As Colleges Face Renewed Anti-Israel Activism, ADL Provides Students with Tools to Fight Back
New York, NY, February 27, 2009 … In response to the growing number of anti-Israel rallies and activism on American college campuses, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has produced a new manual to provide students with information on countering criticism of Israel.
The League's new resource for students, Fighting Back: A Handbook for Responding to Anti-Israel Rallies on College and University Campuses (html | .pdf) is available on the League's Web site and is being distributed in print form through the League's 30 regional offices to campus Hillels and student groups across the country.
"Campuses are often on the front line of anti-Israel rallies, demonstrations and other events," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Many speakers and participants use these events to express anti-Israel and anti-Zionist messages and to engage in offensive anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust comparisons."
Anti-Israel activism is a growing concern on college campuses in the wake of Israel's three-week military action to defend its citizens against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, which prompted an outpouring of anti-Israel rallies and anti-Semitism around the world.
The fifth annual "Israeli Apartheid Week," scheduled for March 1-8, will bring anti-Israel demonstrations to at least nine U.S. cities, and college campuses will serve as a setting for protests by anti-Israel activists and groups. In the past, events coinciding with "Israeli Apartheid Week" have featured extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, including accusations of Israeli racism and apartheid, and calls for boycotts and divestment actions against Israel.
Fighting Back presents information about free speech on campus, including what type of speech is and is not protected by American law and campus codes of conduct. The guide offers suggestions on how to counter "bad speech" with "good speech" by organizing rallies, distributing fliers, and encouraging university administrators to speak out against hateful and offensive speech.
The guide also provides answers to commonly asked questions regarding anti-Semitism on campus, including:
• When does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitism?
• What can I do when I feel threatened or singled out by activists or students because I am Jewish?
• How should one respond to anti-Israel or anti-Semitic fliers on campus? Are they protected speech?
• What should I do when a group of anti-Israel protestors blocks access to a building?
Fighting Back offers tips for responding to anti-Israel incidents by maintaining open lines of communication with administrators and campus security and keeping the informed on a regular basis of anti-Israel activity, and offers tips for longer term considerations, such as finding common ground with other student groups on campus and working to build relationships with their membership, and becoming active in key areas of student life, such as student government and campus newspapers.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.