Solidarity for First Amendment Rights

Today, Columbia SJP joins 54 other student groups around the country in speaking out against the aggressive use of grand jury subpoenas to stifle the lawful and peaceful work of students, journalists, and peace activists in the Chicago and Minneapolis areas. For background information, see Democracy Now, the Electronic Intifada, and MondoWeiss. For the full statement, read on.

Students for Justice in Palestine

National Solidarity Statement on Impact of Grand Jury Subpoenas on Students’ First Amendment Rights

December 29, 2010

“For if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”

– James Baldwin, in an open letter to Angela Davis, November 19, 1970

As students at over fifty American universities, we unequivocally condemn the abuse of grand jury subpoenas to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights by university students and anti-war activists speaking and organizing against Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people. Since September 24, 2010, the F.B.I. has served at least 24 grand jury subpoenas on students and activists in a secret investigation that many have called a witch-hunt. We call upon Attorney General Eric Holder and United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to respect the civil rights and free speech of all those who support the Palestinian struggle for freedom by immediately withdrawing grand jury subpoenas which threaten the First Amendment rights of students and activists around the country.

The government’s assault on organizations and individuals who support the Palestinian struggle for freedom has become increasingly authoritarian. The abuse of laws criminalizing “material support for terrorism” is unprecedented and, had they been implemented at the time of South African apartheid, would have effectively criminalized broad American support for the anti-apartheid movement. At the apparent behest of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the government today has cast a net so wide that it has entangled journalists, college students, and peace activists. We know that a campaign so indiscriminate will seriously impinge on the First Amendment and other civil rights of people living in the United States. This will, in particular, affect active and outspoken students on university campuses, especially those of Palestinian descent.

It is not only our right but also our moral duty to speak and act against American foreign policy and its destructive impact on innocent people around the world. Today, America unfortunately stands behind Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people with money, weaponry, and diplomatic support. We seek to reverse this situation so that American foreign policy stands on the side of people who work towards justice. We reject the government’s efforts to isolate the Palestinian people by severing them from their non-violent supporters abroad. Therefore we stand in solidarity with the victims of our government’s campaign both in America and around the globe.

If Attorney Fitzgerald’s campaign marks the morning of a new day, then we are certain of what awaits us in the night. Like Baldwin before us, we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal – we shall, therefore, make as much noise as we can.

 

Signed:

American University, Students for Justice in Palestine
Arizona State University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Bard College
, International Solidarity Movement
Benedictine University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Boston University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Brandeis University
, Brandeis SJP
Brooklyn College CUNY
, The Palestinian Club
Columbia University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Cornell University
, United for Peace and Justice in Palestine
DePaul University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Eastern Washington University
, SLAC
Florida International University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
George Mason University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
George Washington University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Georgetown University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Hampshire College
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Harvard Law School
, Middle East Law Students Association
Harvard University
, Alliance for Justice in the Middle East
Harvard University
, Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee
Harvard University
, Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine
Hunter College
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Loyola University
, Middle Eastern Student Association
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
, Palestine@MIT
New York University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Northeastern Illinois University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Northwestern University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Ohio State University
, Committee for Justice in Palestine
Pennsylvania State University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
, BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice
San Diego State University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Temple University,
Temple Students for Justice in Palestine
Tufts University
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Arizona
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Berkeley
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Berkeley Law
, Law Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Davis
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Irvine
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Los Angeles
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, Riverside
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of California, San Diego
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Chicago
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Florida
, Students for Justice In Palestine
University of Illinois at Chicago
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Michigan
, Students Allied for Freedom & Equality
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
, Palestine Solidarity Committee
University of Pittsburgh
, Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine
University of South Florida
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Southern California
, Students for Justice in Palestine
University of Texas at Austin
, Palestine Solidarity Committee
University of Washington
, Students for Justice in Palestine
Vermont Law School
, Law Students for Justice in Palestine
Wellesley College
, Justice for Palestine
Yale University
, Yale Students for Justice and Peace in Palestine

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