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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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August 7, 2013 10

Extreme Anti-Israel Rhetoric Marks Al Quds Day Protests Across U.S.

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of Al Quds Day, an annual day of protest typ­i­cally held on the last Fri­day of Ramadan, large anti-Israel ral­lies took place in cities across the U.S. on August 2.  The day is used to call for the lib­er­a­tion of Al Quds, which means Jerusalem in Arabic.

These ral­lies are noto­ri­ous for their vir­u­lent rhetoric against the state of Israel, includ­ing, at times, anti-Semitic alle­ga­tions about Jews and Israelis. Speak­ers at this year’s protests in the U.S. accused Israel of per­pe­trat­ing atroc­i­ties against Pales­tini­ans com­pa­ra­ble to the Nazi Holo­caust, rejected Israel’s right to exist and expressed oppo­si­tion to the renewed peace talks tak­ing place between Israel and the Palestinians.

The fol­low­ing is a sum­mary of some of the Al Quds Day rallies:

Hous­ton, Texas

holocaust-is-revived-houston

Al Quds Day pro­tester at Hous­ton rally

A large rally was held down­town with signs and ban­ners that read, “Chil­dren Are Buried Alive, Holo­caust Is Revived” and “Stop Pales­tin­ian Geno­cide: End Zion­ist Apartheid.” Pro­test­ers also led chants of “U.S. money is the cause, it’s another Holo­caust” and “U.S. weapons go away. Stop the killing right away.”

Wash­ing­ton D.C.

An activist affil­i­ated with CODEPINK, a group that seeks to reduce U.S. sup­port for Israel, named Tighe Barry told those gath­ered at an Al Quds Day rally that “there’s a Holo­caust going on in Pales­tine.” Barry charged that there is a “Zion­ist impres­sion” in the Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion sys­tem and relayed that he had requested that a teacher in his child’s school “teach about all the holo­causts” as part of a course on the Nazi Holo­caust. When the teacher refused, Barry said he offered to teach the class him­self and miss work in order to “talk about these other holo­causts that are tak­ing place like the Nakba.”

San Jose, California

The Shia Asso­ci­a­tion of Bay Area (SABA) held an Al Quds Day rally on its premises fea­tur­ing talks on the con­di­tions var­i­ous Shi­ite com­mu­ni­ties face. A mem­ber of the con­gre­ga­tion, Zaki Hus­sain, gave a slideshow pre­sen­ta­tion titled, “Should Shia Mus­lims Sup­port Pales­tine?” in which Israeli poli­cies were likened to Nazi per­se­cu­tions. Hus­sain told the audi­ence that as Shia Mus­lims and fol­low­ers of the teach­ings of Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­ini they have a respon­si­bil­ity to defend the Pales­tini­ans even though the Pales­tini­ans are Sunni Muslims.

New York City

Approx­i­mately 200 peo­ple gath­ered at a rally in Times Square where sev­eral speak­ers lam­basted the exis­tence of the state of Israel and the renewed peace nego­ti­a­tions between Israel and the Pales­tini­ans. Bill Doares from the Inter­na­tional Action Cen­ter described Has­san Nas­ral­lah, the leader of the Lebanon-based, Iranian-backed ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion Hezbol­lah, as “the leader of the resis­tance.” He summed up a recent speech by Nas­ral­lah by say­ing, “as long as Israel exists, it’ll be the threat to the exis­tence of Lebanon and its neigh­bors. So it is sim­ple, one state in all of Pales­tine for all people.”

Ben Becker, a national orga­nizer for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), used his time at the podium to con­demn the lat­est peace nego­ti­a­tions, describ­ing them as “noth­ing but a farce” and claim­ing that “they’re attempts to get some Pales­tini­ans to nego­ti­ate away those sov­er­eign and national rights.” Fatin Jarara, an activist with the anti-Israel group Al-Awda NY, expressly rejected Israel’s right to exist: “Pales­tini­ans in the dias­pora reject unequiv­o­cally any com­pro­mise over an inch of his­toric Pales­tine. Not just Jerusalem, not just the West Bank, not just Gaza.”

neteuri-karta-al-quds-day-nyc

Neteuri Karta mem­ber at Times Square Quds Day rally

In addi­tion to these inflam­ma­tory speeches, signs at the rally read, “Israel (crossed out), Much Worse Than the Nazis” (with a Swastika on it), Stop Pales­tin­ian Geno­cide: End Zion­ist Apartheid and “No New Nego­ti­a­tions! Pales­tine is NOT FOR SALE.”

The protests in the U.S. echoed what was said by inter­na­tional fig­ures at demon­stra­tions in the Mid­dle East, includ­ing Iran’s for­mer pres­i­dent, Mah­moud Ahmad­i­na­jad, and Nasrallah.

In Iran, where Inter­na­tional Al Quds Day was estab­lished in 1979 by the founder of the Islamic Repub­lic, Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­ini, Ahmadine­jad derided peace talks between Israeli and Pales­tin­ian lead­ers, claim­ing that the Israelis seek the “dom­i­na­tion and plun­der­ing of the world and human­ity” and that “today, all polit­i­cal lead­ers are Zionists.”

Nas­ral­lah, in a rare appear­ance at a rally in south­ern Beirut, said, “Israel’s demise is a national Lebanese inter­est” and pledged that Hezbol­lah would never “aban­don Palestine.”

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