SJP Updates

Mock Eviction at Cal

Over 600 UC Berkeley students received mock eviction notices on the morning of February 23rd as part of a peaceful protest by Cal Students for Justice in Palestine. The flyers (which were clearly marked as fake, with “This is not a real eviction notice” written in bold letters at the bottom of the page) were slipped under every door on every floor of every building in the Unit 2 dormitories, with the exception of a single floor in one building, where the interruption of a Resident Advisor prevented us from exercising our right to free expression.

The flyers called attention to the real eviction notices Palestinians in the Occupied Territories receive from the Israeli military as part of the Israeli government’s policy of expelling Palestinians from their land in order to build ethnically-exclusive settlements, an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing that has seen some 27,000 Palestinian homes demolished since 1967. Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has repeatedly been declared illegal under international law, including in UN Security Council Resolution 242, making each demolition a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention.

4.5 million Palestinians currently live without rights in the West Bank and Gaza, while 1.2 million live as Jim Crow-style second-class citizens within Israel. An additional 5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide are barred, by virtue of their ethnicity, from returning to their homeland. Israel’s policies towards Palestinians meet the UN’s definition of the crime of apartheid, declared in 1973 to include all “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” Israel’s violence against Palestinians reached a horrifying crescendo in 2014 as over 2,100 Palestinians (about 75% civilians, according to the UN) were killed in Israel’s latest assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.

The University of California currently has investments in companies like Caterpillar, which produces the armored bulldozers the Israeli military uses to raze Palestinian homes in the West Bank, and Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the Hellfire missiles Israel uses to deliberately target Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Cal SJP carried out this protest as part of our annual Israeli Apartheid Week activities raising awareness about the plight of Palestinians, and we fully support the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it respects Palestinians’ human rights.

The UC Student Assembly, the UC grad student union, and 7 of 9 undergraduate UC campuses have passed resolutions calling for divestment from companies complicit in the occupation, but the Regents continue to ignore students’ voices. With this action, we are calling on the UC Regents to honor the consensus in favor of divestment. This is why we also delivered the flyer to Chancellor Dirks. He has the power to influence the Regents, and we believe students have the power to influence Chancellor Dirks. This protest has already helped spark much-needed discussion on campus about the Palestinian perspective so often left out of the conversation on this issue.

Why we refuse to cooperate with Jweekly.com

Below is Cal SJP’s response to a media inquiry from the J, followed by the latter’s original email.

~~~~

Dear J,

Thank you for reaching out to us.

As a student organization seeking to promote pro-Palestine solidarity activism in U.S. campuses, we are always happy to collaborate with journalists, even from news outlets that do not share our values. Unfortunately, the J. has consistently proven that it cannot be considered a news outlet. Your coverage of BDS campaigns and other actions and events related to Palestine in the bay area has times and again failed to meet the most basic journalistic standards. We have no trust that you will present our views accurately and we have therefore decided to stop cooperating with you.

Among the events that led to our decision was Dan Pine’s report, published on November 20, 2014. Mr. Pine covered a closed event of UAW 2865, a labor union representing graduate students in the UC system. Pine invited himself to the event, took photos without the participants’ permission, and wrote a badly biased piece without talking to either of the two pro-BDS representatives that spoke at the event. To make things worse, Pine interrupted one of the speakers in the event—SJP-member Kumars Salahi—as he was speaking at the panel, quite a jaw-dropping gesture from a person who had the chutzpa to write that “the debate was notable for its civility.” Recently, Mr. Pine wrote a piece on BDS in UC Davis and Stanford, without bothering to interview a single BDS supporter – Jewish or non-Jewish. We are indeed puzzled that Mr. Pine was the one who reached out to ask us for an interview.

While these incidents certainly stood out, they hardly surprised us. When it comes to BDS (or any criticism of Israel’s occupation for that matter), the J-Weekly has long lost any sense of decency, and it does not even try to present its readers with clear and unbiased facts (“Israel’s presence in Gaza ended in 2005,” Pine wrote in the UAW article.) We find the J.’s approach truly unfortunate, since it only increases fear, prejudice, and hostility toward pro-Palestine activism in the Jewish community. We agree that clarifying what BDS is and is not is extremely important, especially when so much disinformation is spread. But we are also confident that since the J. and Mr. Pine have been a major source of such disinformation, you are bound to misrepresent us again.

A particularly bad signal is Mr. Pine’s statement in his email that “it’s important that the local Jewish community hear and understand your perspective.”  We have quite a few members and supporters who are part of the “Jewish community”: not only do they “understand” our perspective, they have also taken active part in contributing to it. Trying to present SJP and the “Jewish community” as mutually exclusive is misleading and exposes Mr. Pine’s ignorance and preconceptions. In any event, our Jewish and non-Jewish members will continue working together in promoting justice in Palestine, and we will collaborate with media outlets that can represent our views fairly and accurately.

We will follow your treatment of this response very closely, knowing that you are likely to selectively quote from it and misrepresent us again. Should you decide to do that, please be advised that we will consider publishing the entire correspondence.

Sincerely,

Students for Justice in Palestine at Cal

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dan Pine <dan@jweekly.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM
Subject: media inquiry
To: admin@calsjp.org

Hi,

My newspaper is interested in doing a story about the growth of BDS at college campuses, in particular the U.C. campuses in NorCal. I am hoping one of your campus leaders will be available to talk to me (and if you can suggest contacts at other campuses).

Yes, we are a Jewish newspaper, but my editors and I think it’s important that the local Jewish community hear and understand your perspective, especially as BDS has had a string of successes recently. Please let me know if you are willing and able to do an interview in the weeks ahead.

Thanks,

Dan Pine
J. – the Jewish news weekly
San Francisco, CA

Cal SJP Condemns Davis Hate Crime

As part coalition of students and campus organizations supporting UC Davis, we condemn the actions taken sometime during the night of January 31st, 2015 by an unknown person(s) who defaced the AEPi Fraternity house which is a Jewish interest , with swastikas.Just as we condemn the hanging of a noose, the defamation of the Palestinian dove, or calling students ‘terrorists’ based on their physical appearance or beliefs, we equally condemn the display of the swastika. This reminds us that anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of hate, including but not limited to, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, still exist and are rampant transnationally and on our university campuses.We reject any  attempts to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement. We hope that the university investigates and exercises due diligence in holding those responsible for this hate crime to the fullest extent of the law.
In solidarity,
Cal SJP