The University of Houston is characterized for its diversity; Houston itself has become the most diverse city in United States and it is a celebration to tolerance and understanding among all the groups that integrate and conform the area.
The University attracts students from all over the world. Many reasons contribute to this: a tier one status, accessible tuition costs, excellent undergraduate and graduate programs, and, of course, the chill and welcoming environment Houston residents offer to all its visitors. The campus is a mix of organizations, religions and ethnicities, varying from liberal to conservative, but keeping a balance of dynamism and interaction between them.
In recent years, a new organization started to manifest in the University of Houston. They were the Students for a Democratic Society, the same student organization that was fighting for civil rights in the 60’s and 70’s. However, this time, they were involved in the so-called “Palestinian cause”; their approach, more than humanitarian, is political agenda—with sparkles of anti-Semitism.
They have been active in the BDS movement and organizing Israeli Apartheid Week for two years in a row, which is not as big as in other campuses all over America, but still it has its presence at UH.
Recently, they reinvented the organization and became aligned with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The group is mainly formed by Arab, Persian and Indian young adults; Islamism and their highly developed aversion for Israel are the common denominators. Part of their disclaimer is that they are not anti-Semitic; however, a few details in their agenda reveal otherwise.
Part of the planning of actions for SJP is to boycott and divest from student-led organizations on campus that they consider to be helping to propagate the “Zionist fallacy”. In order to do so, they are appealing to the student government to pass resolutions and remove funding for Hillel, AEPi and Christian organizations that are openly pro-Israel.
They have become a threat to the good balance of peace that the University of Houston has been known for. Rather than attacking global situations that are clearly against American interest and values, they decide to attack the sole democracy in the Middle East, mainly because it is easy and it is the hip of the moment. Sadly, to gain legitimacy in their movement, SJP is bringing Miko Peled, a hateful Israeli Jew, as a guest speaker. Peled uses his identity as support for his bashing statements against Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine is a dangerous organization, they are not pro-peace, nor pro-human rights; they are a hateful group with aberrant antics. Luckily, they are looked upon as a bunch of lousy students, but still they are a danger to the neutral minds of idealistic-seeking youths that they are characterized as, who are looking for a cause to fight for.
Contributed by 2013-14 CAMERA Fellow César Domingo De Gracia Morales