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November 26, 2014 4

California Campuses See Increase in Anti-Israel Activity

The doc­u­mented increase in anti-Israel activ­ity so far this aca­d­e­mic year has been most appar­ent in Cal­i­for­nia, which has seen a sig­nif­i­cant increase in the num­ber of sched­uled anti-Israel events.

Since the begin­ning of the aca­d­e­mic year, there have been 40 anti-Israel events sched­uled to take place on col­lege cam­puses com­pared to the 15 events sched­uled dur­ing that same time period last year.ucla-divest-bds

These events, which are fre­quently spon­sored by groups like Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) and Jew­ish Voice for Peace (JVP), have addressed how to ini­ti­ate Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions cam­paigns against Israel and often attempt to bring atten­tion to their activism by couch­ing their hos­til­ity towards Israel in social jus­tice terms, link­ing the con­flict in Gaza to other unre­lated issues.

Just this week, for exam­ple, the UCLA stu­dent gov­ern­ment endorsed “A Res­o­lu­tion to Divest from Cor­po­ra­tions Engaged in Vio­lence against Pales­tini­ans.” The res­o­lu­tion, which was sub­mit­ted by UCLA SJP, calls for the uni­ver­sity to divest from 11 cor­po­ra­tions, includ­ing Boe­ing, Cater­pil­lar, Cement Road­stone Hold­ings, Cemex, Gen­eral Dynam­ics, Gen­eral Elec­tric, Hewlett Packard, Lock­heed Mar­tin, Northrop Grum­man, Raytheon, and United Tech­nolo­gies. Although the res­o­lu­tion was passed under the pre­text that those cor­po­ra­tions vio­late Pales­tin­ian human rights, none of those com­pa­nies listed are actu­ally engaged in vio­lence against Palestinians.

Other exam­ples of the types of events that Cal­i­for­nia uni­ver­si­ties have hosted so far this semes­ter include:

  • Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a week­long series of anti-Israel events which usu­ally occurs on cam­puses in the Spring, took place at UC River­side from Novem­ber 17–20, 2014. IAW at UC River­side fea­tured four events, which included a “die-in” and a per­for­mance by Remi Kanazi, an Orga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee mem­ber of the US Cam­paign for the Aca­d­e­mic & Cul­tural Boy­cott of Israel, who uses spo­ken word and poetry to pro­mote anti-Israel ini­tia­tives like divest­ment and a one-state solution.
  •  A lec­ture deliv­ered by Ali­son Weir at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity titled “The hid­den his­tory behind the US & Israel,” based on her most recent book, in which she claims that sup­port­ers of Israel have exer­cised undue con­trol over Amer­i­can soci­ety for “over a hun­dred years.”

Although anti-Israel activ­ity is not a new phe­nom­e­non on cam­puses in Cal­i­for­nia, this year’s increase is not a sur­prise, as it fol­lows 47 anti-Israel demon­stra­tions that occurred in Cal­i­for­nia dur­ing Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.  Many of these demon­stra­tions were co-sponsored by stu­dent groups like the Gen­eral Union of Pales­tine Stu­dents (GUPS) at San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity and var­i­ous SJP chap­ters through­out the state. At sev­eral demon­stra­tions, par­tic­i­pants held signs that com­pared the State of Israel to Nazi Ger­many and at a demon­stra­tion in San Fran­cisco, par­tic­i­pants burned an Israeli flag.

Addi­tion­ally, in late Sep­tem­ber, Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to col­lege stu­dents through­out the coun­try, began the aca­d­e­mic year with a call for an “Inter­na­tional Day of Action on Col­lege Cam­puses,” advo­cat­ing for a vari­ety of BDS-related ini­tia­tives in an effort to iso­late and demo­nize Israel and Jew­ish com­mu­nal orga­ni­za­tions. ADL doc­u­mented only ten “Day of Action” demon­stra­tions in the U.S. with three hav­ing taken place at Cal­i­for­nia uni­ver­si­ties such as Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, San Jose State Uni­ver­sity, and UC Berkeley.

Even with the rise in anti-Israel activ­ity on many cam­puses in Cal­i­for­nia, most Jew­ish and pro-Israel stu­dents report feel­ing com­fort­able to express their reli­gious and polit­i­cal beliefs at their schools.  While anti-Semitism does occur too often at col­leges through­out the coun­try, gen­er­ally respect is the norm, and anti-Jewish big­otry is not openly tol­er­ated.  This mes­sage is often con­veyed by uni­ver­sity admin­is­tra­tions, who are on the front lines of the strug­gle to com­bat hate on cam­pus while bal­anc­ing free speech, aca­d­e­mic free­dom, and main­tain­ing uni­ver­si­ties as the “mar­ket­places of ideas” simultaneously.

An exam­ple of this occurred after a very divi­sive and dif­fi­cult quar­ter on the UCLA cam­pus in the Spring of 2014 sur­round­ing the Israel-Palestinian issue. At that time, UCLA Chan­cel­lor Gene Block issued a state­ment on The Impor­tance of Civil Dis­course, remind­ing the cam­pus com­mu­nity that “Polit­i­cal speech that stig­ma­tizes or casts asper­sions on indi­vid­u­als or par­tic­u­lar groups does not pro­mote healthy debate but debases it by try­ing to intim­i­date indi­vid­u­als and groups… [I]f we lis­ten only to those who already share our assump­tions, truth gets lost, our intel­lec­tual cli­mate is impov­er­ished and our com­mu­nity is diminished.”

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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 4, 2014 3

SJP Member Appears On Press TV To Promote BDS Movement

Kumars Salehi, a mem­ber of New York University’s Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) chap­ter, appeared last week on Press TV, Iran’s government-run English-language satel­lite news net­work, to pro­mote the Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Israel.kumars-salehi-sjp-presstv-iaw

Dur­ing the inter­view, Salehi claimed that BDS, “tar­gets the state of Israel, insti­tu­tions within Israel that refuse to be against their government’s poli­cies, as well as com­pa­nies that profit from the occu­pa­tion and Israel’s occu­pa­tion econ­omy.” Salehi made sure to also point out his sup­port for a full boy­cott of Israeli goods, stat­ing that the BDS cam­paign is against, “not just those prod­ucts that are made in the settlements.”

Press TV has emerged as the Iran­ian government’s pri­mary pro­pa­ganda tool to pro­mote a wide range of per­ni­cious anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries in Eng­lish to a world­wide audi­ence. Press TV has pro­vided a plat­form for some of the most well-known anti-Semites, includ­ing anti-Semite David Duke, anti-Semitic colum­nist Kevin Bar­rett, and Holocaust-denying book pub­lisher Michael San­tomauro, among others.

Salehi’s inter­view coin­cided with the start of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which is tak­ing place in var­i­ous cities around the world. SJP has orga­nized many IAW activ­i­ties in the U.S., includ­ing the dis­tri­b­u­tion of mock evic­tion notices at Ohio State Uni­ver­sity, Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina, and North­east­ern University.

Dur­ing Salehi’s appear­ance last week, the program’s host described the U.S. Con­gress being “con­trolled by the likes of AIPAC and the other pro-Israel lob­bies” as a hur­dle to the suc­cess of BDS.

Salehi has appeared on Press TV at least four times since Decem­ber 2013. Dur­ing his Decem­ber inter­view, Salehi alleged that Israel is sab­o­tag­ing the ongo­ing peace nego­ti­a­tions in order “to con­tinue killing Palestinians”and build set­tle­ments in the West Bank.

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