New York, NY, April 10, 2012 … Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the primary organizer of anti-Israel activity on campus, is engaged in a "barrage of tactics and campaigns to silence and intimidate" pro-Israel advocates on university and college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
A recent incident at Florida Atlantic University involving mock "eviction notices" posted to nearly 200 student dorm rooms is the latest example of the extreme efforts employed by SJP. The action, organized by the FAU chapter of SJP, warned students that their rooms were being demolished and that "anyone left inside is not our responsibility."
The notices, designed to give students a sense of what "evicted Palestinians" feel, left several FAU students feeling threatened and intimidated. The tactic was modeled after similar SJP efforts last year at Yale University and the University of Chicago.
"Students for Justice in Palestine has engaged in tactics and campaigns to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates on campus," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Students have a right to express their views, but SJP's tactics create tension on campus by marginalizing Israel supporters and fomenting hostility.
"When anti-Israel activity is so pervasive and severe that it creates a hostile environment for students, it is imperative for university administrations to not only speak out against such actions, but to also act to ensure a safe environment."
According to ADL, Students for Justice in Palestine is engaged in a variety of efforts designed to demonize Israel and portray Israelis as the aggressors and the perpetuators of crimes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their tactics include:
- Anti-Normalization Tactics: SJP chapters at several universities, including San Diego State University and Columbia University, refuse to dialogue with their pro-Israel counterparts, claiming that even talking to pro-Israel advocates would grant excessive legitimacy to Israel. This hostility has polarized the two groups on each campus and further inflamed tensions.
- Disruptions of Pro-Israel Events: SJP activists at a variety of universities have repeatedly indicated that they do not respect free speech rights and instead seek to disrupt and shout down Israelis and pro-Israel advocates speaking on campus. In the last two months alone, pro-Israel events at the University of California, Davis; UCLA; Michigan State University and an event near Brandeis University were interrupted by representatives of SJP and other campus anti-Israel groups.
- Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW): The weeklong program, which began in 2005, took place on more than two dozen college campuses in February-March, 2012. Most of the events were organized by SJP chapters and featured speakers who claimed that Israel is an "apartheid state" that should be punished with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) initiatives. Some of this year's speakers also argued that a one-state "solution," which would result in the dismantlement of the Jewish state, is the preferable way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- "Pinkwashing" Allegations: This latest anti-Israel charge – which claims that Israel showcases its progressive record on LGBT issues in order to distract attention from its policies toward the Palestinians – has also cropped up on college campuses because of SJP, including several pinkwashing-related events during IAW. Columbia University's SJP chapter plans to hold an event called, "Queering Solidarity: Pinkwashing and LGBTQ Activism for Israel/Palestine."
- Inflammatory Language: SJP has consistently demonized Israel, describing its policies toward the Palestinians as racist and apartheid-like, and comparing Israelis to Nazis.