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September 28, 2017 4:27 pm

Anti-Israel Group SJP Slams ‘Powerful Zionist Lobby’ After University of Illinois Condemns Antisemitism

avatar by Shiri Moshe


An ‘apartheid wall’ erected by Students for Justice in Palestine at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Photo: SJP at UIUC.

An anti-Israel group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is organizing a campaign to protest the school’s recent condemnation of “anti-Semitic attacks hidden under the guise of anti-Zionist rhetoric.”

Chancellor Robert Jones’ denunciation, shared in a mass email on Sunday, came after SJP at UIUC equated Zionism — the movement for Jewish national self-determination — with white supremacy and fascism. The group threatened to use “any means necessary” against supporters of each ideology, including “violent resistance–whether it is a black bloc or full-scale armed conflict.”

“Once again, our University’s administration has chosen to side with the powerful Zionist lobby on campus,” SJP at UIUC said this week in response to Jones’ statement, calling the “equivocation of anti-Zionist work to anti-Semitism … appalling, disappointing, and unsurprising.”

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The group — part of a national network that, according to the Anti Defamation League, has “consistently demonized Israel,” including by “comparing Israelis to Nazis” — also claimed that it “spends multiple meetings discussing the evils of anti-Semitism in preemptive efforts to to [sic] ensure our organizing and activist work is truly intersectional and accountable to the various populations it seeks to represent.”

“The most recent waves of anti-Semitic incidents have no connection to SJP or anti-Zionist sentiments,” SJP claimed, pointing instead to “the possibility of these attacks stemming from supporters of right-wing groups like the Illini Republicans or Turning Point USA,” which SJP called “despicable organizations.”

The group accused Jones of taking “a page right out of the Zionist campus group playbook” and that of “their powerful backers,” and shared a template that supporters could use to email the chancellor in protest of his statement.

StandWithUs, the pro-Israel education group that applauded UIUC’s condemnation of antisemitism, warned earlier this month that anti-Israel activists were increasingly seeking “to paint Zionism, the liberation movement of the historically oppressed Jewish people, as being the equivalent of ‘White Supremacism’ and ‘Fascism.’”

Comparing Zionism “to ideologies that support oppression and genocide against Jews is grotesquely racist,” said Ron Krudo, executive director of campus affairs at StandWithUs. “This rhetoric also silences the voices of countless Jews of color, like my family who found freedom in Israel after centuries of oppression in Iraq and Turkey.”

“The Jewish people were a principle victim of both before and during World War Two,” added StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein. “We have six million reasons to oppose Nazism. I am a child of Holocaust survivors, and I don’t need a lesson on white supremacy and why it is so dangerous.”

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