Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).
There is a disturbing trend on college and university campuses: anytime an event celebrating Jewish or Israeli identity is organized, anti-Zionist students groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) often verbally abuse and publicly accosting Zionist students and guest speakers, falsely accusing them of “ethnic cleansing,” “colonialism,” and “apartheid.”
Last month, SJP at Boston University participated in “Israeli Apartheid Week” — an insidious campaign that the National SJP organization promoted. Between March 20 and 24, SJP at BU held a series of events demonizing “Zionists,” a dog whistle often used interchangeably with “Jews” and “Israelis.” The group also made numerous Instagram posts depicting the State of Israel as the perpetrator of senseless violence against Palestinians. This is, of course, false.
On March 20, SJP hosted Sumaya Awad, a Palestinian socialist who was a founding member of SJP at Williams College.
During her talk, Awad claimed that “this whole support we are seeing between the US and Israel is not about fighting antisemitism … it’s about money.” Awad also asserted that Israel has poured millions of dollars into college campuses to “spread propaganda.” This is a comment similar to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN)’s 2019 antisemitic tweet, saying it was “all about the Benjamins.”
Additionally, Awad has expressed support for violent protestors. In March 2018, Awad posted her support on Facebook for the “March of Return” protest, where 30,000 Palestinians approached the Israeli-Gaza border. The March of Return was organized by Hamas, a terrorist organization that has been controlling the Gaza Strip since 2007.
In March 2021, Awad published an article asserting that anti-Zionism does not equate to antisemitism. Awad compared Zionist leaders to Nazis and other modern-day fascists, claiming that “Zionism’s colonial character helps explain why its leaders, past and present, have aligned with far-right and violently antisemitic figures: from Nazis in the 1930s to Viktor Orbán or Jair Bolsonaro today.”
Not only is this inaccurate, but it is also antisemitic, as articulated by the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
Two days later, SJP at BU hosted Rashid Khalidi, a professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, known for making antisemitic statements.
In November 2020, Khalidi took part in a virtual interview with the Association for Student Activism for Palestine (ASAP), where he completely denied Jewish people’s connection to the Land of Israel. In the interview, he stated, “It’s not between two indigenous peoples … The Palestinian people are the indigenous population of the country. The Zionist movement brought in from Europe people who had a religious attachment to Palestine, people who could claim an attachment to Palestine, people who saw themselves as Europeans.”
This statement is demonstrably false, and ignores the consistent Jewish presence in Israel over the last 4,000 years or the fact that the majority of Jewish Israelis are of Middle Eastern and North African origin.
SJP has a long history of committing acts of intimidation toward Jewish and Israeli students on Boston University’s campus. In December 2021, SJP wrote “Long Live the Intifada” on BU’s Greek Rock on central campus, a phrase commonly used to call for violence against Jews. The student group also protested the Jewish National Fund (JNF)’s summit in Boston in November 2022, waving signs calling for “Palestine to be free from the river to the sea” — a euphemism for the destruction of the state of Israel.
SJP at BU also attempted to shut down the Jerusalem: City of Change forum hosted by the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies, the Department of Religion, and the program in Archaeology in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) this past November. I addressed BU SJP’s preposterous and libelous assertions in an op-ed published by The Algemeiner.
Earlier this Spring, a BU student published an op-ed article in BU’s student newspaper, The Daily Free Press.
In the article, the student downplayed the extremism and blatant antisemitism in the “Mapping Project,” a website created by supporters of the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel. The Mapping Project website calls for dismantling “local entities” they believe are “enacting devastation.” Even though the website targeted Jewish schools, Jewish nonprofits, and universities (including BU), the author conceded to the inaccurate assertions made by the Mapping Project.
Despite directly addressing me in his article, The Daily Free Press would not guarantee that a response op-ed written by me would be published.
Speaking out as a Jewish and pro-Israel student is becoming increasingly challenging. A study by Alums for Campus Fairness surveyed 75 universities from 2017 to 2022, and discovered that of 195 news articles about Israel across these campuses, only 18 were positive. Editorial boards are endorsing the BDS campaign and taking down pro-Israel op-eds.
Boston University interim President Kenneth Freeman and his administration must take action to turn the tide against Jew-hatred hatred where anti-Zionists continue to push their hateful agenda.
Yonatan Manor is a rising Junior studying Film & Television at Boston University and a CAMERA on Campus Fellow.
Source of original article: Yonatan Manor / Opinion – Algemeiner.com (www.algemeiner.com).
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