Oxford University, the institution that educated such venerable figures as William of Ockham, Arnold J. Toynbee, Christopher Wren, Thomas More, Stephen Hawking, H. L. A. Hart, T. S. Eliot and many others, is holding “Israeli Apartheid week.” The Oxford Palestinian Union are promoting the event as the “30th anniversary of the international convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid.”

The conference boasts speakers such as Ilan Pappe from Haifa University and Gabi Piterberg of UCLA as well as films such as “Arna’s Children”. It turns out that the group is not an official university group and thus ran into some potential friction from the university for using Oxford’s name in the title of the conference and the flyers.

What did the Jews on campus do? Well, they went to the dean to try and have the university lay sanctions against the conference, citing the potential for provocation. The proctor replied:

A number of events are being held by an unofficial student society this week. The proctors have considered the complaints, from students and others, in the context of the University’s Code of Practice on the Freedom of Speech, which allows the free expression of opinions within the law, and have seen no evidence that there has been a breach of the code…the situation will be kept under review. The proctors are also taking steps to promote dialogue between the student societies so as to encourage mutual understanding and forbearance.

No doubt that last bit will involve some tea and crumpets. Adrienne Rivlin, ex president of the Jewish Student Union, claimed:

Given the current political climate, it’s deeply concerning that the Palestinian Society should choose such an inflammatory title, designed to be provocative and reinforce preconceived prejudices, rather than trying to build bridges and foment dialogue. Israeli and Jewish students on campus unfortunately can only feel intimidated by their actions

Ah, a little Abe Foxman in training that Rivlin is.

Abdel Razzaq Takriti, media spokesman for the Palestinian Society, said,

We are simply stating our belief and explaining that Israel is an apartheid state, to encourage people to take a stance and increase public pressure on Israel to change its apartheid policies.

Ah, a little Saeb Erekat in training that Tarkiti is.

Thanks to Jpost.

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  • coincidence, it’s also Israeli apartheid week at Concordia university in Montreal.

  • Sadly, Oxford is one of many English ‘institutions’ that has fairly ugly anti-Semitic tendencies lying not very deep below the surface. scratch a little and they suddenly become visible. Expect the official university officers to do anything about them, and you are disappointed. When I was a student there only five years ago, I was deeply saddened to realise this when English Professor Tom Paulin expressed views sympathetic to suicide bombing terrorists, and again when the Oxford Union invited Holocaust denier David Irving to speak. What was sadder than the actual invitation itself, or Paulin’s expression of his sympathy for terrorists, was the kind of anti-Semitism that became apparent in many people’s reaction to objections from Jewish (and other) students. Sadly, we can never become complacent.

  • Eh, Muffti isn’t so sure that the University officers should do anything about it, to be honest. Muffti doesn’t really see the value in squelching free speech on campus when there is no obvious bodily harm…

  • Well then, I guess we’ll just have to wait until the “Holocaust is a Myth” conference appears on some serious university campus. After all, free speech is free speech. Right?

  • The only way to anti-Judaism forever is to promote Judaism in (the non-Hindu, non-Muslim part) of Asia and in Latin America. When there 80 million Chinese people, and 30 million Brazilians and 10 million Mexicans who are Jews, every time an anti-Jewish idiot starts talking, our new fellow co-religionists will help us to tell them (the anti-Jewish guy) politely to shut up, and they will. That’s the only way we can really end anti-Judaism. Anything else is just a temporary band-aid solution. However we shall have to look deep into our souls and resolve to love these future converts more than ourselves, and welcome them in a heart-felt way, or otherwise it will not work. If we approach it in the right way I am sure that it will work.
    If anyone thinks that this is a crazy idea, they should read history again. Approximately Ten percent of the Roman Empire became Jewish. In the 9th and 10th centuries an estimated one million people in Eastern Europe became Jewish.

  • Next week, the JSU should run an event called: “Palestinians: Bloodthirsty Killers and Terrorist Supporters – What is the world to do?”

  • Oops… I meant to say “the only way to END anti-Judaism forever…””

  • Don’t worry brother, I’m trying as hard as I can to find something. I won’t let you down. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anti-Judaism? What the hell? This has nothing to do with Judaism; anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism rarely do. Think about you’re saying, Dave.

    Also, could you please tell me where you read that 1 million Eastern Europeans converted to Judaism in a matter of 1-2 centuries? Thanks.

  • CYH, Arabs are also Semites. So what people call anti-Semitism is anti-Judaism. If we all converted to other religions, then after a while the Jewish “problem” would disappear. Since I for one have no intention of leaving Judaism, I have thought seriously about this, and it seems to me the best solution is to stop being a minority, ie. promote Judaism, especially in the 3rd world, where it is mostly unknown at this time.

  • Dace the 3rd World is not a good option. Getting a guy to leave his 18 wives and settle for one would be a miracle all together.

  • Yes. Arabs are Semites. So are Maltese people. How does any of this affect the fact that “anti-Semitism” is defined as discrimination against Jews?

    As to your suggestion, I beg to differ. For one, non-Jews simply aren’t interested in converting to Judaism. Secondly, Jews don’t proselytize. There’s no reason to. Judaism is similar to Zoroastrianism and Samaritanism in that regard.

    Even if it were possible, converting millions of gentiles would do little to end anti-Semitism. Jewish cohesion comes from a shared culture, history and lineage. Consider the Roman converts you mentioned – who didn’t constitute a community or feel any solidarity with Israel. Not only were many present during the sacking of Jerusalem, some participated! Religious tolerance did little to change anti-Semitism, which was rampant in the Roman Empire.

    Besides, anti-Semitism isn’t that bad outside of the Muslim world. Nobody really takes this “apartheid” stuff seriously.

  • What do you guys mean when you say Arabs are Semites as well? What does Semite mean?

  • CYH, you seem to be defining Judaism as a cultural group. If so, I being Sephardic, means that I do not share your culture, since none of my family ever lived ever in Europe. Therefore, by such a definition, I am not Jewish. We have tried all other ways of reducing western European/ North American “anti-Semitism”.
    This idea of mine promoting Judaism has not been tried for a thousand years or more. It’s time to give my idea a try. Before attacking me, do any of you have anything better to suggest??
    I have read this website a lot. Most of the people seem happy to complain about things without ever suggesting any possible solution.
    My idea has a lot of merit. If there are 100 million Jews in the world, no matter where they live, anti-Semites will shut up because of the sheer demographic weight of these 100 million Jews. Or are we afraid to promote Judaism in the 3rd world because we are secretly racist??
    Before you attack my ideas, why don”t you think about them instead of enjoying complaining.

  • Semite is a linguistic designation. The term anti-semitism is a term that was coined in Europe as a more “polite” way to refer to anti-Judaism.

    FYI, orthodox coversion to Judaism is at an all time high and the popularity of “Noahidism” is increasing so much that various Christian groups actively campaign against it. Historically, Jews actively sought converts but because of some less than wonderful outcomes it was decided that we no longer would do so.

  • Because of all our growing assimilation in North America and Western Europe, if we do not proselytize, we will eventually die out.
    Besides how do you know that people in the 3rd world aren’t interested in considering Judaism??
    Have you ever considered that most of them have never heard of it? I am not speaking of the Muslims or Hindus, but the others.
    There is no point whatsoever in promoting Judaism in North America or western Europe, because most of the people are so culturally Christian even if they’re atheist. However in places like Mexico and Brazil, many people are becoming Protestant Christians, which is more directly based on the Bible. The next logical step is to encourage them to join our faith. Unless of course we are so tribalistic that we think Judaism is only for white skinned people from eastern Europe and the Middle East??

  • I think a lot of us are just plain scared to promote Judaism. I use the word “promote” in preference to proseletyze, since my approach is not to be patronizing, but to tell someone “you are a reasonable person, here is this religion called Judaism, it gives great meaning to my life, would you be interested in learning more about it?”

  • Re: Richard (Dick) Silverstein

    I see you commented at his blog. Listen I know this guy his dripping left wing superiority and arrogance knows no end.
    If he doesn’t like your comment he will delete it no matter what it says. He is also patronizing, condescending and a 100% hypocrite.
    He chastised me for referring to him as “Rich” which is short for Richard, something I wasn’t aware was an insult?

    In his next post he bashed on Charles Johnson in like a petty, jeolous 12 year old. And referred to him as “Charley”….

    The guy is a farce of himself and not worth 1 ounce of deference or attention.


  • Uh, how would you being Sephardic make you a non-Jew by “such a definition”? Also, real Sephardim descend from the Jews of Spain (ie Europe), and have always considered themselves superior to everyone else. Basically, what I’m saying is, you can drop the “downtrodden Sephardi” act.

    Yes, Jews are a cultural and ethnic group who share more than religion. And yes, Judaism is an ethnocentric religion hesitant to accept converts. I would know, being a convert myself. But unlike some converts I make no illusions about the cultural and ethnic aspects of Judaism. I guess having Jewish ancestry helped make me more comfortable acknowledging this.

    With all due respect, your theory is silly on several levels. If Judaism needed converts, we’d proselytize. But there’s really no reason to convert to Judaism when becoming a Noachide is so much easier. I mean, Jews haven’t encouraged conversion for some 2000 years. And again, non-Jews just aren’t interested in converting. So conversion is at an all time high? That’s not saying much. I’m still waiting on a source for your claim that millions converted in the 9th and 10th centuries, by the way.

    Another thing, the “Apartheid at Oxford” issue that prompted this conversion-will-end-anti-Semitism fantasy hardly constitutes anti-Semitism; it barely qualifies as anti-Zionism. It hardly merits a response from Jewish students at Oxford, let alone abandoning a 2000-year-old tradition.

    For the record, a “Semite” is a descendant of Shem. Linguists adopted the term to describe a group of Afro-Asiatic languages.

    Anti-Semitism was rarely about religion, and generally ethnically and/or politically motivated.

  • It’s only 1:35p and not yet the sabbath in Hawaii, so I can write… I’m pretty sure olive skinned semites didn’t just blossom a blue eyed eastern europeans over night. It must have taken alot of interfaith marriage and conversion. (Not that it has anything to do with the price of challah, just an observation.)

    Shabbat Shaloha from HI

  • With all due respect, I totally disagree with you. I was not saying that I am a downtrodden Sephardi. Three of my great-great grandfathers were rabbis in Iraq. However some Ashkenazis have an intolerance to anyone who is not like them. They often confuse culture with religion. I know from personal experience, so do not tell me it does not exist.
    Noahidism is just a cop-out. It is just a rationalization that many Jews are afraid to talk about their faith to others.
    This is natural because in eastern Europe they were kicked in the head by Christians for many centuries.
    I am not afraid to promote Judaism to others. Cultural aspects and ethnicity change. Faith and good action remain.
    Jews, but not promoting our faith are keeping our people weak, and not fulfilling our historic mission to humanity. This mission is clearly described in the Tanach “10 men of all nations shall grab hold of the talit of a Jew and shall say “teach us for we have heard that God is with you””
    Now we have a huge opportunity in front of us.
    There are many millions of people in China who are searching for some kind of spirituality. Some have found it in Falun Gong. There are many millions of people in Latin America who are disenchanted with the Catholic church.
    They are looking for a spiritual home. Some believe they have found it in Evangelical Protestantism.
    Many Chinese and Latin Americans are still searching. Surely some of them might be interested in our faith. Of course, if we sit in and moan and complain in a corner, and don’t tell them about it, they”re not going to know.

  • You are just attacking my ideas.
    What solution do you have to anti-Semitism in the world??

  • Article re similar conference at Georgetown U. in Washington, D.C., from the Washington Jewish Week, at http://washingtonjewishweek.com/
    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    Quiet Georgetown campus greets Palestinian conference
    by Eric Fingerhut
    Staff Writer

    The Palestine Solidarity Movement came to Georgetown University last weekend, but did not seem to make much of an impression on the D.C. campus.

    Turnout for the organziation’s annual conference was less than half of organizers’ predictions, and few Georgetown students appeared to be in attendance…..

    Some students said they barely noticed that the conference was occurring.
    In fact, conference speakers indicated that the PSM is struggling to make any kind of impression on college campuses in general. When they weren’t incessently repeating terms such as “apartheid” and “racist” to describe Israel, a number of speakers acknowledged that the movement has not been all that successful among U.S. universities.

    Georgetown pro-Israel students and Jewish community leaders judged the weekend a success.

    They said that the strategy to ignore the PSM and stick with a long-planned pro-Israel initiative of educational and cultural events throughout the semester had led to virtually no mainstream media coverage of the conference. That was a striking contrast to the storm of controversy that enveloped the group’s previous conferences at four other universities.

    They credited the unity created by the Israel On Campus Coalition of Greater Washington, an alliance of local pro-Israel groups, with ensuring that everyone worked together.

    Jews also praised Georgetown University officials for their handling of the entire weekend รขโ‚ฌยน from President John DeGioia’s denunication of divestment and dismissal of the comparison of Israel and South Africa last month, to the school’s emphasis on ensuring a comfortable environment for Jewish students on campus.

    DeGioia met with a number of local Jewish leaders the day before the conference began to assure them of the school’s commitment to a partnership with the Jewish community, as well as the importance of the school’s new Center for Jewish Civilization.

    Last weekend, the school sponsored a “hospitality suite” on campus, which was envisioned as a place where Jewish students and others could go as a “safe haven” if something upsetting took place, said Julie Fishman, Hillel director and Jewish program coordinator at Georgetown.

    No such incidents occurred, but a few dozen students stopped by throughout the weekend to eat and hang out. In addition, a constant stream of university administrators, from vice presidents to a representative of the president’s office, visited the suite.

    “It was very important for the university to ensure that all of our students felt safe throughout the weekend,” said university spokesperson Erik Smulson.

    Faculty and administrators monitored each conference session to ensure that Georgetown’s free speech policies were followed.
    [remainder snipped].