The Palestine Right of Return Coalition (PRRC), also known as Al-Awda (“the Return”), will hold another anti-Israel hate fest at the San Francisco State University campus on July 14th-16th. Past conferences were usually held on private property. By holding this conference on a University campus, Al-Awda uses taxpayer-supported property and Californian taxpayers to make war on Israel and American troops in the Middle East.
SFSU is hosting this conference under the sponsorship of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), a campus group. The GUPS pretty much rules the roost at SF State by virtue of its control of the Student Union Building, as well as the student government and its assets. In the past, members of the GUPS have physically threatened and attacked Jewish students while they held a peace demonstration on the Bay Area campus, and have done the same to College Republicans as well.
The registration page for the Al-Awda Conference states, “Note: Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition reserves the right to decline any reservation at its sole discretion for any reason.” Since SFSU is a taxpayer-supported institution, Al-Awda may not bar people from attending the conference on public university grounds. The restriction was set up by Al-Awda to keep out Jews or other pro-Israel supporters who might want to discuss the issues at inside workshops and seminars. SFSU’s administration, which refused to take action in the earlier attacks on College Republicans, has given its acceptance to an anti-Semitic hate-fest on the Bay Area campus.
There are other reasons though that Al-Awda itself and its conference deserve a hard look:
A review of the tax returns of Al-Awda, tax ID # EIN 25-1863915, a 501 (c) 3 tax deductible organization reveals Al-Awda has been concealing its mission statement from the IRS. In its Form 990, the organization told the Internal Revenue Service that it provided emergency relief to the West Bank and Gaza refugees and conducted lectures and a media campaign on behalf of Palestinians. The implication is that the group is a charity raising non-taxable donations for poor Palestinians. However, in their latest press release about the SFSU Conference, Al-Awda lists its activities as follows:
Political assessment and identification of priorities in light of the escalating situation. Assessment of Zionist and US imperialist plans.
Assessment of the status of the PLO, The Palestinian Authority, and the return campaign, with emphasis on the unitary identity of the Palestinian people. Assessment of the solidarity movement, with respect to advocacy for the Palestinian Right to Return.
The reference above to “Zionist and US imperialist plans” is telling. As America tries to broker a peace settlement for two democratic states side by side in peace, Al-Awda makes clear its goal is to roil the Middle East conflict by insisting that 5 million Arabs be allowed to go live inside Israel’s 1948 borders on the same exact spots where their dead ancestors may have lived.
The purpose is to demographically overwhelm the Jewish population and dismantle the Jewish state. “US imperialist plans” refers to destabilizing US foreign policy in the Middle East; Al-Awda supported Saddam Hussein before both wars in Iraq and, like the PLO, is an avid supporter of the Iraqi resistance killing US soldiers and Iraqis.
The divestment campaign is, in fact, a violation of US Trade Laws forbidding boycotting the State of Israel, a policy implemented by the Arab League after 1948 to starve the democratic Jewish state out of existence. In other words, Al-Awda is violating US law and doing it all, tax-free.