Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Campus War Against Israel and the Jews: Students For Justice in Palestine

John Perazzo | Thursday, August 27, 2009

Founded on the UC Berkeley campus in 2001, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) now has chapters on 25 major campuses throughout the United States, including Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Georgetown, and the Universities of Michigan and Maryland. SJP is less about justice than hatred. It reviles Israel and Jews. In addition to denouncing what they call the “Israeli-controlled concentration camps” wherein Palestinians are purportedly forced to live, SJP members commonly harass Jewish students emerging from campus synagogues. In one incident at San Francisco State University, SJP supporters surrounded a small group of Jewish students and incited violence while shouting such epithets as, “Too bad Hitler didn't finish the job!”

On April 9, 2002 (Holocaust Remembrance Day), pro-Palestinian groups on the San Francisco State campus protested Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and then circulated posters that depicted Jews devouring Christian babies. That same day, SJP members held a rally and a sit-in on the Berkeley campus, resulting in 79 arrests. A few months later, Yale University’s chapter of the SJP set up a mock Israeli checkpoint on campus, harassing Jewish students trying to pass with cardboard rifles.

A co-founder of the Students for Justice in Palestine is Snehal Shingavi, a onetime Berkeley graduate student who gained notoriety in 2001 for teaching a controversial course called “The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance.” Explaining that his instruction would focus on “Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestine since 1948,” Shingavi –also a leader of the campus International Socialist Organization – urged conservative students not to bother registering for his class in the synopsis he wrote in the school course catalogue.

SJP’s national conference at the University of Michigan in November 2002 was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine, a now-defunct, Illinois-based front group for the terrorist organization Hamas. The conference featured keynote speaker Sami Al-Arian, a former professor at the University of South Florida who was the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operations in North America.

By SJP’s telling, Israel’s birth in 1948 occurred when “Zionist militia groups violently took over the land” and “committed mass atrocities that led to the expulsion of approximately 700,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homes.” This version of events is typical of the group’s view of history: partial, rhetorically violent, and mendacious. The account makes no mention of the fact that on the very day of Israel’s birth, five Arab armies joined forces and launched a war of annihilation against the nascent state; their purpose was to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and to expel or exterminate its entire Jewish population.

SJP propaganda likewise makes no mention of the 600,000 Jews who themselves were expelled from Arab countries all over the Middle East, where they and their ancestors had lived for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Neither does it acknowledge that the vast majority of the 700,000 Arab “refugees” fled their homes not because of any Israeli atrocities, but rather to escape the dangers associated with the brutal war that the surrounding Arab nations had instigated. As they left Israel, these refugees anticipated that their absence would be brief, and that they would return safely to their homes as soon as Israel had been vanquished.

SJP commonly contend that anywhere from 5 to 7 million descendants of those original refugees – now scattered throughout the Middle East – should be afforded the right to “return” to a land where most of them have never once set foot in their lives. Such a sudden influx of millions of Arabs into Israel would quickly spell the end of the Jewish state. And that, of course, is the point of the demand.

According to SJP: “Military occupation has come to define the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967. The Israeli military has governed Palestinians’ lives arbitrarily through the use of checkpoints scattered within Palestinian lands, Jewish-only roads, land confiscations, home demolitions, arbitrary curfews, and illegal extra-judicial executions.” Absent from this narrative is any mention of the fact that these measures were necessitated entirely by the terror war that Arabs have waged against Israel since 1948. In particular the SJP account forgets that during the decade that followed Yasser Arafat’s historic September 1993 signing of the Oslo agreement in which he pledged to forswear terrorism, Palestinians carried out at least 28,000 terror attacks against Israeli targets. Nearly half of those attacks were perpetrated by Arafat’s own Fatah organization, and the rest by such Arafat allies as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Tanzim, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hezbollah, and others.

Asserting that Palestinians in Israel are treated “as second-class citizens who are unwanted by a state which excludes them from the national identity,” SJP contends that “the parallel between contemporary Israel and apartheid South Africa is striking.” The idea that Israel is “racist” as well as “fascist,” has, in fact, become an obsessive focus of SJP's campus organizing. All SJP’s campus chapters exhort students to help punish the “Apartheid State of Israel” by demanding that their schools divest their financial assets from all companies that conduct any business there. Toward that end, SJP has staged campus protests against Starbucks, General Electric, Disney, and scores of other corporations.

In its unrelenting din of falsified history, the bitter hatred at the core of its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic message, and its willingness to go beyond hate speech to hate acts against Jews who resist its message, Students for Justice in Palestine has established itself as the wehrmacht in the campus war against Israel and the Jews.
John Perazzo is the Managing Editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too bad Perazzo failed to mention that Van Jones was involved on the anti-Israel side at the April 2002 UCBerkeley event: