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ZOA Discussion
The Orange County chapter of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) will present “Combatting Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on College Campuses,” a timely discussion geared to students, parents and educators on how to recognize and respond effectively to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on campus, featuring: Susan Tuchman, Esq., director of ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice; Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, lecturer at UC Santa Cruz; and Dr. Leila Beckwith, professor emerita in pediatrics at UCLA.  The event, which will take place on Sunday, March 11, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Merage Jewish Community Center (1 Federation Way, Irvine) in Conference Rooms C & D on the second floor, is free and open to the public.
The ZOA, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States.  According to the organizers, participants will learn about: the extent of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses, including Cal State and University of California systems as well as private colleges; where and how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are most often encountered (e.g. classrooms, anti-Israel rallies, campus clubs, actions and inaction by administrators); how to recognize anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiment and harassment; how to tell the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism; rights of Jewish students under United States law and available legal tools; and steps students should take if they fall victim to anti-Semitism.
The ZOA OC Chapter appreciates the many contributions to this program by the Bureau of Jewish Education of Orange County.
For more information, contact
zoawest@zoa.org, (323) 424-4435 or www.zoawest.org.

BDS Notes
The specter of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is cropping up in the news again with both sides of the issue claiming some kind of victory.  The news comes from various places.
Depending on the source of the information, the National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference at the University of Pennsylvania over the first weekend of February either backfired for organizers and illustrated the strength of the pro-Israel community on campus – or BDS speakers such as Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah “revealed how much pro-Israel students need to learn in order to counter arguments that are steeped in the language of universal justice and human rights.”  As related by the Jewish Exponent (February 8), according to Penn students, Hillel staff and Jewish communal professionals, the end result might just be a little bit of both.
“In response to the conference, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia partnered with Hillel to plan an evening with Alan Dershowitz, which was attended by about 900 community members and students. Students also staged an open bar party in which they raised $6,000 to invest in an Israeli start-up incubator, and they planned a series of Shabbat dinners in which 800 students took part in informal conversations about Israel,” the article said.
In another BDS development, Presbyterians are flexing their muscles in both directions.  In 2010 the Presbyterian Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment, PC (U.S.A.) announced that it will propose that the 2012 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. divest from three companies (Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard, and Caterpillar) for doing business in Israel.  These companies are being targeted because “they supply products and technology to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The claim is that doing so represents a ‘non-peaceful pursuit’ and an ‘obstacle to a just peace in Israel/Palestine.’”
In anticipation of this vote, Rev. Bill Harter is leading an America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL)(www.aifl.org) delegation to Israel, including major Presbyterian clergy and lay leaders who will participate in the upcoming General Assembly, which will be convene from June 30 to July 7.  Harter believes that BDS is counter-productive and is eager for this group to determine for itself how best to respond.

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