More Victories Against BDS and Campus Anti-Semitism
April 2017 
We have more good news this month, as we have achieved a major victory in our anti-BDS litigation against the American Studies Association. At the same time, we are pushing back hard against campus anti-Semitism in the states. In March, Brandeis Center lawyers testified in favor of anti-Semitism awareness legislation in South Carolina and Tennessee. In South Carolina, we are celebrating a landslide victory for the legislation in the House of Representatives. We are hopeful of further victories during April. This issue of the Brandeis Brief updates you on these successes and other important developments around the country. Once again, w e thank you for your tax-deductible  donations  and acknowledge that w ithout you our work could not be done.

Federal Judge Advances Lawsuit Challenging Academia Boycotting Israel
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected efforts by the American Studies Association (ASA) to suppress a lawsuit filed against the Association by its own members challenging its boycott of all Israeli academic institutions. The judge ruled in favor of the ASA professors in four out of six claims, and authorized the case to go forward.

After A Dispute At The University Of Tennessee, Groups Urge Lawmakers To Clarify What's Anti-Semitic
Chas Sisk, Nashville Public Radio 

Tennessee lawmakers are debating House Bill 885, a measure that takes aim at the University of Tennessee, over its handling of some comments by Muslim students that critics say constituted hate speech. The dispute goes back to August, when several UT-Knoxville students were accused of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. HB 885 would write a definition of anti-Semitism into state law. 

Brandeis Center Calls on Tennessee Lawmakers to Combat Rising Anti-Semitism

At a key hearing, LDB's Aviva Vogelstein testified about the spike in campus anti-Semitism and urged Tennessee lawmakers to address this rising threat. A recently introduced Tennessee bill will help address growing anti-Semitism on campus and protect students' rights to a learning environment free of unlawful discrimination.

After an Israeli-American teenager was arrested on March 23 for allegedly perpetrating more than 100 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions, Jewish community leaders expressed relief, while some experts questioned the motives behind the anti-Semitic crimes.

South Carolina Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Pass Bill to Tackle Campus Anti-Semitism

South Carolina lawmakers voted 103-3 to overwhelmingly to approve a bill that will help school administrators better combat anti-Semitism at state universities. The bill, H.3643, ensures legal protections for Jewish students by using the U.S. State Department's definition of anti-Semitism, while providing South Carolina's state universities with the means to fight anti-Jewish discrimination.

Katherine Hung, Brandeis Blog

A recent ACTA report maintains that the BDS movement threatens academic freedom on college campuses. It cites multiple disruptions of university events by BDS supporters nationwide. ACTA urges university administrations and faculty to take greater efforts to address BDS and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The New Tech Tool Helping to Flag Campus Antisemitism
Tamara Zieve, Jerusalem Post

The AMCHA Initiative has unveiled four interactive maps that aim to expose sites of anti-Jewish activity at college campuses across the US. The maps can help one understand the distribution and geographical patterns of anti-Jewish incidents. They include all types of antisemitic incidents that were reported on US campuses since 2015.

University of Texas Students Speak Out
Edward Kunz, Brandeis Blog

Last month, the student government of The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) unanimously approved A.R. 26, a motion intended to condemn recent anti-Semitic incidents in and around their campus. The resolution also comments upon the recent bomb threats to Jewish community centers nationwide and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in the United States.

Linda Sarsour's Problematic Views on Zionism and Anti-Semitism
Petra Marquardt Bigman, Brandeis Blog 

As a co-chair of the  Women's March  protesting Donald Trump's inauguration, Linda Sarsour - who is usually  identified  as a Palestinian-
progressive political activist - has recently attracted much sympathetic media attention, but also some criticism. Among the issues that critics of Sarsour brought up early on was her open support for BDS.

Arkansas Passes Anti-BDS Law
Katherine Hung, Brandeis Blog 

Last Wednesday, Arkansas State Governor William Hutchinson signed a law, Act 710, to prohibit Arkansas agencies from investing in or contracting with companies that boycott Israel. Act 710, previously SB 513, was passed by the Arkansas state legislature on March 22nd. 

Maryland and Texas BDS Legislation
Edward Kunz, Brandeis Blog 

Last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called in his budget for laws which will stop state support for businesses that endorse or adhere to boycotts of Israel. Maryland lawmakers and Jewish advocacy groups are currently putting the final touches on a bill that would ban companies that support the BDS movement from doing business with the state. 

Letters: Anti-Semitism Awareness Act Needed to Fight Alarming Trend
Aviva Vogelstein, The Hill 

The 115th Congress should take action on the AAA bipartisan bill right away to curb this resurgence in anti-Semitism before it escalates further. The bill would tackle the growing anti-Semitism plaguing Jewish college students.

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The Louis D. Brandeis Center stands ready if we can help you to combat anti-Semitism in higher education.  Please contact us if you are a student or professor who needs our help.  We are also available to provide technical assistance to university administrators who are interested in achieving legal compliance and best practices for eliminating campus anti-Semitism.
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