OverviewNora Abdelal has expressed support for terrorists and was Vice President of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities (UMN) when the group disrupted a campus event. She also promoted the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Abdelal was featured in a March 2016 tweet by SJP at UMN, as the group’s VP [Vice President].
In 2015, Abdelal was also a candidate running for the position of “MSA AT-LARGE" for the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), the UMN student government.
Also in 2015, Abdelal was reportedly a “youth leader" for the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC).
As of October 2019, Abdelal was listed as a member of the Americans Against Genocide In Gaza (AAGG) Facebook group, since October 2015. AAGG contains posts spreading anti-Israel conspiracy theories to over 27,000 subscribers.
As of October 2019, Abdelal’s LinkedIn page said she was a “Patient Access Specialist" at “Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare" in Minnesota, since November 2017.
Also as of October 2019, Abdelal’s LinkedIn page said she was a “History Museum Diversity and Inclusion Fellow" at the “Minnesota Historical Society" from “Jan 2016 - Aug 2016."
Abdelal’s LinkedIn page said she graduated from UMN with a bachelor’s degree in “International/Global Studies, Political Science" in 2017.
As of October 2019, Abdelal used the name “Nora Issa" on Facebook.
Expressing Support for TerroristsOn July 31, 2018, Abdelal posted a photo to Instagram of herself and another female sitting in front of a mural known as the The “Arab Liberation Mural," and commented: “PSPSPS."
The Arab Liberation Mural was a graphic created “in collaboration with AROC’s youth program…" that featured likenesses of terrorists including Rasmea Odeh, Leila Khaled, Basel Al Araj and Yasser Murtaja.
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[00:10:53] Odeh 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.
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.
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.
Yasser Murtaja, a photojournalist, was reportedly a Hamas spy who used drones to film Israeli positions. Murtaja was shot on April 6, 2018 as he filmed the 2018 “March of Return" protest in Gaza.
On July 31, 2018, Abdelal also changed her Facebook cover photo to an image of the mural.
SJP UMN DisruptionOn November 9, 2015, while she was Vice President of SJP UMN, Abdelal was quoted in an article, published by The College Fix, about a campus disruption endorsed and “sponsored" by UMN SJP.
The event that SJP UMN disrupted featured Israeli law professor, Moshe Halbertal, speaking about the moral challenges of asymmetric warfare. Abdelal reportedly said that Halbertal: “‘justifies the killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians…supports mass murder of civilians in Gaza’ by the IDF."
The article reported that Abdelal: “confirmed to The Fix in an email that her group ‘sponsored the event because as UMN students we were hugely disappointed to see our institution hosting this speaker.’"
The SJP UMN-sponsored disruption was hosted by the Anti-War Committee (AWC), whose campaigns mainly to end US aid to Israel.
During the disruption, protesters reportedly sat in the audience and then stood and shouted chants, preventing Halbertal from speaking and accusing him of being a “war crimes apologist."
FightBack News said: “The lecture was scheduled for one hour, but most of that time was taken up by interruptions.
The FightBack News article also said that after protesters were removed from the hall by university police, they continued disrupting the event by shouting [00:00:01] chants including “free, free Palestine" and [00:01:55] “Israel is an apartheid state" in the hallway, which were audible from inside the lecture hall.
Three activists were reportedly arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Promoting BDSAbdelal retweeted an April 4, 2016 tweet from SJP UMN, that said: “This campus stands with Palestine #DivestWeek #SJPUMN #UMN."
Abdelal featured in a March 2016 UMN Divest campaign video, where she said: [00:00:36] “UMN Divest is a student led campaign calling on UMN to divest from companies that are profiting off human rights violations."
UMN Divest was launched by SJP UMN on February 15, 2016 and reportedly “put forward a resolution" in 2016, “...calling for divestment from ‘four particular companies profiting from human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.’"
On March 1, 2016, SJP UMN published a video to YouTube titled: “UMN Divest Presentation." The video featured Abdelal and SJP UMN President Rula Rashid.
In the video, Abdelal and Rashid presented SJP UMN’s divestment resolution at the “student government forum."
On February 19, 2016, Abdelal tweeted: “I support #umndivest as a student because no great change ever came from structures of power without a push."
On February 16, 2016, Abdelal tweeted: “aaaandd the list keeps growing, gotta love the sweet sound of solidarity #UMNDivest."
On February 15, 2016, Abdelal tweeted: “UMN students calling on UMN to divest from corporations that are profiting off of human right violations in Palestine #umndivest."
That same day, Abdelal changed her profile picture on Facebook to image of the UMN Divest 2016 flyer and wrote: “UMN Divest is a grassroots, student-led campaign calling on University of Minnesota to divest from corporations that are profiting off of human right violations in Palestine."
Honoring Terrorists: 2015 - 2016On January 27, 2016, SJP UMN posted on Facebook support for Muhammad Al-Qiq. Al-Qiq was detained by Israel for his involvement in Hamas terror activity.
On October 14, 2015, SJP UMN held a “die-in" in support of Palestinians who were conducting a wave of stabbing attacks on Israeli civilians, known as the “Knife Intifada."
During the die-in, SJP UMN activists lay on the ground, while an SJP member spoke accusing [00:00:05] Israel of an escalation in “state violence" and [00:00:32] of “extrajudicial murders."
The speaker continued: [00:00:41] “We will pay respects to the Palestinian martyrs executed by Israeli forces" and recited [00:01:57] the names of Palestinian terrorists, such as Fadi Aloon and [00:02:03] Muhannad Halabi, who he described [00:02:07] as “young Palestinians whose lives were unjustly taken away from them by Israeli security forces."
Aloon stabbed a 15-year-old Israeli boy after posting “Either martyrdom or victory" on his Facebook page and Halabi murdered two Israelis and injured two others, including a 2-year-old, during a stabbing spree. Halabi posted on his Facebook page “[t]he third Intifada is here…Let the revolution erupt."
The activist continued [00:02:43] “our people are dying in streets now in Palestine, but they are not helpless - they are resisting."
On October 14, 2015, SJP UMN posted to Facebook photos from a rally in support of Rasmea Odeh and wrote: “Thank you to our friends for keeping us updated with some pictures from Rasmea's appeal today." Participants in the rally held signs that read: “I support RASMEA" and “Minnesota stands with Rasmea Odeh."
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.
One of the photos of Odeh that SJP UMN shared on Facebook was captioned: “This is what you call a #Warrior."
On October 12, 2015, SJP UMN shared on their Facebook page a video that claimed Ahmed Manasra (sometimes spelled Mansara), purportedly “bled to death" and suffered abuse by Israeli soldiers.
Mansara was wounded while he engaged in a stabbing spree in Jerusalem, critically wounding a 13-year-old Israeli boy and moderately wounding a 25-year-old man.
Manasra was successfully treated at the same Israeli hospital as his victims and later convicted of attempted murder.
SJP UMN wrote in their Facebook post: “We cannot ignore these constant, heinous crimes, acts of racism, hatred, and inhumanity Palestinians are subjected to by Israeli settlers."
Spreading Incitement: 2015On November 1, 2015, SJP UMN tweeted: “Israel is a colonial bully, trying to take Al Aqsa under the guise of ‘sharing.’"
The allegation that Jews will destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, has been applied to Jews as a pretext for attacks by Arabs, even before the existence of Israel.
Such propaganda was the excuse for an upsurge in Palestinian violence in the fall of 2015, with Palestinian leaders fueling violence by promoting the libel that Israel intends to desecrate the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Hamas called on Palestinians to “take up arms" to defend Al Aqsa and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised those willing to martyr themselves. He also declared Jews would not be allowed to “desecrate" Al Aqsa with their “filthy feet."
In October 2015, SJP UMN posted a photo on Instagram of their section on the Washington Avenue Bridge. One of their panels featured a map that erased Israel, portraying the whole country with no internal borders and entirely covered by a keffiyeh.
Campaigning Against a Jewish Heritage Trip: 2015In February 2015, SJP UMN launched a campaign against the Jewish heritage trip to Israel, Birthright. Campaign flyers said: “FREE TRIP TO ISRAEL BUT WHO PAYS THE PRICE?"
The campaign condemned Birthright for presenting “a depoliticized image of Israel" and programming a trip that is “overall tailored to be pleasant experience devoid of conflict." The campaign claimed that the program “would not discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and that “topics such as illegal settlements in the West Bank and restrictions on Gaza will not be covered.".
SJP UMN encouraged Birthright participants to extend their trip and join tours with political groups such as Breaking the Silence (BTS) and The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), whose director Jeff Halper has called for the end of Israel.
Breaking the Silence was discredited by Israeli investigative TV show, HaMakor, in July 2016, in a report revealing that a substantial number of BTS testimonies are untrue or distorted.
Demonizing Israel: 2016-2015In April 2016, SJP UMN built a “mock apartheid wall" for its “Divest Week 2016," which the group called a “divestment special edition of our annual Israeli Apartheid Week," promoting the 2016 UMN Divest BDS campaign.
IAW is a series of events on university campuses that promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and claim to “raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system."
On April 22 2015, SJP UMN wrote on Facebook that “Israel’s ‘birthday’ is established on the occupation and exile of an entire people," in a post which also denied SJP involvement in the vandalism of a pro-Israel group’s display celebrating Israeli independence.
The next day, Rula Rashid, SJP UMN treasurer, reportedly approached a table set up by a pro-Israel campus group to educate students about Israel’s independence and said “you stole our land."
On April 9, 2015, SJP UMN tweeted: “‘If it's centered around Judaism, why are only white Jews allowed to live in Israel? It's not a case about religion and Judaism.’ @MnarMuh."
On March 4, 2015, SJP UMN hosted an event with Dan Cohen, a journalist with the anti-Israel Mondoweiss, speaking about his experiences reporting from Gaza during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge (OPE). OPE was launched by Israel to stop Hamas rocket attacks and destroy Hamas attack tunnels.
During his talk, Cohen reportedly said the war was “not an attack on Hamas....it was an attack on Palestinian society." He also claimed that “Israeli soldiers were allowed to take revenge" and that they intentionally shot civilians.
Opposing Normalization: 2015On April 23, 2015, SJP UMN posted on Facebook a “definition of normalization." The definition said that normalization was “gathering (either directly or indirectly) Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis, whether individuals or institutions; that does not explicitly aim to expose and resist the occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people."
The policy of “anti-normalization" aims to ensure that all interactions between Israelis and Palestinians align only their agenda, including ending the occupation and a full right of return for Palestinians, which is a Palestinian demand discredited as a means to eliminate Israel. The policies are shared with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Hosting Anti-Israel Propagandists: 2015On October 15, 2015, during the “Knife Intifada," SJP UMN hosted anti-Israel propagandist Sabry Wazwaz at a vigil for “the Palestinian lives lost in the recent attacks." The “Knife Intifada," was an upsurge in violence across Israel incited by Palestinian political and religious leaders.
Wazwaz has spread religious incitement, promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and called for intifada.
On April 20, 2015, SJP UMN co-sponsored an event featuring disgraced anti-Israel professor Steven Salaita on “how critique of American and Israeli colonization might be productively undertaken." In 2014, Salaita had an offer employment retracted by the University of Illinois, after a series of anti-Semitic tweets he had posted were uncovered.
Promoting BDS: 2016On February 15, 2016, SJP UMN launched a divestment campaign, calling for the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) and UMN to support divestment from companies that SJP UMN claimed “profit from human rights violations in Palestine/Israel."
SJP UMN’s statement announcing the campaign said UMN’s investment in the companies targeted by the campaign showed “implicit support for…the killing of civilians, and violations of their basic human rights."
UMN’s Chief Investment Officer reportedly told The Minnesota Republic, a student-run newspaper at UMN, that the university had “no direct exposure" to the four companies targeted by the campaign.
On March 8, 2016, the MSA voted [00:26:24] to strike down the divestment resolution from the MSA agenda.
SJP UMN - Praising ViolenceOn October 20, 2017, SJP UMN shared on Instagram a graphic that featured a Palestinian woman carrying an assault rifle. The graphic was based on a poster originally published by the terror group, the Palestinian Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The graphic shared by SJP UMN had the caption: “Glory to the Women of the Intifada."
“Intifada" has carried the connotation of violence since the early 2000’s.
SJP UMN wrote on their Instagram post: “..come learn about Palestinian women’s resilience, contribution to the movement, and what a Palestinian feminist vision for liberation looks like…"
SJP UMN - Supporting a TerroristOn July 8, 2018, SJP UMN shared to Facebook a post that read: “This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani. A writer, intellectual, and spokesperson for the Palestinian resistance, he is remembered as one of the most significant literary and political figures of the 1960s-70s Palestinian revolution."
Kanafani was a leading member and spokesperson for the terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during their formative years. Kanafani was also involved in the Lod Airport Massacre near Tel Aviv, for which PFLP took responsibility.
SJP UMN - Promoting BDSOn February 25, 2018, SJP UMN shared to Instagram a post launching the UMN Divest 2018 campaign.
SJP UMN’s Instagram post said: “UMN Divest is back and this time we’re doing a campus wide referendum. March 5-7 all undergraduate and graduate students can vote ‘yes’ to divest."
The 2018 UMN Divest campaign launched a petition calling to “demand that the University of Minnesota Investment Committee and any other responsible bodies authorized to make investment decisions divest fully from the companies mentioned in the UMN Divest campaign."
SJP UMN’s petition alleged: “UMN has investments" in companies “that violate human rights" and called on UMN to divest from G4S, Boeing, Raytheon and Elbit Systems who do business with Israel.
As of September 2019, UMN Divest’s platform claimed that UMN was: “supporting, upholding, and benefiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine."
UMN Divest 2018 was endorsed by various anti-Israel organizations, including the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UMN (MSA UMN) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Twin Cities (JVP Twin Cities).
On March 11, 2019, SJP UMN announced on Instagram that the 2018 divestment resolution had passed.
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 Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was founded by Omar Barghouti in 2005 as an allegedly “Palestinian-led movement" to challenge “international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism."
In 2015, Barghouti was quoted saying that “BDS aims to turn Israel into a pariah state, as South Africa once was, and to isolate its regime of oppression in order to achieve our UN-stipulated rights."
The dominant organization in the BDS Movement is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), founded by Barghouti in 2007, during the First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel.
The movement’s most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for “BDS resolutions." In these cases, student governments, backed by anti-Israel affiliates, have proposed resolutions on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities.
These boycott 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.
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