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Tuesday, July 18, 2017  

In this Issue:

• News, Views and Analysis

• Pink Floyd frontman, playing in Chicago this weekend, has "single-minded obsession" with BDS

• UIC study abroad options expand to include Israel

• College students spend summer interning in Tel Aviv through Onward Israel


JUF Link presents news and analysis concerning the delegitimization and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people through BDS, anti-normalization and related activities.

Exposing the linkages between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, JUF Link 
shows JUF/Federation and its partners' impact in defeating anti-Israel and anti-Jewish forces.


JUF's Israel Education Center has launched the Lexicon, an encyclopedia of Israel-related terminology commonly used on campus and in the community.
Check it out here.


News, Views and Analysis

French President Emmanuel Macron says anti-Zionism is a reinvented form of anti-Semitism

More than 60 writers, actors, directors and playwrights signed an open letter calling on the Lincoln Center to cancel performances of a play based on a novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is co-produced by two Israeli theater companies and supported by Israel's Office of Cultural Affairs in North America. Top entertainment industry executives have signed a counter letter

Jarrod Tanny, a professor in North Carolina, has issued a call for Jewish academics to speak out against Jewish Voice for Peace

A pro-Israel group in Canada won a legal battle after an Ontario University's student association banned it from participating in an event last year due to its connection to Israel

Three pro-Israel organizations have claimed that UC-Irvine students committed criminal acts at an anti-Israel protest in May and are calling on the administration to hold the students responsible

Spanish judges have voided two municipal BDS motions

The Mennonite Church is the latest American Christian group to divest from Israel. The divestment resolution also condemns anti-Semitism and encourages stronger ties between church members and Jews. Mennonites had rejected a divestment proposal at their last national meeting amid fears the resolution would be considered anti-Jewish

Tunisian NGO says boycotting Jewish comedian is anti-Semitism 

Research suggests biased history books could be turning young Americans against Israel

The Windy City Times reporter who broke the Chicago Dyke March story says the march organizers cost her reporting job. A now-deleted Chicago Dyke March tweet in response to the story used an anti-Semitic epithet popularized by David Duke

Claremont McKenna College has announced it is punishing seven students for their role in blocking an audience from hearing a controversial speech in April 

Safe spaces, activism and white privilege: a Columbia University professor's critique of contemporary campus politics

Pink Floyd frontman, playing in Chicago this weekend, has "single-minded obsession" with BDS

Pink Floyd co-founder and outspoken BDS activist Roger Waters will be playing three shows in Chicago at the United Center, beginning July 22. 

His anti-Israel politics have crossed the line into anti-Semitic rhetoric on multiple occasions: Waters has repeatedly accused Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, flown a floating pig embossed with a Star of David at concerts, and recently compared Israel to Nazi Germany during a Facebook Q&A

Recently, Waters called on Radiohead to cancel their July 19 concert in Tel Aviv. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke criticized the BDS movement in an open letter published by Rolling Stone, saying that boycotting Israel "creates divisive energy. You're not bringing people together. You're not encouraging dialogue or a sense of understanding." 

While claiming to be a human rights advocate, Waters has continued to play concerts in China, Russia and Turkey in recent years. The ADL addressed Waters' "single-minded obsession with trying to convince others to boycott the Jewish state" in a 2013 open letter. 

Waters' 2017 tour has been the subject of controversy and criticism: a petition is circulating encouraging fans to "boycott Roger Warers until he renounces antisemitism in all its forms, including the unjust boycott of the Jewish state." A lawmaker in Nassau County has asked the county attorney to determine whether Waters' September concerts at the Nassau Coliseum will violate the county's anti-BDS law. 

Additionally, teenagers who were supposed to perform with Waters at his July 13 concert in Miami opted not to participate after the Greater Miami Jewish Federation pointed out Waters' history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

UIC study abroad options expand to include Israel

While anti-Israel activists continue to pressure universities and professors to support academic boycotts of Israel, one Chicago university is choosing to strengthen its ties to the Jewish state.

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has expanded its study abroad options to include the University of Haifa. Through the new program, undergraduate students can take coursework in Hebrew, Arabic, international relations, psychology and peace & conflict studies while immersing themselves in Israel's diverse culture. 

In addition to hosting Israeli academics through JUF's Israel Studies program, UIC sponsors exchanges between its School of Public Health and Ben Gurion University of the Negev. However, no formal program for undergraduates looking to study abroad in Israel existed. 

"Haifa is a great example of a place that is very diverse, but people live and work together," said Dr. Neal McCrillis, UIC's Vice Provost for International Affairs. "For some students, they might be interested in exploring how those different communities live together. Some students are hoping to explore their heritage, and they'll get to do that in a deeper, broader way."

College students spend summer interning in Tel Aviv through Onward Israel

Through a partnership with JUF's Israel Education Center, 37 Illinois college students are spending eight weeks living and working in Tel Aviv through Onward Israel. Participants spend four days a week interning at top Israeli organizations and one day a week learning about contemporary Israeli society. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student Hannah Spevak is interning at WePower, an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in management and government leadership.

"[Onward] has provided me with invaluable experiences, such as going to the Knesset, hearing the Prime Minister speak and much more," Spevak said.

Alexis Levitt, a rising junior at Northwestern University, applied for Onward because she knew she wanted to spend her summer in Israel.

"Onward turned out to be the perfect match," Levitt said. "The program strikes a nice balance between independence and structure. I am unfamiliar with Israel and the group education sessions have been an important part of my experience. I feel like I have learned and grown so much."

Photo: UIUC student Hannah Spevak at a conference in Tel Aviv.

Read more about the Onward Israel experience here »

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