Breaking! Fordham University is still trying to silence Students for Justice in Palestine


July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020, New York –  Students asked New York’s Appellate Court on Friday to reject an effort by Fordham University to overturn a decision ordering the school to recognize the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club. The students are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and cooperating counsel Alan Levine. 

“It’s ridiculous to us that our university is still trying to censor us now,” said Veer Shetty, vice president of SJP at Fordham. “We’ve already been active for a year, and appealing the court’s ruling feels especially cruel.”

The original case stems from a fall 2015 effort by Fordham University students to start a Students for Justice in Palestine club on campus. Administrators dragged out the application process for a year – including multiple meetings, questioning students on their political views, and amendments to SJP’s constitution.

In November 2016, Fordham’s undergraduate student government approved SJP as a student club. One month later, Fordham University Dean of Students Keith Eldredge took the unprecedented step of vetoing the student government’s approval based on SJP’s “political goals” and the possibility it would lead to “polarization.” 

The Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and Alan Levine sued Fordham on behalf of four students in April 2017, winning the case in August 2019 when a New York court annulled Fordham’s decision, mandating that the university recognize SJP as an official club. 

Fordham appealed the ruling in January 2020. Oral argument is expected in the Court’s September term.  

While all of the original students who wanted to form SJP have since graduated, petitioner Veer Shetty was successfully added to the suit in 2019 as a sophomore who wanted to join SJP.   Shetty has served as SJP’s vice president during the 2019-2020 school year following the legal victory. Fordham is also challenging the ruling accepting Shetty as a petitioner. 

“Last August, the court found that Fordham acted irrationally in banning SJP and ordered Fordham to recognize the club,” said Maria LaHood, deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Now, even after SJP has been active on campus for a year, Fordham is still shamelessly trying to stop them – for what?”

The brief filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Palestine Legal, and Alan Levine argues that the lower court properly found that Fordham violated its own rules in denying SJP club status and that Fordham’s focus on the reported conduct of SJPs at other schools in denying club status to SJP at Fordham was irrational. 

“Fordham should never have vetoed SJP in the first place,” said Palestine Legal senior staff attorney Radhika Sainath. “The fact that the school is still trying to stop students from speaking out for Palestinian freedom, now, with annexation and in the middle of a pandemic, is beyond belief.” 

“We are confident that the appeals court, like Supreme Court Justice Bannon, will find that Fordham‘s denial of club recognition for SJP was no more than an act of naked political censorship,” said attorney Alan Levine.

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Time’s Up Israel: Get Your Knee Off Palestine’s Neck

SAM BAHOUR, CounterPunch, July 16, 2020

The timer is now ticking on Israel. While Israel historically put Palestinians on the slow burner, gnawing at their lands and livelihoods, time was in Israel’s favor as the world turned a blind eye. Those days are over.

Israel must now choose, allow the state of Palestine to emerge, or have it imposed upon them. The traditional options of two-states vs. one state of Israel without equality for all its citizens have passed long ago. Israel can accept Palestine in all the occupied territory of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, or ultimately be forced to accept Palestine from the river to the sea.

For us Palestinians, like any normal human beings on this earth, it is natural for us to expect to be viewed as a people worthy of our rights, freedom, and independence. The days when this can be ignored are over too.

Today, all have been exposed to the naked eye. Thanks to decades of denial by Jewish Israeli citizens and the Jewish diaspora, US President Trump and his messianic entourage of Jared Kushner and David M. Friedman, Israel’s state-sanctioned settlement enterprise, financier Sheldon Adelson’s fanaticism, Christian Evangelicals bent on personally witnessing the Armageddon, and none other than Israel’s own extremist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation frenzy, a frenzy on steroids attempting to divert his path to jail on three corruption charges.

To force the timer to tick even faster, outgoing Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, in an interview with Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk program, proudly proclaimed, “I represent not only the people of Israel, I represented [sic] the Jewish people in the U.N.”. He went on, “We [Jews] do have biblical rights to the land. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Jew — you read the Bible, you read the stories of the Bible — it’s all there.” It got worse. He went on to say, “This is our deed to the land. That’s biblical.” This from Israel’s top international diplomat! Regardless of how one views the Bible, it’s a religious text, not a document that can be submitted in a case of international law.

The further back Israel goes in time, the faster today’s timer is ticking. Below I will touch on three momentous developments lubricating the timer.

Peter Beinart, Zionism, and the ‘Jewish State’

Enter Peter Beinart. A prominent and outspoken observant Jewish American columnist, journalist, political commentator, and professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his parents were Jewish immigrants from South Africa. He is a self-defined Zionist, albeit from the flavor that most Israeli Jews would dismiss.

Earlier this month, Beinart penned a long-read essay titled, Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine, and then followed it up with a New York Times opinion piece titled, I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State. He makes a monumental shift from supporting a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine side by side, to arguing that Zionism does not require a ‘Jewish State’ at all and calls for his fellow Jews to come to this understanding.

It is interesting to note that Palestinians have always made the point that they have nothing against Judaism, rather they view Zionism as having hijacked this noble religion to the detriment of Israelis and Palestinians alike. To be clear, the only version of Zionism Palestinians have experienced is the one that is a political ideology based on supremacy. This Zionism has held conferences starting in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland, and has left behind an incriminating and bloody paper trail.

Peter is my friend. We have interlocked as editor and writer, spoke on the same panel at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and he has attended many of the talks I have given to Jewish American audiences when they visited Bethlehem. He has universal values and does not discriminate when applying them. He knows how to actively listen, ask probing questions, and analyze in relation to reality rather than blindly forcing reality to fit a set of Israeli state talking points. Most importantly, he has opened the Pandora’s box of global Jewry. For this, he will go down in history next to notable early Zionist thinkers such as Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, and Judah Magnes, among others.

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I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State

For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state.


Israeli soldiers interacting in the West Bank last month with a Palestinian woman protesting the demolition of an unapproved animal shed. (Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA, via Shutterstock)

Peter Beinart, The New York Times, July 8, 2020

I was 22 in 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn to officially begin the peace process that many hoped would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. I’ve been arguing for a two-state solution — first in late-night bull sessions, then in articles and speeches — ever since.

I believed in Israel as a Jewish state because I grew up in a family that had hopscotched from continent to continent as diaspora Jewish communities crumbled. I saw Israel’s impact on my grandfather and father, who were never as happy or secure as when enveloped in a society of Jews. And I knew that Israel was a source of comfort and pride to millions of other Jews, some of whose families had experienced traumas greater than my own.

One day in early adulthood, I walked through Jerusalem, reading street names that catalog Jewish history, and felt that comfort and pride myself. I knew Israel was wrong to deny Palestinians in the West Bank citizenship, due process, free movement and the right to vote in the country in which they lived. But the dream of a two-state solution that would give Palestinians a country of their own let me hope that I could remain a liberal and a supporter of Jewish statehood at the same time.

Events have now extinguished that hope.

About 640,000 Jewish settlers now live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Israeli and American governments have divested Palestinian statehood of any real meaning. The Trump administration’s peace plan envisions an archipelago of Palestinian towns, scattered across as little as 70 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control. Even the leaders of Israel’s supposedly center-left parties don’t support a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. The West Bank hosts Israel’s newest medical school.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fulfills his pledge to impose Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, he will just formalize a decades-old reality: In practice, Israel annexed the West Bank long ago.

Israel has all but made its decision: one country that includes millions of Palestinians who lack basic rights. Now liberal Zionists must make our decision, too. It’s time to abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.

Equality could come in the form of one state that includes Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as writers such as Yousef Munayyer and Edward Said have proposed; or it could be a confederation that allows free movement between two deeply integrated countries. (I discuss these options at greater length in an essay in Jewish Currents). The process of achieving equality would be long and difficult, and would most likely meet resistance from both Palestinian and Jewish hard-liners.

But it’s not fanciful. The goal of equality is now more realistic than the goal of separation. The reason is that changing the status quo requires a vision powerful enough to create a mass movement. A fragmented Palestinian state under Israeli control does not offer that vision. Equality can. Increasingly, one equal state is not only the preference of young Palestinians. It is the preference of young Americans, too.


Israeli soldiers checking a Palestinian’s identification in the West Bank city of Hebron in June. (Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA, via Shutterstock)

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Palestinian civil society calls for sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council renews the call for targeted sanctions

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, BDS National Committee, July 1, 2020

Israel’s extremist government decided today to keep everyone in the dark about if and how it will make use of the “golden opportunity” offered by the Trump administration to embark on de jure annexation of large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. No one should be misled, however. Israel will continue to quietly de facto annex occupied Palestinian territory, as it has done for decades, while trying to appease its Western allies. But as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation.”

Hundreds of international law scholars agree. They write that Israeli annexations of occupied territory are “null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances –  lead to individual international criminal liability,” regardless whether such annexations are effected “through ‘extension of sovereignty,’ ‘extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,’ or explicit annexation.” They concluded, “de facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation.”

For over a thousand European parliamentarians, “Failure to adequately respond [to Israeli annexation] would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” undermining “the most basic norms guiding international relations, including the UN Charter.”

The international community must therefore impose lawful, targeted and immediate sanctions on Israel in response to its ongoing annexation, illegal military occupation and apartheid regime of racial discrimination, segregation and territorial expansion that is enshrined in Israel’s domestic law.

With its silence, Israel hopes to silence global mobilizations that have compelled the international community to consider accountability measures and to safeguard its impunity. Israel, after all, is well aware that the climate of international complicity and lack of accountability is what has enabled its colonization, apartheid and de facto and de jure annexation of Palestinian territory to continue for decades.

Israel’s de jure annexation of occupied Palestinian territory, formalized in East Jerusalem in 1967 and later entrenched in the 1980 Basic Law, may now be replicated in other parts of the OPT. Such formal annexation crystallizes a “21st century apartheid,” according to dozens of United National human rights experts and constitutes a “most serious violation of international law,” as the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres stated.

Already in 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) warned that Israel’s de facto annexation of its illegal settlements by means of the Wall may become a fait accompli. Sixteen years later, this has indeed materialized. The ICJ called on all States and the United Nations to adopt measures to end these serious Israeli violations of the UN Charter-based international legal order and international humanitarian law and to meet their obligation of non-recognition and non-assistance.

Now is the time for serious accountability measures, not just for the sake of defending Palestinian rights under international law, but crucially to safeguard the very credibility of and respect for international law itself.

In response to Israel’s ongoing annexation and grave violations of Palestinian human rights, Palestinian civil society reiterates its unified call on all States and international organizations to respect their legal obligations to cooperate to end Israel’s illegal occupation, annexation and apartheid, and to withhold all recognition and assistance from it, by immediately implementing, as a matter of priority, the following measures:

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Update: June 27 – 30, 2020
Upcoming Online Events


Saturday, June 27
Local Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Time Bank’s Restorative Justice Program, will lead this action opportunity via Zoom.

Sponsored by Building Unity, Dane County Time Bank, Freedom Inc. and Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice, Sustainability (WNPJS). For more information see the Facebook page or register here.

NOTE: The sponsors are looking for people or groups to host similar sessions. You can get a Co-conspirator Toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party for friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, co-workers and others. For more information, write to Damita Brown: damita at danecountytimebank.org



Sunday, June 28
Counter CUFI with FOSNA
6 PM CDT

Christian Israeli lobbies like Christians United For Israel (CUFI) leverage their political power to ensure the US gives moral and political cover to Israeli colonization, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.

This Sunday, June 28th, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is launching a nationwide effort to counter this deadly lobby and challenge its undue influence on American politics. Join us for a powerful day of action as we raise our voices in opposition to CUFI’s annual summit!

Registration and event details



Sunday, June 28
Livestream: Singing Out for Refugees with Peter Mulvey
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Peter Mulvey returns to the Threshold stage, this time virtually, to share his music, his insights, and his generosity with Open Doors for Refugees, an all volunteer not-for-profit organization that welcomes and supports refugees coming to the greater Madison area.

For details see the Facebook page.




American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Monday, June 29, 2020
1:00 PM CDT

The webinar will be held via Zoom. Register for the webinar here.



Tuesday, June 30
Christian Peacemaker Team Webinar on Annexation
12 noon CDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is planning to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. What does this proposed annexation plan mean for Palestinians living in the West Bank? And how are Palestinians expressing their steadfastness or “sumud” in the face of these new policies and the Israeli occupation? Hear from CPT’s Palestinian partner and a member of the CPT Palestine team, as they discuss these latest developments, as well as an update on the effect of COVID-19 in al-Khalil (Hebron).

REGISTER HERE