Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letter of Solidarity with the Struggle for Gender Neutrality at Boston University:

We are writing to express our utmost support for the campaign to win safe space for our fellow students at BU. It is quite disturbing that gender neutral housing was not a pressing enough concern for the administration to warrant keeping its timetable (much less keeping up with most other universities around Boston and the country). Despite having an equal opportunity policy that includes gender variance, the actual institutions at BU have fallen far short of the basic needs of its student population.

Forcing students to identify within the gender binary for housing as well as what bathrooms they use is extremely alienating and dangerous to their physical and psychological well-being. SJP will not rest until BU ends its stratification of housing and bathrooms and provides safety and autonomy over the bodies and living conditions of our community. We promise to support this campaign in every possible way and remain committed to pushing for a just future at our school and all over the world.

--Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Boston University Students write Op/eds Against Israeli Apartheid and Agression

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: "Israel's Control of Water is Anything but Peaceful"

By: Kristen Martin
Boston University Free Press

Letter to the Editor:"Israel Peace Week?"

Op-Ed: "Another Jewish Voice Against Israeli Apartheid"
By: Ian Chinich
Boston University Quad

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Experience in Palestine

By: Jeff Stein
Boston University Free Press

Monday, February 20, 2012

Boston University Israeli Apartheid Week 2012

The crime of apartheid, a crime against humanity, is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."

As part of our third annual Israeli Apartheid Week this year, BU Students for Justice in Palestine is hosting four events:

Monday, 2/27: Screening of "Budrus"
College of Arts and Sciences, Rm B12 @ 7pm
725 Commonwealth Ave.

Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Apartheid Barrier. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known, movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today.

In an action-filled documentary chronicling this movement from its infancy, Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat. The movie is directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha (co-writer and editor of Control Room and co-director Encounter Point), and produced by Bacha, Palestinian journalist Rula Salameh, and filmmaker and human rights advocate Ronit Avni (formerly of WITNESS, Director of Encounter Point).

Tuesday, 2/28: Human Rights and LGBTQ Subjectivity in Israel-Palestine
Kenmore Classroom Building, Rm 101 @ 7pm
565 Commonwealth Ave.

This lecture will examine the discourse surrounding LGBTQ rights and how it is employed by various Israeli and Palestinian constituents. We will also discuss the past, present, and future of queer engagement in promoting social justice and human rights in Israel-Palestine.

Wednesday 2/29: Native America and Palestine: Indigeneity and Settler-Colonialism
College of Arts and Sciences, Rm 224 @ 7pm
725 Commonwealth Ave.

We will be having an event on the relationship of colonial settler occupation in Native America, Hawaii and Palestine. Professor Kauanui will talk on the nature and effects of colonization on indigenous peoples, including the Wampanoag, who lived in the area BU now occupies.

Thursday, 3/1: Jewish and Palestinian Experiences with Israeli Apartheid
Boston University: Photonics Center, Rm 206 @ 7pm
8 St. Mary's St.

We are showcasing Jewish and Palestinian voices and their experiences with Apartheid within Israel and the Occupied Territories.


Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post,, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a writing fellow for the Nation Institute. His book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

Samer Arafa is a Palestinian refugee who was born in East Jerusalem and has been egregiously harmed by racist laws enacted by the state of Israel. He holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University and works in the field of Solar Energy. He is also part of the group that started Northeastern University's SJP.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The U.S. Boat to Gaza calls for pressure on the U.S. State Department

Action Alert:

July 3, 2011

The U.S. Government Must Pressure Greece to Let U.S. Boat to Gaza Sail Release Captain John Klusmire
and Our Boat Immediately!

The U.S. Boat to Gaza calls for pressure
on the U.S. State Department

People around the world are rallying for the release of the boats that Greece is preventing from sailing to Gaza. We call on you to show your solidarity and support for the flotilla as a whole, and in particular for the captain of the U.S. boat, John Klusmire.
Over the past two weeks, two boats of the international flotilla to Gaza have been sabotaged while docked at Greek ports. No one has claimed responsibility for the damage done to these boats. The potential danger to the U.S. boat was obvious to the captain, the crew and the passengers: there was a clear possibility that the U.S. boat would be sabotaged next.

The departure of the U.S. Boat to Gaza - The Audacity of Hope - was first delayed by a complaint filed by the Israel Law Center and shown to be frivolous. Greek authorities then inspected the boat but, until the boat set sail five days later the, the results of that inspection has not been shared with the captain and his crew. Those results were not shared until the Hellenic Coast Guard stopped The Audacity of Hope some 20 minutes after it had left the dock on Friday, July 1. The Hellenic Coast Guard intercepted the ship and ordered that the ship stop. This order was obeyed. Commandos with drawn rifles ordered the ship to return. It is now impounded at a military dock in Athens and the captain has ben arrested.

Captain Klusmire faces two charges: disturbing sea traffic and endangering passengers; and moving away from the dock in violation of an order not to do so. He is being held in a cell without a bed and does not have access to toilet facilities. The only food and water he has had has been brought in by visitors. He has not been visited by anyone from the U.S. Embassy even though he is entitled to such a visit by international law.

The U.S. Boat to Gaza campaign urges you to immediately take the following actions. Even though it is a holiday weekend we urge you to make these calls now, and if necessary to place calls again on Monday and Tuesday.

Below is a copy of the latest press release from the U.S. Boat to Gaza.
July 3, 2011 Athens, Greece
On eve of U.S. Independence Day, U.S. passengers on flotilla start open-ended fast at U.S. Embassy in Athens

Demand that U.S. government pressure Greece to
free their boat and captain, and allow boat to sail to Gaza
Members of the U.S. Boat to Gaza have begun an open-ended fast calling on the U.S. government to defend our right to sail out of Greece. The fast has begun in front of the U.S. Embassy at 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue in Athens. Fasters delivered an urgent letter to the Embassy and plan to sleep overnight outside the Embassy gates.

Passengers and U.S. boat organizers participating in the fast are: Medea Benjamin, Ken Mayers, Paki Wieland, Kathy Kelly, Ray McGovern, Helaine Meisler, Nic Abramson, and Carol Murry.

Passenger Kathy Kelly said, "We call on officials at the U.S. Embassy in Athens to publicly acknowledge our right to sail and to call on the Greek government to free our ship and its captain immediately."

There will also be a march in support of the flotilla beginning at 7 pm organized by Greek activists who have been protesting the government's austerity measures in Syntagma Square. The march will include a demand on the Greek government to let all of the boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2 sail to Gaza and to free the captain of the U.S. ship, who has been held in jail.

The departure of the U.S. Boat to Gaza - The Audacity of Hope - was first delayed by a complaint filed by the Israel Law Center and shown to be frivolous. Greek authorities then inspected the boat but, until the boat set sail five days later, the results of that inspection has not been shared with the captain and his crew.

The Greek Coast Guard stopped The Audacity of Hope some 20 minutes after it had left the dock on Friday, July 1. The Coast Guard ordered the captain to stop the ship, which he did. Commandos with drawn rifles ordered the ship to return. It is now impounded at a military dock in Athens and the captain has ben arrested.

Over the past two weeks, two boats of the international flotilla to Gaza have been sabotaged while docked at Greek ports. The potential danger to the U.S. boat was obvious to the captain, the crew and the passengers: there was a clear possibility that the U.S. boat would be sabotaged next.

Greek consular officials in the United States, when besieged with calls by angry Americans, told callers that they should direct their protest to U.S. officials because they were ultimately responsible. "We know that the U.S. government has been supporting Israel's underhanded efforts to thwart the flotilla, and has been pressuring the Greek government to stop us. This is a disgrace," said passenger/faster Medea Benjamin. "On July 4, it's time for our government to declare independence from Israel and start supporting its own citizens."

We note that on June 24, passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza visited the Consul General in Athens, Deputy Consul General Kate Brandeis agreed that the U.S. Boat "had a right to sail to Gaza."

Ms. Brandeis assured the passengers that the consulate was there to assist U.S. citizens that run into difficulty while in Greece. To date, we have received no assistance from the U.S. Embassy and the captain of our boat, a U.S. citizen, remains in jail and has yet to be visited by anyone from the U.S. Embassy.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Brandeis Students Disrupt Israeli MK Avi Dichter's Speech, Call For His Arrest

WALTHAM, MA -- Members of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) disrupted a panel discussion of six Members of the Israeli Knesset tonight at Brandeis University.
The action targeted MK Avi Dicther, an international war criminal wanted for crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. Dichter ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians while he served as head of Shabak, the Israeli Intelligence Services. In July 2002, Dichter ordered the assassination of a Hamas commander by dropping a one-ton bomb on his home in a residential area, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more.
When Dicther spoke, a dozen Brandeis students stood and demanded that he turn himself in to authorities, distributing warrants for his arrest. In English and in Hebrew, the students listed charges against Dichter, including torture and the bombing of civilians. They ended their disruption by chanting in Hebrew "Don't worry Avi Dicther, we'll meet you in the Hague."
The action aimed to alert the Brandeis community to the presence of a war criminal on campus. "We believe that Avi Dichter must be put to trial for his crimes against humanity," said participant Liza Behrendt.
Participant Paraska Tolan stated, "War criminals have a right to speak on our campus, but students also have the right to hold them publicly accountable for their crimes. This serves as a message that Dichter should not feel welcome, even at Brandeis University."
Lisa Hanania, a Palestinian student at Brandeis and member of SJP, said that she was extremely disturbed by the racist comments from some of the MKs. “MK Tzipi Hotovely claimed that ‘Arabs have a different D.N.A. that lacks humanity.’ As a citizen of the Israel, I am deeply concerned that claims as such pave the way for the state to slide into an openly racist ethnocracy.”
Noam Lekach, a first-year from Israel, stated, "Brandeis claims to promote social justice, but today they invited legislators who openly espouse racist attitudes towards Palestinians."
The students emphasize that, although they targeted Dichter specifically, all MKs should be held accountable for recent racist legislation such as the "Loyalty Oath," the criminalization of Nakba commemoration, and the institutionalization of residential discrimination

Friday, April 1, 2011

At B.U., a student activist teaches me about Bil’in

by PHILIP WEISS on APRIL 1, 2011 (Mondoweiss)

Along with a co-editor of the Goldstone Report, I spoke at two law schools Wednesday, Northeastern and Boston University. Northeastern is a progressive law school and there was an enveloping sense of solidarity, especially when a softspoken young man with an Arab name and a bag with Frieda Kahlo's image on the side came up to me after and said that he was organizing the undergraduate boycott movement. I was in the right place at the right time.

At Boston University there was more opposition, and it was actually energizing, so I'd like to describe that. There is a strong chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine at BU, and I met several of those students before the event in a beautiful hall at the law school. One of them in a sweatshirt was leaning back in his chair next to his girlfriend and the others were giving him grief about how long he'd been active and he grinned and said, “Hey I’ve been working on Palestine since I was 15,” and I had the impression I had many times that night, that the young people have a clear understanding of the issue, way ahead of me. The apprehension of the left surrounding Palestine is ending, the issue is the issue if you’re a young leftist. I'm talking about the political territory they’ve taken. Just as South Africa was, or the Freedom Marches in the 60s, or Central America in the 80s-- Israel/Palestine is the focus for idealistic activists, and they don't have any of my generation's hangups as we used to say (more about the hangups below).

Two of the B.U. organizers told me more about the campus scene. If you’re with Students for Israel, the pro-Israel group, you’re pretty much on the right in campus life. When Israeli Apartheid Week happened in February, the pro-Israel groups mobilized against it and tried to get it off campus as anti-semitic, but Students for Justice in Palestine pointed out to the university president that four of their members were Jewish, so where’s the anti-Semitism? The university let the apartheid week demo stay. Then when David Horowitz tried to throw in gangbusters with the pro-Israel folks, to make an issue about Israeli apartheid week at the school,the Students for Israel said, You know what David, thanks but no thanks, don't "push it." Apparently they were afraid that his blatant Islamophobia would drive Arab students into the ranks of the Justice for Palestine crowd.

Three or four pro-Israel students came to our Goldstone talk and they all asked questions. They were in the second row. Their questions were polite, almost friendly. They didn’t really have numbers, if I were in their crowd I would have been intimidated. The room was against them, young and old. Apparently two of the pro-Israel students were Hasbara fellows. They didn’t denounce us, they just questioned us about Hamas’s tactics and the festering refugee issue and similar matters. I saw them clapping at the end, politely.

Afterward a young Jew came up to me and talked about her Jewish agony about the issue and not wanting to be anti-Israel but also not wanting to endorse what’s going on there. Her father had read the Goldstone Report and confessed to her that it was accurate-- which left her in a quandary about what to do about it. I urged this person to explore Jewish Voice for Peace-- and J Street too if that's where she felt more comfortable-- and start walking the road. It’s a hard road for young Jews. That wasn't the only encounter of this nature that we had. It seems that young idealistic Jews who have been raised loving Israel are in a state of agony right now. The facts are so overwhelmingly negative, from the Netanyahu government to the unending peace process to the killings of Palestinian children; and a good part of the Jewish community is opening its eyes to the truth, at last. Ancient orders inside the community, to maintain unity to the outside world, or to see the Diaspora as beneath Eretz Israel, a lot of those religious orders are dissolving. (Noam Sheizaf discusses the growing war inside the official liberal American Jewish community over Israel, here).

A bunch of us went out to dinner after and I learned two things. One is that the antiwar movement on campus is weak, and in its place the pro-Palestinian movement is growing. You might remember that when the antiwar movement was strong in 2002-2005 or so, there were battles among organizers about giving any place to the Palestinian issue. Well that struggle is over. I was told that students who would be antiwar are working on Palestine, and there are lots of creative actions around it.

The other thing I learned was about life in Bil’in.

A student was with us who had worked with the popular committees. (I'm not going to name him till I can get in touch with him.) He is Jewish but unlike my generation of Jews is not burdened by the racism, xenophobia, and fear of the other that I grew up with. In a word, he is from a more comfortably empowered, multicultural milieu. So he could get past these cultural issues in an instant-- where it has been a tormented struggle for me.

He was not as pitying as I am of the pro-Israel students. He said they are supporting ethnic cleansing; and he told us stories of two families being ethnically cleansed in East Jerusalem before his eyes. Then he told me about the nighttime raids on Bil’in to take away boys for throwing stones. The Israelis would try to identify boys who threw stones at the demonstrations and it was a six month sentence for throwing stones and if you damaged an Israeli jeep it was two years. As soon as the boys were imprisoned they were put under pressure to sign documents in Hebrew, a language they could not read, implicating the leaders of the popular committee in ordering the boys to throw stones. Israel is trying to smash the popular committees of resistance, and the student had slept in Bil'in for a few weeks, to try and help the little village resist the raids.

The student said he got used to a lot of things in the resistance movement-- he got used to tear gas, he got used to the percussion grenades (which scare the shit out of me). But he never got used to the nighttime raids.

They came at 4 in the morning. The soldiers used the stirring of the morning prayer to hide their own movements through the village. Then they knocked down the front door, and dragged the 14 year old or 15 year old away, they bound the boys' hands and moved off through the village with a phalanx of soldiers. The student was there to try and prevent arrests, and felt a sense of failure every time a boy was dragged off. Because the looks on the boys' faces, he said, was pure childlike terror. I thought about the honor we granted the stone throwers in Egypt, I thought about Jewish history in Europe, when they broke our doors down.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Barbed, Steel Barriers Divide 50,000-person Campus to Protest Harmful Effects of U.S. Policy in Israeli-Occupied Palestine and the U.S./Mexico Border

Media Contacts – AZ Jewish Voice for Peace
Brooke Lober: 415-624-4467 /
Bryan James Gordon: 520-388-0884 /
Gabriel Matthew Schivone: 520-302-6006 /
Publicity Stills:

TUCSON AZ (USA) – Students from the Arizona chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace at the University of Arizona (UA) collaborated with partners in the UA migrant rights group No Más Muertes/No More Deaths (NMM) to erect the largest mock border wall in the country currently dividing the UA campus in Tucson. They aim to spotlight the lethal effects of U.S. militarization, immigration and border enforcement policies in Arizona, the U.S., and Israeli-occupied Palestine.

Equipped with barbed-wire and stretching nearly four football fields’ length, the mock wall, entitled “Wall to Wall - Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas,” will stand for more than a week across the main traffic center of the more-than-50,000-person University of Arizona campus. Endorsed by numerous academic departments, as well as student and community groups, the JVP and NMM worked for nearly 8 months to bring the project to fruition.

Packed into a 387-acre area of central Tucson, the University of Arizona schools and employs more than 50,000 students, faculty and staff, outnumbering the State of Arizona as the largest public employer in Southern Arizona – and therefore a proper target for mass disruption, the students say. “We won’t let daily life continue while people are dying and suffering from abominable policies being funded with U.S. tax dollars,” remarked JVP coordinator, Chicano-Jewish student and native Tucsonan, Gabriel Matthew Schivone: “We aim to disturb, to trouble our peers with the knowledge – and less than one tenth of a simulated experience – of our fellow neighbors and communities’ miserable conditions to which our privilege renders many of us to be immune, and renders the conditions themselves to be invisible. We hope to quicken the conscience of our community and shake them into action to end these abuses.”

The mock wall, in part, represents the harmful effects of Israel’s apartheid wall that punctuates and snakes throughout the Palestinian West Bank. An outgrowth of a 44-year military occupation, paid for by $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, and built on occupied Palestinian territory, the wall was deemed illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice in July 2004. JVP co-coordinator and Anthropology and Linguistics graduate student, Bryan James Gordon, stated: “The U.S. and Israeli governments should realize that walls and guns do not stop peaceful, hardworking people from seeking a future, and they do not make national economies any stronger, fairer or more independent. They only cause violence, and trick one exploited class into fearing and attacking another exploited class instead of the elites that are exploiting them both."

The students say they are also alarmed by increasing anti-immigrant legislation and sentiment throughout Arizona and the country, and by ongoing repression of migrants, indigenous peoples and communities of color by U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forces. The students also point to more than 6000 human remains recovered from the U.S./Mexico desert borderlands since the early 1990’s, when the U.S. instituted harsh “deterrence” strategies targeting migrants crossing into the U.S. The students’ statement of purpose reads, “By voluntarily giving up the unjust privileges that we enjoy -- and symbolically taking those privileges away from you, our fellow students, faculty, administration and staff -- we aim to create an unavoidable crisis on campus to expose the larger human catastrophe which our community, by and large, continually fails to see...”

In a joint JVP-NMM op-ed published today (March 23) in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the official newspaper of the University of Arizona, both groups stated: “We will not stand idly by nor stay silent regarding the enormous suffering being inflicted either in our local deserts and cities, or 10,000 miles away in Israeli-occupied Palestine.…[Our wall] symbolized our collective will to end global apartheid and work toward a world that truly offers justice for all.”

Publicity Stills:

Purpose Statement from the Organizers: