The True Face of Students for Justice in Palestine

 What happened on April 12 at the University of Minnesota was a classic example of the true face of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) supporters and the main group that promotes this campaign, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).  SJP tried to pass the a student government resolution calling for the university to divest from specific companies that do business with Israel, basing their claim on Israel’s violation of human rights. However, in a turn of the events that disrupted their plan, UMN United, a Pro-Israel coalition led by Students Supporting Israel, together with the Minnesota Hillel and other campus organizations, proposed an amendment to this resolution.

The proposed amendment suggested that if in fact SJP were so concerned with human rights violations and promoting responsible investment, the resolution should not focus on Israel alone but any country found to be violating human rights. By not naming any country specifically, the resolution will not appear as singling out Israel and holding the country to a double standard. At this point, one would think that all the student groups would want to sign on such resolution that calls for the university to invest responsibly, and indeed the students voted to amend the resolution to address human rights in all countries.

However, while Students Supporting Israel added its name to the sponsors of the new bill, members of SJP decided to remove their names from this new resolution that would consider human rights violations in all countries. Why? Because the resolution was no longer specifically targeting Israel. Despite SJP’s insistence that this was not the case and their resolution was not meant to promote BDS, their comments on social media that followed the vote revealed that there was never a true concern for justice, rather the plan all along was to single out Israel.

The vote on April 12 and the social media comments, all expose one clear thing- there is no concern for “justice” by Students for Justice in Palestine. Instead, SJP is acting like a hate group whose sole purpose is demonizing and marginalizing Israel.

The fight of the Pro Israel community against hate groups like SJP and campaigns like BDS should thus be seen not only as the fight for the State of Israel, but the fight to put an end to hate and bigotry on American campuses. Just like Israel is on the front lines of fighting terror, the Pro-Israel community is on the front lines of fighting academic terror led by extremists and radical students on our campuses. What happened at the University of Minnesota is a great example of how this fight can be won. By creating a broad and engaged Pro-Israel student and community coalition, students not only prevented a BDS resolution from passing, but turned a biased and hateful resolution into one that truly supports the idea of responsible investment, and in the process exposed the clear anti-Israel agenda of SJP.