Thursday, June 22, 2017

Israel haters groups response to anti-Semitism at SFSU "But we're the victims"

The recent lawsuit alleging systemic anti-antisemitism at San Francisco State University has gotten a great deal of press lately

Lawsuit claims San Francisco State, university leaders, have history of cultivating campus environment hostile to Jews

San Francisco State University fosters anti-Semitism, lawsuit alleges

Not being able to control the narrative is a first for the haters.  How are they handling the stress?

What is the reaction of, oh, lets say Jewish Voice for Peace to this? After all, their mission statement claims they oppose "anti-Jewish, bigotry and oppression".   

Ben Lorber, a JVP staffer has "talking points" to share and can help you write a letter, denying anti-Jewish bigotry and oppression even exists

Other anti-Israel groups are also mobilizing fast as they can, utilizing their perpetual theme of  " But, but, but we're the victims" ( so send us money).

A "Launch good" page has been set up to raise money for  SFSU  Professor Rabab Abdulhadi and her students. 

The page reads

They disagreed with her work on Palestine, so they plastered posters across campus calling her a terrorist and a Jew-hater.

Professor Rabab Abdulhadi of the Arab Muslim and Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies program has filed several grievances against San Francisco State University for the hostile and unsafe work and study environment for Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs on campus. Your generous donation will contribute to the legal defense fund against Islamophobia, anti-Arab discrimination and hostility to Palestinians at SFSU campus and to supporting the AMED Studies program against destruction.

"They" apparently means pro-Israel groups such as David Horowitz, Canary Mission, AMCHA, Campus Watch, Stand With US, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Middle East Forum and the Zionist Organization of America -any group that dares defends the rights of Jewish students on campus.

In the eternal sunshine of their spotless victimhood, apparently  the appearance of several dozen tasteless posters on campus constitutes "intimidation" for the General Union of Palestinian students at SFSU. However, there is no evidence that any group other than the Horowitz center was involved, and Jewish SFSU faculty and student groups on campus immediately denounced the posters.  

The General Union of Palestinian Students has rather tender sensibilities for a group that routinely shouts down any dissenting voice, calls for genocide, and maintains a truth-optional view of history.

Spreading hatred at SFSU

Spreading hatred at SFSU

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Koret Foundation withholds grant money to San Francisco State University

Anti-Semitism doesn't pay. SFSU has learned the hard way.

According to an article in the J Weekly, the Jewish News of  Northern California, written by Max.Cherney:

The San Francisco-based Koret Foundation last year held back a $1.7 million grant to San Francisco State University, according to a federal lawsuit filed earlier this week.

Among other accusations in the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyers laid out a squabble over the sizable grant between SFSU and the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation, a well-fundedphilanthropic organization that works on a range of causes.

Koret’s reason for withholding the grant was due to concerns about “anti-Jewish animus” at SFSU, the lawsuit claims, and because of a 2016 incident where protesters prevented Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat from giving a scheduled talk at the school.

Read it all here

Monday, June 19, 2017

Groundbreaking Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Against San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University has been hit with a lawsuit, alleging systemic patterns of discrimination and harassment directed towards Jewish students.

The lawsuit  filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California  names the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong and others as defendants. The plaintiffs, including students, alumni and community members are represented by attorneys from The Lawfare Project and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.

From a press release, filed by Amanda Berman, Lawfare Project Director of Legal Affairs
and Brooke Goldstein, Lawfare Project Director

The lawsuit was triggered following the alleged complicity of senior university administrators and police officers in the disruption of an April, 2016, speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. At that event organized by SF Hillel, Jewish students and audience members were subjected to genocidal and offensive chants and expletives by a raging mob that used bullhorns to intimidate and drown out the Mayor’s speech and physically threaten and intimidate members of the mostly-Jewish audience. At the same time, campus police – including the chief – stood by, on order from senior university administrators who instructed the police to “stand down” despite direct and implicit threats and violations of university codes governing campus conduct.

The lawsuit states that “SFSU has not merely fostered and embraced anti-Jewish hostility -it has systematically supported … student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education at SFSU.” SFSU continues to affirm its preference for those targeting the Jewish community, according to the lawsuit, by claiming to handle such incidents successfully by removing the Jewish students from their lawful assembly without allowing them the opportunity to exercise their free speech rights.”

Making matters worse, no actions were ever taken by SFSU against the disruptive students, no disciplinary charges were ever filed, and no sanctions were ever imposed against the groups or students responsible for committing these acknowledged violations.

“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the underpinning of the modern American ethos of equal protection and anti-discrimination. This case isn’t about Jews, it’s about equal protection under the law,” says Brooke Goldstein, Lawfare Project Director. “If the courts fail to apply Title VI in this context, we are creating a massive loophole that will ultimately be exploited to target other marginalized minority communities. If we refuse to enforce anti-discrimination law for Jews, if we say Jews don’t deserve equal protection, it will erode constitutional protections for everyone. Jews must be protected the same as any other minority group, or the bedrock of civil rights law will crumble.”

In addition to the disruption of the speech by Nir Barkat, the lawsuit describes a long list of discrimination, intimidation and mistreatment of Jewish students at SFSU.  Following are just a few examples:

In 1994, a ten-foot mural was erected on SFSU’s student union building that portrayed yellow Stars of David intertwined with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words “African Blood.”

In 1997, a banner depicting an Israeli flag with a swastika next to an American flag with a dollar sign was hung over the same wall where the 1994 mural had been painted.

In April of 2002, posters appeared around campus advertising an event called “Genocide in the 21st Century,” featuring a dead baby on the label of a soup can, surrounded on either side by Israeli flags.

In May of 2002, following a Peace rally, a small group of Jewish students were targeted by a large group of students who shouted bigoted and offensive remarks, including “Hitler didn’t finish the job,” “Get out or we’ll kill you,” and “Go back to Russia.”

In 2009, SFSU hosted on-campus events that advocated for the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel.

In 2016, President Wong complained that in all his years, he had never seen a university donor withhold a pledge because of a “political issue.” A Jewish Studies faculty member told him, “the physical safety of Jewish students is never a political issue.” President Wong replied, “on this, we will have to agree to disagree.”

In 2017, when specifically asked whether Zionists are welcome at SFSU, President Wong refused to provide the only proper answer: “Yes.” Instead, President Wong demurred, stating “That’s one of those categorical statements I can’t get close to. . . . Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone?  Gosh, of course not.”

"Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the underpinning of the modern American ethos of equal protection and anti-discrimination. This case isn’t about Jews, it’s about equal protection under the law,” says Brooke Goldstein, Lawfare Project Director. “If the courts fail to apply Title VI in this context, we are creating a massive loophole that will ultimately be exploited to target other marginalized minority communities. If we refuse to enforce anti-discrimination law for Jews, if we say Jews don’t deserve equal protection, it will erode constitutional protections for everyone. Jews must be protected the same as any other minority group, or the bedrock of civil rights law will crumble."

Read the full complaint here

Read students and community members first hand accounts of the campus climate at SFSU  here

Read the full press release from the Lawfare Project here

For more documentation of the systemic harassment of Jewish students at SFSU, see the blog San Francisco State Unbecoming

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lamis Deek spreads a modern day blood libel

Lamis Deek of the National Lawyers Guild has no trouble spreading a modern day blood libel.

Deek, an attorney, has forwarded a completely unsubstantiated article that claims:

A Palestinian child from Beit Furik town in Nablus survived certain death on Wednesday after Jewish settlers kidnapped and tortured him inside their settlement.
Local sources told reporters that eight-year-old Bashar Ghazal was found in the illegal Itamar settlement, handcuffed and injured as a result of his exposure to severe torture at the hands of extremist settlers.
The sources added that the Israeli occupation army handed over the boy to the Palestinian Authority liaison office on Wednesday night, confirming that the settlers brutally tortured the child and burned his skin with molten plastic.

No, Lamis Deek did not attempt to fact check before forwarding this modern day blood libel.
The truth, via the Times of Israel 
The Israeli military handed over to Palestinian police an apparently mentally challenged Palestinian child who walked up to the fence of a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, the army said.
The 8-year-old child was spotted walking in an area adjacent to the Itamar settlement, near Nablus, on Wednesday morning. IDF troops were called out to investigate.
When the soldiers started speaking with the boy, who apparently had a mental disability, they noticed that his body was covered in “signs of harsh physical abuse,” an army spokesperson said.
The child told them that he was being abused at home,” the spokesperson said.
According to the Palestinian Authority mouthpiece Safa, the signs of abuse included burns from molten plastic being poured on him.
Bashar Abd al-, 8, who, the IDF said, told soldiers he was abused at home after he was picked up by the army as he walked outside a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank on June 15, 2017. (Safa)
The army dismissed reports in Palestinian media that the boy was kidnapped and beaten by settlers at Itamar. The spokesperson noted that at no point did the boy enter the settlement nor did settlers approach him.
The child was identified by Palestinian media as Bashar Abd al-Ghazal of the nearby village of Beit Furik.
According to Safa, al-Ghazal’s father died on Wednesday. The news site did not elaborate.
The IDF spokesperson said the soldiers gave the child “water, food and grape juice” before handing him over to PA security services.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reem's bakery in Fruitvale: Gaming the system on Yelp

From Berkeleyside, writing about Reem's, a new bakery in the  Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland:

Assil decidedly chooses to use “Arab” over “Middle Eastern” when describing her concept. “I wanted it to be political,” she said. “People are afraid of politics, but now more than ever people are asking. If my food can stir up a conversation — even if it’s a hard conversation — that’s what I want it to do. I welcome that in my space.”

Reem Assil 's commitment to open dialog  and conversation apparently is limited to those who agree with her.  On her Facebook page, she has urged her followers to rate down negative comments on Yelp, and to give her establishment positive reviews

Reem Assil, a  local anti-Israel activist and member of the extremist Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC)  solicited her political connections to shut down complaints about her new bakery. Anti-Israel activists from as far away as Texas, many who have never set foot in the bakery were quick to leap to her defense, sharing notes on how to game the Yelp review process, and chortling over their success in shutting down negative reviews.

Let this be a cautionary tale to those who rely on Yelp reviews.  Apparently it is not difficult to trick the Yelp review algorithm.  And let this also serve as an example of how anti-Israel activists will stop at nothing in their ruthless attempt to shut down voices that challenge them-  even if the voices are simply complaining about burnt flatbread and surly service.

Reem's bakery in Fruitvale. Mainstreaming Murder

Why is Reem's Bakery in the Oakland Fruitvale neighborhood promoting hate? Why is Reem's glorifying Rasmea Odeh, the confessed killer of 2 young students? Why is a bakery that claims to "connect people across culture" lionizing a murderer who targeted civilians in a grocery store?

Mural of PFLP terrorist Rasmea Odeh at Reems bakery in Fruitvale
Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner were best friends, murdered when members of the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine bombed a Jerusalem grocery store in 1969. Nine other people were injured.

Rasmea Odeh, a member of the PFLP terror group placed her bomb in a kosher grocery store in Jerusalem for one reason- to target and terrorize Jewish civilians.   She was arrested and confessed to the murders after one day in custody. Physical evidence such as bomb making materials were found in Odeh’s home. Guy Wintelir, an observer from the International Red Cross attended the six month long trial and described it as fair. Rasmea was sentenced to life in prison over for her role in the attack. 

In 1980, after serving only 10 years of her sentence, Odeh was released in a prisoner exchange 

She immigrated to the United States in 1995, escaping detection by using a variety of aliases, but was found guilty in 2014 of lying on her immigration papers. She confessed after an appeal and is currently awaiting deportation.

In a 2004 documentary, Rasmea was implicated by her co-conspirator Aisha Odeh which Aisha admitted to participating in the Super Sol attack and named Rasmea as one of her accomplices.  She admitted  “Rasmea Odeh was more involved than I was [in the grocery store bombing] ... I only got involved during the preparation of explosives. We wanted to place two bombs to blow up consecutively. I suggested to have the second bomb go off five or six minutes after the first bomb so that those who get killed in it would be members of the army and secret service, but it did not explode. They diffused it 20 seconds before it exploded.”

In a community devastated by violence, why is Reems bakery glorifying this unrepentant murderer?

It remains unclear how glorifying a murderer builds connections across cultures

For more information on the crimes of Rasmea Odeh:

The Legal Insurrection website provides the most comprehensive coverage of Rasmea Odeh's history, and more importantly, those of her victims and their families.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hamas Terror Tunnel discovered under UN School in Gaza

Earlier this week, UNWRA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees uncovered a tunnel belonging to Hamas underneath 2 elementary schools in  Gaza 
The tunnel passes underneath both the Maghazi Elementary Boys School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School.

The agency has filed a complaint with Hamas and has stated:
"It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way," it said. "The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times."

The agency also said it condemns “the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms,” adding that it was “unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon  responded to the news by stating “the cruelty of Hamas knows no bounds as they use the children of Gaza as human shields. Instead of UN schools serving as centers of learning and education, Hamas has turned them into terror bases for attacks on Israel.”

Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories  (COGAT's) response

On June 1st, a Hamas terror tunnel was discovered under the UNRWA School for Boys in Al-Maghazi.

Hamas’ act of using children as human shields with complete disregard for their lives is appalling, but sadly not surprising. The Arab world is in agreement and has shown complete understanding about who is responsible for ruining the lives of Palestinians and their prospects for a better future.

 Thursday, the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz issued an article with the statement: ”Hamas is the one leading Gaza into humanitarian disaster in that it takes over and confiscates humanitarian aid and threatens the lives of residents as it digs tunnels under schools and hospitals in order to take advantage of residents as human shields."

It is clear that the Arab world has recognized Hamas as responsible for the destruction of the Gaza Strip, eliminating any hope of a positive future for the Gazan people. Perhaps the time has come for the residents of the Gaza Strip to draw the same conclusion.

Terror groups in Gaza have used UNRWA facilities in the past.  A UN inquiry found  that Palestinian groups hid weapons in three UN-run schools in Gaza and  likely used UNRWA schools  to fire rockets at Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

For more information