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.

Day 2.

Discussion after the break.

Starting passionate, critical and hard-hitting discussion when discussing Israel, Zionism and the Middle East requires recognizing the following dangerous arguments:

● Denying Israel’s right to exist, as well as delegitimizing the Zionist movement and Jewish State: Assaulting Jews’ legitimacy as a people, Jews’ valid claims to the land or Jews’ right to national self-determination in Israel crosses the line from legitimate criticism to an aggressive historical negationism. Labelling the founding of Israel a colonial enterprise distorts the meaning of colonialism and negates the Jewish people’s ongoing relationship with the land of Israel.

● Demonization: Equating Israel and Zionism with the 20th century’s worst racist ideologies, such as South African Apartheid or Nazism, or treating Israel as uniquely cruel in order to deny it moral legitimacy, is not only demonstrably untrue but inflammatory and incompatible with aspirations for peace and mutual respect.

● Double standards: Calling Zionism – but no other national movement – racism, holding Israel and its army to artificially high standards by which no other nation or military is judged or subjecting Israel to disproportionate criticism while not denouncing similar acts in neighboring countries are all acts of bad faith.

We regret to note that, among others, activists in the SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] and BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movements repeatedly make these dangerous arguments, crossing over a line from legitimate criticism of Israel to menacing and pernicious claims whose subjects cross into the realm of anti-Semitism. We condemn those who reject the state of Israel entirely rather than debating one policy or even a group of policies, instead suggesting that Israel is fundamentally illegitimate.

We urge honest critics of Israeli policy to keep the debate focused on the actions and policies of all the participants in the conflict rather than Israel’s essence or Israel’s right to exist. We welcome forthright and tough judgement of Israeli policy and government, but we rebuke those who would delegitimize or demonize the Jewish state.

These next three bullet points lay out three dangerous arguments when discussion Zionism and the Middle East: Delegitimization of Israel, Demonization of Israel, and Double Standard. The student claims that SJP and BDS make these dangerous arguments oftentimes, which can veer into anti-Semitism.

He goes on to state that the signatories are not defending all of Israeli policy but want to see it discussed within a productive framework.

Questions for readers:

1) Do these “dangerous arguments” make sense? If so, is the author hypocritical for attempting to limit certain arguments while advocating free discourse? How can these two things mesh?

2) Does the wall enact these dangerous arguments? Is it anti-Semitic? How so? A reminder that pictures of the wall can be found here.


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