Fordham University Facing Backlash for Rejecting SJP on Campus

by STEVE EMERSON February 5, 2017

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) recently condemned Fordham University for banning the radical group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) from campus.

The NLG claims that Fordham's decision continued a "legacy of Anti-Palestinian discrimination, known as the 'Palestinian Exception' to Free Speech..."

In a Dec. 22 email, Fordham Dean of Students Keith Eldredge outlined the university's reasons to block SJP from forming a chapter.

"While students are encouraged to promote diverse political points of view, and we encourage conversation and debate on all topics, I cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country (Israel)..."

Eldredge correctly pointed out that SJP's inherently divisive mandate is a cause for concern.

SJP's purpose "as stated in the proposed club constitution points toward that polarization. Specifically, the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel presents a barrier to open dialogue and mutual learning and understanding."

Eldredge's email was published by the groups Palestine Legal and the Center of Constitutional Rights as part of a joint letter Jan. 17 protesting to Fordham's president. The letter suggests that the university's rejection "was based on the viewpoint of students' message and/or their national origin."

A Fordham spokesperson denied that charge in a written statement, saying the university "has no registered student clubs" with a singular focus to protest one country. "[T]he narrowness of Students for Justice in Palestine's political focus makes it more akin to a lobbying group than a student club."

Fordham's decision "exemplifies a long and ubiquitous history of Anti-Palestinian censorship rampant across campuses, government, and civil institutions that has largely gone under-reported, unchallenged and is coordinated with many Israeli groups," said Lamis Deek, an NLG member with extremist views.

Last October, Deek - who is also an official with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - glorified a Palestinian terrorist as "the Lion of Jerusalem" after he killed two Israelis and injured five others. The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has shown Deek's consistent glorification of violence targeting Jews and Israelis, who has referred to Israel as "the genocidal zionist regime."

Groups like SJP, often make claims of victimization while working to intimidate and silence their detractors. The documentary "Hate Spaces," by Americans for Peace and Tolerance provides overwhelming evidence of widespread anti-Israel intolerance on campuses across the country by organizations like SJP.

In one example, Northeastern University spokeswoman Renata Nyul acknowledges that SJP was suspended after engaging in "vandalism of university property, disrupting the events of other student organizations" and more.

SJP claimed the school's suspension stifled free speech and generated public pressure until SJP was reinstated in 2014.

Now Fordham faces similar pressure.

SJP chapters elsewhere have "a particularly serious impact on Jewish students," Tammi Rossman-Benjamin told the Algemeiner. "Nor do they [universities] end up doing anything about the harmful behavior when it is exhibited."

Her organization, the AMCHA Initiative, tracks campus anti-Semitism. At Fordham University's Middle East Studies Department, it notes, someone posted a sign depicting Uncle Sam calling himself "Israel's b**ch" and included the words "Palestinian apartheid." Contributor Steve Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US." Steve also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog and he is the CEO of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.


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