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Pitzer SJP to display mock Apartheid Wall despite administration attempts to censor free speech

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The following press release was issued by Pitzer Students for Justice in Palestine:

Claremont, CA — On Tuesday, March 31st, Pitzer Students for Justice in Palestine will display a mock Israeli apartheid wall on campus to raise awareness about Palestinian suffering and the realities of the Israeli occupation, as well as to stimulate conversation around necessary changes in global and domestic human rights policy. SJP is continuing with this demonstration despite attempts by the administration to censor free speech.

SJP Member Dan Solomon explains, “Pitzer College prides itself on ‘social responsibility’, ‘interdisciplinary learning’, and ‘student engagement’ so we hope that the administration will not interfere with our attempt to display those values in our political demonstration. We intend to educate our campus about the Israeli apartheid wall and to build the movement pressuring Israel to respect basic human rights.”

SJP is dismayed at apparent attempts by Pitzer College to stop the display of the wall. When a group of SJP members met with the Pitzer Dean of Students about their plan to display the apartheid wall, the Dean told them he was concerned someone may attempt to damage the wall or “burn it down.” He told them that someone would inevitably submit a formal complaint about the wall being ‘discriminatory.’ He also told SJP they would need approval from the Campus Aesthetics Committee. SJP’s proposal was rejected without formal explanation.

On Friday March 27, Pitzer warned SJP that their plans to proceed with the mock wall would be in blatant defiance of College policy. This is despite the Campus Demonstration’s policy statementthat Pitzer “respects the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly and supports their exercise.”

“We hope Pitzer College thinks twice before violating its own policies to censor SJP’s advocacy for Palestinian rights,” said Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, who wrote to Pitzer officials Monday. “As it should, Pitzer claims to embrace a compelling interest in unfettered inquiry and the collective search for knowledge. Under California law, there can be no ‘Palestine exception’ to this policy. The accusation that displaying a mock Israeli apartheid wall would target Jewish students is an attempt to divert the conversation away from the human rights policy issues SJP is attempting to raise; SJP’s activity targets the Israeli state, not any individual. In response to recent incidents of deplorable anti-Semitic yik yak comments on campus, SJP emphasizes, “As a group advocating for equality, universal human rights, and collective liberation, SJP strongly condemns any form of oppression on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, national origin, or disability,” explains Solomon, “We strongly condemn any form of anti-Semitism on campus.”

Motivated by the same opposition to racism, SJP will display the mock Israeli apartheid wall, in the hopes of educating the Pitzer campus about the Israeli system of race-based separation and subjugation of Palestinians. “If you agree with SJP, and the International Court of Justice, that an apartheid wall violates basic human rights, we invite you to join Pitzer SJP in dismantling the wall at the end the day,” said Solomon.

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13 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    March 31, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Hope the campus cops don’t spoil the fun by dismantling the wall before end-of-day.

    But if they do, SJP might well ask why the USA has not ordered (or even demanded) that Israel dismantle its (real) wall, considering the July 2004 ICJ advisory opinion that calls it illegal and calls for its dismantlement.

    • just
      just
      March 31, 2015, 4:49 pm

      +1!

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      March 31, 2015, 8:11 pm

      Excellent point. Good luck to these brave students. It is so strange how facts and the truth are always stifled, when it comes to dear zioland. What are these institutions afraid of? That the grants will stop coming in?

    • RockyMissouri
      RockyMissouri
      April 1, 2015, 11:03 am

      TRUTH!

    • truth2power
      truth2power
      April 2, 2015, 5:10 am

      Spot on pabelmont! Great to see young students @ Pitzer setting an example to the older generations. Makes you think … 2004 advisory opinion and STILL nothing has happened to remove it & we’ve seen much, much more it it appear! Shame on us all!

  2. dianeshammas
    dianeshammas
    April 1, 2015, 11:43 am

    Hey, Phil. I received my BA in psychology from Pitzer College. Just two years ago, a student leader and organizer for Apartheid Week was harassed by a Zionist professor at CMC, Claremont McKenna College (formerly Claremont Men’s College when I attended Pitzer and could cross register to take classes there). Both Estee Chandler of JVP and I went to visit the student and I spoke with the Advancement Office, where my mother and I would donate money to the college. It was my connection to speak with Student Affairs and the president of the college. They promised me that they would be fair in settling the dispute with the student and the CMC professor’s outrage.

    • just
      just
      April 1, 2015, 12:45 pm

      +1!

      thanks.

    • ckg
      ckg
      April 1, 2015, 2:52 pm

      Very interesting Diane. If I recall correctly, the investigation concluded that the Israeli CMC professor was “unprofessional” but did not violate school policy when he called the Palestinian Pitzer student a “cockroach” at the SJP demonstration. Understandably this led some to conclude the investigation was not fair to the student. The tepid outcome contrasted significantly with the earlier case of the anti-Semitic graffiti found on a CMC professor’s car in 2004 which led to campus outrage, day-long sit-ins, teach-ins, forums and rallies. (The professor was later found guilty of vandalizing her own car for insurance fraud.)

  3. edding
    edding
    April 1, 2015, 3:10 pm

    If they can’t erect a wall, why not project one at night using the Administration building as a screen? That way they would be killing two or more birds with one stone- i.e., getting out the apartheid message against Israel and its Occupation, while suggesting that the Pitzer administration is itself complicit in the apartheid, by preventing dialogue about it that would be consistent with its own policies of of free speech. Furthermore, the wall in its ephemeral form could not be torn down through any act of violence.

  4. lysias
    lysias
    April 2, 2015, 10:59 am

    Speaking of apartheid, look at all the legal disabilities Palestinian citizens of Israel suffer according to this report: The Inequality Report.

    • just
      just
      April 2, 2015, 11:16 am

      And nothing’s gotten better~ at all. Perhaps it will with Ayman Odeh and the rest of the JL.

      Thanks for the link, lysias.

  5. how much should a newborn eat
    how much should a newborn eat
    October 21, 2015, 3:52 pm

    Good luck to these brave students

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