Beyond the Slogans: Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dangerous Misinformation

When Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) took to White Plaza on October 16th, the average Stanford student likely dismissed the protest as more of the same: trite slogans about occupation and injustice along with Nelson Mandela quotes. However, those who looked closer at SJP’s signs came away disgusted and horrified.

“Settler colonialism has killed 7 Israelis and 32 Palestinians this month,” read one protester’s sign. Really? One of those seven deaths, for example, occurred when a Palestinian terrorist ran over 60-year-old Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky and thenrepeatedly stabbed him to death while he was standing at a bus stop in Jerusalem. The rest have similar stories of extreme close-range violence against civilians on the streets of Israel. SJP blames Israeli “settler colonialism” for these deaths. This is pure victim blaming, and even worse, it excuses the murderous hatred and anti-semitism of the killers. The implication here is that the murders are simply consequences of Israeli actions – settler colonialism. The terror attack, in SJP’s calculus, then merely becomes a reaction, void of any agency on the part of the Palestinians — from whom apparently nothing more is expected. The callousness is offensive to Israelis – who are not colonialists and have offered the Palestinians a state three separate times – and the soft bigotry of low expectations is demeaning to Palestinians.

Israel has been hit by a massive terror wave of stabbings and shootings in the last month. People are afraid to go to bus stops, restaurants, and shops. Any Jew, no matter what age or occupation, is a target, especially ultra-Orthodox Jews, who cannot much hide their Jewishness without compromising their fundamental beliefs. Since the Jewish New Year last month, Israel has been struck by 778 terror attacks, an unconscionable number. Just Thursday, a bomb was defused at a central intersection in Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city.

Over 100 Israelis have been injured and 11 killed; the numbers increase every day as new terror attacks hit. 76 year old Israeli-American Richard Lakin just passed away Tuesday after previously being shot in the head and stabbed repeatedly in the chest while riding the bus. He had been a civil rights activist for decades, even marching with Martin Luther King. However, his murderers did not stop to ask about his political views — they simply saw an Israeli Jew and killed him. He had taught English to a friend of mine. On Monday, November 2nd, an 80 year old Jewish woman was stabbed in the street, seriously injuring her along with at least three others. Luckily, Israeli citizens and police have been extremely vigilant and have stopped most attacks before victims are killed. Their vigilance and training is the only reason that the death count has remained relatively low.

As the Vice President of Cardinal for Israel, I speak on behalf of my organization when I say strongly and clearly that there can be no justification for stabbing a 76-year old to death at a bus stop because of his religion or nationality. Yet SJP criticized Cardinal for Israel’s vigil for “Israeli victims of terror” because “There’s implicit racism in that, because it’s like, all Palestinian Arabs are terrorists, as opposed to mentioning the 39 Palestinians who have lost their lives because of the [Israeli Defense Force],” as the co-facilitator of SJP toldThe Stanford Daily. The claim that holding a vigil for the dead implied all Palestinians are terrorists is entirely unfounded and to criticize Cardinal for Israel for having a meaningful vigil for victims of terrorism is rather crass, I would submit.

[![A picture from Cardinal for Israel’s Vigil for Israeli victims of terror. Source: Miriam Pollock](/content/images/vigil-1024x767.png)](/content/images/vigil.png)
A picture from Cardinal for Israel’s Vigil for Israeli victims of terror. Source: Miriam Pollock
However, SJP went further than victim blaming and making baseless accusations of racism. They handed out leaflets that condemned Israel and Israelis for stopping the terrorists who were trying to kill them. They specifically cited the apprehending of 13-year old terrorist Ahmad Mansara as an example of Israeli brutality. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has also used this story [claiming](http://www.timesofisrael.com/terrorist-abbas-said-executed-by-israel-shown-alive-in-hospital/) that Mansara was “executed in cold blood” by Israel. What both SJP and Abbas forgot to mention was that Mansara had just [stabbed two Israelis](http://www.timesofisrael.com/terrorist-teen-executed-by-israel-confesses-to-attack/) (including a fellow 13-year old who only emerged from a coma last week) outside of a candy shop, and that Mansara is still alive. He is now being treated at an Israeli hospital by the very people he tried to kill.

SJP condemns the Israelis who stop terrorists, and then mourns the deaths of 39 Palestinians, including 18 terrorists shot during the course of their terror attacks (most of the other deaths occurred during riots in which Israeli police were attacked with rocks and Molotov cocktails). What moral sense does that make?

One SJP protester also held up a sign saying “#Al-Aqsa under fire,” referring to the mosque at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam, and the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Currently, the Israeli government does not allow Jews to pray there, despite its importance to Judaism, in part because the authorities know that any Jewish presence near the Al-Aqsa mosque will prompt anti-semitic riots and terror attacks. Palestinian leadership, after all, does not recognize any Jewish right to even visit the holy site.

[![SJP members protest against Israel. Photo credit: Abigail Schott-Rosenfield, Stanford Daily](/content/images/sjp2-1024x548.png)](/content/images/sjp2.png)
SJP members protest against Israel. Source: Abigail Schott-Rosenfield, Stanford Daily
Indeed, as Mahmoud Abbas recently [said](http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Abbas-Israelis-have-no-right-to-desecrate-our-holy-sites-with-their-filthy-feet-416307), “[Jews] have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet.” The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly[spread](http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/the-roots-of-the-palestinian-uprising-against-israel/410944/) [lies](http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-blood-of-martyrs-spilled-on-temple-mount-is-pure/) that Israel is planning on changing the status quo at the Temple Mount, threatening the sovereignty of the al-Aqsa mosque, despite the Israeli government[clearly](http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-no-change-in-temple-mount-policy/) and [repeatedly](https://www.facebook.com/IsraeliPM/videos/1180377141977029/) [saying](http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-Muslims-pray-on-the-Temple-Mount-non-Muslims-visit-429973) that it has no intention of doing so.

This lie has been cited by most of the captured terrorists, including young Ahmed Mansara, as their chief motivation for stabbing, shooting, and running over Jews. This lie has been cynically exploited by Palestinian politicians to incite the recent wave of terror attacks against innocent Israelis. This lie has gotten people killed.

What are Stanford students doing repeating it?

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