(June 6, 2021 / JNS) Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters prevented the unloading of an Israeli container ship from Asia at the Port of Oakland, Calif., on Friday, with the cooperation of the local longshoremen’s union, which refused to unload the vessel.
The protest was sponsored and organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a pro-Palestinian BDS group operating in the Bay Area.
In a Sunday Facebook post, the group, which claimed “thousands” streamed to the protest throughout Friday, praised International Longshore and Warehouse Union (“ILWU”) Local 10, which it said had “honored the six simultaneous community pickets during both the morning and evening shifts, and did not work the ship.”
“Knowing that it could break neither our blockade nor the workers’ demonstration of solidarity, in a dramatic move, community members watched as the Israeli apartheid-profiteering ship left the port of Oakland! #BlockTheBoat #BDS,” said AROC.
The Zachor Legal Institute, which combats BDS and anti-Semitic organizations in the United States, told JNS that by refusing to unload a ship with perceived Jewish ownership, the members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 had engaged in an “unlawful secondary boycott in violation of longstanding National Labor Relations Act rules.”
“Local 10 has a history of these types of violations, and members of the union have openly supported the terror-backed groups promoting the boycotts,” said Zachor.
In a May 16 letter to the president of Local 10, Zachor said the boycott “is being promoted by a foreign organization” whose members include known terror groups, among them Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
“[Y]et Local 10 cooperated with the racist boycott despite knowing of its illegality and discriminatory intent,” said the group.
The Israeli ship, the ZIM Volans, originally intended to dock in Oakland the week of May 17, but then turned towards Los Angeles, according to AROC’s website. At some point, for reasons that aren’t clear, it again made for Oakland.
The last time an Israeli ship attempted to dock at the Port of Oakland was in 2014. The ship, the ZIM Piraeus, was met by protesters who physically threatened warehouse union workers and blocked their vehicles, according to reports at the time. The protesters succeeded in driving the ship from port.
In the wake of their success in Oakland, pro-BDS activists called for a June 6 boycott of the ZIM Tarragona, scheduled to dock in the Port of New York and New Jersey on Sunday.
JNS Article: https://www.jns.org/pro-bds-group-blocks-israeli-ship-from-unloading-in-oakland/
The platform had moved to ban several pro-Trump groups comprised of Russian American Jews, raising questions over the role social-media companies play in the current free exchange of ideas.
(October 30, 2020 / JNS) Over the last several months, the coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming presidential election have left many Americans feeling confused and uncertain about the future. With normal social interaction limited, many have shifted towards the digital world to connect, share, discuss and debate.
During the 2016 election, tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google came under fire for becoming venues for the spread of false information on all kinds of subjects. In order to address these concerns, these platforms have stepped up policing in order to limit the spread of misinformation and to fact check news being shared. However, for some, these social-media companies have gone too far in their crackdown, raising questions over the role that these companies play in the free exchange of ideas in the 21st-century.
In recent weeks, Facebook had moved to ban several pro-Trump groups that were mainly comprised of Russian American Jews.
“During the past several days, the following groups, numbering in the thousands, have been methodically and surreptitiously removed from Facebook: “Russian American Ashkenazi Jews” (15,000 members), “Patriotic Jewish Republicans” (8,400 members), “Russian Speaking Americans for Trump 2020” (16,500 members) and Евреи Силиконовой Долины и Сан Франциско, Объединяйтесь! [“Jews of the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, United!”] (18,600) have been eliminated by Facebook,” Svetlana, a moderator for Russian American Ashkenazi Jews, told JNS.
However, recently both Russian Speaking Americans for Trump 2020 and and Евреи Силиконовой Долины и Сан Франциско, Объединяйтесь! have been reinstated by Facebook, while the other two remain permanently banned.
“The majority of the members in the now-deleted groups are refugees from the former Soviet Union. Many of them are ‘refuseniks’ who had to fight for their right to live in a free country,” she said. “Denying them their right to free speech so close to this year’s most important election is both disconcerting and unacceptable.”
In screenshots provided to JNS, news articles from legitimate sources such as The Jerusalem Post have been flagged for review due to violations of Facebook’s community standards. Other screenshots show users being banned or restricted from posting due to violations of their Community Standards.
Facebook and other tech giants, such as Google and Twitter, have come under fire for their decisions on what content to allow and not allow on their sites. In particular, conservatives have grown upset over these platforms for what they consider targeting conservative news and viewpoints on their platforms. For example, Facebook and Twitter recently decided to block links to a story by the New York Post concerning former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
On the other side, Democrats have complained that the social-media companies have not done enough to police their platforms for extremism, including anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Both Twitter and Facebook announced this month they would remove content that denies the Holocaust.
As part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Section 230 provides immunity for website publishers from third-party content. In the case of tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter, it spares the social-media sites from being held liable for posts, photos and videos they allow or remove. However, many lawmakers have come to view the rules as outdated with even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying in his testimony on Oct. 28 that he believes it would be necessary to “update the law.”
“Democrats often say that we don’t remove enough content, and Republicans often say we remove too much,” he told Congress. “The fact that both sides criticize us doesn’t mean that we’re getting this right, but it does mean there are real disagreements about where the limits of online speech should be.”
‘The law must be revised (or interpreted) to provide protection’
With over 2.7 billion active users, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide. While many people use the platform to connect with family and friends, post pictures (babies and dogs are always hits) or promote their business, others use the platform as a primary source of news and updates.
While the First Amendment provides protections regarding government action, social media has now in a sense taken over the role of “the public square” in American life, especially during the pandemic, according to Marc Greendorfer, founder of the Zachor Legal Institute.
“While social-media companies are not government agencies, they often provide governmental or quasi-governmental services, sometimes as monopolists,” he told JNS. “Social media is now the primary forum that Americans use to engage in First Amendment activity, and the law must be revised (or interpreted) to provide protection against viewpoint discrimination on these platforms.”
A Facebook company spokesperson did not provide any details as to why these particular pro-Trump groups were banned or what constitutes a violation of their policies.
“Our Community Standards apply across our services, including in Groups. We removed two of the Groups for violations of our Community Standards,” a spokesperson told JNS.
Ettie Kryksman, who serves as administrator and founder of the Facebook groups “Jewish Lives Matter: Jews for Trump” and co-administrator of “Jewish Republicans for Trump,” told JNS that while her group has not been banned so far, they are “continuously being targeted by Facebook Fact Checkers finding ‘false’ or ‘partially false’ content, or ‘missing information,’ on perfectly legitimate posts.”
She said, for example, “posts portraying [Joe] Biden unfavorably are deemed false, such as the post of Biden in a parking lot campaigning to virtually no one.”
Greendorfer noted that while social-media companies have the right enforce their own terms of service to ensure that users are not harassing other users or spreading false information, they cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination.
“The problem is that much of the fact-checking is done in a biased manner, which arguably is in and of itself a violation of the platforms’ terms of service,” said Greendorfer.
Indeed, questions are being raised on the neutrality of these social-media companies. For example, a member of Facebook’s election integrity team, Anna Makanju, formerly worked for Biden, while the Biden campaign also hired a former Facebook executive, Jessica Hertz, for his transition team.
‘It’s critical to have an ability to communicate’
Eugene Luskin, moderator of the Russian American Ashkenazi Jews Facebook group, told JNS that his family had escaped both Nazism and Stalinism, and that he could never have imagined “a total crackdown on the freedom of speech yet again this time in this wonderful country.”
He further explained that for the most part, these online groups serve as a social forum for Russian Americans Jews, especially during the pandemic when they cannot meet in person.
“For many Jewish immigrants and refugees here, it’s critical to have an ability to communicate, to discuss things. There are many platforms and tools for such communication, but many of us moved to Facebook as the most convenient and trusted one,” he said.
“We have several groups on Facebook that unite many American-born Jews and Jewish refugees/immigrants from ex-USSR and Eastern Europe territories. For many, especially elderly retired people, these were the main platforms for communication with friends, which is even more critical for their mental health during the pandemic,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter which views or preferences each one of us has,” stressed Luskin. “The way it’s handled today is a slippery slope that will end up in the same place where we were born.”
Indeed, Greendorfer said that “when fact-checking is used to justify viewpoint discrimination, social-media companies should not be provided with the protections of federal or state laws.”
The Clarion Project just released an important investigative report on foreign influence at U.S. universities. It was an honor to have our work at Zachor Legal Institute featured in this report.
Earlier this month, 140 concerned organizations sent a letter to Facebook requesting that this leading online company fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism to accurately identify the anti-Semitism that proliferates throughout its social media platform.
The reasons that adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism specifically are so critical include:
- IHRA has become the international de facto standard for defining what is (and what is not) anti-Semitism, endorsed/adopted by more than 40 countries.
- IHRA relates to ages-old anti-Semitism directed at Jews, as well as modern anti-Semitism directed at Israel as a proxy for Jews. On university campuses and in social media, it is the more modern anti-Israel variety that is so widespread.
The Facebook letter was part of the ongoing and intensified efforts to advocate for governmental institutions and social media companies to adopt IHRA.
We are starting to see results. Shortly after receiving this letter, Facebook announced that it has strengthened its policy on treating identifying anti-Semitism, moving closer to the IHRA definition.
In the U.S., the State Department has adopted the IHRA definition. Yet other governmental institutions and leading social media platforms have been reluctant to do the right thing and embrace the most accurate definition of anti-Semitism, thus shirking their civic responsibility to stop this discriminatory hatred from being propagated.
Therefore, it is instructive to examine the recent actions in the state of Florida, which can serve as a model within the United States for creating the appropriate state and local legal infrastructure for combating anti-Semitism. This includes using IHRA as a guideline for definition as well as introducing provisions to penalize those guilty of spreading anti-Semitism in public schools and universities.
Last month, 8,000 Florida State students signed an online petition to remove their student senate president over social media posts described as anti-Jewish. This prompted the university to pass a resolution combating anti-Semitism as defined by IHRA.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation last year mandating that discrimination against Jewish people must be treated the same as acts of racial discrimination in Florida’s public education institutions. The definition for discrimination against Jews refers to the U.S. State Department definition, which is based upon IHRA.
Finally, at the federal level, President Trump signed an executive order combating anti-Semitism earlier this year specifying that the Title VI anti-discrimination provision of the Civil Rights Act is applicable to anti-Semitism and that IHRA should be considered when defining if an incident at a public school or university is anti-Semitic.
Governor DeSantis called Florida “the most Israel-friendly state in the country,” and he just may be right. But beyond that, the state of Florida and Florida State University have adopted measures to define anti-Semitism correctly, taking measures to eliminate this hatred from public educational institutions. Doing so actually doesn’t relate to Israel; rather, joining the international community in adopting the IHRA definition is the first step in enabling Jewish students to study and thrive in environments free of harassment and discrimination.
What is critical now is that other states and universities take notice and join the efforts to define anti-Semitism properly so that it can be identified and eradicated from our public institutions. Equally important, the largest social media companies should finally begin to use the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to enforce their internal regulations against hate content, making it more difficult for such postings to be propagated virally.
With such a concerted effort, we can finally push back against the anti-Semitism that continues to skyrocket throughout our country.
A coalition of nearly 130 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations from around the world has appealed to Facebook to step up enforcement against hate speech on its platform and has reached out to Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Orit Farkash-Hacohen to help lead the charge.
The coalition is urging the social media giant to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism at a time when they said online antisemitism is the most acute form of hate speech they experience today.
The coalition argues that this definition “provides an effective, neutral and nuanced tool to protect against incitement to hatred, inside and outside the social network.”
According to the group, community standards on Facebook and other social media platforms have failed to address the growing threat.
“Facebook’s Director of Content Policy Stakeholder Engagement, Peter Stern, shared in a webcast last May that Facebook did not have a robust policy aimed at combating online antisemitism,” a release put out by StopAntisemitism.org about the appeal explained. “While he described the usefulness of the IHRA working definition, he admitted that the company did not fully embrace it. More recently, in June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly committed to revising the company’s policies to fight hate speech.”
The group appealed to Farkash-Hacohen because they said that, “We need the State of Israel to stand with us.”
“I am pleased that more than 100 pro-Israel organizations have approached me to address this important issue,” Farkash-Hacohen said. “I welcome the initiative and call on more bodies and organizations to join the clear demand for change.”
Farkash-Hacohen is already a leader in the battle against growing online hatred.
Last May, just after she took up her new role, the minister asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to suspend the account of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In his tweets, Khamenei had likened Israel to a cancerous tumor that must be destroyed – statements that violate Twitter’s policies. She said Twitter’s failure to suspend Khamenei’s account highlights the dual morality that the microblogging network follows.
Under Farkash-Hacohen’s guidance, the ministry formulated a proposed outline for dealing with the issue of hate speech on social media. The ministry is asking that the networks define clearer policies and then enforce them and that they better monitor their platforms.
“Social networks cannot be used as a wild space for antisemitism and harm to the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” Farkash-Hacohen concluded.
Among the organizations that joined the call to action are StopAntisemitism.org, Zachor Legal Institute, NGO Monitor, Honest Reporting, Zionist Organization for America, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Young Israel, Jewish Policy Center and more.
“Hate speech and hate crimes are highly correlated,” stressed Zachor Legal president Marc Greendorfer. “There is no free pass to amplifying antisemitism. We’re not just fighting hate speech; we’re fighting for people’s safety.”
(June 19, 2020 / JNS) People get much of their news and information from social media. As such, it is refreshing to learn that the largest social-media companies have policies against hate speech on their popular platforms, and have taken it upon themselves to remove anti-LGBTQ, anti-black and Islamophobic content when they become aware of it.
Why then are they negligent in ensuring that discriminatory and hateful anti-Semitic speech is not removed as well?
As the frequency and levels of violence of anti-Semitic acts soar in the United States and throughout the world, we expect that social-media companies will do their part to remove this dangerous content from their platforms, and take stronger actions in the future to monitor and purge such hate speech of their own volition.
Zachor Legal Institute has recently sent letters to Facebook, YouTube/Google and Twitter, updating them about anti-Semitic postings that are present on their popular platforms. These postings violate their own hate-speech regulations, and we have asked them to remove this content immediately. To date, we have received no response whatsoever from any of these companies.
Countries throughout the world are adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which includes both the age-old hatred targeting Jews, as well as the more modern venom aimed at Israel as a proxy for Jews.
The inclusion of the newer form of anti-Semitism targeting Israel is critical for the following reasons:
- On university campuses where anti-Semitism is so prevalent, the primary form this takes is discrimination aimed at Israel and Jews who support Israel.
- Anti-Semitism targeting Israel, rather than Jews directly, is more nefarious, as it is regularly claimed that the attacks are legitimate criticisms of Israel and often even disguised as Palestinian human-rights expressions, when in reality the organized movements targeting Israel openly admit that their goal is to eliminate Israel as a Jewish nation.
What the IHRA definition does is distinguish between legitimate criticisms of Israel that are protected free speech and expressions that cross the line into unprotected anti-Semitic hate speech. Adoption and implementation of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is as legitimate an anti-discrimination measure as the use of similar laws and regulations that prohibit other forms of discrimination, including LGBTQ and gender discrimination.
In the United States, the State Department has adopted the IHRA definition, and the recent Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider IHRA when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination against federally funded academic institutions and programs.
What is critically missing is acceptance and enforcement in the online and technology sectors, where anti-Semitism is today most prevalent and spreads quickest. For instance, we referenced in our report “The New Anti-Semites” an ADL study that “reported 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets on Twitter in 2017 alone. This means that over the course of the study, throughout 2017, an average of 81,400 anti-Semitic tweets were generated per week.”
In our letters to the leading social-media companies, we identify specific content that violates their own internal hate-speech regulations using the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Examples include comparing Israel’s legitimate reactions to Palestinian terror with the Nazi regime, as well as cases calling for Palestine from “(Jordan) River to (Mediterranean) Sea,” a code for the elimination of the State of Israel.
The United Nations is well-known for applying negative double standards in their treatment of Israel. We are concerned that social-media companies are applying a similar double standard as far as how they treat anti-Israel anti-Semitism compared to all other forms of hate content.
All of the tools are in place for social-media companies to accurately define, monitor and remove anti-Semitism from their platforms, and make the world a safer place. The only thing needed is the will of the online companies to do so.
Link to JNS Article.
Efforts to link police brutality in the United States with the Israel Defense Forces maintaining security against Palestinian attacks have flooded the Internet and been used as propaganda by the BDS movement.
(June 9, 2020 / JNS) Groups on the far-right and far-left, including pro-Palestinian organizations with links to terrorism, have been engaged in a campaign to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement to target and delegitimize Israel.
“The cynical use of the Black Lives Matter by groups backed and controlled by foreign terror movements is nothing less than a repeat of the many other times that terror groups have used human shields to push their violence and hate,” Mark Greendorfer, president of the Zachor Legal Group, told JNS.
A “civil-rights movement (Black Lives Matter) has been hijacked by extremists to push an agenda focused on promoting hate, in the form of anti-Semitism, rather than seeking justice,” he said.
Last week, it was widely reported when several Jewish institutions were targeted during protests in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, which included vandalism to Jewish businesses and synagogues, such as Congregation Beth El, which was vandalized with graffiti stating “Free Palestine” and “F*** Israel.”
While these incidents drew headlines and condemnations, several far-left anti-Israel groups have been engaged in a campaign on social media and in protests blaming Israel for police violence and linking the Black Lives Matter movement to Palestinian uprisings.
In particular, anti-Israel groups have been using the protests over the public murder of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minnesota by a police officer to target the Jewish state over past training programs set up between the United States and Israeli police departments.
“This is where the Minneapolis Police Department learned their police brutality tactics from. israeli occupation terrorist soldiers (on the left) murder Palestinians on a daily basis. We must stop training our American police officers to be gestapo units. #GeorgeFloyd #Palestine.” tweeted Abbas Hamideh of the group Al-Awda, a pro-Palestinian BDS group.
The anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which in 2017 launched its “Deadly Exchange” campaign, has long blamed Israel for helping to train U.S. police in “extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention.”
Over the past week, JVP’s campaign has spread and become a popular conspiracy theory among anti-Israel activists, according to the Canary Mission, an anti-Semitism watchdog group.
“Anti-Israel activists have claimed that Israel and American Jewish organizations are responsible for police brutality resulting in the deaths of black people, such as George Floyd,” said the Canary Mission. “They state that U.S. police forces are trained by Israel to deliberately use brutal methods of policing. They further claim that this training is organized and sponsored by the American Jewish community.”
At the same time, several pro-Palestinian BDS groups have applied violent terms such as intifada (Arabic for “uprising”) to the current eruption of protests in the wake of Floyd’s death.
The term was the name given to the first and second Palestinian bouts of violence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then from 2000 to 2005, which witnessed daily terror attacks, including suicide bombings, stabbings and shootings against Israeli civilians, claiming thousands of lives.
In a Facebook post, the group Samidoun, which advocates for Palestinian prisoners and has ties to the U.S.-designated terror group the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), called the Floyd protests an “intifada.”
“We support the uprising in Minneapolis, the intifada of people subjected to an ongoing, vicious and structural racism, inheriting a lengthy and rich tradition of Black resistance, organizing and struggle,” wrote the group.
In a statement, PFLP also expressed its solidarity with the protests.
“It is not surprising for a country like the United States, which has a strategic alliance with the Zionist entity [Israel], to intersect with it in the discrimination, racism and repression that embodies its treatment of Palestinians,” the terror group wrote on its site.
‘There is no connection between the struggle’
Meanwhile, far-right neo-Nazi individuals and organizations have also been blaming Jews for the violence associated with the protests.
Andrew Anglin, founder of the Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, wrote in a blog post about the protests, saying “Fear not the blacks who can burn your city, but fear the Jews who can release the blacks to burn your city and lock you in your house in hell.”
Similarly, the far-right is also claiming that the violent protesters are being controlled by Jewish money.
“They [Jews] Are Starting a Race War So People Don’t Rally Against ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government],” wrote neo-Nazi Kyle Hunt, according to the Canary Mission.
Hunt, who is also a supporter of the BDS movement, has previously joined anti-Israel groups IfNotNow (INN) and Al-Awda in protesting against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2017, according to the Canary Mission.
At the same time, pro-Palestinian activists have also sought to link and draw parallels between police violence in America and violence against Palestinians by Israel.
In what has been termed “intersectionality,” these groups posit that no form of discrimination if distinct from one another.
Following the killing of Floyd, anti-Israel activists immediately began drawing comparisons with what they describe as systematic and deadly Israeli brutality against Palestinians. Those comparisons were given further impetus in the wake of the May 30 killing of Iyad Halak, an autistic Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem, by Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Drawing on this, several social-media posts depicted U.S. and Israeli police as one and the same on social-media imagery.
In a picture shared on Twitter by “Los Otros Judios,” it depicts an Israeli and American police officer embracing while kneeling on the necks of a Palestinian and a black man, respectively.
Similarly, a picture shared by the Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj on Twitter depicts the U.S. and Israeli flags as the same color, while also having the knees of soldiers on the necks of a black man and Palestinian.
Greendorfer said that “there is no connection between the struggle of blacks against racism, and the conflict between terrorists and Jews seeking to live in peace in their homeland.”
Instead, he said that many of the progressive groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement should instead look at Israel “as an example of a tolerant, inclusive and fair society, one that welcomes LGBTQ individuals, fights against terror groups that engage in the slaughter of innocents and minority groups.”
“It’s possible, and, indeed, ethical,” he noted, “to support the call for police accountability and an end to discrimination without joining a terror backed call for the destruction of the country and increased discrimination (against Jews, Israel and those who support Israel).”
EXCLUSIVE — A new report, obtained Sunday by Fox News, has exposed what it called “unprecedented similarities between the BDS [The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement and far-right groups to propagate anti-Semitism in the United States.”
Original article here.
The 120-page report, titled “The New Anti-Semites,” is scheduled to be released on Monday and is backed by 23 Jewish and Christian American non-governmental organizations.
Last week, in Jersey City, N.J., Mayor Steven Fulop said the shooting that unfolded at a kosher market was a “targeted attack,” in what he called an act of hate. Two shooters sparked a chaotic scene of gunfire; six people died, including a police officer, the shooters and three bystanders.
The shooters had been linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a militant group whose members believe they’re descendants of the ancient Israelites and who have been known to rail against white and Jewish people.
“What we are seeing is a phenomenon amongst all the radical movements, with BDS being one of the leaders, and making anti-Semitism mainstream to incite hate against Jews,” Rez said. “I think that the BDS movement has put anti-Semitism in the spotlight with a massive megaphone that they have been granted on college campuses. It basically opens the Pandora’s box.”
StopAntisemitism.org and the Zachor Legal Institute authored the report. The authors said the report detailed how the BDS movement “directly drives anti-Semitism and radicalizes public discourse in Western democracies,” documenting more than 100 examples in the United States and around the world.
Zachor Legal Institute founder Marc Greendorfer, a co-author, told Fox News the research began two years ago. He said what prompted him to start putting together the report was his involvement in supporting state anti-BDS laws.
“We knew, because we have done other work, we had done research, where BDS was formed, how it was formed, who supported it, and what we found was that there was a very strong terror organization component to the founding and management of BDS,” Greendorfer told Fox News.
He said he then talked to other organizations and asked them if they had specific examples of BDS “both making very blatantly anti-Semitic statements and affiliating with hate groups.”
“All the groups consolidated their information and we prepared the report from that,” Greendorfer added.
The report uncovered “an increasingly public intellectual and philosophical alliance between the BDS movement and far-right groups,” according to the authors. They also said it “brings to light numerous incidents in which the anti-Semitic rhetoric used by far-right groups and white supremacist networks has been embraced by left-wing BDS leaders and activists.”
The report said the “delegitimization campaign” has been anti-Semitic, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA]: bigotry against Jewish people often used by the U.S. government and other governments.
“This report builds on the idea that BDS is backed by terror, but specifically it investigated the burgeoning ties between extreme left and extreme right anti-Semitism,” Greendorfer told Fox News. “We compiled an analysis of examples of anti-Semitism that has been spread over the years going all the way back to the Middle Ages, really, and to the Nazi regime and then anti-Israel activism once Israel was established as a state.”
The report said, “The BDS movement and its agenda against Israel is also being promoted by the more ‘mainstream’ and center-stage white supremacists of the United States.” One example: former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s “newfound support.”
It provided examples from Duke’s Twitter account.
“For the first time we are seeing David Duke changing his vocabulary. Rather than using ‘Jews,’ he is spotlighting ‘Israel’ and ‘Zionism.’ And, in my opinion, this is a direct result of the radical BDS movement coming into play,” Rez told Fox News.
Greendorfer said the report reached two major conclusions.
“The groups today that spread anti-Semitism are using the same style, message and sometimes even images that have historically been used by anti-Semites,” Greendorfer said. “The second part is the intersection of the extreme left and the extreme right, that they are now united in spreading these messages.”
He added, “There is a terrorist element behind this and that’s what we are trying to expose and now the left and right are uniting in anti-Semitism.”
Rez said, “For far too long, BDS has been able to masquerade as a social justice movement in America, while spreading vile Jew-hatred and inciting hate and violence.” She added, “By exposing the history, methods, and networks of the new anti-Semites, we are empowering the American people to effectively combat it.”
The report is scheduled to be released five days after President Trump signed an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order broadened the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism to include the IHRA’s definition, which can include criticism of Israel, and instructed it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses under Title VI.
Under the order, the Department of Education could withhold funding from schools that it found in violation of Title VI.
“The president did exactly what this report was encouraging,” Greendorfer told Fox News. He also said Trump “did exactly what he had hoped for, but it would be much more comprehensive if Congress also acted.”
The report called on federal and state governments to incorporate the IHRA’s definition into “clear, enforceable laws.”
These measures would include increased social and academic education on modern anti-Semitism and legislation “preventing social media sites from serving as a platform for anti-Semites to spread their hatred,” according to the report’s authors.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee, which, according to its website, is the coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations that leads and supports the BDS movement, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
(September 12, 2019 / JNS) According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitic acts in the United States have skyrocketed, doubling from 2015 to 2018 (1,879 incidents). The high-profile anti-Semitic violence in New York during the summer is an indicator that things may be getting even worse.
To counter this disturbing chain of events, two states, South Carolina and Florida, have recently passed laws that define and accordingly regulate anti-Semitic crime and discrimination in the state’s public education system. These laws are critical in stemming the rising trend of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States.
This legislation uses a definition of anti-Semitism similar to that of the U.S. Departments of State and Education and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. A consistent and comprehensive definition is critical to success in these efforts, encompassing not only the age-old demonization of Jews but also the more contemporary anti-Israel diatribes, including delegitimizing Israel and/or holding Israel to a double standard.
It is crucial to note that the authors do not define criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic, as long as the criticism is similar to that leveled against other countries.
These state laws use the agreed upon definition of anti-Semitism to target one particular environment where such incidents are most prevalent: public schools and universities.
State laws defining and combating anti-Semitism close an often-exploited loophole whereby anti-Israel expressions are used to convey an anti-Jewish message. The ever-present dilemma faced by university presidents is whether to acknowledge anti-Semitism or downplay it as a matter of protected criticism of Israel.
Too often, the subjective whims and self-interests of university administrations become operative factors. Sadly, the majority of cases are thus swept under the table, with no actions taken to penalize the offenders and stop such events from reoccurring, and eventually leading to an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and harassment for Jewish students.
Pro-Israel groups throughout the country are demanding that universities and state governments adopt better definitional tools for addressing anti-Semitic crime and discrimination.
Florida and South Carolina have decided to take legislative action to define anti-Semitism, thereby protecting students and sending a strong message of public policy and moral clarity.
Of course, anti-Semitism is a nation-wide phenomenon, and such laws are needed as soon as possible in other states as well.
For instance, a complaint was made to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights against UCLA in California for hosting the Students for Justice in Palestine national conference, in which anti-Semitic statements and activities occurred, creating a hostile atmosphere for Jewish and pro-Israel students. The lack of the state’s preparedness to deal with such an urgent problem highlights the wisdom of Florida and South Carolina’s proactive approach.
K-12 grade schools are by no means immune to the specter of anti-Semitism. There was a recent high-profile case in California where an ethnic-studies K-12 curriculum was submitted with a strong anti-Israel bias. In this case, public uproar caused the curriculum to be rejected. Nonetheless, such instances have occurred in a variety of states’ school districts in the past years, and without strong state laws in place, the ability to defeat such measures is much more difficult than it needs to be.
To make matters even more complicated, pro-Palestinian and certain anti-Semitic groups on campus are suspected of being funded by foreign sources. A court case in Texas is now aimed at determining whether the tens of millions of dollars that Qatar has transferred to Texas A&M are being used to finance anti-Semitic/anti-Israel groups on campus. State anti-Semitism laws would provide additional tools to stop foreign governments from supporting campus activity that threatens student safety and rights.
Anti-Semitism, whether home-grown or imported from abroad, is an age-old scourge. The more tools that states and universities have available to combat it, the more able we will all be to study, work and simply live in environments free of discrimination and intimidation.
Ron Machol is the Chief Operating Officer of Zachor Legal Institute.
Zachor Legal Institute
Zachor Legal Institute, a legal think tank and advocacy organization, is taking the lead in the legal battle against antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel, including “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS).”