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June 7, 2012 2

Anti-Israel Group Increases Outreach to High School Students

Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), a Chicago-based anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion, is plan­ning to host a joint con­fer­ence on “Pales­tine activism” with the High School Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia (HSMSA), an inter-high school net­work of Mus­lim stu­dent organizations.

The con­fer­ence is sched­uled to take place on June 24 at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, a cen­ter for vir­u­lently anti-Israel cam­pus activ­ity in recent years. It is part of AMP’s 7th annual cam­paign to com­mem­o­rate the “Nakba,” an Ara­bic term that means “cat­a­stro­phe” and is used by Pales­tini­ans and their sup­port­ers to describe Israel’s Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence.

AMP orga­niz­ers say the con­fer­ence is designed to help “train high school, col­lege, and non-student activists on issues per­ti­nent to Pales­tine activism.” The list of speak­ers invited to “edu­cate” stu­dents on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict include sev­eral anti-Israel activists known for their use of rhetoric to dele­git­imize Israel.

Speak­ers include Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Elec­tronic Intifada blog; Taher Herza­l­lah, AMP’s National Cam­pus Coor­di­na­tor and one of the 11 stu­dents arrested for shout­ing down Israeli Ambas­sador Michael Oren dur­ing a 2010 speech at UC Irvine; and Osama Abu Irshaid, an AMP board mem­ber who has pre­vi­ously expressed sup­port for Hezbol­lah and con­spir­a­to­ri­ally alleged that the U.S. gov­ern­ment makes deci­sions based on the “influ­en­tial Jew­ish community.”

AMP tar­geted high school stu­dents ear­lier this year when it held its first high school train­ing ses­sion in Villa Park, Illi­nois. The work­shop was sim­i­larly orga­nized to the upcom­ing con­fer­ence at UC Irvine and included work­shops on sub­jects such as the Islamic sig­nif­i­cance of Pales­tine, activism, and how to uti­lize the media.

This year’s AMP Nakba cam­paign con­sists pri­mar­ily of edu­ca­tional and train­ing ses­sions designed to “raise aware­ness about the occu­pa­tion” and to “help bring jus­tice and lib­erty to the Holy Land.” These events will be held through­out the month of June across the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia region, which include the cities of Hawthorne, Corona-Narco, Ana­heim, Temec­ula, and Lomita.

AMP has increas­ingly made an effort to engage in facil­i­tat­ing stu­dent activism on col­lege cam­puses and high schools nation­wide. The impor­tance of encour­ag­ing AMP’s pres­ence among stu­dents was the cen­tral theme of the organization’s 2011 national con­fer­ence, where a num­ber of ses­sions were ded­i­cated to how stu­dents can dis­cuss the issue of Pales­tine in schools and on cam­puses. AMP’s con­certed effort to engage with stu­dents has led to increased col­lab­o­ra­tion with on cam­pus anti-Israel groups, such as Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP).

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March 5, 2012 2

A Round-Up of Israeli Apartheid Week Events

With Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) draw­ing to a close in cities around the United States, here is a sam­pling of what took place on col­lege cam­puses and else­where this past week:

  • Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity: Ali Abunimah deliv­ered a talk in which he dis­cussed his sup­port for a one-state solu­tion and described Israel as a “sec­tar­ian gov­ern­ment.” Abunimah was quoted say­ing: “The claim that Israel should be a Jew­ish state can be asserted, not defended—not legally, polit­i­cally or ethically…Israel has reached a moral, polit­i­cal and eth­i­cal dead-end. The notion that Israel can be both Jew­ish and demo­c­ra­tic vio­lates the rights of Pales­tini­ans, which is fine if you don’t see Pales­tini­ans as humans, but, if you do, it is wrong.” He also offen­sively com­pared the Holo­caust to the “Nakba,” a term Pales­tini­ans use to describe the 1948 War of Inde­pen­dence and the estab­lish­ment of the state of Israel. He said, “We must con­demn Nakba denial as strongly as we must con­demn Holo­caust denial.”
  • George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity: Mem­bers of the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter tried to dis­rupt an event orga­nized by GW’s pro-Israel orga­ni­za­tion MEOR. The event hosted a for­mer Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sol­dier, Sergeant Ben­jamin Anthony.
  • Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity: Mem­bers of SJP staged a “house demo­li­tion act” that was intended to mimic Israel’s demo­li­tion of ille­gal Pales­tin­ian homes. One of the activists argued that these demo­li­tions are made pos­si­ble by U.S. tax dol­lars and Colum­bia University’s invest­ments, which fund “spe­cial Cater­pil­lar bull­doz­ers for Israel to demol­ish Pales­tin­ian homes.”

  • New York City: Approx­i­mately 100 mem­bers of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) gath­ered in the lobby of the LGBT Cen­ter to protest the Center’s deci­sion not to host events related to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. [In March 2011, the Cen­ter had decided not to host an IAW event.] Pro­test­ers held signs that read “Stop Pinkwash­ing Israeli Apartheid” and “End Israeli Apartheid,” and accused the cen­ter of “suc­cumb­ing to the out­spo­ken in power” and “betray[ing] its his­toric mis­sion.” After an hour indoors, the protest moved out­side to the sidewalk.

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February 10, 2012 1

One-State “Solution” Conference to be Held at Harvard in March

Update: ADL wel­comed Har­vard University’s Feb­ru­ary 24 state­ment fol­low­ing receipt of a let­ter from ADL’s National Direc­tor to Harvard’s Pres­i­dent, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust. The Har­vard Uni­ver­sity state­ment, which acknowl­edged ADL’s con­cerns, said in part: “We would never take a posi­tion on spe­cific pol­icy solu­tions to achiev­ing peace in this region, and cer­tainly would not endorse any pol­icy that some argue could lead to the elim­i­na­tion of the Jew­ish State of Israel.” 

Just one month after the major

BDS con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, a con­fer­ence to exam­ine the “pos­si­ble con­tours” of a one-state “solu­tion” is sched­uled to take place at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment over the first week­end in March. 

The event will fea­ture Stephen Walt, the co-author of the 2007 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. For­eign Pol­icy,” which infa­mously asserted that the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. has exces­sive power and divided loy­al­ties and uses its power to sti­fle crit­i­cism of Israel against America’s true interests. 
Walt is not the only anti-Israel aca­d­e­mic who will speak at the con­fer­ence. The list includes Uni­ver­sity of Exeter pro­fes­sor Ilan Pappe, Har­vard Law School fel­low Diana Buttu, Bay­lor University’s Marc Ellis and many oth­ers.  Sev­eral of the anti-Israel activists who head­lined the Penn BDS con­fer­ence will attend next month’s event as well, includ­ing Ali Abunimah, Dalit Baum and Sarah Schulman.
The con­fer­ence pro­gram focuses on the inevitabil­ity of a one-state “solu­tion” and strate­gies for over­com­ing the obsta­cles that might oth­er­wise pre­vent it. Based on the speak­ers list and pro­gram, it seems likely that the mes­sages prop­a­gated at both con­fer­ences will be vir­tu­ally indis­tin­guish­able from one another with regard to their one-sided crit­i­cisms of Israel and lack of con­sid­er­a­tion for the com­plex­ity of the conflict.
One other thing to note: In con­trast to last weekend’s BDS con­fer­ence, the “One State” con­fer­ence is receiv­ing sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial and insti­tu­tional sup­port from Har­vard, includ­ing fund­ing from two uni­ver­sity depart­ments, the Weath­er­head Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Affairs and the Office of the Provost.

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