It’s hard to keep fighting for a cause when the odds seem to be against you. Nonetheless, those who persist in maintaining their opposing positions keep a cause from dying, preventing political situations with which they disagree from settling into the dust of the status quo.
Last week, the Society of Arab Students and the Muslim Student Union worked in alliance to commemorate the annual Anti-Zionism Week, an event geared towards a fair resolution for Palestinians caught up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli government is currently in the process of building a wall in the West Bank of Israel, an action that has provoked outcries from both SAS and MSU.
According to Adam Sabet, a third-year political science major and coalition director for SAS, it is a land already deemed by the United Nations as Palestinian territory. This view is echoed by other SAS members as well.
‘Despite these U.N. resolutions, Israel has illegally occupied the Palestinian territory,’ said Vanessa Zuabi, a second-year international studies and political science major and vice-president of SAS. ‘It has implanted checkpoints that prevent Palestinians from going to school, to work and from basic necessities such as food and water. Also against the U.N. resolution, there are illegal Israeli settlers that confiscate more and more Palestinian land. These actions are against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the fourth Geneva Convention and numerous other conventions issued by the U.N. Palestinians are on a daily basis dehumanized, brutalized and denied their human rights. As human beings we should not tolerate this.’
Through Anti-Zionism Week, these organizations wished to convey a message of peace and hope for those who are suffering.
‘The message is that we are against oppression, segregation, fascism, apartheid, racism and against a theocratic state. We want a secular democratic state in the Middle East where religion, race, color, gender or creed are not factors in granting full citizenship rights,’ Sabet said.
SAS constructed a wall to symbolically represent the boundaries being built between the Palestinian regions in Israel.
‘The apartheid wall that we built was to educate the people of the injustices and violation of human and civil rights that are currently being promoted by the Israeli military and the Zionist factions in Israel. Racism was supposed to be a dead issue with the fall of apartheid South Africa in the 20th century,’ Sabet said.
In addition, SAS held talks and demonstrations throughout the week. On May 18, the president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Ban Al-Wardi gave a lecture entitled ‘The Connection Between Iraq and Palestine.’
Al-Wardi focused on topics such as the generalization and dehumanization of Arabs in American society.
‘The issues in Palestine are very fundamentally the same as those in Iraq today,’ Al-Wardi said. ‘In both cases, Arabs in general have become dehumanized. There has been a systematic approach to dehumanizing us as a people.’
MSU also commemorated the week with various events. A rally held on May 17 in the Student Center could be heard by many, and lectures throughout the week informed many about the religious side of this battle.
‘Together the MSU and SAS have a really good program going because MSU is touching the Islamic issues while SAS is touching the social problems. They support each other and they’re just working to show the story as a whole