Thursday, April 25, 2019

Support for UMass Amherst’s Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine

Please fill out this form with your name and/or organization and title to support UMass' Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).


We, UMass Amherst Students for Justice in Palestine, are urgently contacting you for support, because of the extreme backlash both in number and nature regarding the upcoming panel event on May 4 titled, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Rights.” This past week, 80 nationwide organizations wrote to UMass Chancellor Subbaswamy ordering the university to rescind all support and sponsorship of the event.. They stated that this event violates the university’s academic mission and will encourage violence on campus. 

This is a clear silencing tactic to end a necessary discussion about Palestinian rights and critiques of the Israeli government. The selective outrage is clear when there is no response like this to any other political events UMass holds on campus. UMass and its academic departments regularly sponsor speakers on all sides of the political spectrum, showing that the only “personal political agendas” these 80 organizations take umbrage with are those who are standing up in the face of censorship on the topic of Palestine. This letter describes the event as a “political rally” that will incite violence even though it has been explicitly promoted as a panel discussion on censorship. The reaction to this event is exactly why this event is happening. Anti-Palestinian rhetoric has controlled the conversation for far too long and censorship received by individuals such as the panelists solidifies the need for this event on a diverse campus. Anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-semitism.

On the evening of April 23rd, tickets for the event online were reserved in bulk in an attempt to protest the event and ensure others genuinely interested in the panelists’ messages are unable to attend. We have also received information about individuals preparing to disrupt the event, although we hope this is not true.

Once again, we urge those in support of this event and free speech to share this message widely. Hundreds of tickets will be available at the door at 6:15 pm on evening of the event and unclaimed tickets on the day of the event will be available to students as well. We suggest you come even earlier if you are able. In the face of this intimidation, we hope you come out in support early and wait for your tickets at the door.

Our panelists, Linda Sarsour, Roger Waters, David Zirin and Marc Lamont Hill and moderator, Vijay Prashad are steadfast in their beliefs and refuse to be intimidated and silenced. We stand with them. We urge you to show your support as our University faces severe pressure against this event.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Join the New Paltz Socialists

Since Israel's foundation, the basic rights and freedoms of Palestinians have been under assault. Continued land grabs, the denial of clean water and equal education funding to Palestinians, and the continued bulldozing of Palestinian homes make it clear that Israel is a modern-day apartheid state. The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement attempts to use one of the same strategies (an international boycott and divestment campaign) used to end apartheid in South Africa to end apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories. Join the New Paltz Socialists for a discussion on what BDS is, and how we can fight for it here in the Hudson Valley.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Airbnb coverage in the news

In November, Airbnb released a statement announcing a new policy that would remove listings by Israeli settlers in “disputed regions” of the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem. The decision was immediately challenged by dual Israeli-U.S. citizens who are settlers and whose listings are to be removed. These individuals sued Airbnb in a court in Delaware, alleging discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

On March 18, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a motion to intervene that case on behalf of two Palestinian individuals, a village, and a municipality. They seek to bring counterclaims against the settlers for war crimes, crimes against humanity, trespass, unjust enrichment, and under the Fair Housing Act for the settlers’ own discriminatory postings. Palestinians from the West Bank are barred from accessing their land, while the settlers are profiting off of it.

Upon filing, CCR released four one-minute videos of our clients, explaining in their own words why they intervened and the lived experience of Palestinians affected by Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement enterprise.


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