Helping Hamas on Campus
To the Editor:
Brooke Goldstein and Gabriel Latner’s article on a 2010 USTOGAZA fundraiser at Rutgers University [“Flotilla U,” December 2011] highlights a growing concern: American college campuses are being used to illegally aid U.S.-recognized foreign terrorist groups, and university officials are not interceding.
In 2009, the Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, featured British politician and Israel-basher George Galloway. At this program, both Galloway and Muslim Student Union members solicited funds for Galloway’s group, Viva Palestina, which was bringing “convoys” of vehicles, goods, money, and supplies to Gaza. Supposedly, Viva Palestina was a humanitarian mission, but the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) furnished evidence to UC Irvine that Viva Palestina was providing material support and resources to the terrorist group Hamas, which is illegal under federal law.
According to the university’s own records, at least four UC Irvine employees were present at the Galloway event. They knew or should have known that fundraising had not been authorized by the university—let alone fundraising for a terrorist group—yet no one stopped it. UC Irvine claimed that it was investigating, but after eight months, when the university finally announced that the investigation had been completed, the Muslim Student Union was not punished—even though the group was found to have raised funds without university permission, in violation of university policy. UC Irvine did not even address the graver concern that the funds solicited on the campus probably landed in the hands of a terrorist group, which would violate U.S. law.
The U.S. Justice Department was equally unresponsive after receiving evidence from the ZOA that UC Irvine’s campus may have been used illegally to raise funds for the terrorist group Hamas. The Department simply acknowledged receipt of the evidence, ignoring the entreaties of the ZOA, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman of California to investigate whether U.S. antiterrorism laws were being violated and American campuses were being used to promote or support terrorist groups.
Last June, at an event sponsored by the University of California, Santa Cruz, a university administrator promoted the U.S.-boat-to Gaza campaign and encouraged students to endorse it. The campaign’s anti-Israel intentions were clear: According to its website, the campaign sought “to end the blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestine.” Questioning the legality of the campaign, the ZOA urged the university to cut all ties with it, and to prohibit staff and academic departments from promoting and supporting it on campus. But the university brushed these concerns aside, explaining that the university official promoting this campaign was “on leave” from her university employment at the time and was thus “free to pursue her own endeavors”—even if that meant using the campus as a base to promote and solicit support for potentially illegal activity that aids terrorism.
Morton A. Klein
Susan B. Tuchman, Esq.
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America
New York City