Backgrounder: Students for Justice in Palestine

By Lee Kaplan*
Friday, July 18th, 2014 @ 1:30AM

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The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) today exists as a consortium of campus “clubs” throughout the American and Canadian college systems which work to oppose the existence of Israel and to promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish state. There are at least 80 chapters of these clubs on campuses throughout the US and Canada. The SJP goes under other assorted names on some campuses. Names such as Palestine Solidarity Committee or Students for Palestinian Equal Rights are also common. In Canada, some SJP chapters have adopted the name Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), or Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), while others use similar sounding names but advocate for the Palestinian “revolution” or resistance against the Israeli and US governments when they are perceived as allies together against “Palestinian” irredentist goals. The SJP could be said to operate on the campuses in a classic Rico Statute style of infiltration as a method of promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement throughout the USA and Canada via a “grass roots movement.”

unnamed1The SJP actually grew on these campuses, thanks to Hatem Bazian, out of another organization, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) that was first founded on the San Francisco State University campus in 1973. The GUPS is actually an old pro-terrorist student organization officially begun in Egypt in 1959. It claimed at one point to have had as many as 150 chapters across Europe and the Middle East, and currently has a chapter in Gaza. Early GUPS members or leaders have included Yasser Arafat, Hanan Ashwari, Faisal Husseini and Saeb Erekat among several other well-known Palestinian politicians, writers, journalists and militants who ultimately were involved in terrorism or worldwide political influence from the Middle East. The GUPS is in existence today at San Francisco State University where it wields considerable political influence and has been accused of promoting an atmosphere of anti-Semitism on the Bay Area campus. The GUPS at SFSU could be said to be another differently named affiliate of the SJP, even though it predates the founding of the SJP.


Hatem Bazian

The actual campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine was started at UC Berkeley in the year 2000 by a former undergraduate GUPS member at SFSU named Hatem Bazian, who founded the first UC Berkeley chapter of the GUPS, retitled Students for Justice in Palestine, as he pursued his graduate studies toward a PhD. Bazian was head of the Muslim Students Association on the UC Berkeley campus at the time that openly supports Hamas, and he called for an Intifada in America at one rally, though he claimed he was speaking only figuratively. Nevertheless, he has praised terrorist groups and accused Jews of running the University.


Both the SFSU and Berkeley campus organizations received support and guidance from Prof. Jess Ghannam, a Professor of Psychiatry at UC Medical Center in San Francisco. Ghannam is a leader of the American Arab-Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) that he helped to co-found. Ghannam also co-founded Al Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition which also played roles in organizing the GUPS and SJP and continues to provide logisitical support to the SJP. Al Awda advocates for the unconditional return of all Arabs inside Israel whose ancestors allegedly lost property there in 1948 and endorses violence to do so. Ghannam, in association with the ADC helped to found the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Northern California also, which SJP is an integral part of, recruiting Arab students and American radicals to go to the Occupied Territories in the Middle East to act as human shields for Palestinian terrorist groups. Ghannam worked his way onto the faculty at SFSU as an adjunct professor of Ethnic Studies where he promoted the Palestinian narrative. The ADC provided the early pro-revolutionary reading material for potential ISM volunteers to read during “training” and the SJP helped recruit volunteers and engage in anti-Israel propaganda on campus at Berkeley. Early demonstrations on both campuses, according to the University of California Berkeley campus police department, entailed busloads of demonstrators being brought from the two campuses to each other to increase their numbers at demonstrations.


Jess Ghannam

Ghannam was also a co-founding member of the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel along with Professor Manzar Foroohar of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to promote divestment in colleges and libraries worldwide.Foroohar is a frequent guest of SJP clubs on other campuses as a speaker or to bring roadshows to attack Israel that are dubbed as “conferences.”


Manzar Faroohar

It should be noted that the Muslim Students Association was also operating on American college campuses longer than the GUPS, but today also interchanges its members with SJP on the campuses as occurred with Hatem Bazian’s graduate activities. The principal difference is that MSA students are primarily solely Muslim in their outlook and reasons for opposing Israel, whereas the earlier SJP/ISM members were mostly Christian Arabs who were Marxist in outlook, mostly pan-Arabists who rejected a Jewish presence in the Middle East for nationalistic reasons. Being pro-Marxist they followed Stalin’s edict that “Zionism is racism” and found unity with their Muslim counterparts since both factions had an abiding hatred of Jews and Israel. A key difference is that being Marxists, the ISM could also recruit any disaffected Jews who were Marxist in their outlooks to oppose Israel to convince audiences that the SJP is not really anti-Semitic, just critical of Israel. This method was actually in use already by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which claims to want a secular democratic state dominated by Arabs in place of Israel which will be communist. Today, to expand their ranks, the SJP is a conglomeration of ISM activist types, former or secular Jews, mostly Muslim Arabs, but some Christians and radically socialist communists. The MSA still operates separately but works in a close alliance with the SJP for demonstrations and anti-Israel activities on campuses, at times completely interchangeably.

At UC Berkeley, a large number of SJP members were Mexican-American radicals from La Raza with affiliations to La Voz De Aztlan. This group is highly anti-Semitic and believes the Western United States should be given back to Mexico or even a separate nation, Aztlan, be made from it. These people like to call themselves America’s Palestinians. According to interviews with intelligence officers in the UC Berkeley campus and city police, keffiyah clad demonstrators on the UC Berkeley campus are in many cases Chicanos posing as Palestinians.


Several events were staged on campus by the SJP at UC Berkeley, such as trying to disrupt a speech given by Middle East Scholar Daniel Pipes that was led by Ehud Appel, former SJP leader, and a violent demonstration to stop Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from speaking nearby off campus at a private theater that conjoined SJP with off campus several off-campus anti-Israel organizations. Coordination between SJP chapters elsewhere in the US. and Canada prevented Netanyahu from speaking in those venues also.

The GUPS at SFSU also came to power on the coattails of another ethnic radical group, the Black Panthers, that through months of rioting on the campus forced the University to create an Ethnic Studies Department that was more attuned to activism than academia. The Palestinian movement on the SFSU campus became a part of the Ethnic Studies Department passing themselves off as colored people victims of white oppression. A Black Muslim leader, Abdul Malik Ali, former student body president at SFSU and virulently anti-Semitic, who lectures frequently at SJP functions on California campuses, led that movement at SFSU. The GUPS eventually took over control of the Student Union Building and wielded the most influence on campus, even attacking Jewish students at a pro-Israel rally requiring the San Francisco city police be brought in from off campus to escort the Jewish students safely off campus. Malik Ali is a frequent guest lecturer of SJP chapters on California campuses where he rails against the Jews.


Abdul Malik Ali

The ISM relies on revolutionary tactics and in particular those used by Lech Walesa and his Solidarity Movement in Poland as well as by anti-French revolutionaries in Algeria. This tactic includes creating cells sometimes of various different names in an “octopus” fashion. If one arm of the octopus is cut off by the government or shown to be doing something illegal, the other arms can claim that cell does not speak for them and can continue on. The myriad chapters of the SJP across the US are many of the arms of the octopus.

Hatem Bazian, after leaving SFSU as an undergrad, started the UC Berkeley SJP chapter in year 2000 while pursuing his PhD at UC Berkeley. He later became a lecturer in the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) at the Berkeley campus. CMES was originally set up by the Saudis through Prince Bandar and promoted the Palestinian narrative. A Jewish philanthropist, Sanford Diller, did not like the one-sided approach of the department and donated $5 million dollars to set up a Jewish Studies department at CMES but the pro-Saudi head of the department, an Arab professor, took the money and hired and promoted only anti-Zionist Jews to run it. Today many of these anti-Zionist Jews, while having clear connections to Israel and/or Judaism (one, Daniel Boyarin is a Talmudic scholar; another, Rutie Adler a Hebrew instructor; another, Oren Yfchatel, a visiting professor from Israel , is for Israel to stop being a Jewish state) provide a point of view that enables the SJP to increase its “Jewish” ranks among the membership on campus. Daniel Boyarin led a demonstration against Ehud Barak speaking on campus which had many SJP members involved since he served as their advisor one time even defending an Arab professor who told his students the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion were real.

SJP Jewish student leaders have included Ehud Appel, Tom Pessah, Emiliano Huet-Vaughan and Yaman Salahi. Pessah appears to be a professional student from Israel who is very active with the SJP and works with Bazian frequently to this day. He never graduates and coordinates SJP activities as proof the SJP are not anti-Semitic. Huet-Vaughan, an American whose mother was a well-known socialist radical, has been under scrutiny by law enforcement because he worked as a recruiter and trainer for the ISM in Israel, then left for the London School of Economics where his function was to get that school to boycott and divest from Israel. Once that was accomplished, he transferred to UC Berkeley and was instrumental in getting the student body government there to divest from Israel. Arab student activists also populated the SJP at Berkeley such as Shireen Qaru who would go to the occupied territories every summer and receive training to conduct anti-Israel propaganda on campus. Salahi and Qaru have since graduated to practicing law but still keep contact with Berkeley SJP.


Tom Pessah


Shireen Qaru

SJP was responsible for staging continuous demonstrations against Israel, accusing the Jewish state of racism and genocide on Sproul Plaza in the center of campus with student activists frequently brought in from other local campuses, as well. The PR firm Hill and Knowlton which did PR for Saudi Arabia in Washington D.C. by attacking Jewish “settlements” in the West Bank and Gaza lent aid from its San Francisco office by providing large displays and professional staff to promote the events.

SJP at UC Berkeley at first garnered major media attention through two actions. It co-sponsored with other pro-Palestinian groups like Al Awda the first National Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM)conference ever held in the USA on the SF Bay campus February 16-18, 2002. The purpose of the event was to train attendees in how to boycott Israel and arrange protests on their respective campuses against the Jewish state. The event modeled its purpose in line with the First conference in Durban South Africa against racism held by the UN which promoted the idea that Israel was an apartheid state along the lines of South Africa in the 1980’s and should be boycotted and that “Zionism is racism.” Regarding terrorism, the organizers stated after adopting a resolution expressing an unreserved support for the Intifada that “We, the national student movement for solidarity with Palestine, declare our solidarity with the popular resistance to Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid,” then, on the issue of Palestinian violence, the resolution also stated that “As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.” The Boycott was actually an extension of the Arab League Boycott first started in 1950 by the Arab League. And held revolving seminars and meetings where strategies were discussed on how to reach the goal of de-legitimizing Israel in the family of nations to hasten the right of return. The right of return held that any Arab who had relatives who resided in pre-1948 Palestine but left or was driven out by the Jews had the unconditional right to return to the very same spot where his ancestors had previously lived, classifying such individuals as “refugees.” This is the position of Al Awda that held considerable sway at the event and it was sponsored by Jess Ghannam and his American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The local Jewish Federation that attended the event mentioned that anti-Semitic remarks accusation of genocide by Jews against the Palestinian people were common during the event.

The second action by the SJP was a demonstration to memorialize the Deir Yassin “Massacre” which was purposely timed to take place the same day that the Hillel and Jewish students on campus were to hold an event memorializing the Holocaust, also in 2001. Deir Yassin had been a village that was lost by the Arab side in the 1948 War of Independence. Although history has proven no massacre occurred there, the SJP event claimed there was one and a noisy demonstration with signs and radical speakers was held in front of Sproul Plaza on campus. Large loud speakers were brought in to purposely drown out the Yahrzeit service (reading of the names of the dead) that was being held just a few feet away and was originally scheduled to be in the same location. Later that same day, students from the SJP stormed nearby Wheeler Hall on campus in order to disrupt when they learned Jewish students were also meeting there as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day event. The building was also being used by nonrelated courses so students could take final examinations but the SJP invaded and took over the entire building threatening violence “against the Jews,” even attacking UC Berkeley campus police officers who had told them to leave when one officer was bitten on the hand. The police ultimately prevailed in clearing the building, and the administration banned SJP for one year for their action. The suspension was lifted in less than a year however as the Arab and Muslim community on campus continually protested that they were being unfairly treated.

Other chapters of the SJP sprung up quickly within the UC college system, organized by Arab-American students or faculty sympathetic to a campaign against Israel. Campus chapters were started at UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, San Diego State as well as private colleges such as USC.. In the eastern United States similar campus clubs sprang up at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Ohio State, New York University and Columbia University and associated colleges, UPenn, Florida State and Atlantic and many others. These were done through promotions from the International Solidarity Movement led by Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro.


Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro guest lecture at SJP events frequently. Arraf also is involved with the SJP chapter at Bard College in New York, known as Bard ISM. She was very active in recruiting among SJP chapters for people to go on the Gaza flotilla boats.

State Department Connections?

Arraf and Shapiro were both low level state department employees, camp counselors for a State Department sponsored camp called Seeds for Peace in New England and in Jerusalem. In 2002, when Ariel Sharon had Yasser Arafat and 200 terrorists trapped in the Mukata after the Passover Massacre, Arraf and Shapiro showed up at the gates of the compound asking to be admitted with an ambulance. The IDF refused and some nebulous phone calls were made, then after four hours the two were let inside with Arafat. Arafat allegedly gave one million dollars to Shapiro to start the ISM. Arraf and Shapiro then embarked on a cross country campaign speaking at SJP and MSU events against Israel and helping to set up what today is the SJP network via Palestinian Solidarity conferences. Besides being co-sponsored by SJP chapters they also were used to promote BDS. National conferences held with the SJP listed as part of the movement were extremely sophisticated and done along the lines of Fortune 500 companies’ training conferences. Sometimes guest speakers with connections to terrorist groups were brought in to lecture. Was the State Department involved in this to try and promote a pro-Palestinian mindset in the US for a Palestinian state? We may never know. Paul LaRudee, the man who started the ISM in Northern California in partnership with Jess Ghannam also had been a state department employee at one time and was recruiting people at local colleges along with Jess Ghannam when he first started.

Jess Ghannam organized with the GUPS an Al Awda conference at San Francisco State that took place in the Student Union building on campus and featured speakers from the local Arab and Muslim community along with Al Awda leadership. Again, it was presented in a rotating hourly seminar series where training and propaganda methods were discussed. Presenters tried to screen a video in support of Hamas and against Jews, but stopped it when they were notified there were some “Zionist” Jews present. Other activists such as Greta Berlin of the organization Women in Black and the ISM in Los Angeles also attended. The campus student seminar was attended by only Arab-American students but was led by Ehud Appel, from UC Berkeley SJP, a Jewish student allegedly with family in Israel, who directed the proceeding. The guest of honor at this seminar was Professor Abu Sitta, a Palestinian intellectual from London who explained to those in attendance that the Right of Return was nonnegotiable, that is, even if an individual Palestinian rejected it or was paid money as compensation. Ehud Appel also discussed “actions” that could be taken to promote the boycott and divestment from Israel.


Ehud Appel

A year after the first National Palestine Solidarity Movement conference at UC Berkeley, another was held at the University of Michigan in 2002. Again, seminars and discussion groups from across the country met to devise strategy on how to de-legitimize and boycott the Jewish state. Chants of “Death to the Jews” were shouted during the event. Francis Boyle, a law professor at the University of Chicago who had been the PLO’s lawyer in the United States had formulated a strategy of boycott and divestment that was to followed on all the college campuses and the SJP would play a role in implementing it along with other anti-Israel groups. Controversy developed about the Michigan event because openly anti-Semitic remarks had been voiced, something the organizers repeatedly denied, citing their Jewish members of SJP partly as “proof” they were not anti-Semitic. A legal affidavit was provided by one member of the Jewish community attesting to the anti-Semitic slurs calling for violence, Fadi Kiblawi, one of the SJP student leaders at Michigan voiced a wish that he could strap on a suicide bomb belt to kill some Jews. Other radical groups such as the American Indian Movement, La Raza and the International Socialist Organization all joined with the SJP to strategize and aid a campaign to destroy Israel, all of these movements advocating revolutionary violence to meet their goals.


Fadi Kiblawi

A year later, in November of 2003, the Third National Palestine Solidarity Conference was held at Ohio State University. It was originally scheduled to be at Rutgers University but a rift developed between certain members with New Jersey Solidarity (the SJP’s name) and the general membership over an endorsement of terrorism. Charlotte Kates, an SJP leader had called Israeli children killed by terrorism “fair game” and not worthy of criticism. The Rutgers community did not encourage the event which was then moved to Ohio State.. Of note, when some attendees at Ohio State tried to get a resolution passed rejecting terrorism, it was voted down and this news was greeted with a standing ovation on the final day of the event. At Ohio State, drawing on experiences with the previous two conferences, airport style metal detectors where placed at every entrance to prevent cameras and recorders from being brought into the building where the revolving seminars were held. Organizers claimed it was to not give away their strategy to the public-at-large rather than conceal anti-Semitic remarks and pro-terrorist messages.


Charlotte Kates

Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel one woman non-profit, handed out literature claiming that the Jews did the Holocaust to themselves to justify stealing Israel. Weir testifies frequently at SJP events across the country, accusing Israel of genocide and murdering children where she cites frequently made up statistics. Other seminars at Ohio State included a Skill Share Workshop where students were taught how to counter negative publicity from suicide bombings which were epidemic in Israel at that time and lectures discussed on how to infiltrate Hillel and take over student governments. There was no condemnation of terrorism that was termed as “legitimate resistance.” One Palestinian speaker was Mohammed Abed from the University of Wisconsin who spoke to students about how to deconstruct the Israeli narrative in the United States and how to “take over” their campuses to control the discussion. Although the campus group at Wisconsin was another chapter of the SJP like the GUPS at SFSU, the Wisconsin group called itself the Alternative Palestinian Agenda (APA).


Mohammed Abed

Today Abed is a dean at the University of Wisconsin where he oversees the Palestinian groups on campus. At Ohio State, he taught that since America was deemed the support system for Israel against overwhelming odds in the Middle East, and since the Jewish community also was solidly behind Israel, he reasoned it would become necessary to find a way to drive a wedge between American Jews and Israel. SJP chapters were encouraged to involve themselves with Hillel student centers on their campuses by suggesting mutual cooperation but to stage events against Israel particularly against the settlements in the West bank and Gaza. The main leader and organizer at the Ohio State event was also a member of the Wisconsin SJP contingent, Fayyad Sbhaiat, a sophomore student back then who Israeli intelligence said his entire family were PFLP members back in the West Bank.


Fayyad Sbaihat

One year later, the Fourth National Palestine Solidarity Conference was held at Duke University in North Carolina. Duke SJP activists were there in full force along with assorted other racial leftist groups such as the International Socialist Organization that calls for the violent overthrow of the US government. Once again, airport style metal detectors were set up to prevent cameras and recorders from being brought inside and the press was restricted from attending the training seminars. Abe Greenhouse, an affiliate of the Rutgers SJP at the time (known as NJ Solidarity) held a seminar where he identified every Jewish organization and Jewish leader in the United States with instructions on volunteering to work for them to get inside and change the message to be against Israel. Greenhouse also taught a seminar on anarchism where he explained the rioting carried out every week in the West Bank is training for anarchists so they can eventually bring the same tactics to the U.S.-Mexican border. Greenhouse rose to fame in the SJP/ISM movement by smashing a pie in the face of Natan Sharansky when he spoke at the Rutgers campus. Rann Bar-On, an Israeli anarchist leftist also attended the event. A news reporter at Duke asked Bar-On if he condemned terrorism to which Bar-On replied, “’as a solidarity movement’ it is not our right to tell the Palestinian people how to resist.” In short, he would not condemn terrorism.


Abe Greenhouse


Rann Bar-On, an Israeli national

A year after that came the National Divestment Conference, this time held at Georgetown University, that was hosted by that campus’ equivalent of the SJP. SJP and other students against Israel were openly recruited to go to the West Bank and participate in the rioting and briefed on tactics they could use to promote BDS against Israel on their campuses. Huwaida Arraf led the recruiting and a Fatah handler named Ali Omar supervised in the room who was studying US security procedures at Tufts University where he was a leader of the SJP group there.


Ali Omar

It should be noted that Hatem Bazian also established, in about 2005 at UC Berkeley, Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP) at Boalt Law School, though he was not even a full professor. The mission statement and purpose of the LSJP was two-fold: 1) To provide free legal help to the SJP undergrad club whenever it developed legal problems with the campus such as the Wheeler Hall riots and 2) To have an office set up in the law school at California taxpayer expense that was totally dedicated to proving that Israel was illegal state and had no legal right to exist by international law (despite its having been set up by international law through the UN in 1948). Bazian also managed by 2005 to have himself appointed an adjunct professor of Islamic Law to lecture in the law school, a position he held until 2007. His position was eliminated after that without explanation, possibly it was through budget cuts or the fact that Bazian was not an imam and lacked any proof of any expertise in Islamic law. Nevertheless, Bazian has held considerable sway with the law school, hosting most anti-Israel events for the SJP at the law school on campus including two conferences on “Islamophobia”.

After dwindling numbers of attendees at Georgetown, in 2011 a new revived National Palestine Solidarity Conference was held at Columbia and City College New York. Stanford also hosted an SJP National Planning Conference the last two years where some Jews were discriminated against and not allowed admission. The Stanford administration saw nothing wrong with such discrimination. Despite objections from the Jewish community that the campus should be an open forum.

Violence and Intimidation

Although almost from its inception at UC Berkeley, the SJP has been involved in promoting anti-Semitism and in some cases direct violence on US campuses. Despite some Jewish members claiming they are not anti-Semitic, SJP chapters usually promote anti-Semitic media or tell students tales of blood libels against Jews. A film, “Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land” is frequently screened on campuses by SJP chapters and their faculty advisors. The film suggests that Jews are not loyal Americans and the “Israel lobby” is controlling America. Atrocities are alleged in the film and most of the spokespeople are “Jewish” radicals who support ending the Jewish state. Support for terrorist groups (as designated by the US State Department) such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the PFLP and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades has been common at SJP chapters across the country and some chapters repeat commemorations for Hassan Al-Bannah, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and precursor to Hamas as is done by the Muslims Students Association each year.

Other violent or intimidating events have occurred across the country: At UC Berkeley, Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim who converted to [Christianity?], was hounded off the stage before she could finish speaking by members of the SJP. When Middle East Professor Daniel Pipes came to Berkeley, SJP students led by Ehud Appel nearly rioted to prevent his speaking. At SFSU, and later at UC Irvine, Michael Oren was disrupted continually in planned attacks coordinated through social media by SJP chapters. At SFSU Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was actually physically assaulted by a GUPS woman from the crowd while on the dais causing police to cancel the event. At Northeastern University, one of the leaders of the SJP, Max Geller, who is of Jewish descent, was shown to have been photographed with a machine gun as he visited terrorists in the West Bank and was spotted wearing a T-shirt supporting Hezbollah.


Max Geller, Northeastern SJP leader

Again at UC Berkeley, Jessica Felber, a Jewish student with the pro-Israel group on campus was physically struck with a shopping cart and injured by the head of the SJ , Husam Zakharia who came from Gaza. Although Zakharia was only technically a UC Berkeley student because he took just one extension course, he was on campus demonstrating against Israel almost every day that included his trampling an Israeli flag underfoot. Seemingly a professional agitator, he was only had to take the one extension course off campus to “qualify” as leader of the SJP at Berkeley. Questions arose if he wasn’t sent to UC Berkeley by Hamas for such activities since he left the University after legal proceedings were taken against him. Unfortunately, the judge threw the case out and Zakharia ran back to Gaza afterwards.


In another incident, in 2008, SJP students physically attacked Jewish students in the Eshelman Hall Student Union building that resulted in a fistfight and arrests. Zakharia was involved in that incident also before he left the university for good. Jewish students were physically attacked when they sought to remove a Palestinian flag draped over a balcony behind a band playing music at a pro-Israel campus event. Yaman Salahi, the new SJP leader sought to blame the Jewish students for the brawl. Salahi was sued by this writer in 2008 for launching a website on the Internet using social media for defamation that included placing this writer’s head on bodies in pictures of homosexual porn and getting SJP members to do the same thing all over the Internet. This was done along with Ehud Appel. A judgment was rendered against Salahi for $8,000 for defamation that he had to pay and the website was taken down. The University refused to intervene in all the above incidents to stop the harassment or violence. Salahi has an uncle who is the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikwhan, in London.


Yaman Salahi

Other tactics have included setting up mock checkpoints not just at UC Berkeley, but on all campuses where students are harassed then told this practice is common in Israel for non-Jews and the staging street theater where students dressed as Israeli soldiers rape or kill pregnant women. At Florida State University, Columbia, and Northeastern the SJP passed out fake eviction notices on the doors of Jewish students with the campus’s official student activities stamp on them. “Apartheid “ wall displays are frequently trucked in that contain images and stories claiming genocide against innocent Arabs by Israeli Jews.

In a nationally coordinated effort, SJP chapters in the US and Canada stage an Israeli Apartheid Week every year where they set up mock walls and combine many of the tactics above. Another yearly event is Deir Yassin Remembered where a memorial is created for the village of Deir Yassin in 1948, lost in a battle with Israel where it is falsely claimed a massacre and genocide of innocent Arabs occurred. Other events include Nakba commemorations, Nakba being the word for catastrophe in Arabic and referring to the founding of the state of Israel by Jews. A week does not go by without at least one campus n the US promoting divestment from Israel. Other events are created to justify new events such as “Palestine Liberation Week,” “Palestine Awareness Week”, etc.

More and more coordination exists for these SJP activities on an intercampus basis than it used to. Taking a practice from the MSA that created an MSA-Wet where various groups from western US campuses could compare notes and actions, the SJP started an SJP-West in California and subsequently a National SJP group. This came about in part after the disruption of the speech by Michael Oren at UC Irvine. While that action was done by the MSU at Irvine, SJP members from surrounding campuses were said to have participated or at least supported it. SJP activists from San Diego State and other campuses like Cal State Northridge met together to plan strategy to make it impossible for any pro-Israel speakers to speak on behalf of Israel on any University of California campus and, hopefully later, the entire US. Jess Ghannam , co-founder of Al Awda, spoke at the event and read with joy about how Michael Oren’s speech at UC Irvine was ruined. This program was led and further promoted by Lina Othman of the San Diego State SJP chapter who has appeared at other SJP chapters around the state. When word of this was leaked out, the Orange County district attorney prosecuted the SJP students at Irvine for conspiracy and got a conviction. Such violence and intimidation has been growing worse and worse on US campuses and administrators are reluctant to take action to stop it.. At the La Mesa, Caifornia event, Othman spoke of SJP and MSU chapters plotting actions like the Irvine 11 and taking over student governments to promote divestment on all the campuses. “I’m not sure we should be discussing our plans here in public as we’ve been doing”, she said.


Huet-Vaughn led the divestment charge at UC Berkeley that ultimately got divestment passed by the student government. Huet-Vaughan is the son a woman very involved in radical socialist activities such as practiced by the International Socialist Organization that call for violent overthrow of the US government, Vaughan has come under the radar of law enforcement because he was working as a recruiter for the ISM in Israel and linked to ISM trainers over there who were caught dressing as Jewish settlers and waving machine guns in the presence of an Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorist. After being exposed in the article The ISM Terror Connection, Huet-Vaughan went to the London School of Economics where he devoted full time to getting the school’s student government there to divest from Israel. Once he was successful he then showed up at UC Berkeley doing the same thing. Huet-Vaughan is still an active member of the SJP at Berkeley and would appear also to be a professional agitator.


Emiliano Huet-Vaughan (left) at a café in Israel.


Huet-Vaughan’s colleagues in Israel whom he roomed with.


Most colleges have student activities offices that are run by deans or campus administrators. To avoid conflicts of interest, outside money for student clubs is prohibited. Almost all colleges charge student activity fees that are then disbursed usually through the student government via a mock congress or committee. At large campuses like UC Berkeley or UCLA, this means clubs like the SJP can be funded as much as $30,000 for events they wish to produce. SJP chapters usually run student members or sympathizers for the governing board and once they get in, they rubber stamp approval to fund SJP “events.” Most of the student bodies do not take an interest in such elections so a minority of students can easily take an election if they devote a lot of energy to one. Once elected to the student Senate or governing board they push for funds to promote divestment and anti-Israel events. At Concordia University in Canada, the SJP at one point got $50,000 for divestment and other anti-Israel actions on campus. This was part of the strategy behind Mohammed Abed‘s teaching at the Ohio State conference since now as a dean he has power to override denials of funding.

Since openly outside funding is not allowed, other means of funding SJP activities exist which may not be traceable. For example, when Hill and Knowlton in the early 2000’s was handling wall displays from San Francisco (and they may still do so) it is doubtful the campus administration counted the cost of those efforts as “funding.” Likewise, printing costs and PR can be “donated”. As mentioned, Al Awda and the ADC, at least in California, provide reading and printing materials that are fungible for goods like flyers. Wealthy Arab-Americans such as belong to the ADC also may provide for expenses that cannot be seen as cash donations under the table. The ADC and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) pay to bring anti-Israel and boycott promoting speakers like Jeff Halper or Ilan Pappe to campuses for the SJP who sponsor these events.. This becomes another fungible method of funding and some SJP chapters may charge an admittance fee to such events.

Hatem Bazian started another anti-Israel group that terrorism experts have claimed is another front for Hamas called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). AMP is a connection for SJP to work more closely with Hamas’s goals while AMP is seeming to work as a strictly American NGO. AMP has sent letters to college administrators and law enforcement excusing any violent actions by the SJP. For example, AMP sent letters to government officials calling for the release of the Irvine 11 and for SJP groups that were suspended for fake eviction notices. AMP wrote administrators calling for the students to not be punished and complaining about “free speech” of Palestinian students being denied.

The SJP (like the Muslim Students Association) is enjoying a Rico Statute-like system of invading American society through US colleges and enjoying its funding by its being from the unaware US taxpayer. While Rico has been used to curb gambling, liquor and prostitution, the same tactic is employed by the SJP as such illicit “businesses” in the interest of overseas Palestinian irredentist terrorist groups. The Ba’ath Party and Muslim Brotherhood all had their starts in the colleges in the Middle East. The US and Canadian college system provides a huge market of a young upcoming generation to indoctrinate toward their goals, as well as the financial assistance to do so. Today’s SJP member goes on to graduate and become a newspaper editor, a congressman, a principal, a teacher or even a professor like Hatem Bazian, any one of whom wields influence in our society, even one day the President of the United States. The Ba’athists and Muslim Brotherhood later expanded their Middle East control through trade unions and more and more SJP/ISM events are inviting trade unionists to attend and join them in their anit-Israel crusade. SJP is also doing outreach in churches, some former SJP leaders lecture for CAIR on graduation or promote anti-Semitism to Christian audiences through an ISM arm called the Sabeel Ecumenical Society. The Sierra Club and environmental movement have allied with the Palestinian cause by finding common ground of fighting “oppression” and even taxi drivers in Boston support the Boycott of Israel as a sign of “unity” against “oppression” to support BDS. The SJP already has done long reaching and damaging effects in our educational system, but stands to do much more damage in the future.

Lee Kaplan is a Fellow with the American Center for Democracy. He frequently exposes indoctrination on college campuses as well as activities of the International Solidarity Movement. A version of this article was published on



Categories: ACD in the Media, Latest News, Middle East Conflicts, Muslim Brotherhood, PEACE TALKS

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