A coalition of student groups at Cornell University has renewed the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) at the university. Led by Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the effort is expected to culminate in a vote in the Student Assembly in late April.
In a recent op-ed published in the Cornell Daily Sun, SJP presented the BDS movement as a peace-loving appeal to human rights and respect for international law. A closer look at the histories of SJP and Cornell Collective for Justice in Palestine (CCJP) on campus shows a much different picture.
In 2013, Cornell SJP published a blog post in support of Rasmea Odeh, a member of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). At the time, Odeh was facing deportation for falsely claiming that she had never been previously convicted of a crime or imprisoned. In fact, Odeh was tried and convicted for her role in the 1969 bombing of a supermarket in Jerusalem, killing two Hebrew University Students. Her trial was attended by an observer from the International Red Cross who deemed it fair. The blog post makes no mention of the attack, claiming instead that the deportation proceedings were an “attempt to criminalize and dehumanize Odeh.”
As recently as this week, Cornell SJP hosted a teach-in entitled “From Ferguson to Palestine: A Conversation Surrounding Struggle,” featuring an event flyer that appeared to depict a rifle and explicitly mentions the PFLP, a State Department-designated terrorist organization.
A member of SJP’s pro-BDS coalition, the CCJP’s online profile picture is of a mural of Leila Khaled holding a rifle. Khaled, a member of the PFLP, and euphemistically referred to as the first female hijacker, was responsible for the 1970 Dawson’s Field hijacking. Famously, Jewish passengers were separated from the rest of the flight and held hostage for an additional day before being rescued.
These views are not unique to groups at Cornell. Across the country, groups affiliated with SJP regularly defend the likes of Odeh and Khaled. In order to make a fully informed decision, it is critical that the Cornell Student Assembly be aware of the deeply problematic views of those bringing forward this resolution. CAMERA on Campus stands in solidarity with the pro-Israel community on campus and the President of Cornell, Martha Pollack, in their opposition to BDS.
On March 8th, 2019, the Binghamton University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine shared two pieces of PFLP propaganda on its Facebook profile. The post reads as follows:
“Three Palestinian posters celebrating International Working Women’s Day
The first two were produced by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
The posters again depict rifles and the image of a Palestine “from the river to the sea.” The content being shared by SJP chapters in New York state is troublesome, both due to the message it promotes and the organization behind its production.
Contributed by CAMERA on Campus Staff