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March 28, 2014 1

MPAC Steps Up Involvement In Anti-Israel Activity

The Mus­lim Pub­lic Affairs Coun­cil, one of the lead­ing Amer­i­can Mus­lim advo­cacy orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S., has shown increased involve­ment in grass­roots anti-Israel activ­ity this month.

On March 30, the group will co-sponsor pre­sen­ta­tions by anti-Israel activist Mazin Qum­siyeh at two churches in Cal­i­for­nia. The pre­sen­ta­tions, titled “The Impor­tance of Pales­tine in Mid­dle East Pol­i­tics and The U.S. Citizen’s Role,” will be deliv­ered at All Saints Church in Pasadena and St. Mark Pres­by­ter­ian Church in New­port Beach.

Qum­siyeh, a pro­fes­sor at Beth­le­hem and Birzeit Uni­ver­si­ties and for­mer pro­fes­sor at Duke and Yale Uni­ver­si­ties, has a long record of engag­ing in extreme cam­paigns against Israel, includ­ing advo­cat­ing for a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, sup­port­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tion (BDS) cam­paign against Israel, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in “non­vi­o­lent” protests against Israel in the West Bank that often turn violent.

Al Marayati at IAW Loyola

Salam Al-Marayati post­ing at Loy­ola Marymount’s mock “apartheid wall.”

After the Boston Marathon bomb­ing last April, Qum­siyeh wrote a post on his blog derid­ing the “Zion­ist spin” of the story, which he claimed was try­ing to hold Mus­lims respon­si­ble for the attack but ignored “past false flag oper­a­tions by the Israeli Mossad.” He has pre­vi­ously accused Israel and its sup­port­ers in the United States of being respon­si­ble for “wars on Arab and Mus­lim countries.”

In addi­tion, last week, Salam Al-Marayati, pres­i­dent of MPAC, par­tic­i­pated in the first Pales­tine Aware­ness Week at Loy­ola Mary­mount Uni­ver­sity in Los Ange­les. The event was orga­nized by the newly formed chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine on cam­pus. On his Face­book page, Al Maray­ati posted a pic­ture of him­self stand­ing near the mock “apartheid wall.”

Although MPAC expressly sup­ports “a just and com­pre­hen­sive two-state solu­tion,” its coop­er­a­tion with and par­tic­i­pa­tion in events that sup­port BDS and a one-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict raise seri­ous con­cerns about the organization’s stated platform.

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March 21, 2014 1

Divestment Resolutions Abound on U.S. Campuses This Week

In the wake of Israeli Apartheid Week, which recently wrapped up after tak­ing place on sev­eral dozen col­lege cam­puses dur­ing the month of March, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were intro­duced on four U.S. col­lege cam­puses this loyoladivestweek.

Here’s a run­down on the res­o­lu­tions – two of which passed, two of which were held up – that were intro­duced this week:

Loy­ola Uni­ver­sity – Although the Loy­ola Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter had dis­sem­i­nated a peti­tion urg­ing the uni­ver­sity to with­draw invest­ments in five cor­po­ra­tions, the cam­pus was blind­sided by the sur­prise intro­duc­tion of a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion in  the Stu­dent Sen­ate on Tues­day. The res­o­lu­tion, which passed by a vote of 26–0-2, had not pre­vi­ously been announced and stu­dents who sought to oppose it were not given the oppor­tu­nity to express their perspective.

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity – Also on Tues­day, a res­o­lu­tion call­ing on Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity (ASU) to divest from Cater­pil­lar, which pro­vides heavy machin­ery to the Israeli army, was tabled by the Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment. The bill was intro­duced by the group “ASU Divest from Cater­pil­lar Inc.” and it will report­edly be amended and rein­tro­duced by ASU’s SJP chap­ter in the near future.

Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan – The Cen­tral Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment (CSG) was sched­uled to vote on a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion ini­ti­ated by the anti-Israel stu­dent group “Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity” (SAFE). The meet­ing attracted an over­whelm­ingly large num­ber of stu­dents and as the room became over­crowded, the meet­ing was moved to another loca­tion on cam­pus where an announce­ment was made that the vot­ing ses­sion would be post­poned indef­i­nitely. Accord­ing to the Michi­gan Daily, the crowd then “pressed up against the stan­chions divid­ing the room and chanted ‘Divest’ at the CSG mem­bers for sev­eral min­utes.” In addi­tion, more than 100 stu­dents gath­ered out­side of the Michi­gan Union to rally in favor of divestment.

The fol­low­ing day, mem­bers of SAFE declared that they were con­duct­ing a “sit-in” near the stu­dent gov­ern­ment offices until the CSG would hold a vote on their divest­ment res­o­lu­tion. The stu­dents  took over the space and refused to leave until they were told that they would be arrested. Reports on Twit­ter indi­cate that mem­bers of the group are cur­rently recon­ven­ing for the third day of their “sit-in.”

San Diego State Uni­ver­sity – San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Stu­dent Diver­sity Com­mis­sion passed a divest­ment res­o­lu­tion by a vote of 11–6-2 on March 19. The res­o­lu­tion now will report­edly be brought before the uni­ver­sity council.

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March 6, 2014 6

Protestors At Cal Poly Pomona Prevent Israeli Soldiers From Speaking

Stu­dents at Cal­i­for­nia State Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­sity — Pomona shouted down a group of Israeli sol­diers who were invited to speak on their cam­pus by Hil­lel on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2014.cal-poly-pomona-protest-israel-soldier-adl

The sol­diers, who had intro­duced them­selves and explained that they would be deliv­er­ing per­sonal sto­ries about their lives and expe­ri­ences while serv­ing in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), were inter­rupted by stu­dent pro­test­ers who shouted “baby killers,” “rapists,” and “terrorists.”

Even before the sol­diers began their pre­sen­ta­tions, stu­dents in the audi­ence cov­ered their mouths with black tape and held posters that made var­i­ous alle­ga­tions con­cern­ing the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Shortly after the sol­diers started to intro­duce them­selves, the pro­test­ers per­sis­tently shouted in such a way that other stu­dents in the room were unable to hear what was being said.

Although some pro­test­ers were asked to leave the room, atten­dees had dif­fi­culty hear­ing the sol­diers’ pre­sen­ta­tions. Doron Feuer, the Pres­i­dent of the Cal Poly Pomona’s Hil­lel, told the cam­pus news­pa­per, The Poly Post that, “It was extremely dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to hear what the sol­diers were say­ing, even for the peo­ple sit­ting at the very front…What was sup­posed to be an edu­ca­tional event rapidly became a dis­rup­tive and chaotic experience.”

One of the sol­diers also spoke to the cam­pus news­pa­per and claimed he felt insulted by the pro­test­ers’ tac­tics, stat­ing, “It was sup­posed to be a civ­i­lized dia­logue, but I heard hatred and I saw hatred in their eyes…We came to talk about peace.”

ADL in Los Ange­les pro­vided resources to the Hil­lel on the Cal Poly Pomona cam­pus and con­tin­ues to work closely with the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of the Greater San Gabriel & Pomona Val­leys on the community’s response to this inci­dent. ADL is equipped with a broad range of pre­ven­tive and reac­tive pro­grams and resources to address the chal­lenges of hate on cam­pus. We work to empower stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers to stand up on their cam­puses and in their com­mu­ni­ties and effect change.

Stu­dent efforts to express oppo­si­tion to speak­ers or events on cam­pus are gen­er­ally part of a healthy cam­pus envi­ron­ment fos­ter­ing a free exchange of ideas. But are cer­tain dis­rup­tive tac­tics com­monly used by anti-Israel activists that are anath­ema to those ideals.

While anti-Israel protests may be pro­tected by free speech rights, the protests can­not dis­rupt nor­mal school func­tions, obstruct access to school build­ings, cre­ate per­va­sive, severe, or per­sis­tent harass­ment, or phys­i­cally intim­i­date or threaten indi­vid­u­als. When the protests vio­late these para­me­ters, stu­dents should alert the uni­ver­sity and ask admin­is­tra­tors to take action.

These dis­rup­tion tac­tics vary and can range from inter­rupt­ing the speaker and pre­vent­ing him or her from speak­ing to silent protests. For exam­ple, on March 3, 2014, Israeli Pro­fes­sor Josef Olmert faced silent pro­test­ers at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity as he deliv­ered a guest lec­ture to a Polit­i­cal Sci­ence class.

The stu­dents stood in the back of the class­room and held signs with provoca­tive state­ments such as, “Zion­ism = Racism,” “SDSU DIVEST,” “Boy­cott Israel.” After Olmert’s pre­sen­ta­tion, the stu­dents con­tin­ued to protest out­side of the lec­ture hall.

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