Friday, December 6

Students for Justice in Palestine criticizes LA City Council resolution

This post was updated on June 4 at 5:52 p.m.

Students for Justice in Palestine released a statement Monday criticizing a Los Angeles City Council resolution that calls for action against a recent pledge asking undergraduate student government leaders to refrain from taking free or sponsored trips with external lobbying groups.

The City Council resolution asks University of California officials to implement policies that protect students from intimidation and harassment in response to the pledge.

In early May, multiple student groups asked candidates participating in the Undergraduate Students Association Council election to pledge to not go on free or sponsored trips with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and Hasbara Fellowships and non-student centered groups while holding office. The majority of candidates participating in the election signed onto the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics.

On May 27, Los Angeles City Council member Bob Blumenfield, a councilman from the third district, presented the resolution calling for the UC Board of Regents and the President of the UC system to establish policies to “ensure that students are protected from bullying and harassment.”

The Los Angeles City Council resolution also says the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics is part of a larger movement which focuses on anti-Israel tactics.

The Students for Justice in Palestine press release says that the City Council resolution, which has not been deliberated yet, misrepresents the goals of the pledge.

The City Council resolution says the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics labels these groups as Islamophobic when they are “well known and reputable non-profit organizations.”

“I’m disappointed by (the) continued mischaracterization of the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-tolerance groups, and offended that those who support Israel are implied to be Armenian Genocide deniers,” Blumenfield said in an email statement.

Omar Zahzah, a second-year comparative literature doctoral student and the incoming president of Students for Justice in Palestine, said the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics statement was not meant to target pro-Israel groups.

Zahzah said groups in the statement were mentioned because of their involvement with student leaders, campus politics and their history of hosting speakers who some say are Islamophobic and involved with the denial of the Armenian genocide.

Students for Justice in Palestine said in their press release that the resolution also does not mention all of the concerns raised by students about lobbying groups listed in the statement.

“The fact that the Los Angeles City Council is now considering delegitimizing the efforts of students to hold their representatives accountable by promoting transparency, integrity and inclusivity is beyond disturbing,” Students for Justice in Palestine said in a statement.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, UC President Janet Napolitano and Bruins for Israel at UCLA also released statements criticizing the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics earlier this month. In their statements, Block and Napolitano said they think the pledge targets groups with certain political perspectives and is harmful to communities at the UC.

The Los Angeles City Council has not decided on a date to vote on the resolution yet.

For more coverage on the events leading up to the release of this statement, read here and here.

Compiled by Jessica Doumit and Samantha Tomilowitz, Bruin contributors.

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  • Elon

    “Omar Zahzah, a second-year comparative literature doctoral student and the incoming president of Students for Justice in Palestine, said the Joint Statement on USAC Ethics statement was not meant to target pro-Israel groups.”

    Liar! Read it all for yourselves. Whom else does it target? Is even one other group in the pledge?

  • Sarah R.

    Sadly no mention of the fact that Blumenfield was the chairman of the Valley Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the key groups the ethics pledge takes issue with. It is unfortunate that the author(s) left out this piece of information because Blumenfield’s effort to stifle student activism proves the entire point of the ethics pledge: an elected, lobby-affiliated official is trying to stifle student efforts against the affiliation of elected officials with said lobbies.

    • ThisIsPalestine

      The only ones trying to stifle student activism here are your friends in SJP. Anyone can take any trip anywhere with whomever and whatever they want, and if you don’t like it you can deal with it.

    • Lucia

      “stifle student activism”? The dirty SJP are the ones that conducted a witchhunt against students for taking trips to Israel.

    • Philassie

      Stifle? The SJP is afraid of people seeing the truth for themselves and their endless BS being exposed so they got a token Jew to try criminalize trips to Israel.

      And in any case, lies and manipulation meant to manufacture hatred for the only democracy in the Middle East SHOULD be stifled. Students should not be subjected to lies posing as compassion. We should be exposed to intelligent discussion that seeks to bring about peace, not help one side defeat the other.

      Students trust groups to inform them about far away conflicts and SJP routinely abuses that trust. The divestment hearing with its 8 hours of hate speech and malicious lies by the SJP side would be enough, on a sane campus, to shut them down. Somehow, Jews are afforded zero decency or protection by UCLA. Somehow we all watch as the SJP turns a generation of UCLA students into haters.

  • ThisIsPalestine

    Apparently “when in a hole, stop digging” is not a motto SJP abides by.

  • Philassie

    If this is not anti-Israel, why does it target only pro-Israel organizations? If this is about the Armenian genocide, why does it not target a single Turkish organization? Bullocks. They shamelessly use token Jews to push policies that belong in the 1930s and on other continents.

    The SJP has one purpose only: to give moral cover to anti-Israel terrorism and violence by demonizing Israel with manipulative lies. If students knew the facts — about Israel’s founding, about 1948, about Israel’s presence in the territories even — they would be staunch Zionists BECAUSE of their concern for human rights.