SJP Meets to Discuss ‘Deal of the Century’ Despite Admin Opposition

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JOE KOTTKE

Fordham’s Student Justice for Palestine said they stand in solidarity with Palestinians during this tumultuous time.

By JOE KOTTKE, Assistant News Editor

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Jan. 28 to present a two-state peace plan between Israel and Palestine without Palestinian leadership present. Fordham’s Student Justice for Palestine (SJP) said they stand in solidarity with Palestinians during this tumultuous time. The student activist group met on Feb. 4 to discuss the consequences of Trump’s actions and the so-called “Deal of the Century.” 

“This deal, without the consultation of any Palestinian, is legalized apartheid in action and is the culmination of years of Palestinian expulsion, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing,” said Batool Abdelhafez, SJP president and Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’21. “It is a settler-colonial, two-state ‘solution.’ It is everyone’s moral and ethical obligation to pay attention to the violence being enacted on Palestinians.”

The members of SJP compared maps of the South African apartheid with the proposed peace plan. The discussion also led to possible implications of the deal, including Palestinians being split up, cut off from water or forced to rely on Israel economically.

The meeting was their first meeting of the spring semester. “We have been blessed with an awesome, proactive and passionate group of students on campus. We hope to continue doing more outreach,” Abdelhafez said. “It has been difficult to operate knowing that Fordham administration does not support our endeavors on campus, but knowing this will not stop us.”

On Aug. 30, 2019, Fordham administration appealed the decision of the New York State Supreme Court to allow SJP’s presence on campus. Abdelhafez said that until they hear back from the court, they will proceed as a functioning club on campus.

Fordham faculty members have sent a petition to administration discouraging the appeal. Now, a student petition has begun to circulate social media. “The support has been tremendous and we want to publicly thank Fordham students who have been spreading the word about the repression happening to us,” Abdelhafez said. “I believe the support from students clearly shows that Fordham has created a severe and gross misdeed and that we deserve a place on campus.”

Topics to be covered over the course of the spring semester include the Nakba, Palestinians’ pinkwashing — appropriation of the LGBTQ community to promote an agenda — technologies of occupation and ecological colonialism. 

“This is about you guys. We will cover what topics and mediums are most engaging for our members,” said Abdelhafez to the group on Tuesday.

SJP will also be hosting a poetry night with Emmy Award-winning poet Tariq Luthun on Feb. 20, a Palestinian Museum outing in March and a dinner outing in April.