Campus, News

Students protest Israel with 'apartheid wall'

Members of the Boston University's Students for Justice in Palestine hold up a replica of the Apartheid Wall and banners outside College of Arts and Sciences on Tuesday. JUSTINA WONG/ Daily Free Press Staff

Students for Justice in Palestine protested the construction of a wall built on Palestinian land in the West Bank  by creating their own representation of an “apartheid wall” outside of the College and Arts and Sciences on Monday afternoon.

SJP member and second-year CAS Ph.D student Ian Chinich said that a few members of SJP chose to hold up Styrofoam boards painted to look like concrete walls to represent the disputed wall.

“We started at 3 [p.m.], went for three hours, and we got a lot of good reception,” Chinich said in an interview.

More than 500 pamphlets were handed out to disperse information against the wall, he said.

Chinich said that SJP originally had no plan to include the demonstration as part of Israel Apartheid Week until receiving an email on Sunday from the Boston University Students for Israel that requested SJP “refrain from constructing such a structure and from sensationalizing the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

“It is our concern that such a demonstration will only serve to sensationalize and simplify a most complex, nuanced and profoundly serious situation,” BUSI said in the email. “This will only inflame emotions and incite hatred. Ultimately, the mock up will be counterproductive to promoting objective and intellectual analysis of the realities of the region and of the histories of both Arabs and Jews.”

SJP responded by stating that the email along with BUSI complaints to the Student Activity Office led them to stage the demonstration.

“We understand that you are embarrassed about the wall because the wall is an embarrassment,” SJP replied in an email to BUSI. “Rather than sending people to complain to SAO about it, you should be condemning the Israeli government for its extensive confiscation of land, the expanse of checkpoints, the illegal settlements and system of closures involved in imprisoning the Palestinian people.”

While BUSI proposed a “side-by-side” demonstration to promote discussion between the opposing parties, SJP rejected the offer.

“We refuse to take part in whitewashing Israel’s public image, and therefore reject any Israeli-Palestinian meetings that do not recognize Palestinian inalienable rights and do not explicitly aim to resist Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid,” SJP said in their response.

CAS junior and BUSI President Rachelle Rubin acknowledged SJP’s right to voice their beliefs but said that Israel cannot be considered an apartheid state.

“It’s the farthest thing from the truth to say that Israel is engaging in systematic killing of Palestinian individuals,” said CAS junior Meggie Wyschogrod, vice president of the BU Hillel House.

Rubin stressed that the BUSI’s Israel Peace Week was designed to demonstrate Israel’s efforts toward peace.

“We really tried to promote a positive sentiment on campus,” Rubin said. “We very much feel for anybody who’s hurt in the conflict. That’s why we were raising money for Save a Child’s Heart,” an Israeli organization that provides cardiac surgery for both Israeli and Arab children.

“All we’re looking for is to engage with them, to have dialogue,” Wyschogrod added. “We try to promote peaceful actions, but we’re also realistic.”

A normalized discussion between the two groups would not come easily, Chinich said.

“The only setting we’re willing to have an event with [BUSI] is a debate,” he said. “We’re not going to tamper down our message just so we can hang out with them.”


  1. I have been wondering, how does inciting hatred help create peace in the region? it would seem to me that if your group truly wanted peace and justice in palestine you would be actively looking to figure out a way to compromise and debate on the issues, find a common ground, and learn to coexist. All this wall is doing is inciting hatred and possible violence on a very strained issue that will probably lead to polarizing BU’s campus.

    As a concerned student who enjoys the relaxed environment of our campus, these types of demonstrations can only be harmful to BU students and our peaceful environment.

    • I completely agree. Especially after BU Students for Israel and Hillel promoted Israel Peace Week last week. I understand that the conflict in the middle east is very complex, but I do not think that posting false statements publicly for all students to see will help fix anything and will make matters worse.

    • Raising awareness is not “inciting hatred”, The situation is dire enough that the usual prevaricating liberal “let’s be friends” response is not good enough and does not represent the serious nature of the plight of these people. Turning it into a he-said-she-said npr type argument is a false dichotomy. One group is in a positon of power and one is not.

      Also I have to say that these overtures to Peace week are disingenuous because rather than addressing genuine problems they are just pretending that everything is already fine as it is, which it isn’t. A true peace week would be if you acknowledged that there exist major problems with the way people are being treated and didn’t just align yourself with the government line.

    • I enjoy how building a 10′ x 15′ wall made out of foam-core “incites hatred”, but building a 440-mile long wall made — 25′ high in some places and lined with sniper towers — is legitimate.

      Nice perspective, folks.

    • Not concerned enough

      All this wall is really doing is bringing blunt attention to the fact that walls line and separate occupied Palestine by a much higher militarized power. I hope that it is clear that if people react with hatred towards the state which imposes such a profoundly unjust and racist wall, that it is because they are deeply moved and frustrated by the fact of its (the wall’s) existence. I proudly include myself in the group of people who don’t consider an apartheid wall to be anything less than disgusting and infuriating.
      Normalizing the issue with a patronizing “learn to coexist” statement is harmful on two levels:
      1) It assumes that the issue is basically an ethnic one- that it is the fabric of Jewish and/or Arab culture to clash or that there is a hostility to living around one another. That’s bullshit.
      2) It undermines the outright lack of respect for human dignity and human rights the Israeli government has for palestinians living both within and outside the 48 borders. Like the wall, abuses towards Palestinians are a fact and debating issues of an identity crisis white wash crimes.

      I’m sorry if this inconveniences you.

      • The Palestinian Authority has stated “we refuse to let a single Jew live in Palestine”. Their plan is to ethnically cleanse the entire West Bank of Jews.

        THAT’s apartheid.

  2. I am a second year graduate student. I want to graduate eventually 😉

    • Ian, you a a traitor to both your own people (I was susprised to hear you claim you were Jewish, although I very much doubt you know a thing about Judaism; you certainly don’t know any Jewish history) and to the human race. Do you know that 98% of “Palestinians” live under the P.A. authority? That Jews are not even allowed to ENTER land controlled by the P.A., much less live there.

      One million Jews were expelled from Arab lands with only the clothes on their backs.

      Over 1,500 Israelis – both Jewish and Arab – were murdered in the three years before the security fence was built. NO ONE DEATH FROM TERRORISM from the West Bank was reported since. Apparently you’d rather have more Israelis murdered.

      You are truly, truly a disgusting excuse for a human being.

      • A few more facts about Arab apartheid you manage to ignore:

        The P.A.’s charter calls for the genocide of Jews. 58% of “Palestinians” support terrorism against Jews even after declaring their own state. The P.A. actually has their own state in every respect EXCEPT an army – “Palestinians” vote in their own elections, issue their own building permits, run their own schools, have their own police force, etc. So what are you objecting to other than the presence of Jews in Israel?

        The entire “West Bank” was to be part of ISRAEL as originally created; it was conquered and illegally occupied by JORDAN in 1948. All Jewish residents, including children, were either murdered or expelled. When Jordan again attacked Israel in 1967, it gained back that territory.

        Here’s a great idea – let’s give back Europe to what remains of the Nazi party, because after all Europe was under their control when the Americans, Russians, and French illegally conquered it. As the Nazis had already held Germany and much of the rest of Europe beginning in 1933, they had already had claim on that land for 12 years before the Allied victory. So according to your logic, the Nazis have every right to reclaim Europe.

        Actually, I’m sure you would support this. As you support groups whose objective is genocide and spread hatred, lies, and filth yourself, it is right in line with your thinking.

  3. Even a more or less cursory reading of this article reveals the sheer ignorance, intransigence and gutter mindedness of the SJP. Their responses reveal the usual post-communist pro-terror boilerplate agitation propaganda that not even most of today’s Palestinians Arabs subscribe to anymore. Not least because furthering these lies and fables and distortions are not the road to freedom and potential prosperity.

    Indeed, these simpletons are merely re-parroting dated propaganda.

    Most West Bank Palestinian Arabs that I have had cause to connect with are embarrassed by this radical foolishness, and ache to get on with actually building their own viable country to a more or less Western and secular standard. The Gazan Arabs need their freedom too..but from the clutches of the Hamas and Iran. Until then, they will never truly be free. And the walls which protect Israel’s population from suicide bombings and other attacks must stay in place.

    Worst of all for these child-like agitators, the Arab/Israel issue is far less in the world’sspotlight than the more critically dangerous and less contained happenings in the rest of the Arab world.

    • Hey, have you spent time in the West Bank or East Jerusalem? Before you act paternalistic about what Palestinians say you should spend some time there. I have. The wall confiscates Palestinian land and is then used to expand illegal settlements. This is why there are demonstrations weekly in Bil’in, Nil’in, Nabi Saleh, Al Masara. You obviously either have no idea what is going on there or you are purposefully lying. If its the former, I would gladly either give you travel advice or books to read.

  4. @ Holden
    I don’t think you can speak for “most West Bank Palestinian Arabs,” especially if you have had contact with a few non representative individuals only. As a West Bank Palestinian, I would like to assure you that we are not embarrassed by SJP’s support for justice, and on the contrary feel that you are trying to cover up for your own embarrassment and as always try to diverge attention from Israel’s crimes by addressing other issues and spreading inaccurate statistics of Palestinian Arabs’ approval of Israel around campus. Supporters of the apartheid state of Israel are the experts at spewing false propaganda, and not the people who call for justice.

    • missing the point

      are you a representative? what gives you the right to speak for an entire people? what makes you more legitimate than those polled?

      • I ‘ve lived with west bank palestinians for 21 years IN THE WEST BANK, and witnessed the inifada and israeli oppression first hand, while that person speaking above is not even palestinian, and obviously doesn’t know what is going on. So yes, I am more representative than an outsider!

        • Luba, “your people” support genocide and terrorism. You get what you deserve. You’re lucky that the Israelis don’t treat you the way that “your people” treat Jews, because otherwise you would be either dead or scattered to the wind.

          And as you know, there is no such “people” as “Palestinians”. Even your leaders agree that it’s a made-up term in order to get more concessions. Yasir Arafat was born and raised in Egypt! Who do you think you’re fooling?

  5. Bravo to the SJP folks! I’ve been (un)fortunate enough to have traveled to both apartheid South Africa and Israel/Palestine. Those who don’t see the obvious similarities have their heads in the sand. Everything from the culture to the biased laws speaks it.

    Keep up the great work!

    • So Israeli (ie. “Jewish”) culture supports apartheid! Way to go, anti-semite! Didn’t you forget the part where we control the world and drink the blood of Jewish children?

      And what about P.A. laws that forbid Jews from living or owning land in “Palestine”. Isn’t THAT apartheid?

      What about the law that Israelis cannot even ENTER land under P.A. control?

      Words like liar, hypocrite, and anti-semite apply here.

      • Israelis are not allowed to enter Area A because ISRAEL won’t let them and considers it a criminal offence. Get your facts straight.

  6. Why has the Ghaddafi government been referred to the International Criminal Court when the Israeli government was left free to kill over 900 civilians including 300 children and 100 women in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead just two years ago? It is an obscene paradox to allow the killing of hundreds of civilians in Gaza while the world turns its face away, in order to comply with demands from a powerful political American lobby, and yet just 600 miles to the west, in Libya, to condemn a similar atrocity as a crime against humanity!

    Are we to suspend the law, jettison justice and close our eyes to double standards that demean us and the democracy that cost so many million lives during WW2?

    America has colluded in allowing Israel to secretly become the 4th most powerful nuclear weapons state in the world – undeclared¬, uninspecte¬d by the IAEA and uncontroll¬ed, with enough stockpiled warheads to devastate the entire Middle East and the whole of Europe.

    And as Israel illegally expropriates more and more Palestinian land in the occupied territories, in contempt of international opinion and law, the US uses its veto against a unanimous UN resolution condemning such aggression!

    If that is a strategic plan for world peace, how does that work, exactly?

    • Even Hamas admits that over 2/3 of those killed in Gaza were HAMAS members.

      That’s what happens when you start a war. People get killed, especially innocent people used as human shields by Hamas.

      Here’s a thought – if Gazan’s don’t want dead people, maybe they shouldn’t start wars by attacking other nations with 8,000 rockets over 5 years.

      Get it? Don’t start a war and you won’t be bombed.

      According to your logic, the English shouldn’t have done anything to counter the Blitz and just have let their country be destroyed. Then we would all be governed by Germans who believe in the genocide of Jews.

      Oh, wait. You DO want the victory of Hamas who want the genocide of Jews.

      Well, too bad. You lose.

  7. An unarmed civilian, a woman, a child – are all human. Gazan, Israeli, Libyan, Jewish, Muslim or Christian. A Palestinia­n wife and her child in Gaza is of no less worth than my wife or child, or your wife or mother or child. She hurts as you, or I, hurt. She bleeds as you or I, or an Israeli bleeds. There is no distinctio­n.

    But over 300 children under 16 were reported to have been killed in Gaza and over 100 women.
    And to date no one responsibl­e has yet been prosecuted­.

    • Over 1,500 innocent Israelis were killed by “Palestinian” terrorists because they were Jewish.

      The Gazans – 2/3 of which were Hamas members – died in a war that THEY started.

      Get the difference?

      • You keep throwing around that number, 1,500. How many people in Arab countries die every single day because other countries must protect their investments in Israel?

  8. I am proud of the SJP for raising awareness of the wall and the consequences of Israeli policy. Those who say that such actions cause hatred or inflame tensions do not seek rationality in discourse but rather complacency and inaction in the face of injustice. It is important for Americans to know what exactly their government is supporting.

    Shame on those people who are harassing the SJP and trying to kick them off campus. You cannot silence the truth.

  9. Good on em for speaking up. Imagine if someone was trying to raise awareness for Native Americans and Friends of Custer” tried to stop them, same thing man!


    Standing on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston is really making a huge difference. Have fun with your styrofoam, standing out there in the cold for hours because once you’re done for the day and you go home, you’ve accomplished nothing.

  11. Different David

    Rationality in discourse? As I walked by, somebody tried to shout at me that Israel was engaging in “ethnic cleansing”. I didn’t realize that they were fire-bombing the Gaza strip, or rounding up Palestinians, sticking them on trains, and sending them to systematic death camps. Thank you for educating me, SJP!

    I agree that the issues need to be talked about, and I understand that people are going to be heated about it. I also agree that the situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is pretty unforgivable. But calling what the SJP is doing “rational discourse”… that’s also pretty unforgivable. If you want to promote peace, try rising above pettiness. And I’m well aware that I was pretty petty up above, but hey, I’m not the one labeling myself a student proponent of justice.

    • since you are asking to be educated about what ethnic cleansing is lets use the UN definition by the UN: “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group.”

      Now if you look in East Jerusalem(in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Esiweyah, old city) housing evictions and demolitions are rampant to move the Arab population (Muslim, Christian, Non Religious) out of areas coveted by the Jewish National Fund and settlement orgs. Jewish settlers are then moved in to those homes or new homes are constructed, and whole sections of those neighborhoods are now homogeneously Jewish.

      Your definition of peace is ignoring this and pretending its not happening.

      • If evictions and demolitions for the sole purpose of ethnically cleansing Jerusalem are rampant, then I’m sure you can link me to an article describing some examples of it actually happening, right? (Note that an article or website claiming THAT it happens is NOT the same thing) If you can provide me with some evidence, as opposed to telling me how I define peace, then you’ll be educating me, and I welcome you to do so. I mean that with 100% sincerity.

      • That’s simply not true. I agree with Dave – PROVE IT. Your ignorance is astounding and your specious claims are WRONG.

      • I feel like I should clarify what I’m trying to say right now, because it seems like you’re missing the point. My issue is not with your stance on the matter; I largely AGREE with you. My issue is that you’re spewing biased garbage, rather than trying to sway your opposition by providing FACTS. There are biased organizations out there that will tell you that the entire Palestinian exodus of 1948 was 100% voluntary – the Palestinians were asked to leave by Arab military leaders to clear the way for their soldiers, so they did. Now, is that absurd? Absolutely! (Some seemingly unbiased historians have written books claiming that several villages WERE evacuated for that purpose, but those villages were obviously in the minority. That’s outside the scope of this post, though.)

        Now, what you’re doing is the EXACT SAME THING, you’re just on the other side of the debate. Of COURSE a Palestinian advocacy group is going to claim that the Israeli government is engaging in ethnic cleansing. That’s not how you sway your opposition in a debate – you do it with EVIDENCE. Telling me that XYZ is happening, and that I’m ignorant if I disagree with you, is NOT the same as educating me. It IS inciting debate, but I’m still going to question whether or not it’s rational.

  12. “No one believes that Israel is incapable of eliminatin­g Hamas or that Hamas has any military significan­ce to Israel. Just ask the citizens of Sderot how seriously that threat is taken by the IDF. But if Israel actually did that — eliminated a thuggish administra­tive council that, yes, has committed war crimes — then it would be clear to the world that Israel’s most feared enemy is 1.5 million Palestinia­ns, half of whom are children.

    Israel’s current government needs Hamas. When oil can rockets can be used to rationaliz­e a massacre conducted by a nuclear power, you have an alibi for any occasion.

    If Israel controls the borders and runs the airspace over their heads, then whose citizens are they? Give them the vote.”


    • Guess what – “Palestinains” DO vote in their OWN elections.

      You have NO conception of the most basic facts.

      1,500 innocent Israelis were killed by terrorists. Up to 10 rockets a day land in southern Israel. How long would it take YOU to respond to that.

      As to controlling borders – that’s right, Israel controls its own borders. EVERY country does that. Israel has no obligation to have open borders with a country attacking it and whose government wants to murder every Jew on that planet.

      My god your stupidity is just astounding.

  13. How was BUSI promoting peace if they were handing out fortune cookies that said: “There are over 79 Islamic states. There’s only one Jewish state: Israel.”???

  14. To IAN, Do not quote me Haaretz as a “source” which is an infamous radical anti-Israel “Israeli” newspaper.

    Arab Islamic Apartheid’s Racism of propagating the “apartheid” and “racism” slur against multi-racial truly democratic – equality Israel