SJP National Conference to take place at Tufts this weekend

Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) will host the fourth annual National SJP Conference this weekend, from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26.

The conference, titled “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism From the U.S. to Palestine,” is expected to draw 515 participants, including 411 non-Tufts SJP members. Fifty Tufts SJP students, alumni and students from SJP allied groups are also planning to attend, according to Hannah Freedman, SJP media co-coordinator.

Freedman, a junior, said the conference will focus on “understanding how the dynamics that are causing and upholding the current occupation in Palestine are being replicated all over the world.” This year’s conference will include several speakers, workshops and open events.

Saturday’s programming will focus on building participants’ knowledge about the topic, with workshops like “Environmental Justice: Water Rights from Hawaii to Detroit to Palestine” and “The Struggle for Academic Freedom on Palestine on College Campuses,” according to SJP member Munir Atalla. Sunday is about “taking the theoretical knowledge from the first day and applying it to pragmatic, practical skills to better organize on campuses and build a movement,” with sessions like “False Claims of Antisemitism: How to effectively respond” and “Best Practices: How to Do Divestment and Deal with Backlash,” Atalla added.

These workshops and sessions will open only be to registered SJP students, alumni and students from select allied groups, according to Atalla.

“It’s really important for the student Palestine Solidarity Movement to have its own space to organize,’” Freedman said. “Often, on campuses across the country, basically anytime people are speaking outside of the [dominant] narrative, people are being challenged. While some of that is legitimate, it often means that the student Palestine Solidarity Movement is on the defense and can’t ever organize for itself.”

Some events will be open to the public. Keynote speakers include activists, academics and professors who will speak on Friday at 5:45 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 3:45 p.m. in Cohen Auditorium. In addition, on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., there will be a “Night of Freedom” open to the public and featuring Palestinian music, art, dance, as well hip-hop and spoken word poetry performances.

“We want this conference to be a campus-wide event,” Atalla said. “So all of these great resources that we are bringing to campus can be fully enjoyed and appreciated by Tufts community.”

According to Freedman, Tufts SJP applied to host the conference over the summer, and the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) confirmed Tufts as the host in August.

“It’s reflective of what a strong chapter of SJP that Tufts has,” Atalla said. “It’s pretty exciting to be chosen for the conference because it means that Tufts is at the forefront of the movement.”

He added that Tufts SJP has been working with the NSJP to plan programs, speakers and events throughout the year. In addition, both Harvard University and Northeastern University are helping to co-host and organize conference events.

From Stanford University to the University of Florida, the conference will draw students from schools all over the country, Freedman said. On their GoFundMe page, Tufts SJP has fundraised over $3,000 to support travel for students from other schools.

“We’ve tried to get free housing for everyone, which of course makes the conference more accessible,” Freedman said.

According to Atalla, most of the students will be staying with Tufts students in dorms or off-campus housing, but with help of a pro-Palestine network in Boston, visiting students will also be staying in Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and downtown Boston.

“We are all here to learn … there are all sorts of people coming from movements we respect, so we are mostly going to learn from each other,” junior Leah Muskin-Pierret, SJP conference logistics point person, said.


10 Responses

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  1. Arafat
    Oct 23, 2014 - 07:39 AM

    I think we should help Abbas and his dear friends and allies
    Hamas create a Palestinian state. Since
    Hamas is more popular than Abbas let’s call it Hamasistan. It could be based on all the other Islamist
    states. Women would have zero
    rights. Gays would be hung. Jews would be verboten. Non-Muslims would be killed unless they
    convert to Islam or pay a crippling tax that is designed just for them.

    I think this makes a lot of sense and is something college
    punks should march for, shout about, and pretend they care about. The world needs another Islamist state. What will we do without another one?

    In Hamasistan criminals will be punished by being tied to
    the back of jeeps and skinned to death on dirt roads until they die. The lucky criminals will simply be pushed off
    rooftops, and if they’re really lucky the rooftop will be very high.

    In Hamasistan they will blame all their problems on Israel
    that way the politicians can line their Swiss Vaults with endless international
    aid money and not be held accountable.

    In Hamasistan they will shoot rockets into Israel during
    rush hour and when schools get out.
    That’s the way they do things in Hamasistan. Then they will blame Israel for making them
    do it.

    Yes, this will solve all the problems just ask any leftist,
    liberal, dreaming moron and he will scream it at you as if there is no doubt
    about it.

  2. Arafat
    Oct 23, 2014 - 07:41 AM

    report issued by the Palestinian Independent
    Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) this week criticized the Palestinian
    Authority [PA] and Hamas for assaults on human rights and freedoms in the West
    Bank and Gaza Strip.

    report, which has been ignored by mainstream media and human rights
    organizations in the West, reveals that 10 Palestinians died in January 2014 in
    the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of anarchy, lawlessness and misuse of

    report also lists cases of torture and mistreatment in PA and Hamas prisons.
    ICHR pointed to an increase in the number of torture cases in prisons belonging
    to the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Service in the West Bank.

    January, ICHR wrote that it received 56 complaints about torture and
    mistreatment in Palestinian prisons: 36 in the Gaza Strip and 19 in the West
    Bank. In addition, the human rights organization received innumerable
    complaints about arbitrary and unlawful arrests of Palestinians by the PA and

  3. Arafat
    Oct 23, 2014 - 07:42 AM

    (The following was published six months ago. No doubt things are far worse today thanks to rampaging Muslims.)


    are being starved to death. But this is not happening in the West Bank or Gaza
    Strip. Nor is it taking place in Israel.

    this is happening in an Arab country, Syria, while the international community
    continues to turn a blind eye to the tragedy.

    least 15 Palestinians have died from starvation since last
    September in the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, according to
    the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

    spokesman Chris Gunness said, “We have received
    reports over the weekend that at least five more Palestinian refugees in the
    besieged refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus have died due to malnutrition,
    bringing the total number of reported cases (of starvation) up to 15.”

    to reports from Syria, some 20,000 Palestinians living in Yarmouk face death
    from starvation as a result of the siege on the camp that began last July.

    has been under siege by the Syrian army after a large number of gunmen
    belonging to the Syrian opposition found shelter inside the camp.

    it is not only the Syrians who are besieging the camp. A radical Palestinian
    group called Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command,
    which is loyal to Bashar Assad, is also taking part in the siege.

    rights activists say the Syrian authorities are refusing to allow aid into the
    camp, creating a severe humanitarian crisis.

  4. maliban al maliban
    Oct 24, 2014 - 12:46 PM

    israheili intel is running a worldwide propaganda op with
    its agents running stories about “rising tide of anti semitism”. but
    it is all a lie, just propaganda designed to get sympathy for the “poor
    jews, i.e. zionist thugs” who are committing mass murder in gaza. just google: rising
    tide of anti semitism…………you can see the operation for yourself.

    p.s. google also: robert maxwell israels
    superspy…………..learn how mossad controls media in the usa and europe. ..,/…

  5. ThisIsPalestine
    Oct 24, 2014 - 04:35 PM

    It’s a pity that Tufts gave a platform to a hate group like this one. What next, a KKK conference?

  6. EEBS
    Oct 25, 2014 - 07:36 PM

    Tufts- wake up. SJP is flat out anti-semitic. It is shocking to me to think that students support the terror tunnels, the ads promoting using cars to kill Israelis, and the other violent means that Hamas uses. Wake up and learn before the anti-semitism in Europe comes here!

  7. jack greville
    Oct 26, 2014 - 04:23 PM

    The true nature of the SJP conference at Tufts is exposed here.
    What a sad day for Tufts that it has allowed SJP to confab on its campus on how to further intimidate American Jewish supporters of Israel through its Nazi like “direct actions.”

  8. LauraJ_NYC
    Oct 27, 2014 - 11:22 AM

    So a violent, hateful, dangerous group is welcomed. Are they to be crowded into a “free speech” corner? Will trigger warnings be issued? Will the LGBT community condem the lack of rights (including the right to exist) in Gaza?

  9. LauraJ_NYC
    Oct 27, 2014 - 11:23 AM

    Is funding from Qatar and other ME countries driving these programs?

  10. Sammy4231
    Oct 29, 2014 - 09:05 AM

    It’s Wednesday. What did ‘we’ learn?
    “One of the fundamental things that was revealed to me when I was in Palestine in 2012 was a simple truth,” said Sekou, a self-described author and public intellectual. “I was there for about 15 minutes and I got it: Y’all are n—. That’s part of what it means to be a Palestinian in the context of Israeli apartheid.”

    Sekou went on to explain how, in his view, Palestinians and black Americans share a cultural status as refugees.

    “Part of the understanding, a framework for understanding the ways in which Palestinians and African Americans exist in the same way is to be invited into a kind of [inaudible] community of n—,” Sekou said. “In this context, Palestinians are very much n—.”

    “In Palestine,” he went on to say, “I responded physically in my body to the [Israel Defense Forces] the same way I would respond to the [New York City Police Department], that my body responded that way because I fundamentally understood the level of repression that Palestinians were living under was very similar” to minority communities in the United States.

    Keynote speaker Sekou didn’t mention the fact that US minorities don’t fire thousands of rockets at other communities.
    Maybe his body forgot to respond physically to this facet of the problem.

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