|Jumbos focused on the Israeli/Palestinian peace process|
Having listened to, and spoken with, SJP members railing about Jewish supremacy and Israeli rights violations, I was at first appalled. But during the Keyes lecture, one Palestinian Tufts student raised her hand and (unlike her more disruptive peers at the previous day's speaker) agreed with much of what Keyes had said. She then asked where her place was as a Palestinian who does not support Hamas, does not idolize suicide bombers, and does not teach hatred of Jews and Christians. Keyes' answer: "You have a role to play. Support moderation in Gaza...convince people that Hamas is not the answer." And now, for the first time since the anger and frustration began on this campus, I am beginning to see what we all have in common.
Keyes, Executive Director of Advancing Human Rights, spoke about rights issues throughout the Middle East, beginning with Saudi Arabia. He focused on the textbooks in Saudi Arabia which describe Jews as "descendants of monkeys" and Christians and "descendants of pigs," and both as enemies of Islam. He spoke about the women who died in a building fire in the state because they were not legally permitted to flee the building without modest coverings. He spoke about the Saudi Arabian travel policy, which explicitly states for all to see that women may not enter the country without a male chaperon.
Palestinian television depicts suicide bombers as heroes, and Palestinian parliamentary leader Ahmed Bahar has said to "kill the Jews, down to the very last one." Knowing, too, that Hamas has smuggled at minimum 60,000 rockets into Gaza for use against Israel, thousands of which have been fired, what kind of neighbor would be created in a Hamas-controlled state?
The fear, then, is that the current Palestinian leadership does not seek peace, but destruction. But that is not to say that the Palestinian people are well-represented in these governments. In fact, the self-identifying Palestinians at Tufts would seem to argue that they are not. Perhaps there is a silent majority, and they needs to be encouraged to speak up.
If so, then we need to be careful with something as misleading and confrontational as "Israeli Apartheid Week." During the week, SJP members participated in, among other things, a hunger strike. As one observer noted in the Tufts Daily, this strike honored Khader Adnan, spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who has orchestrated an estimated three-dozen suicide bombings and who is quoted asking a crowd, "Who among you will carry the next explosive belt ... Who among you will have his body parts blown all over?" This is hardly a demonstration of peace, but rather dredges up memories of suicide bombings against innocent Israelis of all nationalities and religions.
Calling the Jewish homeland an "apartheid" state is also, perhaps intentionally, deceptive. The issue, the real issue, that we should be discussing is the future of the Palestinian people. What land will they populate? What government with they live under? What will that be like? Earlier, we touched on why it would be very important that organizations like Hamas do not become this new future.
Yet "Apartheid Week" identifies not the real problems of Palestinians living without autonomous government, but rather implies a separation between Jews and non-Jews. With events like "The Brand Israel Campaign and Taglit−Birthright Israel", SJP attempts to show that Birthright, an organization which provides trips to Israel for Jews, is reflective of a Jewish supremacy in the state of Israel.
|Salim Joubran, Arab (Israeli Supreme Court)|
Palestinian students, Israeli students, Arab students, Jewish students, and every student should not resort to screaming matches about "apartheid" any more than they should call one another a "terrorist." No one here loves terror; no one here loves apartheid. To support Israel, a Jewish homeland, and the right of a state to defend itself against rocket fire is not to support of racism, apartheid, or rights violations. It is support of a thriving democracy, doing more for human rights than any of its neighbors. Likewise, to support the struggle of an uprooted group of people, suffering under the terrifying leadership of genocidal governments is not to support terror. It is to support a people in need, a people who, as we have seen, do not simply hate.
So here is where I can see us all agreeing: Moving forward toward peace. Let's figure out how to replace leadership like Hamas with leadership that loves peace; let's say "no" to suicide bombings and human shields; let's show the world that the Palestinian people are not represented by terror media, terror governments, or terror at all.