Middle East studies in the News
New Report Shows National SJP Leaders Advocating Violence, Expressing Support for Palestinian Terrorism [incl. Hatem Bazian]
by Shiri Moshe
Activists who helped lead a national anti-Israel conference for students last year have publicly denigrated Jews, advocated violence against Zionists, and praised Palestinian terrorist groups, a new report has found.
Multiple organizers, speakers, and workshop leaders at the 2017 National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) conference — which took place at the University of Houston (UH) this past October — have posted content featuring "anti-Semitism, incitement, threats of violence, support for terror and hatred of Israel across social media," according to the anonymous watchdog group Canary Mission.
Among them was Samer Alhato, a Saint Xavier University anthropology student at the time of the conference, who announced on Facebook that he was picked to lead a "gender and sexuality" workshop, screenshots captured by Canary Mission show.
Alhato has repeatedly backed the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, tweetingon July 2014, "I support Hamas and I send then [sic] money every month."
The previous year, Alhato called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "a dirty Jew." In a separate tweet, he added, "@BarackObama shut up about gay marriage and go kill all the Jews."
Alhato's endorsement of Hamas seemed in line with views conveyed by Mohammed Nabulsi, an organizer for NSJP 2017, who wrote in August 2015 that activists with the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement should "support Palestinian resistance groups ... such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad."
All three groups — which have each been implicated in multiple lethal attacks targeting civilians — are designated as terrorist organizations by the United States.
Similar sentiments were related in years past by Brant Roberts, identified as a fellow conference organizer, who tweeted in May 2014, "I support what the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] & PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] have done in their cause to free the Palestinians."
This aversion to Zionism was also expressed by Ahmed Hamad, who has appeared at NSJP gatherings since 2014 and spoke at the 2017 conference. On June 2016, Hamad wrote on Facebook, "When I stomp, I imagine zionists faces under my feet."
Other conference leaders shared their hostility toward Israel by advocating for its eradication and accusing it of attacking Muslims worldwide. One organizer, Sarah Abdulmooti, tweeted in July, "Israel really needs to die and I pray it happens in my lifetime." Hossam Gamea, who led a workshop at NSJP 2017, charged in September, "Israel is funding Islamophobia and genocide against Muslims all over the world."
While NSJP claims some 200 anti-Israel campus groups under its umbrella, only about 100 people attended its 2017 conference — a drop from a high of 570 participants in 2014, according to Canary Mission. "Even this figure seems to be bloated," the group wrote, "as it includes professional SJP activists."
Canary Mission called the decision to host NSJP 2017 at UH "a shameful display of solidarity" with the school's SJP branch, whose activists were found last year to have posted content praising Adolf Hitler, as well as advocating harm against Jews and Zionists.
NSJP did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Last month, Canary Mission identified dozens of individuals affiliated with the campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at McMaster University in Canada, who made hostile and sometimes explicitly violent comments online against Jews, Zionists, and Israel in recent years. The university subsequently announced that it is reviewing the social media posts in question.
SPHR is an autonomous chapter of SJP, which has been at the forefront of anti-Zionist campus advocacy since it was co-founded by Hatem Bazian, now a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. Bazian also serves as chairman of American Muslims for Palestine — one of SJP's leading backers — and has recently come under fire for sharing images featuring Jewish caricatures alongside captions such as "Ashke-Nazi," which have been widely condemned as antisemitic.
In November, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a report asserting that SJP seeks "to isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy" Israel with the help of terror-linked financial and ideological supporters. The report also listed multiple instances of American Jewish students being targeted for "anti-Semitic vandalism, verbal attacks, and outright violence" by SJP members, and pointed to studies conducted by Brandeis University and the monitoring group AMCHA Initiative, which "found a correlation between the presence of SJP and a rise in campus anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism."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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