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.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
New immigrants to Israel arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 17, 2016. Photo: Reuters / Baz Ratner.
A top Israeli minister called on the government on Sunday to craft a “comprehensive plan” to encourage the aliyah of French Jews.
In Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett’s view, there has been a “historic missed opportunity” in recent years to bring more French Jews to Israel as immigrants.
“There are 200,000 French Jews who want to come here, and the state bureaucracies simply aren’t prepared for it,” Bennett, who also serves as education minister and head of the right-wing HaBayit HaYehudi party, claimed at a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “These are ethical people, Zionists, lovers of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, and it is our moral obligation to help them.”
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)