Lawsuit accuses pro-Palestine groups of being ‘collaborators and propagandists’ for Hamas

The allegations contained in the suit, backed with documents, show shocking rhetoric employed by Students for Justice in Palestine and suggest deeper coordination with Hamas.

Published: May 3, 2024 11:00pm

In a landmark lawsuit filed Wednesday, the law firm representing several victims of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel laid out compelling evidence that National Students for Justice in Palestine and its affiliates were acting as “collaborators and propagandists” for Hamas in the United States.

Earlier in the week, Just the News reported on the formation of National SJP—an umbrella organization purportedly organized by American Muslims for Palestine to coordinate the efforts of the hundreds of Students for Justice in Palestine groups at universities across the country.

The reporting detailed the history of the group, linking it to one of the founders of the first SJP chapter at the University of California Berkeley, Dr. Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in the Department of Ethnic Studies.

Bazian, who has come under scrutiny for seemingly antisemitic social media posts in the past, is also credited with the founding of American Muslims for Palestine. He currently serves as that organization’s Chairman.

AMP specifically was caught up in a separate lawsuit and investigation by the Attorney General of the state of Virginia for alleged connections to a network of U.S.-based organizations previously found to have provided material support to Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, Just the News previously reported.

But, lawyers in the new lawsuit, filed on behalf of several Oct. 7 attack victims by law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, argue that AMP and NSJP have more than just past connections to scrutinized organizations, but are actually continuing to act on behalf of Hamas through propaganda and protest efforts.

The lawsuit presents a cache of evidence in the form of the organizations’ own documents, statements, and previous court proceedings to show how the foundation and student-led group are operating, as they allege, according to Hamas’ “grand strategy” of “terror-by-propaganda.”

You can read the court filing below:

“It is deeply ironic that the same people carrying signs saying ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Jews’ claim they are protected by free speech. They are not. Free speech has never included the active support of terrorism, and it has never protected the destruction of private property or the brutalization of innocent men, women, and children of many faiths, not just Jews,” Vice Chair of Greenberg Traurig Richard Edlin said in a statement released by the firm.

“In the defendants, we confront an American problem, as well as a Jewish problem. We cannot—and through this lawsuit, we are saying we will not—allow the infiltration of Hamas-directed hatred, violence, and intimidation anywhere we can prevent it. If the defendants believe they can set up operations in America to create a mass culture of fear, threats, violence, and intimidation to undermine our cherished educational institutions, affect our governmental policies, and force Hamas’s evil ideology on American or Israeli soil, they are about to find out how mistaken they are,” he added.

American Muslims for Palestine strongly disputes the characterization of its organization presented in the lawsuit and claimed that it is an “entirely separate” entity from NSJP.

“American Muslims for Palestine has yet to be served with this lawsuit, as the plaintiffs went to the media before the process servers. Once properly served, AMP will gladly demonstrate in any jurisdiction that it operates fully within the laws of the United States,” the organization’s representatives, the Muslim Legal Fund of America, said in a statement to Just the News.

“While these plaintiffs cite to a seven-year-old civil lawsuit pending in federal court in Chicago throughout their complaint, the plaintiffs in the Chicago lawsuit have yet to legally prove a single one of their allegations against AMP,” said the spokesperson.

“Instead, they fling inflammatory rhetoric, and others cite to it, with no correlation to any actual facts.  No court has issued any finding that AMP supports anything improper, and we remain confident that based on all actual relevant facts no court will do so," the Muslim Legal Fund added.

“I extend my sympathies to these families for their losses. And they absolutely have a right to redress against the perpetrators. They do not, however, have any legal right to redress against law-abiding domestic nonprofits like AMP, that even their complaint fails to tie to terrorism,” the spokesperson added.

Bazian, the founder of AMP, is also the chairman of the Muslim Legal Fund of America.

AMP offered evidence contradictory to previous reporting that Bazian founded of the first SJP chapter at Berkeley. Instead the organization provided a registration document to show the first SJP group at Berkeley was founded in 1993 under a different name.

At the same time, public evidence shows Bazian was somehow associated with the group in its earliest stages. Bazian wrote an article describing the formation of SJP in detail and implying he was there in 1993 to witness it by referencing himself as part of the group. Bazian’s public LinkedIn shows that he attended Berkeley in that same year, likely at the beginning of his Ph.D. program.

The central allegation of the lawsuit is that both NSJP and AMP—grouped together because of their alleged affiliation under AJP Educational Foundation, Inc. according to the suit—aided and abetted Hamas by serving as its “propaganda division in the United States.”

Materials distributed by NSJP seem to indicate at the very least that the group is spreading messages that mirror those from Hamas.

The day after the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers, NSJP disseminated a “Day of Resistance Toolkit,” which details the views of Students for Justice in Palestine network and called for a “national day of resistance.” The flyer contained information on how to organize a protest, provided resources for campus groups, and included a set of talking points.

Some of the rhetoric contained in the document appears to justify anti-Israeli violence.

“When people are occupied, resistance is justified — normalize the resistance,” one heading reads. This section described resistance—which the contents of the flyer make clear is not just peaceful resistance—as “both morally just and politically necessary.”

“[L]iberating colonized land is a real process that requires confrontation by any means necessary,” another section reads. What is included in this confrontation?

“Resistance comes in all forms— armed struggle, general strikes, and popular demonstrations. All of it is legitimate, and all of it is necessary,” NSJP declares.

Finally, NSJP directly connects its U.S.-based protest movement to a “Unity Intifada” with Hamas and declares itself not just a supporter but a part of the movement.

“We as Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement,” the group proudly declares. “This is a moment of mobilization for all Palestinians. We must act as part of this movement. All of our efforts continue the work and resistance of Palestinians on the ground,” the document concludes.

Below the talking points, the group attached two sample graphics for each SJP chapter to use to set up their protests. One includes an image that appears to depict Gazans standing atop a captured Israeli military tank while waving a Palestinian flag. The other includes the now-infamous graphic of a Hamas terrorist flying on paraglider—a reference one tactic used by the group in the Oct. 7 attack.

The toolkit is attached below: 

The lawsuit highlights that the Hamas charter—which governs the terrorist organization—specifically calls on its supporters to provide it with “strategic depth in all human material and informative spheres.” This can be achieved by “the convening of solidarity conferences, the issuing of explanatory bulletins, favorable articles and booklets, enlightening the masses regarding the Palestinian issue, clarifying what confronts it and the conspiracies woven around it,” according to the charter.

The Hamas Charter specifically calls for the death of all Jews, and demands that "jihad" is the only solution to the "Palestinian problem."

Immediately following the attack on Oct. 7, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the movement started from the attack will spread to “the resistance and our Palestinian people abroad.”

"This is a call to our resistance, to our West Bank, to our people, to our resistance abroad, to our strategic allies, to all the sons of this nation: Today is your day. We are on the verge of victory. Let us be partners in creating this great victory, inshallah,” he added in a broadcast.

The toolkit referenced above was distributed to student chapters across the country and the rhetoric and graphics spread.

AMP said that it could not comment on any material contained in NSJP flyers or documents because it “neither created nor promoted it.”

The official relationship between NSJP and AMP remains murky despite reports from the Anti-Defamation League and others that there is an affiliation. The ADL specifically claims disparate SJP groups across the country were brought together under “a single umbrella” through Palestine Solidarity Movement, which was founded by AMP.

Additionally, despite claims of separation, AMP acknowledges on its website that it “work[s] in broad-based coalitions and support[s] campus activism through Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Associations.”

National Students for Justice in Palestine did not respond to an inquiry from Just the News.

The AJP Educational Foundation could not be reached for comment, however, the spokesperson for AMP told Just the News that AMP and AJP merged in 2015 and became the same organization.

In addition to the lawsuit, some Republican Representatives have vowed to move forward with an investigation into funding sources of these groups with specific concern about they may be violating nonprofit tax codes, Just the News previously reported.

These calls for investigation come as Just the News reported that many of the local SJP chapters receive—or have received in the past—funding directly from the universities they have now helped to disrupt through protest and "occupation."

Additionally, the Washington Free Beacon recently reported that a nonprofit founded by a China-based Marxist helped organize the encampments sweeping New York City. The People’s Forum reportedly organized a meeting for the city’s activists to help coordinate and plan the movement in order to "give Joe Biden a hot summer.”

Just the News this week identified the executive director of that organization, Manolo De Los Santos, at a pro-Palestine protest at Fordham University.

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News