Friday, November 26, 2010
Destructive 'agnosticism' : Missing from JVP pronouncements are any critiques of the BDS movement’s goal of dismantling Israel.
written by Yitzhak Santis for Haaretz
Mr. Santis asserts that the demise of Israel is the ultimate goal of BDS:
The leaders of BDS certainly speak plainly about their goals. Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, spoke last March at a church in the San Francisco Bay area, and declared that for the BDS movement the 1967 occupation is "not the most important" issue. Instead, he said, the "foremost" demand of BDS is the right of return. The same Barghouti has also said, "If the refugees were to return you would not have a two-state solution; you'll have a Palestine next to a Palestine rather than a Palestine next to an Israel."
Other BDS advocates are equally explicit. "BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine," said Ronnie Kasrils, the veteran South African political figure and advocate for the Palestinian cause. And Palestinian-American journalist Ahmed Moor writes, "Ending the occupation doesn't mean anything if it doesn't mean upending the Jewish state itself ... BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state."
Some may try to dismiss these comments as merely individual opinions. But that is just more obfuscation. The sum of the BDS movement's central demands (as outlined in its manifesto, the "Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel" ) - especially the demand for a "right of return" - make it clear that BDS seeks to disassemble the State of Israel. Or, as Barghouti envisions it, a "Palestine next to a Palestine" and no Israel.
And what is JVP's role in this, besides being an enabler and fellow traveller of hate and anti-Semitism? He continues:
JVP's website declares: "Our mission statement endorses neither a one-state solution, nor a two-state solution ... we have members and supporters on both sides of this question, as well as many others who, like the organization as a whole, are agnostic about it."
In the face of the annihilationist and overtly anti-Semitic ideologies motivating Hamas, Hezbollah and their state sponsor Iran, this agnosticism coming from a Jewish group with respect to Israel's existence, and thus the safety of millions of Israeli Jews, represents a gross moral failure.
JVP's website also states, "JVP defends activists' right to use the full range of BDS tactics without being persecuted or demonized." Missing from this statement, and from any JVP public pronouncements, are any critiques of the BDS movement's explicit goal of dismantling Israel. Further, JVP not only defends pro-BDS groups, it also partners with them. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, JVP for years has repeatedly co-sponsored scores of events and demonstrations with anti-Israel and explicitly anti-Zionist organizations that overtly support the full range of BDS. These include the Al Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Students for Justice in Palestine, Sabeel, Bay Area Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid and the International Solidarity Movement, among many others.
Read the full article here
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Having failing in their attempt to drive the Jews into the sea, the usual assortment of haters are trying a new tactic. Cynically and manipulatively drawing on the language of the civil rights movements, they call their movement “One Democratic State in Palestine” . Their conference was held Oct 23-24 2001 in Dallas,Texas.
The stated objectives of the One Democratic State in Palestine Movement follow, in bold:
*The creation of a unified one democratic state in Mandate Palestine.
How are they going to break the news to Jordan?
*Repudiate Zionism and eliminate all forms of discrimination and segregation and end violence, militarism, and warfare.
Hmmmm . The Palestinian authority executes Arabs that sell land to Jews. Hamas remains a theocratic homophobic, misogynist regime. Any idea how to convince them to embrace democracy and equality? Any idea why the "One democratic state" organization does not repudiate the racist xenophobic Hamas charter?
*Unify Jewish Israelis and Palestinians in a shared non-ethnic democratic state in Palestine.
The question remains, how will you convince Hamas that this is a worthy goal? After all their very charter states:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. " Not very democratic. The use of the term "non-ethnic" is also curious. Does this give them free reign to establish a religious, Islamic state in this region? After all, "Islam" isn't an ethnic identity, is it?
*Restore Palestinian inalienable rights in Palestine and to compensate Palestinians for their pain and suffering.
Reminder : UN resolution 194 mentions “the refugees”. That means ALL the refugees. There were 850,000 Jews refugees from Arab lands displaced at this time. When will their inalienable rights be acknowledged? When will they be compensated? Why does the "One Democratic state" group seem to think that only Palestinians are entitled to "human rights?
*Establish an international solidarity movement,composed of individuals and organizations, to organize and spearhead efforts to realize the objectives of one democratic state in Palestine.
They aren't off to a very good start. The speakers at this conference included several notorious anti-Semites, including Gilad Atzmon, a man so far off the grid that Tony Greenstein, UK Marxist anti-Zionist has even renounced him. Atzmon is so racist that sweet gentle Berkeley Unitarians left his talk in tears after his appearance in the Fellowship in 2009.
Lenni Brenner, author of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators also addressed the conference- A favorite of neo-nazis of all stripes, Brenner maintains that "Zionists" were in league with the Nazis during World War II and that this alliance was based on a desire by the Zionists to bring about a Zionist state by exploiting anti-Semitism in Europe.
"The Movement for One Democratic State in Palestine" is simply another wolf in sheep's clothing, using the rhetoric of civil and human rights to deny the Jewish people the right to self determination in their ancient homeland. But with the likes of Atzmon and Brenner in their corner, they won't be fooling anyone.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The initiative itself is standard BDS text-- the language of "human rights" and "international law", including the ever-present reference to UN Resolution 194 and the false claim that this resolution gives descendants of Arab refugees from the 1947-8 war the "right" to force Israel to repatriate them.
We know this initiative, even if it qualifies for the ballot, won't pass. Even the organizers know it won't pass. But they have learned quite well about the "Big Lie", and they are eager for the chance to bring it to the big stage.
As to the initiative itself, the clause that would be enacted states as follows:
m) This section shall cease to be operative if both of the following apply:
(1) Iran is removed from the United States Department of State’s list of countries that have been determined to repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism.
(2) Pursuant to Public Law 104-172, as amended, the President of the United States determines and certifies to the appropriate committee of the Congress of the United States that Iran has ceased its efforts to design, develop, manufacture, or acquire a nuclear explosive device or related materials and technology."]
Yatooma and his BDS group have been trying to get attention and validation for this extremist effort by asking the Sacramento Jewish Community Relations Council for a debate on the initiative as well as the proposed anti-Israel boycott at the Sacramento Food Cooperative. Barry Broad, the chair of the Sacramento JCRC, had a very straightforward response which I am happy to share with his permission:
Representatives of your group, the “Sacramento BDS Working Group,” publicly stated on more than one occasion in testimony before the Coop Board that “Jewish money controls the government and media.” Another one of your activists, Dan Bacher, has posted a “historical revisionist” (as in Neo-Nazi) rant on a Democratic Party website (to the extreme consternation of the Democratic Party). Such statements are pure anti-Semitism and a central feature of historical anti-Semitism going back to the nineteenth century—if not further. That your group makes no effort to restrain, much less repudiate, openly anti-Semitic remarks made by your own chosen spokespersons indicates that anti-Semitism is a core value of your organization.
In short, we don’t debate racists. We fight them, whether their hatred is aimed at us or any other racial or ethnic minority. As such, we look forward to defeating the BDS effort at the Coop."
Monday, September 6, 2010
Another thing which helped me and my anti-divestment bill allies was community support; we couldn’t have won the divestment bill battle alone. The first point to note here is that, as pro-Israel activists, we naturally were up against an opponent with a high level of community support - after all, we were in Berkeley, a community with far more than its share of extremist politics. The entire San Francisco Bay Area was named by the Reut Institute as one of five “hubs” of delegitimization of Israel in the world today (the others being London, Toronto, Madrid and Brussels). This may not be as much of a problem in other areas, but communities with colleges and universities are generally going to be politically aligned with so-called “peace and justice” movements. As a result of this it can take some effort to network and get strong community representation, but this can be a pivotal factor, and in fact is probably necessary to winning wars against anti-Israel campus groups, at least on campuses in cities which are generally anti-Israel themselves, or which have a strong and outspoken anti-Israel community. But beyond the necessity of getting community support in order not to look more marginal than the anti-Israel forces, Jewish community support can provide invaluable help in speaking out for the Jewish community in America or even just locally; SJP made a point of bringing in numerous area Jews who are anti-Israel, in order to give the Senate the impression that a great number of Jews, generally, are anti-Israel. The best way to counter this tactic is to bring in powerful and prominent Jewish voices to lend support for
A great example of the way community support can help win battles against
Individuals from groups such as the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and San Francisco Voice for Israel (the San Francisco chapter of the influential and prominent pro-Israel organization Stand With Us), showed up and spoke eloquently and powerfully on behalf of their organizations against divestment, showing the Senate (and everyone else in the room) that a small number of disgruntled and rabid Jews, mostly from Berkeley, supporting divestment from Israel can’t be taken as representative of Bay Area Jewry. In addition, Adam Naftalin-Kelman (as I have mentioned), Executive Director of Berkeley Hillel, and even Akiva Tor, Consul General of Israel for the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, spoke out at the meeting against the divestment bill. Numerous Rabbis from the Bay Area spoke as well. In addition, a coalition of local and national groups published a letter in the Daily Californian condemning the divestment bill. This letter was supported not only by the groups that one would expect, such as the ADL, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and StandWithUs, but was also signed by the New Israel Fund and J Street. Those last two groups are known within the pro-Israel community for their often outspoken criticism of Israel. But the divestment movement, with its overt delegitimization of Israel, was something all of these groups could unite against.
All of this sent the message that the 200,000-member Bay Area Jewish community cannot be taken to be represented by several dozen anti-Israel fanatics. Indeed, the presence and support of local leaders in the Bay Area Jewish community was invaluable, I think, to our success in keeping the divestment bill from passing.
It is worth noting that pro-Israel community members living in the city where one’s university is located and in neighboring areas, both those working professionally for Jewish organizations and those with non-Jewish-related jobs, will often be better informed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and better and more experienced public speakers on this issue than college Israel advocates, and this can be a great boon. In many ways, many of the community Jews of the area in which one goes to college can be seen as the ‘big brothers’ of members of groups such as Tikvah. These people have had decades of experience fighting anti-Israel forces, are more well read on the Arab/Israeli conflict and the PR war which is currently raging, and often are former members of campus pro-Israel groups themselves. Moreover, community members sympathetic to one’s cause, especially when the cause is one as bitterly fought as our own cause of Israel advocacy, often will, in my experience, go out of their way to help university students. Finding community
Which brings me to my next point: How one should, and can, network with local pro-Israel and Jewish groups and individuals.
Meeting and collaborating with community members is actually very easy, daunting though it may seem to a college student (and it certainly felt daunting to me at first). For one thing, major cities and areas in the United States often have branches of pro-Israel organizations, such as AIPAC or Stand With Us; contacting these local branches is an excellent idea, and is very easy and helpful, especially since these professional advocacy groups consider it part of their own agenda to reach out to offer support to college students ‘in the trenches’. Numerous pro-Israel organizations in America as a matter of fact will organize yearly conferences or trips, which can take place either in America or in Israel, designed to educate college Israel advocates on the history of Israel and the Arabs and on advocacy techniques; I probably learned half of what I know about how to do Israel advocacy from attending the yearly Stand With Us Israel advocacy conference in the Fall of 2007. But simply contacting local groups for assistance is very easy; sending an email usually does the trick.
Aside from local pro-Israel groups, which can often offer financial assistance as well as assistance with putting on campus events, another good resource can be local synagogues. For one thing, Jewish professors on one’s university, or those who are even mildly religiously active, will likely go to a synagogue near the campus, so going to synagogues is one way to meet these professors and network with them in an informal environment. However, not all synagogues choose to get involved in such issues, and there are even some synagogues whose communities are far from a pro-Israel alignment. The best way to get access to
Professors on campus can be extremely helpful allies as well. It’s no secret that academia in our country (and indeed in other countries, notably England) is home to many of the worst anti-Israel personalities in the country: Noam Chomsky is the most famous example, but others abound, such as recently disgraced and fired DePaul professor (and professional Israel hater) Norman Finkelstein. As a result of the fact that anti-Israel groups on campus can and do appeal to professors on ‘their side’ for help, it’s critical that pro-Israel groups and students do the same. And while many pro-Israel professors, in my experience, are somewhat hesitant to get involved in campus student politics and activism, if one looks they can find (usually Jewish) pro-Israel professors who aren’t afraid to speak out. Indeed, when the Chair of the Jewish Studies program at Berkeley, Professor Ronald Hendel, published a letter in the Daily Californian, the campus newspaper, exposing the divestment bill effort as plainly an anti-Israel effort, and not one which had to do with opposing war crimes in the world as the bill’s authors tried to claim, was extremely helpful to Tikvah and to the greater effort to oppose the bill.
8. Networking on campus
There is one last thing I’d like to mention. Much as reaching out to community members and groups sympathetic to the cause of
The most obvious students and student groups to appeal to for help are, of course, the Jewish ones. The fact that the anti-divestment-bill effort on campus saw most of the Jewish groups at Berkeley unite together against the bill was absolutely essential to seeing this bill fail. The clearest display of this fact was when sixteen Jewish groups on campus, most of whom never engage in real Israel advocacy, came together, reportedly under the leadership of Berkeley Hillel, to sign a statement opposing the divestment bill. During the course of the divestment bill fight (not long after the bill was initially vetoed), SJP published a letter in the Daily Californian student campus newspaper titled “We Are Jews and We Support Divestment” which had hundreds of campus and community signers, including some Berkeley graduates and professors. This letter was read by thousands on campus. As I noted earlier, this illustrates the tactic SJP and other anti-Israel groups use, assembling as many anti-Israel Jews as possible and bringing them out in force in an attempt to convince bystanders that American (and local) Jewry is in fact divided heavily when it comes to
What kept the SJP letter from being a runaway success for the anti-Israel movement on campus was that shortly after its publication, another letter would be published in the Daily Californian, a letter urging that the
Bringing the Jewish community together on campus against divestment was essential to killing the divestment bill. However, one area which Tikvah, in my estimation, needs to improve at in order to continue gaining strength on campus (and therefore, in order to ensure that no future divestment bills or bills of that nature pass at
It is also extremely important to network with and form allegiances with non-Jewish campus student organizations. There are several very clear advantages this brings. For one, it is a given, I take it, that on any major college campus, SJP or whomever happens to be the resident anti-Israel group on campus is well situated in campus politics and has many allies and allied groups. Touching on the point I just made above, this means that SJP or whomever is more likely to be seen by bystanders as credible than a lone, largely Jewish pro-Israel group would be. Even a pro-Israel group which is allied with many Jewish groups will not look as credible as an anti-Israel group which is allied with many student groups which deal with issues unrelated to the
Another reason it is very important to network and make allies with other student communities and student groups is that it gives a political advantage: On Berkeley, SJP had a plethora of allied groups and communities which could be counted on to vote for SJP members running for Senate (and who could be counted on to support the divestment bill). At Berkeley SJP became very powerful by making many allies in other student communities – the African Americans, the Hispanics, the gay rights and women’s rights groups and environmentalist groups. Were it not for the fact that one of the two major political parties at Berkeley has many Jews, and by extension a good amount of pro-Israel sentiment within its ranks, Tikvah would not have had an easy time, in my estimation, convincing too many others (read: non-Jews) to oppose the divestment bill At campuses where student government is organized based on political parties as at UC Berkeley, making alliances can be important in just getting people elected who won’t allow the student government to be hijacked by the BDS movement.
Strength is in numbers, and, at colleges, in diversity within one’s ranks.
Incidentally, networking and making allies with other student communities is much easier than one might suspect. Many student groups want to reach out and learn about other student groups, and so scheduling a mixer between one’s own pro-Israel group and, say, a Christian group or an Indian group isn’t hard and can be very rewarding. It’s especially easy if members of one’s own group are good friends with members of another group. Frankly, mixers are especially good to do because they lead to friendships being made, and one student community will be willing to go to bat for another when they have good friends in the other community. There is no substitute for personal connections. And of course, all of this advice concerning networking with non-Jewish student groups and communities can be applied more generally, seeing as networking and making friends with non-Jewish off-campus groups obviously can help immensely too.
Politically, there are certain groups that are worth approaching as allies: LGBT groups, environmental groups, Indian students and Armenian students. The first two are relatively obvious, though LGBT groups have far too often allied themselves with anti-Israel groups that support extremely homophobic and hateful entities such as Hamas. India and Israel have strong ties and both see themselves as targets of radical Islamic terror groups (in India’s case, from Pakistan); in fact several prominent representatives of the Indian-American student community on campus spoke out against the divestment bill and helped the Jewish community and Tikvah in its struggle against that bill. Armenian students, in the current political climate of Turkish anti-Israel activism, may also be receptive, though wary because of Israel’s previous close ties with Turkey; Armenian students also, in my experience, can relate to Jewish students, as they see the Armenian genocide of the 1910s as akin to the Nazi Holocaust, and therefore see themselves as brethren to the Jewish people.
This goes along with a more general point, that it’s important to be politically involved and to take the time to get to know the ‘power players’ on one’s campus. Getting a person from one’s own student group elected to student government is the most prized possession, and leads to a number of positive things – visibility for one’s student group, an ability to help shape campus rules and discourse, one guaranteed ‘no’ vote on anti-Israel bills in the student Senate – with the relatively minor downside that with a student government official in office from one’s group, it’s very important for the student group itself to act maturely on campus and to comport itself well (lest the group have a harder time electing another member in the future). But even just networking with student government officials is a good idea, since many of them, in my experience, genuinely care to hear what their constituents (read: students at their university) think, and are willing to hear out one’s opinions on matters on campus (for instance, things like anti-Israel bills). It’s best to do this networking before things like anti-Israel bills come up; at that point, Senators are likely to be paying attention to their personal friends, as well as their party leaders and colleagues. It is worth noting, on a side note, that anti-Israel groups, at least at California universities, are, more and more, planning to take over university student governments more generally these days, for the purpose of having the power to pass whatever bills they so desire.
In sum, we in Tikvah: Students for
B.A., Philosophy, 2010
Students for Justice in Palestine has managed to make itself look Jew-friendly, like a home for Jews, in part by actively and aggressively recruiting and employing Jews and, notably, Israelis. SJP at
It must, however, be noted that the overwhelming majority of Israelis, whether living in Israel or abroad, are Zionist--they support the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination in their historic homeland. The shocking number of virulent anti-Zionist Israelis in Berkeley’s SJP, and in the anti-Israel movement worldwide, should not be taken to suggest that Israelis are generally anti-Zionist or that Israeli youth is anti-Zionist today. Indeed, the anti-Zionist Israelis who can be found in SJP and similar groups are an aberration—they comprise an extreme minority in Israeli society, just as those who call for an overthrow of the American government are an extremist fringe group in this country. Nonetheless, the anti-Zionist Jews and Israelis in Berkeley’s SJP and in similar groups make it their mission to attack Israel as savagely as possible: “I lived in Israel for ten years, everything SJP says about the country is true” is a powerful statement when its hearers don’t know much about Israel to begin with. It would not be rash to say that SJP and groups like it each have a small army of Jews, many of whom are Israeli, ready to leap forward and attack Israel whenever called on; and this ‘army’ is large enough and speaks passionately enough that it often succeeds at making non-Jewish bystanders (such as the aforementioned ASUC Senator) think that Jews must be more generally divided on questions like Israel’s right to exist, than would otherwise be assumed. A cautionary word: the great majority of Jews and Israelis at
The second thing to note concerning SJP’s fight to look Jewish and gain acceptance in its ‘Jewishness’ or status as an almost ‘Jewish’ student group, is that SJP at Berkeley – and, from what I hear, this is something groups like SJP are starting to try to do at colleges nationwide, more generally – has managed to successfully infiltrate Berkeley Hillel, the “center for Jewish life on campus”. This is how it manages to spread its venom from the inside of the organized student Jewish community and is part of the reason it manages to gain Jewish and Israeli recruits. The way SJP has managed to do this is quite simple: an ‘Israeli’ student group, Kesher Enoshi, was founded several years ago at
I will not make any pronouncements on whether or not ‘Kesher Enoshi’ was always a plan designed to infiltrate the Jewish community. But the fact remains that the Jewish establishment on campus – certainly at Hillel - is reticent to ‘exclude’ any Jews, for fear of making some Jews on campus feel uncomfortable or unwelcome as Jews in the Jewish community on campus. Hillel sees their mission as being that of bringing in all Jews, of all opinions and stripes, in a glorious and harmonious ‘big tent’ (that this is impossible seems to me to be obvious). This sees them, perhaps with some discomfort, allow Kesher Enoshi not only to make their presence known in Hillel but even to do recruiting and put on events in the Hillel building itself, which are often attended by SJP members among others. The anti-Israel forces have therefore found an ‘in’ into advertising directly to Jews, from within the Jewish community. Thankfully, I have heard things recently which suggest that Hillel International may be changing their policy somewhat in order to ensure that anti-Israel groups are kept outside of Hillels on college campuses; I hope this is true.
4. How to counter SJP?
We now reach the pivotal question: In light of all of SJP’s successes, how did we at
I have written at great length concerning SJP’s strengths; the key to defeating them and
It’s no secret that many members and supporters of anti-Israel groups, including college anti-Israel groups like SJP, are fanatics who hide their extremist goals and support of terrorism in the rhetoric of terms such as “peace and justice”. Many assume – and this is the intuitive, natural response to attacks on Israel, I think – that the best way to do Israel advocacy and to fight BDS efforts is to ‘defend Israel’, that is, to refute claims made about it and to try to portray it in a positive light so as to counteract the image of it painted by its detractors. I think that this ‘defend Israel’ approach, while well-intended, is not the most effective approach to Israel advocacy, not least because it’s typically not even done well; a friend of mine coined the term ‘Cellphone Zionism’ to describe that school of thought in Israel advocacy which is very prominent, which holds that the natural and correct response to demonization, delegitimization and double standards when it comes to Israel (Natan Sharansky’s “Three D’s” which identify when legitimate criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism) is to respond by asserting Israel’s accomplishments or strengths: “But Israel invented cell phones!” I think it’s evident that responses such as this, or similar responses like “Israel is the most environmentally conscious country in the world” and “Israel has great minority/LGBT rights” do not even challenge the central claim made by BDS and anti-Zionist advocates: that Israel is, in addition to being illegitimate in its very existence (the “Occupation started in 1948” claim that SJP and others openly espouse), so morally odious as a state that supporting it makes one a supporter of apartheid and genocide. When the bad guys bring out the big guns, when they paint
Now what are the aforementioned ‘big guns’ our side, the side of
5. Exposing the links between SJP and radical Islamists
The strongest point of attack, then, against anti-Israel advocates is to expose these people and their ideology for what they are. It doesn’t take much digging up to find out that, for instance, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), whose
Americans are by and large not fond of radical Islamic terror; given how easy it is to point out the links between college groups like SJP, their members, and terror, I see no good reason why this strategy is not taken more often.
Another note on this topic: Portraying, correctly, the Jewish people as one historically hunted and discriminated against, and now, in their own land, still being hunted, is to portray a moving and accurate story. The anti-Israel forces have liked to portray the Palestinians as the hunted underdog, but the Jews, as historical perspective shows, have been history’s hated underdog, and remain the underdog in the Middle East today—far outnumbered by nations who desire to see them violently removed from the region, constantly facing terrorism on a level no other country in the world has to deal with, at the mercy of a world addicted to oil and which is in the pockets of powerful dictatorial Middle Eastern regimes who, behind the scenes, funnel much oil money into terrorism and the spread of anti-Israel propaganda. One cannot fail to move a crowd of impartial Americans by correctly pointing out what’s going on – the same Jews who’ve always been, consistently, the world’s scapegoat and undesired minority are now, upon finally living in their own land, away from the European anti-Semitism which plagued them for millennia, finding themselves attacked again, by a worldwide propaganda and terror movement which has an obsession with seeing their state fall. The campaign of anti-Israel propaganda which has taken hold on so many American college campuses is, of course, merely the newest tactic of a relentless, bloodthirsty Arab enemy, after conventional wars have failed to see
SJP and similar groups are trying to force student governments, like at
So I feel that the best way to counter BDS offensives is to launch a counteroffensive and expose the BDS effort and its perpetrators for what they are. And there was some of this – but not as much as there should have been - going on in the midst of the BDS debate on campus. I would like now to draw attention to several other things which can help fight BDS on campuses.
6. Making the student government responsible to the student body
One thing that the anti-divestment bill side of the debate on campus used to great effect was making the point that ‘our side’ promoted the philosophy that the student government on campus should be used to pass bills and pronouncements relating to campus matters rather than those abroad, and that the pro-divestment CalSERVE party cared more for passing this divestment bill and tying up the senate in that debate than for dealing with pressing on-campus matters which directly affect students. Moreover, we noted that the CalSERVErs, as it were, had no problem making a mere plurality of 20 senators, voted on only by a low proportion of Berkeley students, the spokespeople for the university’s 35,000-member student body at large by promoting BDS in the name of the entire student body. We also noted that none of the serving senators had campaigned on a platform of divesting from Israel, or of opposing Israel at all; rather they, as elected representatives, were weighing in on an issue far from the minds of many student voters, an issue they could not reasonably and honestly say they represented campus opinion on. It is inherently undemocratic to feed a small governing representative body of a larger body of individuals (the Berkeley student body, in this case) propaganda intended to get them to vote a certain desired way on an issue which a great many of the voters who appointed the representatives care and know little about, and to then declare that the vote represents the opinion of that student body. We also noted that to support divestment would be to support a bill that would inevitably alienate, at the very least, the great majority of the thousands of Jewish students on campus, and make our campus a hostile atmosphere for these students and their like-minded friends– an action directly counter to the ethos of campus inclusiveness that Berkeley students, and especially CalSERVE officials and senators claim to support and deeply value. In fact, Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, Executive Director of Berkeley Hillel, suggested to the ASUC in a speech that were this bill passed over the ASUC President’s veto, it is likely Jewish enrollment at Berkeley would decrease in future years – a result counter to the progressive notion of campus inclusiveness. By noting that our political opposition felt an apparent need to bring in extremely charged political issues to the table of campus student politics, whatever the cost, we successfully and honestly portrayed our enemies as fanatics who put the desire to weigh in on complex international affairs ahead of the need to pass campus reforms which would directly impact all students for the better.
The tactical decision to brand our enemies in SJP, and in the CalSERVE party more generally, as being content to ruin the Cal experience for thousands of Jewish students by making controversial pronouncements on murky issues totally unrelated to the campus and the campus experience, was an extremely important decision –it was why we secured many students’ support for our stance on the divestment bill. The enemies of
 As a colleague of mine in Tikvah: Students for
 Pictures of Huet-Vaughn at an ISM conference can be found in Lee Kaplan’s great article “The ISM-Terror Connection”, which recounts in depth the proceedings of an ISM conference in 2006 in
Kaplan’s aforementioned article, largely a recounting of an ISM infiltrator’s experiences at the 2006 conference, points this out (with the aid of pictures, no less).
 I am not suggesting that Arabs are inherently or generally anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, by the way.