In the past few years groups supporting an end to the occupation of Palestine have risen on campuses across the United States. Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine has sought to raise awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people this year with its second annual
Israel Apartheid Week. As a result of its activities and the success it has had in showing the true face of the structural violence, BU Students for Israel has committed itself to sending threatening emails and trying to shut down SJP's activites. Below is a threatening email that BU SJP received and its response:
To Whom It May Concern,
It has come to the attention of the Boston University Students for
Israel (BUSI) that next week is Israeli Apartheid Week and that in
recognition of this Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) will be
constructing a mock "wall" on campus.
It is our concern that such a demonstration will only serve to sensationalize and simplify a most complex, nuanced, and profoundly serious situation. This will only inflame emotions, and incite hatred. Ultimately, the mock up will be counterproductive to promoting objective and intellectual analysis of the realities of the region and of the histories of both Arabs and Jews.
It is our suggestion that SJP refrain from constructing such a structure
and from sensationalizing the Arab-Israeli conflict. In place of this mock wall BUSI suggests that members of SJP and BUSI stand side-by-side next week to promote an organized forum for
discourse between all parties!
We would like to emphasize that we are not demanding that SJP refrain from expressing the substance of your opinions. In fact, we are demanding nothing! We recognize your right to freedom of speech, and to express your beliefs by any peaceful means that you determine to be
appropriate. However, we ask that you consider whether sensationalism, politicized slogans, and other forms of negative and grandiose propaganda are fitting for the academic integrity of Boston University. Moreover, we ask, do such spectacles do justice to the level of education and intelligence of the Boston University student body?
We eagerly await your response, and a representative of BUSI will be
ready to meet you at your convenience!
With Hopes of Peace,
Boston University Students for Israel
Boston University SJP responded with the following:
To BU Students For Israel
Our original plan for Israel Apartheid Week did not include building a replica of the Apartheid Wall. But after receiving an email threat and hearing that members of BUSI complained to SAO about a wall we had not discussed, we decided to construct one.
We understand that you are embarrassed about the wall, because the wall is an embarrassment. Rather than sending people to complain to SAO about it, you should be condemning the Israeli government for its extensive confiscation of land, the expanse of checkpoints, the illegal settlements, and system of closures involved in imprisoning the Palestinian population. You should be incensed that the Israeli government ignored the International Court of Justice's ruling condemning it or its utilization to divide Palestinians into ghettos. Instead of standing up for justice and peace, you are on the side of the oppressors over the oppressed.
We refuse to take part in whitewashing Israel's public image, and therefore reject any Israeli-Palestinian meetings that do not recognize Palestinian inalienable rights, and and do not explicitly aim to resist Israel's occupation, colonization and apartheid. Israeli-Palestinian
meetings that are not committed to such principles give a false picture of equality between the two parties by ignoring and legitimizing Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people. We will not contribute to any event that undermines Palestinian rights, or portrays Israel as anything but
what it really is: an apartheid state.
You talk about co-existence, but there can be no co-existence until the Israelis allow the Palestinians to exist.
In Defense Of Justice,