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An Attack on One is an Attack on All: Academic Workers and Students Pledge to Fight Attacks Against Pro-Palestinian Organizers

The following pledge, signed by dozens of pro-Palestine organizations and counting, states that we will unite to fight against the repression under the principle that if you touch one of us, we all rise up. It launches a network of students, faculty, and staff fighting repression on their college campuses. We invite you to sign the statement and pledge to stand up against repression on campus and for a free Palestine.

CUNY4Palestine

November 21, 2023
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Since the start of the Israeli offensive on Gaza, there has been an upsurge in resistance to U.S. support to the Israeli apartheid state. This has been particularly strong on college campuses, with students organizing walkouts, sit-ins, and protests in solidarity with Palestine. These actions and internationalism continue the spirit and legacy of the student movement against the Vietnam War and against apartheid South Africa.

Students and academic workers have experienced massive repression from university administrations, from the government, and from Zionists both on and off of campus. SJP was banned from Florida and both SJP and JVP were suspended from Columbia University. Professors are being called into disciplinary meetings across the country.

But students, faculty, and staff are standing up against this repression and uniting to fight back. The following pledge, signed by dozens of pro-Palestine organizations and counting, states that we will unite to fight against the repression under the principle that if you touch one of us, we all rise up. It launches a network of students, faculty, and staff fighting repression on their college campuses. This unity of activists– from academic workers to students, SJP’s and JVP’s, Black Lives Matter student groups and more– is essential for the upcoming struggles against repression and for a free Palestine.

Cuny4Palestine, National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), as well as dozens of local SJP’s launched the statement, alongside dozens of anti-Zionist Jewish student organizations, including various Jewish Voice for Peace chapters. A few faculty organizations have also signed including CUNY’s Rank and File Action.

We invite students, faculty and staff to sign, share and join the struggle against repression on our campuses.To sign the solidarity pledge as an individual or on behalf of an organization, please fill out this form.

***

This is an urgent call to all university students, faculty, and staff of conscience across the United States. 

As over 12,000 people have been murdered in Palestine, and as we face strong repression by the U.S. government and our university administrations in speaking up against these atrocities, we pledge to stand together to defend our right to speak out against genocide and over 75 years of settler colonial violence, dispossession, and erasure.  

The humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is worsening by the day. There have been more bombs dropped in Gaza in the last three weeks than in a whole year of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. This is in a territory that is among the most densely populated in the world, largely comprised of refugees from the 1948 “Nakba” which established the settler colonial state of Israel. Roughly half of Gaza’s population are children. Humanitarian aid has been repeatedly blocked from entering Gaza by Israel, a common pattern following bombing raids on the already besieged territory. Hospitals and churches sheltering displaced people have been deliberately targeted, and journalists have been assassinated along with their families. Recently, Israel strategically bombed telecommunications in order to impose a total blackout on Gaza. 

This is genocide. In addition to its decades long funding for Israel (over $240 billion since 1948), the U.S. has been directly involved in these latest war crimes, with plans to provide an additional $14 billion on top of the yearly $3.8 billion of military funding, provision of weapons, troops, and two aircraft carriers as well as strategic support to the Israeli government.

Although Palestine solidarity organizing has been steadily growing across the world over the past two decades with the rise of the BDS movement, we are witnessing an outpouring of global solidarity with Palestine with this latest escalation of Israel’s settler colonial violence. In places like France, and Germany and Australia, protests in solidarity with Palestine have been banned and criminalized, but people are openly and courageously protesting in defiance of these bans. In the United States, we have seen massive protests and direct actions by Palestinian grassroots and Jewish-led organizations standing against the genocide in Gaza and for Palestinian liberation. Universities are a central hub of activity, with protests and solidarity statements being organized not only by Arab and Muslim students and workers, but also by Jewish students and workers, as well as people of conscience from other religious and ethnic communities.

This outpouring of solidarity has been met with an unprecedented wave of repression, both from university administrations and the state and from Zionist forces within and outside of the university. Student organizers are facing targeted harassment: billboard trucks with hateful slogans and huge photographs doxxed and vilified individual student organizers at Harvard, Columbia, and CUNY, resulting in death threats; at Brooklyn College, a city councilwoman showed up to a student protest with a gun tucked prominently into her waistband; professors at Cornell and several other schools are facing campaigns to get them fired; students are having job offers revoked and precarious adjunct faculty are being threatened with the loss of their contracts if they speak out in support of Palestine. US lawmakers are bolstering this repression — Ron DeSantis is trying to ban Students for Justice in Palestine from forming clubs at Florida’s universities, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution on October 26 denouncing student protests for Palestine as “antisemitic, repugnant, and morally contemptible,” and the Biden administration has pledged Departments of Justice and Homeland Security support for surveilling student activists. More than 100 institutions of higher education have signed on to a “coalition” that effectively criminalizes students organizing in solidarity with Palestinian liberation. We – students, faculty and staff at universities – vow to defend each other against Zionist attacks coming from within and outside of our universities. 

While the consent for these unprecedented acts of repression is being manufactured in large part through the (re)deployment of existing discourses – such as equating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, and a (re)deployment of the “War of Terror” discourse that vilified all Muslims and Arabs as “terrorists”, and that insisted that people were either “with us or against us” – these discourses are also being transformed in horrific and dangerous ways. The new discourse explicitly dehumanizes Palestinians, virtually celebrating their ethnic cleansing by Israel, and goes much further than the repression of political speech by seeking to criminalize even the public expression of grief by and on behalf of Palestinians. The humanity and strength of the Palestinian people continues to shine through and inspire us to keep fighting despite all attempts to silence our political speech and criminalize our grief. 

We vehemently reject the attempt by those in power to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. As has been pointed out by many Jewish organizations and individuals, this is an outrageous betrayal of longstanding Jewish traditions of advocating for social justice and resisting state oppression in its worst forms. Jewish people have been and continue to be some of the most ardent and active Palestine solidarity organizers on and off our campuses. 

We condemn genocide and all forms of racism including antisemitism and Islamophobia. We – students and academic workers – have the right to speak up against injustice without fear of retaliation, and the cynical weaponization of antisemitism is designed to undermine that right. We will not be silenced. 

We recognize that conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism is a cynical move designed to drive a wedge between those who practice solidarity with the Palestinian people and the broader left. We reject the idea that one can be progressive “except for Palestine”. In the words of Angela Davis, ‘Palestine is a moral litmus test for the world’. 

The recent attack on the right of students, faculty, and staff to dissent is part of a long history of the criminalization of students and academic workers in the United States — a history filled with surveillance, infiltration, and repression that were  intensified during the McCarthy era and in the 60’s and 70’s when Black and Puerto Rican liberation and anti-war movements were the targets. More recently, Muslim students have been surveilled and harassed by campus authorities, police departments, and the FBI in the context of the “War of Terror,” and Black activists as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn these tactics by police and university administrations. They have no place in our universities or in our society. These tactics must stop, and we, collectively, will stop them.

Today we say enough is enough!

We know that the power of the working class and oppressed people of the world relies on our strength as a collective. Together, we are far stronger than our oppressors. Today, more than ever, we must stand united alongside the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation and against the violence of Israeli settler colonialism. The Israeli settler colonial apartheid state is supported materially and politically by U.S. imperialism. We oppose this support, as we oppose the US’s imperialist war-machine in other parts of the world. 

We stand with our Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students and colleagues, our professors and our classmates, against the fear-mongering and racist rhetoric being circulated in the mainstream media by politicians and university administrations alike. These racist assaults and the rise in attacks against people perceived as Muslim/Arab/Palestinian that they have enabled, has justifiably produced fear and insecurity among our comrades.

We stand against this political repression as we stand against all racism and religious discrimination and with one another, across the U.S. and internationally — wherever those who are protesting on behalf of Palestine are being repressed by their governments and other powerful institutions. We are proud of our internationalism and of the bonds of our solidarity which stretch as far back in history as the repression we have faced. Powerful institutions attempt  to suppress us because they fear our collective strength and the moral righteousness of our cause. But our cause is righteous, and it will prevail. 

We pledge:

  1. To defend the rights of pro-Palestinian campus groups- in particular Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)and  groups advocating for BDS, both of which are under constant attack;
  2. To defend the right to political speech on our campuses, including speech in defense of Palestinian liberation, as well as the right to protest and engage in acts of civil disobedience, which have been central to all social justice movements in the US and beyond;
  3. To defend each other from harassment, intimidation, suspensions, firings, and other forms of repression;
  4. To speak out against the genocidal campaign Israel is waging against Palestinians and the broader settler colonial project of which it is a part, and to force the U.S. government to stop funding and defending this genocide and Israel’s setter colonial project.

We encourage individuals or groups to sign onto this pledge and help build a national solidarity network through which we can collectively defend ourselves against repression and harassment.

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. If one of us is attacked, we all rise up. ¡Basta ya! 

Initial Signatories:

CUNY4Palestine
National SJP
Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU
Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University;
Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice 
Lehman SJP
John Jay SJP
Palestine Solidarity Alliance- Hunter
CUNY Law Jewish Law Students Association 
Students for Justice in Palestine – Montclair
Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine 
Wayne State Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP)  
Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine
Columbia SJP
Barnard College/Columbia University JVP
Jews for a Free Palestine Oberlin
Within Our Lifetime 
Al Awda
Jewish Voice for Peace of Vermont and New Hampshire 
Palestine Solidarity Coalition – University of New Hampshire. (PSC UNH)
Swarthmore SJP
Virginia Commonwealth University SJP
Virginia Commonwealth University SJP
George Washington University SJP
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP, Richmond Chapter)
Left Voice
Uhuru Solidarity Movement
Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! / African People’s Socialist Party (APSP)
Black Alliance for Peace
African People’s Solidarity Committee
San Jose State University SJP
Yalies4Palestine
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Students for Socialism at USF
Bico JVP
BIPOCanalysis Collective
Critical Palestine Studies Association
NHYM UNH
Williams SJP

To sign the solidarity pledge as an individual or on behalf of an organization, please fill out this form.

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