University: CUNY Organization(s):SJP, BDS Close Connection(s):
Nerdeen Mohsen Kiswani is a student at Hunter College, City of New York University (CUNY) pursuing a Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies.
In July 2015, she claimed in a Facebook post that she had been banned from all borders that lead to Israel until the Israeli embassy in the U.S deems otherwise.
In October 2014, Kiswani alleged she was assaulted by Jewish basketball fans at an exhibition game between the host Nets and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv. The event was attended by a number of pro-Palestinian protesters due to a reception held before the game to raise funds for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
Kiswani's claim was that Leonard Petlakh, a Jewish history teacher at CUNY and director of Kings Bay Y, was part of a group that punched her in the stomach and stole her Palestinian flag.
Petlakh’s attorney denied that Kiswani was punched by his client or by anybody else. “There is a very clear videotape,” he said. “If you know what Leonard looks like, you can see that this alleged victim was not touched by Leonard or anybody.”
The video taken of the incident shows a flag being taken from Kiswani by a single individual, but does not show she was struck or attacked by a group.
“What the h--- is wrong with you?” Kiswani shouts. “Did you just f-----g assault me?”
“I didn’t touch you,” the man replies.
“Don’t f-----g touch me, give me my s--t back,” Kiswani yells back. ...He punched me in the stomach!”
Kiswani’s attorney, Lamis Deek, claimed the punch was inflicted by the "gang of thugs" but that it cannot be seen on the video.
The parties to the altercation were escorted out the area where Petlakh was himself assaulted. His nose was broken and he required eight stitches below his badly bruised eye. The attack was by one of the protesters at the game, Shawn Schraeder, who can be seen in the video. Schraeder was apprehended by the police and charged with assault and harassment according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Petlakh related that the protesters were shouting “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers,” as he left the game before being attacked in front of his children. "For my kids it was a traumatizing experience," he later commented. "Who wants to see your father with your shirt bloodied..It was quite an introduction to Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
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, along with the MSA, is rapidly creating a hostile andunsafe environment 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.”
Kiswani is the founder and editor of the I Stand with Palestine web magazine that rallies for the "Right of Return," otherwise known as the "One State Solution," that would see the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish State. To this end, she promotes divestment, a tenet of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Her list of Israel-linked companies to boycott includes Sodastream and Ben & Jerry's and she advises to "make flyers or stickers alerting other customers about these companies’ unethical practices and distribute them (put stickers saying 'Don’t Buy Israeli Apartheid' directly on the product, but don’t get caught)."
In June 2014, Kiswani chaired a workshop panel discussion entitled "Critical Perspectives on Palestine: Revitalizing a One State Solution."
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.”
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.
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.