University Students Shut Down Pro-Israel Event

The Hampshire University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine successfully demonstrated and shut down an event headlining Israeli soldiers. What follows is the description of the action from the group’s Youtube page, as well as a video documenting what happened.

Israel’s current PR campaign diverts attention from the numerous human rights violations Israel commits against the Palestinian people and obscures Palestinian civil society’s 2005 Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call. [1]

Sgt. Anthony has repeatedly stressed the ‘non-political’ nature of his talks. We would like to ask: how can bringing a soldier from the 4th largest army in the world to speak be anything other than a political act? In fact, there has been a concerted campaign over the last few years to whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians with PR campaigns such as this event.

Anthony has said that IDF soldiers ‘never fire on civilians’. But since 2000 alone, between 3,535 – 4,226 civilians have been killed by the Israeli military, 1,452 of which were children.

Could a U.S. soldier speak about their experiences in Iraq or Afghanistan non-politically? What would be the purpose of lying about these statistics unless Sgt. Anthony and this event’s sponsors had a political stake in the situation?

= ABOUT THE SPONSORS OF THIS EVENT =

The events that sponsored this event at Hampshire College were: The David Project, Hasbara Fellowships, and Stand With Us. The express purpose of these organizations is to train people to become advocates of Israeli policy by providing them with resources and trips to Israel.

While these groups frame themselves as ‘neutral’ and advocates for ‘civil discourse,’ a critical look at their history reveals that they are anything but.

THE DAVID PROJECT:

The David Project first got its start in Boston in 2004, attempting to stop the construction of an Islamic cultural center by spreading Islamophobic fear. Without any evidence, the David Project insisted that the center ‘had received foreign funding from ‘the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia or… the Moslem Brotherhood.’ They also made a film called ‘Columbia Unbecoming,’ which targeted Palestinian professor Joseph Massad and attempted to get him fired because he taught his students about the Occupation. [5]

CHARLES JACOBS, the founder of the david project, has said that these groups are some the ‘enemies of Israel: The American Friends Service Committee; Democracy Now; The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC); The Tides Foundation; Media Matters; The New Israel Fund; Brit Tzedek v’Shalom; Physicians for Social Responsibility; The Workmen’s Circle; and Amnesty International. [6]

HASBARA FELLOWSHIPS:

Hasbara Fellowships started in 2011 in conjunction with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is spearheaded by the international arm of Aish HaTorah. [7] Aish HaTorah is an extremist settler group in Israel that has gone so far as to erect a one-ton model of the ‘Third Temple’ close to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as a warning of ‘what’s to come’ for Muslims living in the city. [8]

Through the CLARION FUND, Hasbara Fellowships has helped promote Islamophobic films like Obsession & Third Jihad, which portray Islam as a death cult. [9]

STAND WITH US

Stand With Us has a similar objective to the two above mentioned organizations, but has recently adopted LBGT rhetoric to defend Israel. As a coalition of Palestinian queer organizations wrote, ‘Stand With Us… has no connection with the LGBT movement in the Middle East apart from ties to Zionist Israeli LGBT organizations… we condemn its attempt to use us, our struggles, our lives, and our experiences as a platform for pro-Israeli propaganda.’ [10] Members of StandWithUs have also pepper sprayed Palestine solidarity activists during a meeting. [11]

= TO SUM IT UP =

All of these groups are intimately connected: they share membership and collectively consult with the Israeli Foreign Ministry in a targeted campaign to portray Israel as a victim in its ongoing colonization of Palestinian lands.

1 http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52
2 http://www.mediacoop.ca/photo/idf-not
3 http://thejewishstate.net/oct1609idf….
4 http://ifamericansknew.org/stats/deat… & http://ifamericansknew.org/stats/chil
5 http://www.indypendent.org/2010/12/20
6 http://www.muzzlewatch.com/2010/05/07
7 http://www.hasbarafellowships.org/ind… & http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/obam
8 http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tik
9 http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tik
10 http://pqbds.wordpress.com/2010/06/16
11 http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/r

VIDEO OF EVENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8UOQJGC1Zg&feature=play…edded

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