SJP Hijacks an Anti-Trump Rally to Fuel Antisemitism at George Washington University
During the anti-Trump rally held on November 15 at George Washington University (GWU), I was struck for the first time with the feeling that I may not be safe on my campus.
At the rally — supposedly for peace — I was shocked to hear antisemitic rhetoric, hate, and demonization coming from some of my peers. The list of demands some of the protesters subsequently presented to the GWU administration included a call for divestment from Israeli companies due to “colonialism and apartheid in Palestine” and “escalating state-sanctioned genocide.” While the demands included a statement urging protection of Jewish students from antisemitic behavior, this was proven insincere by the intrinsic antisemitism in the document.
Among the list’s sponsors was Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is known for co-opting rallies around the country in order to promote their hateful anti-Israel message. And that’s what they did with this anti-Trump rally.
SJP has been active at GWU in the past; in February, the group taught students how to boycott Sabra Hummus. This past October, SJP held a general body meeting promoting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS). BDS is nothing more than a tactic to vilify Israel, which has coincided with the rise of antisemitism in Europe. And SJP and other BDS proponents are usually blind to the fact that economically destroying Israel would hurt the very populations they want to save. As Bassem Eid, a well-known Palestinian activist, wrote for The Washington Institute:
Israelis continue to come to the West Bank to do business, and most Palestinians continue to buy Israeli goods. Indeed, if you ask Palestinians what they want, they’ll tell you they want jobs, secure education, and health. And the people who are failing them in this regard are their own leaders: Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in Gaza. The focus of PA leaders is on enriching themselves and their families, rather than serving the interests of the Palestinians.
Why doesn’t SJP condemn this corruption? Acknowledging the reality of life in the Palestinian communities is the first step in helping them.
Politics aside, how is this related to an anti-Trump protest? Unfortunately, it is nothing new to see anti-Israel activists co-opt unrelated protest movements. For example, SJP at CUNY colleges hijacked the Million Student March, blaming “the Zionist [CUNY] administration” for tuition hikes. What’s worse, Jewish students were called names that I refuse to repeat. How is this productive? How does this maintain the safety of all students?
Above all, I am disturbed that SJP’s BDS agenda was included in what was to be a peaceful event. Although the resolution was open-sourced, thirteen GWU organizations still signed their agreement. At the most politically active campus in the US, do we really condone antisemitic and blatantly false rhetoric? As GWU students, we must condemn antisemitism and never permit it at future rallies.