AMP media director speaks at national BDS conference
Kristin Szremksi, the media and communications director for the American Muslims for Palestine, presented information on exposing Zionist organizations’ tactics to shut down pro-Palestine activism before a packed crowd at the national BDS conference in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“Talking to beginners about BDS, Israel and Zionism,” with Szremski and Pam Olsen, author of “Fast Times in Palestine,” was geared toward those who want to learn how to break through the wall of misinformation and stereotypes when advocating for Palestinian rights.
“Talking about Zionism is tricky because that word means different things to different people,” Szremski explained. “It is important to define political Zionism, which has at its core the call for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from Palestine, and also to distinguish between being against Zionist policies that are illegal and inhumane and anti-Semitism, which is racism based upon one’s religion or ethnicity. It is not anti-Semitic to be anti-Zionist.”
Palestinian civil society made the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in 2005. Since then the movement, which is based upon a similar one that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa, has grown globally.
Last year, the Reut Institute, an Israeli policy think tank, identified the BDS movement as an “existential threat” to Israel. Since that time, Zionist organizations have spent millions of dollars trying to thwart the movement, whose goal is to pressure Israel to abide by international law and end its occupation of Palestine. Zionist organizations such as the Jewish Federations and Hillel brought heavy pressure to bear upon the university and students in attempts to get the conference canceled. Tactics included an op-ed written by UPenn Professor Ruben Gur, which compared the conference to the Holocaust and BDS leader Omar Barghouti to Hitler.
Szremski’s talk came just days after the Anti-Defamation League named her among the top 5 anti-Israel speakers at the conference.
“The student organizers were great and the conference went off without a hitch,” Szremski said. “The organizers and everyone who attended stood firm and proved that we are not afraid to stand on the side of truth and justice.”
Israel Apartheid Week, an international effort to raise awareness of Israeli apartheid, is set to take place on college campuses nationwide at the end of February and the beginning of March.