Middle East studies in the News
The Top 10 College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment [incl. Hatem Bazian, Rabab Abdulhadi]
Over the past two weeks, the David Horowitz Freedom Center has named 10 prestigious college and university campuses to its list of the "Top 10 College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment." These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech exposing the truth about Israel's terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.
The Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between the terrorist group Hamas and SJP on each of these ten campuses, both to inform students about the allies to terror in their midst and to challenge these campus administrations to do what they so far have refused to do—to uphold the First Amendment and promote free expression even when doing so means facing down radical students and faculty who demand otherwise.
Already our campaign has yielded positive results. Mainstream Jewish publication JWeekly.com reported on the Freedom Center's poster campaign, quoting David Horowitz and noting that San Francisco State University President Les Wong has come under fire recently for failing to adequately protect Jewish students on campus.
Wong himself has also responded to the campaign in a letter to entire SFSU community (which was reprinted at Jweekly.com) noting that "This week I encountered both the re-emergence of posters on campus attacking and condemning the work of Palestinian activists and their supporters." Wong went on to state, "I believe it is the fundamental role of a university to engage differing viewpoints and to evaluate their merits and shortcomings. It is this belief that compels me to unequivocally reject the concept of 'anti-normalization' outright." SJP as an organization rejects all "normalization" of relations with pro-Israel groups. By making this declaration, Wong is taking an important stand against at least one aspect of SJP's genocidal agenda.
The full report on the ten campus administrations "Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment" follows below.
Of all the disturbing trends to have emerged on college campuses in recent years, perhaps the most ominous is the support universities offer to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel's terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States. Administrators at San Francisco State University, UCLA, the University of Chicago, Tufts University, Brooklyn College and other schools have actively supported organizations supporting terrorists and their activities while suppressing their critics.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has emerged as the leading pro-terrorist, anti-Jewish organization in America, and the driving force behind the recent surge of anti-Semitism on American campuses. SJP is the chief promoter of the Hamas-inspired and funded "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" (BDS) campaign in America, an effort to weaken and ultimately destroy the Jewish state. SJP also stages annual "Israeli Apartheid" hate weeks on campuses across the nation which feature pro-Hamas speakers and "apartheid walls" in public spaces on campus displaying pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic propaganda. SJP also creates mock checkpoints and die-ins that obstruct student movements on campus, disrupts pro-Israel campus events, threatens Jewish and pro-Israel speakers, and has physically assaulted Jewish students.
As described in the Freedom Center's recent pamphlet, Students for Justice in Palestine: A Campus Front for Hamas Terrorists, SJP's pro-terror campaign is guided and funded through a Hamas front called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), whose principals are former officers of the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic "charities" previously convicted of funneling money to Hamas. AMP was created by Hatem Bazian, a pro-Hamas professor at UC Berkeley who is also the co-founder of SJP.
In recent testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Jonathan Schanzer, a terrorism finance analyst for the United States Department of the Treasury from 2004-2007, described AMP as "arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States" and explained that "AMP spent $100,000 on campus activities in 2014 alone."
The following report chronicles ten of the worst collegiate offenders in this category of campuses that support anti-Israel terrorists even when their rhetoric and propaganda cross the line into hate speech while rejecting speech critical of the perpetrators and promoters of terrorism.
(Campuses are listed in alphabetical order)
Brandeis University: Campus Administration
Brandeis University, located in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, is notable for being one of America's few elite universities to be founded by Jews and is named for Louis B. Brandeis, the first Jewish justice on the Supreme Court. In recent years, Brandeis has been conspicuous for a more disturbing reason—as an academic center that is uniquely welcoming to pro-terrorist speech and ideology directed against Israel while showing extreme hostility towards those who oppose Israel's terrorist adversaries.
Members of Brandeis's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine have hosted numerous events featuring speakers that defend anti-Israel terrorism and the genocidal Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Among these are radical professor Noam Chomsky who gave a speech describing Israel's actions towards Palestine as "vicious, brutal and criminal" and claimed that Israel "is alone in denying" its "illegal occupation of territories."
In April 2015, the Brandeis administration selected former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering to be honored as the university's commencement speaker. Known for his extreme anti-Israel views, Pickering has written that Israel has conducted a "half-century-long occupation" of Palestine that is tantamount to "the permanent subjugation and disenfranchisement of a people to which Israel refuses to grant citizenship in the Jewish state."
In 2014, a Jewish student at Brandeis, Daniel Mael, exposed a secret faculty listserve where more than 90 left-wing Brandeis faculty exchanged radical views. Some of the listserve's participants promoted Hamas propaganda while espousing anti-Semitic comments and expressing hatred of Israel. Professor Donald Hindley, for instance, referred to the Jewish state as "The Vile, Terrorist Israeli Government," in a post about the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists.
Hindley also sarcastically wrote: "Zionist olive trees grow wondrously on Palestinian corpses..." and compared an event challenging the anti-Semitic BDS movement to "Germany in the later 1930s with everyone at least a Nazi sympathizer."
Brandeis sociology professor Gordon Fellman, meanwhile, wrote on the listserve seeking signatures for an open letter to "end the illegal occupation in Palestine." According to the letter, "the government of Israel, having provoked the firing of rockets by its rampage through the West Bank, is now using that response as the pretext for an aerial assault on Gaza which has already cost scores of lives."
When Brandeis University president Fredrick Lawrence condemned these statements as "abhorrent"( but took no official action against the professors who made them), some faculty who participated in the listserve, along with the Brandeis English Department, condemned his comments and sought a faculty forum on freedom of speech on campus.
While welcoming anti-Israel and pro-Hamas speech on campus, Brandeis has also exhibited hostility towards those who are critical of Islamic terrorism. In April 2014, under pressure from students and faculty, the Brandeis administration acted to withdraw an honorary degree that had been offered to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born women's rights activist and critic of radical Islam who has condemned the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries, and especially the practice of female genital mutilation. Eighty-seven Brandeis faculty members signed a petition citing Ali's "extreme Islamophobic beliefs" as a reason why the honorary degree should be rescinded. Showcasing the university's blatant hypocrisy, Brandeis had previously awarded an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has a long history of anti-Semitic statements, among them the claim that "The biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community."
Brandeis also failed to take action when SJP members disrupted a university panel featuring six members of the Israeli Knesset. The SJP activists repeatedly yelled the epithet "war criminals" at the panel participants and attempted to distribute fake warrants calling for their arrest.
For its history of repeatedly welcoming anti-Israel and pro-terror speakers and protests on campus while allowing those who would present opposing views to be silenced, the Brandeis administration makes our list of Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.
Brooklyn College: Michelle J.Anderson, President
At Brooklyn College, President Michelle Anderson responded to posters protesting the links between the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and Hamas by tearing them down and denouncing their sponsor, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Anderson emphasized that Brooklyn College's status as a public university and its obligation to uphold the First Amendment did not in her view extend to speech she considered, without proof or substantiation, "hateful" or "bullying."
President Anderson failed to address the posters' central claim that Students for Justice in Palestine is funded by the terrorist organization Hamas, and exists to spread Hamas's genocidal propaganda against Israel and the Jews. Instead, she cited the widely-discredited smear site of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the basis for her criticism of the Freedom Center.
Anderson's response included lofty passages about the importance of free speech and intellectual diversity on a college campus including this one: "Academic freedom not only prevents the suppression of dissident views; it also forces us to confront those whose beliefs are antithetical to our own. The opportunity to have one's beliefs challenged, to reflect, and to consider change is the very purpose of a university. Free speech, debate, and the open exchange of ideas are the oxygen of our existence on this campus. We must engage."
Yet she exempted the Freedom Center from these protections by calling its posters "hate speech" – which in any case is constitutionally protected – and defended her decision to tear them down with the following reasoning: "The images and words were frightening and hostile to both supporters of SJP and advocates of free speech on campus, including many Jews. In particular, they targeted individual SJP leaders with the aim of bullying them and making them vulnerable to additional harassment or worse."
Anderson's defense of SJP illustrates the intellectual double-standards accepted by administration officials at Brooklyn College. She claims that SJP's hate speech – in particular its genocidal claims that Israel is an "apartheid state," and the historical absurdity that Gaza terrorists are "freedom fighters" - are protected speech under the First Amendment while the David Horowitz Freedom Center's well documented revelation that SJP is promoting Hamas propaganda lies is not.
Brooklyn College SJP has posted articles and videos online defending terrorism including an advertisement titled "The Third Intifada" on its Facebook page. It has hosted speakers promoting the Hamas-inspired Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and even staged an event to publicize its refusal to enter a dialogue with pro-Israel organizations and students. And a gang of 10 anti-Israel activists stormed a campus faculty meeting in February 2016, calling one faculty member a "Zionist pig" and issuing demands for "Zionists off campus."
Anderson admits that "in years past, some have felt offended by SJP's protests and have asked the Brooklyn College administration to ban the student group." But then adds sanctimoniously, "We cannot." But when given an opportunity to actually defend "dissident views"—which on the campus of Brooklyn College includes the view that SJP is a pawn of anti-Jewish terrorists—Anderson's First Amendment concerns suddenly disappear.
Saint Louis University: Campus Administration
As the only Catholic university on our list, it would be understandable if St. Louis University exercised a somewhat greater degree of involvement in the selection of speakers who appeared on campus than its public counterparts to ensure that such events are compatible with the Catholic faith. But in fact the administration of St. Louis University is one of the most shameless promoters of anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish Islamic hate mongers. It has welcomed campus speakers and organizations that promote Islamic supremacism and support the anti-Israel terror group Hamas while defaming pro-Israel speakers as racist and Islamophobic and banning them from campus. In recent years, it has hosted events designed to indoctrinate students in Hamas propaganda and train them to support anti-Israel terrorism.
In 2012, Saint Louis University hosted a three-day training and strategy conference for the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, formerly named the International Solidarity Movement, a hate group that spreads Hamas propaganda and promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. SLU also promoted the BDS movement at a 2011 event held at the Busch Student Center called "An Introduction to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement: Nonviolent Resistance to Stop the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories." The event featured Fulbright scholar Sandra Samaan Tamari, a member of the Saint Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.
In 2015, the university hosted a seminar by a group named #MyJihad which was formed by Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with extensive ties to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood network. The seminar aimed to whitewash the concept of jihad for American audiences.
But while repeatedly opening its doors to Hamas sympathizers, SLU has taken extreme measures to ban speech and organizations critical of anti-Israel terrorists on campus. In October 2009, Freedom Center founder and CEO David Horowitz was invited to speak at SLU by the campus chapters of the College Republicans and the Young America's Foundation about "Islamo-Fascism Awareness and Civil Rights." But administrators told the student organizations sponsoring Horowitz's appearance that they must either disinvite him or radically alter the format of the event to include a second speaker who would interpret Horowitz's views in light of "Catholic teachings," stipulations that had never been placed on appearances by several pro-Hamas speakers who appeared at SLU. Ultimately, school administrators cancelled Horowitz's speech.
This egregious breach of academic freedom and free speech on campus was widely criticized in academia and beyond. Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, declared in a statement that, "Now that Saint Louis University has cancelled a scheduled October speech by conservative activist David Horowitz, it joins the small group of campuses that are universities in name only."
More recently, in October 2016, SLU attempted to censor the remarks of retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Allen West who was also invited to speak on campus by a conservative student group. The University forbid students from using the words "radical Islam" on advertisements for the event. One administrator even claimed that West—a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom— did not "have experience with radical Islam." The University then encouraged students to participate in a mass walkout of West's speech.
For its disturbing pattern of banning speech critical of anti-Israel terrorists and radical Islam while welcoming Hamas supporters to campus, SLU's administration makes our list of Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.
San Francisco State University: Leslie E. Wong, President
San Francisco State University cultivates its reputation as one of the most radical campuses in the nation, known for its disruptive protests and extremist student movements. The anti-Israel movement at SFSU, led by an SJP-surrogate group called the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) fits into this tradition. Even in the radicalized world of anti-Israel student organizations, GUPS stands out for its brazen and public Jew hatred.
In April 2016, when Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat appeared on campus, a GUPS mob shouting "Intifada" and chanting "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!," itself a call for the obliteration of the Jewish state, forced the cancellation of his speech. When SFSU President Leslie Wong called tepidly for an investigation into the protestors who shut down Barkat's speech, GUPS responded by asserting that this request "criminalize[s] anti-racist speech on campus."
The former president of GUPS, Mohammad G. Hammad, wrote dozens of social media posts threatening violence to pro-Israel students, Israelis, the IDF and others. He also praised Hamas and the violent Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
During an "emergency rally" held by GUPS at SFSU in December 2013, the phrase "My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers" was written with chalk on the concrete stage at Malcolm X Plaza. The same phrase, referring to the Hamas assertion that Jews have colonized Arab Palestine and must be exterminated, was also written on a sign at a display table during the "Edward Said Mural Celebration."
The faculty advisor for GUPS, Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, met with terrorists Leila Khaled and Sheikh Raed Salah during a university-funded trip to the Middle East. (Khaled is a convicted hijacker and a member of the terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Sheikh Raed Salah has been repeatedly jailed on charges of incitement to terrorist violence.) Abdulhadi also helped to broker a formal collaboration between SFSU and An-Najah National University in Palestine, which is known for its recruitment of students as cadre for Hamas and as suicide bombers.
Despite these many incidents, the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) remains an organization in good standing at SFSU. After it disrupted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's speech, SFSU President Wong initially called for an open investigation of the incident, but ultimately placed the blame on campus administrators—not the student protestors—writing, "It makes exceptionally clear that the responsibility for the inadequate response prior to, during and following the event falls squarely on the shoulders of San Francisco State University administrators. On April 6, we failed our students — both the event attendees and the protesters — through multiple inactions."
But while exonerating GUPS for its attack on Barkat, President Wong immediately attacked the David Horowitz Freedom Center and threatened legal action when it placed posters on campus exposing the links between SJP and Hamas, and criticizing SFSU Professor Rabab Abdulhadi for her support of anti-Israel terrorists.
"Flyers were posted by an outside extremist group in numerous locations, singling out one of our faculty members, our students and vandalizing our campus," Wong wrote in a letter addressed to the entire campus community. "We know that this group is not affiliated with San Francisco State University."
He continued, "Let me be clear, this is not an issue of free speech; this is bullying behavior that is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus. A line has been crossed, and we are investigating any legal recourse we have with the perpetrators."
For his repeated failure to censure SJP for its violation of campus policy and incitement of violence against Jewish students while castigating speech critical of SJP as "bullying" and threatening legal action against its agents, Wong makes the case for SFSU's inclusion on the list of campuses most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment.
Tufts University: James M. Glaser, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, and Jianmin Qu, Dean of the School of Engineering
The campus of Tufts University has repeatedly rolled out the red carpet for supporters of the BDS movement against Israel. In 2014, it hosted the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) National Conference, a secretive event which to which media access was strictly controlled and monitored but according to the conference agenda, instructed attendees on how and when to take "direct action" against supporters of Israel.
Tufts SJP has repeatedly condoned anti-Israel terrorism in its published works and statements and holds an annual "Israeli Apartheid" hate week during which the BDS movement against Israel is promoted. It has also violated campus regulations by distributing mock "eviction notices" to Jewish students in the dorms, which it falsely claims are similar to notices "routinely given to Palestinian families living under oppressive Israeli occupation." Tufts SJP also attacked and delegitimized the campus pro-Israel group Students Supporting Israel (SSI) by labeling it "literally a hate group."
No action was taken against SJP, yet when the David Horowitz Freedom Center attempted to hang posters describing SJP's links to Hamas and its genocidal agenda, three Tufts administrators— Dean of Arts and Sciences James Glaser, Dean of the School of Engineering Jianmin Qu and Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon—emailed a statement to the entire Tufts student body, condemning the posters and claiming that they violated the University's community standards.
"The university will be sending a statement to the poster's sponsors in order to make clear that such materials are not welcome on our campus," the email read.
Two of these administrators—Glaser and Qu—followed up this missive with a letter sent directly to the Freedom Center. It read:
We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the posters placed on the Tufts University campus on October 19, 2016... The posters in question violate our community standards and are not welcome on our campus. We ask that you cease any further actions that violate our community standards and, in the future, that your organization comply with applicable university policies in any interactions with members of the Tufts community or our campus facilities.
After noting SJP's financial ties to Hamas and the rampant anti-Semitism behind its call for BDS, Freedom Center founder David Horowitz quoted from Tufts' community standards—which explicitly state "Freedom of expression and inquiry are fundamental to the academic enterprise" to point out that nothing in the Freedom Center's posters violate those standards.
For its stunning hypocrisy in tearing down posters critical of SJP and Hamas, while allowing SJP to disregard campus regulations, attack Jewish students and violate the University's rules of civility, Tufts' administrators deserve to be named among those who are "most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment."
University of California-Berkeley: Nils Gilman, Associate Chancellor
The University of California-Berkeley has a well-deserved reputation for stigmatizing ideas which don't fit the extreme left-wing, anti-Israel campus culture. Berkeley Associate Chancellor Nils Gilman has epitomized this double-standard by failing to condemn outright calls for terrorism and genocide against the Jews from campus anti-Israel groups while denouncing posters putting forth factual information about Students for Justice in Palestine and its links to Hamas.
In a letter sent to the entire campus community in April 2016, Gilman denounced anti-SJP posters hung on campus by the David Horowitz Freedom Center as "a tactic of harassment and intimidation." He claimed that UC Berkeley "remains committed to combating all forms of bias and discrimination" and asked the campus community to "use this opportunity to reinforce our values as a campus, and to report any further incidents"—in other words, urging Berkeley's students and faculty to report any speech that challenges the leftist thought control enforced at Berkeley.
When the Freedom Center again hung posters exposing the truth about SJP at Berkeley in October of 2016, Gilman issued another letter stating that the language in the posters "violates our Principles of Community" and ordered them to be taken down.
The UC-Berkeley Principles of Community which he references state, in part, "We affirm the dignity of all individuals and strive to uphold a just community in which discrimination and hate are not tolerated" and "We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities."
But by failing to uphold free speech and intellectual diversity, Gilman's comments in his letters to the Berkeley community violate these Principles. They also degrade the spirit of open discourse and the exploration of all sides of crucial issues which lie at the heart of the mission of the modern liberal arts university.
The campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine has not faced similar sanctions despite years of rallies and propaganda displays that directly threaten Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.
In October 2015, Berkeley's SJP chapter held a rally to support the "International Day of Action" for Palestine and the BDS movement against Israel at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. The Muslim Students Association co-sponsored the event. Speakers and participants chanted pro-terrorist slogans including "Let it be known that we here at Berkeley support the Intifada" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." (The Intifada is the Arabic name for suicide attacks on Jews, and "from the river to the sea" means the obliteration of the Jewish state and its replacement by an Islamic totalitarian regime identical to the one that now exists in Gaza.)
In March 2016, Berkeley SJP held a "Die-in, March, and Speakout for Palestine." The rally included the display of a large mock "apartheid wall" which featured anti-Israel slogans and pro-terrorist propaganda. One panel of the "apartheid wall" depicted all of Israel replaced with a Palestinian flag, a visual expression of SJP's calls for the obliteration of the Jewish State.
Such displays of brutal Hamas propaganda—like the hypocrisy of the school's administrators— are commonplace on the Berkeley campus. Students for Justice in Palestine remains a student organization in good standing while Chancellor Gilman spends his energies condemning one of the only forms of campus speech to offer a different—and more accurate—account of SJP's aims and alliances. For this reason, Chancellor Nils Gilman and Berkeley deserve their spot on the list of the university administrations "most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment."
University of California-Los Angeles: Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Gene Block, Chancellor:
UCLA Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang has undergone extreme intellectual and political contortions in defending the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as "an officially recognized student organization, based on political commitments, that is also in good standing" despite SJP's constant manifestation of Jew hatred on the Los Angeles campus.
In one widely noted expression of the group's anti Semitism, SJP members illegally questioned student government candidate Rachel Beyda about whether her status as a Jew would bias her decisions on campus matters. It also attempted to create a litmus test for student government candidates by introducing an initiative that would require them to sign a pledge to not take trips to Israel sponsored by pro-Israel organizations.
Such incidents violate UCLA's Principles of Community which state, in part, "We are committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue, in a respectful and civil manner, on the spectrum of views held by our varied and diverse campus communities."
Despite his title as the UCLA administrator in charge of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Vice Chancellor Kang has ignored SJP's continual violation of these Principles of Community, disregarding the harassment of Jewish students forced to endure SJP's mock "apartheid walls" plastered with Hamas propaganda and its rallies decrying the founding of the Jewish state as "Al-nakba" or "the catastrophe." But when the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on campus exposing SJP's ties to anti-Israel terror group Hamas, and naming campus activists who had worked to bring about the destruction of the Jewish state, both Kang and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block were quick to condemn them. In an email to the entire 50,000 member UCLA community, Kang said the posters were "designed to shock and terrify," and accused the Freedom Center of using "the tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially-tinged fear." In a second diatribe, he claimed the posters caused "chilling psychological harm" and "focused, personalized intimidation."
University Chancellor Gene Block also reacted to the posters by stating "Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, in complete disregard of our Principles of Community and the dignity of our Muslim students. But we can, and we will, do our best to hold ourselves to the standards of integrity, inclusion, fairness and compassion that are the hallmarks of a healthy community."
Quick to defend SJP and its violent rhetoric, Kang and Block have been missing in action when Jewish students faced intimidation and harassment from anti-Semitic speakers and Hamas propaganda plastered across campus.
In addition to the incidents listed above, UCLA SJP holds an annual "Palestine Awareness Week" on campus featuring speakers who endorse the genocidal BDS movement against Israel. SJP's 2016 event featured journalist Max Blumenthal, who stated during his address that suicide bombing against Jews is justified by "the occupation" and described Palestinian terrorists as "young men who took up arms to fight their occupier." He also compared Israel to the Islamic state, calling it "'JSIL,' the Jewish State in Israel and the Levant." Another speaker, Miko Peled, also defended Palestinian terrorism, renaming it "a struggle for freedom and justice and equality," and describing terrorists as "very brave Palestinians who are engaged in fighting this brutal occupation." Peled also described Jews as analogous to Hitler, calling Jewish soldiers "young little Jewish gestapos," and further accused Israel of "massive, violent, brutal oppression," "genocide," "ethnic cleansing," and of being "a colonialist, apartheid, racist system."
Nor is such hate speech directed at Israel and Jews restricted to SJP events. In 2015, UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies held a conference on "Palestine and Pedagogy" during which speakers compared Israel to the Nazis, praised anti-Israel terrorism and supported the BDS movement against Israel. UC Irvine Professor and Director of the UC Institute for Humanities Research Theo Goldberg accused Israel of practicing "eliminationist racism" similar to the Nazis' and claimed Israelis view Palestinians as "vermin, cockroaches, rats, snakes...that take boots on the ground to get rid of." Goldberg further charged that Israelis make "snuff films" featuring the deaths of innocent Palestinians which go viral resulting in "an orgasm" for Israelis. Meanwhile UC Riverside Professor David Lloyd called Israel "a colonial Zionist project that has become a...nightmare, ever more rigid and oppressive" and endorsed the right of Palestinians to take up arms against Israel.
This hate speech was ignored by Kang and Block and other appeasement-minded UCLA administrators.
Kang's support for SJP and its pro-terrorism agenda was also evident in his lack of support for second year law student Milan Chatterjee, president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UCLA. When he attempted to keep the GSA out of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction controversy on campus, Chatterjee was subjected to such severe harassment by SJP and Kang that he resigned. He later announced he was leaving UCLA to continue his law degree elsewhere because of the "hostile and unsafe campus climate" created by groups supporting the BDS movement on campus in concert with the UCLA administration.
Chatterjee wrote in a letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block: "It is unfortunate, indeed, that your administration has not only allowed BDS organizations and student activists to freely engage in intimidation of students who do not support the BDS agenda, but has decided to affirmatively engage in discriminatory practices of its own against those same students. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the fact is that the UCLA campus has become a hostile and unsafe environment for students, Jewish students and non-Jewish, who choose not to support the BDS movement, let alone support the state of Israel."
In comments made to the media, Chatterjee also stated, "I filed a complaint with the office of Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang, who took zero action and refused to investigate... This is very disturbing behavior and shows a double standard at play at UCLA. If SJP files a complaint, they will bend over backwards. If it's anyone else, they don't care."
In their zeal to defend pro-terrorist campus organizations like SJP, both Kang and Block have not hesitated to violate the First Amendment rights of their critics. The taxpayers of the state of California would be well advised to take note of their actions.
University of Chicago: Campus administration
The University of Chicago has long prided itself on producing independent thinkers and encouraging a certain iconoclasm among its students and faculty. In the fall of 2016, the university's dean of students, John Ellison, engendered a national controversy by making an explicit statement in support of free speech in a letter to incoming students: "Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own."
It seemed that Ellison was bravely sailing against the winds of political correctness, but recent events at the University of Chicago suggest that this cherished commitment to free speech applies to students and campus organizations that seek Israel's destruction, but not to those who defend the Jewish state and expose the terrorist connections of its enemies.
In the past few years, Chicago has witnessed the development of a highly active BDS campus movement, U of C Divest, which is currently supported by more than 20 student organizations on campus. In the spring of 2016, U of C Divest succeeded in passing a resolution endorsing BDS in Chicago's student government. During the debate over the resolution, an amendment supporting the continued self-determination of the Jewish people and the existence of Israel was rejected, indicating that the coalition's goals align with Hamas's aims of destroying the Jewish state.
The University of Chicago has brought numerous pro-Hamas speakers to campus. In October 2015, UC-SJP hosted BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti for a speech on "BDS and the Ethical Obligation to End Complicity in Oppression." During his address, Barghouti labeled Israel a "savage unrepairable society" that conducts "ethnic cleansing." He praised terrorism against Israel's Jews, stating that "resistance" is a legitimate response to "the violence of an oppressive system." Several UC organizations and departments co-sponsored Barghouti's address including the Global Voices Program – University of Chicago International House, the Pozen Center for Human Rights, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of International Studies.
Later that same month, UC-SJP held a panel titled "Jerusalem in Crisis: Insider Perspectives on the Violence in Palestine-Israel" as part of the "UChicago Israeli Apartheid Week." One speaker at the event, a graduate student member of SJP, stated: "Palestinian violent resistance against the violent Israeli military is always justified; it is the equivalent of biting the hand that is trying to choke you to death."
In February 2016, a throng of angry protestors interrupted and threatened a Palestinian human rights activist, Bassam Eid, who came to speak on U. Chicago's campus about the oppression of Palestinians by the theocratic terrorist regimes in the West Bank and Gaza. SJP members and supporters on campus were upset that Eid's remarks were critical of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and failed to condemn Israel's "occupation" of Palestine. In the video of Eid's speech a young man can be seen screaming in Arabic: "I'm going to destroy this place!" and "I'm going to kill this motherf*****!" and "Wait until you go to your car!" Eid later declared himself to be "terrified" by the ordeal.
The University of Chicago has put forth a "Statement on Principles of Free Expression" which states that it "is an institution fully committed to the creation of knowledge across the spectrum of disciplines and professions, firm in its belief that a culture of intense inquiry and informed argument generates lasting ideas, and that the members of its community have a responsibility both to challenge and to listen."
An examination of recent events on campus reveals that these principles are not applied without bias. SJP continues to function as a student organization in good standing at the University of Chicago, despite inviting speakers to campus that have engaged in anti-Semitic attacks and expressed Hamas propaganda which threatens the existence of the Jewish state. Yet, when the David Horowitz Freedom Center worked with activists to hang posters on campus which proposed a more truthful narrative revealing the financial and organizational connections between Hamas and Students for Justice in Palestine through a Hamas-front calling itself American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus said: "While the University of Chicago encourages the free exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives concerning a wide range of issues, these flyers are defamatory and inconsistent with our values and policies."
For their blatant hypocrisy in allowing and defending speech supporting Hamas while vilifying speech critical of that anti-Israel terror group, the University of Chicago administration makes our list of Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.
University of Minnesota: Danita Brown Young, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Residing in America's heartland, the University of Minnesota is not an obvious choice to make the list of campuses supporting terrorism and expressing hostility to the First Amendment. But the university's administrators have been as supportive of the hate group Students for Justice in Palestine as schools with more radical pedigrees while also condemning speech critical of the Hamas-funded organization as "hateful" and "repulsive."
In November of 2015, for instance, SJP at Minnesota, along with the Anti-War Committee, disrupted a talk by Hebrew University professor Moshe Halbertal, co-author of the Israeli Defense Forces' code of ethics which is titled "Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare." A crowd of pro-Palestine students took turns shouting epithets at Halbertal, preventing him from being heard or carrying on with his address. Chants from the protestors included "These are massacres, not mistakes! These are war crimes! Free, free Palestine!" and "Occupation is a crime, free, free Palestine!"
The University took no action against the student organizations responsible for shutting down Halbertal's appearance.
UMN is also home to a strident coalition calling itself "UMN Divest" which spreads disinformation about Israel in an effort to persuade the student government to pass a Hamas-inspired resolution encouraging the University to divest its investments from Israeli companies.
UMN SJP has also repeatedly constructed mock "apartheid walls" on campus plastered with propaganda supporting the Hamas narrative, including propaganda maps claiming to show the Jewish colonization and takeover of Arab Palestine (a nation which has never existed). SJP also held a "die-in" on campus accompanied by a narration that demonized Israel, claiming that it is responsible for the "extrajudicial murders of Palestinian youths" and "atrocities against Palestinians."
The University of Minnesota administration has continually provided legitimacy and resources to SJP which allow them to spread Hamas propaganda on campus. Yet when the Horowitz Freedom Center attempted to hang posters critical of SJP and the BDS movement on campus, Dean of Students Danita Brown Young immediately condemned them as "repulsive" and "not consistent with our University values or commitment to an inclusive campus environment."
In a saccharine letter to SJP about these posters, Brown Young wrote: "I am sorry for the hurt and fear this has caused you and the members of your group...This repulsive action weighs heavily on us.... We as a community do NOT accept this incident and we must collectively support each other in our time of need."
For her support of SJP's hate campaign against Israel and the Jews while condemning a rare instance of speech critical of that campaign, UMN Dean of Students Danita Brown Young makes the case for Minnesota's inclusion on the list of university administrations most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment.
Vassar College: John Chenette, Interim President, and Ed Pittman, Associate Dean of Campus Life and Diversity
A small liberal arts college located in the quiet town of Poughkeepsie, New York, Vassar College has for several years been home to a radical, anti-Semitic, pro-Hamas student movement against the Jews and Israel.
In March, 2016, the Vassar Student Association passed a resolution supporting the BDS movement against Israel by a vote of 15-7. The Amcha Initiative, an organization that tracks anti-Semitism on campus, gives insight into the atmosphere as the BDS resolution was debated: "A Jewish student who attended the BDS vote outlined antisemitic activity by pro-BDS students during the meeting, stating, 'One Jewish student talked about how the BDS campaign had invoked every anxiety nightmare she had ever had. She was crying as she spoke. Pro-BDS students laughed at her.'...Another Jewish student talked about Israel's founding in the wake of the Holocaust. He was immediately accused of using the Holocaust as a political tool to justify the 'genocide' of another people."
Other events at Vassar indicate the campus SJP chapter's support of anti-Israel terrorism. In February 2016, Vassar SJP sold T-shirts picturing convicted terrorist Leila Khaled holding a gun with the words "Resistance is not Terrorism" written below the graphic. SJP Vassar also endorsed the T-shirt's message by a post on social media: "Check out our friends at Existence is Resistance!!! They will be selling sweet fucking antiZionist gear at our events. 100% of profits goes towards organizing Palestinian resistance #ExistenceisResistance."
In May of 2014, Vassar SJP managed to briefly shock even the radical campus administration by posting a "racist, anti-Semitic graphic" on its social media Tumbler page, depicting a 1940's-era Nazi propaganda poster of a many-armed figure wearing a loincloth featuring the Star of David and holding a bag of money. The organization was briefly suspended, but was quickly reinstated.
Mostly silent during these outpourings of hatred, the reaction of Vassar administrators was quite different when the David Horowitz Freedom Center challenged the false and one sided campus narrative on Israel by hanging up posters critical of SJP and the BDS movement, and naming campus activists who supported these genocidal causes. Vassar Interim President Jon Chenette sent an email to the entire campus stating that the posters had been taken down and destroyed and that "Those in our community who were singled out in these postings deserve our unconditional support."
Associate Dean of Campus Life and Diversity Ed Pittman went even further to heal the supposed wounds caused by the Freedom Center's posters, organizing two separate sessions of an "all campus dialogue." He stated: "Our best approach in these situations is to stand ready to support those who are impacted. It's such a politically fueled issue that words and sometimes images are used to hurt, threaten and intimidate others because of their views." Pittman concluded that the goal of Campus Life and Diversity was "to offer counter opportunities for discourse," when he and Chenette had just done the very opposite.
For their immediate destruction of posters critical of SJP and coddling of students who may have been offended by them, while continuing to allow Hamas propaganda targeting Jewish students to appear on campus, Vassar administrators Jon Chenette and Ed Pittman make the case for Vassar's inclusion on our list of administrations most friendly to terrorists and hostile to the First Amendment.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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