March 7, 2021

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UCLA sued to reveal names of SJP conference speakers last November
Zionist protest SJP conference at UCLA

Last November, UCLA hosted the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) conference, despite protests by those who don’t want to see Israel destroyed.

There was something unusual to this conference, though: The organizers did not reveal the names of the speakers, for bogus “security” reasons:

Gurutam Thockchom, an SJP board member and third-year mathematics student, said they hoped the conference would promote discussion among student activists about human rights issues in Palestine.

Thockchom said SJP would not release the names of the speakers because of security concerns.

“The Israel and Zionist lobby have many ways to try to silence people who are speaking out in support of Palestine,” Thockchom said. “One of those ways is with blacklists and smear campaigns.”

One day, I’d love to know who has been silenced.

David Abrams, a lawyer who has gone after anti-Israel groups before, has filed a lawsuit against UCLA to reveal the names of the speakers.

Abrams told me, “My argument is that UCLA permitted the conference to go forward on the ground that there should be ‘open debate.’ In my view, ‘open debate’ does not mean that you get to make a public presentation on the campus of a public university in secret. “

“Moreover,” he continued, “the public has a right to investigate UCLA’s compliance with anti-terrorism laws.”

Abrams is suing based on his information that UCLA has received grants from USAID and therefore
 must regularly certify to the State Department that it does not provide material support  to anyone associated with terrorism. Hosting a known terrorist speaker at a conference may be considered material support for terrorism.  Abrams points out in the official complaint that SJP has previously hosted Khader Adnan, an admitted member of Islamic Jihad,  a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

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