Tag Archives: SJP

What is Ayah Aly Doing to Promote Inclusivity?

CAMERA Fellow Fay Yanofsky.

On October 17th, I attended an interfaith event titled “Two Visions One Culture” hosted by Professor Robert Cherry. I experienced first-hand the way Professor Cherry uses his influence as a donor at Merchavim, a Non-Governmental Organization working to eliminate cultural barriers in Israel.

Its Executive Director highlighted their five-year plan to integrate 500 Arab teachers in English, science, and math into Jewish schools there. The audience watched clips from the award-winning documentary “A Dove’s Cry” highlighting the impact of an Israeli-Arab teacher on the attitudes of Jewish students whom she taught.

We saw a teacher play “Allah Akbar” on her radio to crush stereotypes by teaching Jewish students about her peaceful religion. I asked Professor Fishman, a history professor who has written extensively on the plight of the Palestinians, about what he perceives as the anti-Arab behavior of the Israeli government and what he thought about Merchavim. He said, “Building cross-cultural connections is a step in the right direction.”

Professor Cherry noted how affirmative action is necessary to overcome the often inadvertent discriminatory hiring process when perceived group characteristics are used to screen applicants.

Professor Cherry has spent his life working to end discrimination in the United States and abroad. He has written a book about social policy, Moving Working Families Forward Third Way Policies That Work (NYU Press). Additionally, Professor Cherry has been publishing extensively on the plight of black men and policies that can move them forward. He just released a study on government efforts to aid prison reentry, identifying the most effective programs available. In class, I can attest that Robert Cherry always stands up against discrimination and discusses inclusive laws to end discrimination in the United States and abroad.

For example, Professor Cherry noted how affirmative action is necessary to overcome the often inadvertent discriminatory hiring process when perceived group characteristics are used to screen applicants. He pointed to how wage incentives targeted to disadvantaged groups can be effective. One example given was how the Israeli Government incentivizes businesses to hire Ethiopian immigrants by paying 30% of their salaries for up to two years, just as they are doing to incentivize Jewish schools to hire Israeli-Arab teachers.

Recently, the David Horowitz Centers posters around campus incorrectly claimed that the identified professors supported terrorism. While Professor Cherry condemned the poster, Professor Cherry took one of the identified faculty to task for supporting a radical hate group, SJP, by pointing out specific instances of anti-Semitic behavior by the organization on campus and the statement of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois that called out the anti-Semitism of SJP. A quintessential example of the perpetuated anti-Semitism of SJP is that of Ayah Aly’s, Brooklyn College President of SJP. She was quoted as posting on twitter the top ten things she hates. In that list, Jews.

 

The anti-Semitism is a disgrace to Brooklyn College and the inclusivity that CUNY represents. The SJP also crudely drew an anti-Semitic cause and effect relationship between tuition hikes and Zionists. Previously, when Professor Langsam was called a “Zionist Pig” at a faculty council meeting by SJP, he said, “We give lip service to freedom of speech, but we don’t talk about hate speech.” Karen Gould, former President of Brooklyn College, responded to “Zionists off Campus” chants by stating, “We find this disruptive behavior unacceptable and the hateful comments especially abhorrent.” Gould called for an investigation into the students’ conduct and for appropriate actions to be taken. Students were brought up before a disciplinary hearing at which some faculty like Chopra pleaded their case. No one could identify the student who made the anti-Semitic comment and it was disputed what the full phrase was. Essentially, SJP escaped disciplinary action.

The President of SJP recently responded to Professor Cherry in the Brooklyn College Kingsman news. On two articles I have read that defend Jewish students, the Kingsman made sure to specifically note that the article does not reflect the views of the paper. However, when Ayah Ali, President of SJP, attempted to defame Professor Robert Cherry, there were no disclaimers stating anything of the sort.

“To Professor Cherry I say; you are not the first. You are not the first to have countered our organization with chants of islamophobia and discrimination. You are not the first to have sympathized with an oppressor and victim-blamed. …You are not the first to have derailed our motives, silenced our voices, and pledged your support to a white supremacist group.” (Ayah Aly, Kingsman)

Six million Jews have been targeted as victims from Nazis and White Supremacists; the associations and accusations are false and insulting. We demand that you stop these hateful assaults on both students and faculty alike. Professor Cherry has actively been working to end discrimination in the United States and in Israel. President Michelle Anderson has launched a successful “Stand Against Hate” campaign to foster inclusion and bring an end to discrimination at Brooklyn College. My question is, before calling out a generous donor working to build an inclusive utopia in Israel and a President spending her term working against hate to foster inclusion, what steps are you taking to achieve these goals?

Contributed by Brooklyn College CAMERA Fellow and Treasurer of CAMERA-supported group Bulldogs for Israel, Fay Yanofsky.

This article was originally published in Night Call News.

Keeping An Open Mind Matters

CAMERA Fellow Jenn Tischler.

The Arab-Israeli conflict remains a highly divisive issue on campuses across the United States—and GW is no exception. Students can often expect to see speaker events calling for the end of the alleged “occupation” of Palestinian lands, weeks dedicated to commenting on the supposed apartheid in Israel, and groups on campus demonizing Israel and calling for its destruction, whether overtly or not.

But we often face personal attacks as well, from Palestinian supporters that see no better way to convey their message than through derogatory and degrading confrontations. Rather than state their case or argue the possible merits of their point of view, they choose to attack Israel and its supporters and “win” the argument by beating the other side into silence.

A protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2009.(Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, I attended an event hosted by the local GW chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The night in question was advertised as a Palestinian Culture Night, but no mention of culture ever came up. Instead, the audience was bombarded with accusations against Israel, American Jews, and American Jewish organizations through catchy sound bites. I sat through this blatant propaganda quietly, intending to be respectful and hear what they had to say in person. As I was leaving, I was cornered by a few board members of SJP who recognized me. They claimed that I had come here to sabotage them and use the information they’d presented to us against the club. I was shocked but responded simply, that I had come to listen and that was all.

Their reply was simple as well. “We don’t believe you.”

Later, after they finally let me reach the door, I went to their Facebook page to read their mission and stated values. One line, in particular, stuck out to me: “We will not normalize the status quo by engaging in dialogues, discussions, panels, or other public forums where the participants do not recognize [our] fundamental tenets…” This statement, although dressed up in ambiguous terms, is quite simple in its essence. SJP is not interested in starting dialogue until the dialogue is already over.

By their own admission, SJP does not see the value in the exchange of opposing ideas. They are only interested in having a conversation on their terms, and will not open themselves to opinions that might be different from their own. When they do encounter an opposite viewpoint, they aggressively attack and accuse until the other side is silenced and the only voice heard is their own. This is not the way to peace; this is only a means of continuing to spread hate and intolerance among anti-Semitic voices.

With a topic as emotionally charged as the Arab-Israeli conflict, level-headedness and a desire for open conversation are vital. Regardless of our own thoughts, hearing other people’s opinions and acknowledging that everyone has their own point of view is a necessity in any conflict of ideas. Only through opening ourselves to those opposing viewpoints can we be truly educated on the multi-faceted nature of the conflict and move towards peace and recognition for both sides. If we shut ourselves off, as SJP has, then we only entrench ourselves further in our current positions and block any future movement towards coexistence.

I believe that peace and understanding can win against hatred and intolerance and so I will continue to fight for dialogue and mutual recognition. I call on every student in GW to do the same for the sake of progress and a hope for eventual peace—and to not take SJP’s behavior as anything more than a clear example of what not to do.

 

Contributed by George Washington University CAMERA Fellow Jenn Tischler.

After UCI Sanctions for SJP, LA Times Gives Voice Only to Those Who Drowned Out Other Voices

On May 10, Students for Justice in Palestine disrupted a pro-Israel event at UC Irvine with hateful shouting and vitriolic chants, preventing IDF reservists from continuing with the panel until the group left. As a result, the campus administration slapped SJP with a two-year probation and affirmed the university’s commitment to “protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption.”

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Times article about the university’s decision to sanction the group for its attempts to drown out others’ voices in violation of university policy gave voice to only one side: Students for Justice in Palestine.

 

The one-sided Sept. 4 article (online only) entitled “Pro-Palestinian UCI students appeal sanctions after Israeli event protest” dedicated three out of seven paragraphs to statements provided by SJP. It reported:

In a statement, representatives for the group said that their clapping and chanting at the event — sponsored by Students Supporting Israel — was in response to aggressive behavior by a member of the soldiers’ group.

“It’s outrageous that the university is punishing us, students, instead of protecting us from aggressive foreign military agents on campus,” Daniel Carnie, a Jewish UCI students, said in a statement. “We’re a diverse group of Palestinian, black, Latino and Jewish students who attended the soldiers’ speaking event and asked critical questions.” . . .

Students for Justice in Palestine said its members have been harassed and cyber-bullied since the event; the group said it has filed a discrimination complaint.

In contrast, Los Angeles Times reporter Hillary Davis devoted not one sentence to panelists representing Reservists on Duty, or to representatives from Students Supporting Israel, which hosted the event. Nor did she convey the views of pro-Israel students who attended. Had she done so, she might have spoken with panelist Jonathan Elkhoury, an Israeli Arab from Reservists on Duty, who reported to CAMERA:

We were yelled and cursed at, and one of our female delegation participants was spat on by an SJP member. They came to our event to shut it down, an SJP representative said it herself while yelling into a microphone the next day. We had to have them escort us off campus because the SJP students made it impossible for us to leave the class safely.

[Full disclosure: CAMERA has brought Elkhoury on campus tours in the past. Also, CAMERA joined up with other several other organizations to urge the university to take action against SJP.]

 

Moreover, Davis failed to give readers any information about the nature of the vitriolic chanting by SJP members. Plenty of video documentation of the disruption is available exposing the ugliness of the SJP’s chants (“These colonizers and occupiers! You should not be on our f****** campus”; . . . “F*** you!” . . . “Israel, Israel you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” . . . “Long live the intifada!” . . . “Israel, Israel what you say? How many people did you kill today?”)

CAMERA has contacted The Times, urging editors to add comment from representatives from Reservists on Duty, from Students Supporting Israel and/or pro-Israel students who were subjected to the hateful SJP demonstration. CAMERA also called on The Los Angeles Times to add video of the demonstration, enabling readers to decide for themselves who exactly engaged in “aggressive behavior.”

Contributed by Director of CAMERA’s Israel office, Tamar Sternthal.
This article was originally published at CAMERA.org.

SJP UIUC Calls Zionists “White Supremacists” in Promotional Materials

CAMERA on Campus unequivocally condemns SJP UIUC​ (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) for its blatantly antisemitic action of calling Zionists, and therefore the majority of Jews, Nazis in this disturbing promotional post for their rally, happening today on campus:

“Join SJP and other amazing, radical organizations on campus at this rally next week. There is no room for fascists, white supremacists, or Zionists at UIUC. Tuesday, September 5th @ 11:30am, Alma Mater”

Post on the SJP UIUC Facebook page.

We continue to see the co-optation of the struggle for Jews to have the right to live in their national homeland in peace.

Illini Public Affairs Committee – IlliniPAC released a statement, seen below, in response to this disgusting development.

We are in contact with students at UIUC and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

 

 

 

Statement by IlliniPAC.

Contributed by CAMERA Staff

SJP UC Irvine Put on Disciplinary Probation for Two Years

Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California Irvine have been suspended from operating for the next two academic years.

This significant decision, made by UC Irvine, comes after SJP interrupted an event held by Reservists on Duty (ROD) in conjunction with Students Supporting Israel, and yelled horrifying chants at the nonprofit Israeli organization, made up of reserve combat IDF soldiers dedicated to sharing their experiences and educating students about Israel on US campuses.

In a coordinated effort between SSI National, ROD, and several other organizations who took part, including CAMERA, Hasbara Fellowships, the Louis D. Brandeis Center, Hillel International, Amcha Initiative, the Zionist Organization of America, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs, massive pressure was applied to UC Irvine to act.

ROD’s event was held during SJP’s “Apartheid Week” to counter the lies being spread by the anti-Israel hate group on campus. ROD was also present on campus throughout the week to further their mission.

Jonathan Elkhoury, who tours with CAMERA, was a part of a five person ROD delegation consisting of three lone soldier reservists, a Bedouin IDF reserve soldier and himself.  The delegation was present on campus throughout the hate week. “We came to facilitate dialogue in order to share with people our experiences as former IDF soldiers, national service volunteers and minorities who are living in Israel,” he says.

Christian Lebanese Israeli speaker Jonathan Elkhoury

Elkhoury says hateful slogans such as “Go back to Europe!”, “Intifada Intifada!”, “Long live the Intifada!”, “Hey white girl/Hey white boy, how many people have you killed today?” were yelled at the delegation, in addition to other threatening chants that could be heard over and over again throughout the week.

On May 10th, Reservists on Duty held an event on campus.  At the event, “SJP members started yelling, chanting and making the audience leave and interrupting them from asking questions,” he says.  At one point, the police were called.

Recounting the horrific behavior shown by SJP, Elkhoury recalls just how bad it was. “We were yelled and cursed at, and one of our female delegation participants was spat on by an SJP member. They came to our event to shut it down, an SJP representative said it herself while yelling into a microphone the next day. We had to have them escort us off campus because the SJP students made it impossible for us to leave the class safely.”

Thanks to this video recording of the event by ROD members, there was ample evidence against SJP for UC Irvine to review.

UC Irvine rightly determined that SJP’s interruption violated university policy after a lengthy review process. Below is a section of the university’s statement:

“Based on the review, it was determined that a group of individuals organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted a portion of the question-and-answer period, in violation of university policy.  As a result, SJP was sanctioned with disciplinary probation for two academic years, ending June 16, 2019.  During this time, the organization must abide by UCI’s standards of conduct, meet with the Dean of Students six times per year to discuss free speech issues, and consult with a representative of the dean’s office before hosting or co-hosting any campus event.  Any further violations of university policy may result in suspension or a revocation of the organization’s status.

SJP leaders were notified of the decision on August 22, 2017, and filed an appeal on August 31, 2017.  The appeal process is expected to take several weeks. The Dean of Students or his designee will consider the appeal and make a final decision, which can be to affirm, modify or reverse the sanction.  The outcome of the appeal is final.”

Elkhoury is satisfied with UC Irvine’s decision. “UC Irvine’s decision is a successful win for free speech. We can’t keep silent while we are misrepresented, bullied and shut down by extremists that are motivated by hate and antisemitism. I hope this decision will send a clear message to SJP chapters across the US that the days of bullying and shutting down Israel events and speakers are over. We are here to stay and spread the truth.”

It’s also worth noting that the statement includes that, “Any further violations of university policy may result in suspension or a revocation of the organization’s status,” which begs the question of how SJP will continue to operate after its two year probation period is over without using its violent disruption tactics.

Contributed by Lia Lands, Campus Communications for CAMERA

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