UMD MASC and SJP UMD - Marginalizing UMD Jews for Supporting Israel
On April 27, 2017, UMD MASC and SJP UMD posted a co-authored letter on Facebook that promoted an anti-Israel rally at UMD. The “boycott" rally was timed to coincide with “Israel Fest" — an annual Israeli cultural event held at UMD, on Israeli Independence Day. The groups called the annual celebration of Israel’s independence on campus “unnecessary" and “insulting."
UMD MASC and SJP UMD called for a “Mass Boycott of Israel Fest" and stated in their letter: “Our efforts may be wrongly confused with anti-Semitism, but we urge those who conflate this action with that sentiment to rethink the accusation … It is the country and its discriminatory policies that we oppose, and not the Jewish people."
The letter said that Israel is “undeniably responsible for the displacement, imprisonment, and killing of thousands of Palestinians." The letter added that Israel was an “apartheid state" that was “founded on the forced displacement of thousands of individuals" and that Israel was “the very country responsible for their suffering."
UMD MASC and SJP UMD went on to demand that UMD’s Jewish Student Union (Maryland JSU), the festival organizer, prove that the event is “in fact a celebration of Jewish culture." They also demanded that Maryland JSU change the festival’s name and remove tables promoting Birthright Israel and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Birthright Israel is a series of Jewish heritage trips to Israel for Jewish young adults from the United States, Canada and other countries around the world.
UMD MASC and SJP UMD ended their letter, stating: “We urge you to stand with Muslim and Arab Terps as their allies. We urge you to stand with justice."
On May 2, 2017, UMD MASC and SJP UMD co-hosted their “boycott" of Israel Fest. The rally featured a barrier, emblazoned with “ISRAELI APARTHEID WALL" and promoted BDS. The barrier also featured text that said “FREE GAZA" and “NO BORDERS." SJP members chalked "Boycott Israel Fest" all over the campus in the week preceding the festival.
UMD MASC and SJP UMD - 2017 Divestment Resolution
On April 10, 2017, Sarah Eshera — UMD MASC founder and SJP UMD activist — announced on Facebook that the UMD Student Government Association (UMD SGA) scheduled a vote on an anti-Israel divestment bill for April 19, 2017. Eshera stated that UMD MASC and SJP UMD jointly introduced the anti-Israel resolution.
On February 12, 2017, the UMD student newspaper reported on the launch of the BDS campaign and interviewed SJP UMD’s president, Miranda Mlilo. The newspaper wrote: “Mlilo said SJP doesn't know what organizations this university may be invested in, but that they may file a public records request to find out."
As of May 23, 2017, the UMD student newspaper had no reportage about the scheduled divestment vote.
UMD MASC and SJP UMD - Promoting Anti-Israel Propagandists
On April 18, 2017, UMD MASC and SJP UMD co-hosted a BDS event featuring Taher Herzallah and Kareem El Hosseiny, in anticipation of a divestment vote reportedly scheduled for the the following day.
Herzallah serves as the Associate Director of Outreach & Grassroots Organizing for American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Hosseiny is the AMP Government Relations Coordinator.
On November 27-29, 2014, Herzallah — at the seventh annual AMP conference — accused “progressive community" allies of viewing only Muslim “freedom fighters" who employed violent means as practicing “terrorism." Herzallah then rhetorically asked: “What if, as Muslims, we wanted to establish an Islamic state? Is that wrong? What if, as Muslims, we wanted to use violent means to resist occupation? Is that wrong?..."
The April 18, 2017 event was originally billed as “A Conversation with Yousef Munayyer." Munayyer is the Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), formerly the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (ETO).
However, on April 16, 2017, UMD MASC wrote on the Facebook event page that Munayyer could not attend and that “in his place we will have Taher Herzallah from American Muslims for Palestine. We're so happy to be hosting him!"
SJP UMD - Demonizing Israel
On February 26, 2017, SJP UMD released an online petition, titled “OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON BDS," addressed to the UMD SGA and UMD President, Wallace Loh. The petition was circulated in anticipation of the anti-Israel divestment bill that was co-authored by UMD MASC and SJP UMD and announced on Facebook by Sarah Eshera — UMD MASC founder and SJP UMD activist, on April 10, 2017.
The petition alleged that Israel committed murder and claimed: “Innocent children are forced from their homes to make room for Israeli settlers." The petition also condemned Israeli checkpoints, which were built to stop suicide bombings and other terror attacks.
The petition also cast Israel in the role of apartheid South Africa and stated: “In 1989, our university boldly stood against South African apartheid by divesting from the institutions which supported racist policies in that country. Our goal is to have our university take a strong stand against injustice again."
SJP UMD - Misrepresenting BDS
SJP UMD’s online February 26, 2017, BDS petition, mentioned above, concluded with a paraphrased 2010 quote from BDS’ founder, Omar Barghouti: “The global BDS movement for Palestinian rights presents a progressive, antiracist, sophisticated, sustainable, moral, and effective form of nonviolent civil resistance to apartheid."
Barghouti’s original quote spoke of “resistance for Palestinian human rights," only. SJP UMD replaced that phrase with “resistance to apartheid." The petition also prefaced its paraphrased Barghouti quote with the statement: “To ensure the safety and equality of Palestinians is to ensure the safety and equality of all."
However, as early as December 13, 2003, Barghouti made clear that his goal is to create a “unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority."
On May 31, 2009, Barghouti also said: “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land and therefore, we have to accommodate both national rights."
SJP UMD’s online petition concluded with a core BDS demand, stating: “As proponents of BDS, we call for Israel to respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their home country from which they are currently exiled, as stipulated by UN Resolution 194."
The BDS movement’s selective appeal to U.N General Assembly Resolution 194 (Article 11) has been discredited as a subterfuge to eliminate Israel. The non-binding resolution made no mention of the refugees’ ethnicity — either Jewish or Arab — indicating it was aimed at all refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Resolution 194 urged that refugees be allowed to return to their pre-war homes, provided they were “willing to live in peace with their neighbors." The Arabs unanimously rejected Resolution 194.
On February 2, 2017, Sarah Eshera
, UMD MASC founder and a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
at UMD (SJP UMD) activist, created
the UMD MPA Facebook page. UMD MASC operates alongside SJP UMD to coordinate anti-Israel activity on campus.
On August 3, 2017, UMD MPA re-branded
itself as UMD MASC.