featuring writings on Palestinian identity:
1)   Albert Kishek, Palestine in Exile
2)   Osama Mor, National Identity in Diaspora
3)   Dylan Fahoome, The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me, after Sherman Alexie
4)  Mohammad Hamad, Amplifying Palestine: On Birthright & Beyond

5) Hashem Abu Sham'a, Intersectionality: Not a Mere Strategy, but a Future
featuring art, poetry, music, & dance:
Leila Abdelrazaq
George Abraham
Angélica Isaí Becerra

Ahmed Hamad & Hamze Allaham
Nader Helmy

Irène Lucia Delaney
Jumana al-Qawasmi
Olivia Vita
Noor Wadi
III. Opinion
1)   Samir Rohlin Hazboun, Practical Steps to Prepare SJP Chapters to Fight for the Long Haul
2)   Wendel Rubinstein, Reflections on UofC Divest
3)   Brandon Do, An Imprisoned Resistance
4)   Leena Widdi, The ZOA's Failed Attack on Working Class, Anti-Zionist Students
5)   Suman Barat, Israel's Population Control Is a Feminist Issue
6)   Andrew Joung & Henry Rosen, Seize the Grounds of Debate
7)   Robert Gardner, Repression of Student Activism on the West Coast
8)   Anakbayan NY organizers, We're Gonna Bring Imperialism Down!!!
9)   UT-Austin Palestine Solidarity Committee organizers, Building Intercommunal Solidarity

10)   Jenna Noelle, Of By-laws and BDS: The Divestment Campaign at Portland State

11)   Osama Al-Khawaja, Bernie Sanders Was Coming to Town
12)   Naye I., How Appropriate Is Cultural Appropriation?
13)   Jannine Salman & Rose Marks, Settler Solidarity
National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) aims to be a resource and support system for SJP chapters around the country and for the larger US movement for Palestinian freedom and equality. The NSJP Newsletter is an initiative that seeks create a platform for students and campus organizations to share recollections of powerful initiatives, stories of overcoming hurdles, and personal reflections from within the movement and beyond.  We are inspired by the Student Anti-Apartheid Newsletter, a publication that was started in 1979 by the unified student movement in the US to oppose South African Apartheid and was instrumental in the movement's success.

We hope to provide a creative space for all student organizers to communicate ideas and thoughts to others across the nation. We hope that, on both an individual level and a collective level, we all can learn from the experiences shared here and thus continue building a network that allows us to exchange ideas and resources, provide support, and help specific campaigns gain traction. Ultimately, this newsletter can be a vital tool in organizing nationwide campaigns, stimulating and amplifying political and artistic discourse, and supporting local and regional actions. 

NSJP seeks to serve and support the movement for Palestinian liberation and all students within it. This newsletter is one step towards that goal. NSJP can also provide your SJP with specialized assistance in planning events and actions, organizing boycott and divestment campaigns, writing resolutions and statements, working with media and press, connecting you to legal aid, and more. We also organize a national conference every year and coordinate national campaigns like the Right to Education tour (2014, 2016).
Read more here!

All explicitly credited content within this Newsletter was received by submission
and represents the views or work of the individual or group that submitted it
–– not those of National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) as an organization.
All uncredited content was created by members of the NSJP Steering Committee
(Action + Coordinating Committees) and thus comes from within the organization.
All content has been edited for grammar and basic stylistic consistency.
1)   Palestine in Exile, Albert Kishek (South)
An olive tree hangs its branch down low for harvest in the imaginary of a Palestinian exile. A potent oil saps from its flesh. The oil’s viscosity is as dense as the roots of her or his origin. The roots of an exile are those of an olive tree. Yet in exile, there is a yearning to reach and extract from the tree something beyond its nutritional value to rejuvenate the state of emptiness that exile brings. Emptiness is the state in which the ground, air, smell, and taste of an olive tree are entrenched in the past, distant in the present, and therefore altogether far from reach.

Exile is the medium of tension between the political and the cultural. The political looks into the data of past memory at the array of injustices committed on her or his people; the cultural looks to embrace tradition in the present, whether conscious or not about its championed history. The political recalls an olive tree as a symbol of theft and injustice; the cultural embraces its dynamism from the ground which it emerges. The political measures success on scale with the achievement of reparations for the great deal of inflicted pain that is at the forefront of memory; the satisfaction of the cultural depends on whether or not tradition is honored in the present. To the cultural, infliction is an over-told expression in the story of exile: a story of a Palestinian being casted away into non-native conditions.

These are the non-native conditions that the political in exile will, if her or his thought is to take a transformative course, build an indifference to. The nostalgia for the era in which Palestine was not defined by its borders, but rather its nation defined by its indigenous, compels the political—after having failed time and time again in exile on a quest to achieve a nation-state status of non-native standards—to go about liberation by means of native standards. So crucially, the political then aims to become the cultural for she or he rejects the Zionist idea of intrusion and dislocation that removes her or his identity from the region of historic Palestine. A way in which a Palestinian exile’s detached character can dignify is if she or he realizes that Palestine transcends beyond the threat of a colonial ideology, beyond occupation and drawn borders into all parts of the world, into the souls and bodies of those in the Diaspora. Palestine is in exile.

After realizing that Palestine already exists in all corners of the world, the political then bases her or his national consciousness in the vehicle of culture. An olive tree is no longer seen as a material asset for reparations. It becomes appreciated for the land that gives it its home, the air that gives it life, the smell of its attraction, and the taste of rejuvenation. The olive tree’s purpose, once cultural empowerment is a priority, is for sustenance rather than material extraction. This appreciation is dynamic and can go a long way.

Only when Palestinians in the Diaspora collectively remove any mental barriers of isolation from the culture that is historic to their land, they will have begun to pack their bags lightly for travel to head back to the place that has once given them life, equipped to liberate it by all means necessary. They will have revived an affinity to the land that is far too strong to contain in exile as culture is upheld unconditionally. And once they return with culture articulated at the forefront of their hearts and minds, they will have avoided obtaining a colonial imaginary. The time has come in which exiles will take role in the shaping of Palestinian cultural and national memory. They each hold a branch of an olive tree.
2)   National Identity in Diaspora, Osama Mor (South)
Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi begins his study, Palestinian Identity, with: “The quintessential Palestinian experience, which illustrates some of the most basic issues raised by Palestinian identity, takes place at a border, an airport, a checkpoint: in short, at any of those many modern barriers where identities are checked and verified.” Why? Because it is at these locations that Palestinians are always singled out for “special treatment”, additional procedures for verification because they are stateless.

For the diaspora Palestinian, the essence of their identity is realized as they respond to the pressure of their state of residence. In the setting of their daily life, they find themselves in positions that suddenly calls for them to choose to make an immense political declaration: saying where they are from. For many, once they’ve understood the political implications that come with asserting that they’re from Palestine, they hesitate to answer “Where are you from?” Immediately, they recognize their two choices: one, to answer with whatever town or city they were born in in diaspora, or second to answer with “Palestine,” which also means to brace themselves for the possibility of disapproval, rejection, Islamophobia, and a dismissal of their country’s existence.

But why answer with Palestine? Because they recognize the political implications of their answer and embrace them. It is not only an assertion of Palestine’s existence in the face of settler-colonialism, it is a declaration that they are not excluded from the struggle against the force and dogma of Zionism which aims to bring about the erasure of their collective national identity, whether they are a Palestinian in diaspora, exile, or living under the occupation.

Edward Saïd writes in The Question of Palestine: “Palestinian children today are born in such places as New York or Amman; they still identify themselves as being ‘from’ Shafa’Amr or Jerusalem or Tiberias. These claims are almost meaningless except as they add to a genealogy of paradoxically Palestinian presence that sets itself against the logic of history and geography.” The “logic of history and geography” he writes about is referring to ­­the reality that Palestinians were expelled en masse from their homeland and dispossessed in 1948 (the Nakba); the one major product of 1948 is that the majority of Palestinians for the past 68 years have been denied the experience of ever having a presence in their homeland. The paradox: how could they claim to be from a place they’ve never been to before? It is through this context that one reaches the understanding that our youth make these claims, of being from and belonging to so-and-so place in Palestine, with the intention of affirming their Palestinian identity.

Our embrace of identity, of where we belong to despite our being deprived of having presence there, has manifested into a longing for the olive tree’s shade, the fruits and vegetables from our grandparents’ garden, khubz taboon, knafeh from Nablus, ka’ek bel simsim from Al Quds, for praying in the Holy Sepulcher and in Al Aqsa.
3)   The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me, after Sherman Alexie, 
Dylan Fahoome (Midwest)
January 2005, Royal Oak: My parents take my sister and me to the independent movie theatre to see Paradise Now, a somber film about two men who train to take their own lives and the lives of their oppressors because life under occupation makes a person want to do that. I am 11. I feel like it’s my duty to see this film. We’re rarely on the movie screen, the Palestinians. In the theatre my mom sees an older couple from our church. They’re from Ramallah too, and that’s how she knows who they are.

On the drive home my sister and I get into a fight about what the title of the movie means. I say, “I think it means that the two men want paradise,” and she says something like, “you have no idea what you’re talking about, it’s a metaphor to illustrate how the occupation has affected Paradise” or something like “no, it’s about the fact that they’re made to live in shambles while their oppressors live in paradise” or something like “I just know more about our people than you do.”

Our parents don’t offer much.

2004: My father tells my sister and me that our Tata, my mother’s mother, sticks her nose in business that’s not hers, and that our third cousins (25% Syrian, 75% White) on his side are more fun to spend time with than our first cousins on my mom’s side. We agree.

A week later I tell this to my Tata this over lunch, and it hurts her. I am unapologetic.

2016: My friend Noura tells me that it is custom for Palestinian grandmothers to interfere in family affairs, that this is actually the cultural-historical role. It later occurs to me that my cousins on my mom’s side have a FOB mother and a deaf father who is also the son of an immigrant. It occurs to me that my some of my father’s side has been here for over 100 years and have always loved being American.

“Good Americannns,” as my Jido says.

Come to think of it, Uncle Tim married a Good Americannn. And so did Aunt Sarah, and so did their mother, Vera. Uncle Jeff married a Good Americannn, and so did Uncle Paul, and his son, Luke did too. And then Luke acts all surprised when he gets a call from Ammo so-and-so who says, “I got your Christmas card, Luke. But these don’t look like Arab babies!” Luke says he’s cool with them not facing discrimination the way he faced it – but is he cool with them being 25% Palestinian?

I hope his kids find Good Americannns one day!

January 2015, Chicago: My friend Naimah asks me to act in her play. Everyone in the cast is Palestinian. This is the conceit of the project.

It’s the first time I feel Palestinian.

In one skit that comes out naturally, Naimah climbs on my back and shouts all the headlines in my ears as I perform quotidian tasks. I can’t hear myself think. All I can hear are, as Naomi Shihab Nye puts it, the headlines that clot in my blood.

Finally, I blow up.

Naimah hops off my back. I experience, for a moment, the lightness of living without her, without this awareness, without the baggage that comes with being a Palestinian not living in denial. Suddenly, a change in my thought. Hold on, I say to my scene partner. I run after Naimah. She hops back on.

It’s the first time I feel Palestinian.

February 2016: It’s been almost two years since my amazing aunt Jill who had it all committed suicide. She was a Harvard grad, a scholar of law, domestic violence and women’s rights. She was a mother of two, and a commentator on Vermont Public Radio. People wanted her to run for senator. She easily could have won a seat. Then one day she badmouthed the dean of her school. The dean heard about it and took away her promotion, and she grew depressed, and ‘downward spiral’, and then she bought a gun and stuck it in her mouth, and, well, yeah.

You know, after Jill died, a lot of people in my family expressed sentiments like, “I don’t know how she could have done it!” or, “how does anyone commit suicide?” How does anyone blow his or her brains out?

But you know, I’m often in situations to which blowing my brains out seems a tempting alternative. For instance, when I’m sitting on the bus a few weeks after some disempowered individual who looks somewhat like me opened fire on innocent people, I’m sitting and wearing my kuffiyeh, and an old white man eyes me suspiciously, and I want to blow my brains out. Or a friend of mine tells me that I “buy into the whole Palestinian look. You know, with your scarf and all,” he adds, and I want to blow my brains out. Or I’m sitting in a room full of white people watching the Super Bowl, and I want to blow my brains out. Or an Audi car commercial appropriates “Starman” by David Bowie, and I want to blow my brains out. My aunt Jill dies and I try to bond with her eleven-year-old daughter over my favorite childhood film, the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap. Ten minutes in she makes snide remarks about how corny the film is, and I want to blow my brains out.

I’m Palestinian, and I want to blow my brains out.
4)   Amplifying Palestine: On Birthright & Beyond, Mohammad Hamad (East)
A plethora of Jewish writers have documented their reflections and diaries about the “birthright” trip to Israel, with perspectives ranging from “the ultimate spiritual experience” to “a carefully programmed propaganda exercise.” For too long, the Palestinian narrative has been neglected from this discourse and many others, that may directly or indirectly affect our lives and identities. The purpose of this excerpt is twofold: to introduce a Palestinian reaction to the “birthright” trip and more broadly, to emphasize the crucial role that Palestinians, particularly those in the diaspora, play in keeping alive the Palestinian narrative and lens in everyday discourses, on Palestine and beyond. Although our knowledge on and analysis of topics such as the “birthright” trip is restricted to others’ first-hand accounts and contributions, I argue that immersing ourselves and our identities into our local communities and their discourses is an obligation we should take seriously as we move to liberate Palestine.

One of the greatest strengths of the Palestinian cause that happens to be the greatest pitfall of the Israeli narrative is perspective. This is not to suggest that Palestinian society is not as complex a culture as others around the world; however, there exists within our community an overwhelming consensus, through lived experience and the restless effect that the ongoing nakba has on our psychological well being, that the Israeli occupation of our lands and livelihoods is the main hurdle towards our freedom and that the BDS movement is a necessary and legitimate counter-response. The Israeli narrative suffers from such consistency and consensus among world Jewry, including within Israel; “birthright” is an appropriate case study in that competing Jewish narratives beg both Jewish and non-Jewish readers to evaluate the discourse at an ethical and moral level, meanwhile, debunking any attempts to conflate Zionism with Judaism.

The missing link, of course, is the Palestinian point of view. From a distance, the exchange of thought within the Jewish community, on “birthright” and issues beyond, can easily be perceived as what Peter Beinart called a “Jewish civil war.” Aside from the racist, militaristic, and fear-mongering propaganda that frames the “birthright” campaign and experience, as a Palestinian, I feel most threatened by the symbols that “birthright” photos (or even those from non-Jewish tourists) exude to a displaced and dispossessed people. A picture is not only worth a thousand words, but a thousand miles. Capturing moments in a land that, for generations, Palestinians have been systemically deprived of is a blatant exercise of arrogance, privilege, and injustice. Our fundamental right to movement remains to be stripped of us and the right of return is not even up for negotiation within the political sphere; of course, I use that word loosely. Therefore, the “birthright” experience, in my eyes, has symbolic ramifications and perpetuates a cycle of Jewish supremacy and institutional racism that may not be realized or internalized by a Jewish participant.

In this short expert, my intent was more so to encourage Palestinians to proactively express their thoughts and reflections through various mediums than it was to discourage Jews from attending the “birthright” trip. It is imperative that we utilize and exercise our right to free expression and press: from responding to local exhibition reviews that serve to intertwine U.S. and Israeli societies as forward and progressive to nationwide conversations that reach mainstream audiences. And speaking of “birthright,” I encourage every Palestinian youth to consider exploring the Know Thy Heritage program, an excellent opportunity for Palestinians in the diaspora to connect with their roots in Palestine.
5)   Intersectionality: Not a Mere Strategy, but a Future,
Hashem Abu Sham'a (Midwest)
For four years, I have been involved in Students for Justice in Palestine at Earlham College in Indiana. When I first arrived here as a freshman student from Palestine, I had no expectations, though it would become quickly obvious to me that the Palestinian narrative and story is not only neglected in the United States, but is also systematically attacked and rejected. Even when the Palestinian narrative is offered a platform, it is often a-politicized and contained within the interests of local and international organizations in the United States. Palestinian students in the US are often asked to tailor their stories, to reduce them to their “fully humanitarian nature,” and to “reach through the personal,” as if our lived stories and experiences can be separated from the highly-charged political realities that produced them as well as the political aspirations that inform them. I was often asked to “just speak on the daily life” in my refugee camp of Arroub, the place where I grew up, located in the outskirts of the city of Hebron, and as soon as I brought up international complicity or the nature of Israel as a settler-colonial state, my perspective was questioned and delegitimized.

Students for Justice in Palestine stood out to me as a platform that rejects such a framework of representation. Instead, SJP offers a framework that aims at being highly aware and critical of the US politics around Palestine, and one that recognizes the US complicity in the occupation of Palestine. It is also a framework of advocacy and education that aims at minimizing the often normalized and subtle censorship of the Palestinian narrative.

But most importantly, it was obvious to me that SJP Earlham recognizes that the lived experiences of Palestinians both in Palestine and in the diaspora are capable of contributing to a global politics of liberation, a politics of intersectionality capable of responding to the insidiousness of our current global moment. It is no coincidence that the first ever SJP poster I saw at Earlham read, “Connecting the Struggles” and was carried by activists from the Black Student Union; the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement; and Students for a Free Tibet. The notion of intersectionality, of connecting the struggles, was new to me at the time, for only the stories from the refugee camps in Palestine were familiar to my eyes and ears.

That moment stayed with me throughout my career at Earlham. I realized that the stories from the streets of Ferguson and the South Bronx were not too far isolated from the stories from Palestinian refugee camps; that tear gas canisters that are made in the corporate factories of Pennsylvania are often shot, simultaneously, against Black Lives Matter activists in Baltimore and Palestinian kids in my refugee camp of Arroub; that the US-Mexico border is not only materially similar to the Israeli apartheid wall in Palestine, but is also run by similar systems, supported by similar corporates, and legitimized by similar ideologies. This is not to dilute the crucial differences that exist between the different struggles for peace and justice, but to recognize that the struggle for justice in Palestine is interconnected with other struggles.

The commitment to such a framework is one that I wish to carry with me as I move on to the next stages of my life. Upon completing my graduate studies, I hope to return to Palestine to contribute to conversations and actions already started by activists on the ground, ones that aim at educating our very own community about global injustices, some of which are present in our Palestinian society. It is one of my hopes to create a community center in my refugee camp, Arroub, that utilizes educational methods that build upon and borrow from the intersectional frameworks of SJP, for intersectionality is not a mere strategy of organizing, but a responsibility; a future; a way of breathing, fighting, and living.
Farmer, Shu'fat, 1906, Anonymous

“My grandfather's passport is a bedrock, a relic of British Mandate Palestine. Imposed on top of it are the disjointed pieces of my father's travel documents, where the words that define nationalities and birthplaces seem to be in constant flux: here he is Jordanian, here he is a former Israeli, here he is naturalized. I aimed to reflect on the mutability of names, and how they are ritualized and legalized and weaponized –– the semantics that separate travel and diaspora, the mantra-like power of bureaucratic repetition, the effacement and reassertion of identity.”
photographs not taken*, George Abraham (East)
*previously published in Emerge Literary Journal, 2016

the scalpel that removed a country
from my teta’s chest, rusting in the hands
of a surgeon who was, perhaps, a zionist;
my mother’s face crossing the finish line
of a marathon for breast cancer research, her
cousin’s name scrawled across the damp running bib;
Palestinian olympic swimmer takes gold,
rewriting the ocean of her history; the ghosts
of refugee children making a choir of his weeping;


family portrait in post-racial society with
filter equating my olive skin to
my brother’s smoldering earth;
my cousin shou​ting ​allahou akbar out of irony
after passing through TSA without
being quarantined for the first time;
my father, before the toupee settled on his
head, mid-laugh & the country escaping
from the gap in his front teeth;


my head, freshly shaven, for a melanoma
biopsy catching the florida sunset:
swim practice;
the benign sunspot they removed
from my scalp - brown flesh patch
floating in saline;
screenshot of Google Maps before the West Bank
& Gaza were 2 patches of nameless
flesh outlined in black dots;


my Teta, age 2, after being
baptized in the Dead Sea, holds a
seashell to her ear: a history lesson;
my great aunt’s obituary reading “place of birth:
Jerusalem” & the israeli flag waving
over her open casket;
family portrait in Ramallah,
full-toothed smiles at sunset:
past or present;
an olive tree & magnolia tree, planted
side-by-side, overlooking a cemetery,
mixing displaced soils;
the Haifa skyline every time
so where’s home for you?
falls out of a stranger’s mouth;​


a lifeguard pulls my 4-year not-corpse from
the pool floor at my first swim lesson:
second baptism;
white man turns his back to drowning
daughter at my community pool: a brief
history of Israel/Palestine;
a cell frozen, mid-mitosis, houses conflicting
entities in a single membrane:
two state ​ s̶o̶l̶u̶t̶i̶o̶n̶  paradox;
my zionist biology teacher lectures
on respiration
                                    & i drown -

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American poet attending Swarthmore College. He is a Pushcart nominee and a 2-time recipient of the Favianna Rodriguez Artistic Activism Award. His chapbook, ​al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas –– a winner of the Atlas Review’s 2016 chapbook contest –– is forthcoming in 2017. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Diode, Apogee, the Margins, Thrush, Assaracus, Sukoon, and th​e Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Anthology. He hopes to continue bringing awareness to Palestinian human rights/socio-economic struggles through art.

Dabke is Life Part III Teaser
Ahmed Hamad & Hamze Allaham (Midwest)

“Dabke and shababeh is our way of practicing being Palestinian. It's a lifestyle.
Being Palestinian comes with so many beautiful things but also a great deal of
struggling, which feels like a heavy weight on our shoulders sometimes.
The moment we take off to dabke, everything goes under our feet. We get free.”
Never Forget, Noor Wadi (South)

Worship me. 
I am 
the empty space between leveled ground 
and drone studded heaven that you call 
Call my name in annual ritual,
praise me in your street abuse of hijabi women,
invoke me,
my name hardens in throats 
to silence protest, 
to stifle justice, 
to stigmatize conversation.
I am
the shame 
you force yearly between the lips of Muslim Americans.
Never Forget

Inflict me on countries with names you won't even bother learning to pronounce.
I am 
the nerve impulses 
through twisted hands of Abu Ghraib guards,
I am
the vile hatred
snaking down the legs of Muslim boys 
shackled behind the bars of freedom.
Never Forget me.

Scream my name into star spangled missiles, 
as you blow grenades into homes of future refugee like hollow kisses.
I am
what every other nation deserves.
Carve stone monuments to those massacred in my honor,
let these tributes hang around the necks of every future generation.
around the necks of everyone who dares to speak out.

I am 
the glaring holes
where once was scaffold
once was the hope of scraping of the Lord's throne,
once was the worlds most meltable metal.
Never Forget me.
Claim more native earth to rip more metal and mineral out of her,
to rebuild me.
this time taller
build me
on the scorched backs of every immigrant child.
memorialize me in your school books,
use my existence to crush community, to crush progress.
Don't look so surprised —
I am 
the mind numbing fear 
this country was founded on,
the one true impetus of political change.
Don't you forget me.
Never Forget.

Watch Noor perform here.
Angélica Isaí Becerra (West)

“I come from a family of makers in Jalisco, Mexico, where I grew up for the first decade of my life. I began to paint when my aunt, a painter, and architecture student herself, had to babysit me –– her answer? Oil paint. I've been hooked ever since. Later in my life as a Ph.D. student at UCLA, my art pieces rose out of my campus organizing with SJP-UCLA. This first portrait was done in haste when I lent my creative skills to help them promote an event; the event flyer later became this Angela Davis piece. Soon after that, I realized that those of us who identified as queer and of color lacked images of our own queer and or activist of color elders. I identify as a pansexual, 1st-generation immigrant and Latinx artivist, and with that comes a responsibility to make work that honors all of these parts. I believe that art is the lifeblood of social movements; I consider political art a necessary part of any struggle for social change –– just like the work of Emory Douglas for the Black Panther Party and Guadalupe Posada in Mexico’s revolutionary fight helped a larger public visualize what justice looks like.”
Angélica Isaí Becerra (West)
Ghassan Kanafani,
Jumana al-Qawasmi (Midwest)

Watan is a Palestine-inspired arts shop based in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, IL. Officially founded in January 2015, Watan aims to create an additional space for Palestinians to learn about and explore their cultural and intellectual heritage.

Watan began first as a personal project, a responsibility to keep learning about our Palestinian history and heritage outside of solidarity organizing spaces and outside the same icons passed down through the generations. It has since grown into an online shop and a brick-and-mortar studio, and we are currently developing plans for it to better serve our communities both locally and abroad. We hope to expand our potential in supporting Palestine solidarity work through design work, workshops, and collaborations.

Jumana also graciously designed the header & banner art for this newsletter!

Website | Facebook
Instagram | Twitter
Leila Abdelrazaq (Midwest)

A former SJP DePaul/NSJP Ad-Hoc Steering member, I currently have work on display at the Arab American National Museum in a solo exhibition entitled “Drawing in the Diaspora.” The exhibit features original drawings from my comics and zines (including my début graphic novel Baddawi) as well as an 10’ x 8’ mural. The mural marks areas of the world with large concentrations of Palestinians with tatreez patterns, highlighting the global and diasporic nature of the world’s Palestinian communities. The exhibit runs until April 19 and is located in the AANM's lower-level gallery.
A Woman's Voice Is a Revolution,
Jumana al-Qawasmi (Midwest)
Election as Physical, Nader Helmy (East)

Today I prayed to God that I would see my relatives again
or instead, if imperial ships would have their way with the ocean, as they always do.
partition the motherland into theirs & ours. banish the children of diaspora to foreign soil
send them back to a home that forgets them, & then
send them back to the gates of the promised land, watch it spit in their face.
my people must be a pendulum of unwanted life
always in motion
bodies in the water overturning in warning
quickly flipping
breast, back
breast, back
breast, back

brown limbs propel ships to colonies
colonial shipments of cotton & saltwater bones
water churns murky where they buried Bin Laden in aqua grave
brown folks stay quiet while everyone else cheers at the coastline.
how quickly they see us for oil, how profit takes the raw goods &
m̶a̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶t̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶i̶s̶t̶ ̶
m̶a̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶u̶s̶ ̶l̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶i̶s̶t̶s̶
makes us terror
My American Dream is to be seen with my face above the surface
remix a narrative of drowning
into sunlight & oxygen.
brown faces start to look like paint  smear underneath 2000 tons of water pressure.
“I’m sorry I can’t tell the difference. You people all look the same to the ocean.”
I pray with a puddle of loose blood in my palms
sell my science for a seance to resurrect my ancestors
maybe they found the right words to make a traitorous survival
to nod & grit teeth as gratitude siphoned from their jawlines
no more prayers for Dead Religion, they say
instead not to God or his servants but to the fucking Ship itself
praise! the way its flags ripple! signal! arrival to some supple cinnamon land
where animals cower & women are fertile deliverance with choked tongue
Today they build a religion out of the fuel.
burn the bread that lines their stomachs & curse the wind that carries them
Have you ever seen a medium worship the message that passes through it
how they find a new name for God for every lost traveler stumbles drunk into mother’s home
rather be the light in your language
the maps you trust & the sea holding you gently between two fingers
tendrils of deep space drag me by the clavicle
gravity center to the ocean floor makes soup of my waist. split open.
always a binational allegiance
a migraine caused by this dimension. or that.
the acidic relapse of a boy never learned his roots
a boy never let go of his roots
same boy forgets to look at the heavens
misses the drone breathing his air
crept silent & slow as a prayer
when I say we got the whole world on our side
I mean the earth is counting on us
I mean the protector will be a feminine shade too dark
who has been here since the earth
I used to recite prayers only in my head
& now I want to sing them em in a chorus
confuse the unison for anonymity
solace in the empty between us
all worship to some home never claimed
some brown boy with & without his roots
hand with God & hand with Ship
deliver us to fertile soil

Irène Lucia Delaney (East)

The 175 SJP chapters and affiliate groups currently active in the US are marked with
red and yellow poppies to evoke the organic and ground-up conception of most SJP
chapters and to call to mind the iconography of the Palestinian resistance, which many
of us strive to honor in our solidarity work. (Map updated Jan. 2017)
Belief, Olivia Vita (East)

We are both desert and sea,
Dog chasing its tail,
Cyclist cycling: don’t stop.
Heart aching: please beat.
Breathe in: breathe out again.

Eyes glued to sky, sifting through trapped air
        For something to say;
She gave me wings and took my tongue:
        The key is her name,
Shining bright through heavy chests
Like batman’s sign in the rushed still of night.
I wait for her here: a child at dawn,
        Stomach grumbling,
Listening for crow caws, and though they fly above me:
        I have not seen.

Head light, heart heavy with disbelief:
>I start to feel numb inside
When I forget to speak my mind<

Though reminders mark my doorpost,
Bound to my hands, a symbol on my forehead
Misplaced between the eyes:
Wisdom is the lost item of أمن/אמן/aman who seeks.
Like roots of the tree, she is steadied,
And in the shade of the canopy, he finds shelter.

What is belief but eyes made unclean?
Does god not make a special place
        For those who wander in search of home?
In the wilderness were we sanctified
        Not within the confines of these walls.
1)   Practical Steps to Prepare SJP Chapters to Fight for the Long Haul,
Samir Rohlin Hazboun (South)
These days it feels as if we are entering a new political landscape that is daunting and scary for many of us, but also inarguably full of political opportunities for us to make serious gains in the fight for liberation. I want to offer a few ideas on how I think SJP chapters can become stronger communities and play a role in the resistance that will be necessary if we are to start going on the offensive for a liberated future.

First, let's cut that patriarchal bullshit out! Hot damn if I haven’t almost pulled my hair out listening to thinly veiled “ideological” debates in many SJP environments. Those discussions are usually not actually about anything but cis-men trying to argue their way into positions of centralized and authoritarian power while at the same time shutting down the folks trying to do the revolutionary work of creating communities that model what shared power can look like. What often really matters is, are you down to do the work to build relationships that are strong enough to weather the storm and begin collectively moving towards a better future? Especially the stuff that doesn’t get socially rewarded, like emotional labor? Hint #1: Keep an eye out for the person who tells you that you’re not “militant” enough but won’t ever take notes, cook food for the meeting, or check in on folks who haven’t been to the meetings in a few weeks to see how they are doing. Hint #2: Submit to femme leadership.

Second, I strongly encourage SJP chapters to engage in community-strengthening practices that build a spirit of care and tap into our rich cultural histories. One of my favorite ways to do that is the practice of building an altar together. Ask folks to bring an object of cultural significance to the meeting. Arrange a circle of chairs around a table draped with a cloth and maybe a few starter objects (candle, plant, etc.). Each person then gets about a minute to share about their object and why it’s important to them. Treat the creation of sacred space with intention and actively listen. This is a great way for folks to deepen their connections to one another, and when conflict arises, it’s helpful to have the altar to refer to as a reminder as to why we are all in this fight.

Third, I think that we need to continue finding ways to disrupt capital while also building and investing in our own community-controlled solutions. I want to start having a solid list of not just things we are demanding divestment from but also an even more extensive list of things we are demanding investment in that will bring economic self-determination and true freedom. Is there a non-extractive loan fund that helps Palestinians get their own worker coops up and running? If not, how do we create one? I recommend pushing a divest/reinvest campaign on your campus. If one already exists, make sure AFSC’s screen for Israeli apartheid corporations is included in the list of divestment demands. Also make sure to include reinvestment demands that explicitly shift money to reparations-based solutions like the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.

Fourth, find a way to break out of the college organizing bubble. What are the issues that local workers and community members are facing? How can you follow local leadership and leverage your power as students to help that community win its battles and build deep relationships that can lead to strong coalitions prepared to win and win big? At NSJP we heard about how Temple’s SJP chapter successfully worked with community members in Philadelphia to fight against a new stadium that would have further displaced many residents. Movement work is relational work. If we aren’t building, strengthening, and maintaining deep relationships, we’re not going to go very far at all.
2)   Reflections on UofC Divest, Wendel Rubinstein (Midwest)

For me, working on University of Chicago’s successful divestment campaign was an inspiring model (especially in the times we currently live in) of what activism can and should look like and accomplish. We knew we were going to be up against difficult odds, considering how conservative our university is compared to many of its peer institutions, and given its long track record of refusing to divest from human rights abuses.Therefore, we made sure to begin an intensive planning process months before we launched the campaign. Our core planning team began meeting every week or so mid-Fall Quarter for a campaign that would launch at the start of Spring Quarter. At first I thought that was a bit too far in advance, but retrospectively I'm very glad we gave ourselves that much time. It allowed us to be thoroughly well-prepared before the launch of our campaign, plus –– perhaps just as importantly –– gave us the opportunity to build real community and trust amongst ourselves before we began the stressful and intense public campaign.

We launched our public campaign the morning of the first day of Spring Quarter 2016. We dropped large banners in highly visible places throughout campus and launched our website (which contained our launch press release, FAQs, and the full text of our resolution), Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram accounts. We spread hundreds of small flyers throughout campus listing the week’s events, and that afternoon, we held a launch march and rally attended by over 100 people. The next couple of weeks were a whirlwind. We hosted and co-hosted numerous events, including a Performance Night, an anti-pinkwashing event, and a UChicago alumni perspectives on divestment panel. Jewish members of UofC Divest (such as myself) combatted disingenuous and cynical attempts to equate Palestine solidarity activism with antisemitism –– our campus JVP chapter hosted an open house, held a Jewish Case for Divestment event with Rabbi Brant Rosen, and released a statement critiquing UChicago’s Hillel for ostensibly being a “pluralistic” Jewish community space yet explicitly excluding anti-Zionist Jewish students while embracing non-Jewish Zionists. UofC Divest spent hours presenting and answering questions about our divestment resolution at contentious College Council meetings, and then spent additional time talking with and answering the questions of individual council members one-on-one. To engage with and educate a broad audience through social media, we posted daily about a different company named in our resolution and some of the specific ways it actively perpetuates Israeli apartheid. We also posted photos of each member of UofC Divest’s core planning team and any interested Palestinian students (regardless of their activist involvement), accompanied by individual narratives explaining why divestment is important to them. Finally, we tabled in central campus areas several days a week to inform students about the resolution, gathered the endorsements of 20 student groups, and created a large art installation in the central quad listing each year since the launch of the call to BDS, accompanied by a major event that happened in Palestine and a list of institutions that voted to divest from Israeli apartheid during that year.

Throughout the campaign I was extremely proud of the strength and power of our messaging. We consistently emphasized the importance of achieving justice and fundamental human rights for Palestinians, and highlighted the specific and brutal ways the ten corporations named in our resolution violate these rights. Shockingly, our opposition completely conceded the point –– both through silence and sometimes directly –– that Israel commits massive atrocities against Palestinians, and instead focused on opposing the resolution on technical and procedural grounds; by arguing that international issues shouldn’t be commented on by student government, trying to stall the vote, claiming that public, well-advertised student government meetings open to and reported on by the press weren’t transparent enough, etc. These are all pretty weak and uninspiring arguments, and I think that juxtaposition with the crucial and urgent values expressed by UofC Divest was stark to many College Council members –– proposed addendum meant to weaken the resolution were easily voted down, and our original resolution calling for UChicago’s divestment from corporations complicit in Israeli apartheid was ultimately passed by College Council 8-4-3.

3)   An Imprisoned Resistance, Brandon Do (East)

While Frank Rizzo was mayor in the '70s, the city of Philadelphia was the closest thing to what we would refer to as a police state. During the '70s, police in Philadelphia shot and killed more people than police in New York, whose population was four times larger than Philadelphia’s at the time. The Black community in Philadelphia was under heavy attack, but one group that was determined to fight back and defend themselves from state violence was the MOVE organization. Their determination to defend themselves led to many standoffs with the murderous police department, including one where 9 members of MOVE were sentenced to 30-100 years in prison in spite of the prosecution team not having sufficient evidence of their guilt. In 1985 the MOVE compound was bombed by the Philadelphia Police. 11 people, including 5 children, were killed.

Mumia Abu Jamal, a young, radical journalist with a history in the Black Panther party, was on the frontlines of this battle. He was one of the few telling the story from the side of oppressed people, and brave journalism exposed the corruption of the state. As a result, he was framed in the killing of a Philly police officer in 1981 and sentenced to death. This, and the government's unwillingness to treat him for his life-threatening Hepatitis C disease, was an attempt by the government to silence an activist who was providing a voice to the voiceless. In spite of these attempts, Mumia still records his political commentary on Prison Radio to this day.

In the summer of 2016, Philadelphia’s Temple Students for Justice in Palestine chapter started its “SJP Ona MOVE” campaign. They demanded the release of political prisoners Mumia Abu Jamal and the MOVE 9 and urged other SJP chapters to work more with communities outside of their universities –– which often function as neocolonial profit-over-people business ventures that deploy similar methods of brutality and state violence on poor people to the ones colonial structures like Israel’s apartheid government often do.

In addition, the key aspect of the campaign was recognizing the importance of connecting the work they did on campus with North Philadelphia’s rich history of revolutionary activism in the African American community. They understood that without the community there would be no movement, and that bringing together people of civilizations across the globe –– much like the Black Panthers did when they offered words of solidarity and military support to the PFLP –– plays a crucial role in building a strong movement.

January 10th marked the second year since Phil Africa, one of the 9 Move members framed in the killing of a police officer, died under mysterious circumstances. The ambiguity of the situation surrounding his death and the lack of information released to the public by the prison has led many people to conclude that he was assassinated. Phil Africa was not just any prisoner, but a role model who provided political education and taught self defense to his mentees while incarcerated. His life serves as a reminder that the spirit of revolution can never be contained.

In 2011, Mumia was taken off of death row and is now serving life without parole. In the beginning of January 2017, Pennsylvania’s Federal Judge, Robert D. Mariani, ruled that Mumia and the thousands of other prisoners in Pennsylvania’s prisons with Hepatitis C be treated. These achievements are not a testament of the power of one single man, but the power of people struggling for a common goal. It is not just a fight for Mumia, but a fight for all oppressed people.

Dr. Anthony Monteiro, a former professor at Temple University and a community activist from North Philadelphia, visited Mumia in 2013 after his death penalty was overturned. In their 5-hour-long conversation, Dr. Monteiro recalls asking Mumia how he survived 30 years in solitary confinement. Mumia answered very simply, “Because I knew I was loved.” It is with this revolutionary love that we must continue to fight for the release of Mumia Abu Jamal and the MOVE 9.

4)   The ZOA's Failed Attack on Working Class, Anti-Zionist Students, 
Leena Widdi (East)

The City University of New York (CUNY) system is the largest public university system in the country with over 500,000 students and 26 undergraduate and graduate campuses. Attended predominantly by youth from working class/oppressed nationality communities, CUNY has long been a site of revolutionary struggle. But as long as CUNY students have resisted the forces of capitalism, imperialism, and Zionism on and off campus, they have been met with repression. In recent years we have seen this repression become increasingly coordinated by the university, the state, and outside political lobbyist groups.

In February 2016, in one of the most egregious examples of this coordination, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) submitted a 14-page letter to CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken and the Board of Trustees, accusing Students for Justice in Palestine of anti-Semitism and demanding the suspension of SJP chapters across CUNY. Just weeks after receiving the ZOA letter, Chancellor Milliken hired outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation of the claims. As part of this process, over 60 students and faculty members from multiple CUNY campuses were interviewed from both SJP and Hillel chapters. While the investigation was underway, the New York State Senate moved to cut a half a million dollars from state funding to CUNY citing the university system’s alleged failure in responding to the ZOA’s claims of anti-Semitism. The attacks on SJP groups within CUNY by the ZOA and the State Senate illustrate how the rapid growth of the SJP movement in recent years across the US has resulted in Zionist lobby groups and their paid stooges in elected office escalating their efforts to sabotage and ultimately destroy all Palestine solidarity organizations.

While right-wing groups like the ZOA have systematically attempted to criminalize anti-Zionist/pro-Palestine speech on university campuses under the guise of combatting anti-Semitism, CUNY has for years allowed NYPD informants to infiltrate Muslim student groups on multiple campuses. The CUNY administration has never conducted investigations into these institutional endorsements of Islamophobia, nor has it seriously condemned them or made any attempts to protect its Muslim students.

Six months after the ZOA first sent its letter to Chancellor Milliken, CUNY released its investigation report. The Milliken-hired lawyers found that SJP could not be legitimately linked to any anti-Semitic behavior and that its actions, no matter how “offensive,” were protected free speech. Ultimately, the investigation’s findings vindicated not only the accused CUNY SJP groups, but the SJP movement more broadly. Nevertheless, in the case of the ZOA, we are reminded that as long as there are students organizing in support of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and against Zionism, external forces will seek to repress us. This is exactly why we must continue to strengthen our bonds and expand our movement as we fight to defend our universities and our communities from the forces of Zionist reactionism.

5)   Israel's Population Control Is a Feminist Issue, Suman Barat (South)

“Children are the strength of the family and a force to face the world who in its majority is against us. Palestinian children are the strength in front of the world.” –a Palestinian mother (via Liv Hanson’s thesis on the Political Fertility in Palestine)

This quote is compelling to me because it shows that children are seen as a strength to the Palestinian state, and the importance of family in Palestinian culture. It is a testament to how suppressing the fertility of women is one of the most inhumane things there is.

The establishment of Israel as a Jewish State was dependent on a Jewish majority, and therefore relied on population control to ensure this majority. One aspect of population control was the creation of a political and electoral system that was designed to suppress the Palestinian population, and another is Israel’s act of exercising its state power on fertility control to hinder Palestinian population growth and promote the growth of the Jewish population.

This led to the formation of Israel’s unofficial fertility policy, which is proven to be pro-natalist, or “pro-birth.” According to data taken from the UN Population Division comparing average fertility rate of a country with its HDI (human development index), Israeli women each have approximately three children, which is a significantly higher number than what is expected in terms of their HDI.

This is not to say that the fertility rate of Israeli women exceeds that of Palestinian women, because that is not the case. Rather, Israel’s high fertility rate is unusual considering the resources available for Israeli women, while Palestine’s high fertility rate is not as unexpected. Currently there is a Jewish majority in the area, but the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics predicts that Arabs will exceed Jews by 2020. Because Israel perceives this anticipated population boom as a threat to its very existence as a state, it is combatting it by trying to encourage the growth of its own population.

Almost all women in Israel are served by a public healthcare system, which is already something that Palestinian women don’t have the privilege of. It seems ridiculous that Israel’s state-funded healthcare covers birth and pregnancy related expenses, as well as infertility treatments like IVF for women who are unable to get pregnant, yet still doesn’t cover any form of contraception.

The problem with Israel’s pro-natalist policy is that it is used to further the growth of only one demographic, and has become a tool which propagates racism, and in this case the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland. Israel providing fertility treatments to further their own population but refusing to give Palestinians the same treatments is a form of eugenics.

It is apparent to me that Palestinian women are some of the most exploited within the Zionist establishment of Israel. Women simply having children and preserving their heritage and culture is resisting the suppression of their population, and is therefore part of Palestinian women’s resistance to the Israeli occupation.

6)   Seize the Grounds of Debate, Henry Rosen & Andrew Joung (East)
In February 2016, Vassar College hosted a lecture by Dr. Jasbir Puar, the author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Based on her research for her upcoming book Inhumanist Occupation: Sex, Affect, and Palestine/Israel, Professor Puar spoke on the Israeli military’s employment of “maiming” and “stunting” as alternatives to killing for maintenance of the occupation.

Professor Puar pointed to the 2014 invasion of Gaza as an example of a mass maiming, both physically––nearly 11,000 wounded––and also psychologically. However, maiming is also a quotidien feature of occupation: whether it be from bullets or the spectre of constant death, many in Palestine are permanently maimed. Combined with state violence, systematic deprivation of necessary health resources maintains a maimed population.

Stunting refers to the restriction of the physical and mental development of Palestinian children due to Israeli policies. After the Israeli health ministry calculated the minimum caloric intake required for Palestinians, the military reduced the amount of food entering Gaza below that minimum. The denial of food, basic healthcare, and a decent education stunts the growth of Palestinian children, limiting their ability to survive and resist the occupation.

Professor Puar argued that these practices amount to a genocide in slow motion. Such a genocide remains invisible; many international news sources and human rights agencies widely publicize statistics of immediate death, but other forms of trauma are often ignored. However, if a Palestinian dies in a year because they could not find subsistence due to disabilities caused by the IDF, is the IDF less culpable than if they had killed that person immediately? Whether the death is today, or next year, Professor Puar reminds us to ask who is killing the Palestinians and not allow conventional metrics of state violence to obfuscate that central question’s answer.

Following her lecture, Professor Puar became the victim of a vicious witch-hunt initiated by a collective of Vassar alumni called “Friends of Israel.” The greatest controversy emerged from Professor Puar’s comments surrounding incidents in which Israeli hospitals harvested the organs of dead Palestinians without informing the families of the deceased (government officials admitted such incidents happened in the 1990s). Professor Puar reminded us of the context in which such allegations were made: not only did these allegations turn out true, but prior Israel had lied continuously about this practice. Current accusations do not come from anti-Semitism, but from experience with Israeli policy.

Despite the analytic rigorousness of her lecture and her substantial research, Zionist observers accused Professor Puar of reciting a medieval blood libel against Jews. The Wall Street Journal chimed in with an Op-Ed piece titled “Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar,” accusing Vassar of breeding and harboring anti-Semitic intellectuals. It seems at every juncture, regardless of the tactics we choose, those who speak truth to power about Palestine are deemed the rabble-rousers.

While Zionists continue to deny reality, reality moves ahead without them. A wide-range of departments sponsored Professor Puar’s lecture, including the American Studies and Jewish Studies programs, reflecting the increasingly cross-disciplinary engagement with the Palestinians’ struggle within academia. Several days after the media storm, a petition was circulated online supporting Dr. Puar’s right to engage freely on the issue of Palestine/Israel. Similarly, another recent petition received 1,000 signatures from academics on admission boards stating that they would never consider Canary Mission for undergraduate or graduate school admissions. While organizers can never expect to be free from intimidation and harassment, it is important to know that you are never alone, that others will come to protect and support you.

Certainly, Professor Puar has not stopped publically advocating for Palestine. Recently, she spoke on a panel at the Artists Space in NYC as part of a 3-month project called “Decolonize This Place.” We should all follow her example and continue advocating for Palestine on our own radical terms. We will always face opposition, no matter how gentle our tone or well-researched our arguments. The demand for a liberated Palestine will always be threatening to Zionists. It is our duty to constantly push the ground on which the debate is had, clarifying and bolstering our analysis, until our opponents do not have an inch of ground left to stand.
7)   Repression of Student Activism on the West Coast, Robert Gardner (West)

This year, student activists for Palestinian rights on college campuses will face a slew of attacks from Israel advocacy groups. For instance, the David Horowitz Freedom Center –– a leading anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-black hate organization –– is planning to ramp up its poster campaign across the nation to implicate Students for Justice in Palestine activists as anti-Semitic terrorists and murderers. Canary Mission, a blacklist website dedicated to smearing SJP as anti-Semitic to prevent us from becoming employed, will continue its efforts. And groups like the Anti-Defamation League are drafting new legislation in Congress that conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel to subdue activism for Palestinian rights.

All of this is no coincidence. Popular opinion against Israel’s policies –– particularly amongst American youth –– are becoming increasingly unpopular, thanks in large part to the phenomenal work that SJP does to educate students about the Palestinian plight. Thus, Israel advocacy groups that support Israel’s oppressive policies are adopting a variety of repressive tactics to squelch student activism for Palestinian rights.

For SJP activists like myself, these repressive tactics have been nothing less than frightening. In October 2016, the Freedom Center plastered bigoted posters on and around the UCLA campus that listed me individually. The posters dubbed me as a “Jew hater” and murderer with ambitions for terrorism in the Middle East. The possibility that such odious accusations could be believed caused me to fear for my safety. I missed sleep when the posters hit campus and fell behind in my classes. I even contemplated asking the administration for armed security since SJP at UCLA’s meetings are publicly accessible. But because of the abundant support I received from so many campus communities, I pushed on with my determination to educate my peers about Palestinian suffering. I then made it publicly known that SJP will always be unfazed by hateful campaigns of intimidation in the UCLA campus newspaper.

However, my defiance in favor of Palestinian rights encouraged David Horowitz to threaten me with a defamation lawsuit. He insisted that his organization, despite the Southern Poverty Law Center’s well-documented evidence, was not one of hate and racism. Thankfully, Pal Legal –– an organization set up to protect the civil and constitutional rights of Palestinian rights activists in the US –– reaffirmed my right to speak out for Palestinian rights and call out bigotry without retribution from Israel advocacy groups.

Horowitz’s actions are not the only repressive tactics in the coffers of Israel advocacy groups that have frightened me. Ever since my name, photos, and social media accounts have been listed on the Canary Mission website, I have been harassed and bullied. Someone even threatened to contact my employer listed on Facebook to get me fired. Moreover, it is Canary Mission that provides the Freedom Center with the information it needs to launch its bigoted campaigns of intimidation.

Now, Israel advocacy groups are attempting to eradicate SJP activism with legislation known as the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. If passed, the bill will encourage the Department of Education to adopt a vague definition of anti-Semitism; any speech on campus that “demonize,” “delegitimize,” and apply “double standards” to Israel could be punishable under the law. But instead of addressing real instances of anti-Jewish bigotry, the bill will serve as a political weapon by Israel apologists to chill campus free speech.

Attempts to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism are not new. For example, the AMCHA Initiative, a right-wing Zionist organization, labeled my criticism of Israel’s Jewish-only settlements as a “delegitimizing” form of anti-Semitism. Of course, AMCHA’s assertion is laughable. Even the United Nations Security Council now recognize the illegality of Israel’s settlement activity on Palestinian land in its landmark Resolution 2334. Yet, if the anti-Semitism Awareness Act is passed, SJP activist can either be lawfully punished or reprimanded by campus administrators for simply regurgitating what is recognized by virtually the entire international community.

Despite the repression that lays ahead for SJP activists, we must continue our advocacy for Palestinian rights. There is a reason why Israel advocacy groups, and even the Israeli government itself, are concerned about our activities. We have been successful on campuses across the country in education and divestment efforts that have brought the humanity of Palestinians to the forefront. It is imperative that we continue and even expand our efforts for Palestinian liberation.

8)   We're Gonna Bring Imperialism Down!!!, 
organizers from Anakbayan NY (East)
“I wish I could go to Palestine and fight!!!” said the old man in a steady voice. It was about two weeks into a solidarity exposure trip to the Philippines that members from NYC Students for Justice in Palestine had taken, and they found themselves sitting in a tiny, flimsy (but neat and clean!!!) hut in the middle of a slum area in Caloocan City. The speaker was a veteran of 30 years of organizing and fighting in the national democratic revolution in the Philippines. He had already told the “exposurists” his story––of having been a restaurant worker and organizing his fellow workers into progressive unions that actively fought for workers’ rights and against foreign corporations’ increasing exploitation, about having been forced underground at some point because the fascist ruling class in the Philippines brutally repressed people’s legal democratic rights, about how decades ago he had been a guerrilla in a growing rebel army fighting against despotic landlords and foreign corporations and now he lived a quiet, retired life in the city slums. It was after that introduction that the solidarity exposurists began to share their stories about Palestine and Palestine-solidarity activism. The old rebel drew sharp breaths at the mention of the various forms of brutality and oppression that the Palestinian people face daily at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Perhaps visualizing and drawing parallels to the crushing exploitation of the Filipino people under imperialist domination and local ruling class sellouts, he was moved to make such a statement of solidarity, his tired frame suddenly firm and defiant as though he were in the mountains again fighting against the oppressors. Though inactive and retired now, this man had come from a movement that was founded on the hope that a better, more just world is possible, if only we are willing to fight for it––just the same way that courage rushes forth like a never-ending waterfall from the Palestinian people in their ongoing fight for national liberation against Imperialism and Zionism. It was an unscheduled stop in their trip where they spent the first three weeks of January in the Philippines to learn from and share stories with activists and organizers of the national democratic movement in the Philippines. In the process, the exposurists (accompanied by an Anakbayan New York member) were able to make connections with activists and organizers of various ages, classes, and fields of work. The NYC SJP members were also able to conduct their Palestine 101 study multiple times, teaching the various organizations of the Filipino national democratic movement, and were able to have a meeting with the newly reestablished Palestine-Philippines Friendship Association and begin talks on how the Philippine national democratic movement can continue to mobilize and support the Palestinian people’s fight for national liberation (through more protests, rallies, and workers’ strikes against Israeli companies).

Back in New York City, the young activists worked to strengthen their unity and commitment to building anti-imperialist solidarity. From joint events discussing the practicality and necessity of forging international alliances to solidarity statements and mobilizing for and supporting each other’s events, this is only the start of the relations of international solidarity that are being built. From our humble experience, we know that because the imperialists, those enemies of the people, are working together internationally, so too must we coordinate internationally and build a strong anti-imperialist movement that will fight capitalism, Zionism, and Imperialism, every time they appear. Significantly, NYC SJP and Anakbayan New York members were able to travel together to Chicago to participate in the national conference of the US chapter of the International League of the People’s Struggle––an international alliance of hundreds of anti-imperialist organizations around the world. Step by step, we intend to not only strengthen the relationship between our two organizations and our two movements, but also to encourage others to lock arms with us as we continue to build a people’s movement to bring Imperialism down, because if we do not fight it, it will not fall. We’ve got to––and we’re gonna––bring Imperialism down. Looking forward to more years of fighting, growing, and building alongside the comrades in NYC SJP!!!

Long live international solidarity!!!
Imperyalismo, ibagsak!!!
From the river to sea, Palestine will be free!!!
9)   Building Intercommunal Solidarity, 
organizers from UT-Austin Palestine Solidarity Committee (South)
With a new presidency on the horizon, marginalized communities across the country, especially undocumented students, are mobilizing and readying themselves for the fight against Trump’s policies. This past semester (Fall 2016), the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) at the University of Texas at Austin has been working closely with the University Leadership Initiative (ULI), an Undocumented, youth-led organization at UT, to better understand how to support the Undocumented students on our campus. Recognizing the importance of learning from organizers within their respective struggles, we arranged for members of PSC to present a Palestine 101 teach-in at a ULI meeting, in return for members of ULI to later attend a PSC meeting to present a teach-in about the basics of the Undocumented Student Struggle. The goal of this arrangement was to provide the memberships of our organizations with a better understanding of the uniqueness of each struggle, as well as its intersections. It served as a first-step to building closer relationships between PSC and ULI. Beyond familiarizing ourselves with each other’s respective struggle, we learned a lot about the different ways our organizations organize and how we can improve from one another.

From our ULI comrades, we have learned:

  • The struggle for Undocumented students never stops.
    • Every two years, someone at the Texas Capitol tries to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students
    • 287(g): Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security can devise a partnership between state and local law enforcement with ICE. This gives local law enforcement the power to act as ICE agents. Although this does not exist in Travis County (Texas), ULI must always be alert about relations between the state and ICE, as this does not mean that they do not collaborate.
    • ULI is also actively working with a coalition to stop the opening of detention centers for Queer immigrants, recognizing that reports of sexual assault do not get solved by opening up ‘special’ detention centers.
  • At UT, ULI connects its campus work with the larger Austin community, splitting their work into a 4-step program:
    • Going into the community and teaching Undocumented immigrants about their rights, taking on deportation cases, and connecting people with attorneys;
    • Working with high school students about how to apply to college, giving them orientation presentations for when they attend college, and also working with the international office at UT to better support undocumented students;
    • Providing a space to bridge the intersections between Queer identity and Immigration status;
    • And working to teach the community about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

From our close work with ULI, PSC has been able to bridge the intersections between the Palestine and Undocumented struggle, recognizing the similar restrictions Palestinians face as it relates to movement, education, employment, and access to healthcare. When Trump boasts about his desires to mimic the Israeli Apartheid Wall on the Rio Grande, we understand that we must stand firmly with our Undocumented brothers and sisters. This has strengthened both our understanding of the similarities between our struggles, as well as the uniqueness of each. Their community organizing program has inspired us to further our organizing power on campus to the larger Austin community. As a Palestine solidarity organizing group, we hope to work even more closely with ULI in the coming years, in order to better learn how we can support them in their struggle. We challenge SJPs across the country to connect with their local organizations fighting for the rights of the 11 million undocumented people in this country, whether on campus or in the community.

In Solidarity Until Collective Liberation

10)   Of By-laws and BDS: The Divestment Campaign at Portland State, 
Jenna Noelle (West)

The Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) passed Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER) divestment bill 22 to 2, with one abstention. The bill's passing was a culmination of campus coalition building over the past couple of years. SUPER spent those years hosting and working with various student groups to create diverse and dynamic events that highlighted the many struggles for liberation in the United States and abroad. These events, and the connections that were built because of them, ultimately made our BDS campaign successful.

The opportunity to do a BDS campaign came when students voted in a radical student government. Many students on the senate and executive staff were friends and allies of SUPER, which made the idea of a campaign even more prescient. While the student senate was sympathetic to the divestment campaign, the Portland State administration, specifically Wim Wiewel, the president, wrote a statement opposing the bill and calling it “divisive and ill-informed.” This came as no surprise to SUPER as Wiewel also had come out with a statement opposing the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions in 2014.

The bill also faced strong opposition from pro-Israeli groups on campus, notably the Jewish Student Union, the Cultural and Historical Association for Israel (CHAI), and StandWithUs NW. Their main strategy was to use their allies in ASPSU to prevent the bill from getting out of committee. They did this through the manipulation of the by-laws in the ASPSU constitution, technicalities with regards to Robert’s Rules, and Oregon State Public Meeting rules. StandWithUS NW put out a call for students and community members in Oregon and Washington to come to the first and second readings to oppose the bill.  Most of their commentary during the public comment relied on racist tropes of Palestinians and exceptionalizing Israel.

SUPER’s strategy for the hearings was to include a wide variety of students, faculty, and community members.  The speakers were organized in a way to provide more facts on the human rights violations of the companies as well as the personal perspectives and experiences of Palestinian students in relation to the occupation. SUPER emphasized the often hostile environments Palestinians, Muslims, and other students of color face on campus.

Unfortunately, the bill was sent back to committee due to the opposition's successfully manipulation of the by-laws to their benefit. Luckily, students at Portland State voted in another radical student government for the 2016-2017 academic school year.

At the beginning of the school year SUPER continued its efforts to bring the bill to a vote. The opposition continued to rely on manipulating the by-laws to prevent the vote from occurring. Once it became clear the opposition did not want a vote, SUPER emphasized how undemocratic the process was and the fact that there should at least be a vote on the bill, whether it passed or not. The stall tactics by the opposition began to frustrate the student senate, which ultimately benefited SUPER. Once the opposition was defeated on this front, it became clear that the student government would pass the bill. At the last hearing, only three members of the opposition spoke against the resolution.

The divestment bill passed by an overwhelming majority. The main key to SUPER’s success was the strong solidarity community in Portland and the positive energy everyone created through the campaign. The only major blowback that SUPER received was that many of the student organizers and community members were put on Canary Mission. This caused some alarm within SUPER because it made a lot of our information public and positioned SUPER members as the aggressors. Despite being profiled on Canary Mission, SUPER will continue to organize and educate students about Palestine at Portland State University.  

11)   Bernie Sanders Was Coming to Town, Osama Al-Khawaja (West)

My SJP decided to head to the rally fully decked out in Palestinian gear –– kuffiyehs, SJP shirts, wristbands, and stickers. As we waited outside the San Diego Convention Center, a member of Sanders’s campaign team spotted us and started handing us special wristbands. She told us that once the doors opened, we should make our way to the side of the hall so that we could line up behind Bernie on stage.

To our surprise, once the doors opened, we were escorted to the very front of the stage in full view of the entire rally. As the cameras began to flash and the crowd of over 10,000 people began to recognize our shirts and flags, we realized that this moment would be bigger than anything we had expected. Instantly, chants of “Free Palestine” started ringing through the large hall. Kuffiyehs belonging to people we didn’t know waved high and proud, and people from all walks of life stuck their fists out in solidarity. People seemed to be almost as excited to see us standing there in “Students for Justice in Palestine” shirts as they were to see Bernie himself.

The pandemonium didn’t stop there. Within minutes of our exiting the stage, our phones started to explode with text messages from friends all over the city who had seen us on camera. In a few hours, pictures of us wearing SJP shirts standing behind Bernie Sanders began to go viral on almost every social media platform. Several local news outlets reached out to us for comments and later that night, Fox News showed a clip of us with the headline, “Does Bernie Hate Israel?”

Our hopes are not placed on “Bernie’s Revolution,” but on the the implications and opportunities his campaign presents to the national movement for justice in Palestine. To fully appreciate these opportunities, we must place them in their proper historical context.

My friends and I never deluded ourselves into believing that Bernie would be the messiah many claimed that he was. We knew he was still a product of a two-headed imperialist system that intrinsically rejects challenges to the status quo. We were merely surprised at the manner in which we were received at a rally for a potential president of the US. Our hopes were not placed on “Bernie’s Revolution,” but on the the implications and opportunities his campaign presented to the national movement for justice in Palestine. To fully appreciate these opportunities, we must place them in their proper historical context.

Back when my father was in college in the 1980s, they used to protest by shouting “Palestine” in the streets. Simply reclaiming the use of the name Palestine itself was an act of resistance. Considering the utter lack of a military solution to the conflict, Edward Saïd advocated for the mobilization not only of Palestinians but of international opinion. Saïd drew inspiration from the ANC campaign, which shifted the international moral climate to force a political showdown with the South African apartheid system. Unfortunately, Saïd’s advice proved to be decades ahead of his time, as he spent his life asserting what he liked to call, “the Permission to narrate” in a society that rejected our every word.

Describing this bleak landscape, Saïd advised, “For Palestinians, whom state authority has meant state usurpation of the popular right to self-determination…there is not much use in hoping for a people’s war or a revolution…until precise determinations are made about the United States, its policy, its meaning, its allies, and its foreign and native instrumentalities in the areas.” Today, our discourse is not centered around the mere existence of Palestinians, but on the reality of apartheid in Israel and our complicity in it. Take for example Bernie’s nomination of Dr. Cornel West to represent him at the Democratic Platform Committee. Dr. West said, “[Israel’s security] can never be predicated on an occupation of precious Palestinians…wrestling with occupation for 50-some years, demeaned, devalued, dominated, exploited. For too long the Democratic Party’s been beholden to AIPAC that didn’t take seriously the humanity of Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

This type of statement would have been unheard of in any previous major US political party platform committee. Without getting overly optimistic about the current state of affairs, I believe it’s precisely because the current generation of pro-Palestinian activists has made calculated determinations about the United States and its political system, in the form of the BDS movement and other campaigns, that we can have moments like this one. I believe it is both a representation of how far we’ve come and an indication of how we need to continue to organize. We simply can’t afford to ignore the niceties of the US political machine and the bureaucracy that runs it. We must be able to engage and resist in the same breath, and we must invest all our intellectual abilities towards expanding the issue of Palestine from the margins towards the center.

12)   How Appropriate Is Cultural Appropriation?, Naye I. (East)
On my walk across Columbia's campus, I passed a table manned by Aryeh, the student-led association for Israel, serving “free hummus and falafel” to promote “Israeli culture.” A couple of students (myself included) protested this act of cultural appropriation. While some passersby agreed with us, one exclaimed that Israeli use of Arab cuisine signaled multiculturalism and healthy cultural exchange. Yet cultural appropriation dramatically opposes cultural exchange. Taking freely from other –– often marginalized –– cultures without consent and reciprocity is not exchange. Taking is a one-way avenue, while exchange is synonymous with reciprocity, which means mutual benefit and mutual say. Here, mutuality is key: if both parties are not profiting and consenting, then the so-called “exchange” immediately transforms into exploitation and appropriation. This is why it is absolutely necessary not to blur the line.

As Oxford notes, cultural appropriation is defined as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expression, or artefacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” While cultural exchange involves the same subjects (intellectual property, knowledge, etc.), the action is crucially different. When white folk in America wear corn rows or Native American headdresses, or when Israelis wear the Palestinian kuffiyeh or claim hummus and falafel as “staples of Israeli culture,” are they giving anything in return? More importantly, can they legitimately even claim that an exchange is occurring without ignoring the context and the history between their relationship with these marginalized communities? Often times, the very culture which a dominant group is appropriating was created in order to counter the dominant hegemonic “white culture.” A genuine and reciprocal exchange is next to impossible between two groups of historically and contemporarily unequal power.

I will give credence to the claim that cultures can very much be intersectional –– cultures can be constituted by different cultures, thus making culture a hybrid of other cultures and an intersectional phenomenon. However, the context is crucial. For instance, imagine for a moment the relationship between a bully and the bullied –– could it legitimately be claimed that if a bully were to take an object from the bullied, it would constitute sharing? Of course not, because a power imbalance and reciprocity cannot, by default, coexist. To have cultural exchange, there must be an equal level of power as well as reciprocity.

The adornment of the Native American headdress or corn rows or the kuffiyeh, or the cooptation of Palestinian and Arab cuisine, is not, in fact, a cultural exchange as no giving, receiving, and returning played out. Exchange is not merely and exclusively the giving and taking of material goods, rather is a total social phenomenon that reinforces notions of hierarchy and power. Therefore, the lack of reciprocity between the two parties at play is not something you can write off as “a harmless, even healthy, exchange!” On the contrary, it does not have the simple consequences of being devoid of tact, but rather it reinvigorates the crucially detrimental power imbalance and the societal dominance one group holds over the other: the Israelis over the Palestinians, and white people over black people and Native Americans. Keep this in mind the next time you wish to claim that you are merely performing an exchange, because often times in context, reciprocity can easily transform into exploitation.
13)   Settler Solidarity, Jannine Salman & Rose Marks (East)
On December 6th, the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, a far-right organization that is Adam Milstein-funded, held an event entitled “Indigenous Voices Unite.” This event marked an innovation in the way that Zionism is defended on campuses, and it necessitated resistance due to the false linkages between Zionism and indigeneity. Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine in coalition with Jewish Voice for Peace drafted a statement rejecting this co-optation of indigenous narratives to serve colonial interests. The statement and direct action, framed in anti-colonial language, received support and participation from 27 political, activist, religious, and cultural groups –– not all of whom had been allies. We hope this response can serve as a model for other SJPs who may encounter this Zionist strategy in the future.

The event sought to bring together five indigenous speakers (Assyrian, Yazidi, Native Canadian, Tibetan, and “Israelite”) on the premise of their “thousand year-old sacred connection to a piece of land,” and to include a discussion “centered around pursuing common interests.” The event was aimed at garnering support for the settler colony of Israel by targeting indigenous communities. Linking Israeli settlers to indigeneity served to erase Palestinians’ voices and land, while aiming to dupe indigenous peoples into supporting a colonial ideology and state formation.

This hypocrisy amongst the Zionist community in America is being seen across movements, as evidenced by solidarity with #NoDAPL in North Dakota. Many Zionists expressed support and solidarity with the water protectors in Standing Rock, some claiming their own indigeneity and most claiming an anti-colonial stance. Yet, this solidarity, based upon cognitive dissonance and a falsely constructed indigeneity, attempts to mask Zionists’ own support for the colonization and theft of Palestinian lands. This orientation –– standing at once with both the colonized and the colonizers (or while existing as colonizers themselves) –– must be rigorously critiqued, immediately rejected, and identified to the public as morally inconsistent.
Israeli solidarity at Standing Rock
Credit: Columbia SJP delegation
to North Dakota
These phenomena are, moreover, indicative of a greater shift in strategy to normalize Zionism. In a moment where Israel is becoming less bipartisan and more a fringe issue amongst the elite (in particular the right), there is a greater movement to appropriate the language of the left, including indigeneity and anti-colonialism, to bolster support for Israel. One campus Zionist who organized the event stated in an interview that the event would mark a “shift in the way students and the younger generation advocate for Israel.”

The founder of SSI, who had flown to NYC specifically for the event, stated that he hopes to bring “a similar program to every campus across the country.” We know that there can be no common interests and no principled solidarity between indigenous people and those who defend and aid Israel’s active project of ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestinians and their land. While there are hopes and efforts to propagate this event, we hope that resistance to it can serve as the springboard for strengthened relations between SJPs and truly anti-colonial and indigenous organizations.

We must stand against this false narrative and actively begin discussions surrounding the Palestinian struggle for liberation against occupation and apartheid. We must understand the wealth, power, and meticulous planning that is going into this shift in Zionist tactics in order to properly resist them.

SJPs on the East Coast have had a very successful year and have employed a variety of different tactics appropriate to each of their political terrains. In NYC, SJPs have grown a significant influence on campuses through their alliances with other student groups. In the public CUNY system, many of these student groups have come together to fight for free tuition and accessible admission practices, while making material connections between national oppression in the US and in Palestine. The Zionist Organization of America began its smear campaign of these SJPs in particular, but was defeated when the CUNY investigation uncovered no ties to anti-Semitism. SJPs in NYC have also been at the forefront of resisting New York State efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation by interrupting city council meetings and engaging in other forms of civil disobedience. UMass Amherst’s Graduate Employee Organization (GEO/UAW2322) passed a divestment resolution last April with an overwhelming majority, and Vassar College attempted the same in a valiant push to bring the cause of Palestinian liberation to the forefront of campus discourse and dismantle Israeli apartheid. George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA, was the host for this year’s National SJP conference, which brought together hundreds of students from around the country (and world, thanks largely to student organizers from Boston!) for political development and strategizing. Nearby in DC, Georgetown’s SJP has been pivotal in forming GU F.R.E.E. (Georgetown Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment), a group of students, faculty, and organizations that have rallied together to hold their University accountable for its role in perpetuating state violence, with the specific goal of eliminating its financial support of the private prison industry and the Israeli occupation. Other SJPs, such as Bi-Co SJP at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges in greater Philadelphia, have started boycott initiatives against brands like Sabra on their campuses as a strategic way to incite condemnation of Zionism. Neighboring Temple SJP, the host of our regional conference, played a significant role in the Stadium Stompers anti-gentrification campaign as well as founding an offshoot group, SJP Ona MOVE, in solidarity with Philly’s MOVE 9 and to fight for the freedom of political prisoners here, in Occupied Palestine, and beyond. Most recently, SJPs across the East region were critical in organizing Palestine contingents in the Women’s March in multiple cities and worked tirelessly to push the issue of Palestine in Marches that were largely devoid of intersectionality.


This past April, SJP Midwest held its third annual regional conference at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Students from across the region gathered for a weekend full of political development and the beginnings of important conversations about the Midwest’s role in the national body of SJP.

At this conference, the Midwest established an election committee and an electoral process for five representatives. Besides that, a lot of important groundwork was laid at this conference. Despite a lot of Zionist backlash and intimidation, SJPers went back to their campuses from this gathering inspired to organize and do work on campus.

While that was one major highlight, SJP Midwest’s year started with a major win at University of Illinois at Chicago, which passed divestment unanimously through student government. The resolution demanded that the university divest Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard (HP), Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.

University of Indianapolis passed divestment a month after the SJP Midwest conference. The final vote for divestment was overwhelmingly in favor of SJP’s resolution, with 49 votes for, 12 against, and 11 abstentions.

SJP at the University of Chicago, in partnership with other organizations, launched UofC Divest in late March 2016 and successfully passed a historic divestment resolution in April. In May they held their annual Nakba Week which ended with a Palestinian Culture Night. During Fall Quarter, DocFilms, a theater on campus, featured a Palestine Film Series created by SJP. SJP at UofC also had a series of informational events on Gaza in December in commemoration of the 10th year of the blockade.

In November, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) pushed a divestment resolution through their student government for the third year in a row. While the student government voted the resolution down –– 34 votes against, 13 in favor, and 3 abstentions –– SAFE built powerful relationships on campus with other student organizers and has inspired chapters across the nation in their divestment campaigns.

Divestment is not the only type of action chapters in the Midwest have pursued this past year. Students at DePaul University mobilized against their administration’s attempts to faith-wash the occupation of Palestine with an exhibit titled “Building Bridges of Faith: Photographs of Papal Visits to the Holy Land, 1964-2012.” The exhibit featured photographs of key religious figures on occupied Palestinian land. SJP DePaul held signs with facts and photos exposing the colonial nature of the exhibit. In a press release published by SJP DePaul, they state, “We find fault in this art exhibit that depicts the Pope’s visit to Israel as one of acceptance and community because it turns a blind eye to the violence and racism prevalent in the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people... This exhibit contributes to the erasure of not only Palestinian history but also the voices of Palestinian students on this campus.”
SJPs in the South face unique challenges given the political terrain and geographic isolation that serves as the backdrop for progressive work in the South. However, South SJPs continue to work against the grain to bring attention to the Palestinian question. The tactics used by SJPs in the South vary as much as those in any other region in the country. In Georgia, SJP at UGA produces great work in its struggle to forward the Palestinian cause. SJP at UGA has organized walk-outs, confronted Zionist organizations on campus, and has produced content in response various issues concerning the Palestinian cause. Emory SJP in Atlanta graciously hosted NSJP organizers for a retreat in September. In Texas, the Palestine Solidarity Committee has staged disruptions of public whitewashing campaigns, organized protests, hosted teach-ins, supported the struggles of communities of color, and led the charge against fascism in its current manifestation. The number of SJPs across the South continues to grow and SJPs in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, etc. continue to demonstrate their resilience even in the face of conservative political atmosphere. We look forward to developing our work in the South and better connecting ourselves with the rest of the region, as well as the rest of the country.


Amidst the inauguration of Trump, SJPs on the West Coast have taken action against the new administration. Students for Justice in Palestine at University of Washington took part in the national mobilizations against Trump, organizing within the broader community at University of Washington on Inauguration Day and protesting against white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos, who came to their campus. UC Santa Cruz recently hosted a Know Your Rights workshop with the Muslim Student Association to prepare the larger UCSC community for the anticipated forms of repression under a Trump administration and to equip the community with the necessary knowledge for engaging in direct action. In Southern California, USC has also engaged in mobilizations against Trump this past week. Pushing the question of Palestine into the anti-Trump actions that have emerged across the nation is essential –– and fundamentally challenges the liberalism which would otherwise be content with a Democratic war hawk in office.

Other than the recent participation in anti-Trump organizing, SJPs on the West Coast have been organizing educational events, strategizing to fight anti-BDS legislation, and collaborating with people across struggle. For example, in early October, Stanford SJP and Berkeley SJP hosted Shirley Gunn, South African anti-Apartheid activist and current director of the Human Rights Media Centre in Cape Town. Shirley discussed her past experiences organizing with the African National Congress and her current work with survivors of Apartheid violence. Students gained a deeper understanding of the nature of South African resistance and the ongoing student movements in Cape Town, such as Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall.

The Annual National SJP Conference in November, hosted by George Mason University Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), was an opportunity for SJP West chapters, new and old, to connect with each other and their regional representatives. The conference provided a space for SJP chapters that otherwise felt out of the loop to plug into the national network. SJPs on the West Coast look forward to meeting up for an annual retreat in the spring to check in and discuss strategy. Moving forward, SJPs will continue the work they have been doing in building coalitions and intersectional organizing. The way forward lies in further cross-movement solidarity towards collective liberation.
This past November, NSJP organized the 6th Annual National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference, hosted by George Mason University SAIA (Students Against Israeli Apartheid). We had workshops where we talked to Palestinians in 48, learned dabke, and strategized around combatting online platforms that demonize Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists. We learned histories of Palestinian solidarity, here and abroad. We thought through canvassing on campuses, pinkwashing, and starting new campaigns. We broke out into regions to meet our new Coordinating Committee representatives, and we divided into sessions that we saw as necessary with the unconference space. We soaked up the wisdom of our elders and were inspired by Native artists who reminded us of history and culture that predates the United States. We took our big conference photo with Palestinian flags and a #NoDAPL banner.

And yet all of us have a lot of growing, learning, and unlearning to do. There were times where we had to challenge ourselves to root out oppressive habits and to hold each other accountable. If there was anything that this conference showed us, it was that three days is not enough time to have all the conversations that we need to have, and that we need people to join us in the push to make ourselves and our SJPs stronger. Student contributions in workshops, generosity in sharing, and dedication to justice in Palestine made #NSJP2016 amazing, but moving forward, we have got a lot of work to do.

Join us. Stay involved. Free Palestine.
In this section, we traverse the past months and recall happenings from the ground in occupied Falasteen. Looking closely at the continued turmoil there, along with the international community’s response to Israel's ongoing human rights atrocities, allows us to consciously refocus and be diligent in the student movement for liberation in Palestine and beyond.

January 2016

US Ambassador’s Comment Ignites Diplomatic Row with Israel

Israel Says Will Seize West Bank Land; Demolishes EU Structures

Israel Charges Two Jews over West Bank Arson Murders

Israel’s Return of Palestinian Bodies Is Fraught with Emotion and Politics

Israel Jets Hit Hamas Target after Rocket Attack from Gaza

Israeli Troops Kill Two Palestinians in Gaza Stone-throwing Clash

US Church Puts Five Banks from Israel on a Blacklist

Evictions in Jerusalem’s Walled Old City, Khaldiyya Ascent, Continue to Increase

Human Rights Watch Calls on Israel to Cease Settlement Activity and Expansion

Palestinian Journalist, Mohammed al-Qeq, Continues Hunger Strike

February 2016

Hillary Clinton, with Little Notice, Vows to Embrace an Extremist Agenda on Israel

Israeli Lawmaker: There Can’t Be a Palestine Because Arabic Has No “P”

Israel Razes West Bank Homes of Two Palestinian Assailants: Army

Palestinian Shot Dead after Attempted Stabbing Attack at West Bank Checkpoint

Israeli Forces Kill Five Palestinian “Attackers” in Jerusalem and West Bank

Palestinian Journalist, Mohammed al-Qeq, Ends Hunger Strike after Israel Agrees to Free Him

March 2016

Israeli Troops Using Waze App Stray into Palestinian Camp, Sparking Violence

Palestinian Refugee Teacher Wins $1-million Award

Israel Expands Settlements in Occupied West Bank, Seizes Large Tracts Near Jericho

Activists Call for Airbnb to Stop Listing Settlement Homes as Vacation Spots

Israel Detains Palestinian Circus Performer, Claiming He Is a Threat

West Bank Teachers’ Strike Gains Momentum and Power

Major BDS Victory as G4S Sells off All Israeli Business Operations

Leahy Asks State Dept. to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Violation

April 2016

Israel Frees Palestinian Girl, 12, Who Tried to Stab Guard

In West Bank, Israel Imposes Pop-up Checkpoints and Road Closings

Bernie Sanders Changes the Status Quo on American-Israel Politics

Israel Increases Demolitions of Structures in Occupied West Bank

Israeli Soldier Executes Palestinian as He Lay on the Ground

Israel Targets BDS by Proposing “Civil Elimination” of Key Leaders

UN Creates Database of Companies Complicit in Israeli Human Rights Violations

May 2016

Israel Hosts Largest Ever Anti-BDS Summit at UN HQ

Israel Coalition Deal Brings in Its Most Hard-Right Government Ever

Israel Bombs Hamas Targets in Gaza in Worst Violence Since War of 2014

Israeli Justice Minister Proposes Controversial West Bank Settlement Legislation

71% of Israeli Jews Deny West Bank is “Occupied”

Israel Imposes Travel Ban on Founder of BDS Movement

NY Governor Cuomo Orders Blacklist of Groups that Support the Boycott of Israel

June 2016

Israel Seals off West Bank and Gaza in Wake of Deadly Terror in Tel Aviv

Israel and Turkey Reach Deal to Restore Relations

Israel Army Mistakenly Kills Palestinian Teen

Israel Wants Someone to Build a $5-billion Island off Gaza — for a Seaport, Hotel, Airport

Israel Approves Additional Funding for a Settlement in West Bank

Israel Blames Palestinians for Water Shortages in West Bank

UN Releases Damning Report on Israel and Torture

Report-back from the Dream Defenders Delegation to Israel/Palestine

20 US Congress Members Call for the Protection of Palestinian Children from Israeli Abuses

July 2016

When the President of Uganda Called Palestine “Palestine” in Front of Bibi

Israel to Deduct Palestinian Terror Funding from Tax Fees It Hands to PA

Egypt-Israeli Relations

Israeli Parliament Passes Law to Oust Legislators that Are Accused of Speaking Against Israel

August 2016

Israeli Firm Accused of Creating iPhone Spyware

Egyptian Judo Refuses to Shake Hands with Israeli Judo Dude during Olympics

Israel Indicts UN Employee, Accuses Him of Helping Hamas

Israel Launches up to 50 Strikes on Gaza after Rocket Attacks on Sderot

Evangelical Lutheran Church Calls for an End to US Aid to Israel

September 2016

Shimon Peres Dies

UCBerkeley Fiasco

Israeli Guards Shoot 13-year-old Palestinian

Israel Tightens West Bank Security

West Bank Court Rules Against Holding Local Elections

WATCH: Netanyahu Says Palestinians Want to “Ethnically Cleanse” Jews from West Bank

Largest-ever US Military Aid Package

US Boosts Aid to Israel to $3.8 Billion per Year while Israel Continues Settlement Expansion

US Christian Groups Call for an End to Military Aid to Israel over Abuses in Gaza

October 2016

Israel: Settlers’ Takeover of Security Posts “Alarming”

Israel Suspends UNESCO Ties over al-Aqsa Resolution

Clinton Bemoans Not Rigging Palestinian Elections

Women’s Boat to Gaza: 13 Activists Detained by Israel

Israel Bombs Gaza as Lieberman Says Next War “Will Be the Last”

The Upcoming Palestinian Elections Will Only Be in the West Bank

Shimon Peres Was No Mandela

November 2016

Israel in Flames

Court in Israel Sentences Palestinian Teenagers to 12 Years in Stabbing

Egypt’s Envoy to Israel: Two-State Solution “Still Available and Possible”

Israel Approves Bill Banning Muslim Call to Prayer

Israel’s Emboldened Radical Right Wing Pushes the Boundaries in the West Bank

New Rail Links Jerusalem to West Bank Settlements

Israel’s Law to Ban the Adhan (Muslim Call to Prayer) Is Unjust

December 2016

Israel’s Other Army Expanding Illegal Settlements

Israel Summons Ambassadors of Countries that Voted in Favor of UN Resolution

Trump Chooses Hard-liner as Ambassador to Israel

Israel Votes to Authorize Illegal Settlements in Palestine

Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Teen During Clash

Thousands Rally in Gaza for Hamas’ Anniversary

Turkey Drops Case against Israeli Officers in Gaza Flotilla Killings

Trump Victory Spurs Israeli Talk of West Bank Annexation

John Kerry: Two-State “Peace Solution” in Jeopardy

UNSC Reaffirms that Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Violation of International Law
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Announcing the

The power of campus activism in the face of on-campus censorship and anti-boycott legislation has inspired Visualizing Palestine (VP) to support student voices for justice in Palestine. The VP Student Membership Program will provide ready-to-use advocacy tools for on-campus communication and strengthen links between the VP community and student changemakers. The Student Membership offers:
  1. VP Student Toolkit of infographics on Apartheid and Divestment (shipping in February): 8 posters, 150 flyers, 150 stickers, and more
  2. Access to an online ‘Palestine 101’ presentation of infographics for internal and external workshops (coming in September)
  3. News and updates about upcoming infographics and advocacy tools (ongoing)
  4. Call outs for future volunteer, intern, and job positions (ongoing)
Although VP tools are licensed Creative Commons and available freely, the membership fee of $250 USD will not profit VP organizationally and only support printing and shipping costs.
Become a Member
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