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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Israel’s Global Embassy for Research-Powered Diplomacy


Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked

Executive Summary

  • The Students for Justice in Palestine network serves as the leading student arm of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States.
  • SJP is not as they claim, a “grassroots” student organization; it is a terror-affiliated anti-Semitic network that currently operates with autonomy and impunity at colleges and universities across the United States.
  • SJP has adopted a policy of “anti-normalization” of relations with Zionist groups and most Jewish organizations with the exception of the equally radical, anti-Zionist and pro-BDS Jewish Voice for Peace. Students for Justice in Palestine advances their proprietary view of Palestinian justice by undertaking initiatives to isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy the state of Israel.
  • Many students and university administrations have treated SJP as a pro-Palestinian equivalent to pro-Israel student groups such as StandWithUs, The Israel on Campus Coalition or Hillel. However, as this monograph documents, SJP is an extremist organization that maintains affiliations with Arab and Islamic terror groups, is overtly anti-Semitic, incites hatred and violence against Jewish students, and rejects the existence of the state of Israel in any borders.
  • SJP has been linked to terror groups. Some have defined SJP as a campus front for Hamas at University of California, Berkeley. Principal backers of SJP include founders, financial patrons and ideological supporters who have been connected to Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
  • Students for Justice in Palestine is a byproduct of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an organization whose leaders were former members of Palestinian and Islamist terror organizations. AMP was founded in 2005 by the former leaders of three organizations; Kindhearts, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. All three organizations were implicated by the U.S. government between 2001 and 2011 for financing Hamas.
  • Brandeis University and AMCHA Initiative studies reveal a direct correlation between BDS activities and anti-Semitism on campuses with large Jewish student populations. The studies also found a correlation between the presence of SJP and a rise in campus anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
  • As of 2015, there were 115 SJP campus branches according to the Anti-Defamation League and as many as 120 according to a report by The Forward that same year. However, a March 2017 map issued by National SJP claims SJP groups operate at 189 U.S. campuses.
  • Jewish students on campuses across the United States have been victimized by anti-Semitic vandalism, verbal attacks, and outright violence at the hands of SJP members.
  • Exposing the intensifying activity of Students for Justice in Palestine at over nearly 200 American campuses is necessary to neutralize SJP’s support for terror and political warfare against Israel. Combatting SJP is also important to counter the spread of anti-Semitic and Nazi propaganda, incitement to terror, and the climate of fear and hate speech, which are drivers of domestic terrorism in the United States.
  • Tablet Magazine’s Jonathan Bronitsky was refused access to the 2016 SJP conference. However, as he interviewed attendees outside the assembly, he reported overhearing organizers warning attendees of “hardcore conservatives lurking around” and pro-Israel “spies” attending the conference in disguise. Later, conference organizers ordered him not to approach attendees. One SJP volunteer was assigned specifically to follow him and prevent him from speaking with conference attendees.
  • Only one university in North America, Fordham in New York, has rejected a student request to form a SJP chapter. Dean of students Keith Eldredge declared that a SJP chapter should not be established “in order to prevent polarization [on campus]…and the resulting possible negative impacts on student safety and the general security of the Fordham community.”
  • Northeastern University’s SJP faculty advisor, Professor M. Shahid Alam, has told SJP members that they should be proud to be called anti-Semites, and should wear the title as a “badge of honor.”
  • University alumni would be advised to speak with university administrations to call for investigating SJP, to ensure that these organizations are not operating with funding from terror-linked organizations or violating freedom of speech rights of fellow students. Similarly, trustees and major donors should demand that their universities follow Fordham’s example and reject SJP chapters on campus.
  • University trustees, donors, alumni and administration would be advised to remain vigilant, and demand that their campus communities and state governments unmask, expose, investigate, prosecute, and sanction SJP in order to reign in extremist terror-supporting and anti-Semitic actions on U.S. campuses.
1. Executive Summary
2. SJP’s Proliferating Presence on U.S. Campuses
3. SJP Violence, Anti-Semitism, and Intimidation Tactics
3.1 SJP’s Support for Terror
4. SJP and Israel Apartheid Week
5. SJP, “Intersectionality,” and Inter-cause Cooperation
6. A Brief History of Students for Justice in Palestine
6.1 GUPS as a Precursor to SJP
7. SJP’s Terror Ties and Financing
7.1 SJP, AMP, and Extremist Group Financing
7.2 AMP and the Evolution of National SJP
7.3 SJP, Jewish Anti-Zionism, and BDS Student Activism
7.4 The Mysterious Case of WESPAC’s Funding Platform
8. Countering SJP
8.1 Policy Recommendations
8.2 Conclusion
9. Notes
10. About the Authors
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