Send a Student to the SJP National Conference this Year!

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Dear friends and allies,

We’re very excited to announce that Students for Justice in Palestine will be gathering at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts from October 24-26 for the fourth National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference. After a summer of devastation and oppression in Palestine and in the United States, now more than ever we must collectively analyze how far we have come and how we can deepen our skills, analysis, and relationships in order to escalate our struggles for justice in the coming year.

Will you invest in the future of the US Palestine solidarity movement and help us bring hundreds of students together?

Building on the amazing work SJP activists around the country have done to connect different struggles and movements, this year’s theme of “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine” challenges us to move towards thinking in terms of joint struggle- how our work in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the struggles to dismantle racism, militarism, and colonialism in the U.S. and other parts of the world/ And to move towards creating meaningful changes in our communities and beyond.

This summer the Gaza Strip saw the worst Israeli assault in memory. Casualty rates, particularly for civilians and children, are shockingly high, and the level of devastation to the Strip is so great that the United Nations projects it could take 20 years to rebuild. Israel’s actions were widely described as war crimes and despite global calls to lift the blockade, as of this writing the siege of Gaza still remains in place. We in the United States must move beyond condemning these acts to organizing to stop them.

Meanwhile this summer, activists in Ferguson were being tear-gassed by the same product used to teargas and repress Palestinians. In a moving display of international unity, Palestinians sent messages of solidarity and advice on how to best treat teargas burns, SJPs around the country were putting out calls to action for solidarity vigils and were deepening their analysis of how militarism of police in the U.S. is modeled on Israel’s militarism and suppression of Palestinian resistance. This year, we will look at how to further our collective analysis and understanding, and envision what true joint struggle action would look like in our efforts to advance boycotts and divestment at our colleges and universities.

Every year our conferences have been successful because of the broad representation of amazing and brilliant student activists from around the country. While some students are able to get travel assistance from their schools, a large number of student participants rely on the funds we are able to raise before the conference and give out as travel assistance.

Can you help us this year by making sure that at least 100 students are able to represent their SJPs in Boston with the help of travel stipends?

If you believe that the success of SJPs is central to the success and growth of the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S., please consider making a donation – large or small, every dollar goes a long way – to SJP National through our paypal (http://sjpnational.org/donate) or send a check to our fiscal sponsor, the WESPAC Foundation, 52 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603. All donations are tax deductible and checks should read SJP-National in the memo.

In Solidarity,

The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee

 

Beyond Solidarity: Announcing the 2014 National SJP Conference at Tufts University

Dear Students, Allies, and Friends,

We are excited to announce that the 2014 National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference will take place on October 24-26th at Tufts University! This year’s conference is themed Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine.

At last year’s conference at Stanford University, From Margin to Center: Connecting Struggles, Forging a National Movement, we concluded with a panel on joint struggle. The term “joint struggle” represents the work of acting together to resist the systems that oppress our respective communities–sometimes in ways that overlap and other times in ways that are very specific.

Joint struggle means that a victory for one group should also strengthen and advance the movements we are connected with. It comes from an understanding that oppression will never cease to exist for a group unless all oppressed groups are free. For the members of the National SJP steering committee, we have appreciated the solidarity we have received nationally from groups like MEChA and Anakbayan, and we hope to build on both new and existing relationships.

The summer’s events in Palestine and across the U.S., specifically in Ferguson, have clearly shown the connections between racist and colonial oppression in both locations, sparking transnational solidarity and consciousness raising. It is in the spirit of forming a stronger global movement to liberate all peoples that we dedicate this year’s conference to not only strengthening solidarity, but moving from expressing it with words to expressing it by committing to self-education and concrete joint action.

In addition to the theme described above, this year’s conference will focus on building our movement through political and skills development, as well as critical discussions about our work and role in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. The 2014 National SJP Conference will aim to achieve the following goals:

  1. This conference will highlight building joint struggle by providing space to learn directly from other national grassroots movements on concrete and intentional actions that we can take to advance all struggles. We will focus on anti-black racism, the ongoing colonization and occupation of indigenous lands and peoples, and the violence against Black, indigenous and migrant people in the U.S. by deepening ties with those who are already organizing against such oppressive forces. This will tie into a focus on militarism as a transnational problem, which arises from collaboration of police, military and intelligence organizations. We will discuss how we can support national movement building emerging out of Ferguson, as resisting militarism becomes a transnational conversation.
  2. This conference will delve into why and how the struggle for Palestine is a feminist issue. We will further understand how settler colonialism is racialized and gendered and disproportionately affects women and children. We will also look into the increased violence against Palestinian women and women refugees and migrants in Israel.
  3. This conference will create a space for critical discussion on confronting all forms of racism within our movement through reflection, self-accountability and movement accountability. We will also focus on continuing to combat all forms of Judeophobia/anti-Semitism and conflation of Zionism with Judaism.
  4. This conference will focus on confronting Islamophobic and Western liberal responses to resistance in Palestine, which relegate Palestinians and their allies to the position of the “non-human Other.” We will discuss how these responses contribute to the dominant Western narrative of the Orientalist discourse, specifically how it impacts our movement and how to resist delegitimation efforts.
  5. This conference will help break down the term “decolonization” from a “sexy” social justice buzzword to a lived, feasible experience and practice. We will work to define what colonization and decolonization mean, and what it means to decolonize oneself and the movement.
  6. This conference will give students the opportunity to discuss and organize around ways to resist institutional and administrative censorship of Palestine solidarity organizers and Muslim and Arab students on campus, who are often targeted and silenced.
  7. This conference will provide the necessary knowledge and tools to counter efforts by Zionist organizations to normalize and whitewash the Israeli occupation as a means of undermining student groups organizing on campus around Palestinian rights.
  8. This conference will delve deeper into the successes and failures of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns locally and nationally; in addition to sharing resources and best practices in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the movement.

In the coming weeks, we will provide further information about conference logistics and registration. For now, we ask that local SJP chapters, and other Palestine solidarity groups, begin to make plans to attend the conference. We also ask supporters to kindly consider making a donation to support student travel, so that lack of resources does not stop activists across the country from attending the conference and sharing their knowledge and skills.

We hope to see you at Tufts!

 

In solidarity,

The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee

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Solidarity with Ferguson: NSJP Condemns Police Violence


National Students for Justice in Palestine

August 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
National Students for Justice in Palestine in Solidarity with Ferguson

As the steering committee of National Students for Justice in Palestine, we express our condolences and solidarity with those affected by the killing of Mike Brown, and condemn police violence throughout the United States. We are students of all backgrounds from every region of the nation, who are committed to combating all forms of supremacy, racism and discrimination in our solidarity work to support human rights, self-determination and liberation of Palestinian land and life.

No community should have to endure what the black community has endured in America, let alone still suffer at the hands of oppressive institutions that police blackness and impose guilt without reason. The lives of young black folks should not be dehumanized by those who are meant to serve our communities. The history of police and watch groups in the United States indicates that the protection of black lives has never been a serious concern. The legacies of this history have seen black people controlled, beaten, unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated, repressed while protesting and killed. Justice, transparency and accountability remain delayed.

Therefore, we wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with the black community. Militarized and violent police tactics in present-day America have laid too many young black souls to rest. Black people have suffered at the hands of white supremacist racist violence since before America’s founding. The legacy of institutional injustice has persisted for far too long, and is time for it to change.

We’ve been inspired by the activism that has taken place throughout the nation in response to Mike Brown’s death. At rallies and vigils, we’ve heard critical words that stressed the work we have cut out for us all. Through social media, we shared the injustice in Ferguson, and now, we follow the black community towards challenging militarized policing, improving police accountability, and eliminating anti-black racism.

We stand alongside the black community and pledge our ongoing efforts to end such injustices. It is our moral obligation to contribute all that we can to aid our black sisters and brothers in solidarity. Our struggles are connected, underscored by the unified police trainings between St. Louis County Police and the Israeli Defense Forces. This has eliminated any delineation between local and military tactics. Tear gas, MRAPs, rubber bullets and flashbang grenades do not belong in communities of color. Drones and “no fly-zones” should not exist in Ferguson nor over occupied Palestinian land. Police do not need assault rifles and military grade weapons to protect and serve US citizens. We will be safest when our communities are safe from violence and discrimination at the hands of the state.

We want to fight for a greater justice that empowers us all, and breaks down police militarism, Zionism, and white supremacist racism through mutual love and respect . Injustice against black people is not just a Black issue. Injustice against Palestinian people is not just a Palestinian issue. These are human issues that should concern us all. Only through perceiving the interconnectedness of our struggles, can we unite and empower ourselves and our vision for a better world that does not dehumanize Black people, Palestinians, or anyone.

Solidarity with Anakbayan and Fillipino Activists Resisting Militarism

As Students for Justice in Palestine, a group in solidarity with oppressed people around the world, we strongly condemn the murders of Filipino youth activist and Anakbayan member Freddie Ligiw, his father Licuben, and his brother Eddie by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). We understand that the Filipino military likely played an active role in these murders, thanks to weapons and joint training provided by the United States. The murders of Saji, Freddie, and his family members are part of an ongoing global attack on oppressed peoples who are fighting to live. This violence stems from the United States’ broader imperialist agenda that funds repression of dissenters in the Philippines and Palestine through military aid.

From Palestine to the Philippines to the United States, youth activists are actively challenging militarism in the face of heavy repression. We write this statement near the 11th anniversary of Israel’s murder of American student-activist Rachel Corrie by an American-made Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza. Earlier this month, Saji Darwish, a Palestinian student from Birzeit University, was shot in the head and killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Continue reading “Solidarity with Anakbayan and Fillipino Activists Resisting Militarism” »

NSJP Statement of Thanks and Solidarity with the Loyola Chicago Student Government

Dear members of the Loyola University Chicago Unified Student Government Association,

On Tuesday, March 18, Loyola University’s Unified Student Government Association (USGA) passed a resolution to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. As the steering committee of National Students for Justice in Palestine, we write to express our support of the resolution and our appreciation for your courage.

As students, we recognize the incredible role that student movements have played in supporting so many struggles for civil rights, human rights, and liberation around the world throughout history. We are inspired by historic student movements in this country, such as the movement to divest from South African Apartheid as well as contemporary fights that our peers are waging against the criminalization of people along the US/Mexico border and against inhumane policies of mass incarceration within the US. A beautiful part of our national movement as well as SJP Loyola’s local membership is the diversity of communities working together on interconnected struggles towards a better world. We commend you for taking an important step in this legacy of student action.

Continue reading “NSJP Statement of Thanks and Solidarity with the Loyola Chicago Student Government” »

Lessons for Liberty: A Century of Palestine Student Organizing in the US

Opening Plenary of the 2013 SJP-National Conference, ‘From Margin to Center: Connecting Struggles, Forging a National Movement’ with Loubna Qutami & Mezna Qato.

In the everyday urgencies of student mobilizations, and in our celebration of the tremendous successes of BDS campaigns across the country, we have scarce opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the histories of our national movement, and in particular the storied role of students within it. How have those who forged paths before us carried their responsibilities in this exhausting, extraordinary, remarkable, anti-colonial struggle? What can we learn from the strategies and tactics they crafted, and the principles and politics they upheld? As we continue to build on our campaign successes, what does this knowledge of our past require of us? Retrieving often forgotten episodes spanning the last one hundred years of student organizing for Palestine in the US, this talk hopes to open up conversation on how we, both Palestinians and allies, can contribute to the re-generation of Palestinian emancipatory spirit, the restoring our body politic and the reclaiming our popular sovereignty and liberation movement. Our struggle began with students, and it is only when students seize their revolutionary responsibility and take a lead in bringing together the energies, voices, talents, and strengths, of all Palestinians, will we begin to walk, together, the path towards liberation and return.

NSJP Statement of Thanks and Solidarity with the American Studies Association

To sign on as a student group, please fill out this form – http://bit.ly/1cJnYCR

On Monday morning, the National Council of the American Studies Association announced that its membership had voted – by a thundering two-thirds majority – to support the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

As members of the student movement, we thank the members of the ASA for this important contribution to the struggle, and for their bravery and integrity. We stand united with them in this decision, and in support of the principles and vision it represents.

We know that pressure on the ASA at this moment is overwhelming. And through our own efforts, we are all too familiar with organized initiatives that aim to misrepresent and silence the movement for justice in Palestine. Thanks to the ASA’s resolution, we are ever more strengthened in our resistance to these efforts.

We know that many are eager to accuse the professors who endorsed this boycott of violating academic freedom and the right to free inquiry. We categorically reject such accusations. We know that the Palestinian call for academic boycott has been made with care and caution by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and that it differs from the academic boycott against the brutal racial capitalism of South Africa – the apartheid system.

PACBI calls for the institutional boycott of Israeli universities. Not the boycott of individuals. For that reason it does not infringe on the rights of individual Israeli scholars. Rather, it recognizes that rights are interlocking. Indeed, Israeli scholars have every right to research as they wish. What they may not do is officially represent their universities, or use their legitimate intellectual pursuits to veil the widely acknowledged complicity of the entire Israeli educational system in the regime of settler-colonialism that crushes the Palestinian people.

We hear the clear voices of our fellow students and teachers in Palestine and in the refugee camps of its neighbors. Their demand is not for charity. Nor does it exceptionalize Israel. Rather, the demand is that we take responsibility for what is occurring in Palestine into our own hands – that we refuse links with the universities that are part-and-parcel of the repressive apparatus, for it is those universities which develop counter-insurgency techniques, weapons, separation walls, and false narratives, all of the machinery the state deploys in its ongoing violence against Palestinians.

Far from stifling academic freedom, the ASA’s action shows that scholars in the United States can have honest and nuanced conversations about Israeli control of Palestinians, Palestinian liberation, and the role of the United States and its learning institutions in shaping consensus on both. We are increasingly confident in our knowledge that Palestine is no longer an issue the American academy is afraid to confront.

The ASA’s resolution is particularly significant for our collective understanding of the past and present of the United States within its borders and throughout the world. It is a refreshing echo of our revolutionary vision, for our movement cannot be divorced from the global capitalist conditions that affect all our lives. As students facing economic and intellectual attacks on our universities, our support for the Palestinian struggle is simultaneously a demand for justice at home – for our education, and for historical justice, not amnesia.

And we are proud of our professors for refusing to ignore the crimes of Israel. We are honored by their refusal to cover their ears, instead allowing the demands of Palestinians resisting occupation and colonialism to reach their minds and hearts. We salute them for adopting the more difficult and just path. Most of all, we are proud to stand alongside them in declaring that what is occurring in Palestine with our tax dollars will not continue with our idle complicity.

We know that supporters of Israeli racism are unnerved, and that they are lashing out at those who have gone out of their way to insist that a politically neutral academic freedom is a myth; that the right to inquire is nested amidst other freedoms – and that what Israel denies Palestinians is the right to have rights.

The members of the ASA have done something remarkable this week. They have opened a space for discussing and resisting Israeli crimes that did not exist before. There are those desperate to close that space. We urge our comrades, mentors, and teachers to remain steadfast amidst the pressure they face, for we are behind and among you. In the spirit of Audre Lorde: “without community, there is no liberation.” If all of us stand together, we are unmovable.

Thank you for your courage.

Ad Hoc Steering Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine – National

Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee
Health Awareness Club – City University of New York, Brooklyn College
Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Kentucky
Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán – University of California, San Diego
Michigan Women of Color Collective (M-WOCC) – University of Michigan
Right 2 Education Campaign – Birzeit University
Stanford University Students for Palestinian Equal Rights
Students Against Israeli Apartheid – George Mason University
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Students for Justice in Palestine – American University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Antioch University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Binghamton University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Boston College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Bowdoin College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Brooklyn College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Brown University
Students for Justice in Palestine – California State University, Fullerton
Students for Justice in Palestine – City University of New York, School of Law
Students for Justice in Palestine – City University of New York, Staten Island
Students for Justice in Palestine – Cornell University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Depaul University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Drew University, New Jersey
Students for Justice in Palestine – Evergreen State College
Students for Justice in Palestine – Florida Atlantic University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Florida International University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Fort Wayne, Florida
Students for Justice in Palestine – George Washington University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Ithaca College
Students for Justice in Palestine – John Hopkins University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Loyola Marymount University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Loyola University, Chicago
Students for Justice in Palestine – Northwestern University
Students for Justice in Palestine – Rutgers, Newark
Students for Justice in Palestine – San Diego State University
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California – Berkeley
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Irvine
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Los Angeles
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of California, Riverside
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Florida
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Maryland
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of New Mexico
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Southern California
Students for Justice in Palestine – University of Toledo, Ohio
Students for Justice in Palestine – Yale University
Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights – Stanford University

[Student groups can sign on by filling out this form - http://bit.ly/1cJnYCR ]

Students Support the American Studies Association Boycott Resolution

Contact CornellS4JP [at] gmail.com if your student group would like to sign on.

Dear Curtis Marez, Lisa Duggan, Matthew Jacobson, and John Stephens:

As nationwide chapters of SJP, we write to give our unqualified endorsement of the ASA resolution in support of the Academic Boycott. In so doing, we stand in solidarity with the call from Palestinian civil society to put in place an institutional boycott of Israeli universities and other academic centers to protest the ongoing belligerent occupation of Palestine, and the systemic infringements of the rights to education and academic freedom of Palestinian students and scholars in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.

We are deeply aware of the concert of colonial and imperial interests which has led to over 130 years of Zionist colonization of Palestinian lands. We know that the Palestinians – as with so many other peoples – are still reckoning with the brutal legacy of North Atlantic capitalism’s restless drive to dominate the planet. And so we see the Palestinian struggle for national liberation as part of the larger struggle for self-determination by the peoples of the global South as they have sought to break free of the fetters of European colonialism and US imperialism.

As students, we acknowledge and pay homage to the proud history of the student movement in supporting freedom and justice in so many of those struggles, from the Sandinistas to South Africa. It is a heritage we strongly defend, and it is one we aspire to uphold.

Continue reading “Students Support the American Studies Association Boycott Resolution” »

Northeastern University SJP Chapter Joins Call to Reinstate Suspended CCNY Student Activists

Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Northeastern University and Northeastern University School of Law join CUNY School of Law SJP in condemning the suspension of City College of New York (CCNY) students Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov for their anti-militarization activism.

We share their further condemnation of the September arrest of the CUNY 6 as they protested General David Petraeus’s appointment, and of the October closing of the independently run Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center. We are deeply concerned about the attempted punishment and suppression of student organizers of color, such as Vasquez and Sourov.

These events continue the nationwide pattern of silencing campus activists who organize against militarism and settler colonialism. At Northeastern this year, SJP chapters posted pro-Palestinian flyers; organized panels, pickets, and marches; and staged a walk-out from a campus IDF event. Subsequently, our undergrad chapter was sanctioned, our fliers were torn down, all law school student bulletin boards were moved without notice, and our leaders faced violence and death threats from unaffiliated parties. Yet, we have grown even more determined to voice our opposition to U.S. and Israeli militarism.

Continue reading “Northeastern University SJP Chapter Joins Call to Reinstate Suspended CCNY Student Activists” »

CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine Stands in Solidarity with CUNY Students in the Crosshairs of Repression

As members of Students for Justice in Palestine at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, we condemn the CUNY administration’s suspension of City College of New York (CCNY) students Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov for their anti-militarization activism.

The Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY (“Ad Hoc Committee”) organizes to oppose the CUNY Board of Trustees’ appointment of former CIA director General David Petraeus at Macaulay Honors College. On September 17, 2013, six CUNY students (“the CUNY 6”) engaged in peaceful protest against Petraeus’ appointment were violently arrested and charged with obstruction of governmental administration, riot, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.

On October 20, CCNY security abruptly seized and shut down the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center (“Morales/Shakur Center”) at CCNY to prevent student and community access. The Morales/Shakur Center was won through student struggle and is operated independently of the university.

In the words of CCNY students, the Morales/Shakur Center “has been an invaluable space for community groups to meet on campus, for students to connect with their political elders, and for movement histories to be retained and shared in Harlem.” In particular, the Ad Hoc Committee actively uses the Morales/Shakur Center as their home-base for organizing.

Continue reading “CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine Stands in Solidarity with CUNY Students in the Crosshairs of Repression” »