Rutgers University to hold sessions on how to pressure Israel

July 08, 2003

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-- Tom Gross


PRO-PALESTINE STUDENT CONFERENCE WILL GO ON AT RUTGERS

Pro-Palestine student conference will go on at Rutgers
Newsday [The Associated Press]
July 8, 2003

Rutgers University will host a national pro-Palestine student conference in October, despite hundreds of requests that it cancel the forum or move it to an off-campus site.

The National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement will include sessions on how students can pressure their schools to stop investing in companies that do business with Israel, as well as cultural events and rallies to support the formation of an independent Palestinian homeland.

The annual meeting, scheduled for Oct. 10-12 at the Douglass College student center, is expected to attract hundreds of student activists and supporters of an independent Palestine.

"I think what we're seeing is the building of a movement, a very sustainable movement," Charlotte Kates, a Rutgers law student and one of the event's organizers. "We are very convinced that it's going to be a very successful conference."

Rutgers officials said the school received nearly 230 letters from Jewish activists from across the country and a plea from the New Jersey regional branch of the Anti-Defamation League to cancel the forum. However, they said Monday that the event would go on in the name of free speech.

Critics say they understood the school's position, but believe that this type of event should not be held on public university property. They also called on Rutgers to disassociate itself from the event.


[Follow on Note July 9, 2003]

The story circulated on this email list yesterday morning on Rutgers is now getting wide coverage

-- Tom Gross

RUTGERS GETS “F” FOR PUTTING ANTI-SEMITISM 101 ON THE SCHEDULE

Rutgers gets 'F' for putting Anti-Semitism 101 on the schedule
By Andrea Peyser
The New York Post
July 9, 2003

It will be big. And ugly. And in New Jersey.

The nation's third college and the first on the East Coast to harbor a national anti-Israel hate-fest, featuring tips for destroying the Jewish state and speeches from notable anti-Semites, will not be Columbia or NYU.

A student group at Rutgers University, no slouch in the destroy-Israel department, has snagged the third annual National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement, to be held Oct. 10-12.

The event, which organizers expect to draw at least 500 Israel foes from the world over, is to include classes designed to teach kids how to pressure their universities to stop investing in companies that do business with Israel. Expect workshops in nonviolent resistance. Or so we hope.

Organizer Charlotte Kates told me peaceful resistance is the fest's guiding principle. Yet she noted that she, as well as the sponsoring organization, the New Jersey Solidarity Movement an offshoot of International Solidarity supports Palestinian homicide bombers.

"Palestinian resistance in all its forms has been a very powerful tool of justice," said Kates, 23, a Rutgers law student. "All forms, from armed struggle to mass protest."

And does Israel have a right to exist?

"Israel is an apartheid, colonial settler state. I do not believe apartheid, colonial settler states have a right to exist."

At the two previous conferences, at Berkeley, Calif., and the University of Michigan, pro-Palestinian rhetoric "crossed into virulent anti-Semitism," said Shai Goldstein, director of the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League chapter.

The university said the show will go on, despite 230 letters of protest. As a state school, Rutgers bestows public funding to Solidarity, said a spokeswoman.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.