This article first appeared in Times of Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) will be holding its national conference at UCLA from November 16-18. A few years ago (February 2011), SJP held its Western regional conference on the Westwood campus. That featured the anti-semitic Oakland imam, Amir Abdel Malik Ali, leading his audience in the "pledge of allegiance", which bore no resemblance to the one most of us recite here in the US. Ali's "pledge" swore to fight to the death on behalf of Islam, jihad, and all that charming stuff.
There is much opposition to this year's conference, as well there should be. SJP is anti-Jewish to its core. No matter that they have a few misguided misfits of Jewish background. They are all for the total destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.
Here is an op-ed that the feckless UCLA chancellor, Gene Block, has written in the LA Times regarding the conference.
With all due respect, Mr Block is full of it. For years, he has allowed Jewish students at UCLA to be bullied and intimidated by the likes of SJP, the Muslim Student Association, and other pro-Palestinian forces. He is hardly alone among UC chancellors. From UC San Diego to UC Berkeley and in-between, it's the same old story. For 20 years, I have seen it first-hand on the UC Irvine campus where I taught part-time from 1998-2016. In the past two years since I stopped teaching there, I have attended subsequent events where the bully-boy antics of the SJP have been on full display. Their tactics are simple: disrupt, bully and intimidate. They are a disgraceful and despicable organization.
And look who is headlining this year's freak show at UCLA. The keynote speaker is Chicago-based Palestinian activist, Hatem Abudayyeh. Here is what Discover the Networks has to say about Abudayyeh.
Abudayyeh was an outspoken supporter of Rasmieh Odeh, the Palestinian woman who was convicted of terrorism in Israel, hid that fact while immigrating to the US, and was finally deported after lengthy and costly legal proceedings. All the while, she appeared in front of the courthouse where she was being tried shouting into a bullhorn to her followers about how unjust America is. And this guy Abudayyeh was one of her biggest boosters.
Lovely fellow. Just what SJP wants to represent them. We should all draw the appropriate conclusions.
As Chancellor Block stated, SJP has the right to free speech. But make no mistake. From November 16-18, hate speech will be on display at UCLA. With the new outbreak of fighting between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza, no doubt the rhetoric at UCLA will get even more heated. The 2016 UC Statement of Principles Against Intolerance, which Block referenced, will be violated to the point of making it nothing more than a scrap of paper.