Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: In response to “Israel Peace Week”

We, Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine (BUSJP), take issue with multiple claims made in an op-ed from BU Students for Israel (BUSI) regarding your article on “Israel Peace Week” and our own group’s nature.

Firstly, BUSI claims “Israel Peace Week” (IPW) is not political. In reality, IPW is a nationwide pro-Israel response to the global “Israel Apartheid Week,” and is purposefully timed to coincide with the latter. IPW is promoted and sponsored by the Hasbara Fellowships program, which exhaustively trains college students to argue Israel’s case on American campuses.

But it leaves us scratching our heads. Why did none of the IPW events concern the concept of “peace”? Why were Palestinians not mentioned in any event description? What does “peace” refer to? A “piece” of stolen land? A “piece” of the Apartheid Wall? A “piece” of Palestinian children, torn apart by Israeli airstrikes? When representatives of Zionist organizations at BU were approached to co-sponsor our event Palestine 101: #NotAReligiousConflict by providing a panelist to speak about Palestinian human rights, none offered a peaceful hand. Thankfully, we are able to have Rabbi Joseph Berman join us from the national organization Jewish Voice for Peace. The event will take place this upcoming Tuesday, March 24th at 7:15 p.m. in School of Communications – Room 101 at 640 Commonwealth Ave.

The hypocrisy of “peace week” is highlighted by the Israeli public’s recent reelection of the racist Benjamin Netanyahu, who will soon form a government with the even more horrifying settler advocate, Naftali Bennett. Before reelection, Netanyahu campaigned throughout the settlements, promised a Palestinian State would never appear under his leadership and used racist tropes about Israel’s Arab citizens in order to gather enough votes. Around two thirds of the Israeli public voted for Netanyahu or parties which are indifferent to and complicit in his apartheid-like policies.

The jury is out. This is the ultimate rejection of “peace,” a rejection that has been obvious to many of the Israeli government’s critics for years. Instead of defending the abhorrent government, groups like BUSI have been reduced to handing out free t-shirts and promoting wonderful images of Masada at sunrise, Tel Aviv’s tech sector or Arab Israeli “cooperation” in the Israel “Defense” Forces.

Last summer, over 2,000 Palestinians including over 500 children were killed in the Gaza Strip, according to human rights organizations. This is far from self-defense. For BUSI to advertise a talk from an IDF soldier, a representative of an entity committed to defending this massacre and breaching international law, during  “Israel Peace Week” is shameless. Events like these offer a direct look at a much larger strategy to promote “Brand Israel” and whitewash the criminal activity of the IDF. “Israel Peace Week” is an insult to the intelligence of BUSI members and BU students as a whole.

Secondly, in regards to a panel that took place last fall, BUSI claims BUSJP did not send a representative because “the gesture would recognize the state of Israel.” At this, we can only laugh. BUSI ignores the diverse views of our members and purposefully misconstrues the tactic of anti-normalization. BUSJP recognizes that the fate of Israel/Palestine is not up to any group in the U.S., but Israel and Palestine themselves, and that our role is to pressure the former through divestment, advocate for human rights and empower people to make a resolution possible.

One of the questions for the panel was “Is Hamas a terrorist organization?” Good question. Where was “Is the IDF a terrorist organization?” or “Why do we fund Israel?” BUSI enjoys the outside support of Hillel and Birthright organizers whereas SJP is a diverse grassroots organization of American and International students from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic and most importantly, Palestinian backgrounds.

If anyone in the BU community would like to discuss the pros and cons of the degradation, humiliation and occupation of millions of people in the name of “security” and demographic preservation, they are more than welcome to attend our meetings or get in contact with us.

Peace, from Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine

Editor’s Note: Though this letter refers to the building at 640 Commonwealth Ave. as the School of Communications, it is in fact called the College of Communication.

12 Comments

  1. Trying to demonize, delegitimize and apply double standards against a pluralistic, tolerant and democratic state such as Israel, by siding with genocidal groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, has nothing to do with human rights. It is just raw, undisguised anti-Semitism.

  2. BDS is an anti-Semitic, racist movement, plain and simple. There are 49 Muslim majority countries in the world that identify themselves as Muslim and where Islam is considered the official religion of the state. But the BDS movement doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. They have a problem with only one nation, the Jewish one, which they wish to be supplanted with yet another dysfunctional Muslim state.

  3. Given that you support the Palestinians who openly advocate Jewish genocide (see their duly elected leaders clear-cut party covenants), you correspondingly do as well. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that anyone would openly advocate the liquidation of Jews, but you clearly do and it doesn’t seem to bother you a whit.
    Moreover, it would be hard to believe that anyone would support second class status for women, the honor murder of teenage girls, the brutalization of gays and the suppression of dissenters. But you, as supporters of the Palestinians who regularly practice all of the above, are therefore complicit in these sexist, racist and fascist beliefs as well.
    Why are you so bigoted, misogynist, anti-gay and such hater of Jews? Please tell us pray tell.
    And if to be opposed to such garbage practiced by so many Muslims world-wide makes one an Islamophobe, count me and all who believe in freedom and hate sexism and bigotry vs Jews as a proud Islamophobe.

  4. These activists are “stuck” on Israel. Neither logic,
    reasoning, or factual evidence will penetrate their mindsets, so determined are
    they to vilify Israel. Sarcasm though just might work—especially if there are
    any among them who still have the capability to feel shame.

    Usually when they are questioned as to why they avoid the much bigger problems
    evidenced by Israel’s neighbors, the answer is usually to say that they are
    concerned with all human rights abuses everywhere in the world, but their focus
    today just happens to be Israel. What they don’t say is that their focus is
    permanently stuck there—and their actions show that they have no interest in
    any other country, just Israel, Israel, Israel.

  5. While millions of people worldwide are suffering real and extreme persecution at the hands of Islamists, it is Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy — where no one is above the law, where citizens all have equal rights and no one is murdered for expressing his political views — that is targeted and bullied by these so-called “human rights activists” and academics. Deaf and blind to the real sufferers all around the world, these Jew-haters seem in reality just brainwashed, misinformed neo-anti-Semites.

  6. There are two UN refugee agencies in the world: First is the United Nations Relief and Works Administrations (UNRWA) for 5 million Palestinian refugees (which includes the descendants of the original 500,000 Palestinian refugees from the Israeli War of Independence) which employs 30,000 workers. The UNRWA has resettled no Palestinians.

    The second refugee agency is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which assists every other refugee in the world–including 100 million displaced people during the last 50 years–and employs 7,000 people. The UNHCR has resettled tens of millions of refugees.

    Looking at these numbers, one would think that the cause of the Palestinians is somehow morally superior to that of all other war refugees. After all, why have so many more workers been assisting a dramatically smaller group of people? But if the Palestinians are unique it is only because of their moral inferiority, as they are the only group of refugees that regularly commit acts of terrorism against innocent civilians.

    Another obvious question: why hasn’t the UNRWA resettled any of the Palestinian refugees? The answer, of course, is that the surrounding Arab states would rather have these refugees remain a thorn in Israel’s side, than help them start a new life. The UNRWA is happy to oblige.

  7. The Yazidi in Iraq and the Christian Copts in Egypt are not “settlers” and “occupiers;” neither are the Jews in Israel. They are victims of a common enemy that seems to want a Middle East free of non-Muslims.

  8. Muslims doing what they do best: playing the victim and blaming someone else for their problems.

  9. “No peace under Israeli occupation”

    Ah! So that’s why there’s no peace in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, and the other 56 Islamic states!
    Those Israelis sure do get around!

  10. Muslims live in a world of Orwellian double speak, where war is peace, slavery is freedom, and death is life.

  11. The “Palestinians” are illegal colonist-settlers from Arabia illegally occupying the Jewish homeland of Judea.

  12. While Israelis laud their scientists, their artists, their doctors and multiple Nobel Prize nominees and recipients, Palestinians have a long and ignominious tradition of extolling the virtues of those who commit mass murder, slaughter innocents on buses and hijack commercial airliners. Public squares and streets are named after them and their children are taught to emulate them. The contrast between Israeli and Palestinian society could not be starker. One society celebrates and encourages progress and life while the other has morphed itself into a death cult, steeped in perverted traits that are an anathema to Western civilization.