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Students for Justice in Palestine

When activism becomes ‘anti-Semitism’: the silencing of pro-Palestine voices on campus

Yumna Patel on
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.

Student & community groups condemn racist harassment campaign against Palestinian rights advocates at Emory University

Open Letter on
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 College battle over suspending Israel study program shows divide on the left over BDS

Philip Weiss on

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.

Explicit censorship of Palestine solidarity work is becoming the new normal on American campuses

CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine on

Students for Justice in Palestine at the City University of New York School of Law condemns Northeastern University’s suspension of Northeastern’s SJP chapter. Domestically, explicit censorship of Palestine solidarity work is becoming the new normal on American campuses. This repression, and the broader silencing of any criticism of Israel, are antithetical to the values of the First Amendment.

Loyola University Chicago student union passes resolution to divest from Israeli occupation

Adam Horowitz on

On Tuesday night, Loyola University Chicago became the first Jesuit University in the United States to pass a student government resolution to divest from companies complicit in aiding the Israeli occupation. The Senate voted 26-0, with 2 abstentions, to call on the school to remove its holdings from eight corporations that play an active role in the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government.

Federal complaints targeting Palestine solidarity activism on campus are dismissed

Alex Kane on

Three separate probes into allegations that campus activism for Palestine created an anti-Semitic environment have been closed by the federal government. Civil rights complaints have been filed over the years by student activists and pro-Israel groups, who claimed pro-Palestine events created a hostile, anti-Semitic environment for Jewish students on campus. But the federal government has now closed the investigations, saying that those activities are “expression on matters of public concern.”

Investigation of Brooklyn College BDS event conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism

Marissa Brostoff on
Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti at Brooklyn College in February (Brooklyn College SJP)

The City University of New York released a report quashing trumped-up accusations that Jewish and “pro-Israel” students were discriminated against at Brooklyn College’s BDS event in February. The report’s conclusions seem reasonable. But it also falls into the trap of collapsing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. The conflation of “Jewish” and “pro-Israel” needs to go.

What young Israeli refused to do in Palestine, she acted out on 116th St

Philip Weiss on

Writes Nancy Kricorian of Code Pink’s Stolen Beauty campaign: I went to the Students for Justice in Palestine’s mock checkpoint on the Columbia campus this afternoon and handed out fliers for an hour and a half. Columbia’s LionPAC, HIllel, Just Peace, Grain Lavi and Tarbootnikim were counter-demonstrating, handing out fliers, some of them wrapped in […]

The Anti-Defamation League should own up or pack up

Mohammad Talat and Tom Pessah on

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), founded in 1913, was long one of the nation’s foremost civil rights organizations. Primarily established to fight anti-Semitism, it became revered for combating hate and bigotry in many forms. In its later years, however, it got mixed up in clandestine spying on American civil rights organizations, which made headlines after law […]

Dana and Blumenthal to speak in NY next week about resistance to the occupation

Philip Weiss on

An exciting event. Two high flying journalists, Max Blumenthal, who is just back from Israel where he chronicled the growing intolerance in the country’s political culture, and Joseph Dana, who has fearlessly documented the nonviolent demonstrations in the Occupied Territories turned ugly by state violence, will join up in New York next week to talk […]