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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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May 23, 2014 8

Anti-Muslim Group Uses Hitler Imagery In Latest Anti-Muslim Ad


AFDI’s “Islamic Jew-Hatred” ad in Wash­ing­ton D.C.

Pamela Geller and her anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion, the Amer­i­can Free­dom Defense Ini­tia­tive (AFDI), has taken its hate­ful anti-Muslim mes­sage once again to the pub­lic in the form of paid adver­tise­ments on pub­lic transportation.

The lat­est con­tro­versy is just one of many inflam­ma­tory adver­tis­ing cam­paigns spon­sored by Geller and her orga­ni­za­tion in a bid to influ­ence pub­lic dis­course on the dif­fi­cult issues of reli­gion and the Mid­dle East conflict.

Geller’s newest ad cam­paign, which began appear­ing on buses in the Wash­ing­ton D.C. Metro area, states, “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran.” The ad also includes a 1941 photo of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Adolf Hitler.

Geller has a long his­tory of pro­mot­ing her big­oted anti-Muslim views through inflam­ma­tory mes­sages in pub­lic spaces, stretch­ing back at least to 2010. These ad cam­paigns are designed to expose Amer­i­cans to what Geller and her orga­ni­za­tion con­sider the biggest threats posed by Islam.

Some notable exam­ples include:

  • July 2012: Geller sub­mit­ted an ad that ran on 75 Metro North train sta­tions stat­ing, “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01 and count­ing. It’s not Islam­o­pho­bia. It’s Islamorealism.”
  • Sep­tem­ber 2012: After a New York fed­eral dis­trict court ruled that the New York City MTA vio­lated Geller’s First Amend­ment right, AFDI’s “Sav­age” ad appeared in sub­way sta­tions. The inflam­ma­tory ad read: “In any war between the civ­i­lized man and the sav­age, sup­port the civ­i­lized man. Sup­port Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
  • 2010 “Honor Killing Aware­ness Cam­paign”: A series of ads were placed on buses and taxi cab tops pur­port­edly to address young Mus­lim women fac­ing threats from their fam­ily for reject­ing Mus­lim val­ues or becom­ing “too Amer­i­can­ized.” The cam­paigns appeared under sev­eral names, includ­ing “Refuge From Islam” and “Leave Islam Safely.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has crit­i­cized Geller and AFDI for “con­sis­tently vil­i­fy­ing the Islamic faith under the guise of fight­ing rad­i­cal Islam;” how­ever, acknowl­edges that the ads are pro­tected polit­i­cal speech under the First Amend­ment. ADL is also on the record stat­ing that “Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim. And sup­port for Israel is not built on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotypes.”

Geller’s lat­est ad cam­paign is in response to an April 2014 anti-Israel ad by the vir­u­lently anti-Israel group Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP). AMP also has a his­tory of pro­mot­ing extreme anti-Israel views through inflam­ma­tory ads on pub­lic trans­porta­tion aimed at demo­niz­ing and dele­git­imiz­ing Israel. In March 2013, on the eve of the Jew­ish hol­i­day of Passover, AMP unveiled an ad on sev­eral New York City Metro North sta­tions falsely accus­ing Israel of “apartheid.”

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