* Anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian activist group founded at University of California’s Berkeley campus in 2001
* Has chapters on some 200 college campuses throughout the United States
* Supports the Hamas-inspired Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state
Founded at UC Berkeley in October of 2000, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a highly influential campus organization with chapters based at approximately 200 American colleges and universities, where it organizes and sponsors anti-Israel events and campaigns more actively than any other student group in the nation. SJP’s declared mission is to “promote the cause of justice,” “speak out against oppression,” and “educate members of our community specifically about the plight of the Palestinian people” at the hands of alleged Israeli depravities, in hopes that “one day [the Palestinians] will be free from occupation, free from fear, free from poverty, and … able to determine their own fate.” The benign tenor of this mission statement stands in stark contrast, however, to the countless reams of SJP propaganda that echo much of what is said by the Hamas terrorists who seek to permanently end Israel’s existence as a sovereign Jewish state. The reason for this is simple: SJP was in essence formed to help spread anti-Semitism through the halls of American academia; to wage a campus war against Israel by providing rhetorical support for the Jew-hatred undergirding the Second Palestinian Intifada which Hamas and allied terrorists had recently launched in late September 2000.
SJP’s principal founder, Hatem Bazian—whose views and agendas will be discussed at greater length later in this pamphlet—has quoted approvingly from a famous Islamic hadith which calls for the violent slaughter of Jews and which appears in Hamas’s founding charter. He once spoke at a fundraising dinner for KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, a Hamasfront group that the U.S. government later shut down due to the organization’s ties to Islamic terrorism. On another occasion, Bazian portrayed Hamas as “a classical anti-colonial nationalist and religious guerrilla movement.” And he described Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Gaza elections as “a monumental event.”
The significance of Bazian’s—and SJP’s—affinity for Hamas becomes especially apparent when we contemplate the grotesque nature of the values for which that organization stands. Consider, for instance, the fact that Hamas’s aforementioned founding charter denounces “the Nazism of the Jews” and states explicitly that: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”; peace initiatives “are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement”; “there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad”; and “war for the sake of Allah” is a noble venture that requires the faithful to “assault and kill” on a massive scale.
Notwithstanding Hamas’s calls for mass murder and genocide, the website of SJP’s UC Berkeley chapter describes Hamas not as a terrorist group but rather as “a vast social organization” that “provides schools, medical care, and day care for a number of Palestinians who otherwise live difficult lives”; a group with a “clean record as far as domestic corruption in governance [is] concerned”; and an entity whose “officials have often stated that they are ready for a long-term truce with Israel during which time final status negotiations can occur.” SJP does make a pro forma acknowledgment that “Hamas has conducted numerous deadly attacks on Israeli civilians” and “committed numerous human rights abuses against Palestinians,” but then quickly draws a moral equivalence between Hamas’s deeds and “the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel.”
It is commonplace for SJP’s rank-and-file members to support, or to at least decline to condemn, Islamic terrorism. As a Columbia University SJP member said in 2002: “We support the right of Palestinians to resist occupation and do not dictate the methods of that struggle. There’s a difference between violence of the oppressed and violence of the oppressors.”
That same year, SJP’s national convention at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor was sponsored by theIslamic Association for Palestine, a now-defunct, Illinois-based front group for Hamas. The conference featured keynote speaker Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor who served as the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization whose objectives include the destruction of Israel, the elimination of all Western influences in the Middle East by means of an armed and uncompromising jihad, and the convergence of all Muslim countries into a single Islamic caliphate.
Routinely denouncing Israeli self-defense measures as assaults on the civil and human rights of Palestinians, SJP generally neglects to judge those measures in the context of Palestinian terror attacks. For example, in a September 2014 “vigil” at Binghamton University in honor of Palestinians who had been killed in Operation Protective Edge—Israel’s then-recent military incursion into Gaza—SJP member Victoria Brown told the campus newspaper that her group’s goal was to “commemorate” and “humanize” the Palestinian “children, women and innocent civilians who were massacred” by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Yet she made no mention of the fact that the IDF’s actions were in response to a massive barrage of deadly rockets that Hamas terrorists had been firing indiscriminately into southern Israel.
On another occasion, New York City’s SJP created posters lauding the Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, who in September 1970 had participated in the multiple hijacking of five jetliners, for “committing her life to be a freedom fighter in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.”
In a similar spirit, a number of SJP chapters hold annual commemorations in honor of the late Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Islam expert Robert Spencer has described as “the parent organization of Hamas and al Qaeda.” Al-Banna was an inveterate Jew-hater who firmly opposed the creation of Israel in 1948 and strove to forge a formal alliancewith Hitler and Mussolini when World War II broke out. Al Banna was also the mentor of Haj Amin Al-Husseni, the pro-Hitler father of Palestinian nationalism.In 2012, Cornell University’s SJP issued a publication featuring a logo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization that embraces “a revolutionary understanding of Marxism” and views the “liberation” of Palestine as a key component of Communism’s worldwide ascendancy.
Former Northeastern University SJP leader Max Geller, a Jew, drew much attention to himself and his cause by: proudly donning a headband that bore the emblemof Palestinian Islamic Jihad; posing happily for a photograph while he held amachine gunand a bullet belt during a friendly visit with Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank; and posting online picturesof himself wearing T-shirts adorned with the flag of the Lebanese Islamic terror group Hezbollahand its leader, Hassan Nasrallah. A staunch advocate of Palestinian suicide bombings, Nasrallah has described Israel as a “cancerous entity” of “ultimate evil” whose “annihilation … is a definite matter” and whose very existence is “both unjust and unlawful.” He claims, further, that “the Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities,” and asserts that “[i]f Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”Another high-profile former member of SJP, Rutgers University‘s Charlotte Kates, stated: “I do not believe apartheid, colonial settler states [i.e., Israel] have a right to exist.” Moreover, she invited members of Hamas to speak on her campus and flatly refused to condemn the practice of suicide bombing, saying: “Why is there something particularly horrible about ‘suicide bombing,’ except for the extreme dedication conveyed in the resistance fighter’s willingness to use his or her own body to fight?”Just as SJP has often celebrated Islamic extremists and terrorists, so has it been the object of praise articulated by such individuals. In a September 2014 speech at Cooper Union in New York, for instance, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas referred to members of SJP as “seeds of peace.” Likening them to “the young people” who in previous generations had protested in civil-rights, anti-war, and anti-apartheid demonstrations, Abbas now exhorted SJP activists and their ideological allies to use their powers of persuasion “to convince the American people to rethink Palestine.”
To put Abbas’s remarks in context, it must be remembered that he: was a longtime ally of Yasser Arafat, the most prolific Jew-killer since Adolf Hitler; has neverrecognized Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state; has made it explicitly clear that any calls for the dismantling of Islamic terrorist groups represents a “red line” that must not be crossed; has denounced Israel as “the Zionist enemy”; has offered prayers for “the souls of the martyrs” who died for the cause of killing Jews; has invoked Palestinians’ “legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation”; has praisedHezbollah as an ideal embodiment of “Arab resistance”; has expressed his wish to “unite the Hamas and Fatah blood in the struggle against Israel”; and has vowed that “if there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”Promoting the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement
SJP is America’s leading campus promoter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a Hamas-inspired initiativethat aims to use various forms of public protest and economic pressure to advance the Hamas agenda of Israel’s destruction. While Hamas pursues this goal in its low-intensity war against Israel by means of terrorism and bloodshed, BDS supplements those efforts by pushing for three forms of nonviolent punitive action designed to cripple Israel’s economy and bring the nation to its knees politically: (1) coordinated boycotts that aim to intimidate and coerce corporations, universities, and individuals into breaking off their business relationships with Israel; (2) decisions by banks, pension funds, corporations, and other entities towithdrawany financial investments which they may have made in the state of Israel or in companies that operate there; and (3) targeted sanctions—such as trade penalties or bans, arms embargoes, and the severing of diplomatic ties—imposed by governments around the world against Israel specifically.
Using these tactics, SJP and its allies in the BDS movement seek to lay the psychological and rhetorical groundwork for: (a) creating the false impression that Israel has illegally and immorally usurped large swaths of land that rightfully belong to the Palestinians; (b) depicting Israel as a habitual human-rights violator guilty of subjecting its Palestinian neighbors to brutal campaigns of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide”; (c) likening Israeli public officials and soldiers to “Nazis,” and Gaza to a “concentration camp” or “ghetto”; (d) delegitimizing, in the minds of people worldwide, Israel’s very right to exist as a sovereign state; and (e) promoting the idea that this illegitimate Jewish state should be replaced by an Arab-majority alternative. As NGO Monitor puts it, the effectiveness of BDS campaigns is rooted chiefly “in their ability to penetrate the public and political discourse and blur the lines between legitimate criticism of Israel and the complete delegitimization of Israel in the international arena.”
SJP & The “One-State Solution”
According to The Jewish Daily Forward, SJP has largely “avoided endorsing a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict”—a solution that, if enacted, would end “Israel’s separate existence as a Jewish state” and would establish, instead, an Arab-majority, Jewish-minority nation. Similarly, a 2014 document produced by Binghamton University’s SJP asserts that the organization takesno position on the “one-state vs. two-state solution.” And a UC Berkeley SJP activist concurs: “SJP doesn’t have a stance on a one-state or a two-state solution. We’re less concerned with the ‘how’ and more with our goals of freedom and equality for all. If it is achieved in one state or in two states is less of a concern for SJP.”CanaryMission.org (CM)—a website that documents anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities on North American college campuses—suggests that SJP is in fact committed to a one-state solution, and that its claims to the contrary are rooted pragmatically in the organization’s desire “not to alienate any possible allies” who might prefer the notion of a two-state arrangement where separate Arab and Jewish homelands co-exist side-by-side. And indeed, there is abundant anecdotal evidence to support CM’s assertion. One SJP student at George Washington University, for instance, says: “Justice is the goal [of SJP] and a one-state solution is … the best means for achieving the goal.” Another SJP member explains that a two-state solution would enable Zionism to continue, “which implicitly means the denial of Palestinian rights, particularly Palestinian refugees.” In an April 2016 panel discussion, three representatives of SJP’s New York City chapter explicitly advocated a “one-state solution.” History professor Ilan Pappe—a committed Marxist who, like SJP, views Israel’s creation in 1948 as a historical “catastrophe,” and who passionately opposes a two-state solution as a devious “attempt to reduce Palestine geographically and demographically under the guise of a ‘peace process’”—has lauded SJP as part of “a new popular and successful struggle to bring peace and reconciliation to the whole of Palestine.” And CampusWatch.org declares that SJP “opposes the idea of a two-state solution … and is quite hostile to the peace process in general.”
Perhaps the strongest evidence of SJP’s support for a one-state solution is its unwavering commitment to the objectives of the BDS movement, which considers the one-state framework a non-negotiable demand. As the Anti-Defamation League’s former national director, Abraham Foxman, has put it, SJP is “the main organizing force behind the [BDS] campaigns” on U.S. college campuses. Similarly, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls SJP “the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States.” And NGO Monitor describes SJP as “the organization most directly responsible for creating a hostile campus environment saturated with anti-Israel events, BDS initiatives, and speakers.”
Characterizing Israel as a habitual human-rights violator, SJP exhorts American college students to help punish that nation by demanding, in accordance with BDS principles, that their schools divest their financial assets from any companies—e.g., Starbucks, General Electric, Disney, and scores of others—that conduct business there. Indeed, SJP is the campus group most active in bringing divestment resolutions to votes in front of student governments. Its chapters have sponsored many of the nearly 70 divestment campaigns that have been pursued on U.S. college campuses to date. Moreover, SJP chapters commonly organize and sponsor lectures about BDS initiatives.
One particularly noteworthy variation of the BDS boycott tactic is a campaign by highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individual activists demanding that all goods which are produced by Jews in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem—disputed territories east of the 1967 cease-fire line or “Green Line”—should be clearly labeled as having been manufactured there. This demand is founded on the premise that all land east of the Green Line rightfully belongs to the region’s Arabs; that any Israeli business enterprises therein are both illegal and immoral; and that many consumers would (and should) choose not to purchase goods produced by Jews in those regions. For example, a number of SJP chapters have participated in BDS campaigns against Soda Stream, Inc. because it operates a factory in the West Bank.SJP & The Palestinian “Right-of-Return”
One of SJP’s leading priorities, as articulated by its various chapters nationwide, is to bring about the “recognition and implementation of the Right-of-Return for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants.” By SJP’s telling, the Jewish state’s birth on May 15, 1948 was followed immediately by “a war” in which “Zionist militia groups violently took over the land” and “committed mass atrocities that led to the expulsion of approximately 700,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homes.” SJP refers to this alleged expulsion as “Al-Nakba”—Arabic for “The Catastrophe.” Each year, on or around May 15, numerous SJP chapters across the United States mournfully commemorate the anniversary of _Al Nakba.
_But SJP’s version of the events of 1948 is not only deceptive but false. In 1948, “Palestine” was a geographical designation like “New England,” not an ethnic or governmental one. There were no Arabs claiming to be Palestinians, an identification only adopted years later. Israel was created on land that had belonged to the Turks, who are not Arabs, for the prior 400 years. Even more important, the SJP narrative fails to mention of the fact that on the very day of Israel’s creation, five Arab armies joined forces and launched a war of annihilation designed to wipe the nascent state off the face of the earth and to expel or exterminate its entire Jewish population. Nor does SJP propaganda make mention of the 600,000 Jews who themselves were expelled from Arab countries all over the Middle East, where they and their ancestors had lived for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Neither does it acknowledge that the vast majority of the Arabs who fled their homes (472,000 – and not 700,000 – according to UN statistics) did so in response to calls from the invading Arab armies who assured them that they would be allowed to return after the Jews had been wiped out.As a corollary of SJP’s narrative of Palestinian expulsion, the organization supports the Fatah-Hamas demand of a “right-of-return” to Israel on behalf of approximately 5 million Arabs who are now scattered throughout some 58 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. This figure of 5 million is more than 10 times greater than the number of Arabs who actually left the fledgling Jewish state in 1948, because it includes not only those original refugees but also several generations of their descendants, 90 percent of whom have never lived for even a moment in territorial Israel. The United Nations Relief and Works Agencyfor Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which provides facilities and services for those who live in the refugee camps, defines Palestinian refugees as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.” As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America notes, “There is no room under this definition for a descendant of a refugee to be considered a refugee.”
In other words, SJP’s demand for a “right-of-return” makes a mockery not only of the term “refugees,” but of the very concept of a “return.” Author David Horowitz has succinctly identified the long-term agenda quietly underlying all calls for a right-of-return: “The incorporation of five million Arabs into Israel would render the Jews a permanent minority in their own country, and would thus spell the end of Israel. The Arabs fully understand this, and that is why they have made it a fundamental demand.” But SJP, in an effort to divert public attention from this self-evident reality, disingenuously laments that “the refusal of the Israeli government to recognize [Palestinians’] rights as refugees to return is one of the biggest symptoms of the apartheid regime.”
Smearing Israel As an “Apartheid State”
Routinely smearing Israel as “this generation’s South Africa,” SJP calls for “an end to the Israeli system of apartheid and discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian population.” As the organization’s UC Berkeleychapter puts it: “The parallel between contemporary Israel and apartheid South Africa is striking,” “[f]rom visible efforts to separate Palestinians from Israelis, as well as a humiliating, indifferent, and inhumane security state system, to strong similarities in the rhetorics used by Israel and apartheid South Africa.”Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, dismantles the foregoing SJP claims by pointing out, among other things, that: “it is illegal for employers [in Israel] to discriminate on the basis of race”; “Arab citizens of Israel are represented in all walks of Israeli life” (including positions as senior diplomats, government officials, and Supreme Court judges); and “Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech” for all its citizens, Jew and non-Jew alike. The author, broadcaster, and scholar Dennis Prager amplifies Bard’s observations by noting that “Arabs in Israel live freer lives than Arabs living anywhere in the Arab world,” and that “no Arab in any Arab country has the civil rights and personal liberty that Arabs in Israel enjoy.” Anticipating and answering a likely objection, Prager adds:
“Now, one might counter: ‘Yes, Palestinians who live inside Israel have all these rights, but what about the Palestinians who live in what are known as the occupied territories? Aren’t they treated differently?’ Yes, of course they are—they are not citizens of Israel. They are governed by either the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) or by Hamas. The control Israel has over these people’s lives is largely manifested when they want to enter Israel. Then they are subjected to long lines and strict searches, because Israel must weed out potential terrorists.”
But SJP turns a deaf ear to facts like these, instead braying that “the checkpoints and other impediments to movement” in the West Bank are ugly hallmarks of “an apartheid regime” that seeks “to control all activity” in the region and to “collectively punish the entire Palestinian population.”
By SJP’s reckoning, yet another manifestation of Israeli “apartheid” is the Jewish state’s construction in the West Bank of a lengthy security barrier which, according to SJP, amounts to nothing more than a “land grab” aimed at advancing “the continued dispossession of Palestinians from their lands” and “the continual mapping of an expanding Israeli state.” “For most Palestinians,” adds SJP, this “Apartheid Wall” “devalues and dehumanizes the Palestinian population”; “is connected to a larger system of inequality, discrimination, control and oppression that is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine”; “is producing an open-air prison whose gates only Israel has the key to”; and “is the manifestation of the continued colonization of Palestinian land and society.”
Absent from SJP’s rhetoric is any mention of the historical context in which the construction of the barrier was originally authorized. As Mitchell Bard explains: “From September 2000 to mid-2005, hundreds of Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians killed more nearly 1,000 innocent people and wounded thousands of others. In response, Israel’s government decided to construct a security fence that would run near the ‘Green Line’ between Israel and the West Bank to prevent Palestinian terrorists from easily infiltrating into Israel proper…. Since construction of the fence began [in August 2003], the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%.”The “Anti-Normalization” Campaign
Viewing the Arab-Israeli conflict as a struggle between pure good (the Palestinians) and unadulterated evil (the Israelis), SJP views any sort of compromise with Israel as fundamentally counterproductive. As one SJP student puts it: “This is not a conflict between two equal and opposite parties…. You have an occupier, you have the occupied. And you have the oppressors and you have the oppressed.”
This is the Hamas view of the conflict. And like Hamas, numerous SJP chapters conduct very active “anti-normalization” campaigns predicated on the notion that Palestinian activists should refuse to participate in any type of dialog with their their pro-Israel counterparts because such engagement would not only help to “whitewash” Israel’s public image, but would also amount to a tacit admission that the pro-Israel side merits at least some measure of formal recognition. At Columbia University and San Diego State University, for instance, SJP chapters have adopted anti-normalization as their official policy.SJP Founder Hatem Bazian
SJP’s primary founder at UC Berkeley (in 2000) was then-PhD candidate Hatem Bazian, who today is a senior lecturerin that school’s Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies Departments. A native Palestinian born in the West Bank city of Nablus, Bazian, before founding SJP, had served as the head of Berkeley’s Muslim Students Association (MSA)—a campus group that was part of a much larger umbrella coalition, MSA National, which had been established in 1963 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The roots of Bazian’s intellectual and ideological development were nurtured during the late 1980s, when the terror war known as the First Palestinian Intifadawas in high gear. At that time, Bazian was the president of San Francisco State University‘s (SFSU) chapter of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS). Originally launched in 1959 and closely affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, GUPS has been described by author/scholar Daniel Greenfield as “the worldwide student arm of the terrorist PLO, a fact which caused it to be banned in Germany after the Munich Olympics massacre” of 1972. Among the early members and/or leaders of GUPS were Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Student Union, the Palestinian diplomat and longtime Hamas defender Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian politician Faisal Husseini, and the eventual PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat. GUPS’s principal objective today is to help student activists “build political, cultural, and social awareness of the Palestinian struggle for liberation.”In 2001, when Bazian’s SJP was still in its infancy, GUPS was strongly influenced by the United Nations’ “World Conference Against Racism” (WCAR) which was held that year in Durban, South Africa. This event featured, most prominently, an NGO Forum that focused a hugely disproportionate share of its attention and condemnation on the alleged transgressions of Israel and the United States. The Forum culminated in the production of a formal Declaration depicting the Palestinians as victims of “a colonialist, discriminatory military occupation that violates their fundamental human right of self-determination”; stating that the Palestinians “have the clear right … to resist such occupation by any means provided under international law”; asserting that Israeli injustices had “destabilized the entire region and … impacted on world peace and security”; and identifying the hallmarks of Israel’s “racist system” as “human rights violations,” “war crimes,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” “bantustanization,” “crime[s] against humanity,” “alien domination and subjugation,” “denial of territorial integrity,” “torture,” and “systematic collective punishment.” These perspectives are highly consistent with the views of GUPS and Bazian.
In a 2010 lecture at UC Irvine, Bazian flatly rejected the notion that Jews had any legitimate claim to land in the Middle East. As the Anti-Defamation League puts it: “He characterized the Jewish presence in the Middle East in Biblical times as ‘occupation,’ which he said was similar to the ‘occupation in the present context.’”
In early 2011, Bazian set into motion a national speaking tour titled “Never Again for Anyone,” whose purpose was to liken the Nazi Holocaust of the 1930s and ’40s to the Arab-Israeli conflict of today—with Israelis portrayed as modern-day Nazis, and “Never Again” transformed into a Palestinian rallying cry.
SJP Co-founder Snehal ShingaviBazian’s SJP co-founders were a committed group of experienced Islamist and Marxist activists. Foremost among them was the UC Berkeley graduate student Snehal Shingavi, a member of the International Socialist Organization (a self-described “Marxist” group).Shingavi has been arrested several times for conducting illegal demonstrations on campus. He first gained notoriety in 2001 when he stated, in a course-catalog description of a class he was teaching on “The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance,” that his instruction would focus heavily on “Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestine since 1948” and “the right of Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination.” “Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections,” Shingavi advised.
Like Bazian, Shingavi is an active supporter of BDS and a one-state solution in the Middle East. He once told interviewer Chris Matthews that the Israeli “occupation” actually began in 1948, when the Jewish state was created. In other words, Shingavi believes that Israel’s very existence is an “occupation,” and thus morally illegitimate.In a November 2014 speech at the University of Texas, where he is currently an assistant professor of English, Shingavi stated: “Gaza is the biggest open-air concentration camp in the world today and the condition of life in Gaza is not dissimilar to life in camps in Auschwitz and Dachau.” That same year, he denounced “the Zionist project” for having pursued “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine since 1948 to the present.”
SJP Supporter Jess Ghannam
In their formative years, both the San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley chapters of SJP received vital support from Professor of Psychiatry Jess Ghannam, a pro-Palestinian activist who has repeatedly accused Israel of practicing racism, apartheid, and “ethnic cleansing.” To this day, Ghannam continues to promote the agendas of SJP and is a frequentguest speaker and/or moderator at campus events. In February 2004 in San Francisco, he spoke at an SJP-sponsored rally where, according to one attendee, he characterized Israelis and Americans as “racists, white masters, and oppressors.” That same year, Ghannam collaborated with California Polytechnic State University professor Manzar Foroohar to launch thePalestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which pushes faculty and student activists “to pressure their academic organizations to end collaboration with complicit Israeli academic institutions or organizations”; “not to organize or participate in conferences in Israel”; and “to oppose study-abroad programs that place students from the U.S. and Europe at Israeli universities.”
SJP’s Activities & TacticsSJP’s 200+ chapters are largely autonomous organizations that maintain their own independent websites and traditionally have had only loose affiliations with one another. But in recent years, as the Anti-Defamation League reported in 2014, “SJP has become increasingly unified … and its chapters have begun to collaborate more closely, sometimes forming into coalition groups made up by region.” Several SJP chapters go by alternative names, such as Harvard College’s “Palestine Solidarity Committee” and Washington University’s “Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights.” Not all SJP members are students; many are university professors and staffers, and some are community activists without formal ties to any particular school.Condemning “the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel,” SJP’s various chapters actively organize protests, memorials, educational forums, lectures, panel discussions, teach-ins, seminars, workshops, film screenings, and other events designed to “give a voice to the Palestinian narrative as well as highlight the plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli aggression.” Particularly notable is the fact that since 2005, a number of SJP chapters have designated one week of every academic year as “Palestine Awareness Week” or, alternatively, “Israel Apartheid Week.” These weeks feature an array of SJP-sponsored events where Israel is repeatedly denounced in incendiary language as an apartheid state that is guilty of human-rights abuses, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide.
Additional methods by which SJP disseminates its anti-Israel message include:
To train its activists to smear Israel and advance BDS agendas as effectively as possible, SJP has published a “media handbook” that, according to NGO Monitor, “includes pro-BDS talking points,” “promotes apartheid rhetoric,” “adopts the Nakba narrative,” “contains suggestions [for] interacting with the media,” and “excuses Hamas terrorism” by claiming that suicide bombings originally began as “a response” to a Jewish madman’s infamous 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers in Hebron.
SJP also makes extensive use of social media to help spread its propaganda. In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League reported: “In the past few years, SJP has … successfully expanded its reach and visibility through social media. A majority of SJP chapters have created fan pages on Facebook, and many also maintain active Twitter profiles. They often create videos on platforms such as YouTube to engage in fundraising and promoting their events. The use of these networks enables SJP to promote events and campaigns more widely and to interact with other like-minded groups on and off campus.”
*Noteworthy SJP Events
*Following SJP’s inception in 2000, its membership rolls swelled rapidly and dramatically during 2001-03. This trend was spurred in part by the anti-Iraq War protest movement that fueled domestic anti-American and anti-Israel fervor, and in part by a number of high-profile, attention-grabbing actions taken by various SJP chapters. Some examples from SJP’s early years, and afterward:
More Students Terrorized by SJPIn November 2015 the AMCHA Initiative, a campus anti-Semitism watchdog organization, announced that during the preceding eleven months it had collectedapproximately 70 testimonials from Jewish students on various University of California campuses complaining of anti-Semitic words and actions being aimed at them, often by members of SJP and related groups. Among the complaints were allegations that SJP members in particular had: “physically assaulted” and “spat at” Jewish students; followed Jewish students home in order to frighten them; defaced school property with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti; displayed placards and banners bearing such inscriptions as “The Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers” and “Death to Zionism”; and shouted slogans like “Down with Jews,” “Hitler was right,” “Zionist kike,” “Dirty Jews,” “Free free Palestine,” “You Jews are occupying our land and killing our people,” and “From the river to the sea Palestine must be free.” According to AMCHA co-founder and UC Santa Cruz professor Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the “testimonials demonstrate unequivocally that all Jewish students are targeted, regardless of their feelings on Israel, and that anti-Israel and BDS campaigns have gone far beyond scholarly debate and criticism directly into hate and antisemitism.”
Non-Governmental Organizations That Support SJPSJP’s campus initiatives are aided by a number of pro-BDS non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide SJP chapters with funding, guidance, training, and legal assistance. In some cases these groups also co-sponsor events with SJP.American Muslims for PalestineThe most significant and influential supporter of SJP is American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which was established in 2005 by none other than SJP co-founder Hatem Bazian. AMP’s stated mission is to educate the public about: “the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty and justice”; how American “tax dollars support the longest-lasting … military occupation in modern history”; and “how the people of Palestine have been living … for decades” under an Israeili “occupation” characterized by “flagrant and continual violations of international law,” “human rights abuses,” and “ethnic cleansing.”
Like SJP, AMP supports the Palestinian “right-of-return” and is one of the major driving forces of the BDS movement. WritesJonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD): “AMP is arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for [SJP], which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States. AMP provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called ‘Apartheid Wall,’ and [financial] grants to SJP activists. AMP even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country. According to an email it sent to subscribers, AMP spent $100,000 on campus activities in 2014 alone.” Further, AMP has co-sponsored events with various SJP chapters, and at its annual national conference, AMP trains SJP members through its “Campus Activism Track.”Though there is no evidence that AMP is involved in any illegal pursuits, at least eight of its current board members, key officials, and close allies werepreviously members of now-defunct Islamic extremist groups that funded terrorist activities. These groups included the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood (which wasestablished by the Brotherhood to advance Hamas’s agendas in the U.S.); the Islamic Association for Palestine; the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (which from 1995-2001 contributed approximately $12.4 million in money, goods, and services to Hamas); and KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development.
Over the years, AMP has received donations from groups whose members, affiliates, or associates had ties to terrorist organizations like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s military arm), and al-Qaeda.
In March 2014, AMP was one of six major national American Islamic groups that collaborated to form a coalition called the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), whose stated purpose was to “serve as a representative voice for Muslims as that faith community seeks to enhance its positive impact on society.” The other five USCMO members were the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), and the Mosque Foundation. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, three of USCMO’s members—AMP, CAIR and MAS—“have roots in the Muslim Brotherhoodor in … the Palestine Committee.”
At its annual conference in 2014, AMP invited participants to “come and navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.”Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP**)**
This proudly socialist, and pro-BDS organization has co-sponsored many events with SJP. “There’s an enormous amount of cooperation [between the two groups]” said JVP’s executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson in 2015. “I think they [SJP] are the most effective student organization on this [BDS] issue.” According to NGO Monitor, JVP “promotes political warfare strategy against Israel, which includes the tactics of [BDS], a sustained campaign of demonization such as accusations of ‘apartheid’ and ‘racism,’ and support for a Palestinian claim to a ‘right of return,’ with the ultimate goal of dismantling Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” In 2008 JVP helped the Carter Center gather signatures to support former President Jimmy Carter’s controversial meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, whom JVP viewed as a legitimate potential partner in the peace process with Israel.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
This pro-Communist Quaker organization actively promotesBDS, accuses Israel of practicing “apartheid against Palestinians,” and advocates for the Palestinian “right-of-return.”ASFC and JVP have provided training for BDS activists through their jointly-run “BDS Summer Institute.”U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a “national coalition of more than 400 groups” whichsupports BDS, views Israel’s creation in 1948 as a “catastrophe,” and characterizes Israel as an “apartheid” state.WESPAC Foundation
This pro-BDS organization favors the Palestinian “right-of-return” and demands that America “end all aid” to the “apartheid, racist state” of Israel. Moreover, WESPAC and SJP have co-sponsored “Israel Apartheid Week” events in the New York area.Al-Awda
Working chiefly to promote “the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin,” this organization has co-sponsored a number of events with various SJP chapters.
This group strives to “bolster the Palestine solidarity movement” by providing its activists with legal representation when necessary. It once partnered with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) to publish a “Legal and Tactical Guide” for SJP and likeminded activists involved in “Palestinian Human Rights Advocacy in the U.S.”Center for Constitutional RightsThis longtime supporter of communist causes is described by NGO Monitor as “part of the legal arm of the BDS Movement, providing legal assistance to BDS activists and partnering with the National Lawyers Guild to create Palestine Legal.”National Lawyers GuildThis Marxist organization engages in the use of “lawfare,” a term connoting a war that is being waged against Israel not on the battlefield, but rather, in the courtroom. We can see lawfare in action whenever anti-Israel NGOs: (a) file lawsuits against companies and governments that do business with Israel; (b) try to persuade courts and international legal bodies to impose boycotts and embargoes on Israel; or (c) demand the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli public officials whom the NGOs accuse of human-rights violations.
International Socialist Organization (ISO)This self-described “Marxist” entity proudly declares: “We unconditionally support Hamas when it is engaged in military or non-military struggles against Israel, because it weakens the Zionist state and terrifies the Arab regimes and the United States, and therefore strengthens the potential for class struggle in the Arab states against this imperialist system.” ISO has supported BDS initiatives on a number of campuses, and has invited several pro-BDS speakers to its annual “Socialism” Conferences.Muslim Students Association (MSA)This national organization and its many chapters have co-sponsored a number of campus events with SJP. According to a 2011 U.S. District Court document: “The more publicly activist SJP may be understood as the militant arm of the outwardly benevolent MSA. Members of the former are often members of the latter.” Consequently, on some campuses the two groups share the same offices.J Street UThis student offshoot of the national advocacy group J Street, has co-sponsored events with a number of SJP chapters. Heavily funded by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, J Street—unlike SJP—advocates the pursuit, through diplomacy, of a two-state solution whereby Israel would exist alongside a Palestinian state governed by the genocidal barbarians of Hamas. Indeed, J Street has cautioned against Israeli efforts to topple Hamas, on grounds that the latter “has been the government, law and order, and service provider since it won the [Palestinian] elections in January 2006 and especially since June 2007 when it took complete control.” In March 2011, journalist Elliot Jagernotedthat “J Street since its founding has opposed every measure Israel has taken to defend its citizens,” and that “one is hard put to discern any policy differences whatsoever between the stated positions of J Street and the Palestinian Authority or the PLO.”Partnering with Left-wing Identity-Politics Organizations
SJP benefits enormously from the lock-step support of the political left, for which the “intersectionality” of all alleged oppressions is a matter of faith. In an effort to attract as much sympathy and support as possible for its anti-Israel agenda, SJP commonly collaborateswith black, Latino, LGBT, and socialist organizations in sponsoring events and organizing protests. The objective is to draw parallels between the various forms of victimization to which each of these constituencies claim to be subjected. Or, as SJP puts it: “We believe that no struggle against oppression is divorced from one another, that in order to resist structural oppression we must embody the principles and ideals we envision for a just society, and that we must be vigilant about upholding ethical positions against homophobia, sexism, racism, bigotry, classism, colonialism, and discrimination of any form.” Some examples:
In much the same way, the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza bear no resemblance whatsoever to the meek, goodhearted princes of peace described in SJP’s propaganda. “What many of these minority groups fail to recognize,” notes the Jewish News Service, “… is that the ‘Palestine’ that SJP defends is not only anti-Semitic, but also misogynistic, homophobic, racist, anti-Christian, and fascist. SJP defends a place where women are subject to honor killings, where members of the LGBTQ community face persecution, torture, and death, and where Jews are not allowed to live, build homes, or purchase land. SJP does not discuss these injustices, nor do they care when Hamas murders opponents and drags them through the street. In SJP’s mind, none of this matters, because ‘Israel is the oppressor.’”
Funding for SJP
SJP chapters are funded primarily by university grants that range, for the most part, from several hundred dollars to $2,000 apiece. This money is derived chiefly from student-activity fees that colleges charge to support campus groups and events, and is allocated to SJP and other recipients by each school’s student government. At some universities, the funds provided to groups like SJP may be much higher. According to one source, “At larger campuses like UC Berkeley or UCLA,… clubs like SJP can receive as much as $30,000 in funding for events they wish to hold…. At Concordia University in Canada,… SJP at one point received $50,000 for anti-Israel actions (including calls for divestment) on campus.” Along the same lines, NGO Monitor notes that “SJP at San Diego State University received a combined $14,000 to host ‘Palestine Awareness Week’ in 2010-2013.” To maximize the likelihood of being approved for their funding requests, SJP chapters often run one or more of their student members or sympathizers for seats in their university’s student government.Guest Speakers at SJP Events
SJP commonly brings pro-BDS speakers to address audiences on college campuses across the United States. Some of these invited guests openly support, or at least decline to condemn, Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Among the more notable individuals who have spoken at SJP events are the following:
Operating under the cover of the “multiculturalism” that dominates U.S. higher education, Students for Justice in Palestine has become a dominant organization on American campuses and the driving force behind the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigotry that have become part of the everyday reality there. It is the key member in an alliance of campus groups that seek to indoctrinate American college students in the false beliefs that Jews are racists who stole Arab land and oppress Palestinians, and that consequently the Jewish state of Israel has no right to exist. Couching its agendas in the deceitful rhetoric of “social justice,” SJP covertly and overtly supports terrorism. The organization’s objectives complement those of the Hamas terrorists whose deepest desire is to “obliterate” Israel by means of violent, pitiless “jihad”—i.e., “war for the sake of Allah.” While Hamas pursues this goal by means of a terror war against Israel, SJP pursues it by means of activism and propaganda.