Israel Demonized on Campuses and in International Courts


Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and his defense minister could be subject to arrest if an international court has its way. Three leaders of the notorious Hamas terrorist organization also have been accused. This equal footing overlooks the fundamental differences between a democratic state defending its citizens and a terrorist organization targeting civilians.

International courts are increasingly being used as tools to demonize Israel, setting a dangerous precedent and further fueling campus protests across the U.S. The courts are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement’s scheme to isolate the Jewish state and deprive it of support from Jews and their allies.

World Courts Demonize Israelis: ‘A baseless blood libel’

Anti-Israel nations and groups are using international courts to target Israel in an unprecedented attack on a democratic nation engaged in a war against terrorists. The International Criminal Court is the stage for a global campaign to demonize the Jewish state.

The ICC chief prosecutor recently announced that he is pursuing arrest warrants for three Hamas terrorist leaders – and Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. The ICC prosecutes individuals for war crimes and its verdicts have teeth – travelling abroad would subject them to arrest. The ICC charges levied against both Hamas and Israeli leaders include claims of extermination and murder. Israelis want to live in peace while Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the annihilation of all Jews.

Israeli leaders also are accused of intentionally starving Gazans. An Israeli expert asserted that Hamas has earned $500 million since the start of the war by raiding aid trucks entering Gaza and reselling the supplies to its own citizens. Reuters reported that 70% of aid was stolen from a U.S.-built pier before reaching a UN warehouse. Israel has facilitated aid into Gaza by land, air and sea. On May 20, 376 trucks carrying food and 27 trucks carrying water entered Gaza.

Israel has facilitated multiple humanitarian aid routes into Gaza by land, air and sea. (COGAT)

Israeli leaders from the political left to right have condemned these false charges. The Labor party leader called it “a scandal to put the Israeli leadership in the same category as a vile, cruel terrorist organization” and the foreign minister stated that the “decision is intended to prevent Israel from exercising its right to self-defense.”

President Biden asserted: “Contrary to allegations made against Israel in the ICJ, what’s happening is not genocide.” The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: “The prosecutor created a false equivalence between leaders of a democratic country and a genocidal terrorist organization.”

BDS Launched at UN Conference: ‘Total isolation of Israel’

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy started at a 2001 UN conference against racism and bigotry in Durban, South Africa. International organizations attending the conference published a final statement: “We call upon the international community to impose a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel.” Then Secretary of State Colin Powell denounced the “hateful language that singles out only one country in the world.”

The BDS Movement presents itself as an advocacy organization to help Palestinians. In reality, the movement calls for the economic isolation of Israel and spreads evil lies that spark an increase in attacks. Its mission: paralyze Israel’s economy and poison support for the Jewish state. Its ultimate goal is the elimination of the State of Israel.

CA’s Sonoma State Univ. president recently agreed to protester demands for boycotting Israel: “The university will not engage in any study abroad programs, faculty exchanges or formal collaborations by Israeli state academic and research institutions.” He retired the day after the California State Univ. system suspended him for insubordination.

Palestinian Terrorist Leader: ‘University intifada in America should be emulated’

Palestinian leaders are celebrating the attacks by anti-Israel students. A leader of a Palestinian terror group made a direct connection between BDS, the international court and university protests: “The achievements of the international popular boycott movement have been notable with the university uprisings being a significant highlight. Israeli leaders are facing arrest. The university intifada is isolating Israel.” The intifada refers to the restaurant, hotel and bus bombings in Israel perpetrated by terrorists about 20 years ago. A Palestinian government official also praised the student protests in the hope that it will lead to the destruction of Israel.

A California State Univ. San Bernardino professor announced a strategy to continue the campus protests indefinitely: “We are telling students: What are the alternatives throughout the summer? How are you going to continue the movement in the fall? There is a very important discussion that is taking place in many universities in the U.S. with the help of professors. We are coordinating a long-term strategy.”

Anti-Israel protesters chanting to “globalize the Intifada” are voicing support for Hamas bombings of busses, restaurants and hotels – and the 10/7 attack that included killing Israelis, raping women and kidnapping toddlers.

Campus Chaos Continues: ‘Hostile environment’

An assailant launched a rock through the dorm room window of a Jewish student at Oregon’s Reed College, smacking her in the head. Only one day before this incident, the student’s mezuzah was removed from her door and destroyed. Students described the college as a “hostile environment” and two Jewish students plan to transfer.

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life recently surveyed Jewish students. A majority of Jews feel less safe on campus since the encampments began and witnessed protesters directing threatening language towards Jews. Protest leaders at Philadelphia’s Drexel Univ. demanded the “immediate termination of Drexel’s chapter of Hillel and Chabad.”

City University of New York at Kingsborough cancelled a Hillel student event marking Israel’s Memorial Day because of security concerns stemming from anti-Israel campus protests. Hillel Faculty advisor Susan Aranoff: “We felt saddened and dismayed that the college canceled our event instead of providing security to protect us from threats.”

The Univ. of California at Berkeley chancellor ignored anti-Jewish acts on campus when she praised the anti-Israel protesters “professional, organized and productive approach.” San Francisco’s Jewish Community Relations Council condemned her for “appeasing encampment leaders and failing to address the Jewish community’s urgent concerns about safety amid violence.”

New Civil Rights Lawsuits: ‘Bullying, harassment, intimidation, threats’

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law recently filed a civil rights complaint against the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara for failing to protect its own student government President Tessa Veksler. Brandeis Center Chair Kenneth L. Marcus: “The shaming, harassing and shunning of Tessa until she disavows a part of her Judaism is shameful and illegal.”

The Deborah Project filed a suit on behalf of Jewish students at Haverford College. Leading administrators at the suburban Philadelphia college “ignored, condoned or even praised” vile anti-Jewish hatred. Responding to a legal letter from StandWithUs, the Univ. of Pittsburgh agreed to review a professor’s bias directed at a Jewish student.

These lawsuits are emerging while Congress continues to take action against prominent universities. A House committee released an investigative update on Harvard. It repeatedly ignored its own antisemitism working group. Leaders from Northwestern, Rutgers and UCLA have been called to appear before Congress. The House Education Committee chair: “UCLA’s leaders have allowed their campus to become a severe and pervasive hostile environment for Jewish students.”

All of Idaho’s U.S. senators and representatives are “demanding the education secretary provide Congress with an outline of how you are protecting Jewish and pro-Israel students from persecution.”

Pro-Hamas protesters at UCLA restricted access to public spaces and provided wristbands only to students who oppose the Jewish state. (X screenshot)

1. International courts are creating a false moral equivalence

International groups are weaponizing courts against Israel, using legal systems to undermine its legitimacy and right to self-defense. The International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice supported are treating Hamas and Israel as equally responsible. This misrepresentation overlooks the fundamental differences between a democratic state defending its citizens and a terrorist organization targeting civilians. The ICC and ICJ legal actions blur these distinctions, resulting in skewed perceptions and a parity that does not exist. The false equivalence provides propaganda for anti-Israel activists, undermines Israel’s legitimate self-defense and distorts the reality of this conflict.

2. Legal warfare encourages attacks against Israel

Lawfare against the Jewish state undermines its right to self-defense and emboldens its adversaries. Anti-Israel groups routinely bring unfounded charges before international forums. These legal actions encourage terrorists by signaling that their tactics can garner international sympathy and legal support. When international bodies accuse Israel of war crimes or genocide based on dubious evidence, it fuels the narrative used by groups like Hamas to justify their attacks and recruit more followers. These legal assaults also weaken the ability of Israel’s leaders to make decisive security decisions to protect Israeli lives.

3. The UN has a perverse obsession with Israel

The UN disproportionately targets the Jewish state through repeated condemnations. A clear example of this bias is the UN General Assembly’s passage of numerous resolutions condemning Israel every year, far exceeding the number of resolutions addressing all other countries combined. This fixation undermines the credibility of the UN as an impartial international body. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement was initiated at a 2001 UN conference and exemplifies how its actions can embolden anti-Israel activism on university campuses. The BDS movement relies heavily on supposedly legitimate grounds conferred by international organizations. This obsession not only distorts international perceptions of Israel, but also perpetuates the Arab-Israeli conflict.

4. Leaders of the BDS movement intentionally target Jewish students

BDS campaigns create hostile environments of intolerance and fear on university campuses. The same groups that promote BDS also are likely behind the campus encampments. Under the guise of advocating for Palestinian rights, BDS campaigns often devolve into singling out Jewish students: protests, divestment resolutions and aggressive campus activism that intimidates and marginalizes Jewish students. Incidents of harassment, vandalism and threats have surged in conjunction with BDS activities, making many Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome. The BDS movement infringes on free speech, undermines academic freedom and fosters division, rather than contributing to a constructive dialogue about Middle East peace.

5. Dozens of civil rights lawsuits prove many universities fail to protect their students

Lawsuits and Congressional investigations are becoming increasingly common because universities are failing to uphold their duty to protect all students. Many anti-Israel protesters and their leaders are marginalizing Jewish students, denying them the opportunity to freely express their cultural and religious identities. Some universities ignore or inadequately respond to harassment and discrimination against their Jewish students. Universities must take decisive action to protect Jewish students, ensuring that campuses remain safe and welcoming spaces for all students. Universities that fail to effectively address these hostile actions are complicit in allowing a toxic environment to flourish.

A. Ask your national, state and local officials to oppose BDS

Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to support legislation and policies to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate at the national level. Also, contact your state representative, senator and other elected or appointed officials to support adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and opposition to BDS. Consider similar actions at the county and city levels.

B. Hold universities accountable

Universities must swiftly address anti-Jewish hatred on campus, ensuring a safe learning environment for all students. Urge administrators to strengthen protections for Jewish students by enforcing their policies, conducting external reviews of anti-discrimination policies and adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. Seek guidance from Jewish campus organizations and maintain respectful communication. Administrators must be held accountable for their actions – and inaction.

C. Peacefully support Jewish students on campus

Besieged Jewish students need help. You can make donations to campus organizations advocating on behalf of Israel and Jewish students, contact university administrators to advocate for the enforcement of rules, engage with non-Jewish student groups to promote solidarity and educate friends, family and colleagues about what is happening on university campuses and about Jewish history, traditions and contemporary issues. All communication should be civil.

Jewish American Heritage Month

Honoring Jewish Contributions to American Progress, History and Culture

In a painful irony, while the Hamas-Israel war rages and protests roil campuses this month, May is Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a celebration intended to educate the American public about the historic contributions of Jews to the United States in all sectors of society – including science, medicine, music, arts, sports, business and humanitarian efforts.

Read more about Jewish American heritage

Israel’s Eurovision Singer Eden Golan Performs Banned ‘October Rain’ Song at Hostage Rally

Eden Golan represented Israel at the recent Eurovision Song Contest. Her original entry, “October Rain,” was banned by competition organizers for being “political.” She sang her disqualified song at a rally in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square on May 18.

I was waiting for the moment to sing “October Rain” and it is my prayer to bring everyone back home. I will not stop making our voice heard in Israel and all over the world until we bring everyone back home.

Israel’s Eden Golan sings “October Rain” at Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square on May 18.

October Rain

Writers of the history, Stand with me. Look into my eyes and see, People go away but never say goodbye

Someone stole the moon tonight, Took my light. Everything is black and white, Who’s the fool who told you boys don’t cry?

Hours and hours and flowers, Life is no game for the cowards. Why does time go wild, Every day I’m losing my mind, Holding on in this mysterious ride.

Dancing in the storm, We got nothing to hide. Take me home, And leave the world behind. And I promise you that never again, I’m still wet from this October rain. October rain.

Living in a fantasy, Ecstasy. Everything’s meant to be, We shall pass but love will never die.

New False Charges: ‘Legal arm of Hamas’

South Africa recently brought a new petition to the International Court of Justice to block Israel from finishing its operation to rescue the remaining hostages and destroy Hamas. The country originally brought the false charge of ‘genocide’ against Israel in December. The court hears civil disputes between countries but lacks an enforcement mechanism. Any negative rulings would supply more ammunition for BDS advocates in their battle for public opinion to isolate Israel.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry described South Africa as “the legal arm of the Hamas terrorist organization.” South Africa perverts the truth by claiming that Israel is seeking to “destroy Palestinian life and to wipe them off the face of the earth.” America’s top Nazi hunter views it the other way around: Hamas poses “a credible threat of genocide” against Jews and is shocked to see university students supporting terrorists.

K-12 Schools Praise Hitler: ‘Ethical decision maker’

A few recent incidents at local schools sparked concerns. An Atlanta private school asked 8th graders to “rate Hitler as a solution seeker and ethical decision maker.” One student stated that “it’s important to look at both sides in every situation.” In response, the school denounced antisemitism. A public CT middle school teacher instructed students to draw swastikas, list positive things Hitler did and described a photo of the Nazi leader as “cute.”

Iranian President’s Death Will Not Impact Iran War Machine

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ruled by its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He is an Islamic fundamentalist. Iran’s ‘elected’ leaders, including President Ebrahim Raisi and its foreign minister, died in a helicopter crash. However, they have little influence on Iran’s policies, such as “wiping Israel off the map” and targeting Americans.

The Iranian president’s major success was in securing closer ties with several countries in the Middle East and Asia, including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Leaders from these countries, as well as in Europe and at the United Nations rushed to offer their condolences over his death. Hamas expressed “grief and sorrow” over the Iranian deaths. The European Council president: “The EU expresses its sincere condolences,” the head of the UN’s nuclear agency led a moment of silence over the “tragic news” and the UN Security Council also held a minute of silence.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan: “The UNSC makes no effort to free our hostages, tipped their heads today in memory of the mass murdering Iranian president who was responsible for the deaths of thousands in Iran, in Israel and around the world.” Several European politicians condemned messages of sympathy and were joined by groups and individuals who labeled Raisi, “the butcher.”

The U.S. considers Iran to be the world’s leading “state sponsor of terrorism.” Iran backs Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. The Houthis recently claimed an attack on an American destroyer and commercial vessel, and stated that they will target any ship heading to Israel.

Israel Recovers Bodies of Four Murdered Israelis: ‘There is no justification’

The Israeli Defense Forces recovered the bodies of four Israelis who were killed during the 10/7 attack and held as ransom by Hamas to trade for imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis were recovered in two separate operations: Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Yitzhak Gelerenter, and Ron Benjamin.

Shani Louk’s body was paraded through Gaza in the back of a pickup truck in one of the most haunting images from Oct. 7 that galvanized worldwide audiences. Her mom condemned the ignorance and misinformation portrayed at campus protests: “It’s horrible for us to see. We lost our daughter in the music festival massacre. There is no ‘resistance’ that can justify what happened here. She brought light and happiness everywhere she went.”

The IDF also released a Hamas propaganda video of former child hostages that was not shown by the terrorists. The sisters, Ela and Dafna Elyakim, 8 and 15, were forced to beg for their freedom.

Ela and Dafna Elyakim are seen in a photo released by the IDF on May 19, 2024, which was taken while the two sisters were held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza last year. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF Evacuates Gazans as Hamas Continues to Launch Rockets

The IDF announced that it has successfully evacuated 950,000 Palestinians from Rafah in two weeks. About a third of Rafah is under the IDF’s control. Hamas is still launching rockets from Gaza to kill Israelis. One-third of journalists killed in Gaza were affiliated with terrorist groups – most notably Hamas – raising questions of whether they were even reporters.

Israeli Druze ‘Will die defending our land’ From Deadly Hezbollah Attacks

Iran’s Lebanese proxy terror group continues to launch rocket barrages into northern Israel – tragically killing an Israeli civilian. The salvo of 75 rockets were the latest attack from southern Lebanon. There have now been more sirens sounded on Israel’s northern border than on its southern border with Gaza since 10/7. A drone also hit a sensitive military site in the deepest attack within Israel yet. Hezbollah possesses advanced Iranian anti-aircraft missiles and its leader recently hosted a Hamas delegation.

About 100,000 Israelis have evacuated Israel’s northern border since Oct. 7. Their family structures, social interactions, jobs and communities are lost and dysfunctional. However, many Israeli Druze remain in their border communities. The religious minority makes up only 1.5% of Israel’s population, but 5% of Israeli soldiers.

Israeli Druze Shakib Shanan: “We believe that Israel is the best place in the world today to be Druze. We have a partnership of coexistence with Jews. Israel is my country. We will defend our land, and if necessary, we will die for it.”

A memorial service for Israeli soldiers at the military cemetery in the Druze village of Isfiya in northern Israel. (Government Press Office)

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This content is developed by The Focus Project in partnership with Mercaz USA. The Focus Project distributes weekly news and talking points on timely issues concerning Israel and the Jewish people, including antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of Israel. It represents a consensus view across a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations. Mercaz USA recognizes and respects the diversity of views on these issues among its readers and the community at large.

The Focus Project develops and distributes news, background, history and weekly talking points on timely issues to inform individuals and organizations about issues affecting the American Jewish community and Israel, and help readers speak with more consistency and clarity. The editions also provide potential responses for addressing incidents of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. With input from a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations, we focus on that which unites us, rising above political and individual agendas.
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