Students for Justice in Palestine holds 4th National Conference
By Farah Kahn
Boston, MA - Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held the 4th National Conference at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26. The conference, titled "Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine" emphasized the importance of solidarity with all liberation struggles, both inside and outside of the U.S. Nearly 500 students gathered to discuss how to free Palestine, stand in solidarity with the African American and anti-police brutality struggles in Ferguson, Missouri and effectively fight all systems of oppression.
One important focus throughout the weekend was the upcoming trial of Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian American community organizer who is currently a target of the U.S. government's witch hunt against activists and members of the Palestinian solidarity community. Odeh is being criminalized for her solidarity work within the Arab American community. SJP recognizes that, "as Palestinian solidarity activists, we have a duty to support her."
During one packed session at the conference, panelists discussed Rasmea Odeh's case and ways SJP chapters can lend support. SJP leaders called for students to attend her trial in Detroit starting on Nov. 4 and to organize solidarity rallies on campuses across the country. Responding to the call, the University of Florida's SJP chapter is coordinating with student activists at Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, the University of South Florida and other campuses in the South and nationwide.
As Amanda Nelson of University of Florida's SJP summed up, "To stand with Rasmea is to stand with hardworking Americans who were not born in this country but have worked to establish their lives here. Most of all, to stand with Rasmea is to condemn the torture and human rights abuses committed by Israel."