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December 5, 2018 7:22 am

New Offshoot of Students for Justice in Palestine Is Just as Radical — and Antisemitic

avatar by Karys Rhea


Members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UC Berkeley. Photo: Ariel Hayat.

A new group of radical activists has emerged in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They are called Within Our Lifetime, and they are unapologetically anti-Zionist, anti-American, pro-violence, and anti-peace.

Within Our Lifetime (WOL) announced their formation in a March Twitter post. An offshoot of a New York branch of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the group said they felt limited by their designation as a campus group and opened up membership to the general public, taking their fight to the streets of New York City.

Within Our Lifetime is small in terms of manpower, usually attracting not more than 25 participants to their rallies and weekly community meetings. But they have over 5,000 followers on Facebook and strong allies including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and the ADL-designated hate group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). They have also inherited SJP’s ties to jihadist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas.

On November 24, Within Our Lifetime signed a statement calling for the release of the “HLF5” — referring to five organizers of the Holy Land Foundation who were convicted on multiple terrorism-related charges, including material support for terrorism. HLF was a Hamas front — an Islamic charity established by US-based Muslim Brotherhood members, according to evidence submitted by the Federal government during a 2008 trial.

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Nerdeen-Mohsen Kiswani, the co-founder and chair of Within Our Lifetime, has a disturbing history of Jew-hatred and support for jihad.

In a Facebook post in 2017, Kiswani celebrated the perpetrators of a Jerusalem attack that left four civilians dead and 17 injured. In 2014, she interrupted a New York City Council hearing where members were discussing an upcoming trip to Israel and holding a ceremony commemorating 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. She also disrupted a scheduled “Jewish Lives Matter” rally in Times Square, and took part in a counter-protest where participants were caught singing “the Jews are our dogs” in Arabic.

Her Twitter comments include calls to kill settlers and to eradicate the state of Israel by way of “intifada” (violent uprising).

She also makes no secret of her admiration for the PFLP, a designated terror group known for its aircraft hijackings and armed attacks on civilians — Israelis and non-Israelis alike. She is also a vociferous supporter of notorious terrorists Leila Khaled, Rasmea Odeh, Bilal Kayed, and Mohammad Allan.

Like Within Our Lifetime, SJP also has a long and sordid history.

SJP’s founder, Hatem Bazian, called for killing Jews and accused “Jewish spies” of controlling universities. At San Francisco State University, where Bazian was student body president, Jewish students spoke out about the unsafe environment he fostered.

SJP invites violent extremists to speak at many of their events, such as Hamas fundraiser Monzer Taleb and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member Khader Adnan. SJP also fundraises for individuals who have carried out terrorist attacks against civilians.

SJP members often post antisemitic content on social media. Adoration of Adolf Hitler, 1940s Nazi propaganda posters depicting Jews as absolute evil, and calls to “stuff Jews in the oven” have been read by many.

SJP also holds anti-Israel events on Jewish holidays or on the same day as Holocaust awareness events. They launched their first Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on Holocaust Remembrance Day and, in 2002, 79 of their members were arrested for disrupting yet another Holocaust Remembrance ceremony.

A recent study by Brandeis University found that campuses with an SJP presence report more hate crimes against Jews in the form of harassment, destruction of property, and exclusion from campus events. Twenty percent of Jewish students surveyed said they were blamed for Israel’s actions merely because they are Jewish.

So what do anti-Zionist groups like Within Our Lifetime, SJP, AMP, MSA, and JVP have in common?

Besides their wholesale denial of Jewish history and their polarization of an age-old, multi-layered conflict into a 70-year binary war between “good” and “evil,” they all have their fellow progressive students fooled.

While they pretend to be progressive, these groups have incontestable links to terrorist organizations and groups that violate the human rights of women, homosexuals, and many others. And yet if you point out these verifiable facts in public, you are quickly labeled as Islamophobic.

Those who believe in peace, individual freedom, and equal rights should stop marching with hateful, ideological, and oppressive groups like Within Our Lifetime. These group masquerade as social justice warriors, but the values they espouse are not much different than those of the right-wing white supremacists whom they despise.

Karys Rhea is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn.

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