The smear campaign targeted a Palestinian poet, and stalked him as he toured the US.
By Josh Nathan-Kazis and Justin Elliott | Forward and ProPublica | Sepe 12, 2018
Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) ‘coordinate’ or ‘communicate’ with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, an Israeli government department that has become the hub of the Israeli government’s overt and covert efforts against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the US and around the world.
In 2016, as Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi performed at college campuses around the United States, his appearances seemed to spark student protests.
Before his visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, a page called “John Jay Students Against Hate” appeared on Facebook with Kanazi’s face next to a uniformed cop, painting Kanazi as anti-police. When Kanazi crossed the country a few days later to visit San Jose State, a nearly-identical Facebook page popped up, this one called “SJSU Students Against Hate,” with Kanazi’s face superimposed over an image of military graves. Paid Facebook campaigns promoted both pages.
Despite their names, the Facebook campaigns were run by professional Washington DC political operatives who work for a group called the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), according to promotional materials obtained by ProPublica and the Forward.
Although Israel is not an ICC member, its citizens can be charged by the court if they are suspected of committing grave crimes on the territory or against a national of a country that is a member. The ICC has recognized Palestine as a member.
Accusing Israel of systematic crimes, including apartheid in the occupied territories, Palestinians on Tuesday urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation that could ultimately lead to charges against Israeli leaders.
Israel immediately slammed the Palestinian move as “legally invalid.”
The referral seeks an investigation into Israeli policies in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip since Palestine accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2014, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told reporters in The Hague.
This includes Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group fought a 50-day war in 2014, and in recent weeks, Israeli fire has killed over 100 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border since March.
“Since 30 March 2018, at least 27 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by the Israeli Defense Forces, with over 1,000 more injured, many as a result of shootings using live ammunition and rubber bullets. Violence against civilians, in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza, could constitute crimes under the Rome statute of the [ICC] . . . .”
— Fatou Bensouda, ICC chief prosecutor
The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court has called for an end to violence in Gaza after hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of a Palestinian journalist shot beside Israel’s security fence.
Yasser Murtaja, a 31-year-old photographer, was wearing a clearly marked press vest as he reported on a mass demonstration along the Gaza border, in Khuzaa, on 6 April when he was shot. The area was engulfed in thick black smoke from tyres that had been set on fire.
Murtaja was one of about 30 Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire over the past 10 days along the border. As many as 491 people were wounded in last Friday’s protest against the founding of the Israeli state in 1948. Mass rallies are due to continue until 15 May.