CALL TO MAY DAY 2016: PALESTINE CONTINGENT

When: May, 1st at 12pm

Where: Union Square West

 

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Join NYC Students for Justice in Palestine as we turn out to this year’s May Day contingent at Union Square. International Workers Day, or “May Day” originated to commemorate the death of the four workers protesting for the current 8-hour workdays during the Chicago Haymarket Riot in 1886. Although the U.S. does not recognize days like this as it continues to wipe away the history of the workers and migrants that built this country, May Day has since continued to celebrate the ongoing class struggle waged worldwide to overthrow oppression and exploitation.

 

The world imperialist system today is prone to instability and crisis, and the people are confronted with a deepening economic crisis that the 2016 presidential candidates promise to fix. On one hand, GOP-top runner candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric creates sharp antagonisms in class struggle that gives rise to a fascist movement. Among the Democrats we see neoliberalism take the form of Social Democracy, often the friendliest form of capitalism. Yet around the country, black people  still continued to be killed with impunity, immigrant families are still raided and deported, and communities are still struggling for clean water, living wages and affordable housing.

 

This May Day, our thoughts are with oppressed people everywhere. While oppression manifests itself through class, it takes up many different forms, with imperialism being the most sophisticated and detrimental to oppressed nationalities worldwide, as imperialism and state sanctioned violence forces displaced people to come to countries like the U.S. for survival. The exploiting class in imperialist countries ally with the comprador class in their colonies and territories, often engulfing in proxy wars that result in the destruction we see in places like Aleppo, Syria today.  
As NYC SJP,  we  emphasize the global struggles for national liberation and self-determination, in particular that of the Palestinian struggle, for on this May Day, Palestine remains under the occupation of the white supremacist, settler-colonial Zionist entity that calls itself Israel. Discriminatory laws have been signed into practice in occupied Palestine by Israel since the Nakba in 1948, which killed, displaced, and forcibly removed three-quarters of a million Palestinians. The Palestinian people are subject to an ongoing genocide on a near-daily basis, and every few years, they are subjected to major Israeli operations that kill indiscriminately. The point of these operations is to crush the souls and morales of the Palestinians, to reaffirm Israel’s domination as the settler-colonial vanguard state in the Middle East. We last saw this on a major scale in the summer of 2014, when Israel killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. In the U.S. we see the conviction of Palestinian organizer Rasmea Odeh along with many political prisoners fighting for liberation. We see the rapid expansion of settlements in the West Bank as our communities continue to be gentrified and surveilled in America. We see the ever-expanding continuation of the Nakba in occupied Palestine as the U.S. expands as the largest military and prison system in the world. Then, when Palestinians rise up and resist, Israel and its global enablers label them terrorists.

Indeed, this May also marks 68 years of living under occupation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and genocide for the Palestinian people. Israel sustains itself and its crimes through the aid of global imperialist powers that also oppress working class peoples in their own countries, the most notable of these countries being the United States, the world’s only superpower and leading imperialist power.

This May Day, we denounce Israel, we denounce the United States, and we denounce global capitalism and its highest form, imperialism. We salute the workers, the resistors, and the oppressed everywhere.

WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!

FOR A LIBERATED PALESTINE, THE RETURN OF ALL ITS REFUGEES, AND A DEMOCRATIC STATE IN WHICH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE CHOOSE THEIR FUTURES!

FOR THE LIBERATION OF ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE EXPLOITED WORKERS WE ARE PROUDLY MARCHING WITH!

Political Prisoners Day Statement

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Today, Sunday April 17, 2016, join us and our allies as we launch the second Prison Divestment National Week of Action and mark the 42nd Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. We will gather at 1:30pm at Cadman Plaza and come out in full force to rally against the massive public investment and private prison companies that profit off of human rights violations in New York, Palestine, the US/Mexico border and prison detention centers around the world.

It is no secret that the U.S. is built on the foundation of genocide and enslavement of indigenous, Black, and other oppressed nationalities, and seeks to punish and imprison those who build power in antagonism with said foundation. And like its imperialist benefactor the United States, Israel imprisons Palestinians who seek justice from the violent Zionist settler state.

As of February of this year, Israel has detained 7,000 Palestinian political detainees, including 406 children and 670 administrative detainees. Israel true to its apartheid-like nature, has separate legal systems for Palestinians in the West Bank and the illegal settlers occupying it. While settlers enjoy their full fledged rights under the Israeli civilian system, Palestinians are subjected to the Israeli military court system.

Case in point, is twelve year old Dima al-Wawi the youngest girl in the world to be detained. She has been arrested and tried under the military courts for allegedly holding a knife and attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. Dima was questioned without the presence of her lawyers or parents, subsequently, she was coerced to sign a confession in Hebrew (a language that Dima does not understand). Dima’s case is not unique. In fact, coercion, torture, and psychological abuses are a general practice by the IDF soldiers and the Israeli military system put in place for Palestinians.

It is the link to U.S. imperialism that help make it possible for the Israeli military to orchestrate these kind of travesties. The U.S. spends 3 billion dollars a year on the Zionist state, which includes its military fund. Companies likes G4S, one of the largest security and imprisonment facilities in the world, provides services and equipment for Israeli prisons.

Zionism is built on, and maintains itself on the erasure of Palestinians, their history and their culture to survive. Israel, frantically trying to destroy the Palestinian spirit, finds itself confronted with the resistance that came before its establishment, and will live on after it’s destruction. Zionists can attempt new ways to divide and conquer Palestinians, but the oppressed peoples of the world will find a thousand more ways to resist and crush Zionism.

We will not stay silent at Israel’s farce of a so-called democracy and the United States’ hand in the colonization of Palestine. We unapologetically call out Israel for what it is: a European settler colonial state created through ethnic cleansing, displacements, and crippling national oppression. Zionism and a liberated Palestine can not exist concurrently, one will necessarily overcome the other. As Palestinians in the diaspora and internationalists, we know that Zionism can not be simply tolerated and reformed, it must be ended by any means necessary, as well as every ideology that upholds the imperialist system today.

Furthermore, the United States, as an imperialist nation, depends on Israel to further its control and influence in the region. We cannot call for a liberated Palestine without the defeat of US imperialism. We, as solidarity organizers for the Palestinian cause in the United States, must connect the struggles of all oppressed peoples here in the States and around the world. We must call out the US’ mass incarceration for what it is: genocide. Like Zionism, national oppression in the United States against Black people, Chicanos, First Nations and others is not something that can be voted away or changed by shifting the political narrative in popular media. Only by revolutionary struggle can these systems of oppression not only be managed, but they can be ended. From the detention centers in Arizona to the dungeons in occupied Hebron, FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

NYC SJP CONDEMNS ATTACK ON FARMERS IN KIDAPAWAN

YOUTH AND STUDENTS UNITE TO FIGHT IMPERIALISM FROM THE PHILIPPINES TO NEW YORK TO PALESTINE

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As students, workers and community members in solidarity with Palestine and all oppressed nations, New York City Students for Justice in Palestine stands in solidarity with the people of Kidapawan, after the massacre in which several farmers were killed, hundreds were injured and dozens remain missing.

 

During a devastating drought in the Cotabato region of Mindanao, over 5,000 farmers and indigenous Lumad marched on the Cotabato-Davao highway and formed a human barricade to demand relief in the form of 15,000 sacks of rice. Responding to this show of power by the people of Cotabato, the Philippine National Police (PNP) opened fire on the barricade, killing at least three people, injuring more than 100, and arresting more than 80 others. After the massacre, the protestors found sanctuary in the United Methodist Church compound, where the PNP continues to harass them under the pretext of “searching for firearms”. US imperialism, represented by the Government of the Philippines, will try to halt the growth of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines by any means available, as shown by the recent massacres in Hacienda Lusita and Kidapawan, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of indigenous activists from the Cordillera mountains to Mindanao, and the armed campaign against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

 

NYC SJP recognizes the parallels between the reactionary government in the Philippines and the settler-colonial state of Israel. Like the Zionist state, the Aquino regime in the Philippines depends on U.S. imperialist aid to survive, receiving $79 million in U.S. military aid in 2015. AnakBayan NY notes, “This aid goes directly to the repression of the people’s just resistance against their oppressors as this recent incident in Cotabato shows. The shooting of unarmed protestors exposes the cowardice of the Malacañang government and their desperation to hold onto their power.” Similarly, Israel ranks as the number one recipient of U.S. military aid, receiving $3 billion in 2015, in addition to regularly receiving annual lump sums as much as $1.9 billion. Both the Government of the Philippines and the Israeli state operate as U.S. outposts in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, advancing the interests of U.S. hegemony at the expense of the Filipino, Palestinian, and oppressed nations all over the globe.  

 

While the police and military in the Philippines prevent the people of Cotabato from accessing necessities like food, the Israeli state imposes a crippling siege on Gaza. The siege results in extreme food shortages, water sources in which 96% of the coastal aquifer is contaminated with chloride and nitrate, chronic unemployment and damaged and destroyed crucial infrastructure. This air, naval, and land siege is used to collectively punish the Palestinian people for their continuous resistance, in the various forms it takes, both armed and unarmed. However, the siege of Gaza is but one aspect of the national oppression Israel inflicts on the Palestinian people. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is a struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine from the river to the sea, and must be led by Palestinians wherever they may be–in Gaza, the West Bank, ‘48 Palestine, the camps, and the wider diaspora. Similarly, the struggle for National Democracy and Socialism in the Philippines is a struggle not only against the Aquino regime, but a struggle for genuine democracy and liberation, against semi-feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and U.S. imperialism.

 

Our role as progressive and revolutionary youth and students in the imperialist center is to weaken the Empire and incapacitate its reach, so that space is created for revolutionary movements to flourish in nations like the Philippines and Palestine, and they are able to self-­determine their futures, free of imperialist and colonial domination. While the benefactors of Empire seem all-powerful, in reality they are weak and dependent on imperialism, illustrated by the Zionist’s need to dip into the U.S. ammunition stockpiles during the 2014 Israeli aggression on Gaza. Neither the puppet government in the Philippines, nor the settler state on Palestinian land have any chance of surviving without support from the imperialists. Logically then, our tasks must be to both organize in solidarity with Palestine through tools like BDS, as well as consciously and intentionally move forward the struggles rooted in national questions within the U.S. prison-house of nations.

 

We call on all Palestine solidarity organizations, and other progressive and revolutionary organizations to stand with the people of Cotabato not out of moralistic grandstanding, but out of revolutionary, internationalist necessity. As we have previously stated, “Advances of one anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle both objectively strain the resources of oppressor nation(s), and subjectively inspire anti-imperialist struggles around the world by proving these struggles are possible in practice. As SJPs organizing within the center of US imperialism, we are in a position to advance the anti-imperialist and anti-settler-colonial struggles here, and in particular the national liberation struggles of internal colonies within the borders of the US (the struggles for national self-determination of Blacks/New Afrikans, Chicanos, First Nations, etc.). By doing so, we will actively advance Palestinian liberation by undermining the ability of the US imperialist state to so extensively support Israel.”

We stand forever in solidarity with the struggle in the Philippines, and with our comrades in AnakBayan – USA. The crimes in Kidapawan and Gaza will not go unpunished.

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As long as the imperialists globalize their system, we will globalize as well.

-Leila Khaled, Quezon City, Philippines

#BigasHindiBala

!يسقط الإستعمار

IMPERYALISMO IBAGSAK!

Women hold up half the sky: Palestinian women in the struggle against Zionism

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“Palestine, our souls will not rust in exile”

Join us today on March 5th at 1 pm in front of the Harriet Tubman Statue – 122 St and St Nicholas Av/Frederick Douglass Blvd, in  Harlem New York to commemorate International Working Women’s Day as an inseparable aspect of the fight for Palestinian liberation. NYC SJP along with many other student and community organizations will be out in full force to affirm our commitment in the fight against patriarchy and zionism. The struggle against patriarchy is inextricably linked to the struggle against racism, colonialism, and capitalism: The very core of the settler colonial state of Israel. As we voiced in our article about Mordechai Kedar’s appearance at Hunter, Israel’s patriarchal roots go back to the mass rapes committed during the Nakba as a psychological weapon to colonize and wipe out Palestinians, as well as the daily assault and sexual harassment of Palestinian women to this day by the Zionist state. This is evident from sexual assault and harassment of Palestinian women, to IDF soldiers custom printing t-shirts with misogynistic messages such as “a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” And “a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” These shirts were made during the 2008 military attack on Gaza, and have gotten approval from IDF commanders as part of a military tradition. Zionism uses patriarchy, just as it uses racism, imperialism, and other systems of oppression, to ensure its continued survival. It is therefore our duty as advocates and supporters of the Palestinian people to unite with all those fighting gender oppression from Palestine, to the United States, and at our own college campuses.

Israel is a state that was built on the murder and rape of Palestinian women, a state that forces women to give birth at checkpoints, where more than half of the babies died as a result. It is a state that imprisons Palestinian students and folkloric dancers like Lina khattab, who had an Israeli judge point at her saying “she looks like a leader” as she was sentenced to prison just for protesting against Israel. Khattab was accused of “throwing stones” and sentenced to six months in Israeli prison in December 2014; her case won international attention and solidarity from student organizations and activists around the world. After her release in June of 2014, Khattab changed her major course of study at Bir Zeit from journalism to law, noting that she planned to become a lawyer to defend Palestinian political prisoners and advocate for their freedom after witnessing their conditions first hand. The U.S and Israel know the power of organized Palestinian women, with identical goals of targeting revolutionaries to suppress political organizing. Lina Khattab is among many Palestinian women imprisoned for being a leader in their community. Another being Khalida Jarrar who has defended political prisoners under the PFLP. Khalida has been arrested in her home and held in indefinite detention by Israeli occupation forces multiple times. Her first arrest was at a protest marking International Working Women’s Day in Ramallah, Palestine, 1989. She was detained in Israeli prison for one month and subsequently became involved in human rights organizing and advocacy as a student at Birzeit University. Khalida Jarrar was actively involved in community-based and university organizing, for self determination. As a Palestinian immigrant to the U.S, Rasmea Odeh has made it her life’s work struggling for an end to Israeli colonization. She was first targeted by the Israeli state, sexually abused by Zionist occupation forces until she signed a document confessing to a bombing in Jerusalem. In moving to the U.S, she did not mark her bogus confession when asked if she has been convicted of a crime on her immigration papers. 11 years after grassroots work in Chicago, the U.S says she committed immigration fraud. In reality, this was a concentrated state effort to suppress the support she has been extending the Arab population of Chicago. Her treatment in both the Israeli and U.S court system reveal the misogyny a part of these institutions. On the one hand, she was raped by Israeli interrogators. On the other, the reality and evidence of her rape was held from the jury when she went on trial.

The Zionist movement is contingent on upholding patriarchy as a justification of their colonization and occupation of Palestine, with officials like Ayelet Shaked the Israeli minister of Justice spewing violent rhetoric against Palestinian women by saying “if she sends her son to to hell she should know she’s going with him, along with the house, and everything inside it.” The struggle for Palestinian liberation is indivisible with the struggle for women’s liberation. We reject the idea that women should support each other solely based on “womanhood”. Women who facilitate Zionist aggression in Palestine do not have any common ground with women resisting it. We reject any ideology which delegitimizes or ignores oppressed peoples right to rebel against colonial conditions. Similarly, we recognize the domestic call for “women’s equality and opportunity” from U.S “feminist” politicians is empty rhetoric. From NYC to Honduras, their actions continue the U.S legacy of white supremacy and dominance. The 1994 “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act”, with the support of First Lady Hillary Clinton, put more police on patrol in working class Black and Latino communities, also enacting a “mandatory minimum” for nonviolent drug related sentences. Prisons today are filled with people of all genders scooped up by this legislation. Under the policy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the U.S. funneled funds and support to overthrow then Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. After the U.S backed coup, femicide accelerated among other drug cartels and state police violence. Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Caceres faced repeated death threats from state security forces because of her role organizing against the 2009 coup and her work with the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. She cofounded COPINH in 1993 to address the growing threats posed to indigenous Lena communities by illegal logging, fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods. Cáceres mounted campaigns and lead protests to demand the Lena people have autonomy over their lands. March 3rd, of 2016 she was killed in her home. The assailant is unknown but it is highly likely this is a state sanctioned assassination and almost certain there will be no adequate investigation. This is a clear example of the farce that is “global sisterhood” after all, what do women like Leila Khaled and Golda Meir have in common when they are at the opposite sides of a struggle, with Golda Meir an Israeli Prime minister colonizing Palestinian land through zionist Ideology, and Leila Khaled committing her life to be a freedom fighter in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

To stand against imperialism, capitalism, and patriarchy is to stand with political prisoners, indigenous women, and those struggling against all systems of oppression around the world.

Smash the Patriarchy!

Smash the Settler Zionist State!

Free Palestine, and Free Women EVERYWHERE!

Long Live the Memory of Omar Nayef Zayed!

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Today only hours apart from the victory of Mohammed al-Qeeq after his 94-day hunger strike, the revolutionary Omar Nayef Zayed was assassinated within the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria.

Omar, a former political prisoner and hunger striker, was threatened with extradition from Bulgaria in December of 2015 when the Israeli state demanded his arrest. Zayed was accused of carrying out a resistance operation against settlers in 1986, and had escaped from Zionist prisons in 1990 after a 40 day hunger strike. NYC SJP holds the Israeli state responsible for his assassination, and the Palestinian Authority for failing to adequately protect Omar within their diplomatic mission. The individuals and government who carried out this assassination must be held accountable through any channel possible.

All of the Palestinians resisting in the bowels of Israeli jails represent the firm resilience of the Palestinian people for self-determination, however no amount of happiness from al-Qeeq’s victory will make us forgive or forget about the enraging assassination of Omar Nayef Zayed. Even though we are Palestinians living in the diaspora and internationalists in solidarity with Palestine, the issues of the prisoners must always be on our minds. We salute Mohammed al-Qeeq, the martyr Omar Nayef Zayed, and all political prisoners.

Victory for Rasmea Odeh, a Hero of the People

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In October 2013 Palestinian community leader and political activist Rasmea Odeh was arrested by Department of Homeland Security agents and subsequently indicted in federal court on immigration fraud charges. The charges alleged that she failed to disclose that she was convicted by an Israeli military court in 1969 in her application for U.S. citizenship from the early 1990s. Despite the fact that it was only after she was tortured and raped by Israeli interrogators in 1969 that Odeh signed a false confession that implicated her in a pair of Jerusalem bombings that same year. Also, despite the fact that she spent the next ten years incarcerated in an Israeli prison, the presiding judge in her 2014 criminal trial refused to admit any evidence of torture or its psychological effects

While the U.S. government claimed that Rasmea broke the law by not disclosing her 1969 conviction, the prosecution failed to address the original fact that the conviction was the result of torture leading to a false confession. There is no due process in Israeli military courts , which “convict” over 99% of Palestinians, and that evidence from an Israeli military court should not have been accepted in a U.S. courtroom in the first place.

The Rasmea Defense Committee, a coalition led by the United States Palestinian Community Network and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, has argued that “Rasmea came under attack by the U.S. government because she is Palestinian, and because for decades, she has organized for Palestinian liberation and self-determination, the Right of Return, and an end to Israeli occupation and colonization.” Drawing from the shared experience of political imprisonment, Angela Davis elaborated in July 2015 that she identifies with Odeh “because I know that it is through individuals that entire movements are attacked.” From the outset of her criminal trial, Rasmea’s defense team sought to have her case dismissed, on the grounds that her indictment was “the product of an illegal investigation…intended to suppress the work of the defendant in support of the Arab community of Chicago.”

While Rasmea’s conviction was vacated in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the fact that she still faces a prison sentence and deportation, and was even subject to it in the first place reveals the true intentions of the U.S. government: to target and punish people like Odeh as a means of suppressing political organizing in Palestinian, Arab and oppressed nationality communities. Yes, Odeh’s conviction may have been vacated, but there are still political prisoners languishing in cages in the U.S. and Israel/occupied Palestine. With the imprisonment of Mohammad Allan, a Palestinian lawyer who went on a hunger strike in August of 2015 for 66 days, and Mohammed Al Qeeq, who is still in Israeli Prison. There is no saying to what extents they will go to to silence the Palestinian people.  

With the rise of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the fascist, xenophobic politics of the far right, Islamophobic attacks have surged to levels unseen in the U.S. post 9/11. Republican presidential candidates continue to call for the expanded surveillance of Muslim/Arab communities all under the guise of “counterterrorism,” much like the rise of surveillance on Muslim students in MSAs across CUNY that has led to the entrapment of students. The escalation of these right wing politics leads to heavier repression of Muslims and Organizers not only on campuses, but also into communities in order to silence people who challenge the state. We also recognize this as an effort to repress Palestine solidarity organizers such as Rasema Odeh   

From Palestine to Jordan to Chicago — Odeh has committed her life’s work to fighting for the rights of Arab immigrant and refugee communities from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. Her community has remained at her center and her freedom continues to be a rallying cry in Palestinian and Arab communities across the country. We applaud the work Rasmea, and all other revolutionaries do to liberate oppressed people and would like to emphasize the fact that even if the case is eventually dismissed, repression of Palestinian revolutionaries does not stop at this court case. The ruling could lead to a new trial for Odeh, unless the government or the defense appeals the decision to the full bench of the 6th Circuit or the Supreme Court. So we must continue in this fight, this is not over, and we must not trust the courts of empire.  The movement needs to keep growing stronger in the face of repression, and must stay ready to mobilize to support Rasmea and all political prisoners.

The Real Story: The New McCarthyism and Repression of Palestine Activism at CUNY

 

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Today, Wednesday February 24, the New York Post released an article regarding a letter that the Zionist Organization of America wrote to Chancellor Milliken of the City University of New York and its Board of Trustees, accusing Students for Justice in Palestine of Anti-Semitism and demanding the suspension of SJP chapters across CUNY. The 14-page letter, in the name of creating a safe environment for Jewish students, claims to be “concerned” about a series of actions that supposedly were committed by members of Students for Justice in Palestine chapters around CUNY campuses.  This smear article comes as part of a larger offensive by the Zionist movement, both across campuses and worldwide, in the face of the victories of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and the further popularization of the Palestinian cause.    

To contextualize this attack, we must note that there is a long history of repression towards SJPs all around CUNY campuses.  This repression has taken the form of unwanted excessive security at our events, sudden cancellations, and public letters from the CUNY administration denouncing our actions.  Students organizing with SJP have received repeated threats and harassment both on and off campus.  After organizing the Million Student March (MSM), SJPs and allies around CUNY faced backlash. A statement was released by Hunter President Raab shortly after the MSM, in which she condemned acts of “Anti-semitism,” but said nothing of a Hunter student at the MSM who was carrying a laptop showing videos of Syrian refugees and shouting that Muslims are taking over and  “de-purifying Europe;” at the march, this student was guarded by CUNY security. Nor was there any mention in Raab’s statement of the members of Students for Israel who, in their counter-protest, called a member of SJP a “self-hating Jew,” in response to his support for SJP.  At Hunter College, these types of anti-SJP and Islamophobic incidents have become almost routine, as we can see in this viral video from March 2015, showing a confrontation between a racist student and SJP during “Israeli Apartheid Week.”  While these incidents may seem isolated, the reality is that many acts of repression have taken a specifically organized political character, involving the leadership of the pro-Israel lobby on campus, as well as members of the faculty and administration. Most recently, in the Fall of 2015, the vice-president of the Hunter Zionist Alliance, and more revealingly, a member of the Zionist Organization of America, posing as a student sympathetic to Palestine, came to Hunter SJP meetings and, in classic agent provocateur form, attempted to goad members into violent action against Jews via text messages which, of course, went unanswered to by our members.  

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In a similar incident, at Hunter College in Spring 2013, a paid Hillel staffer offensively suggested that Hillel should sponsor a “mock suicide bombing” in response to SJP’s “mock checkpoint” demonstration in the Hunter West Lobby.  At John Jay College, in February 2016, the faculty advisor to a student club threatened SJP that he would go to the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit if SJP refused to collaborate with Hillel on an event.  At the College of Staten Island, a member of Hillel pressured the administration to remove Muslim articles of faith from the interfaith prayer room, and began a petition to ban SJP from CUNY.  At Brooklyn College in the Fall of 2014, a member of the Israel club spit on an SJP member during a demonstration in support of the uprising in Ferguson.  Also at Brooklyn College, Mordechai Levy, a former member of the Jewish Defense League, a terrorist organization which counts one of our primary detractors Assemblyman Dov Hikind among its former members, distributed flyers comparing SJP to “Hamas on campus,” and told SJP he “had a surprise for them,” an especially terrifying threat given Levy’s involvement in the JDL’s execution via letter bomb of Arab community organizer, Alex Odeh in 1985.

Additionally, this sort of repression has not been limited to SJP, but extended to Muslim groups at CUNY.  The Zionist Organization of America president, Morton Klein, claimed in his statement that “Such bigotry would never be tolerated by CUNY if it were being directed against another ethnic, racial or other targeted group…CUNY should not be tolerating it when the bigotry is directed against Jews”– ignoring the blatant truth that while CUNY issued statements against SJP, condemning claims of anti-Semitism, that same administration has actively supported and defended Islamophobes on and off campus, and, most egregiously, allowed the NYPD to bring informants on campus.  The informants were tasked with entrapping members of the Muslim Student Association at multiple CUNY campuses, specifically in Queens College and Brooklyn college, where an infiltrator posing as a muslim convert joined both SJP and MSA for five years, leading to the entrapment and arrest of two Queens College students.  Similar situations played out at Hunter College and John Jay, where police officers, informants, and secondary informants infiltrated Muslim student groups in order to gather information and entrap students who they viewed as easy targets for manipulation.  The hypocrisy of Zionist organizations know few boundaries. On one hand, Zionist organizations push the administration to denounce “anti-semitism and bigotry” at campus rallies organized to call for the divestment from companies that maintain the occupation of Palestine; on the other hand, these organizations honor and invite advocates of the use of rape as a tool of war like Mordechai Kedar to campus, as Hunter Students for Israel, Hunter Hillel, the Zionist Organization of America, and United Jewish Appeal attempted to do on February 16th. The people who would claim that SJP creates an unsafe environment on campus are the exact same people who create the atmosphere of trauma for survivors of sexual violence, all while Hunter remains one of many schools under Title IX investigations for the mishandling of reports of sexual violence.  In short, while the CUNY administration trips over itself to support baseless accusations of anti-Semitism, when similar issues are raised by Muslims or women and their allies, CUNY turns a blind eye.

Repression of pro-Palestinian activists has also taken place off campus.  State senator Michael Gianaris recently introduced a new piece of anti-BDS legislation that aims to put any individual and organization that supports BDS on a blacklist. BDS is “a global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.” If passed, this bill would prohibit New York State from contracting with individuals and organizations that are engaged in the BDS movement. When confronted at John Jay College regarding this bill, Senator Gianaris evaded the questions by referring to Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations, an irrelevant fact, and said that organizations that seek to undermine the US’s “greatest ally” should not receive any taxpayer money.Yet the state of Israel, one of the greatest human rights violators, receives 3 billion dollars a year from the US. He then stated that he does not care about the rights of people in other countries. He claims that in the US, “people can say whatever they want,” yet introduced a bill that would effectively prevent people from doing so without state-sanctioned punishment. However, we recognize this as an effort to hinder the growing effectiveness of Palestine solidarity organizing in the US. This has been accompanied with the rise of the McCarthyite naming and attempted blacklisting of activists through the website Canary Mission, which was created to “document people and groups that are promoting hatred of the USA, Israel and the Jewish people, particularly on college campuses in North America.”  Ultimately, it exists to demonize and “expose” pro-Palestinian activists with the explicit goal of damaging their professional and educational reputations.

But why go to such lengths to suppress a supposedly marginal movement in favor of Palestinian liberation? The answer lies in the same logic which ties tuition hikes and sexual violence to the oppression of the Palestinian people.  We live in the center of imperialism, the headquarters of worldwide oppression, the United States.  It is the same force, US world imperialism, that reinforces the occupation of Palestinian land, murders Black people in cold police violence, commits sexual violence against women in the Philippines, and deports families all across the United States on a daily basis .  Therefore, the imperialists understand, just as we do, that the only solution to these issues is a broad movement of revolutionary anti-imperialist forces from these different groups, seeking their overthrow.  They must suppress our movement because they know that, if left unfettered, it will grow into a mass upheaval that will not only end Zionism, but tear the US imperialist project from its roots worldwide and at home, planting in its place a world based on justice, peace, and solidarity.  This type of repression is particularly important in the University, where the ideology of the ruling class is shaped and reinforced to create the next generation of administrators of imperialism.  We seek to liberate CUNY for the people, building a University which teaches the real history of the oppressed people of New York City and the world, in order to prepare students not to maintain the world as it is, but to overthrow it.  The Zionist Organization of America, the CUNY Administration, the New York State Assembly, and the ruling classes in general, therefore, will do anything in order to stop us and keep our university and our people in chains.

CUNY is not a neutral ground in the struggle against imperialism. Controlled by the Board of Trustees, CUNY is an Ideological State Apparatus (ISA) which serves to reproduce both ruling class ideologies and train students to enter each of the sectors of class society. Our struggle to liberate CUNY for the people is part and parcel of the broader anti-imperialist struggle, not just to improve the conditions of students but to rebuild CUNY to teach the real history of the oppressed people of New York City and the world, and to train students to organize their communities and serve the needs and interests of the people, in order to prepare students not to maintain the world as it is, but to overthrow it. 

In reference to the particular accusations made by this New York Post article and the mysterious 14 page letter sent to the CUNY Chancellor, we will not spend the effort to debunk each absurd individual claim, like the ridiculous idea that we, an anti-racist and anti-imperialist organization, would have anything to do with swastikas on campus.    We have already dealt with the claims of anti-Semitism at the Million Student March, and found them to be baseless propaganda on the part of pro-Israel forces.  Similarly, Brooklyn College faculty present at the Faculty Council meeting have already refuted the claims that anything anti-Semitic was shouted by protesters, a fact reaffirmed by Politico.  We realize that the examples cited by the New York Post are but a few of the many of the ZOA letter, and, if these absurd, vague, and unproven claims are among the strongest in the document, we eagerly  look forward to examining what other fantastical claims the ZOA was able to come up with in their full document.  In terms of the document itself, which is reported to call for the ban of SJP from CUNY campuses, we refer the CUNY Administration to Article XV, Section 15.2.a of the CUNY By-Laws which guarantees students the right to “form an organization, association, club or chapter by filing with the duly elected student government organization of the college or school at which they are enrolled or in attendance” as well as the explicit right to “free expression and association.”  We would like to make clear that any attempt on the part of the Administration to fulfill this ban on CUNY SJPs will be met with swift legal action.

We understand that the role of CUNY is to reproduce an oppressive ruling class ideology, and that is why it comes as no shock to us that CUNY would be so supportive in the defamation of SJP. CUNY administration, as well as CUNY public safety are not here to protect and serve the needs of anyone who tries to disseminate the white supremacist nature of our educational system. However, that should not intimidate us, instead it should make our forces stronger. New York City Students for Justice in Palestine encourages all students to join campus SJPs and be vocal and supportive about the repression SJPs,MSAs, and our allies face everywhere. For all those interested in joining our movement for the liberation of Palestine and all oppressed communities, visit NYC SJP’s Facebook page.