The pro-Israel community has for years been contending that anti-Zionism is just a modern strand of anti-Semitism. That the State of Israel has become a proxy for Jews and Judaism, providing cover for those who choose to demonize Jews through the more palatable trend of demonizing Israel. We are constantly told that “even Jews join the fight against Israel,” so anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism couldn’t possibly be the same (leaving the history of self-hating Jews aside). However it struck no one at Canary Mission as odd when Ryerson University in Canada showed everyone that classic anti-Semitism is alive and well, within the “anti-Zionist” groups on their campus.
Some background. On November 29, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) was having their annual membership meeting. On the docket was a resolution to “..celebrate the official Canadian Holocaust Education Week (or dedicate a full five work days annually and consecutively) which numerous events/education programs are offered in collaboration with the remembrance and history of the Holocaust.” In short, it was a resolution to introduce the Canadian Holocaust Education Week programming into the university. Seems innocuous, right? Who could possibly take issue with informing and educating university students about the horrors of the Holocaust? Who could take issue with exposing the younger generation one of the most tragic events in human history, so that they could become active participants in ensuring “Never Again?”
According to the Hillel Ryerson community, students from the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) first called for an amendment to the motion to include all forms of genocide, essentially erasing anything unique to the Jewish people or the Nazi Holocaust.
It is a fair point to make that Jews deserve a space in which to validate their own unique historical pain without having that experience drowned out by the experiences of others. However, not everyone was prepared to acknowledge or respect the right to such a space for Jews at Ryerson on November 29.
Jewish Ryerson student Aedan O’Connor reported, “When presenting the motion we were snickered at and told to sit down and not present by other students. When it approached the time to vote on this motion a large group of students started messaging each other and coordinated a walk out to rid the assembly of quorum.”
But then they walked out, causing the meeting to lose quorum and the vote to die, Hillel Ryerson’s Aedan O’Connor reported.
“Instead of going through with trying to amend it, they … decided to walk out,” she said.
Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights, condemned the act as a clear case of anti-Semitism.
“When they realized the original motion would likely pass as it was presented, (they)… got up and walked out as a way of removing quorum so that the motion couldn’t pass,” she said.
“There is no other way to characterize this, but (as) anti-Jewish sentiment,” she added, urging the government to intervene.
“It’s a systemic issue… (on) many university campuses across Canada… Universities are funded by taxpayer dollars and there needs to be some accountability at the government level.”
Let’s be clear. This resolution had absolutely nothing to do with Israel. There was no pro-Israel messaging involved, no request to purchase Israeli-made items, nothing to link this resolution to the ongoing campus debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was solely a resolution to bring Holocaust awareness and education to the general Ryerson student population.
Rather than jumping to conclusions, we researched both the MSA and SJP Facebook pages to see their reactions to the uproar. The Ryerson MSA acknowledged that they have been accused by many to organizing a walkout and that “Allegations that we organized or directed the loss of quorum are completely false and hurtful.”
They went on to insist that “We strongly believe in free speech, the right for all paying members of the RSU to put forth motions, and the importance of motions being debated and put to a democratic vote.”
This statement flies in the face of their behavior at the meeting. They actively aborted the possibility of both debating and voting on the motion by leaving and ruining the quorum. While trying to absolve themselves, they demonstrated that while they might theoretically honor debate and democracy, neither applies when the resolution is something they don’t agree with. SJP hasn’t offered a statement, but they did promote the RSU meeting on their Facebook page, encouraging their members to attend and offering them free dinner. On pure speculation, one might wonder why they were so keen to see their membership show up to this meeting, while a cursory glance at their previously promoted events shows no other RSU meetings. It does make one wonder why they wanted so many members to attend this specific meeting if the walk-out wasn’t previously planned.
Additionally, there is the recent allegation that the president of the RSU Student Union, Obaid Ullah, was possibly involved in the walkout, with a purported text to those who left with the words “Leave now.” It will certainly be interesting to see if and how Ullah responds to these allegations. If proven true, it would surely add a new layer to the accusations of anti-Semitism extending to those who’ve been elected to represent their fellow students. Last year, for example, questions arose from members of Ryerson’s Muslim Student’s Association, questioning whether Ullah’s association with the RSU’s IMPACT slate would impede on his previous activism for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the university.
Hasbara Fellowships, a leading pro-Israel advocacy organization, wrote a letter voicing their concern to the president of the RSU.
“Today anti-Israel activists let their guard down,” according to Robert Walker, National Director for Hasbara Fellowships Canada. “Today we saw concrete proof that for many students, there really is a core anti-Semitic hatred of Jewish students.”
Ryerson has a history of anti-Israel hostility, becoming one of the first North American campuses to successfully pass a BDS resolution in April 2014, targeting the State of Israel for boycott. The resolution prohibits the university from having ties with companies that do business in Israel, including Home Depot, Costco and Sears, and removed Sabra hummus from the campus cafeteria. Additionally, the university came under fire for allowing a violent anti-Israel rally to take place on its campus, and sponsoring a pro-BDS event with taxpayer money, while repeatedly taking down videos posted to Facebook by pro-Israel students.
Then-president of RSU Rajean Hoilett explained, “I think it’s very important for people to know the difference between freedom of speech and hate speech.”
Based on university precedent, however, it would seem that those definitions are at the mercy of the biases of anti-Israel Ryerson students.
“What starts with BDS does not end with BDS,” warned Hohmann. “More often than not, BDS is simply a gateway drug to more blatant forms of anti-Semitism.”
On December 19, 2016, the Ryerson Student Union held a meeting to table the motion that was previously scuttled, and the motion passed unanimously. It appears that the outcome of the backlash was overwhelming support for the motion, which relieved those involved in the bill’s passage. “This has been the second year in many that Jewish students can feel safer and included on campus. I am excited that my student union acknowledges the importance of education about the Holocaust and I could not be more proud” said Rebecca Katzman, president of Students Supporting Israel at Ryerson.
All’s well that ends well, but the reverberations of this situation will certainly be felt in the future. From this incident, it’s quite clear that the fine line between campus anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is not only blurred but sometimes becomes indistinguishable altogether.
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn met last night with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) founder Dr. Hatam Bazian, at the latter’s book signing in London. Corbyn’s anti-Israel biases have been well-known, even beyond Canary Mission circles, for some time. Corbyn’s coddling of Hamas and Hezbollah has made even traditional Labour party supporters uncomfortable in the past.
The Growth of Bazian’s Power
The fact that Britain’s opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian’s event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian’s influence is increasing. This should alarm everyone concerned with the growing acceptance of anti-Jewish rhetoric on college campuses. As an activist professor at UC Berkeley, Dr. Bazian was the intellectual pioneer who perfected the technique of co-opting the values of the left for the purpose of demonizing Israel in the minds of an entire generation of progressive students. Corbyn’s display of solidarity indicates that Bazian’s stature and international relevance is on the rise.
The Implications for Britain’s Future
Today’s meeting should also alarm the United Kingdom’s Jewish community. Although Corbyn has gone to great lengths to downplay and even obscure his past support for the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah, his overt display of solidarity with Bazian makes clear that these moves represent only tactical political maneuverings and not a genuine ideological shift on his part. Corbyn’s open support for the demagogic founder of SJP, who once called for an intifada in the United States and created the most influential student vehicle for the delegitimization of the Jewish people’s history and very identity, shows that Corbyn is the same Corbyn he’s always been. As the UK’s opposition leader, Corbyn’s schedule must undoubtedly be overwhelming. The fact that he took the time for such a display of solidarity with Bazian indicates that he views the “Israel issue” as central to his foreign policy agenda.
Despite the fact that Canary Mission generally focuses its attention on anti-Jewish sentiment in North America, we felt responsible to draw attention to Corbyn’s meeting with Bazian, as evidence of both Bazian’s growing stature, and the centrality that hatred for the Jewish state occupies in Corbyn’s worldview.
‘Peace and Equality! Justice! Anti-Racism! Indigenous Rights!’
Draped in a Palestinian flag and brandishing a bullhorn, a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) leader can sound like they care about these causes. The same is especially true when a reporter’s voice recorder is switched on in front of them.
But what do they say when the spotlight isn’t on them? Scratch the surface and chances are you’ll find they don’t demand these rights for Jews.
Let’s take the example of Mohammad Sajjad Soltanmohammadi from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD).
On April 19, 2016, Soltanmohammadi led an SJP UMD “die-in” that disrupted a campus pro-Israel event where SJP blocked student walkways, which was against university rules.
He declared on behalf of SJP that “we have nothing against the Jewish religion or the Jewish people.”
On the same day, Soltanmohammadi was quoted in a UMD student publication saying he wanted people to “live in peace and equality.” He was further quoted: “We want to show that we are not against the Jewish people, but we are pro-equality and humanitarian acts for everyone.”
But make no mistake. Soltanmohammadi is a liar.
Two months after the rally, on his Facebook page Soltanmohammadi shared a video that featured virulent anti-Semite David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, full of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Duke is notorious for comparing Israel to Nazi Germany — a modern form of anti-Semitism — and Soltanmohammadi has made the same accusations on his Twitter account.
On August 5, 2014, Soltanmohammadi tweeted: “All of Palestine is Hamas. All of the support is Hamas. We are Hamas. We are the resistance. We are the Intifada, and were [sic.] going Global.”
Soltanmohammadi’s Youtube page is full of Hezbollah propaganda videos, including one that calls for a recreation of the early seventh century Battle of Khaybar where Jews were slaughtered, en masse. Those who use the term “Khaybar” as a chant — as Hezbollah does — generally use it as an explicit call for war on Jews. Soltanmohammadi even posts pictures on social media of himself posing in front of a Hezbollah flag.
In October 2015, during a month of religiously incited violence against Israeli civilians — known variously as the “Knife Intifada” or the “Stabbing Intifada” when scores of Israelis were stabbed and attacked — Soltanmohammadi shared an image of a Palestinian man draped in a bloody keffiyeh and called for “Intifada” violence.
One day after the “die-in”, Soltanmohammadi spread lies denying Jewish history and the connection of the Jews to their most important sacred site in Jerusalem — the Temple Mount, mentioned countless times in ancient Jewish texts. He spread similar lies in the weeks after the rally.
Would Soltanmohammadi explicitly declare support for David Duke, Hamas or Hezbollah at a public rally? We did not see him do that. Although earlier in the rally he whitewashed the war crimes of Hamas rocket fire at Israeli cities, he did not express the same outright support for Hamas that he did on his Twitter account.
Would Soltanmohammadi publicly declare support for the stabbing of innocent Jews? Likely not. But he will readily declare his desire for Intifada violence on Facebook.
The pattern of deceptive tactics is clear. It is in this way that Soltanmohammadi began his speech at the April 19th “die-in.” Couching his language in peaceful overtones, he employed a tactic that SJP and other anti-Israel movements use to subtly deny Jewish nationalism as an authentic part of Jewish identity.
He declared: “I want to start out by saying Shalom and Salaam, extending peace to everyone here and to say that not every Zionist is Jewish and not every Jew is a Zionist. I really believe this. We have nothing against the Jewish religion or the Jewish people but we have something against the Zionist apartheid and Israeli apartheid.”
On the one hand, he publicly reassured anyone sensitive to anti-Semitism that he and SJP have “nothing against the Jewish religion or the Jewish People” and in the same breath he divorced Jews from one of the central tenets of their heritage — their connection to their ancient homeland. In the forum of the protest, his hateful double-talk went unchallenged.
So next time you hear an SJP or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) leader get up and support causes you care about, be critical of what they are actually saying and consider what might be going on behind the scenes when the spotlight isn’t shining.
Looks like Canary Mission isn’t the only watch-dog reporting on the lies, half-truths and hoaxes propagated by the hate-group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
The GIF — that JVP posted on Twitter — claimed that “Up until July 25 the word Palestine was on Google’s map.” Tweeted by JVP on August 9th, the GIF showed a “before-and-after” shot of the word “Palestine” being replaced with “Israel” on Google Maps.
The scandalous GIF was a wild success. An online petition from March 2016 condemned Google and implied that its “two Jewish founders” removed the word “Palestine” because of their “links” to Israel. The petition collected over 180,000 signatures in one day. Twitter was awash with anti-Israel tweets. There were calls to boycott Google.
A few days later the truth was revealed. Google matter-of-factly stated that there had never been a Palestine label on Google Maps.
JVP’s accusation that Google had replaced “Palestine” with Israel, was a lie. The GIF was a fraud.
What JVP did next can only be described as incredible.
JVP spokesperson, Naomi Dann, clumsily told The New York Times that the GIF “was created by one of her colleagues.” She also attempted to further deflect, by placing the blame on an outside source.
Dann claimed that JVP sourced the information from a journalist who released a statement published by the Forum of Palestinian Journalists. According to the New York Times, the author says he “heard” the claim that Google removed the word ‘Palestine’ from the website of a Palestinian organization in Lebanon “whose name he could not remember.”
As if this wasn’t enough, rather than remove the GIF, on August 11th JVP re-tweeted it — and blamed “the internet” for being “wrong.”
JVP also had the gall to cast doubt on the veracity of Google’s statement and asked a random Twitter follower who claimed to have seen the word “Palestine” on Google Maps, “if you learn more let us know.”
Eventually however, JVP caved. Sometime between August 12th and August 14th, they deleted the fraudulent GIF from their Twitter feed.
Even if JVP’s story is true and they did receive an incorrect piece of information, there can be no pleading innocence. The fact is that a JVP member doctored a Google Maps image by inserting the word ‘Palestine’ where there never was one.
Perhaps the New York Times has a particular interest in exposing JVP deceptions. After all, the Times was also targeted, earlier this year, by another of JVP’s elaborate anti-Israel hoaxes. JVP created a fake Supplement Edition of the paper, with bogus stories demonizing Israel. It was reported that over 10,000 copies of the fake supplement were distributed throughout New York City.
This episode raises the question of just what else JVP conceals under its veneer of “peace” activism in its zeal to falsely demonize Israel.
Over the last few years, the radical Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and their primary campus agitator — Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — have developed a new strategy: forging alliances with human rights groups campaigning through social action. This technique has been labeled “intersectionality.” In most instances, worthy causes now have an additional masked message — “it’s the Jews fault,” repackaged for a modern generation by taking aim at the Jewish state.
In 2014, when Michael Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, MO, African Americans were struggling with issues of community safety and institutionalized racism within the Ferguson police department, the BDS movement moved to harness and leverage Black anger — hijacking the shooting to fraudulently mischaracterize Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as racially motivated.
The anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada (EI) wrote regarding a Ferguson protest: “Some young people responded by throwing bottles and rocks at police, prompting comparisons to Palestine, where children often toss stones at Israeli occupation forces as a means of resistance and self-defense.”
It is true that Palestinians have thrown rocks at Israelis and that here protesters threw bottles at the police. However, the insinuation by EI that — because responses to Israel and the U.S. police have similarities, therefore their underpinning issue must be the same — is highly manipulative.
EI then took the so-called link between Israel and Ferguson a step further pointing to the fact that the St Louis police department had traveled to Israel to attend a LEEP conference in 2008. Here, Israel was portrayed as an actual endemic cause of this American problem!
Another target of the BDS movement is the LGBTQ community. Israel is without comparison the most accommodating country in the Middle East. However, BDS draws this community into its fold by cynically alleging that Israel uses its Western liberal tolerance as a diversion tactic to whitewash — or “pinkwash” — its so-called human rights violations against Palestinians.
On January 22, 2016, nearly 200 protesters, including members of SJP U of C and JVP UChicago crashed a major U.S. LGBTQ conference in Chicago and shut down a talk that featured both a Jerusalem and American LGBTQ group.
The protesters stood outside the venue yelling, “Shut it down!” and “Racists go home!” Other disruptors shouted calls for Israel’s destruction — including “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Zionism has got to go!” Protesters eventually broke into the event room and shouted down the speakers.
At Oberlin College in Ohio, Students for a Free Palestine (SFP), an affiliate of SJP, tried to enlist the support of the Mexican community for BDS by fabricating a link between Israeli policy and U.S-Mexican border issues. The SFP Facebook page states that its goal is for Oberlin College to divest from six corporations that do business with Israel that “militarize the US-Mexico border wall, create drones and surveillance technologies in prisons.”
BDS is also not above stepping on the trauma of sexual assault victims in order to prop up their anti-Israel agenda. At DePaul University, SJP members piggybacked on a campaign called Take Back the Dorms — a campaign concerned with issues of sexual assaults and rape on campus in Chicago. SJP protesters trying to promote a divestment resolution, held signs that read “From Palestine to our university. SJP DePaul stands against sexual violence and exploitation,” along with the hashtags #TakeBackTheDorms and #DePaulDivest.
In spite of Israel being a welcoming home to many migrant workers from the Philippines, this did not stop the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) from successfully forging an alliance with Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network — a “national Filipino-American youth and student led relief network built in response to Typhoon Haiyan.” This alliance came together to shout down Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, while he was speaking at SFSU.
Upon entering the room where Barkat was speaking, GUPS SFSU President Lubna Morrar led the group in yelling, “Get the f**k off our campus!” Following that, fellow GUPS SFSU member Linda Ereikat led the group in other aggressive and violent chants including “Intifada, Intifada!” as well as, “If we don’t get no justice, then you don’t get no peace” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!” — a call for Israel’s destruction.
When attempting to enlist the support of human rights groups, BDS first follow a strategy of demonization and dehumanization of Israel. They avoid stating at the outset that their goal is the end of the Jewish state, as this would be recognized as racist and malevolent by human rights-minded students. Thus, their first move is to compare “relatable evils” and package them up with Israel. Now the campaigners can sell the idea that “Israel is evil.” The final stage is to vilify Israel with more outrageous and severe lies: genocide, ethnic cleansing, organ harvesting of Palestinians, using Palestinians as guinea pigs to test chemical weapons etc. Once the dehumanization of the Jewish state reaches a certain point, it can appear — even to a human rights-minded student — that Israel shouldn’t exist.
Dehumanization of Jews by accusing them of the worlds worst evils is nothing new. It can be found in classical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Renaissance blood libels of Jews poisoning water, murdering children and drinking blood have been resurrected by the Palestinian Authority and can be found across anti-Israel media and propaganda websites. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion conjured the conspiracy of a network of Jewish power and control over governments. Modern-day anti-Semites repackage this idea — such as with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s essay the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy — in order to push the idea that Israel is a sinister entity that doesn’t deserve existence.
Whether its capitalizing on the Black Lives Matter campaign, or through lumping Israel divestment together with fossil fuel divestment, intersectionality is the manipulative tool of the BDS movement to enlist well-intentioned, human rights-minded individuals into blaming their problems on the Jews — so BDS can continue their propaganda campaign to eliminate the Jewish state.
On January 20, 2016, a Canary Mission tweet featured an image of students from the University of South Florida (USF). It seems innocent but a closer look reveals something very disturbing – they are standing in solidarity with a convicted murderer.
The image was of the group, The Committee to Stop FBI Repression – Tampa, at a fundraiser they threw for Rasmea Odeh. Odeh is a PFLP terrorist convicted for the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two students in 1969.
The Committee to Stop FBI Oppression ignored our tweet. However, we were surprised when – one day later – Students for Justice in Palestine at USF attacked us.
SJP USF responded to the tweet with the following message, “Love how Canary Mission…tries to depict USF students as sympathizers of terrorism with a “Drop BOOKS Not bombs” canvas in the background.”
It seems that SJP believes that as long as there is a sign with the words “DROP BOOKS NOT BOMBS,” they can support terrorism.
SJP members brand themselves as advocates of peaceful justice of the “Drop Books Not Bombs” variety. But once you start digging even a little bit, you discover that their true “justice” has really nothing to do with peace.
With breathtaking mental gymnastics, SJP will sing about peace and seconds later follow with an infamous chant calling for the destruction of the Jewish homeland – “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free.” They then usually continue with other chants to destroy Israel in graphic detail.
They stand behind a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr while calling for Intifada. Or they compare themselves to Gandhi while running Israeli Apartheid Week – a dangerous event that often violates the safety of students on campus. The list goes on and more instances surface every day of their incredible calls for “peace” and “justice” whilst supporting violence.
Peace will always be elusive while groups like SJP foment aggression and hatred by supporting terrorists such as Odeh and her group the PFLP.
So, to the students in that photo, if you really are peace activists, we have one message for you:
Tell the genocidal organizations like PFLP to “Drop Books Not Bombs.” Relay that idea to the cold-blooded murderer Odeh who, in 1969, set off her own bomb killing two university students just like you.
How did we get to this point? How is it possible to consistently manipulate people who are educated, pro-human rights and against violence, into believing a narrative that is built on promoting hate?
On campus, the trickery is perpetrated by certain organizations whose angle is to ensnare and recruit those who stand for peaceful protest about whatever issues they might feel strongly about, to join their cause and “plight.”
At Columbia University, reported in 2015 to be the most anti-Semitic campus in the United States, the latest manipulation is spelled: “ApartheidDivest.”
The latest attempt in the ongoing crusade to manipulate students into a distorted view of Israel is Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), spearheaded by Columbia students Shezza Abboushi Dallal, Jannine Salman, Jeffrey Jacobs and Eva Kalikoff and promoted on social media by Yasmeen Abdel Majeed and Adrian McAfee.
The name “Apartheid Divest” itself, is an outrageous microaggression designed to bully students into swallowing a hate-narrative, by presenting Apartheid as Israel-normative.
A collaboration between Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine (CSJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the campaign was launched with a petition and inaugural event titled BDS 101 on February 4, 2016.
To be clear, CUAD is a rebranding attempt of the now-famous campus BDS campaign.
However, it is a further cynical move to normalize the usage of “Apartheid” within the Israeli narrative: go straight to the point, minus the bothersome dialogue about other views.
Apartheid Divest is only the most recent experiment by CSJP (in conjunction with JVP). A tragically long history of activities and events exposes their true agenda. Here is a run-down of some of this SJP chapter’s more derisive moments:
In December 2015, CSJP promoted a video originally produced by Al-Jazeera; in it, the group pointed out that language is an “important tool” — and characterized Israel’s security fence (97% of which is a low chain link barrier), as “The Apartheid Wall.” The video focused on the atypical concrete portions of the Israeli security fence — which were built in response to Palestinian sniper attacks.
In November 2015, CSJP protested opposite an ‘Israel Week’ event, organized by the Israeli government Ministry of Tourism. CSJP attempted to hijack and politicize the event — holding up banners accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.”
In March 2015, CSJP’s held its yearly ‘Israel Apartheid week,’ which included building a Mock ‘Apartheid’ wall on campus. Some of the students directly involved were Shezza Abboushi Dallal, Jannine Salman and Darializa Avila- Chevalier.
CSJP occupied both sides of the College Walk, a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare in the center of the Columbia campus — boxing out pro-Israel organizations’ freedom to table and counter the false claims of SJP and their associates.
On April 3, 2015, Yousr Shaltout co-authored an Op-Ed in the Columbia Spectator with fellow CSJP member Darializa Avila Chevalier titled: “Reflecting on a Culture of Intimidation.” There, Shaltout claimed that pro-Israel student groups harassed, intimidated and silenced anti-Zionist groups.
In March 2014, CSJP members hung a banner created by Jannine Salman on Barnard Hall, the entryway of the college, to kick off Israeli Apartheid Week. The banner featured a map of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, with no internal borders, colored uniformly green— visually eradicating the Jewish State.
The next morning, the banner was removed after Barnard received numerous complaints from students and alumni who felt uncomfortable and unsafe. Some students felt the banner was an overt display of anti-Semitism. Others opined that the banner space was inappropriate for any political message, by any student group — since the implication that the University endorsed any such message served only “to ostracize segments of the community.”
In response to the banner’s removal, a March 26, 2014 editorial, authored by Shezza Abboushi Dallal and Feride Eralpe on behalf of SJP — entitled “SJP banner removal implicitly backs pro-Israel view” — objected to the banner’s removal “without warning or consulting SJP.”
The editorial dismissed the feelings of Barnard students who felt threatened by the banner, as trivializing “the experience of actual violence that we may be complicit in, from the suffering of the people of Palestine to global indigenous dispossession and the oppression of communities of color.”
In December 2014, CSJP hosted a panel discussion event at Barnard, entitled “Race, Violence, Resistance From Gaza to Ferguson.” This event encouraged false comparisons between the populations of Gaza and Ferguson – fueling accusations that Israel is inherently “racist” and justifying Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians — labeled as “resistance.” The event was introduced by Aya Zaki-Sabet and Shezza Abboushi Dallal was a speaker.
In April 2013, Mona Abdullah of CSJP was an organizer and promoter of a press conference launched by members of the Barnard and Columbia faculty, calling on College Retirement Equities Fund TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli corporations, including Elbit Systems, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Veolia. However, the divestment effort failed as the pension fund received admittance from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s that they would “take no action” on the matter.
In February 2012, CSJP staged a mock house demolition, on Columbia’s Low Plaza — propagating the falsehood that Israeli-Arabs do not have the same building rights in Israel as Jews. The actors included Feride Eralpe, Thaer-al-Sheik Theeb and Maya Wind. Eralpe stated that Palestinians are therefore “forced” to build illegally.
In November 2012, Qais Malhas filmed a dramatized mock arrest protest, on behalf of CSJP, featuring fellow students Feride Eralp, Isabel Penaranda and Thaer-al-Sheik Theeb as part of a “Right to Education week” — an initiative started by Birzeit University, whose student body has been ridden with terrorists for more than a decade. The dramatization falsely represented that Palestinians were arrested solely for the “crime” of attending University.
In February and March of 2010, Dayana Khatib, Tanya Keilani, Rahim Kurwa, Alaa Milbes, Fatimah Rimawi, Matt Swagler and Randa Wahbe co-authored opinion pieces for the Columbia Spectator with other CSJP members, promoting and defending “Israeli Apartheid week.”
In November 2010, CSJP staged a mock Israeli checkpoint on Columbia’s Low Plaza, in which Maya Wind, portraying an “Israeli soldier,” harassed and yelled at passers-by. Feride Eralpe is first “citizen” in line. CSJP members also blindfolded and placed tape over the mouths of other students, who were meant to portray security detainees.
Following the checkpoint event in 2010, Michael Kennedy co-wrote an article with Dina Omar and Alaa Milbes excusing Palestinian terrorist attacks on the basis of “inequality” – “Terrorist attacks are a desperate response to the inequality between Palestinians and Israelis.”
In November 2002, a group of faculty at Columbia and Barnard launched a divestment effort entitled “Columbia University Divestment Campaign” to encourage the United States government to suspend its military aid to Israel, and divest from all companies that manufacture military hardware sold to Israel.
Columbia’s President, Lee Bollinger, blasted the divestment petition: “I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal. The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive,” he said.
Standing against the latest BDS smear campaign, pro-Israel students launched “Invest in Peace,” a campaign to educate students about how divestment generates distrust, and will only make it harder to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians, said Daniella Greenbaum, president of Aryeh, the Columbia student association for Israel.
If those who are looking to be educated are most at risk of absorbing a false narrative, campus organizations such as Aryeh and Columbia SSI are a hope for students seeking a more fair and truthful discussion about Israel.
The AparthedDivest joint venture between CSJP and JVP may be the next manipulative attempt to gain support for a false narrative, but if those who are firm and committed to a truthful portrayal of Israel stand in solidarity, this latest attack and any after it will be able to confronted.
What do a dorm eviction prank, the crashing of a LGBT event, anti-Semitism in the College Council, and a ‘Die-in’ designed to disrupt the remembrance of terror victims have in common?
They’ve been called “Hamas on Campus.”
They invite the condemnation of campus administrations all over the country. Yet, they continue to harrass, berate, and mouth-off to and about anyone who dares question their cause or methods.
And — while they claim to be working for “Justice” and “Peace” — a closer look at their words and deeds proves that their vision of peace actually rests on the insult and theft of an entire nation’s culture — at all costs and by any means.
They are “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP);” their dogma not only undermines the pursuit of peace both on North American campuses and in the Middle East, they often completely undermine the welfare of the very Palestinian-Arabs they claim to protect, with one single-minded goal: The utter erasure of the Jews’ ancient history and the dismantling of the Jewish nation-state in the Jews’ ancestral home — Israel. For SJP at UC Santa Cruz, this constitutes “Justice” in Palestine.
SJP has systematically abused Jews on campuses nationwide — Israeli or not, ‘Zionist’ or not — for years, particularly in California. But, on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, SJP — known there as the Committee for Justice in Palestine (CJP) — is getting bolder and more aggressive toward a wider range of groups.
On December 2, 2013, the UCSC CJP began a propaganda campaign that would explode in 2015.
On December 2, 2013, UCSC CJP members distributed fake eviction notices to more than 400 UCSC students in campus dorm rooms. Those notices ordered the students to leave their rooms, threatening that they would be demolished within several days.
The prank was supposed to “raise awareness about Palestinian displacement in Israel.” Four-hundred students were directly harassed.
The resolution initially failed to garner the two-thirds majority necessary for passage. However, following a complicated procedural battle, during which UCSC CJP members argued that CJP members would feel “unsafe” on campus if the vote did not go in their favor, SUA voted on November 18, 2015 to validate the divestment resolution.
Some would consider the CJP’s concern for their own feeling of safety ironic, considering the groups and individuals the group’s members marginalized and harassed on their Divestment warpath.
Posted by StandWithUs on Thursday, November 19, 2015
Two days prior to the November 18 vote, a Jewish SUA representative, Daniel Bernstein, received a Facebook message warning him to abstain from voting on the resolution because he was the president of the schools’ Jewish Student Union. The message said that his College Council determined that he was motivated by “a Jewish agenda,” and was unfairly biased against the resolution.
Although the CJP condemned this case of anti-Semitism, it was a natural result of the beast CJP itself created.
On November 19, 2015 UCSC’s Chancellor, George Blumenthal, sent an email to the campus community announcing that he would be convening a Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Council to discuss the climate for Jewish students on campus. Chancellor Blumenthal also noted that the resolution “may create an environment in which some of our Jewish students feel alienated and less welcome on our campus.”
On December 6, 2015, CJP responded via a Facebook post to the Chancellor’s email — demanding his resignation: “We are disgusted with you and your ‘chillingly’ racist email to the campus community…we recognize the opportunistic nature of your email and it is clearly a part of the University of California’s continued systematic attempt to silence activism around Palestine…“In recognition of your absolute incompetence and steadfast defense of white supremacy, we demand your resignation.”
Now let’s take a closer look at the series of battles the UCSC CJP members waged on their warpath.
UCSC CJP members violated the safe space of an LGBT campus event hosted by “A Wider Bridge”. Hoisting a placard reading “LONG LIVE THE INTIFADA!” the demonstrators invoked, with approval, the wave of Palestinian Arab violence occurring in Israel that month. UCSC CJP members pushed to the front of the room and imposed their message upon the audience while delaying the invited speaker from talking. UCSC CJP later posted a video inadvertently showing that its members lied when agreeing not to disrupt the event, as a condition of their admittance.
Hours before the event, unidentified callers harassed the UCSC’s LGBT center threatening to block students’ entry to the event — and demanded its cancellation. A flyer advertising the LGBT event was defaced with “F*ck Zionist Pinkwashing Free Palestine.” Eventually, the LGBT Center’s environs, intended to be a safe place for students, became so hostile and threatening that the program had to be relocated.
In February 2015 UCSC CJP co-sponsored an event that brought Steven Salaita to UCSC’s campus. Steven Salaita is the Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB).
Salaita is famous for his inflammatory statements. On June 19, 2014, shortly after three Israeli students were kidnapped from a bus stop Salaita tweeted: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the f**king West Bank settlers would go missing.” On July 8, 2015, he tweeted that “‘Zionists‘ take sexual pleasure in the death of Palestinians.”
In August of 2014, U of Illinois (U of I) withdrew a job offer to Salaita. On January 29, 2015, in a press release U of I explained: “These statements [Salaita’s tweets] and many more like them demonstrate that Dr. Salaita lacks the judgment, temperament and thoughtfulness to serve as a member of our faculty in any capacity, but particularly to teach courses related to the Middle East.”
In August of 2015, Salaita tweeted sympathy for unrepentant terrorist-murderer Rasmea Odeh.
On March 7, 2015, UCSC CJP members dressed up in mock Israeli Defense Forces uniforms and set up four mock “checkpoints” on UCSC’s campus. UCSC CJP physically blocked students entering one of the main campus libraries before final exams until they produced “proper identification.” UCSC CJP’s disturbance of student life purported to illustrate how Palestinians experience military checkpoints.
On March 12, 2015, UCSC’s Chancellor and Campus Provost sent an email to the UCSC community that the administration had received “hate/bias” reports filed against the mock-checkpoint demonstrators and acknowledged that other students felt “particularly targeted” by the UCSC CJP tactic.
Posted by StandWithUs on Sunday, April 26, 2015
In April 2015, UCSC CJP members disrupted a talk given by former Israeli army officers, trying to dialogue with students on-campus. One demonstrator covered his face and bellowed from a prepared text at the visiting Israelis.The Israelis welcomed the protesters’ voices and beseeched them to engage in civil dialogue. However, UCSC CJP member Wessam Awadalla shrieked: “You can’t tell me that you value life and you lost people and that hurts you…You can’t talk to me like this!” Awadalla called additional requests for dialogue “an act of terror and the violence of colonization.” Meanwhile, the masked disruptor continued his rant —accompanied by fellow UCSC CJP members, chanting “Free Free Palestine,” before walking out.
In November 2015, UCSC CJP members held a die-in, in opposition to another student group’s showing solidarity with Israelis murdered during a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that surged that Fall. UCSC CJP members lay down directly in front of the other student group’s table.
In the end, the UCSC CJP’s propaganda and intimidation tactics were rewarded. On November 18, 2015 SUA voted to validate the divestment resolution.
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