Suing BDS
June 2016

This week, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Justice Louis D. Brandeis's confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States, we are pleased to reflect on several powerful efforts underway to defeat BDS and campus anti-Semitism. Last month, the Brandeis Center filed a lawsuit against the American Studies Association for its unlawful anti-Israel boycott. The June Brandeis Brief presents the perspectives of LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus, the Brandeis Center's clients, and the Harvard and Berkeley Law professors consulting on the case. This Brief also discusses other important developments, such as the pending Ohio anti-BDS bill, a new anti-BDS petition campaign by American university professors, and our participation in Edwin Black's historic commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Farhud pogrom. Once again, we thank you for your tax-deductible donations. Without you our work could not be done.

Are Anti-Israel Boycotts Legal? Doesn't Look Like It
Kenneth L. Marcus, Newsweek

Israelis celebrate Israel's 68th Independence Day (Photo Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
As LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus explains in this op ed, originally published in Newsweek, some attempts by educational nonprofits to boycott Israel violate state laws which provide that nonprofits' funds from members cannot be used to push a political agenda that is irrelevant to the association's mission.

Jesse Fried and Steven Davidoff Solomon, Jerusalem Post

Harvard Law School Professor Jesse Fried and Berkeley Law Professor Steven Solomon explain the questionable tactics used by BDS activists as revealed by our recent ASA lawsuit. They note the widespread voting irregularities at multiple stages of the voting process, calling into question the validity of the action's adoption. 

Why we sued the American Studies Association

Simon Bronner & Michael A. Rockland, The Hill 

ASA logo
Brandeis Center clients Simon Bronner and Michael Rockland, professors of American Studies and longtime members of the ASA, explain in a moving piece for The Hill why they want to return the ASA to its core scholarly mission. "In the past few years, the American Studies Association (ASA) has been diverted from its scholarly mission-promoting the study of American culture-to a political one, by leaders seeking to turn the ASA into an organization that advocates for social change far beyond American borders, and with an unwavering focus on delegitimizing Israel."

Dozens of opponents spoke out against a proposed Ohio anti-BDS measure they say stifles free speech and damages the Middle East peace process. Supporters, including LDB's Kenneth L. Marcus, testified in favor of this bill and explained why BDS is not only anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic.
The Academic Council for Israel, along with the Brandeis Center and other partner organizations, created a petition stating, "A number of academic professional organizations have passed or are considering anti-Israel resolutions connected with the boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel. We oppose any academic professional organizational attempt to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education."

Farhud: Never Forget
Aviva Vogelstein, Brandeis Blog

Edwin Black has organized 4 Farhud ceremonies within a 24-hour span. The first of which took place in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. House of Representatives.
The "Farhud," Arabic for "violent dispossession," was a pro-Nazi massacre against Baghdad Jewry that took place from June 1-2, 1941 - coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. This terrible tragedy resulted in the death of hundreds of Sephardi Jews, marked the first step in ending 27 centuries of peaceful Jewish existence in Iraq and Mesopotamia, and ultimately led to the expulsion of 850,000 Jews from the Middle East into Israel. June 1-2, 2016 marks the Farhud's 75th anniversary.

LDB Urges UC Irvine Chancellor to Take Stronger Stance Against Disruptive Protest

On May 24, LDB issued a letter to UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gilman, addressing an aggressive protest that occurred on the campus the prior week. In addition to violating several provisions of the UC Student Code of Conduct, the protestors violated California Law - specifically, California Penal Code 403, which makes it a misdemeanor to willfully disturb or break up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful. 

Attorney for Israel Advocacy
Jonathan Mark, New York Jewish Week

Danit Sibovits
Danit Sibovits
Danit Sibovits, 32, has been featured in New York Jewish Week's "36 under 36" for 2016. She has been on the front lines of helping Jewish students as an attorney, and now supports the State of Israel through the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Sibovits was a Staff Attorney at the Brandeis Center, where she investigated and managed cases of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity at federally-funded colleges and universities, and successfully represented students at Brooklyn College who were forcibly removed from an anti-Israel event.

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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
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Kenneth L. Marcus

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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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