Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On Saturday, December 19

On Saturday, December 19, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Adalah-NY will be holding its 9th Annual Anti-Apartheid Holiday Caroling protest against Lev Leviev at his jewelry store on Madison Avenue between E 62nd and 63rd Streets. It’s our opportunity to come together during this holiday season to enjoy (parodies of) Christmas carols and Chanukah songs as we rededicate ourselves to the fight for justice and against Lev Leviev’s and Israel’s attacks on the rights of the Palestinian people.

Hope you can join us.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Facebook event
United Nations agencies hold contracts worth over $22 million annually with G4S, a British-Danish company that is both the world's largest security firm and its second-biggest private employer.

G4S also equips and maintains Israeli detention centers and jails where Palestinians are held and tortured, as well as training facilities that prepare occupation forces for their attacks on Palestinians.

The Palestinian prisoners' movement recently issued an unprecedented appeal for escalated boycotts of G4S over its participation in Israel's colonial policies off occupation and repression.

As the UN marks its official International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, join us as we answer the prisoners' call by launching a global wave of action demanding the UN end its contracts with G4S.

Organized by:

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Endorsed by:

Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
AMP NJ Center - American Muslims for Palestine NJ Chapter
BMCC Students Without Borders
CCNY Students Without Borders
International Action Center
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Labor for Palestine
Neturei Karta International
NYC Students for Justice in Palestine
NYU Students for Justice in Palestine
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College
Students for Justice in Palestine at College of Staten Island
Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College
Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College
Students for Justice in Palestine at Pace University NYC
Students for Justice in Palestine at St. Joseph's College

Friday, November 20, 2015

Prominent Artists Endorse the Cultural Boycott

Eight leading artists, all with ties to New York, state their support for the cultural boycott of Israel in our new video. The video features actor Kathleen Chalfant; musician Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd; musicians Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; musicians Kool A.D. and Tamar-kali; artist and author of Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple; and visual artist Swoon.

The eight artists recount the hardships that Israel imposes on Palestinian artists, and the history of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. They explain the Palestinian boycott call, and why they endorse a cultural boycott.

The video marks the launch of a New York-based initiative calling for more artists and cultural workers in New York, the US and around the world to pledge to respect and support the Palestinian boycott call. Artists in the video join a growing number of cultural workers who are heeding the boycott call from Palestine to refuse to do business as usual with Israel until it ends its occupation, apartheid and colonization.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Santana, the late Gil-Scott Heron, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, Mira Nair, Ken Loach, Alice Walker, Mike Leigh, Arundhati Roy, Jean-Luc Godard and many others have declined to perform or participate in cultural events in Israel or with institutions complicit in Israeli human rights abuses.

Artists & Cultural Workers: Endorse the Palestinian call for the boycott of Israel

Music (P) Jabbar

A project of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hundreds of British Academics Sign Letter Vowing to Boycott Israel

Hundreds of British Academics Sign Letter Vowing to Boycott Israel

In a full-page ad due to be published in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, the academics accuse Israel of illegal occupation, human rights violations and resisting a settlement.

A letter in support of the Palestinian cause signed by 343 British academics is due to be published as a full page advert in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.

Reporting on the letter, the Jewish Chronicle said that the signatories come from 72 institutions, including the prestigious Oxford and Cambridge universities.

"As scholars associated with British universities, we are deeply disturbed by Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land, the intolerable human rights violations that it inflicts on all sections of the Palestinian people and its apparent determination to resist any feasible settlement," the academics write in the letter.

The signatories of the letter undertake to reject invitations to visit Israeli academic institutions, to refuse to act as academic referees and to stay away from all conferences "funded, organized or sponsored" by Israeli institutions.

However, they say that they will continue to work with their Israeli colleagues "in their individual capacities."

The letter follows the launch last week of a pro-Israel initiative backed by 150 writers, artists and musicians, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling. That initiative opposes boycotts of Israel.

The Jewish Chronicle quoted Professor Jane Hardy of the University of Hertfordshire as saying: “This is an opportunity for academics to add their voices to the growing international movement to hold Israel accountable for its human rights abuses and specifically the deprivation of opportunity for our Palestinian colleagues to participate in the global academic community.

“The commitment does not call for the termination of links with individual colleagues nor the end of dialogue, rather it is a boycott of institutions directly or indirectly complicit in the systematic and illegal occupation of Palestine."

Dr Rachel Cohen of London's City University is quoted as saying that "it is the responsibility of those of us who have the freedom to act to exercise that freedom in support of our colleagues in Palestinian universities who do not have such freedom."

While Israel presents itself as an enlightened funder of academic pursuits, Cohen said, it " systematically denies Palestinian academics and students their basic freedoms, such as the freedom of movement necessary to attend international academic conferences, or simply to get to lectures on time."


Monday, October 12, 2015

Palestinian BDS National Committee

Whether the current phase of Israel’s intensified repression and Palestinian popular resistance will evolve into a full-fledged intifada or not, one thing is already evident—a new generation of Palestinians is marching on the footsteps of previous generations, rising up en masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.a

In this latest round, Israel has fanned the flames of Palestinian grassroots resistance by stepping up its attacks against al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Noble Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Israeli occupied Old City of Jerusalem. Fanatic, government-backed Jewish fundamentalist settler groups have persistently desecrated the compound, often verbally insulting worshippers with vile racism and openly calling for the destruction of the mosque. This has triggered widespread anger and protests in Jerusalem and among Palestinians everywhere in historic Palestine.

This ongoing rebellion is also a response to Israel intensifying its ethnic cleansing and oppression of Palestinians. In recent months, Israel has sped up its theft of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinians houses, tightened the siege on Gaza and implemented new racist measures against Palestinians.

In a typical so-called “period of calm”, Israel enforces its medieval siege of Gaza, conducts incursions into Palestinians cities, confiscates Palestinian land, including in the Naqab (Negev), destroys Palestinian property, and builds illegal Jewish-only settlements. In its ongoing attempts to entrench its system of apartheid and colonial rule, Israel denies Palestinians their full spectrum of rights in the most banal of ways, from a child’s right to education to a mother’s access to health care, to a farmer’s ability to reach his/her land and to the right of a family to even live together in one home.

In light of the apathy or direct complicity of world governments and the UN, and as a result of Israel’s impunity in perpetuating this system of injustice against Palestinians, in historic Palestine as well as in exile, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has made great strides in redefining Israel’s positioning in the world stage as a pariah state.

More needs to be done, however, to hold Israel to account and shatter its still strong impunity. Complicit governments must be exposed. Corporations that are enabling and profiting from Israel’s human rights violations must pay a price in their reputation and revenues. Israel’s military machine, including its research arm, must face a comprehensive international military embargo, and all Israeli leaders, officers and soldiers who are involved in the commission of the current and past crimes must be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court as well as national courts that respect international jurisdiction.

Read the full statement from the Palestinian BDS National Committee here.

Take action now:

• Share our call for solidarity action and our Boycott Israel now! graphic on Facebook and Twitter

• Find out ideas on products to boycott and campaigns to support here.

• Build awareness about Palestinian rights under international law and support for BDS

• Pressure parliaments to impose a military embargo on Israel

• Campaign against Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems;

• Support boycott and divestment campaigns against complicit companies, such as G4S and HP, that are most blatantly complicit in Israel’s infrastructure of oppression

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Williams Lumber

Ms. Kim Williams
Williams Lumber, Inc.
6869 Rt. 9
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Dear Ms. Williams:

Since Fred Nagel and I met with you a couple months ago, we have noticed that SodaStream products remain on your shelves.

Enclosed are more signatures reiterating our request that you stop selling these products of Israel's theft and colonization of other people's land. Some of the horrific consequences of these criminal acts are reflected in the enclosed article about the burning alive of a Palestinian toddler by Jewish settler terrorists. This is not the first time this has happened—several months ago a harmless Palestinian boy was burned alive by Israeli settler hoodlums.

Official Israeli crimes include the demolition of Palestinian homes wherever Israel wishes to build Jewish settlements, the arrest and indefinite detention without trial of whomever they may deem suspicious, and many other crimes against humanity.

Please be aware that in selling any Israeli product—including the likes of Caesarstone—Williams Lumber is in fact lending support to Israel and therefore to these criminal acts. This is unworthy of a fine retail chain like yours, and we continue to hope that you will yet take a stand for decency and human rights by removing these products from your shelves.

Sincerely yours,

Gregory DeSylva

Thursday, September 3, 2015

SodaStream pulling out of West Bank

SodaStream’s pullout from the West Bank was part of a domino effect that would see more companies sever interests to spare their bottom line. “This is a clear-cut BDS victory against an odiously complicit Israeli company,” said Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement. He said it would continue to target SodaStream because its new factory is located in an area where Israel has in the past proposed to resettle Bedouin Arabs. The company employs more than 300 Bedouins.
After years of growth SodaStream’s revenue dropped drastically in 2014 and its stock price continues to fall. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From Ferguson to Palestine

Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have launched a statement expressing their solidarity and commitment to ensuring justice for Palestinians. Signatories to the statement span a wide cross-section of Black activists and scholars, including Angela Davis, Boots Riley, Cornel West, dream hampton, Emory Douglas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pam Africa, Patrisse Cullors, Phil Hutchings, Ramona Africa, Robin DG Kelley, Rosa Clemente, Talib Kweli, and Tef Poe. 38 organizations signed on, including The Dream Defenders, Hands Up United, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Organization for Black Struggle.

Read Statement

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Letter delivered to Sandy Williams in Rhinebeck

July 9, 2015

Dear Mr. Williams:
We are sorry to note that SodaStream products have not been removed from the shelves of your stores in response to Gregory DeSylva's Jan. 21, 2015 letter to you. Since then, we at Middle East Crisis Response have circulated the enclosed petition reiterating this request, which includes over 150 signatures collected to date.

The Palestinian people endure tremendous hardship as a result of Israel's colonization and settlement of their land. Products like SodaStream are manufactured in the illegal settlements, on land taken from them by military force. You can help to end this suffering by dropping SodaStream, and we hope you will do so as soon as possible.

The SodaSteam Boycott is part of the much larger Interfaith Boycott Coalition: Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Friends of Sabeel (Palestinian Christians), United Church of Christ, Church of the Brethren, and the United Methodist Kairos Palestine.

Your response to our request will be very much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like further information.

Sincerely yours,

Fred Nagel

Middle East Crisis Response
Hudson Valley BDS

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Local Hudson Valley boycott

Stop selling SodaStream products at Williams Lumber

-Whereas: Israel occupies Palestinian land in opposition to official US policy and international law, and holds Gaza under siege, murderously attacking its residents;
-Whereas: Israel and its lobby undermines US efforts to reach a peace agreement with Iran and pays our politicians millions of dollars to advocate for renewed war in the Middle East; 
-Whereas: A boycott of Israeli products is a nonviolent way to pressure Israel to reform its policies toward the Palestinians and its Middle East neighbors in general;
-Whereas: Williams Lumber carries SodaStream, still manufactured in the illegally occupied West Bank;

We the undersigned therefore respectfully request that Williams Lumber Company promptly stop selling SodaStream products in its stores.

Not too late to sign the petition

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ahava victory

Six years ago this month we launched our international boycott campaign against Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories with a protest inside their shop at the Tel Aviv Hilton. Today we’re writing to you to share with you some good news and our brand new Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott website. Check out the web site and read on for the good news!

Last week, after five years of our campaign and hard work by activists around the world, it was reported first in the Israeli business paper The Globes that Ahava is considering moving its factory out of the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and The Electronic Intifada picked up the story. But by far our favorite piece was this one from U.K. Cosmetics Business News.

Stolen Beauty has been targeting Ahava since 2009, because of "the illegality of its practices". Nancy Kricorian, Campaign Manager at Stolen Beauty, told Cosmetics Business: "We welcome the news that they are considering moving their manufacturing facility out of an illegal West Bank settlement. This is a clear indication of the growing power of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) movement, which is scoring new victories every day."
Ahava stopped selling its products in the UK late last year and has recently closed two of its seven Israeli stores.
However, Stolen Beauty was not ready to drop its boycott of Ahava products. Kricorian added: "While moving out of Mitzpe Shalem will address one of Ahava's violations of international law, there would still remain the issues of the pillage of occupied natural resources and the subsidies to the two illegal settlements that are co-owners of the enterprise." Yet, the group's reaction to the news was still overwhelmingly positive. Kricorian added: "That said, when Ahava's plant and visitors center in the occupied West Bank are definitively shuttered, I'm going to throw a party."

Even before the factory is moved out of the West Bank, let’s take a moment to savor this partial victory and the growing strength of our movement. Then, as the tenth anniversary of the Palestinian BDS call approaches next month, let’s get back to work taking the profit out of Israel’s occupation.

Nancy K and the Stolen Beauty Team

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nakba Day in Beacon is a big success

Quite gratifying to see so many people, about 50 at the speakers forum, and there were more at the vigil. We picked up about 40 signatures for our SodaStream petition (thanks, Nic).

If you haven't signed yet, it only takes two minutes:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Commemorate Al Nakba

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Williams Lumber in Rhinebeck, NY carries SodaStream

-Whereas: Israel occupies Palestinian land in opposition to official US policy and international law, and holds Gaza under siege, murderously attacking its residents;
-Whereas: Israel and its lobby undermines US efforts to reach a peace agreement with Iran and pays our politicians millions of dollars to advocate for renewed war in the Middle East; 
-Whereas: A boycott of Israeli products is a nonviolent way to pressure Israel to reform its policies toward the Palestinians and its Middle East neighbors in general;
-Whereas: Williams Lumber in Rhinebeck, NY carries SodaStream, still manufactured in the illegally occupied West Bank;
We the undersigned therefore respectfully request that Williams Lumber Company promptly stop selling SodaStream products in its stores.

Friday, March 20, 2015

RE/MAX: doing the dirty work of apartheid

Now's is the time!

Throughout the USA 

Our Israel Homes Program can coordinate your purchase of properties in Jerusalem either for your personal use or for investment. Without obligation, contact our coordinator in the U.S. for additional details or to arrange a group seminar.

We offer a multimedia presentation on "Buying a Home in Israel" to any interested group of any size in the Northeastern U.S.

For more details, please contact GARY STEINMAN:
(email); (fax)718-278-0354

Click to see a Map

Crash the party with the truth about Ahava

On Thursday, March 26 from 1-2 p.m. EST, Ahava US and several of its beauty partners will be hosting an #AhavaSkincare “Twitter Party.” We’re planning to crash the party with the truth about Ahava and its occupation profiteering.

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories is an Israeli cosmetics company that has been the target of an international boycott campaign since 2009 because of its illegal practices. The company’s primary manufacturing facility and visitors center are located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. It pillages mud from occupied shores for use in its products. Further, it labels its goods “Product of Israel” when they are in fact made in the occupied West Bank. Check out more info about Ahava and the ongoing boycott campaign.
This is how Ahava, BeautyStat, Freebies4Mom, and Zipporahs are pitching their party:

GIVEAWAY: Join #AHAVASkincare Twitter Party With BeautyStat, Freebies4Mom & Zipporahs! Ask Us Why Skin Loves Dead Sea Minerals and Save 20% on all AHAVA Products

You can sign up your twitter account to be part of the giveaway contest, although you don’t need to do this to be part of the culture jam.

You can sign up your Twitter account for our Occupation isn’t Pretty Thunderclap, which will automatically post our message via your feed during their Twitter party.
We will also send a follow up email on Thursday, 26 March to remind you to participate in the party as part of our own #BDS Twitter storm. The email will include sample tweets that you can cut and paste.
You can send also a note to Nancy to be added to the Stolen Beauty online action team. You will get detailed information on our culture jam, and will be on our list for future online actions. THANK YOU!
We think occupation profiteering is ugly. There is nothing festive, pretty or fun about stealing other people’s land and resources. Thanks for being part of the team working to take the profit out of occupation.
Nancy K and the Stolen Beauty Team

Monday, February 16, 2015

No Settlement Profiteering on Stolen Land

==== From End the Occupation ====
Challenge RE/MAX's Settlement Profiteering!

RE/MAX U.S. real estate corporation is selling and profiting from Jewish-only settlement homes in the West Bank on stolen Palestinian land. Member group CodePink is asking your help in shutting RE/MAX down! 

As part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the "Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen Land" campaign is staging a national mobilization at the RE/MAX R4 Convention March 2-4, 2015 at the Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas -- the company's largest annual gathering with over 6,000 RE/MAX representatives in attendance from more than 60 countries around the world -- to protest RE/MAX's selling of stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. Activists will be staging a three-day presence outside the event, which includes speakers like top RE/MAX executives, professional quarterback Peyton Manning, and even a performance by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler (unless he cancels... see petition below!).

You are invited to join these three days of action that will include direct action on the Vegas Strip, vigils, workshops and community-building spaces. Register now and learn about travel caravans.

Stage your own action at a local RE/MAX office near you.

RE/MAX is selling and profiting from settlement properties that are illegal under international law. RE/MAX International, through RE/MAX Israel, currently operates an office in settlement Ma'ale Adumim and sells lavish homes and apartments in all the major settlements. While RE/MAX agents do business, Palestinian homes are bulldozed to make way for Israeli settlers.

RE/MAX is directly and knowingly profiting off of settler-colonialism and BDS activists are going to #ShutDownREMAX. Hope you can join them!

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer

Saturday, January 24, 2015

RE/Max Moniesworth Realty

December 28, 2014

Geraldine Ruby, Office Owner
RE/Max Moniesworth Realty
1933 R. 52
Hopewell Jct., NY 12533

Dear Mr. Engles:

We are writing to bring to your attention the fact that some of RE/MAX International's operations violate fundamental human rights. Through its contract with RE/MAX Israel, your company is profiting from selling homes in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank. These settlements are in direct violation of the international law, specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that the occupying power shall not transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. Yet this is precisely what Israel has done and continues to do, and RE/MAX Israel's services facilitate this process.

RE/MAX Israel is a major presence in the Israeli real estate market. Most disturbingly, it also is the leader in selling properties in the Occupied West Bank to Israeli settlers. According to WhoProfits, RE/MAX Israel operates an office in the illegal settlement of Ma'ale Adumim. It also sells properties in all the other major settlements, including Adam, Beit Arye, Beit El, Giva'at, Ze'ev, Oranit. Salit, Sha'arei Tikva, and Zufin.

As a result, RE/MAX Israel is directly contributing to the confiscation and settlement of Palestinian land and the oppression of West Bank Palestinians, 80% of whom living in areas of direct Israeli control lack a steady supply of food. As concerned citizens we find it abhorrent that an industry leader such as RE/MAX would profit by selling properties in illegal settlements that have been condemned by the international community. Please apprise your corporate leadership of our concerns and tell them that unless RE/MAX Israel ends its illegal operations in the Occupied West Bank we will pursue a local campaign to boycott RE/MAX and support national and global efforts in this regard.

Please call me at (845) 876-7906 if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,

Hudson Valley BDS

Thursday, January 22, 2015

White Plains Soda Stream Action

Submitted by Priscilla Read
The Boycott SodaStream event from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 13, at Walmart in White Plains, NY was co-sponsored by JVP-Westchester and three other local organizations: Concerned Families of Westchester, Hudson Valley BDS, and WESPAC.  It also benefited from the support of neighbors across the Hudson, members of Rockland for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel. The target of the action was a large Walmart situated in midtown White Plains with wide sidewalks on a busy thoroughfare.  The CEO and president of Walmart, the CEO and president of Walmart U.S., and the local store manager all received in advance the same  letter detailing our position on SodaStream and  why Walmart should follow Macy’s in de-shelving.  
The day dawned seasonably cool, somewhat breezy, but sunny.  We launched activity by noon and soon had about 25+ participants engaged in a variety of activities to raise public awareness of the issues. We had planned materials geared to the diverse clientele that frequents the White Plains Walmart, including a flyer about intellectuals and artists who’ve spoken out about Palestinian rights and one about SodaStream formatted recto/verso in English and Spanish.  Five people who had volunteered in advance to leaflet and engage passers-by were so effective that they exhausted our supply of one hundred flyers in the first twenty minutes.  Dave Lippman, the well-known Satirical Songster-Tuneful Truthteller of New York City fame, led us in seasonal songs with his own clever, trenchant SodaStream lyrics.  A group of energetic recruits, mainly beginners but infectiously enthusiastic, did an animated rendition of dabke Arab folk dance to traditional Palestinian music.  The signs, the singing, the dancing, and the sound amplification created a high-energy spectacle that attracted a good deal of attention on the street.  Unfortunately, our advance, detailed communications about the issues to local press, television, and radio produced no media coverage.
For the segue between the SodaStream event and the March to Stop Police Impunity scheduled immediately following, there had been overlap and cooperation among organizers.  JVP members had been encouraged in advance to join the marchers. Just before 1 p.m., a JVP member gave some short remarks about BDS, SodaStream, Walmart, and the purpose of our action and drew links between our efforts to fight oppression and injustice in Palestine, the struggle against racism and inequality in the United States, and the roiling protests over police killings of unarmed civilians in this country. Dave Lippman sang his “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot” ballad inspired by the issues of the day, and the swelling crowd joined in the chorus. Then, inspired by the theme: “No Business as Usual; No Christmas as Usual” and chanting “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” and “I Can’t Breathe,” more than two hundred marchers set out at a good clip for the Westchester Mall.  From that shoppers’ palace, the route took us to a major intersection in the center of town where we staged a die-in and then proceeded to some brief speeches in front of police headquarters.  Channel 12 News Westchester covered the march.
 Photos of both the 1) SodaStream event and 2) the March to Stop Police Impunity by Andrew Courtney
Photos of the SodaStream event at Walmart by Len Tsou
 Photos and videos of the SodaStream event by Yoram Gelman

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two NY Senators well paid by the Pro-Israel Lobby

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jan 5th Discussion with Leonard Grob

Friday, January 2, 2015

Let SJP Speak

Dissent at Vassar: Let SJP Speak
Chronicle Staff Editorial

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) remained firmly in campus consciousness for almost all of last year, at first for their public protests against International Studies 110, a travel class that included a trip over spring break. Prior to last year, destinations have included Cuba, Spain, and Mexico. The International Studies trip in the spring of 2014 was headed to Israel. SJP believed that the trip, as described in info sessions, ignored human rights violations in Palestine and gave tacit approval to Israel by presenting a survey of Israeli clean water infrastructure as “non- political.” SJP argued, and we agree, that the reality of clean water allocation in the region is inherently political.

From the beginning, Vassar administrators painted SJP as disrespectful and inflammatory. A protest outside of one of the International Studies class sessions, according to the reports of many of the students in attendance, was orderly and quiet. Protesters spoke only when spoken to, engaged in discussion only with those who invited it, and they were careful not to block any doors or aisles. They also made sure to leave before the class started. The administration later described the protest, however, as incredibly out of line. A series of periodic emails from Cappy, which continued through the end of the spring 2014 semester, repeatedly emphasized the need for all campus debates to be “respectful” and “civilized.” The Committee on Inclusion and Excellence subsequently invited SJP to a discussion on campus activism that was dominated by the two professors leading the International Studies trip — Rachel Friedman and Jill Schneiderman — as well as J Street, a pro-Israel, two-state solution advocacy group that was involved with neither the International Studies class, nor the campus protest against it. SJP declined to attend the meeting because they feared that the meeting would be used to put them on trial. As it turned out, that fear was well founded.

Members of SJP who attended the meeting as individual campus activists reported that they were treated incredibly disrespectfully. Prof. Schneiderman reportedly yelled at a student of color and member of SJP who attempted to contradict the assertion that the trip had always had a focus on the politics of the region, a claim that contradicts the original framing of the trip as “non-political.” If the Vassar community insists on vilifying someone or something, we believe that our condemnation ought to be directed towards those who abuse their positions of trust and power.

Although The Chronicle Editorial Board recognizes that we ought to respect one another as members of a community with a diversity of opinions, we deplore the treatment of SJP as inherently disrespectful. We, moreover, see the civility-above-all- else attitude of Vassar’s administration as detrimental to campus activism and discourse. We at The Chronicle reject the notion of civility, which we view as inextricably linked to the very power structures that campus activists seek to overturn. The highly political nature of the Israel-Palestine debate makes any attempt to engage inherently uncivil and disrespectful. We do not see what SJP could have done to be more “respectful” and “civil” in their protest, nor do we understand why students must be held to those standards as defined by aloof administrators, rather than their community of peers. It seems an inescapable realization that any activism they could have undertaken for this cause, no matter how mild, would have been met with accusations of incivility.

While we do believe that the posting of an anti-semitic poster on SJP’s social media sites by one of its members showed a complete disregard for the horrifying history of the Nazi genocide, we also recognize that SJP acted swiftly — before any groups external to the Vassar community either noticed or complained — to both apologize to the community and eject the member of their organization who shared that poster. Despite this immediate denunciation of the post and disassociation from the person responsible, SJP has been subject to innumerable wholesale accusations of anti-semitism, and even of “white nationalism” (which would be quite a puzzling feat for many of its members).

It is the opinion of The Chronicle Editorial Board that the emphasis on “respect” and “civility” that surrounds discussions of activism is present because certain members of the administration and faculty — as well as the prominent alumnae/i lobbying them — feel that their being challenged to defend their stances on controversial issues is inherently disrespectful: they feel that the very existence of direct-action activism on campus is not “civil.” The Chronicle sees this as nothing less than an attempt to further silence marginalized voices and kill legitimate dissent from conventional political wisdom. There is no place for homogeneity of ideas at a liberal arts college and so The Chronicle stands with SJP.


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