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STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE (SJP) Printer Friendly Page

Backgrounder: The Students for Justice in Palestine
By Lee Kaplan
July 17, 2014

Muslim Hate Groups on Campus
By Daniel Greenfield
2011

Northeastern U. Suspends ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’
By Ilya Feoktistov
March 18, 2014

Students for Justice in Palestine?
By Wendy Webb 
December 4, 2002

Students for Justice in Palestine: Profile
By Stand4Facts.org
2005

The Campus War against Israel and the Jews: Students For Justice In Palestine
By John Perazzo
August 27, 2009

 


Click here to view a sample Profile.

University of California, Berkeley
157 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA
94720


Phone :(949) 690-9583
Email :
msagerpalestine@gmail.com / admin@calsjp.org
URL: Website
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)'s Visual Map


  • Anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian activist group founded at University of California’s Berkeley campus in 2001
  • As of 2010, they have chapters on more than 80 major campuses throughout the U.S.
  • Advocates economic sanctions against Israel

 

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a consortium of almost 100 campus “clubs” throughout the American and Canadian college-and-university systems. Working to oppose the existence of Israel and to promote the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state, on some campuses SJP exists under such alternative names as "Palestine Solidarity Committee," "Students for Palestinian Equal Rights," "Students Against Israeli Apartheid," and "Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights."

SJP’s mission is to promote:

  • "freedom and self-determination for the Palestinian people," a goal predicated on ending "the Israeli military occupation, with its daily humiliation, abuse and brutal violence"; 
  • "the right of return and repatriation for Palestinian refugees of war and ethnic cleansing"; and
  • "the cessation of settlement activity and the dismantling of settlements built outside of Israel's pre-1967 border."

Characterizing Israel as "this generation's South Africa," SJP exhorts college students across the U.S. to help punish the "Apartheid State of Israel" by demanding that their schools divest their financial assets from any "companies that invest or do substantial business in Israel." Indeed, SJP has staged campus protests against scores of large corporations with business ties to the Jewish state. In February 2009, for instance, the organization claimed a major victory when the Hampshire College board of trustees, in compliance with SJP's demands, divested from six companies in particular: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola, and Terex.

SJP believes that Israel has no legitimate, legal right to exist as an independent state. Thus the organization's version of Israel’s founding and history -- and of the Palestinian people’s relationship with Israel -- contains the following noteworthy elements, as enumerated by SJP's UC Berkeley chapter:

  • "When Zionist militia groups violently took over the land that became Israel in 1948, they committed mass atrocities that led to the expulsion of approximately 700,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homes. These people have never been allowed to return, and many continue to live difficult lives in refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East, as well as in temporary refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank."

  • "Military occupation has come to define the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967. The Israeli military has governed Palestinians’ lives arbitrarily through the use of checkpoints scattered within Palestinian lands, Jewish-only roads, land confiscations, home demolitions, arbitrary curfews, and illegal extra-judicial executions."

  • The Israeli security barrier in the West Bank amounts to a "land grab [that] has had disastrous consequences, isolating towns and villages from other communities and separating farmers from their lands and livelihoods."

  • Palestinian citizens of Israel "face a number of institutional and social barriers that clearly demarcate them as second-class citizens who are unwanted by a state which excludes them from the national identity."

  • "The parallel between contemporary Israel and apartheid South Africa is striking. From visible efforts to separate Palestinians from Israelis, as well as a humiliating, indifferent, and inhumane security state system, to strong similarities in the rhetorics (sic) used by Israel and apartheid South Africa, it is evident that the Israeli system of controlling the Palestinian people and maintaining Jewish control over the state apparatus matches many of apartheid South Africa’s goals."


Origins and Development

SJP originally grew out of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), which was founded on the campus of San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1973. GUPS, meanwhile, was itself an outgrowth of another ethnic radical group, the Black Panther Party, which, through months of rioting on the SFSU campus, had forced the University to create an Ethnic Studies Department that was more attuned to activism than to academia. Over time, the Palestinian movement at SFSU became a part of that Department, emphasizing the shared victimization of Palestinians and black Americans. Amir Abdel Malik Ali, a former student-body president at SFSU, led that movement on his campus. Today he lectures frequently at SJP functions in California.

The actual campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine was started at UC Berkeley in the year 2001 by then-Ph.D. candidate Hatem Bazian, who formerly had been an undergraduate member of GUPS at SFSU. At the time of SJP's founding, Bazian was the head of UC Berkeley's Muslim Students Association.


A co-founder of SJP at Berkeley was Snehal Shingavi, a graduate student who gained notoriety in 2001 for teaching a controversial course titled "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance." Explaining that his instruction would focus on "Israel's brutal oppression of Palestine since 1948," Shingavi in the course catalog urged conservative students not to bother registering for his class.

In their formative years, both the SFSU and Berkeley chapters of SJP received support and guidance from Jess Ghannam, a Professor of Psychiatry at UC Medical Center in San Francisco. Ghannam co-founded the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (
ADC) and Al-Awda. Moreover, in association with the ADC, he helped establish the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Northern California. To this day, Ghannam continues to provide logisitical support to SJP.

In 2004 Ghannam collaborated with Professor Manzar Foroohar of California Polytechnic State University to launch the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which promotes anti-Israel divestment in colleges and libraries worldwide. Foroohar is a frequent guest of SJP clubs on numerous campuses, as a speaker or moderator at anti-Israel “conferences.”


In the early days of SJP and ISM, these groups interchanged their members with those of the Muslim Students Association on numerous campuses. While MSA students based their anti-Israel positions mainly on the tenets of their Islamic faith, SJP/ISM members were mostly Christian Arabs with a Marxist outlook -- pan-Arabists who rejected a Jewish presence in the Middle East for nationalistic, rather than religious, reasons. Being pro-Marxist, they embraced Stalin’s belief that “Zionism is racism,” and they found unity with their Muslim counterparts, since both factions had an abiding hatred of Jews and Israel.

In more recent times, SJP has expanded its ranks by becoming a conglomeration of ISM activist types, former Jews, secular Jews, mostly-Muslim Arabs, and some Christians as well as radical communists. SJP works in a close alliance with MSA to organize demonstrations and anti-Israel activities on various campuses. Moreover, SJP is an integral part of ISM, recruiting Arab students and American radicals to travel to the Palestinian Territories in the Middle East to act as human shields for terrorist groups.

A significant number of SJP activists at UC Berkeley are Mexican-American radicals from the La Raza movement, some of whom have affiliations with La Voz De Aztlan. Commonly dubbing themselves "America’s Palestinians," members of this group are highly anti-Semitic and believe that the Sothwestern United States should be given back to Mexico --
or even that a separate nation, Aztlan, should be made from it. According to intelligence officers on the Berkeley campus and city police forces, keffiyah-clad demonstrators at the University are in many cases Chicanos posing as Palestinians.

Some Noteworthy SJP Student Leaders

  • Northeastern University SJP leader Max Geller was once photographed holding a machine gun during a friendly visit with Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. On other occasions, Geller has posted (on the Internet) pictures of himself wearing T-shirts bearing the images of a Hezbollah flag and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
  • Tom Pessah, an Israeli-born Jew who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010, has been an SJP leader for a number of years.
  • Emiliano Huet-Vaughan, an American whose mother was a well-known socialist radical, worked as a recruiter and trainer for the ISM in Israel, then left for the London School of Economics where his objective was to persuade that institution to boycott and divest from Israel. Once that was accomplished, Huet-Vaughan transferred to UC Berkeley and was instrumental in getting the student government there to divest from Israel as well. He is still an active member of SJP at Berkeley.
  • Shireen Qaru was an Arab student activist with UC Berkeley's SJP. During his years as an undegraduate, he would go to the Palestinian Territories every summer to receive training in how to conduct anti-Israel propaganda on campus. Though Qaru has since graduated and now practices law, he still maintains contact with Berkeley SJP.
  • Ehud Appel, a Jewish student claiming to have family members in Israel, was a prominent member of the UC Berkeley SJP.


SJP Activities

From its very earliest days, SJP was responsible for staging continuous demonstrations against Israel. In many cases, student activists were brought in from other campuses, so as to make the movement appear even larger than it actually was. In one rally which was held in UC Bekeley's Sproul Plaza, protesters accused the Jewish state of racism and genocide. The public-relations firm Hill and Knowlton, which also did PR work (condemning Jewish “settlements” in the West Bank and Gaza) for Saudi Arabia, lent aid from its San Francisco office by providing large displays and professional staff to promote such SJP events.

Support for terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been common at SJP chapters across the United States. Some chapters hold commemorations every year for Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

SJP activists commonly:

  • participate in activities designed to portray Israelis as oppressors and abusers;
  • engage in street theater, where, for example, students dressed as Israeli soldiers simulate the rape or killing of pregnant Palestinian women;
  • set up mock checkpoints on campuses, where they harass students and then inform them that non-Jews in Israel are commonly subjected to the same type of treatment;
  • place fake eviction notices, bearing the campus’s official student activities stamp, on the dormitory doors of Jewish students;
  • display large “Apartheid” walls bearing images and text accusing Israeli Jews of genocide; and
  • harass Jewish students when they emerge from campus synagogues.

In nationally coordinated efforts, SJP chapters in the U.S. and Canada annually stage an "Israeli Apartheid Week" during which they combine some or all of the tactics enumerated above.

SJP also holds yearly commemorations of: (a) the anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for "Catastrophe," referring to the founding of the state of Israel by Jews; and (b) the alleged 1948 "massacre" at Deir Yassin.[1]

Further, SJP chapters hold “Palestine Liberation Week” and “Palestine Awareness Week” events on various campuses each year.

And hardly a week goes by without at least one SJP campus group in the U.S promoting divestment from Israel.

An ever-increasing amount of inter-campus coordination exists for these SJP activities.

Borrowing a practice from the MSA -- which created an MSA-West, where various groups from Western U.S. campuses could convene to strategize and form alliances -- SJP established
SJP-West in California, and subsequently launched a National SJP group.


SJP's Rise to Prominence

Two actions in particular brought early media publicity to UC Berkeley's SJP:

(1) In 2001 SJP held a noisy demonstration focused on the so-called Deir Yassin “Massacre.”[2]  This demonstration was purposely scheduled to take place on the same day, and at the same time, as a Jewish student event on the UC Berkeley campus memorializing the victims of the Holocaust.

Notwithstanding the historical record, the SJP event -- replete with anti-Israel placards and radical speakers -- claimed, falsely, that a massacre had indeed taken place in Deir Yassin. The SJP speakers utilized large loudspeakers to drown out the Yahrtzeit service (reading of the names of the dead from the Holocaust) that the Jewish students were holding nearby.

Later that same day, students from SJP
stormed UC Berkeley's Wheeler Hall in order to disrupt yet another event where Jewish students were honoring the memory of Holocaust victims. Threatening violence “against the Jews” and physically attacking campus police officers who instructed them to leave, SJP members occupied the entire building. The police ultimately prevailed in removing them from the premises, and the Berkeley administration subsequently issued a one-year ban against SJP. The suspension was lifted in less than a year, however, as the Arab and Muslim communities on campus continually complained that they were being treated unfairly.

(2) From February 16-18, 2002, on the University of California's San Francisco Bay campus, SJP co-sponsored, along with other pro-Palestinian groups such as Al-Awda, the first National Palestine Solidarity Movement conference ever held in the United States. The purpose of this event was to train attendees in the art of organizing anti-Israel boycotts and protests on their respective campuses. Its message was in line with that of the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism, which promoted the idea that Israel was a racist, apartheid state along the lines of South Africa in the 1980s and should thus be boycotted.

Regarding Palestinian terrorism, the organizers of this SJP event adopted a resolution expressing their unreserved support for the Al-Aqsa Intifada, stating: “We, the national student movement for solidarity with Palestine, declare our solidarity with the popular resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid.... As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.”

The SJP conference featured revolving seminars and meetings where strategies for de-legitimizing Israel and hastening the Palestinians' "right of return" were discussed. The
local Jewish Federation that attended the conference subsequently reported that the proceedings were replete with anti-Semitic remarks as well as accusations that Jews were perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians.


SJP's Growth and Development

Following these two incidents, other chapters of SJP -- organized by Arab-American students or faculty sympathetic to a campaign against Israel -- sprang up quickly within the UC system. Campus chapters were started at San Diego State, UC IrvineUCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, and private colleges such as USC. In the eastern United States, similar campus clubs emerged at Columbia University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State University, New York University, Ohio State University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and many others. International Solidarity Movement leaders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro played key roles in facilitating the creation of these new SJP chapters.

On April 9, 2002 (Holocaust Remembrance Day), SJP members held a rally and a sit-in on the Berkeley campus, resulting in 79 arrests.

In a May 2002 incident after a rally at San Francisco State University (SFSU), SJP supporters surrounded a small group of Jewish students and incited violence while shouting such epithets as, "Too bad Hitler didn't finish the job!"

In November 2002 at the University of Michigan, SJP co-sponsored its Second National Palestine Solidarity Movement conference. This event was keynoted by Sami Al-Arian, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who founded the Islamic Association for Palestine. Radical groups such as the American Indian Movement, the National Council of La Raza, and the International Socialist Organization joined with SJP in an effort to formulate a campaign to destroy Israel by any means necessary, including revolutionary violence.

Prior to the University of Michigan event, Francis Boyle, a University of Chicago law professor who was once an attorney for the PLO, had formulated a boycott-and-divestment strategy as a template for the benefit of anti-Israel activists on college campuses nationwide. SJP and other likeminded groups at the Michigan conference vowed to implement Boyle's vision.

The Michigan event sparked controversy because many openly anti-Semitic remarks -- e.g., "Death to the Jews!" -- were voiced during the proceedings. Fadi Kiblawi, an SJP student leader at Michigan, wrote about his own desire to strap on a suicide bomb belt and kill Jews. 

A year later, in November of 2003, the Third National Palestine Solidarity Conference was held at Ohio State University. Airport-style metal detectors were placed at every entrance, in order to prevent cameras and recorders from being brought into the building where seminars were being held. (The objective was to preclude any possibility of someone recording the anti-Semitic rhetoric that was bound to pervade the conference.)

Also at the Ohio State conference:

  • When some attendees tried to get a resolution passed rejecting terrorism, it was voted down. News of this vote was greeted with a standing ovation by those in attendance.
  • A Skill Share Workshop taught students how to counter the negative public perception of Palestinian suicide bombings, which were epidemic in Israel at that time.
  • Lecturers discussed how SJP activists could infiltrate chapters of Hillel -- the largest Jewish campus organization in the world -- and gain influence in student governments across the United States.
  • Terrorism was routinely characterized as “legitimate resistance.”
  • Alison Weir, founder of If Americans Knew, handed out anti-Israel literature.
  • Mohammed Abed, from a University of Wisconsin SJP chapter calling itself Alternative Palestinian Agenda, advised students on how they could deconstruct the Israeli narrative in the United States. Today Abed is a dean at the University of Wisconsin, where he oversees the Palestinian groups on campus.

The main leader and organizer of the Ohio State event was University of Wisconsin sophomore Fayyad Sbhaiat, who, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the West Bank.

In 2004, the Fourth National Palestine Solidarity Conference was held at Duke University in North Carolina. Duke SJP activists and members of the International Socialist Organization were present in full force. As in 2003, airport-style metal detectors were once again set up to prevent cameras and recorders from being brought inside, and members of the press were barred from attending the training seminars. Abe Greenhouse, a then-affiliate of the Rutgers chapter of SJP (known as New Jersey Solidarity), led a seminar wherein he identified precisely which U.S.-based Jewish organizations and Jewish leaders should be targeted by SJP activists, for the purpose of persuading them to be more sympathetic to the Palestinian agenda. The Israeli anarchist Rann Bar-On also attended the Duke event. When a news reporter asked him if he condemned terrorism, Bar-On replied, “As a solidarity movement it is not our right to tell the Palestinian people how to resist.”

When Middle East Studies Professor Daniel Pipes, who has long helped expose the agendas of radical Islamism, came to Berkeley in 2004, SJP activists shouted “Death to Zionism,” “Zionism is racism,” "Zionist Jew," "racist," and “Seig Heil” during his address. They also shouted "racist Jews" at the audience.

At UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School sometme in 2005, Hatem Bazian established a splinter SJP group known as Law Students for Justice in Palestine (
LSJP). The new entity's mission was to “infuse the current discourse with a legal analysis of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and the illegality of the state of Israel and its policies in their current form,” and to “provide legal support to her sister organization on the main UC Berkeley campus, Students for Justice in Palestine.” Law School chapters of SJP are now active on many major campuses in the U.S.

On the night of November 11, 2005 at Georgia Tech University, SJP, as part of its “Life Under Occupation” film series, hosted a movie screening and panel discussion. One member of the panel was Adam Levenstein, a founding member of Atlanta Palestine Solidarity, who applauded the fact that not a single pro-Israel voice was represented on the dais. When asked to clarify a the meaning of a specific comment in the film -- “Kill the Jews” -- Levenstein justified it by first denying that Israel was a Jewish State. He then asserted that the statement was actually referring to Israeli soldiers and was therefore acceptable.

In March 2006, Georgetown University's equivalent of SJP hosted a National Divestment Conference which briefed students on tactics they could use to promote BDS campaigns against Israel on their campuses. Organizers of the Conference recruited students to go to the West Bank and participate in anti-Israel demonstrations. Huwaida Arraf led the recruiting, and a Fatah handler named Ali Omar -- a leader of SJP at Tufts University -- supervised it.

At UC Berkeley in October 2007, SJP members repeatedly interrupted and shouted down Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, forcing her off the stage before she could finish speaking at an Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week event. The protesters shouted, among other things:"Fascist! Fascist! Fascist!" and "You are nothing but a tool for the imperialism of the United States! You are here to spread racist filth on our Arab brothers and sisters!"

From November 12-17, 2007, SJP co-sponsored "Middle East Awareness Week" at the University of Southern California (USC). Guest speakers included:

  • As'ad Abu Khalil, professor of political science at California State University, who in the past had spoken in defense of beleaguered "Hezbollah fighters" whose "anguish and discomfort" was insufficiently recognized by the media;
  • former DePaul University political science professor Norman Finkelstein, who gave a talk titled, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East"; and
  • Laurie Brand, director of USC's School of International Relations, who delivered a talk titled "Palestine 101."

In 2008 at UC Berkeley, Husam Zakharia and fellow SJP students physically attacked Jewish students in the Eschelman Hall Student Union building. The attack occurred after Jewish students had sought to remove a Palestinian flag draped over a balcony behind a band playing music at a pro-Israel campus event. SJP leader Yaman Salahi blamed the Jewish students for the brawl.

At San Francisco State University, and later at UC Irvine (in February 2010), Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was disrupted continually by SJP-affiliated hecklers who had coordinated their actions in advance through social media.

At UC Berkeley in March 2010, Jessica Felber, a Jewish student member of a pro-Israel group on campus, was physically struck with a shopping cart and injured by the leader of Berkeley's SJP, Husam Zakharia. Although the Gaza-born Zakharia was enrolled in only a single course at Berkeley, he was on campus demonstrating against Israel almost every day. (Being enrolled in that one course enabled him to “qualify” as a student leader on campus.)

In October 2011, SJP held a national
conference at Columbia University in New York. The objective of this conference was to "democratically shape and refine the existing network of SJP groups in the United States, building on the momentum these groups have generated in recent years and strengthening the historical movement of which we are all a part."

In October 2013, Stanford University hosted an
SJP National Planning Conference for the purpose of "connecting [the] struggles" of Palestinians with those of other allegedly oppressed peoples, and "forging a national movement." A number of Jews were denied admission to this event.

At an official event at Temple University on August 20, 2014, SJP activists initiated an argument with Jewish student Daniel Vessal, a fellow with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. Vessal, in his junior year at the Temple University Fox School of Business, was called a “kike,” “Zionist pig,” and “baby killer.” One of the activists slapped Vessal so hard, that he needed to be sent to the hospital.

Northeastern University's SJP

Northeastern Universty's SJP chapter (NU SJP) first emerged as a belligerent presence on campus when its members crashed a Holocaust Awareness Week event in 2011, displaying anti-Israel signs and shouting insults at the audience and speakers before storming out.

At a 2012 NU SJP meeting, the group's faculty advisor, M. Shahid Alam, gleefully reported that anti-Israel activism on the NU campus had made pro-Israel students afraid to speak out in support of the Jewish state. On another occasion, Alam suggested to NU SJP members that if ever they were called anti-Semites, they should wear that label as a badge of honor.

During the 2012 Israel Apartheid Week at Northeastern University, members of NU SJP vandalized the campus by writing anti-Semitic messages and defacing the statue of a Jewish donor and trustee of the school.

In the aftermath of Israel’s November 2012 military operation designed to quell deadly rocket fire from terrorists in Gaza, NU SJP organized large protests that shut down traffic in sections of downtown Boston, as the group's members marched from Northeastern’s campus to the Israeli Consulate. Their chants of choice were: (a) “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” -- a call for the destruction of the entire Jewish state, and (b) “Resistance is justified when people are occupied” -- a justification of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. At one of these protests, NU SJP spokesman Max Geller wore a headband with the emblem of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

From late 2013 through early 2014, NU SJP board member Ryan Branagan, a graduate student in philosophy, used, as his Facebook cover photo, the image of a masked terrorist aiming an M-16 automatic rifle with the word “RESISTANCE” in block letters above the gun.

Also by 2013, NU SJP was beginning to get some pushback from various sources. After Americans for Peace and Tolerance released a series of video exposes detailing the anti-Semitic climate which NU SJP and sympathetic faculty members had created at Northeastern University, the Zionist Organization of America wrote a letter to Northeastern’s administration asking that the school remedy the hostile campus environment for Jewish students. In response, Northeastern President Joseph Aoun issued a campus-wide announcement that anti-Semitism would not be tolerated, and he placed NU SJP on probation.

The Northeastern University administration tried to come to a middle-ground resolution where NU SJP would maintain its status as a student group while at the same time moderating its behavior; the organization’s leaders were asked to meet with student life administrators and to sign a statement agreeing to follow campus rules. But NU SJP refused to do either. Instead, its members and sympathizers began to lash out against Jews on campus in increasingly threatening ways, creating an atmosphere of ever-greater intimidation and hate.

In September of 2013, Boston’s WBZ ran an investigative report featuring Jewish Northeastern students describing the threats and hostility that they faced on campus. NU SJP posted about the story on Facebook, and the Comments section under the online story was quickly flooded with anti-Semitic vitriol. For example, one commenter told a Jewish Northeastern student (who claimed that she too felt the hostility on campus): “Transfer is always an option… so is the oven.  … You need to take a shower, you filthy joo!” Responding to the WBZ report, Northeastern Law School grad and former NU SJP leader Andrew Pappone wrote: “At least the commenters on the article seem to be on the right side.”

NU SJP members' messages to Americans for Peace and Tolerance about Northeastern were equally crude. One individual wrote: “you really need to die so allah can show you the right path … you Jews are all worthless to me, god bless Hitler for trying to do whats right … if i see a jew il tell him whats on my mind and if he has anything to say il decapitate him!! and il sit the rest of my life in jail with honor.” (All spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors are as they appeared in the original.)

Then, in early 2014, NU SJP held two events featuring anti-Israel speakers Max Blumenthal and Ilan Pappe, who proclaimed from Northeastern’s podia that Israel must be destroyed.

On February 24, 2014, during Israel Apartheid Week, SJU activists slipped fake eviction notices under the dormitory doors of Northeastern students, telling them that they were being evicted without cause, just as Israel had forcibly removed the Palestinians from their homeland. NU SJP then put out a statement mocking Northeastern Hillel’s reassuring message to Jewish students who felt threatened and isolated by this action. When the University's administration subsequently suspended NU SJP until 2015, the organization complained that its free-speech rights were being denied, and -- echoing classic anti-Semitic memes -- that it was being repressed by an administration unduly influenced by certain “rich donors.”

Funding Sources of SJP, and Outside Connections

Most colleges have student activities offices that are run by deans or campus administrators. To avoid conflicts of interest, the use of outside money for student clubs is prohibited. Almost all colleges charge student activity fees that are then allocated, usually through the student government, via a mock congress or committee. At larger campuses like UC Berkeley or UCLA, this means that clubs like SJP can receive as much as $30,000 in funding for events they wish to hold.

SJP chapters commonly run one or more of their respective student members or sympathizers in elections for their campus governing boards. Because most student groups take little or no interest in such elections, a group like SJP -- even if it consists of relatively few members -- can easily field a winning candidate if it is motivated to do so. Then, once elected to the student senate or governing board, such SJP students can virtually guarantee the approval of funds to bankroll their organization's anti-Israel events. At Concordia University in Canada, for instance, SJP at one point received $50,000 for anti-Israel actions (including calls for divestment) on campus.

Since student groups are prohibited from accepting funding from sources that are explicitly off-campus, other means of funding SJP activities exist which may not be traceable. For example:

  • When the public-relations firm Hill & Knowlton in the early 2000s was providing SJP with large "Apartheid" wall displays from San Francisco, the campus administration most likely did not count the cost of those efforts as “funding.”
  • Printing costs and PR can be “donated.”
  • Al-Awda and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), at least in California, provide, free-of-charge, reading and printing materials that SJP can use in its fliers and handouts.
  • Wealthy Arab-Americans who belong to the ADC may also make cash donations, "under the table," to SJP.
  • The ADC and the American Friends Service Committee pay to bring anti-Israel speakers like Jeff Halper and Ilan Pappe to campuses for SJP-sponsored lectures. This becomes another fungible method of funding, and some SJP chapters may even charge an admittance fee to such events.

SJP founder Hatem Bazian started another anti-Israel group known as American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), whose mission is to educate the public about: “the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty and justice”; “how the people of Palestine have been living … for decades” under an Israeili “occupation” characterized by “flagrant and continual violations of international law and human rights abuses”; how American “tax dollars support the longest-lasting ... military occupation in modern history”; and how Israel's construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem not only “violate[s] international law,” but serves “as a vehicle for ethnic cleansing.” To address these grievances, AMP, which allies itself with SJP, demands that Congress “change [American] foreign policy in the Middle East to one that is more balanced and just for everyone living in the Holy Land.”


NOTES:

[1] SJP and its allies routinely perpetuate the libel that, in April 1948, Jews engaged in the “systematic murder” of innocent civilians in Deir Yassin, a Palestinian-Arab village near Jerusalem. SJP portrays this “massacre” as the beginning of a coordinated strategy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. Most historians agree, however, that this depiction of the events is propaganda, not history, and that the idea of a “massacre” at Deir Yassin was invented, by Arabs, for the dual purposes of: (a) shaming Arab nations into waging war against the state of Israel, and (b) frightening the local Arabs and encouraging them to flee. For details of the Deir Yassin incident, click here.

[2] Ibid.


Much of this profile is adapted from: "Backgrounder: The Students for Justice in Palestine," by Lee Kaplan (July 17, 2014)
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