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October 23, 2014

Tufts University Hosting National Students For Justice In Palestine Conference

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the nation’s largest pro-Palestinian student organization with more than 80 active chapters on college and university campuses, will hold its 4th National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference at Tufts University. The conference, which runs from October 24-26, is titled “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine,” a reference to SJP activists’ efforts to connect varying struggles and movements to the Palestinian cause.sjp-national-conference-tufts-university

As with previous SJP national conferences this year’s conference is only open to students who are active with a campus group. The conference is set to feature a wide array of anti-Israel activists, including university professors, students, clergy members, and members of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Among the invited speakers are J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, an Associate Professor of American Studies & Anthropology at Wesleyan University and an advisor to the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI); Muhammad Desai, the coordinator of BDS South Africa who was seen singing the words “shoot the Jew” at a 2013 anti-Israel protest; Sara Kershner, a co-founder of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; and several student activists from various SJP chapters.

The conference panels, according to the SJP conference website, will consist of discussions that conflate social justice with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Panel titles include: “From Ferguson to Palestine: Resisting State Violence and Racism,” and “Migrant Justice and the Undocumented Palestinian Experience in the U.S.” SJP chapters often try to link domestic issues and events, such as the Ferguson, Missouri shooting and its aftermath to the conflict in Gaza, couching hostility toward Israel in social justice terms to appeal to a broader audience. In addition, there will also be a session on “Islamic Movements of Palestine,” that will examine “how Islam informed resistance movements and what different ways Islamic movements operated in Palestine.”

In previous years SJP held its national conference at Columbia University in 2011, the University of Michigan in 2012, and at Stanford University in 2013. The conferences typically include inflammatory language and rhetoric to describe Israel, and, at times, speakers have glorified the use of violence by Palestinian groups.