Wednesday, April 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

I applaud students’ protest

In The Davis Enterprise of Dec. 27, Tom Elias wrote, “Stop Whitewashing Anti-Semitism.” He describes a theatrical event performed two years ago by Berkeley students; they set up mock checkpoints and demanded that Jewish students passing through identify themselves as such.

This protest demonstrated what happens every day to Palestinians in their land. Elias deplores the decision by both the Berkeley administrators and the U.S. Department of Education to exonerate this act of anti-Semitism. He warns that this decision might enable further anti-Semitism, and even, by extension, he alludes to the horrors of Nazi Germany and the possibility of future hate crimes against other groups.

What Elias never mentions are the reasons for the student protests. Israelis have colonized the occupied territories and continuously entrench their presence. Illegal land confiscation and settlements grow apace; and, in a horrible increase of violence, the Israeli army carries out night raids on Palestinian houses and villages, arresting and often murdering men, women and children.

This army uproots Palestinian trees and burns their fields. Multiple checkpoints restrict any ability to move freely about, to go to work or reach a hospital, and are strangling the economic life of the Palestinians.

In the meantime, Gaza has become a giant, open-air prison without the most basic amenities. Electricity is scarce, and after the recent floods, rainwater mixed with sewage fills the homes. Fresh drinking water is almost unattainable, and the ongoing siege of Gaza keeps the people just above the level of starvation. The living standard is so abysmal that the United Nations has predicted that by 2020, Gaza will be unlivable.

The students’ act was not anti-Semitic. It was a nonviolent method of exposing one part of the atrocious disintegration of human rights for Palestinians in that tortured land. They should be applauded.
Julia Hunter-Blair
Davis

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Jim LeonardJanuary 03, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Julia, your comments are appropriate. Elias's defense of Israel is too narrow, mechanical, and short-sighted. He is appalled at how Jewish and Israeli students are treated but is not evidently appalled at the even more extreme abuse the Palestinians are receiving at the hands of the Israelis. I think all people deserve to be treated with respect. I don't think Elias feels the same way.

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  • Greg JohnsonJanuary 03, 2014 - 9:23 am

    Jim, your support is inappropriate. This is a US university. There is no reason to support harassment of Jewish students. How do you know that they even support Israeli policies? And, even if they do, imitating behavior which YOU say is unacceptable does not do anything to improve the situation. Have you ever heard the saying "Two wrongs don't make a right?"

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  • Jim LeonardJanuary 03, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    Greg, I think a Palestinian human is the same as an Israeli human. Both deserve to be treated with respect. What right do I, as a human, or you, as a human, to say 'cut it out' when you observe abuse? I see abuse and refuse to not take sides in this matter. The Israelis are bullies, pure and simple, and deserve to be called on it. I applaud these students for doing just that. This is a learning moment that all can benefit from, how about you?

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  • Greg JohnsonJanuary 03, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    I don't have a lot of knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although I'm sure there are two sides as there always are. What I have an issue with is you supporting harassment of Jews (whether or not they agree with Israel's policy) at a United States university. It is indefensible and wrong!

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  • January 03, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    Bigotry from the left is allowed only if you're attacking old white men, Christians, Mormons or Jews. Liberals are very hypocritical.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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