By Lucas Dear
These past few weeks featured Israel Apartheid Week on many college campuses around the world. The Israel Apartheid Week website talks about the yearly anti-Israel bashing, saying, “The series of events are supposed to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid polices towards the Palestinians, and to build support for organizing groups such as BDS, and SJP.”
In actuality, these events that are being put on by these organizations are causing anti-Semitic action toward Jewish students and making the pro-Israel students feel uncomfortable to be able to express their views. Specifically, earlier this year, a Jewish student at Temple University was assaulted by members of Students for Justice in Palestine, who hurled disgusting insults such as “kike” and “baby killer,” after he tried to engage in conversation with members from the group.
An active group on campus that participates in Israel Apartheid Week, Students for Justice in Palestine claims to stand for human rights — specifically, the rights of the Palestinian people. SJP is an outgrowth of an organization called the General Union of Palestinian Students, which was founded on the campus of San Francisco State University in 1973.
When you uncover the truth about many of these pro-Palestinian groups on campus, specifically SJP, you begin to see the disturbing aspect about what is in their inner core and the truth about why these groups are so vehemently against Israel. Unfortunately, the SJP’s methods of advocating are not based on finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather on demonizing Israel every chance they get based on skewed evidence.
Instead of calling for a peaceful two-state solution, SJP uses slogans such as “We support the intifada,” “Long live the intifada,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” If groups like the SJP were inclined to talk about peaceful solutions in this conflict, they would not call for Israel’s destruction through violence.
One of the ways in which the anti-Israel groups make false claims against Israel is to say that it is an “occupation” and that the settlements are illegal. Critics of Israel, specifically in terms of settlements, rely on the same interpretation of one clause in an international document, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Article 49 forbids transfers of populations to occupied territories: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population in the territory it occupies.”
Look at the West Bank. The Israelis are not being deported to the West Bank, and the Palestinians are not being deported from the West Bank. The SJP claims that the Israeli occupation of the settlements is oppression of the Palestinian people, which is false.
The connection between the SJP and the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement is another point of speculation toward these pro-Palestinian groups. Even the Palestinian Authority has criticized the BDS movement. In December 2013, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared, “A boycott of Israel is not in the interests of the Palestinian people.”
But the SJP and the BDS movement are relentless in pushing for the financial cutting-off of Israel — a tactic that is more extreme than even those of the PA.
The sentiment these groups bring with them is one of hatred and anger on campuses instead of a movement of dialogue and open debate. The SJP and other anti-Israel groups influence one another in ways in which the blind leads the blind. With this kind of approach, no positive resolutions will be accomplished, and no reconciliation will result.
Lucas Dear, a senior at Georgia State University, lives in Buckhead.