zionazis target SJP at NYU

SJP at NYU smeared as anti-Semitic
Isaac Finn, WSWS, May 17 2019

A student organization at New York University that opposes Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people has become the subject of a coordinated attack by pro-Zionist organizations, the university’s own administration and the national media. In late April, NYU student and former president of the Zionist club Realize Israel, Adela Cojab, filed a civil rights complaint with the Dept of Ed denouncing the university for promoting “extreme anti-Semitism” by awarding the President’s Service Award to SJP in April. The accusation dovetails with an international right-wing campaign to slander left-wing individuals and organizations who oppose the policies of the Israeli state toward Palestinians as anti-Semitic and blaming those that criticize the Zionist project for the rise in anti-Semitic attacks. The stated purpose of the NYU President’s Service Award is the recognition of students and “student organizations for their commitment to civic engagement and service in local communities.” SJP was one of 150 students and student organizations to receive the award this semester. After the decision was denounced by Zionist clubs on campus, NYU President Andrew Hamilton failed to attend the award ceremony, citing his busy schedule. Subsequently, he came out in opposition to the club receiving the award. Cojab filed the complaint against NYU with the DoE’s Office of Civil Rights, claiming that the university was in violation of Title VI for discrimination based on “colors and national origins.” Her letter asserts:

Giving a humanitarian award to SJP is equivalent to giving such an award to the Ku Klux Klan, or any other racist organization.

The letter also refers to the SJP as a “terror-affiliated anti-Semitic network.” Neal Sher, a former executive director of AIPAC, is representing Cojab. He has stated publicly that the purpose of the lawsuit is to “shake things up” at NYU and that it could result in the university losing federal funding or being hit with “all kinds of sanctions.” The accusations against SJP flip reality on its head. It has regularly been the target of far-right Zionist provocations, and in 2016/7, the NYU chapter received multiple anonymous death threats. Cojab’s complaint draws on an incident last year when two SJP members were arrested after disturbing a dance party hosted by Realize Israel in Fasshingstein Square Park, across the street from NYU’s lower Manhattan campus. The complaint also references other events and peaceful protests held by SJP, and claims several times that SJP has ties to various terrorist organizations. Prior to the filing of the letter of complaint, similar denunciations of the decision to give the award to SJP appeared in the national press. On Apr 22, Susan Shapiro, an author and graduate of NYU who currently teaches classes there, wrote an op-ed in the WSJ demanding:

NYU must rescind an honor given for discrimination, bigotry and bias, and condemn all injustice, not just the kind that’s politically correct this week.

In her piece, Shapiro manages to defame all critics of Israel as anti-Semitic in a single paragraph and amalgamate their views with those of openly neo-Nazi elements. She writes:

The NYU Jewish Center received threats. Swastikas were found in a residence hall. The student government passed an anti-Israel BDS resolution. NYU activists confronted a pregnant Chelsea Clinton and insanely blamed her for the massacre at an NZ mosque because she criticized Rep Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic slurs.

Hamilton responded to Shapiro with another op-ed in the WSJ, stating:

Had it been up to me, SJP would not have received the award. Their behavior has been divisive.

The politics of the BDS movement are of a limited protest character, seeking to channel disgust with Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people into a campaign to convince the imperialist powers to pressure Tel Aviv into changing its policies. It has nonetheless provoked a frenzied reaction from the Israeli government and its Zionist supporters, who concoct the lie that such politics are by definition anti-Semitic. The attacks on SJP are part of an international campaign to intimidate anyone who condemns Israel’s ceaseless violence against Palestinians as anti-Semitic and responsible for the rise in violence against Jews. This is particularly the case in the continued attack against Rep Ilhan Omar for calling attention to the influence of the Zionist lobby within Congress. Following her remarks, the entire political establishment including the Demagog Party denounced her, and in March put a bill to a vote that essentially targeted her without naming here. Thugs in Congress are now proceeding to target Rep Rashida Tlaib by willfully twisting her words in order to portray them as “heinous anti-Semitic comments.” On Mar 16, at NYU’s vigil for the victims of the fascist attack in NZ, two NYU students including SJP club president Leen Dweik confronted Chelsea Clinton for her attacks on Ilhan Omar. Following this confrontation, both students were publicly denounced by Don Jr, Bill de Blasio and other pols. The students were also maligned in a variety of national and international publications.

While the NYU administration in undoubtedly concerned that the complaint to the DOE could impact the university’s funding, both in terms of federal funding and donations from wealthy individuals, it also provides a justification for the university to suppress political discussion, particularly left-wing and socialist views, on campus. Since the complaint was filed, Hamilton and William Berkley, chair of NYU’s Board of Trustees, have denounced the recently-passed resolution by faculty in NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis to end cooperation with ‘NYU Tel Aviv,’ the university’s location in Israel. Hamilton and Berkley have referred to the resolution as “deplorable,” and claim it could endanger academic freedom. The SCA’s resolution specifically cites Israel’s policies that make it difficult for individuals of Palestinian descent to travel to Israel in order to participate in the program, as well as recently-passed laws that prohibit critics of Israel from entering the country. The SCA faculty’s resolution is not binding. The response of the admin takes place within a broader political context where any defense of Palestinian rights is falsely equated with anti-Semitism and used to attack left-wing views. As an institution with close ties to Wall Street, the military and Faschingstein’s political establishment, these attacks find acute form at NYU. This is clearly the case with the ability for two Zionist clubs to host Bret Stephens, a right-wing Zionist and columnist for the NYT, who has said that Palestinians have a “blood fetish.” During his talk, Stephens equated opposition to Israel with the growth in anti-Semitism and the fostering of far-right forces under the Trump administration. He claimed:

Trump has legitimized a set of ideas that bring the extremists that much closer to the mainstream. In the same way that progressives on the left, by legitimizing anti-Zionism, have brought anti-Semitism closer to the fold so there’s a kind of mirror-like process.

It should be recalled that in 2017 Trump claimed that there were “very fine people” among the fascist rioters in Charlottesville who marched chanting “Jews will not replace us.” He has since reaffirmed this claim last month, stating that he had responded “perfectly” to the question on Charlottesville. According to the ADL, anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise since 2013, with the largest number ever recorded in 2017, the first year of the Trump admin. In that year there were 1,986 recorded incidents, a 57% increase over 2016. Stephens’s statements at NYU echo the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Semitic as well as the disgusting claim by Bolsonaro as he visited Netanyahu that the Nazis were a leftist movement. The duplicitous campaign by Zionist organizations, university administrations, the media and bourgeois politicians to label left-wing opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic has contributed to the growth of a reactionary and dangerous climate within academia. While the SJP is denounced and threatened for its protest activities, Professor Baberowski of Humboldt University, who has claimed “Hitler was not vicious” can receive $300k in funding from Princeton without any backlash, least of all from Zionist professors at that or any other institution. The latest slanders against SJP are part of a broad and coordinated attempt to suppress the emerging anti-war movement of students and workers both in Pindostan and internationally.

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