[Marxism] Battle over student support for Gaza at Rutgers

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 4 09:17:07 MDT 2010

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 7:34 PM

Jewish groups raise concern over Rutgers student fundraiser for 
Gaza flotilla

NEWARK — Jewish groups are raising concerns over a planned Rutgers 
University student fundraiser that was originally intended to 
collect money for a group that sends supplies to Gaza in defiance 
of the Israeli blockade.

Organizers from BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, 
say their Nov. 4 fundraising dinner is meant to support the 
sending of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

A spokeswoman for BAKA, Hoda Mitwally, said her organization was 
being maligned by groups opposed to the event who had issued press 
releases insinuating her group was somehow linked to terrorism, 
attempting to misuse school funds, or intentionally breaking the law.

"The way we are collecting the money is entirely legal," said 
Mitwally, a Rutgers senior. "Everything we're doing is essentially 
for a humanitarian mission, yet we're being accused of just the 
opposite by those who don't want to recognize there is a 
humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip."

Members of the Jewish group Rutgers Hillel, who oppose the event 
and contacted the Anti-Defamation League with their concerns, said 
they want to make sure Rutgers is not used as a fundraising venue 
for organizations that violate international law or conduct 
illegal actions against Israel.

"We don't want to infringe on anyone's free speech rights, but 
when it comes to breaking the law, and using the resources of our 
state university to do that, that is where we object," said Andrew 
Getraer, the executive director of Rutgers Hillel.

The fundraiser was originally slated to raise money for a group 
called U.S. to Gaza, a coalition that plans to sponsor a boat to 
deliver supplies to Gaza by defying the Israeli naval blockade, 
according to stories first reported on the Web site New Jersey 
Jewish News and in The Record newspaper.

Rutgers University spokesman Greg Trevor said the fundraiser had 
been approved by the university's Student Assembly Allocations 
Committee, but that organizers were told the proceeds could not go 
to U.S. to Gaza, because the group lacked the proper tax-exempt 
status to qualify as a charity.

BAKA hasn't filed to give the money to a new group yet, Trevor 
said. No funds will be released until the university determines 
that the recipient is legally registered as a nonprofit in the 
U.S., he added.

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