LDB Hosts Student Confab
January 2015
The Brandeis Center ended 2014 on a high note with the success of our second annual National Law Student Leadership Conference, which was attended by student leaders from fifteen law schools across the country. Also in the January Brief, read about the controversy surrounding Harvard University's decision to boycott the Israel-based company SodaStream, and recent efforts to bring BDS to the University of California. Hear firsthand from one of our newest LDB law student chapter leaders. As we enter the new year, we would like to thank all of our supporters who were kind enough to give end-of-year donations to support our campaign against campus anti-Semitism. 

The Brandeis Center Holds Second Annual National Law Student Leadership Conference

David Leeds, Brandeis Blog  


The Brandeis Center hosted its second National Law Student Leadership Conference in Washington, DC last week. The conference engaged student leaders in dialogue on issues facing them as aspiring lawyers and proponents of civil rights through a series of lectures, panels, breakout sessions, and roundtable discussions with several prominent figures in academia, government and professional law. Topics included BDS, campus anti-Semitism, and international human rights law. Many participants had founded LDB chapters at their law schools or were in the process of doing so. 



Harvard Dining Services Halts Purchases from Israel's SodaStream, School Probes Move

After anti-Israel pressure, Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) suspended its purchase of soda and water machines produced by Israel-based SodaStream, the beverage carbonation company with a plant in Judea and Samaria. LDB President Kenneth Marcus immediately urged Harvard to reverse the decision, calling micro-boycott efforts like this one "more dangerous than broader campaigns against the entire country of Israel." Other groups also urged Harvard to reverse course. Harvard's president, Drew Faust, subsequently ordered an investigation into HUDS' reasons for the decision. University Provost Alan M. Garber said in response that "Harvard University's procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals' views of highly contested matters of political controversy." HUDS ultimately admitted that it had erred in making its decision based on political reasons.


UC's Moment of Truth

Avi Snyder, Brandeis Blog  


The University of California-once home of the legendary Free Speech Movement-has an academic freedom problem. Earlier this year, we witnessed Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor of UC-Berkeley, co-opt the anniversary of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement to emphasize the limits that "civility" might, in his view, properly impose on freedom of speech. Now comes a new threat to intellectual freedom, as students across the UC system face a potential onslaught of classroom indoctrination: In December, the UAW 2865, the University System's union for graduate instructors, voted to support the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.


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Promoting Diversity Isn't Trying to Stifle Free Speech  

Kenneth L. Marcus, The Hill  



Who wants to "stifle" free speech on campus, and who wants to protect it? In their Nov. 21 op-ed on The Hill's Congress Blog ("Stifling of free speech on campus"), Sondra Hale and Bekah Wolf criticize the Louis D. Brandeis Center's efforts to ensure that federally funded Title VI outreach programs provide the "diversity of perspectives" that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) already requires. Apparently, they believe that the First Amendment protects them against the unappetizing prospect of hearing views different than their own. When Middle East Studies centers refuse to provide a podium for speakers who challenge their anti-Israel politics, they are the ones who stifle free speech on campus.


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Student-Led Law School Chapters to Fight Anti-Semitism Open in the Twin Cities

Bethany Hanson, Daily Planet



As we develop our skills to be the next generation of lawyers, we must be aware of the social issues today both in the Twin Cities community and nationally. As Jewish students, in many ways, we have an even larger responsibility. That is one of the reasons I helped launch the recent opening of the first Midwest chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) at the University of Saint Thomas School of Law. The LDB chapter at Saint Thomas School of Law will join a network of student-led law school chapters in Boston, Charlottesville, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. that combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism on college and university campuses. 


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Terrorism, "Lone Wolves," and "Virtual Wolf Packs" 

Harold Brackman, Brandeis Blog


Violence to change or impact the existing order may be as old as humankind. In terms of collective violence-let's use the term "mob" for a phenomenon that may start small but can even morph into a revolution-it has had varied political, economic, and religious-ethnic motives over the course of the last thousand years in western societies. In his book "Communities of Violence," David Nirenberg showed how, before about 1350, riots were regular, small-scale affairs, meant to reinforce the religious pecking order, with Jews and Muslims scapegoated in Spain to send a message for these minorities to stay in their place. Everybody got the message, and there wasn't much violence because the authorities made sure that there wasn't. After 1350, these "traditional riots" grew into full-scale pogroms that were very different beasts and eventually even shook the socio-political order. 


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Anti-Semitism on Campus - What Can the Jewish Community Do?  


On January 7, the Temple Shaaray Tefila will present an interactive program featuring Kenneth L. Marcus, President, Louis D. Brandeis Center For Human Rights under Law. Award-winning author Ken Marcus is the founder of the Brandeis Center, an organization dedicated to combating the resurgence of anti-Semitism in American higher education. Join us as we explore what is happening on campuses all over the country and what we all can do as parents and members of the Jewish community. All are welcome.


In This Issue
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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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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.
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