RSU Adopts Definition of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic definition at Ryerson University.

Ryerson University’s Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has officially adopted and printed the Canadian definition of anti-Semitism. The implementation of an anti-Semitism definition at the Toronto university may encourage other schools and universities to follow suit.

Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University – SSI Ryerson posted a Facebook statement announcing the accomplishment:

After tons of hard work and effort, we are happy to announce that the RSU has officially printed and adopted the official federal definition of antisemitism. Despite the current Ryerson Students’ Union – RSU president, Susanne Nyaga’s attempts to redefine our definition-despite it already being adopted by last year’s RSU, our work has paid off. By acknowledging the true face of antisemitism that targets Jewish students on campus, we can finally challenge antisemitism and hold people accountable. Thank you to all of our community and allies support during this time 💪🏽

The definition is below “Allyship” and above “Anti-Black Racism” in the “Anti Oppression Glossary.” The following is RSU’s definition on anti-Semitism :

Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of incenting or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson University – SSI Ryerson Facebook post about adopting definition on anti-Semitism.

Examples of the ways in which Anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Using the symbols and images associated with class anti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnations and opprobrium—let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction—is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.

A Community Holds Candlelight Vigil in Face of Hate-Based Activity

Candlelight vigil at Ambler Church of the Brethren. Photo credit: Andrea Cantor

“Hate has no home here,” Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, said to a room of around 300, during an interfaith candlelight vigil in response to recent anti-Semitic and racist attacks.

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March on Harrisburg Protesters Arrested at State Capitol

A protester being arrested. Photo courtesy of March on Harrisburg.

Twenty-three protesters were arrested under charges of disorderly conduct, a summary offense, during a sit-in outside Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe’s office at the PA Capitol Monday, May 22. Five more were arrested on Tuesday. Two were from out-of-state and charged with failure to disperse, trespassing, and disrupting a meeting, as confirmed by Xelba Gutierrez, the outreach coordinator of March on Harrisburg. The two unidentified protesters have an unsecured bail set to $25,ooo and have a hearing on June 5. The other three protesters arrested on Tuesday had lesser charges. The demonstrators were with March on Harrisburg, a nonpartisan  grassroots organization, rallying behind bill HB 39/SB 132 that would place limits on gifts to state legislators. The organization believes that gifts to public officials are a channel for bias and corruption.

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March on Harrisburg Stops Marching and Starts Lobbying

The second day of March On Harrisburg’s march. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Voice’s Periscope.

One hundred and five miles in nine days—that is the feat just accomplished by March on Harrisburg’s participants, who marched from Philadelphia to the State Capital in Harrisburg, May 13-21. But the activists do not have time to rest their feet, as they start a four-day lobby and protest at the State Capital, May 22-24.

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Yes, I Can Be A Zionist And A Feminist

A side-by-side of Mayim Bialik (left) and Linda Sarsour (right). Photo courtesy of Fox News.

A side-by-side of Mayim Bialik (left) and Linda Sarsour (right). Photo courtesy of Fox News.

This article was originally published on Huffington Post.

Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American political activist, expressed back in March how feminists need to care for Palestinian women, and alluded to the sentiment that Zionism and feminism are incompatible. Sarsour said to The Nation, “It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.”

Big Bang Theory actress and Orthodox Jew, Mayim Bialik, retaliated by writing an article for Grok Nation, which outlined how Sarsour’s statements were not only offensive, but also false. Bialik wrote on her Facebook page, where she also apologized for making it seem as though Sarsour directly said that Zionism and feminism are incompatible, “[The] conversation surrounding Zionism finally went too far for me to keep my big mouth shut.” Bialik vocalized her frustrations, and now I am following suit. I am tired of the discrimination against my people and of activists, such as Sarsour, who think they can pit my identity as both a Zionist and feminist against each other.

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Raise Your “Goblet of Fire” to “The Hogwarts Haggadah”

If you think your Passover Seder is missing that magic touch, perhaps Harry Potter and his friends can help you out. Moshe Rosenberg, author of Morality for Muggles: Ethics in the Bible and the World of Harry Potter, recently published his latest Jewish-Potter hybrid project, The (Unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah.

For the kids (and let’s be honest, adults), who are fast asleep before you can finally eat at the Seder, The (Unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah will be the spell that breaks the boredom curse. First, the Haggadah itself is aesthetically pleasing with Harry Potter and Passover illustrations, designed by Aviva Shur, that will keep the wondering eye on the page. In regards to the text, the Haggadah has a traditional layout so it can be used in lieu of your non-wizard copy. Rosenberg periodically stops the Passover story with quick nuggets of Jewish thoughts that are grounded in Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah. But right when you think you may be growing tired, he shifts to Harry Potter and how the J.K. Rowling series relates to the biblical story. [Read more…]