Op-Ed, Opinion

OP-ED: We need to bring BDS to Boston University

* Op-Eds do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author(s).

The Palestinian people have long faced oppression and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the state of Israel and Zionist settlers. One of the more horrendous examples of this is the 1948 “Nakba,” meaning catastrophe in Arabic.

During this ethnic cleansing, approximately 700,000 Palestinians fled their land under the threat of violence and murder by Zionist militias which would later form the backbone of the Israeli Defense Forces.

It was through military occupation, massacres and the forced eviction of the masses of indigenous Palestinians that the state of Israel was founded.

This process of ethnic cleansing — the process of systematically eliminating an “undesirable” group of people from a territory on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc. — continues today as illegal settlements are built in the West Bank and as Israel regularly launches relentless military assaults on the people in Gaza, such as in 2018, 2014, 2012 and 2008.

In the Gaza Strip, the conditions for Palestinians are especially bad. Gaza is effectively an open-air prison due to the Israeli blockade. Israel restricts the flow of people and goods through Gaza and has deprived the people there of food, clean water and infrastructure materials. As a result, the UN has estimated that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020.

A total of 2,251 Palestinians –– mostly civilians –– were killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and other civilian infrastructure, and entire neighborhoods throughout Gaza were flattened.

However, where there is oppression, there is resistance. One example of this resistance is the Great March of Return. Starting on March 30, 2018, Palestinians began weekly protests at the Gaza-Israel border demanding they have access to return and live in the land that they were exiled from 71 years ago. This is a right of refugees stipulated by the UN.

Protestors also called for an end to the blockade and siege on Gaza. Israel has responded with massacres. Since the protests began, at least 189 Gazans have been killed and over 9,000 wounded. Israeli snipers have shot Palestinians in the legs during protests so that they do not die from the gunshots. They are then left crippled for life in Gaza without access to adequate medical care.

There has also been solidarity with the Palestinians on an international scale, especially in the United States. However, the U.S. government is the No. 1 supporter of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and oppression of Palestinians, as it gives Israel financial, military and political support.

Without the U.S.’s aid and defense in the UN, Israel would not be able to withstand international pressure to end its apartheid system and occupation of the Palestinian people. In this context, a Palestinian-led movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel and companies which support the occupation was created in 2005.

In response, major attacks — such as blacklisting — have been launched against pro-Palestine activists. Moreover, prominent figures and intellectuals — such as Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Davis and Ilhan Omar — have been hounded for expressing support for Palestine.

There have also been numerous efforts within the United States to pass laws criminalizing support for the BDS movement — which are violations of the right to free association — including one bill which recently passed in the Senate.

Despite this political and ideological crackdown, support for Palestine is growing. For that reason, Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine is launching a campaign to push BU to sever its ties with Israeli apartheid.

BU has open ties to Israel, which serve to whitewash the country’s image. For example, BU maintains a Study Abroad program in Haifa, which it describes as a “picturesque mix of people and cultures” — a strange description to give to a city made “Israeli” only through ethnic cleansing and dispossession.

Even more shameful, officials from the BU Police Department traveled to Israel in December 2017 for a “National Counter-Terrorism Seminar,” learning tactics from the same forces which maintain the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

Because Boston University has not made the full extent of its endowment or financial relationships public, it could also be directly aiding Israel through investment in either Israeli companies or companies that directly aid the occupation, such as Hewlett-Packard and weapons manufacturer Raytheon.

Given the March of Return’s one-year anniversary, students must come together to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation, including through the BDS movement.

BU Students for Justice in Palestine is thus launching a campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people, demanding BU cut ties with Israeli apartheid. We demand that BU ends its Study Abroad program in Haifa and its participation in the “Deadly Exchange” of US-Israeli police partnerships.

We also demand the university make public its financial ties with all governments, corporations and other institutions, especially those in which its endowment is invested. To not do so would tell the world that the finances of BU are more important than the life and freedom of the Palestinian people.

Just as students at BU and all across the country rose up in the 1980s to oppose university ties with the racist South African regime, we must take up their legacy and call for an end to BU’s support for the racist Israeli regime. The time for change is long overdue.

Farrah Abboushi (CAS ‘19) and Chance Charley (CGS ‘19, CAS ‘21) are both members of BU Students for Justice in Palestine. You can contact the group at [email protected]

 

20 Comments

  1. Solidarity!

  2. The founders of the BDS movement have made clear their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state. In other words, BDS is, at its heart, an antisemitic and genocidal movement. Thus, a more honest headline for this highly biased and error-filled op-ed would have been “We need to bring more antisemitism to Boston University.”

  3. These representatives from Boston University SJP (Stabbing Jews for Palestine) are ignorant bigots who deny the fact that the land of Israel is indigenous to the Jewish People. It is the historical and religious homeland of the Jews, going back thousands of years. There has always been a Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and the Jews built a modern nation-state, a democracy, which guarantees civil liberties for its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity and religion. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, rights for Gays and Lesbians, and economic liberties. While BU’s anti-Jewish bigots celebrate ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel, numerous Arab Muslim countries have quietly commenced diplomatic and economic relations with Israel. Other great nations, such as Brazil, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, populated by people of color, have very strong relations with Israel, and cooperate with Israel in agriculture, commerce, medical development, and technology. There are more countries with diplomatic relations with Israel than ever, including many African countries that have recently resumed relations. A small cohort of hateful wanabe revolutionaries can spew their lies in an effort to defame Israel. Meanwhile, great nations all want to engage with Israel on a cooperative basis. The truth wins out over the haters from BU SJP.

  4. The Palestinian people have long faced oppression and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the state of Israel and Zionist settlers. One of the more horrendous examples of this is the 1948 “Nakba,” meaning catastrophe in Arabic.

    >This is a skewed and untrue statement and whitewashes the actions of the Arabs against the Jews. First, the Palestinian refugees, if that’s what you want to call a people after 70 years, were never taken in and given citizenship by the other contiguous Arab countries, such as Jordan, Syria and Egypt who where the aggressors and who caused the war in the first place and never offered citizenship to the Arabs of Palestine. The 850,000 Jews that were similarly expelled from Arab countries (that’s your real Nakba) at around the same time, were given IMMEDIATE citizenship by Israel and simply blended into their society and moved on with their lives. And the refugee issue itself is 100% the fault of the Arabs. In 1948 they attacked tiny Israel with the clearly stated intention of completely annihilating the Jewish people and effectively causing the second Jewish holocaust in less than a decade. Furthermore, the majority of the Arabs (they weren’t called Palestinians in 1948) left on their own because they were told to do so by the nations of the Arab league and threatened with being treated like the Jews if they didn’t vacate their homes. Also, many left as a natural consequence of war. Some Arabs were indeed moved out of Israel. They were living and sensitive areas, such as near the airport, and were considered enemy civilians. During about the same time, 15,000,000 Volga Germans were kicked out of Russia after WWII and along the way 2,000,000 were killed. Do you hear about Germans stabbing Russians in the streets?

    During this ethnic cleansing, approximately 700,000 Palestinians fled their land under the threat of violence and murder by Zionist militias which would later form the backbone of the Israeli Defense Forces.

    >100% of the Jews from what you refer to as the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the former Jewish quarter, were ethnically cleansed by the Arabs. Why no mention of that? Is yours a one-sided diatribe?

    It was through military occupation, massacres and the forced eviction of the masses of indigenous Palestinians that the state of Israel was founded.

    >The state of Israel was founded through valid, binding, international law. And after Resolution 181 that called for a partition of Palestine from the UN Israel accepted the resolution and the Arabs declared war.

    This process of ethnic cleansing — the process of systematically eliminating an “undesirable” group of people from a territory on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc. — continues today as illegal settlements are built in the West Bank and as Israel regularly launches relentless military assaults on the people in Gaza, such as in 2018, 2014, 2012 and 2008.

    >Some Arabs were moved. Yes. But that was how things were done in those days. There are examples throughout Europe and Asia. The Palestinians are the only ones that still have not moved on.

    In the Gaza Strip, the conditions for Palestinians are especially bad. Gaza is effectively an open-air prison due to the Israeli blockade. Israel restricts the flow of people and goods through Gaza and has deprived the people there of food, clean water and infrastructure materials. As a result, the UN has estimated that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020.

    >Israel withdrew 100% from Gaza in 2005. There was no blockade then. That started after Hamas started shooting rockets as Israeli civilian communities. By the way, the Jews left them 2000 greenhouses for planting their own food and starting an agricultural industry. The Pals destroyed every last one of them in the course of 3 days after Israel’s withdrawal.

    A total of 2,251 Palestinians –– mostly civilians –– were killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and other civilian infrastructure, and entire neighborhoods throughout Gaza were flattened.

    >Hamas had put their rocket launchers in residential buildings. Israel had to protect its citizens. Hamas uses human shields constantly. Why no mention of that? And Israel did all they could including using roof knocking, leaflet dropping and calling and texting cell phones to get people out of the buildings. War is difficult.

    However, where there is oppression, there is resistance. One example of this resistance is the Great March of Return. Starting on March 30, 2018, Palestinians began weekly protests at the Gaza-Israel border demanding they have access to return and live in the land that they were exiled from 71 years ago. This is a right of refugees stipulated by the UN.

    >The resistance should be against Hamas, one of the most brutal regimes on planet earth. They take the aid money they get and use it to build rockets and terror tunnels. They don’t care about their own people and are fine having them suffer as long as they get to put a Palestinian flag over all of Israel one day.

    That’s enough for today. You get the picture.

  5. Ari Trachtenberg

    Sure … let’s bring back racism and xenophobia too. Why does the Freep publish such anti-Semitic propaganda?

  6. “Opinion” is the germane label here. No facts in evidence.

    “The Palestinian people have long faced oppression and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the state of Israel and Zionist settlers. One of the more horrendous examples of this is the 1948 “Nakba,” meaning catastrophe in Arabic.” It was the JEWS who faced the oppression and ethnic cleansing in Palestine. From the late 1800’s, but especially in the ’20’s and ’30’s, when the Grand Mufti led massacres of the Jews to show the true meaning of Islam, it was Jews who were being slaughtered just for their ethnicity. And when Israel and Palestine were established in 1948 to provide a geographic medium to halt the slaughter, the Jews accepted that division, but Arab countries invaded and the local Arabs joined the escalating assaults against the Jews.
    This was labeled “Nakba” not because of the violence. The label derives from the loss of prestige flowing from their defeat in their massive aggression against the Jews.

    Furthermore, the Arabs who fled largely did so at the behest of Arab authorities, whose radio broadcasts encouraged them to get out of the way of the invading armies, freeing those aggressive murders to to kill everyone remaining without having to worry about killing fellow Arabs.
    Virtually every statement here is an inversion of fact, a distortion of reality, a fantasm of theological creativity, and a blot on the memory of those Jews (and Christians) massacred by the theologically-driven, crusading Mohammedan murderers. Indeed, my use of the term “crusader” is in response to a similar theme which seems to be arising throughout our consciousness now, in which the Christian response to Arab invasions of Europe are highlighted and denigrated, but the initial Arab invasions which prompted this response are ignored. Apparently there is no reality. Just the psychoses of sincere misperception and misdiretion.

  7. Herbert w. Levine, Ph. D

    Students for Justice in Palestine is today’s Nazis, with the goal if a one state solution without Jews, which is what its slogan refers to: “From the River to the Sea”. BDS is exactly the same.
    We are heading toward a second Holocaust, but this time time you won’t have to come looking for us; we will be looking for you.

  8. This article is pure Palestinian propaganda, most of the Palestinians left on their own at the suggestion of advancing Arab armies that promised them that after they slaughtered all the Jews they would get their land. Further in 1948 700,000 Jews were forced out of Arab lands.

  9. Can’t believe that a fine academic institution like BU would allow such antisemitic drivel in their publication. Totally disgusting.

  10. so proud to see such courageous and strong activist students at BU! they are absolutely right: BU should come clean about its investments and stop putting any of its institutional money toward supporting settler colonialism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Follow Pitzer College and suspend your connection with the University of Haifa! https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/11/28/pitzer-faculty-vote-suspend-study-abroad-program-israel
    #BDS
    #FreePalestine
    #SuspendPitzerHaifa
    #SuspendBUHaifa

  11. Thank you so much to the students of Boston University for your courage to write this important Op Ed. Thank you, also, to the Daily Free Press for publishing this.

    Historical details abound about the systematic genocide of the Palestinian people which has taken place, and is still taking place today – especially in Gaza. The film “1958: Creation or Catastrophe” includes information about the massacre at Dayr Yasin, the Lydda Death March and other documented terrorism inflicted by the Israeli government.

    In the article, reference is made to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which was formed by the merger of Israeli terrorist organizations – the Haganah and the Irgun. It was the Irgun that bombed the King David Hotel in 1946. Today, the IDF is training US police officers, campus police and many others about their terrorist tactics – more information available at https://deadlyexchange.org/

    It is through continued education and awareness, similar to articles like this, that will cause Americans to stop supporting US government complicity with the genocide of the Palestinian people. Ultimately, this will also end the application of these same tactics on selected groups of the US population.

  12. Susan Etscovitz

    BU SJP is a group of intelligent, courageous young adults fighting for full equality, the right of return and human rights for Palestinians. Israel’s settler-colonial regime has perpetrated repeated and devastating atrocities on the Arab population since it’s founding in 1948 and continues to do so on a daily basis. The narrative Americans have been presented depicts Palestinians as less than human or terrorists (see the Occupation of the American Mind), this could not be farther from the truth. BDS is a peaceful, effective means of affecting change that is sorely needed. Have the courage/”hutspah” to support this effort to end complicity in apartheid.

  13. Thank you to the authors of this well-informed and well-reasoned article. As the son and grandson of people who played an active part in representing and saving those who suffered in the Holocaust (from the election of Hitler in 1933 onwards), I can affirm that moral action in the face of injustice is essential to any dignity we may attribute to ourselves as humans. The boycott of South African goods and services played a major role in bringing about the fall of an authoritarian racist regime in that country. BDS is a non-violent movement that may help to make similar changes in Israel.

  14. Solidarity BUSJP! Pay no mind to the haters on this comment section – y’all are on the right side of history, and carrying forward the best traditions of boycott movements of past decades! Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea!

  15. eleanor roffman

    BDS is a nonviolent movement similar to other movements that used boycotting as a tool to bring awareness to an oppressive system. The Palestinians live under occupation and their daily lives are controlled by the Israelis. All aspects of their lives are determined by Israel. Their daily movements, the. control of their water usage, the control of their ability to travel, their efforts to express their pain around this occupation are suppressed and they are punished for protesting . The US government supports this oppressive regime and BU’s support of Israel reinforces the denial of basic human rights.
    BU needs to cut ties with the Israeli apartheid regime.

  16. Dr. N.U. Murray

    Freedom, justice and equal rights for all – who can be opposed to that? These are the aims of the call for BDS from Palestinian civil society, and I commend the BU SJP students for embracing these values and seeking to promote them on campus. The recent report (15 March 2019) by the ‘Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967’ shows why the campaign they propose to undertake should have the support of those who care about the future of both Israelis and Palestinians and international law itself – google it!

  17. So inspired that this important human rights advocacy is going on at BU! BUSJP, don’t mind the haters in this comment section – you all are on the right side of history, and you’re gonna pull the rest of this institution along with you. Keep up the good work!

  18. I graduated from BU in 1980. When I was a student there, the nasty was people used to refer to the school as “B -Jew”. What a change in identity BU is experiencing now.
    The Muslim Brotherhood agenda in the United States only took 39 years (maybe less) for the Islamic Gentiles from SJP (Stabbing Jews for Palestine) to insure so much hateful and dishonest influence at Boston University. Even if Islam succeeds in Jihad in this century, history has proven that Jews will prevail on this earth. Jews still thrive after Xerxes king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (Purim), after the the destruction of Solomon’s Temple by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, the the destruction of much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple by the Romans (Hanukah), and after the Holocaust/Shoah and will continue to thrive. Enjoy your hate and miserable lies. Anyone following finding anything holy or godly your malicious efforts is antithetical reasoning.

  19. Shame on you pro-Zionist bigots for your comments on this powerful
    op ed that simply plagiarize/paraphrase the hasbaric (look it up!) lies made in Israel and distributted in the U.S. by its wholesale lackey, AIPAC (the Apartheid Israel Public Affairs Committee).

    And shame on the Daily Free Press for printing these inciteful Zionist lies that besmirch the reputation and image of the Jewish people who for 2000 years led the world in pursuit of social justice, Nobel prizes, Borscht Belt comedy, and the minimum wage; sung the songs of Irving Berlin; and brought the staff of contemporary early morning life, the bagel (with a shmear, of course), to America.

    It’s time to  to eliminate confusion from the conflation of Zionism and Judaism. As true Jews, we demand that you Zionist mutations stop violating our trademark and stop calling yourselves Jews.

    Like the Christians and Muslims who came before you, please adopt a new name for your cult that rejects our Yiddishe and Mizachi heritage  (Herzlists and Kahanists are both available).  YOU ARE NOT JEWS! You are Beggars, Liars, and Thieves (BLTs, and treyf to boot).

    For 1800+ years we lived in peace with our Abrahamic brothers in the Promised Land. Now, you’ve spoiled it all and made the whole world hate us–this time for the first time–for a good reason.

    Take your Sheldon Adelson and Charles Jacobs with you and go away! And about the Benjamins? We can keep our Franklins when
    Netanyahu goes with you.

    Feh!