OverviewBenjamin Zinevich [Benjamin Zinevich-Rodríguez] has promoted violence, spread hatred of Israel and defended anti-Israel agitators. Zinevich signed a petition condemning the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA) , a bipartisan bill drafted in response to growing anti-Semitism in the United States and passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate.
He also promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour (Birthright).
In May, 2019, Zinevich co-authored a resolution that promoted the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Zinevich was reportedly an organizer of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and JVP at New York University (NYU), in 2018.
On December 8, 2018, Zinevich said in a podcast that he attended the National SJP 2018 conference.The 2018 National SJP conference was held on November 16-18, 2018 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The conference was themed “Radical Hope: Resistance in the Face of Adversity." The conference website stated: “[t]he reason we can have hope is that Zionism...can be destroyed."
As of October 2019, Zinevich’s LinkedIn page said he was a student of American Studies at NYU, slated to graduate in 2019.
As of December, 2019, Zinevich’s LinkedIn page said he was the program coordinator for the “Palestine Writes Festival," since October 2019. It also said that Zinevich worked as a Union Organizing Intern at New York Hotel Trades Council, from June to August 2019.
As of February, 2018, Zinevich went by the alias “Benjamin ZR," on Facebook. His Facebook profile has since been deleted.
Promoting ViolenceOn October 15, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “anyone that takes up arms against their university... i salute u."
On August 7, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “honestly? death to israel."
On June 17, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “nyu wanted me to debate @jkirchick on US military spending for israel and while i don't debate genocide i would love if someone organized a bare knuckle fight between him and i."
Spreading Hatred of IsraelOn October 22, 2019, Zinevich wrote a piece for The Independent that demonized Israel, due to “The state of Israel’s tactical and resource-based military support" for the Chilean government.
Zinevich noted the recent uprisings in Chile and compared them to the Israel, stating: “Palestinians suffer under a system of occupation and apartheid." Zinevich also claimed: “the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has seemingly used a tactic of maiming Palestinian protesters rather than lethally shooting them."
In his piece, Zinevich also said violence experienced by Chilean protesters was from the use of “Israeli tactics" by Chilean force and that “given the relationship between these two countries, such similarities in tactics are no coincidence."
On July 30, 2019, Zinevich tweeted: “Haven’t heard it in a while so let me be clear: F**k Saudi, Israel, and the US."
On March 4, 2019, Zinevich responded to a tweet from US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and tweeted: “Supporting Israel/Two-State is wrong too."
On March 31, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “f**k zionism f**k apartheid every idf member goes to hell."
On April 19, 2018, Zinevich commented on New York City Council member Rafael Espinal Jr.'s trip to Israel, where he posted pictures of a memorial ceremony for Israel’s fallen soldiers. Zinevich tweeted: “yeah f**k @RLEspinal and his zionist a**."
On December 8, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “were grateful to have built a diverse coalition of every single social justice driven group on campus and made the case all the more clearer that zionism is white supremacy."
On May 14, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “It is on us to ensure Israel does not make it to 80. #WithinOurLifetime."
On May 15, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “Zionism will fall."
On June 3, 2018, Zinevich tweeted to NYC mayoral candidate Cynthia Nixon about the “Salute to Israel" parade, saying: “glad to see you skipped the apartheid appreciation parade that cuomo schumer and deblasio all willingly participated in today. hope you will continue speaking out against the zionist genocide in gaza. #Palestine."
On June 28, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “always floored when zionists tell US activists to worry about their own country, as if it isn’t directly in the interest of US activists to end the Israeli state."
On July 16, 2018, Zinevich responded to a tweet by Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, writing: “if you promise to learn and evolve, i urge you to research the #DeadlyExchange and realize how Israel trains NYPD and ICE to commit the violence that we see tested on Palestinians and replicated on our own streets."
In 2017, JVP launched the “Deadly Exchange" campaign that accused American Jewish organizations of promoting human rights abuses. JVP also released a video that blamed [00:04:04] Jewish organizations for violence that occurs against Black and Brown communities, immigrants and activists in the U.S.
On July 20, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “this is the part where even conservative history books will regard what israel is committing in Gaza as a genocide."
In the summer of 2018, violent riots, instigated by Hamas on the Israeli-Gaza border, saw tens of thousands of rioters attempting numerous breaches of Israel’s border fence, with participants declaring their intention to harm Jews across the border under the pretext of [00:13:41] “peaceful resistance."
On August 6, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “In addition to ending the genocide of native Palestinians, fighting zionism now is preventing the exportation of Israeli imperialism to other realms of the globe. No amount of land is enough for imperial powers, and Israel would gladly push far past the Jordan River if it could."
On January 5, 2018 Zinevich tweeted to New Jersey’s then-Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno: “F**k you and Israel."
On December 21, 2017, Zinevich tweeted a headline from the Associated Press (AP) that read: “BREAKING: UN General Assembly votes 128-9 to declare US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ‘null and void.’ Zinevich commented: “end israeli apartheid yesterday not tomorrow!"
On December 18, 2017, Zinevich commented on a tweet from the musician Lorde who included Tel Aviv as one of the stops on her tour. Zinevich tweeted: “MISS LORDE WHAT THE *F**K* ARE YOU DOING IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE."
On December 8, 2017, Zinevich tweeted a screenshot of a Haaretz article with the headline: “Breaking Barriers: The Israeli Women Fighting to Become Combat Pilots." Zinevich commented: “f**k you and f**k all genders within the IDF."
On November 14, 2017, Zinevich tweeted a snippet of an article about apartheid in South Africa in the 1960’s and commented: “Apartheid regimes depend on each other for legitimacy! The connections of the US policing of POC within their borders and the support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians are important."
On May 24, 2017, Zinevich posted a Facebook profile picture with the words: “Please do not defend Israel on my profile thanks."
On May 23, 2017, Zinevich tweeted: “all these radical jewish brocialists silent on israel love to do the whole “have you been though its beautiful." like nah, i don;t want anything to do with sheldon adelson or bibi or zionism ill go to jordan or wait until palestine is free."
On September 16, 2016, Zinevich posted a picture of himself on Facebook, standing in front of signs that read: “End the Occupation" and “Don’t play with Apartheid #BDS" and captioned the photo: “never gonna stop changing this."
Defending Anti-Israel AgitatorsOn March 5, 2019, Zinevich tweeted: “the way @Ilhan [Omar] is being treated proves we live in a one party state with two cultural puppet parties. when you speak out against the deaths of palestinian children, they unite to crucify you as an example."
Zinevich’s tweet continued: “the us governments main goal is to pressure rep omar to fall back in line so we all know not to question israel’s role in our politics, or well be tortured into submission as well. she is so uniquely brave and i am proud to #StandWithIlhan."
In July 2019, Omar sponsored H.Res. 496, referred to as a “pro-BDS" resolution, which Omar described as “an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support...the BDS movement."
During a March 1, 2019 event at Busboys&Poets TownHall, Omar suggested that supporters of Israel were disloyal to America, saying [00:00:42]: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country."
Following Omar’s presentation, then-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Elliot Engel, issued an online statement describing Omar’s comments [00:04:08] as a “vile anti-Semitic slur" as well as “unacceptable and deeply offensive."
The article detailed some of Tamimi’s “long history of assault" against Israeli police officers and recalled Tamimi’s public “praise of three men who killed border policewoman Hadas Malka outside the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem as ‘heroes.’"
Zinevich tweeted: “f**k yeah ahed."
Tamimi is the daughter of Bassem Tamimi, who is known for exploiting young children as political props in staged confrontations with Israeli soldiers. In 2011, he was jailed for organizing violent rallies and inciting minors to commit violent crimes such as rock-throwing.
Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness ActIn December of 2016, Zinevich signed a JVP-launched petition opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate on December 1, 2016.
The Act directed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints under Title VI, to provide criteria for determining the intent of an attacker, or motive for an attack.
However, JVP purported that “real anti-Semitism" came from the “white supremacist movements in this country" and complained the bill did little to protect us, as Jewish students, from these dangers."
JVP also claimed that the BDS movement was “not inherently anti semitic" and called the state department’s definition of anti-Semitism “problematic."
JVP urged Congress to reject the bill specifically targeting anti-Semitism and “to take meaningful action to combat anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, and other forms of bigotry on the rise across the country."
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn December 23, 2017, Zinevich shared a JVP video featuring their “Return the Birthright" rally outside the NYC Birthright offices.
Zinevich commented on the video saying, “Every day I am so impressed and humbled to know these NYU Jewish Voice for Peace organizers are working to fight against Zionism and racism within a faith/cultural narrative. This issue will define our generation and I am grateful for all of Y'all and know you will continue to inspire me!"
In September of 2017, JVP issued its #returnthebirthright campaign manifesto, calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Israel (Birthright) program. Birthright was founded by Jewish philanthropists “in 1999 to address the growing divide between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the land and people of Israel."
After decades of demographic decline in the American Jewish community, Birthright set out “to strengthen Jewish identity, build a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel, and reinforce the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide." The program offers “the gift of a life-changing, 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26."
JVP’s anti-Birthright campaign was launched precisely to coincide with “the very moment that college students across America are returning to campus and registration for Birthright winter visits are underway."
The #returnthebirthright manifesto accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing" and alleged “the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians."
The text claimed: “We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians."
The manifesto concluded: “And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees… Israel is not our Birthright… Return the Birthright."
On June 22, 2017, just prior to the launch of JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign, JVP received a $140,00 two-year grant for general support for its operations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF). Since 2015, JVP has received $280,000 from RBF, which has a history of supporting anti-Jewish causes, including BDS campaigns and various organizations that promote BDS campaigns throughout the United States.
Promoting BDSIn May 2019, Zinevich co-authored of a BDS resolution at NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA). The resolution which pledged “non-cooperation with NYU-Tel Aviv," reportedly passed.
An “Institutional Statement" from NYU regarding the SCA resolution said the university was “deeply committed to our vibrant program in Tel Aviv" and that they “deplore this uncollegial and pointless effort to stigmatize the Tel Aviv program."
The NYU statement continued: “Our Tel Aviv campus does not draw on faculty from the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis for its academic program, so there does not seem to be a practical effect to the vote."
On April 25, 2019, Zinevich tweeted in response to an article from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), writing: “BDS is completely within our right to non-violently boycott under 1st Amendment rights. No Zionist lawfare attempts can silence the movement."
On February 16, 2019 Zinevich tweeted a screenshot of an article co-authored by Mondoweiss editor Philip Weiss that attacked those who point out anti-Semitism in the anti-Zionist ranks.
Zinevich commented: “this is why we vote on BDS on campuses. not because we see the US corporate university administration as an ally for our cause. because now, after zionists have made racist fools of themself in front of their college, students will declare their anti-zionism proudly. #BDS."
On August 20, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “can we preemptively confront lady gaga and tell her to never do an israel show."
On May 10, 2018, Zinevich tweeted: “@shakira my mom bumped laundry service in the car all throughout my childhood, please reconsider your trip to israel as it depends on the racial segregation and oppression of palestinians!!"
On December 24, 2017, Zinevich tweeted: “truly a christmas gift to see all the zionists freaking out about lorde bring #BDS now! Merry christmas!"
On December 23, 2017, Zinevich posted a photo to Facebook with a frame that read: “I support BDS." Zinevich captioned the photo: “we went to church and needed people to know we looked good and support BDS."
On October 10, 2017, Zinevich wrote an article for the Washington Square News titled: “Israel Anti-Boycott Act Inhibits Free Speech." In the article, Zinevich maintained: “The most pressing matter regarding freedom of speech concerns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement of Israel."
Anti-Israel Campus ActivismOn April 27, 2017, Zinevich shared on Facebook an SJP event called: “NYU SJP: Here We Will Stay." He commented: “Free speech absolutism doesn't work when you stay silent when people's voices and lives are threatened, NYU Politics Society New York University. the greatest free speech being threatened isn't Charles Murray or milo you racists, it's BDS."
Zinevich has indicated on Facebook that he “went" to an NYU SJP event called: “NYU SJP Presents: Israeli Apartheid Week 2017," from March 20-24, 2017.
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is presented as “an international series of events that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system over the Palestinian people" and build support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. IAW has been re-named Palestine Awareness Week.
On March 22, 2017, Zinevich posted a fundraising link on Facebook with the caption, “During #IsraelApartheidWeek, I'm fundraising...for this weekend's 5k for Gaza, which raises money for psychiatric aid to children suffering from PTSD (mainly due to the IDF). If you could help in any way or at the very least share the link on here, it would be greatly appreciated!"
Attending the National SJP 2018 ConferenceOn December 4, 2018, Zinevich gave an interview about the conference and his involvement in SJP at NYU. Zinevich stated: “Some members of the NYU community have now understood that Zionism is a dirty word, as it should be, as racist as it is."
2018 National SJP - Celebrating Violence
Since the early 2000’s, the term “intifada" has carried the connotation of violence. The second intifada was characterized by more than 120 suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians on buses and in cafes.
Anti-Israel activist Omar Zahzah also reportedly [00:00:07] led National SJP attendees in chanting, in Arabic, “With our bodies and our blood, we will free Palestine."
As of November 2018, the 2018 National SJP website glorified “radical hope and upfront defiance of Zionism," citing as examples the “early revolts through the Intifadas to the Great Return March."
The Great Return March of 2018 was organized and funded by the terror group Hamas as a campaign of violent protests along Israel’s border to spotlight the demand of Palestinians to “return" to Israel.
Tens of thousands of rioters gathered on Israel’s Gaza border, attempting numerous breaches of Israel’s border fence, with leaders and participants declaring their intention to harm Jews.
National SJP originally promoted a conference logo featuring a keffiyeh-wearing bear, looking toward a kite bearing the colors of the Palestinian flag.
On October 27, 2018, National SJP said the kite signified “the power in the Gaza March of Return."
Since March 2018, March of Return participants and Hamas’s “Kite Unit" have sent hundreds of kites bearing incendiary devices and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) across the border into Israel to terrorize Israelis. The kites are often marked with swastikas.
By the time National SJP produced its 2018 conference logo highlighting the kites in October 2018, Gazan terror kites and balloons had ignited more than 1,300 fires in Israel, over seven months.
2018 National SJP - Undermining U.S. Support for IsraelOn November 18, 2018, the US Palestine Community Network (USPCN) posted on Facebook the 2018 National SJP keynote speech by Hatem Abudayyeh, USPCN’s co-founder.
Abudayyeh has supported [00:08:45] convicted terrorists, praised terror organizations, called for Israel’s destruction and is an activist in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In his 2018 National SJP Keynote, Abudayyeh said [00:53:01] that the “specific role" of Palestinian and Arab students was to organize [00:53:42] in order to weaken “Zionist Israel" and force [00:54:23] the U.S. to “no longer provide it with diplomatic, political, financial and military cover and support."
Abudayyeh predicted [00:55:37] that once U.S. support to Israel ends, National SJP attendees would return to Palestine as “conquering heroes," end [00:54:38] the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands including the Golan Heights" and replace “Zionist Israel" with a Palestinian state.
2018 National SJP - Whitewashing Terror OrganizationsDuring his keynote speech, Abudayyeh also painted [00:14:01] terrorist organizations as “liberation movements" and “resistance organizations," stating [00:14:21] “what we also know is that the majority of the resistance organizations in Palestine are on the U.S. state department list of foreign terrorist organizations."
Abudayyeh also celebrated [00:52:00] that all of the “armed resistance" organizations in Gaza are part [00:52:14] of a “unified resistance in Gaza, that includes all of the resistance organizations, working together under a unified military command."
2018 National SJP - Defending Terrorist Rasmea OdehDuring his keynote speech, Abudayyeh claimed [00:08:28] that pro-Israel organizations “go after students like you," adding [00:08:20] “just like they went after my friend and colleague, Rasmea Odeh."
2018 National SJP - Demonizing Israel and JewsDuring his keynote speech, Abudayyeh defended [00:27:25] the “Irvine 11" — eleven Muslim Student Union (MSA) members who were arrested in 2010 for repeatedly shouting down former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren during an address at the University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine).
Abudayyeh referred [00:27:37] to Oren as a “racist fascist speaker, representative of a racist, fascist country."
Abudayyeh went on to claim [00:29:48] that “today, even in the United States, Israel is finally being seen as the criminal, apartheid, racist state that it is."
Abudayyeh also called for increased action in the face of President U.S. Donald Trump, and referred [00:48:41] to Jared Kushner, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and senior advisor, as “that pig son-in-law of his."
2018 National SJP - Excluding StudentsThe 2018 National SJP Conference welcomed only students who were verified and vouched for by an SJP (or otherwise named campus Palestine solidarity group). Media requests needed to be “approved by the NSJP press team" prior to the conference.
A November 7, 2018 Columbus Jewish News article reported that the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on UCLA to cancel the 2018 NSJP conference, stating that a “public university should not allow any group to implement a litmus test for event participation on their campus."
On November 12, 2018, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that criticized National SJP’s exclusion of members of pro-Israel student groups.
SJP was co-founded in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) by Professors Hatem Bazian and Snehal Shingavi. Bazian served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) while studying at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and headed the Muslim Students Association (MSA) while earning his M.A. at UC Berkeley. In 2004, while the second intifada was already winding down in Israel, he called for an intifada in the United States.
Shingavi, an activist tied to the International Socialist Organization (ISO), has been criticized for using his literature course as a vehicle for promoting anti-Israel propaganda. SJP has grown to become the primary student movement advancing the Palestinian national agenda on North American campuses and is the primary force behind BDS campaigns at most schools.
SJP activists frequently intimidate and harass Jewish and pro-Israel students. SJP members have physically assaulted Jewish students, aggressively disrupted pro-Israel events and possibly vandalized communal property. SJP rallies regularly include hate-speech and chants such as “Long Live The Intifada" and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free" — calls for violence and for the destruction of the Jewish state.
SJP chapters frequently run inflammatory campaigns against Israel, including BDS resolutions, rallies, Israel-Apartheid initiatives, propaganda comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, mock checkpoints and “die-ins."
JVP was founded in Berkeley, California in 1996, as an activist group with an emphasis on the “Jewish tradition" of peace, social justice and human rights. The organization is currently led by Rebecca Vilkomerson and its board members include Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.
JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics to disrupt pro-Israel speakers and events, consists of American Jews and non-Jewish “allies" highly critical of Israeli policies. A staunch supporter of the BDS movement, JVP claims to aim its campaigns at companies that either support the Israeli military (Hewlett-Packard) or are active in the West Bank (SodaStream).
Although several Jewish groups critical of Israeli policies, like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, make efforts to operate within the mainstream American Jewish community, JVP functions outside. The group is often criticized for serving as a tokenized Jewish voice for the pro-Palestinian camp and is widely regarded as the BDS movement’s “Jewish wing."
JVP denies the notion of “Jewish peoplehood" and has even gone so far as to refer to its own Ashkenazi (Jews who spent the Diaspora in European countries) leadership as “white supremacy inside of JVP."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused JVP of being “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States," and said the group “exploits Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish value."
The ADL also claimed that “JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."
According to the ADL website, JVP “uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility."
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was founded by Omar Barghouti in 2005 as an allegedly “Palestinian-led movement" to challenge “international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism."
In 2015, Barghouti was quoted saying that “BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights."
The dominant organization in the BDS Movement is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), founded by Barghouti in 2007, during the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel.
The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions." In these cases, student governments, backed by anti-Israel affiliates, have proposed resolutions on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities.
These boycott resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.
BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace.
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