SOOP defines itself
as a coalition of 19 student groups without any formal leadership structure. The group’s stated mission is to “end Stanford's investments in corporations which profit from the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories."SOOP disseminates BDS materials and solicits
donations for BDS, but has stated
that it is not connected to the BDS movement and is focused on “selective divestment."
Awad works as an assistant to the Advocacy Officer at Addameer
, a Palestinian “Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association."
According to an NGO Monitor report
, Addameer provided false testimony to the Goldstone Commission, and lied
about statistics regarding Palestinian Arab prisoners. Addameer also promotes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)
movement and works to undermine Israel internationally. Addameer frequently provides material
to AJ+, a Qatari-funded propaganda media channel known for spreading misinformation
In October 2014, Awad was one of six Stanford student who travelled
(click on Updates to see the image of the students) to Boston for the National SJP conference at Tufts University. The stated purpose of the trip, for which funds were raised through GoFundMe, was “to acquire the skills, politics, and experience necessary to advance our work in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation."
As of July 2018, Awad’s LinkedIn page said
that she graduated from Stanford in 2017 with a Bachelors of Arts, Honors, History, and Anthropology. Her LinkedIn also said that she has been a fundraiser at Amnesty International
USA since February 2018.
SJP Stanford - Disrespecting Vigil for Victims of Terrorism
In October 2015, SJP Stanford organized a protest as a preemptive response to a vigil mourning innocent Israelis murdered in a wave of terror attacks across Israel.
The SJP protesters held signs, some of which which read: "#Al Aqsa under fire."
The claim that the Al Aqsa mosque was under threat echoed the same incitement that fueled the Palestinian killings whose victims the vigil was meant to memorialize. The “threat" of “attacks on Al Aqsa" has been a pretext for Arab attacks on Jews, well before the existence of Israel.
SJP Stanford President Fatima Zehra considered the emails advertising the vigil for Israelis problematic because they acknowledged that Israelis who had been murdered were "victims of terror."
SOOP — Foisting Divestment on Stanford
In early 2015, SOOP led a seven-week campaign culminating in a proposed resolution to the Stanford Undergraduate Senate to divest from corporations that “maintain the occupation of Palestine." U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings revealed that Stanford is not invested in any of the companies SOOP targets for divestment.
On February 17, 2015, the Stanford Undergraduate Senate voted in favor of a SOOP resolution calling on Stanford to divest from corporations that “maintain the occupation of Palestine."
The resolution called for Stanford University trustees to divest from companies that “violate international humanitarian law by: maintaining illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation…facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians…[and] facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces."
Following an initial vote, the resolution failed to garner the required 66% Senate approval, eliciting shouts of anger from the crowd and leaving one Senator in tears. However, a re-vote was called by Senate Chair Ana Ordonez, who had abstained from the first vote because the “hostile" atmosphere made it difficult for her to concentrate on the vote. The second vote garnered enough support for the resolution to pass.
In April 2015, the Stanford Board of Trustees announced that the University would not divest from certain companies operating in Israel after concluding that any action to divest would serve to deeply divide the Stanford community.
President John Hennessy also addressed the issue at a faculty senate meeting. “I have never seen a topic that has been more divisive within the university community," Hennessy said. “As a university, we must remain committed to civil and rational discussion, especially when the issues are highly controversial. An atmosphere of intimidation or vitriol endangers our ability to operate as an intellectual community."
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."
SJP chapters regularly host speakers who use language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department and individuals linked to terrorist activity.
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."
BDS initiatives include compelling institutions and individuals to divest from Israeli-affiliated companies, academic boycotts, anti-Israel rallies and protests.
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.