George Washington University (GW) in Washington DC has leveled additional disciplinary sanctions against members of the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter following their repeated violations of the group’s suspension and other rules, the GW Hatchet reported on Monday.
According to the paper, after being suspended, SJP assembled a front group called “Student Coalition for Palestine” and held an unauthorized protest in Nov. at Kogan Plaza, an outdoor space frequently used by the campus community for outdoor events.
Student Coalition for Palestine held two more unauthorized demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday and declined to speak on record to GW Hatchet, citing concerns about being “doxxed.” On both days, they brandished signs that said, “Divest from Zionist genocide” and “From the river to the sea,” a chant widely interpreted as calling for a genocide of Jews in Israel.
They also chanted, “Israel bombs, GW pays, how many kids did you kill today?” and “Granberg, Granberg, you’re a coward, we the students have the power,” referencing GW President Ellen M. Granberg, who is a Jewish woman.
In November, George Washington University became the third private university in the United States to suspend its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter after the group projected pro-Hamas messages on a university library.
The suspension reportedly included two phases, first a 90-day period in which SJP was banned from sponsoring and holding events on campus, and a second, beginning on Feb. 12, 2024 and lasting for the remainder of the academic year, in which the university continues to “restrict” its activities.
Now facing new charges of community disturbance, disorderly conduct, and noncompliance for violating the suspension, an SJP member told the GW Hatchet, which has taken the group’s lead in describing Student Coalition for Palestine as non-affiliated with SJP, that the university is being “hateful” and fascistic.
“They refuse to acknowledge that it has to do with our solidarity,” the student alleged. “They refuse to acknowledge their fascism.”
The student also threatened that continued efforts to hold SJP accountable for violating school rules will “only make us louder.”
GW SJP in Palestine has been battling the school’s administration to push the boundaries of its campus activities since Hamas’ terror invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, an attack that resulted in over 1,200 deaths of mostly civilians and included numerous rapes and torture.
Five days after the attack, President Ellen Granberg censured in strong terms any support on campus for the war crimes Hamas committed, acts that SJP had cheered during numerous demonstrations.
“I not only condemn terrorism, but I also abhor the celebration of terrorism and attempts to perpetuate rhetoric or imagery that glorifies acts of violence,” Granberg wrote in an open letter. “Such messages do not speak on behalf of me, our administrators, or GW.” Granberg also expressed concern for all affected by the week’s events in the Middle East, calling on the campus community to “reach out to a friend, colleague, or classmate and show your support.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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ADL Urges Chicago Cops to Apprehend Culprits Behind Antisemitic Flyer Campaign
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on the Chicago Police Department to step up efforts to apprehend the culprits behind a series of antisemitic flyers distributed in the the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, which is home to a large Jewish population.
“For the 4th time in over 5 weeks, residents of Chicago‘s Lincoln Park neighborhood woke up today to antisemitic & white supremacist flyers on their cars,” the Jewish civil rights organization’s office for the Midwest stated in a post on X/Twitter. “We spoke with Chicago police & urged them to do what’s necessary to find & hold accountable those responsible for these hateful acts.”
At least 50 vehicles parked in Lincoln Park were targeted with flyers bearing handwritten messages attacking Jews and their alleged influence. “I saw on my dashboard a piece of paper with an antisemitic, very antisemitic markings on it that said that Jews own the media, the Jews started COVID,” local resident Aaron Snyder told ABC News. Local media outlets blurred the text written on the flyers in their reports of the latest incident.
At a community neighborhood meeting on Tuesday night, attendees voiced a mix of fear and anger over the repeated incidents. Similar flyers were discovered in Lincoln Park last week.
“Clearly, this is targeted antisemitic hate material, and the fact that it’s being placed intentionally in residential neighborhoods where Jewish families live, it seems designed to sow fear and unrest in the hearts of our Jewish residents,” Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins told local media outlets.
While no-one has yet been identified as responsible for distributing the flyers, Hopkins said that he believed “it’s the same group that’s responsible for it. It’s clearly more than one person because there’s a significant number of these that are deployed at the same time.”
The so-called “Goyim Defense League (GDL)”, a US neo-Nazi organization, has orchestrated a similar campaign over the last two years in Florida, North Carolina, California and several other states, distributing printing flyers blaming Jews collectively for the COVID pandemic and other social ills. It remains unclear whether the GDL is behind the current harassment of Jews in Chicago.
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Meet the Indigenous People Who Support Israel
During pro-Palestinian marches in the Western world, we have seen several minority groups, including “indigenous” people, who identify with the Palestinians and their claim to be the displaced natives in Israel.
But there are other indigenous people who view things differently.
The Indigenous Coalition For Israel (ICFI) is one organization that aims to change the narrative, consisting of individuals from the Americas, Australia, Asia, and Africa. The ICFI has just launched an office that will be housed within the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem.
Ryan Bellerose, a native Canadian of the Metis mixed-race community, told me that “the false narrative concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict has easily taken hold amongst many indigenous peoples.”
He feels that many have misunderstood what the term “indigeneity” means. He spoke about how the Jewish people’s ethnogenesis took place in the Levant, just like the Native Americans’ took root in the Americas. He noted that even if Jews lived in the Diaspora at times, their cultural identity “evolved” in the Middle East.
Some on the Palestinian side claim that they have Canaanite roots. Bellerose argued that the Palestinians are “not doing much” to actively preserve or upkeep this Canaanite culture despite the claim.
Bellerose feels that indigenous Americans are still feeling the “residual effects” of a genocide, and can therefore learn a lot from the Israeli example, where Jewish society was “rebuilt” after the Holocaust.
He also cited Israel’s Hebrew revival as a good example of decolonization, and hopes that other groups that have lost their native languages, such as his ancestral Cree, will be able to revive theirs as well.
New Zealand Māoris
Dr. Sheree Trotter is a New Zealand Māori. She said that while some Māori Iwi (clans), including the biggest one, Ngapuhi, issued statements supporting Israel, there is no uniform view across the group.
She noted that there are still many Māori who are pro-Palestinian, among the indigenous minority who are 16.5% of New Zealand.
Trotter said that many Māori became Christianized in recent times, and therefore connect with the story of Israelites. She blamed international forces, such as the Soviet propaganda of the 1960s, for causing many Māori to shift towards identifying with the Palestinian narrative.
Olga Washington is a member of the Tswana ethnic group in South Africa, a country that has taken an outsized pro-Palestinian stance in recent years. However, she insists that “the majority of South Africans don’t have such beliefs, even if the ‘loudest voices’ are anti-Israel.”
Washington noted how Israel supported the apartheid regime in South Africa (1948-94), but that continuing to blame Israel for abetting this exhibits “a double standard” since “many other countries” also supported apartheid South Africa, including the US, UK, and Japan.
She insisted that allegations of Israeli apartheid are “not true” — having witnessed apartheid firsthand in South Africa, where the term originated.
She said that during the Cold War era, the Soviets, Cuba, and other forces allied with the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) party were anti-Zionist, and this legacy has remained. The ANC has been in power since 1994.
She noted how South Africa chose not to support their Miss Universe candidate when the competition was held in Israel in 2021.
“But we still do have diplomatic relations with Israel,” she noted.
“Jews are indigenous to the land and the Palestinian claim is a very self-harming approach as it rejects Jewish indigeneity,” she said. And indigenous people around the world who know the true history of Israel likely agree with her.
Avi Kumar is a Holocaust historian/journalist from Sri Lanka. He has lived in many countries and speaks 11 languages. He has written about a variety of topics in publications worldwide.
Rising Antisemitism on Campus Demands a Strong Legal Offense
The surge in anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment in response to Hamas’ October 7 massacre is cause for serious alarm. This is particularly the case on college campuses, where Jewish, Israeli, and Zionist students across the nation face incidents of ostracism, harassment, discrimination, threats, and violence in unprecedented numbers.
Of course, antisemitism and its glorification are not new phenomena. In 1939, for example, the freshman class at Princeton University voted Adolf Hitler the “greatest living person.” The following year’s freshman class repeated the vote with the same results, as did students at Georgetown University.
But we have two key advantages over our 1930s and 1940s counterparts. First, we know what happened the last time we hoped and waited for the antisemitic rhetoric at universities to subside. Instead of being eradicated, it merely laid low for a few decades, before exploding beyond any level we’ve previously experienced. It has consequently become our duty to ensure that university administrators are on clear notice about their legal obligation to protect their Jewish and Israeli students from the pervasively hostile environment that such antisemitism has created on many campuses. And if they deliberately ignore our warnings and efforts to assist them in this regard, it is our duty to hold them accountable.
This is where our second advantage comes into play. We now have a powerful legal tool in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). A cornerstone of American anti-discrimination law, Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs receiving Federal financial assistance. Recipients who fail to comply with their responsibilities under Title VI risk the loss of their Federal funding. While there is no confusion that the “national origin” category of Title VI covers Israeli students, the US Department of Education has repeatedly affirmed that its protections also extend to groups based on real or perceived shared ethnicity or ancestry, including Jewish students.
This means that administrators must acknowledge what is, for most Jews, a very real connection between Jewish identity and the Jewish ancestral homeland of Israel, and take concrete steps to ensure that Jewish students are not subjected to a hostile campus climate based on this component of their identity.
In accordance with the lessons of history, the rampant antisemitism threatening to overtake many campuses since October 7 — and our commitment to supporting students in the face of anti-Jewish bias and bigotry — the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism and the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department are heavily focused on ensuring that administrators across the nation are aware of and complying with their legal duties to Jewish and Israeli students. Toward that end, we have identified specific actions they should take to align their institutions with the requirements of Title VI and other civil rights laws. In addition to the low-hanging fruit of even-handedly enforcing existing campus policies (e.g., imposing appropriate sanctions against those who threaten Jews, individually or collectively), such actions include the following:
(1) While students generally have the right to express their views on campus, administrators must prevent academic departments, student government bodies, and registered student groups, from misusing university resources — such as official school social media accounts and access to email listservs — to propagate hatred or incite violence. Such actions run afoul of professional standards, violate university policies, and create a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students.
(2) Universities have the responsibility to ensure that hateful speech does not escalate to harassment, discrimination, or criminal conduct on campus. If and when it does, it is not protected by academic freedom or freedom of speech, and the university administration is obligated to take the necessary steps — including punitive measures — to remedy the harm caused and deter such conduct from recurring.
(3) It should be self-evident that Hamas’ massacre, dismemberment, rape, beheadings, and kidnapping against anyone, let alone children, babies, the disabled, and the elderly, can never be justified. Yet moral clarity on these matters appears to be lacking within higher education institutions. University administrators should set the tone on their universities by using their voices to unequivocally condemn such acts of terror — which in no way undermines their ability to offer legitimate criticism of other conduct.
(4) University administrators must ensure that faculty are unable to misuse their class time (including cancelling classes) for political indoctrination, especially when it may serve to marginalize Jewish students and support or promote terrorism or other forms of violence.
(5) While the right to protest is generally protected under the First Amendment, allowing outside community members who may harbor antisemitic intentions to participate in student protests on university grounds is not always warranted or advisable. Administrators should do everything in their power to limit non-student access to student events, check for valid student identification, and address unlawful behavior — including by having the police make arrests where appropriate — to help protect the safety of all students.
(6) To the extent permissible under applicable law, universities should prohibit the wearing of masks during demonstrations. They should also ensure robust enforcement of laws prohibiting the wearing of a mask to conceal one’s identity during the commission of a crime. These actions can help prevent violence and harassment on campus, and protect all members of the campus community.
Universities today once again find themselves torn between asserting their inclusive values and acting on them. This time, we have the benefit of hindsight and the legal tools to protect students facing mounting antisemitism. It is the obligation of college and university administrators to apply both. And it is our mission — at StandWithUs and across the nation — to ensure that they do.
Carly Gammill is the director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism. StandWithUs is an international nonpartisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism.
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