A display erected by Penn Students for Justice in Palestine during its “Israeli Apartheid Week” campaign. Photo: Penn SJP.

An anti-Zionist student group at the University of Pennsylvania has come under fire for launching a campaign “falsely demonizing Israel” during the holiday of Passover, when many Jewish students are away from campus.

Ariela Stein, a sophomore and fellow with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, took aim at Penn Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for holding its annual “Israeli Apartheid Week” — which seeks to build support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — between April 4th and 7th.

The holiday of Passover started on March 30th and ended on April 7th, meaning many Jewish students were “unable to mobilize an effective response due to religious obligations,” Stein wrote in an editorial published Wednesday in The Daily Pennsylvanian student newspaper.

SJP’s campaign includes a display protesting Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which the Israeli government says was erected to stop suicide bombings and other Palestinian terrorist attacks, but Palestinians claim encroaches on land they seek for a future state. Other events include a film screening and a memorial for victims of the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip.

The memorial also includes a section commemorating rioters killed during recent Hamas-backed riots by the Gaza-Israel border, more than half of whom have been identified as members of terror groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The protesters’ affiliations were not mentioned by SJP.

Stein pointed out that other SJP chapters have likewise launched initiatives that would traditionally evoke a critical response from the Jewish community during Jewish holidays, including at Tufts University, when the student senate passed a BDS resolution on the eve of Passover last year.

“This excluded pro-Israel voices who could not attend the session in order to get home in time for their Passover seders,” she noted.

Students at the University of Michigan-Flint adopted a divestment resolution targeting Israel last week, shortly before Passover.

Penn SJP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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