TCPJ Alert: UT-Knoxville’s Newest Student Anti-Israel Hate GroupPosted: February 5, 2014
“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., Harvard University 1968.
In 2013, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)announced its status as an official student organization at UT-Knoxville. With about 100 chapters at last count, SJP organizes extreme hate-filled anti-Israel activity on college campuses around the country, including:
- Israel Apartheid Week – typically held between February – March and involves:
- Staging mock checkpoints where they stop students and yell “Are you Jewish?”
- Erecting “Apartheid Walls” with “Hamas posters describing Jews as baby-killers and maps showing the Jewish state erased and replaced with ‘Palestine.’”
- Posting eviction notices on dorm room doors to simulate housing demolition in Israel.
- BDS resolutions (boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel), calling for economic warfare agains the Jewish state. (The first divestment campaign was launched at UC Berkley on Holocaust Remembrance Day.)
- Hosting extremist/radical anti-Israel speakers who support terrorism against the State of Israel.
- Protesting pro-Israel groups, events and speakers. (SJP members at University of California, Irvine heckled Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren throughout his speech until they were removed by campus security.)
- Disrupting campus Holocaust memorial events and even worse, their perversion of the famous Holocaust quote “never again.”
Reports about vandalism of campus Jewish facilities, harassment of Jewish professors and students and even physical attacks by members of SJP have been reported at some schools.
If this is what SJP is reported to do, is this what UT-Knoxville can expect?
UT-Knoxville SJP’s Faculty Sponsor is Dr. Brian K. Barber, a 1996-97 grant recipient from the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (CPAP), renamed the Palestine Center, which is the educational arm of the Jerusalem Fund.
The chairman of the Jerusalem Fund is Samar Ali’s father, Subhi Ali. The Jerusalem Fund’s Executive Director openly advocates BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against the State of Israel. (See, “Samar Ali: Her Father’s Organization Wants to Destroy Israel.”)
SJP was founded in 2001 by co-founders Hatem Bazian, the Islamist, and Snehal Shingavi, the socialist — a “leftist-Islamist” alliance (also referred to as a “red-green” alliance). This joinder has allowed the SJP to appeal to a broader coalition, which includes left-wing activists and religio-cultural political groups like the Muslim Students Association.
Hatem Bazian Brought His Middle East Hate to School
- Virulently anti-Semitic Jew-hater who came as a college student to the U.S. from the Hamas stronghold of Nablus in the West Bank.
- Served as President of the General Union of Palestinian Students, the student arm of the PLO and an organization that was banned in Germany after the Munich Olympics massacre.
- Served as Muslim Students Association (MSA) president at Berkley
- Was a fundraising speaker for Kindhearts, a Hamas front closed by the US government after being considered for designation as a terrorist organization
- Co-founded Zaytuna College with Zaid Shakir, a repeat visitor to Nashville who tells his college audiences that, “under Islamic law the kafir won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi. They won’t be equal with the Muslim.” He was quoted in the New York Times as saying that “he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.”
- Founded and chairs the national extremist anti-Israel organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) which helps train and support SJP activists. SJP’s 2002 national convention was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), with guest speaker Sami al-Arian.
The IAP was created by a Hamas leader to be its U.S. propaganda arm and raise money for Hamas. IAP was listed as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s likeminded organizations in the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan for North America. IAP’s leadership founded CAIR – the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Sami al-Arian was the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the U.S. In 2006 when he was sentenced to 57 months in prison in connection with PIJ activities, the judge described him as a “master manipulator.” This past December, he was on Capitol Hill advocating for the restoration of Morsi’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Al-Arian also founded WISE (World and Islam Studies Enterprise). Hisham Sharabi, founder of the Jerusalem Fund, was a WISE Board member. Subhi Ali, Samar’s father, served alongside Sharabi until taking over as Chairman of the Jerusalem Fund. WISE was named in a federal indictment as part of a “criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence including murder, extortion, money laundering, fraud and issue of visas, and operated worldwide,” including in Florida.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), describes AMP as “anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination.”
AMP’s first conference in 2006 featured several former IAP leaders including Rafiq Jaber, Kifa Mustapha (imam at the radicalized Bridgeview mosque and unindicted Holy Land Foundation co-conspirator), Nihad Awad (Executive Director of CAIR and also an unindicted co-conspirator), and Osama Abu Irshaid (IAP board member and now AMP board member).
At a George Washington University SJP event, Osama Abu Irshaid told his audience that he considers firing rockets from Gaza into Israel “legitimate resistance.”
AMP’s continuing allegiance to terrorist organizations like Hamas has continued throughout their annual conferences. The opening speech at the2010 conference featured Holy Land Foundation (HLF) prosecution unindicted co-conspirator, Jamal Said, another imam at the radicalized Bridgeview mosque. The HLF prosecution was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in the U.S. involving the HLF charity being used to funnel money to Hamas.
To get a sense of what AMP is really about, look at who it has speak at its events: Nihad Awad has stated publicly that “I am in support of the Hamas movement” and Rafiq Jaber (another founding member of CAIR), who wasquoted as “describ[ing] Jews to the audience as ‘the worst kind of people,’ who came to Jerusalem ‘with false pretenses.’”
Hamed Ghazali, chairman of the MAS Council of Islamic Schools, was also a speaker at the AMP conference. He was quoted as saying that, “Allah gave us the Jews” as the primary historical and religious example of those who “take the wrong path.” He is named in the Muslim Brotherhood memorandum and was hired by the Islamic Pleasant View School in Memphis, TN as the Islamic Studies consultant.
AMP also works with the high school Muslim Student Associations. AMP’s 2012 “Palestine Activism” conference was co-hosted with a California high school MSA and featured Israel demonizer and former Jerusalem Fund fellow,Ali Abunimah. AMP also held a high school training session, including media activism, at the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, Illinois.
AMP’s National Campus Coordinator, Taher Herzallah teaches students how to be radical activists. He was one of the students arrested for heckling and disrupting Israeli Ambassador Oren’s speech at the University of California, Irvine.
Muslim Students Association and SJP
One researcher/writer describes the MSA and SJP as “genetically connected groups,” listing the many ways these two groups resemble each other and work together. He cites to the civil rights lawsuit filed against the U of California, Berkley after a Jewish student was attacked by an SJP agitator:
“[T]he two groups [MSA and SJP] not only co-sponsor events and cooperate on strategic projects, but they even share the same office and campus facilities. The more publicly activist SJP may be understood as the militant arm of the outwardly benevolent MSA. Members of the former are often members of the latter.”
A good example is the UC Berkley Islamist Sadia Saifuddin, who was nominated to serve as the 2014 -15 student regent on the board that sets policy for the entire University of California system. She is a member of both the MSA and SJP and co-sponsored a BDS resolution in the Berkeley student Senate calling on the entire University of California system to divest companies that do business with Israel.
These student groups well understand that the overarching goal and intent of BDS is to ultimately destroy and eliminate the State of Israel. A 2012 Northeastern University SJP rally included chanting “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” which means there would be no Israel between the Jordan River and Mediterranean—and no Jews.
Alternatively, they will settle for a second Holocaust. During a 2010 Israeli Apartheid Week at UC San Diego, speaker David Horowitz asked if an MSA member would condemn Hamas and Hizbollah. When the young woman tried to dodge the question, he rephrased: “I am a Jew. The head of Hizbollah has said that he hopes that we will gather in Israel so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally. For or Against it?” Her answer: “For it.”
SJP’s Faculty Advisor’s Connections
UT-Knoxville SJP’s Faculty Sponsor, Dr. Brian K. Barber, also heads the UTKCenter for the Study of Youth in Political Conflict (the Center). The Center’s mission is to help adolescents find out the source of the political conflict they experience and endorse or refute it.
Dr. Barber has been traveling to Palestine for over 20 years; perhaps that is how he connected with his Center’s Board member, Ms. Cairo Arafat. She was born in the U.S. but has resettled in the West Bank. She actively participates in the BDS movement there. She complains about security checkpoints and the security fence, without of course mentioning the Palestinian suicide bombers who blow themselves up in civilian settings like the Sbarro pizza restaurant and the terrorists who are subsequently glorifiedby their media.
“Zionists are the new Nazis! Zionists are the new Nazis!” was the hate-filled chanting of Arafat’s BDS protest group. Arafat says that she believes BDS will force Israel “to see [Palestinians] as equal partners, not as in a captive market or a group of people that they can exploit.”
BDS protestors persist in attacking Israeli businesses, such as SodaStream, that employ hundreds of Palestinian workers who are paid the same as Israeli employees, have all religious needs accommodated, and are working in an environment of respect where genuine relationships are reported to be taking hold.
The Interfaith Boycott Coalition includes “Jewish Voice for Peace, the Presbyterian Church USA’s Israel-Palestine Mission Network, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine-Israel Network, United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network and Response, the United Methodist Kairos Response” along with Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamists.
AMP is also a member. Zaid Shakir and CAIR Director Zahra Billoo (a friend and colleague of Remziya Suleyman, who tweets support for Hamas), are supporters. All have ties to Tennessee.
Other Anti-Israel BDS Efforts in Tennessee
Endtheoccupation.org lists the following Tennessee member groups: Progressive Student Alliance at UT-Knoxville, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in Memphis and the Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of UCC in Pleasant Hill.
This coalition’s focus on delegitimizing the State of Israel, is also designed to convince black Americans that they have more to gain by aligning with the Palestinian “cause.” This premise is more than disingenuous given that the Arabic word “abeed” (sometimes spelled “and”), meaning “slave,” is used by Muslims to refer to black people, an issue that CAIR Director Dawud Walid complains about often.
Stunning Revelation That Tennesseans Should Heed
Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh had this to say after visiting several U.S. university campuses:
“Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber.
I was told, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist, that Israel’s ‘apartheid system’ is worse than the one that existed in South Africa …
What struck me more than anything else was the fact that many of the people I met on the campuses supported Hamas and believed that it had the right to “resist the occupation” even if that meant blowing up children and women on a bus in downtown Jerusalem.
The so-called pro-Palestinian “junta” on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a point where they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians, namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all the armed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians over the past few years……
What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel…..
What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.”
What Can UT-Knoxville Expect From Its SJP Chapter?
Perhaps there could be a surprise visit from Jerusalem Fund Chairman, Subhi Ali, since Waverly, TN is only a four-hour drive away. Former college Middle Eastern Student Association activist, daughter Samar Ali, could be a featured speaker and talk about why she chose a career with a Middle East focus including “Sharia compliant transactions” and her work on behalf of the Jerusalem Fund. With JF’s support for BDS, they would be a natural fit for an SJP meeting.
The Islamic Center of Nashville, (owned by Muslim Brotherhood front group ISNA), might be inspired to restart its pro-Palestinian anti-Israel demonstrations. Better yet, Knoxville Muslim youth minister AbdelRahman Murphy, who works with both students at the Knoxville Islamic school Anoor Academy and the Muslim Students Association at UTK, can help spread the BDS message throughout the Knoxville Muslim student community. Not only would this be consistent with what students are being taught about Jews at the Anoor Academy, but also with his colleague and BDS promoter, Suhaib Webb, with whom he presents programs to the MSA.
There are any number of challenges facing the UT-Knoxville campus regarding anticipated anti-Israel hate activity.
Between SJP’s faculty advisor Dr. Brian Barber’s focused interest and support for all things Palestinian, his own early connection to the Jerusalem Fund, his board member Cairo Arafat’s commitment to BDS, the MSA’s history with SJP and the UT-K MSA’s choice of speakers, and SJP’s raison d’être, we can reasonably assume that UT-Knoxville will soon see this radical anti-Israel hate activity on its campus.