News Briefs: University of California Condemns Faculty Support of BDS and More


University of California Condemns Faculty Support of BDS

The University of California condemned faculty support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in the wake of cases elsewhere, reported.

“As chancellors of the University of California campuses, we write to reaffirm our long-standing opposition to an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions and/or individual scholars,” they stated. “Our commitment to continued engagement and partnership with Israeli, as well as Palestinian colleagues, colleges and universities is unwavering.

“We believe a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty, as well as the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campuses, including debate and discourse regarding conflicts in the Middle East,” the university’s 10 chancellors said.

The faculties at the University of Michigan and Pitzer College have expressed support for BDS.

AFT HQ Desecrated with Anti-Semitic Graffiti

Anti-Semitic graffiti was found spray-painted Dec. 11 and 12 on the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Washington, D.C., headquarters, JTA reported.

The words “I want Jexit,” an apparent anti-Semitic variation of “Brexit,” the planned British pullout from the European Union, were found in yellow paint on several areas around the building.

AFT President Randi Weingarten is Jewish and has partnered the organization with Israeli programs, while also being an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. She said the graffiti would not intimidate the union.

“This type of hate crime does just the opposite: It mobilizes us to come together and unite around the common causes of tolerance and peace, and to continue fighting for a more inclusive, more just world,” she said.

The organization said it asked the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to look into the term “Jexit.”

Holocaust Survivor Dies Crossing Street

Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, 92, died Dec. 12 while crossing a street near his Oregon home when he was struck by a car, JTA reported.

The Polish-born Wiener spent three years in concentration camps and later wrote an autobiography titled From a Name to a Number: A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography. He spoke regularly in Oregon about his experiences and pressed in recent months for mandatory statewide curriculum stands about the Holocaust and genocide.

In July 2017, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Hannah Turkow was struck and killed by an out-of-control car in Northeast Philadelphia while she was standing on a sidewalk.

102-Year-Old Kirk Douglas Honored

The upstate New York town of Amsterdam unveiled on Dec. 9 a historic marker to honor legendary actor Kirk Douglas on his 102nd birthday, JTA reported.

Douglas was raised in the town, which posted a sign that read “Rose From Poverty To Appear In Over 90 Films In Hollywood.”

Born as Issur Danielovitch to Yiddish-speaking immigrant parents, Douglas was known for films including Spartacus and Lust for Life. Honors include three Oscar nominations for best actor, an Oscar for lifetime achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His son, Michael Douglas, won the Genesis Prize, or “Jewish Nobel,” in 2015. l


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