Taking On Students for Justice in Palestine at Columbia

Fern Sidman is the New York correspondent for the Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) Web site and staff writer at The Jewish Voice newspaper. Her articles frequently appear in a number of Jewish newspapers and magazines throughout the US.


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Tensions flared between dozens of pro-Israel demonstrators and members of “Students for Justice in Palestine” on Sunday afternoon, October 16th outside of Columbia University on the third and final day of the 2011 National Students for Justice in Palestine “teach-in” organized by members to prepare for their upcoming Israel Apartheid Week events across college campuses throughout North America.

Holding aloft both Israeli and American flags and signs saying, “SJP Brings Stealth Jihad to Columbia University,” “Stop Hamas Terror Against Jews and Christians” and “Occupy Columbia With Truth and Justice – Not Lies and Anti-Israel Incitement,” the pro-Israel supporters represented such organizations as Americans For a Safe Israel (AFSI), the National Conference of Jewish Affairs (NCJA), Amcha – Coalition for Jewish Concerns and the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI).

Rancorous debates and raucous arguments broke out between the two sides as the Zionist contingent engaged the SJP members, as they exited the university on the corner of 116th Street and Broadway. “Our conference is about advocating for human rights in Palestine. Our Palestinian brothers and sisters are being subjected to the most severe degree of oppression on a daily basis by the Israeli colonialists and occupiers and we are here to put forth our message that a Jewish state is a fundamentally racist concept as are the apartheid practices of that state,” said Amina Fayyid, a SJP student organizer.

According to the SJP web site, one of the objectives of the conference is to “facilitate and support the advancement of existing campaigns and the development of new campaigns with particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel.” Among the multifarious seminars and workshops taking place at the conference is one titled “Indigenous Struggles: situating Palestine as a settler-colonial project,” which ostensibly explores “understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial framework while seeking to re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonization, and imagining new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle.”

Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI), said, “Israel is the only stable democracy in the Middle East and these student activists know very well that Palestinians living in Israel have a much better lifestyle than they would in any other Arab country; yet their goal in organizing such a conference is to perpetuate the myths, incessant lies and blatant distortions that they use in their quest to demonize Israel. What we are witnessing here today is nothing short of the most egregious form of anti-Semitism cloaked in the clever subterfuge of anti-Zionism.”

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  • Pathena

    "Julian Rappaport, one of the demonstrators engaging with passers-by at the university’s gate, contended that the anti-Israel conference inside was not an expression of free speech, but “to give only one, incorrect side of the picture. Columbia has the responsibility to be more critical of what’s going on.” "
    Julian Rappaport is wrong, the anti-Israel conference is an expression of free speech. So is the pro-Israel opposition, which should have a pro-Israel conference.
    Note that the "Students for Justice in Palestine" do not even know that the name "Palestine" has been synonymous with "land of the Jews" or "the Holy Land" (Jesus having been a Jew) since the Roman Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to Palestina in 135 A.D., after he had defeated the last Jewish rebellion under Bar Kochba. That is why the Palestine Mandate awarded to Great Britain after World War I was to be the "homeland of the Jews."
    The phony history and propaganda that Arabs are "Palestinians" is the consequence of two haters of Jews, Egypt and the Soviet Union, having founded the "Palestine Liberation Organization" in Cairo in 1964. The Students for Justice in Palestine have no interest in truth, for the land of Israel is the ancient land of the Jews, going back at least to Abraham.

    • NotaBene

      This silly myth (about Palestine being imposed to punish the Jews) has no basis in fact whatever. I'd love to see a single contemporary writer who mentions it.

      • PAthena

        Why don't you read Roman history, in particular, the history of the Roman Emperor Hadrian?
        See the wording of the Palestine Mandate that was given to Great Britain after World War I, to be the "homeland of the Jews."
        Where do you think that the name "Palestine" cam from?

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    All these pro-Israel geezers look like off-campus activists.

    • NotaBene

      You know what's even funnier, FS? That Amina Fayyid person? She doesn't exist. Arutz Sheva just made her up. Wouldn't surprise me if they invented all the other quotes in the article too.

  • Western Canadian

    Another trite comment from a common jew-hater. Big deal.

  • LindaRivera

    There Never was an Arab country of Palestine. Jerusalem was Never the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Jewish Bible, not once in the Koran.

    The inalienable rights of Jews to the Biblical heartland must not be violated! No one is demanding Muslims surrender THEIR top religious areas of Mecca and Medina!

    In 1948, Egypt invaded Gaza, ethnically cleansing all Jews and in 1948, Jordan invaded Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, ethnically cleansing all Jews.

    In violent opposition to G-D, Muslim Jordan destroyed 58 synagogues in Jerusalem. The jihad is against the Holy One.

    When Israel won the Arab war of aggression in 1967, Jews returned to the areas of their ancestral homeland they had been ethnically cleansed from for 19 years. Anti-Israel propaganda deceitfully calls Jews' legitimate return "occupation".

    Jews have had a continuous presence in physical and spiritual homeland Israel for 4,000 years.

    All Land and Property Stolen from Jews in the 1948 Islamic Invasion Must be Returned!