Let’s talk about justice – a term that has been hijacked by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) over the course of their existence. Justice is defined as “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness or moral rightness”. Students for Justice in Palestine, however, might have forgotten to look up that very important word when selecting the right title for their national organization. It seems like in their eyes, morality and righteousness is equivalent to disrupting events, shouting threats for support of terror such as, “Long live the Intifada” and calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews in the form of chants “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” across college campuses in the United States.
SJP at Vassar College sold this T Shirt justifying the actions of terrorist, Leila Khalid
When we speak about justice, or to be more precise- the lack of it, we have to acknowledge the consistent bullying and intimidation strategies that SJP has been using against pro-Israel organizations on American colleges. One particular place seems to hold the record for these kinds of incidents- the University of California at Irvine (UCI). Its history goes way back to hosting Amir Abdel Malik Ali in 2006 who accused the Jewish state of perpetrating a genocide against the Palestinian people (whose population has quadrupled since 1948). He also described Israel as the “Fourth Reich” and described Jews as the “New Nazis.”
In 2010, SJP activists disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. This action prompted the arrest of eleven members of the Muslim Student Union (MSU). In response to this disruption, UCI suspended the chapter for a year, but the group’s aggressive anti-Zionist activities continued.
Two years later, UCI’s student government became one of the first in the nation to pass a the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel. Following those events, SJP has been a pioneer in organizing an “Israel Apartheid Week” each spring and a leader at disruptions of Israel events on campus. On May 18, 2016, Students Supporting Israel (SSI) hosted the film screening “Beneath the Helmet,” which told the stories of five IDF soldiers. SJP aggressively disrupted the event, blocking exits and entrances, which caused the students in the room to be escorted out by the police. The day after the disruption, Chancellor Gillman sent out an email, stating that the incident that occurred on campus had “crossed the line of civility.” In response, legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) commented that “allegations against SJP at UCI are part of a larger ‘“concerted effort’” to intimidate and silence activists for Palestine.”
The NLG portrayed SJP activists — who denied the rights of their fellow students to host events — as victims.
It is common sense to conclude even before an official investigation has been conducted that if students gathering for a peaceful assembly need to be escorted out by police for their own safety because of SJP, the intimidated and silenced group of people might just not be Students for Justice in Palestine.
Three months later, the UCI administration came out with a statement acknowledging that SJP violated student conduct policies, however, they were only given a written warning which included a requirement for them to host an educational program.
A similar disruption took place again the following year. In May 2017, SJP once again disrupted an SSI event through organized chanting and sporadic yelling, refusing to permit the invited IDF soldiers their right to speak on the campus. For the second time in recent memory pro-Israel students had to be escorted out by police out of concerns for their safety. As if SJP did not get enough space and attention on campus to delegitimize and spread lies about Israel during their own series of events, they aggressively prevented the pro-Israel voice from responding to their false accusations. If anything, this incident highlights that written warnings issued to SJP are not effective.
One of the countless differences between pro-Israel groups across the nation and SJP is deeply rooted in their respective definitions of success. While one group celebrates the existence of its nation, the other is preoccupied with false victimhood and constant attacks. After SJP’s disruption in 2016, the group didn’t take too long to post on their Facebook page that “they have successfully demonstrated against the presence of IDF soldiers on campus”. The same situation took place again after their disruption of SSI’s event in 2017. The following day, SJP was standing loud in the middle of campus, once again proudly chanting that they had shut down another IDF panel for a second year in a row. In short, they bragged about denying the rights of their fellow students to speak.
Whenever SJP disrupts a pro-Israel event, the immediate reaction by many is that they are exercising their First Amendment rights. However, it is important to remember that their First Amendment cannot come at the expense of our First Amendment right for peaceful assembly. One does not have more legitimacy over the other, and should not be given a free pass for continuous harassment and intimidation. The University has to take the appropriate disciplinary measures against an organization that has violated free speech for too long on campus.The UCI community cannot tolerate pro-Israel students being escorted out of their own event for the third time in a row.It is high time that justice is served at UCI. SJP must finally experience the true meaning of the term; another written warning will simply not do.
Linda Sarsour is a New York-based, Palestinian-American activist who is highly adept at promoting herself. She seems to always be at center stage, availing herself of photo-ops, and procuring prestigious platforms from which to preach, including an invitation to be commencement speaker at CUNY’s School of Public Health.
How does she do this? She attaches herself to trendy, progressive causes, like “Occupy Wall Street,” “Women’s March on Washington,” or “Black Lives Matter,” proclaiming herself a “person of color” – although she is white; a “feminist” – although she is an apologist for sexism in Islamic countries; and a crusader for whatever cause du jour is in vogue.
The way you raise the profile of an issue, is by making the issue cool and relevant in pop culture. And if people are seeing it on Twitter, if they’re seeing Russell Simmons tweeting about police brutality, and getting people involved, at the end of the day young people are going to come out for that.”
So Sarsour presents herself as an all-embracing champion of “cool issues” in the name of solidarity. “Anyone who wants to call themselves an activist cannot be selective,” she declares. ( The Nation, March 17, 2017)
But this is just a cynical front. Far from the tolerant, inclusive bridge-builder she pretends to be, Sarsour seizes on contemporary issues to catapult herself to prominence, seizing leadership roles and using them as tools to draw more attention to herself and her own narrower ambitions – promoting Islam and Palestinian self-determination.
Speaking to fellow Muslim and Palestinian activists at an American Muslims for Palestine conference last November, Sarsour revealed the limits of her tolerance for solidarity and collaboration:
“We have limits to the type of friendships that we’re looking for right now and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say – we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that they’re about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers.” (Sarsour, American Muslims for Palestine Conference, Chicago, Nov.25, 2016)
Presuming herself the arbiter of participation in the feminist movement, she rejects anyone who supports Israel:
“Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement? There can’t be in feminism.’ (Sarsour, The Nation, March 13, 2017)
She downgrades other causes – even those she claims to espouse – as less compelling than her own, which she inflates with no regard for the facts.
On Anti-Semitism: “I want to make the distinction that while anti-Semitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it’s different than anti-Black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.” (Sarsour, Jewish Voice for Peace Video)
On Racism Against Blacks: “Racism against blacks in the United States is very different from intolerance against Muslims. Speaking or showing racism against blacks is publicly rejected in the United States even if it is in secret, but unfortunately intolerance against Islam is perfectly acceptable, and promoted by the media…” (Sarsour, CNN Arabic, May 19, 2012)
On Islamophobia: ‘Twenty-two states with anti-Sharia bills trying to ban us from practicing our faith, Mosque oppositions. We`re fighting zoning boards across the country. Our kids are hearing this rhetoric. We have people, mosques being vandalized, kids being executed, Islamophobia.” (Sarsour, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, Feb. 18, 2015)
Muslim children being executed on American streets? U.S. laws prevent Muslims from practicing their religion? Sarsour does not even try to back up her glibly outrageous pronouncement with any facts or figures.
The fact is that the latest statistics on hate crimes in the U.S. published by the FBI, completely contradict Sarsour’s implication that Muslims are the most victimized: Blacks were the most frequent victims of hate crimes based on race, while Jews were the most frequent victims based on religion. There were 1,745 attacks targeting Blacks, 664 anti-Semitic attacks, and 257 anti-Muslim attacks.
Cultivating a persona of “universal victim” from which to advance her own activism, Sarsour, a Palestinian Caucasian who grew up in a comfortable, middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood, redefines herself as a “woman of color.” It is with this appropriated identity that she takes on a leadership role in the feminist movement while rejecting – not only supporters of Israel, but – those she labels as “white.” Sarsour cunningly wields these labels as tools to promote herself and to attack anyone who raises issues that she is not prepared to address.
Example 1: “If you’re in a movement and you’re not following a woman of color, you’re in the wrong movement.”(Sarsour,at an anti-Trump rally in New York’s Washington Square Park)
In this way, Sarsour attempts to silence those who shed light on misogynic practices and to avert criticism from the societies that tolerate or encourage them. She is particularly obsessive and malicious in her disparagement of Somali- born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, who campaigns against female genital mutilation (FGM), honor killings and child marriages that are prevalent in some Muslim communities. Sarsour repeatedly smears and agitates against Ali.
Sarsour went so far as to attack Ali, a victim of FGM, in cruel and mysogynistic terms, in a 2011 tweet that was widely criticized and which Sarsour later scrubbed from her twitter feed. (It is preserved in archives and screenshots):
When confronted about her vulgar tweet by a student at a college event where she spoke, Sarsour immediately retreated to her identity politics defense, suggesting that the student had no right to speak:
“So let’s give some context here because this is an event organized by an Asian-American, celebrating a community, talking about communities of color, who are being directly impacted at this moment, and I have a young white man in the back, who is not directly impacted by any of the issues that I mentioned. Let’s give some context here.” (Dartmouth College, May 12, 2017.)
In much the same way, she tries to deflect attention from a feminist film, Honor Diaries, that examines gender inequality in Muslim-majority societies, by attempting to discredit the messenger and suggesting that the profiled women’s rights activists, who include Muslims and black women, are not entitled to present their views.
“We don’t need Islamophobes to talk to us and tell the stories of oppressed and abused Muslim women,” she said. ‘It’s just disingenuous.” (Al Jazeera America, April 14, 2014)
Sarsour similarly attempts to deflect criticism from the sexism and oppression within Muslim patriarchal societies, while confining her own rebuke of Islamic countries to their not accepting sufficient numbers of Muslim refugees or other general human rights issues.
Sarsour positions herself as “a racial justice and civil rights activist” and an opponent of all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism. She garnered headlines (and established her bona fides as a combatant of anti-Semitism) by raising money to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery, and she finds common cause with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a radical group that shares Sarsour’s extreme anti-Israel, BDS views. But Sarsour redefines the concept of “anti-Semite” to mean the bogeyman of minority or disadvantaged groups:
“… we have anti-Semites basically in power in the White House…. the same people who hate Jews hate Muslims. They hate LGBTQ people. I mean they’re usually pretty anti-Black and unconditionally pro-law enforcement. So there’s a connection among these groups of people.” (Sarsour, Jewish Voice for Peace Video)
She separates anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism by redefining the former to mean “criticizing Israel.” This way, she can claim to be an opponent of anti-Semitism while engaging in anti-Zionist activities. But that is simply being disingenuous. Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people and anti-Zionism is the denial to Jewish people of the right to self-determination in their historic homeland.
Indeed, Sarsour attacks Zionism in malevolent terms, echoing the infamous 1975 “Zionism is Racism” UN General Assembly resolution, sponsored by Muslim states and subsequently revoked.
Although she tries to present herself as simply a critic of Israel, what Sarsour is really campaigning for is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state:
Pressed by Haaretz to detail her views, Sarsour said that she believes in a one-state solution that, experts agree, will not be a Jewish state because the larger population will be Palestinian. “My hope is that it will be one state, one man one vote, that everyone is treated equally. Then you can say that part of the world is a true democracy.” (Ha’aretz, Jan. 25, 2017)
When it comes to a Palestinian state, however, she does not talk of “one man one vote” but a state that is wholly Palestinian:
“It is our generation that ignited the revolutions in the Middle East, it is our generation that will change US Foreign policy, it is our generation that will bring back a Palestinian State for the Palestinian people…” (Sarsour, blog post response to political columnist Ray Hanania’s post about extremist Arabs)
In other words, what she advocates is the replacement of the Jewish state with a Palestinian one.
To that end, Sarsour is a strong proponent of the venomous Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state— a campaign that is widely recognized as anti-Semitic in nature.
In addition to the BDS activists’ articulated goal of eliminating a Jewish state, their actions frequently demonstrate anti-Semitic motives rather than a quest for civil rights. Here are just a few of the numerous examples of how BDS activists have singled out Jews for bullying:
As part of its “Globe to Globe” festival in May 2012, London’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre invited companies from around the world to perform Shakespeare’s plays in their native languages. After the Palestinian Ashtar company performed Richard II in Arabic, BDS activists attempted to shut down the Israeli Habima company performance of The Merchant of Venice in Hebrew.
In August 2013, BDS activists protesting the performance of Israeli jazz musician Daniel Zamir at Johannesberg’s Wits University, chanted and sang out “Shoot the Jew.”
In August 2015, BDS activists in Spain pressured organizers of a music festival to exclude singer Matisyahu from performing unless he publicly denounced Israel and declared his support for a Palestinian state. The American performer, who was singled out solely because of his Jewish identity, refused to cooperate and his performance was canceled. But following fierce criticism by the international press, Spanish government and others of this overtly anti-Semitic action, organizers reinstated the Jewish singer’s participation in the festival. A Spanish court has now admitted a criminal complaint against the BDS activists, filed by an association of human rights lawyers fighting against anti-Semitism.
The German CDU party passed an anti-BDS resolution comparing it to the Nazi boycott of Jews in 1930’s Germany, noting that, “Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews. That is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism.”
In France, BDS is considered a hate crime; The French Supreme court upheld the anti-BDS Lellouche law that considers promoters of BDS guilty of anti-Jewish hate and discrimination.
In Canada, Ontario’s legislature rejected BDS, saying it promotes hatred against Israel. Similar anti-BDS legislation has been passed with bi-partisan support by nearly 20 U.S. states thus far, including Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and California. The legislators recognize BDS as “one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism and advocating the elimination of the Jewish state,” as Tennessee’s anti-BDS legislation explains. All 50 US State governors signed a condemnation of BDS as “incompatible with the values” of the U.S.
Yet, Linda Sarsour continues to defend, justify and promote BDS, characterizing it simply as a “free speech” issue.
Arab civil rights activist Linda Sarsour…says the proposed [anti-BDS] resolution violates the right to protest.
“Whatever happened to, ‘I don’t agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend your right to say it?'” said LInda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and a BDS supporter. (“Cops remove dozens from fierce City Council hearing over measure condemning movement to boycott Israel,” New York Daily News, Sept. 8, 2016)
Sarsour attacks US politicians who support Israel, in language evocative of conspiratorial anti-Semitism.
And when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sarsour encourages violence, glorifying a photo that encourages Palestinian children to attack Israelis.
It is not only children throwing stones whom Sarsour celebrates. She expressed her “honor” at sharing the stage at an anti-Israel event with convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh.
Sarsour embraces convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh at JVP event
A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group, Odeh was convicted by an Israeli military court for her role in terror attacks, including the 1969 attempted bombing of the British Consulate and the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in which two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, were murdered.
In 1970, Odeh was sentenced to life imprisonment by an Israeli military court, but was released in a prisoner exchange ten years later, and moved to Jordan. She subsequently immigrated to the U.S., concealing her past imprisonment and conviction. In 2014, the PFLP terrorist lost her U.S. citizenship after she was found guilty of immigration fraud by a U.S. court, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. But she appealed, alleging that her original signed confession of guilt in terrorist act was false, extracted through sexual abuse and torture by Israeli investigators, and that she was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when she lied on her U.S. immigration papers. Odeh was released on bail while a new trial was scheduled to take place in May 2017. Evidence for Odeh’s original conviction of the terrorist bombings, however, is not based solely on her signed confession but also on physical evidence of bomb-making materials in her home and testimony by her co-conspirator. In addition, her trial in Israeli military court was deemed fair by International Red Cross observers.
Unlike the first immigration fraud trial where evidence for Odeh’s role in the terrorist bombings was not relevant, the new trial was to hear the prosecutions’ position that Odeh’s excuse for lying on immigration papers – her proclamation of innocence and torture – is the issue in question, and would weigh the evidence to that effect. But shortly before the trial was to have taken place, Odeh agreed to a plea bargain whereby she would plead guilty to have knowingly lied on immigration papers, be stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported. (Law Professor William Jacobson has followed Odeh’s legal battles closely and has set out the details of the case in numerous entries on his blog. The Investigative Project has also examined the detailed facts in Rasmea Odeh’s case, showing how a terror convict became celebrated as a feminist victim.)
Sarsour supports and embraces Odeh and her modus operandi.
Like Odeh, Sarsour tries to garner support among liberals and innoculates herself from criticism by playing the victim card and attacking her critics as her persecutors.
Who is Linda Sarsour?
She is a woman who has two sets of standards.
She poses as a universal activist who embraces all marginalized people, but she excludes anyone whose views do not completely align with hers.
She is a white woman who poses as a woman of color, but she denies other white women the stage she seizes for herself.
She poses as a black feminist, but she refuses to fight for women’s rights in Muslim societies and tries to silence other black and Muslim feminists who expose oppression against women.
She poses as an opponent of anti-Semitism and a proponent of racial justice who fights for Palestinian national self-determination, but she denies Jews the same right.
She demands free speech for herself and for her BDS campaign, but shuts down the free speech of anyone who disagrees with her.
In summary, Linda Sarsour is a poseur who uses others to promote herself.
At the beginning of the month, it was reported that Bruce Duthu, a Professor who declared his support for BDS, had been appointed as an associate dean at Dartmouth. This lead to protests from within the university faculty, as well as a statement by CAMERA, in which we argued that the appointment is lending support to the view that “all people and views should be welcomed, unless they are Israeli.” CAMERA students at Dartmouth then met with Professor Duthu to challenge him on his support for BDS, and in response, he issued a vague letter explaining his position, in which he tepidly said that boycotts are “not helpful.” Gilad Skolnick, CAMERA’s Director of Campus Programming, called for a more forceful clarification, one which condemned “in no uncertain terms the rationale behind discriminating against the Jewish state and its intellectuals.”
Letter obtained by CAMERA from Dean of Faculty Bruce Duthu.
The pressure on Professor Duthu continued, until this week, when he sent an email to faculty, explaining that he was resigning from the position. CAMERA strongly supports this decision, and Fellow Josh Kauderer and Dartmouth for Israel issued an open letter to the college’s administration, praising the decision of Professor Duthu, but lamenting the fact he still has not denounced the hateful BDS campaign. However, the hard work of the students, supported by CAMERA, had succeeded in ensuring that someone who fought against academic freedom for Israelis could not be a Dean of Faculty at a leading American academic institution.
But Dartmouth students have also succeeded in bringing another story to national attention. Linda Sarsour, a highly controversial activist, spoke at Dartmouth, and one of DSI’s members, Zack Port, challenged her on her outrageous tweet calling for the whipping of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her response was ridiculous and racist; she implied that she may never have tweeted it (she did), she implied it was something stupid she did in her twenties as a college student (she was 31 at the time), and then said the student had no right to ask the question because he was white (an astoundingly racist view, held by a “liberal activist” no less.)
Palestinian and supposed women's rights activist Linda Sarsour (who says Zionists can't be feminists) made headlines for her violent and sexist tweet against female genital mutiliation (FGM) victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali. When a CAMERA on Campus student at Dartmouth asked her to explain her tweet, she evaded the question by attacking the student's race and gender. Expose Sarsour's hypocrisy – share!
Our students at Dartmouth should be congratulated for their efforts in standing up for Israel, challenging the support of BDS, and bringing to light the hateful views of speakers at their campus. And these events also should be an inspiration for campus activists nationwide; with planning and effort, students have the ability to bring real change, impacting important policies, and the views of people around the world.
Controversy emerged upon the discovery that Professor Bruce Duthu, nominated to be Dartmouth College’s Dean of Faculty, and currently serves as Associate Dean, had publicly supported an academic boycott of Israel. We worked with our students at Dartmouth, who met with Duthu, upon which he clarified his stance on BDS and academic boycotts. Less than two weeks later, yesterday Duthu announced that he is stepping down from his current position as associate dean and from the nomination for Dean of Faculty.
Professor Bruce Duthu
Gilad Skolnick, Director of Campus Programming for CAMERA, made the following statement in response to his resignation:
“Boycotting Israeli academia aims to alienate the world’s only Jewish nation. Professor Duthu’s association with boycotting Israel was deeply painful to Jewish students, who were saddened by his insensitivity and attacks on their heritage as an indigenous people. We’re thankful that Professor Duthu has decided to step down so that a more inclusive dean can be appointed.”
We are pleased with this result and will continue to work hard to ensure that Israel, Israel’s supporters, and Israelis are treated equally on campuses across the US.
Following our coverage on Tuesday of Professor Bruce Duthu, Dean of the Faculty at Dartmouth College, and his support for the BDS campaign, new details have emerged.
CAMERA’s students on the ground at Dartmouth met with Duthu himself, to confront him about his public support for the BDS campaign and his new position as Dean of Faculty. During the meeting, Duthu responded by claiming that he in fact does not support the BDS campaign, but rather has supported an academic boycott of Israel.
When our students challenged his support for an academic boycott of Israel, he agreed with our students that “academic boycotts are not helpful”.
After our students met with Duthu, he published the following letter in response:
Responding to these developments, Gilad Skolnick, CAMERA’s Director of Campus Programming, made the following statement:
“It is outrageous that the Dean of Faculty at Dartmouth would have supported an academic boycott of Israel. Professor Duthu should either publicly apologize for his past efforts to prevent Israeli academics from cooperating with Dartmouth Faculty, or he should resign immediately. It isn’t enough that he now conveniently acknowledges that boycotts are “not helpful.” Professor Duthu needs to condemn in no uncertain terms the rationale behind discriminating against the Jewish state and its intellectuals.”
Statement by Gilad Skolnick, Director of Campus Programming for CAMERA, on the appointment of Professor Bruce Duthu as Dean of Faculty at Dartmouth College:
“CAMERA calls on Professor Duthu to publicly retract his support for the BDS campaign, and in the event that he does not do this, calls on the Dartmouth College to retract his appointment. The BDS movement breaches the principle of academic freedom, and is in total contradiction to the values expressed by President Hanlon, who stated in January that “the engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experience is critical.” By his actions, President Hanlon is demonstrating that he believes all people and views should be welcomed, unless they are Israeli. Racism is built into the BDS campaign, which is run by radicals who wish to see the end of the state of Israel. This decision is a black stain on the long and proud history of Dartmouth College.”
Professor Bruce Duthu
BDS is a one-sided campaign of demonization, lead by radical Palestinians whose goal is the destruction of Israel. Hiding behind the cloak of human rights and justice, they single out the one free nation in the Middle East for condemnation, simplifying and warping a complex conflict, in order to demonize and harm the State of Israel.
One would assume that universities, whose aim are to spread knowledge, and protect academic freedom, would not be places that give any support to a movement which calls to boycott academics. But Dartmouth University has recently caused outrage by appointing a new dean who is an outspoken supporter of BDS.
Professor Bruce Duthu, a professor of Native American Law, who signed a declaration supporting BDS in 2013, has been appointed as the new Dean of Faculty. (Quite absurdly, the BDS declaration that he signed claims that the signatories are proud supporters of academic freedom, yet they then go on to call for a boycott of Israeli academics!)
“Dartmouth’s commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas, global research, and education manifests itself in dozens of partnerships and in international study and exchange programs. Our engagement with the full human diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences is critical—to both the strength of the Dartmouth community and the effectiveness of Dartmouth’s learning and leadership. We recognize, value, and celebrate the essential contributions of our international students and scholars.”
Yet now, the University has appointed a supporter of BDS as a dean. What happened to the engagement with a full range of perspectives and backgrounds? Does the President no longer believe that international scholars are important? Are we meant to understand that Dartmouth will “recognize, value and celebrate” the essential contributions of absolutely everyone, except for Israelis?
This is simply untenable. The BDS campaign is a sham, lead by radicals, which stands for the exact opposite of what a university stands for. Either Professor Duthu should publicly pull his support from such a movement, or he should de facto be considered ineligible for the role of Dean of Faculty.
Sometimes we have to report about the worst of anti-Israel activity. Here is a statement from Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel, at California State University, Long Beach.
“Today my campus disappointed me, it shamed me. Our student ASI voted to advance the most hateful, divisive, discriminatory, anti-Semitic piece of legislation that I have ever had the misfortune to see on this campus. I sat on the senate. During my tenure as a senator I fought endlessly to represent all of my constituents, not just a minority. I fought to make sure that everyone of my students rights were protected and validated. Today the senate decided that only Palestinian students on campus are entitled to human rights. Jewish students, Israeli students, and Middle-Eastern LGBTQ+ students, who all depend on Israel to walk free, were long story short, found not to be equally protected by our ASI.
Jewish students and their supporters gathered and spoke, passionately and from the soul, in the 45 and 30 second increments that they were allotted to speak, valiantly trying to explain their human worth. The student Senate was not swayed. When the resolution denigrating Israeli and Jewish students was forwarded, sobs echoed from the walls. This is the point when I have to point out that human rights matter. Everyone’s human rights matter. No one’s rights supersede anyone else’s. There was a bipartisan, non-divisive way that the Senate could have gone about this resolution today. The Palestinian students that comprise a large swath of the Senate had no intention of passing a resolution that didn’t target the Jewish students. They wasted no time in targeting them after the vote either.
Gathered outside, one Palestinian supporter told a Jewish girl with tears streaming down her face, that he didn’t talk to terrorists. Then some thirty of them gathered on the stairs and proceeded to chant, “Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar, Allah al-Akbar.” This resolution was not about human rights. This was part of long running concerted effort on university campuses to incite anti-Semitism and delegitimize the State of Israel. Never have I been so ashamed as a student at this school. Never have I, a Jewish student, ever felt so targeted. “
49ers for Israel with their peace bridge on campus following CSULB senate introducing a resolution to divest money from Israel, the Jewish Homeland. On the previous day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a group of students erected a wall on campus calling for the destruction of Israel.
Kelsey also wrote this opinion piece prior to the BDS vote passing and subsequent discrimination on campus in the Cal State campus newspaper, the Daily 49er:
From a former senator to a current position holder
As a Cal State Long Beach senior, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact our university has had on us, and in turn, what kind of impact we’ve made on the university. I leave this place with incredible memories: the good, the bad, and the many lessons along the way.
I gained a wealth of knowledge here at CSULB, thanks to my acting and political science classes, learning and sharing experiences in Jewish life, and representing my fellow classmates on our student senate. Being a student senator was one of my most memorable experiences during my time here.
This all might sound strangely familiar to you. That’s because this controversial and divisive issue was already debated on our campus, during the spring of last year. Last spring, wiser heads prevailed and the resolution was amended to protect marginalized people, no matter their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
So why, when this debate has already been had, are we discussing it again just a year later? Why does the resolution only target Israel when it purports to be about universal human rights? Why are there no mentions of the atrocities in Russia, Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia? Why are there no demands to boycott, divest from, and sanction companies that prop up dictatorial regimes around the world?
If the sentiment of those bringing this motion forward was sincere, they’d have included in this debate the countless atrocities happening around the world. But they did not. And it reveals their true intentions: a veiled assault on the very right for Israel to exist wrapped up under the guise of universal human rights.
Furthermore, not only is this proposal a repeat of last year’s debate, it’s a waste of time and resources, which could be dedicated to things that directly impact student life on campus. Our student representatives could be working to address rising parking costs, tuition increases, the lack of healthy and affordable food options, our insufficient mental health services, and more. These are the issues that affect our student body, and these are the issues they should be focused on.
CSULB prides itself on being a diverse and inclusive community. This divestment resolution is counterproductive to fostering those values. BDS is extremely divisive, and it incites anti-Jewish sentiments, which we’ve already seen on our campus. This resolution marginalizes and targets Jewish, Israeli, and pro-Israel students, which is not something our campus should tolerate. I’m grateful President Conoley condemns this hostile resolution, which makes me, a Jewish, Pro-Israel student feel targeted.
I hope that my fellow students and representatives see that this proposal is nothing but an effort to delegitimize the State of Israel. These continued attempts to boycott Israel are divisive on campus and counterproductive to any lasting peace in the Middle East. It also incites anti-Jewish sentiments on campus. BDS has no place on our campus. I hope that everyone can see through this veiled attack against Israel and question why we’re rehashing the same debate we had one year ago.
BDS simply has no place on our campus. This resolution has sparked a divisive and hostile debate from social media all the way to the senate floor. While it is comforting to see President Conoley standing up for our community, I sincerely hope that our student representatives will do the same.”
This article was originally published in the Daily 49er, the campus newspaper of CSULB.
Contributed by Kelsey Kimmes, President of CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel at California State University, Long Beach
I love Israel, and I am not ashamed. I love Israel because I believe that the Jewish people, like all peoples, have the right to self-determination. I love Israel because after millennia of persecution, it provides Jews a much needed place of refuge. I love Israel because I am an atheist Jew who feels a profound connection to the Jewish people’s historic homeland, from which my people were expelled by the Romans.
My love of Israel does not prevent me from admitting that it has faults. Just as I consider it a false notion that American patriotism means enthusiastic flag waving and blind acceptance of every action our country takes, I believe the narrative that a pro-Israel stance must mean supporting all Israeli policy is every bit as unreasonable. Just as I firmly disagree with many policies of the current American government, I am not a proponent of the Netanyahu administration, and I am strongly against settlement expansion in the West Bank. Despite the fact that the 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel are among the freest Arabs in the Middle East, many suffer discrimination by their fellow Israeli citizens, and work must be done to rectify these injustices. Despite the fact that the majority of the non-Israeli Palestinians in the West Bank live under their own Palestinian administrative control, they do live difficult lives, in part because of Israeli security measures, and there ought to be a collective effort to improve their conditions.
In Gaza, however, Palestinians live under the brutal government of Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by both the US and EU. Unfortunately, after Israel uprooted eight thousand settlers in its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas, which actually calls for the genocide of Jews in its charter, rose to power. Hamas has repeatedly orchestrated suicide bombings against Israeli citizens, and since its takeover of Gaza, has periodically launched rockets from the Gaza Strip toward civilians. Many Israelis desperately want peace, but they are mortally afraid that a withdrawal from the West Bank would soon lead to Hamas control of the area, leaving Israel – 9 miles wide at its narrowest point and with its largest city, Jerusalem, directly adjacent to the West Bank – extremely vulnerable to further attacks.
Supporters of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to economically isolate Israel, frequently frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a straightforward case of power dynamics. In focusing primarily on Israel’s current strength while largely overlooking the historic vulnerability of the Jewish people and the dangerous threats Israel continues to face, they turn an exceedingly complex situation into a unilateral condemnation of one side. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has no easy answers, and oversimplifications only serve to discourage nuanced dialogue and decrease sympathy on both sides.
One of the most troubling examples of this concerning rhetorical trend is “Israeli Apartheid Week,” which was held at Haverford this past week and occurs annually on campuses across the world. During these events, organizations that support BDS attempt to sell students a narrative replete with distortions. The very title of this week slanders Israel while ignoring the thoroughly invalidating fact that Palestinian citizens of Israel have equal voting rights in the State of Israel and hold one seventh of the seats in the Israeli Parliament. The title additionally conflates occupation with apartheid in the West Bank. Even Richard Goldstone, a South African former chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals who has written highly critically of Israel, explained that the situation in the West Bank lacks the characteristics that defined South African Apartheid, as “there is no intent to maintain ‘an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.’” Goldstone’s assertion is bolstered by the fact that Israel has offered peace treaty propositions to withdraw from virtually all of the West Bank in both 2000 and 2008. To be clear, I disagree with much of Israeli policy in the West Bank, but the situation just does not amount to apartheid. BDS proponents also generally ignore that the occupation arose in direct response to Jordan’s war against Israel in 1967.
Israel’s Knesset has more democratically elected Arabs than Saudi Arabia
The platform for the international parent organization of Israeli Apartheid Week claims that “Palestinian citizens of Israel are barred from controlling and developing over 90% of the land,” a malicious distortion that omits the essential fact that most land in Israel is owned by the government. The Israel Land Administration leases rather than sells land in the state of Israel, and does so to both Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Apparently holding a lease for land does not constitute “control.” If we follow this logic, Israeli Jewish citizens are also “barred from controlling and developing” the same 90% of land. The platform also laments that Jews can automatically become citizens of Israel, entirely ignoring the murderous treatment Jews have endured periodically throughout the centuries that makes this Law of Return so necessary. Further, this law is not without precedent, as similar rules allowing ethnic groups to become citizens of their respective people’s countries have been adopted by at least 22 other countries. Additionally, BDS supporters often frame the conflict as between white European Israelis and Palestinians of color, overlooking that more than half of Israeli Jews are direct descendants from the Middle East and North Africa (15).
On many campuses, BDS supporters put up a “wall” to symbolize the security barrier Israel built to prevent terrorist attacks, without mentioning that it was erected in direct response to the murder of more than 700 Israeli civilians. They disregard the 800,000 Jews who became refugees from Arab countries after the 1948 War, and instead demand the return of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, omitting facts about these refugees that are crucial to understanding the situation. The majority of the Palestinian refugee population of 750,000 was created in 1948 after the Arabs rejected the existence of a Jewish state alongside a state of Palestine, and instead waged a war against the Jews. Palestinian refugees are the only group in the world who have their UN refugee status passed down through generations by blood. As a result of this unique designation, the original 750,000 Palestinian refugees have grown into a current population of more than five million, roughly 60 percent as large as Israel’s 8.6 million population.
Almost a million Jews became refugees from Arab lands
The narrative that these groups espouse is but one perspective. We should certainly look critically at all sides of a story, and many of the arguments that BDS proponents present are fueled by a myriad of factual distortions. Although they pin the blame for the Palestinians’ situation almost entirely on Israel, much of it unfortunately lies at the feet of Palestinian leaders whose rejectionism, incompetence, and corruption has irrefutably increased their people’s misery. Indeed, Palestinians living in the West Bank should have the right to vote for their own government in the Palestinian Authority, and are only prevented from doing so because their President, Mahmoud Abbas, is inexplicably in the 13th year of his 4-year term. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority government provides the school textbooks in the West Bank, and many of these books erase Israel from the map, replacing it with Palestine. By indoctrinating the next generation of Palestinians, the government ensures that future Palestinian leaders will feel entitled to nothing less than all of Israel and continue to systematically reject every Israeli peace offer.
I am not ashamed of my love for Israel, although BDS supporters frequently paint a misleading picture that makes this view seem impossible to reconcile with morality. Israel may fall short of the unachievable standards these groups hold it to, but it has long been an oasis of freedom in a very troubled part of the world. I am not ashamed to love a country that has endured and persevered in spite of being repeatedly attacked since its establishment. Despite its current status as a powerful nation, had Israel not emerged victorious from wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973, it would have been destroyed. I am not ashamed to love a country that protects the Jewish people in a world where history has shown time and time again that other countries are utterly incapable of doing so. I love Israel, and I am not ashamed.
The film, “Hate Spaces” extends beyond its immediate subject matter. Although at its core, it speaks to the evils of anti-Semitic fervor that plague college campuses around the nation, the film addresses larger issues about intolerance in this country. Just shy of two hours, “Hate Spaces” is a film about the truth and complexities of American culture, and the forces that promote intolerance under the banner of human rights and equality for all.
College campuses across North America are infused with political rhetoric that is purposefully antagonistic. When it comes to protesting Israel’s right to exist, it is often common for students to shout, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!” along with “Intifada, Intifada.” It’s place in the film is not to scare those who attend universities, but rather to illuminate a problem that has become systemic.
The beginning of the film presents a short but concise history of American higher education, why it was founded, along with its methods of inclusion and attention on diversity and multiculturalism beginning in the 1960s and 70s. The film then breaks down the inner workings of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organizations with -hundreds of chapters spread across the United States. Each SJP chapter is different in both tone and action, with some more radical than others. But all of them subscribe to the false and demonizing notion that Israel is a colonial apartheid state and that Zionism is equivalent to racism.
Through this film it becomes abundantly clear how the motives of students in SJP are not so much about protecting Palestinian human rights, as they are demonizing the Jewish people. The SJP chapter at my university, UMass-Amherst, operates in a similar fashion, During our Million Student March, a nation-wide protest championing progressive causes, the megaphone was handed to a board member of SJP where he called for an end to the occupation of all Palestinian territories, demanded that Palestinians in Israel no longer be treated as third-class citizens, allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, and called on UMass to boycott all Israeli products. Before I go further, it should be noted that the Million Student March was in reference to tuition fees. This begs the question: why was Israel and the Palestinian conflict even being mentioned, regardless of where ones opinions lie on the subject? Did those who partook in the march do so to advocate for BDS, or to advocate for lower tuition fees?
Radical students hijack different rallies to condemn Israel. There were cases of this at rallies protesting Donald Trump’s election.
Putting aside that there is no other organization with the global mission of enforcing an international boycott of another country, Israel remains the exception to that rule. Furthermore, it is clear that the boycott the UMass SJP chapter aligns itself with is in no way concerned with the plight of the Palestinian people.
Organizations like SJP thrive on the notion of safe spaces, and on the beliefs of equality and multiculturalism. However, it is clear that their attacks of Israel are nothing more than attacks against Jews and a front for hiding anti-Semitic thought. One example of this took place at Vassar college where its SJP chapter handed out Nazi propaganda in a further effort to expose, “the alleged pervasiveness of Zionism in the halls of power.” On college campuses from coast to coast whether it be UC Berkeley or Northeastern students come together in solidarity against the Jewish state. No one learns anything about what it means to be a Palestinian, whether it be religious, cultural or ethnic. It is entirely about expressing supposed love for a people while uniting to hate another. A lot of this has to do with moral narcissism; something that occurs when one hides under the banner of tolerance in a further effort to spread intolerance. By taking advantage of racial and ethnic diversity programs at colleges and universities, as the film argues, students have employed safe spaces as a defense mechanism. The logic goes; how can anyone call an opinion intolerant if you present yourself as an activist who fights for equality?
“Hate Spaces” illuminates an unfortunate reality that has never gotten the attention it deserves. Antisemitism is alive and well in the United States. It is up to students and parents, but more importantly academic institutions, to stand up for all people against prejudice.
The event “Parallels: South African Apartheid and Occupied Palestine” open to the public at Hunter College this past November and hosted by the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (PSA) was a failed attempt to connect the struggles between present-day Palestinians and Black South African residents in the 1960s. By bringing in Bonita Bennett, Director of the District Six Museum of Cape Town, the PSA strained to pair the forced eviction of residents of the multi-cultural District Six for white South Africans in 1966 to what PSA at Hunter founder and president, Rani Allan, calls the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from their homeland.
While Bennett asserted, in discussing the forced evictions in District Six, that the “time was very different,” Allan as facilitator still sought to promote the BDS campaign as a means of combating Palestinian poverty and oppression. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aims to pressure Israel to stop its perceived mistreatment of the Palestinians, by putting economic pressure on the country. He had to acknowledge the obvious faults in his reasoning, like the fact that BDS hurts the Palestinians more than it helps them and that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Still Allan maintained, speaking on behalf of the Palestinians no less, that this is the “price they must pay to pursue freedom” in the long run.
Israel’s 1.8 million Arab citizens all vote in free in fair elections – the only Arabs in the Middle East to do so
The parallels to the destruction of District Six were a stretch at best. The integrated community of Blacks, Jews and Hindus in Cape Town’s District Six was culturally demolished to make it “Whites-Only,” driving out minorities such as Blacks, Jews and Hindus. Transitioning to the context of Israel, Israel was carved out for refugees, not a select group of Jews whose government represents them and who had other spaces to live freely. In fact, countless Israeli cities, today, have mixed Muslim, Jewish and Christian populations such as Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Acre, Lod and others.
Additionally, the oppressive apartheid South African government of the late twentieth century had not a single representative of the Black community. Not only are there Arab-Israelis present in the Knesset today, but Palestinians have their own governing body, the Palestinian Authority, which Allan wrongly asserts was “imposed on [the Palestinian people].” This was also his response when asked why activists don’t try to invest in the Palestinian people as opposed to divest in Israel. Granted, while representatives of the Palestinian Authority are elected by Palestinians, those Palestinian officials have since delayed or canceled subsequent elections.
Israel prizes its diversity, but BDS prefers hatred and divisiveness
During the South African apartheid, boycotts were effectively used to pressure the government into dismantling the apartheid state. Since Israel is not an apartheid state, BDS is not exposing a double standard but doubly attacking both Palestinians and Israelis. In what apartheid state would “the oppressed” work side by side with Israelis and hold some of the highest offices in the state? The “Parallels: South African Apartheid and Occupied Palestine” event expressed not parallels but divides between old South Africa and present-day Palestinian territories.