Some sponsors want money back after anti-Semitic remarks made at UNC conference
The lesson here is that there are still people who get enraged over anti-Semitism, especially when their money is being used to promote it. It's pretty obvious that there is a small anti-Semitic/anti-Israel contingent on many university campuses. They're loud and hateful, and they do their best to shut down dissenting voices. They also work hard to hide their tactics and their hatred. Sometimes though, people like Ami Horowitz work just as hard to ensure that the word gets out and that these hate mongers are exposed as the bigots they are.
Now that the word is out and Horowitz has shown the world what was really going on at the "Conflict over Gaza" conference at UNC-Chapel Hill, hackles have been raised.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some sponsors are asking for their money back and a congressman is seeking a government investigation after an anti-Semitic song was performed by a Palestinian rapper at a "Conflict over Gaza" conference at UNC-Chapel Hill last month. In a scathing letter to leaders of the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, which officially sponsored the event, UNC School of Law Dean Martin Brinkley said: "Due to your inclusion of conference content over which I had no knowledge or control, I have been forced to spend most of the last two days responding to outraged members of my own community who are ashamed and embarrassed to see the law school shown as a sponsor of what they consider hate speech." "As the organizers, who I assume were present during the performance, I would have expected you to intervene and stop a performance that so obviously and painfully contravened campus norms and values, and that so undercut the cultural understanding that you claimed to promote," he wrote. UNC School of Government Dean Mike Smith sent a similar letter, saying: "It simply is wrong to defend this explicitly anti-Semitic performance under the cloak of academic freedom. It crossed a bright line and you should have the integrity to reject it and take responsibility for it." Both departments asked for a refund of the $500 they spent to sponsor the event. UNC Global, which oversees The Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the event in question, sent this statement to ABC11 on Tuesday: "The center is in conversation with co-sponsors who have requested a return of their funds and the center is working directly with them."
.@uncsog Dean Mike Smith: “Wrong to defend this explicitly anti-Semitic performance under the cloak of academic freedom.” @unc_law Dean Martin Brinkley: community is “ashamed & embarrassed.” @ABC11_WTVD @UNC @AmiHorowitz @JTAnews @StandWithUs @GloriaABC11https://t.co/dODxUeI1ky
— Jonah Kaplan (@KaplanABC11) April 17, 2019
North Carolina Congressman George Holding requested the federal government investigate the conference since it was taxpayer funded. Rep. Holding's letter to Betsy DeVos said: "It is irresponsible, immoral and unproductive for taxpayer dollars to fund overtly biased advocacy camouflaged as academic discourse." Liz Hill, press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, said: "We have received the Congressman's letter and are reviewing it."
In the future the conference promoters will probably work harder to keep reporters out of their events. And if any of the people now demanding a refund have a brain they will also be more leery of loaning their support and money to these organizations and to future one-sided, Israel-bashing programs on the Middle East.
By the way, this is the reaction from ZOA.
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called on the U.S. Department of Education to investigate whether federal funds were misused to organize a one-sided “academic” conference, hosted by the University of North Carolina (“UNC”) and co-sponsored by Duke University (“Duke”), which was hostile to Israel and blatantly anti-Semitic.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., director of ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice, sent a letter to Mr. Kenneth L. Marcus, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, highlighting the reported use of $5,000 for the conference from a four-year grant by the U.S. Department of Education to UNC and Duke’s Consortium for Middle East Studies.
Despite concerns of anti-Israel bias being raised before the event took place, on March 22-24, 2019, UNC hosted the conference called “Conflict over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities.” In a blog post, North Carolina Hillel wrote that the “conference featured speakers who demonized Israel” and failed to provide balanced perspectives. “Organizers missed the opportunity to convene a rich, educational forum that the UNC and Duke communities deserve.”
In addition to its anti-Israel bias, the UNC-Duke conference included an offensive and horrifying anti-Semitic performance by a rapper named Tamer Nafar, which came to light when a filmmaker named Ami Horowitz posted a video of the performance. This video also exposed other anti-Semitic interactions Horowitz experienced at the conference.
The universities’ initial response to Horowitz’s video was shamefully inadequate, failing to acknowledge and condemn the anti-Semitism and bias at the conference. Neither UNC nor Duke condemned the anti-Semitic performer by name and they did not condemn the conference organizers for inviting and allowing this shameful conduct.
It cannot be a coincidence that just days after the conference, swastikas were found drawn on UNC campus, in addition to anti-Semitic posters that were found in UNC’s Davis Library.
UNC and Duke should face consequences for legitimizing and normalizing a hateful, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conference, and using taxpayer funds to do it. The Department of Education should investigate this incident and deny both universities future federal funding until they demonstrate that their Middle East programs and events are truly educational and not just a mask for hateful, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda.
And this is the reaction from ADL:
Oops! Sorry. We couldn't find a reaction on the ADL website.
But if you're interested, Tower has more information on the conference here.