November 19, 2015

GUEST BLOG | Hypocrisy of SJP and BDS

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By EVAN KRAVITZ

A couple weeks ago, the Facebook group “Cornell University Confessions” posted a confession that criticized Cornell’s decision to partner with the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, and called for the divestment from Israel. Upon seeing this, I was disgusted to say the least. I wasn’t angry at the post itself; a lot of people post thoughtless things on the page, and  others are usually quick to put them down. I was appalled by the fact that this “confession” garnered over 40 likes, which is unusually high for the page, and that people defended the post.

On college campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is the main organization that promotes boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) initiatives towards Israel. The goals of the movement are, according to the official BDS website, to ensure “Israel meets its obligations under international law by: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.” Their goals include no mentioning of multilateral conflict resolution. Rather, it simply advocates for the unconditional acceptance of the Palestinian’s demands. SJP perpetuates the belief that BDS efforts, as opposed to encouraging peace talks and building mutual trust, are the best ways to improve the situation, and that we should use BDS to force Israel to succumb to the Palestinians. The BDS movement sends a clear message that the path to justice does not involve negotiations, which only fuels the Palestinian’s desire to avoid peace discussions and brutally attack Israeli civilians. If SJP truly desires improved Palestinian welfare, then they should surely abandon BDS and push for diplomacy between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and empower Palestinians to ditch radicalism.

One of the BDS movement’s greatest flaws is that it critically misrepresents Israeli society. According to the official BDS website, supporters should “Boycott target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.” They even go as far as to say that “Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations.” Anyone who has been to Israel can attest to the fact that its  cultural, technological and humanitarian contributions are genuine, and that BDS’s claim that Israel’s culture exists solely to improve its international image is false. In fact, many Israeli companies take active strides to employ Palestinians. Take SodaStream, for instance:an Israeli company that used to be the largest private employer of Palestinians in the world. The owner of SodaStream built a factory in the West Bank, hired over 850 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, paid them four times the West Bank average wage and purchased health care plans for each of them and their families. Ironically, there were calls to boycott this company that were spearheaded by SJP.

SJP at Cornell criticizes Cornell’s partnership with the Technion, writing that the Technion is “an Israeli university that engages in the development of weaponry used in the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians. In partnering with Technion, Cornell has indirectly implicated itself in human rights violations carried out by Israel, such as the indiscriminate killing of civilians in the 2014 Gaza War.” In addition to falsely accusing Israel of war crimes, SJP deceitfully characterizes the Technion as committed to the destruction of the Palestinian people. I can attest firsthand that this is not the case. I and two of my peers at Cornell conducted research at the Technion because we’re genuinely interested in science and engineering, not because we want to kill Arabs. In fact, Arab men and women make up over 20 percent of the student body at the Technion. SJP’s statement also ignores the fact that the Technion sponsored work to invent the USB flash drive, develop PDF compression algorithms, detect cancer, treat Parkinson’s disease, destroy tumors and give mobility to paraplegics. It seems perfectly reasonable that Cornell would team up with a university with such a distinguished history of innovation.

Why does this large organization that purports to support human rights choose to obsess about Israel when far worse human rights situations exist across the world? I don’t see any guerrilla activist organizations that advocate boycotting China, a country that not only suppresses free speech and jails dissenters, but also engages in cyberwarfare with the United States. Additionally, there is not one democracy in the Arab world; the Qataris use slave labor, the Jordanians treat its majority Palestinian population as second class citizens and the Saudis fund Al-Qaeda and deny basic rights to women, yet no one hesitates to trade with these nations. Furthermore, virtually no one’s speaking out against Iran, which jails journalists, holds Americans hostage and vows to destroy Israel and America. In the midst of all of this, Israel — the only democracy in the Middle East — is subjected to exceptional criticism and the Jews are denied the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. SJP does nothing to protect the rights of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan and in Arab countries who are severely mistreated by their governments. This student group also turns a blind eye to how both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority crush political dissent, and how Hamas has been known to abduct, torture and murder Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel. That’s because SJP is not pro-Palestinian, but anti-Israel.

In the past couple of years, we can clearly see SJP’s anti-Israel rhetoric evolve into anti-Semitism. SJP has a notorious record of violence on college campuses and poisoning relationships with Jews. In 2010, UC Berkeley’s president of SJP rammed a pro-Israel activist with a shopping cart. The victim was holding a sign reading “Israel Wants Peace.” Last year at Temple University, a Jewish student was hit in the face by a group of SJP students simply because he was Jewish and he supported the Jewish state. Alarmingly, Cornell SJP members harassed and assaulted a peaceful counter protester and tore up his sign at an anti-Israel rally last year.

By championing BDS, fabricating lies and promoting belligerency towards Jews, SJP has become an anti-peace, anti-human rights and racist organization that is contaminating college campuses. I sincerely hope that Cornell students will come to understand the hypocrisy of this organization and work to advance the goal of peace in the region.

20 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG | Hypocrisy of SJP and BDS

  1. I completely agree with this article. On the SJP Facebook page, they have falsely labeled Palestinian police as Israeli soldiers, claiming that Israel sprays pepper spray and tear gas at the press when actually its the Palestinian police. Such a hypocritical movement. The border between Israel and the west bank is mostly fence, and only 10% barrier, contrary to popular belief. Also, when the hashtag #freegaza is posted, it proves SJP’s ignorance and hypocracy even more because any educated human being knows that Israel pulled all troops and Israelis out of Gaza in 2005, displacing many Israelis in the move.

    Just today, there was a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, where an assailant from Hebron stabbed 3 people and killed 2 of them. The violence has to stop.

    Israel sent in ground troops to Gaza in order to save civilian lives, not to kill more civilians, contrary to popular belief. Israel is a well armed country, and if they really wanted to, they could blow Gaza off the map. But Israelis (Maybe not a few individuals in the government, which btw most Israelis despise) aren’t monsters and have no intention or wish to kill civilians, so they risk their soldier’s lives to go into Gaza and try to take out terrorists 1 by 1, instead of bombing everywhere.

    Meanwhile Assad is killing hundreds of thousands of his own people and nobody seems to care compared to the way people lose their minds protesting and boycotting Israel over some civilian deaths caused by terrorists using them as human shields.

    • Complete a few sentences here….

      ” Israel pulled all troops and Israelis out of Gaza in 2005, displacing many Israelis in the move.” – And made it a prison.

      ” The violence has to stop.” , while the ethnic cleansing can continue.

      “aren’t monsters and have no intention or wish to kill civilians, so they risk their soldier’s lives to go into Gaza and try to take out terrorists 1 by 1, instead of bombing everywhere.”, except when they crowd millions into ghettos and drop 500 lb bombs on buildings.

      “Meanwhile Assad is killing hundreds of thousands ” and that would be a good red herring to deflect from Israeli ethnic cleansing.

      • — if you care for the people in Gaza, you will make much better use of your time and effort if you advise them to elect better leadership. Leadership that would stop using the international financial support that they get for their personal needs and/or plotting to destroy Israel, and, instead, would embark on building Gaza. The people in Gaza deserve good life for a change!

      • As for ethnic cleansing, whatever that impressive term means, I advise you to go back and read about the efforts of Israeli leaders to bring an end to the suffering of both sides, Israelis and palestinians, in a constructive manner. Go advise your palestinian friends to forget their ideas to destroy Israel and focus on real peace and prosperity for both sides. Go read about the generous offers that were given to palestinian leaders throughout the years. Israel offered to withdraw from judea and Samaria (as recently as one week ago netanyahu suggested that he would consider leaving the settlements (!) as part of a future palestinian state for peace and security for Israel.

      • As for bombing Gaza civilians, it is time, again, for us in the west, to understand that we are not helping the Gazans when we don’t tell them the sad truth: they elect leadership that is constantly busy spending money and effort on terrorizing the south of Israel and beyond (the more the better, for them). The day that Gaza elects leaders that will stop this destructive terror and commit to peace, all the suffering will end to both sides. in fact, Israelis will be more than happy to use their economic and scientific innovativeness to help Gaza thrive. Why not try that route for a change? Please, give this good advise to your Gazan friends..

        • As for the sad situation is Syria and beyond: is it fair to describe the death of hundreds of thousands of people and the millions of refugees as a “deflection”?
          Do you know that there is a growing jealousy among arabs in the failing arab countries in the muddle– they would be soooo very happy to change roles with the palestinians, where israel’s involvement keeps them safe of the disasters that their brothers inflict on them?

          • If you wish to start a topic on Syria, do so. Else pointing to Syria here is nothing but convenient deflection.

      • “And made a prison” – Complete the history, bud. Israel withdrew in 2005, and 3 months later (while there was no blockade AT ALL) Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people. Hamas, the terrorist group that was carrying out suicide bombings a few months before, and openly pledges a genocide of all Jews. Still no blockade until June 2007, when Hamas took over the entirety of Gaza, and during which time it fired over a thousand rockets at Israel. Then Israel’s blockade was only a “land” blockade, meaning closing land borders to Gaza (as is done in many countries bordering an enemy state like say, one run by terrorists like ISIS). The sea was still wide open, until Hamas and Israel fought a war in 2009.

        So Israel waited, and waited, but the Palestinian people did not remove Hamas and indeed elected it in 2006.

        “while the ethnic cleansing can continue.” – I agree, Palestine should stop calling for the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians from the West Bank because they dislike that the people live there on land they legally buy from Palestinian citizens. Land which Palestinian citizens of Israel can also legally move onto, by the way.

        “except when they crowd millions into ghettos and drop 500 lb bombs on buildings.” – Hm, interesting. Not only did they not crowd anyone anywhere, and not only did Hamas bring this upon itself (and let’s not forget, Hamas is the most popular political party today too, and 57% of Palestinians support killing Israeli civilians inside Israel when asked in polls), a 500lb bomb is a tiny bomb. Israel not only uses that tiny bomb to specifically target terrorists and their weapons, it also warns civilians in the area to leave when a bomb is coming. If Hamas didn’t fight from among civilians, there’d be no civilian deaths.

        “and that would be a good red herring to deflect from Israeli ethnic cleansing.” – Yeah, no doubt Palestine will use that if it gets its way and ethnically cleanses Israelis, thanks for agreeing!

        • There was no Gaza blockage when Israel withdrew unilaterally ? Really. Next.

          Ethnic cleansing of Israelis ? Really ? They got their own country and now want to steal more land and you want to pretend otherwise. Great. Next

          And glad you don’t pretend that Israel doesn’t drop 500 lb bombs on civilians.

  2. Quite aside from the sweeping assertion, presented without evidence, that Israel does not commit war crimes the author twists the words of both the BDS movement and SJP.

    He quotes SJP – Technion is “an Israeli university that engages in the development of weaponry used in the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians. In partnering with Technion, Cornell has indirectly implicated itself in human rights violations carried out by Israel, such as the indiscriminate killing of civilians in the 2014 Gaza War.” And writes “SJP deceitfully characterizes the Technion as committed to the destruction of the Palestinian people.” That is not what the quote reads or implies. The US has supplied weapons used against many different peoples but that does not inherently imply that the US is committed to any of those peoples’ destruction.

    He quotes BDS, “Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations,” before going writing that these words imply that BDS is claiming “Israel’s culture exists solely to improve its international image.” He is making an unsupported jump that BDS believes that the country’s international image is the *sole* reason for Israeli culture and not simply one of many objectives that it seeks to achieve through these academic and cultural collaborations.

    To make the arguments that he makes he needs to offer more support than manipulating what are perfectly reasonable positions.

    • Thank you, Evan for summarizing the hypocrisy of the BDS movement so well. The BDS movement was founded in 2001 at the notoriously anti-Semitic Durban conference (the Americans walked out because the anti-Semitism was so extreme). BDS founders have stated uncategorically that their goal is the destruction of the State of Israel; their rallying cry is “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free.” In other words, any Jews now in Israel will be subject to a Palestinian state.

      How would Jews be treated in such a state? Let’s look at how the Palestinian Authority now treats Jews. Any Arab who sells land to Jews incurs the death penalty. No Jew can even enter safely into certain PA areas; who can forget the innocent man who accidentally entered such an area and was literally torn to pieces by a mob? The PA pays a stipend to Palestinians jailed by Israel for terrorist acts. Think about this: the Palestinian government pays people because they have murdered innocent Israeli civilians.

      The boycott movement is not about creating a two-state solution, but one state controlled by Palestinians, as BDS supporters have proved over and over again. BDS claims the right to self-determination but insists that Jews have no such right, though Israel is the ancestral Jewish homeland, the only one in the world.

      Students for Justice in Palestine rallies devolve time and again into Jew hatred; the latest cry is “long live the Intifada!” The Intifada which yesterday resulted in the deaths of more innocent Israeli citizens from knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists. This is what the BDS movement supports. It is not a freedom movement, it is a movement to destroy the only democratic state in the Middle East and get rid of the Jews.

      • Half truths galore from the Hasbara crowd

        “Any Arab who sells land to Jews incurs the death penalty” – Can any Mexican in Mexico sell his land to America ? Can an Israeli sell his land to a Palestinian.

        ” The PA pays a stipend to Palestinians jailed by Israel for terrorist acts. ” – And the Israeli govt subsidizes the entire racist settlement pogrom

        “The boycott movement is not about creating a two-state solution, but one state controlled by Palestinians, ” – And you want us to beleive that Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are to help create a two state. Nice.

        “Students for Justice in Palestine rallies devolve time and again into Jew hatred;” – “Anti-semitism” is a rather convenient crutch to hide behind, isn’t it. Espeically when you don’t want to talk about israeli ethnic cleansing.

        • “Can any Mexican in Mexico sell his land to America ? Can an Israeli sell his land to a Palestinian.”

          Yes and yes. Mexicans in Mexico can sell their land to America. Palestinian citizens of Israel (over 1.6 million, around 25% of the country) can buy land from other Israelis. The problem is that Palestine doesn’t use the death penalty for selling land to Israelis in general. It uses it only when the land is sold to JEWS. When sold to Palestinian citizens of Israel, the state turns the other cheek. Why? Because they’re not JEWS. That would be APARTHEID, bud.

          “And the Israeli govt subsidizes the entire racist settlement pogrom”

          False. Not only are subsidies not always given, the settlement program is not racist. Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are not racially the same as Israeli Jews, can live in settlements. In fact, they’ve begun to do so in East Jerusalem, and can do so in the West Bank, though they choose not to. CHOOSE not to. It’s not racist in the slightest.

          “And you want us to beleive that Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are to help create a two state. Nice.”

          They don’t stop it. Israel offered to leave 94% of the West Bank perfectly intact, with all of Gaza, and a split of Jerusalem, as well as land equal to roughly 6% of the West Bank in a swap, for two states. That would mean land equal to 100% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and a split of Jerusalem. Palestine…refused. Palestine refused this peace deal. Tell me who doesn’t want two states now.

          ““Anti-semitism” is a rather convenient crutch to hide behind, isn’t it. Espeically when you don’t want to talk about israeli ethnic cleansing.”

          It’s not a crutch, it’s what SJP does. Can you imagine if you told an African-American student that they are using racism as a “crutch”? That’d be absurd. So why is it OK for you to do it to Jewish students?

          Here’s why: Because you believe anti-Semitism doesn’t exist even as you express it. And that makes you a…well, you can figure that out, bud.

          • Can ANY Palestinian by land in Israel. Of course our Hasbaraists won’t answer that question, because we know the answer.

            Settlements are not subsidiized by Israel ? Really. On to the next lie.

            Israel offered to leave 94% of the West Bank perfectly intact. And what about the other 6 percent. Oh wait there were going to be Israeli roads inside the Bantustans offered. Onto the next lie.

          • “Can ANY Palestinian by land in Israel. Of course our Hasbaraists won’t answer that question, because we know the answer.”

            In theory, absolutely. Do they? Pretty much never. That’s considered “treason”. That’s why Palestinians are put to death for selling land to Jews, or at least sentenced to it.

            “Settlements are not subsidiized by Israel ? Really. On to the next lie.”

            Way to ignore what I actually said. You’re a failure when confronted with truth, eh? This would be called “Pallywood”. Pallywood artists fail to know what they’re talking about when they come up against facts, and ignore 90% of what’s said in an effort to make emotional appeals.

            “And what about the other 6 percent. Oh wait there were going to be Israeli roads inside the Bantustans offered. Onto the next lie.”

            The other 6 percent would be annexed by Israel, and land equal to it would be given to Palestine by Israel. So they would swap land. 94% of the West Bank being given is a “bantustan”? There’d be no Israeli roads inside the West Bank if the deal passed, except on land swapped. Israel’s roads would not extend beyond its new borders, just as Palestine’s roads would not extend beyond its new borders.

            Does this look like a Bantustan: http://israelstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ppp.png

            No. You know why it was rejected? Palestinian leaders didn’t want two states. Still don’t, as a matter of fact. They want to ethnically cleanse Jews.

  3. “Ethnic cleansing”

    A Muslim, Arab-Israeli woman is valedictorian of Technion’s medical school.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diana-bletter/guess-whos-valedictorian_b_3602610.html

    More “ethnic cleansing”
    The valedictorian for the entire Technion two years earlier? A Christian Arab woman.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/from-lebanese-refugee-to-israeli-rocket-scientist/

    Even more “ethnic cleansing”
    Gaza’s population quadruples since 1967:
    https://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-34134c0d9af3d84e4f129a03feeadf22?convert_to_webp=true

    How about more “ethnic cleansing”
    Every Palestinian university was founded AFTER 1967:
    http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=569

    The bigotry, lies and hate of SJP and the BDS movement should not be supported by any ethical person.

  4. Baruch Hashem that the Sun has finally run a piece by a student who knows what they are talking about! Kol Hakavod on an excellent article, Evan!

  5. Well said Evan! It’s about time someone addressed the hypocrisy of SJP/BDS. The peaceful resolution of a serious conflict is clearly not on their agenda.

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