By GHADEER ALARADI, Guest Writer
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a weeklong campaign titled “Israeli Apartheid Week” from Monday, March 10 to March 13.
The agenda for the week included a film screening about Gaza, a teach- in about the overall conflict, a conversation with other student organizations on how to support each other, and a tabling event to collect signatures urging the University to sell off its stock in companies that profit off of human rights abuses.
“The apartheid analogy refers to policies that separate religious and ethnic groups, embodied in the Israeli separation wall, segregated roads, and segregated bus lines,” said Amanda, the president of SJP.
“Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign,” said Dana, the vice president of SJP.
The importance of events like these, said Amanda, is because “The first step towards change in any situation is raising awareness and informing people about the issues.”
“The purpose is to open the students’ eyes about what is happening overseas, something the media turns a blind eye to. We want the campaign to gain momentum, and we want to show students that they can do something to help,” said Dana.
On the response they received, Amanda explained that they have not received a negative response so far. With controversial topics like the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, there is always going to be people that disagree, but SJP does not like to focus on arguments/debates rather than getting the facts out there.
Amanda explained that the Palestine/Israel conflict affects us all, whether we know it or not. “As American citizens, we participate with our tax dollars in supporting the Israeli government even as it violates UN resolutions and international law. We give Israel $3 billion a year in military aid” but she said, “We can try to offset that involuntary support by boycotting products made in illegal Israeli settlements, or companies that profit off of human rights violations.”
As Palestinian-Americans that are part of SJP who do activist work in the States, the conflict affects them more directly. “One member of SJP was denied entry into Palestine,” said Amanda, and “others have been there and experienced life under the Israeli occupation firsthand.”
The week’s events were geared towards the campus community, but SJP often works with other human rights organizations that are off campus to expand the message to the general community.
SJP will be hosting another event with ASU on Tuesday, March 18th, which will be cosponsored by two faith-based organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace and Friends of Sabeel; and they will bring in a well-known speaker, Ali Abunimah.