Students Supporting Israel was established as an organization with a mission to fight the anti-Israel groups on our college campuses. At times, our enemies’ reaction to our actions is the best way to judge what impact SSI’s activities make. Being proactive and going on the offense is a core pillar of the SSI movement, and this is the only real way for us to win our fights on our campuses.
Following a BDS vote that has failed at Columbia, SJP mentioned that they bring BDS to be vote-on, because they would like to “debate the issues”. SSI at Columbia invited SJP for a debate on campus and SJP responded in the following matter:
“However, the exceptional status of SSI leads us to reject any form of formal engagement with their organization. Since its founding, SSI has dedicated itself to a targeted harassment and intimidation campaign that seeks to redirect the organizing energies of SJP into defensive posturing. We refuse to be distracted or compromised by such a strategy, and for this reason we respond only to SSI’s most egregious provocations.”
“To promote genuine anti-racist solidarity we must also look beyond the most rabidly anti-Palestinian groups on campus. Any advocacy on behalf of the State of Israel effectively amounts to a defense of its settler-colonial foundations and apartheid regime. Therefore, we call on our peers and allied organizations to boycott all pro-Israel advocacy groups and clubs, which has an openly “working relationship” with SSI.”
We believe organizations like SSI, given their racist rhetoric and their recorded history of harassment, must be effectively deplatformed. Changing people’s ideas is an important part of any movement for social justice. However, groups that have explicitly demonstrated their anti-Palestinian racism, despite all attempts to hide this fact behind a veil of civility, cannot be treated as “normal” conversation partners. Engaging in dialogue only makes violent ideas and practices seem acceptable within political discourse on campus. We refuse to put the humanity of Palestinians up for debate
“In an era marked by a rise in fascistic violence and bigotry against marginalized groups on Columbia’s campus, our strength lies in our solidarity with one another. We call on our peers to reject racism, reject Zionism, and reject SSI!”
From March 2012, as the first SSI chapter was established at the University of Minnesota, leading us seven years later, we are still making sure that anti-Israel voices react to us, and not the other way around. Ofir Dayan the President of SSI Columbia mentioned: “I am happy to see that finally SJP understands that there is an organization on campus resisting their hateful narrative, something that was not present until Students Supporting Israel arrived on campus. The anti-normalization policy that SJP mentions is the only way for SJP to hide behind their hate, behind their fear to engage using their academic freedom and a poor excuse for not engaging with others”.
SSI Nationals would like to congratulate our members at Columbia University by once again showing us how to lead by example, and how to put the anti-Israel voices on the defense.
Join Students Supporting Israel if you want to make a difference. Join SSI if you want to be a part of a winning team. SSI is an agent of change on our campuses.