SJP operative confesses to corrupt and shameful practices of fellow Palestinian solidarity activists
To me, I think it’s extremely important for me to discuss this and present the facts and information about this and make people aware about it because if we don’t we’re gonna be reproducing the same abuses and same systems of our oppression that we claim to be against. And if we don’t take a stance on it, if we don’t have a principle that’s against that we’re merrily just continuing this same systems of abuse.
So that’s why I made this presentation and I wanted to do this workshop because I saw that it’s very important to talk about especially now since I’ve graduated and we’re gonna have new people taking on leadership, you know. I want to make sure that these dynamics that still haven’t stopped and still have not been accountable for continue to be hidden and continue to be marginalized in Palestine work in NYC. You may be familiar with names of the organizations mentioned here, you may be familiar with certain names of people that are gonna be mentioned, but as I said, the reason why I am doing this is because any names of people mentioned here are abusers and so are the organizations
Is this like an expose?
Oh, I’m so excited.
There’s gonna be a lot to this. A lot of screen shots, a lot of documents. As I said it’s extremely important to make other activists who are passionate about Palestine work be aware and not be, like, how can I say it?
Like, taken in into these dynamics. Because I always see brainwash, manipulate, enable people to justify this behavior. And I keep on seeing it. I keep in seeing new people just joining these groups or who are not familiar or not aware of any of these dynamics and just become a part of it or become supportive of these problematic leaders and these problematic people.
This is a “cult” – testifies former SJP leader
So I’m going to start with an extremely problematic group, which created a lot of the problems that we have nowadays in our Palestine solidarity work and that was the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC). It was a Stalinist group that was founded in 2012 by someone named Tafadar Sourov whatever his name is and-
Does he have a Facebook?
He does. Basically around the same time I started to work for the SJP chapter at Hunter before we even had the PSA it was around the same time and I was even involved before these people even came to our spaces and our meetings. And in September 2014, fall 2014, right after the Gaza massacre and right after a lot of people started to join and support Palestine solidarity work in NYC, they started to come to our meetings and talk to us about their own work and tell us to join their group and tell us to join their … sometimes they would have study groups, sometimes they would have workshops and tell us to come. I used to be one of those people coming to their events and supporting their work as … I wasn’t aware of all these problematic dynamics, I was just still this new comer who just is passionate about Palestine, just wants to free his home land and thought this was cool to talk about so called progressive issues.
They quickly started to collaborate with SJP and John Jay at CCNY. A lot of those people actually were students at CCNY, City College. Tafadar was a student at CCNY. There was another one, another leader of RSCC, who’s name was Khalil. Both of them were pretty much the leaders of this cult. They were the ones who were directing all of their members to do what They used to do. Quickly, they were able to recruit members from SJPs around CUNY to become members of their own.
SJP has gone haywire – infighting among the highest leaders of SJP
In October 2016, there was a number … Before the president of Hunter-SJP, this was a new leadership. Many of the people who were abusers in Hunter-SJP graduated…they all graduated, or some people were still part of Hunter-SJP and there was Homer Rasheed there was another white dude … Some abusers then, was even still part of Hunter-SJP. And, we were asked to reconcile and to continue to regroup together, but there was still no recognition of the harm done, no attention to accountability. And, I simply asked this person, since this person demonstrated an interest in disassociating her own group from NYC SJP, to write a letter and send it to us, recognizing that her group doesn’t work with NYC SJP. And, eventually she refused to issue this letter, and she continued to give space to problematic organizers, and former RSCC members. So, things didn’t work well, and we never actually cooperated since afterwards.
Clashes continued to ensure, not even with people from NYC or people at the national level. In November 2016, there was the national conference, and people for the national conference … That national conference ended up being very historic, hysterical, where–
Yes. Where there are … As usual NYC SJP members, in other words, were attempting to take over the organization. Not national, NYC SJP members were attempting to take over National SJP, and accusing them of not being democratic and being bureaucratic. And again, I’m not in a position to say how democratic they were, just describing what happened and as an observer of that behavior, I would say it was very concerning, I mean, to just shout at a meeting.
So, their replies were during the conference … There was a e-board meeting, and that e-board meeting ended up with people threatening each other, and just shouting at each other.
SJP turns a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault.
This was another comment by another member from Within Our Lifetime, and she says here, “You can’t equate systematic racism, genocide, expulsion to bullying,” but let’s say your experience was the same. And then she calls me an opportunist. And it’s just bizarre how you de-legitimize the struggle that you’re a part of by saying that there is another important struggle. Like, what’s happening in Palestine is very important and that’s why we’re actually here. Like, why would we actually come here in the first place if what’s happening in Palestine isn’t real?
But you can’t be doing it internally, and then claim it’s not important because it’s happening from the outside. That’s a very problematic stance to take.
Now, these are further evidences of the abuses that were committed by Within Our Lifetime, and now this is about the sexual assault that happened: Earlier, I mentioned that Brown University SJP issued a statement condemning, Within Our Lifetime, for attempting to silence the abusers. And here, in this letter, they say, “If we are to call for justice, liberation, and emancipation, we cannot abide by such transgressions within our organizations. How can we possibly condemn sexual violence perpetrated by settler colonialism in Palestine, if we fail to condemn the same acts within our own groups? We also ask that NYC SJP be specifically barred and investigated for their handling of this situation. Two representatives for NYC SJP … ” It’s not even two, it’s more than two, by the way. ” … were accused and found to be perpetrators of serious patriarchal behavior.” Yes?
I have a question. So, every…SJP is represented by NC SJP?
They claimed to represent them, but they actually don’t. So, when they officially launched as NYC SJP back in 2015, groups like Columbia SJP and …
Like Fordham. They actually came out and said, “No, they don’t represent us. We’re not represented by NYC SJP.”
Leaked Memo from Brown SJP calling out NYC SJP for covering up sexual assault and patriarchal attitudes within NYC SJP group
No consensus amongst Palestinian solidarity groups. They simply do not represent the Palestinian people.
Here, they say framing…imperialist tools. You know, referring BDS, “raised serious questions about the intellectual integrity of NYC SJP and the legitimacy of their argument. It is clear that the NYC SJP article is also oblivious to the delicate negotiations and difficult political calibrations that were needed to construct points of unity that correspond to our most fundamental rights, that can be endorsed and enforced through such a broad spectrum of Palestinians in order to generate concrete and strategic actions. Criticizing a crucial component of our resistance by directly referring or claiming to know the real interests of Palestinian people more than we do is, and trying to speak on behalf of an entire people without taking the necessary steps needed to be accountable to it precisely indicate the kind of patronizing colonial mentality that BDS is attempting to work against.”
Right. There are groups like Within Our Lifetime claim that they represent the Palestinian movement and they always go for a one-state solution. But here this is a Palestinian backed campaign and movement that says there is absolutely no consensus amongst Palestinians in support of a one or two-state solution. “As student groups in Gaza, we are saddened to see attacks on an indispensable part of our struggle from those who claim to be fighting for our liberation. We reiterate that we stand with the overwhelming majority of Palestinians…and progressive force around the world to endorse BDS and to be involved in the… achieving our comprehensive inalienable rights as a people is our only…in response to the NYC SJP article” attacking BDS and this shows you how many Palestinian groups in Palestine signed onto this statement condemning condemning Within Our Lifetime. This is further evidence.
Divide and conquer – SJP’s forward-thinking strategic plan
Now these were leaked documents by RSCC and Within Our Lifetime and here they were like conspiring on how they can hijack national SJP and how they can isolate other activists. These documents were leaked and it really shows you their attempts to hijack the movement. Here it says, “Recently, NSJP steering committee has come across documents leaked from SJP East. That reveals efforts by some organizers to operate as a defecto political party and gain political control over the students movement. This document details steps to achieve this goal which includes driving to gain hegemony over SJP East. Isolate certain SJP groups and isolate NSJP steering from individual SJP chapters. Over time, these specific efforts began to have detrimental effects on other SJPs and NSJP as a whole. And we have become concerned about the debilitating impact of this internal party behavior on the movement as well as the implications for the future. To be clear, NSJP is a political space but there a lot of ways of articulating politics within NSJP without turning it into a power struggle.”
And an un-hierarchal approach is better. I’m sure this is a point everyone would agree to. We should be non-hierarchal, right? So here are some parts of these leaked documents that demonstrates their own organizing efforts. They began in 2014, as mentioned in the beginning of the presentation, and here it clearly says how RSCC began NYC SJP. So as I mentioned earlier, there’s no distinction between RSCC and Within Our Lifetime. It’s really the same group of people that says “RSCC began the NYC SJP block prior to NSJP in 2014 and fall 2014. NYC SJP was formed into a more consolidated and formidable block. Another important note is the nationwide contacts who knew of RSCC or the LC, League of Communism, National Communist Party that that RSCC was worth it, basically. And we’re already on our side. Their main goals: Create a stronger regional structure in hegemony in SJP East. Push their evolutionary line past solidarity in parentheses ‘One State.’ Holding for a one state solution and claim to represent Palestinians. Isolate NSJP and win over the base of SJP chapters.”
Then here, okay they explicitly say, “The tasks today are to keep ties with the other SJPs especially in the east. In general, city-wide conferences and the regional conference. Isolate Columbia university.” They explicitly mention your university. They say isolate Columbia University. “Further one state line.” Here they refer to SJP … like they literally call it, SJP RSCC…”committee was formed on October 3rd, 2014. With the intent of coordinating the work of RSCC members, SJPs and various schools across New York State, primaraly CUNY the campuses that required to be part of this block are CCNY, CSI-College of Staten Island, John Jay, Hunter, and NYU.” And then they have a section for each school and describe how they can take over that school.
Leaked documents from the outrageous NSJP meeting
Blatant and vile anti-Semitic words shamelessly uttered by SJP leadership
Hi. So, I will be giving a presentation on Zionism. What it is and what it’s purpose is within Western Imperialism and Colonialism. We all know it’s bad, but in order to know your enemy, you gotta know your enemy. So, that’s what we’re gonna do today. So, what is Zionism? It’s a genocidal ideology but, it masquerades as liberational. But when you look at most fascist ideologies, they do masquerade as liberational. I know this might seem like a hackney comparison but if you look at Nazi Germany they said the Germans are this downtrodden poor, oppressed people in the wake of World War II and it’s someone else’s fault because of it. But, specifically- I’m gonna put this down. Zionism is reactionary Jewish identity politics fused with western colonial dogma. So, it basically acquiesces to Nazi terms. I describe Zionism as an internalized Nazism, essentially. Because, basically, it’s a solution to antisemitism and it’s ideas solutions antisemitism is to completely mimic the behaviors and strategies of the white Christian oppressors and then retaking that oppression and then regurgitating it on a group. A different group. Mainly Palestinians.
So, it also acquiesces to the basic term that Jews, no matter whether they’re in Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Syria, Argentina, whatever, they’re all a distinctly homogenous racial group. So, which means they can never be truly citizens of their homelands in the diaspora so they must all congregate into one, singular state. So, the idea of Jews being a specific racial group, whether they’re European or not, they can never be European. What does that remind you of? That’s why it’s called internalized Nazism. So, yeah there says there should be a national homeland for the Jews. Namely in Palestine because there happen to be Jews there thousands of years ago and, therefore, because of Zionism, which creates this dichotomy between the Jew and then the colonized subject which is Palestinian, it completely flat lines any distinguishing between a Jewish identity.