Last Tuesday, the Transnational Wall Demonstration was put up in Paresky lawn, and an accompanying email was sent out. The wall was meant to show solidarity between those of Palestinian and Mexican identity who struggle with walls and borders in their daily lives, and an accompanying talk was given.
In response to this, a student wrote and circulated a Statement of Solidarity with Israel, and the student gathered signatures and published his document in the Record. It gathered 65+ signatures, which can be viewed in the above link.
Let’s take a few days to talk about the wall and this response.
Discussion after the break.
We, representing a wide range of opinions and speaking as individuals, not as representatives of student groups, faculty departments, ideologies or our wide variety of identities, denounce the growing attempts on campus to delegitimize Israel or compare it to an apartheid state. We stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people and against the way Israel is portrayed that delegitimizes differing points of view and, consequently, the state’s right to exist.
We share a commitment to a two-state solution with a Jewish, democratic Israel living peacefully beside a democratic Palestine. We do not see how anyone who claims to support the two-state solution to bring peace can delegitimize one national movement or another.
We urge supporters and critics of Israeli policy to hold their discussions with the following points in mind:
● The State of Israel fulfills the Jewish people’s national aspirations in their ancestral homeland. This affirmation acknowledges the Jews as a people united by a common past, culture and language rooted in their homeland, the land of Israel.
● Israel is a democratic state that promises to offer all its citizens, including Palestinian and Arab Israelis, “full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions,” as Israel’s Declaration of Independence guarantees.
● Affirming Israel’s and Zionism’s legitimacy and acknowledging Jews’ historic claim to their land does not negate Palestinian claims to that same geographical space. History is complex. A peaceful solution requires compromise from both sides regarding what they consider their legitimate national and territorial rights.
These first few bullet points attempt to put Israel and Zionism into perspective and explain a little bit of history and background around the conflict. It makes sense to lay the foundation for their argument and what they are saying by contextualizing some of the conflict, for both those who are unaware of its historical complexities or as a sign to the opposition.
Although the statement does not invoke the wall by name, one can assume that the statement is a direct response to accusations by the demonstration.
Questions for readers:
1) Is this a fair history, or is it one-sided reductionism on either side of the issue? How can the campus community discuss the history and complexity of the conflict without hurling names at those who disagree, at this document might do?
2) How much of this document is a response to the wall directly or rather a culmination of sentiment on campus? How does that frame the conversation?
More to come.