The BDS Movement's Terror Ties

Washington think tank provides insight into malevolent workings of pro-BDS group and its terrorist connections.

Much has been written about the nefarious motives behind the anti-Semitic Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as its primary campus sponsor, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). An exhaustive and authoritative account tracing the movement’s history, its radical roots and maximalist goals was authored by Dan Diker for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a must read for anyone wishing to gain further insight into the inner workings of BDS.

Of perhaps greater concern however, is the terror link between BDS and the Hamas terrorist organization. As outlined by Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) at a Joint Hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the connections are deeply rooted and masked by a labyrinth of various entities and subgroups.

Particular interest centers on two pro-BDS groups, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and its fiscal sponsor, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (AJP). Though AMP is a not-for-profit corporation, it does not possess 501c3 tax-exempt status and is not required to file IRS form 990 thus shielding the organization from scrutiny. The AMP however receives tax-exempt contributions from the AJP, which is a 501c3. The two organizations share officers and maintain the same offices but under the law, they are deemed to be two separate and distinct entities.

If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is and those responsible for forming these entities were likely trying to circumvent transparency laws for reasons set forth below.

According to research conducted by the FDD, the AMP is extremely active on college campuses and one of the driving forces of the BDS movement. The organization provides training, funding and propaganda material for SJP campus groups across the United States. In 2014, the group spent $100,000 on campus activities, the bulk of which was channeled into anti-Israel, pro-BDS causes.

Even more disquieting is the fact that several current members of the AMP or individuals who are otherwise tied to the AMP were former members of groups that were shut down or held civilly liable by the United States for funneling money to the Hamas terrorist group. That figure includes three individuals who had previously belonged to the now defunct and notorious Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), the Hamas front group that according to the U.S. Treasury Department sent approximately $12.4 million overseas to fill the Hamas coffers.

Another four members of the AMP gravitated from two other terrorist front groups, similarly shut down or held civilly liable by the United States. In total, at least seven individuals who are current AMP members or otherwise perform work for the group had prior associations to organizations targeted by the United States because of their involvement in terror funding. 

Judging from its literature and propaganda, the AMP seeks nothing short of the destruction of Israel. It was founded in 2005 and according to a video posted on its Facebook page, was chartered to “educate Americans on ‘Palestine’ and to keep its cause alive.” A poster in Arabic on display in their Chicago headquarters betrays a more ominous purpose.  The poster includes the phrase “No Jew will live among them in Jerusalem.” Ironically, part of the AMP’s propaganda includes the false canard that Jews ethnically cleansed ‘Palestine’ of its indigenous Arab inhabitants but the AMP sees nothing wrong with ethnically cleansing the land of its Jewish inhabitants. 

FDD’s research further establishes that the AMP’s donor list includes groups and entities whose members, affiliates or associates maintained ties to various terrorist groups including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) the Qassam Brigades (the military arm of Hamas) and al-Qaeda.

Over the years, the AMP-backed SJP has become more aggressive in its methods. The group has subjected Jewish and pro-Israel students to a relentless campaign of harassment, sometimes crossing the line into physical assaults. They have introduced dozens of resolutions at student government councils aimed at furthering the group’s pernicious Jew-hating goals. Often, these resolution initiatives are hastily convened and scheduled on or during during Jewish holidays with the aim of minimizing dissent. 

SJP activists frequently disrupt Israeli or Jewish themed events thus preventing students from expanding their understanding of the complex conflict. The most recent example is the disgraceful episode which occurred at San Francisco State University on April 7, when SJP hooligans disrupted a talk given by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat while helpless police stood idly by.  A week later, a leader of Harvard Law School’s SJP, Husam El-Qoulaq, hurled an anti-Semitic trope at an Israeli member of parliament during a question and answer session.

The SJP’s outrageous antics have prompted strong pushback with a growing number of state lawmakers calling for the group’s expulsion from college campuses. The FDD’s research into the AMP-BDS-SJP-Hamas connection adds a new dimension to the activities of the SJP and its genocidal sponsors. The time has come for university and college officials to act more resolutely in confronting the SJP. Their presence on any college campus represents a malign influence that must be eradicated.