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Rutgers University Suspends Students for Justice in Palestine Chapter

Rutgers University’s college avenue campus. Photo: Tomwsulcer.

Rutgers University has suspended its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) campus chapter, alleging disorderly conduct that disrupted classes and university operations.

“We are implementing interim suspension of organizational activity based on multiple complaints against Students for Justice in Palestine, which have had multiple cases of disrupting classes, a program, meals, and student studying,” Rutgers Student Affairs said in a letter to the group that emerged online. “There are also allegations of vandalism occurring at the Rutgers Business School while your program was taking place.”

With the decision, the New Jersey university joins several other schools — Columbia University, Brandeis University, George Washington University, and Florida’s state university system — that have sanctioned the group for either uttering hate speech or breaking school rules.

Rutgers SJP was one of dozens of SJP chapters that cheered Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7, an attack that resulted in some 1,200 civilian deaths and numerous rapes of Israeli women. As video footage of the terrorist group’s atrocities circled the web, Rutgers SJP shared on its Instagram pages that said “Glory to resistance” and “the clock started running when the majority of the Palestinian population was expelled from their land by Zionists during the Nakba.”

The group added, “You are watching an occupied people rise up against an apartheid nuclear power that has been occupying them and making their life unlivable since 1948.”

School officials have been under pressure to act.  Their decision followed the university’s investigating a Jewish student for complaining that a member of the Student Bar Association of Rutgers Law School had denied that Hamas committed any atrocities on Oct. 7.

In addition to extreme anti-Zionism, at least one Rutgers student has made a death threat against a Jewish student. In November, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness announced that its agents had arrested freshmen Matthew Skorny, 19, on suspicion that he wrote on YikYak, a popular social media forum, “To all the pro-Palestinian ralliers [sic], there is an Israeli at AEPi. Go kill him.”

Similar incidents at Rutgers are not new. In the past few years, the school’s AEPi house has been vandalized three times. In one incident, in April 2022, on the last day of Passover, a caravan of participants from a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) rally drove there, shouting antisemitic slurs and spitting in the direction of fraternity members. Four days later, before Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, the house was egged during a 24-hour reading of the names of Holocaust victims.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed

FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks during his transition ceremony with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and the outgoing chief, in Jerusalem, January 16, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/Pool via REUTERS

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi called on the ultra-Orthodox public to mobilize for the current and future wars, a position at odds with their historic role in the state, in which they enjoy near blanket exemptions from military service.

“In these challenging days, there is one thing that is very clear: Everyone should mobilize for the defense of the homeland,” Halevi said.

He added: “This is a different era, and what was before it will certainly be re-examined. The IDF has always sought to bring into its ranks from all sections of Israeli society. This war illustrates the need to change. Join the service, protect the homeland. We have a historic opportunity to expand the sources of recruitment for the IDF at a time when the necessity is very high. We will know how to create the right solutions and conditions for any population that will join this noble mission.”

The issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF has been a hot button issue since the state’s establishment in 1948 and, in more recent years, the cause of wide scale backlash against the community. As part of an agreement when the state was founded, the ultra-Orthodox public was exempted completely from service. However, as the years progressed and the population grew exponentially, critics of the policy decried the unfairness of it.

A bill last week was introduced by the ruling Likud Party that called for an increase in military service time, particularly for reserve forces, yet failed to discuss the ultra-Orthodox issue. Backlash from both opposition and coalition members was swift.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the time said, “The ultra-Orthodox public is dear and loved and contributes a lot to the State of Israel, and it is now essential that it also take a more significant part in the tasks of defense and security. This move should happen out of dialogue and discussion and not by coercion or, God forbid, by defamation. Religious Zionism proves that it is possible to combine Torah study and observance of minor and severe mitzvot together with military service at the front. My ultra-Orthodox brothers, we need you!”

Halevi’s comments were his first on the highly contentious issue.

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Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas

A legal brief documenting the kidnapping, rape, torture and executions of Israelis who are being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza has been filed at the International Criminal Court by the Canadian-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. The 1,000-page dossier documents the brutality of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, which killed […]

The post Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Unconscionable’: Major Academic Association Endorses Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Illustrative New York University students stage a protest in Washington Square Park in Manhattan to oppose Israel and call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 25, 2023. Photo: Gordon Donovan/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), an academic professional organization, endorsed a labor union coalition’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza on Wednesday, according to Inside Higher Ed,

“We express our solidarity with all workers and our common desire for peace in Palestine and Israel, and we call on President Joe Biden and Congress to push for an immediate ceasefire and end to the siege in Gaza,” says the statement the group endorsed. “We cannot bomb our way to peace. We also condemn any hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else.”

Despite pressing for a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas — a measure which pro-Israel activists have criticized for its potential to forestall eradicating Hamas from the Palestinian territories — the statement also call for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza. It also urged that “water, fuel, and food” be transported to Gaza without restrictions.

“Both Hamas and Israel must adhere to standards of international law and Geneva Convention rules of warfare concerning the welfare and security of civilians,” it continued. “The cycle of  violence must stop so that negotiations for an enduring peace proceed.”

Founded in 1915 by John Dewey and Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, the American Association of University Professors comprises over 370,000 members from higher education institutions across the US. Once regarded as a bulwark against attempts to politicize higher education, it has, in recent years been disparaged — by nonprofits such as the National Association of Scholars (NAS),  for example —  for allegedly becoming a shamelessly partisan advocacy group for the far-left.

Following Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7, which included hundreds of murders of civilians and sexual assaults, two-and-a-half weeks passed before the AAUP commented on the ensuing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and, when it did, the group said nothing about the terrorist group’s atrocities but discussed the importance of academic freedom. At the time, dozens of professors were denounced for cheering Hamas’ violence and encouraging extreme anti-Zionist demonstrations in which masses of students and faculty called for the elimination of the Jewish state “from the river to the sea,” which is widely considered genocidal.

On Wednesday, Middle East experts told The Algemeiner that AAUP’s endorsing a ceasefire further accentuates the group’s political biases.

“The AAUP has once again shown its true bias colors by signing onto a call by multiple American labor unions for a ‘ceasefire in Israel and Palestine,’ Asaf Romirowsky, who serves as executive director of both Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), said in a statement.

He continued, “The AAUP thinks Hamas can become an organization that behaves accordingly with international and humanitarian norms, which is absurd. The evidence of the Nazi-Islamist barbarism of Oct. 7 clearly shows otherwise and highlights the AAUP’s disconnect from the reality of the conflict in the Middle East.”

Miriam Elman, executive director of Academic Engagement Network, an organization which promotes academic freedom, also criticized the AAUP on Tuesday, explaining that it endorsed a false and “unconscionable” equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

“The AAUP is exceeding its mandate and mission by adopting a particular political position on the Israel-Hamas war,” Elman said. “The AAUP could be a leader in condemning and combating the ongoing ostracism, shunning, and boycotting of Israeli scholars and researcher, which has increased markedly since October 7. Instead its leadership is spending its time lending the AAUP’s name to a poorly worded, politicized statement.”

AAUP has commented on politically contentious matters before. In 2020, after the killing of George Floyd sparked protests across the US, the group said “it affirmed that Black lives matter and that the association is committed to addressing systemic racism in higher education and working toward racial justice.”

However, it has consistently opposed efforts to combat extreme anti-Zionist rhetoric.

In March 2022 it issued a statement which denounced the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, used by hundreds of entities to identify antisemitic conduct and speech, alleging that it “privileges the political interests of the state of Israel and suppresses discussion and activism on behalf of Palestinian rights.” In the same communication, the AAUP criticized the state of Florida for adopting the IHRA definition in legislation regarding public K-12 schools and colleges, describing the law and others like as “legislative attacks…presented in the guise of protecting students from discrimination.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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