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June 19, 2013 2

Anti-Israel Groups Organize Youth Summer Camps

As sum­mer nears for mil­lions of stu­dents across the coun­try, anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions are recruit­ing them to spend some of their free time being indoc­tri­nated in anti-Israel advo­cacy and a one-sided nar­ra­tive of Pales­tin­ian his­tory and culture.boycott_divestment_sanctions

The Amer­i­can Friends Ser­vice Com­mit­tee, a Quaker orga­ni­za­tion that has long engaged in efforts to dele­git­imize Israel, has teamed up with the noto­ri­ously anti-Israel group Jew­ish Voice for Peace to hold a four-day-long “Sum­mer BDS Insti­tute” in late July for college-age stu­dents who are already involved in pro-BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions) cam­paign­ing on their col­lege cam­puses or are inter­ested in launch­ing a BDS cam­paign on cam­pus next year.

Pro­po­nents of BDS, an almost decade-old move­ment, seek to demo­nize Israel, dele­git­imize Israeli pol­icy and, in its most extreme forms, pro­mote the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish char­ac­ter of Israel in an effort to turn pub­lic opin­ion against the Jew­ish state.

The pro­gram will train stu­dents about orga­niz­ing and imple­ment­ing a cam­paign, deal­ing with media requests, “direct action” plan­ning and more. The pro­gram, which will take place in New York, is cyn­i­cally being pro­moted as “fun in a sum­mer camp-like envi­ron­ment!” on AFSC’s web­site. It is the lat­est effort by off-campus anti-Israel groups to pro­vide stu­dents with the tools to bet­ter orga­nize and ini­ti­ate pro­grams attack­ing Israel on campus.

JVP is one of the lead­ing pro-BDS orga­ni­za­tions in the United States and is the pri­mary group behind, thus far unsuc­cess­ful, efforts to pres­sure TIAA-CREF, a major finan­cial insti­tu­tion, to dis­in­vest from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel. AFSC has also, to a lesser extent, played a part in pro­mot­ing BDS in the U.S. and spon­sors dozens of anti-Israel events and pro­grams across the country.

In Sep­tem­ber 2008, AFSC mem­bers met with Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad when he was vis­it­ing New York for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly. AFSC was one of five reli­gious groups to spon­sor a din­ner and con­ver­sa­tion – billed as an “inter­na­tional dia­logue between reli­gious lead­ers and polit­i­cal fig­ures” – with the Iran­ian leader, one of the world’s most promi­nent anti-Semites. ADL force­fully con­demned the meet­ing as a “per­ver­sion of the search for peace.”

Sep­a­rately, Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to stu­dents and Mus­lim com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in the coun­try, plans to hold a sum­mer camp for youth aged 8–12 in Chicago on Sat­ur­days through­out the summer.

AMP, which had pre­vi­ously been in the busi­ness of train­ing high school and col­lege stu­dents and adults to engage in anti-Israel cam­paigns, has a highly polit­i­cal agenda and reg­u­larly demo­nizes Israel. At times, the group has also pro­vided a plat­form for anti-Semitism under the guise of edu­cat­ing Amer­i­cans about “the just cause of Pales­tine and the rights of self-determination.”

A descrip­tion for the camp notes that the chil­dren will be taught about “Pales­tine and its his­tory,” which will likely be a much dis­torted ver­sion of the his­tory of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. The descrip­tion also notes that the chil­dren will learn about Pales­tin­ian arts, cul­ture and his­tory and “par­tic­i­pate in fun activ­i­ties.”

ADL described the sum­mer camp pro­grams as venues to “indoc­tri­nate the next gen­er­a­tion of activists with biased mes­sages intended to sin­gle out Israel” and crit­i­cized AMP’s “cyn­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion that there is no such thing as being too young to start learn­ing how to hate Israel.”

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May 2, 2013 0

Advocate For Palestinian Prisoners On U.S. Tour

sahar-francis-addameer

Sahar Fran­cis

In an effort to gar­ner Amer­i­can atten­tion and sup­port for Pales­tin­ian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Addameer, a Pales­tin­ian NGO based in Ramal­lah, is sched­uled to deliver pre­sen­ta­tions on the topic in sev­eral U.S. cities this month.

Sahar Fran­cis, Addameer’s Gen­eral Direc­tor, will likely address per­ceived issues in the Israeli prison sys­tem for Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers, but she also seems to be engaged in an effort to analo­gize the Pales­tin­ian pris­oner cause to the way the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem in the U.S. addresses issues of crime in the inner-city.

Francis’s talks will take place in sev­eral cities that have faced trou­bling rises in crime, includ­ing Philadel­phia, Chicago and San Fran­cisco. The titles of the pre­sen­ta­tions, “From Pel­i­can Bay and Guan­tanamo to Pales­tine: Pris­ons, Repres­sion, Resis­tance;” “End­ing Mass Incar­cer­a­tion: From Pales­tine to Penn­syl­va­nia;” and “Juve­nile Injus­tice: Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Youth in Pales­tine and Chicago,” under­score Francis’s appar­ent goal of link­ing prob­lems in the Amer­i­can prison sys­tem, such as dis­crim­i­na­tion, racial pro­fil­ing and lack of reha­bil­i­ta­tion options, to the issues faced by Pales­tin­ian prisoners.

Spon­sors of the events vary widely and include many groups whose mis­sions seem to be wholly unre­lated to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict, such as the Cal­i­for­nia Coali­tion for Women Pris­on­ers, the Black Youth Project in Chicago and the Com­mit­tee to Stop FBI Repres­sion. The diverse num­ber of groups sup­port­ing these events is likely to fur­ther cred­i­bil­ity to Addameer’s intended com­par­i­son between the Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers’ cause  and prob­lems in the inner-city.

Sev­eral of the other sched­uled speak­ers work on social jus­tice issues related to undoc­u­mented stu­dents and immi­grant rights. At the Philadel­phia event, for exam­ple, the other speaker is a mem­ber of Drea­mAc­tivist PA, a youth orga­ni­za­tion that advo­cates for immigrants.

Fran­cis has been out­spo­ken about the Israeli government’s treat­ment of Pales­tin­ian pris­on­ers. In a 2010 inter­view with Elec­tronic Intifada, she asserted that Israel tries to demo­nize Pales­tin­ian resisters by describ­ing them as “ter­ror­ists” but that “cit­i­zens should be aware that Pales­tin­ian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers are not terrorists.”

She also alleged that “tor­ture, ill treat­ment and abuse” are norms of the Israeli prison sys­tem, and that Israel’s “pol­icy of impris­on­ment” is aimed at sup­press­ing non­vi­o­lent resis­tance like the Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions cam­paigns against Israel. In her talks, Fran­cis urges her audi­ence to call for the uncon­di­tional release of all Pales­tin­ian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers despite the fact that many of these pris­on­ers have been con­victed of vio­lent crimes against Israeli civilians.

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January 25, 2013 1

American Sentenced For Planning Deadly 2008 Mumbai Attacks

David Cole­man Headley

A Chicago judge yes­ter­day sen­tenced David Cole­man Headley, a Chicago res­i­dent who helped orches­trate the 2008 ter­ror­ist attacks in Mum­bai, India, in which over 170 peo­ple were killed, includ­ing six Amer­i­cans, to 35 years in prison.

Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance on a num­ber of tar­gets in Mum­bai between 2006 and 2008 on behalf of the Pakistan-based ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT). The tar­gets included the Chha­tra­p­ati Shiv­aji rail­way sta­tion, the Taj Mahal and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the Leopold Café, and the Nari­man House, the Mum­bai head­quar­ters of the Chabad Lubav­itch movement.

Indian news sources reported that Headley posed as a Jew dur­ing a July 2008 visit to the Nari­man House, where sus­pected mem­bers of LeT tor­tured and killed six peo­ple dur­ing the ter­ror­ist attacks four months later. LeT report­edly also tasked Headley with gath­er­ing details of Jew­ish cen­ters across India. In March 2009, four months after the Mum­bai attacks, Headley allegedly con­ducted addi­tional recon­nais­sance of Chabad Houses in sev­eral cities in India, which included other Jew­ish cen­ters in Delhi, Mum­bai, Goa, Pune and Pushkar.

Headley was also charged with plan­ning attacks with LeT tar­get­ing the Dan­ish news­pa­per that had printed car­toons depict­ing Muhammad.Since 2000 sev­eral other Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have been linked to LeT, which embraces an anti-Western ide­ol­ogy that demo­nizes the United States, Israel and India.

Although Headley faced life in prison, the judge lis­tened to pros­e­cu­tors’ rec­om­men­da­tions that he receive a lighter sen­tence due to his exten­sive coop­er­a­tion in other ter­ror­ism tri­als.  His coop­er­a­tion was most vis­i­bly demon­strated in the trial of his for­mer friend, Tahawwur Rana, who was con­victed in June 2011 of assist­ing Headley in plan­ning the attack in Den­mark and for pro­vid­ing mate­r­ial sup­port to LeT. Rana was sen­tenced to 14 years in prison on Jan­u­ary 17.

India has expressed dis­ap­point­ment in the lenient sen­tenc­ing, say­ing that “all those involved… should receive death,” and pledg­ing to con­tinue to seek Headley’s extradition.

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