American actor Michael Douglas and Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky recently visited three college campuses in the US in order to speak to students about Israel and modern ant-isemitism.
Douglas and Sharansky visited Brown University on Jan. 28, Stanford University on Feb. 2, and the University of California, Santa Barbara on Feb. 3. The program, titled “Jewish Journeys: A Conversation with Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky,” was co-hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation, Hillel International, and the Jewish Agency, in addition to the local Hillel chapters on each campus.
“This is the first time, in this current period of heightened anti-Israel activity on campus, that a Hollywood celebrity has offered to join with a world Jewish leader to visit US college campuses and speak with students about Israel and the Jewish people,” said Stan Polovets, the Genesis Prize Foundation’s co-founder and chairman. “At a time when certain individuals and groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel, these visits are particularly important and timely.”
Douglas said, “I was honored to receive the Genesis Prize last year, and it has encouraged me to deepen my commitment and belief that we must all be more inclusive in order that the Jewish faith and culture thrive. These visits provide an opportunity for Natan and me to speak directly with young people about the challenges they encounter, and share insight about how we have dealt with these situations throughout our life.”
Anti-semitism is growing on our college campuses, and most recently a battle against the Boycott, Divest and Sanction of Israel heightened in Florida. Mr. Stanley G. Tate, Chairman of Proclaiming Justice To The Nation’s Board of Directors called on the University of South Florida’s Board of Trustees to veto the student government’s recent passage of a BDS Resolution, calling the effort a “blatant act of anti-Semitism and a disgrace to the prestigious reputation of the Florida university system.” The resolution was instituted by the Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian college student activism organization with ties to Muslim Brotherhood terrorist groups.
Mr. Tate went on to say, “No one cares more deeply than I do about our college program. My goal has always been to make the college experience possible for students from all ethnic and religious orientations. This BDS effort seeks to do one thing, intimidate Jewish and Christian Zionist students across the state. That is morally reprehensible and completely unacceptable.” Mr. Tate, a resident of Miami, Florida was instrumental in the early development of the Florida Prepaid College Program where he served as Chairman of the Foundation from 1987 to 2005.
BDS is an international anti-Israel, anti-Zionist propaganda campaign and by extension, an anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish campaign. The BDS movement calls for:
• Boycotting Israeli products, academics, and cultural leaders.
• Pressuring companies to stop doing business with Israel and divesting from companies that do business with Israel.
• Sanctioning Israel for its legitimate self-defense measures to protect Israelis of all ethnicities from terrorism, and Hamas rocket/missile attacks.
Numerous nationwide BDS efforts have increased to boycott Israeli political leaders and businesses. One of the companies targeted in the USF BDS Resolution was Lockheed Martin, a leading defense company employing thousands of individuals across the state. The effect of the USF Resolution could have a devastating impact on Florida’s economy.
PJTN’s President, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, stated, “It’s time to remove anti-Semitic groups like SJP from college campuses! How can SJP, a group with known ties to terrorist organizations, be allowed to operate on our college campuses? These terrorist supporting groups are not only trying to undermine and delegitimize Israel and ultimately dehumanize the Jewish people, they violate the rights of other students through anti-Semitic threats and intimidation.”
Former USF professor Sami Al-Arian was a great example of the spread of extreme anti-Semitism on campuses. He was indicted in 2003 on multiple counts related to supporting a Palestinian group on the State Department’s terrorist list. Upon firing Al-Arian, USF President Genshaft stated, “We have determined that USF must sever all ties to Sami Al-Arian once and for all. His use of this educational institution for improper, non-educational purposes will not be tolerated.” SJP, like Al-Arian, has a long track record of ties to terrorist groups like the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Student Association.
As the number of anti-Semitic attacks and violent demonstrations against Jewish and pro-Israel students on university campuses continues to grow in Florida, and elsewhere, parents, students and taxpaying citizens are demanding that groups such as SJP be banned. Floridians will not allow their students to be terrorized on their campuses.
Utilizing legislative action, several states across the nation have fought back by introducing a landmark PJTN resolution to confront the BDS movement. In Florida, State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R – Miami) and State House Representative Lori Berman (D-Lantana) introduced SR1184/HR1001, a bi-partisan resolution to condemn the BDS movement and halt the increasing incidents of anti-Semitism on Florida campuses.
Through multiple media outlets, PJTN is launching a statewide campaign to expose these anti-Semitic groups that hide behind the terrorist supporting “social justice” banner. Ms. Cardoza-Moore is also calling on the State University System of the Florida Board of Governors to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism and to establish guidelines to monitor anti-Semitic activity on campuses across the state. She stated that “our state governments must be proactive in providing a secure learning environment for all students.”
As a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “when people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”
PJTN will be unveiling a new documentary in regard to BDS at the upcoming National Religious Broadcasters’ Convention to be held in Nashville in February on Thursday, February 25th. For more information, go to www.pjtn.org.
By: Laurie Cordoza-Moore