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University of Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Condemns Pro-Israel Newsletter as ‘Hate Speech’
Attempting to censor the truth while promoting genocide.
By Sara Dogan
In a brazen and unintentionally ironic letter printed in the Chicago Maroon, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Chicago condemned the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s distribution of a newsletter on campus exposing the terrorist associations of SJP and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and urged university officials to thwart future attempts to distribute alleged “hate speech.”
The University of Chicago was recently named as one of the Top Ten Jew-Hating Colleges and Universities in a report published by the Freedom Center, and there was no shortage of evidence to support their place on that list.
UChicago SJP recently published an art zine titled “Cheers to Intifada,” referring to the violent Palestinian uprisings during which Jewish citizens of Israel were slaughtered because they were Jews. The zine contained violent imagery including a graphic of two lit Molotov cocktails raised in a toast under the heading “Cheers to Intifada.”
The zine was also rife with anti-Semitism including an image of a pig wearing a policeman’s hat with a Jewish star on it. Poems in the publication promoted ancient blood libel tropes against Jews such as one describing a fictional Polish teenager, understood to be Jewish and part of the IDF, who holds Palestinians captive while shooting “perverted bullets shot with animalistic lust yearning to rape bodies.”
The student government at Chicago published a statement promoting the anti-Semitic BDS movement against Israel and used genocidal language calling to “free” Palestine “from the river to the sea,” a call to annihilate the entire state of Israel along with its Jewish citizens.
The Center for Middle East Studies at Chicago has also held multiple events featuring anti-Semitic speakers such as Rashid Khalidi and Michelle Hartman who demonized Israel and endorsed BDS.
And the same Chicago Maroon which printed SJP’s letter calling on the university to censor the Freedom Center’s pro-Israel newsletters removed an op-ed written by Jewish students objecting to “SJP’s Online Anti-Semitism” and published an apology for printing it in the first place.
Since the Maroon has a proven track record of censoring any speech critical of SJP or its allies, the Freedom Center was forced to resort to extraordinary measures to ensure that students at the university were made aware of the report and its contents. A Freedom Center operative hand-delivered over 5,000 newsletters containing the report on the increasing incidence of Jew hatred at Chicago and SJP’s role in promoting it.
The newsletters were distributed at multiple locations on campus, with copies made available in classroom buildings, dining facilities, student centers, and in distribution locations for The Chicago Maroon, the university’s main student newspaper.
U Chicago SJP was highly displeased that their near-complete control over the campus dialogue on Israel and Palestine had been disrupted by the Freedom Center’s newsletters. In a letter directed at the Chicago administration that was printed in the Maroon, SJP accused the Freedom Center of “defamatory printings” and “hate speech” and claimed that the Freedom Center’s publications “immediately and deliberately jeopardize the safety, security, and integrity of our community.”
“It is incumbent on the administration to condemn and remove these defamatory printings not only because they accuse the University of Chicago of being among the ‘Top Ten Jew-Hating Colleges and Universities’ in America and of fostering terrorist-affiliated groups. For Muslim and Palestinian students, the Horowitz Center’s vilification of student life poses a direct threat to community safety,” SJP stated in their letter.
SJP also accused the Freedom Center of attempting “to muzzle and disparage pro-Palestinian activism and scholarship” — a laughable claim given that this same organization previously demanded — and received—a retraction to one of the only pro-Israel pieces to be published in the Maroon in recent years. Not to mention SJP’s recent campaign to “support the Palestinian liberation by boycotting classes on Israel or those taught by Israeli fellows” which was advertised under the profane heading, “Don’t Take Sh*tty Zionist Classes.”
Remember too that this same rhetoric calling the Freedom Center’s newsletters “hate speech” is coming from an organization which proudly published a zine that literally promotes terrorism against Jews and Israel, with images of Molotov cocktails accompanied by the slogan “Cheers to Intifada.”
So what did SJP actually object to in the Freedom Center’s newsletter? As evidence of our “defamatory” claims, SJP cites two key pieces of information from our report—that the Muslim Students Association was created by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization, and that SJP receives funds from Hamas, an anti-Israel terror group. These statements are not defamatory because they are true.
As we have documented on our website, stopcampusjewhatred.org, and as numerous other authors and authorities have attested, Students for Justice in Palestine does receive funding through Hamas that is filtered through a third-party organization called American Muslims for Palestine. AMP is headed by the notorious anti-Semite and jihad supporter, UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, the co-founder of SJP. AMP’s board is dominated by former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation which was successfully prosecuted by the US government for funding Hamas.
Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst for the United States Department of the Treasury, testified in 2014 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “At its 2014 annual conference, AMP invited participants to ‘come and navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.’” He described AMP as “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States” and revealed that AMP “provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called ‘Apartheid Wall,’ and grants to SJP activists” and “even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country.” Even if UChicago SJP does not receive these funds directly, it benefits from the organizational apparatus which they enable.
Our claims about the Muslim Students Association’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are also factual. The Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada was established mainly by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in January 1963 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Nyack College theologian Larry A. Poston writes that “many of the founding members of this agency [MSA] were members of, or had connections to,” the Muslim Brotherhood or Jamaat-i-Islami. The three most significant founders of MSA were Hisham al Talib, Jamal Barzinji, and Ahmed Totanji, all of whom were MB leaders of Iraqi descent. As is explained at DiscovertheNetworks.org, “The creation of MSA resulted from Saudi-backed efforts to establish Islamic organizations internationally in the 1960s, for the purpose of spreading its Wahhabist ideology across the globe.”
Did SJP even bother to fact-check our claims before labeling them “defamatory”? Of course not, because that is irrelevant to their cause. The fact of the matter is that SJP doesn’t care that our claims about SJP and MSA are true. They care only about scoring political points and shutting down pro-Israel speech on campus. Thus SJP claims in their letter that “This is not a matter of political discourse, and it is by no means within the scope of the Kalven Report”—referring to one of the University of Chicago’s foundational documents on academic freedom and free speech on campus.
By SJP’s logic, calling for terrorist violence against Israel, depicting anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews as pigs, writing poems about Jews’ “animalistic lust yearning to rape [Palestinian] bodies,” and exhorting students not to take “Sh*tty Zionist Classes” all fall under protected and even laudable political speech. But publishing the truth about SJP and MSA do not?
U. Chicago SJP dismissed our carefully researched claims as “hate speech” while brazenly promoting Jew hatred, terrorism, blood libels, and genocide. The Chicago Maroon has likewise been complicit in this malevolent subterfuge.
By attempting to silence legitimate and urgent discussion on campus while engaging in a campaign of malicious smears and libels, SJP has displayed the ultimate hypocrisy of their position. The Kalven Report that SJP so audaciously cites in an attempt to censor speech critical of their organization, in fact ordains the exact opposite, stating, “There is no mechanism by which [a university] can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives.” The administration of the University of Chicago would do well to take heed.