Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
Lyft
July 28, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 5     (5 of 64 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 5     (5 of 64 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
July 28, 2017
 

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 28, 2017 PAGE 5A eooo By Mitchell Bard Journalists and pro-Israel activists often share a ten- dency to see current events as the beginning of history. I've been reminded of this lately by apocalyptic stories regarding anti-Semitism in the United States, the situa- tion on college campuses and American public opinion. I've been perusing my archives of articles that I and oth- ers have written in the past and thought I'd share some historical observations in the next few columns to put present concerns in context. I hear people claiming the situation on campus today is worse than ever, but here are a few examples of what was going on at that time: At Berkeley, the Muslim Students Association passed out highlights of the Proto- cols of the Elders of Zion. At Arizona State, an Israeli flag was displayed with a swastika in place of the Mogen David. The UCLAblack student news- paper printed an anti-Israel article that featured a map of Israel with not only Judea, Samaria and Gaza labeled as occupied', but the entire State of Israel identified as "occupied since 1948." UCLA has a huge Jewish student population, esti- mated then at about 6,000; nevertheless, attendance at our Israel Action Commit- tee meetings averaged fewer than 10 students. The situ- ation at other campuses was similar, prompting what I later dubbed, "the rule of 20," which says that no matter how many Jewish students attend a university, you're unlikely to find more than 20 activists. This has not changed in the last three decades. Then, as now, I asked, "What can we do to motivate Jewish students to become more active on campus?" Many people claim credit for the idea of the Birthright program; I don't, but I did write in that 1986 article: "There is no doubt that the single best idea is to get students to Israel. I have yet to meet a student who has come back from Israel unaf- fected. Students return with a stronger sense of commit- ment to the State of Israel and to Judaism." The secret to getting stu- dents to Israel, I said, was to make trips affordable. At that time, a yeshiva was offering a program for the bargain price of $450 and received more than 200 applications from just five cities, but could only afford to take 100 students. It took more than a decade, but, thankfully, philanthropists and the government of Israel created Birthright Israel to offer free trips. I made another suggestion that I don't think anyone has pursued. I argued we should also offer trips to Europe. "Many students like to tour Europe during summer break, especially after graduating from college," I noted. "They are not interested in going to Israel; they want to go to see the sights of Europe." Many of these students are likely to fit the profile for Birthright and don't apply for whatever reason. Some may be non- Jews. I suggested that the Jewish community create European tours for these students, which go to all the traditional hotspots, but add one additional stop--Israel. Unlike Birthright, the tour would not be free, but students already pay for trips to Europe. Most would never think of adding a stop in Israel, but if it were already part of the tour, why not? It's a lot cheaper to get to Israel from Europe, so the tour price shouldn't be significantly higher. I also explored the idea of Bard on page 15A ever gwen By Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom (JNS.org, and Aish Hato- rah Resources)--President Macron equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and said Jew-hatred wasn't born with the Vichy regime, nor did it die after the liberation of France. French President Em- manuel Macron is not the first French president to give a speech at the annual memorial ceremony com- memorating the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in July 1942, when some 13,000 Parisian Jews--a third of them children--were rounded up and taken to a lo- cal stadium and subsequently expelled to Nazi concentration and death camps. This opera- tion was the first stage in the flagrant murder of a quarter of French Jewry at the time by the Nazis and their French collaborators. Indeed, it took France de- cades to contend with its role in the Holocaust. It has been convenient for France to adopt a historical narrative that the entire country was a part of the anti-German under- ground resistance. Itwas only 22 years ago that then-French President Jacques Chirac rec- ognized his country's role in aiding the Nazi extermination machine and officially began revising history. This allowed the public to face the scope of France's collaboration with the Nazis, as well as the fact that the Germans did not need to prod the French authorities too hard to send tens of thou- sands of Jews to their deaths. Senior government offi- cials at the time initiated the ,'purging" of France, mostly from "foreign Jews." Police officers followed their orders efficiently and zealously. This confrontation with his- tory has not been without opposition, as demonstrated by far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen's recent declarations challenging the French Republic's responsibil- ity in the crimes of the Holo- caust. As she would have it, the state ceased existingwhen France fell to Germany--the complicit Vichy government did not represent the "Yeal France." Macron's speech at the Vel D'Hiv Roundup memorial cer- emony is the most important speech ever given by a French president on anti-Semitism. Macron did not stop at com- pletely rejecting the historical opinion espoused by Le Pen-- "We cannot build pride upon a lie"--he expanded on the matter as it pertains to the past and the present. In his speech, Macron remarked that the Vichy re- gime's anti-Semitism did not sprout up out of nowhere, but was rather deeply rooted in the political and social realities of the Third Republic that existed before the Nazi oc- cupation. Anti-Semitism and racism, Macron emphasized, were not born with the Vichy regime, nor did they die with its disappearance after the liberation of France from the German occupation. In a brave step, Macron spoke about the murders of Jews in France in recent years. He also called on the French judicial system to explain why the most recent murder, of 65-year-old Sarah Halimi by a Muslim shouting "Allahu akbar," was not recognized as an anti-Semitic hate crime. Moreover, Macron de- clared, without embellishing, that anti-Zionism is the new face of anti-Semitism. Macron thus justified his inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the memorial ceremony by showing the connection between anti- Semitism and opposing the existence of Israel, the Jewish state. However, Macron's his- toric speech contained an especially jarring compari- son between the murder of Jews by Muslims and the racism Muslims themselves suffer in France. These are actually two very different phenomena that require different approaches. An at- tempt to placate the Muslim community and portray it as a victim of modern French society, without calling on this community to combat the radicals within it, is equivalent to the day-to-day silence in the face of racism Speech on page 15A a By Sara Weissman (JTA)--Dear Jewish com- munity, So you wanna understand Israel-Palestine debates on campus? The first thing you have to do is stop talking about BDS. Shocking, right? We try. But really, the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign against Israel isn't what Israel conversations on campus are all about these days. Campaigns to pass BDS measures on major campuses are actually in decline, yet somehow they still make up the bulk of Jewish news about students. The truth is, divestment proposals happen perenni- ally, people freak out for two to three weeks, and then students on all sides return to lives of calculus, life ponder- ing, activismand3 a.m. pizza. So if we shouldn'tbe talking about BDS, what shouldwe be talking about? Anti-normalization. Be- cause it creates a fascinatingly complex new landscape for Jewish students, who are both on its receiving end and active participants. If you know what I'm talking about, skip this paragraph, wise one. If you don't, anti-normalization is an idea, popular on the left, that some beliefs are so untenable you cannot allow them to be left unprotested and accepted as normal. That means calling attention to their proponents at the very least and having a zero- tolerance policy at most. The things-not-to-normal- ize list includes no-brainers like racism, sexism, homopho- bia and Islamophobia. It also often includes Zionism. That means pro-Palestin- ian activism on campus looks different these days--because all activism looks different. Instead of boycotts, a more frequent form of campus organizing is protesting at and disrupting Israel-related events. A brief history: One of the earliest instances of inter- rupting Zionist speakers on campus happened at the University of California, Ir- vine, in 2010, when students disrupted a speech by former Israel ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren. In 2015, the same thing happened to former Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak at the same school and Israeli philosophy professor Moshe Halbertal at the University of Minnesota. In 2016, it was Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at San Francisco State Uni- versity. What recently happened at the Chicago Dyke March is also a prime example. Women marching with what march organizers saw as Zionist flags could not be allowed to stay because that would be letting Zionism go unchallenged. What does this mean? Forwhat it's worth, speaker shutdowns and event protests don't make us special. If you follow campus news, these are happening everywhere to all kinds of speakers, from controversial scholar Charles Murray at Middlebury College in Vermont to conservative commentator Anne Coulter and "alt-right" provocateur (read: troll) MiloYiannopoulis at the University of California, Berkeley. But anti-normalization does mean Jewish students, particularly Zionists, are tackling a whole new host of questions on campus: Do left-leaning Zionists have a place on the campus left? And if only non-Zionist Jew- ish students find acceptance on the left, is the campus left tokenizing Jewish students, deciding who's a "good Jew" or a "bad Jew" from outside our community? What does it mean to Jewish students that Zionist speakers are considered indefensible alongside alt-right speakers? Are Zionist students and pro- Palestinian activists defining Zionism the same way? Pro-Israel activists, mean- while, are arguably already engaging in their own form of anti-normalization rhetoric and have been for a long time. One could even argue that Jews were anti-normalization pioneers. When anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist remarks on campus are labeled "hate speech," that's our commu- nity declaring ideas too un- conscionable to be expressed without protest. Jewish outcry over Linda Sarsour speaking at CUNY is only one recent example. Right-wing Jew- ish organizations, like the AMCHA Initiative or Canary Mission, marked speakers, professors and student lead- ers as too reprehensible for campus before it was cool. Whatever term you want to use, this isn't just a left- ist movement, and Jewish students across the political spectrum are experiencing it and are a part of it. We can argue endlessly about whether anti-normal- ization is good or bad--and we are. Questions about this concept are at the core of today's most fraught campus debates. Does declaring ideas unredeemable limit free speech? Or does it marginal- ize systemic societal ills? Who decides the parameters, and when are they too broad? I cannot answer any of these questions. (That's a dif- ferent, much longer article.) But I can call on our com- munity to recognize them. It's time we see the anti- normalization forest through the BDS trees. Because until we do, we're missing out on the juicy stuff--the larger debates happening on campus and the real questions Jewish students are asking themselves. Sara Weissman, editor@ newvoices.org, is the editor in chief of New Voices, where a version of this article origi- nally appeared. When We Were The Palestinians THE SHIP SAILH 1:20M ;947 CARRY/NG 4 00 JEWISH SU IVO TO OUR HOMELAND. www.drybones.com