As the Ad Hoc Steering Committee for the National Students for Justice in Palestine, we write to express our solidarity with organizers and academics at Brooklyn College.
The co-sponsorship by Brooklyn College’s political science department of an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement has resulted in an onslaught of intimidation from a campaign led by Alan Dershowitz.
At first, Dershowitz and a handful of city politicians demanded that the Brooklyn College political science department rescind its co-sponsorship (Glenn Greenwald wrote a comprehensive article, highlighting Dershowitz’s double standard ). Now, Lewis Fidler, Assistant Majority Leader of the NYC Council, and several other members of the City Council are threatening to pull Brooklyn College’s funding unless the school cancels or condemns the event .
The attack on Brooklyn College comes as students, professors, and academic institutions around the country face an overwhelming pressure to suppress any and all criticism of Israel on campus.
Currently, students all along the West Coast face similar censorship attempts. Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Association chapters in the large University of California system are being subjected to systematic silencing and intimidation at the local, statewide, and national levels. Lobbying by well-funded pro-Israel groups has led to biased “campus climate” reports, a California State assembly bill, and spurious federal complaints (leading to prolonged investigations); all deliberately and falsely conflating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Jewishness .
In light of increasing repression and intimidation against Palestine solidarity activism on US college and university campuses, The Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild launched the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Initiative on 28 January 2013. In a CCR statement, the project was described as an effort to ‘ensure that Palestinian rights activists have the legal support they need to exercise their First Amendment rights and continue speaking and organizing’ .
We pledge to continue our organizing on campus, to highlight the Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and to support and elevate the voices of Palestinian organizers and liberation movements. We will continue to educate, engage students, and mount campaigns using the non-violent tactic of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Despite the threats of powerful figures, we vow to continue to demand justice for Palestine. See the statement born out of the 2nd National SJP conference: Vision for our Non-Hierarchical Movement .
[This statement was originally posted on SJPNational.org.]