Anti-Israel Divestment Campaigns Heating Up on Campus
New York, NY, October 8, 2003 … With the start of the new school year, anti-Israel student activists are attempting to revive their campaign to force universities to divest from companies doing business with Israel.While the divestment campaign has as yet failed to persuade any colleges or universities to alter their investments, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is closely monitoring divestment-related activities, which have become the driving force of anti-Israel activism on campus during the past three years.
"The divestment campaigns are led and supported by far-left and radical Muslim groups who make clear that they do not acknowledge the legitimacy of the state of Israel," said AbrahamH.Foxman, ADL National Director."Some have gone further, distributing anti-Semitic literature and, in more than one instance, courting speakers and support from groups aligned with Palestinian terror organizations.We remain greatly concerned about the impact of this message on a campus audience, which may or may not be well informed on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The group behind the campaign, widely known as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement (PSM), was formed and supported by a coalition of mostly far-left and radical Muslim groups.Having sponsored two conferences in 2002, the PSM planned to stage a third in fall 2003.Internal disagreements caused the movement to split, however, and now two separate divestment conferences are scheduled for the fall term.Information on both conferences follows.
Mr.Foxman noted that, "One of the key reasons why the divestment efforts have failed to take off at major universities around the country is the fact that presidents at the universities have spoken out to say, 'not on my campus.'"Additional information, including a backgrounder on divestment campaigns, statements by university presidents denouncing divestment tactics, and a list of anti-Israel protest groups is available online.
October 10 – 12, 2003, North Brunswick, New Jersey
The off-campus Rutgers conference, to be held at the Ramada Inn in North Brunswick, with an on-campus rally at Rutgers, will be hosted by New Jersey Solidarity.Let by outspoken Rutgers law student CharlotteKates, NJ Solidarity argues for the dismantling of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state.Despite the fact that the official decision-making body of the PSM has voted to change the venue and date, NJ Solidarity is still billing its meeting as the 3rd annual PSM conference and boasts a long list of supporters and speakers.
Conference supporters include local chapters of Al-Awda, a movement that calls for the destruction of Israel – as indicated by its motto: "From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free."Other endorsers include the Islamic Association for Palestine, an anti-Semitic organization that, according to the FBI, has coordinated its activities with the terrorist group Hamas.
NJ Solidarity has increased its militancy in the face of opposition from others in the movement and, rather than focus on this opposition, proclaims that "the Palestinian solidarity movement will not be silenced by the state nor by Zionist forces."The group calls the conference "a clear confrontation for justice and liberation against the Zionist forces who support slaughter, terror and eradication of the Palestinian people."
ADL's New Jersey Regional Office will be taking part in the "Israel Inspires" rally at RutgersUniversity on Thursday, October 9 at The rally kicks off a yearlong series of pro-Israel activities designed by students to counter the message of anti-Israel activists with accurate and factual information on the state of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
November 7 – 9, 2003, Columbus, Ohio
The OhioState conference will be hosted on campus by the local Committee for Justice in Palestine (CJP).The CJP states on its Web site that while it holds that the Palestinians "maintain the right of resistance," it "condemns all attacks against civilians."
This position appears to be more moderate than the "guiding principles of PSM generally, which support the Palestinian uprising including all tactics used by Palestinians.The group has said that, "As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for their liberation."Given the backing of groups like Al-Awda, a movement that calls for the destruction of Israel, the event will likely reflect the PSM's radical views.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.