On October 21st 2015, the Davis Political Review published an article entitled “Long Live the Intifada”. The UCD chapter of SJP kindly requested that the editors publish our response in order to provide another perspective. Our requested was not granted. We are posting our response here to ensure the UC Davis community and the greater SJP community that we are taking this issue seriously. The article that was published anonymously made false accusations regarding UCD SJP and the current situation in Palestine.
This is our response:
28th October 2015
To the editors of the Davis Political Review and the UC Davis community,
The author of “Long Live the Intifada?” (published October 21st) made several distortions and omissions regarding the situation in occupied Palestine that are in need of correction.
First, the article falsely reports that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chanted for nearly half and hour. In actual fact, we chanted words of solidarity for Gaza, Ferguson, and for all communities that have suffered under regimes of apartheid and settler colonialism for at the most, three minutes. It may also be useful to note that these chants took place at the end of an hour-long demonstration that involved a silent sit in and statements from representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace and Davis Stands with Ferguson. It is our understanding that Aggie Studios has a video of our peaceful demonstration.
Second, the author claims that the media has been biased in favor of the Palestinians by distorting events. Ironically, the author distorts events to support their claim. In describing the shooting of Esra’ Zidan Abed, the author claims that she “had been running towards soldiers wielding a knife.” This is blatantly untrue, as anyone can see from the video footage (http://www.imemc.org/article/73322). While it is unclear if Abed is armed, she is standing in place surrounded by Israeli soldiers as she is shot. The author claims that a news outlet (Al Jazeera) mourned the death of a Palestinian but that “no mention was made of the Israelis he had murdered.” The author must have neglected to read the first sentence of the article they cited (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/israeli-palestinian-violence-soars-151009104451339.html), which states that Muhannad Halabi “was shot dead after he stabbed to death two Israelis.” If these are the strongest cases the author can muster to support the claim of bias against Israel the claim is laughable.
Third, the author claims that SJP has advocated for “the continuation of violent attacks upon Israeli citizens.” SJP has done no such thing nor is SJP in any position to do such thing. SJP demonstrated on campus to show solidarity with Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, apartheid, and colonization. SJP is not in a position to lecture Palestinians as to how they should resist. However, as students affiliated with the University of California, Davis, an American institution invested in continued Israeli occupation and colonization, SJP is not only in a position to condemn Israel, but has a moral responsibility to agitate against US and UC complicity in Israeli violence targeting Palestinians.
What the author omits demonstrates their lack of understanding of the Palestinian context and a lack of regard for Palestinian life. The author cites the number of Israeli deaths during the two intifadas but neglects to mention that 5,398 Palestinians were killed during the intifadas, more than four times the number of Israelis. The summer of 2014 alone saw nearly 2,500 Palestinians killed by Israel (http://visualizingpalestine.org/visuals/timeline-of-violence?v=large). Since October 1st the Israeli military and Israeli-sponsored settlers have killed at least 46 Palestinians. By tomorrow that number will have risen. International media is always eager to portray Israeli violence as a “response” to Palestinian attacks, has characterized the murder of Palestinian protestors by Israeli forces as deaths due to “clashes,” and has failed to note that the vast majority of Palestinians killed by the Israeli state were not engaged in armed resistance.
The article in question is like an empty picture frame, devoid of any context or historical background. In addition to this, the author also failed to see that times are changing. The Palestinian struggle is slowly being acknowledged by international bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where Palestine is now a member of and plans to use as a tool to take legal action against Israel for crimes including but not limited to the establishment of illegal settlements, the implementation of an apartheid regime, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/04/palestine-formally-joins-international-criminal-court-150401073619618.html). Institutions like the United Nations and even our very own International House in Davis has raised the Palestinian flag (http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/world/united-nations-palestinian-flag/). Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu attempted to rewrite history when he made the claim that Palestinians were responsible for inspiring the Holocaust; prominent Israeli historians and politicians quickly denounced this claim (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/22/world/middleeast/netanyahu-saying-palestinian-mufti-inspired-holocaust-draws-broad-criticism.html). It is clear that we will not see peace between Israel and Palestine as long as Mr. Netanyahu continues on this path of destruction and lies. So you see, times are changing but the repression of Palestine has not.
It is clear that we are past the point of playing the game of who has it worst. SJP is not in the business of justifying Palestinian lives over Israeli lives. The lives of those lost are more than just statistics; they will forever be a testament to the heinous violence that was bred from the inherently oppressive nature of being occupied since 1967 (http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories). Expect uprisings when indigenous groups are systematically exterminated.
We stand in solidarity against the discriminate targeting of Palestinian men, women, and children. We call for the end of the apartheid regime that dominates Palestinian lives. Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis, Davis Stands with Ferguson, and Jewish Voice for Peace at UC Davis will continue to speak against the massacre of Palestinians, raise our voices against the Israeli government, and agitate against the complicity of our university in this injustice.
Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Davis
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