JVP Endorses Antisemitism

Israel, Durham City Council, Israel Resolution

Earlier this month, Voice4Israel published a statement explaining how the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement opposes the very existence of Israel. Now we have learned that the Triangle North Carolina chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), true to its BDS mission of abolishing Israel, recently promoted the “Miko Peled NC Tour” on social media.

Peled promotes the idea that it is unlawful to recognize Israel and has repeatedly stated, it is “time to make Israel Palestine again.” In 2018 Peled tweeted, “Using the name ‘Israel’ legitimizes the genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. If we reject those, then we must use the name ‘Palestine.'”

Progressive and conservative publications alike have rebuked Peled for antisemitic comments. For example, in 2016 the progressive Jewish Forward called-out what they described as Peled’s “string of anti-Semitic tweets.” In these tweets, Peled portrayed Jews as “sleazy thieves” and compared Israel to the Nazis. Legal Insurrection, a conservative-leaning publication, has detailed Peled’s antisemitism and anti-Zionism for years explaining, “Peled does not accept Israel’s existence. He considers all of Israel occupied territory, illegitimate, and in need of liberation.” In one of his many disturbing tweets, Peled stated, “Jews who support #Israel don’t mind the Nazi like methods of oppression.”

In 2017, Mondoweiss – one of the most anti-Israel publications on the internet – rebuked Peled for discussing free speech and the holocaust in a way that “was a major dog-whistle for all kinds of Holocaust deniers and revisionists.”

Miko Peled used this hat as his avatar on Twitter in 2016.

Mondoweiss added, “He [Peled] is quite clearly whistling to Holocaust deniers.” In a deeply troubling 2017 tweet, Peled wrote, “in fact Israelis are NOT victims of the Nazis or anyone else…”

In 2017, the British shadow secretary of the Labour Party publicly condemned Peled, saying, “We should have absolute zero tolerance when it comes to the quite disgusting and pitiful antisemitism that sadly we’re sometimes seeing on social media these days.” This is striking because the Labour Party itself has been widely accused of antisemitism.

In 2016, the Princeton Committee on Palestine — an intensely anti-Israel organization — uninvited Peled from speaking due to what they called his “anti-Semitic and hateful” statements. Even JVP’s national office and its Executive Director called Peled’s tweets antisemitic and publicly supported canceling the Princeton talk.

Voice4Israel, Miko Peled, JVP
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of the anti-Israel group calling itself JVP, supported the cancellation of Miko Peled's talk at Princeton due to antisemtism.

Anti-Israel activists immediately began accusing JVP leadership of being closeted Zionists. The message was loud and clear – JVP’s denouncement of left wing antisemitism would not be tolerated by anti-Israel activists. A few days after condemning Peled for antisemitic language, the national office of JVP attempted to slightly walk back their criticism by saying that Peled used “reckless” language due to his “privilege.” Oddly enough, JVP never deleted their widely circulated social media posts accusing Peled of using antisemitic language.

The anti-Israel left is so disturbed by Peled’s statements that even many BDS activists have denounced what they have called his antisemitic comments. Yet, even after JVP’s national leadership and other anti-Israel groups condemned Peled for hateful and antisemtic remarks, the Triangle chapter of JVP chose to endorse Peled’s three local North Carolina speaking events in 2019.

While JVP calls itself Jewish, in reality, it is part of the antisemitic movement to boycott, divest, and sanction only Israel. In Voice4Israel’s recent statement titled BDS Attacks Come to the Triangle, we explained that the BDS movement consistently rejects the right of Israel to exist and practices antisemitism by demonizing and delegitimizing Israel, by holding Israel to double standards, and by comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Local BDS activists refer to themselves as anti-Zionists.

Voice4Israel fully supports freedom of opinion and expression in our community. We also believe that Jewish congregations should strive to uphold their values and stated missions which include love and support of Israel. As Voice4Israel has recently pointed out, a few JVP members hold leadership roles in our local synagogues. The anti-Zionist actions and goals of JVP— which include employing antisemitic elements, embracing convicted terrorists, and endorsing hateful speakers — we feel should not be given legitimacy or a voice by our treasured Jewish institutions.

BDS Attacks Come to the Triangle

Israel, Durham City Council, Israel Resolution

What is BDS?

BDS is the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. BDS targets only one country — Israel — which is the only country with a Jewish majority population. 

During a 2019 interview, the co-founder and leader of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, explained that boycotting Israel would continue even after the establishment of a Palestinian state. In other words, the BDS movement denies the very right of Israel to exist.

BDS Rejects the Right of Israel to Exist

Barghouti does not hide the BDS movement’s goal: “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

The BDS Movement website refers to the “right of return” as “the most important of all Palestinian rights.” For many BDS activists and leaders, this envisions a one state solution in which millions of Palestinians move into Israel — not into the future state of Palestine — thus eliminating Israel. In Barghouti’s own words, “If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

BDS Demonizes Israel with False Accusations of Apartheid

One of the ways BDS activists and anti-Zionists attack Israel is by the false and defamatory accusation that Israel practices apartheid. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) responds: “Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the full range of civil and political rights, including the right to organize politically, the right to vote and the right to speak and publish freely. Israeli Arabs and other non-Jewish Israelis serve as members of Israel’s security forces, are elected to parliament and appointed to the country’s highest courts. They are afforded equal educational opportunities, and there are ongoing initiatives to further improve the economic standing of all of Israel’s minorities. These facts serve as a counter to the apartheid argument, and demonstrate that Israel is committed to democratic principles and equal rights for all its citizens.”

In the New York Times column Why Israel Is Nothing Like Apartheid South Africa, a South African journalist explains, “I am acutely aware of Israel’s problems and faults, but it is nothing like South Africa before 1994. Those who accuse Israel of apartheid — some even say, ‘worse than apartheid’ — have forgotten what actual apartheid was, or are ignorant, or malevolent.”
 
Tshediso Mangope, a member of the African National Congress, explained, “The argument by BDS supporters that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved with a one-state solution, following the South African model of democracy, is false and dangerous. This assessment is heavily supported by my experiences in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as well as my experiences as a black South African who experienced apartheid…Expecting people with a bitter history of persecution, like the Jewish people, to abandon the idea of a Jewish state, the only state that has guaranteed them freedom and security, is not only unreasonable, but also unfair.”
 

BDS in North Carolina

Here in North Carolina, BDS activists refer to themselves as anti-Zionists and have attacked and harmed the Jewish community. Most notably, the local chapter of the euphemistically named Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) led the campaign to have the Durham City Council pass the “Israel Resolution” which made Durham the first city in the U.S. to boycott police training specifically with Israel. 11 local rabbis referred to this as a “punch in the gut” to the Jewish community.

Tweet by local BDS organization identifying themselves as anti-Zionists.

In 2018, BDS activists led by JVP went to Durham City Hall and told the Mayor and City Council lies saying that Israel is the last country in the world to respect human rights and Israel trains U.S. police officers to return to the U.S. as killers. JVP’s petition — signed by six out of seven council members before being delivered to the Council to be turned into the “Israel Resolution” —basely alleged that training American police in Israel “helps the police terrorize Black and Brown communities here in the U.S.” 

In 2018, a local JVP leader wrote a public email to five fellow JVP members and to Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson opposing a leader of the Durham Hispanic community as a candidate for Durham City Council because the candidate, a Latino woman, attends Beth El Synagogue. Rather than distance themselves from their leader’s antisemitic email, JVP recently doubled down on hate by featuring a picture on social media of this leader attending an August, 2019 JVP leadership retreat.

BDS and Anti-Zionism in Our Jewish Institutions 

Love of Israel is a basic tenet of our mainstream Jewish institutions and synagogues. In 2018 the Union of Reform Judaism proclaimed that “Zionism and love of Israel” are “core beliefs and central tenets of North American Reform Jewish life.” The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill explains, “We view Israel as a core element of Jewish life.” A goal of Hillel International is to “inspire every Jewish college student to develop a meaningful and enduring relationship to Israel and to Israelis.”

The BDS inspired Israel hatred in the Triangle area became very concrete when a local synagogue board member, who is a also a BDS activist in the role of a JVP leader, announced on social media that they encouraged the Durham City Council to single out Israel in its now infamous “Israel Resolution.” This BDS activist even bragged on Twitter, “I am…a leader in my synagogue.” Many community and congregation members were dismayed to find out that a synagogue leader used their status as a synagogue board member to promote BDS with local government. This same individual currently co-chairs this same synagogue’s Adult Education Committee. The past co-chair of this same committee is also a local JVP leader. Thus, the very synagogue committee that was charged with planning Israel-related programming has been led by anti-Israel activists. This committee even went so far as to publish a website with the synagogue’s picture and name linking it to anti-Israel, pro BDS materials. Thankfully this website was taken offline. With so many BDS supporters in key leadership positions, it is sadly no surprise that this same synagogue featured a BDS presentation led by a JVP activist. 

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism and a past rabbi at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, warns, “BDS speakers have no place in American synagogues. They do not simply oppose Israeli policies; they oppose Israel’s very existence.”

BDS in Local Academia

Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are academic leaders in BDS activism and anti-Israel demonization.

Duke University Press: BDS’s Publisher of Choice

In the article Ivory Tower Bigots, Tablet Magazine explained, “for those seeking an ardently anti-Zionist classroom, Duke University Press has found its scholarly niche as the BDS movement’s publisher of choice.” 

In 2017 Duke University Press published the Right to Maim by Jasbir Puar, a BDS leader. In the book — which one historian called “academic garbage” — Puar writes about what she calls “Israeli tactical calculations of settler colonial rule – that of creating injury and maintaining Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.” Puar states, “Debilitation is extremely profitable economically and ideologically for Israel’s settler colonial regime.”

In the “The Right to Maim,” Puar presents thinly veiled comparisons of Israelis to Nazis when she wonders if Gaza is “not a death camp but a debilitation camp,” asks, “Is Gaza an experimental lab for the production, maintenance, and profitability of biopolitical debilitation?” and states, “The understanding of maiming as a specific aim of biopolitics tests the framing of settler colonialism as a project of elimination of the indigenous through either genocide or assimilation.” It is important to note that according to the State Department, one example of antisemitism is “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

As reported in 2018 by a Voice4Israel board member, seven members of Duke University Press’ Editorial Advisory Board, charged with granting “final approval” to manuscripts, have signed initiatives related to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. An eighth member of this board promoted BDS on social media. In other words, a majority of Duke University Press’ Editorial Advisory Board supports BDS related initiatives against Israel. In addition, at least three of their staff members are anti-Israel activists. The official Duke University Press Twitter account has made more than 20 Tweets which include “#BDS.” Considering its staff, advisers, and social media presence, it is no surprise that Duke University Press has a long, disgraceful history of publishing anti-Israel and antisemitic screeds camouflaged as scholarly work.

Antisemitic UNC/Duke Conference

In 2019 the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies hosted the “Conflict Over Gaza” conference which was in reality, three days of anti-Israel indoctrination. North Carolina Congressman George Holding asked the Department of Education to investigate this conference writing, “According to first-hand accounts, the conference had a radical anti-Israel bias…A video recently surfaced depicting the main musical performer, rapper Tamer Nafar, singing a brazenly antisemitic song.” 

Nafar encouraged his audience to sing along with him, saying “I cannot be antisemitic alone.” After the video of this antisemitic performance was made public, this conference became national and international news (see video above).

Many speakers at this joint UNC/Duke conference were BDS activists. For just one example, in a single conference presentation, titled “The (De) Development of Gaza: Economy, Women, and Youth,” both speakers, Sara Roy and Laila El-Haddad, and the moderator, Rebecca Stein, were all on record as having supported various boycotts of Israel. Perhaps the blatant antisemitism on display at this BDS oriented conference even surprised UNC and Duke officials because halfway through the event a conference organizer demanded that audience members stop recording. A Voice4Israel board member attempting to document the academic sponsored antisemitism on display was ordered by an event organizer to cease.

While the antisemitic song at the conference made big news, there were many other deeply troubling aspects of this UNC/Duke conference (read a three part conference report: part 1, part 2, part 3). For example, a Jewish student at Duke politely approached a presenter during a break. The presenter, a BDS activist, refused to speak with him but then spent considerable time at the conference speaking with anti-Israel activists. Those who observed these interactions report that it felt like a boycott of Jewish students. This raises the question — are some faculty and officials at UNC and Duke encouraging or allowing Jewish students to be treated differently and discriminatorily on campus?

BDS Apologists and Appeasers

Some BDS apologists, including some well-meaning Jewish leaders, are quick to say, “Not all BDS activists oppose the right of Israel to exist” and “Not all BDS activists are antisemitic.” 

Under President Obama’s leadership, the State Department of the United States provided three examples of ways which “anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel.” Demonizing Israel, holding Israel to double standards, and delegitimizing Israel. A fourth has recently been added: comparing Israel to the Nazis. The BDS movement consistently does all four.

At Voice4Israel, we fully support freedom of speech. This freedom includes our right to speak out against the bigotry and antisemitism that BDS promotes, attracts, embraces, and tolerates.

Lessons Learned from Local BDS Attacks

In 2018, the mainstream Jewish community and our allies suffered a terrible “punch in the gut” when the Durham North Carolina City Council compromised with BDS activists to make Durham the first city in the United States to boycott police trainings specifically with Israel. As terrible as this has been, one silver lining is that many local Jews, Jewish leaders, and our allies have become aware of the anti-Israel bigotry that BDS activists advocate in our community. 

Local synagogues and Jewish institutions are waking up to the reality that Jewish leaders need to be vigilant in supporting and safeguarding the values of our beloved Jewish institutions. 

Other Resources on BDS

The Voice4Israel suggests exploring the links below:

Some of Our Favorite Podcasts on Israel and Judaism

Voice4Israel would like to share some of our favorite podcasts that regularly discuss Israel and other issues that are important to the Jewish community. These podcast recommendations include media that are left of center, right of center, and squarely in the center. The next time you are taking a walk, driving to work, or exercising check out one of these podcasts. 

What is your favorite podcast on Israel and Jewish issues? Send your podcast recommendations to voice@voice4Israel.com.

Israel, podcast

Two Nice Jewish Boys: An Israeli Podcast in English.

This podcast is published by the Jewish Journal. 

The two young hosts are Zionists who live in Israel that tackle a range of issues. Recent topics have included archeology in Israel, anti-Semitism on campus, gender, a Neo-Nazi who converted to Judaism, and Israeli elections. This podcast to be somewhat left of center on some issues. 

Israel, podcast

AJC Passport: A Weekly Podcast on Global Affairs

This podcast is published by the American Jewish Committee and describes itself as “a weekly podcast analyzing global affairs through a Jewish lens.” 

Recent topics include the Ethiopian protests in Israel and exploring Trump’s foreign policy. One recent episode was a polite discussion which included two members of Congress – one  Democrat and Republican to discuss anti-Semitism. 

The Land of Israel Podcast

This podcast is published by the Land of Israel Network and features a number of hosts. Our favorite host is recent Voice4Israel speaker Gil Hoffman who is editor at the Jerusalem Post. 

Recent topics include Can Barak Beat Bibi?, Is the Labor Party Really Dead?, and a Prater for Prosperity in Bahrain, and Jewish living under military control. The hosts for this podcast lean moderate and right of center.

Tokvah, Voice4Israel

Tikvah Podcast

This podcast is published by the Tikvah Fund which is a philanthropic foundation and ideas institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. 

Recent topics include Eternal Life, America’s Standoff with Iran, Jewish Communism, The Miracle of Jewish Continuity, the Legacy of Charles Krauthammer, and much more. 

Israel, podcast

Fault Lines Podcast

This podcast is published by the Jewish Daily Forward and is hosted by former Voice4Israel speaker Daniel Gordis and by Peter Beinhart. This is a debate-style podcast that is both polite and hard hitting.

While the Forward is typically considered a progressive, far left publication, Zionists will be impressed by Gordis’ strong arguments. Season one of this podcast is particularly interesting in its in-depth discussions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and efforts to boycott Israel. 

How to Talk to Your Children and Grandchildren about Israel (June 5 in Raleigh)

A panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel.

We are hosting two workshops – one in Durham and one in Raleigh. Each one will have a panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel. Panelists will present ideas appropriate for pre-school to college-age.

*This event is for adults.

Click here to REGISTER for this event.

Moderator: Mike Abramson.

Panelists : Rabbi Michael Gisser,a former US Army chaplain, Amy Ripps, Beth Meyer Synagogue; Emma Blass, Parent; and a StandwithUs Representative.

For questions, please contact Marcia Harris, 919-876-1623, marciabergerharris@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some event pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Talk to Your Children and Grandchildren about Israel (June 4 in Durham)

A panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel.

We are hosting two workshops – one in Durham and one in Raleigh. Each one will have a panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel. Panelists will present ideas appropriate for pre-school to college-age.

*This event is for adults.

Click here to REGISTER for the Durham event.

Moderator: Marcia Harris, Voice4Israel

Panelists: Rabbi Fred Guttman, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro; Amy Ripps, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh; and a StandWithUs Representative.

Red States, Blue States, and the Jewish State

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

GIL HOFFMAN WILL SPEAK ON AN INSIDER’S LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL FOLLOWING THE RECENT ISRAELI ELECTIONS

About this Event

Often called “the most optimistic man in Israel”, he has been chief analyst 29r the Jerusalem Post for 20 years. He also teaches international communications at Israel’s College of Management. He is widely recognized and interviewed. Has been on scores of lecture arrangements. Raised in Chicago and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern School of Journalism.

We thank our co-sponsors: Durham Chapel Hill Federation, Raleigh- Cary Federation, Beth El Synagogue, Kehillah Synagogue, Temple Beth Or, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Chapel Hill Chabad, Chabad of Cary.

Some images from the event:

Congressman Holding Writes Secretary of Education Devos About Anti-Semitic UNC/Duke Conference

The UNC and Duke Departments of Middle East and Islamic Studies cosponsored an Israel-bashing conference, camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24, 2019. Read all about this Israel-hate conference here.

Congressman George Holding, representing North Carolina’s 2nd District, wrote this impressive letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. Congressman Holding requested that the Department of Education launch a full investigation “to determine the facts.”

conference-letter

Anti-Semitism Follows UNC’s Sponsorship of Israel-Bashing Conference

The UNC and Duke Departments of Middle East and Islamic Studies cosponsored an Israel-bashing conference, camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24, 2019. Read all about this Israel-hate conference here

Following the conference, anti-Semitic posters have appeared on UNC’s campus which is being investigated by the police. 

Now a video has been published documenting blatant anti-Semitism at this conference. The audience is shown cheering as a musical act sings his self declared “anti-Semitic song.”

Watch the important video and read Voice4Israel board member Marcia Harris’ excellent letter below to UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. Also check out this ABC news report Video shows rapper’s performance of anti-Semitic song at UNC event.

Chancellor Guskiewicz:

I am writing to you as a long time employee of UNC (now retired) and a parent of an alumnus. I am Jewish.

I am deeply concerned about the recent antisemitic acts at UNC. But I am not surprised. UNC’s tolerance – and even sponsorship – of speakers and conferences on campus that are blatantly anti-Israel and in some cases, openly antisemitic have fostered an atmosphere that promotes this type of activity. (If you have not seen the video of the concert on the first evening of the Gaza Conference, I urge you to take just a few minutes to view it.

It is disgraceful that UNC would allow, and actually sponsor, programs that would not be tolerated against any other minority group.

Many Jewish community members wrote letters to you and to the Board of Governors prior to Linda Sarsour’s talk at the School of Public Health and to the Gaza Conference pleading that these activities be cancelled or at least balanced by a pro-Israel speaker, but these were totally ignored. Unfortunately much damage has now been done.

Students who attended the UNC Conflict Over Gaza Conference did not hear  academic debate and scholarly inquiry, but were exposed to days of academic activism  and indoctrination against Israel. Whatever happened to balance and unbiased education?

I implore  you to work with UNC’s administrators to develop policies that prevent the continued biased,  unbalanced, academic attack on Israel and the Jewish people.

Sincerely,

Marcia Harris

Conflict Over Gaza

The UNC and Duke Departments of Middle East and Islamic Studies cosponsored an Israel-bashing conference, camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24, 2019. The majority of this conference was held on Shabbat, thus preventing observant members of the Jewish community from attending.

Photographs glorifying terrorism against Israel and Jews were prominently displayed such as a man yielding a fire kite to burn and kill Israelis. One speaker even refused to speak with a Jewish student. UNC and Duke did not include or invite a single mainstream pro-Israel group or speaker.

Read all about this hateful conference here and read Barry Strock’s review below. 

Conflict Over Gaza

by Barry Srock

On March 22 to 24, 2019, about 100 people attended a 3-day pro-Gaza program called “Conflict Over Gaza”at UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies that was well planned and managed including biased and distorted claims against Israel. Friday night began a reception and a musical hip-hop concert. The entire program was supported by 18 UNC departments, Duke University and a half dozen Rotary Clubs. Saturday morning started with a well-organized registration process with continental breakfast. This was followed by a daylong series of panel discussions. The attendees enjoyed wonderfully prepared Gazan recipes from Lalla El Haddad’s Gaza Kitchen Cookbook.

On Saturday, except for one panel discussion, the other four panel discussions were a well focused, singled sided, propaganda selling of the general theme that Palestinians are an indigenous tribe with unlimited and irrevocable rights without any responsibility, obligations of accountability for any consequences due to their actions. The speakers’ messages indicated that Israel is to blame for all the Palestinian hardships.  The speakers claimed that Gazans and Palestinians should be held harmless to their hardships.

There was no mention about the Gazans’ and Palestinians’ aggression against Israel in the form of tunnels, missiles or rockets or that the Palestinians initiated four wars.  There was an inference that Allah, Israel, or the international community is obligated to rescue, defend and support the Palestinians through the continued billions of dollars from the international communities. Unfortunately, not much of this money has been used for humanitarian aid and badly needed infrastructure.

One of the NGO presenters refused to correct her statement about a Gazan young boy with genetic defects whose life was saved by Israel accepting him for seven years into their health care system.  In the seventh year, the mother was refused a Palestinian permit to go across the boarder.  The speaker blamed Israel when it was not. The problem came from the Gazan side because of the Palestinian laws and bureaucracies.  Israel took care of the child and his grandfather for seven years straight. Israel made it possible for the grandfather to get work to help support his family.

One speaker was dismissive towards Israel’s ability to create the Iron Dome system alleging that America gave it to them.  America did help financially but it was Israeli ingenuity that made it happen.

The only professional and academically independent and objective panel was with Dr. Nathan Brown, Georgetown and Dr. Nathan Stock. Middle East Institute.  These panelists intelligently discussed the tension between Hamas and Fatah. It was pointed out that Hamas is Arabic for “Islamic Resistance”, which is akin to the Moslem-Brotherhood. Hamas and Fatah cannot even talk to each other negates any regional peace process.  

On a positive note, there were not any overtly anti-Semitic references, only overt anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli comments.

The second day consisted of movies. One of the movies showed an elementary school classroom teaching the children “resistance”  NOT “resourcefulness”and using brainwashing songs to angrily resist what they call Israeli aggression. In the six movies presented it was difficult to see how slanted information can show the hate, anger and resentment born into these people instead of showing grounding for hard work, sacrifice, and prosperity. Health conditions are horrible. It is hard to image their pain, suffering and degradation.

I went to the conference to explore possibilities for the Palestinians and Israeli’s. The conference was telling and distressing. The conference organizers were disillusioned and were trying to sell Gaza as comparable to a successful European or American city. It is a financial, political, economical disaster zone. Supporters of Palestine have aspirations to evolve Gaza into a sovereign nation-state. It is a terrorist haven that is a fumbling failure. The conference sponsors started with hip-hop anti Israel rapper concert at the beginning and experimental cinamagraphic homage to the Gaza Strip to paint an illusionary image for aspiring Palestinian students that Gaza is on the cusp of “arriving”, yet in fact it is on the threshold of demise. The thought of a Gaza nation is a very false impression for the over zealous optimists and progressives who would not survive a minute in the homophobic, misogynistic, chauvinistic, terror managed police state of the Gaza Strip.

According to literature passed out at the conference from gisha.org, in 2018 there was 52% unemployment and 69% unemployment among young people. This high unemployment rate is a time bomb waiting to implode into anarchy within the Gaza Strip. Seventy percent of the population is under 30. Gaza needs an objective “reality check” to realize that it is a “wanna-be” success that is not happening like Syria and Somalia.  

Unless the world of Gaza does not marketability change, it will be exactly as it is today or worse. In order to become a successful state, there must be change or they will continue to languish. It is necessary for them to become energy independent by using solar energy. They can become food self sufficient by using many of the Israeli agriculture techniques. They can start small and with hard work and encouragement they can turn their lives around. Their government needs to innovate and bring in more humanitarian help and sophisticated services and reduce corruption instead of using the funds given them for tunnels and bombs against Israel.  Certainly, Israelis would like to encourage their neighbors to be healthy rather than neighbors who preach hate against them.

Make Your Voice Heard. Tell UNC and Duke to Stop Glorifying Terrorism!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price 919-684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

Local Rabbis Urge Orange County to Choose Speakers Who Unite

Linda Sarsour will be the keynote speaker on March 31 in Hillsborough, NC at an event sponsored by Orange County’s Department of Human Rights & Relations and The Orange County Human Relations Commission (HRC) of NC “in honor of women’s history month.” 

Many community members have voiced concerns including Orange County Commissioner Earl McKee who said, “She [Sarsour] will be paid $5000 plus expenses. I only know that I had no part of any of this and am sure that many other well-qualified women could have been asked to speak…This type of conduct will continue until folks rise up and put a stop to it, either through public pressure or at the polls.”

Four prominent local rabbis wrote the public letter below.

Dear Members of the Orange County Human Relations Commission,

We appreciate the mission of the Orange County Human Relations Commission “to promote the equal treatment of all individuals; to protect residents’ lawful interests and their personal dignity; and to prevent public and domestic strife, crime, and unrest within Orange County,” and all the work the Commission has done in the past in service to the community.

We are concerned, however, about the upcoming Women’s History Month “Courageous Conversations” event featuring keynote speaker Linda Sarsour. The Commission has announced that this is an event “… about community unity and bringing people together…” Yet by inviting Ms. Sarsour, whose statements on Zionism and Israel alienate many in the Jewish community, the Human Relations Council is dividing rather than uniting us.

In the wake of the Christchurch and Pittsburgh attacks, and rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, it is essential for us to stand united in opposition to all forms of hatred and bigotry. We fully support the Commission’s desire to address women’s history, Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims; we urge that speakers be chosen who bring all of us together to strengthen our community.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Jen Feldman, Kehillah Synagogue

Rabbi Daniel Greyber, Beth El Synagogue

Rabbi John Franken, Judea Reform Congregation

Rabbi Zalman Bluming, Chabad of Durham-Chapel Hill