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Sam Frolichstein-Appel

Overview

Sam Frolichstein-Appel was a “proud member" of the Brown Divest Coalition, the force behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) efforts at Brown University (Brown). Frolichstein-Appel has condemned the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bipartisan bill drafted in response to growing anti-Semitism in the United States.

He has also demonized Israel as an affiliate of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and an activist with IfNotNow (INN) and promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by JVP against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour (Birthright).

As of May 2019, a Facebook post indicated that Frolichstein-Appel graduated from Brown.

As of July 2019, Frolichstein-Appel’s LinkedIn page said was an Engineering student at Brown University (Brown), slated to graduate in 2019. He has been employed at Brown as a lab assistant and a Peer Mentor since August 2016.

BDS Activism

On March 20, 2019, Frolichstein-Appel co-wrote an article for the Brown Daily Herald, titled: “A Jewish case for Brown Divest." Brown Divest was “a divestment campaign organized by a coalition of undergraduate students who call upon Brown University to divest from companies complicit in human rights abuses in Palestine."

The authors dismissed arguments that Israel has a right to defend itself from aggression and argued that one should “resist cynical, zero-sum calculations of Jewish safety that lead to isolation."

The authors referred to Israel as “a nation-state whose policies too often rest on dispossession, displacement and violence against Palestinian people." They insisted that calls for divestment and critiques of Israel and its policies are not inherently anti-Semitic" and felt equipped to say this “As Jewish students."

Frolichstein-Appel and his co-authors referred to a divestment resolution that was to be presented to the student body the next day. The authors denied that the resolution shut down dialogue and that it unfairly singled out Israel for condemnation, claiming economic cooperation with Israel would “reveal complicity in violence perpetrated against Palestinians."

On March 21, 2019 Brown Divest activists put forward a pro-BDS referendum to the student body and the referendum was passed. The activists promised to “hold the administration accountable to the outcome of this referendum."

Brown President Christina Paxson responded to the referendum’s passage, stating: “I have been steadfast in my view that Brown should not embrace any of the planks of the BDS...I made it clear that Brown would not support academic boycotts of Israel or any other country, since doing so would inhibit the open scholarly exchange that is critical for the advancement of knowledge."

Frolichstein-Appel and his co-authors denied that the resolution shut down dialogue and that it unfairly singled out Israel for condemnation, claiming economic cooperation with Israel would “reveal complicity in violence perpetrated against Palestinians."

On March 13, 2019, Frolichstein-Appel put a banner on a Facebook photo posted to his page that read: “I Support Brown Divest!

His Facebook post said: “Vote #YesOnDivest on the annual UCS-UFB ballot! Brown undergraduates will receive a link to their brown.edu emails on Tuesday the 19th at noon. They will be able to vote until Thursday the 21st at noon. Learn more at browndivest.org."

On November 3, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel tweeted: “.@SenBooker Supporting unconstitutional Gag Bill (“Israel anti-Boycott Act") is a mistake. Advocacy for Palestinian human rights is not anti-Semitic. Please don’t use our grief to criminalize support for Palestinian rights."

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720/H.R. 1697) declared that U.S. policy opposed a March 24, 2016 UN Human Rights Council Resolution which called to boycott and divest from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

In December of 2016, Frolichstein-Appel signed a JVP-launched petition opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate on December 1, 2016.

The AAA directed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints.

JVP’s petition asserted that the bill used “a problematic definition of anti-Semitism never intended for use on college campuses" and purported that “real anti-Semitism" came from the “white supremacist movements in this country."

The petition also claimed BDS was “not inherently anti semitic," and that the bill did “little to protect us, as Jewish students, from the appointment of “real anti-Semites" to powerful positions in the U.S. government.

In April 2019, Frolichstein-Appel signed another JVP-authored petition that opposed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), re-introduced to the US Senate in March 2019, which JVP called the bill “the Silencing Students Act."

JVP’s petition asserted that the bill “serves to limit our freedom of expression around the vital issues of our time." The petition also lamented the AAA “conflates legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government with antisemitism."

The petition urged the U.S. Senate to reject the bill and “instead to take meaningful action to combat anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, and other forms of bigotry."

Anti-Israel Activism

On May 14, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel indicated on Facebook that he went to an event called: “Moment of Silence for Gaza." The event description said participants would join “to mourn the deaths of the 52 … Gazan protesters killed today, and all those who have been killed and injured over the course of the past six weeks."

On March 30, 2018, some 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza approached Israel’s border to take part in “Land Day Protests" or the “March of Return." The March of Return was organized and funded by Hamas as a campaign of violent protests along Israel’s border to spotlight the demand of Palestinians to “return" to Israel.

The “right of return" is a Palestinian demand discredited as a means to eliminate Israel.

March participants sent scores of kites bearing explosive devices across Israel’s border to burn Israeli crops and homes. Participants also attempted to breach the border fence, which caused the Israeli Defense Forces to respond with live fire.

Agitators threw Molotov cocktails, firebombs, shot firearms and threw rocks under the cover of smoke from burning tires.

On May 16, 2018, a Hamas senior official stated that 50 out of 62 protesters killed during a May 14 protest were Hamas operatives. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also claimed that three of its members were killed at the same protest.

On April 6, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel organized an event called “We Say Enough! RI Jews Demand Justice for Gaza." The event description claimed that at the same time Jews worldwide were having their Passover Seder, “Israeli Defense Forces were firing openly on Palestinian protesters in Gaza."

The event was a protest demanding the Jewish Alliance release a statement condemning Israel’s actions and to “cancel or otherwise modify their Israel programming to accurately reflect the violence of the occupation."

Frolichstein-Appel wrote on Facebook|: “Thank you to everyone who came out! Neither rain nor snow nor a**hole cops could stop us today!"

Frohlichstein-Appel then added: “IfNotNow is hosting a campaign call on Sunday, if you want to be involved in planning more actions or learn about IfNotNow, a movement of young Jews working to end American Jewish institutional support of the occupation, check out this link or talk to me!"

On May 7, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel indicated on Facebook that he went to an event called: “Commemorating the Nakba: Film Screening and Discussion."

The event was co-hosted by Brown Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and was the inaugural event for the new Brown chapter of JVP. The event description invited students to join SJP and JVP in preparing to mark Nakba Day by screening a series of films that deal with the topic of the Nakba.

Nakba is generally translated as “catastrophe" in Arabic, referring to the outcome of the 1948 War. It is a term often used to delegitimize the creation of the State of Israel by defining it as a catastrophe.

Condemning Jewish Heritage Tour

On April 15, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel participated in a Return the Birthright protest outside the Taglit Birthright Gala in New York City. Frolichstein-Appel held a sign that read “Young Jews Stand With Gaza."

He spoke [00:00:12] in a video posted on JVP’s Facebook page, saying: “We stand with Gaza and don’t believe Birthright is just. We believe it’s unfair for Jews to be given a free trip to stolen land."

JVP members from across the United States chanted [00:16:13] anti-Birthright slogans outside the Birthright offices.

On April 7, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel shared on Facebook a letter he signed, written by “young American Jews" demanding the the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island to condemn the actions of the Israeli government and “divest from Birthright and cease any support for their programs."

The letter also demanded the Alliance “discontinue or heavily modify its Shaliach Israel Emissary program to accurately reflect the violence of the occupation."

Return the Birthright Campaign

In September of 2017, JVP issued its #ReturntheBirthright campaign manifesto, calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Israel (Birthright) program. Birthright was founded by Jewish philanthropists “in 1999 to address the growing divide between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the land and people of Israel."

After decades of demographic decline in the American Jewish community, Birthright set out “to strengthen Jewish identity, build a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel, and reinforce the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide." The program offers “the gift of a life-changing, 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26."

JVP’s anti-Birthright campaign was launched precisely to coincide with “the very moment that college students across America are returning to campus and registration for Birthright winter visits are underway."

The #returnthebirthright manifesto accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing" and alleged “the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians."

The text claimed: “We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians."

The manifesto concluded: “And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees… Israel is not our Birthright… Return the Birthright."

On June 22, 2017, just prior to the launch of JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign, JVP received a $140,00 two-year grant for general support for its operations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).

Since 2015, JVP has received $280,000 from RBF, which has a history of supporting anti-Jewish causes, including BDS campaigns and various organizations that promote BDS campaigns throughout the United States.

Supporting BDS

On November 3, 2018, Frolichstein-Appel tweeted: “.@SenBooker Supporting unconstitutional Gag Bill (“Israel anti-Boycott Act") is a mistake. Advocacy for Palestinian human rights is not anti-Semitic. Please don’t use our grief to criminalize support for Palestinian rights."

The bill, Resolution H.R.1697 (The “Israel Anti-Boycott Act"), reportedly “prohibits U.S. companies from participating in boycotts promoted by international organizations, like the U.N., that target U.S. partners, like Israel."

The bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress with Republican and Democratic co-sponsorship on March 23, 2017.

JVP

JVP was founded in Berkeley, California in 1996, as an activist group with an emphasis on the “Jewish tradition" of peace, social justice and human rights. The organization is currently led by Rebecca Vilkomerson and its board members include Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.

JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics to disrupt pro-Israel speakers and events, consists of American Jews and non-Jewish “allies" highly critical of Israeli policies. A staunch supporter of the BDS movement, JVP claims to aim its campaigns at companies that either support the Israeli military (Hewlett-Packard) or are active in the West Bank (SodaStream).

Although several Jewish groups critical of Israeli policies, like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, make efforts to operate within the mainstream American Jewish community, JVP functions outside. The group is often criticized for serving as a tokenized Jewish voice for the pro-Palestinian camp and is widely regarded as the BDS movement’s “Jewish wing."

JVP denies the notion of “Jewish peoplehood" and has even gone so far as to refer to its own Ashkenazi (Jews who spent the Diaspora in European countries) leadership as “white supremacy inside of JVP."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused JVP of being “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States," and said the group “exploits Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish value."

The ADL also claimed that “JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."

According to the ADL website, JVP “uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility."

IfNotNow (INN)

IfNotNow (INN) is an anti-Israel organization founded in 2014, in response to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge (OPE) against Hamas.

INN claims to be “young Jews angered by the overwhelmingly hawkish response of American Jewish institutions" to OPE. INN presents three demands on its website: “Stop the War on Gaza, End the Occupation, and Freedom and Dignity for All."

INN defines “the Occupation as the military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza," which is land Israel has controlled for nearly 50 years since the 1967 Six-Day War. However, INN leaders have made [00:34:32] the claim [00:13:49] at protests that the occupation is 70 years long, referring to Israel’s founding in 1948.

INN actions have aimed to demonize [00:38:13] Israel, harass [00:05:44] mainstream American Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and decrease support for Israel among American Jews.

INN has used “public action and imaginative ritual" to achieve its goals, including disruptions where activists were arrested.

One of the high-profile arrests occurred at a May 2018 disruption at a U.S. Senator’s office in Washington, D.C. to protest legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

At the same incident, INN used [00:07:17] the Jewish ritual of the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer to mourn [00:09:10] protesters who were killed during the Hamas-organized and funded Great March of Return riots on the Israel-Gaza border.

INN activists have also staged and promoted walk-offs from Birthright Israel trips, a heritage trip to Israel for young Jewish adults from across the world.

INN claims to take no position on the BDS movement and that it is “open to any who seek to shift the American Jewish public away from the status quo that upholds the Occupation." However, INN organizes with pro-BDS, anti-Israel organizations including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

BDS

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was founded by Omar Barghouti in 2005 as an allegedly “Palestinian-led movement" to challenge “international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism."

In 2015, Barghouti was quoted saying that “BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights."

The dominant organization in the BDS Movement is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), founded by Barghouti in 2007, during the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel.

The movement has been linked to numerous terrorist organizations and received a public endorsement from Hamas.

BDS initiatives include calling on institutions and individuals to divest from Israeli-affiliated companies, promoting academic and cultural boycotts of Israel and anti-Israel rallies and protests.

The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions." In these cases, student governments, backed by anti-Israel affiliates, have proposed resolutions on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities.

These boycott resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.

BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace.

Social Media and Web Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/100001019929992

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sfrappel13

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sam-frolichstein-appel-963260131

Occupation:
Student

University:
Brown

Organizations(s):
BDS,
INN,
JVP

Related Profiles:

Last Modified:
02/18/2020

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    “We stand with Gaza and don’t believe Birthright is just. We believe it’s unfair for Jews to be given a free trip to stolen land.”

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