OverviewEmily Wilder is a member of the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization and is an affiliate of Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Stanford University (Stanford).
Wilder has promoted and participated in the #returnthebirthright initiative, launched by JVP against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.
As of February 2018, Wilder’s LinkedIn said she was a student at Stanford, majoring in History and slated to graduate in 2020. In the summer of 2017, Wilder interned for JVP in Oakland, California.
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn December 21, 2017, Wilder appeared in a JVP Facebook video and said [00:00:23]: “It’s fundamentally unjust that I, as a Jewish person, am born with the entitlement to a land which Palestinians were ethnically cleaned and displaced."
Wilder continued, “I think Birthright fundamentally erases diasporic Jewishness, as well as erases Palestinian history and identity."
On December 3, 2017, Wilder co-led a Return the Birthright protest outside the Taglit-Birthright offices in New York City, where JVP members assembled to chant anti-Birthright slogans.
Wilder spoke on a megaphone during the protest and said [00:12:29]: “This year marks the 69 years since the Nakba or the ethnic cleansing and displacement of Palestinians in Palestine in 1928, which is also the beginning of the occupation."
She then claimed [00:13:32] that “Birthright trips are nothing more than ethnic nationalist propaganda," and concluded [00:14:10]: “We are the next generation of Jews and we must decide to actively boycott Birthright. "
On December 4, 2017,Wilder posted a photo on Facebook from the protest that featured JVP activist Esther Tsvayg. Wilder and Tsvayg held a sign that said: “Wherever we live, that’s our homeland."
Also on December 4, 2017, Wilder wrote a post on Facebook, claiming that Birthright had an “agenda of racism and exclusion championed by the Israeli government…"
On November 26, 2017, Wilder wrote a Facebook post in which she declared that “...the nation-state of Israel does not represent a part of my Jewish identity or a "homeland" to which I must return. Because diaspora is beautiful and diaspora is where I will stay."
Return the Birthright CampaignIn 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.
Anti-Israel Campus Activism
In the article, which was published in the Stanford Daily, JVP at Stanford criticized Stanford’s Hillel and Chabad student chapters for hosting a group of Israel Defense Force (IDF) reservists called “Reservists on Duty," following an incident that took place at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). On May 10, 2017, SJP at UCI attempted to shut down a panel event featuring the IDF reservists, and were later sanctioned by UCI for disrupting the event.
Wilder is also an affiliate of Stanford SJP and has attended several of their anti-Israel programs.
Wilder has indicated on Facebook that she “Went" to a Stanford SJP event on May 17, 2017 called “Join Students for Justice in Palestine in the #Saltwater Challenge."
The strike was initiated by Marwan Barghouti, who was serving five consecutive life sentences for his role in suicide bombings and shooting attacks that killed five Israelis during the second intifada. Barghouti led the Palestinian Authority (PA) terrorist Tanzim force and founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
Barghouti also financed the guitar-case bomb used in the Sbarro Cafe massacre, where 15 civilians were killed and 130 injured. More than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners participated in the hunger strike — most of whom were also convicted for acts of terrorism.
The “Saltwater Challenge" was started by Aarab Barghouti, the son of Marwan Barghouti.
Wilder also indicated that she “Went" to Stanford SJP-hosted event featuring Aarab Barghouthi on the “Palestinian Dignity Hunger Strike."
The phrase “Dignity Strike" referred to the hunger strike initiated on April 16, 2017, by Marwan Barghouti.
Wilder has also indicated on Facebook that she “Went" to Stanford SJP’s Palestine Awareness Week, on April 24-28, 2017. Palestine Awareness Week is formerly known as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW).
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 controversial Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.
JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics like disrupting 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."
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 values... 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."
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."
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