Tag Archives: SJP

Jewish Student Leader Demands City College of New York Administration Take Action Against SJP After Disruption of Event With Top Israeli Diplomat

This article was originally published on May 15th.

A Jewish student leader at the City College of New York (CCNY) has called on school administrators to take disciplinary action against anti-Israel protesters after an event last Thursday featuring a prominent Israeli government official “devolved into shouting and screaming.”

Yossi Hertz — the co-founder of the college’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), which co-sponsored the program with CCNY’s Chabad, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) on Campus and the Zionist Organization of America — told The Algemeiner on Monday that members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were responsible for ongoing disruptions during a question-and-answer period with Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan, which followed a lecture by the diplomat on the Jewish state’s international relations.

Israeli Consulate Dani Dayan

In footage of the event, Dayan is seen being repeatedly heckled and interrupted while replying to questions from the audience — including responding to charges that Israel has murdered children in Gaza — before dozens of individuals break into chants of “free, free Palestine,” with one holding a Palestinian flag, toward the end of the program. Students from both sides were drawn into heated exchanges, some of which Hertz said threatened to escalate into violence.

Hertz alleged that the school’s student government president, Safat Chowdhury, was personally involved in the disruptions, an act which he said “violates the president’s office.”

He is now demanding that SJP be reprimanded and that Chowdhury — recently voted into office in an election that, according to CCNY Campus Magazine, included multiple reports of voter fraud — be removed from his position.

“The next morning [after the event], we met with the vice president of student affairs [Juana Reina] to file an official complaint that an event with a foreign dignitary, that had been planned according to everything on the books, was deliberately disrupted by members of SJP,” Hertz said. “They yelled antisemitic slurs and made disturbing references to the Holocaust. When we got to the office of student affairs, we heard that SJP had gone the night before and claimed they had been silenced [by us].”

Hertz vigorously rejected that charge, and said that “if CCNY would live up to its own standards of safeguarding an open forum of ideas on campus, known as the Henderson Rules, it is common sense that there should be consequences for SJP and [Chowdhury].”

Neither SJP nor Chowdhury responded to The Algemeiner‘s requests for comment.

The administration has scheduled a meeting with SSI, SJP and CCNY Interim President Vincent Boudreau for later this week, with the hope of “encouraging open dialogue,” according to a university official.

But Hertz said, “I have no idea what we’ll be doing or what the point is in sitting down with a group that completely delegitimizes you, a group that doesn’t want to have a free exchange of ideas.”

He also claimed CCNY’s SJP “has a policy of anti-normalization, like SJPs across the country — so it won’t deal with us under normal circumstances, but pretends to when the administration is watching.” Hertz said SJP members have repeatedly turned down SSI overtures “to sit down for coffee and talk about these issues.”

SJP at Vassar College sold this T Shirt justifying the actions of terrorist, Leila Khalid

A university official said the administration — which has an ongoing investigation into the night’s events — was “not aware” of an SJP anti-normalization policy.

In a letter sent out to the campus community on Friday, posted on Facebook by SSI, Boudreau wrote that universities must “thread a narrow line between providing a forum for academic freedom and shutting down actual hate speech.”

Boudreau went on to provide an example of on-campus Islamophobic hate speech and noted that Dayan was “a well-known advocate of expanding Israeli settlements in the contested territories, a position that generates great opposition and anger among some in our community,” before stating that the “extremely heated argument[s]” that arose from Dayan’s appearance “were unruly and ugly.” He added that complaints of both “anti-Semitism and anti-Palestinian speech acts” have been raised, and that he was now “trying to decide what was in bounds and what was not.”

Gilad Skolnick, CAMERA’s director of campus programming, called on the administration to identify SJP as a “hate group that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, that [has] regularly spoken out in defense of terrorists and defended terrorism.”

“If the administration truly cares about creating an atmosphere that is tolerant and welcoming to pro-Israel thought and students, they would sanction this group,” Skolnick said. “This is not a free speech issue, this is an issue of making sure Jewish students are comfortable on campus. If an event was disrupted by a KKK-affiliated group, the reaction would surely be different.”

Dayan told The Algemeiner: “Last week’s incident was just one example of Jewish students on campus being exposed to harassment and intimidation by BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] thugs. College administrations are not doing enough to ensure a student can safely exercise his or her right to assert their Jewish identity, including their love for the Jewish national homeland.”

“It is my intention to redouble the efforts of the consulate to raise this problem with senior academic leadership and to empower pro-Israel students on campus to stand up for their rights,” Dayan continued.

This was the second SSI chapter to have an event disrupted by anti-Israel protesters — again, allegedly, by SJP members — last week, with University of California-Irvine students calling campus police to escort them safely from a program featuring IDF reservists, after tens of protesters filled the room and the corridor to the main exit.

Ilan Sinelnikov, founder of the national SSI movement, said the organization is considering strategies to respond to disruptions of its programming.

Originally published in the Algemeiner

Time to Hold SJP Accountable

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, 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 in the long-term nothing changed.

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.  

Contributed by Katrin Gendova, Midwest Campus Coordinator for CAMERA

Campus Activity Over Passover – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Passover has just come to an end, and over the course of the Jewish holiday, a lot happened on campus. Over the past week, you may have missed the good, bad and ugly news.

The Good – Harvard University

At Harvard University, the planned Israel Apartheid Week was a major failure. The CAMERA-supported group HLS Alliance for Israel had been working hard to counter the planned IAW events, and in the end, the organizers of IAW brought themselves down. They undertook a very offensive exercise in which they distributed “eviction notices” to students around campus, telling them that a resident of their dorm has been “indefinitely detained” by the “Harvard Special Investigations Unit.”

Their publicity stunt caused real offense and harm to many students on campus who actually had experienced the deportations of loved ones. The organizers put out an apology to those offended, but almost all of the partner organizations who had initially offered co-sponsorship for Israel Apartheid Week pulled their support, and it was a total failure. (The story was also picked up by national news networks.) The desire of the anti-Israel campaign to demonize Israel backfired on the demonizers. It seems that justice was done as the organizers had planned for the IAW events to take place in the middle of Passover, making them all the more anti-Semitic.

The notices given out to Harvard students

The Bad – UMass Amherst

However, there were other events organized by Israel Apartheid Week. At University of Massachusetts Amherst, an “apartheid wall” was erected by Students for Justice in Palestine, used to draw attention to the security wall Israel built following the terrorist attacks of the Second Intifada. Naturally, the organizers did not educate visitors about the 1,100 Israelis killed in the Intifada, only trying to demonize Israel for taking steps to protect its people, inaccurately labeling it an apartheid wall. Ironically, the wall was set up on the same day that CAMERA-supported group SAFI organized an Israeli Latino Dance Night – because nothing says “Israeli apartheid” more than the pro-Israel group on campus joining together with another minority group. All the SJP has to offer is blind hatred, in the face of displays of unity from the pro-Israel side.

The Ugly – Tufts University and Concordia University

But there were two really horrible steps taken by the anti-Israel groups on campus over Passover, which cut through the narrative of “social justice” and exposed their true face as radicals full of hatred.

A BDS vote was organized at the last minute at Tufts University, and scheduled for the night before Passover, when many of the Jewish students would be away, and thus unable to campaign. In typically underhand fashion, by preventing dialogue and debate, the SJP managed to achieve a pro-BDS vote at Tufts. Absurdly, the resolution called for the university to provide civic engagement – this from the people who had just denied the Jews on campus the ability to speak in a debate.

And at Concordia University, the anti-Israel groups tried to hijack and appropriate the Jewish holiday itself for their own political cause. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at Concordia organized an anti-Israel event during the festival where they ate “Hillel sandwiches,” a traditional Passover food, and discussed potential replacements to the traditional Passover phrase “Next Year in Jerusalem.” This is cultural appropriation and anti-Semitism at its very worst.

How dare a group of activists discuss how to change ancient Jewish liturgy for the sake of their political beliefs? The lack of sensitivity to Jewish tradition, and the callousness of the event, reveals the true hatred that underlies the anti-Israel campaign. When you put a Palestinian flag on a picture of Jewish food, you are saying that your affiliation with the Palestinians means you have no regard whatsoever for the Jewish people or their traditions – they are just playthings for your publicity stunts.

The poster for the “Passover against Apartheid” event. (Credit to Hasbara Fellow Eden Moalem)

However, there was some silver lining to these ugly stories. At Tufts University, elections were held a few days later for next year’s student senate. Ben Shapiro, a student who was helped by CAMERA in trying to stop the BDS vote, contacted all those running for the senate, to get a statement from them about Israel, the peace process, and the BDS vote. Those statements were then emailed to all the pro-Israel students, so they could make an informed decision about who to vote for, and to ensure that the senate candidates who supported the underhanded BDS vote would not get the chance to do it again.

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern.

“Hate Spaces” Film Review

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.

Contributed by Isaac Simon, CAMERA Fellow at University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Students for Justice in Palestine Linked to Terrorist Affiliate

Anti-Semitism is on the rise at college campuses. From January to June 2016, 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred on 64 campuses, an increase of 45% since the year before. Unfortunately, Stanford is no exception to this ugly trend. In Spring 2016, during an ASSU meeting, Senator Gabriel Knight spoke of “Jews controlling the media, economy, government and other societal institutions.” Disgusting centuries-old stereotypes have entered discourse at the Farm [Stanford].

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, and will always be, divisive. Stanford students should have the right to express their opinions on either side of the issue. But one thing is clear: no student group should receive support from, or be linked to terrorism or violent actors. Support for physical aggression is unacceptable.

So Stanford should be horrified by recent revelations that chapters of the national organization Students for Justice in Palestine are coordinating with an affiliate of Hamas.

Last year, congressional testimony revealed SJP’s strong ties to American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Several members of AMP were formerly members of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which was dissolved after it was discovered in 2005 that the organization sent $12.4 million to Hamas. Following the dissolution of the HLF, several of the HLF’s Hamas financiers moved to AMP, which was founded in 2005.

As they have taken new positions with AMP, the Hamas-linked former members of the HLF have maintained their terrorist ties: a number of terrorist-affiliated individuals and entities appear on the AMP’s donor list. AMP is thus essentially operating as a Hamas front group here in the United States.

Alarmingly, AMP is also active on campuses throughout our country. AMP is a major source of funding and support for SJP: in 2014, it put $100,000 into campus efforts, and it routinely provides SJP with speakers, training, funds, and printed materials. Moreover, the testimony revealed that AMP “even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job it is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS groups across the country.” SJP’s close association with AMP, whose members are tied to terrorists, is sickening.

By collaborating with such an organization, SJP has essentially become another front group for Hamas, aiding its legitimacy by receiving funds and support from its affiliate, AMP. The BDS movement that SJP represents is, in the words of Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick, “part and parcel of the jihadist war against Israel whose goal is its annihilation.”

SJP at Vassar College sold this T Shirt justifying the actions of a terrorist, Leila Khalid

Hamas is evil, pure and simple. They are a genocidal terrorist organization that launches rockets into Israel, targets Israeli civilians through bombings, uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and inspires Palestinians to kidnap and stab Israelis. They threaten the basic peace, safety, and well-being of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

It is incontrovertible that Stanford students should not fund the acts of terrorists and war criminals. Stanford’s SJP receives ASSU standard grants, meaning that students’ tuition dollars may be funding a group with terrorist ties. That possibility is intolerable.

Congressional testimony has shown that SJP groups on campuses across our country have demonstrable ties to AMP, and therefore, to Hamas. The ASSU must take serious steps to investigate the full extent of SJP’s sources of external support. Until that day, Stanford should not let Students for Justice in Palestine operate on our campus, use our buildings, or spend our students’ money.

Contributed by John Rice-Cameron, originally published at the Stanford Review

Jewish Voice for Peace To Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist

Editor’s note: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in an organization that plays a significant role in stirring up anti-Israel rhetoric. JVP supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, supports Students for Justice in Palestine events including Israel Apartheid Week, and calls for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.

Jewish Voice for Peace, the misnamed anti-Israel organization, will be hosting a convicted Palestinian terrorist at its upcoming conference in Chicago on March 31 to April 2, 2017.

Rasmea Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group will be a featured speaker at the event, according to an Algemeiner report by Lea Spyer (“Jewish Voice for Peace to Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist at Upcoming National Conference,” Feb. 6, 2017).

Convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

Odeh will be speaking, along with three other speakers, during a workshop titled “All In!” In addition to Odeh, another panelist at the JVP conference is Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel speaker who, among other things, has called to remove the vaginas of her female critics (“#WomensMarch Co-Chair Linda Sarour’s Twitter attack on victim of female genital mutilation,” Legal Insurrection, Jan. 27, 2016).

Odeh was convicted for her role in two terrorist attacks: In 1969, she set up explosives in a grocery store, murdering two Hebrew University students and wounding nine others. Four days later, she set up explosives targeting the British consulate. In 1970 she was sentenced to life in an Israeli prison for her crimes, only to be freed in a prisoner swap ten years later.

The Anti-Defamation League has described JVP as the “most influential anti-Zionist group in the United States.” ADL has asserted that JVP’s role in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort is to provide the movement with a “veneer of legitimacy” and camouflage against identification as antisemitic.

Despite ADL’s apt characterization, JVP is often misleadingly described as a “left-leaning” or “progressive” Jewish group by many major U.S. news outlets. As CAMERA has noted, JVP has often been given Op-Ed space by The Washington Post, The Hill, and others (“Jewish Voice for Peace Repeats anti-Israel Clichés; Post Provides a Platform,” June 29, 2016).

Members of JVP support a boycott of Israel.

Similarly, Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Jan. 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C.,” has been feted by journalists who often fail to disclose her history of inflammatory statements, including accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and dismissing reports of al-Qaeda terror attacks as conspiracy theories (see, for example “CAMERA Rebuts Zogby Op-Ed in The Hill,” Aug. 27, 2015).

A Jan. 23, 2017 article in Elle Magazine, for instance, claimed that “conservative news sites” and “Islamophobes” were attacking Sarsour for her role in organizing the women’s march. However, the article by Mattie Kahn failed to note Sarsour’s decidedly anti-feminist, anti-human rights exhortations.

It remains to be seen if future news reports treating JVP as a credible source will inform readers of the group’s associations and advocates.

Originally published at CAMERA.org

Enough is Enough

How Inclusive are Our Universities?

What do you consider to be hateful behavior?

Using ethnic and/or religious slurs?

Intimidating students who do not agree with you to such a degree that they are afraid to attend classes or feel the need to transfer to a different university?

Creating videos that distort a particular ethnic group so much that they look like monsters?

Supporting a violent campaign that has murdered hundreds of innocent men, women, elderly, and children from various ethnic groups?

Sharing Nazi propaganda on your student organization’s website?

Selling shirts on campus with a terrorist emblazoned on them?

Hijacking every liberal cause on campus to target one ethnic group?

If you’ve answered yes to any or all of the above questions, then you shouldn’t be surprised with what you will read next. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a hate group. All of the above has been orchestrated on US campuses by SJP or by their affiliated organizations.

What does this mean? Does it mean that every member of SJP is a hateful extremist? No. Does it mean that every organization that sponsors an event with SJP or co-signs a petition with SJP is also a hate group? No.

What it does mean is that every university that permits an SJP chapter to register as a recognized student organization on campus is abetting hate speech. It means that every organization that sponsors an event with SJP or co-signs a petition with them is legitimizing their hateful messages. Every professor who serves as their faculty advisor, officially permitting SJP to conduct and spread their hateful rhetoric on campus, is completely responsible for the manipulation of these naïve students who join SJP thinking they are fighting for a just cause and against hate.

SJP at Vassar College sold this T Shirt justifying the actions of a terrorist, Leila Khalid

At the university level, we might assume that students are receiving information from various sources. That their professors are guiding them to ask the right questions, to blindly follow no one, and to try their best to get an even-handed account on all issues that matter to them by looking to different perspectives.

That is not happening.

Instead, professors on campus are taking advantage of their doe-eyed, impressionable students, who look to them as their omnipotent mentors. With social media and Google filtering content only to items that interest people, and with most millennials following only those who share the some opinion on Facebook or Twitter, it is almost absurd to think that university students are getting the type of college education where all voices are heard and considered.

One result of this is a spike in campus anti-Semitism.

At Brown University, Janet Mock, a trans-gender, black, native Haiwaan activist was pressured to cancel her event because the Hillel, a Jewish institute, was sponsoring her talk.

Stanford alumna Molly Horwitz did not receive a bid for Student Senate from the Students of Color Association because she was Jewish and those interviewing her suspected that she may have dual loyalty.

At UC Santa Cruz, Daniel Bernstein was accused of a having a partisan position because he was elected by the “Jewish agenda” to the Student Government and thus could not vote fairly on a BDS petition.

Daniel Bernstein, who was recently accused of being part of a “Jewish agenda”

Recently, after a class at UC Berkeley was suspended for a short period of time due to its extreme bias on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the campus saw an outbreak of anti-Jewish literature.

These cases spark many questions.

Will you, social warriors, who scream against cultural appropriation on campus, come to the defense of your Jewish classmates? Will those who chant for lower tuition fees stamp out anti-Semitic claims that Jews or Zionists are the reason for the high costs? For the feminists, will you jump to the side of the future Rachel Beydases and Molly Horowitzes whom you have left behind? Those who fight Islamophobia, will you also protest until the anti-Semites are kicked off campus? Those who fight night and day for LGBQT rights, will you support the only country in the Middle East where gays feel safe?

Lastly, those of you, who honestly want to help find a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, will you denounce those who support the murder of innocents or will you continue to trample on those who speak for the peace of all people: Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs and Jews?

Originally published in Israel Hayom

Contributed by Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director at CAMERA

SJP and Trump at George Washington University

Noa Levin, 2016-17 CAMERA Fellow

Noa Levin, 2016-17 CAMERA Fellow

Passing by Kogan Plaza during the anti-Trump rally held November 15th, I was struck for the first time with the feeling that I may not be safe at GW. At a rally supposedly about love for one another, I was shocked to hear anti-Semitic rhetoric, hate, and demonization coming from my peers. The list of demands protesters presented to GW administration included a call for divestment from Israeli companies due to “colonialism and apartheid in Palestine” and “escalating state-sanctioned genocide.” While the demands included a statement urging protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitic behavior, this is proven insincere by the intrinsic anti-Semitism in the document.

Among the list’s sponsors was Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is known for co-opting rallies around the country for the purpose of promoting their hateful anti-Israel message. SJP has been active at GW in the past; in February, a campaign and event were organized to teach participants how to boycott Sabra Hummus. This past October, SJP held a general body meeting promoting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS involves boycotting Israeli products, urging the withdrawal of investments from Israeli companies, and pushing governments to impose sanctions on Israel. BDS is nothing more than a tactic to vilify Israel, and in fact coincides with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. In reality, SJP and other BDS proponents are usually blind to the fact that economically destroying Israel hurts the very populations they want to save. As Bassem Eid, Palestinian activist, wrote for The Washington Institute:

“Israelis continue to come to the West Bank to do business, and most Palestinians continue to buy Israeli goods. Indeed, if you ask Palestinians what they want, they’ll tell you they want jobs, secure education, and health. And the people who are failing them in this regard are their own leaders: Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in Gaza. The focus of PA leaders is on enriching themselves and their families, rather than serving the interests of the Palestinians.”

Why does SJP neglect to condemn this corruption? Acknowledging the reality of everyday Palestinian life is essential to helping them.

Politics aside, how is this related to an anti-Trump protest? Unfortunately, it is nothing new to see anti-Israel activists take over unrelated rallies. SJP at CUNY colleges hijacked the Million Student March, blaming “the Zionist [CUNY] administration” for tuition hikes, and Jewish students were called names I refuse to repeat. How is this productive? How does this maintain the safety of all students?

The rally against Donald Trump at GWU

The rally against Donald Trump at GWU

Above all, I am disturbed that SJP’s BDS agenda was included in what was to be a peaceful protest. Although the original wording was taken from a national list and then open sourced, thirteen GW organizations still signed their agreement. At the most politically active campus in the US, do we really condone anti-Semitic and blatantly false rhetoric? As GW students we must condemn anti-Semitism and never permit it in future rallies.

Contributed by Noa Levin, CAMERA Fellow at George Washington University.

This article was republished in the Algemeiner.

Pop The Misconception at George Mason University

In advance of Students for Justice in Palestine’s National Student Conference held at George Mason University on November 3rd, the students of CAMERA-supported group GMU Israel Student Association tabled with the theme “Pop The Misconception.”
14940045_1341878065836470_103298698510336686_o
On display were attention-grabbing and misleading media stories covered by CAMERA researchers. The students used bubble wrap and candy at the table to entice the passersby to engage with various signs on the table.  GMU Israel Student Association drew their peers to their table by asking them if they could identify the media bias in the various headlines presented.

Once a student had properly identified the media bias in the examples provided, he or she was offered to pop the bubble wrap, as they had successfully identified the misconception they had had about the media or Israel. Following the connection GMU ISA made with each passerby, they had the students provide their email addresses, who were then offered candy. This enabled GMU ISA to keep in touch with participants who might be interested in the group’s future events.

14883665_1341878565836420_911438545863217080_o
GMU Israel Student Association succeeded in their goal of engaging with students in their student union to learn a bit about media bias in a non-confrontational way. The event was enjoyed by participants and organizers alike, and will more than likely be a hit on more campuses in the future.

Campus activists silent in face of anti-Semitic author

CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux

CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux

An author accused of making anti-Semitic statements has been invited to speak at San Diego State.

On Sept. 29, SDSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine will host a discussion, “Palestine 101,” with Israeli author Miko Peled. Peled, the son of an Israeli general, has made a speaking career promoting non-violent resistance to the military occupation of the disputed territories in the West Bank.

Peled purports himself to be a “peace activist,” but he is not. Through Twitter and other social media, Peled regularly invokes ancient anti-Semitic tropes in his criticisms of Israel.

On Sept. 14, in response to the recently signed U.S.-Israeli aid package, Peled tweeted that Jews had a reputation for being “sleazy thieves.”

Peled’s tweet led to the cancellation of his speech at Princeton University. In a statement on Facebook, the Princeton Committee on Palestine wrote that Peled’s tweets were “anti-Semitic and hateful, (and) counterproductive to an educational event on the conflict.”

Leora Eisenberg, a Jewish freshman at Princeton University said that after his speech was cancelled, she was relieved.

“He is a bigot and an anti-Semite,” she said. “I was thrilled to see groups that claim to fight for human rights actually take their charge seriously by canceling his lecture.”

 miko-peled-antisemitic-tweets

In the past year, Peled has tweeted that Israelis missed the “taste of Palestinian blood,” andcomparedIsrael — the Jewish state — to Nazi Germany. He hasadvocatedfor continued missile attacks on Israel and Israelis andbrandedIsraelis who serve in the IDF as “terrorists.”

His statement calling Israelis bloodthirsty regurgitates a centuries old anti-Semitic myththat accuses Jews of killing Christian babies for religious rituals. Worse, he justified his “sleazy thieves” accusation by saying that “for centuries Jews were portrayed as sleazy money lenders.”

Peled’s remarks and his upcoming visit have not gone unnoticed by Jewish students on campus.

“There is a line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism,” ISCOR junior Hilary Cohen said. “Peled has crossed that line. One can criticize Israel without using anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

Psychology junior Talia Raoufpur, who is Iranian and Jewish, said she was upset by the lack of attention his visit has garnered.

“Where are the activists who rose up against prejudice last semester?” she said.

SDSU has been the scene of several protests spurred on by activists that define the way our campus views oppression and identity.

In 2014, Take Back the Night drew attention to the violence college women uniquely facefrom rape culture.

In 2015, activists rallied to address several issues, such as faculty pay raises, racial injustice, economic inequality and Islamophobia, an intersection of issues that affect our students.

This year, when conservative writer David Horowitz posted fliers on campus branding members of Students for Justice in Palestine as “terrorists,” the hashtag #NoHateAtState became a rallying cry for students who wanted to fight back against racial profiling and Islamophobia. SDSU students were unified under a single message: Neither hatred nor bigotry would go unaccounted for and they were going to stand up against hatred and discrimination.

David Horowitz’ fliers accused SJP members of being terrorists and the campus rallied in solidarity. It is baffling and hypocritical for activists in SJP -— who know too well what it is like to be profiled -— to invite a speaker who similarly profiles Jews and Israelis.

SJP’s invitation to Peled suggests they accept and condone his anti-Semitism and that his rhetoric is something to be accepted, celebrated and pondered. Unacceptable.

This is an opportunity for a conversation and a reckoning with anti-Semitic speech and its ramifications. We are capable of having difficult, nuanced conversations about the conflict between Israel and Palestine without having to resort to anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Activists who are silent: speak up. Heed the words of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

This article was originally published by The Daily Aztec and was written by CAMERA Fellow Anthony Berteaux at San Diego State University.