Antisemitism driving European migration to Israel

By TAZPIT NEWS AGENCY

The Jewish Agency for Israel said in a new report that immigration to Israel (Aliyah) from Western Europe in the first quarter of 2015 was unchanged from the same period last year.

However, the statistics revealed that a large increase in the number of immigrants (olim) arriving from Eastern Europe, where an unstable economic and security situation prompted more emigration. Ukrainian Aliyah alone rose by a whopping 215 percent compared to the same period last year.

Prof. Robert Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has sought to refute claims which seek to downplay the link between increasing anti-Semitism in Europe and emigration to Israel.

“It is indisputable that the dominant factor behind Aliyah to Israel from Western Europe is anti-Semitism,” Wistrich told the Tazpit News Agency Monday.

“Any comparisons to the situation in Ukraine, where Aliyah is also caused by anti-Semitism, although to a smaller extent, is a false comparison,” he added.

One reaction to the Jewish Agency’s report, in some Israeli and international newspapers, declared that anti-Semitism is simply one of many factors behind Aliyah from Western Europe. Economic considerations were touted as a more influential factor.

Wistrich, however, thoroughly disagreed with that analysis. He claimed that such statements were “jumping to conclusions,” and ignored long-standing work.

UC-Riverside class antisemtic?

2015-04-21 10_35_34-20 organizations say UC Riverside offering anti-Semitic class — JNS.org

There has been no shortage of antisemitic incidents on college campuses during the past academic year, especially within the 10-school University of California (UC) system. As Jewish students deal with Holocaust imagery and student governments taking issue with their Judaism, UC Riverside (UCR) is offering a class cited by 20 watchdog and advocacy organizations as meeting the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism.

Report: European antisemitism on the rise

By JNS.org

There was an “explosion of hatred” against Jews through a dramatic rise in violent anti-Semitic incidents in Europe in 2014, according to a report released Wednesday by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.

The report shows a 38-percent rise in violent anti-Semitic attacks in 2014 on that continent, with a total of 766 incidents ranging from assaults with weapons to vandalism against Jewish property, compared to 554 such incidents in 2013.

The uptick in European antisemitism has been partly attributed to increased hostility to Israel as a result of last summer’s war with Hamas, as well as the “general climate of hatred and violence” instigated by the rise of the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East, the report’s researchers wrote. Last year was the worse year in terms of antisemitism in Europe since 2009, when there was also an Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Jews feel like “they are facing an explosion of hatred toward them as individuals, their communities, and Israel, as a Jewish state,” wrote the researchers, pointing to the often blurred line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Some of the protests that were held against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge “deteriorated into violence while almost all of them included signs with hurtful slogans that included comparisons between Israel and the Nazis and the blaming of IDF soldiers for anything wrong under the sun,” they added.

“Synagogues were targeted, not Israeli embassies,” said Dina Porat, a historian who edited the report, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

The report was released on the day that Israel marked Yom HaShohah, the Jewish state’s Holocaust Remembrance Day (which begins Wednesday night and lasts through Thursday). Around the world, there have been commemorations of the 70th anniversaries of the end of World War II and the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Another poll conducted by the Forsa Institute, also released Wednesday, showed that about 42 percent of Germans no longer want to revisit their country’s Nazi past.

“There is a certain feeling that a lot is being shown about the past, about the horrors of it all, the liberation of Auschwitz and so on. It goes in the direction of people being swamped by it,” said Forsa Institute founder Manfred Guellner, according to Reuters.

Another Jewish student gov’t candidate’s religion becomes campaign issue

By PAUL MILLER
JNS.org

Two months after the student government at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) raised concerns over the Jewish background of Rachel Beyda, a candidate for the school’s student judicial board, an eerily similar incident has emerged at Stanford University.

The Stanford Review reported that student senate candidate Molly Horwitz’s Jewish background was called into question by the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) during an endorsement session for elections. An SOCC member asked Horwitz, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?” Earlier this year, Stanford’s student senate passed a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies that support Israel in the West Bank.

In a statement provided to the Haym Salomon Center, Horwitz said, “I wasn’t sure that the interviewer knew the significance of what she was asking. After I questioned why my Jewish identity was relevant, she scrambled and referenced my application, in which I stated that I was very connected to my Jewish heritage.”

In her endorsement application, Horwitz repeatedly referenced her Jewish identity, as follows: “I identify as a proud South American and as a Jew;” “I felt like I was not enough for the Latino community and further embraced my Jewish identity;” “I found many parallels between the oppression of the Jews in Egypt and oppression of communities of color in the United States.”

“I was deeply saddened to see my fellow student leaders unapologetically resort to anti-Semitism,” Horwitz told the Salomon Center. “I am running for the Stanford Undergraduate Senate in order to help foster an inclusive and welcoming environment at Stanford. I am upset that SOCC, a group which purports to encourage such an inclusive environment, instead engaged in antisemitism.”

The SOCC is a highly coveted endorsement in the student senate election. The organization represents six student groups: Asian American Students’ Association, Black Student Union, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan de Stanford, Muslim Student Awareness Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Stanford American Indian Organization.

Horwitz, a junior, filed a complaint with the student elections commissioner the evening of her March 13 endorsement interview with SOCC. The complaint was immediately forwarded to Nanci Howe, the associate dean of students and director of student activities and leadership.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent Howe a letter expressing “serious concerns about treating individuals differently on the basis of their religion or ethnic affiliation.”

Howe responded to the ADL, explaining, “Sally Dickson, the Associate Vice Provost of Student Affairs, promptly spoke to the students directly involved in the interview session in order to hear their perspectives about the exchange. We learned that there are different accounts of what occurred. Regardless, we have reminded those involved that all candidates should be treated consistently and fairly and that questioning based on an individual’s ethnic or religious affiliation is inappropriate. We remain committed to working with our students involved in the elections to actively support a fair and respectful process. We will also continue to work directly with Molly in addressing her concerns.”

Horwitz is embracing the situation, explaining why it may be a teachable moment.

“This event has highlighted for me the importance of increasing education on anti-Semitism and the various ways in which it can manifest,” she said. “It is my hope that the Stanford community can come together, reject this intolerance, and envision a future on campus in which all students, regardless of their religious beliefs, are welcomed and embraced.”