UT Knoxville alumnus Rev. Osagyefo Sekou credits antifa forces with whom he was “discussing tactics,” for “saving [his] life” while he was protesting in Charlottesville:
Antifa saved my life.
— Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (@RevSekou) August 15, 2017
It’s ironic that Sekou, an anti-Israel agitator who supports extreme anti-Israel groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation (CEO), would be demonstrating against Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. The Anti-Defamation League lists both organizations among the top 10 most influential and active anti-Israel groups in the United States.
The CEO is led by Yousef Munayyer, who as former director of the Jerusalem Fund openly advocated for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanction) campaign against Israel which has continued under the new director. The Jerusalem Fund’s board Chairman is Dr. Subhi Ali from Waverly, Tennessee. His daughter, Samar Ali served in the Haslam administration.
The BDS campaign attacks Zionism and seeks to demonize, delegitimize and eliminate the State of Israel, to wit, the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” used by BDS promoters to signal that if successful, there would be no Israel or Jews between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
It is equally ironic that Sekou lectures about non-violent protest for civil rights using Martin Luther King, Jr. as his frame of reference. King was a strong supporter of Israel and “warned repeatedly that anti-Semitism would soon be disguised as anti-Zionism:”
Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.
Opening the 2014 SJP national conference held at Tufts University, Sekou delivered an incendiary, “racially charged” keynote, From Ferguson to Palestine: Resisting State Violence and Racism. The following year he was the keynote speaker for the CEO (now renamed U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights), national conference. the CEO “endorsed the Palestinian call for BDS shortly after it was issued in July 2005. Academic and cultural boycott were endorsed in 2009.”Both SJP and CEO use tactics like BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions). Sekou and his wife Karlene Griffiths Sekou, are involved with the CEO.
As part of their BDS campaigns, both the SJP and the CEO claim that Israel is an apartheid state. SJP chapters which are the primary drivers of BDS campaigns on college campuses, sponsor events like “Israel Apartheid Week” complete with an apartheid wall using disinformation equating Zionism with racism.
Violence on some campuses has been perpetrated by SJP members while intimidation tactics, threats and hate speech against pro-Israel students and pro-Israel groups appears to be standard practice as is disrupting pro-Israel events.
This year college campuses could see a joinder of SJP chapters with violent Antifa provocateurs. David Palumbo-Liu from Stanford University and Bill Mullen from Purdue University have issued a call to organize a campus Antifacist Network.
Cornell law professor William Jacobson describes Palumbo-Liu and Mullen as “two of the most aggressive anti-Israel pro-BDS faculty members in the country.”
BDS promoters who already describe Israel as an apartheid state may well be attracted to others who justify using violence allegedly to oppose racism.
UT Knoxville has an SJP chapter. Vanderbilt University’s SJP organization has renamed itself to Vanderbilt Students in Solidarity with Palestine@SJP Vanderbilt.