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Divestment opponents attack University of Minnesota SJP with swastika graphic

on 22 Comments

On February 15th, Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Minnesota (SJPUMN) launched their UMN Divest campaign #UMNDivest. They created an attractive graphic for their campaign, note the olive branch (above). I then found the following graphic on the Academic Engagement Network(AEN) Facebook page crudely mimicking the UMNDivest graphic with the inclusion of a swastika in place of the olive branch. The text underneath reads:

(we make hating jews cool)

Screenshot: Academic Engagement Network Facebook page.

Screenshot: Academic Engagement Network Facebook page.

AEN was established by Mark Yudof, former president of both the University of California and the University of Minnesota, to enlist pro-Israel faculty to ‘catalyze campuses’ against BDS on U.S. colleges and universities. AEN is not responsible for creating the swastika graphic, but points to Students Supporting Israel at the University of Minnesota (SSI) in a Facebook statement. AEN says SSI, “has decided to introduce their own resolution about anti-semitism” and asks “Is this the best way to combat divestment? We don’t think so”. AEN did not directly reference the swastika graphic in their comment and it is unclear who created the graphic.

One wonders how University of Minnesota administrators reacted to student groups being demonized with the use of swastikas?

UMN students and community members explain UMNDivest and why they are engaged in the divestment initiative in the following video. These are some of the people being demonized in the graphic which includes the swastika:

The University of Minnesota divestment vote is on March 8th. SJPUMN is working in conjunction with over 30 UMN student groups to divest from companies profiting off the occupation.

SJPUMN Press Release:

Call to the Minnesota Student Association, UMN to Support the Divestment from Companies that Profit from Human Rights Violations in Palestine/Israel

We, Students for Justice in Palestine at the University in Minnesota, in conjunction with over 30 UMN student organizations and faculty, call on our administration and Minnesota Student Association to pass a resolution requesting the University of Minnesota to financially divest from corporations that directly profit from human rights violations. Divestment  is the removing of investment from corporations that profit from human rights abuses and violations of international law.

We call for the Divestment of four specific companies: Elbit Systems, G4S, Caterpillar, and Raytheon. The University of Minnesota’s investments in these companies shows implicit support for the decisions and actions of these companies, as well as their consequences, which include the killing of civilians, and violations of their basic human rights. By divesting from these corporations, our University would be refusing to be complicit in human rights violations. Our University should uphold its policy of Social Responsibility (Subd 5 of Board of Regents Policy) which “seeks out investments that support sustainability and refuses to invest in weapons, tobacco or engage in unethical business practices”.

The divestment of these companies would neutralize the University of Minnesota in this conflict as well as serve to continue our legacy of being socially responsible.

The call to divest is a response to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement- a global campaign to pressure Israel into complying with international law and to recognize Palestinians’ rights.  BDS was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and is endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties and organizations that represent Palestinian refugees and Palestinians living under occupation in Israel and the West Bank.

We, the students, call upon our university to dissociate itself from companies that engage or aid in systematic prejudiced oppression, whether this system targets people based on their religion, nationality, gender, race or orientation, by divesting from companies that participate in or profit from human rights violations. The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people should not be infringed upon or disregarded.

Read the status of UMN’s investments in the companies outlined by the divestment campaign here.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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22 Responses

  1. diasp0ra on March 3, 2016, 11:15 am

    This is so pathetic and desperate.

    What a disgusting trivialization of anti-semitism. Using historical suffering as a blunt tool to beat anyone who criticizes Israel is pathetic.

    It’s really no wonder that support for Israel is dwindling among Jewish Americans, as recent numbers revealed.

    This example comes out mere hours after this Haaretz piece:

    Lending more credence to Miss Sucharov’s position, and showing why Israel apologists are out of touch.

    • annie on March 3, 2016, 12:00 pm

      more: (unlocking the wsj article)

      is it me, or is it weird all these people who are critiquing Jasbir Puar’s Vassar College lecture are ignoring the history of organ theft by dr. hiss – israel’s chief pathologist for decades? this is not some ancient blood libel.

      • diasp0ra on March 3, 2016, 3:22 pm



        I know it sounds like some crazy blood libel but it has happened before. They say truth is stranger than fiction.

      • annie on March 3, 2016, 4:02 pm

        and it didn’t just “happen before” — what happened was thoroughly documented w/court case etc, then the charge was printed and israel went to full court press to deny it, then the researcher in berkeley produced the interview which the doctor didn’t deny. and palestinians had been saying for years they thought it was happening, and it was confirmed. so there is every reason to be suspicious — and i don’t blame them one bit. if it was my loved one i would protest and demand the bodies back, just as palestinians are doing.

        the excuse that this just causes more strife w/the funerals can easily be remedied by the occupation soldiers staying away from the funerals and not attack people grieving their martyrs.

      • pabelmont on March 3, 2016, 7:15 pm

        Annie: I think many Israeli complaints/accusations against Palestinians & Friends are echoes of things they themselves have done. The old “Salami Tactics” accusation (Palestinians want to take WB&G now, but later will take more — made in the old pre-2SS days) exactly echoes Israel’s salami tactics slicing and eating WB.

        MW should make a list of these!

        See my for a sort of list of (mild) echoes.

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 7:20 pm

        “this is not some ancient blood libel.”

        But naturally, anything having to do with organ theft inevitably has correspondences with the “blood libels”. Therefore Israel is immune, proof against any suspicion in the area of organ theft.
        Okay, next case.

      • annie on March 3, 2016, 8:49 pm

        pabelmont, thank you for “A Confession of Plagiarism”!

        mooser, exactly.

      • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 10:10 pm

        “mooser, exactly.”

        They’ll get my A-100 and 122 over my dead body!

  2. eljay on March 3, 2016, 11:33 am

    To most people: Justice, accountability and equality = good.

    To Zio-supremacists:
    – Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine = good.
    – Justice, accountability and equality = evil.

    Zio-supremacists are truly hateful and immoral people.

    And, of course, they’re hypocrites who wouldn’t want others to do unto them the acts of injustice and immorality they’re content to do unto others.

  3. Sibiriak on March 3, 2016, 12:01 pm

    diasp0ra: This example comes out mere hours after this Haaretz piece: link to

    What a worthless article, absolutely devoid of substance.

  4. Steve Grover on March 3, 2016, 6:53 pm

    I take great pleasure whenever SJP is demonized as they should be. I don’t take any pleasure if it is done as depicted.

  5. hungrydave on March 3, 2016, 7:03 pm

    I wasn’t sure how to email you Annie, so i’m just posting this here. Some interesting stuff on IP later in the interview

    • annie on March 3, 2016, 7:28 pm

      thanks hungrydave! and in the future my contact is on the site ‘about’ page.

  6. pabelmont on March 3, 2016, 7:22 pm

    The use of the swastica seems to me to reek of hate-crime. This language is also incitement against the SJP folks. I suggest that “Palestine Legal” think this one through.

  7. JustJessetr on March 3, 2016, 9:52 pm

    To call it an attack is to label yourselves guilty of doing the exact same thing to the Jewish star.

    • Mooser on March 3, 2016, 10:07 pm

      “To call it an attack is to label yourselves guilty of doing the exact same thing to the Jewish star.”

      The Ross Sisters better watch out. “JustJessetr” can make them look like soldiers at ‘attention’.

    • pabelmont on March 4, 2016, 7:25 am

      JustJessetr: Not sure what your point is.

      People nowadays use the Jewish star mostly as a symbol of the State of Israel, not as a symbol of the “People Israel” (the so-called Jewish People or of the population of folks here and there who call themselves or who are called Jews).

      Therefore the Jewish star can be a symbol of pride (when used by FoI) or as a symbol of accusation (when used by people attuned to human rights, FoP, proponenets of international law, etc.) Usually you can tell how and by whom it is being used by context.

      By contrast, people these days (in the West) use the swastica (which can also be a Buddhist symbol, I believe) as a symbol for the Nazi regime, generally condemned these days (but of course, there is a resurgence of neo-Nazism these days, and neo-Nazis would use the swastica as a symbol of solidarity and pride, just as Israelis use the Jewish star).

  8. JustJessetr on March 4, 2016, 11:40 am

    Pablemont. How you squirm to avoid looking at the point i raised.

  9. Atlantaiconoclast on March 5, 2016, 10:51 am

    I think it is really important to be cautious before assigning blame for any campus “hate” incident. Frequently, they are faux or false flag hate crimes, done by the supposed target of the epitaph. Jews painting swastikas, Blacks writing the N word on a wall. Each has happened a number of time.

    • annie on March 5, 2016, 11:55 am

      atlanta, hmm. i have no doubt opponents of divestment created the swastika graphic. who exactly i can’t say for sure.

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