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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.ampalestine.org/
Founded2005 in Chicago, IL
In their own wordsSeeks to “educate the public about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination, liberty and justice”

Funding

  • Funding is channeled through the AJP Educational Foundation Inc.1  Hatem Bazian, head of AMP, is also AJP Educational Foundation’s principal officer. In 2016, total income was $717,393; total expenses were $972,187.
  • According to its website, “AMP is a strictly an American organization, which is funded by donations made entirely within the United States.”

Activities

  • American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) rhetoric includes accusations of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “collective punishment,” “judaization,” and “colonization,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • AMP provides “advocacy training” including instruction on how to lobby politicians, and produces media and activism guidebooks, such as campus activism resources including fact-sheetsanti-normalization material, and Power Point presentations that parrot the Hamas narrative of the 2014 Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza, claiming that “Palestinian resistance was born out of the occupation and the siege, plain and simple.”
  • In May 2018, AMP released a statement during the violence on the Gaza border condemning “Israel’s massacre” and alleging that “the military actions are just further proof of Israel’s intent to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland” (emphasis added). The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In November 2017, AMP hosted its 10th Annual Convention for Palestine in the US marking “100 Years Since Balfour.” Speakers included Mustafa Barghouti, Issa Amro, and Noura Erakat. AMP has referred to the Balfour Declaration as being “behind Zionist colonization of Palestine.”
    • Mustafa Barghouti, president of Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), takes part in BDS activitiesstating, “We are now in the early stages of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid.”
    • Issa Amro is the coordinator of Youth against Settlements and was arrested for “incitement,” “insulting a soldier,” “attempting to influence public opinion in a place or way that threatens public safety or order,” and “gathering without permission.”
    • Noura Erakat, the US-based Legal Advocacy Consultant for the radical Palestinian NGO BADIL, has shown support for BDS, including calling for “applying sanctions for arms to Israel” (emphasis added). In a December 2014 lecture at the American Anthropological Association, Erakat stated that “one of the values of an academic boycott is to…do what Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions does, which is to apply a moral pressure onto Israel, which has been absent. It has been absent as a result of intimidation, and real repercussions, or, on the international scene, the work of the United States to incapacitate any kind of accountability, whether it be legal or diplomatic or otherwise.”
  • In July-August 2017, AMP and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) co-sponsored an Interfaith Peace Builders delegation to Israel and the West Bank which showed “first-hand the impact of Israeli apartheid” and aimed “to gain large-scale support for the successful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”
  • In July 2017, following Israel placing metal detectors at the Temple Mount to increase security following a terrorist attack that killed two Israeli Border Police officers, AMP stated that “The Israeli occupation is the root cause of all problems in occupied Palestine,” and that the “ U.S. must pressure Israel to end the modern world’s longest-lasting military occupation and allow Palestinians their liberty, self-determination and right to return to their homeland.”
  • In June 2017, to mark “50 years of occupation after Six Day War,” a “military assault, which was surpassed in brutality only by Israel’s attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014,” AMP asked “How long until the international community exercises its political will to force Israel to comply with international law? How long until the United States ends the double standard in its foreign policy and ends unconditional support for Israeli policies that contravene international law and deprive Palestinians of their basic human rights?”
  • On May 13, 2017, to commemorate “the Nakba: 69 years of ongoing ethnic cleansing,” AMP released a statement saying “69 years after Zionist militias and terrorist groups killed 13,000 Palestinians, destroyed about 500 villages and forced 750,000 – two thirds of the Palestinian population – from their homes and into exile, Israeli policies, fueled by Zionism, ensure the continued displacement of Palestinians. The Nabka [sic] is not a one-time event, but rather, a continuous effort to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Palestine” (emphasis added).
  • In 2015, AMP was a “National campaign partner” for the campaign “No Way to Treat a Child,” a vehicle for exploiting children for political warfare against Israel. The campaign was initiated by PFLP-linked Defense for Children International- Palestine and BDS organizer American Friends Service Committee. A February 20, 2017, exposé in the Jerusalem Post revealed the central claims of this campaign to be false.
  • At its 2014 annual conference, Vice Chair Munjed Ahmad moderated a panel discussion on “Do Occupied People Have the Right to Resist their Occupation?” which invited participants to “Come navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.” In his lecture, he alleged that Israel carries out “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and “collective punishment,” and stated that “there will come a day where the Palestinian people…the martyrs of Palestine will become heroes. They are heroes already to us…we know that they are standing for justice and standing for what’s right” (14:51-15:10). Ahmad further stated that “What’s very sad to me when we talk about terrorist organizations is that the state of Israel is not considered a terrorist organization with our government, but it truly is the largest terrorist of all” (21:58-22:12).
    • Additional panels at its 2014 annual conference discussed how the “Zionist network in the United States stifles criticism of Israeli policies by smearing activists as anti-Semites”; various “tools to try to end US military aid to Israel”; “everything you need to know to get busy with your own successful BDS effort.”
  • In March 2013, AMP launched a $38,000 billboard campaign on Metro stations in New York accusing Israel of “apartheid.” The ad featured the shadow of an Israeli soldier aiming a gun at a Palestinian child and called for an end to US aid to Israel.

BDS Activities

  • Supports BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.
  • AMP has stated, “By working together on focused consumer boycotts and campaigns against the companies and institutions that help Israel to commit its crimes, the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is a powerful and strategic tool for isolating Israel.”
  • AMP is involved in a campaign targeting Airbnb to end “illegal rentals in the West Bank” and a campaign titled “This Ramadan, Make a DATE with Justice: Choose Occupation- Free Dates” calling on “Muslims to uphold the ethics of our faith, and to refuse to buy or sell dates that are profiting from Israeli occupation.”
  • In January 2018, following AMP being banned from entering Israel due to its support of BDS, AMP released a statement saying that it “wears this ban as a badge of honor and as recognition of our success in exposing Israel as a brutal apartheid regime… AMP is proud to be among the first U.S. organizations to respond to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (emphasis added).
  • In December 2016, AMP called for “an end to US aid to Israel as its policies are in continual violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.”
  • In May 2015, AMP called to “Stop anti-BDS legislation in the US Senate” as “It is clearer than ever just how much of an impact the global movement for boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) is having in challenging Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies–so much that Israel’s supporters are mobilizing top-down U.S. legislation about it!”

Staff

  • Hatem Bazian
    • President of AMP and co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
    • Bazian is a prominent supporter of BDS and has called for an intifada in the United States.
    • In September 2014, Bazian participated in an “International Day of Action for Palestine” calling for “teach-ins, rallies, sit-ins, civil disobedience, and push for BDS activities” and to say “No to Academic Complicity with Israeli Occupation… [and] No Investments in Apartheid and Occupation Supporting Companies.”
    • In June 2004, Bazian spoke at a KindHearts Fundraising Dinner, entitled ‘Palestinians in agony!’ In 2006 the organization, also known as Islamic Association for Palestine, was shut down by the US government and became listed as a specially designated terrorist organization for being a Hamas front.
  • Kristin Szremski
    • On December 6, 2016, Szremski, then AMP Director of Media and Communications, tweeted that “It’s time we all start exposing the Zionist connection to Islamophobia.” The tweet included a link to an AMP article describing a form of Islamophobia called “creep­ing nor­malcy” — “which are efforts to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestine through illegitimate interfaith cooperation.”
      • Szremski has claimed that there is “linkage between Islamophobia, the spread of Islamophobia, and people tied to Israel advocacy.”
    • While at AMP, Szremski supported BDS stating “There is no legitimate reason to not support BDS…We need to be clear: BDS is a tool to force Israel to abide by international law and end the occupation, to allow Palestinian refugees the right of return and to afford Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights.”
    • In February 2012, Szremski spoke at a conference in Philadelphia on “Talking to beginners about BDS, Israel and Zionism,” saying “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.”
  • Taher Herzallah
    • Herzallah, Associate Director of Outreach & Grassroots Organizing, justified Hamas rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilians, saying that “in order for them [Israeli society] to feel any compulsion or urge to end the occupation, they need to feel that they are in an abnormal situation. In that regard, Hamas’ rockets are effective even though they don’t kill anyone. Hamas’ rockets are an oppressed people’s audible cry for help.”
    • Taher Herzallah was a member of SJP at the University of California, Riverside, as well as one of the “Irvine 11” students who were convicted for disrupting a speech by Ambassador Michael Oren.
    • On July 19, 2013, Taher Herzallah praised Israeli casualties of Hamas attacks. He posted photos of wounded Israeli soldiers on Facebook with the caption: “The most beautiful site in my eyes.” The post was later removed.
  • On July 24, 2017, Shakeel Syed, AMP national board member, was prevented from boarding a flight to Israel by the Israeli government due to his support of BDS.
  • The AMP board includes at least two members, Salah Sarsour and Osama Abu Irshaid, with ties to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). The HLF had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury in 2001 after the discovery that it was funneling money to Hamas.

Partners

  • AMP offers significant support to Students for Justice in Palestine chapters by speaking at SJP campus events, reposting SJP statements on its website, organizing conferences and seminars for SJP chapters, and facilitating the SJP National Convention.
    • AMP’s own 2010 conference featured two “SJP workshops” titled “Israeli PR and Rebranding Campaign” and “The Normalization of Zionism on Campuses.”
  • Partners with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a leader of anti-Israel BDS campaigns, which claims to be the Jewish wing of the Palestinian solidarity movement and seeks to “drive a wedge” within the American Jewish community over support for Israel.
  • Member of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a “national coalition of hundreds of groups working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in US policy.”
    • Accuses Israel of maintaining a “matrix of control” over the Palestinian population and enacting “laws that discriminate against [Palestinians], much as Black Americans had been treated during the Jim Crow era.”

Footnotes

  1. AMP is incorporated in the State of Illinois, but is not a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. In order to receive tax-exemption donations, it uses an organization known as “Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (AJP),” located at the same address, as its “fiscal sponsor.” It appears that AJP does not sponsor any other projects.

Archive of Articles about American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

Further Reading