A Jewish student group at New York University urged the school’s administration to take action against the NYU branch of Students for Justice in Palestine for trying to tie Israel to the recent police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
By: The Algemeiner
In a letter sent on Tuesday to NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Marc Wais, “Realize Israel” president Jacob Sternberg wrote:
I am emailing you as a concerned Jewish student at NYU.
A couple of days ago, the Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU, a recognized student club at NYU that receives funding from the University, released a public statement that links the death of two unarmed black men in America back to the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel. SJP is trying to tie together the injustice that exists in America’s justice system back to the one democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state, Israel.
The statement, in which they said, “The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians” not only takes away from the struggle and discrimination that black Americans face, hindering any progressive steps in solving this major issue, but also brings about SJP’s true intentions.
As the president of Realize Israel, the largest Israel club at NYU, I am committed to educating and celebrating Israel on campus. I am also a strong believer in advocating for peace and better quality of life for both Israelis and Palestinians.
I am concerned because although SJP claims to be a club that is advocating for ‘Justice in Palestine’, the events, statements and actions they make are constantly and consistently focused on demonizing, boycotting, and spreading lies and hatred against the State of Israel.
Their recent Facebook post is just one of the dozens of actions they have made that twists facts, and spreads complete lies about the State of Israel, and as the President of the University I am respectfully asking for some type of action to be taken.
This is not the first time that a global issue, in this case institutionalized racism, was pinned on the Jewish people or Jewish State, but I hope it is the last time NYU stands for anti-semitism of this kind.
After being attacked like this by an NYU student group, I turn to you, the NYU administration to wrong this right.
If you would like to speak further about this or would like to set up a meeting between Realize Israel and a member of the NYU administration to discuss how we can be leaders in ending the rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on campus, I would be more than happy to do so.
Sternberg was referring to a July 7 Facebook post in which NYU’s SJP branch wrote:
In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police. The total number of black people lynched by cops in 2016 now totals 136. We must remember that many US police departments train with the #IsraeliDefenseForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.
#BlackLivesMatter #PhilandoCastile #NoJusticeNoPeace#FromBatonRougeToGaza #PalestiniansForBlackLiberation
As soon as the post appeared, hundreds of Facebook users commented angrily, calling SJP antisemitic and laughable.
“This has to be a hoax,” replied Jack Paris.
“Unbelievable stupidity of educated idiots,” responded Sally Amsterdamer.
“Who let the dogs out???” commented Michael Amar.
“Bunch of TERRORISTS LOVING NYU MORRONS!!” Dennis Nero wrote.
Two days later, on July 9, SJP posted a clarification.
Our statement regarding the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—and the rampant murders of Black Americans by the police—was not a suggestion that their deaths are part of an Israeli conspiracy. Israel did not literally kill either of these men: that much is obvious. What is also clear is that American police departments and the IDF train together. The IDF assists the NYPD and other American police departments in their oppression and murder of black people. These groups share a common logic that manifests in several types of oppression, white supremacist racism among them.
If we in SJP and in the Palestine solidarity movement more generally are serious about ending Israeli oppression then we must stand with black americans. We need to be in the streets with them and we need to organize against police brutality.
The Black struggle and the Palestinian struggle are not the same. Still, Palestinian liberation and Black liberation are linked. That is why Palestinians must be there for Black people, and Black People must be there for Palestinains. This sense of mutual responsibility has been present in our movements.
Those who claim our statement promoted conspiracy theories, or was a cooptation of BLM, are intentionally misconstruing it. This is not cooptation, or using the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to push for an opportunistic SJP agenda. It is solidarity.
We will not engage in further discussion on this matter, which aims to distract from the urgent issues at hand, as we believe the attention should remain on the victims of state brutality.
SJP is an anti-Zionist, pro-BDS organization operating on campuses in the US, Canada and New Zealand. It is responsible for or tied to university events whose aim is to accuse Israel of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The Algemeiner reached out to NYU President Hamilton’s office for a response to the SJP claims and Realize Israel’s letter, but no comment has been forthcoming.