A List of False Zionist Claims and Insinuations Published in the Maroon

February 21, 2022. “Photo Essay: Students for Justice in Palestine Take Their Advocacy to the Main Quad”

LIE: “Dozens of small signs bore photographs and anecdotes of what SJP sees as colonial efforts by the state of [i]srael and the [i]srael [Occupation] Forces (I[O]F) to displace lawful Palestinian settlements.”

This lie was corrected on February 24, 2022 after the Maroon received a letter from SJP UChicago.

TRUTH: The notion that Palestinians are settlers and that their homes and villages are settlements is indisputably untrue, as acknowledged even by politically regressive mainstream news outlets. (e.g. from CNN, “A previous version of this incorrectly referred to Palestinian homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood as settlements and Palestinians as settlers.”)

Furthermore, the use of the word “anecdotes” is a complete misrepresentation of the action, which included detailed statistics about the systematic nature of israeli-imposed home demolitions. All of the data we published and more has been reported in detail by reputable human rights watch organizations, such as the israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions. Referring to the postings as “anecdotes” is dishonest and obfuscates the systematic nature of home demolitions and home expulsions and gaslights Palestinians (including Palestinian students) who are facing decades-long, premeditated programs of ethnic cleansing and erasure.

LIE: “The UChicago chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) installed signs, banners, and flags across the main quad on Tuesday morning to protest ‘home demolitions’ in Palestine.” 

This lie was corrected on February 24, 2022 after the Maroon received a letter from SJP UChicago.

TRUTH: The use of quotes around home demolitions here is offensive, misleading, and unnecessary—this is not a mere allegation or matter of opinion and thus does not warrant a quotation. SJP provided countless photos and reputable statistics from trusted human rights organizations that show that these home demolitions are a demonstrable truth, regardless of whether one believes they are justifiable.

LIE: In a public statement, SJP called [i]sraeli actions “Zionist settler-colonialism and apartheid.” An SJP representative attending the installation declined The Maroon’s request for an interview.

This lie was corrected on February 24, 2022 after the Maroon received a letter from SJP UChicago.

TRUTH: SJP UChicago wrote a detailed, thorough article about the installation on our own website, which the Maroon could have referred to as our account of the action. Yet, the author(s) of this paper saw fit to quote a mere four words from our four-paragraph statement, while providing an anonymous Hillel representative with ample space and context. The hyperlink on “public statement” — which is extremely easy to miss — is not nearly enough; this misleading characterization of events dishonestly implies that SJP UChicago had little to say on our own installation.

Furthermore, the interview which SJP purportedly declined was a request for a single quote from a single member.  We received no formal or written request for an extended, in-depth interview from the Maroon. This poor outreach and subsequent misrepresentative account of the events is highly unprofessional, and beneath the conduct to which the Maroon holds itself. 

February 17, 2022. “We Must Condemn the SJP’s Online Anti-Semitism”

This article was deleted on April 2, 2022 following a campaign for removal from SJP UChicago. The head editors of Viewpoints released an apology for publishing the article.

LIE: SJP called on students to “boycott Jewish-taught and -related classes”.

TRUTH: This allegation is pure slander. It is especially egregious that the Maroon’s editors chose to broadcast such a demonstrably false and demonizing claim as their article’s subheading. SJP did not call for a boycott of the dozens of courses listed in Jewish Studies and History of Judaism and/or taught by Jewish faculty this quarter. Rather, we called for a targeted boycott of three classes pertaining to Palestine and Palestinians whose course descriptions reflected a Zionist ideological framing and normalized the israeli apartheid regime. To frame this call as “anti-Jewish” not only perpetuates the dangerous (and wholly false) conflation of Jewishness and Zionism, but deliberately diverts attention from the ongoing ethnic cleansing that the israeli colony has been inflicting on Palestinian lands and peoples from its inception to the present.

LIES: SJP’s boycott call was “posted to Instagram on Holocaust Remembrance Day” in a calculated effort “to isolate and alienate the Jewish population at UChicago and to interfere with a day of mourning”.

TRUTH: This claim contains two blatant and slanderous falsehoods. Firstly, SJP has never made and will never make a post with the calculated intention of demonizing an ethnic or religious population—such an act contradicts the basic tenets of our organization. Secondly, SJP  did not post our boycott call on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The authors themselves admit in their article that the call appeared on January 26, not—as the article’s subheading implies—on January 27. 

LIE: “[SJP’s] posting of the slides [on the evening of January 26] overlapped with Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27″ since the Jewish people use a lunar calendar, where each day begins the evening before.

TRUTH: Rather than drop the nationally-circulated lie that SJP posted our boycott call on Holocaust Remembrance Day or take responsibility for the role that their organization played in spreading it, the authors go on to allege that SJP made a calculated effort to post the boycott on Holocaust Remembrance Day as it is located on the Jewish Calendar. This claim is blatantly false. On the Hebrew Calendar, International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) is on the 27 of Nisan, which in 2022 will begin on the evening of April 27 and end on the evening of April 28. However, International Holocaust Remembrance Day as defined by the UN General Assembly on the Gregorian Calendar occurs from 12 AM to 11:59 PM on January 27. SJP did not post within this timeframe.

LIE: SJP demanded a boycott of all classes “taught by an [i]sraeli professor,” thus targeting faculty on the xenophobic basis of birthplace alone.

TRUTH: As we have previously stated, SJP did not call for a boycott of courses based simply on their instructors’ place of birth. Rather, following the guidelines outlined by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of israel (PACBI), we called on students to boycott courses taught by israeli academic fellows who represent and/or take funding from complicit israeli and pro-israel institutions (e.g., the Israel Institute). To frame this as a “xenophobic” demand for students to boycott all courses taught by individuals who happen to hold israeli citizenship (while conveniently ignoring the fact that our call targeted a grand total of two courses taught by one israeli professor linked to the Israel Institute) is dishonest, cynical, and dismissive of israeli anti-Zionists.

LIE: SJP “approached students in the quad about banning the classes in the post, reiterating the misinformation and attempting to demonize students in those classes”.

TRUTH: SJP members do not accost anyone on the quad, let alone about boycotting Zionist classes. This likely refers to an event in which, while watching over the February 15 installation, two SJP members were approached by a student who inquired about the Instagram post. The two members reiterated the points made in the post respectfully, and were in fact unaware of the political affiliations, intentions, or classes of enrollment of the inquiring student.

June 4, 2013. “BDS a hypocritical movement” [sic] 

LIE: “Since [Omar Barghouti, graduate of Tel Aviv University] argues for a full boycott against [i]srael, including academics, BDS supporters should boycott him as well.” 

TRUTH: Omar Barghouti does not advocate for boycotting all graduates of israeli universities.

LIE: “Even Stephen Hawking’s refusal to fill the role of honored speaker at an event hosted by the [i]sraeli president is hypocritical, as his boycott does not extend to the [Intel] computer system that gives him the ability to talk.”

TRUTH: Intel was not listed as one of BDS’s campaign targets at the time of this article’s writing, nor is it listed presently.

December 4, 2012. “Israel has right to defend itself from extremism”

LIE: “In 2005, [i]srael renounced any claim to the Gaza Strip, giving the Palestinians complete control over the area in the hope of advancing prospects for peace.” 

TRUTH: Gaza is referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison. israel controls and heavily restricts movement into and out of Gaza, limits the food, clothing, and other necessary goods that humanitarian organizations provide in Gaza, does not allow any infrastructural material to be provided for Gazans, and shuts down Gazan utilities at whim, often for most hours of the day.

LIE: “Israel withstands rocket attacks in southern [i]srael from Gaza for as long as possible, certainly longer than any other nation would or could. Eventually, Hamas escalates the attacks and [i]srael is forced to defend itself.” 

TRUTH: Israel does not simply withstand attacks and react only in self-defense. In the offensive that this article is referring to, israel instigated the violence with a targeted airstrike against Zohair al-Qaisi, a Gazan government official. In the 2008-09 attacks on Gaza, israel was again the instigator with a “preemptive” raid on a tunnel in Gaza.

LIE: “…[i]srael does everything in its power to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians.” 

TRUTH: It is within israel’s power to stop murdering Palestinian civilians indiscriminately.

LIE: “Very often…[i]srael is forced to call off a strike due to the target’s proximity to civilians.”

TRUTH: Israel does not call off strikes due to the proximity of the target to civilians. Sometimes, israel will issue warnings of imminent destruction to civilians, giving them little to no time to gather their belongings before their homes or buildings are razed to the ground. There is a single recorded incident of an airstrike being called off due to concerns of civilian casualties (specifically children), and it occurred long after this article was published.