Palestinian human rights activist’s tour of Chicago-area college campuses ended on a sour note this week, after he was heckled and threatened by students and anti-Israel protestors.
Now you see how "pro-Israel" J-Street is. A belief that real peace cannot be imposed from outside is enough to drop sponsorship of an otherwise stellar human rights activist, but especially the idea that Palestinians are primarily responsible for Palestinian suffering. Even though there are scores of groups that excoriate Israel at colleges every month, J-Street U cannot stand sponsoring a lecture that doesn't.Bassem Eid, an East Jerusalem Palestinian who is the founder and director the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, cancelled his planned lecture at Northwestern University Hillel after experiencing unpleasant encounters with protestors at previous events he held at the University of Chicago and DePaul University that week.Eid’s February 19 talk at the University of Chicago quickly turned contentious as members of the audience took issue with Eid’s opposition to boycotting Israel and with his focus on wrongdoings of the Palestinian Authority, not of Israel.“Dr. Bassam, do not dare talk about us [Palestinians] anymore,” a member of the audience shouted toward Eid in Arabic. “You have shamed our God… you’ve shamed us, disgraced us, you are a traitor, you are a traitor, in the name of God you are a traitor… You are worse than the Jews and we will hunt you down and find you in every place, be prepared…”Eid’s presentation, with its shift away from the Israeli occupation, also disturbed the dovish Israeli lobby, J Street.J StreetU, the group’s campus organization, initially agreed to co-sponsor Eid’s lecture at Northwestern. But after hearing from students who attended his talk at the University of Chicago, the group withdrew its co-sponsorship. “We found some of the things he said troubling and not in line with our core values,” said Jacqueline Soria, co-president of Northwestern J StreetU. She noted Eid’s comment that Americans do not have a role in solving the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, which runs counter to J Street’s agenda of encouraging U.S. government involvement. Eid, she said, also “spoke exclusively about Palestinian responsibility” without talking Israel’s role.
Keep in mind that J-Street U insists that Hillel allow anti-Israel viewpoints to be hosted there, but it cannot countenance sponsoring any opinions that are not adequately anti-Israel.
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