Your Daily Phil: The end of BDS resolutions on campus
Good Thursday morning!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the decline of BDS resolutions on college campuses and rise of new anti-Israel activities, and feature an opinion piece by Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu on countering misconceptions about Jews. Also in this newsletter: Randi Weingarten, William Daroff and Sam Bankman-Fried. We’ll start with the latest in the dispute between the Anti-Defamation League and the social media platform X.
The Anti-Defamation League and billionaire Elon Musk appeared to reach a rapprochement yesterday, as the organization announced it would again advertise with his social media platform, X, ending a weekslong feud, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Judah Ari Gross.
Last month, Musk threatened to sue the ADL for defamation, blaming it for costing the company billions of dollars in lost advertising revenue. He also brought attention to a campaign on X, which was started by antisemitic groups, to “ban the ADL.” The ADL, which had reported on a significant rise in antisemitic content on X, denied leading such a boycott campaign and criticized Musk for taking part in the campaign, which it said was being led by “antisemites, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and other trolls.” The ADL also said it would no longer advertise on the platform.
The ADL released a statement on Wednesday stating: “We appreciate X’s stated intent over the last few weeks to address antisemitism and hate on the platform.” It added that “more needs to be done” and that it would continue to praise X when it took steps against antisemitism and criticize it when it failed to do so.
The organization said it would again advertise on the platform. “To be clear, any allegation that ADL has somehow orchestrated a boycott of X or caused billions of dollars of losses to the company or is ‘pulling the strings’ for other advertisers is false,” it wrote. “Indeed, we ourselves were advertising on the platform until the anti-ADL attacks began a few weeks ago. We now are preparing to do so again to bring our important message on fighting hate to X and its users.”
Musk responded to the ADL’s statement, with apparent sarcasm, writing on X: “Thank you for clarifying that you support advertising on X.”
It was not immediately clear if the ADL’s statement indicated that Musk was abandoning his plans to sue the organization.
BDS resolutions on college campuses have almost disappeared. What comes next?
Over the last decade, supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel have focused their campaign in the U.S. primarily on college campuses. But the once-thriving effort to push BDS-related legislation through student governments has significantly lost momentum over the last academic year, a sharp contrast from its peak in the 2014-2015 school year when U.S. campuses saw 44 BDS votes. Last year, there were three, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.
Something else instead: “Bullying, intimidation and exclusion of Jewish students has morphed,” Mark Rotenberg, vice president of Hillel International, told eJP in August while attending the Israel Campus Coalition (ICC) conference in Washington, D.C. “The tactics have changed. The reason classic BDS is no longer the preferred tool is because Jewish students and organizations attacked that challenge in a very direct way, and we now have administrators who understand the unlawfulness of this kind of boycott activity, who appreciate that a fundamental value, academic freedom, is at stake. Boycotts are fundamentally inconsistent with basic principles that govern universities.”
Propaganda war: Jacob Baime, CEO of the Israel on Campus Coalition, said that “anti-Israel activists and organizations are investing very heavily in recruiting and training anti-Israel student activists to take over their student governments and to exploit those positions for propaganda… We started very seriously doing the same. That’s why a lot of the campus work happening is about equipping students to understand the importance of civic engagement and making sure they have the tools, especially on higher-risk campuses where we expect problems, to run for student government office. It’s been a deliberate effort and it doesn’t end.”
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Sharing narratives of ‘normalcy’ can help debunk misconceptions about Jews
“The Jewish story has never been monolithic. We are made up of diverse communities and individuals. Like everyone else, we are also economically diverse,” writes ??Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, executive vice president of the Jewish Funders Network, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Reality check: “It might surprise both Jews and non-Jews to learn that a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center found that more than 1 in 5 Jewish households in America were economically insecure, earning less than $50,000 a year and experiencing ‘difficulty paying for medical care, their rent or mortgage, food, or other bills or debts in the past year.’ One in 10 Jewish households reported earning less than $30,000.”
Out of sight, out of mind: “To make a difference for those who struggle financially, we must also begin telling their stories. If we shine a light on the Jews who go unseen, we will be better able to raise money, advocate for better public policies and truly help those in need.”
A Direct Mail Success or Fail?: In The Atlantic, Kathleen Turk highlights the history of NOW — the National Organization for Women — as a prime example of how activism through donations ultimately falls flat. “Over time, NOW changed from a grassroots-driven, modestly funded collective dedicated to many goals into a top-down, streamlined system that raised and spent money: ‘a million dollar corporation,’ as the longtime member Del Martin later recalled in an interview. … As time went on, NOW supporters continued to write checks to signal their feminist commitment, but the local chapters declined. The organization drew in huge sums, organized massive protests, and gave people the feeling that they were driving a social movement. But that energy generally did not translate into sustained, locally rooted power.” [TheAtlantic]
It’s Giving Trends: In a blog post for Candid, Grace Sato and Sarina Dayal examine trends related to funding for general operating support. “Most nonprofit fundraisers consider general operating support (GOS) to be the holy grail of nonprofit donations. Funding an organization’s mission rather than a specific project or purpose, this unrestricted financial support provides vital flexibility for nonprofits to approach their work as they best see fit. … Foundations, regardless of their size, can learn from their peers to better understand GOS, align on a standard definition, and increase GOS to further nonprofit partners’ ability to drive impact.” [Candid]
Around the Web
The University of Pennsylvania will review its policies for hosting events on campus following pushback over the Palestine Writes literature festival that was held there last month, which included speakers who are widely considered to be antisemitic…
A new report by the Anti-Defamation League identified rising numbers of hate crimes in Illinois…
William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, calls for unity in a Sukkot-themed opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post…
A survey by the Council on Foundations found that salaries for full-time staff members at nonprofits rose by an average of 5.5% over last year, lower than the rate of inflation, which averaged 8% in 2022…
Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, a new book by Michael Lewis about Sam Bankman-Fried, who made billions in cryptocurrency and is now on trial for fraud, examines his involvement in the “effective altruism movement”…
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, is joining the board of J Street. Peter Frey, an investor and the group’s current vice chairman, will succeed Alan Solomont as chairman…
More than six months after Israeli-Russian national Elizabeth Tsurkov was kidnapped by an Iran-backed militia group in Iraq, Princeton University has acknowledged that she was in the country doing research for her doctoral dissertation. The university has faced criticism, including from her family, for distancing itself from Tsurkov…
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is considering making public a report from the 1980s about former Nazis who immigrated to Canada following World War II…
Pic of the Day
A 150-year-old Torah scroll is marched under a chuppah by members of Washington, D.C.’s Adas Israel Congregation yesterday to the Lillian and Albert Small Capital Jewish Museum in the city, accompanied by a klezmer band. The scroll is being lent to the museum by the synagogue.
EVP at The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, in six months he will begin his new role as president and CEO of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Andrew Cushnir turns 60…
Investor and board member of many companies, he was the owner of the Baltimore Orioles from 1989 to 1993, Eli S. Jacobs turns 86… Psychiatrist in Cameron, N.C., affiliated with WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Morton Meltzer, M.D…. Fairfax, Calif., resident, Theodore Steiner… Long Beach, Calif. resident, Robert Winer… U.S. senator (D-MD), he became chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations last week, Benjamin L. Cardin turns 80… Author, lecturer and journalist, Jonathan Dobrer turns 79… Talk show host on New York City’s public radio station WNYC, Brian Lehrer turns 71… Founder of several pharmaceutical companies, he was the owner of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Alan Phillip Cohen turns 69… Former editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times, now a consultant, Michael Jacobs… Actor, producer and playwright, he played Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” Jesse Adam Eisenberg turns 40… Past president of the Congressional Jewish Staff Association and an advisor to the Senate Committee on Finance, Charlotte Kaye Rock turns 29… Actress known for her role as Agent Olive on the series Odd Squad, Dalila Bela turns 22… Gladys Bendahan… Israeli tour guide and educator, Daniel Paul Rubenstein…