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SJP — Students Justifiably Perplexed

Last weekend, another group calling itself SJP — Students for Justice in Palestine — spent three days on the Stanford campus at a conference they said would “create space for a critical discussion on solidarity.”

We felt that this was an important goal and expected SJP members to stand with Palestinians who are in favor of peace with Israel. Such pro-peace Palestinians need all the help they can get, because the two Palestinian governments in power today refuse to accept the principle of “two states for two peoples.” In Gaza, Hamas rules with an iron fist and continues to prepare for war against Israel. In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ four-year term expired in 2009, but he has refused to hold new elections. And In both places, Palestinian security forces intimidate and jail dissidents who criticize their leaders.

We studied the SJP conference program. None of the Palestinian governments’ human rights violations were mentioned. Instead, the program was filled with euphemisms about the importance of destroying Israel, the most progressive state in the Middle East. Is this what it means to stand in solidarity with Palestine?

Elsewhere in the Middle East, oppressed peoples are in great need of support: Women who want to drive in Saudi Arabia, anti-theocratic bloggers in Iran, Christians in Egypt and even Palestinians fleeing the civil war in Syria. There is no mention of these cases in the SJP conference program.

Why does SJP only mobilize to promote reactionary forces? What will it take for SJP to show solidarity with progressive, pro-peace groups? Are anti-Israel extremists the only kinds of people who are worthy of SJP support?

We don’t get it. We are trying to figure it out. And until we do, we are Students Justifiably Perplexed.

Omri Rahmil is a fourth-year Political science Major.
Grant Fineman is a second-year at UC Berkeley.
Matt Lurie is a second-year at UC San Diego.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, November 6, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
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Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB.
Opinions are submitted primarily by students.


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10 Responses to SJP — Students Justifiably Perplexed

  1. tal

    November 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

    completely agree with this article. I would love to know how the SJP group at my campus is promoting justice by acts of violence, hatred and interrupting Jewish events that have absolutely nothing to do with Israel. It’s about time they learned about peaceful methods of promoting ideology, like the Muslim groups on campus that have incredible programing and people with open minds. Thank you for speaking up against a horrific student organization! I still dont understand why schools allow this on their campus

  2. mxm123

    November 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

    “We studied the SJP conference program. None of the Palestinian governments’ human rights violations were mentioned.”

    How many times did you or for that matter AIPAC mention “settlements” ?

  3. Shay

    November 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    This is possibly one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever read, and that fact that it’s coming from a fourth year polisci student makes it even worse. What does extremism come from? I’m sure you’ve learned that in your classes. It comes from oppresion. Also, It’s a students for justice in Palestine. They aren’t addressing the entirity of the Middle East. No one says, and I dare you to ask them, that other nations dictators are supported by SJP members. However, it is like joining a car club and saying why don’t they have seminars about running. The club is specifically about Palestine Israel. And just fyi, if “peace” is created by bombing the other side until they don’t exist, but at least then there’s peace, that’s not what SJP stands for. They stand for justice. Clearly, you learned nothing from their conference.

    • oppression

      November 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      it’s interesting how violence remains an acceptable behavior when it comes to islamic extremism.

      if we look at oppressed people all over the world, few rival the kind of brutality and barbaric methods of islamists and arab extremists. their behavior is not a manifestation of oppression, but hatred.

      palestinians are RAISED in a climate of hatred and hostility. look at palestinian tv, children are conditioned to have a warped view of the world and global politics. look at the monoculture in many arab countries, the lack of intellectual diversity, rejection of alternative viewpoints, and disgusting treatment of women, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals.

      a feeling and identity of victimhood does not mean there is a reality of victimhood! reading the newspapers in muslim countries and watching their television personalities you’d think they were from a another universe. detached from reality would be an understatement.

    • BS

      November 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Extremism comes from oppression huh? What oppression was there in 1920, which is when organized Palestinian violence against Jews began? What about in 1947 when Palestinian and Arab leaders started a genocidal war? SJP’s definition of justice is the elimination of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. They can cloak it however they want, but at the end of the day what they’re calling for is the violation of Jewish rights to self-determination. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. The truth of the matter is that if you actually support justice, you must by definition oppose SJP and their malicious goals.

  4. Arafat

    November 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I am convinced that the regressive, extremist interpretation of Islam has turned us into a backward, perverse society. We repress our dark urges but they find their outlet in frustration, jealousy, hatred, terrorism and the desire to destroy the West. While the Islamic Paradise is sexual and permissive, it cannot be attained through normal means because it is conditioned on death and on killing innocent victims. The truth is that Paradise really does exist, but only in the West. This is evident to any shepherd in the Middle East who has access to a generator, a television set and a satellite dish.
    The culture gap is frustrating and leads to a strong desire to copy the West and even belong to it; but it also leads to a destructive envy of the West by the radical Islamic ideologues, who hate music, dancing, democracy, Western society, pluralism and the pleasures of this world.
    It is hard to judge what goes on in the mind of a Muslim who, every Friday, listens to the nonsense propounded by the Imam about jahiliyya and the West. I am certain that the conflict leads every observant Muslim like myself to feel a deep envy leading him to hate himself and the West, its progress and achievements. The knowledge that, apart from the Holy Qur’an, we have not contributed anything to the progress of mankind, beyond a collection of wars and terrorist attacks, frustrates and depresses many of us. An internal conflict grows as we realize that we are more than one billion strong, and that we possess an enormous amount of the geography of the world, its fresh water, its oil and its riches, but that to the world at large, we represent backwardness and violence, and that the excuses of our leaders are couched in empty, anachronistic terms such as “Western imperialism and colonialism.”

    • Omri Rahmil

      November 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      This was not an op-ed questioning any religion. Your comment undermines everything I have written, is incredibly offensive, and is not wanted in any further discourse of the subject at hand.

      • Arafat

        November 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

        Well Omar it might be helpful if instead of getting angry and defensive you tried to approach my comment rationally.

        You acknowledge your confusion concerning some of the Palestinian positions as well as with other Islamic countries where human rights are less than ideal. I understand it is a form of apostasy to critically examine Islam and I’d suggest this inability on your part to do so is why you are “perplexed”.

        You might read books by former Muslims like Ibn Warraq for help in understanding why Islam and prejudice, violence and hatred of others are so prevalent.

        Or instead you can simply get angry and defensive. It’s your choice. You’re in America and are free to do what you like.

        • mxm123

          November 9, 2013 at 7:58 am

          Hey its Arafat our paid IDF blogger. Could u update us on Israeli settlements for fanatical settlers. Or would that be too inconvenient >

  5. Arafat

    November 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Brilliant. Finally some students who get it AND have the guts to publicly state it.

    Thank you for highlighting the hypocrisy and sadistic nature of SJP.