Monday, May 15 marks the 58th anniversary of the creation of the apartheid state of Israel.
Why preface it with the ugly ‘A’ word? Because I believe that the state of Israel, with its racist policies against the Palestinians and illegal occupation of their land, is an apartheid state.
Since 1906, when the Zionist congress decided to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, Zionist forces, first underground terrorist militias like the Haganah and Igron and then Israel’s Occupational Forces, have attempted to systematically annihilate Palestinians, and drive them out of their land by oppression, torture and humiliation. The Palestinians have and continue to resist this injustice.
As a direct result of the creation of the state of Israel, there are 6 million Palestinian refugees today—comprising around three-quarters of the Palestinian people, and nearly one-third of the global refugee population.
One might disagree with the the opinions above. That’s perfectly fine.
However, what is completely ridiculous is to be accused of anti-Semitism every time I, or any other member of the campus community, criticize the apartheid state of Israel.
We’ve been through this argument several hundred times, but for the sake of clarity, let’s go through it once more. Zionism is not Judaism.
Zionism is a political ideology and Judaism is a religion, one of the three Abrahamic faiths. Criticism of the state of Israel is a political opinion.
It is an attack on Zionism, on the ideology behind the state’s racist policies. It is not an attack on Judaism, or its followers.
In fact, as a Muslim, my religion requires me to respect all faiths, especially the Abrahamic faiths which share a common lineage of prophets.
However, my religion also requires me to stand up against oppression and injustice, anywhere they occur.
The Muslim Student Union on campus is sponsoring several events this week on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to raise awareness of the injustices Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis.
The title chosen for the week is ‘Holocaust in the Holy Land’. People might disagree as to whether what is happening in occupied Palestine may be considered a holocaust.
Again, that is perfectly fine. In fact, this controversial title was partly chosen to attract an audience and encourage a political debate on this topic at UC Irvine.
I think encouraging discourse and critical thinking on a college campus is a good thing.
However, pro-Zionist groups would strongly disagree.
They will go to any lengths necessary to stifle any criticism of the apartheid state of Israel, including accusing the events of being anti-Semitic.
Pro-Zionist students and organizations have already started throwing these accusations around, in addition to accusing MSU of inciting hate on campus and asking the UCI administration to intervene and stop the events.
The keynote speaker for MSU’s week-long program is Professor Norman Finkelstein, an American-Jewish scholar on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the son of Holocaust survivors.
Also, MSU is sponsoring a talk by Rabbi Y. Weiss, an anti-Zionist Jewish Rabbi, who will be discussing the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Still anti-Semitic?
When on campus this week, check out MSU’s mock Israeli apartheid wall on Anteater Plaza. This is what the apartheid state of Israel is constructing in the West Bank to annex more of Palestinian land and divide the area into Bantustans, reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.
If you’re interested in finding out more, come to MSU’s events this week and hear the less-heard view on the conflict. Then, make up your own mind.
Visit http://www.msu-uci.com for more info.
Huda Shaka’ is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry.