JVP National Student Network Statement of Solidarity with SJP facing harassment in Chicago
Jewish Voice for Peace and its network of campus chapters, students and alumni around the country strongly condemn the acts of intimidation and harassment faced by Students for Justice In Palestine chapters at University of Chicago (U of C) and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
At the U of C, anonymous posters responded to an SJP campaign to raise awareness about the casualties of recent Israeli state repression and racist mob violence by slandering their fellow students as “Stabbing Jews for Peace.” More gravely, SJP leaders at UIC received direct, explicit threats of deadly violence via anonymous email. JVP and all its campus chapters stand in solidarity with these students, our close friends and allies and leaders in the struggle for justice in Palestine, in the face of these unacceptable and truly dangerous attacks.
As students and alumni, we know that these acts of repression, intimidation and harassment- which fall most heavily on Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students, but frequently target their allies as well- are not isolated incidents, but part of the broader repression of the Palestinian struggle.
Lack of protection for Palestine advocacy is part of the same oppressive system that is on display in the current Israeli crackdown. Our own universities, cities and states collude in combatting pro-Palestine activity; from the firing of Professor Steven Salaita from a tenured position at UIUC, to the anti-Boycott bill the state of Illinois passed early this year, and the prosecution of Chicago Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh in a clearly politically motivated case.
As documented by recent reports released by Jewish Voice for Peace and Palestine Legal, well-funded pro-Israel organizations use a coordinated strategy of legal threats, slander, interference in campus affairs, backdoor meetings with administrators, and more to harass and intimidate students and professors critical of Israeli policies on campuses across the country.
We support the call of the SJP chapters at the U of C and UIC for full investigations into the heinous threats, libel, harassment, and vandalism they have faced, as well as for further action to ensure the rights and safety of students standing in solidarity with Palestine and advocating Palestinian liberation.
We demand that these universities issue public statements condemning these and all other incidents of campus repression, notify SJP students of the steps being taken to ensure their personal safety, and protect the rights of SJP to raise awareness about Palestinian liberation on campus.
As the national movement for Palestinian rights grows, we demand that our universities protect the rights of pro- Palestinian, pro-BDS students and student organizations to freely fight for justice without fear of persecution.
We encourage all students who support an end to the occupation, the return of Palestinian refugees, and the fight against anti-Arab and Islamophobic bigotry and discrimination to get involved with Palestine solidarity work on campus, through student organizations like SJP and JVP campus chapters and in support of the global, nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Only through our continued determination, leadership, and solidarity will we transform our campuses into spaces where Israel’s policies can be opposed openly and freely, and where Jews and non-Jews alike are won over to supporting Palestinian liberation.
The Jewish Voice for Peace National Student Network
The Jewish Voice for Peace National Student Network is a collection of students and alumni active on over 200 campuses as part of JVP or Students for Justice In Palestine chapters.