Founded at UC Berkeley in October of 2000, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a highly influential campus organization with chapters based at approximately 200 American colleges and universities, where it organizes and sponsors anti-Israel events and campaigns more actively than any other student group in the nation. SJP's declared mission is to “promote the cause of justice,” “speak out against oppression,” and “educate members of our community specifically about the plight of the Palestinian people” at the hands of alleged Israeli depravities, in hopes that “one day [the Palestinians] will be free from occupation, free from fear, free from poverty, and … able to determine their own fate.” The benign tenor of this mission statement stands in stark contrast, however, to the countless reams of SJP propaganda that echo much of what is said by the Hamas terrorists who seek to permanently end Israel's existence as a sovereign Jewish state. The reason for this is simple: SJP was in essence formed to help spread anti-Semitism through the halls of American academia; to wage a campus war against Israel by providing rhetorical support for the Jew-hatred undergirding the Second Palestinian Intifada which Hamas and allied terrorists had recently launched in late September 2000.
The significance of Bazian's—and SJP's—affinity for Hamas becomes especially apparent when we contemplate the grotesque nature of the values for which that organization stands. Consider, for instance, the fact that Hamas's aforementioned founding charter denounces “the Nazism of the Jews” and states explicitly that: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”; peace initiatives “are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement”; “there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad”; and “war for the sake of Allah” is a noble venture that requires the faithful to “assault and kill” on a massive scale.
Notwithstanding Hamas's calls for mass murder and genocide, the website of SJP's UC Berkeley chapter describes Hamas not as a terrorist group but rather as “a vast social organization” that “provides schools, medical care, and day care for a number of Palestinians who otherwise live difficult lives”; a group with a “clean record as far as domestic corruption in governance [is] concerned”; and an entity whose “officials have often stated that they are ready for a long-term truce with Israel during which time final status negotiations can occur.” SJP does make a pro forma acknowledgment that “Hamas has conducted numerous deadly attacks on Israeli civilians” and “committed numerous human rights abuses against Palestinians,” but then quickly draws a moral equivalence between Hamas's deeds and “the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel.”
It is commonplace for SJP's rank-and-file members to support, or to at least decline to condemn, Islamic terrorism. As a Columbia University SJP member said in 2002: “We support the right of Palestinians to resist occupation and do not dictate the methods of that struggle. There's a difference between violence of the oppressed and violence of the oppressors.”
Routinely denouncing Israeli self-defense measures as assaults on the civil and human rights of Palestinians, SJP generally neglects to judge those measures in the context of Palestinian terror attacks. For example, in a September 2014 “vigil” at Binghamton University in honor of Palestinians who had been killed in Operation Protective Edge—Israel's then-recent military incursion into Gaza—SJP member Victoria Brown told the campus newspaperthat her group's goal was to “commemorate” and “humanize” the Palestinian “children, women and innocent civilians who were massacred” by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Yet she made no mention of the fact that the IDF's actions were in response to a massive barrage of deadly rockets that Hamas terrorists had been firing indiscriminately into southern Israel.
On another occasion, New York City's SJP created posters lauding the Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, who in September 1970 had participated in the multiple hijackingof five jetliners, for “committing her life to be a freedom fighter in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.”
FormerNortheastern University SJP leader Max Geller, a Jew, drew much attention to himself and his cause by: proudly donning a headbandthat bore the emblem of Palestinian Islamic Jihad; posing happily for a photograph while he held amachine gun and a bullet belt during a friendly visit with Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank; and posting online pictures of himself wearing T-shirts adorned with the flag of the Lebanese Islamic terror group Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah. A staunch advocate of Palestinian suicide bombings, Nasrallah has describedIsrael as a “cancerous entity” of “ultimate evil” whose “annihilation ... is a definite matter” and whose very existenceis “both unjust and unlawful.” He claims, further, that “the Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities,” and asserts that “[i]f Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
Another high-profile former member of SJP, Rutgers University's Charlotte Kates, stated: “I do not believe apartheid, colonial settler states [i.e., Israel] have a right to exist.” Moreover, she invited members of Hamas to speak on her campus and flatly refused to condemn the practice of suicide bombing, saying: “Why is there something particularly horrible about 'suicide bombing,' except for the extreme dedication conveyed in the resistance fighter's willingness to use his or her own body to fight?”
Just as SJP has often celebrated Islamic extremists and terrorists, so has it been the object of praise articulated by such individuals. In a September 2014 speech at Cooper Union in New York, for instance, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referred to members of SJP as “seeds of peace.” Likening them to “the young people” who in previous generations had protested in civil-rights, anti-war, and anti-apartheid demonstrations, Abbas now exhorted SJP activists and their ideological allies to use their powers of persuasion “to convince the American people to rethink Palestine.”
To put Abbas's remarks in context, it must be remembered that he: was a longtime ally of Yasser Arafat, the most prolific Jew-killer since Adolf Hitler; has never recognized Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state; has made it explicitly clear that any calls for the dismantling of Islamic terrorist groups represents a “red line” that must not be crossed; has denounced Israel as “the Zionist enemy”; has offered prayers for “the souls of the martyrs” who died for the cause of killing Jews; has invoked Palestinians' “legitimate rightto direct our guns against Israeli occupation”; has praisedHezbollah as an ideal embodiment of “Arab resistance”; has expressed his wish to “unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel”; and has vowed that “if there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”
Promoting the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement
SJP is America's leading campus promoter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use various forms of public protest and economic pressure to advance the Hamas agenda of Israel's destruction. While Hamas pursues this goal in its low-intensity war against Israel by means of terrorism and bloodshed, BDS supplements those efforts by pushing for three forms of nonviolent punitive action designed to cripple Israel's economy and bring the nation to its knees politically: (1) coordinated boycotts that aim to intimidate and coerce corporations, universities, and individuals into breaking off their business relationships with Israel; (2) decisions by banks, pension funds, corporations, and other entities to withdraw any financial investmentswhich they may have made in the state of Israel or in companies that operate there; and (3) targeted sanctions—such as trade penalties or bans, arms embargoes, and the severing of diplomatic ties—imposed by governments around the world against Israel specifically. Using these tactics, SJP and its allies in the BDS movement seek to lay the psychological and rhetorical groundwork for: (a) creating the false impression that Israel has illegally and immorally usurped large swaths of land that rightfully belong to the Palestinians; (b) depicting Israel as a habitual human-rights violator guilty of subjecting its Palestinian neighbors to brutal campaigns of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide”; (c) likening Israeli public officials and soldiers to “Nazis,” and Gaza to a “concentration camp” or “ghetto”; (d) delegitimizing, in the minds of people worldwide, Israel's very right to exist as a sovereign state; and (e) promoting the idea that this illegitimate Jewish state should be replaced by an Arab-majority alternative. As NGO Monitorputs it, the effectiveness of BDS campaigns is rooted chiefly “in their ability to penetrate the public and political discourse and blur the lines between legitimate criticism of Israel and the complete delegitimization of Israel in the international arena.”
SJP & The “One-State Solution”
According toThe Jewish Daily Forward, SJP has largely “avoided endorsing a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict”—a solution that, if enacted, would end “Israel’s separate existence as a Jewish state” and would establish, instead, an Arab-majority, Jewish-minority nation. Similarly, a 2014 documentproduced by Binghamton University's SJP asserts that the organization takes no position on the “one-state vs. two-state solution.” And a UC Berkeley SJP activist concurs: “SJP doesn’t have a stance on a one-state or a two-state solution. We’re less concerned with the ‘how’ and more with our goals of freedom and equality for all. If it is achieved in one state or in two states is less of a concern for SJP.”
CanaryMission.org (CM)—a website that documents anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities on North American college campuses—suggeststhat SJP is in fact committed to a one-state solution, and that its claims to the contrary are rooted pragmatically in the organization's desire “not to alienate any possible allies” who might prefer the notion of a two-state arrangement where separate Arab and Jewish homelands co-exist side-by-side. And indeed, there is abundant anecdotal evidence to support CM's assertion. One SJP student at George Washington University, for instance, says: “Justice is the goal [of SJP] and a one-state solution is … the best means for achieving the goal.” Another SJP member explains that a two-state solution would enable Zionism to continue, “which implicitly means the denial of Palestinian rights, particularly Palestinian refugees.” In an April 2016 panel discussion, three representatives of SJP's New York City chapter explicitly advocated a “one-state solution.” History professor Ilan Pappe—a committed Marxist who, like SJP, views Israel's creation in 1948 as a historical “catastrophe,” and who passionately opposes a two-state solution as a devious “attempt to reduce Palestine geographically and demographically under the guise of a 'peace process'”—has lauded SJP as part of “a new popular and successful struggle to bring peace and reconciliation to the whole of Palestine.” And CampusWatch.org declares that SJP “opposes the idea of a two-state solution … and is quite hostile to the peace process in general.”
Perhaps the strongest evidence of SJP's support for a one-state solution is its unwavering commitment to the objectives of the BDS movement, which considers the one-state framework a non-negotiable demand. As the Anti-Defamation League’s former national director, Abraham Foxman, has put it, SJP is “the main organizing force behind the [BDS] campaigns” on U.S. college campuses. Similarly, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls SJP “the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States.” And NGO Monitordescribes SJP as “the organization most directly responsible for creating a hostile campus environment saturated with anti-Israel events, BDS initiatives, and speakers.”
Characterizing Israel as a habitual human-rights violator, SJP exhorts American college students to help punish that nation by demanding, in accordance with BDS principles, that their schools divest their financial assets from any companies—e.g., Starbucks, General Electric, Disney, and scores of others—that conduct business there. Indeed, SJP is the campus group most active in bringing divestment resolutions to votes in front of student governments. Its chapters have sponsored many of the nearly 70 divestment campaigns that have been pursued on U.S. college campuses to date. Moreover, SJP chapters commonly organize and sponsor lectures about BDS initiatives.
One particularly noteworthy variation of the BDS boycott tactic is a campaign by highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual activists demandingthat all goods which are produced by Jews in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem—disputed territories east of the 1967 cease-fire line or “Green Line”—should be clearly labeled as having been manufactured there. This demand is founded on the premise that all land east of the Green Line rightfully belongs to the region's Arabs; that any Israeli business enterprises therein are both illegal and immoral; and that many consumers would (and should) choose not to purchase goods produced by Jews in those regions. For example, a number of SJP chapters have participated in BDS campaigns against Soda Stream, Inc. because it operates a factory in the West Bank.
SJP & The Palestinian “Right-of-Return”
One of SJP's leading priorities, as articulated by its various chapters nationwide, is to bring about the “recognition and implementation of the Right-of-Return for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants.” By SJP's telling, the Jewish state's birth on May 15, 1948 was followed immediately by “a war” in which “Zionist militia groups violently took over the land” and “committed mass atrocities that led to the expulsion of approximately 700,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homes.” SJP refers to this alleged expulsion as “Al-Nakba”—Arabic for “The Catastrophe.” Each year, on or around May 15, numerous SJP chapters across the United States mournfully commemorate the anniversary of Al Nakba.
But SJP's version of the events of 1948 is not only deceptive but false. In 1948, “Palestine” was a geographical designation like “New England,” not an ethnic or governmental one. There were no Arabs claiming to be Palestinians, an identification only adopted years later. Israel was created on land that had belonged to the Turks, who are not Arabs, for the prior 400 years. Even more important, the SJP narrative fails to mention of the fact that on the very day of Israel’s creation, five Arab armies joined forces and launched a war of annihilation designed to wipe the nascent state off the face of the earth and to expel or exterminate its entire Jewish population. Nor does SJP propaganda make mention of the 600,000 Jews who themselves were expelled from Arab countries all over the Middle East, where they and their ancestors had lived for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Neither does it acknowledge that the vast majority of the Arabs who fled their homes (472,000 – and not 700,000 – according to UN statistics) did so in response to calls from the invading Arab armies who assured them that they would be allowed to return after the Jews had been wiped out.
As a corollary of SJP's narrative of Palestinian expulsion, the organization supports the Fatah-Hamas demand of a “right-of-return” to Israel on behalf of approximately 5 million Arabs who are now scattered throughout some 58 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. This figure of 5 million is more than 10 times greater than the number of Arabs who actually left the fledgling Jewish state in 1948, because it includes not only those original refugees but also several generations of their descendants, 90 percent of whom have never lived for even a moment in territorial Israel. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which provides facilities and services for those who live in the refugee camps, defines Palestinian refugees as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.” As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in Americanotes, “There is no room under this definition for a descendant of a refugee to be considered a refugee.”
In other words, SJP's demand for a “right-of-return” makes a mockery not only of the term “refugees,” but of the very concept of a “return.” Author David Horowitz has succinctly identified the long-term agenda quietly underlying all calls for a right-of-return: “The incorporation of five million Arabs into Israel would render the Jews a permanent minority in their own country, and would thus spell the end of Israel. The Arabs fully understand this, and that is why they have made it a fundamental demand.” But SJP, in an effort to divert public attention from this self-evident reality, disingenuously laments that “the refusal of the Israeli government to recognize [Palestinians'] rights as refugees to return is one of the biggest symptoms of the apartheid regime.”
Smearing Israel As an “Apartheid State”
Routinely smearing Israel as “this generation’s South Africa,” SJP calls for “an end to the Israeli system of apartheid and discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian population.” As the organization's UC Berkeleychapter puts it: “The parallel between contemporary Israel and apartheid South Africa is striking,” “[f]rom visible efforts to separate Palestinians from Israelis, as well as a humiliating, indifferent, and inhumane security state system, to strong similarities in the rhetorics used by Israel and apartheid South Africa.”
Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, dismantles the foregoing SJP claims by pointing out, among other things, that: “it is illegal for employers [in Israel] to discriminate on the basis of race”; “Arab citizens of Israel are represented in all walks of Israeli life” (including positions as senior diplomats, government officials, and Supreme Court judges); and “Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech” for all its citizens, Jew and non-Jew alike. The author, broadcaster, and scholar Dennis Prager amplifies Bard's observations by noting that “Arabs in Israel live freer lives than Arabs living anywhere in the Arab world,” and that “no Arab in any Arab country has the civil rights and personal liberty that Arabs in Israel enjoy.” Anticipating and answering a likely objection, Prager adds:
“Now, one might counter: 'Yes, Palestinians who live inside Israel have all these rights, but what about the Palestinians who live in what are known as the occupied territories? Aren’t they treated differently?' Yes, of course they are—they are not citizens of Israel. They are governed by either the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) or by Hamas. The control Israel has over these people’s lives is largely manifested when they want to enter Israel. Then they are subjected to long lines and strict searches, because Israel must weed out potential terrorists.”
But SJP turns a deaf ear to facts like these, instead braying that “the checkpoints and other impediments to movement” in the West Bank are ugly hallmarks of “an apartheid regime” that seeks “to control all activity” in the region and to “collectively punish the entire Palestinian population.”
By SJP's reckoning, yet another manifestation of Israeli “apartheid” is the Jewish state's construction in the West Bank of a lengthy security barrier which, according to SJP, amounts to nothing more than a “land grab” aimed at advancing “the continued dispossession of Palestinians from their lands” and “the continual mapping of an expanding Israeli state.” “For most Palestinians,” adds SJP, this “Apartheid Wall” “devalues and dehumanizes the Palestinian population”; “is connected to a larger system of inequality, discrimination, control and oppression that is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine”; “is producing an open-air prison whose gates only Israel has the key to”; and “is the manifestation of the continued colonization of Palestinian land and society.”
Absent from SJP's rhetoric is any mention of the historical context in which the construction of the barrier was originally authorized. As Mitchell Bard explains: “From September 2000 to mid-2005, hundreds of Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians killed more nearly 1,000 innocent people and wounded thousands of others. In response, Israel's government decided to construct a security fence that would run near the 'Green Line' between Israel and the West Bank to prevent Palestinian terrorists from easily infiltrating into Israel proper.... Since construction of the fence began [in August 2003], the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%.”
The “Anti-Normalization” Campaign
Viewing the Arab-Israeli conflict as a struggle between pure good (the Palestinians) and unadulterated evil (the Israelis), SJP views any sort of compromise with Israel as fundamentally counterproductive. As one SJP student puts it: “This is not a conflict between two equal and opposite parties.... You have an occupier, you have the occupied. And you have the oppressors and you have the oppressed.”
This is the Hamas view of the conflict. And like Hamas, numerous SJP chapters conduct very active “anti-normalization” campaigns predicated on the notion that Palestinian activists should refuse to participate in any type of dialog with their their pro-Israel counterparts because such engagement would not only help to “whitewash” Israel’s public image, but would also amount to a tacit admission that the pro-Israel side merits at least some measure of formal recognition. At Columbia University and San Diego State University, for instance, SJP chapters have adopted anti-normalization as their official policy.
In 2001, when Bazian's SJP was still in its infancy, GUPS was strongly influenced by the United Nations’ “World Conference Against Racism” (WCAR) which was held that year in Durban, South Africa. This event featured, most prominently, an NGO Forum that focused a hugely disproportionate share of its attention and condemnation on the alleged transgressions of Israel and the United States. The Forum culminated in the production of a formal Declaration depicting the Palestinians as victims of “a colonialist, discriminatory military occupation that violates their fundamental human right of self-determination”; stating that the Palestinians “have the clear right … to resist such occupation by any means provided under international law”; asserting that Israeli injustices had “destabilized the entire region and … impacted on world peace and security”; and identifying the hallmarks of Israel's “racist system” as “human rights violations,” “war crimes,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” “bantustanization,” “crime[s] against humanity,” “alien domination and subjugation,” “denial of territorial integrity,” “torture,” and “systematic collective punishment.” These perspectives are highly consistent with the views of GUPS and Bazian.
In a 2010 lecture at UC Irvine, Bazian flatly rejected the notion that Jews had any legitimate claim to land in the Middle East. As the Anti-Defamation League puts it: “He characterized the Jewish presence in the Middle East in Biblical times as 'occupation,' which he said was similar to the 'occupation in the present context.'”
In early 2011, Bazian set into motion a national speaking tour titled “Never Again for Anyone,” whose purpose was to liken the Nazi Holocaust of the 1930s and '40s to the Arab-Israeli conflict of today—with Israelis portrayed as modern-day Nazis, and “Never Again” transformed into a Palestinian rallying cry.
Shingavi has been arrested several times for conducting illegal demonstrations on campus. He first gained notoriety in 2001 when he stated, in a course-catalog description of a class he was teaching on “The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance,” that his instruction would focus heavily on “Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestine since 1948” and “the right of Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination.” “Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections,” Shingavi advised.
Like Bazian, Shingavi is an active supporter of BDS and a one-state solution in the Middle East. He once told interviewer Chris Matthews that the Israeli “occupation” actually began in 1948, when the Jewish state was created. In other words, Shingavi believes that Israel's very existence is an “occupation,” and thus morally illegitimate.
In a November 2014 speech at the University of Texas, where he is currently an assistant professor of English, Shingavi stated: “Gaza is the biggest open-air concentration camp in the world today and the condition of life in Gaza is not dissimilar to life in camps in Auschwitz and Dachau.” That same year, he denounced “the Zionist project” for having pursued “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine since 1948 to the present.”
SJP Supporter Jess Ghannam In their formative years, both the San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley chapters of SJP received vital support from Professor of Psychiatry Jess Ghannam, a pro-Palestinian activist who has repeatedly accused Israel of practicing racism, apartheid, and “ethnic cleansing.” To this day, Ghannam continues to promote the agendas of SJP and is a frequent guest speaker and/or moderator at campus events. In February 2004 in San Francisco, he spoke at an SJP-sponsored rally where, according to one attendee, he characterized Israelis and Americans as “racists, white masters, and oppressors.” That same year, Ghannam collaborated with California Polytechnic State University professor Manzar Foroohar to launch the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which pushes faculty and student activists “to pressure their academic organizations to end collaboration with complicit Israeli academic institutions or organizations”; “not to organize or participate in conferences in Israel”; and “to oppose study-abroad programs that place students from the U.S. and Europe at Israeli universities.”
SJP's Activities & Tactics SJP's 200+ chapters are largely autonomous organizations that maintain their own independent websites and traditionally have had only loose affiliations with one another. But in recent years, as the Anti-Defamation League reported in 2014, “SJP has become increasingly unified … and its chapters have begun to collaborate more closely, sometimes forming into coalition groups made up by region.” Several SJP chapters go by alternative names, such as Harvard College's “Palestine Solidarity Committee” and Washington University's “Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights.” Not all SJP members are students; many are university professors and staffers, and some are community activists without formal ties to any particular school.
Condemning “the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel,” SJP's various chapters actively organize protests, memorials, educational forums, lectures, panel discussions, teach-ins, seminars, workshops, film screenings, and other events designed to “give a voice to the Palestinian narrative as well as highlight the plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli aggression.” Particularly notable is the fact that since 2005, a number of SJP chapters have designated one week of every academic year as “Palestine Awareness Week” or, alternatively, “Israel Apartheid Week.” These weeks feature an array of SJP-sponsored events where Israel is repeatedly denounced in incendiary language as an apartheid state that is guilty of human-rights abuses, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide. Additional methods by which SJP disseminates its anti-Israel message include:
street theater, where, for example, students dressed as Israeli soldiers simulate the assault, rape, and murder of pregnant Palestinian women;
the creation of mock checkpoints, roadblocks, “concentration camps,” and “apartheid walls” on college campuses, where SJP members harass students and then inform them that the activities of non-Jews in Israel are commonly constricted by similar structures;
the placing of fakeevictionnotices, bearing the campus’s official student-activities stamp, on the dormitory doors of Jewish (and non-Jewish) students, coupled with an explanation that many non-Jews in Israel are subjected to comparable abuses;
“die-ins” where SJP activists lie on the ground and simulate Palestinians who have been unjustly and barbarically killed by Israelis;
displays of mock “body bags” of Palestinians “murdered” by Israeli soldiers;
the disruption of pro-Israel events in various ways—e.g., by physically intruding on such gatherings, or engaging in behavior that distracts or upsets those in attendance;
the harassment of Jewish students when they emerge from campus synagogues;
intimidation tactics intended to prevent pro-Israel speakers from visiting their campuses; and
invitations designed to bring vehemently anti-Semitic speakers to SJP campuses.
To train its activists to smear Israel and advance BDS agendas as effectively as possible, SJP has published a “media handbook” that, according to NGO Monitor, “includes pro-BDS talking points,” “promotes apartheid rhetoric,” “adopts the Nakba narrative,” “contains suggestions [for] interacting with the media,” and “excuses Hamas terrorism” by claiming that suicide bombings originally began as “a response” to a Jewish madman's infamous 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers in Hebron.
SJP also makes extensive use of social media to help spread its propaganda. In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League reported: “In the past few years, SJP has … successfully expanded its reach and visibility through social media. A majority of SJP chapters have created fan pages on Facebook, and many also maintain active Twitter profiles. They often create videos on platforms such as YouTube to engage in fundraising and promoting their events. The use of these networks enables SJP to promote events and campaigns more widely and to interact with other like-minded groups on and off campus.”
Noteworthy SJP Events Following SJP's inception in 2000, its membership rolls swelled rapidly and dramatically during 2001-03. This trend was spurred in part by the anti-Iraq War protest movement that fueled domestic anti-American and anti-Israel fervor, and in part by a number of high-profile, attention-grabbing actions taken by various SJP chapters. Some examples from SJP's early years, and afterward:
When Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in February 2001, UC Berkeley's SJP created a mock checkpoint where approximately 75 people blocked the main campus entrance and also shut down street traffic for about 100 yards in both directions while chanting: “This is what a checkpoint looks like” and “Take a stand and join us.”
In March 2001, UC Berkeley's SJP created a mock refugee camp bordered by chicken wire and displaying large pictures of Palestinians in Middle Eastern camps.
At various events in 2001-02, SJP members at UC Berkeley displayed posters depicting Israel as an “apartheid,” “colonialist,” and “Nazi” state guilty of “ethnic cleansing” and “racism.”
On April 24, 2001, when the UC Berkeley Board of Regents failed to respond to an SJP demand for divestiture of all school assets from companies with significant holdings in Israel, dozens of SJP activists used steel chains as well as “human chains” to block access to the campus building known as Wheeler Hall during a six-hour siege that violated fire codes and other regulations. They also displayed a large banner in honor of Muhammad Al-Durra, a twelve-year-old Gazan boy whose fatal shooting in 2000 had been falsely blamed on the Israeli Defense Forces. When theater-arts professor Mel Gordon, a Jew, attempted to walk through one of the human chains in order to get to a class he was scheduled to teach in Wheeler Hall, the students showered him with spit and punches that left the professor in need of medical treatment. When campus police subsequently attempted to detain the ringleader of the violence, Hussain Mohsen, his fellow SJP members protected him. They later produced a doctored video in an effort to defend Mohsen against formal charges of assault filed by Professor Gordon. And while Gordon's assault case was being decided, SJPers repeatedly harassed the professor and issued death threats against him.
At a “Rally For America” organized by UC Berkeley's Israel Action Committee (IAC) in conjunction with the campus Republicans and Democrats thirteen days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, SJP members wearing kaffiyehs and waving Palestinian flags staged an “anti-war” counter-rally in which they distributed fliers accusing the IAC of “exploiting the World Trade Center tragedy” and “wanting war.” Among SJP's slogans were: “It's the Jews' Fault,” “Stop the Jews,” and “Go back to Israel!”
In February 2002 at UC Berkeley, SJP initiated the first national Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM) conference in collaboration with Al-Awda (a.k.a. the Palestine Right-to-Return Coalition) and the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee's San Francisco chapter. The purpose of this event was to train, through seminars and workshops, student activists in strategies for organizing and coordinating anti-Israel boycotts and protests on campus. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the conference “was supported by a coalition of mostly far-left and radical Muslim groups (student and non-student).” Moreover, the attendees adopted a resolution that enthusiastically supported the terrorist Intifada which was in high gear at that time: “We, the national student movement for solidarity with Palestine, declare our solidarity with the popular resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid.” Notably, the resolution declined to take a stand against the suicide bombings and sniper attacks that had become the Intifada's hallmarks, claiming that “it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.”
On April 9, 2002, Jewish students at UC Berkeley gathered for their annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration where they solemnly read the names of people who had perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War. SJP countered by holding, at the same time and very nearby, a noisy anti-Israel rally where 600 to 1,000 demonstrators shouted epithets, waved Israeli flags covered in swastikas, and displayed signs bearing slogans like: “Magen David [Star of David] = Swastika” and “Israel lovers are the Nazis of our time.”
Later that same day, a contingent of SJP protesters forcibly occupied Berkeley's Wheeler Hall for several hours and demanded that the university boycott Israel. This action resulted in the arrest of 79 SJP members, of whom only 41 were students (the rest were local activists). When the university temporarily suspended SJP for its actions, the organization complained that its free-speech rights were being violated. At an SJP rally soon thereafter, co-founder Hatem Bazian urged his comrades to “take a look at the type of [Jewish] names on the building[s] around campus—Haas, Zellerbach—and decide who controls this university.”
On April 15, 2002, Al-Talib, the MSA/SJP Muslim news magazine at UCLA, collaborated with a similar periodical at UC Irvine to jointly publish a piece titled “Zionism: the Forgotten Apartheid.” According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Al-Talib “publicly lauds and promotes both Hamas and Hizbullah as legitimate and noteworthy resistance movements.”
Immediately after a pro-Israel rally held by the San Francisco State University chapter of Hillel (a Jewish campus organization) in May 2002, SJP supporters surrounded a small group of Jewish students and shouted epithets like “Go back to Russia” and “Hitler did not finish the job.”
In October 2002 at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, SJP helped organize the Second National Palestine Solidarity Movement conference. This event was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine (a Hamas front group) and keynoted by Sami Al-Arian, a leading Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who, at that time, was awaiting trial on terrorism charges. Also at the conference, activists from Al-Awda sold T-shirts bearing the inscription “Intifada! Palestine will be free from the river to the sea” (a call for wiping Israel entirely off the map).
In November 2003, SJP helped organize the Third National Palestine Solidarity Conference at Ohio State University, where attendees made it clear that they viewed Zionism as the equivalent of racism. According to one report: “when some attendees … tried to get a resolution passed rejecting terrorism, it was voted down and this news was greeted with a standing ovation on the final day of the event”; terrorism was routinely characterized as “legitimate resistance”; and students were taught how to “deconstruct the Israeli narrative in the United States,” counter negative publicity generated by Palestinian suicide bombings, gain influence in student governments, and infiltrate Hillel chapters.
When Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes, who has long helped expose the agendas of radical Islamism, came to speak at UC Berkeley in 2004, SJP activists tried to drive Pipes from the podium by shouting things like “Death to Zionism,” “Zionism is Racism,” “Israel out of Palestine,” “Zionist Jew,” “Racist Jews,” and “Sieg Heil” while gesturing with Nazi salutes.
On November 11, 2005 at Georgia Tech University, SJP, as part of its “Life Under Occupation” film series, hosted a movie screening and panel discussion. Jewish panelist Adam Levenstein, a founding member of Atlanta Palestine Solidarity, applauded the fact that none of the participants were pro-Israel. When he was asked to comment on the fact that someone in the film had declared “Kill the Jews,” Levenstein said that the statement was merely a reference to Israeli soldiers and was therefore unobjectionable.
At UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School in 2005, Hatem Bazian established an SJP “sister” organization known as Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP), a pro-BDS group whose mission was to “infuse the current discourse with a legal analysis of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and the illegality of the state of Israel and its policies in their current form.” Law School chapters of SJP are now active on several campuses across the U.S.
At a March 2006 International Solidarity Movement (ISM) conference held at Georgetown University to promote the BDS campaign against Israel, a member of that school's SJP chapter lamented that the “apartheid wall” in the West Bank was “suffocating Bethlehem” and was causing many Christians to flee the region.
During an Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week event At UC Berkeley in October 2007, SJP members repeatedly interrupted and shouted down guest speaker Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim who had converted to Christianity. The protesters chanted, among other things: (a) “Fascist! Fascist! Fascist!”; (b) “You are nothing but a tool for the imperialism of the United States!”; and (c) “You are here to spread racist filth on our Arab brothers and sisters!”
In November 2008 at UC Berkeley, Husam Zakharia and fellow SJP students physically assaulted Jewish students in the Eschelman Hall Student Union building. The attack occurred after the Jewish students had sought to remove a Palestinian flag that had been draped over a balcony at a pro-Israel campus event. While Zakharia punched one Jew in the head, his SJP comrades shouted that Jews were “dogs” and threatened to kill them.
During the SJP-backed “Israel Apartheid Week” at UC Berkeley in March 2010, this same Husam Zakharia, who was now president of the school's SJP chapter, rammedJessica Felber, a Jewish member of a pro-Israel campus group that had organized a competing event titled “Israel Peace and Diversity Week,” with a shopping cart. The incident injured Felber and left her in need of medical treatment.
In 2011, SJP's Northeastern University chapter crashed an on-campus Holocaust Remembrance Day event by filing into the room and shouting slogans like “Free, free Palestine” and “No justice, no peace.”
During SJP's national conference at Columbia University in October 2011, the 350+ students in attendance voted to endorse three “points of unity”: “Ending Israel's occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”; “Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality”; and “Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
At a 2012 SJP meeting at Northeastern University (NU), the group's faculty advisor, M. Shahid Alam, gleefully reported that anti-Israel activism on the NU campus had made pro-Israel students afraid to speak out in support of the Jewish state. On another occasion, Alam suggested to SJP members that if ever they were called anti-Semites, they should wear that label as “a mark of distinction.” Several years earlier, Alam had likened the 9/11 hijackers to the American patriots who fought against the British during the Revolutionary War: “On September 11, 2001, nineteen Arab hijackers too demonstrated their willingness to die—and to kill—for their dream. They died so that their people might live, free and in dignity.”
During Israel Apartheid Week at Northeastern University in 2012, SJP members vandalized the campus by defacing school property, including the statue of a Jewish donor/trustee, with anti-Semitic graffiti scribblings.
In the aftermath of a November 2012 Israeli military operation designed to quell deadly rocket fire from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, Northeastern University SJP protesters helped to shut down traffic in sections of Boston while chanting: (a) “Long live Intifada”; (b) “Resistance is justified when people are occupied”; (c) “Palestine will be free, from the River to the Sea”; (d) “Not another nickel, not another dime, No more money for Israel's crimes”; and (e) One two three four, Occupation no more. Five six, seven, eight, Israel is an apartheid state.”
In September 2013, when Northeastern University SJP's Facebook page posted about a WBZ news radio investigative report regarding Jewish Northeastern students who said they felt threatened by the growing anti-Semitism on campus, the Comments section of the Facebook page quickly filled with anti-Semitic posts urging “filthy joo[s]” to “transfer” to another school, to climb into “the oven,” and to “die so allah can show you the right path.” Said one commenter: “… you Jews are all worthless to me, god bless Hitler for trying to do whats right … if i see a jew il tell him whats on my mind and if he has anything to say il decapitate him!! and il sit the rest of my life in jail with honor.” (All spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors are as they appeared in the original.) The slew of vile comments prompted Northeastern Law School graduate and former SJP leader Andrew Pappone to write: “At least the commenters on the article seem to be on the right side.”
In October 2013, Stanford Universityhosted an SJP National Planning Conference for the purpose of “forging a national movement” by “connecting [the] struggles” of Palestinians with those of people fighting against “patriarchy (sexism, homophobia, cissexism, ableism), racism, and capitalism.”
For five months from late 2013 through early 2014, Northeastern University SJP board member Ryan Branagan used, as his Facebook cover photo, the image of a masked terrorist aiming an M-16 automatic rifle; in block letters above the gun was the word “RESISTANCE.”
During Israel Apartheid Week in February 2014, Northeastern University SJP activists slipped fake eviction notices under the dormitory doors of students, telling them that they were being evicted without cause, just as Israel had allegedly forced the Palestinians from their homeland in 1948. When Northeastern's Hillel chapter subsequently issued a message to reassure Jewish students who may have felt threatened by the eviction notices, SJP mocked that message. And when the University's administration suspended the campus SJP until 2015, the organization complained that certain Jewish “rich donors” had managed to persuade the administration to deny SJP its free-speech rights.
In 2014, Vassar College's SJP used its Tumblr account to publish the image of a 1944 Nazi propaganda poster titled “Liberators,” in which, as the Times of Israeldescribes, “a many limbed monster decorated with the U.S. flag, holding a money bag grasped by a long-nosed banker, and wearing a Star of David as a loin cloth, stomps on houses of the innocent.”
In May 2014, DePaul University's SJP began soliciting support for a campus BDS campaign. According to a report in TheTower.org, “Their conduct made the atmosphere on campus so poisonous that some Jewish students reported feeling directly threatened.”
At a Temple Universityevent on August 20, 2014, SJP activists initiated an argument with Jewish student Daniel Vessal, a fellow with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. The antagonists called Vessal a “kike,” a “Zionist pig,” and a “baby killer.” One of them slapped Vessal so hard, that he needed to seek medical care at a hospital.
In September 2014, the University of South Florida's SJP chapter held an event titled “The Hidden Genocide: The Story of Palestine,” which condemned “a summer of atrocious massacres” that had left “the people of Gaza … without shelter, food, security, and freedom.” This was a reference to the recently completed Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli military response to a massive barrage of deadly rockets that Hamas terrorists had been firing indiscriminately from Gaza into southern Israel. The keynote speaker was Monzer Taleb, who had previously helped procure money for Hamas at fundraisers held by the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).
In September 2014, SJP co-founder Hatem Bazian announced and promoted an “International Day of Action on College Campuses” that urged student activists to stage “teach-ins, rallies, sit-ins, civil disobedience, and push for BDS activities.” Specifically, the event opposed “Academic Complicity with Israeli Occupation”; “Study Abroad Programs in Israel”; “Investments in Apartheid and Occupation Supporting Companies”; “University Presidents' Visits to Israel”; “Joint Research or Conferences with Israeli Institutions”; and “Targeting Faculty for Speaking Against Israeli Crimes.”
In September 2014, members of Loyola University's SJP surrounded, in a menacing manner, a table of Jewish Hillel members who were staffing a table that displayed literature about an upcoming Birthright Israel trip. They asked the Jews, “How does it feel to be an occupier?” and “How does it feel to be guilty of ethnic cleansing?”
In 2015, National SJP urged the group's various chapters to protest the U.S. decision to convict and incarcerate Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh for having concealed, when she first came to the U.S. twenty years earlier, the fact that she had previously spent a decade in an Israeli prison because of her role in a 1969 bombing that resulted in two Jewish civilian deaths. A number of SJP chapters in the Chicago area collaborated to hold a fundraiser for Odeh, while the UCLA chapter added the hashtag #FreeRasmeaNow to its Facebook page.
In early November 2015, all ten CUNY-affiliated SJP chapters signed a Facebook statement charging that CUNY's “Zionist administration invests in Israeli companies, companies that support the Israeli occupation, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education.” To address this problem, the signatories affirmed that: “While CUNY aims to produce the next generation of professional Zionists, SJP aims to change the university to fight for all peoples liberation."
In April 2016, the University of Minnesota chapter of SJP, citing Israel's alleged violations of human rights, attempted to pass a student-government resolution calling for the school to divest from specific companies that had business dealings with the Jewish state. But when a pro-Israel coalition of students added an amendment focusing not on Israel alone, but on all countries where human rights were being violated, SJP members promptly removed their names from the resolution.
From May 2-5, 2016, UC Irvine's campus chapters of SJP, the Muslim Student Union, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the American Indian Student Association collaborated to coordinate “Anti-Zionism Week” activities under the heading “The Roots of Oppression.” The major themes were: “A History of Occupied Peoples”; “Borders, Racism & Refugees”; “Intifada & Resistance Movements”; and “The Role of the University in the Occupation.”
In May 2016, UC Irvine's SJP organized a protest where a mob of screaming students pounded on the doors and windows of a building wherein a campus group called Students Supporting Israel was screening a documentary about the Israel Defense Forces. The demonstrators shouted things like “Intifada, Intifada—Long live the Intifada!” and “F**k Israel!” The terrified Jewish students called local police and campus law-enforcement to come and protect them, and SJP subsequently boasted on Facebook about the “success” of their demonstration.
More Students Terrorized by SJP
In November 2015 the AMCHA Initiative, a campus anti-Semitism watchdog organization, announced that during the preceding eleven months it had collected approximately 70 testimonials from Jewish students on various University of California campuses complaining of anti-Semitic words and actions being aimed at them, often by members of SJP and related groups. Among the complaints were allegations that SJP members in particular had: “physically assaulted” and “spat at” Jewish students; followed Jewish students home in order to frighten them; defaced school property with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti; displayed placards and banners bearing such inscriptions as “The Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers” and “Death to Zionism”; and shouted slogans like “Down with Jews,” “Hitler was right,” “Zionist kike,” “Dirty Jews,” “Free free Palestine,” “You Jews are occupying our land and killing our people,” and “From the river to the sea Palestine must be free.” According to AMCHA co-founder and UC Santa Cruz professor Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the “testimonials demonstrate unequivocally that all Jewish students are targeted, regardless of their feelings on Israel, and that anti-Israel and BDS campaigns have gone far beyond scholarly debate and criticism directly into hate and antisemitism.”
Non-Governmental Organizations That Support SJP
SJP’s campus initiatives are aided by a number of pro-BDS non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide SJP chapters with funding, guidance, training, and legal assistance. In some cases these groups also co-sponsor events with SJP.
American Muslims for Palestine The most significant and influential supporter of SJP is American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which was establishedin 2005 by none other than SJP co-founder Hatem Bazian. AMP's stated mission is to educate the public about: “the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty and justice”; how American “tax dollars support the longest-lasting ... military occupation in modern history”; and “how the people of Palestine have been living … for decades” under an Israeili “occupation” characterized by “flagrant and continual violations of international law,” “human rights abuses,” and “ethnic cleansing.”
Like SJP, AMP supports the Palestinian “right-of-return” and is one of the major driving forces of the BDS movement. Writes Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD): “AMP is arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for [SJP], which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States. AMP provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called 'Apartheid Wall,' and [financial] grants to SJP activists. AMP even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country. According to an email it sent to subscribers, AMP spent $100,000 on campus activities in 2014 alone.” Further, AMP has co-sponsored events with various SJP chapters, and at its annual national conference, AMP trains SJP members through its “Campus Activism Track.”
Over the years, AMP has received donations from groups whose members, affiliates, or associates had ties to terrorist organizations like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Qassam Brigades (Hamas's military arm), and al-Qaeda.
At its annual conference in 2014, AMP invited participants to “come and navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.”
Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) This proudly socialist, and pro-BDS organization has co-sponsored many events with SJP. “There’s an enormous amount of cooperation [between the two groups]” said JVP’s executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson in 2015. “I think they [SJP] are the most effective student organization on this [BDS] issue.” According to NGO Monitor, JVP “promotes political warfare strategy against Israel, which includes the tactics of [BDS], a sustained campaign of demonization such as accusations of 'apartheid' and 'racism,' and support for a Palestinian claim to a 'right of return,' with the ultimate goal of dismantling Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” In 2008JVP helped the Carter Centergather signatures to support former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial meeting with Hamasleader Khaled Mash'al, whom JVP viewed as a legitimate potential partner in the peace processwith Israel.
WESPAC Foundation This pro-BDS organizationfavorsthe Palestinian “right-of-return” and demands that America “end all aid” to the “apartheid, racist state” of Israel. Moreover, WESPAC and SJP have co-sponsored “Israel Apartheid Week” events in the New York area.
Al-Awda Working chiefly to promote“the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin,” this organization has co-sponsored a number of events with various SJP chapters.
Palestine Legal This group strives to “bolster the Palestine solidarity movement” by providing its activists with legal representation when necessary. It once partnered with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) to publish a “Legal and Tactical Guide” for SJP and likeminded activists involved in “Palestinian Human Rights Advocacy in the U.S.”
Center for Constitutional Rights This longtime supporter of communist causes is described by NGO Monitor as “part of the legal arm of the BDS Movement, providing legal assistance to BDS activists and partnering with the National Lawyers Guild to create Palestine Legal.”
National Lawyers Guild This Marxist organization engages in the use of “lawfare,” a term connoting a war that is being waged against Israel not on the battlefield, but rather, in the courtroom. We can see lawfare in action whenever anti-Israel NGOs: (a) file lawsuitsagainst companies and governments that do business with Israel; (b) try to persuade courts and international legal bodies to impose boycotts and embargoes on Israel; or (c) demand the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli public officials whom the NGOs accuse of human-rights violations.
International Socialist Organization (ISO) This self-described “Marxist” entity proudly declares: “We unconditionally support Hamas when it is engaged in military or non-military struggles against Israel, because it weakens the Zionist state and terrifies the Arab regimes and the United States, and therefore strengthens the potential for class struggle in the Arab states against this imperialist system.”ISO has supported BDS initiatives on a number of campuses, and has invited several pro-BDS speakers to its annual “Socialism” Conferences.
Muslim Students Association (MSA) This national organization and its many chapters have co-sponsored a number of campus events with SJP. According to a 2011 U.S. District Court document: “The more publicly activist SJP may be understood as the militant arm of the outwardly benevolent MSA. Members of the former are often members of the latter.” Consequently, on some campuses the two groups share the same offices.
J Street U This student offshoot of the national advocacy group J Street, has co-sponsored events with a number of SJP chapters. Heavily funded by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, J Street—unlike SJP—advocates the pursuit, through diplomacy, of a two-state solution whereby Israel would exist alongside a Palestinian state governed by the genocidal barbarians of Hamas. Indeed, J Street has cautionedagainst Israeli efforts to topple Hamas, on grounds that the latter “has been the government, law and order, and service provider since it won the [Palestinian] elections in January 2006 and especially since June 2007 when it took complete control.” In March 2011, journalist Elliot Jager noted that “J Street since its founding has opposed every measure Israel has taken to defend its citizens,” and that “one is hard put to discern any policy differences whatsoever between the stated positions of J Street and the Palestinian Authority or the PLO.”
Partnering with Left-wing Identity-Politics Organizations
SJP benefits enormously from the lock-step support of the political left, for which the “intersectionality” of all alleged oppressions is a matter of faith. In an effort to attract as much sympathy and support as possible for its anti-Israel agenda, SJP commonlycollaborates with black, Latino, LGBT, and socialist organizations in sponsoring events and organizing protests. The objective is to draw parallels between the various forms of victimization to which each of these constituencies claim to be subjected. Or, as SJP puts it: “We believe that no struggle against oppression is divorced from one another, that in order to resist structural oppression we must embody the principles and ideals we envision for a just society, and that we must be vigilant about upholding ethical positions against homophobia, sexism, racism, bigotry, classism, colonialism, and discrimination of any form.” Some examples:
In the fall of 2012, SJP's San Diego State University chapter co-sponsored an event with MEChA, comparing Israel's “Apartheid Wall” with proposals for the expansion of a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. MEChA favors a U.S. immigration policy founded on amnesty and open borders, and believes that the Southwestern portion of the United States rightfully belongs to the people of Mexico, from whom it was allegedly stolen. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “Members of MEChA have … attended SJP conferences since they started, and for many years now, members of the group have led sessions such as 'Beyond Borders: Palestine and the Latin@ Connection.'”
During the summer and fall of 2014, SJP tried to liken Israel's military incursion against Hamas in Gaza, to the alleged police brutality and racism that had resulted in the fatal August 2014 shooting of an African American teenager named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The City University of New York’s SJP chapter hosted a panel discussion titled “CUNY Stands for Justice: From Ferguson to Palestine,” and several other chapters organized “die-ins” equating Gaza and Ferguson as bastions of racist injustice. Unfortunately for SJP, hard evidence eventually demonstrated that the Ferguson police officer had shot Michael Brown only after the teen had first attacked him and tried to steal his gun. Though civil-rights agitators incessantly portrayed Brown's case as a microcosm of widespread police abuses directed against black males, the young man's death was in fact brought about entirely by his own aggression and bad judgment.
In much the same way, the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza bear no resemblance whatsoever to the meek, goodhearted princes of peace described in SJP's propaganda. “What many of these minority groups fail to recognize,” notes the Jewish News Service, “... is that the 'Palestine' that SJP defends is not only anti-Semitic, but also misogynistic, homophobic, racist, anti-Christian, and fascist. SJP defends a place where women are subject to honor killings, where members of the LGBTQ community facepersecution, torture, and death, and where Jews are not allowed to live, build homes, or purchase land. SJP does not discuss these injustices, nor do they care when Hamas murders opponents and drags them through the street. In SJP’s mind, none of this matters, because 'Israel is the oppressor.'”
Funding for SJP SJP chapters are funded primarily by university grants that range, for the most part, from several hundred dollars to $2,000 apiece. This money is derived chiefly from student-activity fees that colleges charge to support campus groups and events, and is allocated to SJP and other recipients by each school's student government. At some universities, the funds provided to groups like SJP may be much higher. According to one source, “At larger campuses like UC Berkeley or UCLA,... clubs like SJP can receive as much as $30,000 in funding for events they wish to hold.... At Concordia University in Canada,... SJP at one point received $50,000 for anti-Israel actions (including calls for divestment) on campus.” Along the same lines, NGO Monitor notes that “SJP at San Diego State University received a combined $14,000 to host 'Palestine Awareness Week' in 2010-2013.” To maximize the likelihood of being approved for their funding requests, SJP chapters often run one or more of their student members or sympathizers for seats in their university's student government.
Guest Speakers at SJP Events SJP commonly brings pro-BDS speakers to address audiences on college campuses across the United States. Some of these invited guests openly support, or at least decline to condemn, Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Among the more notable individuals who have spoken at SJP events are the following:
Omar Barghouti: This founding member of the BDS movement has been a longtime supporter of the “one-state solution” and the Palestinian “right-of-return.” He also detests Israel’s primary ally, the United States, which he once described as “a menacing rogue state that is arrogantly bullying other nations … into unqualified submission to its self-declared designs for world domination and incontestable economic supremacy.”
Ali Abunimah: This co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website condemns Israel's “land confiscation,” its “ongoing orgy of violence,” and its “routine human-rights abuses” that have “made life under a seemingly endless occupation so intolerable” for Palestinians. He supports a one-state solution; regards Israel as a nation with a “profound and irreversible lack of … legitimacy”; and accuses the Jewish state of practicing “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “attempted genocide” against the Palestinians.
Dalit Baum: This “feminist/queer activist” is the co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, a project “dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of companies in the continuing Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land.” Baum has condemned Israel's “racist system” for imposing “segregation and legal discrimination … in the occupied Palestinian territory, where shrinking Palestinian enclaves are besieged by walls and checkpoints and terrorized by the Israeli military.”
Remi Kanazi: This pro-BDS activist and poet describes Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” that practices “ethnic cleansing” and is “built upon the graves of Palestinians.” He maintains that “Zionists” illegally “stole land [and] maintained a racist state” through “massacres and brute force” as well as “genocide.”
Steven Salaita: This author and professor of American Studies characterizes Israel as “a murderous colonial regime” where “Zionists [have been] transforming 'antisemitism' from something horrible to something honorable since 1948.” He adds that “by eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit in response to Israeli terror”; that anyone who defends Israel is “an awful human being”; that Israel is an “ethnocratic” state that engages in the widespread “murder of children”; and that he chooses not to “condemn Hamas” because “Hamas isn't the one incinerating children.”
Josh Ruebner: This senior member of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation favors the Palestinian “right-of-return” and refers to Zionism as an “evil enterprise.” He laments that Palestinians in Israel “face pervasive societal discrimination”; are subject to a “two-tiered system of law” which amounts to “apartheid” and a “crime against humanity”; and have been “ethnically cleansed from their homes.”
Max Blumenthal: This author/journalist/blogger has smeared Israel as “JSIL” (acronym for the “Jewish State of Israel and the Levant”), a name intended to parallel ISIL, the brutal terror group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a. ISIS). A proponent of a one-state solution, Blumenthal has made disparaging references to Israeli “Judeo-Nazis”; contends that Jews in the “Israeli mainstream,” which is “overcome with anti-Arab eliminationism,” need to “become indigenized” and to resolve “to be part of the Arab world”; and once wrote in the Hezbollah publication Al-Akhbar, that American law-enforcement personnel have been “schooled in Israeli killing methods.”
Alison Weir: This frequent lecturer on Arab-Israeli issues suggests that Israel's War of Independence in 1948 was in essence a campaign to gain “independence from humanity … from morality … from normality [and] from everyone else in the world”; that the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict is a battle between “the brutalizer and the brutalized”; that virtually every Palestinian terrorist is, at heart, a “would-be freedom-fighter” and “a terrorized victim who has tragically but inexplicably turned to violence himself”; that “when people say Israel has a right to exist, it means that Israel has a right to discriminate”; and that the 1948 founding of Israel was “one of the modern world’s most successful ethnic cleansings,” and a “holocaust” for Palestinians.
Miko Peled: This self-described “peace activist” is a proponent of BDS who argues in favor of a one-state solution and refers to all Israeli cities as “settlements” in an “apartheid system” that enforces “genocidal policies.” He asserts that “Israeli cruelty and stupidity know no limits”; that “Zionism is racism”; that Hezbollah's “dedicated resistance” to Israel's presence in Southern Lebanon has been vitally important; and that Hamas is a “democratically elected” governing organization “committed to resistance to the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
Huwaida Arraf: This founding member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) says that “the Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics—both nonviolent and violent.” She has stated, on record, that ISM works collaboratively with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—all designated as terrorist groups by the U.S. State Department. “Hamas are some of the key forms of organizers,” she said in October 2004, “the PFLP, anyone who wants to organize and help us in our struggle really is our friend and we’ll work with.”
Adam Shapiro: Along with his wife, Huwaida Arraf, Shapiro once co-authored an article for the Palestinian Authority’s mouthpiece, the Palestine Chronicle, advocating the strategic use of nonviolent activism—not because the authors deemed such an approach preferable to violence, but because they thought it was likelier to win broad public support. Shapiro and Arraf maintain that certain nonviolent actions—like “standing on a settler road and blocking it from traffic”—can be “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation,” and thus may constitute “[n]o less of a jihad” than such a deadly tactic. Those who die in the course of either form of jihad, say the couple, “would be considered shaheed Allah” (martyrs).
Norman Finkelstein: This former DePaul University political-science professor has written: “The Zionists indeed learnt well from the Nazis. So well that it seems that their morally repugnant treatment of the Palestinians, and their attempts to destroy Palestinian society within Israel and the occupied territories, reveals them as basically Nazis with beards and black hats.” Pronouncing Israel as being “in effect guilty of state terrorism,” Finkelstein contends that the “only difference between Israel [sic] terrorism and Hamas terrorism is that Israeli terrorism is three times as lethal.” Lauding Hezbollah's efforts “to resist foreign occupiers,” he stated in a 2007 speech: “Every victory of Hezbollah, I celebrate.”
Anna Baltzer: This Jewish granddaughter of Holocaust survivors draws parallels between the current Palestinian “struggle” and what American blacks experienced during the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. Baltzer adamantly opposes Israel’s existence as an independent “Jewish state” and favors a “one-state solution” where Jews would be a minority surrounded by Arabs sympathetic to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. She has condemned “the so-called ‘Land of Israel’” for practicing “ethnic discrimination,” “forced mass transfer,” “mass imprisonment,” “genocide,” “apartheid,” and “ethnocentric nationalism.”
Noura Erakat: This Palestinian-American legal scholar and human-rights attorney says that the “Nakba” of 1948 started the process of “the on-going forced removal and subjugation of the non-Jewish Palestinian population” which allegedly continues “into the present day.” Israel's “apartheid regime,” she adds, is “herding Palestinians into ghettoised communities or forcing them from the territory altogether.”
Victor Kattan: This senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute contributed to a 2009 report stating that “Israel has breached the international legal prohibitions of apartheid and colonialism in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories].”
Hanan Ashrawi: This Palestinian legislator, activist and diplomat is the daughter of Daoud Mikhail, a founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization. From 1996-98, Ms. Ashrawi served under Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education and Research. She has described the Palestinian territories as “a nation in captivity held hostage to an ongoing 'Nakba',” and as “the most intricate and pervasive expression of persistent colonialism, apartheid, racism, and victimization.” She has called Israel's creation in 1948 “a grave historical injustice” that continues to manifest itself as “the systematic oppression and brutality of an inhuman occupation.” She refuses to “think of Hamas as a terrorist group,” but rather defends it as a legitimate part of the Palestinian “political spectrum.” “We coordinate [with Hamas] politically,” Ashrawi said in April 1993, “... the people we know and talk to are not terrorists.” In the the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Ashrawi once published an article calling the Nazi Holocaust “a deceitful myth which the Jews have … exploited to get sympathy.”
Amir Abdel Malik Ali: This Oakland-based imam and former Nation of Islam member is a passionate supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. He is also part of the Al-Masjid movement which is dedicated to creating an Islamic revolution in the United States. As part of the 2010 “Israel Apartheid Week” activities co-sponsored by SJP and the Muslim Students Association at UC Irvine, Ali referred to Zionists as “the new Nazis.” On another occasion, Ali said of Israel: “The truth of the matter is your days are numbered.... We will fight you until we are either martyred or until we are victorious.”
Taher Herzallah: This former president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) currently serves as the National Campus Coordinator and West Coast Regional Director of American Muslims for Palestine, and acts as a liaison between student members of SJP and MSA on campuses across the United States. He once posted photos of injured Israeli soldiers and a destroyed Israeli tank to his personal Facebook page, along with the caption: “The most beautiful site [sic] in my eyes.”
Operating under the cover of the “multiculturalism” that dominates U.S. higher education, Students for Justice in Palestine has become a dominant organization on American campuses and the driving force behind the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigotry that have become part of the everyday reality there. It is the key member in an alliance of campus groups that seek to indoctrinate American college students in the false beliefs that Jews are racists who stole Arab land and oppress Palestinians, and that consequently the Jewish state of Israel has no right to exist. Couching its agendas in the deceitful rhetoric of “social justice,” SJP covertly and overtly supports terrorism. The organization's objectives complement those of the Hamas terrorists whose deepest desire is to “obliterate” Israel by means of violent, pitiless “jihad”—i.e., “war for the sake of Allah.” While Hamas pursues this goal by means of a terror war against Israel, SJP pursues it by means of activism and propaganda.
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