Thursday, May 15, 2014

More articles on SJP Vassar

The story about the Vassar chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and their publication of posters and other material from Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist websites has spread more widely today, since the President of Vassar denounced them and announced that an investigation into the group has been started. Here's some recent articles:

From the local Poughkeepsie newspaper, the Poughkeepsie Journal:
An anti-Semitic online posting by a Vassar College student organization has prompted an investigation and a call for Students for Justice in Palestine to distance itself from the Town of Poughkeepsie school. 
In an email message addressed to students, faculty and employees, college President Catharine Hill condemned “a racist, anti-Semitic graphic posted to the Tumblr online site affiliated with the Vassar chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.” College spokesman Jeff Kosmacher described the graphic as a Nazi propaganda political cartoon from World War II “with a racist, white supremacist message.” 
SJP Vassar is a college “preliminary organization.” This status is required of all student organizations seeking certification by the Vassar Student Association. Kosmacher said the college administration and student association will investigate the posting, which occurred within the past week. A spokesman for SJP Vassar, speaking through Facebook, declined comment. 
Hill said in her email the college will investigate the online posting as a bias incident.
“I also request that the SJP Vassar membership take responsibility for its actions and cease representing itself as an official Vassar group, pending these investigations,” the email read. “Vassar College is committed to free speech and academic freedom, but we condemn racist, hateful speech.”
A new article from William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection on an attempt by conservative students at Vassar to put up a "wall of truth" to counter the "apartheid wall" that SJP had put up earlier this year.
The Vassar Conservative-Libertarian Union (VCLU), which sponsored my speech at Vassar, decided that it was time to protest before students left campus for the summer.
VCLU erected a Wall of Truth to counter the many defamatory and false allegations made against Israel. 
The Wall of Truth specifically was placed in the same location that Vassar SJP puts its misnomered “Apartheid Wall” during Israeli Apartheid Week. 
Julian Hassan of VCLU told me on the phone this afternoon that when VCLU put up the Wall of Truth he was confronted by administrators telling him to take it down because it was putting the campus on edge, and that there was not proper permitting. Some students also went to administrators complaining that the Wall of Truth was biased and should be taken down.
The new "wall" was taken down this afternoon by administrators at the college.

The Times of Israel posted an article today.
SJP’s Tumblr account recently published a Nazi propaganda poster by Norwegian artist Harald Damsleth captioned “Liberators” in which a many limbed monster decorated with the US flag, holding a money bag grasped by a long-nosed banker, and wearing a Star of David as a loin cloth, stomps on houses of the innocent. 
Vassar President Catherine Hill released an email Wednesday stating that SJP’s status as a campus organization is called into question. 
In response to this Nazi propaganda posting, the college is initiating a full investigation, wrote Hill.
Jonathan Marks of Commentary posted yesterday on the second SJP "apology":
This apology is better than anything SJP Vassar has said so far, though it does not account for the rant, linked to on SJP Vassar’s Facebook page, that I wrote about earlier in the week, accusing its critics of being “Zionist watchdogs,” paid by “Zionist watchdog organizations” to make “slanderous claims.” This rant, issued in the name of the organization, was presumably written in full knowledge of the posts the “SJP Vassar General Body” now disavows. 
Now consider the post that immediately follows the apology, a quotation attributed to George Habash. “In today’s world no one is innocent, no one is neutral. A man is either with the oppressor or the oppressed. He who takes no interest in politics gives his blessing to the prevailing order.” 
COMMENTARY readers will know that Habash founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organization committed to the recovery, through violence, of the whole of what is now Israel, or what Habash called “the Occupied Territories of 1948.” The “only language,” says the PFLP’s founding document, “that the enemy understands is the language of revolutionary violence.” The PFLP pursued its program not only through a series of airline hijackings but also through actions like the 1972 Lods Airport massacre, in which terrorists working with the PFLP fired machine guns and threw grenades into crowds of people waiting in what is now Ben Gurion airport, killing 39. It is in this context that we have to consider the Habash quotation which begins, “Has it been said that these operations expose the lives of innocent people to danger?” Or, as Habash stated more boldly in a 1970 interview, to “kill a Jew far from the battlefield has more effect than killing 100 of them in battle.” That the new post-apology era begins with Habash is, to say the least, not encouraging.
A former student at Vassar (graduated two years ago) posted an article on Daily Kos:
I graduated from Vassar two years ago and I am a proud left winger, but I just can't be down with the Students for Justice in Palestine group at my alma mater. The group is full of filthy anti-Semites, who are spectacularly ignorant about everything from Nazi propaganda to Israel's defense of itself. 
When I read about how some of the SJP characters picketed an Israel class trip meeting, I couldn't help but be reminded of the images of 1960s when equally nasty white people frightened brave souls like little Ruby Bridges, or the Little Rock Nine, as they entered school. But now they've gone too far. Recently SJP-Vassar posted a Nazi propaganda poster to their Tumblr! (Notice the big-nosed Jew hiding behind the money bag in the machine's left hand.) 
.....Amazingly, the SJP can't see this bigotry (and self hate; notice the black arms in the poster?) when they invoke Nazi propaganda posters and anti-Zionist writings authored by trash like Greg Felton. When called on this bullshit the group tweeted that it didn't matter where the idea came from. Excuse me? Imagine the response if some group had quoted a prominent, anti-black racist to support an intellectual assertion. 
Tonight Vassar College president Catherine Hill took a great first step by sending out a campus email where she revoked SJP's club status and initiated an investigation of their hate speech. But some Vassarions—judging from my Facebook feed— are trying to change the subject, which goes against Vassar values. When a group is targeted, the Vassar community is supposed to address their pain, not attempt a changing of the subject. All forms of bigotry are repulsive and Vassarions should stand up against this garbage and not excuse it or try to change the subject. 
Vassar has become a reactionary, illiberal place full of unlettered bigots. No longer will I aid those values with donations.

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