What is the Israel/apartheid, BDS movement all about?

workers party europeWhat is the Israel/apartheid movement all about? It is a  radical left wing, communist workers party, focusing on Israel as the “bad guy capitalist” and “colonial” entity. They will tell you that they don’t focus only on Israel and its true. They also are anti-Canada and anti-US. They court aboriginals with incitement that Canada has “stolen lands from the aboriginal Indians”, and claim to support feminist and “queer” issues, and all anarchic environmental and political issues. Their current flag waving is about the prospect of raised student fees. Certainly any serious academic can punch giant holes in all their arguments but they are convinced of their self righteous political correctness, of being on the side of “justice” and “human rights”.

So why have they made a name for themselves with the Israeli issue? Because they think they can. Why did the Nazis target the Jews? Because they were a distinct and demonized minority, easy to push around. We now realize that this is antisemitism.  As Prof.Wistrich pointed out “there are some things that only an intellectual would be stupid enough to believe…Intellectuals invented modern antisemitism”

The BDS Israel/apartheid movement is doing the same thing. It is attracting students with the call for “social justice” by using spurious academic arguments regarding Israel as a colonial entity who has “stolen” Arab land and is committing genocide vis a vis the palestinians. They call it “apartheid” and call for Justice for Palestinians. The Nazis also had their academic supporters. They too were spurious.

Anyone who believes this is not a sophisticated organizing labor/union party is fooling themselves. And by the way, apparently student unions in Quebec fall under the legal law of labor unions. I learned this the hard way, via an experience of discrimination by a Concordia student union enterprise: CUTV. When I complained to the university authorities, they told me their hands were tied because the student union comes under the labor union law and is a defacto union, supported by student fees.

They call themselves a grass roots movement similar to the unionizing movement of another era.  They adopt the tactics of Saul Alinsky, the social worker of the early twentieth century who supported the unionizing of farm workers in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. And they infiltrate victim-associated student groups in order to get them to align themselves with their subverted Palestinian narrative. For example one of the titles of their talks is

from Turtle Bay to Palestine”

Turtle bay is a Canadian Aboriginal community

I quote from a recent article published by SPME, Schlars for Peace in the Middle East:

Academic freedom” is invoked today by the BDS movemetn largely to criticize two Satans – America and Israel.  Only sexual harassment appears exempt from this blanket protection. Gradually the entire campus has become an “academic freedom” zone where protests often filled with anti-Israel speech that demonize the Jewish State qualify as academic “speech.”  Universities have enacted “speech codes” and imposed restrictions on “hate speech” in an attempt to curtail speech that academics find uncongenial. But these codes and restrictions do a pitiful job protecting against the falsehoods waged against Israel. Clearly, academic freedom is a one-way street; only those having the “correct” opinions may claim it.

In conclusion, the IAW/BDS movement propogates a false and delegitimizing narrative vis-a-vis Israel under the banner of “social justice”.

And this is why, I, who am not an academic, feel compelled to share with you my experience and understanding of the IAW and BDS campus movements. IAW and BDS is subverting the minds of our students with false narratives and they need to be “called out”.

But don’t take my word for it, Here is a very detailed and well researched article on BDS its supporters and funding.

Unmasking BDS: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends

 

Open Letter to the Students of Concordia re: CUTV

Open Letter to the Students of Concordia re: CUTV

My name is Abigail Hirsch. I have been an active volunteer at CUTV (Concordia University Television) prior to it’s current management team for two years, and I would like to share a number of my concerns with you.

CUTV as you know is funded by your student association fees, which you are required to make, and will soon be voting to increase. It therefore follows, that the station funded as it is by the entire student body, should represent that student body fairly and honestly, without becoming divisive or discriminating.

This policy has changed since September 2010 when Laith Marouf became the new programming manager of CUTV.  How has he acted?

First, he has taken a leadership role at the Israel-Apartheid movement since many years, and the CUTV programming now reflects his anti-Israel bias.

Second, he has been censured for unethical reporting by the McGill radio station, ‘The Olive Tree’ where he was the executive producer. He was asked to retract a baseless claim, which alleged that Israel had been involved in the Abu Graib scandal in Iraq. His retraction was made evasively and without contrite honesty.

Anti-Israel Programmer Suspended by Montreal Campus Radio (April 20, 2010)
CKUT Radio suspends “Under the Olive Tree” programmer Tariq Jeeroburkhan following HRC member’s complaints.

Third, since his tenure at CUTV, they have posted to youtube a news piece in which Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, writer and Nobel Prize winner, was characterized as a “war crimes apologist”.

And here are the comments that I posted to CUTV that Laith Marouf found objectionable.

“Israeli war crimes apologist? Elie Wiesel? Now that’s a kangaroo court.

I disagree with the CUTV being shut out of the media, however it is clear from this interview that CUTV is biased and not listening to Mr. Wiesel at all.

Is the interviewer aware that not everypne agrees with his assumption that Israel is guilty of oppression and war crimes.

For anyone who is truly interested in Israel/Palestine, two courses are offered for credit at Concordia: Contact CIJR 514-486-5544.”

What is most distressing however is what I found out when I approached the campus ombudsman about this situation. I learned that the Concordia Students Association is actually a legal union of workers governed by the laws of union in Quebec and is outside the authority of the Concordia Academic Apparatus. It is for this reason that the Student Association is able to function with impunity based on the funding of your student fees which go directly to the student union which then manages a rather large budget.

It is time to decide how much longer your news should be reported with bias and rancor. I feel certain that you are strongly against biased and  dishonest reporting and biased management. Is Laith Marouf the kind of person that you entrust with media leadership? Is Mr. Marouf your choice of station manager? Is CUTV deserving of your student dollars and financial support

I hope you will inform yourself accurately about this situation so that when it comes time to vote again you will be able to do so with clarity and enlightenment.

Sincerely,
Abigail Hirsch
Former volunteer at CUTV
Concordia student

The above letter was sent to the student paper and I don’t believe was ever published. The student paper is also funded by the student association fees. The letter was published here on my website: November 28, 2011. I am republishing it now with the addendum below which can act as a smoking gun for Students at Concordia. (Isn’t it wonderful that nothing disappears on the WEB.) I am publishing it in wake of the recent vote to approve the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) re Israel academics by the CSA (Concordia Student Association) which I believe is highly unrepresentative of the Concordia Student body, (all of the votes re BDS were submitted and concluded on Friday evenings or Jewish holidays). A CSA, a Concordia Student Association which functions with impunity under the aegis of the Quebec law of workers unions, which is funded by a compulsory student fee and which apparently continues to be monopolized by the Pro-Palestinian mafia that demonizes Israel in its Israel/apartheid conferences etc.

I am publishing here my own research regarding Laith Marouf and CUTV and CKUT in 2011

Here are links re Laith Marouf that are worth looking at because it shows the entire infiltration by student councillors of the Student Council that is funded by student fees.

Anti-Israel Programmer Suspended by Montreal Campus Radio (April 20, 2010)
CKUT Radio suspends “Under the Olive Tree” programmer Tariq Jeeroburkhan following HRC member’s complaints.
http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/49578uothostsuspended.aspx

Montreal Campus Radio Reprimands Anti-Israel Program (March 26, 2010)
A CKUT Radio program that lent credence to bizarre claims of Israeli culpability for the notorious 2004 Iraqi prisoner abuse atrocities
http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/radioreprimand45965.aspx

Montreal Campus Radio Blames Israel for Abu Ghraib Prisoner Atrocities (January 26, 2010)
A CKUT Radio McGill program lent credence to bizarre claims of Israeli culpability for the notorious 2004 Iraqi prisoner abuse atrocities at Abu Ghraib without any supporting evidence.
http://www.honestreporting.ca/news_article_name/58420CKUTAbughraib.aspx

For other links about his problematic past, simply type “Laith Marouf” in Google and you’ll get plenty of articles:

and here are additional information of the workings of the Concordia Student Union

2001 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents

“English-Language Universities
In September 2001, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) published an Agenda entitled Uprising, which accuses Israel of being involved in “state terror that has killed civilian men, women, and children whose only ‘crime’ is their nationality”. The CSU-produced Uprising goes one step further with an article by Laith Marouf that insinuated that “the ‘Jewish’ Rector knows how much money the university owes to Zionists”, and accused the Concordia administration of being Arabophobic.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Marouf, a foreign national from Syria who was in Canada on a student visa, is alleged to have harassed and intimidated the editor of a Concordia University newspaper and her staff, by alluding to their religion. He is also alleged to have stated in an undergraduate Political Science class in the winter semester of the 2000-2001 academic year, in front of all his peers and the professor, that the “Talmud obliges Jews to kill all non-Jews”.

Marouf, who was elected as a CSU student councilor in March 2001, was allegedly caught on two occasions scrawling graffiti on Concordia University property. One of these incidents relates to graffiti containing both anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes, including “Stop Jewish Apartheid”, “End Jewish Occupation”, “Israel is a racist State”, and the Star of David being equated to a swastika. Similar anti-Jewish and anti-Israel graffiti was scrawled by an unknown person or persons on the corners of eight sidewalks on St. Catherine Street not far from the York Theatre, stating “Stop Jewish apartheid” and “End Jewish supremacy”.
http://www.bnaibrith.ca/publications/audit2001/audit2001-02.html

Broken code
http://www.mcgilltribune.com/2.12361/broken-code-1.1637972

Jihad at ‘Gaza U’
http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/311

Le Mood 2012


Le Mood is a one day festival that aims to celebrate being Jewish as well as to educate both Jews and non-Jews about a miriad of topics related to Jewish life, arts, and culture. The Le Mood festival prides itself on being quirky, and an alternative to conventional models of Jewish learning. The Montreal festival is now in its second year and has so far been a rousing success; this year saw nearly 1000 attendees!

Le Mood ComediansI think everyone who attended could find something to sink their teeth into. This year there were workshops about food and sustaining our planet; about human rights in Canada and elsewhere; about relationships – straight or gay; about being “religious or not”. There were workshops teaching people to break dance or perform comedy; there was traditional music as well as rapping; Jewish comics, live and several documentaries: Punk Jews and Shlemiel, performance art, as well as traditional Jewish learning! – an amazing outpouring of talent, drive, and creativity, most of it from the younger set although all age groups could be found.

Le Mood does a good job of offering workshops that focus not only on religion but also on cultural aspects of Jewish identity. One workshop was about traditional pickling by Jeffery Yaskowitz. He explained how to pickle…  pickles and the traditions that accompanied the craft. Science and religion intertwined as the recipes and traditions unfolded. Le Mood had various food and beverage workshops throughout the day, and we were treated to many tastes and “how to’s”.

A workshop of particular interest to me was a roundtable discussion, titled: “Is Yiddish Dead?” It started and ended with communal singing and in between we heard the stories of several young people and how their lives intersected with Yiddish in Montreal as young parents, teachers or performers.

Ari 360 The night ended with a Rap performance by Shi 360 followed by a Comedy Roast of the Montreal Jewish Community featuring Joey Elias and some of Montreal’s funniest Jewish Comics. Jewish Guilt, Cote St. Luc, and bar-mitzvas were all on the table as the night ended in laughter.

If you missed it this year, definitely make a point of circling it on your calender next time!

And for all the photos from this year’s festival check out Le Mood 2012.

Theodore Bikel: Laughter Through Tears

Yesterday I was privileged to see Theodore Bikel’s performance of his one man show, SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS. In it, he channels the life of Sholem Aleichem by combining his own life and twenty-two of Sholem Aleichem’s characters from his plays and stories. I loved it because it was like seeing the past before your eyes, a past that I had only been able to imagine through plays such as this one.

Theodore Bikel

Photo by Stan Barough – Courtesy of Theatre J

Theodore Bikel is at this point eighty eight years young. He performs a one hour and forty-five minute tour-de-force performance without an intermission. He moves from one part of the stage to another and sings Yiddish standards to enhance the themes. The translation of the songs is seamlessly woven into the fabric of the play so that even those with minimal understanding of Yiddish, still comprehend and appreciate the interludes. Of course if you do understand Yiddish, it will move you to tears.

Thank you, Theodore Bikel for bringing Sholem Aleichem to life for another generation.

 

Thoughts about Sholem Aleichem and the Current Pogrom in Syria


Last night I made a special effort to watch the Documentary: Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness a recent documentary biography of the life of Sholem Aleichem, playing at Cinema du Parc. Sholem Aleichem, was the pen name of Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, who lived from 1859 to 1916. He was a popular chronicler of the lives of the Jews of that period. The Jewish population had been living for hundreds of years in the Polish/Russian countryside, and was facing the onslaught of modernity. French ideas of emancipation, American ideas of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, socialism, and the struggle against the rule of the czar, all intermingled with the cultural traditions of the Jews.

Most European Jews were speaking Yiddish at that time; a language that developed over the thousand year settlement of Jews in Europe and is a confluence of Hebrew, German and Slavic languages. Sholem Aleichem, wrote in Yiddish, although it was already a time when Jews were beginning to favor the languages of the countries in which they lived rather then their “mame loshen” – “mother’s tongue” of the home and hearth. Sholem Aleichem wrote about the Shtetle, characters who inhabited his world. He reflected on his time and place, and gave voice to the average Jew living in the Polish and Russian countryside. He wrote about Tevye, the Milkman, the character on which Fiddler on the Roof was based, and about Motl, the Cantor’s son. Die Kleine Menshelech, a play based on these same characters was the one that began the rebirth of Yiddish in Israel during the 1970’s. We all know that during the Holocaust, six million mostly Yiddish speakers, of every walk of life were murdered by the Nazi killing machine.

All of this concerns me deeply since I am working on a documentary about Yiddish culture since the Holocaust. What has happened to the Yiddish language three generations after the Holocaust? Does anyone still speak, or remember Yiddish?

Among all the excitement of hearing Sholem Aleichem’s accents and ideas in English on screen another thing that stuck out was the documentary reporting of the systematic attacks against Jews in Poland and Russia starting in 1881. This was a new phenomenon at the time. Prior to that Jews and their neighbours had been living side by side in relative harmony. Jew baiting was a medieval phenomenon, the nineteenth century was supposedly a period of “emancipation and liberty” for the common man. And then came the unexpected violence, killing of Jewish men, women and children in their homes by political gangs demonizing Jews as enemies of the state. These were the “pogroms” initiated following the assassination of the Czar in 1881 and repeated in 1905-06.

Sholem Aleichem, himself, lived through the pogrom in Kiev in 1905. The film reports that, he and his family “hid for three days in a hotel” while the massacres were going on. I suppose this is what gives rise to the title of the documentary, “Laughing in the Dark”.

The startling photographs of murdered bodies with grieving family members pictured in the documentary do not leave me. They remind me of the news stories we have been hearing about the deaths of Syrian citizens, men, women and children, in Homs and in other areas of Syria. The death toll reported so far is over 9000 people, with no end in sight.

Homes vandalized during the pogroms in Kishinev in 1903.


Victims, mostly children, of one of the pogroms in Ekaterinoslav in 1905. This photo was distributed by the self-defense organization of Poalei Zion as a postcard and drew worldwide attention to the pogroms of 1905.

In hindsight it is easy to see that the absence of response to the violence perpetrated against Jewish citizens in Poland and Russian led directly to the politics and daring destruction of Jews, practiced by the Nazis as an instrument of State. Sadly, I am reminded of the current practice of a similar statecraft in Syria today – violence practiced towards men, women and children as a tool of repression by the authorities in power, the Dictator Assad. But this has been going on for years in the Soviet Union, in North Korea, and Iran.

Natan Sharansky in Montreal, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Conscience

Here is a short video from the end of his talk to Hillel students in Montreal

 

Natan Anatoly Sharansky spoke to students at Hillel House and to the Jewish community a few days ago. Natan Sharansky is a Jewish activist for Jewish and Soviet human rights, a former prisoner in the Gulag, he was miraculously freed through the activism of Jews all over the world. After being liberated from the Soviet prison, he served in the Israeli government for nine years. He is now the head of the Jewish Agency of Israel (Sochnut). He spoke about his experiences.

He spoke about how and why he was arrested, what brought down the totalitarian Soviet Union. He explained that the human being has two needs which must be met, one is for freedom of expression, and the other is for identity and belonging. Identity is knowing who you are and what you stand for. This he received from his identity as a Jew. Jews were persecuted in Soviet Russia. Sharansky knew that he needed both his identity and his freedom:  If he were to acknowledge that he was a spy for Israel he could have gained his freedom. He refused. He was not willing to compromise on either front and he understood that all those who had an identity, i.e. who knew what they were fighting for, were his allies and friends in prison. His captors offered him his freedom if he would denounce Israel and his Jewish identity. He refused. The activist support of Jews in the US and Europe was what enabled his release and the release and exodus of hundreds of thousands of persecuted Jews from the Soviet Union. (I was one of those social workers on the receiving end of Russian Jews escaping from tyranny in NYC.) The softening of the Soviet regime vis a vis the Jews led eventually to the downfall of the Soviet totalitarian system and an extension of human rights to all Soviet citizens.

He also spoke about the inevitability of the Arab spring – the need of the people to overthrow  totalitarian dictators in Egypt and Libya and elsewhere. He explained that Egyptians are rebelling against the totalitarianism of Mubarak, and fighting first for freedom of expression: “If their only choice is the Muslim brotherhood or Mubarak totalitarianism, they will choose the brotherhood.” The test will be whether the brotherhood will be able to deliver on the promise of freedom of expression and tolerance of identity. So far there is already a prisoner of conscience, in Egypt, who has been imprisoned for speaking out against the military, Michael Nabil. Here, he talks about the Arab spring while interviewed by Irwin Kotler.

      1. Sharansky

He also spoke about the conflicts experienced by Jewish students on campuses all over North America due to the fraudulent claims of the BDS – Boycott Divestment Sanctions  and IAW (Israel/apartheid) movements that have branded Israel with the sins of South African apartheid, and made the Palestinian cause the poster child for human rights activism on North American campuses. Here is what Israel and the Jewish Agency of Israel is doing about it. They are bringing Israeli fellows to campuses and also inviting students to come to Israel for internships and study to learn the truth for themselves.

 

Addendum: Dec. 24th. 2011

I just watched this Chanukah video in which Rabbi Jonathon Sacks speaks about lighting Chanukah candles with Mikhail Gorbachev. I think you will appreciate it.

Tatiana de Rosnay, Author of Sarah’s Key, in Montreal


Last week I had the opportunity to see Tatiana De Rosnay speak at the Jewish Public Library about her newest book, Rose. The room was full as the audience eagerly anticipated her talk. Many in attendance are fans of Tatiana’s previous book Sarah’s Key, and have also seen the movie, which tells the story of a family in France during the Holocaust. Tatiana de Rosnay, born in Paris, is not Jewish but researched the story that she depicts. She shared that two survivors of the val d’hiv round up became her dear friends. One of them said to her, “How did you know that that’s exactly how I felt?”

The book focuses on the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. In 1942, French police in Paris, rounded up 13,152 Jewish emigres and refugees and their French-born children and grandchildren, who were then shipped to Auschwitz where most of them perished). Sarah’s Key focuses on a young girl during and after the war. The book vividly illustrates the willingness of French soldiers and the French government in helping the Nazis in their mission to eliminate the Jews. Only recently have the French come to grips with this shameful episode of the French government’s collaboration with the Nazi extermination of Jews during WW II. The book also tells the story of a farmer’s family and their efforts to help Jews by hiding them from the authorities.

The talk by the author, Tatiana de Rosnay, is part of a series of events planned this month at the Jewish Public Library as part of Jewish Book Month which occurs every year. This month features authors such as Aubrey Davis (In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak), Deborah Lipstadt (The Eichmann Trial), Kim Echlin (The Disappeared), Rebecca Margolis (Jewish Roots, Canadian Soil: Yiddish Culture in Montreal, 1905-1945) and others. Check out the Jewish Book Month Events Calendar.