Blogging Update: Times of Israel and PolicyMic

Since the school year is dying down, I have found more time to blog on a semi-regular basis. Given my usually busy travel schedule and work with college students, I cannot write a weekly column. Nevertheless, I continue to write for Counter Cultured, ViralRead.com, and Townhall.com.

This week, I added two blogs to the roster: Times of Israel and PolicyMic. The former is an Israeli blog that caters to American readers and focuses on issues related to Israel, politics, and Judaism. I’ll write about Israel-U.S. relations, anti-Semitism at American universities, and conservatism and Jews there. The later is a website that caters to millennials. I’ll focus on politics with respect to youth issues, feminism, and conservatism.

 

New Townhall Column on Divestment Resolutions Passing at the University of California

I have a new column up on Townhall.com today about the University of California system embracing the BDS movement. The article is titled “Divestment Resolutions at the University of California Encourage Anti-Semitism.”

Below is an excerpt from the article:

The University of California system is living up to its reputation for being home to anti-Semitism.

Earlier this month, several campuses belonging to the University of California system passed legislation in their respective student governments calling for divestment from Israel. Resolutions decrying so-called “human rights violations” in Israel passed at UC-Riverside and UC-San Diego. UC-Irvine passed a similar bill last year in November. In 2010, UC-Berkeley passed a resolution in favor of divestment although it was vetoed by their student body president.

Divestment is a component of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by Palestinian activists in an effort to delegitimize the state of Israel. BDS’s goals are to promote the “Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination” by “ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”, “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and “respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

On the surface, BDS appears to be benign and legitimate. Support for human rights in the Middle East? Why not! What could be wrong with that?

Renowned Middle East Scholars Bring Pro-Israel Message to UCSD

This post is a tad belated and was supposed to be published on a conservative website. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to publish it here on my blog. Better late than never!

Amid growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments at American universities nationwide—most pointedly the University of California—Jewish students and their pro-Israel allies must go on the offensive.

No one should dismiss the looming threat of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. It is a pervasive and equally contentious problem at universities. Instances like the disruptive antics of the “Irvine 11”, the physical assault of a UC Berkeley student, and anti-Semitic threats against a Rutgers University student, to name a few, evidence the need for Israel advocates to combat misinformation.

Here at UC-San Diego (UCSD), anti-Israeli bias is prevalent.

Following David Horowitz’s May 2010 appearance here—which resulted in a heated exchange between him and a female member of the Muslim Student Association—tensions escalated. For example, a May 2010 UCSD Guardian editorial insisted that Jewish students should feel threatened by “Israel Apartheid” week. More recently, UCSD’s chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) published a full-page ad condemning anti-Israeli bias on campus in the UCSD Guardian, only to receive condemnation from various pro-Palestinian apologists.

Nevertheless, the case for Israel on campus is a legitimate one.

On October 3, 2011, UCSD’s SPME chapter hosted a lecture entitled, “The Palestinian Bid for Statehood at the UN: Breakthrough or Setback?” to discuss the implications of a Palestinian state rooted in terrorism. This event came in wake of Friday’s deliberations over whether or not the United Nations should grant unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) to Palestinians.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is a global organization that boasts chapters in the United States, Europe, and Africa. It started in 2002 by various university faculty members upset by the rise of anti-Semitism on campuses. SPME desires to bring “rational and civil discourse” by “recognizing academic freedom and freedom of speech with rights and responsibilities.”

Four lecturers gave their respective takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist.

The first speaker, Professor Donna Robinson Divine of Smith College, discussed the Arab Spring and its impact on peace talks.

Divine said through the “Arab Spring, particularly with the upheaval of Egypt, Abbas lost major support…patron in Hosni Mubarak.”

She added that the Arab Spring’s anti-Israeli sentiment signals “more demonstrations and protests, more anger expressed at Egypt signing a peace treaty” and “more anger expressed at Israel.” She concluded her speech by illuminating the problem with Mahmoud Abbas’ failure to negotiate peace with Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The Palestinian leadership—Mahmoud Abbas—even if Israel agreed to every demand, Mahmoud Abbas cannot deliver an end of the conflict because Hamas rules Gaza.”

Divine was followed by Professor Jonathan Adeleman, Ph.D., of University of Denver.

Adeleman discussed the case for Israel in terms of pragmatism and real politick. He noted that Palestinians would win the popular vote in the United Nations, but would not garner enough votes from the U.N. Security Council. This, he says, is attributed to “how much more powerful is Israel in the international arena than the Palestinians.”

He added, “Israel is a major power economically, militarily” compared to the Palestinians

Dr. Roberta Seid of UC-Irvine then discussed the implications surrounding peace talks, with respect to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Seid remarked, “One of the main reasons there is this opposition is Abbas’ move would cut off peace through direct negotiations.”

“The whole Oedipus of peacemaking is undermined, including the legitimacy of the PA, which was set up by the Oslo Accords. It supports and rewards this Palestinian tactic of bypassing negotiations and avoiding concessions for peace. It also—were the UN to approve this—would increase more violence,” she added.

The lecture concluded with Kenneth L. Marcus of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. He discussed legal rights of Jewish students as enumerated in the Education and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“If you look at the hot topics of the Middle East…it has played out in various ways on college campuses,” Marcus said.

He discussed cases ranging from the Irvine 11′s recent indictment over disruption charges to UC Berkeley’s failure to protect Jewish students from assault with respect to Jessica Felber’s case.

He added, “The Office of Civil Rights of Dept of Education is not a court, but is important for ensuring that students in public schools don’t face discrimination…If you see this abuse on campus, seek it out.”

To contrast Israel bashing at American universities, scholars and students should demand civil and rational dialogue at their respective campuses. They cannot allow pro-Palestinian proponents to dictate debate and equally spin misinformation about Israel.

Lectures like this one at UC-San Diego are promising. More events like this across the country can propel the defeat of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments at universities.

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.

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!