Why Are Groups Affiliated With Anti-Israel BDS Movement Trying To Get Rittenhouse Kicked Out Of School?

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

Several student groups at Arizona State University are lobbying to have Kyle Rittenhouse, recently acquitted of murder charges, removed from online classes he’s taking citing racism and their belief he’s “still guilty to his victims and the families of those victims”.

But the groups, led by a group called Students for Socialism, mostly have ties to international issues such as support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, raising questions about why groups known for supporting alleged and convicted terrorists would focus on an American domestic and constitutional issue.

From The Hill:

A student group at Arizona State University (ASU) plans to host a Wednesday “rally and protest to get murderer Kyle Rittenhouse off our campus.”

ASU’s Students for Socialism is joined by other organizations — including Students for Justice in Palestine, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition and MECHA de ASU — in the demands regarding Rittenhouse, who earlier this month was acquitted on murder charges after fatally shooting two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., last year.

Students for Socialism is calling for ASU to release a statement condemning Rittenhouse and white supremacy as well as reaffirming support for the university’s multicultural center.

According to its Twitter bio, Students for Socialism is affiliated with the Marxist/Leninist organization Party for Socialism and Liberation, which is, according to Influence Watch, affiliated with Justice First (which pushes for affordable housing in Washington, DC) and is a “radical left-wing [group] associated with the Green New Deal movement.”

More interesting is the involvement of Students for Justice in Palestine, a group known for its national chapter’s founder, Hatem Al Bazian.

Students for Justice in Palestine claims to be an independent, grassroots organization. [3] However, the left-of-center Jewish watchdog group Anti-Defamation League has alleged the group has received significant support from the radical Palestinian organization American Muslims for Palestine and that it was co-founded by American Muslims for Palestine’s founder and board chairman, Hatem Al Bazian. The League also reports that Students for Justice is a “primary” organizer of anti-Israel boycotts and other activities on U.S. college campuses. [4] [5] A 2019 report by the Study of Global AntiSemitism and Policy showed that the organization frequently supports alleged and convicted terrorists.

Hatem Al Bazian is the founder and president of both American Muslims for Palestine and Americans for Justice in Palestine. He also founded National Students for Justice in Palestine when he established the group’s first chapter at the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. [27]

Earlier in his career, Bazian was a fundraiser for a pro-Palestinian organization called KindHearts, which had its assets frozen by the federal government amid allegations that it provided “support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving,” specifically for allegedly providing aid to the terrorist organization Hamas. [28] KindHearts resisted the allegations, eventually closing its doors while the federal government paid its legal fees and removed the group from its terrorist list.

In 2019, Emory University in Atlanta had much to answer for to the city’s sizable Jewish community when representatives of Students for Justice in Palestine placed fake “eviction notices” on the doors of some Jewish students.

“I find it racist, anti-Semitic and absolutely offensive,” said Rabbi Russ Shulkes, executive director of Hillels of Georgia, told WSB-TV. Shulkes described the reactions he received from students as ranging “from anger to fear to security issues to how could Emory allow this to take place?”

An estimated 17 percent of Emory’s undergraduate students and 10 percent of its graduate students are Jewish, according to the Hillel International website.

Allison Padilla-Goodman, Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, sent a letter April 4 to Emory University president Claire E. Sterk.

“The anti-Israel activists who passed out these notices are creating tension, intimidating and isolating students, and fostering a hostile atmosphere on campus. The academic environment should be a place where constructive dialogue and discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can thrive, not a place where perspectives regarding the conflict infringe on students’ personal space, the ADL letter said.

While Students for Socialism has reportedly (at least according to Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt) expressed support for Black Lives Matter, the involvement of a group known for its connections to terrorism and anti-Semitism seems a bit out of place in the Rittenhouse constitutional self-defense affair.