someone of Netanyahu’s stature issue a message like this.

Don’t be a grinch this holiday season…say Merry Christmas!

 

New Freedom Center Video Confirms Obama Hates Israel

It is undeniable that President Obama is the most anti-Israel president in American history.

He has snubbed PM Benjamin Netanyahu on numerous occasions, called for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders, and recently referred to Jews as “Jew-janitors.”

It is imperative that come 2012, we elect a conservative Republican president that supports Israel, the Jewish people, and a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship.

Watch the video below and please share it with your friends.

H/T: David Horowitz Freedom Center

 

How Conservative Activists Can Support Israel on Campus

Cross-posted from Young America’s Foundation’s The Quad Blog:

“For the people of Israel and America are historic partners in the global quest for human dignity and freedom. We will always remain at each other’s side.” – President Ronald Reagan

Israel continues to face attacks here in the United States and abroad.  In May 2011, President Obama declared that Israel return to her pre-1967 borders—a move that would make the nation’s borders indefensible.  Virulent anti-Semitism is on the rise at our nation’s universities. Furthermore, Israelis are constantly attacked by “Palestinian” terrorists.

The question beckons: how should young people stand with Israel on campus?

Conservative activists, compelled to challenge the status quo, can present alternative viewpoints to their student peers. Here are three ways to be an Israel advocate on your campus:

1) Bring a YAF speaker to campus

The best way to stand with Israel on campus is to bring a pro-Israel speaker to campus. Young America’s Foundation boasts a fantastic speaker list, including pro-Israel speakers like David Horowitz​, Nonie Darwish​, Dennis Prager​, and Robert Spencer.

With the help of Young America’s Foundation, I hosted David Horowitz to campus (UC-San Diego) in May 2010. The  famous exchange between Horowitz and a female member of the Muslim Students Association made Fox News’ Beck and Hannity shows.

2) Host a ‘Stand With Israel Week’

If you really want to impact your campus, host a week dedicated to Israel in March or May. Events for the week can include: building a Wall of Lies to counter your campus’ “Apartheid” wall, inviting Israeli Consulate Generals or IDF soldiers to speak on campus, and showing the documentary “Iranium.”

Foundation activist Mike Cunningham held a weeklong event at Purdue University and succeeded in delivering a pro-Israel message to campus.  Amid criticism, he persevered and held great events. Watch the video  here.

3) Write a pro-Israel Op-Ed

Holding a successful pro-Israel event cannot be accomplished without good press. Write a column for your campus paper or local newspaper to promote pro-Israel events on campus.

Foundation activist Aaron Marcus has been a tireless fighter for Israel at Rutgers University. As the “Marcus My Words” columnist for the Daily Targum, Marcus has challenged and equally succeeded in countering anti-Semitic, anti-Israel views on campus.

There are many ways to be an Israel advocate on campus. Start a CUFI chapter, work with Zionist Organization of America, or go to an AIPAC conference. The possibilities are endless.

Be sure to stand with Israel this school year!

Gabriella Hoffman is a student at the University of California in San Diego and a blogger for the Washington Times. Gabriella has hosted numerous conservative events on her campus and attended many of the Foundation’s conferences and seminars. Follow her on Twitter @Gabby_Hoffman.

Holocaust Survivor Irving Roth Comes to San Diego September 14th

This Wednesday, September 14, Holocaust survivor and campus speaker Irving Roth is coming to San Diego to speak about his life.

Sponsors of the event include Christians United for Israel-California and CUFI on Campus.

More information can be found on CUFI’s website and on the Facebook event:

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 14 from  7:00pm – 9:00pm.

The event will be held at:

Father’s House Church
2705 Via Orange Way, Ste A
Spring Valley, CA 91978

The event is free and open to all people.

Here is some more information about the speaker:

IRVING ROTH is the Director of the Holocaust Resource Center at the Temple Judea of Manhasset, New York, and is the former education director of the Holocaust Memorial and Education Center of Nassau County. An internationally known educator, Mr. Roth has endeavored to teach people about the Holocaust and the lessons that can be learned from that experience. Many people throughout his community owe their knowledge of the Holocaust to Mr. Roth. Steve Pagiavlas, the art director of the Holocaust Resource Center at the Temple Judea of Manhasset, says he is “…the most prolific Holocaust speaker I have ever heard.” Mr. Roth has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his work promoting a more accepting and diverse world. It is his life’s mission to make the world a better place that has earned Mr. Roth the Spirit of Anne Frank Award.

This is a unique, one-of-a-kind experience for all to learn about the Holocaust and its toll on Jews, Christians, and the rest of the world. A first hand account is the best way to learn about the travesties that marked and defined the Holocaust. We must never forget.

Hope to see you there!

 

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