Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is not pro-Palestine, they are anti-Israel. This may seem like the same thing (pro-Palestine and anti-Israel), but they are not. SJP seems to only rally around Palestinians who are being killed by Israelis. They don’t talk about the abuse of Palestinians in other countries, such as Lebanon and Syria. They also fail to mention the fact that Hamas is killing its own people by telling them to ignore IDF warnings about airstrikes. SJP chooses to focus on Israel out of hatred of the Jewish State and not love for the Palestinians.
Why don’t Palestinian groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, rally for Palestine rather than against Israel? They host die-ins, raise “Apartheid Walls,” and screen biased films. Yes, these groups often have vigils and events for Palestinian victims or prisoners, but these events are still tangled with their opposing of Israel. Why not have Palestinian cultural festivals that actually talk about Palestinian culture? Most of the time these festivals and movie events focus around the idea of Palestinian oppression at the hands of the Israelis. That is not Palestinian culture. Culture is about food, music, art, et cetera. Culture is neither a way to blame someone else for your problems, nor is it an excuse for violence, retaliation, or hatred.
I have yet to see an Israel group hold an anti-Palestine event. This is not to say that such an event has never occurred, but why should they? The purpose of an Israel group is to talk about Israel. Sometimes these groups bring speakers to discuss the conflict, and, thus, Palestine would be brought up. However, this can also mean attending festivals, eating Israeli food, learning Israeli dances and celebrating Israeli holidays (like Yom Ha’atzmaut). These events are not about talking about Palestinian terrorists killing Israelis or calling Palestinians racist. These events focus on supporting Israel.
Is it possible to be pro-Palestinian without being anti-Israel? Is it possible to be pro-Israel without being anti-Palestinian? The answer to both of these questions is yes. There is absolutely no reason why anyone who supports his one people should be hateful towards another people other simply because of their existence.
It’s time to put an end to the name-calling, slogans and hatred. That is not how this issue will be solved or even discussed. Teaching and learning about other cultures is fine, more than that, it’s what these groups should be doing. These groups should not be rivals on campus. This issue should not be focused about outdoing one side’s demonstration. There will never be a real dialogue on campus if the conflict is seen as a competition. These groups should work together to ensure both Palestinian and Israeli rights.
Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf, a student at American University.