The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) urged the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to revoke the registered status of UCSB’s so-called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group, after SJP posted images and words on Facebook that endorse and incite violence against Israelis and Jews.
SJP’s Facebook posts included a photo of a Palestinian Arab woman, whose face is almost completely obscured, menacingly holding the Palestinian flag in one hand and holding up a pistol in the other; a cartoon – drawn in an outline of all of Israel – depicting a woman with an AK-47 assault rifle; a photo featuring Palestinian Arab terrorist Leila Khaled, armed; and messages supporting “armed resistance” – i.e., terrorist attacks against Jews – and defending “the [allegedly] justified methods of those Palestinians seeking liberation from fascist Israeli occupation & apartheid.” Facebook removed the posts.
In a message to the community about SJP’s actions, UCSB’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs did not even condemn SJP for its actions. Instead, UCSB actually condoned and legitimized SJP’s endorsement and incitement of violence, calling them an expression of “political views” protected under the First Amendment.
In a letter to UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang yesterday, the ZOA strongly criticized the university’s outrageous, intolerable and dangerous response to SJP’s actions. The ZOA called for a retraction of the Vice Chancellor’s statement and an apology for issuing it. In addition, the ZOA called on the administration to take the same steps that other university leaders have taken when student groups have expressed highly offensive, threatening and harassing views about African Americans and women. Because these student groups created a hostile learning environment for African Americans and women, these university leaders harshly punished individual students – even expelling some – and prevented these student groups from continuing to operate on campus. Given SJP’s encouragement and incitement of violence against Israelis and Jews, UCSB’s leadership must take the same strong and principled stand.
The ZOA wrote to the Chancellor: “SJP’s actions . . . merit the toughest response, especially given the justifiable concern about gun violence in our schools. UC Santa Barbara has already had its own tragic experience with gun violence and knifings in 2014, resulting in the murder of six students. It is thus incomprehensible and horrifying that the university would minimize SJP’s open promotion of terrorism and ‘armed resistance’ as simply ‘offensive’ and ‘upsetting’ to some people.” A call for “armed resistance” by Palestinian Arabs is code for terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews.
The ZOA called for SJP’s registered status to be revoked in accordance with the Student Conduct Code “until this group demonstrates that it will respect and conform to the rules and standards that apply to everyone else.” SJP must apologize for its Facebook postings, which must include an expression of appreciation as to why this hate group’s conduct was wrong, threatening and dangerous to Jews. In addition, the ZOA urged UCSB to report SJP’s actions to law enforcement as possibly criminal behavior.