Tag: Students for Justice in Palestine

Time to call out the campus Israel Lobby

Tom Pessah | Mondoweiss

Imagine you are a student activist trying to get tobacco products banned from your university. You insist that cigarettes cause cancer, as so much research has shown. Your opponents are other students who claim the connection is tenuous and controversial, that student government should not make judgments on complex health issues, and that some students are so attached to their cigarettes that their very identities would be under attack if such a measure were passed. What if these students called themselves regular smokers, but were in fact trained and sometimes paid representatives of Philip Morris and Marlboro? How much credibility would they have on campus?

The answer depends on whether opponents of tobacco products buy into the frame of two symmetrical student groups – “pro-smokers“ and “anti-smokers,” or whether they call out their opponents for being representatives of external bodies.

One of the biggest failings of pro-Palestine student movement in many U.S. schools is buying into the symmetry frame. We’ve largely accepted the idea that efforts to divest from Israeli apartheid are promoted by pro-Palestine student groups, and opposed by pro-Israel ones (“the Zionists”) – as if these are two symmetrical parties.

But this is a completely false picture. Groups like Students for Justice in Palestine truly are grass-root organizations. Despite persistent rumors about their secret Saudi oil money, SJP chapters hold bake sales to send students their national conferences. On the U.C. Berkeley campus, attention was diverted from SJP’s cookies and brownies by the College Republicans, who put on a lavish spectacle involving students in swimsuits. The SJP sale raised a little under $6.

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An Open Letter to Student Delegates at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference

An Open Letter to Student Delegates at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference
subtitle: From Student Advocates for Justice, Peace and Human Rights

Dear Student AIPAC Delegates,

You are a community leader on your campus and your peers look up to you. Your influence is why AIPAC has invested so much money in having you attend this convention.

This weekend is a grand effort to paint a rosy picture of Israel, one that ignores ongoing human rights violations. You will hear from various important political players, all slated to speak about the good Israel does. They will give the impression that Israel’s values and actions promote peace and security in the world, and that anyone who questions Israel is aligned with terrorism and instability. Indeed, this AIPAC conference puts all its efforts into dazzling you – whom they assume to be an impressionable student with little knowledge of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – with its political influence.

We, students and concerned citizens throughout the country, disagree with the AIPAC narrative that Israel’s values and actions promote peace and security in the world. In fact, we believe that the Israeli government’s lengthy track record of violating international law, ignoring the human rights of Palestinians, and using excessive military force against civilians is what promotes instability and violence.

We invite you to join with us, and the people of Israel and Palestine and throughout the world—including Jews, Christians, Muslims and others—who stand for peace, equality, self-determination and democracy for all regardless of religion, ethnicity, or the color of one’s skin.

We’d like to bring a few facts to your attention:

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