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Snehal Shingavi

Overview

Snehal Shingavi is a co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Shingavi has silenced pro-Israel students at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and has demonized Israel as a speaker at numerous rallies.

He has reportedly been arrested five times for various campus and political protests.

Shingavi is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and has endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

As of July 2018, Shingavi’s LinkedIn page said he has been an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin) since September 2009. He was an instructor in Postcolonial Studies at the University of Mary Washington (UMV) from 2008-2009 and a graduate student instructor in English from 1999-2008 at UC Berkeley, where he received his PhD in English.

Silencing Pro-Israel Students

In September 2002, Shingavi became the center of controversy when he created an undergraduate English class at UC Berkeley, titled "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance."

Shingavi’s course description read: “The brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine, an occupation that has been ongoing since 1948, has systematically displaced, killed and maimed millions of Palestinian people. And yet, from under the brutal weight of the occupation, Palestinians have produced their own culture and poetry of resistance."

The description continued: “This class takes as its starting point the right of Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination. Conservative thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections."

University of California Chancellor Robert Berdahl condemned the course description, saying: “It is not appropriate for an academic class to discourage or exclude anyone from attending on political grounds… that is very objectionable. The discourse cannot be constrained by the political perspective of an instructor."

One pro-Israel student who attended the course reported that Shingavi handed out “literature that tries to justify Hamas and Hezbollah" and was “not open to dialogue about the Mideast."

SJP Campus Activism

On April 9, 2002, Shingavi and numerous other SJP members were arrested for unlawfully occupying a campus building and interrupting classes at UC Berkeley. The occupation of the building, at which SJP activists which demanded “that the University of California divest from all of its assets connected to Israel and the Israeli military," was intentionally timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Despite clear pre-action warnings and repeated requests to leave, SJP members pushed past police, entered classrooms and lecture halls, chanting loudly and employing bull-horns while students were taking mid-term examinations.

In an open letter to the UC Berkeley community, Chancellor Berdahl strongly denounced SJP for "interfering with the rights of other students to continue their education" and suspended the group from campus. In response, Shingavi accused the university of "a systematic attempt to silence pro-Palestinian voices."

Demonizing Israel

During a November 2014 talk, Shingavi likened Gaza to the Nazi death camps, claiming [00:13:15] that “This is not me being hyperbolic… Gaza is the biggest open air concentration camp in the world today and the condition of life in Gaza is not dissimilar to life in camps in Auschwitz and Dachau."

Shingavi has also demonized Israel at a number of anti-Israel rallies and protests.

On August 2, 2014, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge (OPE), Shingavi spoke [00:03:56] at a “Texas Stands with Gaza" rally, where he alleged that OPE was based on “vicious lies" and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “sent out lynch mobs where people roamed the streets and caught any Arab they could."

Israel commenced Operation Protective Edge (OPE) in July 2014, to stop rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians and to destroy Hamas attack tunnels.


Shingavi also claimed [00:09:11] that OPE had "everything to do with the Zionist project, which has been the ethnic cleansing of Palestine since 1948 to the present… everything else that they have been telling you is a lie."

SJP

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.

BDS

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.

Videos

Photos & Screenshots

Infamous Quotes

“[Netanyahu] sent out Lynch mobs, where people roamed the streets and cut any Arab they could.”
“This is not me being hyperbolic...Gaza is the biggest open air concentration camp in the world today and the condition of life in Gaza is not dissimilar to life in camps in Auschwitz and Dachau.”
“All of this has been lies. This is nothing to do with making Israel safe. This is nothing to do with Israel defending itself. This has everything to do with the Zionist project which has been the ethnic cleansing of the Palestine since 1948 to the present. Everything else they have been telling you is a lie....These lies are made possible by the government of the United States.”

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