OverviewNoa Kattler-Kupetz has 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.
Kattler-Kupetz has promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.
Kattler-Kupetz is also an affiliate of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), having attended several of their anti-Israel programs, including “Israel Apartheid Week."
Kattler-Kupetz is a member of Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), an organization that promotes the the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement at Columbia University (Columbia) and Barnard College (Barnard)
Kattler-Kupetz has demonized U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman during a protest organized by IfNotNow (INN), an organization that uses disruptive tactics to drive a wedge between American Jewry and Israel.
As of November 2, 2017 Kattler-Kupetz’ LinkedIn page described her as a student at Barnard, majoring in American Studies and slated to graduate in 2018.
On Facebook, Kattler-Kupetz goes by the moniker “Noa Sprinkle."
Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness ActIn December of 2016, Kattler-Kupetz 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."
Demonizing U.S. Ambassador David FriedmanKattler-Kupetz was involved in protesting the nomination of David Friedman for the post of United States Ambassador to Israel. On February 21, 2017, Kattler-Kupetz and other INN NYC members demonstrated in the lobby of the building hosting Mr. Friedman’s confirmation hearing, holding placards and reading prepared statements.
The group conducted a mock press conference, with one activist portraying Friedman. Kattler-Kupetz read [00:00:18] INN’s complaints against Friedman’s appointment from a script, and called it a “distinct displeasure" to welcome Ambassador Friedman to his confirmation hearing.
Several others, including Columbia student Jack Synder, posed questions to “Friedman" and berated his scripted responses.
After the skit, the group left the building while singing.
Condemning Jewish Heritage TourOn October 13, 2017, JVP featured Kattler-Kupetz in a Facebook photo to promote JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign.
The caption on the photo read: "I #ReturntheBirthright because Palestinians should be able to go home." - Noa, tabling today with Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace. Sign the pledge to #ReturntheBirthright."
On October 18, another photo featuring Kattler-Kupetz was shared by Columbia/Barnard JVP on Facebook with the caption: “#ReturntheBirthright tabling in Diana until 2 pm!! Come say hi!"
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).
CUAD is comprised of JVP and SJP members, who joined forces in February 2016. The group called on Columbia to divest its equity holdings and endowment funds from companies that — in CUAD’s words — “profit from the State of Israel’s ongoing system of settler colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid law."
CUAD listed eight target companies that it believed “*likely* to be invested in by a university like CU."
Anti-Israel Campus ActivismKattler-Kupetz has attended several events jointly organized and sponsored by SJP, JVP and CUAD.
During the week of February 27-March 3, Kattler-Kupetz attended “Israeli-Apartheid Week" events. Associated events included visiting a mock “Apartheid Wall," “Teaching Palestine: Scholarship and Resistance" and a lecture titled “Zionists are Racists"
On April 24, 2017, Kattler-Kupetz attended an event called “The Road to Freedom: A panel discussion with Omar Barghouti."
Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, rejects the existence of Israel. Barghouti has insisted that the demands of BDS are “inflexible" and “non-negotiable" — and if people object, then “tough."
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."
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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