Letter: Students should seek understanding rather than smearing
To begin, we feel it appropriate given the timing to send our condolences to the families of all who have been affected in the recent attack on a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem.
Students for Justice in Palestine certainly does not love walls. That’s why, last week, we erected a mock wall to raise awareness of the illegal Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank. SJP is a grassroots student organization whose aim is to educate the ASU community about injustices occurring in Palestine and whose ultimate vision is to influence public opinion and public policy to bring about peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. We are a non-violent, non-politically and non-religiously affiliated organization. We completely condemn human rights abuses perpetrated by any and all sides in the conflict — including the recent terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue. But we recognize, along with the U.N. and countless other international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, that the Israeli government is conducting an unjust occupation of the Palestinian territories that — due to the U.S. government’s military support of the Israeli regime — is funded and supported by our own tax dollars.
As members of SJP, we believe that we have been grossly misrepresented by a recent opinion column by State Press columnist Jordan Brunner who levied false and offensive accusations against our organization. In it, Brunner attempted to paint SJP as supporting “the actions of Hitler”, without even the slightest shred of evidence. It is reprehensible and exploitative of the suffering of the Jewish people to casually toss these accusations around. Additionally, we feel that as a journalist, Brunner has a responsibility to State Press readers to disclose his position as a member of Sun Devils for Israel, the main pro-Israel organization on campus.
Due to restrictions on the length of this letter, we would direct readers to this article that comprehensively refutes Brunner’s argument that the separation barrier is for self-defense. We encourage you to read it to understand exactly why this claim does not hold up to scrutiny, and why so many organizations have criticized the Israeli government for its blatant human rights violations.
Our wall was set up on Hayden Lawn as a talking-point to inform the ASU community about the Wall and the Israeli occupation, as it is known by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations. The wall featured facts, statistics and artwork illustrating daily life under the occupation and celebrating the resiliency of the Palestinian people. It was intended to be an invitation for dialogue, and frankly, we are confused as to why Brunner did not choose to talk to any SJP members who stood by the Wall for over 16 hours. SJP welcomes all opinions, even dissenting ones, as we believe in democratic ideals and freedom of expression. So, we invite anyone to join us at our meetings and learn how we campaign for greater human rights awareness.
SJP holds biweekly meetings on the first and third Thursday of every month at 5 p.m. The next meeting is on Dec. 4 in LL 262. See sjpalestine.com for more details, or check out our Twitter @sjpasu.
ASU Students for Justice in Palestine