Israel and the Problem at Northeastern

December 21, 2012

Richard Landes

During Chanukah, two students defaced a Menorah at Northeastern University, and Northeastern’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) led an ugly anti-Israel/pro-Hamas rally in Copley Square. One observer noted “the virulence of the chants and messages on the placards… suggest that more sinister hatreds and feelings… were simmering slightly below the surface.” Such sentiments suggest that our campus has imported some of the ugliest and most belligerent aspects of the Middle East conflict, including the murderous desire of those who want to eliminate Israel and rule over “Palestine, Palestine, from the river to the sea!”
University officials, of course, called the defacing of the Menorah unacceptable, but Northeastern president Joseph Aoun did so ingeneric remarks that failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism, a signal that neither he, nor any other administrator, is likely to deplore the SJP’s hate-fest in Copley Square, even though it is both more disturbing, and constitutes a more direct indictment of the university itself.

The Popular Nazi Meme
Northeastern has had a checkered career in dealing with anti-Semitism, Israel and the Middle East. In 1991, Bernard Stotsky, a World War II veteran, endowed a chair in Jewish historical and cultural studies, with particular emphasis on the Holocaust. But holders of the chair have tended to veer in other directions. By the middle of the last decade, the chair was occupied by a professor who supports the anti-Israel BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). A series of revelatory documentaries by a watchdog group called Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), drew attention to Northeastern’s abuse of the Stotsky chair.
Northeastern’s treatment of the Holocaust was also disgraceful. To commemorate Holocaust Awareness Day, the university hosted a screening of Defamation, a film that compares Israeli solidiers to Nazis. Worse, it insinuates that many Holocaust survivors have attempted to profit from their horrifying stories.
A Hostile Academic Takeover
The meme that Israelis are the new Nazis, though popular with anti-Semites everywhere, including some allegedly serious academics, defies reason. Morally, this rhetoric is verbal sadism (when Jews embrace it, masochism), that seeks to degrade and humiliate Jews. In academic terms it deserves attention, not as a serious representation of reality, but rather as a weapon, a “lethal narrative” in a cognitive war developed by racist Palestinians to mark Jews as a legitimate target of violent revenge. Hence the chant of the SJP in Copley square: “When people are occupied, resistance is justified.” Of course, we all know, the primary Palestinian form of “resistance” (especially from Gaza) is targeting Israeli civilians.
APT’s work documents not only the hijacking of Holocaust, but places it within a larger framework that should concern all who cares about the resilience of American civil society and the democracy it makes possible. They reveal the presence within the Spiritual Life Center at NEU of a Muslim Chaplain, Imam Abdullah Faruuq, a Jihadi agitator whose actions at NEU were financed in large part by the Roxbury Mosque. His campus activities made a mockery of the “Center,” dismaying both Jewish and moderate Muslims with his hate speech.
More broadly and more seriously, however, they reveal a hostile takeover of the academic discussion of the Middle East on campus. Instead of presenting the “Palestinian narrative of suffering” (in which the Israelis are the new Nazis), as the story told by the (most radical and irredentist) Palestinians, professors like Shahid Alam and Dennis Sullivan, presented it as the correct way to interpret the Middle East conflict. Under their authority, this lethal narrative, became a new, hegemonic academic orthodoxy at Northeastern University. Without the slightest trace of awareness of how his attitude violates the very principles of good scholarship and pedagogy Alam bragged:
…Over the last few years, that situation [where harsh criticism of Israel was difficult] has been entirely reversed… so that most of my students… understand, know the truth…[P]eople listen with great appreciation and attention. And no one disagrees. If there are one or two people who want to say something, they don’t because they can sense that they will get no support from the class.
And, if any students inclined to defend Israel from this onslaught of lethal rhetoric and class-room intimidation should take a course with Dennis Sullivan, they will run into the same kind of intellectual bullying: one-sided syllabi, penalty in grades for disagreeing with the professor.
Weaponizing the Campuses
Now Alam’s “truth” is not in any way an academic work but rather a polemic, a work of unabashed fantasy (Palestinians are descended from the ancient Canaanites). It deploys a stream of accusations about murderous Zionists that, especially considering its extensive inaccuracies, could reasonably be described as weaponized “hate-literature,” aimed at destroying Israel. That same strategy of destruction explains why the Holocaust Memorial Committee got hijacked: in the words of Nadim Rouhana, an academic activist from Tufts, featured at an NEU Holocaust event: Israel “has made every political [use] of the Jewish Holocaust to gain support for the Jewish State.” So what better way to attack her than to destroy that shield against hatred. Is this anti-Semitic? Shahid Alam embraces the accusation: “If you are an academic or an activist, if they call you [Anti-Semite] wear that as a sign of distinction. This proves that I’m working for the right side, for the just cause.”
If Alam is a poster boy for weaponizing academia with the “Palestinian narrative of suffering” to conduct a ruthless cognitive war, Dennis Sullivan is a poster boy for the stupefaction this process involves. His comments in a lecture on the place in the negotiating process of Hamas, the most explicitly genocidal of all the Palestinian organizations, reveals an almost willful disregard for both relevance and accuracy. “Hamas is a terrorist organization, sure. They also do great health care and kindergartens.” Now aside from the deterioration of health care conditions in Hamas-run Gaza, the idea that somehow kindergartens where children arebrainwashed in genocidal hatred and trained to desire martyrdom above all, serves as a counter-argument to their terrorism, defies both sound reasoning and judgment.
All told, APT’s work reveals a stunning degradation of both the academic integrity and the collegial sociability of campus life at NEU where matters concerning the Middle East, Jews, and Muslims are concerned. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the abysmal level of intellectual discourse, a willful ignorance that systematically avoids discussing anything that challenges this belligerent orthodoxy, and excludes any voices that might offer students an opposing view. Is this where Northeastern wants to be?
Richard Landes is a professor of history at Boston University.

Jewish students at Florida university receive "eviction" notices

April 12, 2012

Students hold a copy of the “eviction” notice delivered by an anti-Israel group

(stand for Israel) More than 200 Jewish students at Florida Atlantic University recently received eviction notices taped to their dorm room doors. The eviction notices were fake, but the threat and intimidation behind them was very real – especially as the Jewish targets came to realize that the notices were posted by students from the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Israel group.
The University is conducting an investigation and we’ll keep SFI and 4Zion members posted on its progress. There are two questions we hope are answered in the near future:
How did SJP know who the Jewish students were? Did they pick out the kids with the Jewish-sounding last names? Did they look for kids with particular facial features? Did they steal a class list from a Jewish Studies course? The attack can get really scary really fast depending on the answer to this question. SJP members claim that this was a stunt to “raise awareness.” Okay. The Jewish students at Florida Atlantic are now aware that you know where they live, consider them an enemy, and aren’t afraid to target them. 
Second, if your goal is to “raise awareness,” why just “evict” the Jewish kids? (more)

the stupidity of this isn’t shocking. that’s what is shocking

Stealth Jihad Invades Columbia University (Again)

October 12, 2011
JanSuzanne Krasner (Docs Talk/American Thinker) Columbia University students, along with others on the campus, will be able to get a good look at “stealth jihad” in action as the “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP) hold a three-day training program next weekend on campus.

The attraction being used to seduce the students to this event is a rapper named “Immortal Technique,” who, according to claims made by the National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA), is an entertainer “who extols and incites violence and criminality, spews brutal anti-American vitriol, and is a condemner of Israel … and a fan of the Nation of Islam, among other repellent views.” The event is to take place on October 14-16. Organizers hope to raise $30,000 in preparation for the upcoming 2012 national campus event called “Israel Apartheid Week” that has been held the past seven years in February or March. When one enters their website, the most prominent message that appears alongside the face of Hatem Bazian, Professor at UC Berkeley and Chair of American Muslims for Palestine National (AMPN), is “America’s college students are at the cutting edge of the global free Palestine movement in the US and across the globe and they are making a difference.”
Scrolling the site, one finds quotes from individuals and organizations that proudly attest to the success of the SPJ. The list includes several professors from highly acclaimed universities, lecturers, authors and journalists, founders and organizers of anti-Israeli movements like BDS, and a human rights attorney. Most striking is the endorsement by the Free Gaza Movement that reads: “Organizations such as the student movement, SJP, are an integral part of the non-violent revolution now sweeping the world.”

Folks, it couldn’t be any clearer as to what is happening on our college campuses.
Under the guise of Israel-bashing, it is really our country that has become the target of attacks at universities across the U.S., but most students don’t realize that. The creation of the SJP organization at UC Berkeley in the early ’90s has now grown to a national movement where anti-Israeli supporters argue that “Israeli Apartheid” is analogous to the anti-Apartheid student mobilizations some decades ago directed at South Africa.
Their claim can’t be farther from the truth, but that is another subject. However, it must be said that the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state (where Arabs are also permitted to be citizens) must be contrasted against the SJP’s demand for a state for Palestinians (where 45% of its Palestinian residents will be denied citizenship), where no Jews can live. It seems like SJP should be looking in a mirror to see what apartheid really looks like.
In an effort to stop Columbia from allowing this event, the NCJA is asking in its recently released “Action Alert” why “President Bollinger and the Board are turning Columbia, a university once known for its rigor and academic excellence, into one that instead is gaining the reputation of sell-out to ugly hatred and flaccid standards.” Furthermore, the NCJA believes that the SJP event “violates Columbia University’s own code of ‘Civil Behavior and Community Standards’ as written[.]”
It is expected that in and out of the classroom, on and off campus, each student in the School of General Studies will act in an honest way and will respect the rights of others. Freedom of expression is an essential part of University life, but it does not include intimidation, threats of violence, or the inducement of others to engage in violence or in conduct which harasses others. Conduct which threatens or harasses others because of their race, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or for any other reason is unacceptable and will be dealt with very severely. For all to benefit from the diversity to be found at Columbia, all must live up to these standards.
The NCJA is taking a lead to express the frustration felt by many about the excuses Columbia University’s representatives have used in the past to explain the school’s political activities:
Of course we will not be surprised to hear from President Bollinger and the Board that this is just a “student group” and the university is “not involved” and that this is “the free expression of ideas,” intellectual freedom” or even “art.” But we can no longer accept these excuses for what appears to be pure hatred and efforts to intimidate pro-Israel Jewish students and others who do not agree with SPJ’s views. We need to know if Columbia University is providing any financial or other support to SJP and this event, including providing the building in which Immortal Technique is performing.
American parents and alumni (not to mention all who believe in our democratic republic), it is time to recognize how Islamism is encroaching on our society with its patient, systematic plan to infiltrate from within and slowly end democracy as we know it. The Muslim Brotherhood actively supports and finances student organizations like SJP and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Islamists have found that invading Western culture through its educational institutions is an extremely effective strategy to spread the word of Allah.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s three-stage blueprint for covert jihad, written in the early 1920s, still has the power to inspire many Muslims to continue their required participation in a “non-violent jihad.” The first stage of this plan calls for the spread of the Islamic message through propaganda, media, confrontation, and character assassination of opponents, and the training of messengers of Islam in the form of professors and lecturers to reach schools, mosques, and public facilities. Keeping this in mind helps to put a clear perspective on this “training event’ at Columbia University, as well as appreciating the true mission of Islamists.
The NCJA also questions Hillel, the organization for Jewish campus life, as to why “they are failing to stand up against hatred and the incitement of violence against Israel and Israel supporters.” Considering the lack of interest or courage in the Columbia University’s community towards this event, the NCJA is reaching out for public support.
First, they are asking for individuals to contact the Office of the President Lee Bollinger in NYC by calling (212) 854-9970, by sending a fax to (212) 854-9973, or by sending an e-mail to You can also call the university’s chapter of Hillel at (202) 449-6500 and voice your anger that they are not protecting Columbia’s Jewish and non-Muslim students. If people make their disapproval known, they will have the power to change the situation.
In recognition that both the SJP and the SMA are making formidable strides to further an Islamic radical agenda on our American youth, the NCJA is also forming an “Education and Campus Life Task Force” to address these concerns on campuses around the country.
Readers, now is the time to take action to prevent the “stealth jihad” disguised as “freedom-fighting” from continuing to reach our children through the hate-filled rhetoric promoted by these Muslim student associations and the professors and lecturers that carry their message of hate.

Chocolate Jihad

July 6, 2011

“We’re here because Max Brenner is 100 per cent owned by the Strauss Group, who supports the Israeli army, specifically the Golani and Givati brigades which are responsible for human rights violations and war crimes,” said Jennine Abdul Khalik,  spokesperson for the Students for Justice in Palestine group at UTS. In 1933, after the Nazis came to power, Fromenchenko sold Laima and immigrated to what became Israel, and opened Elite which is today part of the Strauss Group.

Black students diss ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’

April 10, 2011

This incident may yet be regarded as a watershed in the campaign by ‘Palestinians’ and their supporters to characterize Israel as an ‘apartheid state.’ The incident took place at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts this past week. Kadima MK and former Shin Bet director Avi Dichter was the speaker. The morons from ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ were there.There are more details on the incident here.
In response, a group of African American student leaders from traditionally ‘black colleges’ have taken out advertisements in student newspapers all over the US in which they have published an open letter to the ‘Students for Justice in Palestine.’ Their message: You guys are clueless (Hat Tip: Herb G).

“The use of the word ‘apartheid’ by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in its characterization of Israel is patently false and deeply offensive to all who feel a connection to the state of Israel,” the letter, which ran or is slated to run in papers at Brown University, University of California-Los Angeles, the University of Maryland and Columbia University over the next few days, reads. “Your organization’s campaign against Israel is spreading misinformation about its policies, fostering bias in the media, and jeopardizing prospects for a timely resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such irresponsibility is a blemish on your efforts.”
The letter continues to state that “playing the ‘apartheid card’ is a calculated attempt to conjure up images associated with the racist South African regimes of the 20th century,” and calls the strategy “as transparent as it is base.”
“Beyond that, it is highly objectionable to those who know the truth about the Israel’s record on human rights and how it so clearly contrasts with South Africa’s,” the letter reads, noting that under apartheid, black South Africans had no rights in a country in which they were the majority of the population.
Saying that the analogy manipulates rather than informs, the letter requests SJP to “immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and to acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government.”
“Decency, justice, and the hope of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East compel us to demand an immediate cessation to the deliberate misappropriation of words and of the flagrant mischaracterizations of Israel,” the letter concludes. “Your compliance with this request will be viewed as a responsible and appropriate first step toward raising the level of discourse.”

It’s great to see that the next generation includes kids who can think independently and who aren’t sucked in by the false rhetoric of the mainstream media. Apartheid is probably the most overused word in current discourse.

University of Pittsburgh Israeli Propaganda War Rages On

March 9, 2011
Pro Palestine Propaganda
by Shepard Fairey 
who designed the famous Obama poster. 
Go figure?

Students for Justice in Palestine produced a video of their rude, immature protest of an Israeli speaker at the University of Pittsburgh. Their video was riddled with inaccuracies, out-of-context quotes and a general disregard for character or respect (not to mention shoddy camera work and even worse editing).

This is their video, but edited with subtitles to give it more context, and with the face of the speaker blurred as per his request regarding security concerns.

The entire University of Pittsburgh community has been embarrassed by and ashamed of Students for Justice in Palestine, and this video shows why.

Also, a little lawyer speak:
This video is a legal commentary production as defined under the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107.