Ala'a Hamdan is a student at the University of Calgary (UCalgary).
Hamdan is a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), an affiliate of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and in 2014, she served as its president.
Hamdan was the focus of much concern voiced by local media and pro-Israel groups due to a string of bloody and violent Facebook posts glorifying martyrdom of Palestinians "living under Israeli occupation." In a "fictional story," she identified herself as a "Palestinian fighter" and wrote, "This land will be proud that Palestinian babies are born men and women ready to spill their blood." Based on this Facebook post and others with similar content, pro-Israel student groups commented that "...people are starting to feel more empowered to say things like this."
Hamdan's defense to these allegations was that her writing was taken out of context. She claimed that her Facebook posts, "were poetic writing, creative writing — whatever you want to call it."
Hamdan also accused the CEO of Starbucks of being "Zionist, like the CEOs of many other companies" within a discussion on the SPHR Facebook page with regard to whether to boycott the company.
Moreover, Hamdan publicly celebrated the early release of Palestinian terrorist Samar Issawi - who received a 26 year prison sentence for shooting at Hebrew University students and Israeli police in 2002.
SJP was co-founded by Hatem Bazian and Snehal Shingavi in 2001 at UC Berkeley. Their intention was to advance the radical anti-Israel mission of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), but now masked as a secular organization.
SJP runs targeted and well-orchestrated campaigns against Israel including Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) resolutions,Israel-Apartheid initiatives, drives comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, mock check-points, "die-ins" as well as rallies and protests.
SJP chapters regularly host speakers who engage in language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department. Chapter events routinely include individuals and organizations who are linked to terrorist activity and call for violence against Jews.
SJP members frequently intimidate and harass pro-Israel supporters. Members have been responsible for physically assaulting Jewish students, vandalizing communal propertyand violently disrupting pro Israel speakers and events. Protests organized by SJP chapters regularly include hate-speech and chants such as "From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free" - calling for the destruction of the Jewish State.
SJP demonizes and defames critics, branding attacks against them as “Islamophobic” - a term popularized by co-founder Hatem Bazian.
SJP, along with the MSA, is rapidly creating a hostile and unsafeenvironment on US campuses for all who do not share their radical anti-Israel views. For this reason, they have been labeled by some as “Hamas on Campus.”
Hamdan is a supporter of the Calgary campus Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. In her role as president of SPHR, she recruited a vice-president who would focus his efforts on the development of the Calgary BDS movement.
The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti. The movement is self-described as "a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.”
Campaigns include compelling institutions and individuals todivest from Israeli-affiliated companies, academic boycotts as well as physical rallies and protests.
The groups most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for "BDS resolutions. In these cases, backed by university anti-Israel affiliates, the university student government has been brought to vote on some sort of boycott of and divestment from Israel and Israeli-affiliated organizations. These resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.
BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It is documented that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitism on campus. In 2013, the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution. Reports emerged of threats of violence, the spitting on a female student senator, and theft of the personal property of anti-BDS activists. As a result, the student government chose to vote via a "secret ballot" in order to ensure their own safety.
Barghouti and the BDS movement are proponents of the radical "one-state solution" that has been denounced as a scheme to dissolve Israel as the Jewish State. Barghouti has been quoted as saying, "Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead”, and that in a one-state “by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
The organization is affiliated with numerous anti-Israel groups worldwide, including ones that have been labeled terrorist organizations. The Jerusalem Post claims the BDS movement receives directives from Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and the movement is considered extreme even by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas who stated his opposition to a BDS boycott of Israel in 2013.
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