GOP mega-donor funds group calling pro-Palestine US students ‘Jew haters’ | The Knowledge Dynasty

GOP mega-donor funds group calling pro-Palestine US students ‘Jew haters’

Sheldon Adelson-funded posters named students and professors at a college campus, saying they have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists.

Sheldon Adelson, the Nevada casino mogul and conservative mega-donor, is leading a campaign against pro-Palestine groups on US college campuses and has funded posters that accuse individual students of supporting terrorism and promoting Jew Hatred.

The multimillion-dollar effort, which has launched at six campuses in California, is targeting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that has become increasingly popular among American university students protesting the Israeli government.

At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), recent Adelson-funded posters named 16 students and professors, saying they have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetuate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus. It further claimed BDS was a Hamas-inspired genocidal campaign to destroy Israel.

Robert Gardner, a 25-year-old UCLA senior, saw his name on one of the posters outside a grocery market. I was really shocked and felt really disturbed, he said.

They are trying to cast us as antisemitic, that we are somehow a discriminatory group, said the political science student, who is a member of the colleges Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization. That is a completely spurious accusation. One of our core principles is anti-oppression and anti-racism.

Tensions surrounding Israel-Palestine campus activism have escalated in recent years, but SJP leaders said the posters identifying specific students were particularly aggressive and had led some of them to face online harassment and death threats.

The
The UCLA poster accusing students and professors of Jew Hatred. Photograph: Handout

Adelson who has poured money into Republican campaigns and last year purchased Nevadas largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently launched the so-called Maccabee Task Force to combat the BDS Movement through education and meaningful conversation about Israel truths.

The billionaire gambling magnate, who has reportedly supported Donald Trump, helped inject the conflict into the US presidential race.

While Adelson and his new task force have focused on building support for Israel through social media campaigns, partnerships with student groups and subsidized trips to Israel, the tactic of calling out students on public posters and linking them to terrorism has earned widespread condemnation.

This definitely felt like a more direct escalation, said Omar Zahzah, a 28-year-old graduate student at UCLA who was also named in the recent posters. It wasnt just slandering SJP anymore. It was attacking specific individuals.

Zahzah, a comparative literature student, who is Palestinian, added: Its easy to joke about and dismiss. But at the end of the day, its still pretty intimidating, which is the point.

The UCLA posters included the hashtag #StopTheJewHatredOnCampus and linked to the website of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative Los Angeles-based group that has repeatedly been accused of promoting Islamophobia.

David Brog, executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, said in a statement to the Guardian that the group had approved a modest grant to the Horowitz Freedom Center to focus on the true nature of pro-BDS organizations, but we did not ask for or approve the poster campaign that targeted student activists, and were not aware that our money had been used to support it. It should not have been.

The Maccabee Task Force does not believe that focusing on student activists who conduct themselves civilly is an appropriate or effective way to combat the BDS movement on campus, Brog added.

A spokesman declined to disclose the size of the grant but said the Maccabee Task Force plans to expand to 20 additional college campuses this fall.

The Horowitz center and representatives for Adelson did not respond to inquiries on Monday. Horowitz, however, defended the posters in an interview with the Los Angeles Times and said he planned to produce similar ones at other campuses.

SJP and BDS activists have repeatedly argued that their efforts are not antisemitic and that they are simply calling for Israel to be boycotted due to its continued occupation of Palestinian territories.

In recent months, some Black Lives Matter activists have aligned themselves with pro-Palestine groups, which has intensified the campaigns against the BDS movement.

Robin Kelley, a UCLA history professor who was named on the Horowitz poster, said there were many Jewish students who support SJP. He also noted this was not the first time critics had gone after SJP students in a harassing and threatening manner.

Still, he said, for some of them, it was devastating and traumatizing.

To try to destroy a young persons life because you disagree with their politics is reprehensible, said Kelley, who is a member of the advisory board for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. It can affect their job prospects, their future These kids dont have the capacity to destroy Sheldon Adelsons life.

  • An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of David Brog

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/22/sheldon-adelson-palestine-jew-haters-colleges-campuses

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