You can download a PDF of the program here.
Student Center South University of Houston 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, TXA REIMAGINED WORLD:
DISMANTLING WALLS FROM PALESTINE TO THE RIO GRANDE
In the face of expanding settlements, walls, and state violence, we call for a reimagined world. At our first-ever national conference in the South, student organizers will be convening in a region with a distinct legacy of the displace ment and theft, enslavement and disenfranchisement, and exploitation and domination of oppressed peoples. Today, we witness the continuation of these structures enshrined in the walls of immigration detention camps, the texts of racist state laws, and the blueprints of border walls and fences. Though they are distinct, we find parallels between the Zionist project and its settler colonial counterpart, the United States of America.
Zionists have laid siege to Palestinian land with apartheid walls, segregated roads, and illegal settlements. The mil itarized walls of these two settler colonial projects cast a shadow over the indigenous people of Occupied Palestine and the colonized Americas. Since we know these very real walls and borders began with a colonial imagination, we call for a decolonial reimagining that frames the water in Gaza and the water of the Rio Grande as necessarily connected, that links ICE raids to home demolitions in ’67 Palestine, that continues to intertwine Black and Palestin ian resistance histories and weave them into a collective liberation. As we come together in Houston to create coali tions and grow networks centered on and towards justice, we draw from these legacies of survival and resistance and commit to honoring the histories behind and beneath us.
THE 2011 NATIONAL SJP CONFERENCE Will ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING GOALS:
1. Connecting Our Regions and Struggles: We will con tinue our long-term project of developing regional and local organizing while leaning on our national network to connect and support our movement. Hosted for the first time by a Southern SJP, we will work to understand the multifaceted struggles of the South while strengthening collaborative efforts within all regions to pass BDS, work in solidarity for other struggles, and conceive new campaigns. As we come together as individual organizers and local groups, we will strive to draw conscious connections between our strug gles, moving beyond a lip service of allyship and into true solidarity. In our work to dismantle physical and ideological borders around the world, we must also leave the confines of our local campus and community groups and join forces to grow and mobilize regionally and nationally.
2. Holding onto History: Living in a society that tries to pride itself as being far-removed from notions of white supremacy and racial division, it is important to empha size the fact that although there may seem to be equality de jure, there remains a clear discrepancy de facto. It is important to recognize famous Palestinian activists pun ished and manipulated by supposedly lawful government officials. Looking back at the past 70 years since the Nakba and 100 years since the South’s Great Migration, it is im portant not just to realize the causes for which large num bers of people fled but to acknowledge that even in their new environments they were met with dire circumstances.
At 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and 70 years since the U.N. Partition Plan, it is important to acknowledge
that we are not in this struggle solely to take down certain figures but rather to tear down systemic oppression, built on the ideals of white supremacy and implemented all around the world.
3. Mobilizing Alongside & Beyond Divestment: As many schools make strides in divestment, we need to develop tangible goals and strategies to follow their successful campus BDS campaigns. Meanwhile, we know that divest ment is one of many pathways to change that SJPs can pursue. We will brainstorm new or revived campaigns and explore ways to work alongside and after BDS initiatives, capitalizing on the diverse experiences and skills of our campus groups and helping our movement evolve. We will envision pathways to achieving sanctions in the future and work towards getting our institutions to follow through on commitments to divest.
4. Skill Sharing: We will offer skills-based trainings for and by students in key categories like coalition building, responsible media and press engagement, fundraising, retaining institutional memory, combating normalization, and defending our legal rights as student activists. Stu dents involved in successful campaigns will lead a variety of BOS-oriented workshops on topics like divestment, consumer boycotts, week-long event planning, and more. These workshops will allow participants to return to their respective campuses with the tools, connections, and motivation to build new campaigns or fortify work already underway.
The following are policies that all conference participants are expected to abide by. Breaking these policies may be grounds for removal from the conference. Please be
Aware that no refunds will be granted to individuals that are removed on the basis of violating behavior policies.
Respect for the Spaces and Fellow Participants
All presenters, participants, and observers are expected to treat the host college or university campus, transpor tation vehicles, housing arrangements, and city with the utmost respect. Vandalizing, destroying, or purposeful ly damaging these spaces will not be tolerated and is grounds for removal.
NSJP is committed to providing a learning environment free from discrimination and harassment, and to foster ing a vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all of its members. Please be aware that NSJP will not tolerate discrimination or harassment in any form. If any student feels subjected to harassment or discrimination, we will provide a mechanism for re dress. If for any reason you are subjected to discrimina tion, please contact us.
Each conference participant deserves a safe learning environment where they will be respected and treated fairly by others. Thus, any form of discrimination or ha rassment based on race, sex, gender, sexuality, religion, creed, national origin, ability, age, and citizenship will not be tolerated.
FRIDAY 10/21 SATURDAY 10/28
SJP 101, Version A: Structure, Sustainability, & Vision I Bayou City Room
This workshop aims to provide SJPs with the skills to develop politically both in theory and
in practice. Some of the aspects of organizing that we will speak to include the significance of the social aspect of organizing-building strong relationships with members of your organization to build trust, transparency, and accountability-; internal political development-providing ways for the organization to grow as whole by pushing all members to develop their politics in theory and in practice-; sustainability and base building-investing time and energy in developing a strong core, especially by pulling in the younger members of the organization-; community outreach and coalition building-; and structure-developing a structure that is suitable for the organization.
Dab(ke) on ‘Em Space City Room
Many of us are used to marches, protests, and sit-ins, but Palestinian cultural resistance can show us another narrative about Palestine. Dabke, a Palestinian folk dance, is a representation of cooperation, steadfastness, and determination. Dabke is an art through which Palestinians express their joy and love as well as their connection to their land and history. This session will be an active dabke workshop. Dabke for a free Palestine, learn how to idbik, and return to dance around campus and tell people that sadly, no free Palestine without dabke.
Civil Disobedience & Direct Action: Tools for Asserting Our Demands Astrodome Room
Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “Our purpose when practicing civil disobedience is to call
attention to the injustice or to an unjust law which we seek to change.” There’s plenty of injustice here in America that we need to call attention to. We are in a political moment where resistance is necessary, but how do we effectively practice it? In this workshop, we will be discussing various ways to prepare ourselves to challenge the status quo by engaging in direct action and civil disobedience. Whether you’re challenging U.S. policy towards in Palestine or the U.S./Mexico border wall, we all need to be prepared to ultimately be arrested for what we believe.
Revolution & Counter-Revolution in the Middle East I Downtown Room This panel will provide an analysis of the Arab uprisings of 2011 and the Counter-Revolution that has overtaken them, with a focus specifically on the Syrian Revolution. What were the socio economic reasons for the uprisings, and why did they erupt in 2011? How did counterrevolution come to overtake the region after a period of optimism and mass organization? Syrian leftist Yassin Al Haj Saleh, author of The Impossible Revolution, will speak on the particular case of
the Syrian Revolution and its trajectory. We will examine the relationship of the Arab uprisings to prospects for Palestinian liberation. The panel will also discuss the lessons we must take from the last six years, as we take a step back and maintain a long-term understanding of historical processes in the Middle East and long-term prospects for revolution, democracy, and social justice.
They Can’t Silence Us: Combating Blacklists & the Repression of Palestine Activists I Heights Room
In recent years, the Canary Mission blacklist website, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and other far-right Zionist initiatives have harassed SJP chapters and intimidated supporters for Palestinian rights on campuses across the country. This workshop will be an open space for
s tu den ts to discuss the impact these intimidation campaigns can have on our work and tos hare strategies for combating their influence. We’ll share reports back from campuses that have made progress pressuring their administrations to take action against these campaigns and
to protect student safety and freedom of speech. Members of the Campus PalestineSupp o rt Netwo r k ‘s Combating Canary Mission team will share updates on its work challengingCana ry Mission as well as advice regarding social media privacy, relating to your administr at io n, and ways to combat this repression on both an individual and chapter level.
Understanding Zionism I Midtown Room
To understand Zionism requires confronting it as a reality-of howone people have pu rp o rted a narrative to completely deplete the narrative of another people, the Palestinianpeop le. Not all Jews are Zionist, just as all Zionists are not necessarily Jews. Most certainly there issuc h a thing called Christian Zionism, and liberal Zionists are still running around purveying the myth of” twos- ta te .” This is the opposition we continue to face on campus, in the elite sec to rs of our schools, and in US state and federal spheres. It is entrenched in US imperialism while still maintaining its own imperialist system. Yet, Palestinians have been steadily resist ing it under
occupation and in exile since the late 19th century and until this day. We present to you “Under standing Zionism.”
Allyship: The Thin Line Between Solidarity & Co-opting Struggle Montrose Room
This panel will focus on how to avoid bad habits amongst allies in the West which leadp eop le to v iew Palestine solidarity through a West-centric lens, and also explore how to be better allies to Palestinians both living in Palestine and living in the United States. The purposesi to have a dis cussion about the dangers of co-opting movements for personal politics that are not reflective
of the movement within Palestine, checking oneself for lslamophobic beliefs and understanding the role of religion for many Palestinians in the struggle instead of overlooking or white-wash- ing it because it doesn’t sit well with personal comfort, and recognizing that the language that Palestinians in Palestine use to describe their oppressors and their oppression will differ froma West-centric narrative or from the language of West-based Palestine activists.
Know Your Rights & Fight for Them: Legal Strategy for Student Activists I Bayou City Room
What are your rights when engaging in campus activism? Is your school allowed to charge you extra security fees because the speaker you’ve invited is “controversial”? Can your school punish you for protesting an Israeli government official? What are your school’s responsibilities when you are harassed on campus? Have you or your SJP been falsely accused of antisem i
tism? Join us for a discussion of the ways the laws can help and harm your Palestine solidarity activism.
BOS 101 I Space City Room
This workshop will go through all of the basics of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BOS) call and the how-to’s of a campus-based divestment campaign. We will take you through the steps of a divestment campaign-planning, research, coalition building, media, and launch. It will move on to cover community-based boycott campaigns that can have a local or national impact. Most importantly, the workshop will put the South African apartheid divestment trajec tory in parallel with our own and discuss what comes AFTER a student body votes to divest from companies complicit in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights. It will discuss post-di vest ment campaigns, national actions, and the collective goals for the national student movement. You will leave with sample resolutions and helpful resources to navigate and organize a BOS campaign.
The workshop will be led by two experienced BOS leaders, from UCLA and the University of To ledo, who organized successful divestment campaigns and continue to organize at the campus and community levels to implement tangible change for Palestinian liberation.
Coalition Building: Thinking beyond Campus Boundaries Astrodome Room
Coalition building is an important prerequisite for any organization to go beyond the campus setting and into the community. A coalition consisting of campus and community organizations gives potential to launching local and national campaigns that contribute to a larger movement
-in our case, BOS. In this workshop, we will cover some of the necessary skills SJPs could use to build a coalition on their campuses.
Breaking through the Siege of Gaza: A Personal Account & Its Broader Context I Downtown Room
This session will explore the conditions of war, siege, and forced migration as told through the life of Arkan Dawoud. It will begin by placing Arkan’s story within the context of the Zionist siege of Gaza and the repeated bombardment campaigns targeting the Palestinian people. Arkan
will explain the difficulties he experienced leaving the Gaza Strip, including the actual physical departure and the emotional weight of leaving his family and friends, as well as his arrival in the United States. To conclude, this session will explore the future prospect for those remaining in Gaza with recent news of “reconciliation.”
Neoliberal Palestine I Heights Room
Today, even as the BOS movement mobilizes unprecedented support for the struggle of Palestinians internationally, conditions within Palestine are among the worst faced since 1948. The historic leadership of the Palestinian movement is now collaborating with Israel’s authority, through the mechanism of the Palestinian Authority. In 1993 the signing of the Oslo Accords set in motion the creation of a “one-state economy of peace” that subordinated the West Bank and Gaza to the US, Israel, the EU and their neoliberal capitalist economies, and progressively destroyed Palestinian economic sovereignty and the potential for mass-based Palestinian eco nomic and political power, while setting up the Palestinian Authority as a repressive apparatus to control the Palestinian people on Israel’s behalf. This panel will explore how the strategy of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian elite is incapable of bringing about Palestinian liberation, and examine what alternative has the actual power and potential to extricate us from this mess and bring us closer to liberation.
Heirs to the Promise: Remembering Palestinian Christians & Refuting Christian Zionism I Midtown Room
This workshop will provide participants, Christian and non-Christian, with an in-depth under standing of the heresy of Christian Zionism and its continued role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, as well as a Scriptural refutation of its claims. In addition, participants will be given a firsthand look at the experiences of Palestinian Christians and their contributions to the Palestin ian liberation movement to the present day.
When I See Them: Reimagining Black-Palestinian Solidarity Montrose Room
The contemporary strength of Black-Palestinian solidarity demonstrates a radical potential for change and united resistance to oppression. From the parallels between South African Apart heid and Israeli Apartheid, to water crises in Palestine and Flint, to black solidarity with the Pal estinian cause dating back to the 1960s, to Israel funding genocides on the African continent, the connections between the types of state-sanctionedviolence upon both black and Pales tinian communities are countless. However, there are instances in which connections are being made with the black liberation movement to establish a sort of legitimacy or palatability for the Palestinian cause. How can nonblack activists for Palestine ensure that our solidarity is organic and not transactional? CWs: Sexual violence, police brutality, genocide, anti-blackness
SJP 101, Version B: The Makings of an Influential SJP I Space City Room Are you interesting in starting or innovating a Palestine solidarity group on campus? Are you looking for tools to transform a new SJP? This is a skill-building workshop for anyone looking to start an SJP or expand the influence of their existing SJP on campus. We will begin by discuss ing the structure and organization of a sustainable SJP, move to internal political education and membership building, and cover event planning by offering ideas for events and divestmenV BOS campaigns. We will tackle best ways to deal with administration, Zionist org backlash, and lessons learned from the past. Finally, we will discuss the makings of a successful SJP: skill re tention, coalition building, media utilization, and campus education. This workshop will provide any SJP with useful guidance that can help transform its reach.
US-Israel Tactical & Technological Sharing I Downtown Room
Since the occupation began, Israel has been sharing technologies, tactics, and techniques of state violence and occupation with governments worldwide. Here in the United States, Israeli and US police, as well as border and intelligence officers, work together to refine tactics and develop better technologies that enable more effective policing and repression in both countries. The trend also occurs elsewhere, such as Latin America and South Asia.
This session will begin with an introductionto Israel’s military technologies and tactics of counterinsurgency, who they are exported to, and why. Then we will discuss the history of the Israeli military economy and how its “defense” industry emerged as what it is today. Rather than viewing Palestine in isolation, we will explore how these technologies and approaches are built on precedents set by colonial administrations elsewhere, and the repression of other struggles. Finally, we will talk through ways to confront this technology sharing as it touches our communi ties, such as through the Stop Urban Shield campaign against US-Israel police exchanges.
BDS on Campus: What’s Next? Mobilizing Alongside & Beyond Divestment Resolutions I Bayou City Room
Students in the US have been at the forefront of building and winning BOS campaigns! Dozens of campuses in North America have passed divestment resolutions! What’s next for BDS on campuses? This interactive workshop will provide space for activists from different schools to discuss and share ideas for next steps for BDS campaigns on their campuses, especially those that have already passed divestment resolutions.
What Is Faithwashing & How Do We Fight It? I Midtown Room
This workshop, led by journalist Sana Saeed, who coined the term and concept in 2014, will take a deep dive into what “Faithwashing”exactly means with regards to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and how to also understand it beyond the occupation. The workshop will consist of a breakdown of the concept followed by an open forum for brainstorming ways to combat Faithwashing on campuses and in our communities as well as sharing stories and examples of its use.
How to Fight the Right on Campus I Astrodome Room
In the last year, and in the last several months in particular, we have seen the resurgence of an organized right on college campuses. From Charlottesville to Berkeley, to the “anti-Sharia”pro tests that spread across the country in June, far-right groups are emboldened and college cam puses are their breeding ground. Many of these groups have attacked Palestine student groups at schools from UC Irvine to Brooklyn College. Richard Spencer even said he often “turns to Israel for guidance.” But others create a far;:ade of Palestine solidarity in order to excuse their antisemitism. Understanding the roots of these movements, their differences, their strategies, and how they impact our organizing on college campuses is crucial to building strong networks of solidarity and resistance at schools across the country. Using a series of case studies from the current political period, this workshop will explore strategies for the Palestine movement to combat the growth of the right.
Art, Gentrification, & Resistance in Houston’s Historically Black 3rd Ward [RSVP REQUIRED] I depart from Montrose Room
This workshop invites participants to understand black history very close to UH. Through par taking in a tour at Project Row Houses (PRH), participants will learn about how social practice art has helped make very critical interventions for Houston’s historic 3rd Ward neighborhood. Participants get an intimate look into black city life during the 20th century while interacting with installations that serve as commentary on Emancipation Park’s multi-million-dollar renovations. This workshop will be held at PRH from 3:00PM to 4:00PM. To arrive on time, we will leave UH Campus on foot promptly at 2:30PM. Once at PRH, we will also be walking and standing. An RSVP link will be communicated to you at the conference. Please RSVP and request accessi bility if need be by Saturday at noon.
Resistance in Transition: Phases of the Palestinian Struggle [ARAB CAUCUS] I Heights Room
This session aims to address the historical, methodological currents of Palestinian resistance,
delineating resistance throughout the different phases of struggle. We will illuminate and uplift Palestinian resistance and complicate the dominant narratives and debates around this ques tion. This panel will locate Oslo as a Palestinian political rupture and delve into what collapsed and what emerged in the post-Oslo era. We will end with various post-Oslo organizational at tempts to rebuild a cohesive, transnational Palestinian resistance and liberation movement, with particular focus on the emergence and growth of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).
Media Relations Training: 101 & Beyond I Space City Room
This interactive workshop will focus on providing students with the confidence and knowledge needed to interact with media. The training will cover basic elements of a media campaign but will also provide an in-depth look at how to interact with press, prepare for interviews, manage social media, create a public campaign, and make your own media. We will share examplesof compelling media efforts and lead interview exercises.
Countering Birthright & Other Israel Trips on Campus IBayou City Room On campuses across the country, Birthright works to send Jewish students on free trips to Israel, while other organizations, such as the David Project, work to send student government representatives, campus administrators, and other influential figures on free trips as well. These trips erase Palestinian voices and stifle calls for justice, and are designed to shore up support for Israel and reinforce the Zionist narrative in the campus community, while Israel continues its policies of occupation, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing.
At this workshop, we’ll discuss why trips like these are problematic, explore the negative impact they have on our organizing, and consider strategies to combat them on campus. We’ll learn about Jewish Voice for Peace’s new #ReturntheBirthright campaign, calling on Jewish students and young Jews to boycott Birthright, and we’ll ask questions like, what would it take to get our university to ban these trips, or to convince students to boycott them? The workshop is open to folks of all identities.
Deconstructing Pink-washing: Palestinian Queerness, Westernism, &
Islam I Astrodome Room
This workshops aims to understand the different ways Israeli pink-washingmanifests itself ex plicitly and tacitly. This workshop will also aim to critically develop people’s analysis on the topic of queerness in hopes of decentering Western narratives imposed on the Palestinian discourse.
What is pink-washing? How does Israel’s apartheid system aim to undermine the complexi- ties of Palestinian/Arab/SWANA struggle for Queer liberation? What does it mean to be Queer and Palestinian? What does it mean to be Queer and Muslim? When and why was Queerness criminalized in the Middle East? We will answer and discuss these questions through the larger framework of colonialism. Samer will discuss his personal struggle to understand how learn- ing the history helped him reconcile a Queer identity with a Muslim one. We will introduce and discuss Joseph Massad, Sarah Schulman, Queer Palestinian organizers, as well as the Olive Oil & Time podcast.
The Palestinian Diaspora in Lebanon: From Exile to Second-Class Status I Midtown Room
Decades after of their exile to Lebanon, the Palestinian refugees are still denied their basic
political, social, and economic rights. Though Zionism has impacted the lives of all Palestinians wherever they may find themselves, the experiencesand conditions of Palestinians are also governed by the politics of their specific contexts. Within Lebanon, the Lebanese state has been unable to meet the needs of their own constituents and Palestinians. This creates fears of “per manent settlement” within the population due to the perception that Palestinians are draining resources. The current influx of Syrian refugees has only compounded the issues faced by both marginalized populations . This workshop will provide a political framework for understanding the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon with a focus on the current situation.
Art & Resistance I Montrose Room
This workshop will examine the ways in which Palestinians within Palestine and in the diaspora have used various art forms to preserve culture, heritage, and identity and to uplift their narra tives against the hegemony of erasure.
Not Just a Word: South Africa, Palestine, & the 1973 Apartheid Convention I Downtown Room
This workshop will provide audience members with a concrete understanding of apartheid as
a legal term, defined in 1973, and the parallelsbetween the apartheid systems of both South Africa and Israel, as well as an overview of the relationship which exists and persists between the two marginalized communities .
The Muslim Approach to the Palestinian Struggle [MUSLIM CAUCUS] Heights Room
Where should the Muslim narrative fit in an activist’s approach to the Palestinian struggle? This
caucus session will provide a framework for the Muslim community to empower Palestinians in their struggle for justice. The discussion will be facilitated by Hatem Bazian who is not only a professor of Islamic Law and Theology, but also a co-founder of SJP.