The Cruelest Month
The Brandeis Brief
May 2013
 
  

April was a harsh month, bringing several unfortunate developments on and off campus. However, Brandeis Center lawyers have been busy, spending much of the month in California working with university students, professors and administrators to combat campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. This issue describes April's numerous developments, the Brandeis Center's activities, our recent expansion, and interesting articles by Harold Brackman, Lesley Klaff and Danit Sibovits. As April's storm showers pass over, let us hope that May brings only flowers.

Articles 
The Monthly Roundup: Boycott Resolutions, Nazi Writing Assignments, and BDS Fails
 
University of Manitoba
University of Manitoba

As if to prove that April is "the cruelest month," the month began with news that anti-Semitic incidents surged by a shocking 30 percent worldwide last year and continued with a series of unfortunate developments in education. First, the Teachers' Union of Ireland voted to boycott all academic collaboration with Israel. Then, the Association for Asian Studies unanimously approvedresolution to boycott Israeli universities, becoming the first American scholarly association to do so. In mid-April, the University of California at Berkeley student senate passedresolution calling for divestment from Israel, although outgoing Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau repudiated it.  A similar boycott resolution failed at the University of California at Santa Barbara, but only after an epic battle.  As if the university front were not bad enough, an Albany High School teacher assigned her class to write persuasively that Jews are evil. After speaking with Brandeis Center lawyers, Albany's superintendent issued a public apology and promised additional formal actions. Finally, on a more positive note, the University of Manitoba student union stripped Students Against Israeli Apartheid of official recognition, becoming the first to bar this group for anti-Semitic harassment during "Israel Apartheid Week."  

 

Harold Brackman
Harold Brackman

 

42: The True Story of an American Legend edifies a new generation with the story Jackie Robinson's magical first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers when he defeated Jim Crow, won National League Rookie of the Year, and led "The Bums" to the 1947 World Series, where they lost in seven games to Joe DiMaggio's Yankees. Better luck, in 1955!  The film dramatizes such racially-charged episodes of Jackie's epic year as the taunts hurled at him by Philadelphia Manager Ben Chapman (also a rabid anti-Semite), his blatant spiking by St Louis' Enos Slaughter, and the supportive, on-field hug he received in Cincinnati from Dodger shortstop and captain, Louisville-born Pee Wee Rees. Yet the film is also a case study of a tendency to "white out" the role of American Jews in the history of the movement for African American rights.

 

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Joshua Sol Brewster
Joshua Sol Brewster

This month, the Brandeis Center announced the appointment of our first Senior Civil Rights Legal Fellow, Joshua Sol Brewster, Esq.  Mr. Brewster is a highly experienced civil rights attorney, who recently completed ten years of service at the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, where he worked his way up to Deputy Director and Chief Staff Counsel. We are very pleased to have Mr. Brewster on our side as we continue to fight campus anti-Semitism as part of our broader mission to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and promote justice for all.

 

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Lesley Klaff
Lesley Klaff
Lesley Klaff

Having just finished reading the lengthy judgment in the case of Ronnie Fraser v The University and College Union, I want to comment briefly on the Employment Tribunal's response to the allegation of anti-Semitism in the UCU; and to the claim that Israel is a non-contingent aspect of Jewish identity. Anti-Semitism was the crux of Fraser's case. His complaint against the UCU was that the union had created a hostile environment for him as a Jewish member ('Jewish' being a "protected characteristic" under s. 26 Equality Act 2010) by engaging in unwanted anti-Semitic conduct. 

 

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Danit Sibovits
Danit Sibovits
Danit Sibovits

 

With the expansion of the Brandeis Center, we have begun a new litigation initiative that focuses on the resurgence of anti-Semitism on universities across the nation.  Specifically, we will work with faculty and students to investigate incidents, work with administration on procedures and protocols, and file legal complaints when necessary.  Our goal is change the culture on campuses so that anti-Semitism is taken as seriously as other forms of hate and discrimination while also maintaining academic freedom and freedom of speech.

 

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In This Issue
Monthly Roundup
Whiting Out the Jews
Joshua Sol Brewster
Fraser Case
Litigation Initiative
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The Louis D. Brandeis Center is a nonprofit organization supported by individuals, groups and foundations that share our concern about Jewish college students.  Contributions are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  To support our efforts to combat campus anti-Semitism, please contact us at info@brandeiscenter.com.
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Can We Help You? 

The Louis D. Brandeis Center stands ready if we can help you to combat anti-Semitism in higher education. Please contact us if you are a student or professor who needs our help.  We are also available to provide technical assistance to university administrators who are interested in achieving legal compliance and best practices for eliminating campus anti-Semitism.