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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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April 5, 2012 9

FAU Students Latest Target of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Tactic

The mock evic­tion notices taped on more than 200 dorm room doors at Florida Atlantic Uni­ver­sity last week are part of an ongo­ing cam­paign by an anti-Israel cam­pus group to raise aware­ness to its cause through shock tactics.

Stu­dent lead­ers of FAU’s Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter said that the fliers are designed to show how Pales­tini­ans expe­ri­ence evic­tion from their homes by the Israeli gov­ern­ment. The stu­dents also indi­cated that they had received prior approval from the Hous­ing and Res­i­den­tial Life Depart­ment at the university.

SJP is a stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion with more than 75 chap­ters at Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties. As the pri­mary orga­nizer of anti-Israel activ­ity on cam­pus, SJP has con­sis­tently demo­nized Israel, describ­ing its poli­cies toward the Pales­tini­ans as racist and apartheid-like, and com­pared Israelis to Nazis.

This is not the first time SJP mem­bers have used mock evic­tion notices on cam­pus. In April 2011, sim­i­lar mock evic­tion notices were dis­trib­uted in stu­dent dor­mi­to­ries at Yale Uni­ver­sity to crit­i­cize the “actions of the Israeli state” and to pro­mote the group’s upcom­ing events. The group said in a press release that it aimed to star­tle Yale stu­dents and give them a sense of what evicted Pales­tini­ans must feel.

A month later, stu­dents from the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago’s SJP sim­i­larly dis­trib­uted the evic­tion notices through­out three res­i­dence halls as part of SJP’s annual “Nakba” Com­mem­o­ra­tion Week.

Dur­ing the 2011 Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP) National Con­fer­ence, a vir­u­lently anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion that aids and assists SJP activ­i­ties nation-wide, Uni­ver­sity of Chicago SJP pres­i­dent Sami Kishawi took credit for his SJP chapter’s method of activism. He also claimed that the mock evic­tion tac­tic has proven to be as effec­tive as SJP’s use of mock-checkpoints, which Kishawi explains also helps expose daily Pales­tin­ian humil­i­a­tion to a large num­ber of students.

As was the case at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago and at Yale, the evic­tion fliers at FAU were seen by some stu­dents as dis­re­spect­ful and intimidating.

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March 2, 2012 0

“Occupy AIPAC” Conference Seeks to Lambast Pro-Israel Lobby and Cast Antiwar Agenda as the “99%”

An anti-Israel con­fer­ence to counter this weekend’s annual AIPAC Pol­icy Con­fer­ence will begin today and includes a vari­ety of events, ral­lies and pub­lic demon­stra­tions through March 6.
 
This year’s protest event, titled “Occupy AIPAC,” seeks to cap­i­tal­ize on the suc­cess of the Occupy Move­ment and fos­ter com­mon cause between the pop­u­lar social protests and anti-Israel efforts. The event’s Twit­ter feed tries to paint Israel and its sup­port­ers in the U.S. as part of the prover­bial “1%” and  the left-wing anti­war move­ment as the 99%, a repur­pos­ing of the Occupy Movement’s rhetoric. In addi­tion, one of the con­fer­ence ses­sions links the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street Move­ment with anti-Israel efforts.
 
The con­fer­ence ses­sion that is likely to fea­ture the most egre­gious rhetoric is titled “AIPAC: What it is, who its allies are, why it’s dan­ger­ous and how to stop it.” It will fea­ture, among oth­ers, Hatem Baz­ian, the leader of the extreme anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine; Jef­frey Blank­fort, an anti-Israel jour­nal­ist who claims that the “Israel lobby” con­trols U.S. for­eign pol­icy in the Mid­dle East; and Ali­son Weir, the direc­tor of the Coun­cil for the National Inter­est. Weir’s writ­ings and com­ments have at times crossed the line into anti-Semitism, includ­ing accus­ing Israelis of har­vest­ing Pales­tini­ans’ organs. Accord­ing to descrip­tions pro­vided on the con­fer­ence Web site, the ses­sion will include a seg­ment on how AIPAC “pro­motes Mus­lim otherness.”
 
Con­fer­ence atten­dees will have the oppor­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral ral­lies and demon­stra­tions against AIPAC events, includ­ing protests out­side the White House dur­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s and Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu’s speeches.
 
Occupy AIPAC’s Twit­ter feed accuses AIPAC of exces­sive con­trol over U.S. pol­icy, includ­ing posts read­ing “We want our coun­try back” and “End big money lob­by­ist con­trol of MidEast Policy.”
 
The con­fer­ence has already attracted at least one anti-Semitic attendee, Charles Carl­son. Carl­son is the co-founder and direc­tor of “We Hold These Truths,” an Arizona-based Chris­t­ian anti-Semitic group that reg­u­larly protests out­side Chris­t­ian Zion­ist churches. In a mes­sage to his mem­bers invit­ing peo­ple to join him at “Occupy AIPAC,” Carl­son wrote:
 
“Every polit­i­cal can­di­date for pres­i­dent is bow­ing and scrap­ing to the state of Israel…they are not appeal­ing for Israeli votes,  but for the tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­can Chris­t­ian Zion­ist votes…Thousands of mis­taken and oppor­tunis­tic Pas­tors also fear the truth because they have mis­lead their con­gre­ga­tions.  Knowl­edge of Chris­t­ian Zion­ism can drive a stake through it, to be some­day buried in the grave­yard of apos­tate, reli­gious acts of war.”

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