Did American citizens sponsor discrimination and terror?
There has been a lot of talk in America about recent events sponsored by anti-Israel activists across the country. Many people are speculating that these anti-Israel activists are not genuinely concerned about human rights as they present themselves, but instead are disguising their true feelings toward Jews.The most recent incident occurred this past Saturday night at Rutgers University of New Jersey at an event called “Never Again for Anyone,” where up to 400 Jews were not allowed inside. The event, which compared the Holocaust to modern day Israel, was sponsored by the Rutgers student group BAKA-Students for Justice in the Middle East and other outside groups, such as the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and American Muslims for Palestine. There were many students who were deeply offended by the content of the event and who wanted to go inside to ask questions. Several of the students also chose to wear bright yellow shirts that said “Don’t politicize the Holocaust. Although that was the case, the policy was quickly altered as Jewish students and community members began to appear in large numbers. Once there was a visibly Jewish crowd at the entrance, an announcement was made that a five-dollar fee would be mandatory for admission.This was not a rational decision made on behalf of the event organizers, but clearly a discriminatory action against the Jewish students. It also showed the true colors of the anti-Israel groups, who across college campuses have not been promoting an open dialogue or equality for many years now. After being denied entry to the event, several Jewish students unified and showed solidarity by loudly singing Hebrew songs outside. Instead of joining in on the rally, Danit Weiner, a sophomore studying at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts, made her way into the event unnoticed, where she sat with three other pro-Israel students from the Hillel. Although they were able to submit questions to the speakers, the inquiries that they had written down were left unanswered. After listening to the speeches, Weiner said, “The most disturbing comment came from Dahoud Assar when answering a question asked about whether or not he supports terrorist attacks.” According to Weiner, “In his answer, he said no, but that he thought it was more courageous for someone to blow themselves up, rather than to shoot from 16 meters away.”The second event that has been gaining attention was a recent rally at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, on Tuesday, January 25th. The rally was held in support of nine Chicago activists from the Palestine Solidarity Group who received subpoenas requiring them to appear before the US Federal Grand Jury. Two of the nine were present at the rally and stated that they are being investigated for allegedly providing material support to terrorist groups. On that very day, all nine of them were supposed to appear in front of the Grand Jury, but they chose not to speak, even with the risk of jail time. Although it is quite concerning to think that events like this could be happening, it is also reassuring that our government is paying attention to what is taking place. Even though the rally was advertised to be in support of civil liberties and justice, it quickly turned into an Israel bashing fest with the continuous chant “Occupation is a crime, from Iraq to Palestine.” This was no surprise since it was sponsored by many of the same groups that promoted the Rutgers University event, such as the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and the International Socialist Organization. The event was also sponsored by other anti-Israel organizations like the International Solidarity Movement and ten local chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). There were also speakers from groups, such as American Muslims for Palestine (who also co-sponsored the rally and Rutgers event) and the Committee Against Political Repression.Contrary to what took place at Rutgers, not many pro-Israel Jews were present at the rally this past week. One of the speakers at the rally, who was subpoenaed some months ago, was Maureen Murphy of the Palestine Solidarity Group. Murphy, when speaking to the crowd, shared her frustrations about the subpoenas and exclaimed to the group of over 300 people that she had refused to appear in front of the Grand Jury. While she spoke about staying silent, one thing that Murphy did not share with the crowd is that she is an editor of the extremely anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada and that she had worked some years ago for an NGO based out of Ramallah, called al-Haq. Perhaps she chose to leave that out of her speech because al-Haq has faced much criticism in recent years as a result of the activities of their General Director, Shawan Jabarin. Jabarin has been detained twice for having alleged ties to the terror organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and has been outspoken in his support of using terror tactics, such as suicide bombing, as a way of “resistance.”Perhaps, the FBI is suspicious of Murphy because of the fact that she spent a long time working closely with the organization. It is also possible that she could have turned a blind eye to certain terror elements or set others up to go on trips where they would assist al-Haq in their everyday activities. This is very likely being that other activists, such as Sarah Smith, who also spoke at the rally, were subpoenaed for making “solidarity trips”.Given what is happening in America, it is quite obvious to see that the anti-Israel activists are united in spreading the same message and it is not about to stop soon. The event that took place on the Rutgers campus this past Saturday is coming to DePaul University in Chicago on Friday. It is being sponsored by many of the same organizations, who just this past week showed their true colors in denying Jews entry to the event. They have totally abandoned their so-called vision of granting equality to all people, regardless of their religion or nationality.From here on, it is the responsibility of the pro-Israel students to continue standing strong against discrimination and it is our duty as members of a just society to support them in doing so. Also, it is of vital importance that we make an effort to counter the false narratives being spread. As Daniel Levi, from Rutgers University said about the recent event, “The misrepresentation of the Holocaust through events like these is not only a Jewish issue, but a humanitarian issue. There were 11 million people murdered in the Holocaust and among those were both Jews and non-Jews.”Leading up to the gathering, there was quite a bit of advertisement done through facebook, accompanied by flyers on campus saying that it was ‘free and open to the public’.