By Lea Speyer
Campus watchdogs accused student activists on Wednesday of taking advantage of the rage being expressed against the newly instated Trump administration in Washington to further an anti-Israel agenda.
According to Aviva Slomich, international campus director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), this is just the latest example of students across the US “hijacking political causes to demonize Israel.”
“This is dangerous,” Slomich told The Algemeiner, “because the protesters are receiving slanted information and most are not even aware that their particular cause has been co-opted by these extremist voices. Zionist students, who are well versed in anti-Israel propaganda, do understand what is happening, and at a minimum are made to feel uncomfortable or, even worse, are excluded from participating.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, concurred. “Moves to align the issue of ‘Palestine’ with anti-Trump activism is part of a greater national platform push by anti-Israel groups,” she said. “There is no question that this is not just an ad-hoc attempt. Anti-Israel groups have made it a high priority to opportunistically use the growing anger and fear many are feeling against the administration to carry out their goal — the elimination of the Jewish state. They aren’t interested in the cause against President Donald Trump, per se, but rather to gain strength and support for their hateful and genocidal agenda.”
Even Jewish students on their side on this and other issues, Rossman-Benjamin told The Algemeiner, are being “absolutely shunned and told that because they are Zionist, they cannot be part of the movement, because Zionism is racism.”
According to Ilan Sinelnikov, founder of grassroots group Students Supporting Israel, the attempt to capitalize on current anti-Trump campus sentiment is “like a marketing game.”
“It isn’t about what is rational; it’s all emotional,” he told The Algemeiner. “For example, chants created by anti-Israel groups linking Trump to ‘Palestine’ are easy to remember and win people over.”
Throughout the US, college students have been demonstrating against the country’s new president. Many of the protests, The Algemeiner has found, include anti-Israel activity.
During a protest at the University of Texas on Inauguration Day, demonstrators chanted, “From Palestine to the Rio Grande, no more walls on our land,” connecting the president’s vow to build a wall along the US-Mexico border with the security barrier between Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. At the same demonstration, a leader of a minority student group read aloud a list of demands, which included “freedom for Palestine.”
During a demonstration at Portland State University (PSU), featured speaker Hanna Eid — a PSU student and member of the International Socialist Organization — accused school officials and the Trump administration of oppressing anti-Israel activists, stating:
We passed a BDS resolution here at Portland State, but it was not an easy journey. President Wim Wiewel sent out an email saying the resolution was divisive and ill-informed, and he has made his connections to — inappropriate connections — to the Israeli lobby known at the expense of [Palestinian] students but certainly other students who are advocating for a free Palestine.
How this plays into the macro image is — with Donald Trump’s cabinet and their virulent support of the apartheid regime in Israel and many of his cabinet picks are open supporters of settlement building — if not donators.
At a protest at the University of Georgia, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) accused the “colonial American regime” of global human rights violations and called Trump’s presidency “illegitimate.” This echoed a previous SJP characterization of the US as the “world’s greatest imperial power,” which facilitates Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.
Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, protesters across the country — among them hundreds of thousands of women — have been casting aspersions on his election; have compared him to Hitler; and have warned against his proposed domestic and foreign policies.
© 2017 The Algemeiner Journal