Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine

Category: Press Release

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!


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.”




Newton Police Department drags the students

Hebrew "apartheid" T-shirts

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


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


Solidarity Against Apartheid – Activists Panel
With Ridgely Fuler, Renana Gal, Seth Grande and Noam Lekach
Monday 2/27, 7pm-9pm, Mandell G03

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

Ali Abunimah – Who is Afraid of the One State Solution?
Wednesday 2/29, 7pm-9pm, Olin-Sang Auditorium