Plans to disrupt pro-Israel meetings on US campuses revealed

29 Oct 2014
29 Oct 2014 Facebook Twitter Email Print

Fifteen Jewish and education advocacy groups have written to the presidents of more than 100 universities with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters to warn them of an internal SJP document containing a strategy for disrupting pro-Israel student events, conduct subject to prosecution under state criminal laws. In 2010, 10 students were convicted for disrupting Israeli ambassador Michael Oren’s speech at the University of California, Irvine.

The foundational document of the SJP group at Binghamton University (SUNY), entitled “Declaration of Principles and Strategies,” describes itself as “a collection and elucidation of several resolutions and collective decisions formulated and approved by the membership of Binghamton University Students for Justice in Palestine.”

In the “With Regards to Tactics and Strategies Used to Counter Zionist Normalization” section, the document spells out a strategy for disrupting pro-Israel events. According to the document, “…it was decided via general consensus that, depending on the attendance levels of individual SJP members at such events, the following tactics would be most appropriate…[If more than 6 SJP members are present, these tactics include] engaging in a non-violent disruption of the event in question.”

The disruption of on-campus events violates New York State law. Sec. 240.20 of the New York Penal Law outlaws “disorderly conduct,” which includes “without lawful authority,…disturb(ing) any lawful assembly or meeting of persons.” All U.S. states have similar laws restricting the disruption of public events if this same tactic were to be employed by other SJP chapters.

“The document is extremely troubling in that it outlines a clear strategy for targeting, ostracizing, harassing and silencing students…,” wrote the groups. “…it advocates behavior consistent with ‘anti-Zionist normalization’ campaigns being waged by SJP groups across the country, whose explicit purpose, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is to delegitimize all pro-Israel perspectives and actively suppress their expression on college campuses. These campaigns have resulted in dozens of Jewish and pro-Israel students’ events being disrupted and Jewish and pro-Israel students feeling harassed, intimidated, and stripped of their constitutionally-protected freedom of expression and association.”

The document also prohibits SJP leaders and members from collaborating with specifically-named Jewish and pro-Israel student organizations. According to the groups, “…the SJP group’s a priori rejection of any interaction with Jewish and pro-Israel student groups – or with any other group that is deemed to have collaborated with them – bespeaks of prejudice, bigotry and a lack of tolerance and civility, behavior that should not be tolerated from a registered student group on any campus.”

Earlier this fall, many of these same groups wrote to more than 2,500 U.S. colleges and universities urging them to protect Jewish students on campus in light of rising anti-semitism in America and abroad. In particular, the letter raised concerns over SJP, which the signatories note has a history of “harassing and intimidating Jewish students.” The letter cited several recent incidents, including one at Temple University in which a pro-Israel student was physically and verbally assaulted by SJP members, as well as SJP’s planting of anti-Israel mock eviction notices under students’ dorm rooms on multiple campuses.

The AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization, based in California, dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating anti-semitism at institutions of higher education in America.