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December 2016 Newsletter


Important CLE

Program THIS


December 11th,

in Lincolnwood:

Responding to

Antisemitism at

the UN & Other

Internat'l Orgs

"Giving Tuesday" - EXTENDED!

A JLJS special - You have heard of other institutions extending their "special offers."  Well, we are extending "Giving Tuesday." Giving Tuesday was established by activists in 2012 to create a counter-balance to the commercialism and consumerism that so often predominates the end of year, holiday season.  Giving Tuesday is a time for making contributions to worthwhile non-profit ventures.  For more about "Giving Tuesday," see HERE.

We ask you to please support JLJS by making a tax-deductible contribution online.  If you have not yet made any contributions to JLJS, we ask that you seriously consider doing so now.  You may contribute online by credit card by going HERE.

If you have already contributed already to JLJS, we thank you sincerely for your support.  As we approach the end of the calendar year and you reflect on your the charitable gifts you have made and on your various priorities, we ask you to consider whether you might be able to help again.

An Overview of this Issue

Please note:  You may navigate to different sections of this newsletter by clicking the topic listed in the MARGIN on left side of this first page.

This newsletter begins by describing our recent and upcoming programs and alerting you to the fact that videos of some of our past programs are available on our Facebook page and on youtube.com.

It then provides an update on important developments in the United States and throughout the world.  

Finally, it reviews recent developments, including incidents on campus regarding antisemitism and proposed legislative efforts to curb it. 



TITLE:  "Responding to Antisemitism in the UN (& other International Institutions): What Can America Do?"  

PRESENTERS INCLUDE: (1) David Levitt, Partner, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP (and member of JLJS Advisory Board); (2) Professor Steven Resnicoff, DePaul University College of Law; (3) Amy Stoken, Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee, and (4) Michael Weil, Esq. Patent Attorney.

CO-SPONSORS:  This program is co-sponsored by JLJS, by Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation A.G. Beth Israel, and by the Decalogue Society of Lawyers.

PLACE:  The program will be held at the Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation A.G. Beth Israel, at 7117 N. Crawford, Lincolnwood, IL.

TIME:  The program is from 9:30 a.m. to NOON.  Registration and coffee is at 9:00 a.m.

REGISTRATION:  The program is complimentary, but please RSVP to the synagogue office at 847-676-0491. (Attorneys can register for CLE credits online at decaloguesociety.org.)



Wednesday, February 8th: There will be a program focusing on the “Sexual Trafficking of Women in the United States.”

More details will be provided on this and other programs will be provided in upcoming editions of this newsletter.  


1.   November 15, 2016: "Religious Freedom Throughout the World," by The Honorable David Saperstein, the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

A video of this presentation is available on the JLJS Facebook page, HERE.

2. Tuesday, November 1, 2016: “Antisemitism in the Arab World – an Obstacle to Arab-Israeli Peace,” featuring Professors Benny Morris and Salim Mansur.

A video of the program is available on the JLJS Facebook page, HERE


A. Antisemitism on Campus - Generally

Alan Dershowitz and others have continued to decry anti-Israel and antisemitic misinformation campaigns on American campuses.  See, e.g., HERE, and HERE.  

Some articles focus on the role of the Rockefeller Foundation is funding such activities.  HERE

As to some anti-BDS successes in 2016, see HERE.

Recent studies have confirmed the connection between BDS protests and antisemitic incidents on campus.  See, e.g., HERE, HERE and HERE.

B.  Academic Associations

At its annual membership meeting, the Middle East Studies Association voted 247-57 in favor of amending its bylaws by removing the word "nonpolitical."  The issue now goes to a vote of the entire membership of the association.  The proposed amendment is understood as a step to insulate the association from a legal claim that it acted "ultra vires" (i.e., beyond its legal authority) should it pass a pro-BDS resolution.  See HERE and HERE.

C. Specific U.S. Campuses

1.   Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.:

On November 14th, Israeli LGBTQ activist Etai Pinkas, spoke at the University of Washington, in St. Louis, Mo., on the topic, "Marriage Equality and LGBTQ* Issues in Israel.” 

On November 17th, Students for Justice in Palestine ("SJP") published an op-ed in the student newspaper, Student Life. That op-ed, which may be found HERE, accuses Israel of "pinkwashing," which it describes as follows:  "As Sarah Schulman writes, 'Pinkwashing is an explicit strategy taken up in recent years by the government of Israel to portray Israel as a leader in gay rights and a gay tourism destination to improve its human rights image while deflecting attention away from the extreme violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestine."

The reality, of course, is that it is the SJP that is trying to deflect, to deflect from the Hamas and Palestinian brutal suppression of LGBTQ rights (as well as the rights of others, such as women and religious minorities).  Indeed, many Palestinian members of the LGBTQ community flee to Israel because their lives are threatened in Gaza and the West Bank.  

By contrast, Israel has an excellent record as to LGBTQ rights.  As pointed out in an article in the Algemeiner HERE, GayCities.com and American Airlines ranked Israel in 2011 as the world's most LGBTQ-friendly country.  Similarly, in 2014, "the Hague Center for Strategic Studies, through its LGBT Military Index, ranked the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as one of the top 10 most gay-friendly armies."

As one speaker on a LGBTQ panel at the 2016 AIPAC Conference in Washington, D.C., argued, use of the "Pinkwashing" article is falsely predicated upon the assumption that it is never appropriate to speak about any positive aspects about Israel (whether about ensuring LGBTQ rights, providing medical and humanitarian aid to Palestinian terrorists, protecting religious minorities and women, etc.).  I would add that it also seems to be falsely predicated upon the assumption that it is never appropriate to hold Palestinians accountable for the evil they commit.

2.  University of Michigan:

One of the hallmarks of the SJP/BDS movement is the refusal to engage in discussions or debates with people who are pro-Israel.  They call such actions "normalization."  Recently, BDS activists at the University of Michigan reaffirmed their anti-normalization stance.  See HERE.

3. University of Texas:

Pro-Israel journalist, author and commentator Caroline Glick was scheduled to speak on the University of Texas campus. However, some of the sponsors, at least, decided that her pro-Israel message would be either nonproductive or counter-productive at influencing those who were not already pro-Israel. Consequently, they canceled the event.  See HERE.

4.  Jewish faculty members threatened at 2 different colleges. See HERE.

D. International Campuses

1. Israel: Concerns about possible discrimination against academics who are participating in archeological excavations in Judea and Samaria, led an Israel court to refuse a request under the Freedom of Information Act to release the academics' names.  See HERE.

2. Canada: A BDS resolution was defeated at the University of Toronto.  See HERE

3.  UK: Jewish students assert that Cambridge University is "hushing up" an antisemitic incident there.  See HERE


Federal Legislation Proposed

1.  Anti-Semitism* Awareness Bill Passes unanmiously by the U.S. Senate

On December 1st, the U.S. Senateunanimously passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.  This Act seeks to have the U.S. Department of Education adopt the definition (and illustrative examples) of anti-Semitism currently used by the U.S. State Department. The State Department's definition, which may be found HERE, would be of considerable use to the Department of Education in its investigations of allegations of anti-Semitism on campus. The bill, which has been endorsed by American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is currently before the U.S. House of Representatives.  Articles about the bill may be found HERE and HERE.  The complete text of the bill can be found HERE.

*  Many scholars prefer the variant spelling "antisemitism," but because "anti-Semitism" is used in the Act, that is the spelling used in discussing this part of the newsletter.

2. Act to Protect Israel Against Economic Discrimination Introduced into Both Houses of Congress

H.R. 6298: Protecting Israel Against Economic Discrimination Act of 2016 was recently introduced in the federal House of Representatives by Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA), and a similar bill was introduced into the United States Senate by Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). The measure is a response to attempts by international organizations to endorse economic boycotts against Israel.  For example, the United Nation's Human Rights Committee ("UNHRC") adopted a resolution urging member's countries to pressure companies to divest from and terminate contracts with Israel and to create a "blacklist" of companies conducting commerce with Israeli entities. See HERE, HERE, and HERE.

State of Ohio Legislation

On November 29th, the House of Representatives of the State of Ohio passed an anti-BDS bill by a vote of 81-13.  The bill it would prevent state agencies from contracting with a company that is boycotting or disinvesting from Israel and would require companies to explicitly declare in their contracts that they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel.  See HERE.

JLJS Advisory Board

Advisory Board Chair:
Sheri Hokin

Advisory Board Co-Chair of Programming:
Mitchell Lipkin

Advisory Board Members:
Kenneth Anspach

Marc Bassewitz

Charles Bergen

Paula Kaplan Berger

Sarah Blenner

Marc N. Blumenthal

Brian Davis

Michael Dorfman

Stephen Durchslag

Larry Fleischer

John M. Geiringer

Andrew  Glatz

Melinda Jacobson

Bill Kanter

Robert D. Kreisman

Arnold Landis

Stephen Landes

David Levitt

Rabbi Leonard Matanky

Robert B. Millner

Alan E. Molotsky

Rabbi Michael Myers

Judge Michael Panter

Patti Ray

Rabbi Barry Robinson

Curtis Ross

Orin S. Rotman

Michael Rothmann

Matthew Rudolph

Joelle M. Shabat

Keith Shapiro

Arnold G. Siegel

Alan E. Sohn

Sheldon Stern

Steve Towbin

Paul H. Vishny

JLJS Academic Advisory Board

Harvey Abramowitz, Purdue University Calumet

William D. Adler, Northeastern Illinois University

Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology

Eliot Bartky, Indiana University- Purdue University Fort Wayne

Miriam Ben-Yoseph, DePaul University School for New Learning

Ellen Cannon, Northeastern Illinois University

Sherman Cohn, Georgetown Law

Amy Elman, Professor of Political Science, Kalamazoo College

Wiley Feinstein, Loyola University Chicago

Richard Herman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ken Krimstein, DePaul University

Jacob Lassner, Northwestern University

Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University

Michael H. LeRoy, School of Labor & Employment Relations & College of Law University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wayne Lewis, DePaul University College of Law

Charles Lipson, The University of Chicago

Arthur Lubin, Illinois Institute of Technology

Alan J. Malter, University of Illinois at Chicago

Cary R. Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Northwestern University

Richard J. Ross, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law and History

J. Samuel Tenenbaum, Northwestern University School of Law