Archive for the ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ category

Judge Reinstates Hamas/AMP Lawsuit

January 8, 2018

Judge Reinstates Hamas/AMP Lawsuit, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abha Shankar, January 8, 2018

At a conference last week hosted by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Abuirshaid tried to erase Jews’ historical claim to Israel. He claimed the “Zionist Project” is a “form of apartheid” that seeks to “Judaize” Palestine. “In creating false Zionist historical and religious narratives, it’s a deliberate attempt to deny the indigenous people of Palestine, us, from their rights and their own land. And Jerusalem is the bedrock to forge and falsify the history of Palestine and Judaizing it,” he said.

That’s the kind of message that would have fit right in with any of the Palestine Committee groups. When the suit was originally filed last May, the Boims’ attorneys issued a statement explaining that Abuirshaid and the other defendants “directed and controlled the organizations in 1996 … that are legally obliged to pay the judgment won by the Boims.

“These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organization.

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A Chicago federal judge on Thursday reinstated a lawsuit alleging that a virulently anti-Israel group and several of its activists are “alter egos and/or successors” of a defunct U.S. based Hamas-support network previously found liable for the murder of an American teen in a 1996 terror attack.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) routinely sponsors conferences that serve as a platform for Israel bashers, and openly approves “resistance” against the “Zionist state.” One AMP official acknowledged the goal is to “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

AMP is also one of the principal advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state. Its BDS campaigns include: Ramadan Date BoycottSodaStreamStop the JNFStolen Homes/Airbnb, and Stop G4S. Because they include groups dedicated to Israel’s elimination and single out Israel for criticism while they ignore other nations with severe human rights abuses, BDS campaigns are considered inherently anti-Semitic.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman not only vacated her earlier dismissal of the case, she also authorized limited discovery in the case. “[T]his Court placed too much weight to defendants’ declarations without providing plaintiffs with the opportunity to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery on the existence of an alter ego relationship. Accordingly, this Court will vacate its previous order dismissing the case … and permit plaintiffs to conduct discovery solely to address jurisdiction.”

This is a major victory for the family of 17-year-old David Boim. He was shot dead in Israel in May 1996 by Hamas terrorists. In a historic judgment, Boim’s parents Stanley and Joyce Boim won $156 million in damages against the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and other members of the U.S. Hamas support network called the “Palestine Committee.” The Committee was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas’ agenda politically and financially in the United States.

The IAP was the first to publish the genocidal, anti-Semitic Hamas charter in English. Its fundraisers benefited the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which – along with five former officials – was convicted in 2008 of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas. IAP fundraisers featured overt praise for Hamas, and skits in which Palestinians murdered Israelis.

A 1996 Dallas Morning News story captured the scene at one IAP rally:

Inside a Kansas City auditorium in 1989, a masked man stepped to a lectern and described in Arabic the “oceans of blood” spilled in Hamas’ armed attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.

He thanked two nonprofit organizations for being early allies: the Islamic Association for Palestine, sponsor of the conference, and the Occupied Land Fund [an early name for HLF].

An internal 1992 IAP document, “Islamic Action Plan for Palestine,” makes at least four specific references to Hamas, including its leadership role in the Palestinian intifada through “a lot of sacrifices from martyrs, detainees, wounded, injured, fugitives and deportees…”

IAP was among the first organizations the Muslim Brotherhood created in North America to specifically focus on the Palestinian cause, even preceding the Palestine Committee, the document said. Among the Palestine Committee’s tasks, “Asking the countries to increase the financial and the moral support for Hamas.”

At the time of the Boim judgment in 2004, IAP and other defendants claimed they were no longer in business and had no money to pay the damages. But that was a ruse, the Boims’ attorneys say, alleging that the defendants formed new organizations like the American Muslims for Palestine to escape their legal responsibility to pay damages. Successor groups, or alter egos, of organizations previously found liable for providing material support to Hamas need to pay the remaining judgment, the new litigation argues.

In 2015, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) first identified at least five AMP officials and speakers who worked in the Hamas-supporting “Palestine Committee.”

An April 2014 AMP-sponsored conference in Chicago, for example, featured former IAP Chairman Sabri Samirah.

“We are ready to sacrifice all we have for Palestine. Long Live Palestine,” Samirah said. “We have a mission here [in the U.S.] also to support the struggle of our people back there in order to achieve a free land in the Muslim world, without dictators and without corruption.”

The Boims’ attorneys say that AMP’s current leadership and donors are “significantly identical” to their Palestine Committee branches, including the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and the American Muslim Society (AMS) which served as another name for the IAP.

Rafeeq Jaber, a defendant in the new lawsuit, is a former IAP president and is now AMP’s registered agent in Chicago. AMP President Abdelbasset Hamayel was IAP’s secretary general. AMP’s conferences and other events are identical in their pro-Hamas message to conferences held earlier by IAP, including overlapping speakers’ lists.

AMP board member Osama Abuirshaid, a target of the current lawsuit, has close affiliations to both the IAP and the Northern Virginia think tank called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a Palestine Committee branch that was headed by senior Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook.

Abuirshaid served as editor of IAP’s Arabic periodical, Al-Zaytounah, a mouthpiece for pro-Hamas propaganda. The magazine also published advertisements by terrorist-tied charities, including HLF, the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), and the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF).

UASR published an academic journal that prosecutors in the HLF case say was “involved in passing Hamas communiques to the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood community and relaying messages from that community back to Hamas.”

Abuirshaid has openly expressed support for Hamas. He criticized Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a 2015 tweet for designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. Calling Egypt’s capital “Cairo Aviv,” Abuirshaid dismissed the move: “Look who’s talking!? A terrorist murder regime.”

In a 2014 article written in Arabic, he praised the “Palestinian resistance” against the “Zionist aggression” in Hamas-controlled Gaza: “The facts of the current Zionist aggression have clearly shown that the Palestinian resistance is no longer in the position of receiving slaps without the response of some of them, and even many of them responding. It also showed the creativity of the resisting Palestinian mind, consistent with the severity of its being unyielding with long-range rockets, high-explosive missiles and bombs, and unmanned aerial vehicles, most of which are domestically manufactured, being designed to attack the enemy at the doorstep of its military bases by sea, landing behind its lines through tunnels, etc. It is a slap that Israel receives from the Resistance every day, and it finds no response except through the cowardly weapon of targeting civilians with artillery, air and sea missiles to raise the human and economic costs of the Palestinians.”

Abuirshaid has also praised Hamas war tactics: “There is a difference between Hamas, whose youth renewed their adherence to their starting point determined on liberalization, and Fatah, which has grown old after deviating from the creed of liberation and resistance upon which it was established.”

“There is a difference between those who resist and those who compromise; between those who constitute an army for liberation, and those who ready battalions of lackeys; a difference between those who rise up for the blood of martyrs, and those who spill it in the wine glasses of Israel,” he added.

At a conference last week hosted by the Muslim American Society (MAS) and theIslamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Abuirshaid tried to erase Jews’ historical claim to Israel. He claimed the “Zionist Project” is a “form of apartheid” that seeks to “Judaize” Palestine. “In creating false Zionist historical and religious narratives, it’s a deliberate attempt to deny the indigenous people of Palestine, us, from their rights and their own land. And Jerusalem is the bedrock to forge and falsify the history of Palestine and Judaizing it,” he said.

That’s the kind of message that would have fit right in with any of the Palestine Committee groups. When the suit was originally filed last May, the Boims’ attorneys issued a statement explaining that Abuirshaid and the other defendants “directed and controlled the organizations in 1996 … that are legally obliged to pay the judgment won by the Boims.

“These defendants cannot escape their legal liability and accountability for murder by merely changing the names of their organizations,” they said.

U.S. Islamists Promote Nationwide Protests Despite Israeli Concessions

July 28, 2017

U.S. Islamists Promote Nationwide Protests Despite Israeli Concessions, Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 28, 2017

(Their cause for anger is not Temple Mount but the existence of Israel. — DM)

In solidarity with Palestinian factions and terrorist groups, pro-Palestinian Islamist organizations in the United States are gearing up for more anti-Israel protests today, even though the original cause for their anger has been rescinded.

Israel removed metal detectors Tuesday which were installed near an entrance to Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in response to a deadly July 14th terrorist attack. Terrorists managed to smuggle their guns into the mosque the morning of the attack. Yet Israel’s acquiescence has not silenced its main detractors.

Still, rallies planned throughout the country are being pushed by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Jewish Voice for Peace. Similar gatherings last week featured harsh anti-Israel rhetoric.

In a published set of talking points, AMP claimed the removal of metal detectors “doesn’t mean that the sanctity of the Noble Sanctuary is guaranteed, nor that Israel will not try other methods in the future to alter the status quo in the Aqsa mosque.”

This message builds on years of false Palestinian claims that Israel is keeping Muslims from praying at the mosque.

The metal detectors were installed only after Palestinian terrorists attacked and killed two police officers.

U.S.-based Islamist figures and groups are even challenging Israel’s right to install additional surveillance cameras on the Temple Mount – the compound that houses the mosque and site of the last Jewish temple. While enhanced surveillance measures often follow terrorist attacks, any action to improve Israel’s national security – no matter how minor – is met with a disproportionate anger from groups opposed to Israel’s existence in any form.

AMP held an “All Out for Al Aqsa” rally last Saturday in Times Square, featuring speakers who called for Israel’s destruction and radical chants from the crowd.

“You [Israel] are a hypocrisy state that will eventually be, will eventually go away. Israel will not last long,” said AMP-New Jersey president and national board member Sayel Kayed.

The rally featured similarly threatening chants made in Arabic.

“With life, with blood/we sacrifice for you Al Aqsa” and “the gate of Al Aqsa is of iron [Hadid], no one can open it but a martyr [Shahid].” These chants, translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), show how U.S. Islamist groups cultivate an atmosphere where terrorism and violence against Israel is openly encouraged.

“There is only one solution; Intifada, revolution… “Long live the Intifada”.

Other anti-Israel student groups are joining the fray. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) posted a statement on Facebook last Friday inciting violence, the Algemeiner reported.

“Long live the Intifada!,” the group exclaimed, adding in Arabic “Long live resistance,” words commonly invoked by anti-Israel activists referring to violent uprisings and terrorism against Israel.

The growing anti-Israel hysteria permeated the Islamic Center of Davis in California July 21, when American imam Ammar Shahin delivered an anti-Semitic sermon.

“Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque…Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them,” preached Shahin, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad did not comment on the Shahin sermon. But he did urge all imams to talk about the issue, saying “Israeli occupiers are suppressing religious freedom in #Jerusalem.”

Again, this is purportedly over metal detectors and security cameras following a deadly terrorist shooting.

CAIR’s St. Louis chapter organized a march last Sunday that cast metal detectors and security cameras as a “siege” of the mosque and featured chants of “free Al-Aqsa.”

CAIR’s Georgia chapter is co-hosting an anti-Israel event, with the far-left Jewish Voice for Peace outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta.

AMP alerted its network to additional nationwide protests, including today at noon outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. There is also a planned demonstration the same day in downtown Chicago at 4:30 p.m. and in New York City. On Sunday, a “March for Al Aqsa” is scheduled to take place at the Wilshire Federal Building in Los Angeles at 3:00 p.m.

U.S.-based Islamists are joining Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum who continue to call on Palestinians to protest against Israel on Friday.

For the second straight week, Hamas has called for a “day of rage” while Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah incites violence by encouraging its supporters to “intensify”confrontations with Israeli authorities throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem. Abbas went a step further on Wednesday and gave the green light for Fatah’s Tanzim terrorist group to organize mass demonstrations on Friday.

On July 14, the Muslim Brotherhood led the way with calls for an “Islamic Intifada” – a violent uprising – against Israel following the day’s deadly Palestinian terrorist attack.

“The Muslim Brotherhood calls upon the sons of the Islamic Umma (nation), its Ulema (Muslim religious scholars), figures and blocs for an Intifada in order to stop the (alleged Israeli) violations of holy sites…,” the Brotherhood wrote on its official Arabic-language website and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

The Brotherhood admitted its main motivation for “our intended uprising” is to “pressure all Western governments, Arab regimes and international organizations to intervene to stop violations by gangs of the Zionist entity…”

Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the U.S. are heeding this call, organizing nationwide protests, inciting violence, and seeking to pressure the U.S. government into forcing more Israeli concessions.

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews

December 7, 2016

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews, Investigative Project on Terrorism, December 7, 2016

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Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour took to Twitter Nov. 22 with a quick, venting post: “You know what I can’t stand? Bitter people. That’s all.”

Sarsour spoke at the annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference three days later. Evidently, she can’t stand herself.

Sarsour, who describes herself as a “racial justice and civil rights activist,” lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity over concerns that increasing hostility toward Muslims in America might lead to draconian government action. And she lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new inter-faith dialogue.

Why the bitterness?

The Jews at issue support the state of Israel, support its existence and its vitality. Sarsour wants none of that.

“We have limits to the type of friendships that we’re looking for right now,” Sarsour told the AMP conference, “and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say – we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctioning Israel] when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that they’re about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers.”

It’s a message that fit right in at the AMP conference. AMP claims its “sole purpose is to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage.” But in practice, the group has defended Hamas and its leaders admit they seek “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

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Sarsour, a media darling honored by the Obama White House as a “Champion of Change” and a high-profile surrogate for Bernie Sanders‘ failed Democratic presidential nomination campaign, seems to strike a different tone in public appearances. Her biography says she is “most known for her intersectional coalition work and building bridges across issues, racial, ethnic and faith communities.” That clearly wasn’t her intent at the AMP conference.

She acknowledges there’s a rift among Islamists about how hard a line to draw in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet she was intent on pouring gasoline on the fire.

The “cracks in our community” are so wide, she said, they’re visible to “right-wing Zionists, Islamophobes, white supremacists.”

“They know where we’re divided. They know that we’re segregated,” she said. “So they, we could easily be targeted when we’re a fragmented community. But if we were a strong, united, steadfast community that stood up for each other first and foremost, you’d better believe that no opposition would ever be trying to take us down, because we’d be too big, too strong and too united.”

Some of her comments likely were directed at Anti-Defamation League chief Jonathan Greenblatt. Should a Trump administration create a registry for Muslims, an idea that does not seem to be on the table, Greenblatt recently pledged that “this proud Jew will register as Muslim.”

Sarsour not only rebuked the gesture, she cast Muslims who might respond more positively as sellouts of the Palestinian cause. Cooperation and solidarity gestures should only be reserved for those who share the depth of her hatred toward Israel, she said.

“I am tired of Muslims working towards acceptance and not respect of our communities. And I’m also tired of the Muslims willing to sell Palestine just for a little acceptance and nod from the white man and white power in these United States of America,” Sarsour said.

1902Sarsour, in the red hijab, poses with others at the White House Eid celebration.

Despite this extreme stance, Sarsour is a rising star among American Islamist activists. She has been welcomed to the White House at least 10 times during President Obama’s tenure, most recently in July for a celebration of the Muslim Eid holiday. Last year, a glowing New York Times profile described her as “a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab.”

“But the most apparent thing about her voice is that it is exceedingly Brooklyn,” the story said. “She says ‘swag’ instead of ‘charisma.’ (‘Mr. B. has swag …) She calls her father, a Palestinian immigrant in his 60s, ‘Pops.’ Like the actress Rosie Perez in a hijab, Ms. Sarsour has perfected her delivery of the head-swaying ‘Oh no you dih-int’ and pronounces the word ‘Latino’ like, well, a Latino.”

Sarsour also says “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and all-but accused the CIA of faking an attempted terrorist attack.

Those statements didn’t make the Times profile. And they didn’t prompt the Obama administration to reconsider the wisdom of elevating Sarsour’s clout with repeated White House access.

In February, just over a year after terrorists massacred the staff at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying they “avenged the Prophet,” Sarsour told a Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) banquet in Chicago that she would not stand with the victims. The magazine was “a bigot and a racist” for publishing caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, she said. The images served to “vilify my faith, dehumanize my community [and] demoralize my prophet.”

Building off Sarsour’s rejection of anyone who breaks bread with Zionists, former AMP New York President Raja Abdulhaq defined the BDS movement – not as a tool to lead to peaceful negotiations – but as way to break Israel into total surrender.

“The rights are non-negotiable. And that’s the whole point of BDS, is that we demand, we want to apply pressure,” Abdulhaq said, “not sit down in a negotiated setting and figure out what you can give up so that I can give up something in return, because what you’re essentially doing is you’re asking the other side – give up your illegality, stop your illegality and I will give up my rights. What kind of negotiation is that? No, I demand my rights, and you stop your illegality. And that’s the whole basis of BDS.”

Among the non-negotiable “rights” Abdulhaq says AMP and the BDS movement insist upon is the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians. That would lead to a huge influx of Palestinians into Israel, swamping the country demographically and ending its existence as a Jewish homeland.

That’s just fine with conference speaker Lamis Deek, an attorney and board memberfor CAIR’s New York chapter. She repeatedly described Israelis as “serial killers” intent on ethnic cleansing.

“There is a serial killer in our home,” Deek said. “And what do you do when you are confronted with a serial killer, right? You protect yourself. You protect your family. You scream for help. And you expect that when you scream for help from a serial killer everybody is gonna come to your aid, they’re gonna come protect and defend you. Right? You don’t expect somebody to intervene on behalf of the serial killer … and say ‘the serial killer has some rights, let us tell you about the rights the serial killer has’ as he begins to kill you. Right?”

Like Sarsour, Deek expressed frustration at Muslims who accept other viewpoints.

“Nothing has set back the Palestinian movement in the U.S. more than demands by people who want to work and focus their efforts on [Washington] D.C., by their demands that we tame our demands for Palestine,” she said.

Dawud Walid, CAIR’s Michigan director, echoed the message about Muslim groups who appear too accommodating. “If these organizations claim to represent the Muslim community,” he said, “then when we see them doing things that go outside of the mainstream of the (UI word) of our community, we need to hold them accountable, and if they continue to step outside of the boundaries, then we should withdraw our support and make that very public.”

Walid has acknowledged that his employer, which works hard to project an image as a civil rights organization, really sees itself as “defenders of the Palestinian struggle.”

Deek, meanwhile, spoke of the harm done to the Palestinian cause by the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. While that initiative may have given Palestinians autonomy, it came at the cost of unity, she said.

It’s not clear what she means. But, since 2006, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has governed the West Bank while Hamas controls Gaza.

Oslo also made it more difficult to engage in terrorism – what Deek calls “armed resistance.”

“Now armed resistance, self-defense, has been the only direct challenge to Zionist colonial expansion. Nothing else is a direct challenge,” she told the AMP conference. “Everything else is an indirect challenge, right? Pressure – economic pressure, diplomatic pressure. So this national united Palestinian body was able – by supporting the resistance – was able to be part of directly impacting and influencing Zionist policy.”

Advocating more Palestinian violence is consistent for an AMP gathering. The organization’s message never mentions peaceful co-existence. An Investigative Project on Terrorism investigation found connections between at least five AMP officials and speakers and the defunct Hamas support network called the “Palestine Committee.”

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, AMP’s then-National Campus Coordinator Taher Herzallah posted images of wounded Israelis, calling them “The most beautiful site (sic) in my eyes.” He defended indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilian communities as “an audible cry for help” and “an act of resistance.”

Two clear messages emerged from the AMP conference. “Resistance” is better than renouncing violence and seeking peace. All Muslims who might disagree, even if they see eye-to-eye on other issues, are no longer welcome.

These extreme stands came from speakers who enjoy prominent political profiles and high-level contacts.

Sarsour is right about one thing. There is a rift in her community. She and her AMP panelists are the ones widening it.

BDS Spreads Anti-Semitism Across U.S. Campuses

May 12, 2016

BDS Spreads Anti-Semitism Across U.S. Campuses, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Noah Beck, May 12, 2016

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Anti-Semitic incidents seem to spring up each week on college campuses throughout the United States. According to a study, “The strongest predictor of anti-Jewish hostility on campus” is the presence of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

The greater the BDS activity, especially involving faculty members, the more likely anti-Semitic episodes become, said the study issued last month by the AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, and combating anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses.

One recent example occurred on April 15, when the City University of New York Doctoral Students’ Council passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel, 42-19. Weeks earlier, a CUNY professor and BDS advocate claimed that the killing of Palestinians in Gaza “reflects Jewish values.” On CUNY campuses, the New York Observer reports, Jewish students were harassed, with “Jews out of CUNY” uttered in at least one instance, and a professor who wears a yarmulke was called a “Zionist pig.”

On April 21, two-thirds of a union representing about 2,000 graduate students at New York University voted to approve a motion to support a BDS resolution against Israel. The motion also urges the union and its affiliate, the United Auto Workers, to divest from Israeli companies. The resolution asks NYU to close its program at Tel Aviv University, claiming the program violates NYU’s non-discrimination policy.

About a month earlier, NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), one of the main organizing forces behind the nationwide BDS campaign, hosted Israeli academic Ilan Pappé, described by Benny Morris as “one of the world’s sloppiest historians.”

As reported by AMCHA:

“Pappé blamed Jews, perceived historically as evil, for antisemitism stating, ‘The [Jewish] Israelis…are responsible for bringing antisemitism back.’ He denied Jews self-determination and demonized Israel stating, ‘evil Zionism will come to an end – all immoral regimes do’ as well as suggested rich Jews should leave Israel as a process of ‘decolonization.’ He further demonized Israel throughout accusing Israel of carrying out ‘ethnic cleansing’ multiple times. Pappé delegitimized Israel consistently referring to Israel as a ‘settler colonialist project,’ …[and] promoted BDS.”

The Jewish Law Students Association at Harvard University and Harvard Hillel co-sponsored an event April 14 on “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & the U.S.” During the question and answer session, Husam el-Qoulaq, an HLS student and head of SJP at the school, insulted  Israeli Knesset Member Tzipi Livni by asking, “How is it that you are so smelly?… A question about the odor of Ms. Tzipi Livni, she’s very smelly, and I was just wondering.” The student’s question resurrected the anti-Semitic stereotype of a “smelly/dirty Jew.” Incredibly, some “progressive” HLS Jewish students later defended el-Qoulaq.

As BDS campaigns spread on campuses, anti-Semitic expression increasingly follows – from swastika-filled vandalism at UC Davis and Purdue University to student “debates” at Stanford University that implicitly dignify classical anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the media and economy. Among other recent incidents:

  • April 20: At Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, there have beensix anti-Semitic incidents reported on campus since last December. These involved swastikas on walls or doors of residence halls, messages including “I am a Nazi” and “Hitler did nothing wrong,” a faculty member making anti-Semitic gestures in a classroom, and a Star of David with an “X” scratched into it on the window of a bus.
  • April 19: At the University of Maryland, about two dozen protesters arrived at a Hillel and Jewish Student Union event called, “Israel Fest” and, for about an hour, chanted, “Fight the power; turn the tide; end Israeli apartheid” and held signs saying “Zionism kills.”
  • April 15: At the University of Notre Dame, a letter published by three students in the school newspaper accused Israel of apartheid and directed readers to the Anti-Semitic site “IfAmericansKnew” and the site for a major BDS group, Jewish Voice for Peace.
  • April 10: At Atlanta’s historically black Morehouse College, participants at the U.S. Universities Debating Championship (USUDC) were forced to justify the motion, “This House Believes That Violence By Palestinians Against Israeli Civilian Targets Is Justified.”

According to AMCHA, 2016 already has seen 171 anti-Semitic/BDS incidents as of April 21. At this rate, 2016 will see a 36 percent increase in incidents over last year.

Faculty members have become increasingly active in BDS efforts and smears. During a talk at Vassar College in February, Rutgers professor Jasbir Puar accused Israel of harvesting Palestinian organs and conducting scientific experiments in “stunting” the growth of Palestinian bodies. Last month, 40 Columbia University professors signed a BDS petition. More recently, one pro-BDS professor even tried to link campus rape to Israel. As Rochester Institute of Technology lecturer A.J. Caschetta notes, “at a time when much of academe is jumping on the BDS bandwagon, there is little risk to academics who join the movement, whereas opposition to majority leftist positions often leads to a perilous path.”

Indeed, academics who buck this trend may be endangering their careers. At Connecticut College, one of the few professors who defended Andrew Pessin, who hasn’t been in his classroom for the past year after a hate-filled campaign miscast his comments about Hamas as a smear on all Palestinians, says his stance cost him a promotion. Manuel Lizarralde, associate professor in Ethnobotany, wrote in a faculty-wide email Jan. 26 that the college “acted like vigilantes and found the perfect scapegoat,” in Pessin.

Within days, Lizarralde said, he was called in by the administration for a scolding. Noting that he was recently denied promotion, Lizarralde suggested in a recent email that this was payback for his support of Pessin. Connecticut College has “a sense of racism since we are Latinos, Jews and advocate for social injustice…[and we] are being punished [for such activism].”

Responding to the negative media coverage generated by the Pessin case, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron published an email to the faculty March 28, in which she championed “the right of all its members to express their views freely and openly.” She failed to explain how that principle applied to Pessin, who was hounded off campus for expressing his views, only to see them twisted and turned against him. She said that the school should promote “reasoned and informed debate about the most complex issues of our time,” but Pessin’s absence leaves the school with no pro-Israel voice. When asked about the contradictions between her email and the Pessin affair, she declined to comment.

Meanwhile, outrage against Connecticut College continues to build, with a petition to investigate the Pessin affair and revoke the school’s accreditation now exceeding 1,500 signatures.

Just as the character assassination targeting the only pro-Israel voice at Connecticut College appeared as a total surprise, BDS campaigns to influence student government votes across the country pop up with minimal notice, just weeks before the vote, giving the opposition little time to organize. That strategy helped secure SJP a BDS victoryat the University of Chicago undergraduate student government in March.

It failed to persuade the university’s administration, though.

Who is funding BDS? Analyst Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently told members of Congress that former employees of Hamas-linked charities now work for the Illinois-based organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which is “arguably the leading BDS organization in the US, a key sponsor of the anti-Israel campus network known as Students for Justice in Palestine.” Schanzer noted that AMP provides money, speakers, training and even “apartheid walls” to SJP campus activists. More surprising, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given anti-Israel BDS organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center.

On campus after campus, the BDS movement has proven itself to be well organized and determined to poison the minds of impressionable students against Israel. It will take an equally concerted and sustained effort to oppose BDS in academia.