Israeli Academic Extremists Outside Israel - Ilan Pappe (University
of Exeter) and Gabi Piterberg (UCLA) Participate in
"Apartheid Israel" Week at Oxford University
see the full original article,
From Manfred Gerstenfeld ( ed.)
Academics against Israel and the Jews
European Universities and the New Anti-Semitism:
Published September 2008
Primary Issues Concerning Jews and Israel
Anti-Semitism in European Universities
situation at many universities in
is extremely challenging for
and for Jewish students. Anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic acts are
proliferating there-and not only among the Muslim minority
population. Virtually throughout Europe, including Russia and the
rest of the former Soviet Union (FSU), anti-Israel attitudes are
accepted as unassailable among a large number of academics and
political pundits alike, across disciplines.
attitudes in academia are both supported by, and contribute to
perpetuating, a general environment that is hostile to Israel and
not friendly to Jews. This often makes it difficult-or extremely
costly in terms of relationships, prestige, or advancement-for
students and faculty to identify with
or Judaism. This "new anti-Semitism" - applying traditional
anti-Semitic themes that delegitimize and demonize Jews and Judaism
to the Jewish state and its leaders - threatens not only the support
Israel receives from European elites and governments but also the
strength of Jewish identity among students and faculty as well as
European values of tolerance and liberty.
Numbers, Few Institutions
situation is exacerbated by two aspects of European Jewish
communities little recognized by Israeli decision-makers or Jewish
leaders from outside the region. First, universities throughout
Western Europe, while often boasting large numbers of Muslim
students as well as visiting students from Arab countries, count
very few Jewish or pro-Israeli students among their population. For
instance, whereas 15-20 percent of young people matriculating in
top universities are Jewish, in Western Europe only a few
universities can claim even a tenth of that figure, Jews being
thinly dispersed throughout the continent.
Second, weak or nonexistent Jewish community infrastructures provide
little or no support to Jewish students in their efforts to identify
with their Judaism or defend
in the university environment. The same can be said for Jewish or
Again, the contrast with the United States is illuminating. There, a
myriad of establishment institutions have divisions exclusively
dedicated to supporting Jewish students or promoting Judaism or
Israel across North America, and numerous local and national
organizations do the same. According to the European Union of
Jewish Students, there are about two hundred thousand Jews in Europe
aged eighteen to thirty; the European Jewish Information Centre
reports less than fifty professionals working specifically for
students throughout Europe to serve this community.
Although recent efforts by Hillel in
and the FSU are not insignificant, the sum total of institutional
resources even peripherally dealing with these issues in
is particularly small. These resources, such as they are, come from
the B'nai Brith International and B'nai Brith Europe, European
Jewish Congress, European Council of Jewish Communities,
International Academic Friends of Israel, European Center for Jewish
Students, and a new American Jewish Committee office in Berlin,
along with various offices of the Joint Distribution Committee,
Local Jewish leadership makes an effort, with limited numbers and
means, to support Jewish university students and defend Israel in
academia. The impact is negligible. The European Union of Jewish
Students, though supported through the World Union of Jewish
Students by the Jewish Agency and World Jewish Congress among
others, is significantly underfunded and functions primarily, as it
always has, as a student-run grassroots movement.
are exceptions, notably in the UK and France, where a relatively
strong Jewish community has galvanized institutional and financial
support for students and organized efforts to be active in
academia. But these efforts remain focused on the local Union of
Jewish Students and are still relatively limited.
is defamed regularly even in those countries, and Jewish students
there, as across Europe, are intimidated and distanced from Judaism
and Israel. There is no coordinating mechanism or even regular
communications forum across Europe through which Jewish leadership
could more effectively devise strategies.
at European universities that tomorrow's opinion molders, and the
next decades' decision-makers, are being groomed. Europe and Russia
are taking an increasing role in Middle Eastern affairs. This is a
critical time and place for coordinated action. In light of
expanding trade ties, Europe's growing political strength, and
and Europe's strong connections with the Arab world, one of the main
battlegrounds for Israel's future is Europe.
Examples of the Challenge
The examples below occurred in the past few years. All are
substantiated by eyewitness accounts; each is representative of
numerous similar occurrences in other universities and other
countries throughout Europe.
Multiple Incidents at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
University of London, UK
"Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Strategies and Principles," full-day
conference at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, 5 December
2004: Over the course of eight hours some twenty-five speakers,
mainly academics, lectured in various sessions. In addition to
comparisons with South Africa, two speakers (both academics)
compared Israeli actions to those of the Nazis. One talk was titled
"Settler Colonialism as Genocide." The phrase "the occupation
started in 1948" was used repeatedly to claim that Israel has no
right to exist.
Islamist extremist film-Jerusalem,
the Promise of Heaven-shown in the Student Union, 21 February 2005:
In this film, repeated images of religious Jews praying at the
Western Wall or in synagogue are accompanied by a voiceover
commentary about Jews, including statements such as:
- Jewish prayer rituals are "satanic."
- Jews have no values or ethics.
- Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives are
bogus, rich overseas Jews paying to have fictitious names written
- Jews have no significant historical
connection to Israel or Jerusalem.
SOAS Students' Union tries to ban the appearance of Roey Gilad,
political counselor at the Israeli embassy in London, 22 February
2005: The administration overturned the ban after pressure by
pro-Israel students and others. On the night of the talk, a false
fire alarm was triggered and the talk was delayed by forty
"Zionism is racism" policy of SOAS Students' Union: The Union's
policy statement defines Zionism as racism. Clause 10 of the Union's
motion opposing all forms of racism, posted on its website,
declares: "This Union believes...that peace requires...the
elimination of...Zionism and racial discrimination in all its
forms...." In the same policy statement, in the last section, Clause
1 states, "This Union condemns...any form of racism, Islamophobia,
anti-Semitism, Zionism or other forms of discrimination on
campus." This Union policy was cited when the abovementioned
Israeli embassy official was banned from appearing.
Note that in the same sentence in Clause 10 calling for the
elimination of Zionism, the policy recognizes "the dignity of
peoples and their right to self-determination." In other words, all
people are entitled to self-determination except Jews.
Israel" Week at Oxford University, UK
2006, the Palestinian Society student organization at Oxford
University hosted a series of events to commemorate, as stated in
its flyers, the "30th anniversary of the international convention on
the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid."
The flyers presented
a caricature of two Israeli soldiers beating a Palestinian man with
clubs depicted as maps of Israel, one labeled "Palestine," the other
"South Africa." The conference centered on themes of apartheid and
Zionism, divestment and resistance. Ilan Pappe, a professor from
Haifa University [presently of University of Exeter - editor] and
advocate of a one-state solution and boycott of Israeli
institutions, spoke on "Resisting Apartheid: Divestment and
Solidarity" in a meeting chaired by Prof. Steven Rose, a leading
advocate of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Another
speaker was Prof. Gabi Piterberg of the University of California at
Los Angeles, who spoke on "Zionism and Apartheid." In 2003 Piterberg,
an Israeli anti-Zionist, signed a petition calling for divestment
wrote to the university's vice-chancellor and attended some of the
events, handing out literature and trying to engage with other
attendees. According to the Jerusalem Post, in a meeting with the
university proctor at the disciplinary office of the university,
Jewish students were told that while their concerns were understood,
there was insufficient evidence for intervention as "there needs to
be a high level of provocation."  This was the case even though
the Palestinian Society was not officially registered with the
university and was acting improperly in using the university's name.
campaign director of the Union of Jewish Students, told the
Jerusalem Post, "We were pleased that the proctor took the time to
meet with us and recognized our concerns. But how uncomfortable do
Israeli and Jewish students have to feel before they take action?"
The media spokesman
for the Palestinian Society, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, told the Post,
"We are simply stating our belief and explaining that Israel is an
apartheid state, to encourage people to take a stance and increase
public pressure on Israel to change its apartheid policies."
ex-president of the Oxford University Jewish Society and current
graduate chair, offered perhaps the most succinct conclusion:
"Israeli and Jewish students on campus unfortunately can only feel
intimidated by [these] actions."
a danger to the Jewish people" Vote at University of Cambridge, UK
In the same week
that Oxford held its "Apartheid Israel" week in February 2006,
Cambridge University's Union hosted a debate on whether Zionism is a
danger to the Jews. Cambridge students attending voted 125 to 121,
with 71 abstentions, that indeed "Zionism is a danger to the Jewish
In an analysis of
the event, Melanie Phillips suggests that losing the vote itself was
only the tip of the iceberg. Aside from the fact that Cambridge
Union felt it appropriate to hold such an event, Phillips notes that
the response to the vote by Jewish student leaders reflects their
level of insecurity.
As Phillips points
out, the motion passed by a majority of four. One member of the
debating team that spoke in opposition to the motion, who was
recruited at the last minute following sudden cancellations by
original team members, seemed satisfied with the result. He said he
felt his side had persuaded a number of moderate and undecided
people; anti-Zionist activists had brought many students to the
event, and the Jewish or pro-Zionist contingent was small.
He writes, "I was
reassured by the fact that the majority of intelligent, neutral
Union members who go to debates to think and learn all seemed to
vote for us." As Phillips notes, taking into account the additional
seventy-one people who evidently remained uncertain, it seems clear
that the overwhelming majority of these students (176-121) were not
convinced that Zionism is not a danger to the Jews.
Intimidation at the School of Journalism, University of Utrecht The
A journalism student
at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who frequently contributes
to online publications, was recently attacked in articles on the
white-nationalist website http://www.stormfront.org/ in Dutch. The
articles, published in early 2006, included the student's name and
photograph and the name of her university.
"The story about me
(written in Dutch) was terrible," the student writes. "I was shocked
obviously, especially because I never experienced any anti-Semitism
before during my life in the Netherlands."
One of the articles,
without a byline, concluded with the sentence: "We're probably going
to hear more of this little mediajew in the future."
The student is so
frightened by this experience that she refused to be identified for
this article. "I don't want them to find anything else about me that
they can again use for their terrible website," she says.
Institutional Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism at MAUP, Ukraine
The above events
represent trends at universities across Europe, similar incidents
having been reported in virtually every European university. They
manifest, however, a cultural and societal bias that is not
necessarily shared or supported, at least not officially or
frequently, by administrative or academic officers at the
On a different
level, some institutions of higher learning display a structural
anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias. Especially in the newly
independent states of Eastern Europe, this organizational support
for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attitudes is of special concern to
those working to promote Israel, freedom and democracy in these
There is a
particularly alarming example of this trend in the Ukraine.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other
organizations, MAUP (the Interregional Academy of Personnel
Management) is one of the primary sources of Ukrainian anti-Semitism
and anti-Zionism. It organizes anti-Semitic conferences and
frequently publishes statements and widely read periodicals
containing anti-Semitic articles.
According to Josef
Zissels, leader of Ukraine's oldest secular Jewish umbrella group,
the Va'ad: "some 70 percent of all anti-Semitic publications that
appear in Ukraine are produced by MAUP and its affiliates." In
September 2005 it was reported that "among other things, MAUP
recently published a blacklist of media and organizations
distributing or supporting ‘Jewish racism, Judeo-Nazism and Jewish
organized crime in Ukraine.'"
A small selection of
- On 22 November 2005, MAUP's president,
Georgy Tschokin, who according to the ADL is responsible for the
virulent anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities at the
university, issued a statement of solidarity with
Ahmadinejad's threat to
destroy Israel. The statement blended traditional Christian
anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism:
We'd like to remind
that the Living God Jesus Christ said to Jews two thousand years
ago: "Your father is a devil!"... Israel, as known, means
"Theologian," and Zionism in 1975 was acknowledged by General
Assembly of UNO as the form of racism and race discrimination, that,
in the opinion of the absolute majority of modern Europeans, makes
the most threat to modern civilization. Israel is the artificially
created state (classic totalitarian type) which appeared on the
political Earth map only in 1948, thanks to good will of UNO....
Their end is known, and only the God's true will rescue all of us.
We are not afraid, as God always together with his children!
- MAUP's June 2005 conference on "Zionism:
Threat to World Peace" was cochaired by U.S. white supremacist
David Duke and attended by various people known for anti-Semitic
opinions. These included French Holocaust denier Serge Thion
and Israel Shamir, who apparently was a Jew in Russia and
converted to Christianity, and is known for publishing
anti-Semitic essays on the Internet. The
representative in Ukraine, Walid Zakut, was also reported to have
- David Duke teaches a course on history and
international relations at MAUP and was awarded a PhD for a thesis
- MAUP's leading figures have been at the root
of attempts to restrict Jewish organizations in Ukraine and, more
recently, a call to ban The Tanya, a classic work of
Hassidic Jewish literature, on the ground that it promotes racism
Even more recently,
on 1 December 2005, MAUP held a conference titled "The
Jewish-Bolshevik Revolution of 1917: The Source of the Red Terrorism
and the Starvation of Ukraine." And in the March 2006 issue of
Personnel Plus, one of MAUP's leading publications, an article
called "Murder Is Unveiled, the Murderer Is Unknown?" by Yaroslav
Oros revives false ritual-murder accusations from the 1911 Beilis
trial. A week earlier, MAUP leaders visited the grave of Andrei
Yuschinsky, a Christian boy allegedly "murdered by Jews with ritual
Viktor Yushchenko sat for years on the board of MAUP, and only
resigned a few years ago. Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk was
honorary director of one of MAUP's subdivisions until 2005.
However, in late January 2006, Tarasyuk called MAUP's actions
"unlawful" and proclaimed that "there is no place for any form of
anti-Semitism or xenophobia in Ukraine." Jewish groups welcomed
these statements, along with indications from the Ukrainian
Education Ministry about planned investigations of MAUP "activities
inconsistent with higher education."
Supporting Jewish Students, Faculty, and Israel in Europe: The Need
for a Coordinating Forum
The above are merely
representative instances of a wide consensus throughout European
society and particularly in the university environment. Although
there are exceptions, especially among individual faculty members or
political leaders, the overriding trend is acknowledged by national,
regional, and international observers. The differences that do exist
are a matter of degree: attitudes are distinguished according to the
magnitude of condemnation of Israel, or the blatancy with which a
speaker or writer will distort the reality of Israel's struggle to
The Jewish world,
with its wide array of organizations and philanthropies, has been
gravely negligent in allowing this situation to fester. A strategic
effort to expand support for Jewish students and to combat
anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism at European universities is a
critical need-no less than the need that in North America gave birth
to the ICC (Israel on Campus Coalition).
Whether led by
Israel or by global Jewish figures, such an effort should aim to
form an umbrella association to coordinate and ensure communications
and responsiveness on university issues throughout Europe, not
unlike the Global Forum to Combat Anti-Semitism established by Natan
Sharansky as Israel's minister for Diaspora affairs in 2003.
consortium of this sort would ensure cooperation between student
groups, community leaders, international organizations, and others,
while promoting more effective use of local and global Jewish
resources. Students and faculty throughout Europe have explicitly
called for support and, when asked, identified certain critical
needs. Among many specific projects to be pursued, the following are
- Translation and distribution of relevant
- An Internet-based network
for sharing materials
- Coordination of visiting lecturers and
groups to ensure wide exposure
- Periodic conferences of students, faculty,
or community leaders
- A central mechanism for information flow and
quick response to crises
- Strengthening individual countries' Jewish
student unions with funding, facilities, and staffing
Such a forum-with an
appropriately constructive name such as the European Jewish Public
Affairs Forum-can be created by holding a founding conference in
Europe including all the relevant individuals and organizations.
The cooperation of the EU can be solicited for the conference, for
help with facilities, translations, special projects, and general
activities. Funds can be raised from individual European
governments, the United States, and perhaps various restitution
funds as well as private philanthropists.
If working to
establish and settle a Jewish state was the expression of Zionism in
the early twentieth century, in the latter part of the century
Zionism meant supporting that state in its efforts to survive,
develop, and thrive. Zionism in the twenty-first century will be
defined by the struggle against those who question Israel's
legitimacy to exist as a Jewish state. Nowhere is this more apparent
than in Europe, which on the whole is about two decades "ahead" of
America in accepting the anti-Semitic argument that Israel is a
colonialist, illegitimate oppressor. This belief crosses social,
economic, religious, and political boundaries and is not limited to
the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank").
With these attitudes
now accepted among European youth, in ten years, or twenty at most,
there may be no question among Europe's political and business elite
as to Israel's original sin in its founding. This development would
pose as much a strategic threat to Israel, the Jewish world, and the
entire free world as Iranian missiles and the ascendancy of
Hizbullah, and other Islamofascist movements.
Europe is already
the leading economic power in the world and is challenging U.S.
hegemony around the globe politically. The coming decade will decide
how Europe views the Zionist experiment that is the state of Israel,
as several of Europe's leaders of 2015 learn philosophy, history,
politics, and religion at the feet of virulent anti-Semites.
* * *
 See, e.g., articles in Jewish Political Studies Review,
 See, e.g., Natan Sharansky, "On Hating the Jews,"
Commentary, November 2003.
 Natan Sharansky, "Anti-Semitism in 3D," The Forward, 21
January 2005, and in the Jerusalem Post,
 A short list of such organizations would include, among others:
Hillel, AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee), ADL
(Anti-Defamation League), AJC (American Jewish Congress), American
Jewish Committee, JNF (Jewish National Fund), ZOA (Zionist
Organization of America), B'nai B'rith, URJ (Union of Reform
Judaism), USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism), OU
(Orthodox Union), and the Conference of Presidents.
 These include StandWithUs, Scholars for Peace in the
Middle East, the David Project, NAJSA, Hasbara Fellowships, Upstart
Activist, and others.
 Gidon van Emden, "Redefine the Idea of Jewish Continuity,"
5 April 2006.
 Many of the examples below are taken from the
UK, not necessarily because of a higher incidence of events there
but rather because of the relatively significant resources devoted
there to monitoring and responding to such events.
Boycott Row Hits College," The Guardian,
 "Boycott Threat to Israeli Colleges," The Observer,
 See, e.g, "College Tells Students to Reverse Israeli Ban,"
Phillips, "A Candle for Freedom,"
 All quotations from "Oxford Holds ‘Apartheid
Israel' Week," Jerusalem Post,
16 February 2006.
 See "The Closing of (Some) University Minds,"
 Rendered from Dutch.
 See Dr. Harold Brackman and Aaron Breitbart, Holocaust
Denial's Assault on Memory: Precursor to Twenty-First Century
Genocide.PDF (719 KiB) ,
Wiesenthal Center, April 2007, p. 40.
Main actors in or
for the European university environment include (in no particular
of Jewish Students
Center for Jewish Students)
ECJC (European Council of Jewish Communities)
World/European Jewish Congress
European Jewish Information Centre
Israeli Foreign Ministry
B'nai B'rith International, B'nai B'rith
Joint Distribution Committee
Jewish Agency Education Department
National/local Jewish leadership
Jewish Agency emissaries
* * *
Aryeh Green is director of MediaCentral, a provider of services to
foreign media based in
Israel, and is a business consultant active in Israel's public
diplomacy (hasbara) efforts. He works with former minister Natan
Sharansky on issues related to young Jewish leadership, hasbara, and
anti-Semitism, and served as a senior adviser to Sharansky in the
Israeli Prime Minister's Office, where he coordinated a global
effort to support Jewish university students and to defend
in academia. He has visited over seventy-five universities, and has
spoken to and with thousands of university students and faculty
members in Europe, the United States and
Israel in the past two decades.
Articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and
do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il