Youcha has also opposed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act — a bipartisan bill drafted in response to growing anti-Semitism in the United States and passed unanimously by the United States Senate.
On October 6, 2017, Youcha participated in the #returnthebirthright campaign launched by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization.
As of October 19, 2107, Youcha’s Facebook page listed her as a student at Tufts, since 2014.
Embracing Terrorist Rasmea OdehOn October 14, 2015, Youcha posed for a photo on the Tufts SJP Facebook page with sign reading “Justice 4 Rasmea," a show of support for terrorist Rasmea Odeh. The Facebook page solicited donations for Odeh’s appeal fund.
Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness ActIn December of 2016, Youcha signed a JVP-launched petition against the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), unanimously approved by the United States Senate on December 1, 2016.
The AAA directed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints.
JVP’s petition asserted that anti-Semitism did not warrant its own bill, but should rather be considered equal to other forms of bigotry. The petition also purported that “real anti-Semitism" came from the “white supremacist movements in this country" and contended the bill did “little to protect us, as Jewish students, from these dangers."
The petition also claimed that BDS was “not inherently anti semitic," and called the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism “problematic."
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn October 6, 2017, Youcha featured in a JVP Facebook photo to promote the organization’s #returnthebirthright campaign, under the caption “Tufts Jewish Voice for Peace tabling for our campaign!"
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).
Tufts SJP - Supporting TerroristsOn May 10, 2017, Tufts SJP activists participated in the “Saltwater Challenge," in solidarity with Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons who were then on a hunger strike.
More than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners participated in the hunger strike — most of whom were also convicted for acts of terrorism.
The hunger 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 also financed the guitar-case bomb used in the Sbarro Cafe massacre, where 15 civilians were killed and 130 injured.
In a short video of the event produced by Tufts SJP, activist Amira Subaey claimed that Israel practices “apartheid" (0:40) and that Tufts SJP was “protesting the conditions in Israeli prisons" (0:20). Barghouti completed his doctorate in Political Science while in Israeli prison.
Also among the hunger strikers was Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Sa’adat, jailed for his role in organizing the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001.
On May 11, 2017, Tufts SJP also promoted another event supporting the hunger-striking prisoners.
On February 28, 2017, Tufts SJP shared a video from the BDS movement that called, in its English language subtitles, for “human rights" (0:28) and “nonviolent resistance" (1:02). However, the video also featured multiple indications (0:03 and 0:47) of support for PFLP militant Bilal Kayed. Kayed was incarcerated for 14 years for terrorist operations committed during the second Intifada.
The video also displayed (0:48) the phrase “Support Palestinian Prisoners in Hunger Strike #Boycott Israel."
On October 14, 2015, Tufts SJP posted various photos on Facebook of its members supporting terrorist Rasmea Odeh. The photo captions included a donation link to Odeh’s legal fund.
Odeh was a key military operative with the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 1969, Odeh masterminded a PFLP bombing that killed two college students in a Jerusalem supermarket. Odeh also attempted to bomb the British consulate.
Odeh confessed, in a highly detailed account, the day following her arrest. In a 2004 documentary, one of Odeh’s co-conspirators directly implicated her as the mastermind.
In 1970, an Israeli court tried and convicted Odeh for her involvement in both bombings and sentenced her to life imprisonment. However, Odeh was released 10 years later, in a prisoner swap and emigrated to the United States.
On November 10, 2014, a Michigan federal jury convicted Odeh for immigration fraud because she failed to disclose her prior conviction and life sentence on her immigration application. On March 12, 2015, she was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In 2017, after an appeal and a lengthy court battle, Odeh admitted to immigration fraud, was stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported to Jordan.
Tufts SJP - Demonizing a Campus HillelOn November 2, 2016, Tufts SJP questioned whether Tufts Hillel was fit to host an event on “indigenous genocide and settler-colonial violence," since Hillel receives funding from Israel.
Through its program Tufts Against Genocide (TAG), Tufts Hillel hosted a lecture about a massacre of Native Americans in 1864 “as part of a larger conversation on genocide of indigenous peoples in the U.S."
TAG teaches students about “genocides in countries such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, Armenia and the Holocaust" in order to “understand the root causes of genocide, advocate for prevention, understand the aftermath, and combat prejudice in our own communities today."
Tufts SJP, in its Facebook statement, said that it was “hurt" and “disturbed" that Hillel hosted the event.
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 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."
Social Media and Web Links
- Tufts, Return The Birthright
- Related Profiles:
- Nicolas Serhan,
- Amahl Bishara,
- Margaret Ringler,
- Mary Snyder,
- Reem Assil,
- Hannah Freedman,
- Claudia Aliff,
- Johnny Auld,
- Neha Bhatia,
- Nicole Joseph,
- Souhad Zendah,
- Parker Breza,
- Adam Rapfogel,
- Aidan Huntington,
- Sa'ed Atshan,
- Katherine Hirsch,
- Mica Jarmel-Schneider,
- Amina Mohamed,
- Mina Brewer,
- Emma Brown,
- Brianna Moody,
- Clayton Woolery,
- Mile Krstev,
- Huda Jbarah,
- Hannah Zafar,
- Saba Kohli Dave,
- Sam Slate,
- Nadim Rouhana,
- Sami Ascha,
- Natasha Blazer,
- Lucas Koerner,
- Miriam Priven,
- Sabrina Ghaus,
- Molly Tunis,
- Thomas Abowd,
- Amira Subaey,
- Olivia Dehm,
- Lindsay Sanders,
- Elise Sommers,
- Rosy Fitzgerald,
- Katie Saviano,
- Jonathon Venitz,
- Kamran Rastegar,
- Erynne van Zee,
- Ann Yacoubian,
- Rosemary Cohen,
- Dina Turpin,
- Jack Snyder,
- Eliza Moss Horwitz,
- Ari Kaplan,
- Ethan Fraenkel
- Last Modified: