Last week students were met with a BDS Resolution up for a vote at the FAU student government. Our CCAP (CAMERA supported) group Owls for Israel, quickly mobilized. They met privately with some members of student government, to explain to them the hateful nature of BDS and asked to also have a chance to speak up during the session and defend Israel. The anti-Israel student, who chose to introduce the resolution, combined the bill to divest from Israel with other non-related issues such as pro-environmental and anti-American prison bills.
Student government officials were dismayed and shocked that Israel would be brought up, explaining that it had nothing to do with the population on campus. Owls for Israel members invited students who wished to learn more about Israel to attend their events. The student government voted against this resolution and had the student who introduced the resolution removed from the room after he became loud, uncooperative and interrupted the student government repeatedly.
Below is a speech by Abraham Mercado, our 2013-2014 CAMERA Fellow.
Abraham Mercado Speech at BDS Resoultion Hearing at FAU:
“First of all I want to thank the President of Christians United for Israel here at FAU, Alberto Santos, for being here. Along with members of Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. Members of Student Government thank you for being here.
I want to start by saying that I have been to Israel four times. I came back two weeks ago after meeting with experts on this conflict from all sides, with CAMERA. When I was there I met with a commander in the IDF who is Druze who is responsible for setting up the field hospital on the border with Syria. He told us that up to two weeks ago, more than 1200 Syrians have been treated at this field hospital. Many have received prosthetic limbs, life saving operations and surgeries and other care, for free. I want to remind you that Syria has been in a state of war with Israel since the founding of the State of Israel and has attacked Israel numerous times. But Israel is treating the wounded Syrians. Who else does this for it’s enemy? Only Israel.
When the student came up here he began by saying how many people have been killed in Gaza today. What he failed to mention of course, is that there was supposed to be a 72 hour ceasefire in place, which was violated by Hamas when they killed two soldiers and kidnapped one (at the time he wasn’t declared KIA). The student failed to mention anything about Hamas, he didn’t even say the word Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization recognized by the United States, European Union, Canada, and of course Israel. Hamas has used it’s people to protect their weapons, whereas Israel has used their weapons to protect it’s people. Hamas uses their people as human shields and is therefore responsible for every death that occurs in Gaza.
In this conflict, like many others, I think its important to look at the facts. It’s important to know the history of Gaza. Gaza didn’t always belong to the Palestinians. It used to belong to the British, then Egypt. Israel won it in a defensive war against Egypt and because it’s a defensive war, Israel was allowed to conquer territory and occupy it. Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 out of goodwill, removing all the settlements and over 10,000 Jewish people, to give it to the Palestinians. Since then and up to date, more than 17,000 rockets have been launched into Israel’s civilian population. 17,000! Imagine if one hit the United States from Canada or Mexico? I think it’s safe to say Canada or Mexico wouldn’t exist. These rockets are launched from civilian populations into civilian populations. Which is a double crime. When Gaza was given to the Palestinians by Israel in 2005, they were given greenhouses which cost millions of dollars. They were given this in order for them to start their economy and to help them. These greenhouses were destroyed by the Palestinians and their materials were used to create weapons.
For the student to include Israel in this resolution alongside the carbon fiber and prison complex issues is irresponsible. Israel is one of the leaders in the world in going green. Israel uses huge amounts of solar panels and is the leader in the world in their creation as well as in environmental issues. For example, a company called Phinergy is creating a car that can run on air and water and should be on the market in 2017. (TIME WAS UP)
At this point Mercado was asked by the person who submitted the resolution if he was aware that in the early 1900’s Pancho Villa and thousands of Mexicans were killed. Mercado responded that he was not aware and that it has nothing to do with the current conflict in Gaza and Israel.
Mercado was also asked by a member of Student Government if the number 66 means anything to him, and responded that not necessarily. The member of the student government continued that for the last 66 years the two groups have been fighting and that nothing that Student Government will do can change the fact that they are fighting on the other side of the world. He added that it is idiotic for the student government to be discussing these issues because they should be focused on issues that are directly impacting the student population on campus, and asked Mercado if these issues belong in Student Government.
Mercado answered that while “it’s important to talk about these issues, that it doesn’t belong in Student Government and that resolutions such as this one only further divide the student population and targets a specific group . . . .there are groups on campus that bring speakers such as Owls for Israel for people to talk about the conflict,” stressing that it is important that groups bringing speakers who are not radical to speak about such issues, as Owls for Israel has done.