OverviewEsther Tsvayg has expressed support for terrorists and spread hatred of Israel on social media. Tsvayg is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) at Stanford University (Stanford) and an affiliate of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
Tsvayg has participated in the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by JVP against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.
As of April 2018, Tsvayg was a student at Stanford, majoring in Anthropology.
Supporting TerroristsOn May 17, 2017, Tsvayg participated in a Stanford SJP event called “Join Students for Justice in Palestine in the #Saltwater Challenge." The event was created to support Palestinian inmates hunger-striking in Israeli prisons.
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.
Tsvayg also indicated that she “went" to a 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.
Spreading Hatred of IsraelOn December 6, 2017, Tsvayg retweeted a tweet that said: “it’s a good day to remember that Israel has always been a settler colonial apartheid state that denies Palestinian people their democratic and human rights, upholding ethnic genocide that is funded mercilessly in billions by the West."
On December 4, 2017, Tsvayg retweeted a tweet by JVP depicting a series of maps purporting to show the “Palestinian loss of land 1946-present" with the caption: “.@MSNBC shows Palestinian land loss to Israel from 1946 to present day. #Shoutout2MSNBC for the courage to do this."
The “Map That Lies" is a propaganda poster that presents lands once controlled by Britain, Egypt and Jordan as autonomous “Palestinian land" purportedly stolen by Israel.
In February 2016, publisher McGraw-Hill Education recalled copies of a college level textbook that contained the fraudulent maps. In October 2015, the United States cable news network MSNBC apologized for airing a similar series of maps and retracted them.
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn December 3, 2017, Tsvayg participated in a “Return the Birthright" protest outside the Taglit-Birthright offices in New York City, where JVP members assembled to chant anti-Birthright slogans.
Tsvayg spoke on a megaphone during the event and said [1:12:30]: “It is important for me to be in solidarity with the victims of white supremacy...if we consent to the settler colonialism of the Israeli nation-state then we are also condoning our class system, anti-blackness, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism."
She continued [1:13:18]: “I reject the Birthright because I reject the forces of colonialism and imperialism that Israel colludes with disguised as a seemingly apolitical exploitation of a Jewish identity…"
On December 4, 2017, JVP activist Emily Wilder posted a photo on Facebook from the protest that featured Tsvayg. Wilder and Tsvayg held a sign that said: “Wherever we live, that’s our homeland."
On the same day, Tsvayg retweeted a JVP statement on the protest.
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).
Anti-Israel Campus ActivismTsvayg has indicated on Facebook that she “Went" to a “Summer Skill Share Retreat for Palestine Student Activists," hosted by SJP at the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside). The retreat took place on July 30-August 2, 2017.
Tsvayg has also indicated on Facebook that she “Went" to Stanford SJP’s Palestine Awareness Week, on April 24-28, 2017. Palestine Awareness Week was formerly known as Israel Apartheid Week (IAW).
Mac SPHR - Israel Apartheid WeekSPHR Mac hosted and ran a two-week long “Israel Apartheid Week (IAW)" from March 6 until March 17, 2017.
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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