The definition of anti-Semitism was at the center of a battle of words Monday involving campus protests about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This comes as some Jewish students say that protests against Israels occupation of the West Bank have had anti-Semitic overtones that they contend makes some American universities, including UC campuses, a hostile environment. Meanwhile, activists against Israeli policies, including some Jewish faculty and students, say such claims of anti-Semitism are an attempt to squelch any criticism of Israel.

The debate focused specifically on the U.S. State Departments definition of anti-Semitism. That definition defines more general ethnic and religious hatred against Jews but also declares that it is anti-Semitic to demonize Israel, deny Israels right to exist, liken Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and blame Israel for all inter-religious tensions.

On Monday, 57 rabbis from California and 104 University of California faculty members called on UC administrators to adopt that State Department definition when dealing with protests and potential discipline for anti-Semitic statements. They said they did not aim to silence free speech, but they contend that too often protests against Israel have turned into inciting anti-Jewish attitudes.

In a letter to UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC regents, the rabbis urged that campus leaders be trained in using the State Department definition to identify anti-Semitic behavior and to address it with the same promptness and vigor as they do other forms of racial, ethnic and gender bigotry and discrimination.

In contrast, an open letter signed by more than 250 members of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council asked the U.S. State Department to revise its definition of anti-Semitism to prevent it from being used to silence critics of Israel. The interfaith group that supports calls for peace talks between Palestinians and Israel, an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and security for both sides said that it is important to distinguish criticism of Israel from real anti-Semitism. The letter also said the State Department should drop the definitions references to demonizing Israel and applying double standards to its policies.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support organization and the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report that said that more student activists are being wrongly described as anti-Semitic for their support of Palestinian rights. The groups said that they have received many requests from students and faculty in California and around the country who contend they have been identified as terrorists or terrorism supporters for speaking out against Israels treatment of Palestinians.

Napolitano and other UC leaders in March issued a statement condemning anti-Semitic incidents on UC campuses, as have student governments at UCLA and UC Berkeley recently. UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said it was too early to say whether the regents would adopt the State Department definition but that several people from the public are expected to speak on the matter at the regents meeting in San Francisco this week.

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Definition of anti-Semitism provokes campus debates – LA Times

By KATHY MATHESON Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A new exhibit focusing on Richard Avedon’s photos of political and cultural newsmakers invites visitors to rethink the concept of portraits in the age of the selfie. “Richard Avedon: Family Affairs” opens Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. The collection starkly depicts dozens of U.S.

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AP National News Video

By KATHY MATHESON Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A new exhibit focusing on Richard Avedon’s photos of political and cultural newsmakers invites visitors to rethink the concept of portraits in the age of the selfie. “Richard Avedon: Family Affairs” opens Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

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Avedon exhibit features portraits of 1960s-70s newsmakers

‘Particularly Violent’ Year as Israel Controversies Rage By JTA Published March 30, 2015. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose by 21 percent in 2014, according to the Anti-Defamation Leagues annual audit of anti-Semitism. The organization counted 912 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 751 in 2013, with the period surrounding last summers Gaza war seeing a surge of incidents

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Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise by 21%, ADL Says

By Heather Hambleton for the Junior League of Santa Barbara | Published on 03.23.2015 9:50 p.m. The Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) is proud to announce its three finalists for Woman Of The Year: Michele (Talkington) Schneider, Beverly Schwartzberg and Nancy Sheldon. The Woman of the Year is honored by the Junior League for her achievements in alignment with JLSBs mission to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve youth literacy

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Junior League of Santa Barbara Announces 2015 Woman of the Year Finalists

Written on March 24th, 2015 & filed under B'nai B'rith Tags: , , , , , , ,

The three swastikas found over the weekend inside a Jewish fraternity house at Vanderbilt University weren't the first — the Nazi symbols were painted recently on Alpha Epsilon Pi houses at Emory University and the University of California, Davis. It could be a drunken prank, or it could be that …

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Jewish students say Israel divestment movement leads to campus anti-Semitism

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TERRORISM CASE: Inland law enforcement task force honored The Inland Empire Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of local, county and federal agencies, received an Anti-Defamation League award for combating hate in the prosecution of an Inland terrorism conspiracy case. Four Inland defendants were convicted of plotting to kill U.S

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TERRORISM CASE: Inland law enforcement task force honored

Story highlights Barry Kosmin: U.S. tradition of tolerance is challenged by incidents of anti-Semitism on campus He says a majority of Jewish students surveyed reported experiencing or witnessing anti-Semitism This positive record is a fulfillment of the assurance given to the Newport, Rhode Island, Hebrew Congregation in 1790 by President George Washington: “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States … gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Since then, American Jews have been appointed and elected to public offices as governors, senators, mayors, Cabinet officers and in the military, and today, most American adults are unaware of and don’t seem to care who’s Jewish

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UCLA student is latest victim of anti-Semitism on campus …

Superfish,a little-known visual search and ad tech provider from Palo Alto whose CEO was once part of the surveillance industrial complex,is about to learn what it feels like to face the unwavering wrath of the privacy and security industries. Lenovo will take much of the blamefor potentially placing users at risk by contracting Superfish to effectively carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on users to intercept their traffic just to get the firms visual ads up during customers web searches.

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Superfish: A History Of Malware Complaints And International Surveillance

Written on March 9th, 2015 & filed under Israeli History Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Al Farrow, Menorah (II), 2005, from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley. The menorah is fashioned from guns, bullets, and steel

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Book Review: The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art & Culture The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

Written on March 9th, 2015 & filed under Jewish History Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,