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Antisemitism Expert: ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ Legitimizing ‘Obvious Bigotry’ Through Alliance With Anti-Israel Jews
Lea Speyer Algemeiner
November 10, 2016

 

A national anti-Israel student organization is spending “much of its energy trying to deny its obvious bigotry,” the head of a Jewish rights-focused legal group told The Algemeiner, adding that it is “significant” the organization is now “increasingly on the defensive.”

Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and an international antisemitism expert — was responding to the sixth annual National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Conference, which aimed to mobilize and increase support for activity related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses.

“SJP is increasingly stung by accusations of prejudice, especially in its support for the antisemitic BDS movement,” he said, referring to a pamphlet distributed at the conference — and obtained by The Algemeiner — claiming that the organization does not tolerate “any form of discrimination based on…national origin…citizenship.”

According to Marcus, the inclusion of such a statement — which is an example of a “weak” denial by SJP of its actions — is “not surprising,” considering that the group is “continually in the position of having to deny that it is engaged in hate activity.”

SJP, he told The Algemeiner, “often hides its antisemitism behind the guise of being merely critical of Israel. It has dropped that ruse often enough to have long since lost any pretense of legitimacy. Students must understand that the group’s title is a misnomer, as the organization isn’t really concerned with justice. SJP is an antisemitic hate organization and must be addressed as such.”

Pointing to a workshop at the conference aimed at exploring “current and future collaborations” between SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and how to use JVP to “block false charges of antisemitism” — Marcus said that through this alliance, SJP is able to “use and manipulate this smaller group of Jewish students who are publicly critical of Israel and give the impression of legitimacy to their movement.”

He continued: “Anti-Israel groups insist that they couldn’t possibly be antisemitic because some of their best friends are Jews who have joined anti-Israel groups like JVP. This ‘some of my best friends’ argument is similar to what we see in other bigots. It only makes their prejudice more transparent.”

SJP has been at the root of numerous controversies on US campuses. As was reported by The Algemeiner, a recent Brandeis study found that “one of the strongest predictors of perceiving a hostile climate towards Israel and Jews is the presence of an active SJP group on campus.”


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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
 
 
 
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David Menashri
David Menashri is President of the College of Law and Business, Israel, and a renowned scholar of Iranian Studies and anti-Semitism. The founding director of the Center for Iranian Studies and the Parviz and Pouran Nazarian Chair for Modern Iranian History at Tel Aviv University, he is also the former dean of Special Programs at Tel Aviv University.
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