Letter to the Editor: Collective statement from ASU activist community: Palestine, Protests and Repression – The State Press

Posted By on November 26, 2019

Nine campus groups joined in a letter to The State Press calling on others to support the BDS movement

"Dear State Press, you've got mail." Illustration published on Friday, March 3, 2017.

Since the publication of an opinion column in support of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions and Palestinian human rights, and further with protests against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Israeli Defense Forces, groups such as Hillel,Chabad and other pro-Israel organizations have come out in unison to decry the pro-Palestinian movement as anti-Semitic, even going so far as to connect the pro-BDS movement and the hanging of anti-Semitic posters on campus together.

The conflation of supporting Palestinian liberation with anti-Semitism is nothing new and has been used since the beginning of Israels occupation of Palestine.

We fully deny and repudiate the claim that we are anti-Semitic opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine is not the equivalent to the hatred of the Jewish people.

We, as the activist community, have consistently fought Nazism on campus and all forms of oppression against marginalized people. It is in this spirit that we oppose both ICE and the IDF and mobilize against them under the lawful protection of the constitutions first amendment.

We reject the notion that groups such as Hillel and Chabad speak for the entire Jewish community on campus. The people who signed and released a statement labeling an opinion columnist's support for Palestine as anti-Semitic represent the pro-Israel establishment consensus within certain Jewish community organizations.

As noted in a separate statement released by one of the undersigned organizations, there is a long and rich history of Jewish opposition to Zionism. According to Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist group, Zionism is a settler-colonial movement that denies the right of return to Palestinians and establishes an apartheid state. Zionism cannot be conflated with Judaism or the Jewish people.

The smear that we are anti-Semitic attempts to direct attention away from what we are really fighting for. We support BDS and we disrupted the IDF event because of the injustices and genocide being perpetrated against Palestinians by Israel, which has been happening for more than 50 years. The call to boycott Israel's apartheid was modeled after the successful boycott movement against South Africas apartheid.

We understand that activism can be intimidating, and the attendees of the IDF event indeed felt this way. But it is worth mentioning the fear Palestinian students were struck with when they heard that the very military apparatus that is massacring their people, separating their families and bombing their lands was being hosted and promoted on their campus.

We could not sit by and ignore IDF propaganda events without attempting to inform the public of the egregious human rights violations occurring in Palestine.

In the wake of this protest, the University separately called in each president of the groups involved in the ICE and IDF protests on Nov. 13. We view this as an attempt to pacify and divide our resistance due to an influx of complaints that have come in from the Zionist community against students and community members who support Palestine.

The ASU activist community will stand firmly in supporting BDS and Palestinian liberation. We will not be deterred by false claims that we are anti-Semitic," when we consistently protest all forms of racism and oppression.

We will continue to stand united in defense of our community and in defense of the parts of the ASU community that have stood with us during these protests.

Signed,

Students for Socialism at ASU, No Ms Muertes at ASU, ME[ChA] de ASU, Multicultural Solidarity Coalition at ASU, Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Party for Socialism & Liberation Phoenix, Undocumented Students for Education Equity, Young Democratic Socialists of America at ASU and Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU

Editors note: The opinions presented in this letter to the editor are the authors and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. This letter to the editor was submitted by MaryKelly Starrs, president of the No More Deaths at ASU and Asia Brown, chairperson of Me[Cha] de ASU.

Reach the authors at msmccar3@asu.edu and Asia.Brown@asu.edu.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email toopiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

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Letter to the Editor: Collective statement from ASU activist community: Palestine, Protests and Repression - The State Press

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