Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER: Israel Peace Week

The ironically-termed “Israel Peace Week” will return to campus this week in a further attempt by Boston University Students for Israel (BUSI) to whitewash the continued and brutal occupation of Palestine.  This systematic campaign is conceptualized, pre-packaged, and dispersed to pro-Israel groups on campus annually by propaganda outlets such as Stand With Us and Hasbara Fellowships, an affiliate of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  While cloaking their language in peace and love, these pro-Israel advocates grotesquely distort the human rights violations committed by Israel daily.

Up first on the propaganda agenda this year is the event “The Ethiopian-Israeli Experience,” which is sure to be an attempt to whitewash the barrage of criticism Israel has received over its treatment of African immigrants and minorities. BUSI will host speaker Danielle Desta of the group Israel at Heart, which, according to its website, sends out delegations of Ethiopian Israelis to “present the multicultural aspect of Israeli society not known to outside communities.”

Upon examining the real multicultural experience of Ethiopian Israelis and other African immigrants in the region, there are some devastating facts that should be brought to the forefront by Ms. Desta — though it is likely she will leave them out:

For example, in an article on Jan. 27, Haaretz, a prominent Israeli newspaper reported that Israeli Ministry of Health officials finally admitted to the practice of administering the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera to women of Ethiopian origin. Some of these women were aware of the fact that they were being administered birth control (though were threatened with deportation if they refused), while others were simply told they were receiving routine inoculations. Clearly stemming from racism, this story speaks to the fear of some Israelis that both Arabs and African immigrants represent a “demographic threat” to Israeli society.

This fear is also physically displayed in Israel’s construction of what will be the world’s largest detention center for asylum seekers and migrants on the land of the  Ktzi’ot prison in the Negev desert.  As quoted in an April 17, 2012 Guardian article, Israeli spokesmen Mark Regev asserted, “We are currently the only first-world economy and the only democracy in the region. But for people coming from countries like Somalia and Sudan, we cannot be the solution.”

However, these stories merely illuminate a fraction of the larger problem of systemic racism in Israel and Palestine. Racism not only against Arabs and African immigrants, but also within the Jewish community, is a hallmark of the superstructure upon which Israel has built its apartheid state. But will Ms. Desta of Israel at Heart bring to the fore the experience of the forced sterilization of Ethiopian women? Will she convey the intense racism experienced by minorities throughout Israel? Judging from my experience with the Israeli propaganda machine, I think not.

It is high time BUSI revokes its unwavering support for the apartheid state of Israel and bends toward justice by advocating equal rights for all citizens in the land between the river and the sea.


Kristen Martin

CAS 2013

BU Students for Justice in Palestine

[email protected]


  1. 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.

  2. Apartheid?
    “To clarify: Wahhabism is the only officially recognized and allowed religion in Saudi Arabia. Other forms of Islam and other religions are banned and persecuted by the state. Saudi Arabia is the only Islamic state in which there is no church, no synagogue and no other place of worship of any other religion. Shiite Muslims have been systematically discriminated against for decades. Jews are even forbidden to enter the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia practices a form of Sharia law that is one of the most brutal systems in the world. Saudi Arabia has at all times rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Women may not drive a car and can be punished by flogging. Corporal punishment, including amputations and executions, are part of everyday life in the country. Just two weeks ago a Sudanese immigrant in Saudi Arabia was publicly beheaded for ‘sorcery.’ Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world in which the death penalty is enforced even on teenagers,” the paper said.

  3. • Since the Palestinians were never Israeli citizens, and never wanted to be Israeli citizens, there’s really no question of Apartheid here.
    The Palestinians’ disenfranchisement comes out of their own rejection of UNGAR 181, which advocated the establishment of one Jewish state (Israel) and one Arab state (Palestine, or whatever they might have wanted to call it) on the land of the Palestine Mandate. Had they accepted the resolution and established their own state on the land allocated by the UN, there would be no Palestinian refugees today.
    No country in the world can be forced to accept a belligerent population whose manifesto includes the destruction of the would-be host country. Neither democracy nor membership in the UN requires any country to commit suicide, which is what you seem to be advocating.
    If you really want an example of an Apartheid state, examine the laws of the Palestinian Authority– it is a criminal offense to sell Palestinian land to a Jew, and the maximum penalty for someone selling land to a Jew is death. Mahmoud Abbas has already declared on more than one occasion that “No Jew will be allowed to live in the new Palestine”.
    How’s that for Apartheid?