Eric Brown was an organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Florida (UF).
Brown graduated from UF in 2014 with a degree in Political Science.
On January 23, 2016, Brown posted on Tumblr that Israel forced Ethiopian Jewish women to take birth control injections upon entry to Israel.
On April 7, 2015, Brown and other SJP members demonstrated at UF against the Israeli Defense Force (IDF)'s alleged "discrimination" against Palestinian Christians.
In September 22, 2014, Brown wrote an article promoting the academic boycott of Israeli institutions and claimed that "Israel is a rogue state actively engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians." Brown continued by likening Israel to Apartheid South Africa and concluded that “Divestment is necessary for peace."
On May 27, 2014, Brown co-authored an article with former SJP UF president Rami Okasha, titled “Settler colonialism is alive in Israel." The article attempting to portray Israeli Jews as European colonialists alien to the country.
The piece again made a comparison between Israel and the Apartheid South Africa in 1980’s, claiming that Israel has "segregated roads" and that Israel engages in home demolitions “for erasure, both of Palestinian people and their history."
On July 15, 2014, Brown co-authored another article with Rami Okasha which claimed that Operation Protective Edge (OPE) constituted “unjust collective punishment" and that the Israeli “justification for the bombing of Gaza" was “the kidnapping and now death of three teenage Israeli settlers."
In the editorial, Khan and Brown claimed that Israelis are committing an “ethnic cleansing of Palestine" and that Israel practices apartheid.
Supporting Samer Issawi
On March 21, 2013, Brown and other SJP members blocked pedestrian traffic on the UF campus to express solidarity with Palestinian terrorist, Samer Issawi. Issawi received a 26-year prison sentence in 2002 for possession of explosives — and his involvement in a series of shooting attacks targeting students and police at Hebrew University.
Samer Issawi is a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) who received a 26 year prison sentence in 2002. During the second intifada, Issawi manufactured and distributed pipe bombs and, in several incidents, fired indiscriminately on Israeli civilian vehicles.
In December 2013, the Israeli Hadash Party posted on its official Arabic Facebook page an interview where Issawi called for the kidnapping of Israelis: “We want the release of the prisoners. The prisoners' release will be brought about by kidnapping and [prisoner] exchanges. Nothing will happen without that."
Supportinging PFLP Militants
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.
On March 17, 2014, Brown promoted on Facebook an SJP UF International Women's Day event that glorified Odeh. On November 5, 2014 Brown updated his Facebook cover photo with a request for legal defense fund contributions.
Khaled is a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and participated in the hijacking of TWA Flight 840 in 1969 and El Al Flight 219 in 1970. As of 2017, Khaled was a member of PFLP's Political Bureau. In 2014, Khaled said that the second intifada failed because it was not violent enough.
The PFLP claimed credit for the 2014 Har Nof Massacre where six people were murdered during morning prayers in a Jerusalem synagogue. The PFLP also claimed credit for the 2001 assassination of the Israeli tourism minister
Rejecting Muslim-Jewish Dialogue
In January 2015, Brown signed a letter boycotting a Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) program started by the Shalom Hartman Institute. MLI, sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute (Hartman’s) — was founded by Imam Abdullah Antepli, the first Muslim chaplain at Duke University.
MLI is an educational program geared to assisting Muslim Americans "understand why Jews believe what they believe, how Jews see their history, why Jews are so attached to this contested strip of land (Israel) — and thus to better engage with American Jews." According to Antepli, “MLI aims to put mainstream North American Jewry in conversation with their Muslim counterparts."
The letter shunned the program, proclaiming: “We pledge to not give a platform to any MLI participant to speak about their experiences at our community centers, places of worship, and campuses and call on a complete boycott of MLI. We pledge to be in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and to do so by honoring the BDS call."
The letter rejected the notion "that there is the need for Muslim Americans to engage with the State of Israel," unless their interactions "promote Palestinian liberation and comply with Palestinian demands."
Defending Steven Salaita
On September 9, 2014, Brown wrote a letter to the student newspaper editor in defense of Professor Steven Salaita, the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB).
Brown condemned what he characterized as "the removal of Steven Salaita, a tenured professor at the University of Illinois (U of I), for his tweets in support of Palestine," claiming that U of I’s decision not to hire Salaita “should be of great concern to those who value academic freedom at American Universities."
In 2014, The University of Illinois (U of I) withdrew an offer of employment to Salaita after becoming aware of his anti-Semitic tweets. One tweet, posted shortly after Hamas kidnapped three teenage Israeli high school students, read: "You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the f**king West Bank settlers would go missing."
A month later, Salaita tweeted "Zionists: transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948." On July 8, 2014, he tweeted: "There's something profoundly sexual to the Zionist pleasure w/#Israel's aggression. Sublimation through bloodletting, a common perversion."
U of I defended its decision to withdraw the job offer to Salaita in a January 29, 2015 press release, saying: “These statements [his 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."
After being denied the position at U of I, Salaita took a teaching position at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon, where he was employed from 2015 through 2017. The position at AUB was not tenured and so, following the close of the 2017 academic year, Salaita again sought employment.
Unable to find a teaching position “on four continents," Salaita again took to social media, stating on Facebook I “no longer consider myself among the professoriate." Salaita went on to say that “People ask if I would go back in time and change anything. I would not… I will die unapologetic."
SJP UF - Creating a Hostile Campus Environment
On September 16, 2014, during a debate between former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and Palestinian Journalist Rula Jebreal, SJP UF members staged a protest outside the venue. SJP UF was originally asked to co-sponsor the event, but refused on the grounds that it "normalizes the occupation of Palestine as well as Israeli Apartheid policies/laws" and that "any project with Israelis that is not based on a resistance framework serves to normalize relations."
In February 2015, two IDF soldiers were invited to the UF campus to share their personal stories with students. In the middle of their talk, SJP UF members stood up in protest wearing shirts that read, “You’re the real terrorist." They then staged a walk-out.
On November 11, 2015, SJP UF hosted New York-based poet Remi Kanazi. Kanazi is notorious for his aggressively anti-Israel poetry and spoken-word performances. In a November 15, 2012 Facebook post, Kanazi wrote, “Dear Zionists: You have never ‘defended yourselves.’ You came in, stole land that wasn’t yours & maintained a racist state through massacres and brute force."
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."
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti and asserts that it "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law."
The movement's most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for "BDS resolutions." In these cases, backed by university anti-Israel affiliates, student governments have brought to vote on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities. These 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. As a result, the student government chose to vote via a "secret ballot" in order to ensure its members' safety.
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