Anakbayan NY and Hunter College Students for Justice in Palestine host a study on Anti-Imperialism and International Solidarity, February 2016

NEW YORK CITY, NY — KABATAAN MAGKAISA! (YOUTH UNITE!) Our comrades in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), throughout NYC are constantly under attack from Zionists and other various genocide supporters. Recently, however, the Zionist Organization of America has made an attempt to escalate this repression of our fellow activists fighting for the liberation of Palestine. This repression must be met with resistance from revolutionary and progressive-minded youth and students.

Anakbayan New York strongly condemns the recent statements released by the Zionist Organization of America against SJP clubs in New York City. In an attempt to convince university officials to shut down SJP chapters throughout the City University of New York (CUNY), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has sent a 14-page letter to CUNY Chancellor Milliken claiming that SJPs throughout CUNY were engaging in “…hateful, anti-Semitic, and violence-inciting conduct.” However, this is not the case. As a mass organization of militant and progressive Filipino youth, Anakbayan New York has had many opportunities to work with Students for Justice in Palestine and march alongside our comrades condemning Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian homeland. Through this period, we have encountered only the opposite of the claims made by ZOA. In fact, an examination of the facts would point us to those who are truly “…hateful, anti-Semitic, and violence-inciting.”

It is the Zionists and NOT SJP that are “hateful.”
A basic examination and comparison of Zionist organizations and Palestine Solidarity organizations will quickly reveal that it is actually the Zionists and their organizations that spread hateful propaganda against the justified resistance of Palestinians to Israeli settler-colonialism.  “And as Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, points out, ‘Any existing hostility toward Muslims is based on rational truths”. This statement portrays the islamophobia the Zionist Organization of American instills. Furthermore, the Zionist hostile hateful view is evident in several massacres such as the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre where a Palestinian demonstration was met by Zionist army live ammunitions, killing 23 and wounding hundreds more. These are the actions and ideas that Zionist organizations defend– and even promote.

On the other hand, NYC SJP, since its formation has promoted principled and democratic principles of organizing and rights of the People. Furthermore, NYC SJP promotes the diversity amongst its ranks and condemns hatred against other oppressed groups aside from Palestinians. As their own wordpress reads: “Just as SJP condemns the racism and discrimination underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel, SJP rejects any form of hatred or discrimination against any religious or ethnic group. SJP’s strength is in the great diversity of its membership. SJP welcomes individuals of all backgrounds to join in solidarity with the struggle for justice in Palestine.” Beyond this, NYC SJP is actually known for upholding the rights of different oppressed groups against the reactionary and oppressive ruling system–participating in anti-police brutality events and marches, joining in protests to free First Nations political prisoners,  and working with Anakbayan to promote international solidarity between oppressed nations.

It is the Zionists that are “anti-Semitic.”
Detractors such as the ZOA and other Zionist organizations conflate the settler colonial political ideology that is Zionism with the religious group that refers to followers of Judaism; a common tactic used to intentionally blur the lines between criticism of the Israeli state with racial and religious hatred. This kind of practice is similar to the kind of repression and silencing of dissent that the Philippine government uses to vilify activists and everyday people who criticize and oppose the government of the ruling classes. The idea that the forcible welding together of Zionism and Jewish identity is itself anti-semitism has been commented from various points of view. From the perspective that Zionism was an outgrowth of White Supremacy rather than Jewish identity, to the reality that many non-European Jews themselves face racial hatred and discrimination within the state of Israel.

It is the Zionists that are “violence-inciting.”
One major claim that Zionists continuously make against SJPs and Palestine Solidarity organizations in general is the idea that the politics, practice, and sometimes even the very presence of SJPs on campuses apparently encourages violence–particularly against Jews. The reality however is that it is actually Zionists who promote violence and laud crimes against the People through their continuous support of the ongoing Israeli settler-colonial regime that destroys Palestinian lives. More concretely for CUNY students, Zionist organizations such as Hillel International, Zionist Organization of America, and Hunter Students for Israel attempted to host an event featuring Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar. Kedar is known for having advocated rape as a tool to combat “terrorism.” Thankfully, the event was cancelled. However, it must be noted that the event was not cancelled because these various Zionist organizations had a sudden change of heart–indeed, it was SJP and allies once more who began to resist the appearance of a rape advocate such as Kedar on CUNY campuses.

While Zionists were busy promoting war, occupation, and genocide–with rape as a tool to carry these out–our experience working alongside comrades from NYC SJP has shown them to stand firm against militarization of schools, against racism and discrimination, and support the struggles for national liberation and democracy of other oppressed countries such as the Philippines. It is for these reasons that we as Anakbayan have continuously worked with and will continue to strengthen our relationship with NYC Students for Justice in Palestine.

As a progressive and revolutionary-minded youth organization, Anakbayan New York stands firmly with our comrades in NYC SJP. By pushing for a democratization of our education, we demand that education in CUNY be determined by those who make up CUNY such as students, the working class and oppressed communities, the teachers, and campus workers.

We call on our fellow youth and students to combat the ongoing scourge of Zionism and other anti-People ideologies on our campuses and communities and to unite with NYC SJP to fight against these oppressive forces. We demand an end to the repression of NYC SJP’s right to speech and also the right for an education serves the interests of the most oppressed communities.

NYC Students for Justice in Palestine  on an exposure trip in the Philippines with Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students, January 2016