Is pressure on Palestinian activists making Jewish students any safer?

The Plight of Palestine: Defending Anti-Zionism, in Defense of the Israel-Palestinian Civil Libertarian Rights and Expression

For Palestinian and Muslim students, the invocation of terrorism law is especially frightening. Anti-Zionist activism is not new; in 35 states, there are laws that target the movement against Israel. A new level of oppression is described by advocates for Palestinian rights. “The ADL is calling for the mass violation of students’ rights in a manner that’s reminiscent of the post 9/11 environment, but with a more intensely Palestinian twist,” said Radhika Sainath, a senior staff attorney at the civil rights organization Palestine Legal. She predicts that if federal and state governments follow through on ADL demands, there will be an increase in surveilling, infiltrate and investigation of Palestinians, even though their groups have already done nothing but engage in free speech.

As with the conflict between Israel and Palestine more broadly, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a libertarian-leaning free speech organization, shared data with me showing that, since 2002, there have been more attempts made to de-platform pro-Palestinian campus speakers than pro-Israel ones. Efforts to disrupt or disinvit pro-Israel speakers are more likely to be successful.

He resigned from the National Lawyers Guild because he didn’t want to face a purge and sign onto a strictly pro-Palestinian line. Years later, he became the in-house antisemitism expert at the American Jewish Committee, but eventually left in part over concern that, in its ardent defense of Israel on college campuses, the group was forsaking a commitment to academic freedom. He helped draft the definition that includes anti-Zionism. He’s also inveighed, in opinion essays, congressional testimony and in his 2020 book, against the use of that definition, put out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, to traduce the free speech of Israel’s critics.

Both sides have credible stories to tell about being intimidated andcensored. Where that intimidation is coming from is different. For supporters of Israel, it largely comes from peers and, in some cases, professors. Powerful outside institutions include the state, for supporters of Palestine.

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at state universities has been ordered closed by the governor. The tool kit used to support terrorism is something that will not be accepted in the state of Florida. Virginia’s Republican attorney general has opened an investigation into American Muslims for Palestine, a national group that, according to the ADL, helps coordinate the activities of Students for Justice in Palestine, “for potentially violating Virginia’s charitable solicitation laws, including benefiting or providing support to terrorist organizations.” Several Republicans, including Donald Trump, have called for revoking the visas of pro-Palestinian student activists.

The authorities have opened a hate crime investigation regarding a hit-and-run that left a Muslim student injured at a university.

According to the university, a black S.U.V. hit the student on the campus in Stanford, Calif., just before 2 p.m. The driver left the scene, and the student was being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said that it had opened a hate crime investigation based on preliminary information from the California Highway Patrol. Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the Highway Patrol commented further on the investigation. The authorities did not release the driver’s name.

In a statement shared by a student group that has been organizing sit-ins on campus to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza amid its war with Hamas, the student who reported being struck said that he recognized the driver as someone “who had previously shown animosity” toward his community and that he was disappointed in what he described as a slow and inadequate response by the university.

In an email, the spokeswoman said that campus authorities issued information to the community as soon as they had enough details to do so.

Richard Saller, the university’s president, and Jennymartinez, its provost, were disturbed by the report of possibly hate-based physical violence on the school’s campus. Such violence, they added, is “morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.”

In the wake of the hit-and-run report, Stanford’s public safety department said that it was deploying additional security at “key locations” on campus.

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