National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced that it will host its eighth annual conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, to remind students that Zionism “can be destroyed,” Shiri Moshe reported in The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
The conference will take place on November 16-18 under the theme of “resistance in the face of adversity.” In a note explaining the conference’s goals, the organizers defined Zionism – the belief that Jews have a right to their own homeland – as “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death.”
The organizers said the conference will seek to remind students “that Zionism is not an insurmountable force,” and “The reason we can have hope is that Zionism is a human ideology and a set of laws that have been challenged and can be destroyed.” Participants will need to “work on reframing Zionism” as a concrete force “that can be broken down and dismantled,” particularly through local campaigns with “clear targets.”
Workshops at the conference, the organizers said, will be designed to help students learn skills necessary for coalition building, fundraising, and combating “normalization” — often defined as interactions between Palestinians and Israelis.
SJP is part of the wider Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that openly advocates for the destruction of the Jewish State. Several studies have suggested that anti-Zionist activity like BDS is a contributing to anti-Semitic sentiments and activity on U.S. college campuses.
In the now well-known case, on May 17, Students Supporting Israel gathered in a UCLA function room for a panel discussion titled “Indigenous Peoples Unite”. Anti-Israel protesters tore down Armenian and Israeli flags, threw SSI materials onto the ground, and used bullhorns to chant slogans calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of Israel, including, “we want 48, we don’t want two states,” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
In a series of reports for The Tower, Edwin Black detailed how the incident was reported by students to the UCLA police department, where they filed formal complaints, which then resulted in a formal referral of the incident to city prosecutors.
Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told The Algemeiner that SJP is a subsidiary of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which he said has “direct ties” to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Romirowsky observed that the evidence should encourage UCLA “to be much more concerned about the sources of the money [for the conference] and what they are allowing to come in to their institution.”
Other conferences have been hosted at San Diego State University, Tufts University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and Columbia University.
In 2016 a committee of the University of California’s Board of Regents unanimously approved a “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance,” which included “anti-semitic forms of anti-Zionism.” These were defined as “opposition to Zionism” which “often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.” A conference that equates Zionism with “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death,” apparently would violate this standard.
In On Many Campuses, Hate is Spelled SJP, which was published in the September 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, Daniel Mael observed, “Indeed, unless college administrators take a more active role in preventing it, SJP has a good chance of achieving its goal of turning venomous hatred of Israel and bullying of Jews and non-Jewish supporters—with all the violence and fear that inevitably accompany it—into a legitimate and accepted tactic on North American campuses.”
[Photo: Student Supporting Israel (SSI) / YouTube ]