Saturday, October 27th, 2018 is a day that will forever be etched in tragedy. For the Jewish people. For Pittsburgh. For America. 11 lives were taken in an act of violence and hate. These 11 people were partaking in a baby naming ceremony in the Tree of Life Synagogue during the Sabbath, until a man who “just wanted to kill Jews” entered the synagogue and opened fire on the congregation, taking 11 innocent souls, forever inflicting pain and suffering on a community.
In the days following the shooting, I constantly read my newsfeed, seeing what others had to say and how they were handling their grief. There were those who took to love: photos of Jews and non-Jews alike gathered at vigils, mourning the victims. There were those who took to anger: opinionated posts of those who felt the need to politicize the massacre, and commentators arguing over its cause.
My stomach dropped for the second time since I first heard about the shooting. Choosing love every single time? We don’t have to agree on the same issues? This is coming from the same woman who is quoted minimizing anti-Semitism, saying it’s not systemic, even though anti-Semitism made up 54% of religious hate crimes in 2016.
Sarsour is also the same woman who is a close friend and supporter of Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, a well-known anti-Semite, who recently made the anti-Semitic comparison of Jews to termites. She failed to condemn Farrakhan’s words. These words don’t sound like unrelenting love to me.
In regards to Sarsour’s preaching about how we don’t have to agree on the same political issues, one can’t help but label her as an indisputable hypocrite. In 2017, Sarsour claimed that Zionists cannot be feminists as part of her platform on which the Women’s March is based. Sarsour’s words alienate those who support Israel from wanting to partake in a protest that deals with a completely different political issue, causing some Zionist feminists to feel forced to “sacrifice” their Zionism for the sake of feminism. What ever happened to unity, Linda?
I could continue describing more examples of the way Sarsour and her followers seem to forget her anti-Semitic past. I could mention how, at the Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago in 2017, Sarsour felt “honored” to be speaking with Rasmea Odeh, a convict in Israel who murdered two Jewish students at Hebrew University in a 1969 terror attack.
I could also recall the time Sarsour called Zionism, the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination and should live in their ancestral homeland, “creepy.” Because when there is a rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attacks in the United States (not to mention Europe), it’s “creepy” to want to live safely in the only Jewish nation in the world.
I could go on, but I won’t. Because this a time when Jews and non-Jews must cast our differences aside and come together in genuine mourning and prayer and healing. Sarsour may use words of “unrelenting love” now when it’s most convenient for her and her following, but to a pro-Israel Jew, that only adds more salt to the wound when our community is already hurting. Linda Sarsour doesn’t speak for me.
(Washington, DC, September 26, 2018) – Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised the Department of Education (DoE) for taking steps to enforce a law that could help curb many professors and programs on university campuses, and teachers of the K-12 level, that espouses anti-American, anti-Israel, and at times, anti-Semitic viewpoints, in violation of federal law.
Some grants to universities and schools funded under Title VI of the Higher Education Act (HEA) have contributed much to the belief that America’s support for Israel is a strategic liability and a source of why the US is resented in the global community. EMET has long been working on Capitol Hill and beyond to reform Title VI of HEA to ensure that the biases are put to an end. Under the Obama Administration, DoE had willfully ignored the law in place to prevent these biases, and further enabled the politicization of Title VI programming.
All of this is about to change.
The Higher Education Act was originally signed into law on November 8th, 1965, to strengthen the educational resources of American universities and colleges and to provide financial assistance to students in postsecondary and Higher Education. HEA was a later version of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), signed into law in 1958 by President Eisenhower. The original intent of Title VI of the NDEA was to prepare our students to serve the national security needs of the United States by funding foreign language and area studies programs at universities, particularly with respect to combatting the Soviet threat at the time. The area studies programs are known as National Resource Centers (NRCs). In 1965, Title VI legislation was included into HEA, most recently reauthorized as the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) in 2008.
For the 2014-2018 grant cycle, more than $13.4 million of federal grant money was awarded to 19 Middle East NRCs under Title VI of HEA. Grants for the next cycle will be allocated this fall.
Unfortunately, the original legislative intent of Title VI of HEA had been turned on its head. Research shows that many Title VI-funded NRCs – currently at 100 institutions of higher education across the U.S. – are replete with an anti-American and anti-Israel biases. Specifically, many Middle East NRCs, including at such prestigious institutions as Columbia University, Georgetown University, Princeton University, and Yale University, among others, are replete with Title VI-supported faculty and programs that advance the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; whitewash terrorism and radical Islam; and create a false narrative of U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East.
Also, problematic, under Title VI, NRCs are required to extend their activities by creating programs of “public outreach,” including workshops where K-12 teachers are trained. Many of the workshops, and their lesson plans on the Middle East, are heavily influenced by Saudi money, reports show. Some of the training materials include essays of Islamist radicals who advocate for terrorism; textbooks painting Israel and the West as colonial powers; and lesson plans that promote Islam, but criticize Christianity and Judaism. As a result, Title VI-funded Middle East studies biases are trickling down to America’s most vulnerable and impressionable youth.
In 2008, EMET was instrumental in amending Title VI of HEA to require the need for “diverse perspectives and a wide range of views,” within the U.S. taxpayer-funded Title VI programs. Despite EMET’s exhaustive efforts in 2008, the U.S. Department of Education, which provides these grants to the universities, as well as the recipients of the grants themselves, have, up until now, ignored their statutory requirements to provide “diverse perspectives.”
Since 2008, EMET has been the only organization on Capitol Hill regularly raising awareness about the abuses of, and calling for legislative changes to, Title VI, through one-on-one meetings with Congressional staffers and Members of Congress. EMET has also met with the Department of Education, a number of times, and with a senior member of the White House, to discuss the issue.
Thanks to EMET’s work, the Department of Education is now giving more consideration to the 2008 amendments of “diverse perspectives and a wide range of viewpoints” when evaluating applications for funding under Title VI of HEA. The Fiscal Year 2018 application for grants for NRCs states that it is an “Absolute Priority” that applicants fulfill the 2008 amendments, by providing “….(1) an explanation of how the activities funded by the grant will reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views and generate debate on world regions and international affairs; and (2) a description of how the applicant will encourage government service in areas of national need, as identified by the Secretary, as well as in areas of need in the education, business, and non-profit sectors.”
Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET said, “For far too long, students at universities and on the K-12 level have received a steady diet of anti-Israel propaganda as a paltry substitute for a solid education, under some Title VI of HEA programming. After the 2008 amendments — that attempted to remedy the problem – the biases have only gotten worse. The Saudis continue to pour millions of dollars into many Title VI-funded Middle East Centers and faculty, resulting in extreme anti-American and anti-Israel biases in their classroom instruction and materials that they use in their teacher-training workshops, which are mandated by the Title VI legislation.”
Stern added, “I applaud the Department of Education for taking the matter of the misuse of funding under Title VI of HEA seriously, and for taking the significant step of emphasizing the “diverse perspectives” requirement, which may help remedy the abominable political biases within some of the programs. When the universities who have applied for these taxpayer funded grants in this cycle are turned down, they will receive an explanation as to why. If it is because they have not demonstrated a capacity to teach from a diversity of perspectives and a wide-range of viewpoints, perhaps they will be more careful to hire faculty who are not quite so monolithic in their biases against the United States and the State of Israel. The change in the anti-American and anti-Israel atmosphere will not happen overnight, but incrementally, we hope that this will create a much less hostile environment in the college classroom.”
About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Following President Trump’s historic announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas waged a political and ideological war against the State of Israel. During a speech in Egypt, Abbas claimed that the Palestinians were the “original Canaanites” and lived in Jerusalem before the Jews. Abbas also called Trump’s statement “sinful” and “ill-fated,” and Fatah called for a “day of rage,” with approximately 800 Palestinians rioting as a result.
Abbas’ vilifying words and the Palestinians violent riots are only some of the political tactics the PA uses to undermine the State of Israel; another main tactic is the advancement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize, demonize, and ultimately destroy the State of Israel by using political and economic warfare, and false accusations. The BDS movement uses gross lies to demonize the Jewish State of Israel – such as by falsely comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa – to win activists on its side. Yet the movement is inherently anti-peace, while opposed to any type of negotiations with Israel or Israelis, even if it is for the benefit of the Palestinians, and often uses-anti-Semitic tactics to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s existence as a sovereign state. The global BDS movement also gains support from various parts of the international community, including some European countries and the United Nations. To what extent is the PA’s use of political warfare a threat to the State of Israel? Who are the main drivers and supporters of the BDS movement? And what steps should Israel take to combat these threats? Please join us as we hear from Dan Diker as he explores these questions and more.
About Dan Diker
Dan Diker is a Fellow and Senior Project Director at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where he heads the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS. In 2011, Dan co-founded the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I) together with Brig Gen (res) Yossi Kuperwasser, former Director General, and Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Has authored several books on BDS and the anti-normalization movements including: BDS Unmasked, (2016), Defeating Denormalization, (2017), and Students for Justice in Palestine, Unmasked, (2017) Dan is also a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, IDC Herzliya, where he hosts Counter Terrorism Today on IDC International Radio. Dan appears as a Middle East and BDS commentator on news networks such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Fox, China CCTV, CBN , ILTV, and Russia Today. Dan Diker previously served as Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, the global diplomatic organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries. Dan received a BA Cum Laude from Harvard University and studied toward his MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business before earning an MA in Government and Counter Terrorism Policy, Summa Cum Laude, from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. He is married with 5 children and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He can be followed on Twitter @dandiker84.Read More →
Congress will soon re-authorize Title VI of the Higher Educational Opportunities Act, a bill that was first introduced as the National Defense Education Act of 1958. The original legislative intent was to cultivate a consortium of university graduates who were best equipped to deal with the Soviet threat during the Cold War. …Read More →
The American college campus was once a place where students listened to the views of their peers, debated ideas, and derived knowledge through the examination of multiple viewpoints. Schools like UC Berkeley proudly advertised themselves as leaders of a “free-speech movement”, and discourse was not only allowed, but encouraged. …Read More →
Please Call Your Senators and Congressman and Ask Them to Support the Nomination of David Friedman as America’s Ambassador to Israel and to Express Your Profound Disappointment Over UNSC Resolution 2334
For far too long, the State Department and our Ambassadors to Israel, while pretending to be “honest brokers” have had a decidedly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian bias, totally ignoring the one condition that has ever been placed on the Palestinians: to stop the incitement to violence and murder. This has culminated in a culture that deifies the “shahid,” the martyr, the suicide bomber and knife stabber, and demonizes the Israeli and the Jew. It has also culminated in the decidedly anti-Israel resolution in the United Nations Security Council, Resolution 2334, which condemns Israel for “illegally” building in land which Israel was forced to occupy in its defensive war of 1967, including East Jerusalem, where the holiest site in Judaism, our Western Wall, sits. This resolution will only serve to reinforce the violence that is already rampant within the Palestinian Authority (PA), and indicates to PA that they can literally get away with murder. This sort of unilateral action at the U.N. and Palestinian reliance on the international community has enabled the Palestinians to bypass direct, face-to face negotiations with the Israelis, whom, at the end of the day, the Palestinians have to live with. This is something that President Obama himself has stated in February of 2011, when he had then vetoed a similar Security Council resolution. Rather than doing the difficult work of building trust with the Israelis, the Palestinians have chosen to litigate against the Israelis in the court of international public opinion, and have resorted to a bloody campaign of violence, and then expect statehood to be handed to them, gratis.
For the last several years, American ambassadors to Israel have exemplified this profound bias against Israel, and it has not gotten us any closer to the goal of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. It is therefore refreshing that President-Elect Donald Trump has selected an Ambassador to Israel, Mr. David Friedman, who does not share the same biases that are so rampant within the State Department. At a time when the entire world is being plagued by the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism, it is important that we finally have an ambassador to Israel that understands the moral distinction between building an apartment in a suburb of Jerusalem and the wanton murder of innocent civilians.
With less than a month to go until he leaves office, President Barack Obama is trying to do his utmost to leave Israel in as vulnerable and indefensible a position as possible since the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War.
The outgoing administration’s decision not to veto the U.N. Security Council resolution on the settlements attested to this, and went against long-standing American policy that the conflict must be resolved directly between the two parties. …Read More →
There is a war raging across the United States and the world–a war that is being fought through infiltration and propaganda, trying to reach the hearts and minds of young people who think they are advocating for justice and peace. This is the work of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which masks its true motives behind the slogan, “Freedom, Justice, Equality,” yet demonizes the State of Israel and systematically compares it to apartheid South Africa. …Read More →
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been dominating the conversation on anti-Israel activity at universities over the past few years. Yet few have heard of the interconnected issue involving the misuse of funding from Title VI educational grant programs, which is an underlying factor contributing to the growth of BDS and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses around our nation. Both problems urgently need to be addressed. …Read More →