Backgrounder: The Students for Justice in Palestine

Making Jew-hate fashionable on campuses.

The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) today exists as a consortium of campus “clubs” throughout the American and Canadian college systems which work to oppose the existence of Israel and to promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish state. There are at least 80 chapters of these clubs on campuses throughout the US and Canada. The SJP goes under other assorted names on some campuses. Names such as Palestine Solidarity Committee or Students for Palestinian Equal Rights are also common.  In Canada, some SJP chapters have adopted the name Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), or Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), while others use similar sounding names but advocate for the Palestinian “revolution”or resistance against the Israeli and US governments when they are perceived as allies together against “Palestinian” irredentist goals. The SJP could be said to operate on the campuses in a classic Rico Statute style of infiltration as a method of promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement throughout the USA and Canada via a “grass roots movement.”

The SJP actually grew on these campuses, thanks to Hatem Bazian, out of another organization, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) that was first founded on the San Francisco State University campus in 1973. The GUPS is actually an old pro-terrorist student organization officially begun in Egypt in 1959. It claimed at one point to have had as many as 150 chapters across Europe and the Middle East, and currently has a chapter in Gaza. Early GUPS members or leaders have included Yasser Arafat, Hanan Ashwari, Faisal Husseini and Saeb Erekat among several other well-known Palestinian politicians, writers, journalists and militants who ultimately were involved in terrorism or worldwide political influence from the Middle East. The GUPS is in existence today at San Francisco State University where it wields considerable political influence and has been accused of promoting an atmosphere of anti-Semitism on the Bay Area campus. The GUPS at SFSU could be said to be another differently named affiliate of the SJP, even though it predates the founding of the SJP.

Huet-Vaughan’s colleagues and roommates in Israel.

Funding Sources of SJP and Outside Connections 

Most colleges have student activities offices that are run by deans or campus administrators. To avoid conflicts of interest, outside money for student clubs is prohibited. Almost all colleges charge student activity fees that are then disbursed usually through the student government via a mock congress or committee. At larger campuses like UC Berkeley or UCLA, this means clubs like the SJP can be funded as much as $30,000 for events they wish to produce. SJP chapters usually run student members or sympathizers for the campus governing boards and once they get in, they rubber stamp approval to fund SJP “events.” Most of the student bodies do not take an interest in such elections, so a minority of students can easily take an election if they devote a lot of energy to one.  Once elected to the student Senate or governing board, they push for funds to promote divestment and anti-Israel events. At Concordia University in Canada, the SJP at one point got $50,000 for divestment and other anti-Israel actions on campus. This was part of the strategy behind Mohammed Abed‘s teaching at the Ohio State conference since now as a dean he has power to override denials of funding.

Since openly outside funding is not allowed, other means of funding SJP activities exist which may not be traceable. For example, when Hill and Knowlton in the early 2000s was handling wall displays from San Francisco (and they may still do so) it was doubtful the campus administration counted the cost of those efforts as “funding.” Likewise, printing costs and PR can be “donated.” As mentioned, Al Awda and the ADC, at least in California, provide reading and printing materials that are fungible for goods like flyers. Wealthy Arab-Americans who belong to the ADC also may provide for expenses that cannot be seen such as cash donations under the table. The ADC and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) pay to bring anti-Israel and boycott promoting speakers like Jeff Halper or Ilan Pappe to campuses for the SJP who sponsor these events. This becomes another fungible method of funding and some SJP chapters may even charge an admittance fee to such events.

Hatem Bazian started another anti-Israel group that terrorism experts have claimed is another front for Hamas called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). AMP is a connection for SJP to work more closely with Hamas’s goals while AMP is seeming to work as a strictly American NGO. AMP has sent letters to college administrators and law enforcement excusing any violent actions by the SJP. For example, AMP sent letters to government officials calling for the release of the Irvine 11 and for SJP groups that were suspended for fake eviction notices. AMP wrote administrators calling for the students to not be punished. and complaining about “free speech” of Palestinian students being denied.

The SJP (like the Muslim Students Association) is enjoying a Rico Statute-like system of invading American society through US colleges and enjoying its funding from the unaware US taxpayer. While Rico has been used to curb gambling, liquor and prostitution, the same tactic is employed by the SJP as such illicit “businesses” use to serve the interests of overseas Palestinian irredentist terrorist groups. The Ba’ath Party and Muslim Brotherhood all had their starts in the colleges in the Middle East. The US and Canadian college system provides a huge market of a young upcoming generation to indoctrinate toward their goals, as well as the financial assistance to do so. Today’s SJP member goes on to  graduate and become a newspaper editor, a congressman, a principal, a teacher or even a professor like Hatem Bazian, any one of whom wields influence in our society, possibly even one day being the President of the United States. The Ba’athists and Muslim Brotherhood later expanded their Middle East control through trade unions and more and more SJP/ISM events are inviting trade unionists to attend and join them in their anti-Israel crusade. SJP is also doing outreach in churches, and some former SJP leaders lecture for CAIR on graduation or promote anti-Semitism to Christian audiences through an ISM arm called Sabeel Ecumenical Society. The Sierra Club and environmental movement have allied with the Palestinian cause by finding common ground of fighting “oppression,” and even taxi drivers in Boston support the Boycott of Israel as a sign of “unity” against “oppression” of workers.  The SJP already has done long reaching damage in our educational system, but stands to do much more damage in the future.

This report was commissioned by the Middle East Forum. 

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