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Palestinian Rights Activism Endangered

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Palestinian Rights Activism Endangered 

Professors, journalists, students and activists targeted for criticizing Israel.

by Stephen Lendman

In America, Israel, Europe and elsewhere, supporting Palestinian rights publicly is dangerous. 

In September 2010, FBI agents raided homes of Chicago and Minneapolis human rights activists.

Two Chicagoans affected said 20 FBI agents ransacked their home. They and others had computers, cell phones, and other personal belongings taken.

They weren't terrorists. They committed no crimes. Most supported the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It publishes a newsletter called Fight Back.

An FBI spokesman lied, saying raids targeted people "providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support" to terrorist groups. In fact, those named are legitimate, lawful and/or resistance organizations. They included Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and FARC-EP. 

In June 2010, the Supreme Court Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder ruling is relevant. It targeted First Amendment rights. The Justice Department likely used it as justification for the raids and others.

Individuals or groups opposing policies of America, NATO, Israeli, or other US allies can be targeted for expressing views publicly.

In its 6 - 3 decision, the Court criminalized "knowingly provid(ing) material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization." The State Department can designate any group a "foreign terrorist organization," whether or not it's true.

Designations are largely political, not terrorist related. Claims about threatening US security are used to heighten fear and justify hostile actions. Wars sometimes follow.

Washington, NATO allies, Israel, and rogue Arab League states conspire to wage them. Anti-war groups, human rights activists, and Palestinian supporters are vulnerable. Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were targeted.

They call themselves "a student-run political and advocacy organization that was created for the purposes of stimulating a heightened awareness among the FAU community and South Florida, in general, for the plight of the Palestinian people living in Occupied Palestine."

Similar groups exist on dozens of US campuses. Among others, they include UC Berkeley, Yale, Penn State, Purdue, NYU, Harvard Law, Georgetown, Colombia, Brown, Brandeis, and University of Texas (Austin).

They advocate Palestinian self-determination, ending Israel's occupation, the right to resist to achieve it, respecting international law and human rights, the right of return, and other social and political justice issues.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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