I have always been shy. Until I started college, I was never confident in myself as a leader and definitely not willing to speak up, even regarding issues I am passionate about. In elementary school, I was too nervous to talk in class. I had many friends, all sensitive to how “I wasn’t ready yet” and on my path to finding my voice.
Today, I am proud to declare that I am a Zionist. I stand with Israel.
On October 19, a mere 12 days after Hamas brutally attacked and infiltrated Israel, murdering, raping, and kidnapping thousands of Israelis, the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) passed a resolution calling on Michigan State to “address the ongoing Palestinian crisis and support Palestinian students and all impacted students.”
The Arab Cultural Society (ACS), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Students United for Palestinian Rights (SUPR), Yemeni Student Association (YSA), Egyptian Student Association (ESA), Students Organize for Syria (SOS), and March for Our Lives (MFOL) introduced Bill 60-30.
While the title sounds empathetic, a strong one-sided bias is evident throughout the legislation.
The bill is plagued with misinformation. The authors state that “under International Law, the Palestinian people have the right to defend against colonialism and apartheid experienced in … Gaza and the West Bank … in which Israel still has control over.”
For one, Israel is not an apartheid state.
Israeli Arabs have the same legal rights as Jewish Israelis, serve in the Israeli parliament, hold successful careers, and are integrated into society. In comparison, an apartheid state imposes racial segregation under the law, which is not the case in Israel. Furthermore, Israelis are not colonialists as they are indigenous to the land. You cannot be a colonizer in the land where you are from.
It is also important to point out that Israel doesn’t control Gaza or the entire West Bank. Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and since then, no Jewish people have inhabited the territory. Gaza is fully controlled by the terrorist organization Hamas, and Area A of the West Bank, where the majority of Palestinians live, is governed by the Palestinian Authority.
The Michigan State bill makes the addition of Jewish students to the legislation seem like an afterthought when it claims that “ASMSU will support Palestinian, Arab, Jewish, and allied people.”
It’s clear from this language that members of the Michigan State community are not equally represented through this bill.
On October 19, at the ASMSU General Assembly meeting, approximately 50 Jewish students and 70 Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students, along with their allies, attended to determine the fate of Bill 60-30.
Palestinian students and their allies were seated on the right and had tape over their mouths to demonstrate that their beliefs were being “silenced.” This was ironic considering that the bill gravely underrepresented Jewish students and included propaganda spread by pro-Palestinian students.
At one point, a student in support of the bill exclaimed, “this is genocide, this is apartheid, this is not political.” They presented these claims without any proof — as none could be offered.
I, too, agree this is not “political.” 1,200 Israelis were brutally murdered by Hamas, a terrorist organization that vows to murder Jews globally, and 240 innocent Israelis remain in their custody in Gaza.
The President of ASMSU claimed this critical fact was “not germane to the bill.”
Many students speaking in support of the anti-Israel bill also tried to equate the actions of Hamas with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a ludicrous comparison that has no basis in truth. It is a known fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization recognized as such by the United States, Canada, Australia, EU, and the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, Israel is fighting against terrorists, who use innocent civilians as human shields. There is no realistic way to avoid casualties. Let’s be clear: collateral damage is not the same as intentionally targeting civilians, like what Hamas does.
The students on the Palestinian side detailed graphic statements of events not relevant to the discussion at hand, such as the murder of Wadea Al Fayoume, without any scrutiny from student government representatives.
How are details of the murder of a six-year-old in Chicago “germane” to a bill that demonizes the State of Israel?
I gave my public comment, and it was the most nerve-racking speech I ever gave, proving that I had indeed found my voice. My heart was racing as I identified myself as a Zionist, and immediately, the “other half” of the room responded by holding up Palestinian flags, pictures of Wadea Al Fayoume, and waving posters with horrible messages that I could not convince myself to read.
After speaking, I was too afraid to go out into the hallway to buy a bottle of water from the vending machine, concerned that I would be harassed for staying true to myself.
I never thought something like this would happen at my university.
Unfortunately, the General Assembly representatives responded to ACS’s intimidation tactics and the anti-Israel students’ lies and chants. They passed bill 60-30. I do not feel represented by the students elected to represent me. It is evident that they only speak for those who yell the loudest lies and unabashedly target Jewish students.
This article was originally published in the Algemeiner.