Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine

Brandeis University Students for Justice in Palestine Disrupt Town-Hall Meeting with Israeli Knesset Members

Newton, MA – On Monday, March 26th 2012, members of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP), together with Waltham and Boston area Palestine solidarity activists, disrupted a Town Hall Meeting with 5 members of the Israeli Knesset (MKs) at Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts. The event, whose sponsors included Brandeis University, the Ruderman Foundation, and a number of Boston-area Zionist organizations, was aimed at strengthening relations between Israeli political leaders and the American Jewish community. The activists mic-checked the panel, protesting the undemocratic nature of the Israeli apartheid state and notified the offending officials that until their government ceased its discriminatory policies they were not welcome by students at Brandeis University community events. The activists were pushed outside the hall by police officers and private security guards.  One Brandeis student was arrested and another was injured while being thrown to the floor by a police officer.

The panel included Knesset members Ofir Akunis (Likud), Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beitenu) and Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beitenu), as well as Raleb Majadle (The Labor Party) and Ilan Gilon (Meretz). Faina Kirshenbaum, who lives in the settlement of Nili in the West Bank, and Ofir Akunis are responsible for controversial legislation aimed at limiting international funding of human rights organizations operating in Israel. The two also initiated a committee to investigate the funding of human rights and left-wing NGOs in Israel. Akunis was recently quoted saying “Senator McCarthy was right in every word”. On November 2010, MK Lia Shemtov sponsored a bill suggesting all workers of the public sector should take a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The activists wore blue T-shirts with the word “apartheid” written in Hebrew across the chest. They stood up before MK Ofir Akunis began speaking at the event and shouted:

Israel is an apartheid state and the Knesset is an apartheid parliament!

We will not welcome Israeli officials to any Brandeis University event until apartheid ends!

Mr. Akunis and Ms. Kirshenbaum are responsible for sponsoring fascist legislation in the Knesset, targeting legitimate human rights organizations.

Mr. Akunis and Ms. Kirshenbaum, how does it feel to be silenced? The Knesset is silencing dissent and civil and human rights!

FREE PALESTINE! FREE HANA SHALABI!

Last year, Brandeis University hosted a similar event featuring Israeli Parliament members. Brandeis SJP interrupted the event, targeting MK Avi Dichter, an international war criminal wanted for crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. This year, the event was scheduled at an off campus location.

Elisha Baskin, a member of Brandeis SJP and an Israeli citizen said: “Legislation sponsored by Mr. Akunis, Ms. Kirshebaum and Ms. Shemtov suppresses legitimate activities of human rights organizations operating in Israel and Palestine. They and their political parties are responsible for numerous apartheid policies carried out by the state of Israel and I feel students should hold them accountable when they speak at a university event.”

Seth Grande, another member of Brandeis SJP, added: “There exists a clear regime of racialized discrimination and marginalization directed against Palestinian communities inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This regime is sustained by policies adopted in the Israeli Knesset. The fact that there are Arab Members of Knesset does not change the fact that Israel is an apartheid state. Israel needs to end its project of colonial occupation in Palestine and stop discriminating against its Palestinian citizens. As long as Israel maintains its discriminatory policies, I, as a Jewish American, will not stay silent.”

MIC-CHECK!

MIC-CHECK!

FREE FREE PALESTINE!

Newton Police Department drags the students

Activestills.org

Hebrew "apartheid" T-shirts

Member of the Knesset: Faina Kirshenbaum, Ilan Gilon, Ofir Akunis, Lia Shemtov and Raleb Majadle

VIDEO: Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine protest in solidarity with Hana al-Shalabi outside a ‘Tel Aviv Club Party’

On 3/3/2012 some 20 members of Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest on the Brandeis University campus outside a party organized by the Brandeis Zionist Alliance. The title of the party was Tel Aviv Club Night and it marked the end of Israeli Peace Week. Israel Peace Week is the “Pro-Israel” response to Israeli Apartheid Week. It is an international initiative of Zionist organizations, including propaganda organizations such as Stand With Us and Hasbara Fellowships – an affiliate of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The week aimed to show a “more positive” picture of Israel, and by doing so to counter arguments that Israel is an apartheid state.

Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine sees Israel Peace Week as an attempt to whitewash Israel’s crimes, and as a gross misuse of the word “peace”. In response to the problematic nature of the week, SJP activists took to protest outside the week‘s closing event. The activists held a mock-wall and banners such as “Political Prisoners Can’t Party. Free Hana Al-Shalabi” in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner who is on her third week of hunger strike, and chanted slogans such as “This beat is really great, but Israel is an apartheid state!” and “They say ‘party’ we say ‘apartheid’!”.
In a statement which was handed to the party attendees, SJP explained why they chose to protest outside a party:

Why Are We Such Party Poopers? 3/3/12

It is normal to see demonstrations when Israeli officials are speaking, when racist, Islamophobic or anti Semitic speakers are invited to campus, but why on earth do we protest a party?

In order to answer this question, we need to ask ourselves what Israel Peace Week is all about? 8 years ago grassroots Palestine solidarity activists started an annual tradition of Israeli Apartheid Week. This initiative is aimed at raising awareness about the systematic oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip and in Israel. Hasbara organizations such as the David Project, Hasbara Fellowship, CAMERA, Stand With Us, and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated Israeli Peace Week and contributed funds to Zionist organizations on campus, including Brandeis Zionist Alliance, as an attempt to counter IAW and to spread a more favorable image of Israel.
Rather then countering the arguments made, IPW and other Hasbara attempts are trying to divert the conversation and refer to the achievements and the positive sides of Israel.
We will not deny the contributions of Israel to innovation in medicine, high tech, and the military industry. Indeed, many countries rely on Israeli industries, and many technologies that are being used widely were developed in Israel.
All of the above does not change the fundamental fact that Israel is an apartheid state. In order to maintain Jewish superiority, Israel implements a military occupation upon millions of Palestinians, that are denied the right to citizenship, and systematically discriminates 20% of it’s citizens, which Israel defines as a demographic threat to the Jewish state.
Tel Aviv is one of the best cities in The world. It is known worldwide for it’s vivid night life. Internationally renowned artists such as Lady Gaga and Madonna are performing in Tel Aviv, and all diamonds in the world are refined in Ramat Gan.
As glamorous and fabulous as Tel Aviv is, it does not change the fact that if you take a 1 hour drive South, there are tens of thousands of Arabs living in unrecognized villages; A 40 minute drive south brings you to the Gaza Strip, where one and a half million Palestinians are living under blockade in the biggest open prison on earth; 25 minutes East in the West Bank and you’re where 3 million Palestinians are denied citizenship, and living under military dictatorship; 15 minutes South East and there’s Lod, Ramla and the unrecognized village, Dahmash; Or right in the back yard, in Yaffa, where you’ll see Palestinian houses being demolished, and housing permits not granted to Palestinians. Tel Aviv may be a grand and modern city, but it is surrounded by pain and suffering on all sides.
Students for Justice in Palestine is trying to bring to campus the reality which Palestinians are facing under the Israeli regime. BZA, although self identified as a cultural club, are part of the widespread attempt to whitewash apartheid, namely, trying to divert the attention from criticism towards Israel. A Tel Aviv party as part of Israeli Peace Week and as a response to Israel Apartheid Week is a political statement. It is political because it is a response to another political statement, and it is political because they are making their own judgement of Israel, that of a peaceful, happy, partying country. A Tel Aviv Party Night distracts students from the realities of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians by drawing attention to Israel’s vibrant night life. SJP is here, as usual, to show people the reality that they will not see on their Birthright trip, which is a fundamental part of the beautiful Israel that they know, and that we all know and care for deeply.

Brandeis SJP Protests Outside “Israeli Peace Week” Tel Aviv Club Party

This past Saturday, some 20 members of Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest on the Brandeis University campus outside a party organized by the Brandeis Zionist Alliance. The title of the party was Tel Aviv Club Night and it marked the end of Israeli Peace Week. Israel Peace Week is the “Pro-Israel” response to Israeli Apartheid Week. It is an international initiative of Zionist organizations, including propaganda organizations such as Stand With Us and Hasbara Fellowships – an affiliate of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The week aimed to show a “more positive” picture of Israel, and by doing so to counter arguments that Israel is an apartheid state.

Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine sees Israel Peace Week as an attempt to whitewash Israel’s crimes, and as a gross misuse of the word “peace”. In response to the problematic nature of the week, SJP activists took to protest outside the week‘s closing event. The activists held a mock-wall and banners such as “Political Prisoners Can’t Party. Free Hana Al-Shalabi” in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner who is on her third week of hunger strike, and chanted slogans such as “This beat is really great, but Israel is an apartheid state!” and “They say ‘party’ we say ‘apartheid’!”.
In a statement which was handed to the party attendees, SJP explained why they chose to protest outside a party:

Why Are We Such Party Poopers? 3/3/12

It is normal to see demonstrations when Israeli officials are speaking, when racist, Islamophobic or anti Semitic speakers are invited to campus, but why on earth do we protest a party?

In order to answer this question, we need to ask ourselves what Israel Peace Week is all about? 8 years ago grassroots Palestine solidarity activists started an annual tradition of Israeli Apartheid Week. This initiative is aimed at raising awareness about the systematic oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip and in Israel. Hasbara organizations such as the David Project, Hasbara Fellowship, CAMERA, Stand With Us, and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated Israeli Peace Week and contributed funds to Zionist organizations on campus, including Brandeis Zionist Alliance, as an attempt to counter IAW and to spread a more favorable image of Israel.
Rather then countering the arguments made, IPW and other Hasbara attempts are trying to divert the conversation and refer to the achievements and the positive sides of Israel.
We will not deny the contributions of Israel to innovation in medicine, high tech, and the military industry. Indeed, many countries rely on Israeli industries, and many technologies that are being used widely were developed in Israel.
All of the above does not change the fundamental fact that Israel is an apartheid state. In order to maintain Jewish superiority, Israel implements a military occupation upon millions of Palestinians, that are denied the right to citizenship, and systematically discriminates 20% of it’s citizens, which Israel defines as a demographic threat to the Jewish state.
Tel Aviv is one of the best cities in The world. It is known worldwide for it’s vivid night life. Internationally renowned artists such as Lady Gaga and Madonna are performing in Tel Aviv, and all diamonds in the world are refined in Ramat Gan.
As glamorous and fabulous as Tel Aviv is, it does not change the fact that if you take a 1 hour drive South, there are tens of thousands of Arabs living in unrecognized villages; A 40 minute drive south brings you to the Gaza Strip, where one and a half million Palestinians are living under blockade in the biggest open prison on earth; 25 minutes East in the West Bank and you’re where 3 million Palestinians are denied citizenship, and living under military dictatorship; 15 minutes South East and there’s Lod, Ramla and the unrecognized village, Dahmash; Or right in the back yard, in Yaffa, where you’ll see Palestinian houses being demolished, and housing permits not granted to Palestinians. Tel Aviv may be a grand and modern city, but it is surrounded by pain and suffering on all sides.
Students for Justice in Palestine is trying to bring to campus the reality which Palestinians are facing under the Israeli regime. BZA, although self identified as a cultural club, are part of the widespread attempt to whitewash apartheid, namely, trying to divert the attention from criticism towards Israel. A Tel Aviv party as part of Israeli Peace Week and as a response to Israel Apartheid Week is a political statement. It is political because it is a response to another political statement, and it is political because they are making their own judgement of Israel, that of a peaceful, happy, partying country. A Tel Aviv Party Night distracts students from the realities of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians by drawing attention to Israel’s vibrant night life. SJP is here, as usual, to show people the reality that they will not see on their Birthright trip, which is a fundamental part of the beautiful Israel that they know, and that we all know and care for deeply.

Photo: Zena Ozeir

Photo: Zena Ozeir

Photo: Zena Ozeir

Photo: Zena Ozeir

Photos: Zena Ozeir

Ali Abunimah to speak at Brandeis University’s First Israeli Apartheid Week

-Press Release-

Waltham, MA –As part of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week, Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) will launch its first Israel Apartheid Week. The week is aimed at educating the Brandeis community on Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and the Gaza strip, as well as within its own borders. The keynote speaker for the week will be Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and a prominent figure in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Ali Abunimah said today: “I was excited to meet members of Brandeis SJP at the recent BDS conference at UPenn. I am glad they are bringing the discussion about justice in Palestine to Brandeis. Because of the US role in helping Israel maintain a deeply unjust situation, this is a discussion that ought to happen on every campus. We need to break out of old ways of thinking, to understand how we can act here to help bring justice, equality and peace to everyone who lives in the land some call Palestine and others call Israel. I hope to engage with students of every perspective during my visit.”

Ridgely Fuller, a social worker from Waltham who worked in Gaza after the 2009 attack, will talk about devastation and resilience in Gaza. Ridgely was one of the 37 passengers on board “The Audacity of Hope,” the U.S boat that was part of a 10-boat freedom flotilla aimed at breaking the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Three Brandeis activists will share their experiences with Palestinian solidarity work: Renana Gal, Israeli conscientious objector, will talk about her refusal to serve in the Israeli Army in a militarized society. Seth Grande (U.S) and Noam Lekach (Israel) will talk about their solidarity work with Anarchists Against the Wall and the ongoing popular Palestinian struggle against the Occupation and land annexation in the West Bank.

Jazi Abu Kaf, General Director of the Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages, will speak about the ongoing dispossession of Arab-Bedouins from their native lands by the Israeli Government. Abu Kaf will discuss the recent plan by the Israeli government to displace some 30,000 Arab-Bedouins from their homes and demolish their villages. He will also address the connection between the ethnic cleansing in the Negev/Naqab (South Israel) and the Jewish National Fund.

In the keynote address, Ali Abunimah will make the case for defining Israel as an apartheid state, and will give his solution, as presented in his book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. “There is already one state in Israel/Palestine; a state based on structural and institutional discrimination, a state in which Jewish citizens enjoy rights and privileges that are denied to Palestinians, in other words, an apartheid state” said Elisha Baskin (Graduate student, 2012).

We Brandeis students, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, are showing our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation. We believe in a reality in which all the inhabitants of Israel/Palestine will live in peace and full equality. We refute the attempts to cast Palestine solidarity work as anti-Semitic or as anti-Israeli. Resisting Israeli apartheid is anti-Israeli as much as resisting Jim Crow was anti-American.

*Brandeis SJP does not have a stance regarding the “one-state” or the “two-state” solution.

For additional information please contact Noam Lekach: noamleka(at)brandeis(dot)edu 

Brandeis Israeli Apartheid Week


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Solidarity Against Apartheid – Activists Panel
With Ridgely Fuler, Renana Gal, Seth Grande and Noam Lekach
Monday 2/27, 7pm-9pm, Mandell G03
https://www.facebook.com/events/277581408977645/

Invisible Citizens: Arabs of the Unrecognized Villages in South Israel
With Jazi Abu Kaf, General Director for the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (RCUV)
Tuesday 2/28, 7pm-9pm, Mandell G03
https://www.facebook.com/events/248968865182791/

Ali Abunimah – Who is Afraid of the One State Solution?
Wednesday 2/29, 7pm-9pm, Olin-Sang Auditorium
https://www.facebook.com/events/185405088230063/

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