Sahar Aziz may not be a household name. Still, one cannot deny that the positions she holds both as Vice President of the Westfield Board of Education and as Professor of Law at the Rutgers University Law School come with significant responsibility — and the potential to influence many young minds.
As a Jewish college student who has witnessed campus antisemitism perpetuated by groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, I recognize the importance of putting Aziz's recent statements in the context of her history of extremism and the common rhetoric of anti-Zionists.
Aziz has promoted the discriminatory Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the State of Israel. BDS is intrinsically antisemitic.
Aziz also retweeted +972 Magazine's (@972mag) tweet on May 5, 2023, with a link to an article titled "Why we Palestinians see ourselves in Khader Adnan" and the following caption: "Adnan's love for his family and stubborn struggle against Israel's oppressive military apparatus made him a national symbol across social divides."
Khader Adnan, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, was in the spotlight for his 86-day hunger strike leading to his death. Although some media outlets depicted him as an innocent political detainee, he is quite the opposite. Adnan urged his followers to martyrdom, rallying them to become suicide bombers to murder as many Israelis as possible.
Furthermore, Aziz has openly endorsed the mantra "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," most recently by retweeting Edo Konrad's (@edokonrad) post on January 30, 2023, linking an article titled "From the river to the sea, Palestinians are not free."
"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" is an open call for the destruction of the State of Israel through the ethnic cleansing of Jews. It is often a call to Palestinian violence and terrorism.
Although Aziz attempts to use "anti-Zionism" to disguise the antisemitism embedded within the mantra, it's hardly convincing.
If anyone remains unconvinced about whether Aziz's retweets reflect her personal views, one can look at her "activism" while teaching at Rutgers.
Recently, Sahar Aziz signed a public manifesto that asserts that "[Israel's] policies constitute apartheid, bolstered by a brute force that enshrines territorial theft and the racial supremacy of Jewish-Zionist nationals."
In an article published in September of 2018, Aziz promoted several detractors with a history of antisemitism, including Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow.
Jewish Voice for Peace has blamed Jews for societal issues within America, calls for Israel's destruction, and has falsely accused Israel of being an apartheid state.
IfNotNow has attacked the Jewish state on countless occasions, and smeared the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
According to a report by the AMCHA Initiative, an antisemitism watchdog group, "The presence of one or more anti-Zionist student groups and five or more faculty boycotters were each strong predictors of whether a school had one or more incidents involving overall threats to Jewish identity occurring in the 2021-2022 academic year."
Even worse, as board vice president for the Westfield School District, Aziz has committed to promoting BDS and the "Palestinian narrative" into policy. This is concerning because that would be a flagrant abuse of her power.
My mother lived in the Soviet Union until she was 12 years old. She left with my grandparents and her sister to escape the persecution they faced as Jews, which was justified by the same rhetoric that Aziz propagates today.
We cannot allow antisemitism to take root in America, as it did in the Soviet Union.
The Westfield Public School District and the administration at Rutgers must hold individuals like Sahar Aziz accountable so that they are not using their position to promote hateful bigotry — in this case, antisemitism.
Alexandra Berman is a 2022-2023 Fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting & Analysis.