Students for Justice in Palestine Says Progress Impossible ‘So Long as Israel Exists’
Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Davis, acknowledged on Friday that it did not believe progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was possible “so long as the state of Israel exists.”
“The goal of Palestinian resistance is not to establish ‘love’ with those who are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people,” the group asserted in an essay published by the student-run California Aggie, “it is to completely dismantle those forces at play.”
SJP was responding to an op-ed by the Aggies for Israel club, which criticized a protest of its “Choose Love” campaign by anti-Zionist students.
“They held posters saying ‘Justice is our demand, Palestine is our Land,’ ‘Resistance is justified when people are occupied’ and one of the most personal ones, ‘Gofman has got to go'” — a reference to student government President Michael Gofman, a member of Aggies for Israel — the group wrote in June.
“As people shouted ‘f**k Israel,’ ‘f**k Michael Gofman’ and ‘you should have learned from Germany,’ in our faces, a question emerged: How could we have a ‘Choose Love’ campaign while people were choosing hate?” they asked. “These blatant anti-Semitic phrases go beyond any acceptable criticism of Israeli policies.”
SJP rejected accusations that its chants were antisemitic, writing that the reference to Germany was meant to invoke a parallel between the Berlin Wall and the West Bank security barrier, which Israel erected to stop Palestinian suicide bombings and other attacks during the Second Intifada.
The group is a chapter of a national organization that spearheads BDS campaigns on North American college campuses, a movement that Jewish community advocates have blamed for a rise in antisemitic incidents and sentiments.
While proponents of the BDS campaign portray it as an effort to isolate Israel until it abides by international law, critics have accused it of aiming to undermine the Jewish state’s continued existence. The movement’s co-founder, Omar Barghouti, has in the past rejected the notion that Jewish people have a right to self-determination by claiming that they are not a nation, and has described all Israeli Jews as “settlers.”
SJP chapters have repeatedly come under fire for glorifying Palestinian terrorists, with the group’s national branch memorializing Ghassan Kanafani on Sunday. Kanafani served as a spokesperson of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — a terrorist organization blacklisted by the United States, European Union, Australia, and Canada — at the time of the 1972 Lod airport massacre, in which 26 people were killed.