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the image on the pamphlet distributed by Students for Justice in Palestine

An Extremist Pamphlet that Reinforces the Actions of Hamas is distributed at U of M on Global Day of Islamic Jihad – President Michael Benarroch Responds

by Rhonda Spivak, Nov 27, 2023

On October 13, 2023, which former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal set as a Global Day of Islamic Jihad, a source told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, that a pamphlet reinforcing Hamas's actions was distributed extensively by a group named Students for Justice in Palestine, which was allowed by the U of M to have a table at University Centre.

The pamphlet stated that “All “israelis" are settlers...There is no such thing as an innocent settler."

The pamphlet said, "The resistance is shoulder to shoulder, from Marxist to Islamist factions, responding to the call of Al Qassam Brigades, commander in Chief Mohammed Dief."

Mohammed Dief is the head of Hamas's military wing, who  planned the Oct 7 pogrom on Southern Israel, murdering over 1200 Israelis (including burning and beheading of babies), and wounding thousands. The operation planned by Dief also resulted in over 240 Israelis being taken as hostages in Gaza.

Section one of the pamphlet referred to "Operation Al- Aqsa Flood and the Broader Context." Hamas refers to the murderous attack perpetrated on Israel on Oct 7 as operation "Al Aqsa Flood."

The full pamphlet can be read by clicking here:

Hamas is recognized as a terror group in Canada.

The source said that "This pamphlet should never have been distributed on campus," and that after a complaint was made to the University of Manitoba administration, the source understands that Students for Justice in Palestine was advised that they could not distribute this pamphlet on campus again.

The source told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "But the damage was already done--the pamphlet was distributed everywhere. And what if next time they distribute a similar pamphlet, if not exactly the same?" The source also said that in their view once Students for Justice in Palestine distributed this pamphlet the University should have taken action to ban the group, pending an investigation. "In my view, they essentially got a slap on the wrist with no real punishment," the source said.

Students of Justice in Palestine is currently not recognized as a registered club by UMSU or the University of Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Jewish Review sent questions directly to Michael Benarroch, President and Vice-Chancellor, U of M in regard to this incident.

The Winnipeg Jewish Review asked: “My understanding is that on Oct 13, which Hamas called the Global Day of Islamic Jihad, the attached pamphlet was tabled by Students of Justice in Palestine at University Centre. Has U of M disallowed the continued distribution of this attached pamphlet?”

Benarroch responded: “ We are not aware of ongoing distribution of this pamphlet. If we become aware of further distribution, we will intervene.”

In a follow up question, the Winnipeg Jewish Review asked Benarroch, “When you say you will intervene, so I am clear will you intervene to ban the pamphlet, and will there be any other further steps taken?”

The President’s office responded “If we become aware of the distribution of this pamphlet, we will ask organizers to cease distribution. Any reported violations of our Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy are reviewed and addressed according to our policies and processes.”

The Winnipeg Jewish Review next asked Benarroch, “ Will the U of M be pre-screening or reviewing the literature that Students for Justice in Palestine, an outside group which does not have official group status at U of M, is able to distribute on campus?

Benarroch responded, “When the University becomes aware of any materials distributed that are inappropriate or against university policy, we discuss with organizers and require that they remove and cease distribution. UM is maintaining a security presence at all student gatherings and will intervene if required.”

Note that it appears from Benarroch’s above response that the U of M will not be pro-active in any way in pre-screening or  reviewing the content of the material Students for Justice of Palestine tables before it is tabled, notwithstanding this outside group has already distributed one objectionable pamphlet. The U of M  does not appear to be sending anyone from the administration to scrutinize any of the other literature this group will be distributing in advance of its distribution. This outside group is not on ‘probation’ of any kind and has not been ‘suspended’ for any period of time notwithstanding the fact they have already violated U of M policy’s with the distribution of this objectionable pamphlet. While U of M Security Services are present, there is no indication that Security Services will be reading/reviewing the content of literature distributed by this group. This would appear to mean that it will be incumbent on individual Jewish students or Hillel to inform the U of M administration of any future problematic literature distributed by this group, such that the distribution will have already occurred before the U of M administration requests that the objectionable literature cease being distributed. Additionally, given the current hostile climate on campus, how likely is it that individual Jewish students will be willing to make a complaint to the U of M administration about a pamphlet praising a Hamas terrorist such as Mohammed Dief or Yihaya Sinwar, after the fact of its distribution? (Note, the source indicated there have been several incidents where Jewish students have been spat on, such that they are now less likely to wear Stars of David). 

The Winnipeg Jewish Review also asked Benarroch “Has the U of M taken any steps to determine who is supporting and financing Students for Justice in Palestine?”

Benarroch responded, “We have confirmed that Students for Justice in Palestine does not receive any financial support from UM student unions or the university.”

In a follow up to this question, the Winnipeg Jewish Review asked “whether the U of M has taken any steps to determine whether or not Students for Justice in Palestine is being funded directly or indirectly by Hamas or any other terror group? The President’s office responded, “Such an investigation would not be conducted by the university, but by CSIS or the RCMP.”

There are public source documents available about Students for Justice in Palestine.

A fulsome report entitled Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Unmasked authored by Dan Diker, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, on Nov 3, 2023 has found that:

"SJP has been linked to terror groups. Some have defined SJP as a campus front for Hamas at University of California, Berkeley.  Principal backers of SJP include founders, financial patrons and ideological supporters who have been connected to Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

"Students for Justice in Palestine is a byproduct of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an organization whose leaders were former members of Palestinian and Islamist terror organizations. AMP was founded in 2005 by the former leaders of three organizations; Kindhearts, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. All three organizations were implicated by the U.S. government between 2001 and 2011 for financing Hamas.

See also ‘Exposing SJP as a Terrorist Front at UC-Berkeley”

According to the Times of Israel, Florida’s public university system banned Students for Justice in Palestine last month at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Update: However, Chancellor Ray Rodrigues later walked back the claim, saying at an October Board of Governors Meeting that the demand raises "concerns about potential personal liability for university actors who deactivate the student registered organization.")

Brandeis University banned the group saying it 'openly supports Hamas.'

According to the Times of Israel, George Washington University has suspended Students for Justice in Palestine for screening anti-Israel messages on the outer wall of a library.

The Winnipeg Jewish Review also asked Benarroch, “Will the U of M be transparently informing students and the public about the conclusions it has reached in this regard (referring to any investigation of Students for Justice in Palestine )? Benarroch responded, “We are responding to all student and university community inquiries about this matter.”

This answer suggests that there is no assurance that the “public” - you and I - will be informed necessarily of any results of any investigations the U of M undertakes in regard to literature disseminated in the past or future by Students for Justice in Palestine.

Students for Justice in Palestine have also held a couple rallies/vigils on U of M campus.

President Benarroch also wrote to the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "I remain committed to supporting a safe campus environment for all students. To this end, I, and others, have been meeting with organized groups to make clear that we expect everyone on campus to adhere to our Respectful Work and Learning Environment (RWLE) Policy.  As is common practice at UM, any reported violations of the RWLE policy are reviewed and addressed."

Our approach is to monitor all activity – irrespective of whether the organizers are students or members of the public – to ensure adherence to our policies. University of Manitoba Security Services (UMSS) is present at all events, tables, and at both Jewish and Muslim spaces on campus. UMSS has attended all of the events that have been granted permission to occur on campus since the terrorist attacks occurred and, in some cases, out of an abundance of caution, we have arranged for additional private security or requested the presence of Winnipeg Police Services." 

The U of M issued a statement about Vivian Silver, which says:

"NOVEMBER 14, 2023 — The University of Manitoba will be lowering the flag on the Administration Building on November 14, 2023 in honour of Vivian Silver. 

Silver passed away on Oct. 7, 2023."

Note that it sounds from the statement as if Vivian Silver died of natural causes, as opposed to the fact that she was murdered in the Oct 7 terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.