Indiana University is committed to furthering diversity and inclusion in all that we do. The University has issued sweeping statements in favor of these ideas, and at least tries to appear to do so in its actions as well. But diversity extends beyond our own campus. If IU really wants to stand for diversity, we must fight for these principles wherever they are threatened.
Which is why recent events out of UCLA are so concerning. The university agreed to host the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) annual conference this past November 16-18. This received tremendous pushback from the greater pro-Israel and Jewish community. While public universities have a duty to provide an equal platform for all views, no matter how disgusting, it is necessary to elaborate just how repulsive some of those views are when they are broadcast from the largest universities in the country.
The express purpose of this event is to show students that “Zionism can be destroyed”. Consider how students and faculty at any university would react if students were holding conferences to destroy Vietnamese or Zimbabwean national self-identity. The motto of SJP seems to be a state for me, not for thee. One wonders, if Jews are not native to Israel, where might they be from? If not “Palestine” where should the Jewish people go? Zionism, as the transparent political aspiration to establish a Jewish sovereign state in the land of Israel, does not seek to negate the identity of any nation, including the Palestinians. Of course, SJP co-founder Hatem Bazian provided his answer at the American Muslim Conference in 1999 in quoting a Hadith; “The Day of Judgement will never happen until you fight the Jews… and the stones will say “Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!”” It is worth noting that the American Muslim Conference supports SJP financially and helps them organize, while itself receiving such support from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Of course, it is not fair to paint an entire organization as anti-Semitic based off the ramblings of its founder. SJP chapters across the country have worked long and hard to earn this reputation themselves. SJP William and Mary hosted Alison Weir in 2008, someone known for promoting old blood libels against Jews, such as that they murder gentiles and use their blood in rituals. SJP NYU called for the end of the Jewish state on the evening of Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2010 after calling the peace process a sham. In 2014, while SJP Vassar was busy retweeting Nazi and White Supremacist cartoons mocking the Holocaust and Jews, the SJP Northwestern spokesman posed in a Hezbollah t-shirt with an assault rifle. Lest anyone forget, Hezbollah is a genocidal terrorist organization calling for “Death to Jews”. As recently as September of 2017, SJP at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was equating Zionism with Nazism and white supremacy, showing themselves as deaf to irony as they are tone.
Anyone interested in seeing more can explore the blog of the internationally recognized media watchdog, CAMERA for their extensive coverage of SJP’s anti-Semitism. SJP chooses a different location every year for their conference. The Indiana University community cannot feel secure just because they are on the west coast this year. We must remain firm in our condemnations of hate and bigotry. Indiana University’s Jewish community and allies will remain committed to diversity and inclusion. As Indiana University’s official commitment to diversity states; “we actively strive to promote diversity, expand access, create a safe and supportive environment, and foster a community that embraces and celebrates all groups.” This extends beyond our own campus. We will not stay silent in the face of such hatred.
Zack Chambers is a 2018-19 CAMERA Fellow at Indiana University. He is currently majoring in Marketing.