Yearly Archives: 2015

Pitzer Students for Justice in Palestine Defy Censorship Attempts with Display of Mock Israeli Apartheid Wall

In defiance against attempts at censorship, Students for Justice in Palestine activists at Pitzer College in Claremont California will erect a mock Apartheid Wall to educate their campus about the Israeli occupation and how Israeli policies confiscate Palestinian land and separate Palestinian families and communities.

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Here is their press release explaining the school’s attempt to censor SJP’s freedom of speech:

Pitzer Students for Justice in Palestine to Display Mock Israeli Apartheid Wall Despite Campus Attempts to Censor Its Speech

Claremont, CA — On Tuesday, March 31st, Pitzer Students for Justice in Palestine will display a mock Israeli apartheid wall on campus to raise awareness about Palestinian suffering and the realities of the Israeli occupation, as well as to stimulate conversation around necessary changes in global and domestic human rights policy. SJP is continuing with this demonstration despite attempts by the administration to censor free speech.

SJP Member Dan Solomon explains, “Pitzer College prides itself on ‘social responsibility’, ‘interdisciplinary learning’, and ‘student engagement’ so we hope that the administration will not interfere with our attempt to display those values in our political demonstration. We intend to educate our campus about the Israeli apartheid wall and to build the movement pressuring Israel to respect basic human rights.”

SJP is dismayed at apparent attempts by Pitzer College to stop the display of the wall. When a group of SJP members met with the Pitzer Dean of Students about their plan to display the apartheid wall, the Dean told them he was concerned someone may attempt to damage the wall or “burn it down.” He told them that someone would inevitably submit a formal complaint about the wall being ‘discriminatory.’ He also told SJP they would need approval from the Campus Aesthetics Committee. SJP’s proposal was rejected without formal explanation.

On Friday March 27, Pitzer warned SJP that their plans to proceed with the mock wall would be in blatant defiance of College policy. This is despite the Campus Demonstration’s policy statementthat Pitzer “respects the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly and supports their exercise.”

“We hope Pitzer College thinks twice before violating its own policies to censor SJP’s advocacy for Palestinian rights,” said Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, whowrote to Pitzer officials Monday. “As it should, Pitzer claims to embrace a compelling interest in unfettered inquiry and the collective search for knowledge. Under California law, there can be no ‘Palestine exception’ to this policy. The accusation that displaying a mock Israeli apartheid wall would target Jewish students is an attempt to divert the conversation away from the human rights policy issues SJP is attempting to raise; SJP’s activity targets the Israeli state, not any individual. In response to recent incidents of deplorable anti-Semitic yik yak comments on campus, SJP emphasizes, “As a group advocating for equality, universal human rights, and collective liberation, SJP strongly condemns any form of oppression on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, national origin, or disability,” explains Solomon, “We strongly condemn any form of anti-Semitism on campus.”

Motivated by the same opposition to racism, SJP will display the mock Israeli apartheid wall, in the hopes of educating the Pitzer campus about the Israeli system of race-based separation and subjugation of Palestinians. “If you agree with SJP, and the International Court of Justice, that an apartheid wall violates basic human rights, we invite you to join Pitzer SJP in dismantling the wall at the end the day,” said Solomon.

Students urged to conduct mock hangings on college campuses this April in support of Israel

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.21.14 PMPop Quiz!

Who is giving pro-Israel college students step-by-step instructions for holding mock hangings, stonings and whippings?

Is it the Onion in an attempt at satire gone awry? Or is it the former Marxist-turned-rabid Muslim-hater David Horowitz’s ironically named ‘Freedom Center’ in their newly published and freely downloadable “Student Handbook”?

If you guess David Horowitz and gang, ding ding ding! You win!

The ‘Mock Hangings’ portion of the student Handbook begins with one of the most extraordinary sentences ever written in the English language:

“To highlight Israel’s comparatively stellar record on human rights, we encourage you to hold a mock hanging, mock stoning or mock whipping on your campus.”

Really?

The book is featured on a new Freedom Center website actually titled “Jew Hatred on Campus“, written with a weird, Ted Kaczynski-like obsession with getting back at the country’s largest student group working for Palestinian rights, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). (We’ll let others dig into a point by point response to the distorted charges within about the student group which includes Muslims, Christian, Jews and others. We at Jewish Voice for Peace are privileged to know many wonderful SJP leaders— and we can say with confidence that calling SJP an anti-Jewish hate group is like calling President Obama a Communist! Oh wait, David Horowitz did that!)

Apparently oblivious to the fact that it might be, um, a tad insensitive to black or queer students especially to fake-hang a “homosexual” dummy on a campus, they offer step by step directions:

Staging a mock hanging on your campus will expose SJP’s hypocrisy. Students can produce a dummy dressed in normal attire with a rope around his neck. A sign on him will read “I’m a gay Iranian and SJP doesn’t care about me.” If you cannot produce a dummy, contact the Freedom Center and we will help you.

A minimum of 4 students are needed. 1 student to hold the dummy
1 student to help
1 student recording their team
1 student to record the crowd

Students staging a mock hanging must follow these rules:
- Wear plain clothes (no logos, political shirts, bright colors)
- No chanting, yelling or talking
- Do not engage in debate or arguments
For more information on how to stage a mock hanging on your campus contact DELETED@truthrevolt.org.

Because seeing is believing, here are some more screenshots. More ways to win over women this time:
Excerpt from Freedom Center's Student Guidebook- Advice for Teach-Ins about Intolerance

But truly, this is no laughing matter: The clearly well-funded Freedom Center’s “Jew Hatred on Campus” campaign is calling for action around the country in April as a counter to Israeli Apartheid Week activities. And it may be the source of one of the most truly disturbing intimidation campaigns we’ve seen.

Freedom Center Linked to Horrific Posters?
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.21.14 PM

This week, students at at least five schools across the U.S. woke up to these identical and truly terrifying posters (also above). Each had a massive image of Hamas militants enacting violence on Palestinians. Each one had the same text, large letters at the top which simply stated “Students for Justice in Palestine,” and on the bottom, “#JewHaters.”

Initial statements from school administrators are condemning these posters as hateful, with a UCLA spokesperson saying the school “repudiate[s] them in the strongest possible terms.”

In fact, even other pro-Israel groups have reached out to support SJP against this bigotry. Students across the country have the same question: who is responsible?

Though no one has publicly taken credit,* given the near identical images, language, timing and targets, all signs point to Freedom Center. If so, one might even argue they are themselves engaging in a form of terrorism targeted at students, and mostly though not exclusively, students of color.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has a long history of grotesque anti-Arab racism and Islamaphobia. Once again, they have crossed a dangerous line. Their campaign is nothing less than a medieval witch hunt.

Cecilie Surasky and Gabi Kirk, Jewish Voice for Peace
Gabi@jvp.org

*UPDATE: In an interview published 2/25/15 in the Jewish Journal, David Horowitz admitted to being behind the anti-SJP posters. See: http://www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/conservative_activist_david_horowitz_admits_responsibility_for_posters