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July 1, 2015 1:32 pm

It’s Time to Fight Fire With Fire on College Campuses

avatar by Adam Milstein

Email a copy of "It’s Time to Fight Fire With Fire on College Campuses" to a friend
 A mock checkpoint erected during "Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual anti-Israel showcase, in May 2010 on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. Photo: AMCHA Initiative.

A mock checkpoint erected during “Israeli Apartheid Week,” an annual anti-Israel showcase, in May 2010 on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. Photo: AMCHA Initiative.

A wave of anti-Semitism is sweeping across American universities.

During the 2014-2015 school year, resolutions calling for a boycott of the Jewish state were passed by 15 student governments — and considered by more than 15 others.

At UCLA, the student government passed a boycott resolution against Israel by a wide margin – and a Jewish student was almost prevented from joining the same government’s Judicial Board following accusations that her Jewish identity gave her dual loyalties.

At Stanford, a young Jewish woman running for the Student Senate was subjected to a barrage of hostility due to her open support for Israel.

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AEPI – America’s largest Jewish fraternity —has seen its members attacked, and dozens of frat houses vandalized with hate speech and swastikas from the Deep South to the Pacific Coast.

These incidents are becoming increasingly common — a wave that has been aptly called a “tsunami” by many. In recent months, the situation has continued to get worse.

Increasingly, it has become politically correct to slander Israel and defame the student organizations working to defend her. At the University of Illinois, Professor Steven Salaita was fired for his penchant for anti-Semitic rants on Twitter, yet he received thunderous applause and a standing ovation a few months later from a group of professional scholars at a Middle East studies conference in Washington DC as he blamed wealthy Zionists for his termination.

Many in America and Europe think that these hate groups are simply opposed to Israeli control in the land acquired from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967. They conceal their true beliefs in a cloak of social justice by claiming to oppose Israel’s policies rather than Jews themselves. This allows them to build alliances with feminist, LGBT, minority and other student groups who don’t know any better.

The reality is that these hate groups don’t recognize the right of Israel to exist within any borders. And the façade of the human rights activist quickly falls away when it’s clear that they are solely concerned with singling out the Middle East’s only democracy for criticism, while turning a blind eye to the horrific atrocities and human rights abuses throughout the region. They recycle the same lies that anti-Semites long used to demonize the Jewish people to now demonize the Jewish state, harassing and targeting Jewish students who dare to speak out on behalf of the State of Israel.

This Movement is driven by a strange marriage of radical Islamists and radical leftists. It has been consistently linked to the Palestinian Authority leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood, and, in many cases, directly to Hamas – an internationally recognized terrorist organization. The tactics that this Movement uses against Israel today will be used against America tomorrow. Hatem Bazian – the founder of the Students for Justice in Palestine and one of the founders of this Movement – publicly called for an Intifada inside of the United States against the American government.

American Jewry has a historic responsibility to fight the anti-Semites and hate groups on our campuses. This month, I was honored to help organize a summit in Las Vegas to bring together more than 50 organizations in the battle against these campus hate groups. We’ve formed a task force aptly named the “Campus Maccabees,” – led by philanthropists Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, and me – which will organize a nationwide movement to fight anti-Semitism and the hate groups that attack Israel. We will defend Jewish students and the Jewish state on American universities and beyond.

We believe that this new task force will be a game changer in this fight, coordinating the work of the very best pro-Israel organizations in unprecedented ways. We will move the battle against Israel’s enemies from defense to offense, from passive to proactive. We will reveal this baseline anti-Semitism of this Movement, expose its desire to eradicate the State of Israel, and give our students the tools to defeat it.

As part of this campaign, we must tap into a unique strategic asset that has not yet been fully leveraged: the Israeli-American community. For too long, most Israelis living in America have remained separate from the traditional Jewish community – and disengaged from Israel advocacy efforts. Eight years ago I joined with several other Israeli-American leaders to found the Israeli-American Council (IAC) to change this reality. As the IAC has grown dramatically in recent years, we’ve seen firsthand how Israeli-Americans can level the playing field in our fight against anti-Semites on campuses.

Israeli-Americans are knowledgeable and passionate about this subject. And they can speak from personal experience – it’s much easier to explain Israel’s security challenges when your aunt lives in Sderot and your cousin serves in the IDF. Israeli-Americans – instilled with characteristic Israeli boldness – can form an army of students and professionals that are unafraid to stand up and speak out against the lies about the Jewish state spread by the anti-Semites.

We’ve reached a critical tipping point. The time has come for the pro-Israel community to fight fire with fire, to shift from the defensive to the offensive. With strength, determination and unity, we must show the anti-Semites taking over America’s universities that tsunamis can travel in more than one direction.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American philanthropist, activist, and real estate entrepreneur. To learn more about Adam’s work in pro-Israel advocacy, visit the Adam and Gila Milstein Family FoundationThis article was originally published by Yediot Ahronot.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • KENNETH C WILLIAMS

    AMEN!!! 🙂

  • jb willikers

    To neutralize the poison it must be attacked at its root which like most problems stems from public intellectual arrogance and private intellectual ignorance. You have to embarrass and put them to shame intellectually and, quite separately, morally. Their personal self needs to be relentlessly exposed to the core. Their false ego needs to be shattered and then make it’s return to life inhospitable. That’s how one fights such things.

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Better late than never but do something strong and stop these anti-Jew groups from behaving like Nazi in the 1930’s.

    Too often the groups that Jews have helped most are the ones turning against them time after time after time.

    Stop helping them.

  • Lynn Friedman

    We cannot be silent. Never again Means Never again. There are a number of effective groups fighting anti Semitism on campus, such as the AMCHA Initiative. I think these groups should work together. Our kids are so vulnerable at this age. As parents, we must educate them. As I have traveled on some campuses this year and talked to Jewish students, it has frightened me how little they were taught by their parents prior to admission. So called “Jewish Groups” which are anti Israel are grabbing these uneducated kids on campus.

  • This is great news, and could indeed be at long last the game changer we need. But… I don’t see a game plan yet. Where’s the strategy? Where are the objectives? Who will be in charge and who will define the chain of command as well as the tactics to be adopted? More importantly, what is the plan to address the counter-productive activities of entrenched groups like Hillel who are more interested in preserving their niche at all cost than to participate in a global strategy demanding close cooperation between all pro-Israel groups and organizations? A plan needs to be devised that will offer inclusion and participation to each one, or else they must be asked to step aside and not stand in the way of the ones willing to work together in a real, mutually supportive coalition. What we need to develop is a real battle plan similar to a real military one. Including Israelis, who have more military experience than almost all American Jews, is an excellent idea from that perspective, but… back to basics: we need a real plan. As long as such a plan is not developed, everything is just words.

  • Yale

    Just as the anti-Israel groups couch their attacks in the terminology of “human rights”, the counter-attack must also be based on human rights. The way to do this is to focus on what these groups are really after: unaccountable total power to impose their policy preferences on anyone they wish.

    The groups focus on Israel in part because Israel is mainly Jews and they can invoke anti-Semitic tropes, but also because it is small, and in their eyes weak. (This because it has made one concession after another without getting anything in return).

    It is no coincidence that the anti-Israel groups are all anti-American as well: The American system is based on preventing anyone from gaining the power these groups crave. They have become more successful these past six years because President Obama basically shares their desire for unlimited power and thus doesn’t recognize that what they want is evil.

    The counter-attack must then be based on drawing attention to the desire for absolute power at the root of these groups’ cause and that this is contrary not just to the American tradition and spirit but also to any concept of human dignity.

    And it might not hurt to call attention to a theme that underlies their tactics: They assume they’re dealing with a bunch of idiots who haven’t been able to figure out what they’re up to.

  • Sam Harris

    Number one: Parents should stop funding these spoiled children and send their hard earned money to Israel!

  • Martin Katchen

    Learn from “Black Lives Matters” If you see or hear an antisemitic attack, film it on your cellphone if you can. For now at least, in this conflict, the cellphone camera is mightier than the fist.

  • sara rifka

    FIGHT WITH FIRE…….BUT, FIRST FIGHT WITH THE RESERVE TO BE ABLE TO BAIL

    WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE IN A COUNRY THAT HAS A AUTOMATIC TRIGGER TOWARDS THE RAISING OF A FLAG OF ‘ kill those jews’

    THANKFULLY I AM NOT AN AMERICAN …… NOR WOULD I EVER CONSIDER BEING IN A COUNTRY THAT ENJOYS THE FACT OF HAVING DISPOSABLE PEOPLE….JEWS, BLACKS, HISPANICS, AND IF THERE WERE POKA DOTS THAT TOO WOULD BE LOVED AND PLACED ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK ALONG WITH THE OTHER ‘TOKENS’

    WORDS WORDS WORDS……BETTER…..SUE SUE SUE……MONEY TALKS AND THEN MONEY WALKS……

    THEN PUNISH PUNISH………THIS JEW NO LONGER SUPPORTS MUSLIM STORES…..CHRISTIAN AND OR OTHER AFFILIATIONS WHO HONOR BDS….IF YOU CAN DO THIS WHY NO……AS A MATTER OF FACT…..I WOULD EXCERSISE A PERSONAL BDS AS WELL….

    THEY DO ALL OF THIS …WHY….YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM PERMISSION.

    AND, I PRAY THAT THE TIME COMES SOON WHEN THE BLACKEST HOLE OF HUMANITY IS REMOVED FROM THE OFFICE OF ‘WHITE’

    • jb willikers

      What a cesspool of ignorance you live in.

  • Vivarto

    Fight fire with fire
    Exspose Arafat as boy raping pedophile.
    Expose Muhammad as child abuser and rapist.
    Expose “Palestinians” as the lie of the century.

  • It is about time that you stand up for your believes and rights and reverse the Tsunami. Antisemitism has no room anywhere but more so in any education facility

  • estie ash

    being on the offensive means we need to be vociferous about the evils of islam who have unleashed brutality and violence all over the world. defending Israel against lies is still being on the defensive. yes we need to educate the world about the truth of the Jewish heritage in Israel and the fact that there are absolutely no palestinian shrines an no palestinian history uncovered in any excavations in the entire land of Israel, but the world needs to be bombarded with images and signs relating to the contributions islam has made to the world in the last century. suicide (homocide) bombers, plane hijackings, beheadings, any many other new innovations in murder etc. as opposed to the medical, technilogical etc advances contributed by Israel and Jews wordlwide. islam has wreaked havoc on the world. almost all the terrorists in the world are muslim.we need to bombard the world with the truth of the brutality of the worlds muslims and no longer allow their brutality to be sidelined in the media in favor of vilification of Israel. thank you for your hard work in favor of truth.

  • M.,Otero, PhD

    The Middle East Scholars must be guided by malice if they choose to ignore the fact that 870,000 Jews were made refugees from ten Arab League states after the 1948 defeat of seven of their armies. Today, the majority of Israelis descend from those refugees from Muslim lands from Morocco to Iran.

    Those “scholars” are ignoring the fact that it was the Arab League that was the perpetrator and who now sustains the Palestinian misfortune to this very day. It is the cunning League, NOT Israel, that students and scholars must learn.
    Meanwhile, are we being softened up for the ISIS invasion?

    Are the “Middle East scholars” the advance men for that invasion?
    Where is the justice for the Jews who were expelled after 1400 to 2600 years in the Arab world?Please see JJAC, WOJAC, Harif.

  • EVE LAING

    FINALLY, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. JEWS IN AMERICA AND MAYBE HERE IN AUSTRALIA, WILL BECOME CREATIVELY PRO-ACTIVE IN FIGHTING THIS NEW ANTI-SEMITISM INSTEAD OF JUST NOTING AND CONDEMNING IT ON AMERICAN CAMPUSES. WHICH I HOPE MEANS ATTACKING A-S ON MULTIPLE LEVELS USING FILM, DOCUMENTARIES AND THE INTERNET TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN, AGAIN, TO THE JEWS IN EUROPE AND THE JEWS IN AMERICA.

    L’CHAIM,
    EVE LAING

    • Martin Katchen

      Good on ya! I saw this hard edge when I lived in Australia during the 90s. Lots of support for AUJS (Australasian Union of Jewish Students–affiliated with WJUS). Teens going to Beitar, which is Mizrachi and Zionist oriented rather than Bnai Brith Youth Organization which is American, assimilationist and not particularly Zionist. And a lot more support by parents for aliyah as a viable option for kids than we see in the US. And that was what it took to withstand the kind of antisemitism I saw at places like Macquarie University. (I lived by UNSW and went to Sydney Uni, doing my Ph.D.). This is what it is going to take. Fund WJUS. Fund Beitar outreach post Bar-bat mitzvah. Make sure that teens know what they are in for before they get to uni. Use this antisemitism to mobilise Jewish young people the way the Australian Jewish community has done.

  • Sharon Joseph

    I applaud you for your efforts. I did not see anything about putting pressure to bear on elected officials, both state and federal to come out against these offensive acts, and to pass laws to stop them. As elections are coming up, this would be an ideal time to leverage donations to action.
    Also – is anyone keeping tabs on who the agitators are? How many of them have current visas? How many have any visas? How many are Americans?
    And is there a plan to follow the money – how are these actions being organised? By whom? Who is setting it all up?

  • Mark D, Ruthenberg

    How to help?

  • Ron

    I do not question Mr. Milstein’s sincerity, nor that of Messrs. Adelson and Saban, in their attempts to bring about a massive change in the anti-Semitic attitudes on campuses. My prediction is that it will fail abysmally. Jew-hatred has become institutionalized not only among students but faculty and administrators as well, including chancellors and presidents of the academies. Since 1948, Israel has proven that the only way to deal with those who hate Jews is via the use of force, which is the very core of why Israel still exists as a nation.

    Recall the German bund meetings held in NYC during WWII and the Teutonic Americans who supported Nazism and Hitler and spewed their anti-Semitism. The most infamous Jewish American gangster, Meyer Lansky, rapidly put an end to those meetings when he and his fellow cohorts brought baseball bats to a few of those friendly get-togethers and let the Louisville Sluggers speak directly to those who should have stayed home.

    Yes, being a warrior is the only thing these folks understand. And a few well-placed messages will hit a home run.

  • THOMAS G. MOORE

    QUIT TURNING THE CHEEK! FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE!!! ENOUGH DIPLOMACY.

  • nelson marans

    l ask where are the college administrators and where are the professors, as waves of antisemitism engulf college campuses. They are either absent or pay lip service to attacks against Israel and Jewish students. Would they countenance the same treatment of Muslim and Arab students. The answer is No with CAIR active in every perceived case. I second the writer in his statement that an effective campaign should be mounted to counteract these hate crimes.

  • Nathan

    As part of fighting fire with fire, we need Jewish martial arts experts sprinkled among our Jewish students in the most badly affected campuses. It’s time physical intimidation worked in both directions.

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