Campus BDS Roundup


Barghouti denied entry to the US

Omar Barghouti, founder and leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was denied from entering the United States last week. He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel that U.S. immigration officials told the American consul in Tel Aviv to block him from boarding.

Barghouti had scheduled a speaking tour at places including Harvard and New York universities, meetings with policymakers in Washington, and an appearance at a bookstore owned by Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN in November after addressing the United Nations, where he called for Israel’s annihilation. He was also planning to attend his daughter’s wedding.

The decision to deny Barghouti entry may be part of a larger crackdown on BDS in the United States. House Republican lawmakers are launching a discharge petition to force a vote on the House floor on a Senate bill that would allow state and local governments the right to punish state or local contractors from engaging in boycotting Israel. To date, 27 U.S. states that have adopted laws designed to penalize boycotts against Israel.

Meanwhile, emerging evidence has linked BDS groups in the United States to Palestinian terror organizations.

Barghouti founded the BDS movement in July 2005; later, he co-founded the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) in November 2007. The BNC leads and supports the BDS movement, and according to Barghouti, “sets the overall strategies, the objectives of the movement.” The BNC has been linked to the U.S.-designated terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

According to Canary Mission, Barghouti has “expressed support for terrorism, promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and regularly demonizes Israel. He opposes the Jewish right to self-determination and Israel’s existence, openly calling for its destruction as a Jewish state.”

Born in Qatar and raised in Egypt, Barghouti holds two degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University and resides in Israel.

Cornell rejects BDS resolution

Cornell University’s Student Assembly has rejected a resolution calling for the school to divest from entities “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human-rights violations.”

The final secret-ballot tally was 14 in favor, 13 against and one abstention, plus two “community votes” against the measure.

The “community vote” was 248 in favor, 330 against and four abstentions.

“Good for the students for seeing through the BDS scam,” AMCHA director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told JNS.

“The victory is a tribute to the sustained, collaborative efforts of students and community members at the university, as evidenced by the two community votes against the resolution, which proved to be decisive in the outcome,” Liel Asulin, campus coordinator for CAMERA on Campus, told JNS. “Like all BDS resolutions, its biased, anti-Israel content fuels misinformation on the campus.”

Ahead of the vote, an Israeli student at Cornell, Shir Kidron, whose home was hit by a rocket launched by Hamas from Gaza, was told in a Facebook comment by a pro-Palestinian campus group to “quit complaining about how it ruined your brunch plans.” Kidron wrote in the Cornell Sun about the experience and warned about the growing ramifications of BDS.

In March, Cornell University president Martha E. Pollack rejected BDS. —JNS

Hateful posters found at UNC

Anti-Semitic posters that referred to “an evil Jewish plot” were discovered at the Davis Library of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said he was “disappointed and appalled that anyone would write these abhorrent messages and direct them towards members of our Jewish community.”

North Carolina Hillel Executive director Ari Gauss said “the language is reminiscent of centuries-old, anti-Semitic rhetoric that incited the murder of thousands of Jews in pogroms throughout Eastern Europe and the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. This racist, repulsive language has no place on any campus or in any society.”

The incident comes on the heels of an anti-Israel, anti-Zionist conference sponsored by UNC and Duke University in March. A video from that event shows Tamer Nafar, a Palestinian rapper, performing an anti-Semitic song.

UNC at first defended the event, “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities,” claiming the video and supplemental audio “was heavily edited, and … we do not believe [it] represents the spirit of scholarship at the event.”

But after viewing raw footing from the event, Duke University President Vincent Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth said this: “We want to be very clear: anti-Semitism is one of the great scourges of modern life. Its resurgence, as demonstrated by the worldwide increase in hate crimes and incidents, is deeply troubling and should be of great concern to any civil society. … On our campus and beyond, the lines of politics, trust, activism and civility cannot become so blurred that we lose our commitment to mutual respect.”

North Carolina Hillel slammed the event, saying that its speakers “demonized Israel for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and included too few perspectives from scholars who could have provided balanced context and multiple viewpoints on this challenging subject.” —JNS

Santa Barbara: No on anti-Israel vote

After more than nine hours of debate, students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, rejected a resolution that, had it passed, would have followed other student governments in the University of California system that already passed such a measure calling on the UC system to divest from companies doing business in Israel.

The final tally was 10 votes in favor and 14 against.

StandWithUs and Students Supporting Israel applauded the result.

“We are incredibly proud of the students at UC Santa Barbara who defeated this campaign of hatred and propaganda for the sixth time in seven years,” said Max Samarov, a UCSB alum and the executive director of research and strategy at StandWithUs. “Resolutions like this one have only served to harm students and hinder efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.”

“I am open to reading a neutral resolution,” said SSI co-president Rachel Greenberg. “Senate should criticize countries that commit human-rights violations without singling out a country: Israel.”

“The resolution continues to fail each year for the simple reason that BDS fails to acknowledge the nuanced and complex nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and aims to place blame solely on one entity in a multi-faceted issue,” she added. “I am incredibly proud that our elected senators listened to the voices of their constituents and said no to this hateful resolution.” —JNS