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Posts Tagged ‘american muslims for palestine’
August 11, 2016 3

Tunisian BDS Conference Raises Questions About Qatari Involvement

On August 4th, the Qatar-based Arab Cen­ter for Research and Pol­icy Stud­ies (ACRPS) launched a three-day aca­d­e­mic con­fer­ence in Tunisia titled “Boy­cott as a Strat­egy to Counter Israel’s Occu­pa­tion and Apartheid: Present-day Real­i­ties and Aspi­ra­tions.” The con­fer­ence served as a reminder of BDS activists’ efforts to expand their agenda and fur­ther their goal of dele­git­imiz­ing the state of Israel, but also illu­mi­nated poten­tial rifts within the movement.

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

Pan­elists at the BDS con­fer­ence in Tunisia

While ACRPS claims to be an inde­pen­dent research insti­tute, it appears to have strong ties to the Qatari gov­ern­ment. This could sug­gest that indi­vid­u­als closely affil­i­ated to the Qatari gov­ern­ment may be inter­ested in play­ing a big­ger role in advanc­ing the BDS movement.

ACRPS reg­is­tra­tion doc­u­ments list Sul­tan Ghanim Al Kuwari, a promi­nent Qatari busi­ness­man, as the founder of the Cen­ter. Report­edly, Al Kuwari, who is closely affil­i­ated with Qatar’s royal fam­ily, is also listed as the direc­tor of sev­eral Qatari inter­na­tional media out­lets. He is also described as the per­son in charge of extend­ing the reach of the Qatari soft diplo­matic power under the lead­er­ship of the Emir of Qatar. Fur­ther­more, reports from pre­vi­ous ACRPS events present the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani as a reg­u­lar guest of honor at many of the group’s events.

The Qatari con­nec­tion could raise the hack­les of BDS activists who are skep­ti­cal of Qatar’s for­eign pol­icy posi­tions, and are con­cerned that the country’s involve­ment would trans­form the grass­roots move­ment into a ‘state brand­ing’ project. On the first day of the con­fer­ence, mem­bers of the Tunisian BDS chap­ter dis­rupted the ses­sion and protested against what they con­sider as the Qatari government’s con­nec­tion. They also protested against the direc­tor of the ACRPS, Azmi Beshara, because he served as a mem­ber of the Israeli Knes­set in the past, which the activists con­sider as an act of trea­son. An ear­lier state­ment on the offi­cial Face­book page of the Tunisian chap­ter of the BDS move­ment called fora boy­cott of the con­fer­ence because the ACRPS and the con­fer­ence itself “are spon­sored by the Qatari gov­ern­ment” which, accord­ing to the Tunisian chap­ter, is “one of the Arab gov­ern­ments most active in nor­mal­iza­tion with Israel.”

This BDS con­fer­ence was built on a series of pre­vi­ous events hosted by the ACRPS and focused on ques­tions about the objec­tives of the BDS move­ment and the role of the Arab states, émi­gré com­mu­ni­ties, and Pales­tini­ans. One speaker, Osama Abu Irshaid, the National Pol­icy Direc­tor of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, said “it is a must to trans­form the BDS move­ment into a sys­tem and a frame­work that will go beyond only boy­cotting cor­po­ra­tions that sup­port Israel to the de-legitimization of Israel as well.” ACRPS issued a paper sup­port­ing Irshaid’s goals.

Other speak­ers at the con­fer­ence included Max Blu­men­thal, a promi­nent anti-Israel blog­ger, Peter Slezak, the co– founder of the Australian-based Inde­pen­dent Aus­tralian Jew­ish Voices, and Richard Falk, the for­mer United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Pales­tin­ian human rights.

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November 23, 2015 3

Anti-Semite Claims Prominent BDS Activist Invited Him To Berkeley Conference

Anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rist Kevin Bar­rett claims he was accepted to present a paper at the 3rd Islam­o­pho­bia and Civil Soci­ety Con­fer­ence in Paris, spon­sored by Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley’s Cen­ter for Race & Gen­der.

Kevin Barrett's GoFundMe page

Kevin Barrett’s GoFundMe page

The con­fer­ence, which appears to have recently been can­celed, was orga­nized by BDS activist and Berke­ley pro­fes­sor Hatem Baz­ian, the Chair­man of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to stu­dents and Mus­lim com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in the country.

Bar­rett, a for­mer Uni­ver­sity of Wisconsin-Madison instruc­tor, is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s Eng­lish lan­guage pro­pa­ganda news net­work Press TV and Vet­er­ans Today, a U.S.-based web­site that presents anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries as news. Even Bar­rett him­self seems sur­prised he was accepted to present at Bazian’s con­fer­ence. On his GoFundMe page, where he has raised $2,175 to fund his trip to Paris, he wrote, “Amaz­ingly, I just had a hard-hitting, truth-telling paper accepted for a main­stream aca­d­e­mic con­fer­ence: The 3rd Islam­o­pho­bia and Civil Soci­ety Con­fer­ence to be held in Paris Decem­ber 11th-12th 2015.” Bar­rett hoped that by pre­sent­ing at the con­fer­ence, he could send the mes­sage, “Keep our uni­ver­si­ties open to peo­ple who are will­ing to think taboo thoughts and ask the hard questions!”

In Barrett’s syn­op­sis of the paper he was accepted to present, titled “Taboo on Ques­tion­ing: Silenc­ing the Mus­lim Other,” he alludes to his typ­i­cal anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. In a dis­cus­sion on whether the Jan­u­ary 2015 ter­ror attacks at the Char­lie Hebdo office and a kosher super­mar­ket in Paris were “largely fab­ri­cated by West­ern secu­rity agen­cies to mobi­lize pub­lic opin­ion for a war on Islam,” Bar­rett exam­ines ques­tions like “What are we to make of Netanyahu’s repeated threats dur­ing the run-up to the shoot­ings that if France rec­og­nized or sided with Pales­tine it would be hit by terrorists?”

Try­ing to blame Jews or Israel for acts of ter­ror­ism is noth­ing new for Bar­rett. Some recent exam­ples of his anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries include:

  • In a Novem­ber 13 Vet­er­ans Today arti­cle titled “Another French False Flag?” Bar­rett states that “Since we now know the Char­lie Hebdo attack was a…false flag by the usual sus­pects (NATO hard­lin­ers and Zion­ists), can we safely make the same assump­tion about these new Fri­day the 13th Paris atroc­i­ties? I think we can.” Bar­rett added “The first ques­tion, as always, is: Who gains? And the answer, as always, is: Author­i­tar­ian insid­ers. Zion­ists. Mil­i­tarists. Islam­o­phobes. New World Order-Out-Of-Chaos freaks.”
  • In Barrett’s book We Are Not Char­lie Hebdo! Free Thinkers Ques­tion the French 9/11 he claims that the Jan­u­ary Paris attacks were just one in a long his­tory of events – such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax poi­son­ings – per­pe­trated by Israel in order to “incite hatred of Mus­lims and sol­i­dar­ity with Israel.”
  • In a Jan­u­ary 20 Press TV arti­cle titled “Zion­ist NWO mur­ders Iran­ian gen­eral, Amer­i­can film­maker,” Bar­rett claims that “The Zion­ists cre­ated ISIL and sent it to fight Mus­lims and Chris­tians in Syria and Iraq…New World Order Zion­ism is also tar­get­ing the USA for destruction.”
  • Bar­rett stated in a Feb­ru­ary 17 Press TV arti­cle titled “9/11 attack was Zion­ist coup d-etat to seize power in US: Scholar” that “…Zion­ist pre-emptive mur­der­ers excel at ‘killing the future’…A team of Zionist-liked pro­fes­sional killers exe­cuted a total of 77 peo­ple [2011 attacks in Nor­way], while Zionist-freemasonic assets in the Nor­we­gian police and mil­i­tary stood by.”
  • In the same Feb­ru­ary 2015 arti­cle Bar­rett stated that “The Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were a Zion­ist ‘coup d’etat’ to seize power in the coun­try and launch a per­ma­nent war on Islam on behalf of Israel…”

 

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April 1, 2015 2

50% of Anti-Israel Events in Illinois on Three Campuses

Anti-Israel activ­ity on uni­ver­sity and col­lege cam­puses in Illi­nois has remained steady over the last two years with student-groups actively work­ing to pro­mote Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel and false alle­ga­tions such as that Israel is an apartheid state.

Tweets from pro-BDS stu­dents dur­ing and after the BDS vote at Loy­ola University.

Since Sep­tem­ber 2013, more than 70 anti-Israel events have taken place on uni­ver­sity and col­lege cam­puses in Illi­nois and over 50% of those events were held on three cam­puses: Loy­ola University-Chicago, DePaul Uni­ver­sity, and North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity. So far this year, there have been two divest­ment res­o­lu­tions passed by stu­dent gov­ern­ments at Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity and North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity and 25 anti-Israel events have either taken place or been sched­uled on Illi­nois campuses.

Lead­ing up to the BDS vote at Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity, there was a week-long pro­gram called “Loy­ola Divest­ment Week,” which fea­tured sev­eral events pro­mot­ing BDS and the “Loy­ola Divest” cam­paign. Exam­ples of those events included dis­cus­sions about divest­ment, a “Pales­tine 101” ses­sion which pro­vided his­tor­i­cal con­text about the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, and a con­ver­sa­tion titled “Reclaim­ing Our Voices through Social Activism.”

ADL described the Loy­ola Divest effort as “mis­guided” and stated that it will likely serve to “divide and polar­ize the cam­pus community.”

The polar­iz­ing effect of the res­o­lu­tion could be wit­nessed dur­ing the vot­ing ses­sion and after its pas­sage, as stu­dents reacted on Twit­ter with the hash­tag “#Loy­olaDi­vest.” One stu­dent remarked dur­ing the vote that there were a “hand­ful of priv­i­leged white peo­ple on one side of room” and that the “rest of human­ity [was] on [the] other.” Another stu­dent echoed that tweet and wrote “Never under­stood ‘white tears’ more than now –white jew­ish stu­dents are ‘uncom­fort­able’ while the Pales­tini­ans are suf­fo­cat­ing,” and another stu­dent cel­e­brated that the cam­pus Hil­lel allegedly lost mem­bers “because #divest­ment made them uncom­fort­able and afraid,” stat­ing that, “That’s a win for #Loy­olaDi­vest no one should join Hillel.”

North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity, the Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter formed a group called “NU Divest” which worked to pro­mote divest­ment. Lead­ing up to the Stu­dent Government’s vote on their BDS res­o­lu­tion, the group spon­sored sev­eral anti-Israel events such as a pre­sen­ta­tion from Hatem Baz­ian, a founder of Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 13, 2015 titled  “Colo­nial­ism is not Over: Con­tem­po­rary Move­ments.” The group also pub­lished pro-BDS arti­cles in the cam­pus news­pa­per to inform their student-body about the BDS cam­paign and on Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 18, 2015, the stu­dent gov­ern­ment voted to pass their BDS res­o­lu­tion with a 24–22-3 vote.

The BDS cam­paign at DePaul Uni­ver­sity was also active this semes­ter because of the campus-wide BDS ref­er­en­dum that was passed by a vote of 1,575–1,333 on May 23, 2014. To fol­low up on the vote, the DePaul Divest coali­tion sub­mit­ted a request to the DePaul Fair Busi­ness Prac­tices Com­mit­tee (FBPC) in Jan­u­ary 2015 and asked them to rec­om­mend that DePaul divest from Hewlett-Packard, Boe­ing, Lock­heed Mar­tin, Veo­lia, and Cater­pil­lar. The pro­posal was report­edly rejected by the FBPC.

Flyer from DePaul University SJP Fundraiser for Rasmea Odeh.

Flyer from DePaul Uni­ver­sity SJP Fundraiser for Ras­mea Odeh.

The SJP chap­ters at both Loy­ola and DePaul also hosted events to defend and dis­cuss the case of Ras­mea Odeh, a Pales­tin­ian accused by Israel of hav­ing taken part in two 1969 bomb­ings by the ter­ror­ist group the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine (PFLP), who was just con­victed on a count of unlaw­ful pro­cure­ment of nat­u­ral­iza­tion and is fac­ing eigh­teen months in prison and depor­ta­tion to Jor­dan. While Odeh’s case was only dis­cussed at Loy­ola, at DePaul, the SJP chap­ter actu­ally hosted a fundraiser for Odeh where all pro­ceeds were to be donated to her legal defense team.

Of the more than 70 anti-Israel events on Illi­nois cam­puses since Sep­tem­ber 2013, SJP has spon­sored the major­ity of those events, which were focused on BDS cam­paigns and cas­ti­gat­ing Israeli policy.

Other recent anti-Israel events on other cam­puses in Illi­nois include:

  • Shirien D, an Exec­u­tive Board mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for Pales­tin­ian Equal Rights, spoke about alleged sim­i­lar­i­ties between Fer­gu­son and Gaza at the Illi­nois Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy on Feb­ru­ary 11, 2015.
  • A teach-in for stu­dents to learn about and get involved with the BDS move­ment took place at the Uni­ver­sity of Illinois-Urabana Cham­paign (UIUC) on Mon­day, Novem­ber 10, 2014.
  • Ilan Pappe, an Israeli anti-Zionist pro­fes­sor who is famous for writ­ing a book titled The Eth­nic Cleans­ing of Pales­tine, spoke at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago on Fri­day, Octo­ber 24, 2014.

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