Student Activist Criticizes Group for 'Perpetuating Arab Supremacy'

Social media exchange calls out 'exclusionary behavior'

People take part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration / Getty Images
November 1, 2017

An attendee at a Palestinian student organization’s national conference last weekend has criticized the group for "perpetuating Arab Supremacy."

In a social media exchange obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, a woman named Eqra Kazi called out organizers of National Students for Justice in Palestine for "exclusionary behavior" toward non-Arab students at the conference, which was held Oct. 27-29 at the University of Houston.

"I did not feel accepted or safe," wrote Kazi. "As a brown person with previous experience in this type of exclusionary behavior, I will advocate for Palestinian liberation through my own means, and in gatherings that also work on this issue. I do not expect a cookie for my activism, but what I do expect is manners!"

"Don't expect solidarity from other minorities outside of the Arab sphere if you do not have manners or human decency that acknowledges the perpetuating Arab Supremacy that keeps both brown and black people 100,000 miles away from Arab spheres. Challenge it! Talk about it! BE BETTER. I did not feel accepted or safe," she wrote (emphasis in original).

NSJP responded, "We agree fully with hierarchies and dynamics in organizing spaces that can [be] exclusionary of black and brown activists. We operate with keeping these issues in mind and formulate our programming, workshops and plenaries around it."

Kazi urged Palestinian activists in a separate post to look beyond the Israel-Palestine issue and remember those "hurting" in Kashmir, Sudan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Burma, and Somalia.

Hossam Gamea, an activist who participated in a conference panel session, took to social media to call out "leftists" for "co-opting and monopolizing the movement."

"They're obsessed with pushing their politics, instead of actually helping people," wrote Gamea in a series of tweets. "Their support of Palestine is merely a tool by which they recruit people to Leftist political frameworks. It has little to nothing to [sic] with helping Palestine."

Gamea—cofounder of the Islamic Movement for Justice, which aims to "liberate bodies and minds from oppression through Islamic social organization and education," according to the website—wrote that he was accused at the conference of "promoting misogyny and homophobia because I said many Palestinians fight within an Islamic context."

NSJP often touts its intersectional, big-tent bona fides, with activists often chanting at rallies, "From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go" and highlighting Jewish support for their work by a fringe group called Jewish Voice for Peace.

The line "from Ferguson to Palestine," coined during the 2014-2015 unrest in Missouri, conflated America's racial tensions with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The national conference was framed around the theme of comparing supposed Israeli crimes with the racist treatment of minorities elsewhere.

The conference featured an "outspoken anti-Zionist" keynote address by San Francisco State University Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, according to attendees.

The conference brochure touted the Campus Palestine Support Network, attributed as a joint venture of American Muslims for Palestine, Palestine Legal, the American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

The "Network" will provide the scaffolding for students to launch boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns at their universities, according to the program. This includes providing media training, legal aid, research on university investments, and mobilizing community support for BDS efforts, particularly that of sympathetic Israelis and Jews.

Published under: College Campuses