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    Author: Miriam Elman

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    Miriam Elman

    Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where she is a research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.

    On Thursday May 11, at the 67th FIFA Congress in Manama, Bahrain the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and its supporters of vehemently anti-Israel ‘human rights’ organizations lost their bid to sanction or suspend the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA—the governing body of world soccer. Eligible member associations voted 138-50 to approve the FIFA Council’s alternative proposed motion to delay the issue for one more year until March 2018. I highlighted the persistent campaign against Israel at FIFA in a recent post, Will FIFA Kick Israel Out of World Football?

    Next week at the annual FIFA Council and Congress to be held in Manama, Bahrain, member states are expected to deliberate and vote on a set of recommendations that include having the IFA (Israeli Football Association) thrown out of the organization. FIFA—International Federation of Association Football—is the governing body of international soccer. It’s among the world’s most important sports organizations. At issue is a two-year-long campaign by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and a host of anti-Israel ‘human rights’ groups to have FIFA suspend IFA membership on account of its inclusion of six football teams that play in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank, what the PFA and its supporters call “stolen land.”

    Last week, the three Israeli paratroopers whose images were photographed as they stood in silent awe in front of Jerusalem’s Western Wall (the Kotel) shortly after its capture during the Six-Day War returned to the Old City to remember the moment and reenact the famous picture. In prior posts, we highlighted how on June 7, 1967 the three 20-something reserve duty soldiers—Zion Karasenti, Haim Oshri, and Yitzhak Yifat—inadvertently became the symbols of the Jewish people’s fulfilment of a 2,000 year old dream when the Kotel and the many other Jewish holy sites in east Jerusalem were liberated from an unjust and unlawful Jordanian occupation. As we noted, it happened when the late David Rubinger, a savvy photographer at the start of his career, also happened to be at the right place at the right time. He managed to capture what became the defining image of Israel’s extraordinary 1967 military victory and one of the most significant moments in modern Israeli and Jewish history:

    On February 15 two 17-year-old central NY high school students—Jordan April and Archer Shurtliff—raised objections to a homework assignment in which they were required to either oppose or defend the extermination of Jews. Their teacher, Oswego County High School teacher Michael DeNobile, asked them to
    write an internal memorandum within the highest ranking offices of the Nazi party in regards to your support or opposition to the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”
    Presumably the goal was to teach the students critical thinking, thereby promoting one of the Common Core’s desired skills.

    Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a non-Jewish organization that undermines the fight against, and enables, antisemitism by legitimizing and mainstreaming the anti-Israel movement’s assault on Jewish identity. JVP presents itself as a social justice organization committed to non-violence and peace. But as we’ve documented in dozens of posts, its tactics and affiliations tell a different story. JVP masquerades as merely devoted to ending Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank when what it really wants is to end Israel. Its leadership and activists frequently promote and partner with extremist individuals and groups that demonize the Jewish state and delegitimize Zionism, while trafficking in negative stereotypes of Jews.

    Several weeks ago a series of fliers appeared on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Most of the hateful fliers disparaged American Jews as privileged whites and connected this alleged ‘Jewish privilege’ to social injustice in the U.S. Others drew on classic antisemitic tropes of Holocaust denial and the new form of Jew-hatred in which Israel is compared to Nazi Germany. In a statement, university administrators condemned the antisemitic fliers that "defame, insult and negatively portray Jewish members of our campus community." They're reportedly conducting a full investigation, but as of this writing those responsible for creating and distributing the fliers are still unknown.

    Mazen Faqha was a Hamas official responsible for organizing a 2002 suicide bombing attack in Israel. Found guilty and given a life sentence for the crime that killed nine people and injured scores more, he was among the over 1000 terrorists—many of them also with blood on their hands and serving life sentences—released in 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange to free hostage IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Faqha was deported to Gaza. From there, according to Israeli officials, he became a “key planner” in setting up Hamas terror cells in the West Bank, directing them as they organized and launched deadly terror attacks against Israelis.

    On Monday night (March 6), Israel’s parliament (the Knesset) passed in its second and final reading a law barring the entry of foreign nationals who have “knowingly and publicly” called for boycotting Israel or who “represent an organization” that calls for such a boycott. The law extends the ban to those foreign visitors (excluding permanent residents) who back the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement and to those who support the boycott of settlement goods in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank. The legislation, which passed with 46 votes in favor and 28 against, was sponsored by center-right political parties and had been in the works for over a year, as discussed in detail in my prior post, Will Israel Bar Entry of Foreign BDS Activists?

    Breaking the Silence (BtS)—Shovrim Shtika in Hebrew—is a group of Israeli veterans who collect and disseminate ‘testimonies’ of alleged breaches of military ethics which they claim were witnessed and perpetrated by soldiers while they were serving in the West Bank and Gaza. BtS activists present themselves as patriotic Zionists who love their country. They also defend their organization as a whistleblower that works to keep the state moral by speaking out against IDF atrocities committed against Palestinians. But the reality is that BtS has long been discredited as a fringe group that acts to “fuel BDS.” The group once garnered a fair share of admirers during its formative years. Today it’s rejected by most of the Israeli mainstream public.

    On Wednesday, the New York State Education Department apologized for including an ‘anti-Israel’ political cartoon on its global studies Regents Exam. The exam was administered to 10th graders back on January 24. In an earlier post on the controversy, we wrote that critics—including students, teachers, and a prominent NY politician—had charged that the cartoon was offensive anti-Israel propaganda.

    Anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda are common on America’s college and university campuses. But as we’ve highlighted in a number of recent posts, this discriminatory and biased messaging and materials appears to be filtering down into the public education system. In a post last April we noted how anti-Israel materials have been systematically introduced into the curriculum of a Newton, MA high school. Then at an Ithaca, NY third grade classroom we recently documented efforts to indoctrinate kids into becoming “freedom fighters for Palestine”:

    On Monday Jan. 30, Israel’s parliament (the Knesset) was set to pass into law a bill that bars BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) advocates from the country. The bill would extend the ban to those who back the anti-Israel BDS movement as well as those who support the boycott of settlement goods in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank. The bill has been in the works for over a year, passing its first Knesset reading back in November.

    In an Israeli TV interview conducted earlier this week at the White House, President Obama dismissed the criticism that he had betrayed Israel by opting not to veto United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2334. The U.S. abstention allowed the Security Council to adopt the resolution on December 23. It branded Israel’s settlements in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria/the West Bank as illegal and occupied Palestinian land. The interview for Israel’s Channel 2 aired on Tuesday night. In it, Obama insisted that the resolution was the “best move for peace” and that he had “an obligation to do what I think is right.”

    Despite its name, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) isn’t Jewish or for peace. It’s a radical group that provides cover to the anti-Israel movement, particularly on campuses, by legitimizing and mainstreaming its assault on Jewish identity. As we’ve noted in prior posts, JVP usurps various Jewish celebrations, religious holidays, and commemorative life-cycle events by incorporating within them virulently anti-Israel themes and reinforcing that this Israel-bashing is consistent with Jewish values. Last year, as we highlighted in our posts, this identity theft of Jewish heritage was particularly visible during Passover and the High Holidays. Now, JVP is hijacking Chanukah (also spelled "Hanukkah") too.

    Last week I was invited by an editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog to contribute an article focusing on the issues surrounding president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The article, “Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process”, was published yesterday:

    In a number of recent posts (see here, here, here, and here) we’ve highlighted how anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is being promoted in America’s mainline churches. As we discussed, a malicious strain of virulent anti-Israel sentiment is being inserted into U.S. Protestant denominations largely because of a deep-seated organizational dysfunction in these churches. Basically, the churches are being hijacked from within by small groups of pro-BDS activists. They’ve led the charge, aided and abetted by a host of vehemently anti-Israel Palestinian groups, who they frequently promote and with whom they collaborate.

    What’s happening to Jewish and pro-Israel students on many American universities and colleges from coast to coast is horribly ugly. On “hotspot campuses” the problem is only getting worse. “Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus”, a new 70 minute documentary recently released by the organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance, chronicles the rampant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activism prevalent on many of America’s institutions of higher learning. We featured the film’s trailer in a recent post and the movie premiered in NYC on November 30. Last week, I had the opportunity to watch the film in its entirely. In this follow-up post, I review the documentary’s central themes and take-home messages.
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