Anti-Zionist messages found at San Francisco State University on Feb. 23, 2018. Photo: Facebook/International Socialist Organization.
An apology by the president of San Francisco State University to members of the Jewish community on Friday was met with backlash from anti-Zionists on campus, including a professor who described it as “a declaration of war” against Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians.
Following a meeting with SFSU students from the Jewish group Hillel, President Leslie Wong sent a mass email on Friday apologizing for past comments affecting the Jewish community — particularly a May interview in which he refused to categorically assert that Zionists were welcome at SFSU, saying instead, “Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone? Gosh, of course not. I’m not the kind of guy who gets into absolutes like that.”
After study and reflection, the president said last week, “I have come to understand how flawed my comments were.”
“Thus, I want to sincerely apologize for the hurt feelings and anguish my words have caused,” Wong continued. “Let me be clear: Zionists are welcome on our campus.”
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This assurance was long sought by leaders of SFSU’s Jewish community and their supporters. The vast majority of Israeli Jews endorse Zionism — the movement to re-establish a Jewish homeland in the Levant — while a Pew Research survey published in 2016 found that most US Jews say “that caring about Israel is essential or important to what being Jewish means to them.”
Nonetheless, the phrases “Zionists not welcome,” “Zionism = racism,” and “Judaism =/= Zionism” were found written in chalk on campus shortly after Wong’s statement was emailed. A photo including some of these markings was posted online by the International Socialist Organization alongside a note of “solidarity with Palestinians,” which was shared by SFSU’s General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS).
In its own message, GUPS denounced Zionism as a “violent ideology responsible for the genocide and displacement of indigenous Palestinians,” and called for the immediate retraction of Wong’s statement. The students listed several demands, including increased financial support for the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) program and a public investigation “into the multiple incidents of attacks against us.”
Rabab Abdulhadi — director of AMED and GUPS’s faculty mentor — also opposed Wong’s apology, which she called “a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and all those who are committed to an indivisible sense of justice on and off campus.”
The professor alleged that the president’s statement equated “Jewishness with Zionism, and [gave] Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness,” and framed it as a response “to donor pressures and the Israeli lobby.”
Similar sentiments were echoed in a critical letter published by the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace on Tuesday, and another shared by the SFSU group Jews Against Zionism, which said “zionism IS NOT welcome on our campus. White Supremacy IS NOT welcome on our campus.”
The Black Student Union, African Student Association, Black Residents United in Housing, and Black Business Student Association likewise objected to the president’s apology, and pointed to “anti-Arab, Islamophobic, and anti-Palestinian” fliers that were found on campus in 2016 and 2017.
The fliers — some of which called Abdulhadi a “collaborator with terrorists” — were distributed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center and condemned by Wong.
In their own response to Wong, Hillel students said they appreciated that it took “humility to offer a personal apology.” They added, however, that they were “disappointed and frustrated about the lack of concrete action steps” offered during their meeting with the president.
Tensions have persisted for years between the Jewish community and SFSU, which is currently facing two lawsuits alleging that it suffers from “institutionalized antisemitism.” One of the complaints, which directly names Abdulhadi, is expected to be dismissed and re-filed.
The university came under increased scrutiny after Hillel was blocked from taking part in a February 2017 “Know Your Rights” information fair that was organized in part by SFSU’s College of Ethnic Studies. An internal investigation found that Hillel “was improperly excluded” from the event.
SFSU again made headlines in April 2017, after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat cancelled a scheduled talk at the school, where he faced disruptive protests led by GUPS the previous year. Barkat accused the university of making “no legitimate effort … to publicize the lecture” — a claim rejected by SFSU, which said the mayor only confirmed his appearance one week before it was set to take place.
In response to the controversy, 25 students from SF Hillel’s community sent a letter to Wong criticizing the university’s handling of the event and pointing out other concerns, including that “Jewish students are excluded from participating in campus events.”
That month, SFSU Hillel’s director warned that the university “keeps the organized Jewish campus community at arm’s-length, excludes our students from participating in campus events, allows speakers we invite to be shouted down and refuses to publicly stand against intolerance when it’s directed at the Jewish community.”
In June, after intervention from the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, the California State University chancellor appointed a liaison to review the campus climate for Jewish students. The liaison attended two sessions held by SFSU’s Task Force on Campus Climate, before it was suspended following resignations in December.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.