As of Tuesday, September 22, WOL’s chairperson and co-founder Nerdeen Kiswani has been the target of a racist, anti-Palestinian smear campaign launched by zionists in an attempt to get her expelled from the CUNY School of Law. After having been publicly attacked over the years by the likes of Ben Shaprio, Daniel Pipes and Roseanne Barr, Nerdeen is now getting attacked by the actor Michael Rappaport. Last week Rappaport began harassing Nerdeen directly, going as far as privately messaging her on Instagram threatening that he’s going to get her expelled. Since then it has come to light that ACT.IL – an israeli government-funded app – is behind the campaign to pressure CUNY Law to expel Nerdeen.
The attacks being waged against Nerdeen by the likes of Rappaport, a racist, Islamophobic bully with a record of harassing women, along with an army of online zionist trolls, are rooted in the same conflation of anti-zionism and anti-semitism that we know is used at every turn to attack those who are struggling for the liberation of Palestine. Those who have organized in support of Palestinian liberation knows that while anyone who dares challenge zionism is a target for smear and attack, Palestinian organizers, especially Palestinian Muslim organizers, and women more than anyone else, are subjected to violence, abuse, threats and repression for their organizing work that others are not.
We saw this on September 23rd, just one day after the online attacks against Nerdeen began, when Zoom, Facebook and YouTube censored an online event organized by Professor Rabab Abdulhadi and AMED Studies at San Francisco State University featuring Palestinian revolutionary Leila Khaled. We know that Leila Khaled, Professor Abdulhadi and Nerdeen are being targeted precisely because of their leading role in the movement for Palestinian liberation and return and the threat their leadership poses to the occupation. And this is why we are called upon to mobilize in their defense.
In response to the attacks on Nerdeen, she has received an outpouring of support – from her classmates at CUNY Law, to the National Lawyers Guild to WOL’s allied orgs in the Palestine and anti-imperialist movements, who have all written statements in defense of Nerdeen amplifying the message that #WeStandWithNerdeen.
Find out how you can take action in support of Nerdeen below, and help spread the word about the #WeStandWithNerdeen campaign by sharing this post widely with your friends.
1 – REPORT THE APP BEHIND THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN TO GET HER EXPELLED
It’s come to light that ACT.IL, an israeli government-funded app, is behind the online campaign to get Within Our Lifetime’s Chairperson Nerdeen Kiswani expelled from CUNY Law. The app, which assigns daily missions to users “to support Israel’s image and fight against the demonization of the state of Israel,” has been spreading incredibly dangerous lies and misinformation about Nerdeen as part of a racist, Islamophobic smear campaign. For the past week, users of the app have been directed to email CUNY Law demanding Nerdeen’s expulsion based on a fabricated story that she threatened to attack a fellow student – something that NEVER happened. As noted by Palestine Legal, ACT.IL’s “mission” to report Nerdeen to CUNY resulted in over 19,000 false emails being sent to the CUNY Law administration.
Take action today by reporting the app’s harassment against Nerdeen to Google and Apple:
— To report to Google, click here. The app id is “com.actil.android.app.” You can find a screenshot of the false allegations against Nerdeen on the app here so you can upload it with your complaint.
— To report to Apple, click here to report suspicious activity and send an email or chat explaining what the app is doing.
2 – AMPLIFY CUNY NLG’S DEMANDS AND EMAIL CUNY LAW ADMIN
On September 23rd, the CUNY chapter of the National Lawyers Guild released a statement signed by student groups and student leaders across CUNY Law that included the following demands:
1 – WE DEMAND, CUNY School of Law immediately take down, remove, and not create further harmful social media posts on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages, which have ignited a hateful backlash against our colleague Nerdeen.
2 – WE DEMAND, CUNY School of Law clarify their previous social media posts to rectify their enormous misrepresentation of anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
3 – WE DEMAND, CUNY School of Law
- Publicly acknowledge that the video posted of their Palestinian student was to serve a political, malicious attack against her and nothing else.
- Publicly apologize to our colleague, the school’s Palestinian students, and the larger Palestinian community.
- In addition, CUNY must enact safety measures to protect the student from any present and future harm that could result as a consequence of the social media messages it posted. This includes protecting the student from any disciplinary measures and neutralizing any negative impression this could leave on the student’s character and fitness, as well as other repercussions that the student may face as a result of this misrepresentation.
4 – WE DEMAND, CUNY School of Law not conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. The conflation is harmful to Jewish students as it paints Jews as a monolith, assuming all Jews are Zionists. We further demand that CUNY stop using Jewish students to justify racist and Islamophobic actions. Conflating anti- Zionism with anti-Semitism justifies the hate speech currently being launched at Nerdeen, as it makes it seem as though actions condemning the violent tactics that the IDF has employed against the Palestinian people are an act of anti-Semitism, which is completely untrue.
Beyond sharing these demands on Instagram and across social media, you can also take action in support of Nerdeen by emailing the following administrators at CUNY Law to let them know that you support CUNY NLG’s demands and stand with Nerdeen.
- Mary Lu Bilek, Dean: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Yvette Wilson-Barnes, Dean email@example.com
- Ann Cammett, Sr. Associate Dean, Academic Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org