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.

Smart Girls Are Armed, Conservative, and Fabulous: My “Youth in Action” Interview

smart girl

Teen conservative and Smart Girl Politics activist Bethany Bowra (@bethanybowra) interviewed me for the latest installment of Smart Girl Politics’ “Youth in Action” series profiling young conservative female activists. Those of you who know me are familiar with my hold-no-prisoners approach to conservative politics, anti-Communist tendencies, and desire to lure in more young people to our movement.

I hope my thoughts and sentiments in this interview inspire other freedom-loving youngsters to speak out and reject collectivism. Without a doubt, we must encourage more young conservatives…especially young conservative females.

Enjoy!

While Planned Parenthood and Democrat women in Congress claim to speak for all women, these young women have something to say about that. Contrary to popular belief, those groups do not speak for all young women— many young women my age have views that are quite the opposite. Below is my interview with conservative activist, Gabriella Hoffman!

Why did you get involved in politics?

I got involved in conservative politics because of my parents. My mother and my father are Lithuanian immigrants who escaped from Soviet communism 27 years ago. The Left’s policies remind them too much of the Old Country, so conservatism came naturally to them. Their stories and perspective on life really brought me to conservatism. Both sides of my family suffered immensely in the former Soviet Union. I’m in this fight to honor their memories and remind people that freedom must be safeguarded for future generations to come.

How did you get involved?

In 2006 when I was 15, I started writing a column in a local Orange County, CA community paper, The Coto Voice, called “Teen Beat.” I maintained this column for three years. I primarily focused on topics ranging from volunteering in high school to upholding traditional values. After I graduated from high school and moved onto college, I began to write about politics for The California Review, the conservative paper at UC-San Diego. From there, I went onto running a YAF chapter and hosting David Horowitz on campus- an event which landed on national news. After the event garnered a lot of attention, I started working for The Rick Amato Show as an Executive Assistant and landed a coveted role at Eagle Forum of San Diego as the Director of Youth Outreach.  I also started blogging for various websites and publications.

What issues have you been focused on since you became active?

I’m a firm believer in sound conservatism (social and fiscal conservatism), and I also believe in strong national defense. During my time at UC-San Diego, I heavily focused on support for Israel (I have family there and support a healthy U.S.-Israel relationship) and exposing militant leftists on campus. I also exposed radical feminism and openly condemned the Vagina Monologues. Now, I concentrate on a plethora of issues ranging from traditional values to Israel advocacy to media/leftist/campus bias to free enterprise.

Continue reading at Smart Girl Politics Action.

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.

UCSD Students: Sign AMCHA Initiative Petition Condemning Campus Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israelism

The AMCHA Initiative has a new petition out condemning UCSD’s administration for ignoring the concerns of Jewish students on campus. If you’re Jewish and go to UCSD, I highly suggest you sign it.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Chancellor Fox, Vice Chancellor Rue, and President Yudof:

We are Jewish students at UCSD who are deeply dismayed and offended that the following UCSD academic departments and administrative offices were listed as Endorsers and Sponsors of the Muslim Students Association’s “Justice in Palestine Week: 21st Century Apartheid” (See posters here), which took place 5/14 – 5/17:

African American Studies Minor
Critical Gender Studies
Chican@/Latin@ Arts and Humanities Minor
Ethnic Studies Department
Cross Cultural Center

As in previous years, the MSA’s week of events included numerous speakers and exhibits that demonized Israel through rhetoric and imagery deemed anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department and promoted efforts to harm the Jewish state through boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns.

We feel that these annual events foment hatred and hostility not only towards Israel, but towards Jewish students like ourselves who identify with Israel, causing us to feel uncomfortable and unsafe on our own campus. Moreover, we believe these events violate UCSD’s Principles of Community, which “reject acts of discrimination,” “promote open expression.. within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity…and respect,” and support a community “where all people can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of abusive or demeaning treatment.”

While we acknowledge the MSA students’ right to freedom of speech, we are outraged and distressed that university departments and administrative offices condone and support such hateful and divisive behavior, which so blatantly violates UCSD’s Principles of Community.

As you may remember, two years ago a delegation of Jewish students met with you and Vice Chancellor Penny Rue to express their distress that so many university departments and administrative offices had endorsed or sponsored the MSA’s “Justice in Palestine Week 2010: End the Apartheid.” Unfortunately, the serious and legitimate concerns which the students raised were not addressed at that meeting, and consequently Jewish students like ourselves continue to feel that faculty and administrative endorsement and sponsorship of anti-Semitic events contribute to a hostile environment for many on our campus.

We are aware that as a result of an investigation by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education into incidents of racist bigotry occurring at UCSD in 2010, the University recently agreed to adopt a comprehensive set of remedial programs and activities directed specifically at addressing racial discrimination and harassment. We believe that nothing less is required for Jewish students, who feel harassed and intimidated not only by the lies, defamation, and anti-Jewish bigotry promoted during the annual “Justice in Palestine” events, but especially by their endorsement and sponsorship by UCSD academic and administrative units.

Therefore, we urge you to do the following:

1) ensure that no University money or endorsement is given to events that are hateful and discriminatory towards a particular group of students or that violate UCSD’s Principles of Community;

2) broaden the scope of the remedial programs and activities outlined in the Resolution Agreement between UCSD, the DOJ, and the DOE to include anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment.

We look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, The Undersigned

Sign the petition here.

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.