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Students for Justice in Palestine

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UNC-Chapel Hill Students for Justice in Palestine, December 24, 2012. (Photo: Facebook)

This spring, the latest salvo in the battle surrounding Palestinian advocacy came to a head on two university campuses: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University. Following condemnations and investigations from their respective universities and communities, Mondoweiss spoke to students and faculty involved in both incidents at Emory and UNC to understand, from their point of view, the events that took place, and the wider implications for pro-Palestine activism on their campuses, and on university campuses across America.

Emory Students for Justice in Palestine logo

Emory Students for Justice in Palestine has come under attack for educational events, flyers, and protests it organized as part of Israel Apartheid Week. “Smearing racial justice advocates as ‘anti-Semites’ is an increasingly visible trend,” the organization writes, and they “reject the notion that challenges to US foreign policy and advocacy for justice in the Middle East are a form of discrimination against our friends in the Jewish community.” Emory SJP also calls on Emory University to cease validating the bigoted smear campaign and to discipline students and other Emory community members that are complicit in the ongoing harassment.

Pitzer’s College Council took a historic and overwhelming vote to suspend a study-abroad program in Israel following years of organizing by progressive faculty and students. President Melvin Oliver’s swift veto of the resolution shows the discomfort that the mainstream left is feeling about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and also the growing moral importance of the issue on the left.